Systemic Constellations and Ancestral Healing Ritual
This therapeutic process has deep strands that are forged from African ancestral family dynamics and western systemic models. Bert Hellinger, known in the West as the developer of the systemic constellations approach, worked for many years in South Africa as a catholic priest. He returned to Germany in the late 1980’s embedding some of what he learnt from Zulu culture in the method.
Some of the ways of looking at family life and some of the structures of constellations are perfectly suited to explore African heritage family and community life. The focus on a network of relationships allows family and community life to be viewed in a holistic way, one impacting on the other.
Rituals within the Constellation
There are also rituals within the work. The construction of healing sentences spoken between family members that can ease painful situations. And there is precedence given to age and elder knowledge, a very African concept as a core principle of the work.
Malidoma Some who has extensive experience of both Family Constellations and Indigenous African Spirituality says this about Family Constellation and Ritual
“I do not know where the term Family Constellation comes from and my knowledge of the historicity of it is, at best spotty. However, I have had ample exposure to and involvement with the process to know that Family Constellations is one of the many faces of ritual. We define ritual as the involvement with spirit in sacred space for our healing."
A Balance of Western and African
The Ancestral Constellations approach has been adapted to speak more coherently to BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) as well as for those coming from a European rooted background. There is a recognition that community experiences and roots are diverse and the legacy of history impacts families differently and in many complex ways.
Our approach has been to build a bridge between Constellations and Ancestral Rituals in order to balance the Western and African perspectives held within the process. In this way, the 'search for roots, identity and belonging' can be aligned to a search for ancestral knowledge, a theme that continually emerges from work with clients. The Ancestral Constellations process can help strengthen family relationships, by exploring the impact of the past on present-day and also support the exploration of family research and ancestral knowledge.