A Personal Ancestral Journey
I have been on a personal healing journey for a long time, but it was only when I learnt about family constellations that I began to take positive steps to reconnect with my ancestral past. I started talking to my parents about our ancestral family heritage and I went back to Guyana to reconnect with family members. In 2014 I met Malidoma Some, the renowned African diviner of Dagara Heritage and in January 2016, began a month-long healing study tour to his hometown Dano in Burkina Faso, West Africa. It was an introduction to the ancestors and a connection to the South African, Zulu 'ways-of-knowing' in the constellation.
Beginning to Follow the Ancestral Path
Following the ancestral path on a deeper level, I learnt about approaches to healing and mental health and consulting with spiritual diviners and shamanic healers. After a DNA test, that told me more about my ancestry (even though it is not an exact science) I travelled to Benin in 2018 to find out more about my ancestral past. I consulted with local healers and took part in more rituals and ceremonies that reconnected me to African roots. I have been specialising and developing my own approach to systemic practice pioneering Ancestral Constellations since then. This transgenerational work combines the principles of systemic constellations theory with an ancestral and African centred approach.
Modern 'Griot' Story-telling
The Ancestral Constellations vision is to re-connect with these ancestral traditions and adapt them to better fit the families and communities that use our services. To reconnect with African oral traditions and re-fashion them as modern-day Griot storying. And to remember lost or forgotten histories through the embodied healing-ritual approach of systemic constellations.
Bert Hellinger the 'father' of the systemic constellations method was born in Germany and after training to be a Jesuit priest, moved to South Africa and spent 16 years there. He set up a school and worked with many Zulu families and communities. After he returned to Germany he spoke little about his time there but acknowledged that he was influenced by the traditional wisdom of Africa and Zulu family traditions.
It is important in constellations work to honour those who have gone before us. Through honouring both the Western and African constellations lineages, our approach connects the past to the present and traditional indigenous ancestral knowledge to Western systemic practice.
Malidoma Some, Dagara Elder, author and teacher who has experience of working collaboratively with family constellations practitioners suggests that..........
"Family Constellation is an old ritual practice rooted in Africa that sees individual challenges as linked to some forms of entanglement, the nature of which needs to be understood and dealt with for healing to happen. In it, the crisis of the individual is the crisis of the collective or the community."
Malidoma Some E-Village News - September 2010
There are examples of African Indigenous 'ways of knowing', that can be found within the constellations process and also relates to other traditions from around the world. They speak to levels of authority, rules of respect and the different orders within the relationship system, they include....
- Call and repeat patterns with clarifying or healing sentences that the facilitator leads
- A clearly defined order to how family members stand in relation to each other.
- Rituals like ‘bowing’ to elders and acknowledging authority and precedence
- Ancestors being welcomed into the process as a part of a transgenerational map