The pioneering work of Bert Hellinger in ‘Familien-Stellen’ (constellation work) started in the 1970s in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was the beginning of the international therapeutic movement, which is contemporarily based on different theoretical and therapeutic intervention approaches. Since then, constellation work has received recognition in Europe, followed by the United States, Australia, and later Asia. Scientists and practitioners have contributed to its development. [link]
We have forbidden the old ways, opening ourselves to overall technical and modern-societal development. The old ways being the spirits, magic and dead ancestors. While I was reading a book by Malidoma Some, he had raised an interesting question. What have you done to your ancestors in the Western world, that the need of connecting with them, was completely pushed away from your consciousness?
We can’t argue, these ‘magical’ times were most likely not helpful to the development of humanism and modern science. Witch doctors and curing people with mercury were really a thing. Also the norms society had to keep, would multiple times exclude people we have learned to include into our society today. Include and treasure them.
Nevertheless we have lost something in return. The prevalent faith in material world and material goods has closed our minds, to what the former communities could offer. In this case things that are greater than us and those we can’t or don’t want or need to understand. This has created a world empty of things that are naturally beyond us. Even if they could potentially heal us.
One of the methods, well-crafted to the needs of our society are exactly Family Constellations by Bert Hellinger. Interestingly, they source back to native-African beliefs, where ancestors even today, play a vital role in many communities. Constellations are causing a lot of controversy among psychologists and psychiatrists. And they will. This is where embracing the ritual (transformation through unknown and uncontrollable) meets ceremony (betterment through well-tested and expected steps).
My interest in this area came with interest in biophotons, information fields and quantum physics meeting biology. Then came epigenetics and studies on how trauma can be passed on through generations.
Evidence has been building in recent years that our diet, our habits or traumatic experiences can have consequences for the health of our children — and even our grandchildren. The explanation that has gained most currency for how this occurs is so-called ‘epigenetic inheritance’ — patterns of chemical ‘marks’ on or around our DNA that are hypothesized to be passed down the generations. [link]
Certain fears can be inherited through the generations, a provocative study of mice reports. The authors suggest that a similar phenomenon could influence anxiety and addiction in humans. But some researchers are sceptical of the findings because a biological mechanism that explains the phenomenon has not been identified. [link]
This was quite a shocker. How could potentially my mother being exposed to stress or a chemical pollutant express in me? Even if I don’t have a trace connection with some of these situations?
Generational trauma may be passed from generation to generation in self perpetuating cycles that are hard to break. It can be transmitted by social learning in the family and community, and growing evidence shows that it may also be inherited epigenetically in the expression of the genes and from before conception in genomic imprinting. Family Constellation Therapy developed by Bert Hellinger and shamanic rituals from various indigenous cultures may provide an opportunity to liberate oneself from the suffering of the ancestors. [link]
The suffering of the ancestors impacting myself was definitely mind-blowing. But if you look at it from medical and scientific perspective, it is not as nonsensical as it sounds. It also explains why therapies focused just on the person, often do not bring significant improvements. Hell! It also explains why some people feel the pain in them is not their own.
Now looking at the more scientific factor. The traumas are held within our autonomic nervous system. In short ANS. This is the same system, that is managing our bodily functions and helps our organs to co-ordinate. In previous articles we were discussing how ANS is changing and modulating it’s behaviour to external informational fields (biophotons, chemical, electrical, even sound, etc). Now what if it is not just external systems? As documented in epigenetical studies, our genetical coding, aka instructions to ANS on how to react to certain external conditions can be passed through generations. So signals ignored by others, might be deathly stressful to us. Only because our ancestors had undisclosed and unresolved issues.
Phylogenetically, a hierarchical regulatory stress-response system emerged in mammals that not only relies on the well-known sympathetic-adrenal activating system and the parasympathetic inhibitory vagal system, but that these systems are modified by myelinated vagus and the cranial nerves that regulate facial expression which constitute the social engagement system. Thus, phylogenetically, self-regulatory development starts with a primitive behavioral inhibition system, progresses by the evolution of a fight-flight system, and, in humans (and other primates), culminates in a complex social engagement system mediated by facial gestures and vocalizations. [link]
Whatever is in our DNA, all the stressors, keep on impacting how we behave daily. It’s called the polyvagal theory. It also impacts other areas of our body like lungs, heart, sex life. If our grandpa had killed someone, his stress lives on with me and can cause me to die of grief, where the symptoms might be exposed in lungs (like lung cancer). This is pure theory in terms of cancer cause, but there is an undeniable fact linking emotion inheritance through epigenetics, ANS behaviour and how our organs work.
Now if you want to tell me when we die, we stop to existing, well…
In the more indigenous beliefs, our ancestors live and their plane can be accessed through rituals. You can’t do it yourself and you need more people to generate an open information field, where you can connect with this plane. This sounds a bit gibberish, but based on my knowledge of shamanism and the fact constellations work (more about it later), it’s the beset explanation I can offer. You need to open yourself for unknown to get transformed and healed. Like in quantum theory, maybe 3 people understand how it works (imagine in this theory things in future can precede things in past and presence), but it can be explained scientifically.
There are currently multiple studies proving Family Constellation is at least worth a try. My pick would be with the practitioners agreeing to Dr Dietrich Klinghardt approach (which comes from the original Hellinger school) or proper ancestral shamanic workshops, like Malidoma is offering.
The study examined the efficacy of nonrecurring family constellation seminars on psychological health. We conducted a monocentric, single-blind, stratified, and balanced randomized controlled trial (RCT). […] It was predicted that family constellation seminars would improve psychological functioning (Outcome Questionnaire OQ-45.2) at 2-week and 4-month follow-ups. In addition, we assessed the impact of family constellation seminars on psychological distress and motivational incongruence. The IG showed significantly improved psychological functioning (d = 0.45 at 2-week follow-up, p = .003; d = 0.46 at 4-month follow-up, p = .003). Results were confirmed for psychological distress and motivational incongruence. No adverse events were reported. This RCT provides evidence for the efficacy of family constellation in a nonclinical population. [link] [link2] [link3]
And they do work.
How do they work? In a nutshell you need a group of people that decide to gather and re-live some of the traumas of the ancestors. Through organised procedure, the participants of the constellation would tell about their problems. Now the healing circle goes into the constellation. People play out something that can be called a ‘psychodrama’ for a lack of a better term. In this case the family system can be unburdened form the trauma and the original ‘Qi’ and healing restored. Physically it is all viable, given what we know already from the impact of the informational fields on our body regulation and the mechnisms explained in this article.
The interesting fact is, that these experiences impact not only people actively participating in the constellation, but also the ones participating passively and their whole family system.
The focus here is not on ritual itself, but on opening up something in hearts and spirits that has been locked away so long that individuals can barely remember the source.