By Kenn Day
My first encounter with Family Constellations occurred in Cornwall, back in 2001.
I was leading a tour group of my shamanic students and Lisa, an old friend from Germany, met us there. She told me about this new technique she had been exploring. I asked her to demonstrate it for us, and we wound up doing Family Constellations sessions every evening we were there.
One of my first impressions on seeing Family Constellation Work was “this is group shamanism!” In each constellation field I saw revealed a clear manifestation of the communal ancestral soul. I watched again and again as chosen representatives took the position of ancestors and then saw them feel the connections and information flow through them.
In simple terms, shamanism is the practice of journeying into the shamanic realms and interacting with the spirits, in order to access information and bring about changes or healing that would not be accessible by more ordinary means.
Many years earlier, Grandfather -- the name I have given to my spirit ally -- first introduced me to the idea that there is more than one piece to the soul. While not my genetic ancestor, at least as far as I know, Grandfather has been my primary spirit mentor and ally for most of this life. I call him Grandfather out of affection and respect, since he has avoided giving me a more specific name to use for him.
According to Grandfather’s teachings, one part of the soul comes from the ancestors while there is also a part that has lived many lifetimes before, and will go on to others lives after this one.
The ancestral part is communal; it contains all of the ancestors of your blood line -- including you and your descendants.. Individuals can show up within this communal soul usually for five to six generations after they die.
Sound familiar? It was startling to see this teaching come to life in front of me as representatives began to speak and move and interact for the individual ancestors within the communal field.
While familiar with the concept from Grandfather’s teachings, it hadn’t moved me much closer to making peace with my own ancestors. I just nodded in acknowledgement when I would visit them in the underworld, but I experienced little sense of connection or rapport.
Going into the Family Constellations training, I was still very much of the opinion that, considering my traumatic childhood, I had no interest in taking on the role of parent to a newly formed human. I certainly didn’t want to pass on any of the burdens of my ancestors to a new generation.
The introduction to Family Constellations made real and actual these things I had just been seeing as theoretical. I was able to encounter the communal ancestral soul outside of the shamanic experience.
It wasn't until I was fortunate enough to spend two years studying Family and Systemic Constellations with Heinz Stark, one of the leading European trainers, that I really came to an understanding and healing of my own ancestral self.
Heinz was clear that this is a phenomenological method and that we need to be careful not to read too much into it and that we should avoid interpretation.
However, one of the greatest gifts I received from working with Family Constellations was this full embodiment of Grandfather’s teachings, and the resulting healing of my ancestral soul.
During the two-year course of the Systemic Constellations training program that I attended with my wife Patricia, my entire relationship with my ancestral and family soul, and especially my parents, was dramatically transformed.
Perhaps the clearest indication of this change was that I entered the program with a clear intention to never father a child. By the end of the training, having stood in the place of many loving ancestors, it was just as clear to me that this was a tremendously important aspect of the human experience that both my wife Patricia and I wanted to share in.
We finished our training with Heinz Stark in 2005. Our daughter turned 8 at the end of May.. What a gift!
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