Family Constellations and South Africa: Parallels to African Ancestral Healing

Family Constellations and South Africa: Links to Traditional African Healing

Tanja Meyburgh (2009)

Since my first experience of Family Constellations in 2002, I have been researching, investigating and contemplating what aspects of Hellinger’s work could be seen to have their origins in African culture (not discounting that they are also reflected in other psycho-therapeutic schools which he later studied). I can summarise them as follows:

• Acknowledgement that our ancestors and family are deeply connected to both well-being and disease, and that the relationship is symbiotic and of mutual resource.
• Understanding that the individual is an integral part of his family and ancestral lineage and can never be disconnected from it.
• Alignment in terms of order in the family – who comes first, generational lineage and continuity of the family tree including taking into account those who could still be causing problems until recognized and acknowledged.
• The importance of the effect of the excluded part or issues in a family and person’s life, whether conscious or unconscious.
• Healing using symbolism and connecting with the deceased.

• Spatial and physical representation of family members and intra-psychic elements using the “throwing of the bones” by traditional healers.

• Honoring of elders and the rightful place of the dead.

Now, in May 2010, I can also add to this list:

– collapsing of past, present and future into a time and place set by the ritual / constellation

– the prescription of rituals and ceremony after the consultation (constellation or throwing of the bones) For example:

a) honoring ancestral lineage of both the female and male lines

or

b) inclusion of the excluded and forgotten people or ancestors

or

c) making connection with those that have passed away

This list will be added to and refined as my research continues.

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