It all started with two books and two conversations. Nine years ago I read a book, which was an autobiography of a person I knew. In it he described, among other things, the connection between his childhood and adulthood; especially his relationship with his mother and the three failed engagement proposals. He then described how in his seventies he came across family healing work and did a lot of forgiveness around his childhood, having cathartic release of the years of pain and hatred. When I spoke to him about his life journey, he suggested I read another book - Healing the Family Tree. I found the book and it blew my mind. The author described various cases of healing family entanglements and through that curing physical and mental symptoms in people with whom he worked. I also happened to know the daughter of the author, and when we had a chance to meet some time later I asked her many questions about her father’s work. She was the one who introduced me to the art of genogram. As we sat at a small table outside on a terrace with a beautiful scenery in front of us, she drew my family tree on a piece of paper, asking me questions about each member. I only knew it as far as my grandparents. The only thing I knew about my grandfather’s childhood was that he lost four siblings and his father in a very short period of time, like a month, and then his family had to relocate very quickly. My friend then asked me to imagine how it would have been for the family to go through something like this. Did they have time to mourn their dead? To make sense of it, to heal. Did they have a proper ceremony? What were the surviving children and the mother left with? And in what way I could be impacted by it in my own life. I have never thought of any of it before. And when I imagined it, I felt so much pain and grief and sorrow. She suggested I look for ways to release it - an ancestral healing process. So I started my research, and after trying out many different ways, finally came across family constellations and then systemic ritual and shamanic work. My call was very clear and loud. It needed action. Now I know that everything we heal for ourselves, we heal for the whole ancestral field. The ripples of our personal work flow both directions - backwards and forwards, also clearing the path for the future generations.
As I was writing about my grandfather's family, I got drawn to create a little ritual for that part of the line. In the image above, I set up my mother's line and first just spent some time meditating and singing with them, remembering some of the faces I know and imagining some of the life stories - connecting with their place in my life. When you work with your family tree, begin with just several ancestors, so that you could spend some good quality time with your lineage. Then I opened an invitation for the beings of nature and ancient ancestors who are willing and able to support those in the line who need some holding, to step in. I represented them with stones. And again, I spent time chanting and praying with them, holding the space. It is important that I didn't have an intention of fixing anyone's life, systemically it is not my place as child to rescue those who came before me. Rather I wanted to create an opportunity for support and resourcing with the help of nature and those who came way before these more recent ancestors. See what comes up for you as you sit with your lineage. As they feel more supported, the healing will flow down the generations in the sacred timeless space of your ancestral field. If you have any questions about this ritual, I am only an email away.
I am fascinated by the Systemic Family Constellations work and everything shamanic. I study it, practice it, research it. Here, I am sharing what I learn and hope it can be of use to somebody interested in healing their families, communities and lives.
In 2019 I published some of my poetry inspired by systemic work in this journal. It is available as PDF, Kindle or printed at the link above.