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Family Constellations is not Astrology

I get this question frequently, “is Family Constellations about astrology?”

It seems a logical question considering the name. I like to think of it in the context of one of the dictionary definitions of “constellation” which is: a group or configuration of ideas, feelings, characteristics, objects, etc., that are related in some way. I will add people to the list.

Within a family we come together in certain configurations and positions, each of us being a daughter/son, brother/sister, mother/father and so on, to a variety of other people. Unbeknownst to us, we are cast so to speak, within a vast network of cast members that started at the very beginning of times.

When I bring this image up, I instantaneously enter into a state of complete awe. How absolutely incredible is this? I look back and I can imagine an ocean of ancestors, a star studded (from the Latin constellatus) cluster that I am gloriously part of.

You are part of a larger than life cluster too. And your cluster and my cluster most probably intersect at some point. I am humbled. I am honored. Pressure to be a certain way or to perform miraculous mind acrobatics to arrive at that aha moment of understanding, they all diminish.

These people, as a whole must have been resourceful enough or have strong connections up high to have kept this going. They together hold something that I alone, don’t.

This understanding came quickly at the beginning of my Family Constellations experiences. I will not forget my very first exercise.

I had at times felt different, perhaps akin to an alien, who landed in the wrong family. I had felt estranged from that which gave me life. I had been disoriented and uneasy. I hadn’t known how to look at my family as a whole. I had strong feelings and love for some members of my family, resentment and disapproval for others, and yet regarding others I was filled with ignorance.

You can imagine how my perspective was somehow skewed and a bit maddening. How to reject some and welcome others? I couldn’t imagine differently since this is where I stood. My position informed my vision.

Suzi, my facilitator and teacher, set up my family very simply, in order. Who came first was positioned first; who came second was second and so on. At the end, she asked me to position myself. I immediately stood to the side, facing the sea of people who represented my family members. I instantly felt a wave of judgment. My heart was heavy. Mistrust and cautiousness filled my perspective. How could this be? Why is it that they don’t like me? I thought.

Suzi, gently took me by the shoulders and repositioned me. I was now facing forward with all my ancestors behind me. “Try this”, she says.

In only one instant, my heart’s ache eased, and as I stood there taking in the new perspective I felt an undeniable wave of love. I nearly jolted as nothing had changed behind me. They were all just standing there, just as in the beginning.

My whole body relaxed. I felt accepted. I felt supported. My inner strength increased. In just a short moment my state changed from sluggish to a newly found life force.

That’s when my mind took an unexpected bend and I realized that the conflict in this case had come from standing in a defensive position, perhaps the position of the one who left her family and her homeland and was now geographically far away, a position of fear and questioning.

It seemed neither good nor bad to leave one’s native land, but moving from observing my line with an analytical mind to a participant in the already existing flow of love, seemed to be a crucial change of perspective. I was now the one accepting and surrendering to a force more powerful than my emotions and mind.

As the observer I kept a distance, the façade of a perhaps neutral stance, while as a participant I engaged and agreed with the conditions of the road.

It makes sense that it is not a good idea to face against the flow of a river, hoping to gain understanding about its rapids, rhythms and identity. We learn much more about it and ourselves by flowing with it in the direction of its course.

It teaches us all that we need to know, if we allow it.

This was my very first step.

And with it, the real journey anchored its beginnings.

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