In family constellations, we begin the process by understanding the client’s area of concern and learning more about their family. We then identify the appropriate members of the family to include and select “representatives” for each one. Sometimes, the representatives are for specific people and other times they may be for an event, a country, or another similar “meta-position”.
When doing a family/systemic constellation in a workshop setting, there are typically enough people in attendance to represent all the identified constellation roles. However, when doing a one on one constellation, instead of people as representatives, we utilize other items. Sometimes we use cutouts of footprints, pieces of paper, or wooden figures as representatives.
Lately, I have found that objects can provide important clues in uncovering the systemic pattern and/or transforming it. They can also serve to anchor the shifts the constellation creates, in the person’s home, office, or personal space.
After gathering some background information, my approach is to ask the client to consider objects to represent specified family members or anyone they feel is significant (if they feel drawn to do so). Sometimes it is a photograph, other times it is an inherited item or it may be something that reflects their personality.
The idea of incorporating objects in someone’s home as a way to anchor a connection to a person began with my own constellation. I was doing a constellation around my mother’s lineage. There was a person to represent my mother, my grandmother and my great-grandmother. I saw that the representative for my great grandmother was standing diagonally across from me with her hands interwoven. I looked down and noticed that my hands were doing the same. I tried to separate them, but could not.
After the constellation, I was intrigued by the connection I felt to my great-grandmother whom I had never met. I remembered the wooden clock I had of hers that I had rescued from the basement of my childhood home. I loved the wood but the inner workings were all tangled. For 20 years, the clock and the bag of innards followed me wherever I moved. After the constellation, I found a person who repaired old clocks, had it fixed, and placed the clock in a prominent location in my home.
Here are a few other examples of how objects can play a role in creating a connection to or anchoring in a shift created through a constellation:
- A woman who had experienced several miscarriages, included all of her children (both living and not) by incorporating a candleholder with spaces for them all. She then placed it in an area of her home that honored their presence and anchored the connection.
- An individual, whose ancestor was the source of a “split” in the family, anchored the healing of that split by placing an inherited item from that person in the ancestral space in their home.
- A woman had several family members “excluded” due to early death or not immigrating with the rest of the family. She created a bracelet with stones for each person’s birth month creating a special way to honor their place in the family history and in her personal space.
Family constellations focus on understanding and shifting patterns in our families of origin to allow us to live more fully. Anchoring those shifts with objects that connect to our ancestry, can amplify those shifts, bringing us deeper transformation.
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