What are Constellations?

By Alissa Fleet

Constellations make sense intuitively when you see them in person, but are notoriously difficult to describe since they work from a place beyond words. These are some of the most helpful introductory materials available about the history of constellations, how they work, and what you can expect when you attend a constellations workshop for the first time.

Intro to Constellations Books

Some of the most recommended books for an introduction to constellations.


Acknowledging What is: Conversations with Bert Hellinger

Bert Hellinger, Gabriele Ten Heovel

Connecting to Our Ancestral Past: Healing through Family Constellations, Ceremony, and Ritual

Francesca Mason Boring

The Constellation Approach: Finding Peace Through Your Family Lineage

Jamy Faust and Peter Faust

The Healing of Individuals, Families & Nations: Transgenerational Healing & Family Constellations

John Payne

The Language of the Soul: Healing with Words of Truth

John Payne

It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

Mark Wolyn

Family Constellations

Family Constellations was first popularized in Germany, in the aftermath of WWII. Some of the first discoveries were made with German families, who were looking at the after-effects showing up in the descendants of victims and perpetrators in the war. This article explains the origins, why there is often historical undertones in constellations, as well as how they are set up in a group process.

Where Germans Make Peace with Their Dead

by Burkhard Bilger. The New Yorker.

Businesses and Organizational Constellations

After seeing how constellations worked in a family system, early practitioners began extending the work to look at a wider range of systems, including businesses and organizations. Systemic constellations is now known as an effective tool for improving businesses. Jan Jacob Stam is one of the foremost practitioners and trainers for how constellations works in management, non-profits, and government.

How Constellations can be used for organizations and businesses

Intro Video Courses

For those who are ready to dive a bit deeper, one of the first generation of constellators, Bertold Ulsamer, offers very a clear and practical video introduction to constellations. Many of them are free.

Introduction to Family Constellations with Bertold Ulsamer

Changing the Narrative of Womens Herstory

It was a privilege to hear from Max Dashu this weekend, who has dedicated her life to going into the shadows to bring to light the forgotten stories of women who danced and sang, were healers and priestesses.

With great wisdom and care she pieces together each and every fragment she finds: a shard of pottery, a painting on a rock wall, the way words shift meaning over time. Following the trail of art and language, she has traced clues about how it was, what was native and indigenous to women on every continent. And somehow she has done all of this without institutional support. She told a story of the time she found a rare image in a used book store, but did not have the money to buy the book.

The picture of Max sitting in the dark, for decades going where she was invited with her slide carousels, and now with digital versions: this is uphill struggle of changing the narrative. So humbled and grateful for the deep well of resources that women today can draw on as we are revising our culture and the story of who we are.

One of our favorite quotes from the day was: “Goddess is a spectrum.”
Some are ancestors; some are spirit helpers; some are shamans and healers.

Here are some of the cultural and historic patterns Max is investigating this year.

Community Constellations

It’s taken me a while to even know how to respond to these weird and wild times we’re living in. There is a sense that something new is emerging, but we really don’t know what that is or where it’s headed. Personally it has pushed me to dig deeper and look for new ways of approaching old problems.

Some of the best medicine I’ve found has been to connect with like-minded friends who are also looking in to big questions of meaning, belonging, purpose, and how to build “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.”

Over the course of my searching I have been most amazed by the transformative power of family and systemic constellations work and have connected with a number of other emerging facilitators who are excited to practice together. As one answer to the question “what can I do?” I’m going to starting hosting monthly Community Constellations in Brooklyn and Manhattan offered by different facilitators each month. I hope you can come for the first one!











Community Constellations
Family constellations is best known as a tool for shifting old patterns that have been passed down through the generations. It is also used for looking at any system’s dynamics — including businesses, organizations, community groups, even larger societal questions. The group process is intuitive and helps people connect with their own authenticity, inner wisdom, and soul force.

In constellations there are no pre-determined answers or dogmas. We rely on the insights and felt truths that come through each person who happens to show up for a circle in order to find the way forward. People are invited to bring their questions about work, life, relationships, health, concerns for the world. Through a group process we tune in to find clarity on hidden dynamics, supportive resources, and possibilities for resolution.

If you want to learn more about what this is all about check out this video series

Wednesday Sept 26
Balance Arts
34 W 28th St, New York, New York 10001
7:00-10:00 pm
Facilitated by Luisa Muhr
More info & RSVP

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