What are Constellations?

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.


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

North Korea Constellation

This is an extended video of Stephan Hausner and Thomas Hubl facilitating a constellation on the conflict with North Korea. It was done last summer for the purpose of global witnessing.

I found it so interesting to watch the representatives for each country and see evidence of how when we are part of a system, we carry a hologram of the entire system within us. The representative for Germany was saddened to see what it was like for North and South Korea to be separated, because it had a memory of what that was like. Even last summer, the constellation showed one possibility for how they could be rejoined.

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.