B e r t      H e l l i n g e r' s


   Family - constellations

Captain Hellinger in the Far East    

  presented by  Angelika Schenk 

aboriginal australia

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Bert Hellinger's words

bewegungen der seele

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deutsche texte



kindred souls

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constellations beyond families

Family constellations and spirituality

family questions

gehen mit der Gottes-Liebe

inner exercises


Moving with spirit

moving with the love of god

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the knowing field


Thomas Mann

translations of short texts.htm


victim and perpetrator




a lot of the time ,

 Angelika lives and works at
Gayatri Retreat, 1033 Cedar Pocket Rd.
opposite Cedar Pocket Dam

Gympie, 4570,
Queensland, Australia
find out more about Gayatri Retreat on:


The main and official page for Bert's work:
Here you can find articles, 
order literature and videos  
and find out about hellinger workshops

.schenk@gmail.com 61 754 866 180
 monika.groehling@westnet.com.au   61754 866027 
Dr. Chris Walsh, 
Australia's wonderful constellations networker:

Family constellations began with the healing of wounds in the family, whatever they were.
By now, the same method can be applied to any kind of issue that concerns us.
The sincere request is what matters.

And gradually, together with the others, you open your heart, 
at your own pace and in your own way, to the grief and to the joy of life as it is,  
a little older in maturity, a little younger at heart.

"Family-Constellations" is the spirit-child of Bert Hellinger.
 He says he received this gift from the great unknown, 
and many others have worked along similar lines and contributed. 
He says what he found was ready to be found. 
He lays no claims of ownership to it. 
Those of us who have come to bow deeply to his work hope to remain faithful. 
The faithfulness he suggests is the faithfulness to the spirit itself 
that makes itself felt so mysteriously in this work.

Bow to Fate

Dwell in the Great Love for all that is

These are just a few examples of where  constellations may be able to assist you to grow through difficulties and to turn problems into strength.

"Family constellations" -  the role of connectedness within the family
In their immediate meaning family constellations offer a path of healing for individuals. 
And as we receive life through our parents and exist as part of a family a healing of the heart is a shared event within the family as a whole. 
In the first step the painful and burdensome connections - which are really degrees of disconnection - within our family come to light. We get to see our deeper feelings. 
We experience how intensely connected we are subconsciously, 
all the more so where tragedy blocked  the expressions of love. 
When we face these deep feelings, the suppressed love begins to emerge, 
and expressing respect, acceptance, and love begins to be possible. 

In Bert's first type of approach, still rather Confucian, a constellation is complete when all family members present feel they are at the right place now, and they can look at each other in a friendly way.   

"The Orders of Love" - Bert on the importance of healing in the family
Applied to the family, the orders of love explain the natural order of love within the family and also in other important systems of human relationships. This concerns the right places and roles of the various family members. Traumatic events throw the natural order into upheaval, and if the trauma is too great the family is often unable to find peace again. They cannot restore the orders where all members belong fully and in their right place 
When the orders of love have been restored in the family, the individuals feel secure, and therefore also free. Having the right place within the family, the members also know what their roles are and what not.  Connected with everyone who belongs, the members feel secure and in their strength, still sensing the strength of the family supporting them from behind. When the connectedness in the family is acknowledged, the responsibilities are seen and shared clearly, the individuals feel relieved.  Now they can follow their unique individuality without being burdened and caught by what went on before them.

Movements of the Soul
Bert's work evolved over the years. As people grasped the process of representation more and more deeply, the dimensions of the soul began to appear. 
When people approach the work with humility and respect for the soul, it becomes apparent that the soul shows us the entanglement and the way back to peace and oneness. 
When in the silent constellation the representatives began to move on their own accord, slowly, 
in recollection, Bert felt at first that these were movements of the soul. 
He called the field of love that appeared to overshadow the constellation, "The great Soul". 

Now (since 2005 or so) he calls these movements where the representatives move as if moved by something from without that they also experience as from within, movements of the spirit. 
Now he reserves the word "soul" to what holds individuals together internally, 
and what binds people of a family together.

Stay in the Great Love
Bert's work is speeding up in its development. 
He tells us to remain in the great love which includes everyone and everything equally. 
In this space, together we invite the presence of great love which shows us solutions far beyond our narrow concepts - towards peace for all. 
The great love is the love of the spirit. The love of the soul we feel closer to our emotions. 
The love of the spirit is not emotional, it is in our spirit. 

Going with the love of the spirit 
Since 2004 or so Bert has brought spirit, love of spirit, into this work
 which is much changed now in its format. 
The essence has expanded, towards boundless love 
in which everything and everyone are loved as they are. 
Still, the earlier motions are contained in the expanding work, 
and the experiences found there still hold true.
The movements towards reconciliation are still the centre of healing and growing.

Through connection with spirit, we can move closer to the love of the spirit, 
for the benefit of ourselves and everything that is.

Bert's work and his latest books, specifically 5 of them in August 2008,
 are dedicated to this, bringing us closer to the love of the spirit. 

'Spiritual family-constellations', or 'Moving with the love of the spirit"
These are term Bert uses for his work at this point in time. (since 2005)
In spiritual family constellations there is a much more recollected atmosphere, usually silence. 
In movements without words unhealed situations reveal themselves, 
and the healing happens in further movements which bring together 
what was separated through violence and pain.

By now, Bert has written over 60 books.
What underlies constellation work?

The constellation process operates on some essential energies that became very clear in this work: +       Human beings are deeply connected to each other. In this work we find out what people of all cultures have known for a long time: We can all, in varying degrees, feel each other's  deeper feelings. It is these deeper feelings that guide us to understanding and reconciliation. 

Human being empathize with each other, at least when they feel safe. 
Some manage this even under very tough circumstances. 
All great religions have called us to this. 

+      We are connected in some kind of energy field which will guide us provided we open up to it.
Bert just calls it spirit. 
What we open up to is simply our willingness to experience a layer of truth, 
a dimension of love that we had not been aware of before.

+    There is a benevolent energy available to us.  
All we need to do is to be present in calm composure without any intentions, plans, fears, prejudices, just being present and observe and sense what is happening. 
This energy will invariably guide us towards reconciliation, 
and this means to the wholeness of our souls, 
our personal souls becoming whole as those of our families do, 
often in turn this involves becoming one with a larger group again, 
as in reconciliation with people of another nation or faith.

+    As Bert's work kept on developing further, the capacity of representatives and all people present to feel what is going on in deeper layers,  has much increased and widened in scope.

+    And beyond all this, many people have learned that there is greater wisdom, greater love, and a greater will than their own. Fitting in with what is so infinitely greater than us, brings us peace.

So, it appears that this method, which Bert has called a spiritual path for a long time, can be our companion in ever widening rings of inclusion spiritual growth for a long time to come. 


How does a family constellation work?

First I will describe the earlier approach which still plays a role in the latest version

Before people come to a constellation workshop, they may have had a look at their family background. To look into our family's history is in itself often helpful. 
The helpful information concerns any kind of tragic events in the family, even a few generation back. 
(Look at page "family questions" for details.)

The client briefly presents the issue and gives the tragic facts in the family.
The practitioner decides which family members will be set up first. 
In spiritual family constellations Bert often begins with only one person.

Then representatives for these family members, including the client, are selected from the group.  
Whether they are still amongst the living or not, does not matter. 
Males are represented by males, females by females, as far as possible. 

In the earlier form of constellations work, called family- constellations, the client held a representative and placed the person somewhere in the centre of the group, just so, by feeling. When they are all placed, the client sat down to look at the unfolding constellation. 

This way the connection between the client's issue and the entanglements in the family became quite clear, but interventions were needed at times as this way of setting the representatives up gives the process a certain direction that is somewhat less open towards resolution.

In any type of constellation the same amazing thing becomes apparent now: 
At this point the representatives are beginning to feel sensations and emotions of the family member they represent, inside themselves and in regard to the others. They may express even their physical symptoms. (To find out more, look at page "the knowing field".) 
The task of the representatives is to just stay with what they feel right at the moment, 
to allow their bodies to express that softly and slowly, 
and occasionally when asked to tell the practitioner what goes on for them. 

In the earlier process the practitioner now guides the representing family members through a gentle process of unraveling. The feelings are explored, deep connections become visible. Through changes in positions, short sentences, and gestures the tangles in the family are gradually unraveled, always with the purpose of restoring the flow of love, for all. 

This process depends on the willingness of all present 
to keep their own ideas or opinions or feelings or prejudices out of the picture. 
It means they kind of empty themselves, and this is in fact amazingly easy in this work. 
The practitioner can only act in a truly helpful way if even all intentions are left behind. 
The work has to stay very close to what the representatives are really feeling at the time. 

It is a very deeply cooperative process. Everybody's feelings count and have to be considered. 
The family members are asked for their feedback, as the healing, even of the client, depends on the well-being of all.

In this way we can experience a new sense of belonging, a greater capacity to accept , 
and find, how love, respect and (re-)inclusion, and acceptance of what we cannot change of all bring peace and greater well-being. 



Bert Hellinger's work has much to offer,

from therapy that makes individuals feel better,
to constellation work that heals the painful events in our ancestors' past,
to a spiritual path that heals what is behind us, and still in us,
so that we are free to follow our deepest calling in the here and now,
in increasingly deeper connection to the whole of life and the source of it all,
wide open for the adventures that lie ahead of us.
Whatever our spiritual path was we will find it strengthened, refreshed, overhauled, 
and we have more direct experiences of our connections to the source. 
A sense of growing sets in. 

Bert Hellinger's work 
is dedicated to bringing together what has been apart,
healing through reconciliation, coming together through respect of the heart,
moving forward with deep agreement to life as it is, and with love.

The starting point can be any discomfort, any pressing issue whatsoever.
Facing what we see as our deepest pains, 
we find that they are all connected to real events in the past, 
to the burdens of those before us. 
So our discomfort, but also our talents, interests and loves, 
connect us to the people before us. 
What we thought was ours is often someone else's who lived before us. 
As we lovingly turn to other souls who were or are suffering, 
our love and their love come back to life, and symptoms disappear,
as we are redirected  towards direct love. 
With the support of those who came before us, 
we arrive at the peace, the strength, and the freedom,
that are the gifts to be received when we follow spirit's call for reconciliation.
The Spirit calls us to the Great Love
that shines equally upon everyone and everything and each occurrence in time.
And in the presence of the Great Love we can finally agree to everything as it is, 
and act where we are called, with love and strength,
at one with the Power that moves us, 
the Power that creates, sustains and evolves all that is.

Bert's work, beginning with a process that looks like family therapy, 
it takes us as far as we wish to go, 
for in the end there is reconciling with the world as it is, 
and with the source of everything.

Bert looks at the family as a whole to help its members uncover how they are connected with one another. 
There are two ways in which the connectedness can express itself:
 -the unconscious ones which are "blind love" passed on through the generations, as even the bible tells us, and they cannot bring healing,
 -and the ones of the soul,  bringing "healing love". 
Usually, we follow the "blind love", and do so blindly, unconsciously. In family constellations, the ways of the blind love become visible, and through this awareness, we can reconnect to the love (of the soul- older term used by Bert) of the spirit.

Both come from the love in the family. The first ones though, in their unconscious and tangled ways, cannot bring happiness. 
As very young children, out of the deepest wish to belong to our family and be loyal, we take on family problems that we cannot possibly solve. 
Amazingly, this process extends to family members that we might never have met or even known about. 
So this works largely outside any conscious intention, and therefore, we cannot really change it until we see what it is.
The kind of seeing that occurs in the constellation usually opens the way to love on its own accord. The deepest purpose of the family soul is the most supportive love for all, with no exceptions.
The love that honours everyone's fate will bring restored peace and freedom.

Bert's work shows that family is always the extended family. We are deeply connected to our ancestors. And the choice is only whether we are connected in subconscious unwholesome entanglement or in conscious strengthening love. Our ancestors, when included and respected, show themselves as very benevolent towards the living. Their wish is for the living to be happy.
Wherever unhealed trauma exists in a family, someone from a later generation will have to take on the burden, by repeating a tragic fate, by being ill in some way, or by suffering in their lives and causing suffering. The bible already mentioned this. Bert calls this kind of taking the burden "identification" (with another family member or someone else who suffered exclusion)
In the constellation process, people come out of the unconscious identification with others.
Seeing the other(s) they were identified with,
the healing love can flow, restoring strength and dignity to the dead and the living.
Now people can begin to lead their own lives, in loving connectedness to the others. Now people can begin a process of self- redirecting, and make constructive choices. Some happen already spontaneously in the groups, or very soon after. 
Family members just follow their soul's  impulses in deep reconnection and reconciliation. Changing lives for the better becomes a far more natural matter. A number of immediate changes are also experienced quite often: 
People feel relaxed, relieved, unburdened. The world looks different. 
Some relatives behave more positively all of a sudden. 
Dreams with healing images continue for a long time.

Uncovering family dynamics and the healing process

The healing process that started in a constellation may continue for as long as two years and even  more, and may be the beginning of lifelong journey.

Here are some examples of resolving entanglements


A family has experienced a loss so painful and traumatic that they have been unable to feel the pain, to grieve, to come to resolve. Perhaps a child died. Another child born later then will show some severe symptoms that cause a parent to seek help. When the original  situation is faced with love and strength, in this case, when the whole family can take the dead child fully back into the family, with all the tears that go with it, the child that carried the symptoms is relieved from the burden.
Someone in the family, as an example, had a mental illness, or was given up for adoption, has been half-forgotten, half excluded. A child in the family carries symptoms, traits, life patterns of this person (unconsciously) to remind the family. When the excluded member is honoured and included again, the child can let go of the symptoms. Instead, now there is conscious love for this family member. 

Someone in the family has died tragically, for instance in the war. Often there is only  half-completed grief in the family, or it is even fully suppressed. Someone else is so closely connected to this dead relative that they cannot fully live, and deep down, long to be united with the dead one. When the family members can turn to the dead one, and feel and express the pain that  was held in, the dead person feels seen and loved again, now being allowed to belong again. Now nobody has to take on the painful task of carrying symptoms to represent the somehow excluded family member.
A child may also try to carry a parent's pain by only living partially, as the parent does who is frozen in grief. A child may go as far as saying on a deep unconscious level: If you want to die, I will do it for you. The parent may need to grieve consciously and reunite with the beloved dead person on a soul level, then the child can consciously receive the blessing from the dead to go and live life fully.

More about the method

The method of this work relies on, and nurtures love, respect, no-doing, focused awareness.
Whatever the theory, the practical experience over many years suggests:
Doing family constellations one experiences that there is some "field"
that somehow unites family members. 
This family field "knows" the deep down realities of this family. 
Bert calls this a spiritual field, as it contains not only the deep seated wounds, but also the mode of healing, too.
In the early part of the constellation the feelings show the entanglement. As the representatives are gently taken to other positions in the constellation, to experience their relationships to the others in different ways, the issues that need resolution emerge. Missing members are added into the constellation, and deep connections become visible.

As the constellation progresses the needs of the soul emerge, and the gestures and sentences of healing present themselves. The members of the constellation express regret, sadness, deep compassion, re-inclusion. At times, deeply repressed feelings emerge to be healed. The family members take responsibility for their actions, honour others, move into their own dignity. And gradually, the family members feel they have a better place now, symbolically in this circle, and transferring from there, into their lives. With dignity, they can look in all directions with acceptance.  

The family field or soul (also the scope of the unconscious family conscience)

An extended family appears to have a field. The scope is even well defined, because one can see which family members are included in it. When someone in the family has suffered and was somehow excluded, this member is represented by a present family member, for as many generations as it takes to bring this back to the family's awareness. It goes down the direct blood line, but also includes other people that harmed our family or were harmed by it.
So the family field or soul can become rather extended after large scale conflicts.

This field forms and reveals itself to the degree that the group, and above all, the practitioner, bring the needed qualities to it. Humility, reverence, and the heart that has acceptance for everyone and everything as it is, including fate. 
The practitioner, the person presenting the issue, the representatives, and all the other group members give their full attention to the process. They just allow themselves to sense what presents itself to them, without preconceptions.
It is good if the representatives do not know much, better still, nothing, about the family in which they represent someone. This way, they have no knowledge and no ideas to apply, so they are encouraged to trust their immediate awareness more. 
People develop the capacity to represent amazingly fast. 

The first and foremost role of the practitioner is to see to it that the field forms well and remains stable. The  practitioner  holds this clear unfocussed focus, the intention-less intention,  the impartial love.   
The practitioner's other role is to gently guide the unfolding process, a bit like a mediator. Often the practitioner just holds the awareness. the presence of someone who sees appears to be important.
The field is sensed strongly when all people give their concentrated attention to it. 
Out of this feeling and accepting of "what is", the deeper levels of "what is" emerge as well. The representatives feel drawn to different family members in different ways. And this often expresses the deepest needs within the family to heal rifts or just simply distance, to express deepest love, often to family members they never met or even knew about.

As a member of a family soul we are part of the loyalties that are needed to keep it together. Even though we live in such individualistic times in some western countries, the soul still honours the realities of the tribe. We like to believe that we, or the family can choose whom and what to include and what not. And it is possible, but the price will have to be paid, usually by later generations. The family soul does not rest until every member is fully included again.

Not only immediate family members may be represented, but according to the family's fate, their ethnic, political, religious identities, the home of the ancestors may be part of the constellation as well. Where larger conflicts existed, an opposing side may be entangled in the family soul in victim/ perpetrator relationships. These matters weigh heavily on the family soul and are longing for reconciliation. The ancestors gladly give their blessings to the living, once they are mourned and looked at with love. When the ancestors are honoured and loved directly, blind loyalty is no longer blind necessity. 
Then there are real choices of letting go, reframing, transforming. Now the conscious honouring can take the form of doing our loving and creative best with the qualities that have been passed on to us.
This work is mostly done in a group, and the group process itself brings great gain. 
In a field of deep mutual respect, people open up sharing compassionate connection with the members of each other's families. All are honoured the way they are, the greater field of shared human reality makes itself felt strongly. What we did together in such a group, gradually filters into our daily life, becomes a way of understanding and insight and love.
Our sense of family expands in a very real way. People have said: "Now I feel it is real: 
I belong to the human family."

How many constellations does a person need? 

Not many. If there are a number of issues, a few may be needed, as it is not useful to do too much in one go. A constellation takes time to integrate into one's life. The soul work that is set into motion by just one constellation can continue for up to two years.  After some time, another issue may come up. As in other work, layers are unraveled to reveal another one.

But we have found that many people enjoy coming back to participate in groups because they feel the emotional and spiritual benefit  expand in many ways. they carry these insights into their contacts with people in general. 

Can you do a constellation for somebody else's problem?
If you are concerned about a child of yours or a family member that is severely ill, you are permitted to make that your issue. Otherwise, family constellations look closely at what the soul permits.  The person who presents their own issue is giving permission for the entanglement to be revealed.  Even working back into older generations this work is careful not to push, but only to let things reveal themselves where the time has come.
With other people whom you are close to you can make your difficulties with them your issue, and in this way, look at aspects of their entanglement as it affects you.

What if I find it hard to do something like this in a group? 
You will find that these groups generate a lot of deep understanding and warmth amongst people, as we come to experience that our problems are not really personal, but part of humanity's shared fate. 
There is really no such thing as a "personal neurosis" or the like. The truth is we carry each other's burdens, and at the core of it is always something very real that had effects on others.
We experience that in our symptoms we carry our family's history, there is no shame and no blame involved. We come together to share what life on earth is all about.

A way to introduce yourself more slowly if you wish is to just participate as an observer. You give your undivided attention, but you do not have to present an issue yourself. Anyway, you can choose when you want to do that.
And when asked whether you would like to represent a person in a constellation you can always say no.
Also, you can make contact privately and have a private session first and then see for yourself whether you feel okay about a group.
There is also a way to do a constellation with little figures as representatives, but the group constellation is the richer and more complete option.  

Can I find out more before I join a group?
You can ring me and have a talk, you can read more material, or you could  watch a video on constellations.

The healing gifts

In most constellations there are issues that touch all of the participants, so bundles are often dropped just in the process of witnessing.
The participants see where many of their feelings, attitudes, habits come from. this always comes as an insight, bringing about instantaneous change. And then there can be new ways of action. With love and respect, we can see those ancestors who had the real problem to which our symptomatic feelings belong. What matters is, we have seen them in their struggles, and we have seen a burden leave them as they reconcile with others..
After a weekend the group members are joined in a deep empathy for each other, realizing that we are one human family, 
all of us in the hands of energies far greater than us. 
There is deep gratitude towards the representatives who have often taken on strong emotions that so far had been unreleased in that family, and unhealed. 

The representatives have grown in emotional acceptance, pliability, scope, and understanding as well.
So it becomes a group training in compassion, humility, and acceptance of things as they were, as they are, even though this may not been the immediate motive for participating. 
And because is was not on the curriculum, it just happens so naturally, a byproduct. You just come, as you are, to experience what you really perceive this moment, without theory.

And gradually, together with the others, you open your heart, 
at your own pace and in your own way, to the grief and to the joy of life as it is, 
a little older in maturity, a little younger at heart,