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The potency of an act refers to its power to reproduce itself through the generations… This is the spiritual analogue to the perpetuation of gene characteristics.

Kabbalah and Consciousness

Allen Afterman

family constellations

We like to think of ourselves as truly individual, sole proprietors of who we are. While we recognize that our parents and upbringing have had an effect on us, we generally see our true self as independent of our background.

Another perspective suggests we are more than “just” ourselves. We are members of a greater soul, the soul of our families. This soul is a living entity with its own drive for survival and wholeness much as individuals are driven for themselves. This family soul is focused on the group. It isn’t concerned about the needs or desires of individual members except to the extent that they serve the betterment of the family.

If you consider the evolution of society, this seems reasonable. Families that stood together with everyone committed to the welfare of the group had a much better chance of surviving. Each of us alive today comes from such a group. Hidden in our subconscious’ is a commitment hundreds of generations old, to do our part for the family/clan, whatever that may entail.

Although disinterested in members as individuals, the family soul adheres to a code of conduct designed to keep the family strong. Though seldom discussed explicitly, this code of behavior is honored or violated in all family and human relationships.

Exploring Family Relationships

family constellations therapy

The code covers three categories of relationship. The first addresses the nature of Belonging to the family. The second guides matters of Giving and Receiving. That is, who contributes and who uses the family’s resources. The third category identifies the hierarchy and Social Structure of the family.

There is wide variability in the specific guidelines from one family to the next and from one culture to the next. For example, in some cultures the family may include everyone within a village. Or, hierarchy may be patriarchal or matriarchal. These sorts of distinctions are neither good nor bad.

The purpose of the guidelines is survival of the family. When guidelines are healthy and adhered to, they create a secure environment in which family members can flourish and pass a positive legacy to future generations. Aberrations and unhealthy guidelines create suffering that is passed on.

family constellation specialist

The guidelines are potent. They have the power to propagate both good and evil through many generations.

For example, the right understanding of family dictates that those who belong to the family always belong fully. Whether the definition includes grandparents, parents, and children, or an entire village, members cannot be cannot be kicked out, rejected, or thrown away. Scholars, thieves, the mentally ill, all belong. If an individual is sacrificed (i.e., aborted, given up for adoption) or gives his/her life for the family (i.e., in war), that person must be remembered and honored.

family constellations councelor

A violation of secure Social Structure  occurs when parents use a child as a buffer between them. A healthy structure is one in which parents relate directly with one another. Allowing or expecting a child to act as a go-between is harmful to the child and thus to future generations. The child grows up and though he or she may marry and have children, their energy is still drained by parents who don’t know how to interact effectively with one another.

family relationships

The Family Soul honors what strengthens the family. When any of the basic guidelines are violated there are negative consequences in future generations. You might think of this as family karma. When a member suffers due to a violation of the code by the family, an accounting or atonement must be made, often by future generations. Violations against those outside the family can also have a boomerang effect.

What Do We Inherit From Our Family?

We are used to the idea that we inherit the shape of our eyes, the color of hair, or even the tendency to a specific illness. We realize that other aspects of family heritage, positive and negative, come to us as well. For example, family reputation, standing in the community, wealth, etc. What we don’t consider is the possibility that we inherit the effects of actions of prior generations. This inheritance is silent but can underlie patterns of behavior that are otherwise inexplicable.

family dynamics

Here is a simple example. A man and woman were engaged. Before they married, he met another woman and left his fiancée to marry this new love. The fiancée was angry and deeply hurt. She never got over the man who left her and she remained single. The man married his love and had a daughter. The daughter grew up longing to marry and have a large family. Her boyfriends, though seeming to be in love with her at first, always left to be with someone else. The daughter grew bitter and resigned to remaining single.

The rejected fiancée and the daughter never met. As an adult the daughter found a picture of her father with the earlier fiancée. The picture was intriguing though she doesn’t know why. From the perspective of the family soul, the rejected fiancée deserves recognition for the gift she gave the man’s wife and child. Her loss made room for the child who was born. For the daughter the path to peace is to honor the fiancée.

family constellations healing

In my experience unresolved family trauma can pass to subsequent generations. It is not nonsense to talk about the sins of the father being visited upon the sons to many generations. Some transgressions and the consequences may seem to be minor. Others can be devastating and prevent the dead from resting in peace.

Family Constellations are a powerful healing process. Their purpose is to put to rest the mistakes, misfortunes, and violations of earlier generations. This allows the present generation freedom to focus on and be responsible for their own lives and the choices they make today. 


Family Constellation therapies have a powerful impact on the body and spirit. Learn more about how the Center of Intention can support you through the healing process.

Call (480) 860-0400 to learn more or book your appointment online today.


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The wisdom of a thousand generations guides you today. Only listen. Without a sound their voices reverberate in your cells. Settle within and choose your path.

All of us come from strength, fortitude, perseverance. No matter how difficult their lives, our ancestors made it through and passed on life for the next generation. Over and over, until it came to you. The intelligence that guided them has also come to you.

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