Bert Hellinger, the founder of Constellation Work, was a man of immense wisdom and compassion. His contribution and insights also reach far beyond the field of psychotherapy. The development of Constellation Work has not only given us an unprecedented tool for therapy and healing, but offered insight into the laws of life in relation to love, attachment, belonging and conscience. For the first time in modern civilization, and within more or less mainstream structures and disciplines, we are coming closer to dealing with such concepts as fate, atonement, loyalty, truth, wisdom of flesh, family conscience, Soul and Spirit. It is no coincidence that this knowledge seems to span cultures and continents easily, and is instantly recognizable. It goes to the very core of some of life’s mysteries, so far addressed only in some ancient indigenous cultures. Surprisingly, or not, there it sits comfortably side by side with some of the most recent findings of cutting edge science.
It is no surprise that such insights came to a man of such rich and varied life experience with a first hand knowledge of life’s worst hardships (conscripted into the German army during WWII, then prisoner of war), moral dilemmas (taking a stand against the Nazis) and spirituality within the Christian faith during his twenty years of priesthood. As a missionary sent by his order he spent 16 years with Zulus in South Africa, which provided him with a first hand knowledge of a tribal culture. That experience had a profound impact on Hellinger:
“He saw that many of Zulu rituals and customs had a structure and function similar to elements of the Mass, pointing to common human experiences, and he experimented with integrating Zulu music and ritual form into the Mass. His commitment to the goodness of cultural and human variety is deep, and to the validity of doing things in different ways. The Sacred is present everywhere.”
(from the official web site of Bert Hellinger www.hellinger.com )
His experiences eventually lead to his departure from the order, to marriage and full time study of and extensive training in many psychotherapeutic approaches. He studied Psychoanalysis, Gestalt Therapy, Transactional Analysis, Family Therapy, NLP and other forms of psychotherapy. He was instrumental in the development of the Family Constellations approach, now generally referred to as Systemic Constellations.
Having established his own school Hellinger Sciencia with his second wife Sophie, his work kept developing, changing, evolving into Movements of the Soul , and then later Movements of the Spirit-Mind. In the service of many across the world, he continued to work well into his nineties.
It is with a sense of deep gratitude and indebtedness that we let ourselves be guided by his insights when we work towards harmony in human systems.
More about Hellinger and his work you can read in the essay below written by Alemka at the occasion of his passing.