Connecting to Our Ancestral Past: Healing Through Family Constellations, Ceremony, and Ritual (Paperback)
Connecting to Our Ancestral Past is a pragmatic, spiritual journey that introduces a variety of specific rituals and conversations in connection with Constellations work, an experiential process that explores one's history and powerful events of the past in order to understand and resolve problems of the present. Constellations facilitator and author Francesca Mason Boring presents this therapeutic method in the context of cultures like the Shoshone, of which she is a member, that have seen the world through a prism of interrelationships for millennia. In Constellations work there is an organic quality that requires a discipline of non-judgment, one that is embraced in traditional native circles, where the whole truth of a person's life, roots, and trans-generational trauma or challenge is understood and included.
Mason Boring provides a transformational walk through the universal indigenous field— that place of healing and knowledge used by Native healers and teachers for centuries—by describing stories and rituals designed to help people with their particular struggles. These rituals, such as "Facing the Good Men"—designed to help women who have suffered abuse in relationships with men—reject Western notions of over-the-counter medication. Instead, they stress a comfortable environment whereby the "client," with the help of a facilitator, interacts with people chosen to represent concepts, things, and other people. In Western culture the word "medicine" is thought of as a concrete object, but Mason Boring explains that indigenous cultures favor a process of healing as opposed to an itemized substance. She re-opens doors that have been closed due to the exclusion of indigenous technology in the development of many Western healing traditions and introduces new concepts to the lexicon of Western psychology.
A range of voices from around the world—leaders in the fields of systems constellations, theoretical physics, and tribal traditions—contribute to this exploration of aboriginal perspectives that will benefit facilitators of Constellations work, therapists, and human beings who are trying to walk with open eyes and hearts.
About the Author
Francesca Mason Boring is a Constellations facilitator and trainer and a member of the Shoshone Nation. She serves as an advisor and writer for "The Knowing Field," the International English language journal on Systems Constellation. She has trained with masters of Family & Human Systems Constellation as well as her own Elders and aboriginal teachers and has facilitated Constellations work in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and the U.S.
"Francesca Mason-Boring brings the blessings of her people’s traditional views to her practice of family constellation therapy."
—Daniel J. Benor, MD and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Healing and Caring (IJHC)
“In words and stories of haunting simplicity, Francesca Mason Boring speaks to heart and mind, dealing oh so gently with knotty themes in philosophy, science, intercultural understanding, trauma, prejudice, suffering, and redemption … The text is an open invitation to walk a while together in a new but strangely familiar landscape, to share a meal lovingly prepared, then to sit back and enjoy the feeling of a satisfied belly and a grateful heart.”
—Hunter Beaumont, PhD, author of Toward a Spiritual Psychotherapy: Soul as a Dimension of Experience and coauthor of Love’s Hidden Symmetry: What Makes Love Work in Relationships
“This book is a universal prayer that invokes and reminds us of our connection to and embedment in the Truth behind all denominations or, as the German mystic Meister Eckhart says, ‘The Divine behind God.’ The content is well-grounded, tested over the centuries by innumerable individuals and groups, and applicable for every woman and man in any challenging personal or social situation.”
—Dr. Albrecht Mahr, MD, psychoanalyst and internationally known Systems Constellation trainer, and founder and president of Internationales Forum Politische Aufsetllungen (IFPA)
“Yet another gift of cross-cultural medicine carefully drawn from the universal indigenous traditions of spirit and the European tradition of mind. As Francesca Mason Boring says, this is not a book for those in search of psychological theory inherent within Systems Constellation work. The treasures offered here lie within other worldviews of healing individuals and communities, of supporting rituals and stories … and the prospect of a good long walk with this gentle and very wise lady.”
—Anngwyn St. Just, PhD, director of The Arizona Center for Social Trauma and author of Relative Balance in an Unstable World: A Search for New Models for Trauma Education and Recovery and A Question of Balance: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Resolving Trauma
“For those who want to make a connection between Systems Constellations and nature-oriented spirituality, there is no better guide than Francesca Mason Boring. Her humble voice inspires trust. The wisdom of her mother’s Native American lineage speaks through her words and her father’s Western roots give structure and clarity to her message. On the walk she invites us to take with her, she not only shares concepts and rituals with us, but also introduces us to a variety of people from very different backgrounds who all have something valuable to share. Pointing out what the essence of the work should be, she guides us to treat ourselves and each other with more respect.”
—Daan van Kampenhout, founder of the Practice for Shamanistic Ritual, Netherlands, and author of Images of the Soul: The Workings of the Soul in Shamanic Rituals and Family Constellations
“Francesca Mason Boring guides us on a journey whereby we can begin to understand family constellations through indigenous eyes. By evoking the elemental, her language connects us directly to nature’s resources. This very naturally brings us to the act of ceremony and accessing the archetypal story as sources of healing. At the same time Mason Boring projects a rare natural humility and groundedness that maintains respect for science and Western psychologies. It is delightful and edifying to read this clearly and beautifully written book.”
—Chris Walsh, MBBS, DPM, psychiatrist, international Constellations trainer, and founder of Constellation Talk, an online discussion group for Constellations practitioners
“Connecting to Our Ancestral Past is a wonderful guide to bring healing to indigenous people suffering from trans-generational trauma. Using ritual, ceremony, and Constellations together will bring new hope to people who are suffering. Many Native people will be open to these rituals and ceremonies as they were practiced for centuries among many indigenous people. Helping those who want to heal is an honor; the circle of healing benefits everyone. It is my hope that others who seek healing may find comfort, hope, and laughter in this book as I did.”
—Inez Larson, PhD, counselor and healer
“Francesca Mason Boring moves beyond traditional Family Constellations and presents community and ceremonial constellations that incorporate her profound understanding of indigenous healing practices, nature, and Constellations. Her work is deeply honoring of all nations, cultures, and races, and has the ability to transcend the marginalization of non-Western communities and practices. Mason Boring’s humility and deep honoring of all nations of ancestors, including those of the earth, inspired and touched me deeply as I read this book.”
—Tanja Meyburgh, founder of African Constellations, South Africa
“Connecting to our Ancestral Past is clearly one of the most important books of our time. Like ceremonial sweet grass, Francesca has braided together a deep understanding of Family and Systems Constellations, and indigenous life and stories, with a heartfelt wisdom that can only come from years of deep personal interaction with people and the field. As modern humans have lost touch with the ecological and psychic reality of Gaia, this book shines a ray of sunshine and hope that we can become connected again.”
—Terry Willard, PhD, clinical herbalist and author of Flower Essence: Emotional Alchemy and Spiritual Evolution and Mind Body Harmony: How to Resist and Recover from Autoimmune Diseases
“This book is an important, timely contribution to our human family’s understanding of what ‘family’ really means. Through clear, heartfelt language, Francesca Mason Boring provides readers of all lineages the opportunity to see, feel, and experience the importance of embracing connection with our ancestors. Whether the reader is experienced with Systems Constellation work or not, this book is a gentle, illuminating guide on the path of embracing our humanity. Mason Boring’s expression of indigenous wisdom is a gift to all and beautifully embodied in this book.”
—Lisa B. Iversen, MSW, LICSW, author of Ancestral Blueprints: Revealing Invisible Truths in America’s Soul
“Francesca Mason Boring’s book introduces us to a different quality of the here-and-now with every traditional ceremony, ritual, and sharing of an elder that she presents. The book took me gently but powerfully into that inner ceremonial space that connects us with that deep wisdom within. This is a must-read for anyone interested in or called toward the integration of ceremony and ritual in Constellation work.”
—Aurel Mocanu, psychologist, shamanic practitioner, and Family Constellations facilitator
"Coming from Shoshone and European and Canadian immigrant roots Francesca brings to her work a reverence for place and honoring ancestral resilience."
—Science to Sage e-Magazine