Donna Quesada: And what are the family constellations that you’ve mentioned?
And this is also a very important part of the work you do?
Jill Purce: It is, and this is based on the idea, again, of the field. It’s based around the idea of the resonant field of the family. Fields are whole entities, where everything is related to everything else. And resonance means there is a kind of resonance… we don’t know quite what that resonance is. So, going back historically into everybody’s family, there are always these interruptions. So, the work is really about interruptions and the notion of another family… anything that causes a trauma in the family.
So, early deaths, suicides, incarceration, mental illness, physical illness, maimings, accidents, abortions, addictions, adoptions, injustices, abuse, separations, estrangements, forgotten members, hidden members, family secrets… Anything like that. It causes a sort of rupture in the field. It causes a pattern of trauma, which is very, very unstable, which goes down through the generations and it occupies with someone… whomever… the original event and person… even though that person has no idea that the other person exists and has no idea what happened to them. Never the less, they can find themselves excluded from the field in some way, which corresponds to the earlier person.
And so, the work is about understanding what that is. It’s about unfinished business. So, the fact that there is this interruption, what is left for us to do down the generations, is to finish the business. So, the karma that we are inheriting through this inherited trauma becomes the blessing, and is healing for every member of the family.
So, for example, if a family is made large… Let’s say a family has created a dynasty through making a lot of money, for example. Usually, it’s not possible for people to make a lot of money without people being sacrificed along the way. So, if you start a railway company or a building construction… People fall into the cement or fall into the river. So, people are sacrificed in these great big buildings, structures, or great happenings. Or slavery, for example, which made families very wealthy in the west. And so, the family will often… The purveying of alcohol, for example. So, you will often find that the descendants of the creator of the alcoholic dynasty become alcoholic or turn to alcohol, or even drugs.
So, these sacrificial patterns go on to other generations. This was discovered through looking at the descendants of racial traumas. Like the holocaust. Or the Irish famine. The famine in Holland after the war. The displacement of the Finns to Sweden during the war. The descendants have all been found to suffer psychologically, but also physically, and chemically. There are physical and chemical changes in the descendants down several generations. And in the early 70s, I did a research project with Maurice Wilkins. He was one of the three scientists to get the Nobel Prize for discovering DNA. Watson and Crick who are the most famous and Wilkins. The three of them. And I did a research fellowship with Wilkins. And at that time everything was DNA. Everything was inherited genetically.
Now the hot subject in the sciences is Epi-Genetics. So, what Darwin believed in, for example, is the inheritance of acquired characters. So, something that we acquire in our lifetime can be inherited in some mysterious way. And so, hence these sorts of racial traumas. And this is what we find in the family work… that these things that happened to previous members go down their families. It affects all of us. And so, the work is extraordinary.
So, how it actually works is… when I’m working, the person who is actually working… you might call them the issue holder. They would choose from the group of naive representatives… people they have never met before or very often. Although, when I do the work, some people do come back many times. So, they tend to get to know each other quite well. They choose these naive representatives to be their family members. You’re going to be my mother. You’re going to be my brother. You’re going to be my sister.
So, when I’m working online, I have little figures to represent these people and I put them on a little plate, which I rotate. I have a whole ceremony which I do in real life when I’m working and I do it in miniature when I’m online… with chants and ceremony and the whole thing.
So then, how the family works is… I’ve noticed… it’s amazing that when you are chosen to be somebody’s family member, you become them. If you think about what they have heard about that person and you try and become them, and act like them, it stops dead. But if you just let go and empty yourself… you become that person. And I discovered this when my son… he is a musician… was a representee. I didn’t work with him. He’s my family. I had these two brothers who have been working with me a lot. And they were both in the workshop. And one of them chose my son to be the vulnerable brother, who was also there watching. And Cosmo, who was in his early 20s had never done this work before, and didn’t know anything about it. Suddenly… he’s a very cheery kind of bright person… he suddenly crumpled and I could see him working… I knew him by then for 20 odd years, and I could see him saying “This is ridiculous, I’m Cosmo and then coming back,” and then crumpling again. This is ridiculous. I could see him going between the rational mind, which was saying “this is all ridiculous”… And then becoming the other person.
And that’s what happens when you are chosen to be these people. If you just let go, then you become these other people. And then I ask these people representing… You know, I ask them where they want to be, and I lay them out in a kind of tableau which represents their idea of how the family is. And then the work unfolds and all kinds of bizarre things emerge. And the result is that I had somebody yesterday who did the work online, and she said… even though yesterday was about sound… she said, “I did the constellations the last time you did it”… And she said, “As soon as the work was over, I discovered I had a brother I didn’t know I had.” A half brother, and this person came suddenly into her life.
So, it’s about gathering up the outliers. It’s about all the things that are forgotten and hidden. And having them come into your purview and then, when everyone is in their rightful place, then you are healed. It’s miraculous.
DONNA: Well, it truly is extraordinary. It’s more than just a reenactment because those participating are becoming a vessel. So, you are able to do the work in an active sense, in the here and now. You are healing the future.
JILL: And the past.
DONNA: That’s amazing.
JILL: So, you are here. You are going back through time and even into the future. So, it means that your descendants don’t have to carry on with the same problem because you are healing it for them. So, you are seeing the whole family through time. You are healing and normally we have a little window. Am I good enough? Am I better or worse than my sibling? We have this little emotional window, but this way, you see the family through everybody’s eyes. And its mind blowing.
DONNA: And we tend to think about trauma in an isolated sense. Just more a testament to our way of thinking with a sense of separation. We think that trauma happens to I, me, personally. We don’t tend to think that when trauma happens, it happens to everyone in the family, in a collective sense. It’s a whole new way of thinking of trauma and healing. It’s amazing that it’s so new in this sense. I remember when I was a student, I had a professor… He was the child of a holocaust survivor and he had written a book about it. And I was thinking that it was really only since then, WWII, that we have thought in these terms. How the children of survivors are suffering.
JILL: And the grandchildren. It goes on down through the lines. And one of the things I do when I do this work, is… I do two ceremonies to honor the ancestors because I spent a lot of time in Japan and every family in those days… every family would have a family altar and you would honor your ancestors. One of the things that people don’t realize happened in the Tsunami in 2011, was that the ancestors were orphaned. Because their descendants who were caring for them were killed in the Tsunami. They were washed away.
And so, there were these sorts of disembodied ancestors with nothing to do. So, ancestors have a job description, which is to help the living remain alive. But they can’t interface with the living. It’s the living that have to activate the channels of transmission with the ancestors. So, all they can do is be a nuisance and they can try to get your attention, like clamorous children trying to trip you up, and being a nuisance. But then when you honor them, they can begin to help you. We know that. In England, on Armistice Day, when we recognize the war dead, we say the societal words, “We will remember you.” So, we know that the ancestors need to be remembered. Remembering is to gather all the dismembered parts. You are gathering into a field all the outliers. So as soon as you honor the ancestors, then they are all there to help and it’s dramatic.
DONNA: It really expands us in a beautiful way, like you said, beyond this limited concept of DNA. When you talk about the channels of transmission that exceed what we really understand about the scientifically accepted channels of transmission. There are these other ways that we just don’t understand yet.
JILL: As you know, my husband is working on these kinds of things. But yes. We don’t understand them. We absolutely don’t understand them…
DONNA: So, when we call on angels… We can really call on our ancestors?
JILL: Yes. Many traditions do call on their ancestors and they are there to help us. That’s what they do. They don’t have much else to do. But they can’t do it unless we actually acknowledge them. They want to, desperately. They are bored.
DONNA: So, if someone wants to come to you individually… and say, after the pandemic I am really suffering from anxiety or depression… Would you go to a specific Tara or a specific deity whose associated manta would be applicable to a certain person’s predicament? Do you work in that way?
JILL: Not so much. There are certain aspects of Tara that do deal with pandemics and I have worked with that a little bit, but it depends what they come for. People come individually. I tend to do less work than I used to. I just so love working in groups because they are so fascinating. Why a particular group is called together at a particular moment… I’m just riveted by the nature of groups, which I’ve been working with for years. But when I work individually, it depends what they come with. They come with all kinds of different things. And I’ll very often try to work with their family… the whole sort of lineage of their family and find out what the themes are, going back through time… where the dissonance is… where the dislocations are… traumas, in previous generations… and how they affect them. And then I probably work with that. Maybe with sound. They may come to learn something, and then I teach what they learn. But in general, I might start working with the family. With sounds, as well.
DONNA: Fascinating. Well, we are in our last moment together, Jill. Is there anything I didn’t ask that you’d like to share about the work you do, or about healing in general?
JILL: The main thing is that I’d like for people to come and work with me. I have a huge amount of information on my web site, which is healingvoice.com. As soon as the dates for the online workshops that I am doing… At the moment we are working on online and I don’t know when we will be working in person again. But it’s wonderful and I’m doing that very regularly. Alternating. So, the next time the Constellation is over the summer solstice, which is normally when I do a week intensive of that work. So, anybody can go to my website and book in and join me. And in July, I will be doing a Healing Voice Workshop. And I’m alternating them each month. But there is a massive amount of information on my website. So, I do encourage people to go there and have a look.
DONNA: I’d love to join a group that you are organizing, to work with the voice.
JILL: Absolutely. I have a newsletter. So, it’s really good if people join the newsletter, which you can do on the website. And then I send out the dates of the online workshops. But yes, it’s a wonderful thing to join up with a group. And now doing these online ones. The groups… just yesterday, I had many people from California, the East Coast, British Colombia, Canada. Kuala Lumpur, China, Israel, Sweden. Amazing combinations of people. It’s quite extraordinary. It’s wonderful.
DONNA: And it doesn’t matter what their religious background happens to be.
JILL: Not at all. I did have somebody this time that said they were a recovering atheist, which I thought was very lovely.
DONNA: Well, it’s just been delightful to share this hour with you and to learn so much about the healing power of the voice. And the healing power of the ancestors, and the family constellations.
JILL: It was a pleasure to talk to you to.
DONNA: Mind expanding.
JILL: A delight to talk to you.
DONNA: Thank you, and thank you for the work that you do. Thank you for spending this time with us,
JILL: You are very, very welcome.
Jill Purce is a British voice teacher, Family Constellations therapist, and author. In the 1970s Purce developed a new way of working with the voice, introducing the teaching of group overtone chanting, producing a single note whilst amplifying the vocal harmonics. She is a former fellow of King’s College London, Biophysics Department and has produced over 30 books as General Editor of the Thames and Hudson Art and Imagination series. Between 1971 and 1974 she lived and worked in Germany with the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Since the early 1970s she has taught internationally-diverse forms of contemplative chant, particularly overtone chanting. For over twenty years she has been leading Family Constellations combined with chant. HealingVoice.com
She is the author of The Mystic Spiral: Journey of the Soul a book about the spiral in sacred traditions, art and psychology, as well as numerous articles.
Read and Watch Part 1 Here: Awaken Interviews Jill Purce – Pt 1 – Awaken to the Presence of Spirit in Every Moment of Every Day
Read and watch Part 2 Here: Awaken Interviews Jill Purce – Pt 2 – The Power of the Feminine