Heal Your Ancestral Roots is the story of how author Dayal-Gulati found her way into practicing Floral Essence therapy and Constellation Therapy with her clients. It also includes a number of workbook like activities for working through your own family patterns and a guide to the uses of individual flower essences for emotional healing.

Floral essences should not be confused with essential oils. Floral essences are made by putting flowers in water in the sun or boiling them and the concentration of floral essence to water is so small as to be homeopathic. If you've seen Dr. Bach products, these are the original formulas. Dayal-Gulati has a practice in which she treats clients for emotional difficulties and family and ancestral problems using alternative therapies. She tells her story of being raised in India and immigrating to America to study Economics and later becoming disenchanted with this career path and choosing this alternate path. She's enthusiastic about flower essences and healing ancestral trauma.

There is debate about the use of floral essences and whether they work to help heal emotions or exert only a placebo effect but you won't find any of that in the book as the author is a believer in their power. That taking them four (4) times a day is likely to make the user think about the reason they need to take them and reconsider their emotional state makes a case that the intent of the user and the frequency will create an impact. On another level, flower essences can be seen as ritualistic and acting on a magical intent level or perhaps as plant helpers from a shamanistic point of view. But that is my take on it. The author believes that they act on the emotions and allow people to release blockages. She doesn't get into magical or shamanistic practices. She talks a lot about family energy fields and it sounds New Age with some Indian cultural influence.

The constellation therapy is a kind of family therapy in which a person brings a family issue or trauma to a group that then role plays the family members and comes up with ideas about the perspective of the family members involved in a situation. Not having done this therapy myself, I was left with questions about how this really works or what these sessions feel like. I can see that gaining a fresh perspective on what may have motivated someone else may help people who feel stuck or hurt. The impression given by the book is that the constellation therapy finds the true reason for these familial behaviors. I can't help but wonder if this is so certain or if it's healing power is not so much about finding truth but in letting the person experiencing it process their own feelings and let it go by coming to an understanding they are willing to accept. I've seen shamanic healing done in which the imagery and ideas operate on a mythical level and yet it works because part of the brain operates on this dream like level. It's not about truth but how we feel about what we perceive.

This is a good introduction by a practitioner describing how she uses these therapies with the most focus being on the flower essences. The book will give the reader an overview of how alternative therapies are talking about and treating family trauma. The added twist of the author's personal experiences makes this more interesting. It's unlikely to change the minds of people who question these therapies as the author doesn't address this much. Her description of how floral essences and constellation therapies work is in the language of spiritual growth rather scientific study. She  believes that these modalities are life-changing and this is her story.


~review by Larissa Carlson

Author: Anuradha Dayal-Gulati
Findhorn Press, 2023
283 pages, $18.99