For 40,000 years, shamanic healers all over the world — from Siberia to Africa to Europe to South America to the Native Americans — have had one foot in ordinary reality and one in nonordinary reality, bridging the gap between humans and spiritual helpers. Whether the need was for physical, emotional, mental or spiritual healing, the shaman “journeyed” to helping guides for healing for their clients. Techniques of journeying differ among native people, but most cultures have used the sound of percussive instruments like drums and rattles to enter into the altered state through which spirit contact is available.
In shamanism, according to Sandra Ingerman, author of Soul Retrieval, Mending the Fragmented Self, there are three major causes of illness: loss of soul, loss of power, and what is commonly called “intrusions.” When people suffer trauma, she writes, the shamanic perspective maintains that part of the soul splinters off, causing soul loss, power loss and disease. Psychologists call this phenomenon “disassociation.” In the shamanic framework, disassociated parts of ourselves can be located in other realities. The shamanic healer “journeys” to non-ordinary reality to retrieve lost or stolen soul parts, obtain power animals and guidance for the client, and extract any intrusions (misplaced energy) present in the person’s body or aura.
The shamanic practitioner pursuing soul parts becomes a disembodied traveler, seeking to retrieve actual, multi-dimensional parts of a person’s soul which exist outside of our normal concept of time and pace. These parts may have splintered off for many reasons.
Soul loss occurs from childhood abuse — sexual, physical or emotional. This is tragically prevalent in children of alcoholic parents. Soul loss also frequently occurs when a spouse, parent, sibling or friend dies. It can occur in codependent relationships or divorces. It can occur at the time of an operation, car accident or other physical trauma. It also can occur with veterans returning from war, addiction, and natural disasters.
Symptoms of Soul Loss include:
- A feeling that something is missing
- Loss of memory
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Low self esteem
Truly, there are many reasons why a soul would find it too painful to be fully present to a situation. The parts either leave on their own, taking refuge in nonordinary reality, or are stolen by others. Please know this type of soul loss happens without meaning too and can be very innocent. If stolen, the shaman must “bring” them back — a process that requires negotiation, and/or actually doing a healing on the soul of the thief. This comes up often in cases of intergenerational abuse. For instance, the father of a client who was physically abused may be holding onto the client’s soul part. Not only will the client get healing, but the father who was abused by the grandfather may also receive healing. Healing may go back several generations in one soul retrieval session, and personality changes in the perpetrator are often reported by the client in follow-up sessions.
Traumatic situations can also cause power loss as a result of separation from the original power animal that is said to accompany us from birth. The shaman will reunite the animal and human, so that we can embody the power, guidance and gifts our power animals bring into our lives. Often, the shaman will obtain additional power animals for the client. These animals are offering assistance to the person, helping them move into a new phase of healing and growth.
There are many, many different power animals, each bringing its own unique “medicine.” Some people consider Bear to be the ultimate animal healer. Bear seems especially helpful in healing those deep childhood wounds that so many of us have incurred. Notice how frequently children are attracted to teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Many clients, when reunited with their original power animal will state such things as, “Well, that’s amazing that I got a rabbit — I used to sleep with a big, white bunny rabbit when I was little. I wonder what happened to it!”
Not all physical problems are solved that instantly or easily. Shamans stress that the roots of a physical problem may be healed spiritually during a soul retrieval. The physical body is thought to be the outermost manifestation of spirit, and a problem that began spiritually will sooner or later materialize physically. Since shamanism is spiritual healing, a shaman may remove the “cause” of a problem, but the symptoms of the problem may need to be addressed medically.
Shamans, however, may also remove “intrusions” in the hope of improving the client’s health. These misplaced energies lodge in a person’s body, often existing as a result of someone else’s intense emotions internalized by the client. Or, the intrusion can be created by the client’s own repressed feelings. Intrusions are thought to cause chronic physical problems, and are often present in cases of sinus trouble, stomach and intestinal ailments, reproductive organ problems, and much more.
Soul retrieval is a powerful method for the recovery of spiritual wholeness. Despite trauma and despair, many people have been able to face and transcend their pain. With renewed wholeness comes empowerment, joy, insight, and the ability to truly show up for our lives!
What to Expect During a Soul Retrieval?
Before our session I will journey to my Spirit Teacher to confirm I am the correct practitioner to work with you. If I am not the right practitioner I will make a referral for you. After this, I will ask you to ask Spirit for a dream the night before the ceremony. You will be asking for a metaphor for this retrieval. The day of the retrieval I will create a sacred space for for the environment in which the work will be done for you. I will do this also if this is a Soul Retrieval via distance. When you arrive I will discuss with you what is bothering you, why you came for a Soul Retrieval such as angry, fatigue, depression, not yourself, had a car accident, etc. I am not asking for specific details of your life.
I will then have you lie down on the floor in the sacred space, or if you can’t lie down, you may sit in a chair. I must be connected to a part of your body with a part of my body (foot, elbow, shoulder, etc) and then I will begin drumming and journey into the lower world to meet my Spirit Teacher and guides to ask for help on your behalf. Once I bring the soul back I must blow it into your heart chakra and crown chakra. I will then rattle around you sealing it in and welcome your soul home. I will play music or let you have 5 minutes to yourself after the retrieval as for some people this can be very emotional. I am here for you, so do not worry about being alone. If doing this from a distance I will perform all aspects of the ceremony while in the journey state. This will be done during a time you will be asleep so there are no interruptions.
Please understand that I am just the “hollow bone” in this process, for it is Spirit who is doing the work. Spirit might take me back to when and where your soul was lost. I may or may not be given a reason why your soul departed, however I will get as much details as possible, but please know this isn’t important for a successful Soul Retrieval. 1-3 fragments may be retrieved as well as a power animal. If there is any other healing to be done, I will undergo it at that time.
Part of the process after the Soul Retrieval Ceremony is to welcome back the soul fragment(s) that departed. This can be done by throwing a party or in some way personal to you that you can welcome them back. This is crucial for healing. I will discuss this further in detail after the retrieval. Following the retrieval I will follow up with you in 48 hours to see how you are doing, discuss any issues that may have come up, and send healing (reiki) if needed. I encourage you to contact me at any time following the ceremony to discuss any things that do come up.