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Aspect of Shamanic Work - Soul Retrieval 

We all have suffered on some level trauma in our lives, the human condition alerts us to danger and need to remove ourselves from situations that will be detrimental to our physical, emotional, mental, spiritual wellbeing (Fight, Flight, Freeze). 


Perhaps the individual is trapped, too young, afraid or incapable of freeing themselves. Although not an exhaustive list examples of trauma are accidents, stress, abandonment, shock, difficulties in relationship, neglect ,physical, emotional,sexual abuse, being a victim of violence, addiction, divorce, death of a loved one, being in a natural disaster. This and other traumas often leave individuals unable to cope with everyday life.

*However every one of us are individual’s and what cause’s soul loss for one person won’t necessarily will be for another* 

Most Shamanic cultures around the world believe that illness is due to soul loss. Spiritual Shamanic Practitioner looks at the spiritual form of illness which might manifest on an emotional or physical level. It is therefore believed that whenever we suffer an emotional or physical trauma a piece of our soul flees the body in order to survive the experience. The definition of soul that I am using is soul is our essence, life force, the part of our vitality that keeps us alive and thriving.

We also need to understand that soul loss is a good thing that happens to us. It is how we survive pain. If I were going to be in a head-on car collision the last place I would want to be at the point of impact is in my body. My psyche could not endure that kind of pain. So our psyches have this brilliant self-protect mechanism where a part of our essence or soul leaves the body so that we do not feel the full impact of the pain.

In my role as a child and family therapist we often talk about people dissociation. But never talk about what disassociates and where that part goes. In shamanism we know that a piece of the soul leaves the body and goes to a territory in what shamans call non ordinary reality where it waits until someone intervenes in the spiritual realms and facilitates its return.

Although soul loss is a survival mechanism the problem from a shamanic point of view is that the soul part that left usually does not come back on its own. The soul might be lost, or stolen by another person, or doesn’t know the trauma has passed and it is safe to return.

It has always been the role of the spiritual shamanic practitioner to go into an altered state of consciousness and track down where the soul fled to in the alternate realities and return it to the body of the client. There are many common symptoms of soul loss. Some of the more common ones would be dissociation where a person does not feel fully in his or her body, alive and fully engaged in life. Other symptoms include chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, post-traumatic stress syndrome, immune deficiency problems, and grief that just do not heal.

Addictions are also a sign of soul loss as we seek external sources to fill up the empty spaces inside of us whether through substances, food, relationships, work, or buying material objects. Anytime someone says” I have never been the same since” a certain event and they don’t mean this in a good way, soul loss has probably occurred. Coma is also soul loss. But in coma there is more of the soul out of body than in the body. Coma is very complicated to work with today for many reasons. It takes skill on behalf of the shamanic practitioner to find out which way the soul is trying to go. Does the soul want to re-enter the body? Or does it need help moving on which would lead to the death of the patient? There is a lot to say about this topic .. 

The effects of soul retrieval

Each and every one is different in our experiences and varies from person to person. Some people feel that they are more grounded in their body and feel more solid. Some people feel lighter and a joyful way of being as the soul returns to them. For some memories of the past traumas might be triggered bringing up a variety of feelings that must be worked through. And for some people the effects are too subtle to notice a change until further work to integrate the soul is done.

As people feel more present in their bodies and in the world, they become more conscious of behaviour that might be out of balance and disharmonious. When we are numb we might be aware that things in the world are not right but we can easily distract ourselves from feeling a need to change. When we are fully “inspirited” there is no place to retreat to and we are more inspired to change our lives.

Sandra Ingerman, believes that once a person has his or her soul brought back the client now has to do some work. If the person has done a lot of personal work the soul retrieval might be the end of the work. If not the soul retrieval would be the beginning of the work. Now it is up to you to look at how to create a healthy life style and attract healthy relationships that will support wholeness and a life filled with healing. How do we want to use the energy that was returned from the soul retrieval and our returned vitality to create a positive present and future for ourselves? And how do we bring passion and meaning back into our lives again so that we thrive instead of just survives? All these issues Sandra calls “life after healing” and is critical to create long term healing after soul retrieval.