Shamanic healing works with the concept that emotional and physical illness are the same. Our soul is our life force or vitality. Anything can cause soul loss. It might be the loss of a loved one, sexual, physical or emotional abuse, surgery, accidents, and more. At times of trauma, part of us goes away. This is good and protective. However, it does not always find its way back.
Symptoms of soul loss include dissociation, a feeling of watching your life like a movie rather than as a participant, chronic depression, suicidal feelings, post traumatic stress disorder, immune system deficiency, inability to get over a loss, and having an unnatural connection with a person.
Where do the soul parts go? Into non-ordinary reality. The soul parts might be lost and unable to return. They may be unwilling to return because they don't know the abuse has stopped. They may have been stolen and are still held by the thief. This is a type of psychic vampirism and may contribute to co-dependency. It is often a dysfunction passed down in families.
Traditionally, the support of the community was an important aspect of soul retrieval. Patients might have been told, "Your children want you to come back, your brothers and sisters want you to come back, your neighbours and kinsmen want you to come back, your horses want you to come back...." It is for this reason, the support and power of someone working on our behalf, that we do not generally do our own soul retrievals.
In soul retrieval, the healing results depend upon the commitment of the client. Self-healing comes after the soul retrieval. Soul parts sometimes come back bringing memories and emotions. They usually bring energy with them, sometimes in amazing amounts. One has more power following soul retrieval.
PREPARATION AND INTEGRATION
It is helpful to reflect on what is not working in your life and to notice patterns of recreating the same trauma. Let go of labels about this. No alcohol is to be consumed for twenty-four hours before and after a soul retrieval. The night before your soul retrieval, ask for a dream to help in receiving your soul.
Following your soul retrieval, leave time for yourself. Welcome your soul parts back. The effects are unpredictable. Allow yourself about two weeks for the effects to settle in. You might find during this time you need to make changes that are life-supporting.
Here are three journeys to do on your own following your soul retrieval:
Does the soul part have anything else to tell me about why it left?
How will the soul part help? What gifts, talents, or resources does it bring?
What changes do I need to make in my life that would make the soul parts feel supported in being back home?
Eventually you will want to feel fully integrated and no longer aware of the separate nature of the soul parts that were returned. The point is to welcome them home and integrate them. You don't want to stay too long in a place where you continually notice your six year old soul part is feeling shy, your twelve year old is angry, and the adult you is eager, to give a simple example. However, you may find your six year old knows how to trust and your twelve year old needs creative expression, for instance, and that becomes a part of you.
Bring a notebook with you to record the details of your healing and your feelings in the moment. Be sure you have the phone number of your soul retriever so you may call if questions come up.
Final journey: Now that you have your soul parts back and you have done your work of welcoming and integrating them, there is one more step that is good to do. This is to see if you have soul parts of anyone else you may be holding on to - accidentally, of course! - and need to return. There is no guilt or blame here, have fun with this journey. You may find you are hanging on to bits of family, friends, ex-spouses, or lovers. Or, you may discover "Velcro souls" that another has stuck onto you. Journey to the helping spirit that you are most comfortable with and ask. If you do have soul parts to return or Velcro souls to pull off and send back, ask for a ritual to accomplish this. Do the ritual. You might want to partner with another and serve as witness to each other's rituals.
Thanks and gratitude to Sandra Ingerman.
All My Relations.
More on this journey in a later entry....