The word shaman, originating from the Tungus Tribe of Siberia, means “one who sees in the dark.
In our modern lives, we have really forgotten what it is to be connected. Ancient people were in constant communion, balance and reciprocity with nature, with each other and most importantly with themselves. They knew who they were, they knew where they came from, they knew how to thrive and they knew the power and importance of community and coming together in ceremony and celebration so that they could collectively heal, connect and call in a new way.
Healing Soul Loss
Sandra Ingerman’s Abstract on Shamanism states that, “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 and alive and fully engaged in life. Other symptoms include chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, post-traumatic stress syndrome, immune deficiency problems, and grief that just does not heal. Addictions are also a sign of soul loss.” For those who have lost parts of themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, “tremendous amounts of psychic energy” are unconsciously spent looking for the lost parts.
What is needed is a Soul Retrieval.
A soul retrieval is a powerful spiritual practice that heals soul loss. Soul loss can occur whenever we have trauma in our life. For example, we may experience soul loss if we are in an accident, undergo a serious operation or if we suddenly lose a close friend or family member.
From a shamanic perspective, soul loss is a common cause of illness. Traditionally, a shamanic practitioner would conduct a soul retrieval within three days of someone experiencing trauma.
During the soul retrieval process, the shaman moves into an altered state of consciousness to travel to realities outside of normal perception (non-ordinary reality), also known as the invisible or hidden spirit worlds, to retrieve the lost part of the soul. In some cases, there is reluctance of the soul to return, or the soul may not even know a separation has occurred; while in most cases, the soul does want to return. It is, however, important to note when the “soul returns, it comes back with all the pain it experienced when leaving.
Once the lost soul is located, the Shaman will “acknowledge the former pain and gently negotiate the soul’s return to the body.” The Shaman then brings the soul back to normal reality and (literally) blows the missing soul part back into body through the head or heart.
Soul retrieval is not a quick fix. There is a time of integration that is unique to everyone. It may be hours, days, months or years for the process to fully be complete. It depends upon your dedication to doing your part. If you have 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.
No matter where you may find yourself, at the beginning or near the end of working through an issue, the most important factor in all healing work is you. You have to be willing to do the work that is necessary to participate in your own healing. You will have to be willing to look at yourself with new eyes, from a new perspective and as an embodiment of completion and wholeness, while knowing that willingness is the impetus for great change which always begins with the heart.
SIGNS OF SOUL LOSS
The following checklist can help to determine if soul loss has occurred:
- You have a difficult time staying “present” in your body
- You feel numb, apathetic, or deadened
- Chronic depression?
- You have problems with your immune system and have trouble resisting illness
- You were chronically ill as a child
- Memory gaps of your life after age five where you sense that you may have blacked out significant traumas in your life
- Struggle with addictions, for example, to alcohol, drugs, food, sex or gambling
- Find yourself looking to external things to fill up an internal void or emptiness
- Have difficulty moving on with your life after a divorce or the death of a loved one
- You suffer from multiple personality syndrome
Within situations of physical and emotional abuse, negation and trauma, there are many experiences in life that can be too difficult to bear. Soul loss is an understandable response for spiritual woundedness, and deep fragmentation of one’s soul essence, that would lead to an internal dissociation from natural balance