Throughout life, we all go through things that affect us at a deep level. Some events affect us more than others. Sometimes, something happens that causes a shift in our perception of reality, and changes our personality, even if just in a small way. When this happens, if the event is traumatic, in essence, a piece of the Self has been lost during that experience.
Soul Retrieval is a Shamanic practice that allows a person, when they are ready, to go back to the moment of loss, and recollect themselves. Because in Shamanism, healing is always two-fold – spiritual AND physical, Shamans recognize that there are times when a loss is so great, the physical body can become weaker, allowing dis-ease in. While it is always important to treat the physical issues one might have, it is also important to repair the spiritual health of a person so that they can better recover from their illnesses of mind or body.
Soul Retrieval can be done for you by anyone who has been trained. It requires Shamans to walk in the Other World, through time and space. They must go to the place and time where the original soul injury occurred, and they must collect that piece of you, bring it back into the physical world, and place it back into your body, your energy. However, they do not work alone. Not only are their spirit guides a part of this process, but YOU are the most important part.
During a Soul Retrieval, you are drawn back into the memory of the moment, with the Shaman. You may not actually see the Shaman working, because your focus is on yourself during the process. You may watch the events that caused the fracture, or you may arrive to deal with the aftermath. You must approach your old self, the piece of you that was lost, and you must convince it to come home to you.
Justin has difficulty asking for help. He cannot believe that other people are reliable. As a result, he often takes on too much in his life, and cannot admit when he has difficulty coping. He decides to seek a shaman. He tells the shaman when the problem first started. Ten years before, he was dealing with health problems. He had a bad reaction to a medication he was on – it made him extremely dizzy, and he kept losing his breath and falling. His boyfriend at the time was also going through some troubles, and was self-medicating in order to cope. One night, after Justin had taken his medicine, he collapsed in the kitchen while getting a cup of tea. The tea fell on him, and he was badly burned. He called out to his boyfriend, who was in the bedroom asleep. His boyfriend did not wake, because of his self-medicating. Justin was forced to crawl to his bathroom to treat his burns, and then crawl back to the kitchen to clean up the broken glass and spilled tea. His feeling of helplessness, coupled with his realization that he was on his own and had no one he could truly depend on, wounded him deeply.
He and his shaman discussed the event. In preparation for the Soul Retrieval, the room that they would use was cleansed, blessed, and sacred space was erected. Justin was smudged by the Shaman, and then he, in turn, smudged the Shaman. Justin was instructed to lie down on the floor on his back, in as comfortable a position as possible. A crystal was placed on his sacral plexus, the chakra where we connect to all people, places, things, ideas, and events. The shaman keeps a second crystal in their hands. Both the Shaman and Justin lay down on the floor, side by side.
The shaman did not bring a drummer to this event, so instead, they used a drumming CD, which had both single and double drumming, as well as a call-back drumming ending. As they lay side by side, the Shaman instructed Justin to listen to the drums, and to breathe to the rhythm. Justin entered a trance state with the Shaman, and their breathing began to sync up as the Shaman and Justin, on their separate journeys, came to the event that caused the fracture in Justin’s soul.
Justin arrived in the kitchen. He saw himself sitting against one wall of the kitchen, feeling lost. He sat down, and began to talk to his old self about his life in the here-and-now. Justin is married now. The man he is married to is very caring. He looks after Justin. Justin knows that whatever happens, his husband will be there, helping him. Justin mentions several experiences where this has proved true. He and his old self comfort each other with the understanding that things are better now, and the soul piece agrees to come home. They merge.
At this moment, the Shaman collects the soul piece in the crystal they have had with them on the journey. The shaman returns to their own body in the here-and-now. The shaman stands up, and walks to Justin’s head. He takes the crystal with Justin’s soul piece, and places it above Justin’s head. He then blows the soul piece out of the crystal, and into Justin’s body through his crown chakra.
Justin slowly comes out of trance with the sound of the call-back signal on the drumming CD. He has a very emotional moment. He is warned that he must nurture himself carefully over the next few days, while the soul piece reintegrates. There are times when a soul retrieval is successful, but a lack of self-awareness and self-care can cause the piece to be lost again, because integration takes time.
Over the next few days, Justin’s outlook changes. He feels more trusting of his husband, and is more willing to ask for help. After some time, it is as if he never had troubles with these aspects of life.
Soul Retrieval can also be done through journeying without a shamanic practitioner acting as a guide, though it is considered an advanced practice, and is not recommended for beginners. Traveling to a lost soul piece has its own trials, ones that the shamanic practitioner has been trained to deal with. Sometimes, there are tests and challenges in the journey, because the spirit and the subconscious throw up blocks. Soul Retrieval is not an easy, or smooth process. It can leave you feeling extremely emotionally fragile and off-balance afterwards. This is why it is normally better to have a shamanic practitioner trained in soul retrieval and the necessary after-care to do this for you.
That being said, if you are comfortable Journeying on your own, and if you truly feel ready, and are being drawn towards a soul retrieval, it is important that you honor that recovery.
Jillian is having troubles with her heart. She has developed pulmonary hypertension – her anxiety causes difficulty breathing, and syncopated heart rhythms. She has trouble connecting with others.
Jillian is on the autistic spectrum, and it went undiagnosed for most of her life. She has trouble recognizing social signals, and does not cope with her emotions. She has extreme dissociative events. Because of the circumstances of her experiences as an undiagnosed child, she grew to believe that she was unlikeable. her extremely low self-confidence led to a series of relationships that only deepend her beliefs.
Eighteen years ago, Jillian had a child. Her autism made it difficult to care for the child – she was constantly loud, and always needed to be held. Because of Jillian’s autism, so much loud noise and so much touching was physically and emotionally draining. She was extremely stressed, and found it difficult to bond with her new baby.
However, it wasn’t the baby’s fault, so Jillian did her best to look after her child, and give what she could of the child’s needs, willingly experiencing the discomfort, despite the struggle waging inside herself. One day, while she was taking care of her child, Jillian looked into her eyes, and saw the child looking back at her. It was such a knowing look… as if she could see all the way through Jillian. Her child saw all the bad, and the good, and loved it all. She loved her mother.
Jillian had never felt such unconditional emotion from anyone. It changed her mind about herself. It changed her life. In that moment, she found herself beautiful.
Several years later, Jillian was dealing with extreme financial difficulties. She asked her family to take care of her little girl, and the family agreed. However, soon after, they received a job offer out of state. Jillian couldn’t afford to move, and she still couldn’t afford to provide a stable home for her daughter. Her family moved, and her daughter went with them.
This event was extremely traumatic. It resulted in an extreme unwillingness in Jillian to connect in a meaningful way to anyone else, ever again. Even people she knew loved her deeply, who gave all of themselves to her, only received the surface of her. She was unable to give, unable to love deeply, unable to share herself.
As she began to realize how damaging this was to her sense of self, she realized that she wanted to open up. She began working, through a series of meditations, to open her heart. Eventually, she had a breakthrough.
During a meditation, she found herself back at the moment she learned that her family was going to take her daughter out of the state, and that she would not see her daughter for a long time. She met herself at that moment. Her old self appeared to be burned, all over, skin, hair, teeth, eyes, her whole self blackened by the fires of loss. She huddled in the corner of her world, and keened. Jillian knelt down by her old self, her burned self. She began talking about her daughter, who is now nearly an adult. She talked about the times they spent together now, playing video games, sharing their favorite books with each other. It wasn’t enough. Jillian realized that her old self was holding onto the idea that only her daughter could love her, and only her daughter made her loveable, and that was why she couldn’t recover.
Several years before her soul retrieval, Jillian had been in a relationship with a man who was using her. She loved him, and didn’t really believe she was being used. However, as with all relationships, eventually, an event occurred that proved to her that her boyfriend did not respect her and did not care for her thoughts or opinions. She realized in that moment that SHE DID care. That she respected herself, enough that his treatment of her was no longer acceptable. She realized she no longer loved her boyfriend, but she also discovered that she did love herself, and she left him.
During her soul retrieval, Jillian realized that in order to recover this piece of herself and continue to heal, she needed to be honest. She explained to her past self what she had learned from her ex-boyfriend. She shared that sense of self-worth, love, and respect with her old self. Slowly, her old self uncurled from her huddled position. They embraced, and they merged, the soul fragment grateful to return to loving home.
As you can see, Soul Retrieval requires total honesty. If you are truly not ready for it, even with the help of a shamanic practitioner, it may not happen – or if the retrieval is successful, it may not last. Also, the work is not done, once you have recovered the fragment of yourself. You must nurture it, and care for the discoveries you make about yourself during the experience. You must honor the lessons.
Jillian, prior to her soul retrieval, had done considerable, intensive work on her soulscape. She had been working inside the soul home of her heart chakra, breaking down the walls, digging up the soil, preparing her soulscape for the garden to come. After her retrieval, she continued this work. She was finally able to take down most of the walls around her heart’s home, and slowly, those spiritual tasks began to change her in emotional and physical ways. She had less anxiety, her heart troubles and breathing issues slowly faded, and she began to work on her relationships with her friends and family.
Justin, on the other hand, did no real work before his soul retrieval, and after his soul fragment was returned, he continued to retreat from others. He became more determined that he could not depend on anyone other than himself, and as a result, suffered a breakdown due to stress.
These results are not due to the process – they are not due to whether or not you have an experienced practitioner helping you. Soul Retrieval, whether you are helped by someone trained, or you do it yourself, requires you to be responsible afterwards for the pieces of you that you bring back. It requires you to truly honor and care for those pieces, and to include them into your life in the here-and-now. If you do not, the problem will remain, and may worsen.
If you decide that you need a soul retrieval, it is your choice whether you learn to do it for yourself, or you contact someone with training. Before the actual retrieval occurs, however, it is recommended that you do some serious ground-work. This may require therapy, and a lot of personal spiritual work. Ultimately, your dedication to yourself will make the experience worth it.
Deepest blessings –