Soul retrieval is the shamanic antidote for soul loss. From a shamanic perspective, soul loss occurs when our soul is faced with a trauma or drama. This could be a major event like abuse or war, a fractured bone or surgery, or a more mundane occurrence, like moving from a beloved home, arguing with a friend, or losing a job.
Soul loss is a defense mechanism orchestrated by the soul to avoid a stressful event. Your soul, or life essence, actually leaves the situation before the crisis occurs. In this way the soul doesn’t experience the episode at all. It is spirited away to a safe place.
Soul retrieval is the phenomenon of the fragmented soul part returning to the here and now. Sometimes a soul return happens organically, in its own time, when it is safe to come home. Other times it takes the skill of a shamanic practitioner to work with their helping spirits to find the soul part and bring it back.
The effects of soul retrieval can be profound. Oftentimes, we have missing memories that are revealed when the soul part returns with our memories in tow. We may have felt ‘not all here,’ and the reunion of the soul part with its originating light shifts us into grounded presence.
In shamanic healing we are always working towards removing what is not us, and restoring what is. Methods like extraction, cord cutting, and compassionate depossession are means of expelling and discharging energies incompatible with our overall health and functioning, while soul retrieval is the reclamation of our birthright, our divinity and life force.
Common Symptoms of Soul Loss
Missing memories, chunks of time
Feeling disassociated, spacey, ungrounded, empty, lost, incomplete, shattered and/or numb
Feeling stuck in your life, that you cannot get past where you are
Feeling like you have a difficult time being silly, playful or childlike
Feeling like you have never felt the same after a traumatic event
Feeling like someone took a part of you
Feeling like you have tried ‘everything’ (e.g. therapy, healers, doctors, etc) without success
Feeling a pervasive and chronic sense of insecurity, low self-esteem, “I’m not good enough.”
Experiencing suicidal ideation
Experiencing grief that will not resolve
Experiencing chronic physical or emotional illness
Experiencing wounds that won’t heal properly after surgery or fracture
Experiencing great difficulty in ceasing compulsive numbing behaviors (e.g food; alcohol; pain-killers; gambling; spending; “cutting”)
Diseases Sometimes Associated with Soul Loss
Generalized chronic pain and/or Immune deficiencies (e.g. Fibromyalgia; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Chronic Migraine Headache; Temporomandibular Joint Disorder; Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
Substance Use Disorders
Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder
Persistent Grief Disorder
In 2012 Kaiser Permanente conducted a small clinical study into the feasibility and efficacy of Soul Retrieval for treating pain caused by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. The results: Shamanic healing had lasting effects on TMD. You can read the study here.