When our bodies are in pain, we can lose consciousness. When the mind is traumatized, we sometimes experience soul loss and require a soul retrieval.
What is Soul Loss?
Soul loss can happen whenever we have a psychological or emotional experience that we can’t cope with. The psyche has a protective system, which enables it to cut off experiences that are beyond our ability to deal with. In shamanism, this is called soul loss. In an ideal world, once the trauma is over, we reintegrate the parts of the soul that have been lost. However often, this does not occur. When this happens, a shaman undertakes a journey to recover these lost parts in a soul retrieval ceremony.
The concept of soul loss in shamanism closely relates to similar ideas in other practices and cultures. In Jungian psychology, there is an idea that we bury our most painful memories in our unconscious mind and part of us splits off into a ‘shadow self’. In contemporary psychology, it can sometimes be referred to as a dissociative episode, a memory or experience so painful that we lock it away so that we don’t have to deal with it. Dissociation is one way the mind copes with too much stress, such as during a traumatic event.
Unfortunately, our everyday experiences are affected by these locked away parts of ourselves and these fragments of soul that are lost. We may not be conscious of them, but they affect our action behaviors and thoughts all the same.
How do you know if you have experienced soul loss?
Many of us have experienced soul loss. It can be caused by major traumas such as war, violence, abuse or the death of a loved one. However, soul loss can also come about from less obvious sources. A child who was shamed for showing anger may suffer soul loss. Even relatively innocuous experiences such as getting lost as a child can have quite dramatic effects on our soul.
If we have experienced soul loss, we can feel like we are not completely whole. We can experience a sense of not really knowing who we are. A loss of soul is a loss of the whole self. This can lead to mental health problems such as depression, addiction, and anxiety. For severe soul loss, we may experience post-traumatic stress disorder. If the soul loss is relatively mild, it might feel like a general sense of unhappiness or a feeling of not being grounded in ourselves. We might try to numb our feelings by comfort eating or TV binges.
When we experience soul loss, we can lose our sense of self. This causes our moods to be strongly influenced by outside events and other people. We can become people pleasers or workaholics in a desperate attempt to heal our wounds and feel okay. A healthy sense of self is essential if we are to experience joy in our lives and achieve our dreams and goals. It is also the basis of all good relationships. People with a healthy sense of self are able to set good boundaries and are less likely to be manipulated or mistreated by others.
What is a soul retrieval?
Soul retrieval can take place in many ways. Psychoanalysis or hypnosis can help recover the split off parts of the soul. However, in shamanic cultures, a shaman undertakes a journey to gather up and return the lost parts of the soul. The shaman will go into a state of altered consciousness, usually with the help of a drum. They will then interact with the spirit world and negotiate with the spirits. They are then able to channel healing energies from the spirit world into this reality so that healing can begin.
Soul retrieval often requires a guide as it is deep work. If you feel like you have experienced soul loss, you might like to find a shaman or other spiritual guide to help you. If the extent of the soul loss is severe, I would recommend professional support as you undertake this journey.
Alternatively, you could take a course or listen to an audiobook on the subject to explore shamanic work for yourself. The work of Sandra Ingerman might be a good place to learn more about shamanism and begin to use the practices in your own life.
What results can you expect from soul retrieval work?
Soul retrieval can have huge and remarkable effects very quickly in our lives. We won’t heal all of our problems overnight, but the soul retrieval can be the catalyst for change. After a soul retrieval you are likely to feel:
- A sense of peace
- More grounded in the body, safe and secure
- A greater sense of clarity about your life, relationships, and purpose
- Joyful and alive with heightened senses
- A sense of greater presence in the world
- Freedom from bad habits and addictions
- A sense of wholeness and completeness
How do we reintegrate these parts of our psyche to experience healing?
Once the initial soul retrieval is complete, there is still work for the individual to complete. Soul retrieval is the first part of the process. Once the retrieval is complete, the parts of the soul need to be reintegrated into the psyche.
Again, this can be done by the shaman, but psychological support might also help. There are many ways that we can heal and become whole. If you feel like shamanism might be the right way for you, it’s worth finding out more about the subject. I have included some links below to help you find out more about this ancient and powerful practice.
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