In the course of a lifetime, it is inevitable that one will suffer occasional, at least, emotional and/or physical traumas. At such times and in such incidents, it is not uncommon that a piece of oneself, a part of one’s life force, may “step aside” so that one can survive this experience. In fact, this is a marvelous defense mechanism: if one were wholly present to receive the full impact, the trauma might be unendurable. From a shamanic perspective, this separation from part of one’s life force is called “soul loss”. In addition to loss as a result of trauma, the soul may be “eroded” away by day-to-day emotional or physical abuse; substance abuse may also result in this type of soul loss; “giving oneself away”, a common behavior in this culture, may also cause loss of life force.
One who has experienced soul loss is no longer whole and may describe a feeling of being “disconnected” from life, a sense that “something’s missing”, or a lack of energy. Those with soul loss have said such things as:
- “When we got divorced, I think my ex took part of me with her.”
- “I feel like I never came back from the anesthesia after my surgery.”
- “I just haven’t been myself since the accident.”
- ” Somewhere along the line I lost my passion (creativity, joy, ability to play, will to live).
- “This job just seems to suck the soul right out of me.”
- “When my father died, some part of me went with him.”
- “I have this empty place in me and I can’t seem to fill it up.”
- “No matter where I live, I never feel like I’m home.”
- “When I was a kid and my parents would start to fight with each other (yell at me, drink), I would just sort of leave.”
- “That man who molested me when I was little stole my soul.”
- “There are a couple of years in my life that I just can’t remember at all.”
Soul loss may manifest in the body as chronic fatigue, malaise, weakened resistance to disease, and other generalized disorders. Depression, forgetfulness, chronic fears, “spaceyness” — even chronic misfortune — are common complaints of people who have suffered soul loss.
Working with her or his helping spirits, the shaman can go in search of missing “soul parts” on behalf of a client. Usually, a lost soul part will be found at the age at which it left the client and, often, the shaman will be shown the circumstances that caused the soul part to leave. This information may be helpful to the client in integrating the part or parts of herself/himself that have been retrieved. The shaman places the retrieved soul part or parts in the client’s body, typically (but not always) by blowing them into the heart and the crown of the head. Sometimes the shaman “sings a soul home”; then, seeing that the soul has drawn near, called by the song, the shaman gathers it and places it gently in the client’s body.
Although soul retrieval sometimes brings an end to the client’s malady, more often it is the beginning of a new stage of healing. Being wholly present in one’s body greatly facilitates the healing process (and for many may be essential). Soul retrieval often advances the healing work being done in other, conventional modalities. As an example, many clients who are receiving psychotherapy report that their work with their therapists leaps forward, deepens, and progresses significantly following soul retrieval.
All the practitioners of the Sacramento Shamanic Center are skilled and experienced in soul retrieval and offer this service to those in need of this healing.