The word Soul has been coined by many spiritual faiths and religions in the world and if you look up the dictionary definition of Soul it states “the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal”.
This is a concept that has been one of true fascination for me since I was a young child growing up in a home that was deeply committed to the Christian faith. From a young age I shared the beliefs of my family and chose to be baptised in my teenage years before leaving home on a solo journey to study the Christian faith at a bible college in a remote rural area in NSW, Australia.
Although my spiritual path took me in a different direction, I have always experienced the Soul as my life force or essence, something that is not bound within the limitations of the physical world.
My first encounter with shamanic practise opened me up to many potentials of the Soul and how the Soul can take flight, exploring unknown parts of my own psyche, my own and others inner landscapes and indeed the world. Some might use the term astral travel, the CIA speaks about remote viewing. Regardless of what terms or names are used I feel as though we are all speaking about the same process just different names and processes for the same experience.
In my own life I have encountered parts of myself and had vivid experiences that have lead me to believe in the existence of the Soul, that immaterial part that makes me who I am and is not bound by the physical form.
Soul flight is done by choice, however what happens when the Soul takes flight out of fear or as a result of a traumatic event, the Soul can become fragmented and leave us feeling incomplete, disconnected or as though we are “not ourselves”. This process in shamanic practice is referred to as Soul loss.
Some examples of what may cause Soul loss are:
Being involved in a dangerous situation where you feared for your life
Long periods of sickness both physical, mental or emotional
Near death experiences
A difficult time where you found it hard to stay “present” in your body
Abuse – Physical or Emotional
The sudden passing of a loved one
“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.”
Sandra Ingerman - Abstract on Shamanism
Soul retrieval is a shamanic healing process which can retrieve those lost or fragmented parts of the Soul and restore a sense of wholeness.
Soul retrieval requires care to investigate the cause of the initial Soul loss and prepare the Soul to be re-united with the lost parts. Once the Soul parts have been re-united it is vital to allow for the newly re-claimed Soul fragments to be fully embodied an integrated within the psyche.
Below is a personal account that contains information that might be triggering for anyone having experienced depression or suicidal tendencies. Please make choices around your own wellbeing and whether it is wise to read any further.
The first time I experienced a Soul retrieval was during a shamanic healing session, at the time I experienced shamanic journeying in a very visual way. As I sat opposite the shamanic healer with my eyes closed I began to see images appearing, much like a dream occurring whilst I was awake.
Within this shamanic journey I found myself standing in an old apartment, a place where I had lived some years ago. A place and time that was emotionally painful, a time where I had been managing life with a husband who was in the depths of depression and battling with suicidal tendencies.
To give a little bit of background, (and yes I have my husband’s permission to share this story, with gratitude I can say there has been much healing since that time) My husband could not work at this time and so I was in a position where I was the sole worker for our household. Those days were tough emotionally and we struggled financially. Each day I would go to work and manage to separate myself from how difficult things were at home, but each day as I finished work and took the bus ride home, the reality of what was going on would hit me. At times I would experience massive amounts of fear that I would return home to find my husband had taken his life. I would get off the bus ashamed that I was crying and walk home instead. They were indeed dark times.
So jump to maybe 7 years later when I sat in that shamanic healing session I was really surprised to find images appearing and then I realised I was seeing my old apartment. Within this shamanic vision I saw a version of myself standing behind the front door of this apartment. This version had its back to me with its head against the door. The Shamanic Healer asked me “Is there anything you would like to say to this part of yourself?” I didn’t respond and she asked “What’s happening now?” I said I had grabbed the version of myself by the hand and was running down the stairs of the apartment block saying “go go go!!!” I remember how real this experience felt at the time, a rescue mission to reclaim this part I had not realised I left behind in this apartment. The healer continued to ask “whats happening?” “ where are you headed?”. I said “I need to get her out of here.” And I ran within this shamanic vision all the way to the park that had been near our apartment at the time, holding my own hand as we both ran. We were running for our lives. For to live without this part of myself had been living with a deep emptiness, now that I knew why I was going to stop at nothing to reclaim her. To reclaim me.
When we got to the park I saw an opening in the ground and I ran holding the hand of the version of me I had just rescued from the apartment into the opening. On the other side we emerged into a place I had come to know as my “medicine place”, a place I was introduced to by my teacher, a place I was encouraged to cultivate and explore.
Within my medicine place I guided the other me to the waterfall and invited the other version of myself to enter a body of water. I watched now as the shamanic vision showed me, myself swimming in the water hole with this other me, the reclaimed one. We swam together and then I noticed we began to merge together, the two becoming one.
This experience was a powerful one, one that still to this day evokes so much in me. The memories of this rescue mission still vivid in my mind, body and spirit. Even writing this I could feel the urgency, the energy that fuelled my Soul that day to re-connect with its lost part.
I am forever grateful to Gabriela Ming who has been my guide on many Soul Retrievals and to my teacher Vicki Dean who taught me to be the guide for others on Soulful rescue missions.