Soul Retrieval. The name alone suggests that something is being brought back from somewhere. But what is it? And why did it go in the first place?
If you are here, reading these lines, it stands to reason that you’re aware, sense or at least believe that we Humans (and all other living creatures, for that matter) are composed of a few more layers than just the obvious, physical one. Although serving different functions, these layers are all interconnected and affecting each other.
We are not going to cover the intricate composition of the entire Human psyche in this short article, it is simply impossible. Rather, we’ll touch upon one major subject that is familiar to all of us and attempt to clarify the Shamanic view of this profound phenomenon. What we are referring to is what is commonly known as; Trauma.
The Mechanics of Trauma
Modern psychology defines trauma as: “A type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with that experience”.
This definition is not so far removed from the Shamanic perspective. In fact, the only difference is that in the modern view, trauma is almost entirely associated with events that have a ‘negative’ connotation to them. Injury, disease, accidents, abuse or death are usually the prime suspects of any major trauma.
While this is quite understandable, the Shamanic view does not make this kind of value judgment and sees no sides to the spectrum, rather, an endless continuum of the same elements, differing only in degree and not in their essential nature.
Simply put, there are no good and bad experiences, only experiences per se. What makes and experience traumatic, is its intensity and not our feelings about it. A simple illustration of that would be a comparison between winning the lottery and losing all your life’s savings. Both experiences are highly traumatizing, yet from completely different points of the emotional spectrum.
Continuing this line of thought, we can say that actually, anything that leaves an impression on us could be labeled a trauma. Some of them are severe and memorable, most are tiny and next to insignificant. But an accumulation of many small impressions over time can have the effect of one major event that happens out of the blue.
So what happens when we experience a traumatic event? Our defense mechanism is quite simple. In cases that we cannot handle the intensity of a given situation, a part of us, a piece of our soul that is connected to that event, gets separated and left behind. The modern terminology for this process is ‘disassociation’, indicating our inability to recognize that part of us anymore. This view also correlates nicely with the Shamanic one.
As we go through our life and encounter different situations, people, ideas, places, sensations and all that this reality has to offer, we also lose parts of ourselves in the intense peak points. The feeling of missing something without exactly knowing what we miss, or just the lack of vitality and many other symptoms that develop as we progress in our journey, can in most cases be directly linked to the loss of soul pieces.
The Shamanic Journey
When performing Soul Retrieval, the Shaman is venturing for his client to locate these missing pieces. There are many forms by which he can recognize them, sometimes they appear as symbols, sometimes a scene of the actual event that caused the trauma is shown and sometimes they can be mundane objects. It matters not the form, what’s important is that the piece is returned to the client and also welcomed and integrated into his being.
A shamanic Journey can do wonders by helping us to regain our power back but depending on our age and the kind of life we had, one Journey would usually not suffice for a complete reassembly of all our lost pieces. Typically, 3-4 Journeys over the span of a year and a half would be considered a full process of soul recovery. The good news are that once we get the major soul pieces back and regain more of our power, we start to attract more and more of the other, smaller pieces. In other words, the more we get back, the more we get back.