Have you ever had a Soul Retrieval? If so, you know what they are. If not, you may be curious. I just did one, and this one I can talk about, because it was for myself. I do many Soul Retrievals, but the work is confidential, and their power—as the power of any journey—can be dissipated by describing them in any detail to others. But it feels today, for some reason, like this is news you could use. So here goes.
There are several books in my Resources list that focus on this important shamanic service. What I tell clients in a simple description is that, as human beings, when we experience a shock or trauma or major unexpected moment in our lives, we often experience a fragmenting of our soul. A soul part will either fly off or stay stuck at the scene, unable to handle the energy. We are fragile souls, indeed. The accounts you hear about girls watching themselves being raped from somewhere on the ceiling is an extreme example, while sadly also not uncommon.
But soul parts can flee or stay stuck for less violent shocks and traumas, particularly when the experience pings something in their life path, or longer soul path through many lifetimes. At the time of the experience, reality seems to shift. It can become hard to speak, emotions rising, face flushing, lips trembling, pulse racing, without really understanding why these body responses are happening. Signals of trauma can make time slow down, as our brains stop working and everything goes into a slo-mo sequence of bewilderment, fear, disbelief, or the shock of being totally misunderstood, negated, abused, or maligned.
Sometimes the scene is difficult emotionally, such as having to euthanize a beloved pet, watching one die, discovering an accident or traumatic scene, and these kinds of experiences with other loved ones. Moving house suddenly without willing preparation, losing something important, finding out something life-altering, witnessing something traumatic, all of these can cause soul loss.
Power loss and soul loss can be stolen deliberately, requiring a trickster-type retrieval on the practitioner's part. I have some wild stories about doing those, but I cannot divulge them here. Retrievals of any kind require a high degree of skill and the ability to shapeshift, fly, and think fast without thinking. Part of the skill is in doing a thorough job, not causing harm, and returning with soul part(s), power, and information intact.
Shamans have worked with restoring wholeness and power from soul loss and power loss, multiculturally, for millennia, as a key part of their service to their community. Core shamanic practices—meaning practices shared by many different cultures—employ the journey for soul retrieval work. When a client comes to me with a concern, they don't necessarily know they have soul loss, nor do I. Shamanic practice is about being the channel through which the helping spirits and guides do the work, so I don't presume to know what someone needs. I journey and ask, and am able to do the work required. Even if there is soul loss, that may not be the work for the journey at that time. Requesting a soul retrieval means, in my practice, that I would journey to ask if there is a soul part or parts that need to be retrieved at this time, and if so, then who will help me, and we go from there. If not ready at that time, other necessary work for the concern would be shown and we'd do that.
When a soul retrieval is part of the journey, often a specific power animal comes to me, and I know we are going for a soul part, or more than one. This happened in today's personal journey, and I followed the animal down a steep ravine into the dreamtime. This animal had actually been gazing at me while I was dreaming, yesterday morning, through my bedroom window in ordinary reality, so that gave me a head's up that a personal journey was in order. Each journey is unique and unpredictable; I ask and follow the helpers that come to my aid.
In this soul retrieval journey, I was led first to an office where I had stayed stuck after an experience that affected me deeply. It had fragmented my sense of self and purpose, and I had left the encounter quite shaken, feeling dispirited, disoriented, and missing, without knowing why it was affecting me so strongly. In the journey, I was both helper and client, and was two people in the room. The stuck me was dressed exactly as I had been, briefcase in hand, shocked into incredulous paralysis and unable to respond in my power. Journeying me, and my power animal, entered the frozen scene, touched her on the shoulders, helped her to stand, and explained that the other person did not understand her life path or gifts, and had no idea she was affecting her so strongly, but was pinging something very old in the client (me), like a tuning fork hitting a resonance that makes a glass vase fall off a shelf and smash on the floor.
In this instance there was power loss more than soul loss, but the soul part had to be retrieved along with the power to restore wholeness. I gathered all up and returned the energy to myself, journeying on the floor to the drumbeat, through the crystal I had on my heart chakra.
My body felt waves of energy, as my emotional body felt it all deeply and tears moistened my eye covering. My mental body relaxed, as information it had needed to process and regroup became available, and my spiritual body expanded to surround all of us in Oneness and feel supported and verified in our soul path. I let all the swirling energy and palpable feelings move as my heart rate, breathing, blood flow altered, and my brain waves, cellular memory, and even DNA-held memory transformed. After a few minutes the movement on all levels settled and I felt more whole, with more power and energy, and definitely a resolution to a memory that had perplexed me into a feeling of powerlessness for 7 years.
One soul retrieval is plenty for one journey, and when working with clients, the helpers are very sure to only do the work necessary at that time. Too much and you'd feel you were hit by a truck. In this case, however, there was another soul loss that was ready for retrieval, and linked to the first, and so the scene changed and there I was, back four years previous to the last scene. This scene was traumatic in another way, and a lot of emotional energy was released as it was accessed, and power and soul loss gathered up for retrieval. I allowed my emotional body to fully feel it all as I, as helper, made sure I gathered up all the energy to bring back. It was in puddles around where I'd been sitting looking down my old driveway. It was leaking down the driveway. This took a while, and was part of the work, to let the energy come through and release simultaneously, as needed. It is often surprising how much emotional energy is held in our bodies, unable to be felt, processed, and released until the right time and way is made available.
Today was the day for these two incidents of soul loss and power loss to be transformed and resolved. The energy of each of them linked to a longer story, enabling me as practitioner to access information about my soul path through lifetimes that empowered it anew, while shedding much needed light on the impact these experiences had had on me, and how they fit into the bigger picture.
After returning that energy to my body, again through the crystal, I continued to journey while my bodies integrated it all. The power animal gently led me away from that scene and we had an interim soothing time passing through the realms, timeless and primordial, both known and unknown to me. I was given audio information about my soul path and power, blocks to power and willingly giving away my power as soul experiences of growth and learning. The information and guidance I received was itself empowering as well as clarifying, and supported the return of my lost power intelligently and lovingly.
I finished the journey feeling totally different than when I began, although I felt fine then. You don't know what wholeness feels like until you've got it, or get more of it, and then you recognize how fragmented you were. Restoring wholeness is a prime objective of shamanic work, and soul retrieval is one of the prime ways that occurs.
I've had many soul retrievals since I began to do shamanic work. Most of them were done by my teacher, Amanda Foulger. Doing soul retrievals, particularly on yourself, is advanced practitioner work only. I was not given permission to do this work until I'd successfully completed my seven year apprenticeship with Amanda, including all the knowledge taught through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies programs, up to and including the advanced three year work.
After the journey, I worked a little more with two of the crystal helpers that had lain on my heart and throat. And as I gazed at them, a little Azurite nodule beamed out to be included. As I held it in my hand and on my third eye, I saw why. It instantly expedited the integration of energies! As if bringing all of the past energetic components forward into NOW in a flash with calm, benevolent skill. No dizziness or fogginess, just now now now, power restored. At peace and energized.
That's the little nodule in the photo, with the Dogtooth Calcite and Labradorite. They all, as physical stone helpers, did me a great service, along with the power animal and invisible speaking helpers. Without deep relationships with helpers, developed and maintained through practice and dreaming, a shaman is nothing and can do nothing. I am grateful to them all, for my well-being, my work, and my life.
Now, on this hottest day of summer so far, out to water plants and play in the sprinkler! Weeeeee!