Shamanic Soul Retrieval
By Annie Fuller
Shamanism is a cross-cultural, global tradition more than 50,000 years old, a spiritual way of seeing, living, and healing based on experiential knowledge. It’s a unification of the natural world of Mother Nature with the worlds and realms beyond and within, as well as with the many beings of light inhabiting these worlds. At its core is the knowingness that spirit exists in everything, and that all things are connected within the infinite fabric of life.
A shaman is a specific kind of healer who is called to the path and initiated in a unique and individual way. All shamans are intercessors of the limitless realms of reality and are able to bridge these worlds for the benefit of the people. There are as many callings and ways to practice shamanism as there are shamans, from the indigenous and traditional to the Western and modern.
Shamans work with various helping spirits. During their journeys, voyages into the unseen realms, their power animal accompanies them. Power animals assist, guide, and protect the shaman. They help them navigate the realms by taking them where they need to go and providing overall support and assistance.
The Soul and Soul Loss
We are multidimensional beings. When each of us, as spirit/light/consciousness, incarnates and takes on human form, both our spirit and soul are present. Once conception occurs, the spirit might move in and out of the developing body, but the growing soul remains and plays an important part in our individual and collective lives. In fact, during embryonic cell division, the first organ to form is the heart, which is the physical manifestation of the soul. (Other names for soul are aura, energy bubble, and energy field.)
As human beings, we are spirit, within soul, within body.
The fabric of the soul is multilayered. It consists in part of all we have yet to resolve as a result of past and present incarnations. Unhealthy beliefs, vows, emotional wounds, and soul loss show up in our soulscape as heavy energy. Whatever is keeping us from remembering and living our true identities and natures can be found within the soul.
The soul serves as a container for who we are as spirit, as well as a protector for who we are as human. The protector aspect comes into play in response to the various traumas we experience in life. Trauma creates dissociation, which, from a shamanic perspective, is soul loss.
When we dissociate, a part or parts of our soul detach and go to a place in the spiritual realms, often called “nonordinary reality.” We survive the experience and grow older, yet our soul parts remain stuck in time. They don’t know the trauma is over, and because they’re part of us, we’re affected by their experience. That’s how a person can be 80 years old and still living the trauma of when he was 5, since a traumatized 5-year-old soul part exists in another realm.
Some of the ways soul loss shows up in our lives are depression, irrational fears or phobias, PTSD, repetitive patterns, addiction, suicidal thoughts, fear, the inability to ground, and immune-deficient illnesses such as chronic fatigue, memory gaps, illness, and coma.
The traditional mental-health system tries to help and offers us medications that are meant to mask our inner suffering. This works for some, yet for many it creates more soul loss. Even when working with an excellent therapist, one can take years to feel “over the hump” of a trauma, for the therapy experience can be like trying to play a game of cards without having the full deck available.
How can we heal and live in the present moment when parts of us are lost and constantly living in past traumas?
Soul retrieval is a widely used healing modality among all shamanic cultures, both past and present.
You begin by creating a foundational intention for your healing. Intention is a powerful magnetic. It hones in, finds, and brings the shaman/healer to the specific layers of the soul that need attending.
It’s not enough to say, “I don’t want to be depressed anymore.” Rather consider: “What does it mean to not be depressed? How would I feel?” Creative thinking and imagination expand a person’s abilities to realize what he or she really wants and needs for his or her life. The shaman/healer might ask, “What would your miracle be?” A transformation has already occurred when a person with depression says, “I’m living a life of joy and freedom.”
Once the intention is set, the shaman/healer, with his or her power animal and teacher (if he or she travels with one), journeys into the spiritual realms on behalf of the client and is led to the part or parts of the soul that need to come back.
Some soul parts are willing to return; others are reluctant. The task of the shaman/healer is to help the soul parts understand that the original situation has changed, that they’re safe now, and the person has grown and wants them back. Healing the soul parts before returning them to the client is vital, and each shaman/healer has his or her unique methods.
When the shaman/healer’s power animal and/or teacher state that everything is complete and the soul parts are ready, they are brought from “nonordinary reality” directly into the soul of the person. This transference of energies from one reality to another is done in various ways, via the breath, hands, or other means.
Each soul part is a multidimensional aspect of the self. They restore to us the vital energy we weren’t able to live during the time of the trauma, as well as knowledge and awareness of the wounds—the reasons for the original dissociation. After a soul-retrieval ceremony, we have the opportunity to consciously integrate each part, and as we do, the energies harmonize within our soulscape and become life-enhancing “medicine” for our lives.
Integration of a soul retrieval is a process. Sometimes results are immediate, yet usually the energies evolve over days, weeks, and even months. By maintaining perspective and assimilating the restored soul parts with love and compassion, our consciousness awakens, our health improves, and life becomes less complicated.
Shamanic soul retrieval unifies our being. It brings us home, into the present moment, where we belong. Soul retrieval enables us to know and live our true identities and natures. We become free.
For more information, contact: Annie Fuller, spiritual healer/teacher