The Free Soul
In the shamanism it is believed that part of the human soul is free to leave the body. The soul is the axis mundi, the center of the shamanic healing arts. Shamans change their state of consciousness allowing their free soul to travel and retrieve ancient wisdom and lost power.
Because a portion of the soul is free to leave the body it will do so when dreaming, or it will leave the body to protect itself from potentially damaging situations be they emotional or physical. In situations of trauma the soul piece may not return to the body on its own, and a shaman must intervene and return the soul essence.
Reasons For the Soul's Departure
There are various reasons for soul loss. If a person was in an abusive situation part of one's soul may leave to protect itself from the abuse. Sometimes as a child, fighting parents may prompt the soul part to hide because the child is scared. If a traumatic accident is about to occur such as an impact or accident the soul would leave so that it wouldn't be effected by the force of the accident. If a loved one is lost, the soul part may go until the person is ready to deal with their grief. All of these are very healthy mechanisms of protection. In some cases the soul part will return on its own. But if it does not realize how to return, or if it does not know that it is safe to return - the shaman may need to assist the return of that missing piece.
Another way to lose ones soul is to give it to someone. When two people are in love, or when they are in a family, it is sometimes occurs that they will give portions of their soul to their loved ones. A mother may give some to her child because she wishes to protect him or her. This type of soul exchange may seem acceptable because of a person's desire to share themselves with another, but it is generally not a good idea. An individual can't use another person's soul, because simply: it is not their soul. The person must then deal with this unusable energy in addition to his or her own problems. In addition, the persons who have given a piece of their soul away have disempowered themselves. The giver's journey is made more difficult because they are not fully present to do the living of their life. It is a lose lose situation.
Because we are not taught about soul loss we do this soul sharing unconsciously. As individuals becomes more conscious of this dynamic they can find more empowering ways of sharing love and affection in their close relationships. You can see the language of soul loss in everyday speaking, people referring to how they "lost a piece of themselves" when they parted with a lover, or people saying "you stole my life from me."
Another reason for soul loss is called soul stealing, perhaps we should say borrowing. As we said before, the average person today is unconscious of the soul dynamic. So soul stealing can be innocent, you see someone with lots of energy and you want to borrow some of it. You are afraid of losing someone, so you take a piece of that person with you so that you will always have him or her close by. Soul stealing can also be a way to dominate another. For instance soul stealing may be seen where an abusive spouse has taken his or her partner's soul. When you take someone's soul you take some of that person's power.
It is important to know that no one can take your soul without your consent. If someone has stolen your soul, you have in some sense given it to them or allowed them to have it. If you feel for some reason that someone is tugging at your soul, make a firm decision within yourself that they cannot have it and they will not be able to take it from you.
How Do I know if I need a Soul Retrieval?
Many people know instinctively that they are missing something. They hear about soul retrieval and it makes sense to them, or they have an "Ah ha." moment where they realize that it is something that applies to them. But for those people who aren't so well connected with their intuition, they might not have that awareness.
As mentioned above symptoms/indicators of soul loss can include:
-Feelings of depression
-A feeling of being incomplete
-Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or PTSD like symptoms.
-Inability to move past an issue despite efforts to do so.
-Feeling like you've done everything you can do but are still stuck.
-Feeling disconnected from life, like you don't really feel anything, or you feel you can't connect to things.
-Memories or incident in your past when you can say, I feel that I lost something that I never got back.
-A sense that someone took a part of you, your heart, your soul, or that you were not the same once they left you or died.
-You keep wanting to return to a person, or a location that seems unhealthy or unlikely, even though there is no apparent reason for you to do so.
-Lost memories, like a part of your history is "missing"
-The feeling that soul retrieval may help you.
It isn't necessary for you to have an extreme symptom, to indicate soul loss. It is certainly true that some people have experienced benefits even though they were not sure that they had soul loss or not. If you feel this is something you might want to try, that is a good reason to contact a practitioner. They can go on a diagnostic journey to find out if this would be best for you at this time.
If you feel that you aren't ready that is an emotion to honor. Sometimes a soul retrieval will bring up issues that need to be healed. If you aren't in a place where you are ready to do that, it may be good for you to wait.
The following benefits are possible with soul retrieval, although there is no guarantee what will happen, all soul retrievals are different:
-You may find it easier to move forward on an issue that has been troubling you.
-You may feel a sense of being more fully present in your life.
-You may find it easier to make certain decisions or make certain changes.
-You may find that some characteristic you have struggled with such as hopefulness, confidence, anger. may improve or go away after a soul retrieval.
-You may find that you can connect to things more easily.
-You may feel more fully present
Additionally it is possible for the following challenges to be brought up with a soul retrieval:
-You may have feelings of sadness or depression because of the time that went by missing this part of you.
-Issues that you have previously been unwilling to deal with can come to the surface.
-You may find that you can no longer stay in a situation which you have been living with - such that you find you must make changes in your life.
-You may find feelings that you previously did not wish to deal with assert themselves, such as grief or anger.
-You may begin a long healing process.
There is no knowing what may happen as the result of a soul retrieval. In a few cases a person may literally experiences a complete turn around of their life to a more joyful way of being. In some cases it begins a process of changes that take time to fully emerge. And of course some people feel that not much really happened as a result of their soul retrieval. Your instincts should tell you what to do, and the practitioner can help you determine if a soul retrieval would be helpful to you at this time.
If you need support after a soul retrieval, your shamanic practitioner may be able to help you. You can also find support from a therapist or a counselor. If you feel that you would like a soul retrieval, but have a feeling of fear because it is unknown, you can always contact a practitioner simply discuss soul retrieval or your fears. See how you feel after you have discussed it with him or her, and then decide whether or not you wish to proceed.
Finally, a benefit of a soul retrieval or any shamanic healing is seeing that someone cares enough to help you. Most shamanic practitioners feel a strong desire to help make your road a little easier. Some people say that this is the most helpful part of the healing process for them.
Good luck with your journey. Remember that whatever you decide, it is often the process of looking for healing that brings healing to you. When we ask the question, what is it I need, what do I need to do next, the act of questioning will often bring a flow of answers into our lives from unexpected sources.