What is Soul Retrieval? Just what it says, finding soul-parts and returning them to where they belong - with the person who lost them. Why do these parts get lost or leave in the first place? Analyst CG Jung referred to 'the scattered self' in his writing and described a person losing or giving up a part of themselves as a possible survival mechanism, following physical trauma, emotional loss, or just the everyday effects of living. Such experience of soul loss is part of our ordinary language; a person may describe being 'beside themselves', 'out of sorts' 'dis-spirited', 'gone to pieces', 'not all there', 'scattered', even 'a few sticks short of a bundle'! Everyone, to some degree, will have experienced soul-loss at some time in their life; it may have been caused by schoolyard rejection, or by traumatic bereavement. We may have had part of us taken away by the violence of another person, or we may have voluntarily, if unconsciously, given part of ourselves away, to a lover, a deceased parent, to a child, or even a pet.
Renowned practitioner of shamanic soul-retrieval, Sandra Ingerman, writes that,
"The soul may leave a child who does not feel loved, or who feels abandoned, but his or her parents. In one of my clients soul-loss was caused by a parent's continual yelling, in another by the pain of falling off a bicycle. A soul might leave the body to survive physical or sexual abuse ... Being sickly as a child or suffering serious of chronic illness can often indicate soul loss."
Through the shamanic journey the restored soul part(s) can be met, welcomed and re-integrated. This re-integration needs care and attention as the returned part needs to feel it has returned to a safe and secure place, where the trauma/pain that caused its departure in the first place, won't occur again. Many of my clients lost soul parts as disempowered children and now need to feel that they are re-integrated with an adult who is able to protect and nurture them.
Does living in busy, noisy, London make us more likely to suffer soul-loss than someone living in the tranquility of the deep countryside? Experience suggests that soul-loss can and does occur anywhere, but the daily grind of living in a fast-paced, often emotionally-violent, city wears away at us in subtle and not-so subtle ways. I try to overcome this by having an-ever present awareness of spirit around me, of my own personal spirit-helpers, but also the spirits of London: green spaces, trees, other people, animals. Maintaining this connectedness helps me to avoid further soul-loss.
Some of my clients have generously agreed that I can post their 'journeys' here on Shaman UK's blog. Their names will be changed of course, but they are willing for this deeply personal work to be made public so that other people can read about their experience of soul-retrieval and the effects of that on their lives. Look out for these if you are interested in finding out more about this very significant aspect of shamanic work.