A lot that was covered on the course echoed my personal beliefs about the all-encompassing permanence of spirit. I decided to take the experience further and consolidate my connections with spirit helpers through more advanced workshops and shamanic counselling with Zoë. Practising shamanism helped a great deal in refocusing on who I am, with my baggage, flaws and potentials; and achieving this allowed me to feel connected with people and places. Engaging with spirit had a cleansing effect as various dismemberment experiences and other teachings nurtured a deep sense of love. On my last session of shamanic counselling, it was suggested I ask my spirits whether I needed a soul retrieval. To my astonishment they told and showed me I indeed needed one, and at the occasion of an introductory workshop on soul retrieval, Zoë journeyed to convince a missing soul part to return to me.
I was asked to lie down next to her while she journeyed to a Lower World location where her spirits had shown her a little girl who was spending her time in a room filled with books. This library room was under the supervision of an elderly person of androgynous appearance who, lost in reading random papers, seemed unfazed by Zoë's presence, keeping on reading after pointing towards a corner of the room. The little girl, hidden behind a bookshelf, was herself reading an old book. When spoke to the child barely moved and didn't answer when asked what she was reading. However, when it was explained to that I needed her and that it was safe to rejoin me she stood up, abandoned the book and followed Zoë willingly. Before leaving the lower world, Zoë went back to her spirit helpers who had been taking care of another, 'me' while the little girl was retrieved. This second soul part was roughly my own age, 32, and blue with cold, and Zoë’s spirits had given her their own clothing to keep her warm. This older part took the younger in her arms and Zoë brought both parts back into the circle of participants to blow those missing soul parts into my chest and head.
A few days later I did a follow-up integration journey to meet with the little girl and ask her why she had left. She said she had felt no-one needed her. I clumsily tried to reassure her. As we kept talking she grew up to be a woman around my age, looking very much like me but at the same time very different. She was more assertive, oozed confidence and 'felt' very cheeky, qualities that contrast with my usual seriousness and impressionability. She told me I needed to take responsibility for what I want and that she would give me the power to do it. Saying this came as a surprise would be an understatement. All along my basic assumption was that I could not move forward because I did not in fact know what I wanted to do, because I could not find anything I could relate to. And here she was, implying that I already knew what I wanted and needed to become answerable for it. This got me thinking.
Meeting my soul part was uncomfortable. I did not know how to react to her sadness, nor to her confidence. In retrospect I can see she was what I denied myself: being in touch with her emotions and her needs. The few weeks that followed were introspective ones and were not easy but they were also necessary and salutary. I may not know where to head just yet but at least I feel I am moving forward.