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Soul Loss

What is Soul Loss and How Can it Help with Understanding Your Emotional Wounds?

Healing, ShamanismGuest WriterComment

Do you feel like something is missing – an aspect of yourself that you know will help you to move forward but no matter how much you search, there still feels like there is something missing?

Soul Loss

Most shamanic cultures around the world believe that all illness is due to the loss of the soul.

There are many common symptoms of soul loss. Some of the more common ones would be dissociation where a person does not feel fully in his or her body and alive and fully engaged in life. Other symptoms include chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, post traumatic stress syndrome, immune deficiency problems, and grief that just does not heal. Addictions are also a sign of soul loss as we seek external sources to fill up the empty spaces inside of us whether through substances, food, relationships, work, or buying material objects.

Anytime someone says I have never been the same since a certain event and they don’t mean this in a good way, soul loss has probably occurred.

Lost soul equals lost vitality.

Soul Retrieval is not a method that creates miraculous results after one session. It does for some but this is not the norm. Soul Retrieval is a process.


Life is not so simple in the Western world. We are not always supported to live a life filled with meaning. We often cannot "connect the dots" to how our lifestyle has created the emotional and physical illnesses we are dealing with today. People lose parts of their soul at very young ages and show up to shamanic work or Soul Retrieval work many years after a trauma occurred in their lives.

Shamans in indigenous cultures did not have to go back 40, 50, or 60 years looking for lost soul parts.

And shamans in indigenous cultures did not work with a psychologically sophisticated population, like our world today.

It is believed that whenever we suffer an emotional or physical trauma a part of our soul flees the body in order to survive the experience. The definition of soul that I am using is that our soul is our essence, our life force, the part of our vitality that keeps us alive and thriving.

The types of trauma that could cause soul loss in our culture would be any kind of abuse: sexual, physical, or emotional. Other causes could be an accident, being in a war, being a victim of a terrorist act, acting against our morals, being in a natural disaster (a fire, hurricane, earthquake, tornado, etc.), surgery, addictions, divorce, heartbreak, betrayal, or death of a loved one.

Any event that causes shock could cause soul loss. And what might cause soul loss in one person might not cause soul loss in another.

It is important to understand that soul loss is a good thing that happens to us. It is how we survive pain. If I was going to be in a head on car collision the last place that I would want to be at the point of impact is in my body. My psyche could not endure that kind of pain. So our psyches have this brilliant self protection mechanism where a part of our essence or soul leaves the body so that we do not feel the full impact of the pain.

In psychology we call this disassociation. But in psychology we don’t talk about what disassociates and where that part goes. In shamanism we understand that a piece of the soul leaves the body and goes to a territory in what shamans call non ordinary reality where it waits until someone intervenes in the spiritual realms and facilitates its return.

Although soul loss is a survival mechanism the problem from a shamanic point of view is that the soul part that left usually does not come back on its own. The soul might be lost, or doesn’t know the trauma has passed and it is safe to return.

It has always been the role of the shaman to go into an altered state of consciousness and track down where the soul fled to in the alternate realities and return it to the body of the client.

When soul parts leave because of a trauma, they unfortunately, take with them gifts and strengths such as how to love, trust, be creative, be joyful, etc. 

When we talk about soul we are really talking about light. In returning the soul parts and lost vitality to the client we are really returning light. 

I stress the need for the client to fully absorb the light from the returned soul/essence into every cell of the body.

The first step is to help the client come up with a metaphor that will help them to absorb the light of the returned essence. It is crucial that the client come up with the metaphor that will work for them. Some examples I share are a dry sponge that has been put in water and how it absorbs the water. A flower that has been in the rain too long and then the sun comes out and the flower soaks in the light and warmth of the sun. Or maybe the reverse where a flower is growing in an area suffering from drought. And on the day the rain comes the flower soaks in the water. Another example I give is of a darkened room and the curtains are opened flooding the room with light. These are just a few examples that I share and then let the client think about a metaphor they can relate to.

The instruction I then give is for the client to focus on this metaphor. I ask clients to put their hands on their belly and breathe deeply as they experience themselves absorbing the light of their soul.

I wait to share the story of what I saw in the journey. For to share the story right after the soul part returns to the body would move the client’s energy from her body into her head.

I ask the client to breathe and absorb the light of the soul into every cell of the body.

Then I share my healing story focusing on the gifts and strengths that have been returned. I believe that once a person has his or her soul brought back the client now has to do some work. If the person has done a lot of personal work the soul retrieval might be the end of the work. If not the soul retrieval would be the beginning of the work.

After experiencing a soul retrieval, I have a greater sense of self and security. In working with spirit return I can track these sorts of changes to the work that I’m doing, but they may be subtle and if you’re not paying attention or you may not necessarily put these two and two together without the help of a Guide or Mentor.

Source : "Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self" by Sandra Ingerman 

Healing Power

After the soul retrieval it is up to the client to look at how to create a healthy life style and attract healthy relationships that will support wholeness and a life filled with healing. How do we want to use the energy that was returned from the soul retrieval and our returned vitality to create a positive present and future for ourselves? And how do we bring passion and meaning back into our lives again so that we thrive instead of just survive? All these issues I call “life after healing” and are crucial to create long term healing after a soul retrieval.

Self Healing

It is important to note, that you don’t have to “think” and work hard to figure out how to integrate these parts of your spirit back, nor do you need to figure out “what gifts” have returned… I have found myself realizing things like- Wow I have tears again when I see something emotional and realized I hadn’t been able to cry at things like “hallmark commercials” in years, but used to be the kind of person that could cry at anything that made me feel.

The Key Role of Ceremony In Healing

Ceremony is an essential part of Shamanic healing. Because physical and spiritual health are intimately connected, body and spirit must heal together. Shamanic healing ceremonies promote wellness by reflecting indigenous conceptions of Spirit, Creator, and the Universe. They can include prayer, chants, drumming, songs, stories, and the use of a variety of sacred objects, and medicinal plants.

Healers may conduct ceremonies anywhere a sick person needs healing, but ceremonies are often held in sacred places. Wherever they take place, traditional healing ceremonies are considered sacred and necessary for the wellness of the individual.

The Medicine Wheel and the Four Directions

The Medicine Wheel, can take on many different forms cross culturally in Indigenous Healing cultures, and it has been used for generations for health and healing. It embodies the Four Directions, as well as The Sky, Mother Earth, and Tree of Life—all of which symbolize dimensions of health and the cycles of life.

Movement in the Medicine Wheel and in ceremonies is circular, and typically in a clockwise, or “sun-wise” direction. This helps to align with the forces of Nature, such as gravity and the rising and setting of the Sun.

Meanings of the Four Directions

Different tribes interpret the Medicine Wheel differently. Each of the Four Directions (East, South, West, and North) is typically represented by a distinctive color, such as black, red, yellow, and white, which for some stands for the human races.

The Four Directions can also represent:

Stages of life: birth, youth, adult, elder (or death)

Seasons of the year: spring, summer, winter, fall

Aspects of life: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical

Elements of nature: fire (or sun), air, water, and earth

Animals: Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Buffalo and many others

Ceremonial plants: tobacco, sweetgrass, sage, cedar

Source : Native Peoples' Concepts of Health & Illness

To read more about Native uses of healing plants and healing communities go here: Medicine Ways: Traditional Healers and Healing

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Chloë Rain is the Founder of Explore Deeply and the Explore Deeply Movement.

She has had the pleasure of mentoring women and men all over the globe to learn to source their inner power, deepen their relationship to their own guidance, and experience greater love and fulfillment, so they can enjoy the happiness they have always wanted, and have confidence and joy in their lives.

Many of her clients find that their relationships and careers shift dramatically in new and exciting ways after doing this work, creating freedom and fulfillment in their personal and professional lives. To find out more about working with Chloë go → here.

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