First taught by Michael Harner and then popularized by Sandra Ingerman through workshops and her book “Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self Through Shamanic Practice”, Soul Retrieval is the ancient practice of returning lost vitality to an ailing client. The stressful events of our lives can result in loss of some part of our vital essence. Soul Retrieval is the process of returning lost essence to the client.
Causes of soul loss can be
- Any physical, emotional, or psychic trauma.
- Intentional theft, or the result of unconscious power dynamics.
Symptoms of soul loss can be
- A sense of dispiritedness.
- Exhaustion or depression.
- Illness of any kind.
- Inability to heal from minor injury or crisis.
- A feeling of losing one’s way in life, a lack of goals or life vision.
Soul retrieval is a common technique in most cultures that still have strong shamanic healing practices. For these communities soul retrievals are most often performed shortly after the initial loss. Since this practice is rare in our culture, soul loss goes un-addressed, usually for years or decades, if it is ever addressed at all. Integrating soul essence after years of loss can require ongoing attention to fully complete. Any soul retrieval work should be followed by further work tailored to the needs of the client.
Power Animal Retrieval
Many cultures believe that we are all born with relationships to guardian spirits. In many non-western cultures these guardians are animals and beyond being guardians, they are our compassionate teachers. By developing a relationship to our power animals through shamanic practices, ritual, art and other means we ensure protection and guidance for ourselves throughout our lives.
When we were young our communities did not recognize or nurture our relationships with these Power Animals. This lack of care and attention can result in a loss of relationship with these spirits. Symptoms of Power Animal loss are very similar to soul loss.
When clients recieve a Power Animal Retrieval, they often report a sense of well-being, more energy and more focus. In essence, they become “power filled” as Dr. Harner points out in his book “The Way of the Shaman.” Some experience a sense of kinship much like being reunited with a long lost friend.
Although possession is recognized cross culturally, it is usually ignored or denied in American society. Spirits lost in our world looking for a body to inhabit, can cause confusion, discomfort, illness, and even tragedy.
Often depicted in the movies as violent and demonic, possession is seen as rare and intensley traumatic. Some modern shamanic practitioners teach and practice a gentler form of de-possession which emphasizes a sensitive approach to the recognition of possessive spirits. With compassion these spirits can be helped to move on to a more appropriate domain.
Before weather reports, people would visit the local Shaman to prepare for making a journey or planting a crop to gather information about what the future held for them. Modern Shamanic Practitioners make use of the same techniques to assist individuals in making a wide range of decisions. Spirits the SP works with exist outside of time, and are able to offer useful information that can assist greatly in making important decisions.