Are You Suffering From Soul Loss?
by Lisa Franklin
Soul loss may be more common than we think. Firstly, don’t dismiss it as some new age invented ailment, because it’s not new at all. In fact, soul loss has been recognized for thousands of years in shamanism. Shamanism is not reserved to any particular race or people either; it’s spread throughout the world amongst animistic cultures and indigenous peoples.
So what exactly is soul loss, and what can be done? The causes are varied and may include any form of illness, abuse by others, substance abuse or other trauma. It can occur from grief and loss, co-dependent relationships or any form of prolonged fear, pain or illness.
There are also a wide variety of symptoms, some of which could be exclusive to soul loss. There may be a strong feeling that something is missing, and a sense of being unable to move forward in life because you have never recovered from a past event. This could result in continuing to engage in unhealthy relationships despite trying to stop, because you just can’t find the ability to move on from the event. In other words, you are stuck. There may also be grief or anger that doesn’t go away but remains with you for years, and very strong inner criticism which leads to low self esteem and total lack of confidence. Some people may even suffer memory loss because they’ve blocked out painful experiences or trauma.
In shamanism, the belief is that the part of the soul that has been lost has gone to another realm, but perhaps it’s easier to believe that because of the trauma you can literally deny that part of yourself as a form of self protection, to feel safe. The lost part then becomes more and more distant, the personality is fragmented and dissociation occurs.
If any of this sounds familiar, then don’t discount soul loss. It is said that people know instinctively if they have it, because for thousands of years it was accepted as a spiritual sickness at a time when shamanic belief was more widespread and accepted as common practice. You may very well inherently know that you’re suffering some sort of soul loss just by reading this.
Soul retrieval is simply restoring the soul, or reconnecting with the life force which has been fragmented by the illness, abuse or trauma. This means rediscovering who we truly are on a soul level and finding our authentic purpose or soul mission. It can be very powerful. There are shamanic practitioners listed online, though depending on where you live you may have to travel to one. If you choose to take this step there is no reason to be afraid – the actual soul retrieval involves a short ritualistic ceremony with drumming, crystals and smudging. A good practitioner will travel in spirit and bring back fragments of soul that have been hidden away since the trauma, and will literally blow them back into your body. Many people report feeling renewed energy and calmness with a new purpose in life afterwards. The shaman will also do a follow up to ensure that soul fragments are reintegrating into your body to restore wholeness.
There has been research into whether soul retrieval works. In 1995, Elizabeth Glenn wrote a dissertation on a study of six participants with symptoms like chronic fatigue, emptiness and prolonged grief or sadness and who felt as if part of themselves were missing. Their symptoms had persisted for at least three years. During six sessions, they had soul retrieval, power animal retrieval and instructions on journeying so that they took responsibility for their own healing. All six participants experienced an increase in function emotionally and in their intuition. They had more energy and greater self esteem and reported feeling whole again.
Most shamans will tell you that you need their help. Sandra Ingerman’s Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self is often advised pre-reading by practitioners. Sandra is the widow of renowned anthropologist Michael Harner. She herself advocates soul retrieval by a practitioner but also includes practical steps we can do ourselves (as do some of her contemporaries, such as the brilliant Dr Alberto Villoldo, who trained with the Laika wisdom keepers of Peru). Author and healer Robert Moss writes and teaches about awakening our own inner shaman and being our own healers in soul recovery by using dream work and interpretation. Both have written extensively on the subject of spiritual sickness and soul recovery.
I believe dreams are how our subconscious communicates with us. My dreams frequently take me back to times and places in my life where soul loss could have occurred. That tells me there must be a way to access or speak with the part of the soul that is stuck there. Although an ayahuasca mixture is used by some shamans to start journeying, some only use prolonged drumming and chanting. The plants used in ayahuasca are not native in the UK and you don’t need a real drum – I use an old Chinese tea caddy. Basically, journeying is learning to dream whilst we are awake, which takes practice. It’s a skill we may have had as children, but have lost because our culture doesn’t encourage it. There are, however, many indigenous peoples across the globe who attach great importance to dream messages. For instance, the Native American Iroquois believe dreams are central to healing, and use their insight to diagnose illness that can drain our energy and result in soul loss. They talk of visitations from allies and sometimes ancestors in various forms, who impart wisdom and sometimes foretell the future. I often have animals in my dreams, which I believe are symbolic guides that represent different aspects of my life journey and show the path I should follow.
I honestly believe we can all go through a door into our deeper selves, finding lost parts of ourselves to re-integrate and discovering the magical child that has been stuck because of forgotten trauma.
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