SOUL RETRIEVAL IS DEAR TO MY HEART. It is a gentle, graceful, and profound healing practice. This information will better help you understand your soul retrieval. If you’d prefer to read a shorter version of this information in preparation for your soul retrieval, visit About Soul Retrieval -Cliff Notes Version . In the description that follows, I am using a shamanic framework to describe and clarify the nature and experience of the soul. This article will help you understand and possibly engage with the unseen world by presenting a framework that our conscious minds can understand. You don’t have to believe in or agree with this framework to have a soul retrieval.
The soul, as referred to in soul retrieval, is the energetic essence of your being. It encompasses the intangible aspects of your being, including gifts, qualities, and aspects of who you are. It is the you that transcends physical experience. Pieces and parts of that soul essence can sometimes become separated, trapped, and/or lost. If you imagine the soul energy as a sphere, when soul loss occurs, there are voids and areas that are missing.
Soul loss is part of the human experience. It’s designed to protect our nonphysical essence from various kinds of trauma. If something traumatic is happening, such as a car accident, physical violence, or an emotional assault, the last place we want to be is fully present in our bodies and in the experience. Instead, part of us goes away to avoid the trauma. Psychologists refer to this as dissociation. The shamanic community calls it soul loss. Either way, it helps us to survive the various kinds of trauma that happen in our lives.
Lots of kinds of trauma can cause soul loss. Examples include accidents, surgery, sexual violence, and combat trauma. Whenever someone says, “I’ve never been the same since my accident/that relationship/my surgery,” they are describing a soul loss experience. Trauma that causes soul loss can be subtle and different for each person. Being teased or shamed can cause a sensitive child to lose soul parts.
Whatever the trauma, the protective mechanism of soul loss causes part of our life essence to leave in order to protect itself from being damaged or traumatized. The soul part leaving sometimes carries away some of the memory and immediacy of the experience. In the normal course of events, the soul part would return on its own after the trauma had passed. But sometimes the trauma is so severe that the soul part goes so far and fast that it can’t find its way back and gets lost. In cases of chronic trauma or abuse, the soul part may not know it’s safe to come back. There’s no time in shamanic reality, so the soul part doesn’t know that twenty years have passed and the violent stepfather is no longer in the picture.
Another type of soul loss occurs when a part leaves because it doesn’t fit or because it is sent away. This could be an aspect that is shamed or punished; for example, a girl might send away her anger. Sometimes we send soul parts away because they don’t fit into our adult lives, disowning our impractical passions.
Finally, soul loss can happen when parts of our soul are taken by or given to the significant people in our lives. As human beings, we struggle to maintain good physical and emotional boundaries. The concept of good energetic boundaries is not something that occurs to most people. When soul parts are taken or exchanged, it invariably happens on an unconscious, energetic level. People who have had soul parts taken unknowingly take soul parts from others. While there’s no judgment or blame, this does put people in an inappropriate energetic relationship.
Picture a mother, already diminished by her own soul loss experiences, looking at her child. She might think that if she could just have some of her child’s vitality and energy, she would be able to cope with her life. On an energetic level, she reaches out and takes some of the child’s essence. The child may resist at first, but eventually it is easier to give up the soul part than keep struggling. Or perhaps the child feels sorry for the parent and gives up their soul part willingly. Again, I want to emphasize that this isn’t deliberate. When I retrieve soul parts, parents are always glad to give up their children’s soul parts once they realize what they’ve done.
In a romantic relationship, the people involved often will trade soul parts. Our culture’s love mythology implies that when we love someone, we give them our heart and our soul. It’s easy to mistake a lack of energetic boundaries for closeness and connection. People often unconsciously give their lover some of their own vital life essence along with their love. This exchange makes both people more dependent on each other, less able to stand on their own, and thus less likely to leave. It can feel safer and more connected to both parties, but in reality, both people are diminished.
Whatever the source of soul loss, the effects are much the same. Soul loss will diminish a person’s sense of well-being and joy in life. It can cause a lack of vitality and interest in the world. People often feel depressed, listless, and as though the world was all gray. Soul loss can lead to gaps in memory. People can feel fragmented or spacey or even like pieces are missing. Sometimes people become accident-prone or keep falling into the path of misfortune. People with soul loss can spend a lot of energy working through events of their past and still feel impacted by them. In extreme cases, soul loss can cause a lack of sense of self, suicidal tendencies, and vulnerability to physical illness.
Impact of a Soul Retrieval
The experience of soul retrieval varies from person to person. Some people experience soul retrieval as life-changing: a sensation of being filled up, a tingling or a heat. Other people feel a subtler impact. Often a much greater effect is felt some hours after the soul retrieval than immediately after the work is completed. I felt the largest impact at dawn the day after my soul retrieval.
The shift in your life can be subtle. Some clients have reported that they felt very little at the time but found that they felt more solid in themselves, less tired, more sure of their choices and path following a soul retrieval. Things that would have been nearly impossible seem fairly straightforward after a soul retrieval.
In terms of emotional impact, soul retrieval is very gentle. Even when parts are lost due to severe trauma, they come back unharmed. When people get back memories of the traumatic events that caused soul loss the memories are factual, with no emotion attached. After a soul retrieval, people often want extra downtime, to reflect and just be with themselves. If people have a strong emotional response to soul retrieval, it’s almost invariably one of profound joy and celebration. “Dark night of the soul” work and emotional catharsis are valuable, but they are not generally part of the soul retrieval experience.
Because soul retrieval is so gentle, people are sometimes surprised by how much of an impact it has. Afterwards you may find it much harder to accept situations where you are not being honored, regardless of the economic or emotional advantages of being in that place. For example, I used to be very good at swallowing my truth and not speaking up. After my soul retrieval it became much more uncomfortable to be silent than it was to speak, so I began saying what I needed to say to those around me. It was a good change, but it happened very quickly. A soul retrieval has the potential to put you on the fast track of interpersonal growth.
If you get soul parts back from another person, this can impact your relationship with them. In some cases, returning the soul parts instantly improves the relationship. Tensions and conflict may dissipate overnight. In other cases—if a marriage is teetering on the edge, for example—a soul retrieval could precipitate its end. Any relationship where the other person is invested in controlling my client is likely to be made rockier by a soul retrieval. This is because a soul retrieval makes the recipient stronger, more complete, and harder to control or manipulate.
Those individuals who have ended a major relationship and are having trouble moving on are perfect candidates for a soul retrieval. Very often a soul part is left behind with the former spouse or lover and returning that part to my client frees them to move on. If someone who held your soul part has died, returning that soul part has a powerful benefit for both of you. It frees the soul of the other person to move on, unburdened by energy that they can’t use. For my client, it can release them from a fascination with and a pull toward death.
About Power Animals
My soul retrievals include bringing back two power animals. They help support you following the soul retrieval. Power animals are spirits who appear in shamanic reality in animal form. It is believed that when a child is born, a benevolent spirit in animal form looks at the infant and sees how helpless they are. That spirit takes pity on the child and becomes their ally and protector. Often a person’s power animal will be an animal that they have a strong affinity for.
In ordinary reality, a power animal is a source of protection and power. It’s your power animal’s job to make sure that the idiot driving way too fast doesn’t hit you and that if a rock falls out of the sky it lands next to you, not on you. They work on our behalf to keep the physical world safe and positive for us. A strong connection to a power animal provides a source of energy and support and enhances the flow of your own energy.
The power animals I bring back may or may not be the ones that you expect. If I bring back an unexpected power animal, it doesn’t mean the one you expected isn’t your power animal; it almost certainly is. It just means that these are new animals coming into relationship with you. The more work we do to heal and grow, the more spiritual help is available to us, hence more power animals.
When receiving a soul retrieval, you have the option to share or not share the events and experiences in your life that may have led to soul loss. The work is completely effective even if I don’t get any information from you aside from your request that I do the work. If you choose not to share knowledge about your life, my spirit guides will honor your privacy by not showing me things that you haven’t shared. They may give me symbols that are meaningful to you but not to me.
When people choose to share, I get more information and detail during the soul retrieval. I can also sometimes address family themes that need healing or do other types of healing work if the person has talked to me about their experiences. But sharing isn’t required.
If any information I receive about the soul parts I find conflicts with your intuition, trust yourself rather than what I told you. I was molested at five. Because I had no memory of the event, I didn’t list it as a cause of soul loss. Therefore, the person doing my soul retrieval got a vague and different story about that soul part. I knew the loss of this part was related to the molestation because I got the memories back with the soul part. So trust your own experience rather than my report; sometimes I am given a different story as a placeholder.
How Soul Retrieval Works
While I am doing the soul retrieval, set your intent to release anyone else’s soul parts you may be holding onto and ask that they return to the appropriate person.
During the soul retrieval, I go into an altered or trance state while lying down quietly and listening to a drumming CD. I shift my awareness into shamanic reality, meet my guides, and begin the work. I begin by locating two power animals that will support you through the reintegration process. Power animals are spirit guides and helpers who appear in shamanic reality in animal form. They are sources of protection and power.
After meeting your power animals, I ask your spirit guides if there is a message or information for you. I then go to the separated soul parts, talk to them, and ask them to return to you. If the soul part is a part that is held by someone else in your life, I offer a soul retrieval for the person holding your soul part. It’s not a complete soul retrieval: I only return the soul parts that this person lost that caused them to take yours. This makes the person willing to release your soul part.
During the shamanic healing portion of the soul retrieval, I do whatever healing work best supports you. This can take the form of extraction, past life healing, ancestral healing, etc. I often re-weave places in your energetic field that have become damaged.
I then blow the soul parts into you and seal your aura. The final step is to share the details of my journey. I provide a recording of this information at the end of the session.
After the Soul Retrieval
I recommend you spend some time talking to your soul parts. There are three questions you can ask each part in the days or weeks following your soul retrieval:
- Is there anything you want to tell me about why you left?
Your soul part may or may not choose to share information.
- How will you be of service to me?
Soul parts always come back with gifts and ways that they will help and support us. It could be anything from helping you to be creative and passionate and play more, to helping you stand up for yourself, to helping you find your car keys in the morning.
- What can I do to make it comfortable for you to stay?
With this question, understand that you are not in danger of losing your soul parts again unless your life includes the same kind of abuse that caused the soul loss. For example, if someone lost a soul part as a child due to physical abuse and is currently in a physically abusive relationship, the soul part would provide a great push to leave that relationship. If the person chooses to stay, the soul part would likely leave again. Also, depending on the answer, negotiation may be required, since a three-year-old soul part may want things that are impractical for an adult—for example, a young soul part that wants ice cream. If you are now lactose intolerant, you could remember what it was like to eat ice cream instead of actually eating it and making yourself sick.
With these questions, just find a quiet time and see if answers bubble to the surface. There’s no way to do it wrong; you’re really just talking to yourself, after all. If you don’t get answers, that’s okay. Regardless, it’s good to welcome your soul parts back and celebrate their return.
I recommend that people wait 24 hours before talking about the soul retrieval experience. This is because often the work is felt most strongly some time after the initial return of the parts. Since soul retrieval doesn’t translate easily into words, talking about and analyzing the experience can take you out of it. It is said that in Western culture we suffer from premature evaluation. Also, if you put words to it too soon, you risk remembering the words you used rather than what the soul retrieval felt like.
Following a soul retrieval, if any soul parts have not returned, you are likely to experience spontaneous soul return of soul parts coming back on their own, now that the process has been activated. Except in cases of extreme trauma, most people who work with me only need one soul retrieval, rather than ongoing sessions. I work with my guides to make this healing as complete as possible.
By understanding soul loss, there is an opportunity to move through the world with much healthier energetic boundaries. It is good to become conscious of not giving away your soul parts, no matter how deeply you love someone. You can also set your intent to release any soul parts that you may have collected from others as you go along. When you release those parts, you free yourself of the burden of unusable energy. You also improve your energetic relationship to the people whose soul parts you have and place yourself more fully in right relationship with the universe.
Please note, the session will cover as much ground as 3-5 sessions would in another modality. While your energy body should be able to integrate the healing without difficulty, please give yourself space and time to unpack the many messages and suggestions the guides share when I provide the journey report.
Optional Next Step After your Soul Retrieval:
Would you like to receive ongoing support from my team of guides? When we work together, my guides have the chance to meet with your guides and higher self. From this experience, my team of guides get a detailed picture of what would support you in life. There’s only so much energy and information that can be shared within the 90 minutes we spend together. So, you may want to choose to have my team to hold and support you 24/7, either for a season as you integrate the soul retrieval work or as ongoing support for your life.
I offer this as part of my Patreon offer for as little as $5/month. You can learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/practicalshamanism
I also offer a soul retrieval follow up session to align the new destiny paths that become possible following a soul retrieval. This optional work also helps to update and align your soul purpose. See the details here: https://handsoverheart.com/shamanic-healing/followup/
For more tips for supporting yourself after your soul retrieval, check out this optional video:
©2005, Katie Weatherup. All rights reserved.