Beneath most headaches is a heartache.
It’s a natural protective mechanism of ours to think our way around wounds instead of feeling our way through them. In this day and age, we just want an escape.
What can we do to stop feeling the pain we’re feeling? How can we change ourselves to be more acceptable? How can we numb ourselves to outside forces beyond our control?
No one wants to feel pain. But most of us carry around heavy clouds with us all day. We can’t quite pinpoint what the source of our suffering is – we just know that it hurts. This pain forms the vague backdrop of our lives and is so persistent, yet subtle that it becomes the new “norm” for us.
Whenever we suffer a physical or emotional trauma, it is said that a part of our soul flees the body to survive the experience. With every cut and wound, our essence and vitality grow weaker. This process is called “Soul Loss” which I’ve previously written about.
The shaman, on the other hand, assumes that Soul Loss is a spiritual illness and that the dissociated parts can leave the body and wander into other realms (non-ordinary reality), as a result of shock or trauma. These realms are often inaccessible and are guarded by heavy defenses that make it difficult (or impossible) for the affected person to go through on their own, without the guidance of a Shaman.
Over time, the Soul Loss resulting from not integrating these traumatic experiences can become obstacles in our personal development. This Soul Loss can result in distressing, debilitating and incapacitating defense mechanisms that manifest as anxieties, depression, addictions, and compulsions as well as chronic fatigue.
Why Does the Soul Fragment?
In this light, it’s easy to think of Soul loss as something bad that has happened to us. However, here it’s important to realize that Soul Loss is in fact, a gift.
In the same way that you become unconscious when you’re experiencing immense amounts of physical pain, your soul is wise and knows its limits. Your soul knows what it can and can’t handle, so it leaves your body as a survival mechanism to protect itself from feeling the fullness of pain.
This splitting of the soul only becomes an obstacle when the pieces aren’t actively retrieved. This is what leads to chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, post-traumatic stress syndrome, addictions, immune deficiency problems, and grief that refuses to heal.
However, the retrieval of these soul pieces is not the end of the work. We must then learn how to integrate them back into our lives to recover the vital power, potential, and energy they possess.
Without these lost soul parts, we don’t feel whole. Instead, we feel weak, depressed, anxious, or empty. We feel as if something is missing, and we will fill that emptiness with anything we can.
However, once we’ve recovered these lost pieces, we can experience the following benefits:
- Feeling more grounded in our body and more “solid”
- Feeling energized, awake, and more alive
- Greater presence in the world
- More awareness of our choices, behaviors, and decisions
- Lightness and joy
- Awareness of huge amounts of energy you didn’t know you had
- Mental clarity and a new sense of hope
- Physical wellbeing and less sickness
- A sense of purpose and renewed direction
- Deeper sleep
- Overcoming addictive dependencies (drugs, food, work)
- A new-found wholeness and sense of belonging
To undergo Soul Retrieval, you must have an experienced guide. Shamans are not the only healers that can perform Soul Retrieval. Other healing practices such as hypnosis, witchcraft, and psychoanalysis all have methods for integrating split-off or lost parts of the self.
The Soul Retrieval Journey
To retrieve a soul as a shaman, we typically enter trance states with the client. This altered state of consciousness helps us to journey into one of the three spirit worlds (typically the underworld) where we are accompanied by spirit helpers with the intent to retrieve a particular part of the soul. We narrate the whole journey to the client or visualize it through active imagination.
In these Soul Retrieval journeys, we encounter strong, often harsh energies that manifest themselves through the archetypal images of monsters, reptiles, dragons, and other dangerous beasts. These are the guardians of the Soul, or in psychotherapy, they are known as defense mechanisms of the psyche. We must overcome these with the help of our spirit helpers, to persuade the soul part to come back.
Once we have retrieved the soul part, we reintegrate it together with the client. This is usually done energetically (by blowing the energy into the body), through the ceremony, or through cognitive tools (such as inner child work or Gestalt therapy).
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About the author:
Mateo Sol is a prominent psychospiritual teacher whose work has influenced the lives of thousands of people worldwide. Born into a family with a history of drug addiction, schizophrenia, and mental illness, Mateo Sol was taught about the plight of the human condition from a young age. As a shaman and spiritual guide, Sol’s mission is to help others experience freedom, wholeness, and peace in any stage of life.
The article Soul Retrieval Can Heal Addiction, Trauma, and Mental Illness – Here’s how … was originally published on lonerwolf.com and it is republished here with permission and proper attribution to the author Mateo Sol.