Soul Retrieval: Picking up the pieces of our lives



Sun rays

In this month’s article, I share a shamanic healing experience I had with a client who found great relief through soul retrieval. He writes: 

“I just wanted to write and thank you for the healing that I received. I have to admit that, even after all of the things I have read and done in the past year, I was still a little skeptical and unsure of what it could accomplish. I couldn’t have been more wrong.”

So begins the heartwarming letter I received from Jonathan a few days after we connected for a shamanic healing session. This is an individual who had experienced a number of accidents and injuries, including broken bones and head trauma, heavy alcohol and drug use, and a difficult intimate relationship that caused depression and anxiety.

About a year ago, he began exploring shamanism and found that it opened him up to a spiritual awakening that includes daily prayer and connecting with nature for support and guidance. He has dedicated himself to a healthy lifestyle, including “no drugs anymore, ever,” meditation, and frequent acupuncture. When I asked what he thought would be helpful for him, he wondered if he might benefit from soul retrieval. Turns out, this was a great option for Jonathan.

What is soul retrieval?

Soul retrieval is an opportunity to re-connect with aspects of ourselves that get left behind due to trauma or are simply worn down by the day to day challenges that occur throughout our lives. It is an experience in which the practitioner creates a safe space with guided imagery and the rhythmic sound of drumming or rattling, inducing a slightly altered state in the client. In that state, the client is able to journey back in time, surround himself with wisdom and support, and welcome back pieces of himself, creating a sense of relief and wholeness.

How Do You Know if Soul Retrieval is Right for You?

To determine if soul retrieval is right for my clients, I always listen for key words or phrases they say that indicate that they may have lost touch with their sense of self. In Jonathan’s case, he shared, “I feel scattered and lost and always less than.” He was not feeling whole or complete. It is very possible that the traumas he had experienced literally severed and scattered parts of himself. He couldn’t seem to find them. His alcohol and drug use may have brought him some short term relief, but over time he lost touch with his true essence. As a result, he was not feeling complete. Something was missing and Jonathan was longing to find it.

How Does Soul Retrieval Work?

In Jonathan’s session, we started with some gentle breathwork, breathing in feelings of comfort, safety, and healing, and breathing out tension, in order to elicit the relaxation response. I sang a song of healing called an icaro that was gentle and sweet, reassuring and soothing like a lullaby. A few minutes later, I began drumming rhythmically and guided Jonathan to imagine he was walking along a path that led to the beach. As he walked along the shore, he sensed the presence of a guide that would accompany him along the way. I encouraged Jonathan to tune in to all of his senses, noticing what he saw, the colors, the animals, the natural surroundings, the sound of the waves, the scent of the salty air, the feeling of the warm sun on his back and the cool breeze on his face.

Jonathan and his guide came upon a huge rock formation, and as they approached, they saw an opening that led to a cave deep within the Earth. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, Jonathan became aware that he was standing in the center of a circle, surrounded by his wisdom council, benevolent beings that were there to support him and bring him whatever insights might be helpful to him.

Then, I guided Jonathan to imagine he was going back in time, and each time he breathed in, he was able to welcome back parts of himself that he had lost along the way. As I continued to drum, I could hear Jonathan breathing slowly, evenly, deeply. I waited several minutes until I sensed that the process was complete. Then, I spoke quietly, instructing Jonathan to thank his wisdom council and ascend with his guide back to the opening of the cave, into the bright light of the ocean shore. He thanked his guide for accompanying him and was reminded that he could connect with his guide whenever he wanted. He walked along the beach a while longer, eventually finding the path that led him home, to his house and to his heart.

The journey ended with four series of drum beats that were a bit louder than the rhythmic drumming of the journey, slowly bringing Jonathan back to everyday waking consciousness. During his return to wakefulness, Owl came to my mind, and I focused my attention on Jonathan’s heart, filling him with the energy of light, wisdom, insight, and the ability to see through the darkness to support him as he moves forward.

At the end of the session, we talked about the experience. Jonathan’s voice sounded brighter, more clear and animated, yet peaceful at the same time. He said that his heart was burning during the session. I encouraged him to practice self-care each day by placing his hands on his heart, breathing deeply, and connecting with the feeling of having an open heart full of love and gratitude, noticing how it feels to have the pieces back together, like a jigsaw puzzle that creates a beautiful picture of YOU!

A few days later, Jonathan emailed me to let me know how much the session had helped him. “I had been really down lately and scattered… You made me feel much better. I feel stronger, more confident, more my own person.”

Responses like these let me know how much soul retrieval can help someone. Soul retrieval helps us bring the pieces of our selves back together, providing healing, relief, a sense of wholeness, gratitude, peace, and vitality. And what I love most about this work is that we are partners in the process, asking Spirit to move through both of us. I consider myself the “facilitator.” YOU are the one doing the healing!