Soul Retrieval Seminar: First Journey

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One of the most basic principles of shamanic practice is that everything in the universe is connected with everything else. The first journey in this seminar was oriented toward that concept. On the first journey we were to ask our helpful spirits to show us the web of life and show how a successful soul retrieval affects the web.


I went to the lower world, met the beaver and entered the cave. I met with the eagle and my young male teacher. I told them the purpose of my journey. First I merged with my teacher and then we merged with the eagle. The eagle lifted up and flew to the farthest reaches of the universe.

We knew a soul retrieval was being performed. As it was finished, a spark occurred on the earth and became a white light energy that traveled instantly throughout the universe. This seemed simple enough, but I asked, “So what does this mean?” We then visited what I call a monolith. It appears as a giant egg-shaped stone. It contains the unlimited potential of Creation. As we approached it I understood that a soul retrieval helps bring all of life toward its greatest potential. This is where all life is destined to go, to become complete and achieve its fullness – the ultimate goal of the God’s creation. So by doing a soul retrieval we are helping the Universe, all of Creation, reach it highest possibility. We are co-creating the building and construction of Creation. We are helping perfect Creation.

End of journey. This message had a positive effect on me. When I do a soul retrieval and a soul part seems reluctant to return to the client, I explain that its return will help fulfill the purpose of creation. So far I have never had a soul part refuse to return once it has that understanding.

Next blog: Other types of shamanic healing


Soul Retrieval: The Ritual or Process

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For purposes of discussion I will refer to the person doing the ritual as the healer and the person receiving the results as the client. As with any ritual, everyone has a role to play. The client must be relaxed and must be in a receptive, passive state. Observers, friends and family must maintain a quiet, observing attitude and do nothing to interrupt the proceedings. The healer conducts the ritual.

I’m sure there are variations on the soul retrieval ritual. Different teachers teach slightly different methods and, over time, the healer personalizes the ritual to his or her liking. That said, I believe the following description is general enough that most healers would easily recognize it. A soul retrieval ritual may last from 45 to 90 minutes.

The ritual begins with the client laying on a blanket on the floor with a covering over their eyes. If that is not convenient, the client may sit in a chair in the center of the room. Observers are seated or standing around the outside of the room. The healer begins by drumming and walking around the client. This clears unnecessary energies from the room and opens it up for the healing ritual. The healer prays to helpful spirits, asking their assistance, especially the assistance of her or his Healing Guide. At this point I have a brief message I read to the client which helps them become receptive to the healing that is about to occur.

Next the healer sits or lays next to the client, their shoulders touching. If no one is available to continue the drumming rhythm, the healer may use a rattle to provide the appropriate rhythm. The healer uses an eye cover, meets with the Healing Guide, and they proceed into the spirit world searching for one or more of the client’s soul parts. As mentioned in my previous blog, each of these journeys are unique. Sometimes the healer sees a landscape or other vision related to the client. Eventually he and the guide encounter a soul part. At this point the healer asks the separated part to rejoin the client and asks what strength or talent they will be bringing back with them. If the soul part is reluctant to return, the healer will persist or the guide will become involved. Soul parts are usually positive about returning.  The healer may ask the soul part if there are other parts that are willing to return. If so, those parts are sought out as well. The healer will ask all soul parts to enter a the healer’s crystal and all will return to ordinary reality. At this time the healer kneels beside the client, symbolically blows the soul parts back into the client and may use his/her rattle to assist with the reunification.

At this point the healer will notify the client that the soul retrieval and ask that they slowly return to normal consciousness. Once they are fully awake the healer will describe the events of the journey and ask if the client has any questions.

Normally some of the visions seen or other information uncovered has a special meaning to the client. For example, in one soul retrieval I saw a city in the distance surrounded by mountains. I felt drawn there and encountered a fierce looking dog. I realized the dog was a power animal that would protect the client and brought it back at the end of the journey. When I mentioned the landscape, the client got excited and revealed that she grew up in a town in California that was surrounded by mountains and that the dog probably represented her pet which was always very protective of her.

At this point the ritual has ended. Everyone returns to their homes. Usually the healer will keep in touch with the client for a while in order to be available for questions that might arise. Some people are happy with one soul retrieval. Some request a second or third soul retrieval depending on their needs. It is always a good idea to let a few weeks go by before follow up soul retrievals are performed.

Next blog: Soul Retrieval seminar and journeys

Soul Retrieval: An Introduction

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Soul retrieval is a shamanic form of healing. To quote from Sandra Ingerman (Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self, page 11),

“The basic premise is that whenever we experience trauma, a part of our vital existence separates from us in order to survive the experience by escaping the full impact of the pain.”

In effect, during trauma a part of our soul separates from us and escapes to a place in the spirit world or what is termed non-ordinary reality. As a result of this loss we may experience: depression, apathy, gaps in memory, addictions,  physical or emotional illness; or, we may simply feel that something significant is missing from our lives. The results vary from person to person. Typically such people say they ‘never felt the same’ after the experience, or they feel ‘something is missing’ in their lives.

In soul retrieval, the healer enters a trance state, travels to the spirit world, and searches for the the missing part(s). Once found, it or they are ‘escorted’ to back to the client and returned so that they may rejoin the person’s soul and help improve the out-of-balance conditions caused by the separation.

This condition is recognized by modern medicine. Psychology  views this traumatic result as segments of the personality that have separated from normal consciousness. The psychological term for this state is dissociation; where patients feel estranged from their essential self. Psychology has its own specific treatments for this condition.

Although the soul retrieval ritual is organized and well planned, the experience of the healer is different for each healing because of the individual needs and experiences of the clients. However, each healer performs the soul retrieval with the assistance of helpful spirits, especially his or her healing guide. This healing guide provides expert assistance and guidance during the ritual, virtually ensuring the success of each soul retrieval.

Healing With Spiritual Light – Emotions

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Specifically I’m referring to my emotions. For those of you into astrology I will just say that my ascendant sign is Cancer, the Cardinal water sign. As a male of the species I feel I have been burdened with this … ahem … particular blessing. I say burdened because I’m over six feet tall, about 220 pounds and usually the first one to shed tears. Jokingly I have said I even cry tears of happiness at the end of the cartoon when the Road Runner escapes from Wiley E. Coyote. It’s not as much of an exaggeration as you might think.

This topic, about me, came up toward the end of the “Healing …” seminar. I got emotionally involved in some issue and started wiping my eyes on my sleeves and apologizing. Lauren helpfully suggested that I might be able to get assistance from my spirit guides on the issue. You should have heard the women laugh at me when I asked if my helpful spirits would actually help me stop crying.  “No, no, no,” Lauren replied emphatically, “the idea is that they would help you reduce your guilty feelings about crying in public.”

“Oh ..” I said, the light dawning. I admit I felt like an idiot.

I did take her advice … about six weeks later. I was in the process of typing my notes into my journal when I realized I hadn’t followed up on her worthwhile idea. So on May 31st, 2012, I journeyed in my living room, seated on my couch, listening to one of the drumming tracks.

Journey: My intention was to learn how to express my emotions in public without feeling awkward or ashamed. I went to the Lower World – none of my power animals were interested. The pretty much ignored me. My younger male teacher showed up and offered to help. We merged and went to the Upper World and met with my woman teacher. She is a lovely lady. I think she’s either American Indian or Hispanic, maybe both. She gave me hugs and kisses and I kissed and hugged her back. I asked her to tell me from her perspective what she thought about the issue. She smiled at me (she must have heard my stupid question) and told me the following:

A.) There’s no need for me to feel embarrassed or think that I’m displaying weakness; those are just superficial teachings that men tell each other in order to seem ‘macho’. Men who don’t express their feelings are the ones who have problems. They are the ones who don’t understand and are afraid of how they appear.

B.) Just be myself; don’t be embarrassed or ashamed and don’t pretend to be; accept myself for who I am. If someone doesn’t like who I am, that is their problem.

C.) Eliminate the ego-role that is associated with these feelings. Quit falling into this trap and quit apologizing for it.

I thanked her for her advice and I thanked my male teacher for traveling with me. The drumming track ended and I returned to my living room. In retrospect I think her advice has helped me. Sometimes I still do show my emotions publicly but I don’t make any apologies for it and I’m feeling better about myself when it happens. Thanks also to Lauren for the suggestion.

Next blog: Soul Retrieval


Ancient Wisdom – Spirit Guides

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Like shamanism itself, the idea of communicating with spirit guides dates back at least 40,000 to 50,000 years. While this idea has fallen out of favor in Western civilization, it has persisted in various places throughout the world even to this day.

When I went to grammar school I learned that each of us have a Guardian Angel. As the prayer to the Guardian Angel stated, they were there “to light, to guard, to rule and to guide” us. Over the years I noticed that I got good ideas from my inner voice, but I never focused on my guardian angel as much as I should have. In fact I sometimes ignored the good ideas, and later regretted it.

As I ‘matured’ I learned the value of paying attention to that voice. The more you listen for it, the more likely you are to hear it. As you know, in shamanic practice that inner voice may represent a message from a power animal as well as a human-form spirit teacher, or perhaps our guardian angel as well. Yet most Western people today think of spirit guides as something that are imaginary. It’s unfortunate. As human beings we have predispositions to make decisions in a certain way, limiting the variety of our choices. When we listen to spirit guides, we open our hearts and minds to a greater variety of possibilities and therefore a greater number of positive outcomes.

Sometime after Marilyn died in 1998, I read a book about souls, reincarnation and the time between lives. I read it again recently. Titled Journey of Souls, by Dr. Michael Newton, it was based upon his experience using hypnotherapy and life regression techniques to help his patients. He accidentally discovered patients who described previous lifetimes in great detail, and sometimes the past life contained answers to their current problems. He decided to specialize in past life regression and as a result wrote the book which was based on hundreds of such cases.

One chapter is titled “Our Guides”. On page 107 Dr. Newton states, “I have never worked with a subject in trance [past life regression] who did not have a personal guide.” He went on to write that most people have more than just one guide and that different guides possess different attributes, each of which are useful to the person they are helping. The doctor found that each guide has a name and that while some names are ‘ordinary’ by our standards, some are whimsical sounding or even unusual. I can personally attest to the unusual name because one of my guides, whom I refer to as the Ancient One, told me his name once and I had to ask him to repeat it a couple of times before I could figure it out. It’s not like any other name I know.

The doctor’s conclusions were that guides are highly helpful beings; none of his clients ever feared their guide. The guides also give us a positive outlook on Self that helps us in our mundane world. He says that it is easiest for us to hear the guides ‘voice’ if we are relaxed but focused and open to hearing the message.

While not associated with any form of shamanic practice, the doctor’s statements affirm my personal experiences with spirit guides. I also find it interesting to note that the shamanic journey itself provides us with a relaxed but focused method of communicating with our spirit friends. As with any practice, the more frequently we journey to the spirit world, the more worthwhile our experiences will be.

Next blog – I don’t know what it will be yet. I’m waiting for inspiration. Come on, helpful spirits!

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