Soul Loss (A Shamanic Perspective)
To understand soul loss, it’s best to think of the soul as being like a holographic 3-D image. Holographic images result from a laser beam passing through a special type of film within which is contained the potential for a three-dimensional image. You may recall how in the first Star Wars movie (which turned out to be episode IV), Princess Leia created a holographic image to get a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi with the now iconic, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi,” then installed it in the robot, R2-D2.
If a small piece of the film that holds the image is broken, you’ll still get a 3-D image, however it won’t be as clear. This is a fair analogy to soul loss in that it isn’t someone’s entire soul that is lost, but a piece of the soul, much like when the film that holds the holographic image is broken. The individual still functions okay, but may have a feeling that something is missing. The more extensive the soul loss, the more the symptoms can become increasingly severe. To varying degrees, the person may experience feelings of alienation, forgetfulness, lethargy, fragmentation, or psychic numbness (a lack of feeling physical sensations).
Although any of these symptoms may be treated in other ways, with shamanic healing and Earth Magic the focus is on treating the spiritual cause, which may very well be soul loss. As you’ll see, this is best determined by a diagnostic assessment, typically through a shamanic journey or guided meditation journey. From there, you can have a soul retrieval carried out on your behalf by someone trained to do so, or you may elect to do one for yourself. Either way can be effective, however I would suggest that if it’s your first time, have someone trained in the process do so on your behalf.
When someone has been traumatized, they are particularly vulnerable to soul loss. Psychologically and physiologically the person dissociates as the result of extraordinarily overwhelming events. The nervous system becomes so activated that it shuts down to some degree while the individual psychologically feels disconnected from their body and their usual self. Spiritually, they are at risk of soul loss, where an aspect of his soul not only detaches but remains separate from the remainder of his soul.
It’s highly unusual to go through life without some soul loss, and even though we can function quite effectively, restoring those aspects of soul that have been left behind allows us to emerge more fully into our complete and authentic self. Not only can soul loss result from trauma, but we can give away pieces through strong attachments we make with others where we “lose ourselves.” Typically these are romantic attachments where someone has become overly dependent on the other and unwittingly gives them a piece of her soul.
And beware! You can inadvertently without conscious intention steal an aspect of another’s soul! By clinging to someone out of fear or desperation, especially after you’ve ended the relationship, there’s a risk that you’re unwittingly keeping a part of them with you.
Trauma and Soul Loss
Psychologically, the feeling of estrangement from one’s ordinary state that occurs under extreme stress is called dissociation and is a perfectly natural and instinctive response to overwhelming experiences. You leave your body. It’s best summed-up by something Woody Allen once said: “I don’t mind dying. I just don’t want to be around for it when it happens.” Whether you are in fact dying or it just seems like you might, in addition to everything else happening psychologically, physically, and emotionally, you do leave your body. Or more accurately, a part of you does—and that part of you is a part of your soul.From a shamanic perspective, it’s quite natural to experience soul loss. You’re extremely vulnerable in many ways in the midst of a traumatizing event. So much is going on that your organismic, instinctual self is overwhelmed and doing what it has to do to keep you alive under what is perceived as life-threatening circumstances. The Creator has constructed our survival mechanisms in such a way that we do what we have to in order sustain our life.
The shamanic treatment for soul loss is soul retrieval (also called soul recovery). There’s an interesting parallel between what happens during other psychotherapeutic treatments for PTSD and shamanic treatments. Because there’s so much stored energy in the nervous system from the post-traumatic cluster of unreleased energy when it is released—preferably in a gradual way so that the individual is not once again overwhelmed and re-traumatized—the person will often find themselves shaking and crying. This marks the release of some of that energy. When the soul part is restored in the soul recovery model, it’s not unusual for the person to have the same kind of response.
Steven provides a range of therapeutic services both in-person and virtually. These include shamanic therapies such as soul retrieval. Discover more here.