“Every book… has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” ~Carlos Ruis Zafon
They say, “The best things in life are free.” We can all agree it feels good to be surprised with a present; but not just any present. The present that comes in your life right when you are ready to receive it. The present that is clearly a message to you and for you.
In this case, the present is Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self by Sandra Ingerman.
With graceful delivery of rarely discussed phenomena, Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self mixes shamanism and psychology to understand the effects of trauma that cause parts of the soul to leave the body and the process by which the part(s) can be retrieved.
WHAT CAUSES SOUL LOSS?
According to Ingerman, “The basic premise is whenever we experience trauma, a part of our vital essence separates from us in order to survive the experience by escaping the full impact of the pain.”
This quiet occurrence, known as soul loss, takes the form of a perpetual feeling and experience of incompleteness and disconnection.
Ingerman says, “Anytime someone says, ‘I have never been the same’ since a certain event, and they don’t mean this in a good way, soul loss has probably occurred.”
SANDRA INGERMAN ON SOUL LOSS
Sandra Ingerman has a master’s degree in counselling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, professional mental health counselor, the author of more than ten books and a board-certified expert on traumatic stress who was awarded the 2007 Peace Award from the Global Foundation for Integrative Medicine.
For Ingerman, the leading practitioner of soul retrieval whose own spiritual journey to recapture her soul led her on various spiritual paths, the answer was found in the ancient tradition of Shamanism which views soul loss as an important cause of illness and death.
The word shaman, originating from the Tungus Tribe of Siberia, means “one who sees in the dark.”
WHAT IS SOUL LOSS?
Sandra Ingerman’s Abstract on Shamanism states that, “There are many common symptoms of soul loss. Some of the more common ones would be dissociation where a person does not feel fully in his or her body and alive and fully engaged in life. Other symptoms include chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, post-traumatic stress syndrome, immune deficiency problems, and grief that just does not heal. Addictions are also a sign of soul loss.”
For those who have lost parts of themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, “tremendous amounts of psychic energy” are unconsciously spent looking for the lost parts.
WHAT IS SOUL RETRIEVAL?
During the soul retrieval process, the shaman moves into an altered state of consciousness to travel to realities outside of normal perception (non-ordinary reality), also known as hidden spirit worlds, to retrieve the lost part of the soul.
In some cases, there is reluctance of the soul to return, or the soul may not even know a separation has occurred; while in most cases, the soul does want to return. It is, however, important to note when the “soul returns, it comes back with all the pain it experienced when leaving.”
Once the lost soul is located, the Shaman will “acknowledge the former pain and gently negotiate the soul’s return to the body.” The Shaman then brings the soul back to normal reality and (literally) blows the missing soul part back into body through the head or heart.
If a person is trained in shamanic journeying they can ask their helping spirits to perform a soul retrieval in their behalf. Or anyone can ask for a healing dream where one sets the intention to request a soul retrieval to be performed during the dream state.
If these two processes do not create change or healing then working with a trained shamanic practitioner is recommended.
Although Ingerman is very clear that you should not try to practice soul retrieval based solely on the reading of this book, in an exclusive interview, Ingerman and I discuss what can be done when someone suspects soul loss has occurred.
INSIGHTS FROM SANDRA INGERMAN
What can you do if you suspect soul loss has happened but you do not have immediate access for soul retrieval with a Shaman?
SI: If a person has soul loss they can work with a shamanic practitioner long distance. Most shamanic practitioners perform long distance healings these days.
I have been training Soul Retrieval practitioners since the late 1980’s. Of course no shamanic practitioner can ever promise a cure, but I know their work, and I trust them.
Is there a healing exercise the person can do to begin to address and/or heal the root cause of the soul loss?
SI: Nature is our greatest healer. A person who feels they have lost their soul can walk or lie down on the ground and reflect on what is the root cause of their soul loss.
You can also do automatic writing. This includes listening to spiritual music, while writing the following question on a piece of paper: “What is the root cause of my soul loss?”
You then close your eyes and allow your hand to write. This is a powerful way to let your soul and intuition give you the truth of the cause of your soul loss, and other information that is important for you to know.
What has been the most surprising or unexpected part of your work as a Shaman?
SI: All of my Shamanic work is a surprise.
The helping spirits never give expected responses to the questions I ask them. This is true also when I perform the healing journey for a client. I am always given information I did not expect or would rationally think of on my own.
Also, in my 35 years of working with clients, I continue to be surprised by the miraculous effects of the work.
PREVALENCE OF SOUL LOSS
According to Ingerman, “A reflection of how much soul loss people are dealing with” is evident when “so many governments and businesses are valuing money over life.”
However, Western medicine has no framework for this kind of diagnosis because it only deals with imbalance when it appears on a physical and mental level.
Western medicine “treats chronic pain with pain medication, insomnia with sleeping pills, weight issues with diet and exercise, and most damagingly, may label soul loss as mental illness, and cover up the symptoms with psychiatric medications that may make things worse by slapping a Band-Aid on a wound that’s not healing underneath the bandage.”
This “covering up” can lead to the deep unhappiness that many have come to consider as “simply ordinary”. Eventually this prolonged dissociation produces a nameless void that shows itself through “a loss of meaning, direction, vitality, mission, purpose, identity, and genuine connection.”
This spiritual void, which is always present and always trying to get your attention, operates as the incessant yearning of your soul wanting to incorporate all of its highest qualities, all of the God essence, all of you.
Simply put, the soul is always trying to re-connect with that from which it came.
Ingerman imparts, “If you are truly in your body (your whole soul present) you cannot place money over life. Planetary soul loss causes so much of the behavior we are currently seeing, behavior that no longer honors the beauty and importance of life.”
SIGNS OF SOUL LOSS
The following checklist can help to determine if soul loss has occurred:
- You have a difficult time staying “present” in your body
- You feel numb, apathetic, or deadened
- Chronic depression
- You have problems with your immune system and have trouble resisting illness
- You were chronically ill as a child
- Memory gaps of your life after age five where you sense that you may have blacked out significant traumas in your life
- Struggle with addictions, for example, to alcohol, drugs, food, sex or gambling
- Find yourself looking to external things to fill up an internal void or emptiness
- Have difficulty moving on with your life after a divorce or the death of a loved one
- You suffer from multiple personality syndrome
Having read this book with no prior knowledge of soul loss or soul retrieval, I found the concepts quite sobering.
Within situations of physical and emotional abuse, negation and trauma, there are many experiences in life that can be too difficult to bear. Soul loss is an understandable response for spiritual woundedness, and deep fragmentation of one’s soul essence, that would lead to an internal dissociation from natural balance.
THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN PERSONAL HEALING
Soul retrieval is not a fast process. Sandra Ingerman says, “If the person has done a lot of personal work the soul retrieval might be the end of the work. If not the soul retrieval would be the beginning of the work.”
No matter where you may find yourself, at the beginning or near the end of working through an issue, the most important factor in all healing work is you.
You have to be willing to do the work that is necessary to participate in your own healing. You will have to be willing to look at yourself with new eyes, from a new perspective and as an embodiment of completion and wholeness, while knowing that willingness is the impetus for great change which always begins with the heart.