Shamanism and Soul Loss

Shamanism is the oldest spiritual practice known to humankind. We know from the archaeological evidence that shamanism was practiced all over the world for at least 40,000 years. Shamanic Practitioner’s believe that when we experience major physical or emotional trauma part of our spirit may separate itself from our body. When this happens to us we no longer have access to that part of ourselves.

Soul loss can occur with the death of a loved one, the break up of a close relationship, surgery, addiction or after physical or emotional abuse. Any event that causes shock could cause soul loss. And what might cause soul loss in one person might not cause soul loss in another. ( It is very different for every individual ). Most people have some degree of soul loss. Shamanic practitioners work with helping spirits to find these lost soul parts and bring them back to the person. When our spirit returns to us we will feel joy and inner peace. We will feel more present in our body and more able to cope with life’s challenges.

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 as we seek external sources to fill up the empty spaces inside of us whether through substances, food, relationships, work, or buying material objects.  Because often our soul loss happened so young we are unaware of the unconscious patterns we are living out due to our first experience of soul loss. We are always trying to retrieve our soul. And how we do this is by repeating the same trauma over and over again. Situations and names change but often the patterns are repeated over and over again.

The reason for why soul loss happens is that it is our bodies way of dealing with shock.  If you were going to be in a head on car accident the last place that you would want to be at the point of impact is in your body. Your brain has a  self protection mechanism where a part of our essence or soul leaves the body so that we do not feel the full impact of the pain. In psychology this is called dissociation. In shamanism we understand that a piece of the soul leaves the body and goes to a territory in what shamans call non ordinary reality where it waits until someone intervenes in the spiritual realms and facilitates its return.

Although soul loss is a survival mechanism the problem, from a shamanic point of view, is that the soul part that left usually does not come back on its own. The soul might be lost, or stolen by another person, or doesn’t know the trauma has passed and it is safe to return.

It is interesting to note that as soul loss was so understood in shamanic cultures people who suffered traumas were given a soul retrieval within three days after a trauma occurred. Today, as we have not been practicing soul retrieval, modern day practitioners are going back as much as forty years or even more looking for lost soul parts.