Saturday, October 10, 2009

Soul Retrieval


In Shamanism, mostly in books, Soul Retrieval is often a topic of choice. I’ve noticed that most people who find themselves called to explore Shamanism often start by being curious about soul retrieval, vision quests and drum circles. This isn’t to say though that these three subjects define or describes Shamanism as a whole.

On a monthly basis, I get lots of calls by new comers to Shamanism on the topic of soul retrieval. There is something in the words that seems to attract people. Many want the experience of soul retrieval but very little people can actually explain what the experience entails or what are the end results. In recent years, I’ve come to notice that lots of individuals have read book by Sandra Ingerman and Micheal Harner on the topic but not too many people have met individuals who have talked about their soul retrieval experience.

In most Aboriginal Traditions, our elders and grand-parents will guide us to be present and appreciative to our stories; to learn and share these stories with others; and then, listen to the stories of those around us so that we may be touched by them. I find that when it comes to Neo Shamanism there’s too many books written about the psychology behind our stories and not enough time and energy given to the art of listening and hearing the wisdom in our stories and the stories of others. It’s all nice and dandy to read that Soul Retrieval is a healing technique used by Shamans and that it’s basically meant to recapture those fragmented parts of the self that were ripped away by trauma; but how do we actually come to choose the path that leads to such a healing.

Yesterday I spent some time in a Hospital waiting room. An elderly man who was obviously anxious about his doctor’s visit kept attempting to speak to everyone around him. “I’ve lost my sister two days ago,” he told at least three different people at three different times. Every single one of the women he chose to speak to were around his age, elderly as well. These women would listen and by their reaction they all seemed touched by his sadness. Still, each one left when their turn came with nothing more than a simple goodbye and a “good luck.” Each time, the old man who seemed fairly strong and healthy still, would start over again talking about all of the loved ones he had lost in the last year ending with his sister “two days ago.”

“Mourning is difficult,” the man repeated letting himself fall into a daze and then, stare into the distance. “It doesn’t take a year like everyone says,” the man shouted as if he was outraged at the lie, “for me, it never goes away and it seems to get worst with each passing year and with each new death.”

The strangers, these older women the man talked to seemed to understand as if they too had lived something similar. I imagine that when you reach a certain age this kind of experience becomes the norm. After all, we all walk towards death and when we become elderly, we are several people from the same family, the same circle of friends or the same community who pass on close to the same time. As someone who makes “a career” (in a matter of speaking) of dealing with death that makes sense to me. If we are born several years apart (siblings and cousins, mates and friends) and we share our formative years with people who are the same age as us then doesn’t it make sense that when death comes near we keep following closely the ones we shared a life with…

For people who believe that “nothing exists after death” this kind of thinking is useless and in some ways frightening. Yet for others who have no doubt that “life doesn’t end with the end of the physical body” – there is something reassuring in knowing that we continue to walk alongside those we love and those we grew up with all through our story.

Soul Retrieval in my opinion is not a “healing technique used by Shamans” but a way of life. This isn’t to say that I’m not aware that indeed lots of shamanic practitioners today, make a living out of soul retrieval as a healing technique. Yesterday, the old man in the hospital helped me realize how many people are indeed searching for “parts of their soul” and aren’t finding their way not because there are very little Shaman around these days; but because we’ve lost the wisdom of “natural living.” We are so caught up with the 9 to 5 job; shopping on weekends; and socializing during happy hour that we have no idea anymore what it takes to prepare for sex; love; for parenthood; for death …

From my point of view it takes understanding the soul and its story to be able to understand the need to quest and retrieve parts of the soul. When was the last time you asked yourself the question: “What is my soul saying, feeling, hearing and questing for today?” In the waiting room hospital yesterday I heard at least four people mention that they had forgotten to have lunch or that they had to call home to warn family members that they were going to be late for supper. How many of us ask ourselves “have we fed our soul today?” Or even how many of us actually call in “to warn a family member that our soul just won’t make it home on time?” You might be surprised on the last one…

There are many moments in life where it would do us some good to understand more on the topic of “the soul”. Yesterday, I did feel called to sit with the old man and talk more about the “life and story of the soul” yet I wasn’t sure he was prepared to listen. I felt that he was so caught up in this panic of searching for “a missing piece” that he wasn’t open to hearing why or how he got there and what he would need to do to find wholeness again. There’s definitely no doubt in my mind that we all need a bit of soul retrieving but it’s no use bridging the topic if we don’t get better informed first, on the wisdom behind it all. The soul doesn’t react emotionally. It’s a practical, instinctual part of us: It’s our basic nature. So if we want to have any impact on our SOUL story and its wholeness there’s lots we need to do before we can start “the search party”.


P.S Every picture on my blog are from my personal photo albums. This is picture was taken in the Rockies (Canada).

5 comments:

Prismslight said...

What does my soul need ....this blog how nourishing it was to just sit and reread you help answer those questions that often get pushed out by being caught up in the 9 to 5 :) I know my soul is speaking it is only now that I am really hearing it thank you your post was very healing!

Wapeyit Malsom said...

What does your soul need today? I'd love to hear some of your answers...

LISA

Prismslight said...

Today it needed to sit with quiet I didnt need that coffee i went to grab this morning thinking I needed the energy to get through cooking a big thanksgiving dinner. I stopped mid pour and said to myself do you need this coffee the answer was no I needed water a cool glass a water I smiled and sipped it as I looked outside the window this morning the new blanket of snow glistening in the sunlight like tiny droplets of diamonds shining a smile at me....I feel like my soul is pushing for attention no almost demanding attention now.

Wapeyit Malsom said...

Prismlight -- Then give to the soul and be "thankful" for it. What a great message for Thanksgiving!! Thank you for sharing with us, with me.

LISA

Fishrarr said...

I have helped a lot of peaple with feeling more at home with them selfs, soul retrieval is the modern name for it. A part of getting yourself back is letting go of what no longer serves you, then you can call back the lost energy of the situation, as it needs the room clear of fear, hurt, and pain, to feel at home again. We can carry only so much "stuff" at one time. We need to be a hollow bone. To let the experience flow though us and not hold it, if we hold it to long it will make us sick and we could give up all together.

Soul Retrieval is more of a life process than a one time thing. It's having and using all the tools our personal tool box. That takes a lot of courage sometimes.

Be well, feed your soul, take some time to be in nature every day that you can.

Tom.