In the shamanic world, the soul is free to explore alternative realities. In this sense, we all experience partial soul loss every night when we dream. This is something familiar to us. The soul returns safely every morning  and we carry on our lives in ordinary reality. The soul may also leave in the event of threatening situations (or situations that we perceive to be threatening) in order to protect us from being overwhelmed by the negative experience. The "lost" piece usually returns to us when the threat is over. 

In some cases, however, either the soul travels too far away and can’t find its way back, or it remains hidden, out of fear of returning to a threatening situation.  In this case, soul loss occurs and shamanic intervention is required. 

The causes of soul loss range broadly in type and degree of severity. Soul loss is most often the result of physical or emotional trauma such as abuse, sudden shock, extreme fear, loss of a loved one, accidents, war experiences, surgery, substance abuse, surviving natural disasters or any other circumstance perceived by the client to be traumatic. 

It is the role of the shamanic practitioner to act as a “go-between” between this world and the spirit world where the lost soul parts reside, in order to locate them and to return them safely to the client in this reality.  They are returned intact and free of the original trauma.  Critical to the successful performance of this ceremony is the ability of the shamanic practitioner to enter "non-ordinary" reality, via trance, and to call upon the help of trusted spirit allies, who in fact are responsible for locating the missing soul parts. 

Who needs a Soul Retrieval?  The answer to this is as wide and varied as the causes of soul loss:  certainly it includes people suffering from serious illnesses, addictions or substance abuse, unending grief, or immune deficiency diseases. Symptoms can also be of a more subtle nature, such as not feeling in control of one’s life, the uneasy feeling that one is not in one’s body, that one is not “all there”, or an empty and uncomfortable feeling that something is missing from one’s life. A feeling of being stuck in life, despite all attempts to get “unstuck”, is often an indication for a Soul Retrieval. One indicator that is always reliable is the instinctive feeling that one simply needs a Soul Retrieval! 

The Soul Retrieval ceremony is profoundly restorative in nature. It returns a sense of wholeness, balance and exuberance to the client. For many, it brings about a renewed faith in living. After a Soul Retrieval, clients often report feeling a new lease on life, a liveliness, a sense of wholeness for the first time in their lives and a new-found ability to move forward with their dreams and goals. A Soul Retrieval is one of the most beautiful and touching of shamanic practices—the ceremony is truly a gift from the Spirit. 

For those wishing to know more about Soul Retrieval, the book “Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self” by Sandra Ingerman (Harper San Francisco) is highly recommended.  A more in-depth discussion of Soul Retrieval can be found on the website: