In highly interdependent societies, where the interdependence is recognized and appreciated, soul retrieval is a daily and accepted activity. The care of the soul is the first priority in health, both for the individual and for the society. In shamanic cultures, a soul retrieval is performed within three days after any major event in a person’s life. Traumatic or other dramatic changes, such as childbirth, marriage, death of a loved one, an accident, a broken relationship, an argument, to name a few, were addressed immediately by performing a soul retrieval. It was assumed that anyone going through such an event would have a high probability of soul loss, and in order to instill proper healing, the soul was attended to first.
Unfortunately, in our culture, years and years of fragmentation and soul loss can accumulate for an individual, which creates the potential for a soul to become critically fragmented. We can see the results of this by looking at the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of our society. We have a society that is depressed and self-medicating with illegal drugs, alcohol, and over-the-counter or prescribed medications. Our youths have difficulty finding purpose and meaning in their lives. Relationships and families fall apart with ever-increasing frequency. The culture is not grounded in taking care of the soul.
We are plagued in our culture with people hurting—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The issues that doctors and psychologists deal with on a daily basis are what a shaman would see as warning signs of soul loss. Warning signs of soul loss can include:
* Anything chronic—fatigue, depression, misfortune, faulty relationships, emotional problems, suicidal tendencies.
* The inability to release some emotional trauma from the past—such as a death, divorce, or other loss.
* Addictions of any kind—alcohol, drugs, food
* Not feeling connected to the body or reality
* Operations or difficulty in recovering from surgery
* Repetitive sicknesses—colds, flu, and so forth
* Major illnesses
* No sense of direction
* Shame or feelings of guilt.
* Feelings of unworthiness
* Not feeling one’s personal power
(Sandra Ingerman, Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self)
Our culture suffers dramatically from these symptoms. It is rare to come across someone who responds and lives life from wholeness instead of from the woundedness of his or her past. If a person has voids from soul loss, these voids act like magnets trying to fill up with any energy to become whole. If you are exposed to anger, fear, greed, anxiety, unhappiness and hatred repeatedly, those are the qualities your own soul will absorb. Extracting negative energies, bringing back the lost soul energy, and then teaching a person how to stay whole will not only heal the individual and restore personal power, it will begin to restore wholeness in our society as well.
The positive shift many of us work to instill, in Western culture, is toward a restoration of wholeness and an understanding of our oneness. This work addresses the fact that we are energy, as is everything, and that all energies influence one another. We must learn to maintain and care for our own divine energy—our soul. In such a climate of responsibility and openness, shamanism would find a welcome home.