Soul Retrieval – A Shamanic Approach to Healing the Wounded Soul

Indigenous shamans have performed soul retrieval sessions for hundreds of years. However, the New Age movement has brought this practice into modern metaphysical arenas.

In an effort to restore an individual’s fragmented self, shamans and shamanic practitioners can employ the method of soul retrieval by using their power animal and entering the realm of non-ordinary reality.

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The Purpose of Soul Retrieval

Shamans work to uncover the spiritual form of an illness which can ultimately manifest as physical or mental disease. If the underlying spiritual cause of a physical ailment is soul loss, a soul retrieval session is warranted.

The goal of soul retrieval is to collect parts of someone’s soul that have left their source and return them to the spiritual self. By addressing the spiritual component, shamans heal imbalances in the soul self and effect changes in the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a person’s life.

Reasons for a Soul’s Departure

Soul pieces can detach as a protective mechanism against traumatic events such as physical or emotional abuse or major accidents.

The dissociated part of the soul can return naturally following the precipitating event but it also may stay away for fear of recurrent trauma.

In addition, the soul can unintentionally give itself away out of love, such as with a mother and child. Someone can also steal a part of another’s soul, thereby creating a sense of personal powerlessness and domination by another.

The Soul Retrieval Process

Shamans use the shamanic journey process to collect fragmented parts of an individual’s soul. To begin the journey, practitioners utilize methods like drumming and rattling to enter what is known as a shamanic state of consciousness.

Drumming at a rate of four to seven beats per second can induce an altered state of consciousness to allow the shaman to go into non-ordinary reality, such as during a deep meditative trance.

When the person performing the soul retrieval is in a relaxed shamanic trance, he can then call upon his power animal to assist in the process.

Using Power Animals in Soul Retrieval

Animal spirit guides, especially power animals, are the primary spiritual support system called upon to assist in soul recovery. In the altered state of consciousness, the shaman asks his power animal to take him to the place in non-ordinary reality (lower, upper, or middle world) where a missing soul part is residing.

Once the practitioner and power animal have found a departed soul aspect, they can encourage it to return to the client for integration.

The reasons for original separation may or may not be revealed. The shaman collects the soul fragment into his cupped hands and returns to a waking state in ordinary reality.

Healing Beyond Soul Retrieval

With the soul part retrieved, the shaman symbolically blows it into the client’s crown and heart to allow for assimilation. After a soul retrieval session, a new healing process will begin.

Symptoms of depression as well as a general feeling of apathy, numbness, and lack of control in life may have been predominant prior to a soul retrieval.



When the parts of soul are returned to form a more complete entity, the individual can experience a variety of immediate and long-term reactions: joy, sadness, fulfillment, playfulness, or a sense of renewal.

Whatever the effect, the process of soul integration takes some time and changes can occur for several months after the session. Positive results can include feeling more present, making clearer decisions, and coping better with life challenges.

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