As a Roman Polytheist, I discovered the durability of my multiple souls (Note 1) when I had my traumatic brain injury. When one soul becomes damaged as what did happen to me, it grows back. A soul will regenerate slowly. In my case, it took three years. My major concern during this time was to prevent anything else from coming in. Therefore, I made offerings to my Juno (female Genius) to watch over me. Also, I wore a bulla (a Roman talisman) to ensure my safety from the “evil eye.”
After my accident, several Core Shamans offered to help me. They wanted to do a shamanic retrieval to bring back my “lost” soul. Although they were well-meaning friends, I had to refuse.
The concept and protocol for Soul Retrieval by Core Shamans was developed by Sandra Ingerman. (Note 2) (Note 3) After suffering a stroke in the 1980s, Michael Harner, who started the Foundation of Shamanic Studies, had Ingerman replace him. It is from Ingerman’s writings that the modern beliefs about soul retrieval took shape.
Ingerman’s background is that of a mental health professional. She bases her theories on the writings of Carl Jung. There is the Higher Self of Humanity/God, the Conscious Self, and the Unconscious Self. Ingerman explains, “When we talk about soul we are really talking about light. In returning the soul parts and lost vitality to the client we are really returning light.” (The “light” is the Higher Self.)
For Ingerman, soul loss can come from daily life. She writes, “A reflection of how much soul loss people are dealing with is evident when so many governments and businesses are valuing money over life.” In her book on Soul Retrieval, Ingerman notes, “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.”
Ingerman expands on her concepts of soul loss. “The basic premise is whenever we experience trauma, a part of our vital essence separates from us in order to survive the experience by escaping the full impact of the pain….It is important to understand that soul loss is a good thing that happens to us. It is how we survive pain.”
Ingerman’s focus in her ideas of soul loss is to repair the psyche or emotional aspects of a person. Although a shaman, she accepts the Monotheistic tenet of a single soul. Going further, Ingerman assumes that the soul is very fragile.
For a Polytheist like myself, a traditional Shaman is best for soul repair. One of the many souls usually needs to be healed instead of being retrieved. During the first five years of my TBI, I went to a therapist to deal with trauma. It served me well.
Note 1. The Romans have the genius, renamed by Christians as the Guardian Angel. Meanwhile, the animus, which is the dynamic force of personality, can exist outside of the body. One soul dies with the body, while another one survives to form its own body. When a person dies, one soul will merge with the ancestral soul, and another soul will go to the underworld. The physical (body) soul that lives on after death is called a revenant.
Note 2. According to Ingerman: “The definition of “soul” is “essence”. Essence can’t be harmed or hurt. When we perform a Soul Retrieval on behalf of another we return to them pure essence that brings the client to a state of healing and wholeness.”
Note 3. Ingerman’s protocols for Soul Retrievals include:
• You want to learn how to help someone who lost a piece of his or her soul as a baby or a toddler and now have a habitual life pattern that runs the life of this person. People often notice that a recurring traumatic theme occurs in life that results from soul loss at an early age. An example of this would be a repetitive pattern of someone who always finds himself/herself being betrayed in relationships. …help a client break old patterns and create a new positive present and future different from the traumas of the past.
• Helping a client fully integrate their soul parts so that the Soul Retrieval creates long term healing instead of short term effects that fizzle out over a short period of time is crucial.
• ….share what was seen in a Soul Retrieval journey for a client in a way that inspires clients to move on with their healing process instead of re-traumatizing them and taking them back into traumas of their past. This is key as I found that so many clients were re-traumatized by shamanic practitioners’ lack of education in how to tell healing stories.
• People today don’t need more bad news. People today need to hear stories of hope and inspiration about the gifts, talents, and strengths that are now available to them after a Soul Retrieval which will improve the quality of their life.
• Frankly this takes simple common sense on behalf of the practitioner to understand the impact of his or her words on another….phrase your healing stories so that you bless each client with planting seeds of love, hope, and inspiration. Words can be used to bless or curse someone.
Gaia Staff, “What is Soul Retrieval?” 30 March 2017. Web. https://www.gaia.com/article/what-is-soul-retrieval
—-, “The Power of Shamanism to Heal Emotional and Physical Illness.” Web. http://www.sandraingerman.com/sandrasarticles/abstractonshamanism.html
—-, “Soul Retrieval.” Web. http://www.sandraingerman.com/sandrasarticles/soulretrieval.html
Sandra Ingerman, “Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self.”
Sandra Ingerman’s Website: http://www.sandraingerman.com/