Coming Home to Yourself: Soul Retrieval 101.

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Author’s Note: This article is intended as a clear, concise, informative overview of the shamanic practice of soul retrieval and why/how it can be of tremendous value and use for deep and lasting healing at this time, given the current needs of our world in which millions of people are navigating deep trauma, relationship issues, and health concerns on levels that are not necessarily fully addressed or resolved by Western contemporary medical and psychological modalities.

In order to understand what “soul retrieval” is, we must first understand the energetic framework of “soul loss,” and how it can be viewed as playing a profound role in human experience.

If we think of the “soul” as a vessel—whole and complete—“soul loss” can be understood as the breaking of the vessel in which certain pieces become “lost” or even “trapped” in trauma, rendering the human unable to fully hold his or her own life force or to feel “complete” within themselves.

“Soul loss” can occur in our lives when we experience acute abuse or traumas and/or chronic, prolonged conditions of stress, neglect, or mistreatment. Aspects of our soul can become energetically “trapped” or “frozen” in such trauma in a way that “they” can continue to identify with the conditions of their fracturing and wounding long after the traumatic conditions have ceased to be actively present for that person. This leaves the person trapped in a cycle that no longer serves them.

Here are a few simple examples:

>> A person who is in a serious car accident at age seven, and part of her soul becomes “frozen” or “lost” in the moment of impact.

>> A person who is raised by a codependent mother who uses the child for her own unmet needs, and part of her soul “stays” with the mother out of “loyalty” well into adulthood.

>> A person who was sexually abused or raped, whose sexuality has been co-opted and trauma bonded with pain, thus resulting in soul loss or alter “selves.”

>> A person who has survived conditions of war, genocide, famine, and so on, who has soul loss as part of a collective or ancestral pattern of trauma.

When this happens, the individual will continue to unconsciously “search” for the missing piece of herself by recreating the same, or similar, circumstances as the original trauma in order to “find” the “lost” piece. Many, many times, the lost piece will be entangled in the dynamic of someone else’s energy (co-dependence), so it will appear that we “need” this other to fulfill us, or give us something of themselves, when actually it is that we are searching for ourselves in them.

“Symptoms” of soul loss include but are not limited to:

>> Loss of personal vitality and motivation.
>> Self-destructive behaviors, especially repetitive/cyclical ones.
>> Sense of being “at war” or in conflict with oneself.
>> Memory loss and/or “intrusive” thoughts.
>> Feeling disoriented or as though “out of body.”
>> Inordinate, unceasing longing and despair.
>> Tendency to attract unhealthy and codependent relationships.
>> Feeling of being “stuck” and/or inability to “move forward” in life.

Soul loss is in no way to be seen or understood as “pathological” in a derisive or negative/shaming way—it need not be viewed as a mental illness or an illness at all. It is simply trauma seeking resolution within us. In fact, it is actually a highly intelligent way for the soul to cope with trauma, getting “lost” in order to come back into wholeness at a later time when it again becomes safe. In this way, this can be understood as a very powerful survival mechanism. In gaining understanding of this framework, we are presented with a powerful opportunity to reclaim power and understand ourselves at new levels of wholeness and completion.

While not an “illness” or “pathology” by any means, I feel deeply that unresolved soul loss is often a prominent factor in, and can be an underlying energetic root cause of, any number of “conditions” typically diagnosed in Western modalities as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), anxiety disorders, love/sex addiction, and many others.

Because of the Western medical model’s tendency to “pathologize” rather than take into account whole-being context and deep energetic factors in play, all too often what happens is that someone deeply affected by trauma-based soul loss—often from childhood—experiences symptoms and seeks help from their doctor or healthcare provider in the form of pharmaceuticals, which have the tendency to even more deeply entrench the sense of “loss” of self and personal identity, albeit somewhat masking the symptoms on the surface.

This “band-aid” approach can create numbness and depersonalization that allows the underlying condition to worsen, not to mention a host of side effects and complications that can set the individual up for a lifetime of dependence on pharmaceuticals and other forms of addiction or destructive behaviors.

I believe there are other, more effective first-line approaches, and one of the most incredible of these is the shamanic practice of soul retrieval. It has been practiced for literally thousands of years by a great number of ancient peoples and traditions across the globe until being vilified and supplanted by Western medicine in only the last hundred years or so.

In this sacred ancient practice that is now being remembered and brought to bear once again, a gifted, highly ethical shaman “journeys into” the client’s energy field and is then led through the process of “visiting” the different aspects and scenarios of a person’s life and experience in which she has experienced any form of soul loss or entanglement, “freeing” the parts of the soul that have been fractured and “trapped” in trauma, and returning and reintegrating this life force into the person’s energy field, restoring wholeness.

If symptoms are recognized at this deep level and “treated” by addressing the root energetic cause of soul loss, shamanic soul retrieval—coupled with a commitment to real, sustainable, and beneficial changes on the part of the client—will, in a great many cases, resolve this endless cycle of unresolved trauma and alleviate the need to “medicate” through pharmaceutical means (or “self medicate” through repeated addictive behavior), breaking the cycle of trauma and restoring a sense of empowerment and completion to the client. Although somewhat mysterious from a scientific level, this modality—if carried out properly and ethically—can have enormously life-changing benefits.

As someone both Berkeley-trained in neuroscience and apprenticed in shamanism, I personally feel that every single human alive is likely affected to one degree or another by soul loss—particularly in this era characterized by isolation and trauma—and therefore could benefit from soul retrieval. We live in a society that actually encourages such fragmentation and soul loss, because the more “fractured” a person is, the more she will search outside herself for completion, not realizing that all along she is in fact searching for her own life force.

This mechanism makes for a population that is easier to exploit and “hook” on consumer goods, addictions, and distractions that keep in place a predatory society, which is now rapidly being called to account as we each reclaim the birthright of our own power and learn to be fully present with ourselves in love, thus allowing true and deep intimacy to occur.

As a survivor of severe trauma myself, soul retrieval has played an extremely life changing and even life saving role for me, as recently described in my memoir She is One. I have healed symptoms of severe PTSD and even Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) completely without the use of medication, foregoing the Western model of “treatment” altogether in favor of this shamanic model, with truly brilliant and permanent results. My husband, who was initiated into his very special shamanic gifts in the course of our life and work together, has also led many many clients through this process with stellar, lasting outcomes.

As humans seek to reclaim our power and know ourselves more deeply at this pivotal moment in time, I feel the ancient shamanic tool of soul retrieval has the potential to be used as an extremely potent and real resource to “reach in” at a much deeper level than conventional medical and psychological modalities can, to truly resolve the cycle of trauma and allow us to create a new, more beautiful world together—and I am living evidence of that.

For more information, please comment below.




Author: Sara Sophia Eisenman
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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Sara Sophia Eisenman

Sara Sophia Eisenman is a writer, energy healer, Berkeley-educated neuroscientist, and a devoted wife and mother of two children.  She is a powerful advocate for women embracing their natural ageless beauty, and serves to reintegrate the feminine aspect of the divine into the fabric of the collective. Sara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from UC Berkeley, graduating at the very top of her class and earning numerous accolades for her unique work. (Read more about Sara’s time at Berkeley here.) She also has a Master’s degree from UCLA in culture and performance. Sara’s graduate work focused on dance and ceremony as a means of transmitting consciousness and accessing/healing deep trauma in the body. To further ground her healing pursuits, Sara trained in Reiki and shamanism for many years, becoming a Reiki master and noted teacher. To learn more or schedule a healing session with Sara Sophia, visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.

Amanda Gray Nov 9, 2018 1:05am

I would like more info, please.

Aondrea Leigh Bartoo Nov 6, 2018 7:44pm

I am interested to hear more about this process.

Jo Jan Nov 6, 2018 2:19pm

Codependant mother, alcoholic father, raised in a cult, mentally, physically and emotionally abused as a child, my own mind protected itself by splitting. I suffered from DID and self-medicated well into my 40s. It wasn't until I found a therapist who specialized in inner child work and then a hypnotist/healer that I could finally integrate all the pieces of myself into a whole healthy person with actual memories. The work you're doing is important. I had no idea that healing my trauma was even possible before I was introduced to my therapist. Keep spreading the word!

Penny L. Thorne Nov 5, 2018 2:52pm

I would love to know more.

Nichole Mozzano Ahlstrom Nov 5, 2018 6:13am

This is on point for our family. We have been thru the ringer that past 2.5 yrs. If I wrote a book people would think it's fiction. We need help.

Peggy Russell Nov 4, 2018 2:14pm

Sara - your words and experience resonate deeply with me. I am a survivor and widow of a suicide ( my husband died of his own volition in 2013) and it unleashed a torrent of issues for me both practical and emotional. Beyond this occurrence, I have also had many years (I am 56) of bumps and bruises related to abandonment- rejection and the effects of others choices on my psyche. I am a philanthropic person who channels most of my own pain by helping mentor others. I own my own businesses and am mentally adept at healing myself with several alternative modalities in addition to traditional talk therapy but I have reached a wall of late. A psychic blockage and I am desperately trying to avoid turning to medication or becoming mired in my own damaging thoughts. If you can recommend any workshops - retreats- therapies or practitioners who you know are trained in ptsd - soul retrieval techniques- other forms of healing & cleansing, I would be grateful. I live currently on the north shore of Massachusetts but I am most willing to invest in traveling somewhere ELSE to seek relief and guidance. Many thanks

Zahira Carr Nov 4, 2018 1:34pm

I would like more information.

Joann Fife Botto Nov 4, 2018 12:33pm

I am from the Boston area and would love to find a reputable Sharmin to work with in soul retrieval

Leila Stafford Nov 4, 2018 5:46am

I am intrigued and would appreciate more information

Ashley Wright Nov 3, 2018 6:09pm

I would love more info.

Rebecca Lynne Fisher Nov 3, 2018 4:32pm

Please share. I am a medical professional and know I can’t help others if I am not whole myself.

Rytzzy MySin Jun 9, 2018 9:09pm

I am looking for any info about Soul Retrieval, I have just started studing Reiki, something I have wanted to do for many years. I just went through my first attunement and the Detox that is happening is quite intense. During this I decided I needed to look up loss of soul and here you are. Thank you for this.

Amber Morse Jacobs Dec 5, 2017 1:40am

Thank you so much for sharing your strength, I also suffer from life long PTSD and know there is a better way than drugs! Any info would be gratefully accepted, Blessings!

Jorianne Richards Nov 15, 2017 6:31am

Amazing. Iv been told to do this journey before. Can you give me info on who I can contact to do this!???

Kara Fulkerson Nov 13, 2017 1:13pm

I would love more information as well!

Sara Hudock Nov 13, 2017 2:41am

Something in this article really resonates for me. Very interested in learning more.

Paul Hackett Nov 12, 2017 7:02pm

Hello Sara, I've felt for a while this is exactly what I need. I'm not in a goodnight place. Right now I've isolated myself from the world entirely while I try to fix myself through yoga and therapy but I think it's too much to do all on my own and I need some help. Do you have any idea how I would go about finding a Shamen in Europe please?

Jessica Lockwood Nov 12, 2017 10:20am

I am very interested in learning how I can learn sharmanic healing techniques to help facilitate my clients better with their trauma.

Sara Sophia Eisenman Nov 11, 2017 9:36pm

hi everyone! thank you so much for your comments! <3 if you would like to know more about the shamanic journeywork process, please connect with me on Facebook at Sara Sophia Eisenman and also feel free to email me at [email protected] and I'd be happy to share more. love and blessings! <3

Melissa Thornton Nov 11, 2017 8:21pm

More info please!

Darina Todirica Nov 11, 2017 4:35pm

I have heard that during such a "journey into the energy field", if it happends while the client is asleep, it may manifest as a dream, where the client goes through an experience, that is mentally and emotionally soothing.

The Art of LIFE Nov 11, 2017 1:34pm

Fantastic article I love the meeting of science and spirit coming together to empower oneself through trauma. Articulately written. Thank you for reframing this subject in a clear and positive manner.

Louise McClennon Nov 11, 2017 11:44am

and me. i AM A reiki student and attuned, and have been practising a deeper energy level of reiki for over a year with dramatic effects, so this sounds like a natural extension to what im already experiencing and am intrigued to know more.

Mallory Wallace Iles Nov 10, 2017 6:41pm

I would like more information.

Chris Patrick Nov 10, 2017 6:08pm

I would as well!