Sadly, soul loss today is so common that most don’t know that we are experiencing anything out of the ordinary. Our beings have a built-in survival strategy that put beautiful parts of our soul “on hold” or get sent off for a holiday in a better place. That is how we protect our very essence. By the way, I don’t believe in soul injury. That language does not account for the brilliant, eternal, enduring and generous resilience of Creation.
Historically, family and shamans could see when a person needed soul support. They would cease to want to dance, sing, drum, or be at peace. These behaviors were part of common life. As such it was easy to see when someone was acting lost. The dancing body also served to restore soul on a daily basis.
When we lose easy access to any aspect of moving, speaking, vocalizing, rhythm, thinking, rest, or affection it can indicate a bodily response to trauma. It can also mean our soul is malnourished.
I consider InterPlay a natural soul retrieval practice for our times. It reignites easy access to our humanity and keeps our soul humming along. In times of hardship it is a place to honor what the body needs and to receive care among the embodied artful care of others.
When there is group soul loss due to trauma in a group, it is not the group that is most able to retrieve itself, but the loving bodies of others who dance, sing, tell, and pray them home.
A trauma usually requires a soul doctor, someone competent in the imaginal realms, initiated, and called to care for souls by the highest spiritual intelligence. I’ve put some resources below.
As soon as I heard about soul loss it made sense to me. I’ve had three soul retrievals that helped me reincorporate key capacities like my sense of rhythm, my deeper voice, and my sense of taking care of business. I’ve also watched family and friends gradually recover core energy and capacities. The irony is that recovery doesn’t alter us. It simply makes us stronger, more resilient, more of who we are.
Trish Goedecke shared her soul retrieval story in her private MOL (Meaning of Life) group on facebook, I asked if I could share it. She said yes. Here are her words.
I’m going to share a personal story here that some of you will find implausible, others painful, some I hope redeeming. Those of you who have known me longest may have the most reason to believe.
When I was very young, so I am told, I had a natural way with words. I would wander the house singing, making up the words to songs as I went along.
I don’t recall that part of my childhood. I recall the part where I could barely get the words to come out, barely make my voice loud enough to be heard, barely get a word in edgewise. Childhood trauma, not physical but of an emotional type typical of dysfunctional families, had contributed to my silence.
Once, a family member told me I stopped talking from the time I was 2 1/2 until I was 5. Mostly my family didn’t tell me about it, and I really don’t recall.
A few years back, after my father had passed away, I was encouraged to try “soul retrieval,” with a friend of a friend trained in Tibetan shamanism. I believe we had a theory going in, that my father had taken part of my voice. We planned to ask to have it back.
During the retrieval session, I relaxed deeply, perhaps a semi-trance state (I go into these fairly easily). My friend’s cat sat on my chest ~ perhaps, as my friend said, facilitating travel. The shamanistic practitioner told me she met my dad and asked for my voice back. My dad was surprised, she said, not having taken my voice intentionally, nor realizing that he had it. He gave it to her willingly, in a box I’ve imagined like a small toy chest, to return to me.
I honestly don’t recall which year I met with this shamaness, but Dad passed away in 2006. Between then and now most would agree I’ve retrieved my voice. I’ve retrieved it enough to say things that alienated and angered family members; I’ve retrieved it enough to make many new friends. Most people who meet me these days don’t think I am shy. Communication skills, even verbal, are now viewed as one of my strengths.
I loved my dad very much in life ~ including when I was young, when he took my voice. Dad was born 40 years before I was, and in my 20s, I formed a connection with him that has inspired the formation of this Meaning Of Life group. I took our name from a philosophy course Dad taught; he took it in turn from a Monty Python movie.
I can easily believe that Dad and I were contracted in this way ~ to love, to also be victimizer and victim, to also forgive, and in my case, to also be restored. Having been silenced, I have a value for the power of voice. I have been willing to fight, when necessary, for the right to express mine. A 13-year love affair ended when I found my voice.
Even before this, I’ve spent much of my adult life helping others find their voice ~ not least in my early career, teaching communication skills to learners of English as a Second Language.
I recommend reading Sandra Ingerman Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self. Here is a good article by her.
I also recommend Lenore Noorgard. She works with ease online and in person and is one of the most grounded, justice oriented people I know.