"Every book... has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens." ~Carlos Ruis Zafon
It has been said, "The best things in life are free." We can all agree it's nice to be surprised with a gift; but not just any gift. The gift that arrives in your life precisely when you are ready to receive it. The gift that is clearly a message to you and for you.
In this case, the gift is Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self by Sandra Ingerman.
With graceful delivery, Ingerman combines shamanism and psychology to explain the effects of trauma that cause parts of the soul to leave the body and the process by which the part(s) can be retrieved.
According to Ingerman, "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." This quiet occurrence, known as soul loss, takes the form of a perpetual feeling and experience of incompleteness and disconnection.
For those who have lost parts of themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, "tremendous amounts of psychic energy" are unconsciously spent looking for the lost parts.
The following checklist can help to determine if soul loss has occurred:
1. Do you have a difficult time staying "present" in your body?
2. Do you ever feel numb, apathetic, or deadened?
3. Do you suffer from chronic depression?
4. Do you have problems with your immune system and have trouble resisting illness?
5. Were you chronically ill as a child?
6. Do you have gaps in your memory of your life after age five? Do you sense that you may have blacked out significant traumas in your life?
7. Do you struggle with addictions to, for example, alcohol, drugs, food, sex or gambling?
8. Do you find yourself looking to external things to fill up an internal void or emptiness?
9. Have you had difficulty moving on with your life after a divorce or the death of a loved one?
10. Do you suffer from multiple personality syndrome?
"There are many common symptoms of soul loss. Some of the more common ones would be disassociation where a person does not feel fully in his or her body and alive and fully engaged in life. Other symptoms include chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, post-traumatic stress syndrome, immune deficiency problems, and grief that just does not heal. Addictions are also a sign of soul loss."
Ingerman says, "Anytime someone says I have never been the same since a certain event and they don't mean this in a good way soul loss has probably occurred."
For Ingerman, the leading practitioner of soul retrieval whose own spiritual journey to recapture her soul led her on various spiritual paths, the answer was found in the ancient tradition of shamanism which views soul loss as an important cause of illness and death.
The word shaman, originating from the Tungus Tribe of Siberia, means "one who sees in the dark." During soul retrieval, the shaman moves into an altered state of consciousness to travel to realities outside of normal perception (non-ordinary reality), also known as hidden spirit worlds, to retrieve the lost part of the soul. In some cases there is reluctance of the soul to return, or the soul may not even know a separation has occurred; while in most cases, the soul does want to return. It is, however, important to note when the "soul returns, it comes back with all the pain it experienced when leaving."
Once the lost soul is located, the shaman will "acknowledge the former pain and gently negotiate the soul's return to the body." The shaman then brings the soul back to normal reality and (literally) blows the missing soul part back into body through the head or heart.
Having read this book with no prior knowledge of soul loss or soul retrieval, I found the concepts quite sobering. There are many situations, circumstances and experiences in life that are just too difficult to bear. Within situations of abuse, negation and trauma, soul loss is a viable explanation for spiritual woundedness that would lead to an internal disassociation from natural balance; thus showing up in life as the unconscious attempts to fill the void. This void serves as the yearning of your soul to incorporate all of your highest qualities, all of the God essence, all of you. Your soul is trying to re-connect with that from which it came.
"A reflection of how much soul loss people are dealing with" is evident when "so many governments and businesses are valuing money over life."
Ingerman imparts, "If you are truly in your body (your whole soul present) you cannot place money over life. Planetary soul loss causes so much of the behavior we are currently seeing, behavior that no longer honors the beauty and importance of life."
It is during these changing times, "The spiritual work we are willing to do becomes more important."
Sandra Ingerman conducts workshops and soul retrievals around the world. Ingerman is one of the most highly regarded teachers of shamanism today. She has been teaching and practicing shamanism for over 30 years. Sandra teaches workshops internationally on shamanic journeying, healing, and reversing environmental pollution using spiritual methods.