Soul release (psychopomp) work is one of the most important duties of a shaman. And it is some of the most fulfilling work for shamanic practitioners and shamanism students even in Houston today.
The idea of psychopomp work is that some people die but do not realize they are dead. There can be several reasons that happens. It can be because they die suddenly, or while in a coma, or under the influence of drugs (prescription or otherwise) or alcohol.
You've heard the phrase "he never knew what hit him." Well, on a metaphysical level that can often be true.
In indigenous and very traditional cultures, the community does certain rituals to help get the soul's attention, call the spirits, and help the soul safely cross to the other side. Our modern culture has mostly forgotten about the need for that, and forgotten how to do it.
Tibetans have their famous Tibetan Book of the Dead, which serves the purpose of guiding the dead soul savely through the bardo planes (the realm of illusion and fear) to the clear light of reality. The Egypians had their own Book of the Dead, which served a similar purpose.
Even today when people die instantly in car wrecks and other accidents, wars, and in natural disasters, a certain percentage of them get stuck in the Earth plane, because they either do not know they are dead or just do not know how to move on.
Houston Shamanism Meetup does a soul release cereomony whenever one of our members brings us a project that we all feel called to work on. A few years ago, when we had a core group of experienced regulars, we did soul release work as often as three or four times a year.
About 5 years ago, one of our members had been to the San Jacinto Battleground and had seen and heard souls still fighting the battle. He requested that we do a ceremony for them, and so we did. When he revisited the site after our ceremony, he found it quiet. Almost all of the souls had moved on.
Recently one of our new members suggested we do a ceremony for souls lost in Galveston's 1900 Storm. In those days there was no hurricane warning system, the island ass several feet lower than it is now, and people were caught totally unprepared. Over 6000 died.
Many people died instantly in tornadoes. Others suddenly drowned, swept away by the flood. Some were instantly decapitated by flying sheets of slate from roofs. And, of course, thousands of animals died, too. Some of those souls, he felt, must not have crossed over yet.
Because we have moved, and so many of our members are brand new, we scheduled the ceremony for our June Meetup, to give the new people time to gain experience before this very serious work.
That means the April and May Houston Shamanism Meetups will be very important training and practice sessions for anyone who may plan to attend in June. Psychopomp work is serious and rather advanced work.
So if you have been thinking about joining Houston Shamanism, now would be a good time. You can sign up at http://www.meetup.com/HoustonShamanism. That way you will receive notices in advance for all the Meetups.
For more information on psychopomp work and how we do it, there is a good description at our educational website, Shamanista.com