Originally Posted by ChrisL
Rei - Thanks for playing on this thread!
I'm not familiar with your work so I want to understand it better. How does Soul Retrieval work define 'soul'? What is considered an individual's essence? How do we allow parts of it to leave us and where does it go? If personality is that part of us that gets carried on from every lifetime in our soul, and ego is that part of us that gets perpetuated from every life of our body, how is that different from our core self? What other layer or 'shell' is around our soul?
Thanks for any clarity around your work. It's always fun to chat with others to see what their experience of reality is!
Chris, thank you for the great questions! I also recommend checking out this book for more details: Amazon.com: Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self Through Shamanic Practice (9780062504067): Sandra Ingerman: Books
You know, there was an amazing synchronicity related to this. I saw your post right before I was going to attend a kind of memorial service for a veteran who died overseas. I drove to the nearby town but the event I went for had just finished. I did see a few soldiers standing together, looking respectful, at the funeral home. As I was driving back I reflected a bit, knowing that a soldier's process of dying in combat can be hard on the soul. I decided to ask if he had crossed over successfully, and not only had he not crossed yet but he was already near me hoping I might help! I was so incredibly moved at how it worked... apparently at first upon death his essence was in shock (common and normal in some situations), but slowly gathered the resources to be aware of what happened. Then somehow the soul knew about today's memorial (still unsure of how, perhaps by tuning into his family) and followed his body back here. I sensed he really would have liked to wait and watch the funeral but he decided to go ahead and get in touch with me (I somehow put out a vibe that spirits can pick up, which shows them I can help them cross). He probably realized it was a beneficial opportunity.
This is actually psychopomp, not soul retrieval. This is escorting the awareness to the other side. However, it usually involves a shamanic journey and I was driving so I called forward some beings of light that could help. (This is still the type of thing I don't really recommend that people play with without some knowledge, training and support. That comment is not really directed at anyone specific.)
I was just really moved at how that worked out, especially since you had just asked questions about this work
Just found another resource you can check out if you don't wish to purchase the book: Soul Retrieval: How Shamans Heal Trauma - by Sandra Ingerman
I will say, some of my own understanding about these things might conflict a little with the teachings, but through my experience this seems more accurate than the teachings (and there would only be a very small conflict, maybe just semantic-based conflict, anyway). In my view we have a core self, an essence - and at the core of the core self there is that energy that most people think of as a soul - that part which you and I both feel is pure and perfect and whole. But the soul is more than that, it has different parts, aside from that core always-integrated aspect.
Sandra Ingerman gets into soul loss better than I could in a single post, but it can happen through a variety of situations. It could be a serious fall, a really hard breakup of a relationship, moving a lot as you grow up, parents divorcing, loss of a loved one - those experiences an individual finds really difficult. In this framework, pretty much every instance of PTSD, and dissociative symptoms that happen in response to a difficult experience (rather than as a kind of metaphysical/oneness/joyful/egoless experience) are about soul loss. There can also be a kind of dynamic where a person willingly offers a part of their essence to another person - such as the child giving some of itself to a parent, sensing that the parent wants part of their innocence (done with permission), or in really intense romantic relationships this may happen too.
The aspect of the essence in the case of the relationship with another person can't really be kept, we may think we can take someone's energy or light but it doesn't stay. A person may offer their light to another but the system is not set up so the other can actually keep it. In this case, and in the cases of soul loss through difficult experience, the essence can get separated from self. It can end up "stuck" in a specific part of the past, or it can get stuck in another dimensional level. The traditional teachings talk about this as the Lower World or the Upper World (and those labels are not meant as any kind of religious thing - the Lower World is not a "bad" or "punishing" realm. Lots of benevolent earthly beings come from there). And then if the soul part gets stuck in the past moment, this is basically about the Middle World. (haha, I just learned that a soul part of a dear friend of mine is ready to return to her! Glad I was paying attention
"If personality is that part of us that gets carried on from every lifetime in our soul, and ego is that part of us that gets perpetuated from every life of our body, how is that different from our core self? What other layer or 'shell' is around our soul?"
I do not know if I think personality comes with every lifetime... I tend to think personality is an aspect of identity, identity is another word for ego without the icky connotations and self-hate that comes up for some folks. I think of personality as often shaped by our identity's interaction with the environment, and I think of these as the surface self. I do think we can end up allowing more of our core nature to be reflected on the surface once we've worked through some blocks to that. But I also think it is possible (and fairly common) for personality to be a side effect of material/surface-level interactions unless we've worked through blocks to being our core, truest self. I'd even say the soul is so sensitive that it's actually beneficial if we create a self to show the world, at least when we are young, if we don't feel 100% supported to be as we are. Obviously, the ideal would be for everyone to feel supported in being who we are, but if that vibe of support isn't there, then I think creating a personality on the surface is probably better for the deeply sensitive core self.
I am not sure how to answer your last two questions... they aren't really computing for some reason. As I said before, I think there might be more than one layer to the core self or soul, part of it is always perfect and another part of it may not always feel like it can handle what the self experiences... and because it is closer to the surface, it has a stronger experience in the moment, but because it's also very sensitive and doesn't have all the defenses of the personality it can be overwhelmed and part of that core self might leave. It is surprisingly common, this stuff. I had to get a soul retrieval myself at one point - I still am not sure exactly what event triggered the soul loss, but that is okay, because the soul retrieval isn't meant to focus on the painful, intense experience, it is meant to be about feeling more healed and whole. Rehashing the past difficulties isn't really necessary and could even be counterproductive.
This is all focused on the causes and the issues, though, and I generally prefer to focus on the ways of addressing these things because it is not like a person must simply remain stuck feeling like part of them is missing. That would be very disempowering, so I don't like the idea of framing it as, "this happens, it's widespread, and it sucks"
I prefer to also point out that folks don't have to simply accept the situation. Granted, I definitely don't recommend trying to address these things without the training and support needed to do so safely, but there are lots of shamanic practitioners in the world and I have a feeling most of them are skilled at the work. I would also recommend discernment in choosing someone though, as this work is like many other fields involving the etheric and intangible so discernment and listening to the heart in choosing a practitioner is definitely helpful.
I did want to add, I could probably be more precise in my wording at times. I may use the word "soul" but I may be referring to the core perfect wholeness, or I may be referring to that layer around it which is susceptible to these things. I think they are both technically soul, or both technically part of the core self, but one is not necessarily guaranteed to maintain integrity throughout the lifetime. And even these experiences are often related to lessons our essence/core self has asked for. I think it would probably be the core, always-perfect part of soul that comes to experience the lessons - and that core, always-perfect part may enter knowing a few layers of itself may leave through those lessons.
Man... I feel like this is such a downer discussion
It is much more enjoyable for me to convey that these things may be common and they may not sound so awesome but none of us are doomed to remain feeling stuck, numb, or in pain. We can always choose to feel more vibrancy and light!