Out of all the services that a Shaman can provide, Soul Retrieval is the most profound, requiring a highly evolved relationship with the Spirit Realm.
When we are under threat, even traumatized, as is natural in the ups and downs of living a full life, parts of our soul can cleave off in response to such pressure. Such soul parts take with them their talents, constructive attitudes and positive emotions, leaving us unable to access these former capacities to the same level, or even seemingly losing them altogether.
An advanced Shaman, because of his (or her) relationship with the Spirit Realm, can ask Helping Spirits to guide him on a quest to retrieve the lost soul parts. This is the reason why the Shaman’s relationship with the Spirit Realm must be highly evolved — because the Spirits must fully trust the Shaman, and the Shaman must fully trust the Spirits.
Once the Shaman has retrieved the missing soul parts, he will report the details of the quest. If the Shaman has been successful, the client will be able to easily recognize the dynamics under which the soul parts cleaved off, as well as identify strongly with the soul parts that are being returned.
Typically, although many soul parts can be lost over a lifetime, a Shaman will only retrieve about 2, or perhaps 3, soul parts per session. This is because of the intensity of the experience for both the Shaman and the client. And also because once the soul parts have been restored, the client needs to practice a mindfulness with regard to accepting the lost parts back into self-awareness and daily functioning.
Submitted to Heartgrain for publication