With warmth and compassion, Sandra Ingerman describes the dramatic results of combining soul retrieval with contemporary psychological concepts in this visionary work that revives the ancient shamanic tradition of soul retrieval for healing emotional and physical illness. This revised and updated edition includes a new afterword by the author.
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About the Author
Sandra Ingerman is today's leading practitioner of soul retrieval and conducts workshops around the world. In the course of her career she has created an international alliance of shamanic practitioners and teachers. Sandra has an MA in counseling psychology and is a licensed therapist. She is the author of other books on shamanism and healing the environment.
Read an Excerpt
Soul RetrievalMending the Fragmented Self
By Sandra Ingerman
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Sandra Ingerman
All right reserved.
When I hear a lie, a red flag pops up in my solar plexus. When I'm listening to someone or reading, I can know if I'm hearing an essential truth by noticing whether or not the red flag comes up. If I'm trying to make a decision and my mind won't stop interfering in my process with its chatter, I say to myself what I'm getting ready to do and then I watch for the red flag. If it doesn't come up, I move forward, even if my mind is kicking and screaming all the way.
Other people report with this exercise that with a truth a warm sensation floods the body, or goose bumps or tingling sensations are felt throughout the body; a general peace may overcome them, or their heart may feel good. With a lie, a tightness occurs in the chest or solar plexus, or a particular color may come to mind, or there may be some feeling of distress in the body.
In this book I will be speaking to a space very deep inside you. I will be sparking your essence to wake up and come alive. The conscious mind might not always understand what I'm trying to say. And sometimes I will even try to bypass the mind so that your own inner knowing can participate in your healingprocess.
Throughout your reading, watch for the kinesthetic signs or body sensations that will give you a way for your deeper sense to say yes and continue. Whether or not you ever actually receive a soul retrieval, this book will provide you with a healing. It will teach you how we lose our vitality and essence, how we remain fragmented, and how we can make a conscious decision to move toward a more fulfilling life.
We all spend a tremendous amount of psychic energy looking for lost parts of ourselves. We do this unconsciously, and we do this in many different ways-generating dreams and daydreams, experimenting with numerous spiritual paths, creating relationships that mirror back to us our missing parts.
Many of us today don't feel totally whole, don't feel as if we are all here. Few of us live as fully as we could. When we become aware of this, we want to recover the intensity of life, and the intimacy, that we once enjoyed or of which we hold an image. We want to come home more fully to ourselves and to the people we love.
A technique exists for dealing with this common human predicament, but this technique has been almost entirely forgotten in modern society. For tens of thousands of years a practice known as shamanism has brought healing to people in many cultures around the world. According to the shamanic perspective, one of the major causes of illness is soul loss.
The word soul has taken on many meanings. Here I use it simply to mean our vital essence, or as the Oxford English Dictionary (second edition) says, "the principle of life, commonly regarded as an entity distinct from the body; the spiritual parts in contrast to the purely physical." According to this authority, our language also regards the soul as the seat of the emotions, feelings, or sentiments.
Keeping this image of soul in mind, we can ask what causes the loss of this vital essence. In ancient times, loss of this kind was attributed to the soul being frightened away, or straying, or being stolen. Today we often find soul loss is a result of such traumas as incest, abuse, loss of a loved one, surgery, accident, illness, miscarriage, abortion, the stress of combat, or addiction.
The basic premise is that 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. What constitutes trauma varies from one individual to another. Soul loss can be caused by whatever a person experiences as traumatic, even if another person would not experience it as such.
In modern times, psychology has provided our primary model for addressing the painful sense of incompleteness and disconnection that many of us experience. We may spend years in therapy or self-help groups trying to uncover traumas and to become whole. I hold a master's degree in counseling psychology and have employed many of its methods, but experience has shown me that psychotherapy works only on the parts of us that are "home."
If a part of our vital essence has fled how can we bring it back? Seeking an answer to this question, I turned to the ancient spiritual path of shamanism. There I found powerful techniques for bringing back parts of the life-energy that might otherwise remain out of reach for years.
In Soul Retrieval, we will explore the shamanic belief that part of our essential fife-energy can split off and become lost in "nonordinary reality." We will travel with the shamanic practitioner as, in an altered state of consciousness, he or she enters nonordinary reality in pursuit of lost soul parts.
EXAMPLES OF SOUL LOSS
Although the term soul loss may be unfamiliar to you, examples of it are well known under other names. A beloved spouse, child, or friend dies, and the survivor also "deadens" for a while. We feel as if the light has gone from our existence, as if we are sleepwalking. Or we return from having major surgery and do not feel as if we have come fully out of the anesthesia. A client who had been involved in a serious automobile accident reported feelings of being "spaced out."
A person involved in an abusive intimate relationship may be aware of being locked into destructive patterns but feel too weak and powerless to move away. Or in leaving the relationship, he or she might feel as though something was left behind with the partner. After a workshop, a student of mine said that since break
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
'Soul Retrieval' is Sandra Ingerman's clear and profound exploration of a spiritual healing process, one that can be incredibly effective. The idea is that in moments of trauma and distress, a portion of our soul may flee, to avoid being injured. This 'splitting' is a useful survival technique but it becomes a problem if we remain fragmented after the trauma passes. Those with a soul part missing may feel 'not quite all here', not fully present in their own life, detached, prone to illness or depression. Since the soul loss occurred on the spiritual plane, that¿s where the search and retrieval need to take place. As pioneered in the West by Ingerman, the shamanic practitioner journeys into Non-Ordinary Reality, seeks out and recovers the missing soul part and returns it to the client. This process is detailed in the book. The client's role then is to reintegrate that part, which may have been missing for months, years or even decades, and approaches to this reintegration are also discussed here. Ingerman found that Soul Retrieval can be especially effective for survivors of abuse. A beautiful book, and an important book, especially for those who may feel they can¿t get past the past. NOTE: 'Soul Retrieval' was originally published in 1991, before the term 'shamanism' came into popular usage, and was the ground-breaking first book on this topic.
There are reviews that reflect Sandra's writings as weak, and or unethical teaching Soul Retrieval in a form of writing. First, she clearly states in her book page 64,"I do not intend to teach you how to do soul retrieval in this chapter--that, I believe, is unethical. And I feel it is just as unethical for one to try a soul retrieval after just reading this book. If we truly want to honor the spirits and use the ancient ways in a powerful way, we must maintain intergrity in the work at all times. Please do not dishonor yourselves, the people who are important to you, or the spirits by trying soul retrieval without the appropriate training." If her book was read with an open mind and heart, without critism, you would have read those very same words as I did. Her writings are written in form I can understand and relate to, I have read other books on Shamanism and they left me with 'huh?, I gotta do what?'. I have been to her workshops and she is most amazing in her work! I respect other's opinions as we all differ but please stick with facts. Love and blessings, Tammy C.
Sandra Ingerman has been practicing Shamanism since the 1980's and it shows in her writing. This book provides a thorough explanation of Soul Retrieval along with numerous examples from Sandra's personal experience. I highly recommend the book for everyone who wants to learn about the subject. Paul M.
I was given an original copy back in 1991 as a gift from a dear friend, However someone felt they needed that copy more than I. So I just repurchased it. I had read the "Soul Retrieval" a thousand time and recommended it to others, not saying this will cure you or fix a immediate problem but it guides you to a new place to look for a soul searching journey of your own. It is not a book on how to but a book to get you thinking. Sandra Ingerman was one of the first writers to let people have a look on how a Shaman could help with torn souls, emotional hardships, and guidance prior to it being a popularity status. She gives you the references you need to find a shaman to help you with your personal needs. After reading it you'll find yourself on a wonderful journey. Do your research before just finding any shaman. Enjoy!!! And share!!!
While I appreciate that Ingerman did not make this into another 'how to' book, I feel like she softened the subject of 'Soul Retrieval' far too much. In this book, anything good seems to be so real, but anything that could possibly go wrong is thrust aside as imagination. For a believer, both good and bad things are real. The book itself is enjoyable and makes concepts easy to understand.
I'm a fan of this book, though some of it seems to be repetitive. Sandra Ingerman is a counsellor, and it shows throughout the book. For those who are interested in the psychological uses of soul retrieval (and extraction), as well as how to combine shamanic techniques with standard CBT techniques, this is a good book fr you. Sandra is respectful enough towards the modality of soul retrieval that she recommends that no beginner attempts it, but this to me is hindered by the fact that she rarely refers to the origins of soul retrieval, or how its practice radically differs from culture to culture. Her own practice seems to be a mishmash that may have derived from Core Shamanism theories. The book however, remains useful and interesting, despite its flaws. For those interested in soul retrieval as a healing modality, this is a worthy addition to a bookshelf.
What is this book about? i would just like to know beore i buy thnx -alexander
As someone who is reasonably well versed in shamanism, I am not a beginner and I found this book to be very lacking. I bought it because of my lack of knowledge on Soul Retrieval and wish I hadn't. It should be retitled to Soul Retrieval: Case Studies in Mending the Fragmented Self. There is not real information in this book, except a check-list of symptoms for fragmentation, that will help a person. There is also some quite frightening (from my perspective) mis-information in regards to journeying and the Otherworlds. Ms. Ingerman states that the Otherworlds are not dangerous and then she states that they could be. Which is it?? Having journeyed many times over the years, my totem and I have encountered several dangerous entities, some of which we narrowly escaped. We have also encountered many quite helpful entities, though. I believe the reader needs to know that shamanism, to be effective, can not be divorced entirely from culture. When that happens, you get case studies based purely on intention, which are cut and dry and lacking in any real substance. To clarify 'culture', I mean that the land spirits can not be ignored, as well as the wights and other beings in the Otherworlds. These worlds mirror our own physical reality where everything is alive and has spirit. This means that a journeyer can get advice/help from or be attacked/impeded by trees, rocks, rivers, grasses, etc. in their journey. Ms. Ingerman shows none of this in her book. It makes me sad to know that there is information out there like this and that people are likely eating it up and thinking that the process can't be as easy at it is stated in this book. The process isn't that easy. Don't waste your money on this book unless you are looking for something pretty much exclusively dealing with case studies. Very, very disappointed.