The soul is a person's life force/essence/energy. It is what keeps us alive, and what fuels everything we do. Different cultures have varying concepts of the soul, but they seem to agree on the causes and effects of soul loss.
Soul loss is a natural protective mechanism, when part of the soul leaves the body in order to avoid the pain of an impending trauma. Western psychology recognizes this as dissociation. Soul loss can result from accidents; abuse, both physical and emotional; the death of a loved one; divorce; shock or fright; surgery; war; and natural disaster.
Another major cause of soul loss is soul theft. Soul theft is usually unconscious, and often occurs in families.
A depressed parent might see her child's shining light and try to borrow it, not realizing that not only can no one
use another person's energy, but also that another person's energy will actually be a hindrance. An ex-lover might attempt to stay connected by stealing his lover's soul part, and suddenly neither person can move on in life.
Sometimes the soul part will return on its own, but when it doesn't, a person is left feeling diminished. Symptoms of soul loss include dissociation, feeling that one isn't all here, post-traumatic stress syndrome, addiction, chronic depression, chronic suicidal tendencies, feeling that one hasn't been the same since a trauma, immune deficiencies, and protracted grief.
The shamanic practitioner journeys to retrieve lost soul parts, bringing back their essence and restoring them to her clients. The effects of soul retrieval are transformative and deeply healing.
For further information about or to schedule a soul retrieval, don't hesitate to contact me. I also highly recommend Sandra Ingerman's book, Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self (HarperSanFrancisco, 1991).