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Soul Journeys, Soul Loss and Soul Retrieval

In Mexican healing tradition there is this idea that when you go through particularly stressful experiences, or events that shock your core, you actually lose little pieces of your soul. They fracture like chards of glass, and sometimes we forget to pick them up. We call this soul loss.

I’ve seen this in the office with various clients. Whether it is childhood trauma, a car crash, a suicide attempt, or the loss of a love, these events are life changers and they require us to allow time for real healing.


For many, that healing begins with an internal scan wherein we ask ourselves questions like, “Am I still here? Did that really happen? What actually happened? How do I recover?”

This isn’t always an intellectual process. We’re all such different people. Some people process by jogging a few miles each day and letting the story move through their bodies as their mind seeks a higher perspective.

Other people cry on the couch with a pint of ice cream, releasing emotional hurt and anger until they are calm like the sky after a rainstorm. Either way, time has to be allowed for us to look at the landscape and “pick up the pieces.”

It’s a funny term, “pick up the pieces.”

Pieces of what? Of our hearts, and more importantly, the chards of self that have fractured in these soul-loss life collisions.

So many of our colloquialisms, or the sayings we’ve amassed in culture, speak directly to the metaphysical processes that are happening for all of us. You don’t have to be a shaman to know that picking up the pieces and moving on is important.

Intuitively, we all find ways to do this for ourselves all the time, and when we get stuck, we look for someone to help, whether it’s a loved one, healing practitioner, a doctor, a psychotherapist, or just the right friend.

I don’t believe that action always originates from a place of sensing traumatic loss and needing to “pick up the pieces.” However, there is a sense of missing, otherwise we would have no need for action.

On a hot summer day maybe it’s the frozen watermelon in the fridge that inspires us to get up off of the porch. In a dark winter, maybe it’s the desire for something new because we love our lives but we’re bored with how it has always been.

We may remember elements of who we were in times past and seek reunion with that in order to better understand who we’ve become.

The need for action stretches through us, stirring our blood. We sense that there is more for us in the world; there is a new relationship to be forged, or a better playground to romp through. When we take action from the deeper stirring, it is often divinely led.


My mother asked me this weekend, “What is soul retrieval?”

“I don’t know,” I demurred, even though this is a question I answer several times a month. “It’s when a part of you has gotten stuck in the past and you need to either send it to the light so you can move on, or gather your power back so you can gain clarity moving forward. Some healers help do that through prayer, Reiki, shamanic journey, or ceremony. It’s good stuff.”

Indeed it is. I don’t know what kind of action April will hold. There are the things we plan, and then the great mysteries that unfold, sparking journeys we never could have imagined.



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