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Healing The Soul Through Ritual
What is the Soul ?
The Soul is an elusive concept to comprehend. We question the existance of the Soul while simultaneously witnessing that there does seem to be some place within us that is profoundly moved by life events that alter our perceptions of reality. Circumstances such as new relationships, the loss of previous ones, the birth of children, challenging global affairs... all impact us at a depth that can't easily be explained. Is this the soul we are witnessing? Honestly no one really knows. My preference is to not give the soul such a specific definition as much as accept it as an aspect of my character. And like all other aspects of my character it is 'experience' that really impacts me. I've learned that 'experience' is the most important teacher... and experience's overall impact on my life has never easy to immediately comprehend. For me this makes sense because it explains why life is such a mystery. Perhaps what the Soul is is the mechanism of consciousness itself being born with us. Given that we are never fully conscious then what exists between our awareness is what is possible is what we refer to as mystery.
What is Soul Loss ?
Because the soul is not physical then soul loss itself cannot be measured in any linear way.
The Soul & Integrity are synonymous.
Soul loss occurs when we experience trauma in life…mental, physical, sexual or emotional. There are numerous circumstances that create soul loss in humans. What each situation has in common is that the event stimulates an abrupt and traumatic separation from what we call normal reality. Some life experiences that cause soul-loss are relationship break-ups, severe substance abuse, loss of loved ones through separation or death, physical illness and acts of violence. These events cause shock and a deep division in our psyche’ which we are not prepared to withstand. As a result we encounter levels of pain that achieve intensities so profound that we either physically perish or emotionally fragment. This deep emotional fragmentation is the same as soul loss.
Re-discovering The Lost Pieces Of Self
Soul Hunting is a contemporary shamanic healing ritual that rejuvenates life energy and the integrity of the soul.
The Soul Hunting Experience involves a five stage transformational journey:
∗ Shamanic Healing Journey
Soul Hunting is a bridge to Power and Integrity
Throughout life we are presented with situations in which we must confront power. Many times these experiences are so overwhelming that we surrender pieces of our soul as a way to survive the encounter. Traditional western therapeutic approaches to mental health attempt to heal these scars, yet we continue to suffer through feelings of emptiness and disillusionment due to soul loss. So we treat the symptom but not the real problem.
The definition for death is not reserved only to the loss of life in one's physical body....but is also understood to be the 'separation of the soul' from the body while still alive. These 'spiritual deaths' occur when 'pieces' of the soul separates from our bodies due to physical, mental, and emotional disease or trauma. A frequent occurrence in the lifetime of every individual, these 'spiritual deaths' account for why our bodies ultimately fail us. All physical disease seems to begin with some types of severe trauma that was never resolved. It is the healthy resolution of these traumatic experiences that builds spiritual character (wisdom), and cultivating wisdom is the evolution of our spirit.
The Five Stage Soul Hunt Transformational Journey
Stage #1: Preparation
A vital element of any healing journey is willingness. We frequently mistake this for wanting. Clearly, wanting and willing is not the same. Willingness implies sacrifice. In order to achieve success in retrieving a lost piece of the soul we must be willing to make an exchange… and a period of contemplation about sacrifice must be encountered before any healing can be achieved. Therefore a phase of conscious preparation is essential. Before each Soul Hunting Ritual participants prepare their physical body, clear their minds of conflict, create specific intentions, wear special clothing etc. They contemplate aspects of their souls journey, where help is needed and most importantly they clarify within themselves their willingness to let go of all aspects of their personality that is contradictory to who they will become when they reunite with this lost piece of their soul.
Stage #2: Initiation
The Initiation stage of the Soul Hunting Ritual involves the use of a deep form of shamanic breathing I call the Soul Hunt Energy Breath. It is similar to the Breath Of Fire technique used in The TranceDance Experience. The difference is that the Soul Hunt Energy Breath creates a much more profound separation of body/mind consciousness. Our resistance to accepting this separation creates the second stage of the Soul Hunt Transformational Journey... the Initiation Ordeal. This Initiation Ordeal separates the 'self' from the 'ego-self'... not by addressing the ego but instead by creating a physical condition in which the ego has no power. This induces a profound condition of shamanic trance, which is a slow but deliberate decent into nothingness. Eventually we fall into a deeply altered state of mind that leads us directly into the next stage of the Soul Hunt Journey
… the condition of Desolation.
Stage #3: Desolation
Desolation is a state of complete emptiness or destruction. When we lose a piece of ourselves we typically feel loss, empty, absent of purpose and direction. This emptiness eventually gives way to another force, one that falsely protects us from the very thing that initially caused our pain. This force has many names but the most common is it’s psychological name “ego”. After a trauma the ego’s job becomes that of a protector. It is this protector that causes more damage…so dismantling the ego becomes vital. Fact is that egos die hard... they don’t die easily. The way to achieve dismantling an ego is to subject it to humility. Creating a deliberate spiritual condition of desolation is how we burn the ego. Various shamanic cultures achieved this in different ways. Native American Indians tribes such as the Lakota, Sioux, Cheyenne and Blackfoot performed their Sun Dance where certain braves would endure the deliberate pain of having their pectoral muscle pierced with bone fragments attached by rope to a bending tree. Others withstood prolonged journeys at the effects of medicinal spirit plants that mimicked impending death. Each and all have as their purpose the creation of a condition that the ego cannot survive.
The same is true of the Desolation phase of the Soul Hunting Ritual. Participants encounter a series of internal ‘limit situations’ each particular to the individual. This creates an internal atmosphere where it becomes impossible for the ego to resist separating from the body. At this moment a kind of shamanic death occurs and launches the person into the next phase, the Shamanic Healing Journey.
The Shamanic Healing Journey
The catalytic element of all shamanic journeying is drumming. Typically this form of drumming involves prolonged evenly measured beats that eventually create a droning effect. Participants lose contact with any relationship to individual beats and eventually dissolve into hearing nothing. This condition is called ‘entrainment’ and refers not only to what a person hears but also more importantly where a person travels when subjected to an ‘nothing’ environment. At these moments we lose contact with all things that vibrate at normal rates. We slip into an alternate world…a world that follows the principles of magic.
Shamanism speaks of three (3) worlds… the Upper, Middle and Lower world. These are not actual physical locations but rather metaphorical references to non-ordinary environments that exist within the human psyche’. The psychological equivalent to these worlds would be the higher mind (Upper), conscious mind (Middle) and unconscious mind (Lower). Religion would call these God, Man, Evil. It makes no difference which reference you choose to use. We benefit when we allow acceptance that all of these worlds exist within us. It is within the Lower World or unconscious aspect of our self that wounded souls retreat for solace and repentance. We bury trauma and pain deeply within the shadow aspects of our personality. Recovering these ‘pieces of our soul’ require some kind of power journey that overwhelms our own resistance to change and allows access to deep regions inside our heart…places we instinctively protect because of our hurt. Techniques powerful enough to heal fall within the realm of altered states or trance states. Sonic drumming, breath work, ordeal initiations, sacrifice… all are a part of the Soul Hunting Experience.
State #5: Integration
Reestablishing the condition of integrity is at the root of all integrations. From the perspective of relationships integrity is the reputation we acquire with others. This principle is much more important when the relationship is with ourselves. We lose individual integrity when we violate a personal standard .This is when our relationship with our-self becomes weak.
It was the absence of integrity that caused the loss of a soul part in the beginning. So the final stage of healing always involves reuniting and integrating the lost piece of our self (soul) that was compromised. Generally, we compromise personal integrity for love. Fact is that integrity and love are synonymous. Love does not exist in atmospheres that lack integrity. So when integrity returns so does love. Love is a subtle condition, and emptiness. Love dissolves into dissolution whenever it encounters anything other than openness. Therefore the Integration stage of the Soul Hunt Experience involves a re-acquaintance with the principles and dynamics of love. In this environment the circle is complete. The soul returns to once again serve and energize our lives.
© Wilbert Alix