Soul Entanglement - Soul Retrieval

The Accidental Shaman: Journeys with Plant Teachers and Other Spirit Allies - Howard G. Charing 2017

Soul Entanglement
Soul Retrieval

Soul retrieval is one way to restore and maintain our life force and power. Through this technique we receive our own life force. Another way to maintain our life force is not to hold on to anybody else. In our lives, we take and sometimes hold on to the energy of others. Although this is often called soul theft, I find the term to be far too emotive and prejudicial; I prefer to call this soul entanglement. This is something that many of us do, and it should be looked at in a nonjudgmental way. In some respects, it is the other side of soul retrieval.

Soul entanglement can be a learned generational behavior and often occurs within families. It is an unconscious act. In fact, if the people involved knew what they were doing, they might well be very upset.

We become entangled with people’s life force in many ways, as these examples illustrate:

· When we are jealous of another person’s position, abilities, or status. Envy is a common cause.

· When a person wants another person’s identity or feels the need to be like him or her. This also occurs when we hero worship or idolize someone.

· A very common way to take another person’s power is to judge that person. An additional facet here is that the judgment on another person reveals more about the person who is making the judgment than the person being judged.

· When we overcare for someone, causing that person to become too dependent on us. This can result in the person losing the strength and will to support him- or herself.

Soul entanglement creates a number of problems:

· The life-force energy of all parties can become diminished. The entanglement becomes a burden, a weight. Interactions are sticky and inconclusive.

· Relationships can be held on to, causing difficult, ragged, and unsatisfactory completions.

· We may even take on someone else’s shadow, and find ourselves working with another’s feelings, which may be an uncomfortable and challenging experience. The “shadow” in this context refers to the Jungian metaphorical concept of our unknown, even unenlightened emotions that conflict with our conscious self or personality. These emotions are denied the light of expression within our conscious personality and hence are experienced as darker or as shadows.

Workshop participants taking part in the soul-release exercise have expressed the sensations of entanglement in a number of ways. One said that the soul parts felt like “barnacles on the hull of a ship holding me back and weighing me down.” Another said, “It felt like I was covered in clinging seeds and leaves.”

All parties experience benefits when we return another person’s life force. This is some of the most profound and healing work individuals can undertake. I get a lot of feedback from people who do this work, and I have been told many times about relationships between partners, parents, and children changing and improving. To provide a simple analogy, it is like an energetic tug-of-war in which both parties are pulling on the rope. When one person releases the other’s entangled life force, that person has effectively let go of the rope. Then when the other person responds, there is no more rope to pull or exert pressure on.

Workshop participants and clients often tell me that as soon as they did this work, they went home and cleared all the clutter and junk from their home. To me, this demonstrates a physical manifestation of the work that was done energetically. It also grounds and solidifies the intent—the desire to release. They are effectively opening creative life space and making themselves available for new things to come into their lives. This is precisely what happens in our own soul bodies: we make more space for our own life force, more space for our own power to manifest in the world.

Even though we may understand this instinctively and would like to untangle and release another person’s life force, it may be difficult to recall or remember people’s names or faces. Either we were embroiled in an unpleasant event or, in most cases, the act was carried out unconsciously, without awareness. This is the clear problem.

The tools, methods, and practices of shamanism can be very useful in this act of releasing. Unconscious memories are hard to access, while spirit guides and higher order consciousness*3 provide a means to gain entry. Spirit guides and our higher order consciousness know us perfectly: they know our personal history, our strengths, our qualities, our foibles, and our personal symbology.


Image A Ceremony to Release the Life Force of Those with Whom You Are Entangled

Embark on this shamanic journey with the intention of asking the spirits to tell the names, or show the faces, or let you know in any way you can under-stand the people whose life force you are entangled with and are still holding on to. This journey can be carried out in either the upper or lower world. You can also meditate with this intention and allow the insights to surface.

Allow yourself about twenty minutes for this journey. You may be guided by your spirit ally to a place where people whose soul parts you are entangled with are gathered, or you may simply become aware of who they are. All methods are valid; there is no right or wrong way to do this. Sometimes people in the journey are guided to a lake and find reflected in the water the faces of those with whom they are entangled.

When you have returned from the journey, it is a good idea to write down the names while the memories of the journey are still fresh in your mind. Please keep in your mind that you should not judge yourself for the entanglements; it is something we all do. The difference is that you have an opportunity to restore the balance.

Now you know what you need to release and return. This can be best achieved by a ritual or ceremony. These methods have great power in this reality; they are ways of combining the heart, mind, spirit, and body in a single physical action and intention. Religions from all over the world have long recognized the importance of ritual and ceremony. They offer a means for us to communicate with spirit allies and higher order consciousness. In Western culture, we have forgotten that ordinary and nonordinary reality belong together; they are two halves of one whole.

A fire ceremony is one option for releasing soul parts. This can be carried out alone or with others, and it can be very healing if this ritual is witnessed by friends. The participants can support you by using a rattle, gently drumming, or chanting. To start the ceremony, you need a location, preferably outdoors, that provides a way to safely contain a fire. If you are holding this ceremony indoors, you will need a metal or ceramic bowl and a candle. Feel free to improvise; a wok works well too.

Call in the spirits, ask for their assistance, and state your intention very clearly: “I am releasing the soul parts of others that I am holding on to.” Then, still maintaining a ceremonial space, tear the paper into strips, one name to a strip, and burn each strip of paper. As each strip burns, visualize, imagine, feel, sense, and intuit the soul part being released from you and returning to the person. After each name has burned, you may want to make an offering to the spirits to thank them. You can add a pinch of cedar or sage to the fire. The act of releasing and returning the life-force energy of others brings with it a sense of completion and a general feeling of satisfaction. To use a metaphor, it is like finishing a chapter in your life.

After completing the ceremony, it is still possible over a period of time to recall additional names, faces, incidents, and so on. This is normal. You have opened the door to these submerged memories. The fire ceremony can be repeated at any time.

It really does take courage to embark on a journey to heal our deep wounding. It is the great journey of the soul, its desire to be whole again. One of the great gifts of our age is that this ancient wisdom is available to those who reach out for the joy and freedom of being their authentic selves. Clearly there has been a paradigm shift, an evolution in consciousness, an awakening since the 1960s that has created a new zeitgeist, and soul retrieval is a strong medicine for our times.