depossession and spirit release

The Dangers of Soul Retrieval Part One

Eloise (fake name, of course) contacted me because she felt something was really wrong spiritually. She had received a “soul retrieval” from a “shaman” six weeks prior, and since then her life had gone rapidly downhill.

She was initially interested in soul retrieval because of a bad breakup four years prior. She had the classic symptoms of someone who had never gotten over that point– still thinking about the relationship after many years, inability to get into a new relationship, and a feeling of a part of herself still being her younger (well four years younger, which matters a lot in your twenties) self.

After she received her “soul retrieval” she felt like something was wrong but reasoned that since it was a spiritual appointment that it wasn’t unusual to feel a bit off. However, over the next few days she realized that something was terribly wrong. Eloise had never been depressed or prone to any type of mental imbalance but she began to feel extremely suicidal. So much so that as a logical person she reached out to friends and family and told them that she was worried about the sudden feelings of wanting to harm herself.

She contacted her “shaman” and the “shaman” (yes, I am using a lot of quotes for a reason) told her that it must be a part of her “shadow” coming out and that it was something that needed to simply integrate, and told her to walk on grass and go out into nature to integrate her “shadow”.

A friend came over and they decided that she should get a psychiatric evaluation to ensure that she was safe. She was admitted to the hospital, spending two days in the psychiatric unit. She was put on medication, given talk therapy, and participated in groups with people that were significantly mentally ill.

After she got out she realized that she was not like the other people that she met in the hospital, and was given my name and email address to contact. I quickly realized that she had an energy attached to her that was not her– it was that of a suicidal young woman. We cleared the former human, but Eloise was left with the traumatic experiences she had endured due to the experience of being admitted to a psychiatric hospital (as well as that fact permanently being on her health records) and was extremely and understandably shaken by the whole ordeal.She also had to deal with the fact that she was now on a psychiatric medication that was somewhat difficult for her to get off of.

Brandy (yes, name changed again) contacted me because she had enough spiritual experience to realize that something was attached to her after a soul retrieval appointment. From just one “soul retrieval” from a “shamanic practitioner” she began experiencing really odd experiences around her home, and feeling physical sensations that she knew were not coming from her in origin.

She contacted me and in tracking the energy it was understood that a trickster energy had noticed that this “shamanic practitioner” did not really know what they were doing but was stirring up a bunch of spiritual energy performing “soul retrievals” and the like, and wanted to influence and entertain themselves through being a part of sessions. The practitioner of course had no idea that this was happening. When Brandy came in for the appointment the trickster quickly realized that it was getting bored and noted that Brandy actually had spiritual abilities and attached to her by appearing as a “soul piece” to the practitioner. It took us three appointments to get her rid of this energy over the course of three weeks. Meantime she had difficulty sleeping and strange physical and mental symptoms.

Michael went in for a soul retrieval because of significant childhood trauma. He was molested as a small child, and felt like his life went off track since that point. He had difficulty having intimate relationships and kept those around him at bay. He had a soul retrieval prior with a spiritual worker that helped him release trauma from a situation he had had as a teenager, and he was excited to continue the work. He had moved since the first soul retrieval, which was a few years prior, and so he looked up someone in his town who performed the service.

When he went in the new “shaman” said they brought back five pieces, all of difficult childhood traumas. Michael was excited to hear this, but when he went home he began to feel a well of rage come up in him. He began punching the walls in his apartment, fracturing a finger. He had the urge to flee or burn down his apartment, but at the same time he felt intense grief pour out of him to the extent that he could not move.

He spent the next three weeks in bed in a state of despair. He had memories of his childhood come up that he had not remembered, and could not cope with. He began drinking heavily and watching hours upon hours of television. Over the next three months he lost his job and his days were mainly him with a bottle and his television.

Six months later he began to have flashes of realization that what had happened was a direct result of the soul retrieval that he had from the “shaman”. Although he was still drinking and unemployed, he found me online and we set up a series of appointments to work through the issues that had been created by the “shaman” doing the retrieval.

He is now in AA and is learning meditation to gather the tools he needs to work through some of the trauma he has experienced.

In this case, the “shaman” was technically someone who was spiritually capable (a distinct difference from the first two examples). But because the spiritual worker had little experience with trauma, they were unable to help Michael because they brought back issues that he was not ready to deal with, which obviously had disastrous effects.

In Part One, we have gone over case studies of some of the people I have worked with who have suffered as a result of “shamans” performing “soul retrieval”.

In Part Two I will discuss how frequently and unfortunately I get contacted by people like this, how/why this happens, and how to tell if you have had a soul retrieval that needs to be corrected… or worked with by a more competent practitioner.

I will also discuss my thoughts on why core “shamanism” is presented as safe in terms of soul retrieval, why too many people are playing in realms that they do not understand and feel confident in doing so, why many “shamanic practitioners” grasp onto the idea that there is nothing outside the self (and everything else is lumped in with the “shadow”… which doesn’t mean what they think it does), and the harm that is created by many practitioners working with deep traumas and emotions without any sort of trauma or body-based training. I also will talk a bit about one of my specialties, which is corrective work– or essentially healing the effects of the work of other “shamans” and spiritual practitioners.

Spiritual Bathing: The Basics

One of the tools that I recommend most to my patients who are energetically sensitive in any way is spiritual bathing. Although it sound a bit trite to say (and to read I am sure) the practice of spiritual bathing has completely turned my life around. I used to be consistently exhausted, overwhelmed, and felt ill consistently (with illness that nobody could figure out) due to the amount of spiritual stimulus that was around me. This was despite knowing how to ward (protect myself and my home), how to clear my space, having proper boundaries, claiming my body, working through my traumas and illusions, and doing all of the multitude of practices that have helped me to become whole, given me power, and facilitated understanding on a rather deep level.

Despite all of this I still was overwhelmed because of my sensitivities. I could ward, banish, clear, cultivate my light and compassion and do everything “right” and because I was so sensitive I still was overloaded from seeing too much, from sensing too much, and from feeling the effects of the amount of energies attracted to me and just simply that surround me.

Spiritual bathing comes from pretty much every culture on the planet. It is mentioned in the Bible, it is mentioned in most forms of folk practices and magic from Greece to China to Africa. At its simplest, spiritual bathing is just as it sounds. It is bathing in herbs and minerals for a specific purpose. 

Spiritual bathing can be done for anything. It can be done to clear energy from you (or from inside of you), release emotions/trauma, clear blocks, bring in new opportunities and money, engender romance, for fertility, for protection, sealing of the energies around you, and simply for relaxation.

The prescribing of specific herbs and minerals for spiritual bathing should be done by an experienced root worker, root doctor, or folk practitioner who understands the spiritual properties of specific herbs and minerals and who can come up with an exact prescription of what ingredients you should use to help your exact situation.  (Yes, I do this, and it is often part of the “homework” I give people after a spiritual healing session)

That being said, there are basic ingredients that we can all utilize that are wonderful for most of us to gain the benefits of spiritual bathing. I have included a few of my basic, favorite baths below, and then will tell you how spiritual bathing is done.

Clearing and Releasing Baths
My favorite “basic” bath is a salt bath. This can be as simple as getting dead sea salts or Epsom salts, putting a cup in the bathtub, and soaking in it, with the intent that anything that is not yours and/or anything that wants to clear, can do so.

One of my other favorite baths is with coconut. Ideally you would get a whole coconut, drill three holes in it, put the coconut water in the tub and again intend that anything that is not yours will clear. In some Caribbean traditions you would then fill up the coconut with the dirty bath water (it doesn’t have to be a lot) and release the coconut into the sea or ocean, or at the very least crack it by some sort of body of water to signify that the old energy is leaving and that new energy can come in.

Nurturing and Romance
Goats Milk 
is both mildly clearing as well as deeply nurturing, and is a part of many prescriptions for fertility. The addition of rose petals can nurture as well as allow for a woman to feel romantic about her male partner, or lavender is classically used for women who wish to feel romantic about their female partner.

Protection
Any of the clearing herbs can certainly help with protection, but the addition of rosemary will help women to feel protected, especially women who have children. Rue is an herb that is specific to clear negativity and to protect you from negative energy sent from others.

Clearing Jinxes and Crossed Conditions, Starting Anew
Some spiritual situations are incredibly complex or more serious than simply taking a salt bath. Herbs like hyssop combined with agrimony and rue are an excellent place to start. This is a simple prescription for those who have had any sort of magic done against them, or who are spiritual workers to ensure any negativity or backlash has been cleared. Parsley is often used to banish or clear more difficult spirits or energies from us (temporarily, but effectively).

For complex situations (yes I am repeating myself) an individualized prescription is often necessary. Spiritual bathing can be a simple way to work with a variety of situations– from simply creating a fresh start for ourselves, for general release and clearing or “blockbusting”… to specific or difficult situations such as spirit release, undoing the work of others against us (or our subconscious work against ourselves)… to engendering romance, fertility, protection, and better finances and general flow in our lives.

How Spiritual Bathing works
You will simply gather your ingredients. For loose herbs (either dried or fresh) so you do not mess up your bathtub you have two choices:

  1. Put the herb in a large bowl, bring up some water to a boil, and cover the herb with the water and let it steep. When it gets dark/infused, strain it, bring the water portion up to the bath and pour it in with the rest of the water.
  2. Get an empty teabag or cheesecloth and put the herb in. Then put it in the hot water of your bath and let it steep a bit.

For salt you can simply put a cup or two into the bottom of your bathtub. For the coconut you would drill the holes before getting in the bathtub, and simply bring it in the bath with you.

There is no set amount for ingredients, but like a loose leaf tea, you want there to be enough of an impact that the water changes color, that you can smell the herbs, and that you can sense their presence while bathing. There is no set amount for ingredients– meaning that you may choose to take a salt and rosemary bath, or a goats milk and rose petal bath. Or even a salt, hyssop, agrimony, parsley, and rue bath to hedge your bets. With combining ingredients you want to ensure that you are not canceling one out, or adding too many purposes to one bath. You would not want to take a clearing bath and a romance bath at the same time, for example. You would take the clearing bath and then on a separate day take the romance bath. Unless you know what you are doing, simple is often best. A simple salt bath can make a world of difference to someone who is sensitive if done regularly.

How often do I do this?
I suggest to most people that they do a spiritual cleansing bath once a week. Again this can be a simple salt bath.

What do I do?
After gathering the ingredients and putting them in the bath, you will get in the bath. You will state your intent (this bath will clear any negativity, any energy that is not mine, allow for me to move forward in my life, clear any energies/entities, protect me, etc). You may choose to call in a spiritual guide before getting into the bath or utilize source energy/reiki to bring extra energy and intent into the bath as well. Often this is really not necessary, however.

You will then get into the bath and basically take a bath. There are many different cultures who do spiritual bathing and some of them utilize cups (for example) to take the bath water and pour it over the head, letting it run down to the feet.

Many of the directions for spiritual bathing were created in cultures before there were bathtubs, or when they were quite expensive, so I suggest to most people to simply immerse themselves in the bath after stating their intent and allow for the bathwater to be poured or streamed over you head to feet for clearing purposes… and feet to head for anything you want to gain (protection, romance, money, for example). This can be as simple as cupping your hands and pouring a bit over the top of your head and then gently sweeping your body in a downward fashion until you reach your feet.

You then get out of the bath. Like I said, a simple salt bath is often quite effective (just pouring in some salt, sitting in it and saying your intent of clearing, and then getting out). I find that the ritualization of spiritual bathing (or the “classical” rootwork methods) to be quite effective. These are not absolutely necessary, but if you are dealing with a lot of negativity or struggle or you think someone is working against you are something is attached to you, I do suggest doing the ritual in full.

The full ritual:
In rootwork, the bath is often taken at or just before dawn. A portion of the bathwater is saved. You would get out of the tub and air dry. Some people like to step out of the tub between two white candles that are lit to signify that a fresh start is being made. I do find that it is a lovely way to do things.

You would then get dressed, put any clothes you were wearing in the laundry, and bring the portion of the bathwater that you saved to a crossroads (basically where any road intersects with another road). You would then dump out the bathwater you saved over your left shoulder and go back home, taking a different route than you took on the way there. You would not look back at the crossroad that you dumped the water at.

The modified ritual:
Most people who are not in severe situations, or who are willing to make spiritual bathing a routine (as in once or twice a week, or once a week and whenever they are feeling “off”) that they will stick to will do a modified ritual.

You would bathe the same way, collect a portion of the bathwater, step out between the two candles, and then drop the bath water off at a crossroads, in a brook or stream, or ask permission of a tree or other natural object to mulch or dispose of the water for you.

The modified ritual cuts out the air drying, the timing portion, and the ritual of the crossroads (at least to the extent of not needing to do it at dawn, pouring over left shoulder, etc).

A simple bath:
Like I mentioned, most people could really just use a salt bath. Just put the salt in the tub, get in and state your intent, and soak for 10-20 minutes or so.

This cuts out need for downward motion for clearing, collecting bath water, timing, ritual aspects, etc. But even doing a simple salt bath once a week, if done regularly, can clear a lot of energy.

It sounds so simple, but often the simple things are the most effective… we just really want things to be complex because our minds think they will work better. When I began spiritual bathing I didn’t know much about the spiritual properties of herbs and did a salt bath (simple version) once a night for seven nights. My health immediately improved, my fatigue lessened, my energetic space became clearer and clearer. I do realize as a clinician that salt baths also contain a lot of magnesium and minerals that are highly effective, but the effect of not having so much energetic “junk” around me even with the simple bath was astonishing to me. The gradual addition of herbs to help clear, protect, banish, or break through negativity, to nourish, or to bring certain elements to my life as well as the ritualized, classical aspects of it has had an astronomical impact on my life and on my practice.

If you are looking to begin a practice of spiritual bathing, you can contact me for a reading or appointment. Like I mentioned, these are the very, very basics of doing these practices, and with the right prescription the results can be really beautiful. But the practices mentioned are an excellent start at integrating spiritual bathing into your life.