Soul Retrieval

Dangers of Soul Retrieval part two

In this earlier blog I gave a few case studies of people who have come to me after soul retrievals went wrong. You can read this blog here…

I have gotten feedback from this, some straight towards me via email (my preferred method) or through the grapevine (energetic or through email) via gossip. I always find it funny how passive-aggressive, generally back-biting, gossiping, and negative “white lighter” types can be, or the “core” shamanic types who get threatened by anything that is already not in their wheelhouse, so to speak. Although this is certainly another blog in and of itself, when we are not truthful with ourselves about our emotions and our core self… when we are pretending to be all about positivity and white light… we generally ignore and have our negativity “brew” inside of us.  It is rare that the types of people who want to think only of positivity and react negatively to anything (meaning any thought or realization) that was not given to them by others and fits into their own preconceptions and limitations that they impose on the universe lead happy, meaningful lives. Because they do not live up to their own standards. And it is rare that they are effective or powerful practitioners.

But that is not my battle. People can gossip, spread hate under the guise of being a “lightworker” or “shaman” while putting on a face of positivity all they want. They can pretend to play in the spiritual realms all they want. It is rare for anyone to be able to critically think instead of spouting off new-age gobbledygook or outright dismissing someone because they view them to be “negative” or “angry”. Most of us lead lives that are on repeat– repeating the same loop of thoughts, behaviors, and understandings. And anything outside of that is threatening and the person will recoil or attack, depending on their personality to defend their zombie-like existence.

For the record, I have no issue with any of these people, nor am I angry at them. They simply are who they are and will continue to be that way. I love and appreciate anyone who can critically think and respond thoughtfully to anything that I write (even if they disagree with me… actually especially if they disagree with me. I love engaging in conversation with thoughtful, balanced people). Unfortunately, that is not what happens. Unfortunately, what happens is that I get a bunch of core shamans and new-agers throwing extremely negative thoughtforms at me, unable to recognize that someone who actually does spiritual work can recognize this sort of energy and track it in about three seconds flat. Unable to recognize the irony of the fact that they dislike me or my work because it is not really “light” and their activities and the core of their being is anything but the light mask they put on. I don’t do anything with this energy by the way, other than simply deflect it. It is not worth my time, and generally I can see that these types are mired in illusion and have enough difficulty in their lives, although it is of interest simply as a pattern of how these types operate and will do anything rather than look inside or actually think about anything in their lives.

But the world will always be filled with falsehood, illusions, greed, envy, and surface level understandings.The world is always filled with people who are zombies– simply repeating what is given to them without thought. It is where most people are at, and I have compassion for them. I really do. Most of them are really suffering and will lead rather meaningless lives, constantly on repeat without really going beyond the surface illusions and limitations they have created for themselves. My writing is not aimed for them– it is for the person who actually wants to think on a deeper level. But unfortunately, some of these people become spiritual workers (“shamans”, “shamanic practitioners”) and take on clients. And when something goes wrong, they blame the client. 

It is enough of a pattern that I need to unfortunately speak about it. I wish that soul retrieval were safe, simple, and filled with the white light of love and light that people think it is. But something cannot be powerful and safe at the same time. Any method of powerful healing is going to have effects. Even if you treat soul retrieval as simply a psychological mechanism (which most shamanism actually is these days instead of actually being spiritual, because most people cannot see beyond the mental realms) there is inherent harm that can come up.

By far the most common side-effect of Soul Retrieval is that the practitioner simply doesn’t have any training in trauma and does not give appropriate aftercare. 

They do not know what to do if their “client” freaks out and/or they don’t know enough about trauma to know how to work with it gently and directly through a titration method, rather than an “everybody out of the pool” method where they bring back anything and everything they can get their hands on. In many of these cases the “shaman” will not know what to do, and will tell the person to go see a therapist (which may be excellent advice, by the way). In other cases the “shaman” doesn’t know what they don’t know and will tell them that things are integrating, or even blame the client, deflecting the blame onto them. This is where we get into the unfortunate gobbledygook that is so pervasive of “shamans” giving advice like “just think about love, love conquers all” or “imagine a white light, that will help” to a person who is experiencing the physiological and emotional effects of having a piece back that they were not prepared for, and the “shaman” doesn’t know enough to help them.

I advise anyone working with clients who have trauma to get trauma training. Experiencing trauma has very real physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual effects, and if you do not know anything about them you should not be working with trauma.

Before we go on, I do realize that most spiritual workers make mistakes. It happens. The correct response to making a mistake, or having a client freak out or express concern (even if it is not your fault) is to help them (within reason, of course). Learn how to track your work, and most of all take personal responsibility for your work. Thinking of love or light doesn’t solve anything if your client can’t get out of bed because you brought back too much for them to process, or you brought back something that they do not have the proper tools to process. It is not the clients fault. It is the spiritual practitioners. And they can either close themselves off, telling themselves that it was their clients shadow, or that they weren’t positive enough or thinking about enough love and light… or they can actually learn. Learn how to work with trauma. Learn how to be a better spiritual practitioner. Or stop being a spiritual practitioner if you do not want to learn these things.

The emails I get the most of are from the other two case studies, though. I may be biased because of this, because chances are that there are many of you who have had issues after Soul Retrieval, contacted your spiritual worker, and they helped. These are not the emails I receive. I receive emails from the people who went to “shamans” who are playing in the spiritual realms with no conception of what they are doing, and when the proverbial shit hits the fan they blame the client to save themselves. I get emails from people who realize that what was brought back wasn’t theirs, and the “shaman” lacks the tracking skills and humility to realize that they did something wrong, telling the person that all they need to do is “integrate their shadow” and they will be fine.

So why is this? Why does this happen? Soul Retrieval is a powerful thing. We section off trauma and overwhelming circumstances for a reason. Basically, anything that we were not able to process or were overwhelmed by at a point in our lives (or our ancestors, past lives, etc) we section off so that we can go about our day-to-day functioning. This is what Soul Retrieval works with- the restoration of these fragmented astral pieces, those places that we have sectioned off memories and traumas. 

But currently shamanic work is taught of as being “safe” and is taught as an off-shoot of pop-psychology and self-help mechanisms. People are not really taught anything about the spiritual realms, and when they are they are taught that it is all in their heads. This is so that “shamanism” can be mass marketed to people that have no capability of working or seeing into the spiritual realms. They think it is all psychology, because for them it is. They think it is all safe, because it is all self-created. 

But even if we were to think of everything as being self-created, there are some scary parts of ourselves, parts that could be threatening, angry, violent, self-destructive, primal, and so forth. Even if everything is “inside” of us that doesn’t make it safe. 

Safety is a marketing technique. It is how spiritual teachers can sleep at night teaching 150 students soul retrieval, possibly knowing that 149 of them have no shamanic abilities whatsoever.

I have said this before and I will say it again, it is really easy to get stuck in the illusions, marketing, and sort of surface level pop-psychology and self-help that is so perpetuated in this field. Spiritual work has disintegrated into simply “changing your story” or changing your thoughts as spiritual work. It has changed from actual spiritual work to mental work and creative visualization. It has changed from actual spiritual work to self-help work. 

It has done so because you are never going to sell out workshops, never going to sell your books and go on the bestseller list, never going to be famous, and never going to have a COO or CEO for your shamanic organization if you cater to actual spiritual workers. It just won’t happen.

So myths and illusions are perpetuated. And one of these is that spiritual work is safe. And contrarily, at the same time, that if you notice anything “spiritual” you need to “fear and clear” (my new catch phrase) it through saging (oddly not really a clearing tool, actually a consecration herb) because the “spiritual” is not intended to be here, and if it is noticed, it must be cleared.

And what happens is that we have thousands of practitioners who are just babies in their spiritual practices learning tools that can do harm. Like Soul Retrieval. And because they have been taught and repeat the new-ageisms of everything being “light and love” or that they are entitled to do whatever they want whenever they want simply because they want to be a “shaman” we have thousands of individuals doing ineffective or even harmful spiritual work.

The good aspect of this is that most of these practitioners simply won’t accomplish anything. They don’t have the power or the ability. They will just take their clients money without providing anything other than a decent story for their client. Which may actually be healing.

But there are some practitioners who traverse the mental realms, or even the spiritual realms, that can do real harm. Spiritual work isn’t safe. Mental work isn’t safe. Most practitioners do not learn how to properly discern energies (like spirits), how to properly track, or how to properly work with spiritual energy. They do not know anything about the physiological basis of trauma or proper aftercare.

Most practitioners do not actually believe in what they are doing. They are doing it as a rote exercise they learned over a weekend workshop. They might not actually believe in anything spiritual, or that anything spiritual actually exists. They may believe that everything is an aspect of you, or that everything is simply a psychological mechanism. And if they do believe in the spiritual realms they may be working with energies that are pretending to be something they are not, or more likely are self-creating a bunch of congratulatory spiritual “allies” out of disassociated aspects of themselves that tell them how wonderful they are.

Most practitioners believe these things because they do not have any experience otherwise. They do not have the direct experience of anything spiritual, or anything outside of their own head. And they are unable to critically think, or think for themselves to the point of questioning if they should be discerning spirits, or if they are ready to take on clients, or when a client comes back to them telling them that they feel something is wrong taking a cold, hard look at themselves and taking personal responsibility for what they have done. They just repeat back the new-ageisms and slogans that the shamanic corporations have given them and go on with their day.

To end, it does look like I am castigating an entire group of practitioners. There are excellent spiritual practitioners out there. Ones who are effective, ones that know what they are doing. Spiritual workers with the humility to check their work, to make appropriate referrals if need be, that do divination to ensure that the work they are doing will be well-received by the client, and that have the actual spiritual abilities, power, and presence to do transformational and profound work. One Soul Retrieval with one of these practitioners can be life changing. 

But in a world filled to the brim with self-help pop psychology life-coach type “shamans” they can be hard to find. It seems like for every 10,000 people who tell me they are doing spiritual or shamanic work, there are only 5 or 10 who know what they are doing, or are beyond surface level knowledge and understandings. And it can be even harder to find someone to “fix” or help you if you have gone to a practitioner and had something go wrong. There are a lot of wonderful spiritual workers out there, unfortunately many people have to go through many, many practitioners unable to help (who are unable to admit that they are unable to help typically), who just want to rip you off or have questionable ethics, or who do harmful work without realizing it.

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 Advice: Processing of Energy, Soul Retrieval, and Proper Aftercare


I recently worked on someone who had a soul retrieval done, and she said she had had many lifetimes of horrific deaths and suicides brought back in, which she then had to integrate. This led to months of anger and depression, as her body tried to process it. My question is, do we need to process all of our spiritual experiences through our bodies? It was affecting her spleen and liver systems. She was “digesting” it. It seems like many people have superficial spiritual experiences. They are too happy, like they haven’t been dragged through the muck! Do we usually digest the information or whatever in order to really integrate and experience it? Are there other routes or pathways? Can we just let some things go, or keep them on a less physical level and still have them be real?  I know this question is getting weird…


Hi Katie-

So the short answer is yes, we need to process things through our physical bodies, our physical container for us to consider it to be real and for it to have an effect on our physical, external lives. We hold all of our experiences in our body– our current lifetime, past lives, ancestry, karma… and even larger patterns like societal patterns, family patterns, and even the whole Universe (I will not go there this blog) that are not technically “of us”.

For the “lower” patterns (stuff that actually has to do with us like our current lifetime, past lives, and our ancestry) anything that has a charge stays in our bodies. This typically is thought of as negative stuff– emotions and experiences that were too overwhelming at the time to process (like a death in a past life)  or various traumas in our own life that were too emotional or too much for us to deal with at the time. This energy then gets consolidated and walled off in our bodies. 

As a side note, we also carry the wisdom of our ancestors, the joy of our past lives, and the beauty of our current life with us.. it just is a vibration around us rather than being walled off.

Dr. John Upledger (innovator of CranioSacral therapy) referred to this phenomena as an energy cyst– a localized area of walled-off, entropic energy. The body walls this energy and experience off in a localized area and then disassociates from it in order to keep the whole organism (our physical-mental-emotional-spiritual) continuum and our external day-to-day lives intact and reasonably functional.

In Shamanic work there is a thought that this energy actually leaves, or goes somewhere. This really isn’t true. We are always whole, all of the time. We just believe or create stories that we are not. What happens is that we actually are holding a trauma in our intestines from that time we got made fun of as a teenager, in our uterus from a previous life dying in childbirth, or in our heart from an ancestor losing a child and having an emotion of grief be too overwhelming. This energy then, as I said, walls off, still believing that the incident is still occurring because it simply doesn’t know any better. 

So we will have parts of ourselves that believe we are still a five year old whose father just left, or parts of ourselves that are still in a cycle of grief from our ancestors. Our minds, and then our physical bodies, wall this energy off so we can go about our lives without having to deal with the energy. In reality, we are whole, but our minds have fractured. And then our body-mind fractures, leading often to physical issues in the localized area of the “energy cyst”.

So in a soul retrieval the story of that energy cyst comes up to the surface to be released and integrated. The difficulty with this is that it then has to process. Meaning that if we have an energy cyst in our liver that is pretty large that contains a lot of anger and depression we are going to have to deal with that, to integrate that.

All that being said, the practitioner should know how to help the client/patient cycle that energy, have a basis in working with trauma so they can recognize when an experience from the past shouldn’t be uncovered (or fully uncovered), and provide appropriate aftercare to deal with the ramifications of such an energy.

It is somewhat rare that spiritual practitioners, who often operate outside of the licensing process, have an understanding and appreciation of emotional health and trauma response (the physiology of trauma, basically) to understand if an experience is too much to uncover, and to help their patient through when they do uncover something deeply traumatic. Trauma is real, and it has real, physiological consequences. If the practitioner is not trained in trauma response, I suggest that they pair up or learn to refer to someone experienced in trauma response. My personal favorite is Somatic Experiencing practitioners, who are typically open-minded as well as have gone through a three year training (or more) just in trauma work and know everything about how trauma shows up and how to process it. Nobody should have to process their trauma alone. It is much harder to do so, and to have the perspective when you are overwhelmed and emotional to do so, especially if it is something as removed from our current lifetime as past lives (but really, in any case).

It is also rare that spiritual practitioners do appropriate aftercare. Although a different subject, I have worked with people who have gone to the jungle and through Ayahuasca ceremonies and come back deeply traumatized because of sheer overwhelm at the amount of material coming up to process at one time. Our body-mind fractures for a reason, and it takes a sound mind to be able to process this stuff. Ideally for something like a soul retrieval, especially if they are working with an energy cyst that contains multiple lifetimes there would be a minimum of three appointments (ideally five). This means that the “shaman” would do the soul retrieval (sometimes this may take more than one session) and would schedule appointments weekly, or bi-weekly, to deal with the processing of energy and residual energy that comes up. This unfortunately does not happen too often, and the client is left with an energy cyst burst open and to deal with the residue and trauma on their own. If the spiritual practitioner does not want to deal with the residue, again I suggest a referral to a Somatic Experiencing practitioner, or an Acupuncturist, another Spiritual practitioner or Energy Worker who can help this energy clear out. 

So if I were to summarize this the answer is yes we need to process things. But the answer is also no, we do not need to have months of processing or deal with the process alone. Although integration and re-orientation can take longer than this period of time, the longest that someone should have to deal with really intense energy and emotion after a Soul Retrieval or any sort of energy cyst/emotional clearing process is three days. What happens after that period of time, or if the practitioner brings something up into consciousness that the patient wasn’t ready for the client/person just becomes re-traumatized and forms another energy cyst out of the current as well as past experiences that were brought up.

This means that they should have a follow-up appointment (or at the very least a check-in) with their spiritual worker or another professional if any emotion or experience is still lingering. And the spiritual practitioner should ethically be aware of when a big process is starting to do follow-up appointments and referrals so their patient does not end up non-functional or even hospitalized (yes, unfortunately, it does happen on occasion if the spiritual practitioner is not versed in working with trauma).

Just for clarity, I will say how I do spiritual work with emotions/trauma and Soul Retrieval work. I will have someone come in or send me an email for distance work (not for Soul Retrieval, although that may be their interest… I do not do “pick and choose” appointments, I ask the energies I work with and do divination to see what type of spiritual work should be done). Based on the first appointment and how intense the experience is (or not, if the person has a sound body-mind or a milder experience or meditates a lot), I will do anything from just checking in a few days later and suggesting aftercare like salt baths and connecting to nature or having sex (yes, I suggest that sometimes) or watching a funny movie (yes, I suggest this a lot actually) to telling the client that there needs to be 1-3 more appointments in short succession (1-2 appointments a week).

If the person reports back (especially for distance work) that they are non-functional, or are really struggling after the work (which occasionally does happen, but not that often since I make it a policy to ask during the appointment the persons subconscious if they want to deal with a specific trauma and/or are ready to) I suggest a Somatic Experiencing practitioner in their local area (or a thoughtful therapist if they cannot find an SE practitioner) to ensure that they are safe. When they get out of the intense amount of struggle phase they can come back and I will help them process the rest of the energy. But it is our responsibility as spiritual workers to ensure that the people we see are safe as well as functional (especially after a few days) after we work with them. There is no reason for someone to be dealing with that much trauma and emotion over such an extended period of time. They are just being re-traumatized at that point.

I hope that helps, Katie. We can all help others as well as ourselves work with trauma, but if we are not qualified, there are a lot of people out there that specialize in it, and there is no reason to deal with it by ourselves. It is a beautiful thing to become more whole, to release emotions and experiences that likely have a huge impact on our lives, and if it is done with clarity, with understanding (of trauma and emotions on a deep level), and with appropriate care, it can have a huge positive effect on anyone willing to plumb those depths to become more realized and whole.