I realized when I was replying to comments on my last post that I was getting into a need to express something deeper. In fact, many of my posts have to me been hinting at this deeper belief now that I realize what it is I am talking about. It just took me this long to get the clue-by-four.
When I talk about how we need to have a foot in both worlds, hearing words about the personal flame, reclaiming my ancestry, or talking about the issues with the Pagan community, what I am superficially saying is that we need to be more authentic to our own spirits.
Let me explain by speaking about my own history.
I, like most of the people on the planet, have suffered from bullying, abuse, and hurt in my lifetime. And also like most of the people on the planet, a lot of this abuse happened in my childhood, which is a very important time in anyone’s life. It is what we learn in childhood that molds and shapes our values, beliefs and thinking. And while there is a great deal on what happens physically and mentally when abuse happens to us, there isn’t a lot of literature on what happens to us spiritually. But I believe that something does happen to us spiritually, and it is just as important to deal with that spiritual hurt as well as it is to deal with the emotional, mental and physical hurt.
In the book “The Mist Filled Path” by Frank MacEowen, Mr. MacEowen talks about soul shards; pieces of the soul that are separated and left in areas that cannot be further harmed. This happens in response to trauma that the body is feeling. The more trauma, the more shards are made, the less you feel like yourself and the less mental and emotional strength you have to be true to who it is you are meant to be. It’s a precarious issue I think, and one of the underlying issues that can cause problems in other aspects of your life.
Our current medical profession speaks to healing the physical hurts of trauma, and the mental health profession speaks to the mental and emotional, but we really don’t have anything that speaks to heal the soul. This means that the soul shards are left behind and permanently separated from us. Further, we don’t even realize we are still suffering from those traumas because the profession tells us “we are well”, even though we still feel a deep longing, or feel incomplete.
Because there is no established healing mechanism in place to retrieve those shards of the soul, those thirsting to be healed started to receive ideas to do it their own way. And as the ideas started to merge with snippets of wisdom that came from different shaman beliefs, with doctors and intuitives that recognized that something else was going on, and thus the New Age movement was born.
I already know I am losing some of you here. But think about it – Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, heck even Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Dyer all have talked about needing to spiritually heal from trauma at some point. In fact, many of them have written books about it that blend snippets of ancient wisdom in with modern practices to do just that. They may not explicitly use the term soul shard, but much of what they speak about has the same benefit.
However, in the more rigid Pagan community, most pagans are scared to attempt something regarding soul retrieval. They are afraid of not having enough strength, or the fact that there isn’t a traditional holy person/shaman/healer in the area that can help them do what they believe is dangerous work. I’m not going to argue that if you don’t know what you are doing when it comes to magic that you aren’t going to get bitten. Often novice magic users get into situations where they try to dive in too deeply and end up causing more trauma to themselves. However, I don’t see this happening very much in the new age community, at least when you do your best to follow what it is that some of the leading voices of the community talk about.
In my opinion, this is where we as a pagan community can learn. I believe that soul retrieval is much more possible than some are lead to believe. Of course there is work involved; soul retrieval also includes a great deal of physical and mental work. And for severely traumatic situations, a counselor is of great benefit, but it is possible. It also means however, that we need to utilize more modern techniques, as some of this work may not be available in a re-constructionist sense. This is another issue the Pagan community as a whole needs to think about.
So what does the work of soul retrieval have to do with being more authentic?
When someone does the work of retrieving a piece of the soul, something wonderful happens. Your beliefs start to change, you become more settled within your body, and your energy frequently starts to change. All of these changes within yourself are then reflected in your environment. You might change the friends you have, leave a romantic relationship, find a romantic relationship or even lose weight. I have also seen physical and financial opportunities open up thanks to soul retrieval work. Simply put, by retrieving the piece of soul that was missing, you are becoming more authentic by putting yourself on a path of growth and becoming more of the individual that you were meant to be in this lifetime.
If this sounds too much like someone who has taken too many new age philosophy classes and is on something, I understand. I think I am one of the few pagans who look in many different areas of religion and philosophy for tools and tips (I know some people think I have fully lost my marbles when I bring Oprah’s name up!). But in almost every culture there is a myth of death and rebirth, and the rebirth tends to be a transformation. This death/rebirth fits directly into soul retrieval, the death being the loss, and the rebirth being the soul made more hole.
Gong further, perhaps some of the reason we see so much conflict in paganism today is because too many people are carrying their spiritual scars from lost pieces of soul that are left over from their stint with organized religions. Perhaps some of the reason we cannot walk with ‘a foot in both worlds’ is also because of how we have learned to protect ourselves from further hurt and soul splitting by being afraid to succeed. And perhaps we do not fully accept our ancestry because of the deep rooted pain that still exists from years of our ancestors not being able to fully heal their soul before they cross over.
I don’t have the black and white answers here, but I feel like I am onto something. I have seen this truth in my own spiritual work and how I have transformed myself over the years. I have also seen remarkable things happen when someone takes the first step in soul retrieval. The transformation is unlike anything you have ever seen-you literally are reborn in the process.
Of course, being human, we will never be finished with this work. I find myself doing the work again over and over, sometimes the same lesson, sometimes large lessons, and sometimes small ones. I like to think that I know how to heal now from trauma, but then things throw me for a loop and I find I am back to square one again. But that is what is meant to happen. We wouldn’t be on this Earth if we didn’t have lessons to learn. And perhaps one of the tools to learn those lessons includes becoming more authentic by healing the soul.
Photo from Deviant Art