SHAMANIC CARE OF THE SOUL

The major religions have identified the soul as the incorporeal essence of a living being. Some religions have said the soul is composed of five parts: soul, heart, shadow, name, and spark. Some philosophers have written that the soul has three parts, Plato being a good example. An issue for me is the meaning of incorporeal. It is defined as “something that has no material form or physical substance. Incorporeal comes from a combination of the Latin root words in- meaning “not” and corpus meaning body. (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/incoreporeal)   I quarrel with this because the soul is essence, that is, the sum and total of energy, especially at the molecular level. The human soul is central to the personhood of a human being. As George MacDonald said, “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” In other words, personhood is not based on having a body. A soul is what is required. The function of the soul is to provide direction to one’s consciousness that allows the Spirit to realize its full potential.

A distinction between soul and spirit needs to be made before I discuss the shamanic care of the soul. Spirit is considered to be the vital principle or animating force within living things. And for this writer that includes all animal and plant life as well as human life. However we may arrive at a working definition of the soul, the shaman recognizes the soul as being a focus of physical, mental, and emotional issues.

I make a distinction between mental and emotional issues. Specifically, mental refers to the processes in the brain; whereas, emotional refers to one’s feelings, and of course physical refers to the biology of the body.

What then, does the shaman do to care for the soul? Obviously, the shaman attempts to identify the client’s issue. There are several things he or she may do. One of the first things I do after interviewing my client is to check the energy level. I do this by using a dowsing rod made of an old metal coat hanger. If it is determined the issue is mental then the area of concentration is the head.[i] Being cognizant of potential ear damage, the sounds I use are low pitched. For example, I will stand behind the client’s head and gently beat a drum, very slowly, or shake a rattle, or play a flute. The reason for doing this is to change the vibrational flow in the brain; thus, bringing healing energy to the area(s) needed. An essential oil is applied to the back of the head, just at the point for it connects to the neck (the brain stem) and the same oil is applied to the forehead. I use about three drops Frankincense. Then I apply three drops of Rosemary Essential Oil to each foot. Both Frankincense and Rosemary are excellent stimulants for increased healing energy flow.

Two points need to be stated at this time. First, for me, the soul is consciousness and consciousness is housed within the brain. Here’s the rub. Science isn’t in agreement as to exactly where consciousness resides. Second, for me, a non-scientist, soul (consciousness) resides throughout the whole brain.[ii] With that said, another aspect of soul care is the heart and all its energy. The heart has a direct relationship with the soul. I will discuss heart energy and soul in a future article.

In some cases, the shaman may do a soul retrieval healing. Peter E. Brown in “Shamanic Soul Retrieval”[iii] states, “A shamanic soul retrieval healing can integrate parts of ourselves that we’ve lost through childhood or adult trauma and abuse.” In my book, Shamanism What It’s All About Third Edition,[iv] I discuss soul loss and retrieving the soul.


[i] One of the things I explore with the client includes medical doctor visits, scans of the brain, etc. I also try to make sure that what I do is not contra-productive. I prefer that the client should have discussed any supportive treatment with his or her medical practitioner beforehand.

[ii] See Fiona MacDonald’s article in HUMANS (June 12, 2018) titled Harvard Scientist Think They’ve Pinpointed The Physical Source of Consciousness.

[iii] Huichol shamanism & plant spirit medicine healing. Peter has offices in Seattle. For appointment call 360-561-8722.

[iv] Zadkiel Publishing, 2018.

Copyright 2019 by Norman W. Wilson, PhD.

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