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Detailed information on shamanism courses. Study all aspect of core shamanic practice, including: soul retrieval; extraction and other shamanic healing methods; shamanic meditation practices and shamanism as a spiritual practice.
The Three Ravens College of Therapeutic Shamanism.
Soul Retrieval and the Fort Holder: soul retrieval for modern times.
Six weekends, at roughly two-monthly intervals.
Dates: 2019: October 19-20, December 14-15. 2020: Feb 29 + March 1, May 9+10, July 4+5, September 12+13.
Venue: Llandudno, North Wales.
Tutors: Chris Holt, Jayne Birkett, Marie Edwards, Paul Connery, and Rachel Surtees. With additional teaching from Paul Francis on each weekend.
Soul loss occurs when part of us splits off and leaves us. This may be the result of traumatic events, but may also occur simply because we learn to hide away part of who we truly are in order to fit in; eventually this part becomes lost to us. The symptoms of soul loss can include: depression, fatigue, procrastination, a lack of joy in life, weariness, feelings of emptiness, low self-esteem, addictions and illness. Soul retrieval is the shamanic practice of finding someone’s lost soul parts, bringing them back, and helping the person to re-integrate them. (You can read more about soul loss and soul retrieval on this website here).
Traditional hunter-gatherer methods of soul retrieval usually involve some version of the shaman or shamans finding the lost soul part, or calling it back, and then placing it back into the person it belongs to. After a short period of time, the returned soul part would be integrated back into the person, and the matter would be resolved. The problem is that in modern times, things are more complicated.
As modern humans, we have created a society that is massively more complicated than the cultures of our ancestors. Compared to them, we live lives that are disconnected from the natural world, and the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that our bodies and minds are evolved for. Once we roamed wild and free, whereas now we have tamed ourselves. In order to fit in with our complex and domesticated lives, to fit into dysfunctional nuclear families, into school and into work-places, we have to send parts of ourselves away. To survive and fit in, we send parts of our own soul away. We ourselves send away our own playfulness or creativity; our joy, passion, wildness, sensitivity, vulnerability, confidence; assertiveness; care-freeness; cleverness; tears; sadness; anger and so on.
However, if all of our soul (or souls) had left, then we would have died. The fact that we didn’t means that part of us stayed behind and carried on, ‘holding the fort’ so to speak. In childhood this is the part of us who learns to bite our lip or hold our tongue; to always be ready for a fight; to not show weakness; to not speak out; to swallow our sadness; to sell ourselves out in order to fit in or survive; and countless other strategies we may have adopted to get through childhood.
All this makes modern-day soul retrieval a different and in many ways a more complex issue than it once was. These days it is often not enough to retrieve the lost soul part for a person and to blow it back into them. Whereas part of the person may want the soul part back (the part of them that asked for the soul retrieval to be done for them!), the fort-holder part of them may be worried, ambivalent or even outright opposed and hostile to the lost soul part returning, and to the changes that it could (and would) bring with it. In some ways the fort-holder is like the Japanese soldiers who were found years after the second world war had ended, surviving alone on remote islands. Many had not realised that the war was over and were still loyally fighting on. The fort-holder in us doesn’t realise the war of childhood is in fact over. They are ever on guard, ever ready to step in and protect us, in ways that are now no longer appropriate to our adult life and in ways that often no longer serve us.
The fort-holder is both a part developed in our childhood (to fit in with family, school, religion, peers etc.), and a present-day part that is still running our everyday life. The extent to which the fort-holder is still present and running our lives (in terms of our thoughts, habits, choices, perceptions, beliefs and strategies) is often entirely unknown and unconscious to most people. So as well as finding and retrieving the lost soul part, there is a process of negotiating with the fort holder part that needs to be skilfully facilitated, and a process and time of integration to be managed. This can also involve doing healing not just for the returned soul part, but for the fort-holder. This can involve journey back to the fort-holder in childhood, giving them them love and healing, telling them that they are not alone and that they will get through this, and giving them the help they need shamanically. In effect we become the child’s ‘guardian angel’ watching over them from the future. The effects of this healing can be profound. We can also thank our present-day fort-holder and tell them that the war is over and that they can now ‘stand at ease’. We can give them healing and a new, more appropriate role in our adult life.
Another issue in soul retrieval is the body. Soul loss often occurs from a major shock or trauma of some kind. As well as the soul part leaving, the body often goes into shock. This shocked state can last for years and years. This causes its own problems, including that a returned soul part often finds it difficult to stay in (or even enter) a body in shock. Shamanically, this body-shock can be dealt with and healed.
Over the course weekends will explore different traditional ways of doing soul retrievals. In the process we will work on reconnecting to our own lost soul parts, as well as learning the beautiful, moving and empowering work of helping others recover theirs. We then go further than traditional shamanic soul retrieval and look ways of working with re-integrating the returned soul parts, to ensure that they are happy to stay, and that the fort-holder is happy to have them back. As well as learning how to heal returned soul parts we will look at the various aspects of beginning the work of healing the fort-holder, both in childhood and in the present. We will practice different methods of healing body-shock. We also explore how to work with more ‘difficult’ soul loss experiences such as: ‘soul theft’ and other entanglements; what to do when the soul part is in the Land of the Dead; inherited (ancestral) soul loss.
Please note, this is not just a shamanism course. It is a therapeutic shamanism course, and so it focuses not only on shamanism but on the psychotherapeutic side of the work in equal measure. As such, participating on it does require a reasonable degree of psychological awareness. Or at the very least, a curiosity and willingness to own and explore emotional and psychological issues in a safe group setting. If you are not willing to face and look at your stuff, or if you think that you have no unresolved issues from your childhood, then this course is definitely not for you! If however, you are willing to walk ‘the road less-travelled’ and begin the courageous process of becoming whole, of changing, and of finding out who you really are, then welcome aboard.
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“These courses thoroughly explained the meaning of soul loss and the implications of this in a complex modern environment. In a short space of time I developed the necessary skills to journey to retrieve my own soul parts, and to access essential healing. I also developed confidence in doing soul-retrieval for others. I came away from the courses feeling empowered with the capacity to dissolve negative patterns in my life, to embrace transformation and to step forward into wholeness and strength.” L.M., Cumbria.