What Is Power Loss?
Alongside soul-loss, “power-loss” is the other major underlying cause of illness from a shamanic perspective. By “power” here, what shamans mean is essentially “life-force”. If our life-force is weak, then we are prone to disease. Because of this, maintaining healthy power is an essential part of shamanic practice.
Power-loss comes in two forms – “loss of personal-power”, and “Power-loss” (with a capital “P”). The first, loss of personal-power, occurs when we are dominated by another person or group of people. As well as allowing others to have power over us, it includes co-dependent and other unhealthy relationship issues. Whilst it usually involves relationships with other people, it can be an issue with the other-than-human too. We can allow ourselves to be taken over by all sorts of things – career, wealth and social status, ideologies and causes, drugs and other addictions and compulsions, and so on. Loss of personal power is essentially a boundaries issue. How to repair and maintain healthy boundaries, and cultivate healthy personal power and use it well, can be a major aspect of shamanic work.
Power-loss with a capital “P” occurs when we cut ourselves off from nature and Mother Earth. It is something that is endemic in modern life, given most people live in urban environments and spend their life with little or no real contact with nature. Even people living in the countryside can still suffer from Power-loss though, given how tamed and domesticated many of our rural landscapes are these days.
The symptoms of Power-loss are essentially the same as those of soul-loss. However, the cure is different. Power-loss cannot be healed by soul retrieval. Instead, its root cause – our disconnection from the other-than-human (and specifically, from our fellow animals, plants, and even the land itself) – needs to be addressed. Practical ways to heal this disconnect and “rewild our souls” is at the heart of both shamanism and animism.