“Exaggerated independence is one of the attitudes that isolates us and makes us ill. Healing can be a celebration of our connectedness and interdependence.”
Elliot Cowan, Plant Spirit Medicine
The connection between spiritual healing and physical healing is well-known and oft talked about in shamanic circles. Physical symptoms and illness are long-recognized as connected to emotional and spiritual imbalance. Even in Western medicine, “stress” is correlated to worsening or accelerating the progress of many illnesses. Because of this, many clients of shamanic practitioners seek and find improvement of their physical symptoms through the spiritual and emotional work that’s accomplished. (Of course, shamanic healing is not a replacement for the work of a physician if that’s what you need!)
But something happened for me recently that I wasn’t expecting, and as a little time has passed on it, I’ve found some interesting messages on what it’s about.
Many years ago now, I had a horseback riding accident in which I nearly broke my neck, and I’ve had many different therapies over the years: physical therapy immediately afterward, long-acting anesthetic injections to the site, chiropractic, acupuncture, Rolfing, the list goes on…. But the pain and limitations on motion and position from it persisted through the years: at times a little less, at times a little more, but always present. Then, last fall I met a woman who is a craniosacral practitioner, body worker and energy healer. I started to work with her a couple of months ago.
I am closer now to healing that original injury than I’ve ever been. That part wasn’t the surprise though. It’s awesome and wonderful, but not surprising.
Here’s what surprised me: during my most recent session with her, I had a lost soul part return. Based upon what I saw during the soul retrieval, the loss of that soul part had occurred well before the horseback riding accident, so it was really surprising to me that this direct physical healing work would lead to spiritual healing. At a later point in the same session, I found my head and neck moving in the exact same way that the original injury occurred, which was a welcome sense of actually tapping into and healing the original injury.
But it puzzled me that direct physical healing work could lead to soul retrieval. For healing work focused on an immediate injury or trauma, it would be less surprising; for a soul part lost in the injury itself, I absolutely would have expected it. For instance, I’m trained to always offer soul retrieval to someone who has been in a car accident; the abrupt and unexpected nature of a car accident is especially prone to causing a bit of the self to flee in shock. During my own healing work for others, I work on the spiritual and energetic levels for the most part. (To clarify, it comes through me; it’s not my work, but the work of Spirit through me.) This work is what I would call energy healing; I work in journeys and trance state to bring healing to the soul and to the etheric body.
I’m still a little boggled by this event, but here’s what I’ve come up with: finding that lost soul part, finding forgiveness and healing for myself and for the situations that led to the soul loss was the key to finally moving towards healing the neck injury, because it was part of the cause of the injury. As with all symptoms, it persisted and would persist until the root cause was resolved and remedied, until the message was heard and the lesson had been learned.
One of the messages that I received with the return of the soul part had to do with the feeling of needing to be independent, to do it all for myself in a time where I felt very unsupported – this self-reliance has sometimes been carried to extremes, where in an unbalanced mind-set I’d decide on a course and not pay attention to indications that it maybe wasn’t the best idea. An unbalanced mind-set and the will to charge ahead without accepting external input are not the safest ways to go about riding horses!
The importance of a soul retrieval is not why the soul part left, but what is returned along with it when it comes back. The message and gift of this healing was this: maintaining awareness to all inputs in a situation and staying present in the moment strengthens my connection to Source, to the energy of working together and to my own power, and allows the best outcome to happen naturally. I don’t need to do it all myself.