All The Petals Of A Flower Are Collectively Called Plant Spirit Shamanism – Soul Retrieval Through Nature

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Plant Spirit Shamanism – Soul Retrieval Through Nature

Shamans believe that the soul can be lost through trauma, abuse, shock – and basically, insulting nature or ignoring our need to connect with it.

In many shamanic countries, there are still roadside shrines where people can rest, pay respect to the natural world, and receive healing and compensation from it.

In the modern West, we have few such sacred places or ceremonies left. Festivals like May Day, originally a fertility ritual to welcome spring, have lost their purpose and meaning and weakened our connection with nature. In turn, our spirits, individually and collectively, have weakened and, despite our great wealth and ‘power’, many traditional societies regard us as the poorest people on earth.

Healing soul damage, as you can imagine, often involves the shaman reconnecting his patient to nature, rebalancing her and giving her soul a safe, strong, whole, place to return to.

In Japan, one method is to accompany the patient (or advise her to go on a nature walk) to find and contact a specific tree that calls to her. Then she sits beside her and talks to the tree about her problems and sorrows.

If she listens carefully, the spirit of the tree – the great gateway to nature – will advise her on what to do, while taking her pain and transforming it, and in return will give her strength and a new spirit.

In Tuva, the patient is advised to walk like this and make an offering to the temple of nature, in return for which the spirits will bring back her soul.

In both cases, of course, the patient is deeply immersed in nature, with the trees and the silence of the forest, which itself is energizing and peaceful.

In the Andes, soul retrieval is a similar but slightly different practice. Here, the shaman will take the patient to the physical place where the spirit was lost to find and bring back its energy. There is always a physical location where the trauma occurred, whether the blackspot of a car accident or the home that was the epicenter of childhood abuse, and that is where the soul remains locked.

The shaman is able to bring the soul back by negotiating its release with the spirit of the place and induces the soul to return by singing songs of joy awaiting its return to the patient’s body after the trauma is over. When negotiating with the spirit of the location, the shaman may also make an offering or simply leave flowers in exchange for the spirit. If the nature spirits are satisfied with the offering and promise that the soul they are protecting will be treated well on its return—and if the spirit itself feels loved and safe—it is immediately released to the patient.

Andean curandera, Doris Rivera Lenz, comments on this practice as follows:

When a boy suddenly falls, for example, his soul may leave his body and he may become ill. If this happens, the child is offered at the place of fall, to heal it.

There are many ways to ‘summon the spirit’. You can grab a piece of the child’s clothes and make a small doll and decorate it with flowers or whatever the child likes and you can call his spirit to the place where he is scared. You can call upon and use the energy of herbs, pigeon’s nests, feathers, tobacco, coca, or anything else needed to aid in this healing, but before any session, you must first seek permission from Pachamama, who is the spirit. the earth

If there is no fixed place where the problem started, you go to the highest mountain or the nearest river and perform the ritual there.

There is another approach to spirit retrieval, common in countries as diverse as Mexico, Haiti, and Peru, that also works with flowers. These traditions hold that the soul can sometimes be, not lost, but so loosely attached that it vibrates simultaneously inside and outside the body. This can happen as a shocker, where events that shake our worldviews and undermine everything we hold to be true can also shake our souls. It’s as if you have nothing left to hold on to and lose all balance. Blows like these can cause trauma but if the soul is caught quickly it can be healed before it is deeply wounded, by forcing it back into the body and stabilizing it there so that balance is restored.

One method is to wrap the patient tightly in a sheet or blanket so that the spirit is pressed back into the body and held there. This may also be the origin of the practice of swaddling babies, with traditional people recognizing that a baby’s soul is less attached to its physical body and needs to be kept in place until the child ‘grows into itself’ and settles into its body. Flower petals are placed inside the body blanket and can also be sprinkled on and around the patient.

As the patient sleeps in a cocoon of sweet-smelling flowers that soothe her soul, the shaman will lullaby and whisper to her how beautiful the world is and how much her people love and want her. Perfumes may also be sprayed on her, their smell reminding her of the sweet words she hears and prayers for her soul and the spirit of nature. She is then left there for a while in the gentle heat of the rising sun, before the shaman wraps her up and welcomes her home as an initiation into a new possibility of life: rebirth through flowers.

Another method is related to the Mexican medicine man, Don Abraham, who speaks of the herb Alta Miza, which is “used to heal trauma, to induce regression”.

“Alta Miza grabs your soul and moves you back… until you reach the point where it hurts. And then she confronts you with the pain. And she heals the pain”. [Mexican teachings: Plant Spirits in Ceremony]. This is similar to the Amazonian use of chakapa to remove negative energy and restore the soul to the patient. In both cases, it is the plants, which provide the direct cure. Interestingly, also, Alta Miza is febrifuge, long respected for its healing and purifying properties and widely cultivated in Old England in the belief that it would purify the air and prevent the spread of the plague. Gerard said of it that it “cleanses, purifies or rubs, opens and finishes all bitter things”.

Plant spirit shamanism recognizes that plants have an affinity for humans, that they know our pain, and that they are intended to love and heal. Just being near them and their energy field can be enough to call the spirit back.

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