| M I N D + B O DY |
shamanic journey t he un ex pe ct e d t rip to re t rie ve my s oul by Zé li e pollon
I’ve had some IntImIdatIng experIences in my journalistic career, but there was something different about being asked to take, and then write about, a shamanic journey. Unlike other assignments where I sometimes faced physical danger, this one was more personal, and could possibly evoke my intimate demons. Was I ready? What if I was overwhelmed by those demons (and, admit it, we all have them), or unable to escape some trance-like state? or worse, what if it had no effect at all? admittedly, I didn’t know much about shamanic journeys, but I had been looking for a shift or a kind of heart-opening in my life. a shamanic journey sounded like a great opportunity. I called a recommended shaman, Luisa Kolker—―a selfdescribed shamanic healer, psychotherapist, and spiritual mentor who has a master’s in counseling psychology and is a member of the society for shamanic practitioners—―and set up an appointment. she was calm and easy over the phone, advising me not to feel nervous. “go with the excitement you first mentioned. the goal of this work is to bring more sweetness into your life, so allow yourself to look forward to this.” I liked her already. Working out of her home office in eldorado, Kolker surrounds herself with various deities and spiritual fetishes. she seats me on a comfortable couch, slips off her shoes, and asks me to describe any specific desires I have for the session. I tell her about my heart, and its defensive covering. she nods, she takes notes, she smiles. It’s hard not to feel comfortable around her. Kolker says she is a soul interpreter, “like at the Un,” who works through spirit helpers—― p ower animals, angelic guides, and teachers―—who give her information about any spiritual illnesses or struggles of the person before her. she attributes a lot of people’s depression to soul-loss and spiritual imbalance, and uses her drums, chants, rattles, spirit guides, and her own intuition to help bring a person’s fragmented life-force back to wholeness. most of us have experienced some kind of trauma, Kolker says. I happen to have trauma from covering war and survivors of torture. though I’ve done a lot of personal work, I’m clearly still stained by the pain and heaviness of conflict. even if I hadn’t wanted to talk about this, Kolker picked up on the
energy right away. In fact, during our session, as I lay horizontal, hoping a near sleep-state would calm my monkey-mind and keep me present, she took me back to Iraq, to a time of great joy and satisfaction. It was there that I met a community of people, which she called my “soul pod,” and it was there that I apparently returned for comfort at a time of emotional trauma, and left a part of my soul. my session would be about soul retrieval, she explained, a common occurrence whereby a soul-loss occurs due to emotional trauma, and one has to go back and get it, then reintegrate, in order to feel whole again. part of my soul-loss was being triggered by the recent loss of a dear friend who died while photographing in Libya. It wasn’t just the loss of one of my “soul pod,” but also the fear that other friends would soon follow. the anxiety over this potential loss was spilling into my personal life, and even impacting my son, the spirits were telling her. In fact, these unconscious visions of war and trauma in my mind were so intense, Kolker described them as a thick, oily, black slab above me, an entity unto itself that filled the room. totally horrified at this revelation (could everyone see this??!!), I pleaded that she get rid of it. through visualizations, chants, drumming, and sage smudges, I could actually feel the slab dissipating. and while I always question the psychosomatic aspect of these experiences, I did start to feel lighter, clearer, and more grounded. Ultimately, wasn’t that the point? as my soul was journeying home, it apparently wanted me to know that by reintegrating I had to see my past experiences as gifts that give me strength and not some “peak moment” whose passing should be mourned. It turns out my deceased friend also had a message to convey: that his war on the psychic battlefield wasn’t my fight, and that I needed to continue my own witnessing work with an open heart. to me, it meant I had to let him go. Kolker mentioned that my friend hadn’t yet left this plane because his work wasn’t finished, but I could call in a few months to see if he had been released. my cynical mind briefly suspected a ply for more business. my heart eagerly awaits the next session. Information for Luisa Kolker can be found at luisakolker.com. Sessions can be conducted in person, over the phone, or by Skype.
my session would be about soul retrieval, Kolker explained, a common occurrence whereby a soul-loss occurs due to emotional trauma.