Spiritual Health, Spiritual Illness and Shamanic Treatment Methods

Shamans believe that illness is caused by energy imbalances in the subtle body, the body of light, which lives around and inside the physical body. Many factors, such as stress, lack of rest, trauma, spiritual parasites and soul loss can deplete a person's subtle body and cause physical illness. It is the shaman's job to restore the subtle body to harmony, in the hope that the physical body will follow suit and return to health.

Caroline Kenner Profile

Germs are around us all the time, yet we rarely get sick if our subtle body is filled with power. As a rule, it is only when our energy is low, and our subtle body is depleted, that we catch an infectious illness. When we are filled with our own soul, when we are in harmony, we are powerful. Our immune system is then strong enough to cast of any microbes looking for a host.

Tribal people did not have microscopes and did not know about infectious germs. But they could see that powerful people do not get sick, and people who have depleted power fall ill frequently. Shamanic healing is based on the principle that restoring the subtle body to health will restore the physical body to good health.

Extraction Healing

Shamans all over the world believe that physical illness is often caused by spiritual intrusions, parasitic spirit beings infesting weak spots in the subtle body. The shaman removes these parasites, disposing of them properly so that they cannot infest another person.

Like physical parasites in this world, spiritual parasites range from minor to very serious. Extraction healing is often similar to ridding a house of an infestation of fleas or mice. Spiritual parasites sometimes look to the shaman like lampreys or leeches, attached to the client's subtle body and sucking from it. They are a class of being which feeds off spiritual energy. They are not sentient or malevolent, any more than mice nesting in a dresser drawer during the winter are sentient or malevolent. These parasites are just looking for a warm energetic home. However, having a bad case of spiritual parasites can cause physical illness, so it is important to remove them.

Traditionally, shamans would deposit spiritual parasites into quickly moving Water. Quickly moving Water will take the parasite away into the ocean, purify it, and not permit it to infest other people. However, Water has requested that I take spiritual parasites into a far-distant level of the lower world for purification. Water in this middle world feels overwhelmed by the amount of toxins humans are casting into It on a daily basis. Water has asked me to take this extra measure so as not to add to Its burden.

I have studied extraction healing with Larry Peters, an American anthropologist trained by ethnic Tibetan traditional healers in Nepal. Tibetan shamans are justifiably famous for their skill in removing spiritual intrusions.


Sometimes, rarely, a spiritual parasite is more serious. Spiritual parasites can sometimes be sentient. These spiritual parasites are also removed with extraction healing, but when the parasites are sentient, they are larger and more pernicious. This is depossession.

Theories abound about this troubling class of spiritual beings. I believe that most of the sentient parasites I have removed were human shells, or parts of souls, which failed to return to the Creator after death. Possible reasons for this failure are manifold, including ignorance about where to go after death, fear of meeting the Creator because of evil actions during life, and confusion from dying suddenly or dying under the influence of disorienting drugs.

In my experience, these spirits are not malevolent, but rather have forgotten their true being and essence, and have a single-minded focus on self-perpetuation at the expense of their hosts. In perpetuating themselves, they drain their hosts of energy. Common systemic symptoms of a client in need of depossession include chronic fatigue, low resistance to infectious illness and depression. Clients in need of depossession can also have site-specific illnesses depending on where the entity has attached to them. Common place for entities to attach include the G-I tract, the central nervous system, chakras, joints and anywhere the client has had surgery or injury.

The good news about depossession: once the client has the shamanic work performed to remove the negative entities, recovery is often immediate and dramatic.

Psychopomp Work

Cultures like the Tibetans and the ancient Egyptians devoted much effort to explaining to dying people what steps to take once the subtle body is severed from the physical body by death. Books such as the Tibetan Book of the Dead or the Egyptian Book of the Dead contain detailed instructions about where to go and what to do after you die for the best results. However, these instructions are culture specific, and will not be very helpful to people who are neither Tibetan nor ancient Egyptian. Our culture devotes almost no attention to helping people die. Many people die in fear and pain, believing that they face the end of themselves instead of a new beginning.

Shamans throughout history have assisted the dead to find their way to our Creator. This work is called psychopomp work, conducting the souls of the recently dead into the next world. Souls of the dead must pass through the boundary between this world and the next in order to merge with Divinity and go on to their next task. When souls of the dead linger here in middle world, they can cause a lot of problems, including infesting the living as described above. Psychopomp work is best performed within three days after death, but can be performed at any time if necessary.

In general, tribal people have historically preferred to go into the next world after death via the lower world. Monotheism has given a bad name to the lower world, and most people nowadays prefer to move on into the upper world after death. However, both the world below and the world above are blessed holy places, and our Creator is found in both worlds.

Psychopomp work is very spiritually rewarding. It is a poignant sight to see the soul of the dead person merge with our loving Creator. There is no being so pitiable and worthy of compassion as a lost soul.

Soul Loss and Soul Retreival

Soul loss, the fragmenting of the subtle body, is a primary cause of physical illness. Treatment for soul loss, called soul retrieval, is practiced in many tribal shamanic cultures, but was unknown to modern shamans until Sandra Ingerman rediscovered it. Sandra Ingerman, with whom I studied for eight years, has written about this phenomenon in her books Soul Retrieval and Welcome Home. Sandra is the greatest exponent of soul retrieval in the modern shamanic revival. Her rediscovery of soul retrieval came directly from working with clients her healing practice.

Sandra noticed that many of her clients who had backgrounds of trauma or abuse reported that they psychically removed themselves from the abuse situation. Psychologists call this dissociation, but to shamans, this psychic flight from trauma has a tangible reality. Unlike a shaman, who travels from his physical body with part of his subtle body on the sound of drums or rattles, and then returns to their physical body, these abuse survivors did not necessarily know how to return to their physical bodies. Parts of their souls actually left, split off, to wander in the shamanic realms.

People with soul loss have low resistance to disease and are frequently subject to infestation by spiritual parasites. They may suffer from hypersensitivity or extreme allergies. They may feel spaced out and disconnected in their daily relationships, or have trouble forming relationships with others. Sandra Ingerman teaches her students to search throughout the shamanic realms and bring back the lost soul part to the client directly. The shaman carries the soul part to the client, and blows it into the client's solar plexus and the top of the head with their breath.

Soul retrieval is a subtle but extremely powerful healing method. The full benefit of soul retrieval is not fulfilled until a year and a day have passed after the treatment. Soul retrieval is not a healing people need to repeat time and again. In the absence of trauma and abuse, the soul usually stays put.

Most modern people have some degree of soul loss. The time around junior high school seems especially traumatic. I have retrieved many soul parts that looked about 13 or 14 years old. Fragmented soul parts long to rejoin the main soul so they can complete the destiny the soul assumed when it was born.

If you are treated with soul retrieval, you may find that you recover lost abilities. It is best to be extra kind and gentle to yourself while the new soul part is integrating back into the main soul. Try to get plenty of rest and don't allow anything to disturb your equilibrium. Welcome yourself back home! You will be filled with your own soul power and rejoining with yourself will make you stronger than you have been before.

Magical Attack

This is an extremely rare form of spiritual illness in our modern world. The symptoms of magical attack are as varied as the wicked spiritual installations causing the illness. To the shaman, a vehicle for magical attack is instantly recognizable: it is a created object, formed of envy and malice, not a natural spiritual being.

Some people magically attack others without consciously realizing it. Others, sadly, are trained in spiritual disciplines, and use their training to attack. Anyone who dwells in spiteful, angry thought on another individual is capable of causing psychic harm to the victim. Any spiritual discipline or religion may be used for negative purposes, for cursing as well as blessing. Magical attack can result in physical, mental or emotional illness, and it can cause accidents and stubborn runs of bad luck. The victim's forward progress in life may be impeded by magical attack.

The reasons for magical attack are usually envy, anger, jealousy or unrequited lust, the same pathetic reasons people use to justify a physical attack. Divorce is occasionally the reason for a magical attack.

Fortunately, attacks of this nature are very rare. Unless you are frequently in the company of spiritually trained people and one of them is extremely angry with you, it is very unlikely that you are under magical attack.

The treatment for magical attack is simple: the shaman removes the installed object and rids the client of its concentrated evil. The shaman often catches a glimpse or hears the voice of the perpetrator in the process of removal. Once the victim is free of the installation, recovery is dramatic. Many shamans follow the extraction of the evil object with either a totem animal retrieval or a soul retrieval, to guard the person against further attacks.

Shamanic Diagnosis

The first step in shamanic diagnosis is to examine the client's subtle body by rattling over their physical body. Shamans can thus tell if a client needs an extraction. Rattling this way is sort of like echo location, the way a bat "sees" in the dark. A healthy spirit body is filled with whirling rainbow light and does not have any dark, heavy energy in it. Shamans can discern these energy patterns by listening to the sound the rattle makes over the physical body. Pockets of dark energy need to be extracted before further treatment.

Then the shaman will undertake a diagnostic journey on behalf of the client. The shaman's helping spirits will tell the shaman what to do next, whether the next step is totem animal retrieval, soul retrieval or another method. The spirits themselves direct all shamanic healing, and guide the shaman in every healing action.

The shaman is often told to search the shamanic realms for missing soul parts or for totem animals. Other times, the soul parts or animal helpers present themselves insistently to shaman, and offer to help the client. Once the shaman finds the animal spirits or soul parts, he or she blows them into the client's solar plexus and the top of their head with puffs of breath. The final step is to seal the spirits inside the client with the rattle.


© Caroline Kenner, 2009