Have you ever felt such despair and disconnection with yourself that you’re not even sure who you’re looking at anymore? You know you can see, hear, touch, smell, feel and think – you’re only too acutely aware of all that.
But, beyond the meat-coated skeleton with a beating heart and a squishy brain capable of conjuring up the most wondrous images, who or what is there?
Where have ‘I’ gone? Why does everything feel so difficult, so overwhelming, so painful?
‘Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss in life is what dies inside us while we live’Norman Cousins
If any of that seems familiar, it’s possible you’re experiencing what’s referred to as soul loss, a deeply troubling experience that leaves you in a directionless state, one that makes you believe you have no purpose, no mission, and no substance here on Earth.
In many cases, it also leads to a type of spiritual depression; one that feels like you’ve entered an abyss.
Many guides will have you believe that soul loss is a permanent state of being, something you’re destined to fall victim to, but I believe soul loss is just a sign you’ve resisted the natural, free-flowing energy within for far too long.
The part of you that craves to be set free, and not be bound to the ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ others have projected onto you.
In my eyes, it’s easily remedied by understanding, and more importantly, harnessing the energy you were born with through conscious inner work and life design.
In this guide, I walk you through this process and help you understand more about the signs, symptoms, stages, causes, and how to begin to heal it.
WHAT IS SOUL LOSS?
Soul loss is a complete disconnection from the soul within. A severance between the energy that nourishes and guides you.
It typically happens as a result of trauma, be that emotional, mental, physical, or otherwise, and the beliefs you develop as a result of it.
For example, if you believe you are broken, you’re more likely to feel detached, fragmented, or in more extreme cases, completely separate from your soul and body.
Can you see the disconnection? The human self thinks it’s broken, whilst the soul energy within already knows it’s whole and complete.
Therefore, soul loss is a form of extreme dissociation; ‘a disconnection between a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of who he or she is’.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH SOUL LOSS
That said, soul loss doesn’t just originate from trauma. It can even arise from following the crowd, and shunning your own innate desires and wants.
I experienced soul loss a few years ago, and to me, it felt like the end of the world (overdramatic I know, but this is what it felt like).
At the time I was completing my 2-year degree in Western Astrology and Astronomy, something that called to the depths of my soul once I realized just how powerful and life-changing it was to live by the energy written in your natal chart – no longer resisting what you’re meant to do, see, feel and experience.
Throughout the first year though, I found myself spiraling into a spiritual depression.
Though I absolutely loved the practice and what I was learning every day, part of me felt as though I was running from ‘the real world’, and what I ‘should’ have been doing; aka taking my psychological training to a specialization level.
Everyone told me I should have done that rather than ‘fool around with an unproven practice’.
My ego was clawing at me to go back to ‘normality’ but my soul wanted to dwell in the magic that I had found in astrology.
And so, I practiced what I teach – leading a soul-led life – and stayed with my course to achieve my Masters.
I practiced modern soul retrieval through astrology and guided inner work, and within a few months, found myself creating a life unbound by internal or external limitations.
23 MAJOR SIGNS YOU’RE EXPERIENCING SOUL LOSS
- You’ve entered a very dark place in your life and are depressed
- You’re having persistent trouble with negative thoughts
- You feel deeply inadequate
- You’ve developed unhealthy coping mechanisms or addictions
- You have low self-esteem and have started to neglect yourself
- You’ve become a victim of your own circumstances, and started making bad choices because you’ve internalized other’s perceptions of you
- You feel as though you’re broken or incomplete
- You’ve given up on seeking a purpose, or maybe don’t even believe a purpose exists
- You look in the mirror and see a hollow form staring back
- You’re emotionally numb or you can’t stop feeling all the feels
- You’re riddled with anxiety, fatigue, and chronic worry
- You’re not sure who you even are anymore, or have a desire to get to a version of your old self, when you believed you were happier and more carefree
- You’re experiencing a deep spiritual awakening, a dark night of the soul, or a spiritual crisis
- You’re lonely, but generally, avoid people believing they’re ‘all going to treat you the same way’
- You feel like life is one big never-ending to-do list
- You feel stuck and incapable of getting yourself out of this dark space
- You’ve developed C-PTSD or a similar traumatic mental health condition
- You feel as though there two people living within you, one who wants to escape from all this pain, and one who just wants to wallow in it
- You long for somewhere to call home, somewhere you belong
- You’re constantly searching for ‘a universal truth’, one that will magically take all of the pain away from you. When you think you’ve found it, only then do you realize it wasn’t what you were looking for.
- You’re torn between thinking you create your own destiny vs it’s already pre-destined and you have no control over the outcome
- You want more out of life
- You have a deep desire to heal
Side note: A telltale sign of soul loss is depression. This isn’t the odd down day either, but a persistent struggle with seeing the point of everything. You might feel as though life is meaningless.
This is especially true if you feel you’re working at a dead-end job, hate your role, or don’t see a way out of it.
If you’re struggling with depression or a similar mental health condition, I highly recommend seeking professional advice, someone who can cater to your specific needs, work to calm your nervous system, and help you reframe your beliefs.
WHY I DON’T AGREE WITH THE CURRENT SET DEFINITION
Soul loss is often referred to as ‘complete fragmentation of the soul in which it never fully recovers’, or alternatively, ‘the departure of a soul from its body, never to return often caused by illness or disease’.
I don’t believe in either definition. No matter what trauma or events we pass through in life, our soul never detaches from our body. It experiences everything with us, if not, is the driving force behind everything we do.
A permanent fragmentation or departure pulls us into a lens of fear, as though we should navigate life being mindful of such a weak and fallible part of us that can be swiped away at any moment.
I would like to put your mind at ease, we’re not talking about a soul lobotomy here. It cannot ever be taken, just disconnected from.
WHAT CAUSES SOUL LOSS? WHY IS IT HAPPENING?
Unfortunately, soul loss doesn’t seem to be an uncommon thing in today’s world.
As we seek to prioritize individual gain, more and more people are doing things they absolutely hate just to be able to make ends meet, thereby creating even more resistance.
Resistance = soul loss
Though, that’s not to say soul loss is just a ‘poor man’s problem’. You only need to look at some of the richest people in the world to see that vast amounts of money were never the answer.
Of course, that’s always easy to say when you’re not worrying about how you’re going to feed yourself every month.
But even with more than enough money to fund generational wealth, these people are lonely, desperately unhappy, and disconnected from the pleasure of life, often drowning their sorrows in addiction and unhealthy habits.
So, if it’s not just about money, then what is it?
Well, it’s about ego, but not in the way that you think. We experience soul loss when the ego is misguided or misdirected.
When it chases something it doesn’t really want or need, and follows a path that’s guided by the logical mind as opposed to the feeling heart.
How many times have you done something against your instinct just because you’ve been told that’s what you should do? ‘Shoulds’, ‘musts’, ‘societal pressures’, all of it leads to soul loss.
But the ego itself isn’t bad. I’ve seen people say ‘kill the ego’, but this just lacks understanding.
The ego is just a healthy adaptation and self-preservation mechanism in a world that does everything possible to suppress the authentic, inner self. It’s a form of protection, and it does a good job.
The ego just wants you, the human being, to be happy, to not fall back into the depths of society, to feel a sense of belonging.
The ego does what the soul cannot bear. It just goes about it in the wrong way. When the soul craves release, but the ego wants to want, there’s a major clash.
And so you feel lost, directionless, and confused, amongst all of the other uncomfortable signs and symptoms.
To recap, we experience soul loss when:
- The ego and the heart are at odds with each other
- Our path or purpose don’t seem meaningful to us
- We believe a purpose doesn’t exist (it does, just not in the way it’s been portrayed in the New Age Movement)
- We’ve faced trauma in our lives (or even in past ones)
- We’re chasing something and we’re not even sure why we’re chasing it in the first place
THE PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF SOUL LOSS
- Unexplained chronic fatigue
- Unusual aches and pains
- Unexplained all-over body pain (a good sign of a psychosomatic illness)
- Dulling of the skin and facial complexion
- A loss of the body’s glow or aura field (still there, but dimmer)
- Headaches or migraines
- An empty, hollow feeling in your chest or stomach (the kind of feeling that happens when you’re on a rollercoaster)
- A desire to sleep well beyond 7-9 hours a day OR
- Chronic insomnia and inability to sleep
THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND SOUL LOSS AND TRAUMA
It’s important to understand that soul loss and its accompanying dissociation isn’t a bad thing.
Let’s say you were a victim of emotional manipulation or narcissism. You were told ‘you were worthless’, ‘you’re a waste of time, ‘you’re just being silly’.
The ego steps up to take the brunt; it wants to try to protect and prevent the psyche from embodying it. Emphasis on *try*.
No matter how hard we try, the trauma will always leave some kind of imprint on the mind. A spiritual stamp, if you like. But, when the psyche cannot endure any more trauma, it leaks to the soul.
To prevent any further corruption, part of the soul shuts down (metaphorically speaking). This is what psychology calls dissociation, but what spiritual healers see as a form of damage control.
IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN SOUL LOSS AND SPIRITUAL AWAKENING?
I think soul loss can actually be a trigger for a spiritual awakening; when you realize that you just can’t keep going through any more falseness, pain, and suffering any longer.
The irony being of course that this initiation typically gives way to a Dark Night of the Soul; an even darker internal crisis where you’re forced to confront your soul and its shadow self in all its glory.
This marks the beginning of your journey to finding the home within, the place that accepts and loves you unconditionally.
I appreciate none of this sounds very appealing, but the reality of this journey isn’t all love, light and roses…and if anyone tries to make out otherwise (I’m looking at those influencers on Insta), they’re likely trying to sell you a ‘perfect’ lifestyle, one that just doesn’t exist.
Friendly reminder, the dark isn’t bad, it’s just an experience.
OLDER INTERPRETATIONS OF SOUL LOSS
In shamanistic practices, soul loss is seen as ‘the soul’s journey gone wrong’.
It’s believed that during soul loss the soul travels to different dimensions or alternate realms where it’s possessed by lower vibrational entities who seek to keep its power and gifts for themselves.
From a shamanistic standpoint, it’s when we cannot retrieve or recover the parts of our soul that journeyed beyond that we then experience complete soul loss.
Before the field of psychology evolved, this was the only way many religious and spiritual tribes could explain such a phenomenon.
We now know that soul loss is deeply linked to trauma and suppression, rather than any kind of possession.
Trust me when I say there’s absolutely nothing to fear with this process, in fact, I’d say most people go through this during their lifetime.
RECONNECTING WITH THE SOUL WITHIN
‘Soul loss is regarded as the most serious diagnosis and the single greatest cause of premature death or serious illness by the traditionals, and it’s not even mentioned in our Western medical textbooks’.Deepak Chopra
Soul retrieval is the practice used to not only magnetize the soul back to its original state but to upgrade it so as to prevent another soul loss epidemic again.
Soul retrieval works by uncovering the deepest parts of your being, ones that you might never have come into contact with before.
I consider it a true exploration of your soul’s innermost fears, worries, hopes, thoughts, and dreams.
WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME AND MANY OTHERS
When you understand the energy you incarnated with, you’ll see where you’re resisting your own natural flow, how you’re limiting your own zone of genius, and why you’re not getting the results you see everyone else achieving (even if you follow their exact same steps).
What works for one person will likely not work for you, because your soul, your being, has completely different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges.
Beautiful soul, you were never meant to emulate the footsteps of others, you were never meant to walk their path. You were always meant to forge and blaze your own in this lifetime.
In addition to astrological natal chart understanding, there are many other methods I use to go about soul retrieval (I’ll likely write a whole article on this at some point), but here are the most successful methods;
- Shadow Work
- Inner Child Work
- Meditation and Yoga (best done with someone who practices through a trauma lens, rather than general holistic wellbeing or fitness)
- Working with Your Kundalini Energy
SOUL LOSS FAQ
CAN SOUL RETRIEVAL ONLY BE DONE WITH A SHAMAN?
No. Though soul retrieval is considered a shamanistic practice, you don’t need to go to a Shaman to help you.
Psychologists, therapists, and highly qualified spiritual healers can guide you through the soul retrieval process.
A good practitioner also won’t just tell you what you want to hear, but rather what you need to hear; one of the guiding principles that drives my work.