Soul loss, as shamans know, is at the root of many of our existential complaints - of chronic fatigue and depression, of addictions and autoimmune problems, of creative blockage and even "bad luck". If we are missing vital soul energy, how do we get it back?
Our dreams will show us, if we are able to remember our dreams and willing not only to read them carefully but to take action to bring their guidance and energy into our lives. If we are suffering from a prolonged dream drought, that is almost certainly a very strong indication of serious soul loss because it suggests that we have lost contact with the part of ourselves that is the dreamer. If this is our situation, the essential first step towards soul healing is to find the ways to end the dream drought. I have offerered simple and practical advice on how to do that in my book Active Dreaming..
In working with thousands of dreamers over several decades, I have noticed that there are five types of dreams that very frequently offer clues to where soul has gone, and invitations to bring it back:
Dreams of the old place
Again and again, you dream you are in the old place - back in the home you shared with your ex, or the office where you worked at the old job, or at grandma's house, or in the school yard. Maybe you'll want to ask yourself: did I leave part of myself behind when I left that old situation?
Dreams of a younger self as a separate person
You dream of a same-sex companion, notably younger than your present self. You may not recognize this person to begin with, or you may confuse him or her with a younger member of your family - with a child or a cousin, for example. Look again, to see whether that younger dream figure is actually a part of yourself who appears as a separate being because he or she is not currently a part of your life, having separated from you during a crucial life passage.
Dreams of animals
The state of animals in our dreams often represents the state of our vital energies, and can show us the natural path of our energies. Such dreams may also offer an invitation to connect or re-connect with our animal spirits. This is one of the quickest ways I know to restore and raise vital energy in our contemporary lives.
Dreams of shoes
Shoes, I've noticed, are often an analog for souls in our dreams. You can hear the homonym; shoes have "soles" which sounds like "souls". Whe you dream that you can't find your shoes, or that they are lost or missing, ask whether you are being given a message about soul loss - and perhaps a clue to where to go to locate what you lost. If you dream your shoes don't fit, ask where in your life your situation no longer serves the needs of your soul and your creative spirit.
Dreams of the unexpected visitor
The surprise caller at your door in your dreams may be a messenger from your Great Self. Maybe you resist that visitor, trying to bar your door. Of course, it is always important to discern the character of the visitor and make sure that you are not going to entertain an intruder.
You'll want to remember that the little self, the ego self, is always terrified of being overwhelmed by the larger Self, and that to claim a relationship with greater powers we are required to brave up. So when you are surprised or alarmed by that unexpected dream visitor, you'll want to look again, by getting your head back inside the dream and asking, Who are you?
Here, as with all five types of dreams reviewed here, the royal road for turning a dream suggestive of soul loss into an exercise in soul recovery is to learn to re-enter the dream and operate consciously within its space.
You may find it extremely helpful to undertake this form of shamanic lucid dreaming with a partner who is willing to accompany and support you on your healing journey.
For much more on this subject, please read my book Dreaming the Soul Back Home: Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole. Published by New World Library.
Art: "Dancing with the Bear" (c) Robert Moss