Updated: Jan 24

Psychopomp is not some new age therapy but is an indigenous based practice that dates back over 25,000 years. Psychopomp is derived from the Greek word “psuchopompos” which means “guide of souls”. Today, psychopomp work is about guiding lost, confused or stuck souls of the deceased to where they need to go in the afterlife. With this article, we will focus on the shaman’s role in working with the disorientated soul.

Most people who pass over know instinctively where to go and they do not require any assistance in getting there. It may sound absurd to some that there are souls that have passed that need assistance. After all they are dead, don't have a body and know where to go? Well, not always.

There are many reasons why souls may be confused, lost or stuck, listed below are a few examples. The person may have died suddenly and/or tragically.

With this type of death, the recently deceased, may not realize that they have passed on.

The recently deceased may also be in a state of fear or guilt. The soul than feels the need to have the fear or guilt reconciled before they can move on.

The recently deceased may be unwilling to detach themselves permanently from the loved ones left behind. (A word to the living, when a loved one dies, let them move on, do not weigh them down with your selfish desire of having them near you all the time. Let them go on to where they must go).

The recently deceased may want to stick around to put to rest any unfinished business that they were involved in.


Also, in today’s world, there is a growing number of people who have no idea how to deal with their own death. At the time of passing, the physical body is gone. What is left is the energy body or soul. If a person did not plan for this contingency, their soul may not know where to go. Because of this lack of understanding about one’s death, the soul may become stuck or become confused when it leaves the confines of the physical body.

If a soul becomes stuck, it may begin to realize that something is not right. Now they may become scared, confused or ashamed and have no idea what to do next or how to do it. To find an answer, they may try to contact their descendants in various ways. They may work through dreams and/or just be present in some way. This can be disturbing and confusing to the living, but once the living understands what is going on, the solution can be found. This is the time when a shaman may be contacted.

The Shaman will conduct a Psychopomp Ceremony to work with and assist the spirit in crossing over. An easy way to explain a psychopomp ceremony is that the shaman will enter non-ordinary reality using a sonic driver. The Shaman will than work with their helping spirits to determine where the lost soul needs to go. Once the soul has moved on, the Shaman’s task is complete.

Psychopomp may sound like a grim task to some, but in fact Psychopomp is a noble calling that is needed in this time of great transition. Also, we don't want to leave our ancestors wandering around lost and confused knowing there are ageless techniques available to assist the recently deceased.

If you have questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact John.

Q: Soul Loss and Soul Retrieval, those terms are pretty far out there and beyond anything I can relate to in my life experience. Can you help me better understand the concept?

A: Sure, I will give some background of each concept and then explain how each concept is relevant in today’s society.

We will start by defining Soul Loss and what causes it and we will finish with what Soul Retrieval is, what are the benefits of having a Soul Retrieval and how a Soul Retrieval is performed.

Soul Loss is a concept that has been described by Indigenous cultures long before the advent of modern psychology. Indigenous cultures believe that Soul Loss can happen whenever we have a psychological or emotional experience that we can’t cope with.

At times like this, the person is vulnerable and has no internal or external resources for dealing with the traumatic event. It is at this point that part of the human soul, an essence of our inner self, is free to leave our body. When a part of our Soul leaves, it finds a safe place where it can survive with its integrity intact.

In today’s culture, we replace the term Soul with Psyche. The Psyche has a protective system which enables it to cut off experiences that are beyond our ability to cope with. In a perfect world, once the trauma is over, we would reintegrate the parts of the psyche or soul that have been lost. Since we do not live in a perfect world, after a trauma, we may not integrate the lost part back into our Psyche, thus we now have Soul Loss.

In today’s terms, Jungian psychology states that we bury our most painful memories in our unconscious mind and part of us splits off into a ‘shadow self’. In today's terms, it can sometimes be referred to as a dissociation episode. A dissociation episode is a memory or experience so painful that we lock it away so that we don’t have to deal with it. Any time we separate a memory from its components, we are “dissociating” from the whole or complete memory.

Q: Okay, I understand how Soul Loss occurs, but why would we dissociate?

A: Dissociation is technically a defense mechanism. Dissociation can be where we separate out of our memory things we don’t want or can’t deal with at the time the traumatic event occurs.

Q: What are a few symptoms of Soul Loss?

A: If we have experienced Soul Loss, we may not be conscious that it happened, but that loss may unconsciously affect our actions, behaviors and thoughts .

A loss of a part of our soul fragments the whole self. When a person lives with Soul Loss, the body is aware of the imbalance and is constantly trying to compensate. But it can never find that balance without the Lost Soul Part.

Therefore, because the soul is not whole, Soul loss may open the door to physical or mental health problems such as depression, addiction or anxiety. In cases of severe Soul Loss, a person may experience post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD).

If the Soul loss is relatively mild, it might feel like a general sense of unhappiness or a feeling of not being grounded in ourselves, of not feeling "whole".

There is also an essential loss of Personal Power that is felt in Soul Loss.

The symptoms of Soul Loss are so varied that it is impossible to describe all the ways it can affect the body. Listed below are examples of some of the symptoms.

Do you feel like you are not completely whole?

Do you experience a sense of not really knowing who you are?

Do you feel an inexplicable inner dissatisfaction, an inability to feel happy?

Do you feel like you are not living in the present?

Do you check out, drift off, or stuff feelings so you don't have to make difficult decisions?

Do you notice a certain destructive pattern occur when life overwhelms you and you don’t want to deal with it?

Q: Okay, I checked in with my body and I have a few of those feelings, now what?

A: If you feel like you are living with Soul Loss in yourself or with others, know that there is a chance for a better life. Once you realize what is going on, you can decide to seek help for yourself. Now, you are also aware why others may be creating chaos in their lives.

Understanding what is going on will put the power back into your hands to help you make the decisions you need to make.

Q: Does the Soul Part always want to come back?

A: Not always, the Soul Part will decide to return if the conditions are right.

That is, if it can see that the life of the individual is returning to a semblance of normality and/or there is a genuine desire for change.

Q: What will it feel like when the Soul Part is returned?

A: When our Soul is whole, we reacquire a healthy sense of self. This wholeness is essential if we are to experience joy in our lives and achieve our dreams and goals. This wholeness is also the basis of all good relationships.

People with a healthy sense of self are able to set realistic boundaries and are less likely to be manipulated or mistreated by others.

Q: What are the benefits of receiving a Soul Retrieval?

A: Receiving a successful Soul Retrieval can produce remarkable effects very quickly in our lives. You may not heal all of your problems overnight, but the Soul Retrieval can be the catalyst to start the needed change. After you receive a Soul Retrieval, you are likely begin to feel a few of the following:

A sense of inner peace and wholeness.

A feeling of belonging as well as being more grounded in your body.

A greater sense of clarity about your life, relationships, and purpose

An ability to address bad habits and addictions and possibly overcome them.

Q: Okay, I can see the upside, take me through the process.

A: This is the part where people in today’s society are skeptical, so stick with me and I will explain the process. Throughout history, every village had a resident healer called a “Shaman”.

Q: This Shamanism thing, isn't it just a fad?

A: After being used for over 25,000 years, I don’t think Shamanism is a fad.

The word Shaman derives from the Tungus people of Siberia meaning “one who knows”. Shaman’s main duties are to facilitate a return of balance between the body and spirit and between community and nature.

Q: How do Shamans keep things in balance?

A: A Shaman has a beneficial relationship with one or more “Helping Spirits “.

In this blog, we will not get into the nitty, gritty of who the helping Spirits are or where they reside. Suffice it to say that the right Helping Spirits are there when needed.

A Shaman will enter an altered state of consciousness usually with the assistance of a sonic driver such as a drum or rattle.

The Shaman will consciously journey with their Helping Spirit. A Shaman has at least one or more Helping Spirits in their personal service. Without a Helping Spirit, it is virtually impossible to be a Shaman.

Shaman’s also enter this unseen world for more than just Soul Retrievals. Examples of why Shaman’s journey are for guidance, for healing of their selves or others, for inner or community peace, to acquire knowledge and to increase their or their clients personal power.

Worldwide, the Shaman functions fundamentally the same way and with similar techniques.

Why? Because it works.

Q: How does a Shaman recover a lost part of my soul?

A: When Soul Loss occurs, a Shaman undertakes a journey to recover the lost Soul parts in a Soul Retrieval Ceremony. The Soul Retrieval Ceremony consists of journeying to non-ordinary reality and with the help of their spirit helpers, persuade the Lost Soul Part to return. The Soul Retrieval Ceremony can either be done in person or with distance healing.

The Shamanic journey consists of the Shaman, with the assistance of their Helping Spirits, journeying back to where the traumatic event occurred and persuading the Lost Soul part to come back with them. The Soul part is than placed back into the person requesting the Soul Retrieval.

Q: Okay, once the Soul Part is returned, how is it reintegrated back into the soul?

A: Once the initial Soul Retrieval is complete, there is still work for the individual to do. The returned Soul Parts need to be reintegrated into the Psyche. Psychological support may also help. If you are currently working with any medical professional, do not stop.

In this short conversation, the basic concepts of Soul Loss/Soul Retrieval have been covered. If you think this is for you or you have more questions, please feel free to contact me.

Our life and all the goodness that we receive is a gift from God. We should show our gratitude and return the favor with a gift of our own to that God. We can do this exchange by creating a Despacho.

A Despacho is a Prayer Bundle or offering used as Ayni (I’nee). Ayni is a Q’ero word that describes when one is in a state of balance or harmony. The Despacho is built to begin to create this state of balance and can be described as a gift to God that holds symbolic elements and the prayers of the participants.

A Despacho Ceremony is the process of assembling ingredients and prayers to make a Despacho. The prayers are spoken out loud, then with an out breath, the intentions of the prayer are blown into a 3 leaf Triune called a Kintu. By blowing the prayers into a Kintu, the prayers are locked into something that is material. The Kintu’s are then combined with the other gifts and a Despacho is created.

The history of the Despacho goes back thousands of years. The Laika (high shamans or wisdom keepers of the Q’ero lineage of Peru) have used the Despacho Ceremony for a wide variety of occasions.

An example of this is a seasonal Despacho which is used as a gift to God and the Mountain Angels to insure a bountiful growing season and harvest. In Peru, Mountain Angels or Apus are similar to the Archangels that are found in other faiths. Prayers are placed in the Despacho asking for a successful growing season and harvest. Despachos are also used to hold the prayers for the Llamas and Alpacas so that they will be protected and the breeding season will be successful. After the growing and breeding season, another Despacho Ceremony is performed to give thanks for all that the season produced.

The Despacho is also used to try and prevent any calamity from occurring in the Mountains of Peru. High in the Andes, life is dangerous, and many natural occurrences can affect life or cause death such as lightening strikes, ice storms, avalanches, etc. If a calamity does occur, a Despacho Ceremony may be conducted to fix any wrongs that may have occurred to cause this mishap.

In today’s society, a Despacho Ceremony is a beautiful; heartfelt way to show our Gratitude and Love to the great mysteries that are all around us. The Despacho Ceremony is also a beautiful way to show gratitude to our personal God for the wonderful gifts that are freely given to us.

A Despacho Ceremony can also be a wonderful source of gratitude for any event in your life. A few examples are marriage, birth of a child, a new car, house, job, food, clean water, etc.

A Despacho may also be used to grieve and let go. Examples of this are a divorce, death or other calamity that may occur.

A Despacho Ceremony can also be performed as a pre-gift to the Universe for something that we want to manifest or create in our life.

A Despacho can also be used to assist in Healing. Healing is different than being cured of something. Healing is a process of returning to our natural healed state we were born into while being cured is the endpoint. The belief in Peru is that we must heal ourselves as we are also working on healing our dis-ease or trauma.

A Despacho Ceremony is also a wonderful way to pray for and begin to manifest Community and World Healing.

The Despacho Ceremony

Prior to the Despacho Ceremony, a variety of ingredients (biodegradable whenever possible) are gathered as offerings. Tangible offerings enhance the feelings and intentions of our prayers and are of great importance when praying for a community, humanity or ourselves. The elements used are less important than the intent that we place into them.

As with any Ceremony, the Despacho Ceremony begins by opening Sacred Space.

The ground on which the Despacho is to be built is consecrated. The wrapping for the Despacho ingredients is than placed on that ground. The offerings are than selected one by one. Each offering is filled with prayers of Love, Gratitude and Healing.

The offerings in the Despacho can be arranged anyway that feels right to the one constructing it. The gifts offered have a tendency to flow upward from the Earth (Pachmama) to the Heavens (Wirchocha) and all the realms in between.

Participants pick out a number of leaves and separate them into groupings of three called a "Kintu". In Peru, they use the coca leaf, in the states, we use bay or rose leaves. We hold the leaves with the front side facing us and the stems facing down. The prayers are spoken out loud, then with an out breath, our intentions, hopes, dreams and gratitude from those prayers are blown into the Kintu. By blowing the prayers into a Kintu, the prayers are locked into something that is tangble. The Kintu’s are then combined with the other gifts and a Despacho is created.

Right intention, humility, gratitude and an open heart are important throughout the Despacho Ceremony. With this offering, you experience more Grace in your life by becoming a better vessel for Grace. As the elements are added to the Despacho, the Despacho will than become a living prayer that may bring energy shifts and healing now or in the future.

Once the Despacho is completed, the Despacho is carefully wrapped and secured with a ribbon or string. The Prayer Bundle will then be ceremonially buried (for slow, steady results), burned (for quicker transformation) or fed to running waters, thus conveying the gifts to Spirit.

Once the Despacho Ceremony is complete, The Sacred Space is than closed.