A ‘Realist’ Shamanic Practice of Soul Retrieval for Wounded Warriors

I am a shamanic practitioner, and facilitate a shamanic drumming circle in Las Cruces, New Mexico based on Michael Harner (1980, 2013) books and over a dozen training seminars. Drumming circle clients oftentimes have ‘soul wounds’ and ‘soul loss’ that occur in trauma events, when a fragment of the soul protects our Self by leaving (Ingerman, 1990; Duran, 2006).  Some our wounded warriors. Others have Soul Wounds from other traumas. The rhythmic drumming we do has the capacity to facilitate altered states of consciousness (Harner, 1980: 66). Every thing, and we are living things, has soul. The soul is spiritual essence that is immortal Being of humans, plants, animals, rocks, mountains, as well as the elements of fire, water, earth, and air. Every thing has a spiritual essence, a soul that is immortal. These soul-things (or entities) are entangled with one another, capable of action-at-a-distance because they are not empirical objects. Rather the soul exists as its own flows of energy, and as waves of vital essence.

My purpose? Here and Now I want to do something with shamanic practitioners of Las Cruces that can help with the soul wounds and soul loss of veterans and homeless of our community. Healing the Soul Wound (Duran, 2006) and Soul Retrieval (1990) are both ways of healing the fragmented Self, to be an authentic whole Self again. Our shamanic practitioner encounters with fragmented soul retrieval can help our veterans and homeless overcome many kinds of trauma.

What causes soul loss? Trauma events cause soul loss, and this includes being in a care-giving profession or role, where you give vital essence and energy to some ‘Other’ person, and forget to retrieve your soul fragments. Trauma event includes trauma of combat, any kind of drug, sex, or work addiction where we inflict trauma on our own body, illness, accidents such as the stress of violence, the traumatic brain injury (TBI) from physical injury, the loss of loved ones, and sexual trauma of rape and incest.

What happens to soul fragments? In an event of soul loss, our soul fragments decide to escape, and flee the pain, in order to let remains of our soul survive the pain. The survival strategy lets us hold the remaining life-energy together for a short while, but soon it drains us, taking more and more life-energy to keep it together. With soul loss, Ingerman (1990: 12) asserts, “The light has gone from our existence.” This loss of soul fragment leaves us with less light, less power, and less memory. It is the feeling “I’m not all here” (IBID. p. 13). We can feel abandoned, less joyful, less energetic, more depressed. A soul less than whole Self, is not able to handle the pain of simple life events, and cannot reclaim memory experiences that have left the Self.

What is the consequent of traumatic soul loss? The consequent of soul loss is a ever-increasing space of emptiness deep inside our spiritual essence that is in need of healing. The consequent of soul loss is an absence of vitality of life because our whole Self is no longer whole and can no longer attain its desired intimacy, joy, and love of life.

Can we retrieve soul fragments in ordinary reality (OR)? No! No amount of retrospective sensemaking narrative of our past experiences will be able to retrieve our lost soul fragments. This is because searching the trauma events, or reliving by way of narrative sensemaking (re) experiencing of trauma is looking in the wrong world. Reliving trauma event, again and again, is done with our military and veterans, in order to desensitize them to the violent event. The results for our veterans returning from combat have been less than spectacular.

What are the shamanic practices of soul retrieval? Shamanic practitioners have trained and are skilled at creating ‘altered states of consciousness’ (ASOC) in order to journey to the REAL of Non-Ordinary-Reality (NOR), to other worlds that are entirely ‘Real’. There are three worlds that co-exist: Lower World, Middle World, and Upper World, each with many levels to explore. The Middle World of ordinary reality (OR) is where events of trauma occur, and it is also our ordinary reality (OR) of experiences of sensemaking that looking backward to relive trauma events but cannot ever find lost soul fragments there because you are looking in the wrong world. Our fragments of lost soul have left for the serenity of Upper World and the compassion and care of Lower World existence in order for the remaining soul fragments to survive in Middle World ordinary reality (OR).

Table 1: Domains of Real, Actual, and Empirical are distinct – Adapted version of Roy Bhaskar (1975: 13) by Boje

  Real Domain Actual Domain Empirical Domain
Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms (AGMs)    
Events of Trauma in Living Story Webs of relation  
Experiences of Retrospective Sensemaking Narrative

AGMs exist in the Real, and can manifest in events and experiences. The empirical domain of actual and experience cannot attain to the Real where AGMs exist. See blog post”

Action Research Needs a Quantum Storytelling Theory of Action and Research

My professional study is storytelling. Storytelling is a combination of retrospective narratives of experience, our living stories in Middle World, and what I call antenarratives (Boje, 2001, 2008 2011, 2014) that reside in the ‘Real’ Worlds, the Lower and Middle Worlds. Antenarrative means generative mechanisms of the real that exist before (antecedent to) narrative experience, and are beyond living story events we are living our in our Middle World existence. Shamanic practitioners can journey by altered states of consciousness (ASOC) to Lower World and to Upper World, and even journey in Middle World, in search of lost soul parts.

Transcendent Realism This is the transcendental ‘Real’ where lost soul fragments exist, can be found by journeying to Non-Ordinary Reality (NOR), and returned to our ordinary Reality (OR) in Middle World. The transcendental ‘Real’ is antecedent, with many Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms (AGMs) in the independent existence of the “Real” Lower World and “Real” Upper World of nonordinary reality (NOR).

The Heart-of-Care The AGMs are what I call the ‘heart of care’ that is all about fore-caring in four ways: fore-having, fore-structuring, fore-concepting, and fore-telling.


Figure 1: Heart of Care of Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms (AGMs) [drawing by D. M. Boje, November 15, 2016] See more on this at

Antenarrative Generative Mechanisms Are Independent of the Structural Equation Modeling Narrative!

The Authentic Whole Self The whole Self suffers when fragments of the soul leave, are given away in acts of care for ‘Others’, or are abducted by needy and greedy humans. The authentic Self is no longer Being-a-Whole-in-the-World. Rather, energy is spent making up for Soul Loss fragments that have departed. The remaining fore-caring (fore-having, fore structuring, fore-concepting, and fore-telling) is attuned to Soul Loss and hungers to find them, to be Whole again.


Figure 2: Remains of Heart of the Soul after Fragments Depart (drawing by D. M. Boje November 15, 2016)

An Ontological Interpretation of Soul Fragments This is my own ontological Interpretation of the Situation of Soul Loss and Retrieval. We project the possibility of recovering lost fragments of our Soul Loss. In the Shamanic Journeying there is the potentiality for disclosedness of the location of lost Soul Fragments in a fore-caring that is ahead-of-itself antecedent in the AGMs. The shamanic practitioner journeys along-side the client, in a fore-caring, in the Non-Ordinary Reality (NOR). The shamanic practitioner falls into Lower World or ascends into Upper World to do Soul Retrieval.

An ethic of Caring, a conscience that obliges us to bring into our scope of shamanic practitioner work a fore-having, grounded in the primordial existence of the Soul. We must ‘see’ not in a sensemaking empirical way of the five positivistic senses. By contrast, the ‘Real’ kind of Seeing a shamanic practitioner does grasps the unity of the Self, the possibility of becoming an authentic Whole-Soul-Being-in-the-Middle World since all the fragments of Self already in-advance have antecedent Being-in-the-Real-of-Middle-and-Upper-Worlds. As Heidegger (1962: #237) puts it, “We cannot cross out the ‘ahead-of-itself’ as an essential item in the structure of care.”

The attestation of AGM state of Being ‘Real’ phenomenologically is in its “potentiality-for-Being-one’s-Self” (Heidegger, 1962” #268). But, we can easily get lost in the they-self of the Middle World, having given fragments of our Soul away in caring for Others, or in having them taken away in trauma event after trauma event. It is easy in Middle World to be ensnared into one addition event after another, and the habits of addition events can be hard to break free from.

Ontological Roots We can say that addiction itself has ontological roots in Middle World, and that healing comes from restorying fragments of the Heart-of-Care from Upper and Lower Worlds where AGMs are ‘Real’ in their potentiality-for-Being in anticipatory resoluteness, a “disclosedness of the meaning of the Being of care” (Heidegger, 1962: #321, italics original). The ‘Spirit’ that exists spatially and in the temporalizing of temporality is not a ‘Spirit’ that falls into the spacetime of the Middle World, its Euclidian space, or its clock time: “’Spirit’ does not fall into time; but factical existences falls as falling from primordial authentic temporality” (Heidegger, 1962: # 436). In other words Spirit of Upper and Lower World does not fall into the clock time of Middle World, but our Soul can fall from primordial ‘Real’ of authentic temporality into the addictions of Middle World, or into Soul Loss from trauma. In this way there is a dialectical relation between Spirit and Soul Loss.  See

What is Triadic Dialectic for Management and Organization Inquiry

Preface (continued)

There is also the counterforce of “the authenticity of care itself” in the potentiality for retrieving Soul Fragments, becoming an authentic-whole-Self-Being-in-the-world (# 301). Heidegger (1962: 435) concludes be reminding us that “Hegel shows how it is possible for Spirit to be actualized historically ‘in time’” not in clock time of Middle World nor in the Gospel of Greed of consumption and exploitation, but rather in the ethic of care in the “concretion of the Spirit” that has its potentiality in the ‘Real.’ The ‘Real’ is not events, nor experience, but rather the existence of the potentiality of the ethic of care, our own conscience attunement to caring. AGMs operate in processes of fore-caring for the true, the good, the just, and the beautiful, not for some Gospel of Greed. See:



Bhaskar, Roy. (1975). A Realist Theory of Science. Leeds, UK: Leeds Books Ltd. http://uberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Roy_Bhaskar_A_Realist_Theory_of_Science.pdf

Boje, D. M. (2008). Storytelling Organizations. London: Sage.

Boje, D. M. (2011). Storytelling and the Future of Organizations: An Antenarrative Handbook (London: Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society)

Boje, D. M. (2012a). Quantum Storytelling. Free book on line.

Boje, D. M. (2012b) Quantum Spirals for Business Consulting. Free book on line.

Boje, D. M. & Henderson, T. L. (Eds.). (2014). Being Quantum: Ontological Storytelling in the Age of Antenarrative. Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Boje, D. M., Svane, M., Henderson, T. L., & Strevel, H. B. (in press). Critical corporate social responsibility in tamara-land: The role of tetranormalizing fractals. In R. Ocler (Ed.), Book chapter for a Springer collection, Rodolphe Ocler (ed.).

Boje, M., & Svane, M., Gergerich, E. (in press). Counternarrative and Antenarrative Inquiry in Two Cross-Cultural Contexts. Cross Cultural Management.

Harner, M. J. (1990). The way of the Shaman. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Harner, M. (2013). Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality. North Atlantic Books.

Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time, trans. J. Macquarrie and E. Robinson.

Ingerman, S. (1990). Soul retrieval. San Francisco, Calif. HarperSanFrancisco.