Booked your soul retrieval? Please put the wine away…
If you’ve booked a soul retrieval or a healing session with me, you’ll know that I’m strict about my 48-hours no alcohol (or recreational drugs) rule.
This protocol is important, and I stress it to each and every client, and it sometimes comes as a surprise to them. Especially from those from British or French descent where alcohol is an everyday part of life and there is nothing taboo about it.
The relationship between alcohol is spiritualty is complex at best, just as is the relationship between alcohol use and abuse or trauma. I don’t have the background to comment on the latter, but let’s explore the former…
First of all, I want to make clear that I’m referring to ingesting alcohol before or during a healing session. Not the use of alcohol to cleanse spiritual items or as offerings to spirits (something that I often do when venerating my own Scottish and Irish guides.)
I also want to be clear on the topic of judgement regarding alcohol (or hallucinogens). There are many cultures that regularly use plants and other organic substances to induce trance and support spiritual work, and that is their way and they are trained to work with these spirits safely both in terms of physical and spiritual safety. And that’s great – I have no comment on that. I think of shamans in the east who ingest vodka to induce their trance or the (increasingly popular) use of Ayahuasca down south.
But when it comes to my own practice, I will readily share that mixing alcohol and spirituality (outside of using it as an offering) makes me uncomfortable. It’s simply not the way I was taught, and on a practical level, I find that alcohol numbs the intuition.
Alcohol and Temporary Soul Loss
Here’s how it was explained to me: All organic things have a spirit. A tree. A rock. A rabbit.
Alcohol is an organic substance therefore it has a spirit. When we ingest alcohol, we are temporarily inhabited by that spirit.
There is not room in our body for two spirits, thus our own spirit is forced out creating temporary soul loss (if we drink often, we are creating an inhospitable environment for our souls which can result in permanent soul loss, but I digress…)
By forcing your soul out of your body, alcohol creates empty spaces in your spirit that can look terribly inviting to other spiritual entities looking for a warm home.
As a practitioner, I am a facilitator. I create a channel so that my spiritual allies can enter the room and do their work. Being able to control what comes in and out of that door is critically important.
If I have had alcohol in my system, or my client has had alcohol in theirs, suddenly that control is lessened because we are not in our full power i.e. our souls are not fully present, and we become vulnerable to unwelcome guests.
To be clear, this refers to the time after the alcohol has left the body but the soul has not yet returned.
If a client were to come to a session in the midst of inebriation, they would still carry with them the spirit of that alcohol, and that is a very strong spirit that is not overly concerned with helping the client heal. There is no point in attempting a healing on someone who carries that spirit with them. The healing can’t penetrate.
Will A Single Glass Of Wine Throw Off My Soul Retrieval?
If that single glass of wine occurred in the 48 hours before your soul retrieval, the answer is yes.
Is this a touch extreme? I suppose that some could argue that. Protocols around ingesting alcohol before a soul retrieval (or any session) for both practitioners and clients range from four full days to no protocol at all. Everyone has their comfort zone and 48 hours is mine. My teacher recommends 24 hours. At Anishnawbe Health, it’s four days (although in the First Nations Community, medicine people abstain from drugs and alcohol at all times.)
The bottom line is that each practitioner has their preferences and their reasons for that preference. We must respect the spirits and the work, and we must respect the practitioner who does the work, and finally, we must respect ourselves and not knowingly put ourselves in questionable situations. Soul retrieval is an important step in anyone’s healing journey and should not be considered lightly.
What About Peyote, Ayahuasca, etc.?
All plants have a spirit so when you work with peyote or ayahuasca, it’s important to think beyond the western scientific explanations of the medicinal properties in each plant, and remember that a shamanic practitioner works with the spirit of that plant.
Practitioners must be well-trained to work with these incredibly powerful spirits, and clients must fully understand the gravitas of allowing these spirits into their body.
Ayahuasca in particular has become a growing industry (kind of like spirituality, I suppose) but just like with spirituality, you must do your research before engaging in these kinds of ceremonies.
For too many tourists, the decision to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony is haphazard – a last minute lark – because the understanding is not there. I’m not saying these things are wrong, simply that they must be respected and understood.
My Own Preferences Around Alcohol
Oh the sacrifices of spiritual work! There is nothing I love more than a nice glass or red with some chocolate, or a Guinness in a warm pub on a snowy night.
But each time I make the choice to imbibe, I cut myself off from all client-focused spiritual work for at least 48 hours. This includes journeying, teaching – everything.
This means that I drink infrequently, and I have to think ahead if I intend to have a drink at a friend’s birthday party or a glass of wine with dinner. It gets to the point where it’s not even worth it. Better to have a clear system 100% of the time.
Regarding the subject of alcohol, never feel shy about questioning your practitioner about their views on the subject, and if you are not comfortable with their answer, or you sense dishonesty, then move on; they are not the practitioner for you. And most importantly, if your practitioner has protocols around alcohol, respect them. They are there for a reason.