In a shamanic culture the individuals knew what was out of balance in their lives that might have caused an illness or issue to occur.
In our culture we are unaware of what is out of spiritual harmony that is creating illness. And because often our soul loss happened so young we are unaware of the unconscious patterns we are living out due to our first soul loss. We are always trying to retrieve our soul. And how we do this is by repeating the same trauma over and over again. The names might change of the people involved in our life story, but the story is often the same.
It is believed that whenever we suffer an emotional or physical trauma a piece of our soul flees the body in order to survive the experience.
Compare this to the western psychiatric notion of “dissociation” — the splitting-off of a part or parts of the mind or personality as a result of trauma. It’s as if one part takes on the trauma in full and is then sealed off from the rest, so as to protect the rest. The rest might include the conscious mind, hence repression of conscious knowledge of an event (e.g. incest — memories of which many people completely repress).
I see the loss of portions of the soul as a corollary to possession or invasion by entities. You can lose bits of your own soul, and you can also be carrying bits of someone else’s, and neither is good.
The shamanic tradition holds that you should just be carrying your own, and all of it. This is one problem I have with the notion that more than one person can have lived the same past life — each person would then have only a partial soul, and if the shamans are right, that can’t be healthy.
So, to return to the idea of remembering past lives for healing purposes: suppose we suffered a trauma severe enough to cleave off part of our soul — in a past life? And so that bit of soul didn’t come with us into this one?
In Villoldo’s book, he references the Laika, and it isn’t a matter always of going to the past. Instead he says they see evolution as a journeying into the future to “see who we’re becoming” so that we may bring that knowledge back to the present. He then says that the Lakia believe that it is memories stored in our “luminous energy field (the karma from our former lives)” that determines our current situation. He talks about the fifth world – which is found within the higher chakras, and it is in these higher chakras that we meet our perfect and original self – in order to heal.
He does talk about journeying into past lives and into a lifetime in which you suffered the most – but he gets specific;
…..then the one in which you had the greatest knowledge and power but used your gifts poorly; and the past life in which you had great wisdom and used your gifts well. And as you look at these life times, you’re going to drain the energy from these formers selves – even do this for the lifetime in which you used your gifts well, because even then you were no more developed spiritually than you are today, for reincarnation is progressive, not regressive–that is, you haven’t fallen behind where you were in that wise lifetime, and now you can move forward even more
What I find so interesting is that he says you only need these three life times to be set free of the karma within you and that there is a domino effect – backward, that will occur clearing ALL your former lifetimes.
The shamanic cure is for a shaman to journey to wherever that bit is, find it and return it to us.
But the more standard Western cure, derived from modern psychiatry/psychology, and with which I’m more familiar — is to remember and work through the traumatic experience, releasing repressed emotions.
That would necessitate remembering past lives.