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Soul Retrieval: an Interview with Neil Schapera



Neil Schapera, Shaman

But I want to emphasize that while I do have skills, the actual work of shamanic healing is done by the Spirits – they perform these ‘miracles.’” Neil Schapera

Note to the Reader: This is the interview draft. The actual interview is always different, by intention. In the interview, we ran out of time and the second half of this blog, is not on the audio recording.

In this interview Neil tells us about Soul Retrieval, and how we can preserve the integrity of our eternal souls.

Hello and welcome to the Schapera Show where Viv and Neil explore this big adventure called Life. We have a surprise for you today – our guest is none other than our very own Neil. Yes, that’s right, my husband and work partner, Neil is going to explain more to us about his work, and specifically tell us more about Soul Retrieval.

Hi Neil, thank you for giving us this fabulous opportunity to find out more about what you do and how you do it.

Neil: Yes, thank you, Vivien, I’m glad to be on the show as a guest today.

After the interview, Neil will continue with his messages from the spirit realm. In this show, his report is about dealing with major stress, and I will be talking to Moonstone.

Neil, I’m thinking we should share some more info about your background and what you did before training in Shamanism as well.

Neil: Yes! Here’s a brief bio:

  • Born in South Africa
    Studied Psychology at the University of Cape Town

  • Trained in Food Technology

  • Trained in London with Walter Carrington as a Teacher of the Alexander Technique

  • Moved to the USA in 1991

  • Completed training with Michael Harner of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in 1997

  • Trained with Sandra Harner in Shamanic Counseling, and

  • Sandra Ingerman in Soul Retrieval.
    Enjoy travel, photography, and most importantly, totally besotted with my granddaughters

Vivien: And how did you get interested in Shamanism?

Neil: I’ve always had an interest in trying to understand “the meaning of life,” and from an early age read as much as I could. I always hoped there was more to reality than “meets the eye”, and that “there has to be more”, and the question “is there life after death?”

Through reading I found that there were people and schools of knowledge that have a great deal of fascinating experiences to share on these topics – people like Aldous Huxley, Buddhist masters, Karl Jung, Carlos Castaneda, Timothy Leary, Eckhart Tolle – you can see I was a teenager in the 60’s!

It was particularly reading Carlos Castaneda that drew me to Shamanism and the hope that I could have similar experiences and insights into reality.

Vivien: How long did it take to train and what did the training consist of?

Neil: The Foundation for Shamanic Studies was set up by my mentor Michael Harner, and I was extremely fortunate to be trained directly by Michael and his assistants at the time – Sandra Ingerman, Dave Corbin, and Nan Moss.

I did a 3-year program with them, plus other specific training opportunities.

I began in 1994 doing Michaels Basic Workshop – The Way of the Shaman® , and continued with Harner Shamanic Counseling™ taught by Michael’s wife Sandra Harner.

This was a five-day intensive for those who wish to use the Shamanic Journeying methods for themselves or professionally for others, and required doing and making recordings of hundreds of Journeys.

I also did the Two-Week Shamanic Healing Intensive™ with Michael and his amazing assistants in White Sulphur Springs, in California, which was like spending two weeks in heaven, and then the “cherry on the top”, the Three-Year Program of Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing™ . This was held at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in New York state – a beautiful location perfect for interacting with the spirit world, and very delicious food too!

Vivien: It must be interesting to have these shamanic powers. Is it like a super-power that you can do these journeys and speak to the spirits?

Neil: These were some of the most amazing experiences in my life, with miracles and magic every day. I am so very grateful that I had these incredible opportunities, and very special thanks must go to you, Vivien, for making it possible for me to be away at these training’s while you were managing our young family and your private practice, I am so grateful!

But I want to emphasize that while I do have skills, the actual work of shamanic healing is done by the Spirits – they perform these “miracles.”

Vivien: That’s really typical of you! Personally, I think you’re too modest. I remember 2 occasions when you pretty much scared me out of my wits … well sort of. The first time was when I heard the eerie whistling noise in the house, and next thing I knew, there was like a wind, and I could feel spirits flying into the room and then the room got really, really busy and sort of heavy feeling. I know I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night.

Neil: Haha! Yes, that’s what I do, I whistle to call in the spirits, and I can also use herbs and aromatherapy oils, because the spirits are very attracted by certain fragrances. And actually, I remember that night well, because I was dancing in the back yard with elephants.

Vivien: Jeez, your spirit was dancing in the back yard, while I was lying awake!!! That doesn’t seem fair. But I believe you, because there was that other time, when I could hear you breathing next to me, and then I saw a shadow coming down the hallway, and I felt this weight as you climbed back into bed – except your body had been next to me all the time. I remember grumbling: “What’s going on NOW?”

Neil: Oh yeah. Haha! That was interesting too. I heard raccoons in the garbage, and I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, so I sent my spirit to chase them away.

Vivien: Well that actually sounds like quite a useful skill – being able to send your spirit to do stuff while you lie in bed. And I guess that is what you’re doing when you’re working as a shaman, sending your spirit on a journey. I know you have explained this already a few times but let’s just go over the main points again.

Neil: Yes, that’s exactly right, I’m sending my spirit on the journey. To do that, I listen to a specific drum beat, I choose whether I’m going to the lower world or the upper world and then I meet with either spirits that appear as power animals, or spirits that appear in human form. Then I ask the spirits to help me and that’s when all the “fun” begins. I say “fun” because it is adventurous, but it’s really very serious and sacred work.

Vivien: I think that’s important to you, isn’t it? You’re very concerned that people realize just how sacred this work is, and don’t treat it like a party trick.

Neil: Well, we are talking about the integrity of our eternal souls, which could well be the only thing that really, really counts in life, and in the universe.

Vivien: So, Neil, I understand that as a shaman, there are actual various services that you can provide. Can you give us a list?

Yes there are a number of very powerful Shamanic healing practices:

  1. I really love teaching people how to become proficient in the technique of Shamanic Journeying, which empowers all of us to connect with the Spirit Realm and deepen our relationships with our Spirit Helpers and Teachers, and get very practical guidance for dealing with the complexities and pain of our lives, and most important, is the practice in Shamanism for progressing our Spiritual evolution. This was a phrase that Michael Harner often used and it resonates so strongly with me in my quest to find meaning in existence.

  2. Shamanic Counseling has two aspects:

One is where I will Journey on behalf of a client to get important answers, guidance and insights around usually problematic issues they are dealing with in their lives. I’ll usually record these Journeys so the client is able to listen to what the Spirits told me, and the client and I will discuss this, helping them get a full understanding of the information that was shown me.

The second aspect to Shamanic counseling is where I teach people how to use Shamanic Journeying to help themselves, to access answers to their significant life questions and empower their requests. I’ll help the client formulate the best wording for their question or request, and help them make sense of their Journey afterwards.

  1. I love doing what’s called a “Power Animal retrieval” where I request the Spirits to show me Power Animal Spirits that the client has lost contact with. The Spirits enable me to return these Spirit Allies and huge empowerment’s in the client’s life can occur with enhanced energy, efficiency, and health benefits as well as the heart -melting experience of the return of a beloved companion into one’s life. From the Shamanic point of view, poor health is associated with a loss of “Power” and this is restored with a Power Animal Retrieval.

  2. I also do Shamanic Extraction Healing where the Spirits show me energies that “do not belong” in the client’s system, and with their incredible compassion and power, the Spirits remove these unhelpful energies. This is sometimes shown to me in a very dramatic way, e.g. seeing a Spirit using its teeth and claws to remove an alien looking entity from the client.

  3. I also go to people’s homes or businesses and look for stuck or unhelpful energies that can be removed by the Spirits, resulting in the home being more peaceful and harmonious. A dramatic example of this was going to a house where somebody has been murdered and hidden away. This was very intense – and now the house has been transformed into a very successful restaurant!

  4. And then there is Soul Retrieval where I ask the Spirits to guide me to lost Soul parts of the client that are able to return and reintegrate with the client, which can resolve years old emotional pain and dysfunction.

Vivien: OMG, that’s such an impressive list and I’m pretty sure people want to hear more about every item on the list. I’ve experienced all of these, but the one that had the most impact on me and was my most recent experience was when you did a soul retrieval for me last year. And because I’m fresh from that extraordinary experience, that’s the one I want us to talk about now. Let’s begin with: ‘What is soul retrieval?’

Neil: Yes, Soul Retrieval is a big topic and does deserve our attention.

As we go through our lives. It’s quite ordinary and in the nature of things ,to have some experiences that are so painful or traumatic, that from The Shamanic understanding, crucial parts of our Being – called “Soul parts” are actually lost as it too painful for them to remain integrated with the rest of the Soul – they need to split off in order to be safely away from the trauma of what is going on.

The consequence of losing Soul parts though, is that essential, constructive qualities, attitudes, understandings and talents are lost. We are not fully ourselves any more, resulting in emotional pain, disorder in our lives, not utilizing all out talents, and often a feeling a “something missing”

Vivien: Ok, so now I’ve got like a million more questions. I know when you did the soul retrieval for me it was like you’d entered a fantasy movie scene – you must have seen some pretty strange sights doing these.

Neil: When I do a Soul Retrieval I prefer to know as little as possible about the person’s life – their biography and their story.

In this way I can go into the experience with as few of my own thoughts and expectations coming into my mind as I journey, I like to be as “clean a slate” as possible.

On one Journey I was taken to a beach and saw a tragic scene. The client then revealed that when she was a child, her sister had drowned at the beach and it was definitely the most traumatic and life-altering event.

It’s always a challenge for me to relate some of the very strange and seemingly unlikely situations that I get shown, and I wonder whether the client will be able to make any sense of what I relate. And the amazing thing is that usually the client can make immediate sense of what I say I saw, either as a literal event, or a symbolic representation of something very important in their past.

With you, it was scary, but actually not that uncommon, where a Soul part is being kept captive, or restrained, and I have to engage with the “jailor” to get the release of the Soul part. Sometimes I have to undo ropes or chains, sometimes I have to negotiate with the captor to release the Soul Part.

Person in a cage on an island – had progressively moved themselves away from the “mainland “of their very dysfunctional family and pat themselves in a cage to be safe like an animal in a zoo

But it isn’t always scary. One scene was particularly touching, but I had no idea what it meant when I first saw it, and it was such a fleeting moment that I wasn’t sure whether to report it or not. I saw a black hand reach out and grasp a white hand, and when I told the client she burst into tears. The client told me that her husband who was black had recently died and she was desperately longing for a sign of connection from him.

Vivien: Oh, that’s so beautiful. Let’s stop here with this image, but just before we take a break, can you tell everyone how they can reach you?

Neil: Yes, people should come to our website and people can contact me,

You have been listening to the Schapera Show, and we are interviewing none other than our resident shaman, Neil Schapera. When we come back, Neil is going to tell us more about this phenomenon called Soul Retrieval. Thank you for joining us …


Welcome back to the Schapera Show, we are interviewing a very special guest, none other than Neil and we are talking now about Soul Retrieval, but before we continue, I have a burning question:

I wanted to ask you: Can the spirits act upon the physical world?

Neil: Oh yes without question! In my training, one of the experiences was being covered head to foot in a blanket, and tied with ropes as firmly as possible. I was terrified by this prospect as I have great claustrophobia. The idea was then, in ones very real distress and suffering, to call on all ones benevolent and compassionate Spirit allies and ask them to help one get untied.

I experienced this more than once, and it was terrifying, but the Spirits came through, and I was untied. It was a very unpleasant experience, with some of my fellow trainees crying out in distress in the dark, but it sure showed how the Spirits can bring their compassion in a very real way and act upon the physical world.

Vivien: Neil, your stories are so powerful! And I also want to share the impact of your Soul Retrieval that you did for me. You know, I was really, really struggling and finally I asked my guides “What can I do about this?” and they just about laughed at me and said: “Ask Neil for a Soul Retrieval!” and you turned me around 180 degrees. Neil, can you tell us how someone would know that they need a soul retrieval?

We have all lost parts of our Soul – it’s perfectly usual – and the sooner we can get these parts back the better, as our emotional and functional lives can be transformed.

But if you have had traumatic or very difficult experiences in your life (and who hasn’t) and you often think about them, and there is still significant pain attached to these memories – then a Soul Retrieval would be very useful.

Also, if you feel you have “lost” something in the sense that you are not the person you used to be – e.g. you’ve lost your joy, your enthusiasm, your “mojo” – this would be a very good reason to have a Soul Retrieval.

If you feel for e.g. “I’m just not myself anymore” – this is an indicator.
The benefits of a Soul Retrieval can be huge, resulting in a major turnaround in one’s emotional and physical health, and ones functioning in the world and in relationships.

One can come to terms with past trauma e.g. abuse and neglect in childhood, and be able to access acceptance and forgiveness. On can “move on” with one’s life, rather than being stuck.

A satisfying way to think of a Soul Retrieval is as a “Spring Cleaning”, and in this sense we all need a Spring Cleaning as mess and disorder accumulate in our lives with the passage of time,

Vivien: And is there a preparation that one needs to do before the session?

Neil: For the client nothing is required other than they are wanting the Soul Retrieval of their own free will, have not been coerced into it.

I personally prepare for the session by doing drumming or rattling and calling on my Spirit Allies to help me when I do the session later.

Vivien: And then what happens once you’ve retrieved the soul parts?

Neil: I return the soul parts by blowing them into the client’s crown chakra and heart chakra. The client then has the responsibility after the SR to keep their hearts open and welcoming to the newly arrived and integrating Soul Parts – they should remind themselves every day that these Soul parts have returned, and how glad they are for this
The SR wants to be welcomed and cherished and appreciated.

And when a new behavior that is out of the client’s habitual patterns seems about to occur (and it is desirable) e.g. singing – to encourage oneself to do it rather than let old habit prevent it.

Various things can happen: restoration of talent and aptitude, restoration of former happiness/inspiration, etc. Even hidden talents can emerge – you mustn’t assume that you can’t do something like draw or sing – this missing capacity could be because you’ve lost a soul part.

Vivien: Can you do Soul Retrieval remotely, at a distance?

Neil: Yes, I only need a photo to connect with the person. There is something powerful about doing this in-person, but remote is more than possible – it works very well. When I do a remote soul retrieval, I record the session and send it to the person.

Vivien: And is one session enough?

Neil: The number of Soul parts that return in a session is limited by the set duration of the Journey I do, which is 30 minutes.

It may well have been that had the Journey been longer, I would have been shown additional Soul parts that were willing to return. But that can be done again in another session in the future, usually at least 3 months later.

I can only ask for soul parts that are willing to return.

Vivien: Is there such a thing as a spontaneous soul retrieval?

Neil: Yes, because any time you re-integrate, or change your vibrational frequency through any kind of healing, that could be a message to a soul part: “You can come back now, all is safe again.”

Vivien: Oh, that’s excellent news. Let’s go over how people can find out more, including how to get hold of you.

Neil: Yes, it’s easy to find me on, and if you visit me there, you’ll find I’ve provided a link where people can get the most helpful drumming recording, as well as free recorded classes for learning how to journey.

Thank you for joining us here on the Schapera Show where Viv and Neil explore this big adventure called Life. When we come back, Neil will be reporting from the spirit dimension about how to deal with major stress.


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