A step-by-step shamanic guide to navigating the non-ordinary realms, locating lost soul fragments, and reintegrating them
• Explains how the soul is a form of sacred energy that can escape when someone experiences trauma or stressful situations
• Explores how to work with the 5 Mesoamerican cardinal directions to connect with lost soul fragments, create the ideal space for them to return, and ensure a lasting soul retrieval
• Details how to enter a trance journey for navigating the spirit realm through shamanic breathwork, shamanic dancing, toning methods, as well as hand postures
Drawing on her more than 20 years’ experience working with present-day Mesoamerican curanderos/as and the ancient shamanic healing traditions of the Mexica and Maya, Erika Buenaflor, M.A., J.D., provides a step-by-step guide for the curanderismo practice of soul retrieval. She explains how the soul is a form of sacred energy that can escape when someone experiences trauma or is threatened by challenging and stressful situations. Its absence can be responsible for a host of negative conditions including physical ailments, depression, insomnia, and dysfunctional behavior patterns.
Exploring how to retrieve this sacred energy, or soul fragments, as well as resolve cases of soul theft, the author details how to journey through the non-ordinary realms of the Underworld, Middleworld, and Upperworld to locate lost soul fragments and reintegrate them. She explains how to enter a trance journey, providing instructions for shamanic breathwork practices, shamanic dancing, sounding and toning methods, as well as hand postures (mudras) to facilitate trance states. She explores how to perform soul diagnosis, create a loving and nurturing space for soul fragments to return, and work with the healing wisdom of the 5 Mesoamerican cardinal directions: South, West, North, East, and the Center, which marries the other directions and offers a portal to other worlds. She offers pressure point exercises to release the energies of traumas and contemplative exercises to continue the reintegration of soul fragments after the trance journey. She also explains how to connect with animal guardians to aid you in the soul retrieval process.
Revealing how to achieve a lasting retrieval of soul energy, Buenaflor shows how the dynamic process of curanderismo soul retrieval can heal many forms and degrees of trauma and help people move forward in life with more clarity, self-awareness, empowerment, and greater depths of authentic self-love.
About the Author
Erika Buenaflor, M.A., J.D., has a master’s degree in religious studies with a focus on Mesoamerican shamanism from the University of California at Riverside. A practicing curandera for over 20 years, descended from a long line of grandmother curanderas, she has studied with curanderas/os in Mexico, Peru, and Los Angeles and gives presentations on curanderismo in many settings, including at UCLA. She lives in Tujunga, California.
“Beautifully written, carefully researched, gorgeously illustrated, Buenaflor’s book offers a practical guide to healing our ancestral wounds.”
— Kara Zugman Dellacioppa, Ph.D., professor of sociology at California State University and author of
“Erika Buenaflor writes about a topic that is near and dear to me and my students of traditional medicine at the University of New Mexico. She has researched and clarified soul retrieval practices that we refer to as energetic/ spiritual cleansings or limpias that are still used in traditional medicine practices around the world, especially Mexico. Her writings have linked limpias to the four cardinal directions connecting us to Mother Earth. Erika has offered an appreciation of Mesoamerican culture and wisdom in regard to holistic healing of body, mind, and spirit.”
— Eliseo “Cheo” Torres, administrator and professor at the University of New Mexico
“Once again Erika Buenaflor has written a very useful and insightful text based on Mesoamerican healing practices--this time specifically on soul retrieval, or the reclaiming of our sacred energy force. Her sensitive and informed treatment of this much-needed practice in our current times relies on ancient indigenous knowledge that helps us return to our authentic selves in relationship to the sacred cosmic forces. The author’s reclaiming of this knowledge while being aware of adaptations for modern living is most relevant to those interested in the spiritual and healing powers of the original cultures of this continent.”
— Lara Medina, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State U
“This book is the transformational work of a skillful and knowledgeable guide. Buenaflor has gathered many difficult-to-access historical sources from the indigenous peoples of Mexico and studied them with deep respect and attention. To help us retrieve the broken pieces of ourselves, Buenaflor has done a remarkable work of retrieval and translation, coaxing ancient texts and images to speak to us today from centuries and ages past. Readers will feel themselves transported into the religious and spiritual realms of the historical Mexican sacred and then guided back into the present to consider how they might be used by healers today.”
— Jennifer Scheper Hughes, Ph.D., associate professor of history at the University of California, Rive
“This book provides an excellent inroad to understanding shamanic healing as it was practiced in ancient times by the Maya and Mexica, especially when it comes to soul retrieval. This is not a topic that is easy to research, but Erika Buenaflor has done a profound study of a wealth of anthropological and ancient sources to provide a comprehensive view. Modern people are not always aware that the four cosmic directions are real (and actually quantized) powers to which they are always connected. Yet, from this book we can learn about how to make use of them for healing.”
— Carl Johan Calleman, Ph.D., author of The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness
In our day and age where we are experiencing an epidemic of soul loss in our world, our planet needs the medicine found within Erika Buenaflor’s work Curanderismo Soul Retrieval. Bringing back the heart and shamanic medicine found within Mesoamerica, Buenaflor takes readers on a shamanic journey where she details the soul retrieval practices and ceremonies found within the ancient world of the Mexica and Maya shamans. Whether you’re an advanced shamanic practitioner seeking to enrich your shamanic tool box or you’re seeking ways to heal and transform your life, this book will have shamanic magic and medicine for you.”
— Linda Star Wolf, Ph.D., author of Shamanic Breathwork
"Erika Buenaflor is a high-quality healer and writer. Her studies, heritage, and her way of presenting her knowledge is well-versed and utterly respectful of the tradition she is exploring. Being a total nerd when it comes to well written works on shamanic soul work, it is a delight to take part of the knowledge of someone who is both well-educated and experienced in a specific field, and knows how to present this in a way that is understandable for anyone."
— The Echo World
“Erika Buenaflor’s book demystifies one of curanderismo’s most frequently treated health conditions--susto, or soul loss. The frequently undiagnosed and misunderstood condition of soul loss requires the treatment of soul retrieval, which may only be addressed by a curanderx. Buenaflor’s understanding of soul retrieval renders susto and its treatment understandable for all.”
— Tony Zavaleta, Ph.D., coauthor of Curandero Conversations
"Soul Retrieval or Recuperacion del Alma is a traditional ceremony practiced all over the world, not only in the Curanderismo tradition. In this ceremony, the Curandera or Shaman goes into the spirit world to find your soul or different pieces of soul and brings them back. In addition, she will reestablish the life force and seal it in order for the soul or pieces of souls to stay with you going forward. Written by Erika Buenaflor, who brings 20+ years of practicing as a curandera, mentoring with curanderas/os and shamans in the Maya Yucatan jungle, and studying Mesoamerican Curanderismo at UCLA and UCR, this book offers readers a rich look into the fascinating world of Mesoamerican Curanderismo and Shamanism. Recommended."
— Lisa Mc Sherry, FacingNorth.net