Breath is sacred. It animates our body,
it gives force and power to our words,
chants and songs, and it enables us to
purify ourselves and our cells. It is powerful.
It gives meaning and language, it can carry great
wisdom (or foolishness) and it can store power or
send it outwards.
Breath in some cultures is crucial in soul retrieval.
It is how we draw in a missing soul fragment, and how
we give it to the person in need of healing. It becomes
a powerful, healing tool. In some Siberian cultures it
was the only way the soul could be placed back into
In my practice, a missing soul piece is cradled in
the hands of the Oraite ('shaman'), and placed into
the region of the heart for 'safe-keeping.' There it
knows that it is safe and protected, while we
negotiate our way back to the person in need
of healing. Once there, the soul piece is concentrated
into the breath, and then 'blown' into certain places
on the body, including the forehead (or crown of the head),
and the heart. It is a special breath that carries the soul,
it can be taught, or it can be innate and learned through
instinct. Only one of these breaths is needed, and then
one more to 'seal' it in.
In some cases, we are able to bring back our own spirit
while meditating, or simply while going on a healing
journey. We might notice that we breathe easier, or
that suddenly we take a deep breath or a long exhale.
It is our own soul recognising how to integrate what
was missing that becomes found. We breathe it in, and
so circulate our spirit back through our body again,
and likewise we can breathe out negativity.
It is common in many visualisations to imagine all
the negativity of the day, including bodily tension,
or mental anxiety, to leave the body on each exhale.
This acknowledges the innate power in our breath to
rid ourselves of spirit disturbance. Likewise, in many
visualisations we 'inhale' a purifying and healing light,
which also acknowledges the innate power of our breath
to heal ourselves. Whether you are a spiritual animist
who believes in soul retrieval or not, our own breathing
is a sacred and healing act.
Here is a simple exercise that you may have encountered
before, which can be done at any time:
1. Place both your feet on the ground (or lie down
keeping your spine straight as possible while remaining
comfortable) and close your eyes.
2. Take a long, deep breath. Hold for one second,
and then let out this breath in a long and deep exhale.
Do this four more times.
3. Now, when you take your next long inhale, imagine
a warm, healing energy entering your body. It can be
any colour you want it to be. Any colour it needs to
be. It infuses your whole body. It makes you notice
where your tension and unhappiness lies.
4. With your exhale, imagine this tension and
unhappiness flowing out through your breath. It moves
into the atmosphere and evaporates, where it can no
longer harm you.
5. Take these breaths for as many times as you need
to, until your tension is gone, or until you have
released what you need to.
6. When finished, take a moment to enjoy feeling
your body being more relaxed, feel your sacred breath,
and then open your eyes knowing that this power is inside
of you, all the time, whenever you have need of it.
You can do this exercises every night before you fall
asleep, or every morning when you wake up, you can do
it whenever you feel like it. In the office toilet (yes,
there!), when at a party when you suddenly feel overwhelmed,
or when life just gets to you. It is simple. We all
know the value of 'taking a few deep breaths' when
anxious, angry or scared. Likewise, this exercise will
take that a little further, and enable us to begin to
discover the sacred power of our own healing breath.
This exercise can be particularly beneficial to those
who feel they are beginning to 'lose their way,' the
breath is one of our first anchors back to the spirit,
and this exercise is something that can remind us of
our beautiful spirit in almost all situations.