Bridging Astrology with Shamanic Counseling,
- Agneta Borstein, written by Carol Harrison
The Door Opener, September/2003.
(Note: The quotes from Sandra Ingerman were taken from an article written about her
by Caren Goldman)
Born and raised in Sweden, Agneta Borstein has been an open willing 'seeker' for as long as she can remember. Her interest in metaphysics seemed to come very naturally, sparked by an early appreciation and practice of meditation. Living in Sweden exposed her to many forms of spiritual expression. Agneta has also spent over twenty-seven years actively involved in the Siddha Yoga Meditation path. However, Astrology seemed to choose her.
While still in Sweden, Agneta got excellent grades in math. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in business and became a draftswoman. She seemed to have an innate sense of the sacredness of space. Her early understanding of Astrology gave her a unique wisdom that she applied to her technical projects.
Agneta came to the United States in 1977. From 1985-1997, she was best know as the proprietor of Agneta’s Books & Things in West Hartford. She sold the store to devote more time to her private practice. It was at that time that she decided to take a workshop on Shamanism. Agneta attended her first workshop, which was taught by Sandra Ingerman, at Micheal Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies. She has continued to study with Sandra over the past six years, and is now a Shamanic Practitioner.
Agneta’s clients can chose from Astrology, Shamanic Healing, or a combination of the two. She views Shamanism as an added dimension to her work as an astrologer. Astrology, charts provide roadmaps of past, present, and future events, patterns of behavior, cycles, aspect of one’s personality, wounds from past experiences, etc. – information that is always woth knowing. However, one can choose to break the patterns and heal the wounds through Shamanic Counseling.
Often Agneta will use Astrology to determine the best time for a Shamanic healing session to take place. By looking at the cycles of the planets, especially the moon, and the information about her client, she can schedule a session that creates the optimum conditions for positive results. She and the client determine what the priority is and what questions need to be addressed. She then applies her training as a Shamanic Counselor, and the return to wholeness begins.
To understand what comes next, it is important to have a basic understanding of Shamanism. How do you use Shamanism to heal?
A Shaman is one who can "journey" outside time and space, in an altered state of consciousness or trance state, to access information that contributes to the diagnoses and healing of physical and emotional dis-ease. According to Sandra Ingerman, “Shamanism is something you do, not a name you take for yourself. From a Shamanic point-of-view, we don’t make a distinction between physical and emotional illness. We are looking at what is spiritually out of balance in the client.”
Shamans believe there are three major cause of illness: soul loss, power loss, which is related to the loss of one or more of the “power animals” that accompany us at birth, and spiritual possession. Soul loss is the most common cause of physical and emotional dis-ease. It occurs when a part of the soul leaves the body, usually in reaction to a traumatic event.
Sandra says, "Soul loss is actually a good thing. It’s the way the psyche of a person can survive a painful event. If I was going to be in a head-on-car crash, the last place I would want to be is in my body. Shamans believe that the soul part that leaves the body actually exists, so they journey to ask where it is. When they find out, they can give their clients immediate feedback."
A Shaman will journey to the "Lower World," "Middle World," "Upper World," and other “territories of non-ordinary reality. Once in these territories, they will use all of their senses to access the necessary information. Power animals, teachers, and other guiding spirits (which may include fairies, elves, various gods and goddesses, passed loved ones and ascended masters) usually meet them to offer details about the spiritual cause of an illness and the spiritual healing techniques that can help a client, family or community. These territories do not appear the same for every Shaman. Agneta shared a memorable experience with me as follows: “[In] one exercise I did, I was supposed to go back in time and find a fire. I was so back in time that they didn’t even have fire.”
Sandra says, “One might view a journey as a walking dream, or as information coming from the unconscious in symbolic representation. The beauty of it is that a person’s experience is neither right nor wrong. Each person on a Shamanic path learns to trust his or her own experience and not to follow any rules or doctrines except that this work be used to benefit all life and for the purpose of healing.”
An important part of the Shamanic training knows how to go into an altered state, receive the information, return back into the body remembering all the information, and not bringing unwanted energies back with you.
For Agneta, “soul retrieval” is the most important part of her Shamanic work. For her, Astrology is a way of knowing who someone is, but soul retrieval is the way to become whole, to feel centered, and to find the joy in life. Symptoms of soul loss include: chronic and immune deficiency illnesses, coma, addiction, chronic depression, the feeling you don’t fit in, feeling of estrangement and depersonalization, not being able to remember years from one’s life childhood, lost segments of ones life as an adult, and even codependency. People who say they haven’t felt the same since an operation, accident, divorce, etc. may also be suffering from soul loss.
Sandra Ingerman teaches that it is rare that a person’s missing soul parts will be found together. A healer and their guides usually travel to several different realms during retrieval. Sometimes the soul parts are merely lost and wandering in non-ordinary reality because they do not know how to return. If they are ready, they will be guided back. Other times, they may be hiding out – wounded by a past event and traumatized to an extent that they stubbornly refuse to return. The healer then helps that soul part to know that it is safe to go back. Then there are the cases where the soul pats are separated from their source because they were stolen by a parent, rejected lover, spouse, or other thief, dead or alive, who is holding onto a relationship and refusing to let go.
I suspected that to truly make a person whole, more than one session would be required. But, according to Agneta, it really depends on the client and how much work needs to be done. Many times she has been able to retrieve three or more soul parts in one session.
A soul retrieval is a powerful, life-changing process that should not be undertaken lightly or too often. Too much retrieval can overwhelm a person and create the very symptoms one want to heal from. A soul retrieval is a step to ward wholeness that can refocus the soul's journey.
Agneta has an amazing passion for living life fully present in every moment. In closing, she would like to encourage everyone to evaluate where they are at this moment, and seek whatever spiritual path to wholeness feels right to them. What’s most important is that they seek a way to live happy, healthy, spiritually fulfilling lives. She also recommends that you pay attention to the animals that cross your path. They could be bringing you an important message.
There are many paths to choose from. For now, the interconnectedness of Astrology and Shamanic Healing is working for Agneta.
To learn more about Shamanism, Agneta recommends reading The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner, and Soul Retrieval and Welcome Home by Sandra Ingerman. Sandra also wrote A Fall from Grace, a visionary fiction work that details her own spiritual search over the past twenty years.