It has been generally agreed that rituals of healing work through
transforming the embodied self; thus, they are especially fit to be
analyzed as rituals in their own right. This chapter focuses on the ritual
of soul retrieval as it is practiced by Western urban neo-shamans.
It argues that apart from giving the patient new memories and new
narratives of the self, this version of soul retrieval works by staging
a formalized context for forgiveness, here conceptualized as reconciliation
between the self and the mundane and divine others. It is
argued, however, that the mechanism of this healing ritual is better
understood in the light of New Age ontologies of the self, consciousness,
and the divine, making ‘ritual in its own right‚’ a good first step
towards re-engaging with the social.