by Graeme Kapono Urlich
There is a common idea that we can lose parts of our soul and that by retrieving it we can regain the
capacity to function properly or heal an illness. Some tribes in Africa even believed that when you
took their photo you were stealing their soul or part of it. For some it even went as far as taking
control of them.
Problems occur when Westerners take some of these concepts from various places, mistranslate ideas and
mix them together without really understanding the basis for them. Many people have quite different
definitions of what soul means for example so I will include some video links*1 *2 at the
bottom as it
would take a chapter in a book to cover it otherwise.
In Huna thinking soul is our essence, our spirit or source, and that is infinite, it can’t be divided,
diminished or lost in any way. We can however, change our behaviour based on rules we have if certain
events occur and we react to them in one way or another.
In Kupua tradition we have a soul retrieval process and it is seen as a symbolic process designed to
encourage a beneficial change in behaviour. This is seen as reactivating a pattern that may have
become dormant due to a loss of confidence or some other decision made as a reaction to an event or
series of events as we progress through life. The behaviour is not “lost” but remains as part of our
being in a dormant state because a different, perhaps less effective, pattern becomes the dominant
Soul Retrieval could also be used to activate a behaviour pattern that has not been active in a
person’s life before but is dormant in genetic memory or available to copy from another person’s
Some people would have you believe that they as shaman are the only ones that can help you retrieve
lost parts of yourself. Some can certainly help encourage a change in behaviour, Kupua bring
everything back to behaviour, but that depends a lot on your confidence in yourself and the authority
you give them to be able to help.
Although I learned this process more than thirty years ago and feedback suggests I am quite effective
at it, there are usually simpler processes I can teach people to do themselves so they are more
consciously involved in their own healing and they go away with tools they can use themselves when any
new situations arise in their lives so I have only used it on rare occasions over the years.
This is the essence of Kupua healing, to help people gain the confidence and skills to choose for
themselves, to offer them more options to choose from and how to spot opportunities for their path in
Graeme Kapono Urlich (April 2022)
*1 Defining Soul
*2 Soul, Spirit, Akua & Kanaloa
*3 Grokking Role Models and How To Use Them
Aloha New Zealand - School of Huna and Hawaiian Shamanism