Joan Forest Mage, Shamanic Practitioner

Shamanic Healing Sessions

Joan Forest Mage is proud to serve as a shamanic artist, teacher and healer in her hometown of Chicago. She is the founder and Executive Director of Life Force Arts Foundation, which creates transformation through the arts.

First awakened to energy work through her life-long profession of music and dance, Joan has been doing shamanic healing since 1995 and has performed more than 1000 Soul Retrievals. She has studied shamanism, energy work and healing ritual with numerous teachers. Joan earned a Master of Arts Degree from School for New Learning, De Paul University, Chicago, with the focus area “Creating Healing Ritual Through the Arts.”

Joan offers the following Individual Sessions

  • Soul Retrieval
  • Divination & Healing Sessions

In-person and distance healing available

Session with Joan: 60 minute session for $80

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 Joan is the creator and lead instructor of Life Force Arts Shamanic Training, a comprehensive program of shamanic study from beginning practice to training to be a shamanic healer and ritual leader/teacher. Joan also continues her artistic work, giving shamanic music and dance performances with her performance group Life Force Arts Ensemble.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, please contact Joan at or 773-327-7224. Continue reading below for a description of Joan’s sessions.

Soul Retrieval

Have you ever felt, after some painful experience in your life, that you “never recovered,” you weren’t your “old self,” or that a part of you “died”? These feelings may indicate what shamans call “soul loss”: a part of your vital energy (soul) left you during a traumatic event, such as an accident, illness, loss of a loved one, or physical, sexual or emotional abuse. To correct soul loss, a soul retrieval is done. In the soul retrieval session, the shamanic practitioner (Joan) enters into a shamanic journey meditation in which she finds and returns lost soul parts and removes energy blockages by using energy work.

Sessions with Joan Forest Mage, including Soul Retrieval and Divination & Healing sessions, are 60 minutes for $80, and may be done either in person at Life Force Arts Center, 1609 W Belmont, Chicago, or as distance healing. If you need to cancel an appointment, please contact Joan 24 hours prior to your appointment time. If less than 24 hours notice is given, you may be billed for the session.

What happens in a soul retrieval session?

We begin with an explanation of what we are going to do in the session, and we talk about any questions you might have. This is also a time to share any insights that you gained from the preparation you have done prior to the session (see information on “how to prepare for soul retrieval”). For example, some people like to explain how and when they feel they lost soul parts. It’s completely your choice to share or not, either way is fine with me: I do not need to know where you lost soul parts before I retrieve the soul parts, but sometimes clients like to share this as part of their healing process.

In the tradition of soul retrieval that I follow, the practitioner does all the work during the actual session itself. (In the days and weeks following the session, your task will be to continue to integrate your soul parts through meditating, journaling, etc. I explain the integration process during the session.) You will be lying down on a massage table, and you do not have to do anything, you can just relax. You are welcome to watch me if you want.

To do a healing, I enter a meditation called a shamanic journey by listening to a recording of a repetitive drumbeat. The journey takes about 20 minutes. During the journey, I might be sitting, standing, dancing, singing, lying on the ground, or doing energy work in the space above your body. The process does not involve touching the physical body of the client. The journey unfolds like a waking dream in which four types of healing may occur:

  1. Soul Retrieval – lost parts of your vital energy (soul) return
  2. Power Animal Retrieval – the return of part of your vital essence that resembles an animal (a kind of “totem animal”) often associated with physical health
  3. Extraction – removing negative energy
  4. Messages from Guides – information from your inner guiding spirits about how to resolve a problem in your life. For example, “Tell her to take the job offer.” However, this is not an intuitive “reading” where you ask questions and the practitioner answers them. Rather, this is an actual energy work session.

I ask my spirit guides to lead me to whatever healing needs to happen. Almost always there is soul retrieval, power animal retrieval and extraction; sometimes there are messages from guides.

At the end of the journey, if there are soul parts or power animals to return, I return them by blowing into your chakras (energy center) at your heart and crown (top of head). I rattle around you to seal up the soul parts and I do the thanking the spirits song. Then you can sit up and I explain what I experienced on the journey, and what soul parts returned.

If you have a recording device, such as on your cell phone, I highly recommend recording the explanation. This is the best option, since I usually will have a lot of information, and it is easy to forget what I said if you are trying to recall it later. If you don’t have a recording device, you may want to take notes on paper, but it can be hard to write as fast as I’m talking :-).

In the tradition of soul retrieval that I follow, the practitioner does all the work during the actual session itself. In the days and weeks following the session, your task will be to continue to integrate your soul parts through meditating, automatic writing or drawing, etc. How to do this is explained in this email.


Use meditating, journaling, etc. to do the following:

  1. Recall where and under what circumstances you may have lost soul parts
  2. Consider what your life may be like after the soul parts return. Get ready, be open, for your life to change and for you to be different. In what ways would you like to see your life improve?
  3. If possible, tell the people in your life that you may be making changes.
  4. For more information on the theory and process of soul retrieval, you may want to read the book Soul Retrieval by Sandra Ingerman
  5. It is preferable to schedule your soul retrieval so that you will have quiet time afterward to process the session and begin soul part integration. Arrange to have the session for a day and time when you can go home


(Please note that this is a suggested plan. Each person’s soul part integration process is unique.)

In the first 24 hours after soul retrieval:

  1. Welcome each part home
  2. Give thanks in your own way for this healing.
  3. Take a ceremonial bath. This grounds the energy that has returned to you, and is a rebirth experience for the newly rejoined soul parts. You might want to use aromatherapy oils, nice candles and especially bath salts, which help ground the energy.
  4. Sing and dance your power animal (very important!) Use spontaneous movement and vocalizing to create a simple song and dance to call up the power of this spirit guide. This song and dance will develop into a repeatable form: it will be the same each time you do it. To do this: go into a room by yourself and say, “Power animal, sing and dance through me.” You will find yourself doing some type of body movement, sounds and words that will express the energy of the power animal. To have a connection with a power animal like this is a wonderful gift! The power animal brings energy that you need in your life. Once you have a power animal song & dance, please continue doing it every day for the 28 time period after your soul retrieval, and after that continue doing it on a regular basis your whole life, to call forth the power of your animal guide

The Three Questions to ask your Soul Parts

Each day for the next 28 days after soul retrieval, please ask each soul part these questions, using meditating, stream of consciousness writing, stream of consciousness drawing, or other forms of inner reflection:

  1. Why did you leave?
  2. What do you know? (This might be memories or skills.) What gift or knowledge do you bring me?
  3. What do you need to be happy? (Please give serious consideration to acting on suggestions or requests from the soul parts.)

Tell each part that you love them, that you’re glad they’re back, and that you want them to stay.


Please call or email me two days after the soul retrieval so we can discuss how you’re feeling, any reactions, questions, etc. you might have. Thank you, it’s an honor and a privilege to do this work for you.

Joan Forest Mage

Ways you can contact soul parts after soul retrieval

There are many ways to contact a soul part. This is intuitive work, and intuitive information comes to us through the senses of auditory (hearing) visual (seeing) and kinesthetic (feeling). For example, seeing the soul part in your imagination would be visual; hearing words or thoughts in your head would be auditory, and sensing feelings in your body would be kinesthetic. The soul part may communicate with you in any or all of these are ways.

Here are the most common ways to communicate with your soul parts. Any of these methods begins by bringing yourself to a meditative state. Sit comfortably, relax, close your eyes, and breathe slowly and deeply. Then, silently or out loud, ask the soul part one of the three soul part integration questions: “Why did you leave? What do you know? What do you need to be happy?”

Meditation in the 3 Perceptual Modes

  • Visual – You will see pictures in your mind’s eye that answer the question. You will see your soul parts; they will look like yourself at whatever age it left you. For example, your five year old soul part will look the way you did when you were five years old, your teenage soul part will look the way you did as a teenager. You will ask the soul part one of the questions, and you receive the answer in a visual picture. For example, if you ask, “What do you need to be happy?” you may see an ice cream cone. That would be the soul part saying, “Eating ice cream would make me happy.”
  • Auditory – You will hear a voice inside your head answering the questions. For example, if you ask, “Why did you leave?” your soul part may answer, “Because Father died and I was sad.”
  • Kinesthetic – You will feel sensations or movement in your body answering the questions. For example, if you ask, “What do you know?” you may feel your chest area (heart energy center) become light and open; literally “light-hearted.” This means that soul part knows how to feel happy and light-hearted.

Stream of Consciousness Expression in the 3 Perceptual Modes

  • Stream of Consciousness Writing – You will need a pen and paper. Ask one of the soul parts one of the three questions, and ask the soul part to write you the answer on the paper. For example, silently or out loud, say, “Twenty year old soul part, what do you know?” Then take pen to paper and begin stream of consciousness writing. Don’t stop, don’t edit, don’t censor: write down whatever is going through your mind, allowing the soul part to speak through the words on the paper. Keep writing until you get to the end of the paper. Then go back and read what you’ve written. You will see where what you have written changes from random thoughts going through your mind to the voice of the soul part answering the question.
  • Stream of Consciousness Drawing – You will need paper and something to draw with, such as a pen, pencil, crayons, watercolors, chalk, etc. Ask one of the soul parts one of the three questions, and ask the soul part to draw you the answer on the paper. For example, silently or out loud, say, “Five year old soul part, what do you need to be happy?” Then begin stream of consciousness drawing. Don’t stop, don’t edit, don’t censor: draw whatever is coming to you, allowing the soul part to express itself through creating the drawing. Keep drawing until you feel finished. Then go back and look at what you’ve drawn. Ask yourself how the drawing is the answer to the question. For example, if it is a drawing of a guitar, it probably means playing the guitar would make that soul part happy.
  • Stream of Consciousness Body Movement – You will need a space conducive to dance/body movement. Ask one of the soul parts one of the three questions, and ask the soul part to express the answer through dance/body movement. For example, silently or out loud, say, “Seventeen year old soul part, why did you leave?” Then begin stream of consciousness body movement. Don’t stop, don’t edit, don’t censor: let the body move in whatever way it wants, allowing the soul part to express itself through body movement. Keep moving until you feel finished. Ask yourself, either while you are moving or after you stop moving, how the movement answered the question. For example, you may find yourself making movements as though pushing away something, meaning that the soul part left because it felt someone or something was imposing

What results can I expect from the soul retrieval?

Some people have very dramatic changes from a soul retrieval -overnight, they’re not depressed anymore, or their physical condition improves 100%. For other people, the effect may be more gradual, such as subtle changes in feeling more relaxed, more energized, better able to make decisions, etc. A good rule of thumb is to look back six months after the soul retrieval session and assess what changes have happened in your life since the healing that you can attribute to the soul retrieval.

Some possible results of soul retrieval

Here are some signs that the soul part energy is back with you.

Feeling, thinking or acting differently than before

  • A physical problem (pain) lessens or goes away
  • Feeling more “whole” or “filled with energy”
  • Colors seeming more vivid
  • Feeling more present in your daily life, more grounded
  • Having an easier time focusing rather than being “spaced out”
  • Feeling happy, content, calm, where before you were depressed or anxious
  • You are able to initiate or finish projects more easily
  • You had been putting off a decision you needed to make or a conversation you needed to have with another person, and now it seems easy to make the decision or have the conversation
  • Addictions lessen or end

People treat you differently

  • People tell you that you have changed, saying that you look happier, more energized, more relaxed, etc.
  • They notice you more, and pay attention to what you are telling them (signs that you are more “present” to them)

Aspects of the past

  • Memories coming back
  • Resolution of an internal conflict (example: you felt guilty or resentful about something and since the soul retrieval that incident has resolved for you)

You may also receive some type of sign. For example, if your Power Animal was a Hawk, and was returned to you, and that day you see

  • a live hawk flying above you
  • a movie,TV show, video on Facebook, etc. with a hawk
  • a hawk tattoo on someone’s arm
How many soul parts will I get back?

Most people have several parts missing. I bring back whatever parts the guides lead me to. I ask for whatever healing needs to happen. I usually bring back from 4 – 8 soul parts. I don’t bring back parts that don’t want to come back or that would give you any trouble.

How often do I need a soul retrieval?

Soul retrieval itself does not need to be done very often in a lifetime. It is not like psychotherapy, where you might go every week for weeks or months. In this way, soul retrieval is one of the most efficient forms of healing every created, and also one of the most ancient.

If a person continues to lose energy after a soul retrieval, this usually indicates a problem with core belief (ex., the person believes he/she should give away his/her energy, doesn’t deserve to have energy, etc.) or understanding of energetic protection (becoming more aware of the energy field around his/her body so it is not drained or lost). I work with these issues in several types of sessions that I offer, such as Shamanic Journeying, Energy Body Healing, Soul Part Dialogue, etc. – these are all described on the website on the “Sessions for Individuals” page. I would work with you to determine which sessions would best serve your needs.

As a practitioner, how much experience have you had with doing soul retrievals? How many have you done?

Between 1995 – 2019, I performed over 1000 soul retrieval healing sessions. I conducted a research study on the soul retrievals I did from 1995 – 2002. This was part of the work I submitted to the School for New Learning, De Paul University, for my master’s degree. My focus area was “Creating healing ritual through the arts.” The research study was based on a survey administered to 175 clients, 119 of whom responded to the survey. The survey measured client response to the soul retrieval session. Findings of the survey indicated that 90% of clients reported dramatic or good results from their soul retrieval session. Dramatic results (reported by 15% of respondents) were described as “the problem I came to heal was solved overnight.” Good results (reported by 75% of respondents) were described as “saw beneficial results I attribute to the journey such as feeling more peaceful, more energized, having a greater sense of well-being, more able to take action, got some helpful insight from the journey, etc.”

What are Power Animals, Clan Animals and Helping Animals?

I have found there to be three basic types of Animal Guides:

  • Power Animals
  • Helping Animals
  • Clan Animals

Each one of these is part of your own vital essence that resembles an animal.

Power Animal is your best buddy in the spirit realm. It may be any type of animal, such as a flying creature, swimming one or land animal. It is always a single animal. Your Power Animal goes with you wherever you go, bolstering your energy and protecting you. A Power Animal is one of your main spirit guides.

You may be surprised that your Power Animal is not a “trendy” Power Animal such as Bear, Eagle or Dolphin, but rather Prairie Dog or Ladybug! The important thing is that you can trust this animal guide completely, and s/he will take care of you in a profound energetic way.

Helping Animal is a guide who is an animal who appears to help you learn something, for a certain time period, or with a certain project. For example, Horse may come to teach you for a time period of one week about making swift decisions; Turtle may come for a time period of a month to teach you how to relax. Or, a Helping Animal maycome to help you on a permanent basis when you need to carry out a certain task. For example, Owl may appear whenever you need to find lost objects, telling you where they are, or Wolf may give you advice about relationships.

Clan Animal appears as a group of animals and people. A Clan is all the animals of that type that have ever lived, and all the people who have ever participated in that animal’s energy at any time or place. Being part of a Clan is being part of an association of all those people and animals; it is like being in an association of people who all do the same business, such as medical doctors are part of the American Medical Association or plumbers are part of the plumbers union. A Clan will appear as several of the type of animal, plus one or more of the following:

  1. People dressed like the animal, such as shamans wearing that animal’s skin
  2. Beings who are half human, half that type of animal
  3. Several of the animals accompanied by gods, goddesses or other spirit guides associated with that animal

A Clan is associated with the mission one has in life, the type of work one contributes to the world. For example, if what you contribute is your bravery and power, you may be part of Lion Clan, or if gracefulness is what you bring to the community, Deer may be your Clan.

How do you conduct a distance healing session for Soul Retrieval?

When I do distance healing work, the client emails or phones me to explain why s/he feels s/he would needs a soul retrieval session. The client can tell me the same things that he/she would tell me if we were doing the session in person: where s/he lost soul parts, etc. As with the in-person session, it is up to the client how much s/he tells me about his/her life. I don’t necessarily need to know a lot of the details, unless the client wants to tell me.

We arrange a time that I will do the journey, and also a time for the post-journey phone call, if the client feels they want to speak by phone after the journey (sometimes people prefer to communicate only by email.)

At the appointed time, I do the journey just as I would if the client were present. If I am returning soul parts to the client, I visit the client in spirit form. The client does not have to be doing anything special during the time I am journeying, he/she can just go about his/her daily activities.

After the journey, I write what I saw and did on the journey, and email or postal mail this account to the client. It’s helpful if the client has access to email, since the client can receive the write-up of the journey that same day. If the client wishes, I speak with him/her by phone to answer any questions he/she might have. Preferably, this phone call is done the day of the journey. The whole process can also be done just by email, if the client prefers.

The total time of the session, including determining what the journey will be about, doing the journey, writing the results and phone call is 60 minutes, the same as if it were a session done in person. The phone conversation after the journey to talk about the results is approximately 15 minutes.

Do you do gift sessions, where I pay you for my friend’s session?

That’s wonderful! I’m always happy to do gift sessions.

Do you ever do soul retrieval and healing work without telling the person for whom you are doing the work?

Usually, I do not do shamanic work for people without their knowledge. This is to uphold professional ethics of non-invasiveness. Also, especially with soul retrieval, an important part of the process for most people is to do their own work of contacting and integrating their soul part.

However, there are exceptions. For example, I might do a soul retrieval for someone who is incapacitated, such as being in a coma, and who therefore cannot agree directly to my doing the work. In this case, I would travel to the spirit realm to ask the permission from the client (in spirit) and my spirit guides.

Another situation can occur in a journey for a client, when the guides lead me to do a soul retrieval for someone who is not the client. Sometimes one has to work with people in the client’s life in order to resolve an issue. For example, if the client has a soul part of his mother’s attached to him, the mother’s soul part may need to be returned to the mother to bring the energy of the whole situation into balance.

I always double check with my guides to make sure I am supposed to do energetic healing for a person who has not directly asked me in physical form to help him or her. As an added measure of assurance, I almost always leave it to my guides and the person’s guides (including their Highest Self) to do the soul retrieval or other energy work for a person who has not directly asked me to help him/her.

What is the difference between your Soul Retrieval sessions and Divination & Healing sessions? How do I know which one would be best for me?

These two sessions are basically the same process; in either session, I do a journey in which I look for soul parts, Animal Spirit Guides, extraction and messages from guides. The difference between a Soul Retrieval session and Divination & Healing is whether we start with the intention of retrieving lost energy, or whether we start with a question that the client wants answered.

Soul Retrieval session – If the client says they feel they lost soul parts or energy and need them back, we do a Soul Retrieval session. This session may include Soul Retrieval, Animal Spirit Guide Retrieval, extraction and messages from guides. I always ask for whatever healing the person needs at that time.

Divination & Healing session – If the client has a question about some issue that they have, and they are looking for a solution to it, we do a Divination & Healing session. For example, the person wants to know, “Why do I always have problems with relationships?” “Why am I having financial problems?” “Why am I having this health problem?” A Divination & Healing session starts with asking for messages/advice from guides about the question, but a lot of times the answer to the question is to do a Soul Retrieval, Animal Spirit Guide Retrieval, or extraction

Note: In Divination & Healing, I generally do not answer questions about specific timing, such as “What day, month and year will I meet my life partner?” Instead, I will get information that reveals the energy surrounding the question, and I am guided to do energy work that can help you towards your goals. For example, if we start with the question, “Why am I having problems finding a life partner?” I may get the advice from the guides, “You will find your partner when you heal from the relationship you had 10 years ago that is making you afraid to love again.” Then the guides will instruct me to retrieve your soul part that left at the time of the relationship problems 10 years before. That’s why I call it Divination & Healing: rarely do I simply receive advice from guides. Instead, the guides almost always have me do some type of energy work (Soul Retrieval, Animal Spirit Guides Retrieval, or extraction) that will help you solve the problem. 

How do I pay for a healing session with Joan?

Sessions are $80 and last approximately 60 minutes.

In-person sessions are done at Life Force Arts Center, 1609 W Belmont, Chicago. Click here for directions

We accept payment by cash, check or credit card. You can also send the payment by paypal

  • Send payment by paypal to
  • for distance healing, you can pay by paypal or call Joan at 773-327-7224 to do a credit card payment by phone

Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel an appointment, please contact Joan 24 hours prior to your appointment time. If less than 24 hours notice is given, you may be billed for the session.

Joan Forest Mage, Shamanic Practitioner