Wounded healers and Jacks of all trades…

Some people seem to be wired for studying one thing — one field of knowledge, one skill, one process, whatever that one thing might be — and coming to understand it intimately, inside and out, backwards and forwards, forest and trees.  Other people gravitate toward the study of many things, perhaps understanding them less well than that first type of person understands their one chosen love, but having a fairly solid grasp on many distinct fields of knowledge, skills, processes, or whatever-else-have-you.  The phrase “Jack of all trades; master of none” comes to mind here, with the first personality type I mentioned being that of the master, and the second being that of the jack-of-all-trades.  Even though the saying itself, and the way we use it, seem to imply a bit of a bias toward the master and against the jack, neither of the two archetypes is truly “better” or “worse” by itself — they’re just different.  Or maybe I say that because I’m much more the “jack of all trades” type…

The Jack of All Trades (I wish I knew who created this!)...
The Jack of All Trades — image by Matthew Stumphy at gurustump.com

It’s true that a focus on one area generally leads to far greater expertise than one can achieve when splitting up one’s focus among many such areas, but gaining familiarity with multiple subject areas also yields benefits, including some that the master often simply can’t match, because by definition, the master won’t have the wider frames of reference available to her/him from which to draw data for things like comparing and contrasting, and making intuitive leaps with respect to pattern recognition.

This could all form the basis of an entire separate post, but here I freely admit that I’m more using it as preamble and set-up so that I can get into discussing a neat, mutual reiteration of ideas, one drawn from Astrology, and one taken from Shamanism (both of which I’ve been studying up on, because I’m the jack of all trades type…whether the master of one or the other would have made the same connection may never be solved in this space, but I’m happy to let it remain a mystery for the ages if it must, as it got me where I needed to go)…

Sometimes the same ideas will pop up all over the place in different forms and in different contexts (artwork from Disney's "Gravity Falls")...
Sometimes the same ideas will pop up all over the place in different forms and in different contexts (artwork from Disney’s “Gravity Falls”)…

So as I’ve been studying Astrology, I’ve been interested in the “centaur” body known as Chiron — this body seems to be a strange sort of fusion bearing some properties attributed to asteroids on the one hand, and some associated with comets on the other.  The modern astrologer would tell you that Chiron’s position in a birth chart would describe where that person carries their deepest spiritual wounds, and where they might, through addressing those wounds, tap into some of their greatest capabilities as a healer.

I also have much interest in the discipline known as Shamanism…and within that discipline resides the practice known as “soul retrieval.”  This practice revolves around the idea that we suffer various traumas in life, and if any of these traumas are great enough in magnitude — and especially, it seems, when they present themselves early enough in one’s life — a person’s soul can actually suffer some degree of fragmentation as a reaction to the trauma.  Imagine a splinter of your very soul splitting off from the main essence of yourself in an effort to evade imminent harm, but then being left behind alongside your pathway as you survive the trauma and move onward into life without it.  The concept is that you do persist, and you maybe even thrive in other ways, but that without that little splintered-off piece of your soul, you’ll never be fully whole and healed.  To some extent, you’ll always be suffering, even if you don’t consciously understand why.  And that suffering can become such a constant facet of your ongoing existence that after a while, you hardly even notice it or recognize it as something hurtful, and you maybe fail to realize that it’s something that can perhaps be positively dealt with at some point.  The practice of soul retrieval, then, is aimed at a shaman helping you to finally retrieve that lost soul-fragment, and to replace it at long last, so you can fully heal from that trauma.

And while some of the studying I’ve been doing has yielded up general statements along the lines of “Chiron is associated with the concept of the shaman,” I haven’t yet seen anyone specifically reference soul retrieval in such write-ups…

Can your intangible soul actually fracture and fragment like this?  And if so, can pieces that have been lost, later be retrieved...?
Can your intangible soul actually fracture and fragment like this? And if so, can pieces that have been lost, later be retrieved…?

It seems to me that if Chiron expounds upon our deepest wounds, it must be talking about exactly the kinds of injuries that lead to the phenomenon of soul-fragmentation that’s dealt with in Shamanism and its practices.  Chiron in a birth chart, then, gives clues on where we can each look to discover our own deepest traumas (which aren’t always obvious, and aren’t always the specific incidents that we assume them to be)…and where we may be able to heal others, as well.

Put another way, Chiron may indicate exactly where we each have it within us to not only work on healing ourselves, but to bring forth the inner shaman that I feel must exist to some degree within each and every one of us.  Some of us will have a far more potentially powerful inner shaman than others — just as some of us will hold the raw gifts for being greater athletes or musicians or scholars, for example — but we do each have some measure of this inner wise one and healer present.  Part of uncovering it is knowing where to look, and how to most effectively cultivate it.

So a notion to ponder for the weekend: you may have it within you to not only work on retrieving lost fragments of your own soul, and to work on healing your own deepest wounds…you may even have it in you to help heal others.  And Chiron can show you the way!


  1. Your wish is granted. I’m the one who created the Jack of All Trades picture you’re using in this post. If you would like to give a proper caption, I usually go with something “Image by Matthew Stumphy at gurustump.com”. Thanks.

    • Thanks for alerting me, Matthew, and for allowing me to use the image here. These days I pull images exclusively from Wikimedia Commons, where I know they’re in the public domain, but back when I wrote this post last year, I was more over-enthusiastic and less informed about use of imagery in blog posts.

      You have some terrific work on your website, by the way! Best wishes, and I hope all’s going well in all of your own various trades…

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