Scanlan FAQ's



How does Soulcraft™ work differ from psychotherapy?


The goal of many traditional forms of psychotherapy is to assist in eliminating troubling symptoms, such as depression or anxiety, or to facilitate more effective interpersonal relating. Soulcraft facilitates an encounter with the soul, the deepest truth of who we are, which leads to discovery and embodiment of our deepest essence and core gifts.


This journey to soul inevitably results in the stirring of emotions connected to early life wounding. Rather than attempt to change or eliminate these emotions, Soulcraft participants are guided, through the use of the Map of the Psyche to move into deeper relationship with their wounding so that the gifts hidden in those wounds can be accessed and reclaimed. When this happens, there is a transformation whereby the wound is recognized--not as an inconvenience or hindrance--but as a sacred doorway that leads to the mysteries of soul.


Less traditional forms of psychotherapy such as Jungian depth work or Family Systems Theory may view and work with wounding in a similar way. What distinguishes Soulcraft is its nature-based framework, the utilization of experiences and tasks on the land, and the focus on soul encounter and soul initiation.


How is Soulcraft work different from shamanic work?


In ancient indigenous traditions the shaman was the intermediary between the human world and the spirit world. People came to a shaman for healing, and to bring them into harmony with the land and its story. The shaman helped people through the use of rituals and plant substances, in ways that had been developed over thousands of years.


In Soulcraft practices we borrow from the wisdom of the shamanic traditions in many cultures but do not copy any culture’s rituals or practices. We encourage you to access your own deepest wisdom, and to open yourself to a direct experience of the mysteries. Soulcraft offers practices that facilitate psycho-spiritual healing, movement towards wholeness, finding your harmonious place on the earth, and retrieving a connection with your soul or deepest essence..


What is a vision quest and how is it different from other Soulcraft experiences?


A vision quest is journey of several days into the wilderness with the support of a guide. It is essentially a ritual marking the death of your old life and the patterns and ways of being that no longer serve you and a rebirth to the bigger life that is calling to you. The heart of the experience is fasting alone in the wilderness with only enough possessions to keep you physically safe – usually four days without food, and three days alone. During the days prior to your solo, known as the severance phase of the quest, you prepare to die to your old life, and learn Soulcraft practices that you might choose to utilize on your solo. In the days after your solo, known as the reincorporation phase of the quest, the story of what happened on your solo is heard and honored, and you plan how you will bring the gifts your received on your journey back to your community.


I also teach and utilize Soulcraft practices in my work on shorter programs—in wilderness and retreat center settings, in my work with ongoing groups, and in individual mentoring sessions. Some of the programs and mentoring are introductory as preparation for more in-depth work. Others are more advanced, usually for those who have enacted a vision quest or other experiential forms of introduction to Soulcraft. In these programs I teach and guide the same Soulcraft practices used on a vision quest, for example work with dreams, shadow, and council, but without the more focused death-rebirth ritual that is central to a vision quest.


Is a Vision Quest necessary for the discovery of our soul nature?


We are often thrown into life crises by events such as serious illness, loss of a job or relationship, or mid-life questions. Sometimes the emergence of such a crisis will itself awaken us to our deeper soul purpose. More commonly, however, we direct our efforts to restore a form of the old life. This is partly because our soul nature and guidance is hidden from us by layers of cultural socialization, and behaviors and roles that we developed to survive and be successful in the world. Our ego will resist letting go of the life that it knows and in which it is relatively comfortable and secure. Also, the language of the soul is the deep imagination, an important human mode of knowing that is largely neglected in the modern human culture.


The conditions of the Vision Quest – a severance from one’s daily life for an extended period, fasting, and solitude in wild nature – greatly facilitate a weakening of the ego consciousness and the likelihood of recognizing the messages of our soul. The process also provides a powerful stimulation of the resource of deep active imagination, the strongest channel through which soul communicates.


Cultivating a regular practice of soulcentric dreamwork, journaling, time in nature, or other soulcraft practices can help open and strengthen our connection and communication with soul, but rarely provides the numinous encounter with soul that is facilitated by the intense and strenuous conditions of a Vision Quest.


Soulcraft™ is a registered trademark of William B. Plotkin