It may be useful to think of human beings like onions, with many layers. We each have a mind, a body, a spirit, and a soul. Our bodies are made of many interconnected parts, as is our mind and soul. Each of these systems also overlaps. You cannot separate mind from body or spirit without disintegration.
One of the areas that confused me, as a fledgling spiritual practitioner, was the difference between spirit and soul. Many practices and beliefs seem to use these terms interchangeably. They are both non-physical components of us and our world.
I'd like to break it down a little, for the spiritually confused. Here's the take on soul and spirit from the shamanic perspective:
What is spirit?
In the view of the shaman, everything is spirit. You might say, everything has a spirit. You can think of spirit as the nonphysical essence of everything. Every object, every animal, every person has a nonphysical counterpart in spirit.
Further, the wind has spirit. The planet has spirit. There is the spirit of fire.
Spirit is formless, but during a shamanic journey, spirit often appears as something. A power animal, for instance, is the spirit of a deceased animal.
Your spirit is luminous to those who can "see in the dark" and unchanging. Your spirit is not affected by lifetimes here on Earth. It is that piece of divinity that is represented in "ordinary reality" by your body. Yes, everyone and everything is divine - even that guy that cut you off in traffic.
So, what is soul?
Your soul is that nonphysical part of you that animates the body and carries the lessons you learned from lifetime to lifetime.
Your soul can be affected by the things you do, see, feel, and think. Pieces of your soul can get lost during trauma. You can unwittingly lend away pieces of your soul. Soul loss is one of the major causes of physical and mental illness.
Soul retrieval is a healing ritual in which a practitioner brings back lost soul essence with the aid of helping spirits. It's a gentle but powerful practice which can lead to profound healing.