Some shamans use a “soul catcher” to hold the lost soul part they have found in the spirit realm, although they have already asked that part to return to the person it came from. It is symbolic, as all spiritual actions are, but is it necessary for the soul retrieval to work? Does a spirit need to be contained in a physical object (such as a crystal) when returning from the spirit realm to join their whole soul?
One line of thought I’ve had is that this temporary containment of spirit is symbolic of bringing the spirit from existing entirely in the spirit realm, to connecting it back to the physical realm. When the soul part is given back to the person who lost it, that soul part will again be participating in physical reality as it will exist integrated within that person, experiencing their daily struggles.
Soul parts often need to be encouraged and even coaxed (but not forced) back to their human life, existing with the rest of their whole self. Since pain and/or trauma in the physical realm cause them to break away in the first place, it can be frightening to consider returning.
With this in mind, I have re-created a sacred altar for my desk (it is small due to the limits of my current living situation) and I am creating another, more elaborate sacred space in the spirit realm. Having both a physical and a spirit-realm space may help bridge the gap between the two worlds. Instead of employing a soul-catching device, I have made a dedicated space for soul retrieval work, a place I will invite lost soul parts to visit during their journey from the spirit realm, while heading towards integration in their whole personhood. There are several wonderful objects and photos in this space that may comfort, delight, or simply remind the soul part that sacredness exists in the physical world too; that the physical and spiritual worlds are in fact the same place, just seen through different angles.