The Book of Alberto Villoldo

Alberto Villoldo


All that follows is taken from three of his books, Shaman, Healer, Sage (Harmony House, New York, 2000), The Four Insights, Wisdom, Power, and Grace of the Earthkeepers (Hay House Inc. Carlsbad, Calif., 2006 and Illumination, The shamans Way of Healing (also Hay House, 2010), plus my own notes from  two years enrolled in his Four Winds Society’s Healing the Light Body School.

But I would like to begin by presenting the beautiful Invocation we were taught for creating sacred space before doing any healing work:


To the winds of the South,
Sachamama, great serpent,
Wrap your coils of light around us,
Teach us to shed the past the way you shed your skin,
To walk softly on the Earth. Teach us the Beauty Way.

To the winds of the West,
Otorongo, Mother jaguar,
Protect our medicine space,
Teach us the way of peace, to live impeccably.
Show us the way beyond death

To the winds of the North,
Silwekente, Humming bird, Grandmothers and Grandfathers,
Ancient Ones,
Come and warm your hands by our fires,
Whisper to us in the wind.
We honour you who have come before us,
And you who will come after us, our children’s children,

To the winds of the East,
Apuchine, Great eagle, condor,
Come to us from the place of the rising Sun.
Keep us under your wing.
Show us the mountains we only dare to dream of.
Teach us to fly wing to wing with the Great Spirit

Pachamma, Mother Earth,
We’ve gathered for the healing of all your children
The Stone people, the Plant People,
The four-legged, the two-legged, the creepy crawlers.
The finned, the furred and the winged ones.
All our relations.

Intetaitai, Father sun, Mammamia, Grandmother Moon, to the Star brothers and sisters.
Great Spirit, you who are known to us by a thousand names
And you who are the unnameable One.
Thank you for bringing us together
And allowing us to sing the Song of Life.

Shamanism is not a course but a life journey. Its practice entails an immense body of knowledge and spiritual practices passed down through the ages on every continent of the world.

Shamanism is founded on the teachings of the earth, of direct communication with nature which helps to create a world that talks back to us, one in which we hear the trees, rivers, mountains and clouds speak to us. So the stewardship of the earth, of the feminine, and of service to all living beings, is of paramount importance.

Our traditions in the West ~ its medicines and science ~ are patriarchal. The traditions of the medicine men and women are feminine. Today we have the opportunity to bring together the masculine and the feminine in a way that allows us to utilize the extraordinary resources of medicine with the extraordinary resources of spirit to create and sustain true health and wellness.

All the great wisdom traditions include the concept of an observer who doesn’t identify with anything that happens but merely watches, whether or not he or she is observing a comedy or a tragedy.

So, if “I” don’t exist at all, then the question “Who am I?” leads to the next question which is “Who is asking the question?” Put another way, we are all a bundle of vibrating strings of light which have been assembled into a body for a short period of time. And those who succeed in being initiated into this mystery acquire a new level of power and humility.

The role of a shaman is to dream the world into Being: Today, Tomorrow and Forever with an understanding that Manana means not doing today what will take care of itself tomorrow. Shamans also understand that a compassionate power provides them with gifts:.

The gift of Discernment, which is about the unemotional examination of the facts that allows us to observe what is happening to us, and to be honest with ourselves and others about it. We can then write a new story about our situation in the moment because our vision is unclouded.

We can also recognize that we are a part of creation unfolding perfectly in this and every other moment. So we must play our part in life, according to our given nature, but with detachment, knowing that something greater than ourselves acts through us.

The gift of Patience which is about understanding the right moment for action and the right moment for stillness. Patience means having trust in Manana ~ the moment that will set everything right ~ without having to orchestrate or micromanage the process: Good things come to those who wait.

The gift of Audacity which is about saying “Yes” to the call to live daringly, but not stupidly. So it’s about a willingness to act while, at the same time, letting go of the illusion that all actions are equally effective.

The gift of Awareness which is about understanding the nature of the evolving human brain.

First, there is the original reptilian brain which perceives the physical world without thinking, feeling, analyzing or trying to find a context for an event. You simply experience the event and deal with it in a very literal way i.e. a twisted ankle is simply a twisted ankle, merely that, and not anything with a different meaning. The primary concern of this brain is the drive to survive: I eat and I kill, therefore I AM.

Next is the limbic brain whose primary concerns are mothering, safety, self-worth, establishing and maintaining the pecking order and mating. I hoard and I mate, therefore I Am.

The primary drive of our newer brain ~ the neo-cortex with its level of consciousness ~ is to understand how things work and why things happen, which gives rise to science, ethics and philosophy. I think, therefore I Am.

And the primary drive of the prefrontal area of the neo-cortex, which is the system’s integrator of our biological super-computer, is to create and discover. I Am, therefore I Am. This part of the brain helps us lose our sense of separateness as our identity merges with everything else into Oneness, into our Undying nature

Shamans call this the second awakening, as the first has to do with the awareness that we shall all be dead one day. And, for many people that first awareness occurs on their deathbeds in a rush of insight lasting for less than a second and for a whole eternity, as they witness their entire lives playing like a movie in front of them. They will witness all the times they have lived and died previously. And then they will forget.

But shamans don’t wait until the moment of death to discover the Undying because they believe that it is truly available as a result of skillful practice and of living according to applicable laws, of which there are but two. The first is The Universal Ethic which means being aware of the consequences of every action you take, and how they create the world you live in. So it makes no sense to behave badly once you understand the price.

Second, there is All My Relations which means that we are interconnected with everyone and everything, from the hungry child across the street to the most distant sun. The notion of an “I” separate from the All is a misunderstanding.

Skillful practice makes the discovery of the undying ~ and living in accordance with its laws ~ possible. And the essence of skillful practice is bringing beauty to the world, touching everyone and everything you touch with beauty. Like the Navajo poem says: “Beauty before me, beauty behind me, in beauty I walk.”

And so we come to the other teachings of the Earthkeepers, the medicine men and women of the Americas.  These four insights state that all of creation ~ humans, whales, and even stars ~ is made from light manifested through the power of intention.

The First Insight, The Way of the Hero, teaches us how to shed our past the way snakes sheds their skin: all at once. It teaches us that we aren’t our story or our history but the real hero of our own life. The Practices of the Hero are Nonjudgment, Nonsuffering, Nonattachment and Beauty. And when we follow these Practices we turn our wounds into a source of power. To be a hero means being the author of our own myth.

The Second Insight, The Way of the Luminous Warrior, instructs us how to move beyond fear and anger to live and practice Grace. The Practices of the Luminous Warrior are Fearlessness, Nondoing, Certainty and Nonengagement. And when we follow these Practices we step beyond fear and death and are able to bring love and beauty to every encounter. To be a luminous warrior means to discover the power of fearlessness.

The Third Insight, The Way of the Seer, shows us how to step outside of time and into Infinity, to fix things before they are born and to heal destiny. The Practices of the Seer are Beginner’s Mind, Living Consequently, Transparency and Integrity. And when we follow these Practices we will be able to dream a world of grace and beauty into being, and you’ll understand why your dreams and nightmares always come true.  To be a seer is to walk softly on the earth and dream destiny.

And the Fourth Insight, The Way of the Sage, also details how to dream the world into being but this time by waking up from the cultural trance that we have been educated into so that we may create joy, abundance and meaning in our lives. The practices of the Sage are Mastering Time, Owning our own Projections. No-Mind  and Indigenous Alchemy. To be a sage means that when you look around you, you perceive only beauty.

And, in the Laika tradition, which preceded the Inca, the evolutionary process mentioned earlier is associated  with  the energies of four animals: serpent, jaguar, hummingbird and eagle through which vibration and light create all life, and each of which represents the powers and abilities one must acquire in order to influence reality in that realm.

These animals are also associated with the Four Winds, beginning from the South and moving clockwise, and also represent four levels of perception, which correspond to the four domains of manifestation of vibration and light:  the physical world (our body), the realm of thoughts and ideas (mind), the realm of myth (soul) and the world of spirit (energy).

These, in turn, relate to the four energetic bodies that make up the human energy field and which are stacked one inside the other like Russian nesting dolls. At the innermost is the physical body enveloped and informed by the mental body, then the soul which envelops them both followed by the spiritual body informing and organizing them all like a blue print. However, It is also important to be aware that problems cannot be solved at the level that created them: They have to be moved to a higher level.

In short, our perception of the world determines its very nature. Said differently, reality only actually exists inside ourselves.

Put all together, these insights and their accompanying practices offer us the potential to become what Alberto calls Homo luminous, which he sees as the next stage in human evolution i.e. in a single life-time we can develop the luminous energy fields of angels and archangels and become like them.

To an Earthkeeper, love is not a feeling or something you barter with. Love is the essence of who you are, and radiates from you as a brilliant aura. You become love, practice fearlessness, and attain enlightenment.

Lastly, the Laika believe, much like the Buddhists, that we must live with a right relationship to nature which they call ayni and then, they say, we have nothing to fear. Moreover, says Alberto “When we are in ayni, paradise is our home; and physical, mental, and emotional health are our birthright”.