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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

Alberto Villoldo on Shamanic Healing

Jul 30, 2021 08:30AM ● By Marlaina Donato
Alberto Villoldo

Shamans mediate between the visible world of matter and the invisible world of energy and consciousness.

In his mid-20s, Alberto Villoldo, a psychologist and medical anthropologist, was the youngest clinical professor at San Francisco State University, where he founded and directed the Biological Self-Regulation Laboratory to decode the effects of energy medicine on the human brain. Villoldo eventually set aside the limitations of the microscope in search of a broader, more ancient perspective. His 10-year deep dive into the heart of shamanic culture in the Andes and the Amazon regions filled in the missing pieces of his research, but a dire health crisis decades later drove him to explore shamanic transformation. Today, Villoldo is in vibrant health and the author of bestselling books translated into several languages, including Grow a New Body: How Spirit and Power Plant Nutrients Can Transform Your Health. He is the founder of the Four Winds Society, which trains energy medicine practitioners in its Light Body School.

What is shamanism and the shaman’s role?

Shamanism is a philosophy and a lifestyle similar to Buddhism in many ways. It includes healing practices for clearing the imprints of trauma from the luminous energy field (LEF) that surrounds the physical body, and that organizes the body in the same way that a magnet organizes iron filings on a piece of glass. Shamans mediate between the visible world of matter and the invisible world of energy and consciousness. The understanding of the shaman is that what we call reality is simply the projection of a map of the world we carry within us. To change the world, you need to change the map, but the map only changes through sacred ceremony.

Shamanism is making a comeback because we have exhausted our masculine, reductionistic and predatory Western paradigm. It offers a more feminine, participatory worldview that is founded on the notion of becoming Earth Keepers—stewards of the garden of nature.

How does shamanism address body, mind and spirit?

We need to think of the quaternity, including Gaia, the great mother. There is only one illness—disconnection from the great mother. There is only one cure, which is returning to Gaia. The luminous energy field is an information field. It contains all your genetic history—the story of the drama that runs in your family that you have programmed into the neural networks in your brain. Shamans discovered how to upgrade the quality of the information in the LEF. 

Out of the 40 million different species on Earth, only humans, whales and dolphins don’t have death programmed into their DNA. There are no grandmothers in nature; menopause doesn’t exist. The minute you cannot make babies, you are eliminated. We have the opportunity to take part in an experiment to grow bodies that are disease-proof, where our health span can equal our long lifespan.

What shamanic principle can we apply daily?

Our Western diet and antibiotic use have decimated our gut flora, and in the process, ruined our “gut instinct”—the basis of the shaman’s “second sight”, the ability to see the hidden nature of reality. You cannot meditate, heal yourself or others, forgive those who wronged you or stop feeling like a victim if your gut flora is compromised. If your gut is riddled with Candida, you will only perceive strife and be angry. Even if you live in a city, you can cultivate sprouts and make probiotic-rich foods. 

How do you see our future?

I was trained as a medical anthropologist, yet what I do today is to train modern shamans; men and women versed in the ancient wisdom teachings and cutting-edge neuroscience. This is where the magic of science and shamanism meet. Western science and religion are very patriarchal and repressive of the feminine, confusing information for knowledge. We know how to diagnose, but do we know how to heal? The greatest science is the one that explores the soul’s journey through infinity, which is what shamans are concerned with. This is where we discover true healing.

Marlaina Donato is an author and recording artist.