Courageous Dreaming by Alberto Villoldo

How Shamans Dream the World Into Being

I have read a few books by Alberto Villoldo, my favourite and the best to begin with if new to his work is The Four Insights: Wisdom, Power, and Grace of the Earthkeepers.

It introduces the philosophical, spiritual and medicinal wisdom of the medicine men and women of the Americas, the concepts of serpent, jaguar, hummingbird and eagle consciousness and thinking, and is helpful in understanding the further learning his wisdom offers.

The Earthkeepers believe the world is real, but only because we’ve dreamed it into being. But dreaming requires an act of courage, for when we lack it, we have to settle for the world that’s being created by our culture or by our genes – we feel we have to settle for the nightmare. To dream courageously, we must be willing to use our hearts.

I’d had this book a while by my bedside and immediately turned to it to become my daily morning read at the beginning of this period of confinement we are currently in and what a Godsend. I loved it and wish it had been twice as long. I read a chapter a day and would recommend it as the equivalent to doing half an hour of meditation, the effect for me was very similar.

Not only is it filled with resonating wisdom, each chapter begins with the words of another great teacher, a collection of inspiring quotes that I’ve been playing with by putting images to them from my daily walk, to create a kind of story. Infinite possibilities as Alberto and Albert would no doubt agree.

Logic will get you from A to B.

Imagination will take you everywhere. Albert Einstein

Alberto Villoldo

Alberto Villoldo is a psychologist, medical anthropologist and renowned shamanic healer, who has studied the ancient spiritual practices of the Amazon and the Andes and now runs The Four Winds Society, an education facility for practitioners of shamanic healing and energy medicine and courses for individuals interested in cellular detoxification to grow a new body.

Once familiar with the four levels of perceiving reality, this book beautifully expands the concept further into ways of dreaming, levels of consciousness, of courage and of beauty or appreciation.

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare”. Mark Twain

Photo by Samrat Maharjan on Pexels.com

It shows us how we are all living within our own stories, that they can either stay stuck in the past and put on repeat, or we can rewrite them and courageously imagine or dream a better version of ourselves and of our future.

Our situation may be a difficult one, but it’s only a nightmare if we choose to make that our reality. By taking the facts and writing a new story with them, we can script a different experience of reality.

To help illustrate courage at the level of eagle consciousness – the highest level of perception, where we’re able to see the big picture and the details all at the same time, where we are aware of that we are part of the all-seeing and all-knowing divine force of the universe, conceiving a world where we are in harmony and our lives are fulfilling, abundant and sustainable – Alberto uses the example of Prometheus’s Gift.

Prometheus

Prometheus was the Greek God of inspiration, craft and creativity, who held great sympathy for humans because he’d co-created them with Zeus. He saw them freezing and wanted to gift them fire for warmth, security and to alleviate hunger. Symbolically fire represents creativity and inspiration, it transforms and illuminates. He stole fire and gave it to humans, angering the Gods, who punished him for it.

Prometheus brought humanity another great gift – the courage to defy the gods, the ability to think original thoughts and to create – and this brash act was what really caused him to be so severely punished…But this act of defiance launched humans into our true journey, forcing us to mature and develop discernment.

Photo by Monique Laats on Pexels.com

He reminds us of the power of creativity and warns of the threats against it, citing many examples of genius that are now revered, who were shunned in their moment of innovation and inspiration such as Einstein and Van Gogh.

Being creative requires letting go of that big bucket of cold water you throw on yourself and your ideas when things start to become really interesting. You need to stop asking yourself , ‘Will anyone be offended?’  and ‘Who am I to ask questions?’ and instead inquire ‘What if?’

Holding on to old stories creates imprints in our energetic body or LEF (luminous energy field) even after the facts and circumstances change, those resentments and bad feelings create energetic cords that tie us to the players in the drama, which is why we then get triggered so easily and again when we observe those patterns in others.

We don’t see things as they are;

We see them as we are. Anaïs Nin

Symbols & Metaphors

Alberto Villoldo uses illuminating metaphors to help us see our situations from a different perspective and provides suggestions for how to change. Understanding our own tendencies is the first step, rewriting a better narrative of our lives follows. Learning to sever unwelcome ties and clear karmic baggage, all the better.

Seeing our lives as river with an accumulation of silt and imagining clearing it is liberating; decoding the symbols and metaphors of our dreams, where our subconscious solutions lie, tips us off to what our conscious mind resists recognising and provides us possible resolution.

We fight the current, yet we never clean the river.

Especially now, we are all being forced to confront what lies within us, the build up of silt that requires clearing, so the crystalline waters of our lives can flow more easily.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When you start pouring beauty into your river, you’ll find that the waters are becoming clearer every day. To practice beauty, you must give up the ugly stories in which someone is a victim and someone else is the perpetrator. Practicing beauty means recognising what is pure and of value in every situation and in every person.

We are not in control of where the river flows, only of how clean we keep its waters.

I may go back to chapter one and read it again, to allow the wisdom to sink in deeper and help the river to continue to flow clean.

“Curing is the elimination of symptoms. Healing is a journey on which you discover the cause of your ailment and make fundamental life changes from diet to belief systems that will create health.”

Further Reading

Interview with Alberto Villoldo: Gaia.com

My Reviews

The Four Insights: Wisdom, Power, and Grace of the Earthkeepers

Shaman Healer Sage

The Heart of the Shaman: Stories and Practices of the Luminous Warrior

One Spirit Medicine: Ancient Ways to Ultimate Wellness (not reviewed)

 

 

 

Shaman Healer Sage, How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of The Americas by Alberto Villoldo

Following on from yesterday’s review of Alberto Villoldo’s The Four Insights: Wisdom, Power and Grace of the Earthkeepers, here are my thoughts on the book I followed up with.

Shaman, Healer, Sage begins in the first chapter with an extract from the Journals of the author, from his travels and training with the Inka shamans. He was apprenticed to an old Inka named Antonio Morales, who guided him and gave him the opportunity to both observe others at work – engaging in ancient healing practices – and to pursue his own personal healing.

Inka shamans practiced energy medicine for more than five thousand years, transmitting this knowledge from one generation to the next through an oral tradition.

From the practices he observed and learned, he developed his own contemporary reinterpretation, which he describes in this book, interspersed with more extracts from his journals, sharing some of the original experiences he had in the early days, when he was ignorant of what was occurring.

In the first part he talks about the belief system upon which these practices are based.

“We are luminous beings on a journey to the stars,” Don Antonio once said to me. “But you have to experience infinity to understand this.” I remember smiling when the medicine man first told me how we were star travellers who have existed since the beginning of time. Quaint folklore, I thought, the ruminations of an old man hesitant to face the certainty of his death. I believed that Don Antonio’s musings were akin to the archetypal structures of the psyche as described by Carl Jung. Antonio interpreted his myths literally, not symbolically as I did. But I didn’t challenge him then…

The mythologist Joseph Campbell used to say that reality is made up of those myths that we can’t quite see through. That’s why it’s so easy to be an anthropologist in another culture – everything is transparent to the outsider, like the emperor’s new clothes. At times I attempted to show Antonio that the emperor was naked, that he was confusing mythology for fact. That is, until I sat with him while he helped a missionary to die.”

He introduces us to the Luminous Healers, significant teachers and mentors he had during his time with the Native American shamans and puts historical references into a modern context. It is incredible that any of these beliefs and practices have survived after the destruction of the Indians by early settlers, which obliterated the spiritual traditions of most native groups. Native American shamans were reluctant to share their heritage with white people.

The Spanish conquistadors, and the missionaries who accompanied them, destroyed the healing schools in Cusco. The temples were demolished, and the churches were built on the same grounds using the original temple stones…

We imagine that the inquisition is a thing of the past, that this brutal organisation ended with the arrival of the Age of Enlightenment, and this is largely true. The Inquisition shut down its offices many years ago except in one country, Peru, the land of the Inka.

He introduces the universal concept of the Luminous Energy Field, something we each possess, surrounding the physical body, informing it.

When the vital reserves of the Luminous Energy Field are depleted through illness, environmental pollutants, or stress, we suffer disease. We can ensure our health and vitality and extend our active, healthy years by replenishing this essential fuel.

Part two provides techniques for learning the shaman’s way of seeing, for creating sacred space and practices to try out for your own personal healing. Part three continues this, describing for information purposes only, how a practitioner works with others (however he cautions against using this healing with others, something that should only be performed by a master practitioner who has undergone appropriate and comprehensive training, apprenticed to a skilled teacher. He also shares some of the dangers, which are fascinating insights in themselves.

Some of the things I found fascinating were:

  • the ‘rivers of light’, points stimulated by the healer, which Alberto discovered coincided exactly to the Chinese Acupuncture meridians.

For Maximo and other shamans in the Americas the rivers of light in the body are tributaries that flow into and draw their substances from the great luminous rivers that course along the surface of the Earth.

  • That pain and emotional trauma can leave imprints in the luminous energy field, that require extraction and illumination to be freed.
  • That imprints can be positive as well as negative, that they are active and cause us to gravitate towards situations in which they will be played out.
  • That there are generational imprints, that the energetic process of healing them often only requires only one or two sessions compared to months or years of ‘talk therapy’.
  • Intrusive energies and entities can exist in the luminous energy field.

Overall, it was an insightful read and one that definitely requires rereading, especially if the subject is new to you. I will certainly be reading it again to increase my awareness of my personal energy field, perceiving it and learning how to heal it.

Buy a Copy of Shaman, Sage Healer

via Book Depository

The Four Insights: Wisdom, Power and Grace of the Earthkeepers by Alberto Villoldo

I’ve been listening to Alberto Villoldo through some of his Hay House connections, in conversation with Intuitive, Colette Baron-Reid (see my review of her book Uncharted here) and recently watched a documentary featuring he and his wife Marcelo Lobos explaining certain rituals of the shamans, explaining them and showing them as they occurred.

Most recently I’ve been following his year long Living a Sacred Life Webinar Series, monthly hour long conversations between himself and leading shamans, mystics and contemporary spiritual teachers of the 21st century from a variety of the ancient wisdoms.

I looked at his range of books and decided that this was the one I wanted to begin with, I also have his book Shaman, Healer, Sage and although it was written earlier, it seemed more appropriate to read about the insights before diving into the healing practices. Again, I highlighted many passages in the book, but it’s so good, I passed it on immediately!

I’m attracted to his field of study because he works with energy medicine. I’ve studied the philosophy of traditional chinese medicine, in learning how to practice Acupressure and to understand the body and its disharmonies, when it is in and out of equilibrium, and the research Alberto Villoldo has done reveals something similar, a knowledge discovered by another group of people, that complements it.

The wisdom of these medicine men and women was under threat and they disappeared for a long time, only re-emerging in the 20th century to pass it on to those who could learn and share it. His methods are now being used by many therapeutic practitioners, as a complement to their existing methods of healing.

“For millennia, secret societies of Native American medicine men & women carefully guarded their wisdom teachings and acted as stewards of nature. They existed in many nations, known under different names, in the Andes and Amazon, they were “Laika”. In 1950 a group of them appeared, attending a gathering of shamans, to share their wisdom, recognising it was time, their people would need it to birth a better world.”

The four insights was an excellent read for me, for where I am at in my understanding, I absolutely loved it and all its insights, I was already familiar with the shamanic levels of perception, of serpent, jaguar, hummingbird, eagle, which correspond, to body, mind, soul, spirit and their associated languages.

This book expands on those themes and provides deeper explanations of how we perceive at each of these levels, what we need to understand about how we are responsible for creating the reality of each of those levels, and that we can only change our own inner perception and try to uplevel, we can never change another’s perception, except through being the role model that they might perceive and respond to without influence.

At each level of perception, different insights are shared, below are just a few phrases that relate to the large body of work that describes them in much more detail, their essence can be encapsulated in a few words, as mentioned below:

  • The Way of the Hero (serpent) body – the senses – physical reality, physical solutions – language = molecular and chemical – survival, self-preservation – reptilian brain
  • The Way of the Luminous Warrior (jaguar) mind – curious, inquisitive – mammalian brain – language = words – to express ideas, beliefs, feelings – look for cause to resolve problems, reflect
  • The Way of the Seer (hummingbird) – soul – language = image, music, poetry, dreams – neocortex – reason, visualise, create
  • The Way of the Sage (eagle), spirit – consciousness – prefrontal cortex – dreaming a new reality

There are four practices shared within each of these “Ways”, suggestions as to how we can alter our own reality, by shifting our perception into a higher realm, learning how to move up a level when necessary, to see things from that elevated perspective. It doesn’t mean we have to stay there, just to become aware of it and hopefully learn how to do it, to embrace the wisdom.

It is a practical book, so exercises are offered at each level, to take the reader through a practice to begin to become aware of the energy field and other concepts mentioned. Not everyone gets it first time, but he insists that anyone can learn how to do this, if they are interested or inclined. Having a teacher is preferable, but it can also be learned independently.

When we get stuck, particularly at the level of serpent (physical reality) and jaguar (intellectual/analytical reality), we spend a lot of time struggling with issues, yet when we succeed to shift our perception to a higher level, and practice seeing things from that perspective, we suffer less. We still have to deal with issues, but we are no longer tormented or traumatised by them, we have the opportunity – if we practice – to no longer get triggered by patterns of the past, or patterns inherited.

All levels have their place and use, and we don’t necessarily want to stay at one level, but by becoming aware of them and the gifts they offer us, we can heal aspects of ourselves and learn how to emit more light, like the luminous beings that we are.

Further Listening

Inspire Nation: Michael Sandler interviews Alberto Villoldo on How to Upgrade Your Energy Field

Buy a copy of The Four Insights

via Book Depository