For five thousand years, the Inka shamans of Peru have practiced their own form of “energy medicine”, a tradition that has been handed down orally from one generation to the next, surviving to this present day. Once upon a time, the Inka kings ruled an empire the size of the United States and were regarded as the greatest civilisation of their time. Nowadays, the Inka are a forgotten people, and their temples are a tourist attraction. Their medicine has been disregarded by a society that relies on the quick fix of a bottle of pills or a last-ditch operation to cure its ills and the idea that our bodies are just machines to be fixed, when they break down has superseded the notion that our physical and emotional bodies are connected in any way, or that we ourselves are connected to each other and to the natural world around us.
It has long been considered ‘New Agey” and perhaps neurotic to subscribe to the view that indigenous cultures may have known what they were doing, when they practiced their healing modalities. But a change is taking place and the traditional medicines of our ancient civilisations are being examined with a new perspective. Doctors of Western medicine are proclaiming respect and even reverence for these older traditions and an integrative model is being formed, incorporating the very best of new and old ways of healing. Doctor Deepak Chopra has already introduced us to the Ayurvedic tradition and millions of Americans are familiarising themselves with the wisdom of Indian sages, as seen on Oprah Winfrey. Now Doctor Alberto Villoldo , a Cuban professor of medical anthropology at San Francisco State University has dedicated himself to passing on the teachings of the Inka shamans of Peru.
Doctor Villoldo was the youngest clinical professor at the University when he traded in his laboratory for a pair of hiking boots and took to the hills of the Andes, where he became the first white man to have extensive contact with the Q’ero people, the last surviving Inkas. He spent the next ten years trekking Peru, collecting and reconstructing the healing practices which had survived the Inquisition and after twenty five years of research, he is confident that he can teach “a set of sacred technologies that transform the body, heal the soul and can transform the way we live and die.”
An extravagant claim, I tell him. But he has had extravagant results. He laughingly recounts a little story about how, when he was launching his new book ‘Shaman, Healer, Sage”, in New York, he was asked to give a lecture to the sales team at Random House. ‘Within a few minutes I could tell they were bored,’ he says. ‘They didn’t want to hear about shamanism, they wanted a bestselling novel or at least a new “Men are From Mars”kind of book. But suddenly the room went silent, as a man came in and stood on the stage. He spoke not to me but to the sales team. He said ‘You all know who I am and you know that I’ve been an alcoholic for much of my life. I just want you all to know that I’ve had three sessions with one of Doctor Villoldo’s pupils and since then I haven’t had a drink and I haven’t wanted one. This stuff works, so pay attention!”” That man, he says, was a senior publisher at Random House and of course they paid attention.
He goes on to explain that when he comes to Ireland, he will be talking about the Illumination Process, a technique for tracking disease to the luminous body which is an envelope of energy which surrounds the physical body and which contains the blueprint for how we live, age and die.
‘It organises the body in much the same way that a magnet organises iron filings”, he says.
I am struck by an exciting thought. What if you could change the blueprint? Would that mean….
‘That you could change the body? Yes! The disease doesn’t need to appear in the body. And the blueprint can be healed after the disease has already manifested in the body, also, so that the disease doesn’t need to re-appear.”
Alberto will also be talking about how to work with intrusive energies. These can be from relatives or loved ones who died unconsciously, he says. ‘For instance, while drugged, or from an accident or a violent incident. People who weren’t conscious that they were dying.’
Can people die consciously? I ask.
‘Oh yes, although most people in the West don’t even live consciously! Many people don’t have closure when they die, they haven’t forgiven people that they are leaving behind, or they have unresolved issues. A woman came into my office one day and said ‘The witch is dead at last!’ She was talking about her mother, of course. But what she didn’t realise was that her mother had walked in right behind her and was with her twenty four seven!”
Other kinds of intrusive energies could come from people who are still alive, who are angry with us or feel let down or disappointed by us.
‘A boy who you once dated and broke up with, who thinks that you have destroyed his life! You must have one of those,’ he says. ‘His energy will attack wherever you are most vulnerable and can result in chronic fatigue or anxiety or pains in the joints.”
The third topic for Alberto’s talk on Wednesday is soul retrieval. Parts of our essential selves are lost due to childhood trauma and this can result in compulsive, destructive behaviour and the person can often find themselves having relationships with abusive people who remind them of the parent who abused them.
‘People confuse sex with love and are attracted to abusive partners. A friend of mine recently announced that he was getting married for the fifth time. When I met the woman, I realised that she was the same as all of his other wives, except with a different face! This is something we do, in order to heal the trauma from our childhood, if we don’t heal it, we marry it!”