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Excerpt from "A Shaman's Miraculous Tools for Healing"

From Chapter One: Extracting Intrusive Energies

by Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., with Anne O'Neill


We bring toxic energies with us from our childhood trauma, and even from former lifetimes. These energies are stale and dark and taint the luminous energy field, settling into the chakras in dark pools, and informing and affecting the mind and body. They contain memories of painful events and hurtful people we have not been able to heal. Eventually, these toxic energies can manifest as disease. In Sharon’s case, they had settled in her hip joints, which looked dark and lifeless in medical X-rays, and also when I tracked her with my shaman’s vision. She had to be careful not to break her hip, and she was crippled and barely able to walk.

Often, it can seem that stark pain is directing the course of our lives when all the while it is nothing less than the pull of destiny.

Alberto
According to psychology, there are thoughts and beliefs that are not truly, fully ours. Many of these we inherit from our parents and from our culture. Yet, psychology is based on the assumption that all the energies we have inside us are ours—but shamans know differently.

The extraction process allows the shaman to remove toxic energies from an individual’s LEF so that physical healing can take place. Once the thick, dark pools of stagnant energy are extricated, the body knows how to repair itself. In fact, one of the tenets of shamanic medicine is that by extracting energies that do not belong in the body, illness goes away.

It’s very difficult to discover these stale, dark energies unless you’ve developed the shaman’s way of seeing. I learned to peer into the world of Spirit during my training with the Amazon shamans. Over years of practice, my inner vision opened, and now I see more clearly in this numinous world than I do in the world of concrete and steel. At first, it bothered me to see the spirits of people who had passed away, or the shards of glass sticking out of Sharon’s sides that made her body look as if she had been thrown through a plate-glass window. But I’ve learned to control this ability as if I were merely taking off or putting on a pair of glasses, which is important. After all, a person can get tired of seeing ghosts, even if they are sometimes more interesting and animated than the living.

Sharon
The mirror reflects someone out of the past. I sit there, studying the face that stares back at me. She’s quite lovely, really—rather regal with long wavy brown hair. I pass my fingers through it, enjoying its silky feel, the lustrous waves.

I’ve been working with Dr. Villoldo now for about one year. At the time of our first session, my hair was short, a lighter shade, and certainly not wavy. “Straight as a stick,” as my mother would say. What does this mean? The image in the mirror has become a haunting presence out of an unknown past. Now . . . am I becoming the past? Or is the past intruding on my present?

The mind of an analyst never stops. I should know better. In my practice as a psychotherapist, I deal with that sort of thing—the impotent dissection of the soul. Alberto does agree with me that this recurring image may have a deeper meaning, hinging on something beyond imagination. But what do I make of the fact now that I am becoming that image? This is a new development. Well, I’m seeing the shaman tomorrow.

So much has happened to me. And I’m not that old to be this crippled. Shall we say forty-something? I had such dreams when I was younger.

I peer more deeply into the mirror, past the lovely woman with the wavy hair to the young, vulnerable child. She, too, had waves, now that I think about it—at least for performances. Mother saw to that.

It’s dance class, 1984. My ballet slippers are so tight! But that’s the way they have to be, I’m told. My feet hurt so bad sometimes that it’s hard to walk. It hurts when I do those fast spins on my toes across the stage. Everyone tells me how lovely I am, how beautiful I look in my tutu—just like a princess, so sweet! Mother says I have a “presence” on stage, whatever that means. It must be good because she smiles when she tells me that. I’m only a child, but my dreams are big, much bigger than dancing. I want to fly! I want to catch the wind and float with the clouds.

It wasn’t long before the image of a princess went out the window along with the ballet slippers. No more pain! Classical ballet had become a bondage, one I would not wish on any child. Still, gnawing deep inside me was the desire for artistic expression in some flowing form. It did not become clear to me until my seventeenth year when I discovered modern dance, dance that honored bare feet—and bared souls. It offered the freedom to move from within. It offered true creativity, free from anyone else’s ideas and instructions.
I refocus my gaze, my attention back on the reflection in the mirror. I banish the child and strain to see the seventeen-year-old who had the freedom to be an artist. The eyes grow more intense; the mouth, more determined.

Seventeen. It was then that comments had changed and words like hypnotic and powerful were used to describe me. I had moved beyond lovely, sweet.

Ah! So what describes me now? I turn away from the mirror, not wanting to see. Just a few years after seventeen, the pain became my life. My youthful, promising fantasies were soon extinguished by dire dictums of medicine. Scoliosis was only part of the problem. Avascular necrosis of both hips was diagnosed. My arterial blood flow was failing to give life. Death to the femoral head of both hips, it said in my medical records. Yes, death. No longer did I have that supple, fluid body or the heart of one who could snatch the clouds. That special part of me got packed away in a darkened closet along with the flowing gowns of dance—a place no light could reach. I had lost forever the instrument of my artistic expression as a dancer. But the yearnings were still there to move through space, free of the pulls of this earth.

That sensation of being drawn to the earth grew stronger with time, anchoring me to a cold, harsh ground: pain. There were numerous surgeries, including bone grafts and consequent com- plications. Other joints began to trouble me as well. And there was more . . .

I grip my abdomen in pain, remembering. That woman with the lustrous hair who haunts me had been stabbed in the abdomen. I can’t explain how I know this . . . I just know. Am I feeling her pain? In his shamanic way, Alberto now has seen what happened to her. It’s not my imagination. It’s a relief to know that, anyway.

I’ll tell you what I feel like now when I can’t walk, can’t stand straight:  anything butapersonofgrace. I feel  like an awkward puppet on a string with jerky, stabbing movements. There I go again . . . stabbing. When there’s been so much trauma in my life, I have to ask, Is this pain psychological, Alberto? He assures me it’s not, that I have done my psychological work. I must hear that or I don’t think I could bear all this. It feels as if panes of glass are bisecting my torso. That’s what I really want to present to Alberto tomorrow. It’s hard for me to say this to anyone as I realize how strange it sounds. I’ve learned to compensate for this dissection, but as a result my body is constricted and contorted. What this body has become . . .

The realization transcends my flesh and pierces my spirit.

Alberto
I’ve seen Sharon for three sessions now. When she first came to my office, she could hardly walk, but there has been progress. I think her job as a therapist is exacerbating her condition because Sharon is very sensitive and prone to picking up toxic energies from her clients. These energies settle in her luminous energy field like pieces of a puzzle. She must learn, as I did years ago, to protect herself from their noxious influence. Physician, heal thyself.

I have been using the extraction process to clear Sharon’s field of these intrusive energies, and the illumination process to bathe in pure light her chakras, the funnel-shaped energy vortexes lined up along her spine. Sharon’s energy system and her chakras have become clogged with heavy energy that is like noxious sludge. She speaks of a long process of “losing her health,” which matches with what I am seeing. An acupuncturist would say that her meridians are blocked and unable to flush away the stale chi, or life force.

I remember how fascinated I was when I first realized that the ancient systems of medicine from China had many similarities to the energy medicine systems in the Americas. I perceive the acupuncture meridians as rivers of golden light flowing an inch or so above the body, next to the skin. Yet Sharon’s were grayish black, and barely moving. Her entire energy system was sluggish and stuck, unable to eliminate toxins or circulate life-giving chi.

The process I’m using is effective, but it takes time. You clear one layer of sludge from the chakras and another reveals itself. It’s like peeling an onion. Eventually, you get to the core. Sharon is gauging her success by how quickly she regains her ability to walk pain-free. But true healing is much deeper than skin and bone, or even muscles and ligaments. It happens in the LEF, which must be brought back to an optimal state of health. Otherwise, even if physical symptoms disappear, illness will return. Sometimes, clients improve quickly after a few sessions with me, but I tell them to hang in there, as the symptoms may be disappearing but they are not healed yet. Only when their LEF is restored do I tell them they are well. I suspect that in Sharon’s case, healing will be a long process. I’ve come to see over the years that every client heals at a different pace and with a different rhythm, with sudden breakthroughs and frustrating plateaus.

Yesterday, I “saw” the shards of glass dissecting Sharon’s torso. It sounds outrageous, but even as Sharon was describing them, I could perceive large, angular pieces bisecting her. I have developed the skill of seeing using non-ordinary perception. It’s essential to shamanic work. It’s not a gift, really, as I had no natural talent for this. I was fortunate to have shaman teachers who trained me to “see” the invisible world. Non-ordinary perception is a skill we all can develop with training and patience. It’s a skill I teach our students at the Light Body Energy Medicine School. But this work isn’t for those looking for the fastest way to earn their shaman badge. It involves experiences that are humbling, unsettling, and even terrifying, as you first have to be willing to “see” all the hidden and terrifying aspects of yourself, what Carl Jung referred to as the “shadow” that we tend to project and see in others only. 

“Sit back, Sharon. Relax. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. Slowly. Deeply.” I breathe with her. Sharon has been through this before. She knows what to do to enter the state I call One Spirit, in which she is experiencing stillness and her LEF is open to healing. I shake my rattle to help her reach this quiet state, and the effect is hypnotic. The steady rhythm is helpful to me as well. I, too, have to relax and surrender to that other form of seeing that appears when I let the ordinary world fade into the background. …

(End of excerpt from Chapter 1, “A Shaman’s Miraculous Tools for Healing” by Alberto Villoldo, PhD, published by Hampton Roads Company. Release Date: November 1, 2015)


Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., is a medical anthropologist, psychologist and practicing shaman who spent many years studying the healing practices of the shamans of the Amazon and the Andes. He is the founder of the Four Winds Society, which teaches the philosophy and practice of energy medicine. Dr. Villoldo is the author of numerous bestselling books, including One Spirit Medicine; Power up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment (with David Perlmutter, MD); and Shaman, Healer, Sage. His new book, A Shaman’s Miraculous Tools for Healing tells 12 stories of extraordinary healings from his “miracle list” of clients.onespiritmedicine.com


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