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Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., is a Cuban-born psychologist and anthropologist who has studied the shamanic healing practices of the Amazon and Inca shamans for over 25 years.
Villoldo graduated in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in Inter-American Studies, followed by a master's in Psychology (1972), and a doctorate in psychology at the Humanistic Psychology Institute. His thesis advisor was Dr. Stanley Krippner), a consciousness researcher and a pioneer in the study of the paranormal phenomena, with whom he later co-authored Healing States: A Journey Into the World of Spiritual Healing and Shamanism. While on the faculty of San Francisco State University, Villoldo founded and directed the Biological Self Regulation Laboratory at San Francisco State University, where he investigated the effects of energy healing on blood and brain chemistry.
Villoldo cites a number of key Shaman mentors, who shared their Shamanic knowledge with him through his years in Peru and the Amazon:
Don Antonio Morales - Both a shaman, and a University Professor in Cusco, who spoke Quechua the language of the Inca, and who travelled with Villoldo for more than ten years gathering shamanic knowledge of a great many tribes and cultures through the Andes, and the Amazon.
Don Manuel Quispe - A Q'ero medicine man who for seven years taught with Villoldo the ways of the kurak akuyek, the Andean Shamanic degrees.
Dona Laura - An Andean medicine woman who lived near Mt Ausangate the Inka holy mountain and was one of Villoldo's teachers
Don Eduardo Calderon - A fisherman, and coastal shaman, who taught Villoldo to work with spirits.
There is a controversy between the form of participatory engagement of teachers like Alberto Villoldo and the more non-participatory anthrolopogical approach.
Four Winds Society
Since 1984 Villoldo directs The Four Winds Society, where he trains individuals in the practice of energy medicine and "soul retrieval". The school maintains an office in Park City, Utah, and teaches in New England, California, and Utah, and internationally in Canada, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland and Australia.
In 2006 he was instrumental in bringing the Munay-ki (9 Rites of Initiation) from the Andes to be accessible to anyone called to receive them. The Munay-ki are not indigenous rites, but Villoldo's modified version of traditional rites that have been stripped of their traditional Q'ero cultural forms in order to be more accessible to westerners. This was controversial within The Four Winds Society and caused the resignation of several principal teachers.
A prolific author, he draws on his experiences in South America and on his knowledge of shamanic and energy healing; among his most popular books are Dance of the Four Winds, and Shaman, Healer, Sage. He also founded "The Sanctuary Project", which provides support and shelter to indigenous Q'ero shamans who work for The Four Winds Society. He has coauthored a number of books with Erik Jendresen.
Healing States: A Journey Into the World of Spiritual Healing and Shamanism (paperback, with Stanley Krippner); ISBN 978-0-671-63202-1
Dance of the Four Winds: Secrets of the Inca Medicine Wheel (paperback, with Erik Jendresen); ISBN 978-0-89281-514-2
Island of the Sun: Mastering the Inca Medicine Wheel (paperback, with Erik Jendresen) ISBN 978-0-89281-520-3
Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of the Americas (hardcover); ISBN 978-0-609-60544-8
Mending The Past & Healing The Future With Soul Retrieval (paperback); ISBN 978-1-4019-0626-9
Yoga, Power, and Spirit: Patanjali the Shaman (hardcover); ISBN 978-1-4019-1047-1
The Four Insights: Wisdom, Power, and Grace of the Earthkeepers (paperback); ISBN 978-1-4019-1046-4
Courageous Dreaming: How Shamans Dream the World into Being (hardcover); ISBN 978-1-4019-1756-2
^ a b Villoldo, Jendresen: Island of the Sun, 1994
^ a b Villoldo, Jendresen: Dance of the Four Winds, 1995
^ Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of the Americas (hardcover); ISBN 978-0-609-60544-8
^ Shamans/Neo-Shamans: Ecstasies, Alternative Archaeologies and Contemporary Pagans. By Robert. J. Wallis. London: Routledge, 2003, pg 199. ISBN 0-415-30202-1 also Donald Joralemon:The Selling of the Shaman and the Problem of Informant Legitimacy, in Shamanism: Critical Concepts in Sociology edited by Adrei Znamenski,: Routledge, 2004 ISBN 0-415-31192-6
Society for Shamanic Practitioners: Advisory Board accessed 1/28/08
Omega Institute - Faculty Profile: Alberto Villoldo accessed 1/28/08
Esalen Institute - Alberto Villoldo Esalen Catalogue Vol. XLV, Number 1, Jan-Jun 2006, pg. 93; accessed 1/28/08