By Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D.: The shamans of the Andes know and serve a sacred dream, one that guides planets across the heavens and our human destiny here on earth.
These wisdom keepers believe that each of us is given a fragment of the sacred dream to hold and express in our own way. When we forget that we carry an essential and necessary part of the sacred dream, we begin to spiral into disarray, our personal dreams become nightmares, and our lives collapse into chaos.
In his new book, The Heart of the Shaman: Stories & Practices of the Luminous Warrior, medical anthropologist, shaman, and bestselling author Dr. Alberto Villoldo describes how we can get back in touch with the sacred dream, focus on what is real—and important—in our world, and become fully aware of the possibilities available to us for a better future.
“Many people have replaced the sacred dream with a dream of fame, fortune, power, and Facebook likes,” writes Villoldo. “Meanwhile we are facing global crises— from climate change to species extinction, war, famine, and disease—all of which are calling us to dream a new dream for ourselves and the world.
To discover our sacred dream, Villoldo says we must first recognize that some of our most cherished daydreams are actually delusions. Security, permanence, and love that is unconditional are fallacies, and the sooner we accept that life is ever changing, that our mortality is a given, and that no one can liberate us from a life of fear and insecurity except ourselves, the sooner the chaos in our life turns to order, and beauty prevails.
Discovering the sacred dream requires courage, and it won’t come knocking at our door. It entails leaving the familiar to embark on a quest, refusing to compromise our integrity, and never allowing ourselves to be seduced by the “easy path.” It calls on us to fight the lie that our daydream is adequate and will continue to keep us comfortable.
“This,” notes Villoldo, “is why it is called the way of the luminous warrior.”
When we find our sacred dream— our mission in life and place in the cosmos—the creative power of the Universe becomes available to us to generate beauty in the world, and to heal ourselves and others. We become a luminous warrior. Instead of battling to defeat people or situations, we battle our own tendency to forget the sacred dream and get lost in a daydream doomed to become a nightmare in time.
We find that whatever the challenge, spiritual resources are available, allowing us to find our courage and step forth into our destiny, allied with Spirit in the work of dreaming a new world into being.
“You dare to speak the inconvenient truths, uphold universal values that honor all life, and perform daily acts of courage. These practices are essential in a time when dreaming happens only when we sleep, where cowardice is honorable, where hindsight seems wise, and where spirituality is spineless,” Villoldo writes.
The Heart of the Shaman takes readers on an enriching, soulful experience, through stories, dreams, and ancient rites and ceremonies. Villoldo shares time-honored wisdom to explain how to find our sacred dream, embark on a journey of transformation and healing, and discover the light within and around us.
The founder of the Four Winds Society and Light Body School, Villoldo has trained thousands of energy medicine practitioners and health coaches, and written 17 books, including Shaman, Healer, Sage and the Top-Ten Wall Street Journal bestseller, One Spirit Medicine. The Heart of the Shaman: Stories & Practices of the Luminous Warrior is published by Hay House and will be available July 31, 2018.
Q: What are the three practices of the luminous warrior
A: The first is Truth—always speak your truth, even if it has become inconvenient. The second is Beauty—see beauty everywhere. When everyone sees only darkness, point out the flickering flame that lies hidden in the shadows. The third is Love—the most powerful force of the Universe. Find something to love in everyone, even the most loathsome human being you know of.
Q: What is “paying it forward”?
A: Paying it forward is sometimes thought of as making deposits into your spiritual bank account, where you have credits that you can spend when the going gets rough. But the best way to practice paying it forward is without expecting anything in return. Give freely, without attachment. Give without needing to post about it on social media and paying attention to how many likes, shares, and comments your post gets.
Q: What is meant by “dreaming the world into being”?
A: Whether we realize it or not, we are all dreaming the world into being, although most people have lost the ability to guide the dream, and are, as a result, at the mercy of the collective nightmare. Students of shamanism learn how to awaken the ability to dream with their eyes open and share in the power to co-create reality with the help of the Universe. We all have a choice between having the life we want or creating the reasons why we can’t have that life. You can have your wounds, or you can have your glory. But you can’t do both. In order to feel empowered, we need to make a conscious decision to dream a sacred dream and practice courage.
Q: What is the Way of the Luminous Warrior?
A: The Way of the Luminous Warrior requires courage. You can no longer be a passive bystander watching others have a meaningful life. The sacred dream will not come knocking at your door: It requires that you leave the familiar and embark on a quest. It requires that you do not compromise your integrity. It demands that you do not allow yourself to be seduced by the “easy path.” It calls you to fight the lie that your daydream is adequate and will continue to keep you comfortable.
Q: What is a despacho?
A: The despacho is a gift for the organizing principles of the Universe and constitutes the central axis of energetic exchange for healing, reestablishing perfect ayni (right relationship), or protection. Similar to a mandala, the despacho holds symbolic elements and the prayers of the participants. The despacho ceremony, in its physical beauty, is a journey to the soul of nature, and with the assistance of the spirit world, we explore the energetic inner workings and symbolism of each element of our offerings. As the elements are added to the despacho, the vibration of the participants raises. The despacho becomes a living prayer that brings energy shifts and healing.
Q: What is a shaman?
A: A self-realized person, a seer and healer, who has discovered the ways of Spirit through inner awakening. The shaman’s path is one of power and direct engagement with the forces of Spirit in its own domain, in infinity. A shaman experiences the visible and invisible realms, and knows that ordinary and non-ordinary realities permeate and suffuse each other.
Q: How does one become a shaman?
A: By going through your own deep emotional healing. You cannot be a shaman if you hold the world responsible for your fate or misfortune.
Q: What gifts distinguish a shaman?
A: The ability to look at what everyone else is looking at and think something different. The courage to live by your convictions. The understanding of how the visible world is born from the invisible world of energy.
Q: What is the luminous energy field?
A: The energy field is the matrix that organizes the body the same way that iron filings are organized by a magnet on a piece of glass. It’s an information field that surrounds all living beings, and determines how we will heal, how we will age, and how we will die. It is also known as an “aura,” or “halo.”
Q: What was your inspiration to write this book and why now?
A: Many people have replaced the sacred dream with a dream of fame and fortune, power and Facebook likes. Meanwhile we are facing global crises—from climate change to species extinction to war, famine, and disease—all of which are calling us to dream a new dream for ourselves and the world. In these dark times, the sacred dream is calling us to remember what is real: the underlying harmony of existence. This wisdom is so simple and straightforward, yet it has been hidden for hundreds of years.
“The Heart of the Shaman is an honest and powerful blessing for the struggling soul in all of us. It summons our courage to leave the hell of our illusions and follow the way to genuine freedom.”
—Sonia Choquette, New York Times bestselling author of Your 3 Best Super Powers and The Answer is Simple. “The Heart of the Shaman is absolutely extraordinary. It grabbed me from the first paragraph. What a monumental and uplifting contribution to the planet at this critical turning point in our history.”
—Christiane Northrup, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being; Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, and The Wisdom of Menopause. “The Heart of the Shaman takes you into the depths of what it means to be truly alive. Alberto Villoldo has given us a sacred key to open the gateway into the mysterious and wondrous realm of the shaman. Highly recommended!”
—Denise Linn, award-winning author of Quest: A Guide for Creating your Own Vision Quest and Kindling the Native Spirit: Sacred Practices for Everyday Life. “Dr. Alberto Villoldo’s wisdom shines again. The Heart of the Shaman is a straightforward, priceless guide to achieving balance and joy in our lives. Truly a must-read.”
—Mark Hyman, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? “The Heart of the Shaman takes us on a deep and meaningful transformative journey, providing a map and showing us a way to discard the conditioning of modern society and embrace a new means of co-creating our reality. Highly recommend for all modern seekers on a path of spiritual and personal discovery.”
—Colette Baron-Reid, internationally respected author, spiritual teacher and oracle expert, co-creator of the Mystical Shaman Oracle. “Don Alberto’s great book is a true doorway into the deep reality of the universe, the infinite light in which we can become the luminous warriors of love and joy and peace we have always wanted to be. Just reading the book is going through that door, as we are inspired and instructed by his shining example and practical wisdom. His voice calls us from the high Andes of the spirit to come home to the beautiful continent of the enlightened heart!”
—Robert Thurman, author of Infinite Life; Essential Tibetan Buddhism; The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and President of Tibet House U.S.