Journeying through the lower, middle and upper worlds, gathering images, thoughts and guidance from the universe, seems as natural as awakening from the dream state each morning. Using this tool of "walking between the worlds" with clients seems more akin to magic/alchemy than medicine. After experiencing the power of a simple square of shiny blue cloth and feather, given as a result of journey, watching as it encouraged the person's own healing ability, I was honored...to be the "doorman"... holding sacred space.
Reading Villoldo's book early in 2000, several of his practices were incorporated within my own work. I did find it a bit surprising that he didn't include other ideology well known and practiced within shamanism, such as use of the various gates, totems, spirit teachers, with his clients. The ancient ways promote a more comprehensive outlook encompassing body, mind and spirit from the inner core of a person. Healing then commences from within that sacred place of the individual. After, re-reading "Shaman Sage Healer" again (2007), other questions arose concerning certain aspects presented. Herein lays a conflict: modern scientific knowledge and medicine versus universal ancient traditions.
While working with different teachers, there seems to be an underlying unspoken "fear" of the unknown that we must be "protected" from. Villoldo seems to hold this viewpoint as well, by stressing that his students "need" a certain protection ceremony prior to commencing with the work. Perhaps it's simply my naiveté not to embrace this belief system. Encountering "heavy/dark" energy, I`ve been shown not to engage the negative, but simply observe my reaction to the experience. Which to believe? Questions such as this need further discussion. There's also great debate amongst teachers as to whether one should "run energy" through one's self or simply work at interface, allowing the energies to work within the surrounding sacred space.
Villoldo's teachings of creating and use of sacred space, deepening points, the Illumination process, clearing chakra's, and releasing toxic energies are highly recommended tools for any practitioner. Embracing quiet listening, setting intention and embracing the intuitive, more is revealed for the client. Use of journey and communication with higher beings or ascended masters compliments the session.
One of Villoldo's practices I don't completely agree with is to "process" at length with the client. Care must be given not to re-seat or amplify any trauma. Times have changed since "Shaman, Healer, Sage" was written. Perhaps Peter Levine's trauma work ("Waking the Tiger", North Atlantic Books,1997) speaks a more gentle voice.
Thoroughly embracing his concept of having guidance and support of a teacher or mentor is extremely important. Too many times people read a book or attend a weekend seminar and proclaim they are "this" and work without any guidance. There are individuals that aren't as involved in their teachings, only using it as a vehicle for other intentions. An elder sage once admonished.... "Choose your teacher wisely."
As a teacher, Villoldo's "Shaman, Healer, Sage" gives us a glimpse of another reality. Written as a primer, the book is a wonderful "door opener" for further exploration of alternative healing methods.