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Shaman, Healer, Sage cover photo

Shaman, Healer, Sage 2012

Recommended with reservations

Distributed by TDC Entertainment, 220 East 23rd St., Suite 405, New York, NY 10010
Produced by Miguel Heded Abraham
Directed by Miguel Heded Abraham
DVD , color, 88 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Shamanism, Alternative Medicine

Date Entered: 03/21/2014

Reviewed by Barbara J. Walter, Longmont Public Library, Longmont, CO

El Viejo showed me that the consciousness that creates our waking reality is a universal consciousness, a vast sea that is navigable. Most people are content to live on the land, and they know this sea only as it appears to them from their own shores. But it is possible to know it fully, to navigate the sea, to cross it, to immerse yourself, to let it wash over you, to discover its depths. The shaman is one who has learned how to swim and how to sail, how to navigate through this sea and return to its shore. And to communicate its wonders to his people.

from Island of the Sun, by A. Villoldo & E. Jendresen (1995)

Inspired by his book of the same title, modern-day shaman Alberto Villoldo here recounts his life story, a journey on the path of the “wounded healer,” and briefly introduces viewers to his approach to healing based on several decades’ research into practices of the Inka and Q’ero peoples of South America.

Western-trained in psychology and medical anthropology, Dr. Villoldo chose early in his career to delve deeply into the study of ancient energy medicine. His research convinced him that aboriginal cultures around the world share healing techniques preserved and transmitted over thousands of years through their “wisdom-keepers,” or shamans. These shamans, adept at perceiving a luminous energy field surrounding the human body, effect healing of body and mind through manipulation of that energy field. Villoldo traveled to remote areas of the Andes in order to study Inka and Qu’ero shamanic practices, later training with his mentors in energy medicine. Having experienced healing himself, he completed training as a shaman and took on the challenge of making this ancient form of healing accessible to the West.

While Shaman, Healer, Sage is earnest in tone and intriguing at points—lovely footage of Qu’ero villages with colorfully-costumed inhabitants, sacred sites high in the rugged Andes, animated sequences depicting the chakras, dramatic re-enactments of pivotal points in Villoldo’s life, as well as his healing rituals—overall the film seems rushed, as though trying to cover too much material in its allotted time. Although viewers are warned (twice!) not to practice teachings or exercises depicted in the film without professional guidance, the film contains no detailed instructions for any of them. Maybe that’s the point—perhaps the film is a teaser trailer for his book?

A 54-minute bonus feature expands on material in the main film, principally Villoldo’s understanding of the nine chakras of the human body—seven “classic” ones and two new ones discovered by his mentors—plus more footage of his healing techniques, though there is considerable overlap with the main film. Chaptered. In English and Spanish, with subtitles in English.