Shaman Healer Sage

Hosted and Written by Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D

Based on his book, published December 2000

Edited by Daniela Vera Gil

Music by Tito LaRosa & Micky Landau

Produced & Directed by Miguel Heded Abraham



Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D

Brook Medicine Eagle

Marcela Lobos

Luz Clara

Production Studio:

Documentary: Tama Films

Video: True Mind



Aspect ratio: 1.74:1

Resolution: 480p

Codec: MPEG-2

Disc Size: DVD-9

Bit Rate: Moderate (ca. 4.5~6.0 Mbps)

Runtime: 64 minutes

Region: 1



English Dolby Digital 2.0



None, except occasional translation to English


Bonus Features

Energetic Interventions - with Dr. Villoldo (53 min)



DVD Clamshell Case: DVD

Street Date: March 12, 2013


About the Video Producer [True Mind]:

True Mind is dedicated to healthy living, environmental wellness and personal development. Based in New York City, we bring issue-based documentary films into the lifestyles of health and sustainability community. Our first release was the acclaimed film narrated by Academy Award nominee Ellen Page, Vanishing of the Bees. Our most recent releases are PLANEAT – Nothing Changes The Planet As Much As The Way We Eat and the internal martial arts programs Tai Chi – Discover The Ancient Art, Qi Gong – Discover The Ancient Art, and the world’s best-selling sex-instruction series, The Lovers’ Guide. These programs have been a sales phenomenon since the first program in the series was released abroad, with millions of copies sold in the UK alone.


About the Presenter [Wikipedia]:

Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., is a Cuban-born psychologist, anthropologist and author who has studied the shamanic healing practices of the Amazon and Inca shamans for over 25 years. He is the founder of The Four Winds Society, which offers a two-year long program in energy medicine and leads trips to Peru. 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.


Since 1984 Villoldo has directed The Four Winds Society, which 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 created the Munay-ki (9 Rites of Initiation).  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.


About the book [Amazon]:

Alberto Villoldo, a classically trained medical anthropologist, has studied shamanic healing techniques among the descendants of the ancient Inkas for more than twenty years. In Shaman, Healer, Sage, he draws on his vast body of knowledge to create a practical and revolutionary program based on the traditional healing methods used by these shamans -- methods that, until now, have been inaccessible to most of the world. Villoldo explains that central to shamanic healing is the concept of the Luminous Energy Field that is believed to surround our material bodies. His book teaches us to see and influence the imprints that disease leaves on this field and thereby to heal ourselves and others, as well as prevent illness.


Villoldo weaves wonderful teaching stories throughout about the healing power of the energy medicine of the Americas. In one story, Villoldo comes down with pneumonia while in Peru. When antibiotics fail to control the infection, his mentor, the shaman Don Antonio, uses the process of Illumination to remove the toxins that had invaded Villoldo's body. These same shamanic techniques later allowed Villoldo to remove stagnant energy from a young woman whose marriage was suffering due to her past experience with abandonment. With the aid of shamanic work, the woman regained her trust in others, and her marriage was revitalized. This book is rich with ancient wisdom and contemporary techniques we can use to help ourselves and others, as well as with the more advanced methods of master shamans, which are being brought to a wide audience for the first time.



Program Overview [True Mind]:

Shaman, Healer, Sage tells the story of Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., an extraordinary man who transitioned from a career in modern medical science to one possessing a deep knowledge and understanding of the ancient energy medicine of the legendary Inka and Q’ero shamans of South America.

Villoldo gave up a promising career in the United States as a psychologist and medical anthropologist to study the healing practices of the Amazon and Inka shamans with whom he has worked for more than 25 years. His bestselling book, also entitled Shaman, Healer, Sage, serves as the foundation of this spectacular biographical documentary in which he shares his life’s work, showing how your mind creates aging and disease in the body. Villoldo uses the film, together with the extended bonus exercises, to start the initiate on a course to reverse this process as a modern-day shaman.



LensViews: 7

Part confessional, part history, part instructive, and always spiritual, True Mind’s video release features two forays into the subject of shamanism for westerners fills a need for many who want in introduction to the subject but have only heard about through the media and friends.  The main segment introduces us to Alberto Villoldo,  raised in Cuba, in part by a nanny who practiced a form of shamanism that also incorporated the use of mind-altering substances. If you’ve seen the film Black Orpheus you’ll recall the scene where Orfeo returns to just such a scene to find his lost Euridice.


Looking directly into the camera instead of at some imaginary interviewer, Villoldo shares his story filled with fear and guns of his childhood and his journey into the Latin American world of shamans and healers to find the self he had hidden from his own awareness. It’s a journey, not unlike psychoanalysis in some ways, except that changes are manifest physically and spiritually as well as intellectually and emotionally.  Aided by old photographs, ancient art, comments by current practitioners and footage of the country where he visited, Villoldo walks us through his own healing process: the connection between emotional and physical trauma, about how the act of remembering has the effect of solidifying our inauthentic self, the eight chakra and the infinite, how illumination is both with and without, and how to die consciously.



Image: 5~8

Aside from the oddly configured aspect ratio of 1.74:1, there is nothing problematic with the transfer here.  True Mind’s DVD is progressive instead of the usual 480i, and the more stable for that reason. Picture quality is filmlike, without any transfer anomalies I could see and edge enhancement either - a real plus for a DVD release.  The documentary itself makes use of a variety of sources not all of which come up to modern standards. Some of the older photographs are shown in the wrong aspect ratio, resulting in unnaturally fat faces. In some of the more recent footage shot in the forests the exposure is simply wrong-headed so that the sky that pokes through the leaves is fine but all the foreground action, including Villoldo and his guide are in deep shadow.



Audio & Music: 7/8

Original and sourced music are presented clearly and tonally correct, along with all dialogue, allowing for easy intelligibility and enjoyment.


Extras: 9

The hour-long Bonus Feature, Energetic Interventions, is the perfect companion as Dr. Villoldo returns to demonstrate some of his techniques.



Recommendation: 6

Note: there is a similarly titled DVD available through Amazon dating from 2008, accompanied by this disclaimer: “Hello, I am Alberto Villoldo. Please beware that this video was released without my knowledge. It is a poorly filmed documentary of a talk I gave at a conference years ago, and has no relevance to my book Shaman Healer Sage… While the talk is good, the title is misleading. I cannot recommend or endorse this video, which was released in this format without my knowledge.”


In some ways Shaman Healer Sage feels like an infomercial for a unique form of alternative medicine, with its unknowables, axioms, its self-appointed spokesmen (and women) and “miracles.” Which is not to say there isn’t more than a kernel of truth here; after all, practitioners of spiritual healing have been around for as long as recorded history. And while not everyone is cured there are likely far fewer degenerative side effects as compared to Western Medicine.  More than that, Shaman Healer Sage is an engaging couple of hours, if you include the accompanying bonus item.


Despite that there is an implicit suggestion that we, the audience, can put these into practice, there is a clear advisory that follows the film that we do not try. I can’t imagine anything that could go awry here - it’s not like we would accidentally engage the dark side and let a demon into our world. On the other hand, one should take care about investment body and time into an unfamiliar practice when other tested methods are available.  You might want to talk with Steve Jobs about this. I have no way of knowing whether or not Dr Villoldo represents the true faith as practiced by South American native peoples, but his ideas are not far-fetched as long as we take them as we find them: his own personal odyssey.


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

February 28, 2013

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