A Little Bit of Healing

Writer, psychologist, and medical anthropologist Alberto Villoldo tells an interesting little story about a famous neurosurgeon who is talking with a shaman in a Peruvian jungle:

Neurosurgeon: And what do you do?

Shaman: Well, doctor, I have my flock of llamas, and I raise a little bit of corn, and I do a little bit of healing. What do you do, doctor?

Neurosurgeon: I can cut open a man’s head and cut through the bone and pull out a tumor the size of a walnut, then throw it away and sew his head back up and that man will live. Can you do that?

Shaman: No, doctor, I can’t do that.

Neurosurgeon: Well, what do you do, then?

Shaman: Well, doctor, if someone dies and it’s not their time yet, I can follow their soul through the first, second, and third levels of the spirit world, and right before they arrive back home I can catch it, the way one catches a butterfly, and can bring it back and blow it back into them, and they will live. Can you do that?

Categories: Great Quotes, Shamanism | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “A Little Bit of Healing

  1. The shaman forgot to mention that he evidently knows when it is someone’s time to die.

  2. indigo bunting


  3. After years in a Buddhist monastery Leonard Cohen left and said he had decided that the word enlightenment just meant lighten up.

  4. That’s just plain brilliant.

    I love Cohen’s “Anthem”:

    Ring out the bells that still can ring
    Put away your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

  5. I’m so happy to have come across your blog.
    Recently, I read Alberto Villodo’s Shaman, Healer, Sage and I’m still reading his book about Soul Retrieval. I have a Life Coach who is a shaman as well. It’s all very interesting to me. I’m finding a new perspective concerning some of my “challenges” that before were written off as a mental disorder. Traditional psychotherapy and psychotropic meds didn’t help; shamanic work helps. I look forward to reading your posts!

  6. I’ll enjoy reading your site as well. I scored pretty much off the scale on the Highly Sensitive Person test, and I’ll be interested in your insights.

  7. Did anyone look at Villoldo’s site?

    Or am I the only person who read it and herad an audible “Yikes,” and then realised it came from me?

  8. Well, he USED to be cool. I guess becoming a spiritual guru has gone to his head.

  9. tainowoman

    Well, I tend to be leery of “gurus.” They scare me. Someone tells me they are a shaman and I run the other way. Craig, I think you were the first person I spoke to about the matter and even then, I had to take a moment to overcome my suspicions and truly LISTEN to what you had to say.

    There are too many hungry people out there and they are preyed upon by these “gurus” Someone is desperate enough and they will drink from a poisoned well. It takes discipline and work to wait, step back a little and study something, try it on, mull it over, before accepting it as one’s own truth. And even then, life is change and one’s truth can change accordingly.

    My truth can’t be spoonfed to me, I have to be like the little chicken from the children’s story and sow my seed, tend my crops before I can nourish my spirit. It’s all my own work.

    These self appointed “gurus” have a lot of wonderful things to say and when they do, the hungry come to feed. The sad thing is they are feeding from someone else’s crop. These “gurus” are human and with this humanity comes ego. They will stumble over the illusion they themselves created. I think it’s sad for them, but we are all here to learn and we will one way or another.

    OK, I am rambling…. 🙂

  10. You’re not rambling at all! And of course I agree with you completely.

    If you haven’t done so, be sure to read this Wikipedia article on Plastic Shamans, as well as Jason Godesky’s seering indictment of New Age (rhymes with “sewage”) neoshamanism.

  11. Jennie

    “Seering” indictment? Very punny, very, very, punny….

    Fabulous links, with lots of things to think about and discuss—later. (Just got in from G’ville.)

    Thanks for continually serving up such yummy tidbits! As I once remarked to one of my herb teachers, food for the mind is at least as important as food for the body.


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