The Quest for Spirit
When I met Don Antonio─who was to become my mentor─he was poor by Western standards. He had no television, not even electricity. But he claimed to have tasted infinity. I remember smiling when the medicine man first told me we were star travelers who have existed since the beginning of time. Quaint folklore, I thought, the ruminations of an old man hesitant to face the certainty of his death. That is, until I sat with him while he helped a missionary to die.
 
Tucked into a hillside, the village was built around and incorporated a substantial Inka ruin.
 
An old man led us to one of the huts, where a woman was stretched out on a pallet, a blanket pulled up to her chin. She was emaciated, her skin yellow with jaundice and stretched taut over the bones of her face. Her hair was short and gray; her eyes stared blankly at the ceiling from hollowed-out sockets. She made no sign that she knew we were there.
 
"A missionary," Antonio whispered. "She was brought here two days ago by the Indians from below."
 
"Her liver has failed," I said. "I think she is in a coma." I asked what we could do.
 
"Nothing. She will die tonight. We can only help to free her spirit."
 
I sat on a sack of corn husks and watched my companion across the room. He gently lifted her head and removed a string of rosary beads from around her neck. He placed them in the palm of her left hand and closed her fingers around them. Then he moved his hands to a spot an inch or so above her heart. With first and second fingers extended, he began to make a counterclockwise circular motion, then drew his hand away, still spiraling, up into the air.
 
He did this three times, then spiraled his fingers at a spot half an inch above her solar plexus, slowly, then faster, spinning up and away. He moved to the hollow at the base of her throat, her stomach, her forehead, and the top of her head.
 
"Look," he said. I took my eyes from his face and watched the ever so slight rise and fall of her chest. Antonio's elbow came up quickly, striking a hard, sharp blow to my forehead. My head swam for an instant.
 
"Look," he said.
 
Something glimmered, milky and translucent, along the surface of her body, an inch or so above the body's contour. Then it was gone. He gripped my arm and took me to the head of the bed.
 
"Look now. Soften your focus."
 
And there it was─an ever-so-subtle glow, now three to four inches from her skin, like a luminous mold of her body emerging from the flesh. I felt a chill snake up my back.
 
"Am I really seeing this?" I whispered. "Oh yes, my friend," the old Indian replied. "A sight that we have forgotten, that has been clouded by time and reason."
 
"What is it?"
 
"It is she," he said. "It is her essence, her luminous body. She would call it the soul. She wants to let go."
 
Antonio worked for another hour, repeating the procedure I had witnessed earlier. Then he bent over her head, his lips near her ear, whispering. Suddenly her chest heaved, and she gasped as air rushed through her mouth and into her lungs. It stayed there.
 
"Exhale!"
 
And there came a long wheeze as her last breath seeped from her chest, through her open mouth. I saw the milky luminescence lift and hover over her chest. I watched it float over her throat, her head, and then it just wasn't there. A sense of great peace filled the hut.
 
"What was it?" My voice was a whisper.
 
"What the Inka call the wiracocha." He drew down her eyelids with his fingertips. "I'm glad you saw it."
 
With time I came to understand the old Indian, and his claim that one can taste infinity. I've learned that the experience of infinity can heal and transform us─and free us from the temporal chains that keep us fettered to illness, old age, and disease. I discovered that I am more than flesh and bone, that I am fashioned of Spirit and light. This understanding reverberates through every cell in my body. I am convinced it has changed the way I heal, the way I age, and the way I will die.


Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D. 

Retreats at our founder's private sanctuary
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Join Alberto Villoldo for an invitational retreat and bring forth that writing or artistic project that has been calling to you. Enjoy a special menu to detox and bring clarity of mind. Share and review work.
 
September 3-15, 2018
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Bring to life each of the 10 Tantric Wisdom Goddesses through embodied exercises, meditation, and sacred rituals. Tap into the endless transformational well of igniting and harnessing our sexual energy.
 
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September 23-28, 2018 - Massachusetts
*Master-Level Certification elective class.
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Teacher: Dr. Alberto Villoldo
Prerequisites: South direction or graduates October 15-19, 2018 - New York
*Master-Level Certification elective class.
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Teacher: Lynn Berryhill and Julie Hannon
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October 21-26, 2018 - New York
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Teacher: Lynn Berryhill
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October 28-31, 2018 - New York
*Our 5-Course Master-Level Certification curriculum (Advanced Divination, Advanced Soul
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The Book of Ceremony
 
Ceremony is a central part of human life and spiritual practice, yet in today's world, many of our ceremonies have become rote or superficial. With this practical guidebook, Sandra Ingerman helps us recover the sense of deeper meaning and sacred connection that makes ceremony a powerful tool for transformation and healing.
 
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