The Four Winds Society

An Introduction to the Medicine Wheel

I met Professor Antonio Morales, who became my first shamanic mentor, in the early 1970s. He was a small man with straight gray hair brushed back from a high forehead the color of mahogany. His cheek bones and Inca nose might have been carved from that hardwood.

He was a Quechua native and a man of two worlds: a beloved professor of philosophy at the university in Cusco and a fearsome master healer of great regard in the countryside. It was don Antonio who introduced me to the medicine wheel—a map for healing diversely represented by many generations of indigenous people.

The medicine wheel begins in the South, where we learn to walk with beauty on the Earth. The South is also where one goes to confront and shed the past, just as the serpent—the archetypal symbol of this direction—sheds its skin.

In the West, we call on the archetype of the jaguar to help us find those things that need to die within us so that we can be claimed by life. Here, one assumes the stance of the spiritual warrior who has no enemies in this life or the next.

In the North, the archetype of the hummingbird helps us learn how to connect to our passion and drink only from the sweetest sources—those that nourish the soul. It is here we learn to step outside of linear time, which binds us to cause and effect, and step into sacred time where all things are possible.

The East is the path of the eagle and condor—the flight to the Sun and the journey back to one's home to exercise vision and skills in the context of one's life and work. In the East we learn how to dream our world into being.

I remember thinking that here was the most elegant description of the "hero's journey" I had ever heard: a distillate of all those tales of other's experiences—the very tales that we have fashioned into the myths and religions of our species. Unencumbered by miracles, anthropomorphic gods, and the embroidery of centuries of telling, interpreting, and retelling, the medicine wheel was an itinerary for self-discovery and transformation. There was something irresistibly primal and elemental about it, something authoritative, as if it represented one of the earliest descriptions of the phenomenon of awareness, the mechanism of consciousness.

Every year, I return to the roots of this medicine with guests of the Four Winds’ Via Illuminata expedition to Peru. We explore sacred sites, walk through the four directions of the medicine wheel, and participate in rites and ceremonies. We bask in the awe and energy of ancient places profoundly connected to Pachamama, and soak up the primal wisdom that will come home with us. We come into ayni with nature and the universe, bringing us to a state of "yes" with an open heart.

As we take our first steps into a New Year and a New Decade, may it fill you with awe, bring you closer to Pachamama, and bless you with ayni.

In Munay,


Alberto Villoldo, PhD


Heal Yourself and Become the Healer the World Has Been Waiting For

Since the 1980s, Four Winds Society founder Alberto Villoldo has trained thousands of energy medicine healers and health coaches who have developed thriving practices all over the world.

The Four Winds Society's Shamanic Energy Medicine certification program is internationally recognized as the Gold Standard in its field. Both our residential and online training combine ancient shamanic wisdom teachings with cutting-edge practices in nutrition, biology and neuroscience to give you the tools you need to transform yourself and launch a successful career doing what you love.

Join one of our upcoming trainings:

Residential Energy Medicine

California - March 4-31; Austria - September 6-October 3

Online Energy Medicine
June 23-December 21

Enhance your Practice with Advanced Skills
Join Alberto for a One-of-a-Kind Advanced Class—and More!!

 Light Body School Review*
March 13-15 with Ruby Parker.

Don’t miss this tuition-free chance to meet faculty, students and graduates; master your practices, and get feedback on your client cases. Open to FWS students and graduates.

The Rites of the Munay-Ki*
March 15-20 with Karen Hoza.

Learn the 9 rites of initiation that transform and upgrade the luminous energy field, heal the wounds of the past, and reinform your DNA. Open to all.

Healing the Dark Side*
March 15-20 with Alberto Villoldo, PhD.

Discover how to bring the darkest shadows to the light, transform demons into allies, and help clients who are caught in tangled psychic webs. Open to FWS graduates and students only.

Advanced Divination*
March 21-26 with Lynn Berryhill.

Master the shaman's art of tracking and seeing. Learn the skills of the medical intuitive, and how to create maps on the level of the soul. Open to FWS students and graduates.

Advanced Journeying*
March 27-30 with Lynn Berryhill.

Acquire advanced techniques for working with complex issues like psycho-spiritual dynamics, past life karmic dramas, intrusive spirit entities, and psychic attack. Open to FWS graduates and advanced students only

 *Master-Level Certification elective class. Receive a $200 discount when taking two 6-day advanced masters consecutively.

Join Alberto in California this Spring

The Heart of the Shaman:
The Oracle and the Art of Divination

Esalen - March 27-29

As young children many of us are told the story of being cast out of paradise and separated from our divine Creator. Whether we are raised in a religious home or not, this myth causes a great deal of suffering. In this workshop, you will learn ancient healing practices of the shamans, and come to understand that if we wish to heal our wounds on every level, it’s crucial that we discard this bankrupt story and reconnect with nature. You will be shown how to summon wisdom and insight from Spirit and the great powers of nature, and discover what the shamans of the Andes call the sacred dream: the revelation of our mission in life and our place in the cosmos.

*To register follow the link above or contact the Esalen Institute at 1-888-837-2536.

Explore, Enjoy, Evolve!
Don’t miss these exciting Four Winds expeditions in 2020

Amazon One Spirit
June 1-6 with Four Winds Senior Faculty Marcela Lobos
An exclusive journey to the Amazon Rainforest, where you’ll explore the hidden realms of shamanic awareness and work closely with native medicine men and women to learn shamanic cosmology and healing maps. Like the jungle jaguar, you will track a destiny for yourself, and craft an original story for the next chapter in your life. Open to advanced students and by application only.

Via Illuminata: Shamanic Wisdom & Sacred Mantra*
June 7-14 with Deva Premal, Miten, Manose,
Marcela Lobos and Alberto Villoldo
, PhD
Follow the ancient map of the Medicine Wheel as you discover the wisdom of the ancients in sacred temples shrouded in clouds. Sit in ceremony with Andean shamans and receive the rites of initiation of the Earthkeeper. Delight in the deeply soothing mantras of world-renowned musicians Deva Premal, Miten and Manose, and return each evening to the comfort of your accommodations at the
Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness. Open to all.

Mt. Pachatusan, The Axis of The World
June 14-19 with founder Alberto Villoldo, PhD
A rugged trek up the slopes of Mt. Pachatusan, revered as the protector of the Earthkeepers. As we ascend, we will participate in ceremonies and rites of initiation with shamans and prophecy keepers. In ceremonies at glacier lagoons we will receive the blessings of the ancient masters of this land, and heal from the stories from our past. Group limited to 30 robust participants who will have acclimated to altitude during the Via Illuminata expedition. Open to all.

Lake Titicaca: Birthplace of The Children of The Sun*
June 15-22 with Four Winds Senior Faculty Marcela Lobos

and Tantric Yogini Monika Nataraj
A women-only expedition to celebrate the divine feminine and the convergence of the Winter Solstice and the New Moon. En route to this significant event, we will visit remote communities dwelling on “the sea on top of the world,” and stay with villagers who have only known a simple way of life. We will call on new life at the Temple of Fertility, and experience great healing at the Island of the Moon. Group limited to 40 women. Open to All

*Receive a $500 discount when you register for Via Illuminata and Lake Titicaca expeditions.



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The Four Winds Society, U.S. (877) 892-9247 | International +1 (435) 647-5988,
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