(This story below is from a newsletter I received recently. I have always been interested in older generations of ‘truth’ seekers and how they interacted within their society. Thankfully we are moving past attitudes that happened in the past and are able to give from a more open place. But in saying that, the attitude’s we have now have been enabled by those that went before, good and bad, so that we may ‘see’. I think we are now reaching a point of understanding so that we can project that truth and create the world that we all want to live in. Many years ago I read a book by the author of this story, Alberto Villoldo, and found his writing about these Shaman and their teachings to be interesting for myself, and the path that I am on. His teaching from his site I have not personally done. Mark).
For millennia, secret societies of Native American medicine men and women carefully guarded their wisdom teachings and acted as stewards of nature. These “Earthkeepers” existed in many nations and were called several different names; for example, in the Andes and the Amazon they were known as the “Laika.” In 1950, a group of Laika from high in the Andes travelled to an annual gathering of shamans that occurred at the foot of one of the holy mountains. The local natives looked at the ponchos the Laika were wearing and instantly recognized the markings of the high-shaman priests. They realized that this was a group of medicine men and women thought to have vanished after the time of the Conquest. These high-shamans, knowing that humankind was on the verge of a huge upheaval, had finally come out of seclusion to offer all people the wisdom that would sustain us through the great changes we were about to face, which would help us alter our reality and give birth to a better world. The Earthkeepers teach that all of creation-the earth, humans, whales, rocks, and even the stars-is made of vibration and light. Nothing we perceive as material and real exists, other than as a dream that we’re projecting onto the world. This dream is a story, and we believe it to be real … even though it isn’t.
Earthkeeper practices and wisdom teach us how to rewrite our stories about our lives, to do what the shamans call “dreaming the world into being.” These invaluable teachings, known as the four insights, were kept under wraps for a very good reason. With the arrival of the conquistadors (the European pilgrims and immigrants who first looted and plundered and then settled the Americas), the Laika were relentlessly persecuted. Many, particularly the women, were branded witches and sorcerers; and they were imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Their knowledge was considered so dangerous and threatening to the Catholic Church that even now, 200 years after the Spanish Inquisition shut down everywhere else in the world, the Church continues to keep an office active in Lima, Peru. The Office for the Extirpation of Idolatries is run by the Dominican Order, who, in the 15th century, declared Joan of Arc a heretic and sentenced her to death by burning at the stake.
The Laika realized that this knowledge about human beings’ capacity to manifest our dreams is tremendously powerful and could be easily abused by those lacking ethics. Thus, they concealed the knowledge not only from the conquistadors, but even from most of their fellow indigenous peoples. Nevertheless, they recognized that the four insights belong to all-so when the Laika met a white person who didn’t possess the arrogant, hostile mind-set of the conqueror, they were willing to share their wisdom teachings. Shortly after the Conquest, for instance, they took into their fold a Catholic priest, a Jesuit by the name of Father Blas Valera, who also happened to be a mestizo (half Indian and half Spanish).
Father Valera became initiated into the mysteries of the Laika and wrote four books about their teachings, but unfortunately, three of these tomes mysteriously disappeared during the Inquisition (the fourth remains in a private collection in Italy). Valera claimed that the Inka were as civilized as the Europeans because the Inka were able to write by using a complex system of colored strings with knots tied in them known as Quipus. When Valera’s order discovered what he was up to, they incarcerated him for six years until his death. Why did the Jesuits silence one of their own priests? Why were they so afraid of the wisdom he was recording for the benefit of all? And why did they forbid the ordination of any more mestizo or indigenous priests after Valera was defrocked?
I was another non-Indian taken into the fold of the Laika, initiated into the lineage of the Wisdomkeepers in the Amazon near the Inka city of Cusco. Yet it was never my intention to become part of this lineage-as a medical anthropologist, I was only interested in studying the healing practices of the shamans. As fortune or destiny would have it, I ended up meeting my mentor, don Antonio. He was one of the last of the living Laika, and he took me under his wing and trained me for nearly 25 years. He was a man of many lives-during the day, he was a university professor; in the evenings, a master medicine man. He was born in a high mountain village and worked with the tools and practices of the 15th century, yet he was conversant in the ways of the 21st. Although he was a descendant of the Inka, he would tell me that the Laika are much older than the Inka, whose culture was masculine and militaristic. The Laika’s teachings were from an earlier time, when the feminine aspect of the divine was recognized. I once told him that I felt lucky to have found him, and he said, “What makes you think you found me, if the Church could not find us for the last 500 years?” Alberto Villoldo Ph.D.. The Four Insights: Wisdom, Power, and Grace of the Earthkeepers (p. xii). Kindle Edition.
Alberto Villoldo Ph.D.
The Four Winds Society