Trained as a psychologist and medical anthropologist, Alberto Villoldo began his research in the Amazon, working with a group of healers who specialized in treating illness before it manifested in the physical body. In 1984, Dr. Villoldo founded The Four Winds Society to bring the teachings of these master healers to the West. This is now an international research and training organization, preserving a 1,000-year-old tradition of knowledge to achieve personal and planetary healing.

Prior to founding The Four Winds Society, Dr. Villoldo founded and directed the Bio-Self Regulation Laboratory at San Francisco State University, investigating the effects of energy healing on blood and brain chemistry.

Dr. Villoldo’s many books include: Mending the Past, Healing the Future with Soul Retrieval; Shaman, Healer, Sage; Secrets of the Inca Medicine Wheel; and Millennium: Glimpse into the 21st Century. He is also an eloquent public speaker with the ability to tie complex concepts together in a practical and usable form; and he often speaks on the subject of 2012 as a time of great upheaval and opportunity for humankind.

ALBERTO VILLOLDO: Thank you, Ric. Good to be with you.

RIC THOMPSON: This is going to be an interesting interview because we’ve talked about, and everybody’s heard a lot about, the Mayans, their calendar and this date December 21, 2012. From your research and from your experience, however, there seem to be a lot of parallels with a number of different cultures.

ALBERTO VILLOLDO: There are, Ric. When we talk about the indigenous peoples of the Americas, we’re talking about a single people, even though there are different cultural flavors. The Mayan, the Inca, the Hopi, the Navajo, the Shoshoni, all share a common mythology. These are peoples who came across the Bering Strait 30,000 years ago and settled into the Americas; it’s a single lineage.

It was a complete body of wisdom and spiritual tradition that came into the Americas, that then acquired different cultural flairs and flavors depending on the environment that they lived in. They also share a common body of prophecy, which is the prophecy of December 21, 2012.

RIC THOMPSON: What does that signify, then? From your research, what does that time period look like, and leading up to that time period?

ALBERTO VILLOLDO: The indigenous Americans were amazing astronomers, and they could predict the solstices, the equinoxes, and lunar and solar eclipses with amazing accuracy. All of the calendars of the Americas are astronomical calendars. They’re set to astronomical events, whereas the Western calendars that we’re accustomed to-we who are living in the year 2009-are religious calendars. It is 2,009 years after the death of Christ. The indigenous peoples, however, had astronomical calendars, and they were aligned with the stars.

What’s happening on December 21, 2012 is an extraordinary alignment between the earth, the sun and the very center of our galaxy. The Mayans, in particular, speak about a place of darkness that nothing escapes from, a place of fear, and they called it Xibalba. That was at the very heart of the Milky Way galaxy. About 15 years ago, astronomers discovered that at the very heart of our galaxy is a gigantic black hole, which is, of course, a place where nothing escapes, not even light.

The extraordinary thing to me is how these ancient societies knew about the existence of a black hole at the very center of our galaxy. What happens on December 21, 2012 is a perfect alignment between the earth, the sun and the very center of the galaxy. That marks the beginning of a new age and a new era. This is very different from the apocalyptic and doomsday prophecies of Christianity. The indigenous prophecies are very optimistic, very hopeful.

RIC THOMPSON: From what I understand, you’ve been with the Incas now for 25 years plus?

ALBERTO VILLOLDO: That’s correct.

RIC THOMPSON: What do they have to say about this?

ALBERTO VILLOLDO: One of the things that they said to me a few years ago was, “Alberto, we’re really going to miss our white brother.” That was not very good news to hear. From their perspective, however, they see this as the end of an era of exploitation of natural resources, of the abuse of nature, and of a lifestyle and an economic status that is unsustainable.

Basically, it’s an environmental degradation and collapse that many of the indigenous peoples are seeing, and a return of balance to the earth. We have lived so out-of-balance with nature that they foresee a very radical realignment and reestablishing of a proper relationship and balance with the earth. That could be pretty cataclysmic for us.

RIC THOMPSON: You’re kind of predicting here, or as they’re predicting, we are seeing things unfold right now before our very eyes leading up to this.

ALBERTO VILLOLDO: We’re seeing it right now. We’re seeing the collapse of an economic system and the beginning of the end of an era that relied on petroleum, on harvesting all of the old growth forests and using up all of the available topsoil, and on contaminating all the available water. What the indigenous people are predicting, actually, is the end of that era and of that system of economics and social structures and the beginning of a 1,000-year period of peace and of gold.

In fact, it’s really fascinating when you look at science. Biologists say that humans first appeared on the planet about 1.4 million years ago. If you look at the Bible and at fundamentalists, they say that humans first appeared on the earth 6,000 years ago when we walked hand-in-hand with the dinosaurs. If you look at the Mayans and the Inca, however, they say that humanity first appears on the planet on December 21, 2012.

That means we’re still proto-humans; we’re still part of the experiment. We haven’t been fully cooked yet. This is the emergence of a new and fully human being that really has not existed on the planet before. This is a human who is going to heal, age, and die differently than we do. From that point of view it’s a very optimistic scenario for those people who are able to reinvent themselves, to dream themselves into being differently.

RIC THOMPSON: Let’s go into that. What do you mean by ‘dreaming ourselves differently’?

ALBERTO VILLOLDO: That’s shamanic thinking. What I did for many years, being trained as a medical anthropologist, was I directed a laboratory at San Francisco State University where we did mind-body research. How were we able to heal ourselves utilizing our mind? We knew we could create psychosomatic disease, but how do we create psychosomatic health?

At a certain point, I realized that I had to leave my laboratory and go to study with people who did not have technology or MRIs, who only had their internal resources, their own neurological resources, to create health. I went to the Amazon and to the Andes and spent many years studying with indigenous people and being exposed to their body of prophecies.

For the shaman-the shaman is a medicine man or woman-they differentiate between information and knowledge. Information is knowing that water is H20; knowledge is being able to make it rain. Information is knowing a diagnosis; knowledge is being able to heal. Information is knowing what the prophecies foretell, what might be happening to humanity; knowledge is actually becoming the prophecy.

How do you become peace, and how do you become that new human? While in scientific and in 2012 circles the interest is focused on what is going to happen, for the indigenous people that’s not as interesting. The prophecies are nowhere near as interesting as the processes; the processes for becoming a new human and the processes for reawakening dormant DNA that we have in our system.

With this we’re able to evolve within our lifetimes to be able to heal differently, and to obtain extraordinary states of health, wellness, and well-being even in the midst of societal and economic collapse and re-emergence.

RIC THOMPSON: This is explored much more fully in your book Courageous Dreaming right?

ALBERTO VILLOLDO: Right. Courageous Dreaming is my most recent book. In it I speak about how shamans dream the world into being. The shamans are people of the percept and their realities are perceptual. In the West, we’re people of the precept, and precepts are roles. Therefore, we get 10 commandments and elect legislatures to run the country, which are lawmakers who make more laws and more rules.

If we want to change the environment, then, we come up with a new rule or a new law about it. We’re people of the precept. The Greeks were people of the concept. They got ideas. They knew that there was nothing as powerful as an idea whose time had come. They came up with extraordinary ideas like democracy. The shamans are people of the percept. If they want to change the world, they don’t come up with new laws and new ideas; they change their perception and the world changes.

They believe that everything you perceive is referenced to an internal map of reality that you have, and if you can shift that map of reality, the world shifts outside. If enough of us shift those internal maps, we can create a new vision for the world in which we live in peace with each other, where the water is clean and the air is breathable. The shamans understand that even if not enough of us do that, if you can do that individually, then you will live in a world of peace.

You can live in a world where your air will be pure and your water will be clean. That’s where the processes really come into play. They become incredibly valuable tools for meeting these changes.

RIC THOMPSON: The shifting of perceptions is part of the process in becoming the next step, as you said, to step beyond the proto-human status we have now?

ALBERTO VILLOLDO: Right. One of the elements of the prophecies, for example, of the Incas, is that they say there is no place on earth that will be safe after December 21, 2012. No place will be safe. You cannot go onto an island in the Pacific, you cannot go onto a mountaintop; no place will be safe. However, there are people who will be safe. You can become a safe person if you are in right relationship with Mother Earth, and she will look after you as a mother looks after her young.

The preparation, in effect, for 2012 has to do with developing a very harmonious relationship with nature and with your own internal nature, which includes your immune system. That way you don’t have to download the codes, for example, of a new swine flu by getting infected. You can now upgrade, up-regulate, the quality of your immune system energetically so that you’re not exposed to the ravages that might be afflicting civilization in the next decade.

RIC THOMPSON: What they’re predicting, then, is some sort of external change to the environment that we have to change internally to adapt to?

ALBERTO VILLOLDO: The changes are happening now. The economic crisis that we’re in is costing something like $10 trillion so far, but the environmental crisis, if you were to quantify it, has cost hundreds of trillions of dollars. What happens when you have tremendous environmental degradation is that the earth, which is an organism, seeks to right itself again.

For example, the indigenous prophecies are very optimistic for the earth, incredibly optimistic for the planet, but not necessarily that optimistic for humanity. In fact, the Incas speak about a culling of humanity, a harvesting of souls and a reduction of numbers of humans to a level that is sustainable by the planet. I don’t think you need to be a prophet to see that definitely looming more and more on the horizon.

RIC THOMPSON: What, then, can we do? Are there specific things that we can do to help this internal shift to get ready for 2012 and beyond?

To learn more about Alberto Villoldo and his work, go to