Category: The Inner Shaman Written by Alberto Villoldo PhD
Serpent consciousness is much lauded by our culture. Our practical “can do” “tough love” attitude; our insistence on “calling a spade a spade” and “telling it like it is” our demand for an answer to the question “Are you for us or against us?” as if those were the only options – all come from serpent consciousness.
Here we identify a problem, do what we must do, and achiever our directive . . . period, end of discussion, no need for looking more closely.
We’ve been taught that the type of physical courage that arises from serpent consciousness – the resolve to do what needs to be done to survive – is what made the United States great. Back in our school days, we were taught that our country was founded by men and women who boldly set out to conquer the frontier. Unfortunately, as we’ve discovered, this is a false legacy. While true that the pioneers had physical courage, they often weren’t the noble iconoclasts they’ve been painted to be. Most didn’t have enough higher-level courage to stop thinking about their own survival long enough to dream of a world in which everyone could feel prosperous and happy without someone else having to foot the bill by giving up their land or toiling as slaves in grueling physical labor.
We’ve also been told to find inspiration in the ever-popular rags-to-riches story, such as the type penned by Horatio Alger in the 19th century. A typical Alger hero is the poor yet determined boy who draws on his physical courage to spend hours on the street corner selling papers. He ultimately gets a better job, working long hours to achieve the security of a big house and middle-class respectability. Such a young man succeeds because he’s willing to put his poverty-stricken past behind him, believe in the American dream, and be reborn into a new life.
This archetype continues to be a part of our culture. We dearly want to believe that anyone – no matter what their background may be – can achieve prosperity, forget about having to struggle to survive, and live happily ever after simply by choosing to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Alas, these sorts of dreams almost always turn into nightmares as we don’t access higher forms of valor that would allow us to dream something more fulfilling for ourselves and our world. Instead, we settle for the false security of money, power, and position.
Yet serpent courage also has its place in the act of dreaming. A big part of bringing a dream to life is doing the physical, instinctual work required to make it happen. For example, someone who is in the middle of moving to their dream home and realizing that the packing crew did not show up must enter serpent consciousness and simply allow instinct to take over and push their bodies to pack, stack, and load boxes assembly line into a truck. Serpent courage means following through and getting the job done.
Are you ready to dream your world into being with Serpent courage?
Alberto Villoldo PhD is a medical anthropologist who has spent the last 30 years investigating the healing practices of the shamans of the Amazon and the Andes. He is the founder and director of the Four Winds Society, and author of Shaman, Healer, Sage, Mending the Past and Healing the Future with Soul Retrieval, The Four Insights and Yoga, Power and Spirit. Alberto is founder of the world-renowned Four Winds Society and of the Light Body School. In his teachings and writings, he shares the experience of infinity and its ability to heal and transform us, to free us from the temporal chains that keep us fettered to illness, old age and disease.
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