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The Munay-Ki are a series of nine Empowerment rites based on the initiatory practices of the Q'ero shamans of Peru, as taught by psychologist Alberto Villoldo.[1] "Munay" in Quechua means "love and will", together with "ki", from the Chinese word for energy, combine to give the meaning: energy of love.[2] The Munay-Ki is a modern form of transmitting the initiation empowerments of the Q'ero, and are not based on the traditional initiation ceremonies of Q'ero shamans.[3] Four Q'ero shamans have come to the United States several times to personally transmit for the rites in the past six years, which they have been trained to do by Villoldo, who pays them to teach as he says, and many initiates have gone to Peru to receive the rites there. These shamans are held in high esteem by trainees of The Four Winds Society.[4]


Villoldo learned and studied the rites of the Inca Shamans with a number of mentors over a period of years living with them in the Andes Mountains of Peru.[5] As he describes in his book Shaman Healer Sage,[6] he traveled for more than ten years with his first mentor Don Antonio Morales throughout the Andes and the Amazon to accumulate and distill the shamanic knowledge of these peoples. From this distilled knowledge of traditional shamanism, Villoldo phd. gathered and assembled the Munay-Ki as a series of rites to initiate and empower students in their study and practice of shamanic healing.[5] Some of the Munay-Ki rites are direct inclusions of traditional Q'ero initiatory rites: for example the Munay-Ki Day Keeper and Wisdom Keeper rites respectively are anglicized names for the Pampa Mesayok and Alto Mesayok karpay of the Q'ero.[7][8]

Villoldo writes that the rites derive from the great initiations from the Indus Valley that were brought to the Americas by the first medicine men and women who crossed the Bering Strait from Siberia during the glacial period some 30,000 years ago, and who were known as the Laika, the Earthkeepers of old. Villoldo renamed the Q’ero nation the Laika because of the controversy’s involved in his teaching of the Q’ero. These rites are totally fabricated. No medicine person of any tradition would give all these rites to a person over 2 days, then tell them they were shaman, go heal the world. It takes a lifetime to learn any tradition deeply. Also, Villoldo has never been to the high Q’ero villages.....[9]


The Munay-Ki rites are initiations intended to help the person receiving them to become a person of wisdom and power.[9] Like the Q'ero initiations they include, the Munay-Ki are given at the beginning of one's shamanic training in order to guide the student successfully through their studies and development into a healer.


The authenticity of these rites are disputed however, and some argue that they are totally fabricated and have no relationship with the Q'ero nation. Critics argue that Dr. Villoldo has exploited the Q'ero nation with his teachings in order to make money. His Four Winds Society has become very popular in the United States, but is not without controversy. Some indigenous groups see this as a prime example of cultural appropriation, while followers believe that Dr. Villoldo was given permission by his teachers to share the teachings. This is a prime example of neoshamanism.


  • Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of the Americas (hardcover); ISBN 978-0-609-60544-8
  • "A Walk Between Worlds, Truth is Beauty, The Q'ero" ISBN 978-1-4415-3382-1


  1. ^ Williams, J.E.. The Andean Codex: Adventures and Initiations among the Peruvian Shamans (softcover); ISBN 978-1-571-74304-6
  2. ^ Parker, Phillip. Websters Quechua-English Thesaurus Dictionary (softcover); ISBN 978-0-497-83675-7
  3. ^ Villoldo, Alberto. Illumination: The Shaman's Way of Healing (softcover); ISBN 978-1-401-92329-7
  4. ^ The Four Winds Society "Expeditions and Retreats". Retrieved 7 December 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b - Source of the Rites Archived 2009-02-25 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Villoldo, Alberto. Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of the Americas (hardcover); ISBN 978-0-609-60544-8
  7. ^ Wilcox, Joan. Masters of the Living Energy: The Mystical World of the Q'ero of Peru (softcover); ISBN 978-1-594-77012-8
  8. ^ "Pampa Mesayok Transmission". YouTube. Retrieved 7 December 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ a b - The Heroes Journey Archived 2009-01-24 at the Wayback Machine