Talk:Munay-ki

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Current Page Talk==[edit]

About the date for the migration of groups of people from Asia to North America, The article is about what Villoldo has written about the subject, and he wrote about 30,000. It isn't relevant for the article, but there actually is new genetic evidence that supports the 28,000-30,000 year range for the start of the migration from Asia, as published in the journal Science: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Hoffecker/publication/260431703_Anthropology._Out_of_Beringia/links/02e7e539c654c5097a000000.pdf Vajko (talk) 09:44, 2 June 2015 (UTC)


Old Page Talk---

Article issues[edit]

The concept of "Munay-ki" is a syncretic invention by New Age author Alberto Villoldo, and not some ages-old tradition held and passed down by Peruvian elders and shamans, which is how he (literally) sells it. At least, no independent and reliable anthropological or ethnographic study of Andean peoples has ever mentioned it, AFAIK and to the best of my knowledge.

This article takes at face value the promotional material written by Villoldo and repeated on other websites. It needs considerable rebalancing and contextualising so it does not mislead the reader into thinking this system is actually something believed by and recorded in Quechua/Q'ero indigenous communities. As independent sources on this will be v hard to find (it's largely made up, after all) and the notability of this particular 'concept' is debatable beyond Villoldo's own writings and disciples' websites, perhaps this should just redirect to Villoldo's article, where it can be mentioned he developed this concept. --cjllw ʘ TALK 08:06, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

It is misleading to label the Munay-Ki a syncretic invention. It is misleading to label Alberto a "New Age author". It is misleading to imply that no Q'ero support the Munay-Ki, bordering on outright incorrect. It's pejorative to lump anyone who supports the Munay-Ki as "disciple" of Alberto. This seems to be just another attack by someone who doesn't like what other people believe in. Before we get all riled up about sources and notability, how about validating all the misleading statements that have been made about what's misleading. --Mbilitatu (talk) 08:40, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Some responses--
  1. This is a syncretism, and one with modern origins at that. Dicdef: "the combination of different forms of belief or practice; the fusion of two or more originally different forms". This system synthesises what are claimed to be Incan/Quechuan traditional rites with terms and concepts taken from south Asia (chakras, luminous beings/energy fields), central Mexico (Queztalcoatl), the highland Maya (daykeepers), and elsewhere no doubt. What Villoldo calls "Laika" shamanism is an amalgam of inputs from various Amazonian and Andean cultures, as even folks who have worked and studied with him admit is rather "fictionalized" and "mythologized"; see eg here. Villoldo may not have invented the word (laika is attested in Aymara as a term for "black sorcery, magician"—brujo in spanish), but he has morphed its usage into something quite different.
  2. Villoldo is reasonably described as a New Age author. His books are replete with New Age terminology and keywords, and are to be found on shelves in the 'alternative spirituality' or 'mind, body, spirit' sections (check out the keywords for his books in library catalogues). Hay House, one of his main publishers, describes itself as "the international leader in self-help and transformational publishing", and its founder happily if immodestly describes herself as "a leader in the New Age movement". It is slightly misleading to describe him simply as a psychologist, 'medical anthropologist', or academic of any note. He does not get paid doing research in psychology, anthropology or ethnology—peer-reviewed or otherwise. While he was for a time on the faculty at SFSU (mind you at the alternative Institute of Holistic Health or whatever it is called these days), his renown does not stem from any research he conducted or publications he wrote while there. Instead he is known for and derives his paycheck from writing books that promote his systems and worldview, giving spiritual healing-type seminars and conducting mystical shamanism tours.
  3. The belief that their traditions originate from the Indus Valley via some 30,000 years-old Beringia crossing is not something authentically found in indigenous Andean or Amazonian cultures. While Villoldo has collaborated and worked with (and employed, for his shamanism tours) several individual Andean and Amazonian curanderos, and drawn some of his material from them, this in no way means that the Q'ero (for example) follow or would even recognise Munay-ki as he describes it. This article itself even makes clear, that the rites are assembled from disparate sources and transfigured to suit his purposes, "stripped of some of the elements of the cultures they came from".
  4. Whatever else it may be, Villoldo's Munay-ki is not a description of some indigenous belief system, whether for the Q'ero or anyone else. Nowhere in the extensive anthropological and ethnographical scholarly literature on Andean/Amazonian Peruvian cultures is such an assemblage of rites documented. If you think there is such a record, pls point it out to me and I'd be glad to admit the error. Whether you or anyone else finds Villoldo's system beneficial and instructive is not really my concern, anyone's quite welcome to find it helpful and attractive if they want to, I make no comment on people's individual beliefs. My intention is only for the material here to be more balanced and accurate in the extent to which it portrays this as an indigenous belief and tradition, and the extent to which it ought to mention the contribution and context of Villoldo himself.
The fact that every source given here is either Villoldo himself or his Four Winds Society org, is another concern for the article's balance and veracity. The problem is that while it should be possible to find independent sources that describe (actual) Q'ero tradition, and independent sources that comment on Villoldo's actions and portrayals of shamanism in general, there is a paucity of independent sources that have seen fit to notice his particular framework of what he calls munay-ki. Leastways I have not been able to find any other mention of munay-ki beyond Villoldo's books, websites associated with his Four Winds Society, or writings of other neoshamanic authors and practitioners. --cjllw ʘ TALK 08:26, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I tried to reply in-line. It just screwed up the formatting. I agree it is a syncretism. I thought the use of "invention" was misleading by implying lack of substance. All shamanism is syncretic to the extent any shaman takes a training and finds the way it expresses through them personally.
On New Age ... Good enough. Not worth debating.
It's difficult to make statements about what the Q'ero recognize or don't. They are no longer an integral nation. Q'ero medicine people have participated in giving the rites in the Munay-Ki form. Again ... your choice of what to emphasize (e.g., "employ for shamanism tours" or "transfigured to suit his purposes"), while close enough to the facts to be defensible, takes only half the story and spins it negatively.
"Villoldo's Munay-ki is not a description of some indigenous belief system". It was never intended to be. I do not believe the article said it was. The Munay-Ki has nothing to do with belief.
Aside from the "writings of other neoshamanic authors and practitioners", who did you expect would be writing about it? I took issue with dismissing them as "disciples". A Google of "munay-ki" returns 25,000 hits on 50 pages in a bunch of different languages. The Four Winds isn't that big.
You'll notice I haven't altered anything you've done. I don't intend to. I've (mostly) given up editing Wiki. Just got my hackles up and wanted to comment. Thanks for the reply. --Mbilitatu (talk) 18:33, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks both of you sincerely for your comments, both supportive and constructive. I am trying to gather more research and strengthen the article over time. The subject is one I felt warranted a wikipedia article. Forgive me if I have not been critical of Villoldo. Phil Auckland (talk) 14:01, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
I experienced the rites with 10 others in a five day workshop that brought amazing experiences of visions, of sensing other beings/deities present, and undeniable physical feelings. There was no doubt for any of us that we had connected with the energies of the Andean deities. For all ten of us, it wasn't a process that left us wondering if it was real. Phil Auckland (talk) 14:01, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
I am sincerely happy to include balanced views of well reasoned critics, as they emerge in the public forum and as I can lay my hands them, but for the moment as CJLL has observed, there isn't that much out there beyond the sites of the people who are Munay-ki practitioners, which largely use the common materials from Four Winds. I will keep working on digging up references and credible alternate sources. Phil Auckland (talk) 14:01, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
While I cannot cite other evidence, I offer myself as close to a primary source. I was present in the Four Winds Park City office when Dr Villoldo was developing the Munay Ki rites and participated in discussions with some of the Four Winds instructors who were invited by Dr Villoldo to review and amend his work. I was not so invited. At the time we experimented with prototype versions of them, and they underwent several changes. In addition to having worked as an employee of Dr Villoldo's, I am a graduate of his training program, and also have been initiated as a Paco in the traditional Q'ero shamanic lineage by an indigenous Q'ero Andean shaman after three years training. Dr Villoldo did not "recieve" the rites, or discover them. He consciously synthesised them in response to what he believed was divine (or spiritually-derived) inspiration. They are a modified form of the primary initiation given in the first of four training weeks which constitute the "Healing the Light Body" course developed by Dr Villoldo. This initiation proports to implant seven archetypes into the recipient, one in each chakra. The Munay Ki renames each of these 7 initiations with English (vs Q'ero) names and removes the Q'ero incantations associated. Chakras are, by the way, recognised by Q'ero traditions, though they have eight chakras, adding one called the "Wirrachocha" or "Source" above the head. I have also worked with a shaman of the Kalaharia bushmen in South Africa, they also use chakras, adding a ninth one meter below the feet - chakras are not the sole preserve of Hinduism. Dr Alberto has a small group of Q'ero shamen he works with who have been trained by him in supporting his particular teachings, and know not to demonstrate alternative techniques to his students (in my conversations with them they seem happy to do this and have no issue with his teachings, of course they need the money). These shaman then delivered the first Munay Ki initiations to Dr Villoldo and key members of his staff at several sacred sites in Peru. These initiates then passed the initiations to other key Four Winds practitioners and teachers. It was only then that Dr Villoldo commenced development of the commercial training program, which did not commence for another six months. At the same time as all this was happening, Dr Villoldo was writing his book "The Four Insights," which was published at the same time as Munay Ki courses began. I find it interesting that "munay ki" is qero for "I (-ay) want (mun) power (ki)". I was one of the first to receive the rites from the original initiates, about three days after they were first given. I found them powerful and valuable, irrespective of their provenance. However, I have witnessed drift in their descriptions over time. Because the Munay Ki can be given by anyone who has recieved them, without any attendant training, the understanding of them changes as it is passed orally from group to group (like a game of chinese whispers). These people, now several steps removed from Dr Villoldo, often lack any first-hand information about the purpose or origins of the Munay Ki. They tend to mythologise the rites for their own reasons, and then to attribute their descriptions to Four Winds sources in an effort to add credibility. My particular favourite is a couple in Ireland who now claim Dr Villoldo's teachings are the only true Q'ero shamanic teachings, and all the Q'ero practitioners in the Andes are fake. I guess I should also add that a significant portion of Dr Villoldo's key staff strongly oppossed the Munay Ki on the grounds that this is exactly what would happen. Lamorak192 (talk) 23:10, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
I have tried to moderate the tone of the main article in the past to restrain either extreme of faith or scepticism. Let's face it, nobody knows. The stuff has a profound effect on people, but it could be nothing more than NLP mixed with a little depth psychology. Or it could be a truely profound spiritual process. It feels like that to people who get it, but that's merely subjective experience. I am not overly familiar with editing Wiki's so I have no idea how to integrate the above information. I therefore offer it to you to use as you wish. The key thing we all need to note is there is never going to be any evidence either way. I therefore suggest we keep the article to empirical fact and reportage of people's opinions.Lamorak192 (talk) 23:10, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

It is also important to note that Albert Villoldo is on the NAFPS list (New Age Fakes and Plastic Shamans), and their site (NAFPS.com) has discussions showing where Villoldo took information from several aboriginal groups and made it out to be traditional. He is considered by those who have researched the Munay Ki to be a total fake and having made up much of what he calls traditional, a person who is not to be trusted as far as information on traditonal rites. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.179.144.31 (talk) 12:28, 28 October 2009 (UTC)


The NAFPS web site you've given is not done as a link that can be followed. If you do put in a www before what you have shown you get a domain company with a placeholder website at a referred domain www.nafps.com. If NAFPS's public web site is this one www.newagefraud.org then it does not make any reference to Dr Villoldo that I can see. References are important, particularly where you are making serious accusations. The website is pretty vague about who is behind NAFPS. I see no evidence on the web site of a group of individuals taking a stand and putting their names and personal credibility behind the stands they are taking, as most serious public good organisations do through due diligence processes, governance processes, and having public officers. User:PhilAuckland Phil Auckland (talk) 08:00, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't take www.newagefraud.org seriously. It makes several errors of fact on the first page, for example stating shaman never charge for their work. That's complete rubbish - all Q'ero shaman I know charge for their work. It is considered an important element of the work - to ensure the work is valued and to "balance the energy" between the shaman and the client. It also states shaman never call themselves that. This is a piece of rubbish from Michael Harner's Way of the Shaman. While "shaman" is a siberian term, each culture has it's own linguisitic version. When I was initiated into the Q'ero tradition by a traditional shaman of the Andes, a Q'ero elder 84 years old who'd never met a westerner until in his 60's, he said to me "now you're a Paco like I am." That sounds like someone calling themselves a shaman to me. Lamorak192 (talk) 00:30, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Sceptics[edit]

This page has been stripped of a range of valid data about Munay-Ki and filled with sceptic theories about Dr Villoldo.

The substantive changes made since August 2009 were largely done by unidentified IP addresses, or in another case a user that has since been deleted, calling themselves Qero1 presumably to appear to have some credibility on this subject. The only discussion entered in this discussion page was a reference to an organisation "New Age Frauds and PLastic Shamans", which did not have a working link, and the address given in text goes to a phone book place holder for what looks like a domain name company.

Sceptics are subject to the same rules as everyone else. Look at this passage, it was completely unreferenced:

"These rites are a fabrication of Alberto Villoldo. He has continually changed his story of his mentors and where he has collected his information. These are not any rites of the Q'ero Medicine people or the people of the high mountains of Peru. The Q'ero are not direct descendants of the Inca as stated by Alberto Villoldo, they are a tribe of people whom have existed in the mountains long before the Inca times and have remained pure and intact to their own traditions to this day. They have been continuously exploited by the outside world. When Villoldo introduced these rites in 2006, he primary teaching staff stated opposition and eventually all resigned and have no further connection with Villoldo because of the fabrication if these rites."

There is no support for any of these claims provided. You may be able to provide web sites where other sceptics provide unsourced opinion, but if you want to criticise Dr Villoldo how about refererencing credible sources that are more than sceptical opinion.

I can categorically state, as a Four Winds office employee, as can be seen from the Four Winds website and printed material that his primary teaching staff did not resign. For example, Linda Fitch, Lynn Berry-Hill, Stevi Bell, and Wake Wheeler are the four main teachers. Stevi Bell left around this time, but before the Munay Ki was launched. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lamorak192 (talkcontribs) 00:23, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

In the mean time this page will be updated to provide the original referenced information about the rites. —Preceding unsigned comment added by PhilAuckland (talkcontribs) 06:43, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

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