INTRODUCTIONDon Juan Matus, a master sorcerer, a nagual, as master sorcerers are called whenthey lead a group of other sorcerers, introduced me to the cognitive world of shamans who lived in Mexico in ancient times. Don Juan Matus was an Indian who was born in Yuma, Arizona. His father was a Yaqui Indian from Sonora, Mexico, andhis mother was presumably a Yuma Indian from Arizona. Don Juan lived in Arizonauntil he was ten years old. He was then taken by his father to Sonora, Mexico, where they were caught in the endemic Yaqui wars against the Mexicans. His fatherwas killed, and as a ten-year-old child don Juan ended up in Southern Mexico, where he grew up with relatives.At the age of twenty, he came in contact with a master sorcerer. His name was Julian Osorio. He introduced don Juan into a lineage of sorcerers that was purported to be twenty-five generations long. He was not an Indian at all, but the sonof European immigrants to Mexico. Don Juan related to me that the nagual Julianhad been an actor, and that he was a dashing person - a raconteur, a mime, adored by everybody, influential, commanding. In one of his theatrical tours to the provinces, the actor Julian Osorio fell under the influence of another nagual, Elias Ulloa, who transmitted to him the knowledge of his lineage of sorcerers.Don Juan Matus, following the tradition of his lineage of shamans, taught some bodily movements which he called magical passes to his four disciples: Taisha Abelar, Florinda Donner-Grau, Carol Tiggs, and myself. He taught them to us in thesame spirit in which they had been for generations, with one notable departure:he eliminated the excessive ritual which had surrounded the teaching and performance of those magical passes for generations. Don Juan's comments in this respect were that ritual had lost its impetus as new generations of practitioners became more interested in efficiency and functionalism. He recommended to me, however, that under no circumstances should I talk about the magical passes with any of his disciples or with people in general. His reasons were that the magical passes pertained exclusively to each person, and that their effect was so shattering, it was better just to practice them without discussing them.Don Juan Matus taught me everything he knew about the sorcerers of his lineage.He stated, asserted, affirmed and explained to me every nuance of his knowledge.Therefore, everything I say about the magical passes is a direct result of hisinstruction. The magical passes were not invented. They were discovered by the shamans of don Juan's lineage who lived in Mexico in ancient times, while they were in shamanistic states of heightened awareness. The discovery of the magical passes was quite accidental. It began as very simple queries about the nature ofan incredible sensation of well-being that those shamans experienced in those states of heightened awareness when they held certain bodily positions, or when they moved their limbs in some specific manner. Their sensation of well-being hadbeen so intense that their drive to repeat those movements in their normal awareness became the focus of all their endeavours.By all appearances, they succeeded in their task, and found themselves the possessors of a very complex series of movements that, when practiced, yielded them tremendous results in terms of mental and physical prowess. In fact, the resultsof performing these movements were so dramatic that they called them magical passes. They taught them for generations only to shaman initiates on a personal basis, following elaborate rituals and secret ceremonies.Don Juan Matus, in teaching the magical passes, departed radically from tradition. Such a departure forced don Juan to reformulate the pragmatic goal of the magical passes. He presented this goal to me not so much as the enhancement of mental and physical balance, as it had been in the past, but as the practical possibility of redeploying energy. He explained that such a departure was due to the influence of the two naguals who had preceded him.