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The Secret of the Plumed Serpent

Further Conversations with Carlos Castaneda

Armando Torres

Copyright Armando Torres, 2010

Foreword copyright Juan Yolilitztli, 2010
Published by Hade Publishing Limited, London, 2014
Translated and edited by Ligia Luckhurst
ISBN: 0957254547
ISBN 13: 9780957254541
First published as El secreto de la serpiente emplumada by Editora Alba, Tula, May 2010
All rights reserved.

I dedicate this book to those who know intent.

Table of Contents

Note by the Editor

Foreword: Living a Myth

Part One: Awakening Intent

Baiting Intent
Provoking Self-Importance
The Only External Help We Can Have
Beckoning Intent
Efficiency and Efficacy
Sealed Units of Energy
The Wheel of Time
The Parallel Lines
The Dome of the Naguals
The Sorcerers Option
The Ultimate Manoeuvre
The Naguals Plan

Part Two: The World of the Sorcerer-Healer

At the Healers House
Don Gabinito
One is What One Eats
The Ritual of Initiation
Becoming Healers Assistant
The Healers Vows
A Different View of the World
The Fabric of Life
Doa Lucrecia
Tales from the Kitchen
The Humility of a King
Patients Stories
Mr Salas Attacks
The Energy Parasite
The Ball Player
The Legend of the Warrior in Love
The Tale of the Poet King

Part Three: The Lessons of the Healers

The Encounter in the Crypt
Don Melchors Stalking
Profit at Minimum Cost
The Power of the Word
Ohtli Necuapalli
The Art of Acting
Deeper into Dreaming

From the Dreaming Log

Part Four: The Secret of the Plumed Serpent

On the Path of the Gods
The Flight of the Quetzal
The Lineage of the Ticis
The Rule for the Circular Parties of Warriors

Part Five: Transmutations

Epilogue: The Final Farewell
About the Author

Note by the Editor

Like Encounters with the Nagual, Armando Torres first book, The Secret of the Plumed
Serpent shares much of its terminology with the opus of Carlos Castaneda to which it provides
a kind of coda. I have therefore endeavoured to maintain consistency in the use of terms
already introduced by Castaneda, italicising them in the same way Castanedas editors have
The reason for the italics is practical. Many terms used by Castaneda and Torres have
an everyday meaning familiar to most people who would therefore, while reading, default to this
more familiar meaning and then have to adjust their interpretation. I have therefore italicised the
non-common (nagualistic) instances of those terms. In the case of awareness and will, for
example, italicising is vital as both the default and the nagualistic meanings sometimes
appear on the same page or even within the same paragraph.
Terms like tonal and the Eagle, however, do not need italicising and were not
italicised by Castanedas editors. Capitalising is enough for the Eagle as it is the name for the
ultimate edifice of intent as seen by the sorcerers of antiquity, whilst tonal, at least within
Castanedas and Torres opus, has only one meaning.
Unlike Castanedas editors, I have both italicised and capitalised nagual, in order to
distinguish between two very different meanings of this word. Capitalised and preceded by the
definite article the, it means the leader of a party of warriors by virtue of being a double being
trained for the role; italicised, nagual means either everything that is not tonal or... youll see.
I have also italicised other terms (often consisting of two words, such as definitive
journey) which have gradually come to form the core vocabulary of Castanedism and, more
widely, nagualism, adding the ones introduced by Torres (basic components, for example, or
retracing the steps) to the already familiar ones.
The Spanish original edition of this book does not use italics or capitalise the Eagle and
the Nagual (as in the Nagual don Juan Matus).
I have added a number of footnotes which do not appear in the Spanish original. They
explain words that would otherwise send the reader unfamiliar with Mexican tradition,
geography, flora and fauna on an internet search and thus create an unnecessary distraction.
Examining the Spanish original, I realised that all five parts of the book must have, at
some stage, had a title. Parts Three and Four, as published by Editora Alba, actually still had
their titles, which however did not show in the Contents. The title of Part Two appeared as the
title of the first chapter in that section and the title of Part One could not be identified.
I therefore restored the mislaid title of Part Two, but was then left with a nameless first chapter
for which I created a title to match the content. I did the same for the missing title of Part One.
In every other way, this translation is faithful to the original, preserving Torres distinctive
style as much as can be done in another, very different language and idiom. Even the
paragraph breaks match exactly those in the original Spanish language edition.
Lastly, this is the first nagualistic book to be published in UK English, with UK English
spelling and grammar. I thought this fact merited a mention.
Ligia Luckhurst
Translator and Editor

Foreword: Living a Myth

By Juan Yoliliztli
The Devil worked his ex-sacraments[1] using unrecognisable things foul to eat. Perhaps he
used some moving forms, like savage beasts or strange birds, hard to identify, not commonly
found. Perilous is his word, duplicitous, dark.
Friar Andrs de Olmos: Treatise on Witchcraft and Sorcery[2], 1536.
Despite the fact that during the conquest of Mexico the Spaniards were able to witness
astonishing acts of physical transformation among the natives and, what is more, the
evidence of such events still exists and can be seen recorded in sculptures and murals in
various Mexican churches they did not know how to take advantage of the great opportunity
for studying a different culture or exploring new possibilities of perception they had been
presented with. Instead, they labelled such acts devils works for which reason they hunted
and killed the indigenous population; the reason they soon forgot because their eyes were
focused on the yellow metal the natives despised since they had far greater treasure at hand:
the knowledge of a vast magical world.
Today, modern researchers brilliant scientists struggle to unravel the mysteries of the
universe. To that end they build ever more complex and sophisticated spaceships. They do it in
full knowledge that, try as they might, they will never be able to traverse enormous physical
distances of billions of light years, the real barriers that separate us from other celestial bodies.
And the saddest thing is that, were they ever to overcome those barriers, they would probably
treat the other races they might find in space the same way the conquistadors treated Native
Americans. (It must never be forgotten! All Europeans and their descendants owe them a heavy
Alternative researchers, however, did exist, taking a different route towards deciphering
the mysteries of the universe and claiming to have solved, in a practical manner, the question of
time and space. Their heirs are the modern sorcerers who, instead of trying to handle things
through physics as scientists do, focus their efforts on understanding and manipulating energy,
a discipline not yet to be found at our universities.
By applying this knowledge, sorcerers travel freely through the universe in an eyeblink
regardless of distance, measuring the cost of their journey not in gallons of fuel but rather in
intensity of attention. They stress that the secret lies in the manipulation of awareness, where
everything reduces to energy. Starting from that premise, they venture out to explore the
What would have happened if those Europeans of five hundred years ago had taken the
opportunity presented to them instead of focusing on conquest and destruction? We shall never
know. Perhaps by now, five centuries later, the human race would already be a frequent
traveller through the cosmos.
The man of reason walks towards his extinction. His egomania, born of self-importance
and self-pity, drives Homo Sapiens, or homo reasonabilis toward his end. In his place a new
race will appear: the homo perceptibilis. They will be magical beings travelling freely across
the dark sea of awareness. I can see the rise of a new world, where magic and technology
coexist in perfect harmony.
In this book, Armando Torres gives us a wonderful description of his apprenticeship with
a group of healers from Mexico who adopted him as assistant[3]. His account shows clearly that
the reality we perceive depends entirely on the focus of our attention. By the same token, the
myth of the sorcerers, even though it looks like nonsense to the Western man, indeed
represents a different description of the world. From that point of view, if a researcher wants

results, the practices he adopts to reach his goal are not all that important; what matters is that
they work.
The myth of the sorcerers is thus not a lie as the word suggests, but rather an alternative
representation of reality. The sorcerers descriptions, maintained by the will of those powerful
men of long ago, are still valid today. They apply them in their daily lives in a practical way.
And, according to them, those descriptions work as well as our own descriptions based on
When describing his world, modern man does it in such a methodical and detailed way
that it does not leave him even a tiny crack through which to escape; hence his feeling of being
hemmed in, having no peace and no way out. This inevitably generates a great amount of
depression. The result is mankinds terrible destructive state. What modern man needs is to
return to dreaming dreams of power and magic.
I have heard many speculations about whether or not Carlos Castaneda achieved his
People ask me rather frequently, "Do you believe that Carlos Castaneda reached
Of course he did! Like Calixto Muni[4], he was victorious in battle. Carlos has
successfully made his somersault of thought into infinity and is free. No one can put chains on
thought. That is the great trick of the sorcerers.
In this work, Armando provides us with the tools to break free from our chains of
rationality; he draws open the curtains of the other world and, by revealing the myth of
sorcerers-healers, gives us a new description. He shows us a reality outside our modern
description, a reality that is still very much alive in Mexican rural communities.
At this point I think it is fair to warn the reader of the need to suspend judgment and
approach this matter with an open mind and an attitude of genuine inquiry. Armando invites us
to enter a magical world where our wildest fantasies can indeed become reality. He shows us
that the experiences of the sorcerers are available to anyone; it is simply a question of opening
up to it.
As for me, this work leaves me with a strange taste in my mouth. I realise that, on the
whole, we are unaware of our potential as human beings. And, bearing in mind Armandos
repeated denials, I, like everyone else, did not expect a new book from him. This book, then,
came as a great surprise and delight, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

My name is Armando Torres, and this is the record of my experiences during my involvement
with a group of sorcerers-healers of Sierra Madre Oriental in Mexico. The person responsible
for starting me on this path was the famous anthropologist Carlos Castaneda, author of a dozen
best-selling books which recount his own odyssey of learning the art of sorcery.
In his books, Carlos tells us how he, in the course of his field studies, came into contact
with a powerful Yaqui Indian shaman from northern Mexico by the name of don Juan Matus. For
thirteen years Carlos dedicated himself to exploring the magical world which don Juan, aided
by his peers, introduced him to.
The first contacts Carlos had with his mentor don Juan appeared to be an ordinary
encounter with a herbalist sorcerer who, like many others, used hallucinogenic plants to induce
an altered state of consciousness in his apprentice. Yet their relationship turned out to be of an
entirely different nature.
Carlos developed a twofold relationship with don Juan. On one hand, in his normal state
of awareness, he treated don Juan and his cohorts as his native informants. On the other hand,
in states of heightened awareness, he received from them important information as a sorcerers
From his fifth book onwards (The Second Ring of Power, covering the events
immediately following the departure of don Juan and his party), Carloss stories take an
unexpected turn as he begins to remember all that he had experienced in heightened
In that unusual state of awareness, Carlos discovered that his teacher was not an
ordinary sorcerer doing whatever ordinary sorcerers did but belonged instead to a long tradition
of practitioners whose origins dated back to antiquity. Carlos also learned that don Juan was
the leader, or Nagual, of a group of sorcerers who were pursuing the abstract goal of total
The ability to guide an apprentice in the state of heightened awareness is one of the
elementary requirements in the training of new warriors in sorcerers parties.
This state is achieved by moving the disciples assemblage point to new areas of his
luminosity. The result of those changes is very similar to what happens when power plants are
used. However, manipulating apprentices attention simply by intending the movement of their
assemblage points allows for a greater control and a much longer duration of those induced
states than can be achieved by using power plants.
Heightened awareness has been described in many ways. The best explanation,
perhaps, requires that we consider ourselves as having an assemblage point. According to the
sorcerers-seers, the assemblage point is our centre of perception. It is perceived as if it were a
luminous magnet within the energy field that surrounds the physical body, at the level of the
shoulder-blades and approximately at an arm's length behind them.
Sorcerers learned to manipulate the position of the assemblage point. Through
experimentation, they saw that it could be manipulated in different ways, and, moreover, that
one could manipulate the assemblage points of others. Sorcerers discovered that, regardless of
where they moved the assemblage point to, it would always be to a new area. They saw that
this feature could be used as the key element in teaching apprentices, because it had the
benefit of giving the persons who experienced it unlimited concentration on the task at hand.
Masters therefore utilise this manoeuvre in order to teach, since whatever students learn
in any alternative state of awareness becomes integrated within the recipient in latent form.
Typically, instruction received in those altered states transforms into a perceptual block of great
intensity, presenting a serious obstacle to the recollection of past events.

Stored in an area of our total being that is not the brain, instruction received in those
episodes of altered awareness is then forgotten. It is as if the apprentice had been put into a
deep state of hypnosis while being taught, only to remember everything that had happened at a
later stage, in a special situation or following a keyword similar to a post-hypnotic command.
Trying to remember heightened awareness is like trying to remember a dream. The more
you consciously put your brain to the task, the more elusive the memory gets. To remember that
kind of experience, it is necessary to accumulate enough energy. Trying to use the linear mind
to recover those memories will not avail us; only energy will move our assemblage point in
order to realign it in the same position it occupied in the moment when the experience were
trying to remember took place.
It was in that special state of awareness that Carlos learned first-hand the mysteries of
sorcery. He became aware that everything was energy, and that it was possible to control and
use that energy. Sorcerers have been in possession of this knowledge for thousands of years.
They have been passing their knowledge on from generation to generation to individuals
selected by the same impersonal, inexplicable force that shapes the universe.
For the ordinary man, the nature and the acts of sorcerers are incomprehensible. The
acts of seers defy reason. Because of that, they have in the course of history acquired the
reputation of possessing special powers and supernatural control over other people. The
sorcerers' powers were commonly associated with the intervention of evil spirits.
As a young student of anthropology, Carlos received a strange system of knowledge and
became involved in sorcerers training without being fully aware of what he had got himself into.
He discovered that sorcery, far from being an absurd set of practices, spells and incantations,
actually was a very ancient philosophy of life implemented by extremely disciplined
By linking his fate to the Nagual's party, Carlos learned that don Juan and his
companions were the last of a lineage of ancestral knowledge that had flourished for thousands
of years in what is now Mexico and parts of Central America; a unique culture of people
passionately dedicated to discovering the secret of existence. They were known as toltecs[5].
Toltec is the name given to anyone practising the arts that lead to knowledge. Toltecs
tasks relate to investigations in the field of self-control, the awareness of being, and the
manipulation of inorganic beings they call allies.
Even today, scattered all over Mexico, descendants of those ancient lineages follow the
path and practices of their ancestors. The sorcerers-healers to whose tradition I belong are one
such group, and that is what this book is about.
Performing my mandatory tasks as assistant, I have managed, by and large, to
corroborate many of the challenges that Carlos had overcome. And whilst I am still in the phase
of recollecting my past experiences, I have lost the human form and have managed to complete
my dreaming body. This, for me, has opened the doors to an extraordinary world.
In the initial stage of his apprenticeship, Carlos faithfully followed tradition and remained
totally inaccessible to the outside world. He did not receive anyone and did not even grant
interviews to promote his books. Over the time, however, he opened up little by little, first
agreeing to conduct private meetings and later giving public lectures. I was fortunate to be able
to assist him with several of those events. I also spoke with him privately on a number of
occasions, using those opportunities to clarify my doubts.
I remember how, at the beginning of my apprenticeship, I thought I had everything under
control. I had already decided my future. My goal was to finish my chosen professional training,
then find a job and start a family. I was at the time engaged to a beautiful girl. We loved each

other and wanted to get married. When I told Carlos of my plans, he talked me out of the idea
and helped me realise that there was more to life than to be born, to breed and to die.
"You still havent considered all your options, he said. You are simply acting in a
mechanical way as you have been programmed to.
What we all tend to do is repeat our parents lives over and over again, not realising that
there are other options open to us. That is how it was with me. What I wanted most was to have
a family and I believed I could not survive without one. Don Juan got me out of all that. And look
at me now: still here, alive and kicking!
Our biological imperative is not the only reason we want to form families; our hidden
motives have to do with the fear of being alone and with the selfish and cowardly concern for
Who will take care of poor little me?
During our very first encounter, Carlos warned me that his energy would not let him
accept disciples. Our relationship could thus not in any sense be of the conventional masterapprentice type. Rather, he was like a good friend to me and we talked together intimately like
Imitating the accent of a northerner, Carlos once told me:
"Youll have to scratch your own back, dude. You must take responsibility for your own
path because, from my point of view, there is no other way out for you. Like I told you, I cannot
take on apprentices. My energy will not let me. All I can do is point out a direction, and you will
either follow up, or you will not."
He added sorrowfully:
"I have unsuccessfully tried to reach people and imbue them with the sense of urgency I
got from don Juan. The fact is, nobody takes me seriously!"
I thought Carlos was referring to me and began reassuring him that I did take him
seriously, but he interrupted me with a gesture.
"You dont need to explain yourself. Only time will tell whether or not youre able to
follow the direction I have indicated to you."
The direction Carlos was referring to unexpectedly revealed itself years later when, as
was my good fortune, he ended up introducing me to the healers. For that I owe him a debt of
gratitude I can never repay. It is undoubtedly the greatest gift anyone has given me in my entire
My relationship with him had been atypical from start because, as he told me later, he
had received a sign from the spirit and had consequently chosen me as the bearer of the Rule
of the three-pronged Nagual. Carlos warned me that I should not disclose it until four years after
his departure, to allow myself the time to organize the material he had given me.
Preparing and publishing this material, I not only faced the challenge of expressing the
Rule in writing, but also of synthesising on a few pages all that I had experienced with Carlos.
During my work I sank into a deep state of recapitulation and dreaming and thus managed to
relive my hidden memories. The final result was the book Encounters with the Nagual.
Castaneda used a journalistic literary style that made his books feel like reportages. In
this work I have opted for the narrative form and for stories to present my account. The
advantage of using this format was that it allowed me more latitude in the handling of words
and ideas. I must however point out that my choosing this particular writing style does not mean
that what I describe is unreal.
On the path of knowledge, I have experienced things so extraordinary that, were I to
lecture about them ex cathedra, I would be ridiculed and labelled a liar or a madman by those
who know nothing of such things, just as it happened repeatedly to Carlos Castaneda.

Sorcerers are usually very reluctant to talk about their knowledge because they know
that their words sometimes appear to be contradictory. Explaining sorcery is never an easy task
mainly because people dont have the energy to understand and to see the point of exploring
sorcerers achievements as possibilities, and refuse to believe what they are told.
Consequently, sorcerers occasionally resort to fable and metaphor as devices to help them
explain their knowledge.
That is why some people felt resentful when they discovered that Carlos had been
giving them conflicting information about himself and his personal history. The old saying, "You
notice an ant while an elephant passes you by," applies to people who get trapped in the detail
of Carloss stories and his description of events while missing the most important bit: the
Initially, I, too, could not really comprehend what the grandparents[6] were referring to
when they spoke of their knowledge. The terms they used did not translate exactly into our
modern idiom. My first impulse was thus to reject all the mystical-religious "gibberish" I
considered to be the superstition of ignorant folk.
What stopped me from judging them too harshly was the ready translatability of the
concepts they were trying to teach me into the terminology used by Castaneda. Only thanks to
what I learned from Carlos was I able to understand the explanations of the healers.
Since I could say, strictly speaking, that I was the product of two teachings: that of the
healers on one hand and that of Carlos Castaneda on the other, it was inevitable that I should
occasionally combine the two terminologies. I confess, however, that I made a special effort for
the benefit of the readers to make this work more consistent with the nagualistic vocabulary
used in Carlos books.
I have found, in fact, that the goal of both those paths is the same. The only real
difference between the two lies in the type of stalking applied to the description of the world
and, in the healers case, the use of certain novel procedures that are actually very effective.
When a sorcerer passes his knowledge on to a novice, his heir is said to be his child,
or it is said that the sorcerer has made a child. In that sense, Carlos has made millions of
potential children throughout the world by making his teachers tradition public in his books.
His true legacy to future generations is the challenge of transcending the level of simply being a
reader by personally experiencing the mysteries discovered by the sorcerers.
The intense work to which I am committed demands that I stay away from all superfluous
social relationships which only seek to inflate the ego. Heeding the Nagual's warning and in
order to avoid repeating mistakes that could cost me my life and my freedom, I decided to share
my experiences whilst keeping myself at distance participating, yet staying apart. I propose to
tell my stories in the hope that, perhaps, they might be of use to those who read them.
I have devoted a large part of my life to my purpose, and it would be disastrous to lose
now, through recklessness, all that I have worked so hard to accomplish. I therefore hope to be
excused my aloofness, as I am committed to work that transcends me.
I bring this book forth because of a series of omens I found very hard to understand. The
problem was that I had previously decided not to publish anything beyond what I had already
disclosed. I consequently failed to grasp the full implications of the indications the spirit had
provided, believing that the omens I saw had to do only with my immediate environment. I later
realised it was not so and am therefore sharing what I experienced in the world of the healers.

Part One: Awakening Intent

Baiting Intent
On that day we met by the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Carlos told me he was looking for
some rare books and asked me to accompany him to second-hand bookshops. We crossed the
park and walked in silence through the streets of the Historic Centre in the direction of the
Zcalo[7]. He entered all second-hand bookshops along the way, but in the end did not buy
"I dont normally have private conversations with people, he said out of the blue, but
with you, it will be different."
I asked him to what I owed the privilege.
"The winds favour you," Carlos replied with an enigmatic smile.
Not satisfied with his answer, I insisted on knowing why I should merit the privilege. He
would not answer me, replying evasively that one day we would discuss the subject.
While browsing through some books, I suddenly felt Carlos grab me by the arm while
pointing at a shelf.
"You see? You see?" His face was the picture of indignation.
I could not see anything.
"There, there!" he exclaimed, indicating a cluster of books.
I focused my eyes and saw his name on the cover of a book called A Separate Reality.
The reason for his outburst appeared to be that the book had been classified as fiction.
While we browsed through contemporary poetry, I said that I loved listening to stories
about sorcerers, and that Id be delighted if hed tell me some. On hearing my request, Carlos
looked at me with shining eyes and an expression of sudden recollection. Then, in a dramatic
tone, he whispered,
"Im charging you with a task."
He told me he had a job to do for which he needed some information, but his busy
schedule left him no time to look for it.
Staring fixedly at me, he said,
"Maybe you could help me."
I remember the intensity of his look, so powerful that I felt confused for a moment. But
then he turned away from me and began examining the books on one of the shelves.
The theme of the gaze is recurrent in Carloss works. It is a technique with which a
sorcerer stops the internal dialogue of another person instantly and forcibly.
Once I had recovered from his look, I told Carlos Id be very happy to help. His face lit up,
and, with a big smile, he replied,
"Since you are going to be a journalist he was referring to my studies Id like you to
go to the world of the ancient seers and get them to tell you their stories. A reportage of power:
thats what I require from you!"
Carlos' request took me by surprise. I did not know what to make of it and even began to
think he might be joking. The sound of his voice was serious, but there was an air of mischief in
his eyes.
I tried to find out more about the supposed task, but Carlos said it was neither the time
nor the place to discuss such matters. His answer filled me with curiosity to find out what he
had in mind.
On another occasion, while sitting with Carlos on a bench in Alameda Central Park, I

took the opportunity to bring up the subject of my task. He said,

"What Id like you to do is go to the world of the ancient seers and ask them a series of
questions. Ill prepare a list later and give it to you.
But you must take care, he went on, because they are wicked sorcerers, dark and living
in a permanent state of war, and they will try to kill you. To survive, youll have to offer them
something that interests them. Making them listen will be your only chance of escaping in one
"And what can I offer them? I asked, trying to hide my fear.
"They are only interested in expanding their egos. They are so full of self-importance that
they have focused all their evil deeds of sorcery on that particular goal, entering worlds of a
nature that makes them seek at any cost the type of energy that is most suitable for supporting
their insatiable egos.
To attract their interest, you must offer them something that inflates their self-importance
to unimaginable levels. Something like a cult, which would be guaranteed to nourish it. You
must convince them that they will gain more by letting you go than keeping your energy.
Promise them a reportage in which they and their stories will play central part. If you
succeed, you might come to an agreement with them."
"Why in the form of a cult? I asked. Is there no other way?
"Yes, Carlos replied. Letting yourself be caught!
Those sorcerers have developed the morbid aspects of their personalities, such as the
taste for ritual, fixations, devotion and self-pity. Their character has a tendency towards what
might be described as mystical; it is their desperate attempt to restore their unity.
The only way to win their favour is to present them with edifices even more morbid than
those they already worship, so that they see the momentary sacrifice of energy as an
investment that will disproportionately enhance their future possibilities. Ritual and religious
behaviour is the only way to produce the amount of energy those aberrations require in order to
achieve their dark goals."
Carlos's words shook me. I was suddenly struck by deep terror, while at the same time
my curiosity was aroused.
In those days my convictions oscillated between three different directions: my familys
Christian beliefs, the school-learned scientific approach which carried considerable weight,
and also certain Oriental ideas that had begun to interest me greatly.
Jokingly, I said that I didnt have the time machine Id need to complete the task.
Carlos patiently replied that I didnt need to travel through time to visit the ancient seers
since they existed today. Seeing my puzzled expression, he explained:
"Calling seers 'new' or 'old' is just a way to distinguish between categories of sorcerers.
Don Juan considered the new seers to be the ones engaged exclusively in the fight for
The new seers stopped fiddling around with the fine points of tradition and went straight
to the source. That doesnt mean that there arent many sorcerers out there who still follow the
old ways. You can learn a lot from them.
In the world of sorcerers nothing comes free. If you want tales of power, go for them!"
He pushed me gently, as if urging me to run down the street, then patted my shoulder
and added:
"Only those willing to take risks can unravel the hidden mysteries of the universe."
I was very apprehensive, believing he was sending me on a macabre mission that could
indeed involve evil sorcerers. We did not speak of my task for many years. I had in fact almost
forgotten about it. It was only much later, during one of my recapitulation sessions that I realized

that Carlos had, on that occasion, pointed out a direction to me; it was the very moment when
he presented me to intent.

Provoking Self-Importance
My first contact with Carloss work took place during the key period of my life, while I was still
deliberating which concepts to adopt as the guiding ones in my life. When I first met him I had
already read some of his books, but many of the concepts they spoke about escaped me, whilst
their meanings seemed to me obscure and provocative at the same time.
Carlos teaching style was unique: his glance alone could rouse a person's selfimportance. Some people got so discombobulated in his presence that their ego would explode
and they would even become sick to their stomachs.
I always had a good, friendly relationship with Carlos, although there were periods when
we would not see each other or speak to each other at all. It was as if the Nagual wanted to
give me a break, a period away from him long enough to give me the chance to absorb his
Carlos strictly demanded that I keep total secrecy about our relationship, threatening to
stop seeing me if I failed to meet that demand. His words were clear:
"Dont say anything to anyone about this."
Although at the time I did not understand the reason for this request, my retiring, solitary nature
made it easy for me to comply, providing me with perfect isolation.
In addition, Carlos demanded that I take systematic notes of our talks, declaring that one
day those notes would prove useful to me. This surprised me as on a number of occasions, in
his lectures, I heard him say that one shouldnt write anything down. My academic training
helped me greatly with that task.
I remember how Carlos made fun of people, claiming that they were all hopeless
egomaniacs who fell apart at the slightest pressure. Some people, he told me, were so hurt by
his words that they would depart angrily and end up slandering him. It was fun to watch Carlos
collapse with laughter as he repeated the barbarities they would say.
He was particularly bothered by people who, in his opinion, distorted his teachings. He
told us, for example, how a Mr. Sanchez shamelessly exploited his, Carlos, name and had
been organising courses based on his books as far as the state of Hidalgo[8] in order to profit.
Carlos even hired lawyers to sue those who used his name improperly or quoted his writings
without permission. He claimed that ideas were magical property of those who possessed
them, and ought to be respected.
Carlos said we had to be grateful he was so patient and methodical when explaining the
knowledge of the sorcerers. Had we been in don Juans hands, he said, hed have been sure to
put us in a sack and thrash us until we learned the lesson: that we simply had no time at all.
I was curious about the way Carlos sometimes commented on other peoples affairs in
such detail that I wondered how he could know those things with such certainty. When I asked
him if he had spies among his followers, he replied that, although indeed many people
informed him about what was going on, his certainty came from another direction. He said he
was able to perceive the thoughts of others, and that the dreaming emissary told him everything
about any person on whom he focused his attention.
I asked Carlos if he knew my thoughts. Seeing my look of apprehension, he smiled and
jokingly said that I was a soul in love. I blushed, like a child caught doing something illicit.
Carlos also told me of people who would approach him so they could boast they knew a
celebrity. They were easy to recognise as the first thing they did was ask for his autograph.
Others tried using their relationship with him to attract followers to their own schools. There
were also those who came in the hope of being discovered and recognized by him as his
successors. I would have fits of laughter watching him mimic their begging doggy eyes which
said, Here I am! Please look at ME!

"As if! When I 'failed' to realize how wonderful they were, theyd get angry and go away,
spreading slander not just about me but about all of us, he said, referring to his cohorts.

The Only External Help We Can Have

Once, as we discussed my possible commitment to the path, Carlos said:
Self-pity and self-importance are the real tyrants; they prevent people from seeing things
clearly. Therefore, if you really want to do something for yourself, start fighting those enemies
right now, today!
But how can I do that?
By being deliberate, staying alert and being aware of every act, every thought and
emotion that assaults you; by stalking yourself tirelessly and by not giving in to your vices.
He went on:
If you begin now, you will have taken your first big step. True, it can take you years of
struggle, but at least you won't be inert.
By my various vices he meant the concessions we all make to ourselves when we say
things like, "I cannot live without that, or Ill allow myself the luxury of this or our old excuse,
when we tell ourselves, "I deserve this!
To be aware of ones every thought, word and action is undoubtedly a huge challenge
but I accepted it. He had been right: it took me years of work. For me, the process was gradual.
When I finally realized that my actions were no longer based on self-pity, I felt I had truly cast off
a heavy burden. The most incredible thing however was that previously I did not even notice it
was there.
This task is really a twenty-four hour a day battle the warrior fights against himself,
against his self-importance and self-pity, and is ultimately the battle against his own stupidity.
To win it, one must force oneself at all times not to relax one's vigil and to sustain round-theclock awareness, since, if one lowers ones guard for a single moment, one looses protection
against the onslaughts of the ego.
Now I understood what Carlos meant when he said that one had no need of teachers.
He maintained that fighting self-importance was like going to the toilet, something one had to
do on ones own, since it was strictly personal business. The struggle was against ones own
ego and no one could help us with that.
The only external help our peers can, perhaps, provide is to make us aware of our
weaknesses. That, however, gives rise to a new problem: we often see those who warn us of
our faults as adversaries or enemies when in fact we should be grateful to them, for they are our

Beckoning Intent
In one of our chats, Carlos and I raised the topic of intent. I took the opportunity to ask him what
it really was. He replied:
It is not possible to speak about this topic, not because I wouldnt want to but because
any verbal representation one could come up with would be inadequate for the task. Its like
eating ice cream: it must be experienced directly, and there is no way of describing it.
Perhaps you could tell me, then, about the method of calling intent, I insisted.
There are as many ways as there are practitioners. It seems to connect with every
individual in a unique way, but sorcerers have discovered that yes, in fact, ways of beckoning
intent do exist.
How do they beckon intent?
By being impeccable, but thats not saying much, is it? He looked at me, smiling
ironically as if to say, Ive already been there.
Sorcerers are used to acting with complete detachment and generosity: this is one way
of making oneself available to intent; the other is to move the eyes in order to communicate with
the spirit.
How do they move the eyes?
Don Juan taught me many exercises which Ive already mentioned in my writings.
Haven't you noticed?
I did not know what he was talking about, so I asked him to give me an example.
In my books, for example, I describe the methods of rolling the eyes to intend a change,
squinting to intend non-ordinary perception, and half-closing them to intend inner silence, and
other things of similar kind."
Once hes mastered every single one of these exercises, the warrior's eyes acquire a
singular shine, a sensation that is difficult to describe and needs to be experienced personally.
With that sensation, one beckons intent."

Efficiency and Efficacy

In the course of another conversation, I told Carlos that I had started a regime of rising at five
o'clock in the morning, taking a cold shower and then doing the exercises he had taught us. I
thought Carlos would congratulate me on this achievement, but he did not welcome my news,
saying that all I was doing was putting myself in danger of catching pneumonia. He added:
What youre doing is neither very efficient nor very effective. Forcing yourself in this
fashion will achieve nothing, which means youre wearing yourself out to no purpose.
I felt he was threatening my routines, so I tried to change the topic. I told him that the
terms efficiency and efficacy he had just used seemed redundant to me.
He then explained that, for sorcerers, it is very important not to confuse the means with
the ends.
Superficially, the two concepts seem to refer to the same thing, but they dont. In
practice, they are separated by an abyss and the narrow passage across that abyss is the
impeccability of the warrior's path. The warriors path is an art of balance.
Efficacy is the achievement of our aims. Efficiency, on the other hand, is the way of
accomplishing that achievement while using the least possible amount of energy. For example,
a shaman is efficacious when he succeeds in seeing energy, and he is efficient when that
achievement does not waste his whole life when he uses that power to increase his
awareness rather than his self-importance.
The ancient seers were very efficient at gathering power. However, they used the gifts
they acquired to exercise control over others. When the moment of truth came, they remained
caught as prisoners in the world of the inorganic beings, completely defenceless. They were
very efficient; yes, but very inefficacious.
By learning to stalk, a warrior learns how to refine his levels of efficiency. Every drop of
energy counts, every movement is decisive. The difference between the toltec warrior artist and
charlatan sorcerer of the streets is that, for the former, the detail is of the utmost importance. The
beauty of his art is revealed in every step he takes. For him, life is an exercise in strategy, while
that other type of sorcerer becomes so seduced by the idea of efficacy that is to say, by the
attainment of his personal goals that he throws himself at his objective like a fly at a glass
window and generally does not accomplishes anything. His life is not a work of art.
The efficiency of the warrior depends on the depth of his commitment to the path, but he
must never allow himself to be confounded by understanding. He needs to be patient and
accumulate power little by little, like a battery charging slowly. That is the only way hell be able
to resist the blinding effect of clarity.
It is common for the apprentice to wonder why his benefactor takes so much time to
teach him what he needs to know. Everything seems to be doled out drop by drop. That is so
because the apprentice has not yet acquired patience. He doesnt know that a straight line is
not always the shortest way.
One handles efficiency by applying the art of stalking. When youve learned to plan
every step whilst remaining sufficiently flexible to improvise in an instant, youll understand
what Im talking about.
Learning how to create strategies is of supreme importance on the warrior's path. At a
certain stage of my path, I got obsessed with strategies to the point that I avoided interacting
with people.
And how did you manage to overcome that? I asked.
I didnt do anything special; the changes happened by themselves. At a certain moment,
I acquired a strange self-confidence. I felt I could do anything I set my mind on.
The warriors goal is to overcome the limits we impose on perception. To achieve this,

he uses all the available techniques, enhancing each one by his own determination and
Thus our greatest achievement is not moving the assemblage point as such since we do
it inconsistently all the time: it is to anchor it in a new position through discipline. That is why I
say that efficacy, for a sorcerer, means to achieve control of the dreaming body and then
journey into that immensity out there."

Sealed Units of Energy

Speaking about the luminous egg in one of our conversations, Carlos stated that we all were
sealed units of energy. He had, however, previously said something that appeared to contradict
that statement: he had said that self-importance drained our energy. At the appropriate moment,
I asked him about it.
Its not a contradiction at all, he replied, smiling. "Its just another misunderstanding due
to the inadequacy of our vocabulary. And if we throw the usual difficulty of using words and
semantics to refer to energy phenomena into the bargain, you can get an idea of how
complicated it can sometimes be to explain these topics.
The fact is that our speech really lacks words capable of describing certain phenomena
of sorcery. Because of that, poor interpretations occur. To try and avoid that problem, I have
borrowed words from several languages and even created some new ones, but the situation is
more serious than it appears to be since the modern man believes that if one cannot express
something in words, it doesnt exist.
To make me see that not everything can be transmitted by means of language, he
introduced me to a number of words that did not have a literal translation and required long
explanations in order to clarify their meaning. As an example, he said that the oriental concept
of Chi, when taken to mean energy conveyed only part of its deeper meaning. Another
example he mentioned was that, in the English language, there was no intrinsic difference
between the Spanish words ser and estar, as both concepts were expressed by the verb to
be. He added that in some northern countries there was no equivalent for the word passion,
which meant that even if people felt that emotion, they were unable to express it. He said all
that to make me realise how easy it was to get lost in the labyrinth of words and their meanings,
which was the source of the confusion. He went on to say that at the moment of birth all of us
received a basic bequest of energy, which amounted to the sum of the passion our parents
expended during our conception.
That energy was encapsulated as part of the gift of life. It is all the capital we have; it is
what we are. Now, what we make or don't make of it is the individual responsibility of each one
of us.
The process of being alive transforms our basic energy into a by-product: our perception,
which generates experience, stored as memory. Together, they produce the coveted
The level of an individuals awareness can be measured in terms of his aptitude to be
attentive to himself and to his environment. Attention is therefore the key element in the
transformation and enhancement of gross energy into refined awareness.
Growth of awareness is the sorcerers goal. That is why they constantly exercise their
attention. They deliberately design exercises in avoiding distraction. By doing that, they
significantly increase their ability to concentrate.
He remarked that he had found sculpting to be a very useful tool for cultivating attention.
Through sculpting, he learned that, when the internal dialogue is cancelled, one gives the best
of himself to the task at hand.
How can awareness be enlarged? I asked.
During our lifetime, each one of us develops our basic energy in different ways.
Knowing the importance of looking after it, warriors save their energy and accumulate it through
acts of impeccability. Their basic energy is to them like a seed that sleeps, dreaming dreams of
abundance. In those dreams, it frees its tremendous potential and transforms into a luxuriant
fruit-bearing tree.
By the same token, warriors know that their potential energy can likewise grow, and

expand beyond its limits. In theory, there is no limit to enhancement of awareness. It could keep
on growing and growing, perhaps forever. To achieve this, all one needs is impeccability. That
is the purpose of the sorcerers continuous effort to be impeccable: they are fighting to become
more aware.
But watch out! Because the energy can also be spent until nothing remains.
Carlos explained that energy can be exhausted unconsciously, as it generally happens
to people in the pitiless hands of the ego, who spend all their time firing off their emotions in
interactions they maintain.
Instead of spending their life dissipating their personal power in sterile relationships,
sorcerers have discovered that it is possible to gather personal power through acts of sobriety
and impeccability. They use the art of stalking to stalk themselves, not to deceive others.
He said that with a touch of sarcasm, aware of my own feeble attempts in that direction. He
went on:
For seers, awareness has the appearance of a very bright, sticky, transparent elastic
shell forming a cloak around the luminous egg. It is like an enveloping brilliance. Even though it
should be abundant, that luminescence is almost absent in our species. That is so because
awareness generated by the experience of being alive gets constantly obliterated by the
quotidian, by our routines. That is the price the predatory Universe charges for giving us life."
As I gazed at him, hungry for more, Carlos continued:
The Universe charges us tax through flyers, the predatory aspect of cosmic energy. We
are like chickens for them; they see us exactly as we see cattle: as a source of food. Just like
we take advantage of other species, we are milked and eaten without compassion by the flyers.
Do you ever wonder why people have emotional ups and downs, or difficulty remembering their
dreams and sometimes even the details of the previous days events? That is the work of the
predator who extracts our very best from us.
I asked him how much energy a person had left after being thus milked. He replied:
What we have seen is that the level of awareness in people generally doesn't grow
above the height of the big toe. We can measure the energy level of a person by the amount of
time they can keep their attention fixed. You can verify this yourself. Observe those around you
and you will see that hardly anybody manages to concentrate for any length of time. Thats how
fucked we are as a species!
Even if someone does try to be more attentive, he can only manage to do so with
difficulty, because the awareness accumulated by the process of being alive is constantly cut
back by the flyers; consequently, the sheen of awareness never gets to develop, because the
flyers do not let it.
Our mind is actually the flyer advising us minute-by-minute to behave as imbeciles.
That's why we spend our life wasting our energy on self-indulgence and useless outbursts of
ego. Why do you think almost nobody manages to stop the internal dialogue? This shouldnt be
so difficult for an aware species like ours; however, the predator that consumes us leaves us
only just enough awareness to keep us alive.
And how do they consume us? I asked with a lump in my throat.
Imitating the constrained tone of my voice, he replied jokingly:
They eat us with a knife and fork.
He laughed heartily, and then added in a more serious tone:
They consume our energy whenever it is dissipated in the form of feelings and
Any type of emotion? I asked.
Sure. Emotions act as ejectors of energy and there is always a flyer around, ready to

take advantage.
This goes for any type of emotion we generate. Be it love, hate, repulsion or tenderness,
the intensity of the energy is frontally ejected out of the fibres of the luminous egg in the form of
waves. The expelled energy is what the flyers consume.
Using our ego as front in our interactions with the world forces us to carry on exhausting
our energy. Whenever someone throws a tantrum, you can be sure that there is a flyer around
to take advantage of such a waste. The same happens when strong emotions arise during
sports competitions, or when we go to the movies or the theatre where the feelings of fear,
anxiety, love, tenderness, and so on arise within us. Those emotions, too, attract the eaters.
That's why sorcerers recommend investment instead of entertainment.
We are really under cross-fire. The society and the way we live are designed so that we
can be constantly milked. Reacting to the world, we drain our luminous mass, our precious
energy of self-awareness. Generally speaking, what is left barely suffices us to maintain our
day-to-day life.
That is why people live as they do. They are like automatons: they get up and go to work
in order to sell the best time of their life to the highest bidder in exchange for the means to go on
living with the sole goal of being able to carry on working to produce more energy for the benefit
of the third party. It really is a terrible vicious circle, very hard to break.
In answer to my question whether it was possible for an ordinary person to realise the
truth about their situation, Carlos confirmed that it was theoretically possible to reach the
condition of emotional indifference towards oneself through reasoning and coming to
conclusions regarding our energy priorities. In practice, however, there is no way a person
embroiled within the context of luminosity deterioration can react in time.
One would never find sufficient energy. One would always be a step behind the
necessary action, he pointed out.
What can we do, then? I mumbled.
Since we are left to our own resources, we have only one option: to preserve the energy
we were born with. Impeccable warriors dont need anyone to guide them, as saving energy
becomes self-explanatory to those who are attempting to be more aware.
Then the flyers do consume our basic energy? I enquired. I wanted to know if the flyers
predation irretrievably harmed our energy, or if we could reverse the process. He explained:
In normal circumstances, the process of energy predation can definitively be reversed
so that we can recover our full luminosity. That is possible because what the flyers consume is
not the basic energy as such, but the energy processed and transformed into feelings and
emotions. That is what gets ejected out of our energy mass when we fire our emotions off. The
basic energy remains within us like the root of the tree of life. As I have already said, that
energy is sealed.
We remained silent for a few moments. My head was spinning; the implications of what
Carlos was saying were astronomical. Anticipating my thoughts, he continued:
Energy is there to be used. It is like a fire whose flame, once ignited, can only be used
or wasted. Impeccability means using the energy to generate more awareness. In that process,
the warrior always chooses the path every step of which he enjoys, living intensely through
every minute because he knows that the flame of life is not eternal.
We are truly immersed in a world of mysteries, and the greatest of all pleasures is to
unveil those mysteries one by one, like when one is a child and everything is new and vibrant.
That is how saved energy enables us to make increasingly longer jumps each time, until we
end up taking off and flying.
The possibilities for those that manage to save energy are truly extraordinary, as they

can get to the point where their awareness increases to levels inconceivable to the average
man. It is in fact possible to reach total awareness this way.

The Wheel of Time

On one occasion I mentioned to Carlos that Id been on an excursion to the area of Bolsn de
Mapimi in the north of Mexico, to a place known as The Silence Zone. He told me that he had
already been there and added that the reason inexplicable phenomena happened in that place
was because of powerful confluences of Eagle's emanations. He said:
The confluence of emanations is what causes the well-known phenomena of distortion
in compasses and other electronic devices. It is also responsible for the visual and auditory
hallucinations in those who visit that area.
Our conversation moved on to a topic that interested me greatly; Carlos called it the wheel of
Time is the essence of Eagles emanations, he told me. The emanations are
perceived by sentient beings as time. Time is our subjective sensation of the emanations.
Sorcerers see time as constant flow, as if it were a giant wave with everything caught up in its
crest, making it all move in unison. That effect makes the passage of time seem real and
unchangeable to us.
If we could perceive everything at the same time, we would not see time as something
that passes but as the absolute, as an experience of eternity. The nature of our organs of
perception is such that we select bundles of emanations in sequence, and that gives us the
impression of the passing of time.
Sorcerers have discovered that time is not something rigid. The manner in which we
perceive it depends on the way we fix the position of the assemblage point. The human beings
of our time are imprisoned in a collective position that makes us oscillate around the position of
reason where time is linear, a single recurrence moving ever forward in an unchanging
"We all long, however, to break that linearity. That is why fiction stories are written about
characters who travel through time. Deep down, we all know that the experience of time in
which we are immersed is only a mirage shared by all of us who belong to this particular cluster
of Eagles emanations.
Once they have learned to fix their assemblage point in diverse positions, sorcerers
experience different types of time: continuities that can flow slower or faster, or in several
directions simultaneously. The sorcerers call this omnidirectional[9] flow the supremacy of the
wheel of time.
Due to their experience in the labyrinth of time, the shamans of antiquity came to the
conclusion that the real nature of time was cyclical, with no straight lines in the succession of
events. That is why, in essence, all beings and events are cyclical, because everything recurs
time and again.
They saw that there were certain patterns or moulds in energy. They also saw that
cycles superimposed themselves on one another, interacting in indescribable ways and
mingling to form new cycles. That is why all beings are connected like the beads of the rosary
and absolutely everything that exists forms part of the same weave of eagles emanations. That,
for sorcerers, is the essential nature of the universe.
Although I did not fully understand what he had said, I marvelled at his explanation while
the scope of his level of awareness astonished me. Just to say something, I remarked that
scientists had made significant discoveries about the texture of time and space. He replied:
Theoretical physicists are advanced explorers who use mathematical logic to
investigate the universe, but even they feel it to be an ineffective and inappropriate tool. The
proof is that they cant agree even among themselves, and the unified theory is a fallacy
explaining nothing.

Real and tangible worlds exist where time passes in a way different from what is normal
to us. I know; I have already been there.
Here on Earth, sorcerers recognize anomalous points where emanations change their
texture as places of power. In those places, energy behaves in ways different from the usual
one. A sensitive person in the state of inner silence can extract a great deal of information about
the mysteries of the universe from those sites."
I asked him if he knew a place of power he could recommend. He replied evasively:
The world is full of such places; particularly here, because in this area Eagles
emanations swirl like nowhere else Ive seen.
The difficulty lies not in finding such a place but in being able to recognise it and use it
In fact, any place can be a place of power for the person who manages to reach silence.
We are generally so confused by the hurly-burly of the world around us that it is very difficult to
apprehend the tenuous oscillation that can be felt when we are silent. The vibration we
perceive is Eagles emanations; it is time passing by.
The ancients knew that the universe could be explained in part but never in its totality,
because the universe is not there to be explained. The only sensible thing to do with Eagles
emanations is to use them.
Shamans are very practical persons. They dont see the secrets of the wheel of time as
theoretical knowledge but as possibility of action. They have designed practices that actually
make it possible for them to travel through time, although not through the linear time of our
everyday experience, but through the real time of the emanations.
What could be the practical use of that knowledge? I asked.
The sorcerer who has learned to use the emanations knows it is possible to assimilate
the moment, to make oneself one with it and to extend eternally in any direction of his choice.
Such is the freedom of perception, our real destination as luminous beings.
Sorcerers struggle to break with the human form and to divest themselves of personality;
ultimately, they do it to make themselves one with the emanations of time and flow with them.
The goal is to establish a personal relationship with time, a harmonic relationship that allows
them to flow with the emanations in perfect equilibrium, so that the human will and the will of
the Eagle are the same.
Paraphrasing something that he himself had written, he said:
"The knowledge of time is available only to those who investigate it deliberately.
I wanted to know what that type of investigation consisted of. He replied:
"To flow with time, you have to learn to face it as it advances towards you, just like a bird
which faces the oncoming wind in order to soar, never the receding one.
By the same token, to face time, you must abandon the tendency to see yourself at the
end of a line of events, as a participant in the chain of your personal and collective history. It is
an illusion; the past and the future do not exist. The only thing that you really have is this
If you want to deal with the oncoming time, you have to dare to live the present. To flow
with time is to live this moment intensely, accepting or rejecting the challenges that appear on
our path, learning and experimenting with every new day of our life.
To live in the present does not mean abandoning oneself to the randomness of the
moment; on the contrary, it means having the speed to grasp everything the second it happens,
without passing it through the filter of reason. That way the world renews itself all the time and
the most exciting possibilities open themselves to us. One thus becomes aware of everything
that happens around him.

Living in the present does not imply disregarding past experiences; it means learning to
see them as they really are: events outside time in the flow of the cosmic intent. That allows one
to extract accurate lessons from them, and even gives one the capacity to modify them as
required. That is what recapitulation is for; through recapitulation, you can literally intervene in
the energy flow of the past.
A sorcerer who has learned to manipulate the wheel of time can deliberately interfere in
events as much as the power allows and alter the future in his favour. By doing that, he puts
himself in the best possible position for the completion of his task.
The most dramatic effect the wheel of time has on a sorcerers experience is the
realisation that he does not actually exist here or there, because time and space are not as
absolute as we believe them to be.

The Parallel Lines

I had just finished re-reading the story of the jump into the abyss when I found out that Carlos
was visiting the city. I immediately called the hotel where he usually stayed. They confirmed
that he was indeed staying there, but was not in his room at that moment.
Whenever Carlos arrived on a visit to the city, the news would usually spread among
those interested; so, after a bit of investigation, I found out he would be giving a talk in an
esoteric centre run by one of his friends.
I presented myself at the appointed time, sat down behind the others and prepared to
listen to the Naguals teachings. It was Carlos custom to disguise information by jokes and
irrelevant prattle; nevertheless, those who knew what he was talking about always recognized
his hidden lessons.
That evening he spoke of what he called the greed of the middle classes. He said that
our current system had transformed people into needlings, the need people. He openly
ridiculed the meaningless life the middle classes had espoused, with the sole goal of achieving
the coveted purchasing power so that they could buy a pile of useless objects they ended up
storing in their garages until one day, weary of having no space, they threw everything out as
I remembered that he classed himself as a proletarian, obviously referring not to his lack
of resources but to the fact that he did not possess or want anything. He said that being poor did
not mean having no money; it was the need to possess things.
Having finished his talk and going through the usual ritual of saying goodbye to his
assistants, he signalled to me with his eyes, indicating that I should look for him later. I went to
his hotel and found him alone in the restaurant. He invited me to sit down. He had ordered a
soup with tortillas; I ordered the same.
When we had finished eating, I asked him what had really happened to him during that
famous jump into the abyss, confessing I hadnt quite understood the metaphor.
It is not a metaphor! Carlos interrupted me firmly, and explained:
There are sorcery traditions in which sorcerers choose to perform a leap at the moment
of departure on their final journey. With that intent, the participants jump together off the top of a
high cliff. If they pass the test, they disappear from this world. Those who fail are found dead at
the bottom of the cliff.
The test that don Juan put me through was really a preparation for what is yet to come.
What jumped into the abyss that day were, first of all, my perception, and then the totality of me.
Id arrived at the inevitable conclusion that we were not solid but were a feeling, a perception
placed inside a description we called body, and don Juan gave me the opportunity to prove it.
He went on to say that, on reaching a certain level of awareness, one loses the certainty
of being solid and surrounded by a world of objects. From that point onwards, one perceives
the world in a way completely different from the usual one.
He gave me as an example the reference he had made in his work to crossing the
boundary between the two states of awareness which he called the parallel lines; a sorcerers'
achievement that could also be described as movement of the assemblage point from one
specific position to another, instantaneously allowing the warrior to perceive a different world.
According to Carlos, the process of transition between one world and another is
perceived as a wall of fog, a perceptive gap caused by the movement of the assemblage point
while a different description is being aligned. Among themselves, the sorcerers refer to that
place as the limbo or the place of the yellow dunes.
The bodily sensation one feels while aligning that other world is one of physically
breaking a paper wall which is giving light resistance and is perceived as a wall of fog.

Breaking through that barrier is necessary in order to be able to align another world. The
transition is perceived bodily as a crack at the base of the skull, like a twig breaking in two,
accompanied by a bell-like sound in the ears.
Sorcerers encourage their apprentices to repeat with the left side of the body any
movement they do with the right side; the left-handed, obviously need to perform this exercise
in the reverse. The reason for this exercise is to help break a physical barrier that exists inside
us; once this barrier is shattered, it becomes much easier to move the assemblage point and to
enter dreaming.
Sorcerers use the metaphor of the limiting line to get the apprentice to commit to his new
life of struggle as a warrior. To cross that line means to enter another world. That is equivalent
to breaking the parallel lines, which is neither more nor less than moving the assemblage
And what about the parallel being? I asked.
This being is the mirror image of oneself. It exists in the world at the same time as we
and is our energetic counterweight, since absolutely everything that exists comes in pairs. If our
parallel being dies, we suddenly get ill, without an apparent reason, and also die.
The warriors who have the good fortune of finding their parallel being while in this world
find in it a source of youth, happiness and joy, because one completes the other. Very few
warriors, however, have accomplished this feat. As Ive described in The Second Ring of
Power, the book that should never have been, doa Soledad was one of the few.
Why do you say that The Second Ring of Power should never have been? I asked.
He took his time answering. As he smoothed his hair backwards, I could see an area of
baldness at the front which he concealed successfully by combing his hair forward. He
appeared not to like discussing the subject very much but nevertheless replied:
At the time, Id delivered a just-completed work to my New York publisher, but doa
Florinda, having had found out what it was about, told me that people still werent ready for that
kind of revelation and made me run back to the publisher at once to recover the manuscript
which was already being printed. It took a lot to convince the publisher not to publish that book;
I had to promise to bring him a new one in four weeks time. That was how The Second Ring
came into being.
Full of curiosity, I asked:
And what happened to the book that doa Florinda stopped you from publishing?
I thought he was not going to answer, but to my surprise he said:
It was about the world of dreaming and our relationship with the inorganic beings and
flyers. That is why one of the proposed titles was Seeing Trough the Eyes of the Predator.
The fact is, I was never happy about swapping the two books around as, according to
the agreement I had with don Juan, I wasnt obliged to write about the other apprentices. Whats
more, I regret ever having published that work.
I assured him that I loved The Second Ring of Power and that, in my humble opinion, we
were lucky to have such valuable material which gave us better understanding of the life and
the ways of sorcerers' apprentices.
He shrugged his shoulders as if to say, does it matter?

The Dome of the Naguals

When I told my companions that I had decided to relate part of my experience of living with
them in a new book, the Atocayo[10] warned me about the dangers of fame and fortune. He
said it was important to watch out lest my intention to help others should become the ultimate
objective of my path.
Many betray the intent of freedom, he said, for hope of wealth or desire to be famous,
loved and admired by others.
The real warrior has an insatiable thirst for freedom and infinite curiosity about
everything; he is thus always experimenting and learning. That keeps him on the straight path
and makes him humble before this splendour in which we are immersed.
Even when sharing his achievements with others, the warrior does not get bogged down
in the mire of personal importance, simply because he has no time to lose. He knows very well
that Death is at his heels, urging him to keep experimenting and enjoying the world.
He also told me I had to be extremely detached if I was planning on facing that
challenge, and charged me never to reveal the identities of my companions in my writings.
Opening up to people has a very high price. he said, and gave me Carlos as an
example. Although he was a formidable warrior, he paid with his own life and perhaps even
with his freedom for having become accessible.
He made that comment because, according to some seers who had been in contact with
him in the other world, Carlos had adopted the emergency plan. Once the deterioration of his
physical body had begun, he joined the other seers of his lineage in the graveyard of the
Carlos had previously touched very briefly on the topic of the graveyard of the Naguals,
never completely clarifying the meaning of that elusive concept. I had been waiting long for an
opportunity to ask him about it.
That afternoon, after he had finished with his commitments, we met in a restaurant with a
few small tables on the pavement. After the meal, we went for a walk to a nearby park. When
we got closer, I remained spellbound for a moment, watching water form a transparent dome as
it gushed out of a fountain. I had to make a conscious effort to break its allure.
We sat down on a nearby bench and I asked hurriedly:
Carlos, what is the real goal of sorcerers?
As he began to speak, I realized I had forgotten my notebook in the restaurant, but I said
nothing to Carlos lest I disturb the flow of the ideas he was expounding. In the course of his
explanation, he mentioned that don Juan had given him a task the full details of which he did
not wish to disclose at that particular time. Finally, he said that, should he fail in his task, his
teacher had promised to try and come back from wherever he was to fetch him.
My face must have been showing anxiety because Carlos asked, as if reading my mind:
Where are your notes?
I confessed I had left them in the restaurant and asked him for permission to go and get
them. I ran back and recovered the notes without any problems. On return, trying to recapture
the thread of our conversation, I asked:
And where do you believe don Juan might be now?
Im sure that he and his warriors have gone to join the other seers of his lineage in the
dome of the Naguals. Seeing my inquisitive look, Carlos added:
The last time we were together, I saw all of them dissolve into thin air. Don Juan had
chosen a mountain top as the place from which to embark on his definitive journey; in that

place, I and the other apprentices took our final leave of him.
After his departure I remained adrift for years, not knowing whether I was coming or
going. Finally I started remembering everything that had transpired, and it took me many more
years to be able to understand what I had remembered. Even now, new memories of the time
under the Nagual Juan Matus tutelage keep cropping up.
At one time I was more than confused: can you imagine what it means to have two
different memories of the same event? I was on the verge of losing my sanity when finally the
answers came; after years of struggle, I managed to establish some order in the chaos of my
If you look carefully, youll see that in my books I described some events from the point of
view of different levels of awareness; I did that because on each level I saw and interpreted
differently whatever was happening to me. That is the mystery of heightened awareness. In
those moments one lives with such intensity that it takes one years to re-align the memory.
Carlos reflected in silence for a moment and then went on:
On one occasion, don Juan took me to a secluded place deep in the mountains and
gave me his pipe to smoke. While I was under the power of the smoke, he showed me a colony
of red insects. Extraordinary visions that at the time made no sense to me followed: I felt that I
was flying towards a gigantic white dome.
Later, don Juan explained the meaning of what had happened. The seers of antiquity, he
said, had created a refuge in the dreaming world, based on the structural organization of those
bugs. He revealed to me that he and his group planned to go there after they left this world.
I was astonished to hear Carlos say that. Until then, I had believed that his teacher and
his party of warriors had gone to the third attention. A thousand questions came to my mind at
that instant, but I did not know where to begin. I remained absorbed for a moment, considering
the implications of what he had revealed.
Carlos must have noticed my amazement, because he opened his mouth wide in a
caricature of my expression. Then he added, smiling:
I was left gaping, too, when I heard that.
Don Juan told me that the ancients had discovered the form of existence created by
those insects completely by chance during one of their gazing practices. Having thoroughly
observed them, they got so intrigued that they ended up moving their assemblage points to the
position of those little bugs, transforming physically into them. Thus they discovered that the
social organization created by those beings was perfection itself. Consequently, they built a
replica of that structure at a location in the other world.
I was very interested to know how and when the ancient ones had created that place.
The sorcerers of antiquity tell that, in their distant past, a very powerful Nagual pair
existed; they, it is said, were the founders of our tradition. Those sorcerers were such teachers
of dreaming that they managed to teach their art to their entire people.
They say that, with time, those people become so skilled at dreaming that, for them,
there was no longer any difference between being awake and dreaming; they acted in both
realms with equal control.
Under the supervision of the Nagual pair, that nation of dreamers managed to recreate
their cities inside their visions of collective dreaming and, when the moment came, they chose
to go and live in the world of their creation. One day, they simply vanished from the face of the
Having said that, Carlos kept looking at me as if assessing my reaction. I was fascinated
by what he had told me and just wanted him to keep on speaking. After a moment, he

In the course of time, going to that place became a priority goal for many sorcerers.
Whole lineages met up there. The place thus became known for many as the refuge or the
sanctuary. As the number of residents increased, their community transformed into an
enormous bubble of collective dreaming maintained to this very day by the intent of a large
number of sorcerers keeping their assemblage points fixed on that position in unison.
Where is that place?
They are placed somewhere out there, in that immensity, he said and gestured with his
arm, indicating the infinite space. Dreamers who travel to that place see it as an enormous
white dome.
But are they on another planet?
He smiled slightly before answering.
As I have told you, they exist in another position of the assemblage point. Over time,
they transformed that place into a fantastic base where they accumulated their resources.
Taking advantage of their inorganic existence, they venture from there through the entire
cosmos, exploring the most incredible possibilities of perception.
They can do that because in their condition time passes differently and the known laws
of space-time do not apply. That is how they managed to escape the wear and tear of biological
existence and are still alive today. Because theyve managed to link directly with the
awareness of the Earth, they can go on existing for near-eternity, as long as our planet exists.
And why did they do that?
Their goal was to survive at any cost and, to defy death, they chose to transform
themselves into a special type of inorganic being. However, aware of the predatory conditions
that rule out there, they conspired to create a refuge in the other world.
Staring fixedly into my eyes, he added:
You already know that the Universe at large is predatory. Once you pass to the other
side, you become subject to its laws and the groups of inorganics that rule there. On many
occasions real battles have broken out among them for the awareness of the inhabitants.
By creating their hive, the ancient seers have managed to retain a high level of
independence, and even if it does not free them completely from the influence of the inorganic
kingdom, at least they are not its slaves.

The Sorcerers Option

Carlos maintained that a ferocious war over awareness was waged throughout the cosmos, in
some ways comparable to the petty wars we in our world fought over food and material goods.
He said that this tremendous battle to evolve and to prevail raged on all the levels of existence
with equal savage intensity. We ourselves fought one another in that selfsame battle at that
very moment.
Aware of the situation, the warrior plans the strategy of his life in the best possible way
to avoid wear and tear. By staying alert, the warrior avoids falling victim to attacks, considerably
enlarging his energy at the same time.
On that occasion I asked Carlos to explain to me in more detail the concept he called the
sorcerers option. From his books I had understood that those who did not achieve total
freedom were consumed by the Eagle when they died and that was the end of their story.
He replied:
In fact, a large scale of possibilities exists for those who die, ranging from instant loss of
awareness at the moment of transition to maintaining the memory of self for a certain period of
Like life, death touches us all but it is not the same for all. Through their investigations,
sorcerers discovered ways of extending the duration of individual awareness to its maximum.
Does that mean that they became immortal?
Not at all. What Im saying is that sorcerers managed to find a way of suspending death,
not of cancelling it. For them, to die does not have the same meaning it has for ordinary people.
For them, the opposite of dying is not immortality, but continued existence. The trick lies in
understanding that to be alive does not necessarily mean being an organism; rather, it means
being aware.
Seers throughout the ages have always been hugely interested in this topic because it
has to do with the real purpose of our existence. The ancients used their seeing to investigate it
and discovered that energy initially took physical form in order to evolve.
Next, the sorcerers observed that, although biological life lasted a limited period of time
after which it ceased to exist, the energy that animated matter was eternal. They saw that it was
possible, by means of discipline and self-determination, to train that bundle of energy that forms
us to become aware of itself.
Joining their two discoveries together, those sorcerers-seers proposed to remain aware
forever. That is what they referred to when they spoke of attaining freedom: what they were
really trying to do was prolong the individuality of awareness as much as they could.
Theirs is a phenomenal battle, with the flame of awareness bravely and unceasingly
struggling to stay alight. Indeed it is as it has been said, the light of a candle against the glare of
a billion stars.

The Ultimate Manoeuvre

The next time I had the opportunity to speak to Carlos, I said that, having considered what he
had told me the last time, I had new questions. He looked at me inquisitively, and arched his
eyebrows as if to say lets hear them.
My curiosity had to do with the way of life and the activities of those who had transformed
themselves into inorganic entities. I asked Carlos how they had achieved the transformation.
That is a personal matter, he replied. Each lineage has its own goals and its own
methods of achieving them. There are sorcerers who have transformed themselves into trees or
have buried themselves alive to defy death; other groups believe that body is an obstacle,
which is why they free themselves of their physical part at the moment of leaving. Don Juan and
his party did not leave even their ashes behind; they left with everything and their sandals. In a
most elegant way, they dissolved into thin air.
Warriors of total freedom, on the other hand, merge with the emanations at large and
disappear forever, consumed by fire from within. They are never heard of again; theirs is truly a
journey of no return.
Some of them believe that it is still possible to preserve the sense of individuality in that
condition. Others think that, instead of being total freedom, merging with emanations at large
means total death and nothing more. No one knows what really happens. There are few stories
about warriors who opted for that final manoeuvre. The Nagual Julian Osorio was one of them.
But the vast majority chooses other, less definitive options, like joining the world of the
inorganic beings for example, while knowing full well that their choice implies serious
disadvantages, since in that world, like in ours, the individual serves the collective and ends up
exchanging the chance of remaining aware for slavery.
Another option, of course, is what Ive already told you: to try and reach the Dome of the
Naguals. Those who took that option are still alive, but the moment will come when they will
have to relinquish awareness and return all the experience theyd acquired to its original
owner. That is why they call the Dome the graveyard of the Naguals: because regardless of
how long they manage to survive, one day they will have to die.

The Naguals Plan

During one of our final meetings, Carlos confessed he was feeling a bit sick. Jokingly, he said
he was still waiting for the potion I had gone to fetch him years ago. We both had a good laugh,
especially when he told me that, at the time hed phoned me to ask me to get it, he had not even
been in Mexico.
Taking advantage of the rare opportunity to talk to him privately, I asked him why he
charged for his seminars, knowing full well that he had no need of money. I was aware that
even though it was not always apparent, the Nagual had a purpose behind everything he did.
He replied:
"As you know, in the past, Naguals like me helped entire cities pass to the other side
where they still exist today. I didnt want to make an open commitment to the public, but our
goal is to prepare as many warriors, in as short a period of time as possible, to make the
You are the witness, Armando, that for many years I offered my knowledge freely,
without charging a fee. However, the circumstances have now changed. The Nagual is a
provider, and it is his duty to ensure that the members of his party do not lack anything. On the
other hand, there is the decision we made, following omens, to teach don Juans legacy of
freedom to everyone. That is why currently we charge for the seminars.
When one learns to intend in dreaming, the possibilities are limitless. We wish to create
a place in the other world, free of inorganic beings and unburdened by the old sorcerers
tradition. We look forward to establishing a more democratic place, with fewer ritualistic
procedures; a place where individual rights are respected, and most importantly, where no one
is anyones slave.
We believe it is possible to create a modern version of what the ancient sorcerers
accomplished, but according to our own rules. Florinda and the other witches working together
are capable of creating what we call the cosmic vagina, an opening in space-time. Our plan is
to leave the world through that passageway.
Many scholars laugh when I say this, just as, in his time, they laughed at Christopher
Columbus when he said that the world was round and that unknown civilizations existed on the
other side of the ocean.
It is true that the price is high, both in energy and in dispensing with rationality. Yet it is
not impossible to pay, so that sorcerers experience is placed within everyones reach. All that
is required is unbending intent of what one seeks.
I know it is supreme audacity on our part, trying to send thousands of warriors to the
other world. What a stir that would cause today, with the modern means of communication! Can
you imagine? Yes, my critics would believe me then!
Don Juan taught, and I have personally been able to corroborate, that the universe is
composed of many layers, or dimensions, if you prefer to call them that. Many possibilities exist.
It is truly a shame to waste our entire lives on a single and exclusive world view. There are
whole worlds waiting to be explored by the Columbuses of our time, and there are many that
are infinite.

Part Two: The World of the Sorcerer-Healer

At the Healers House
Our private joke about the phone call had to do with something that happened years ago when
Carlos phoned me one morning. He said he was visiting the city, but was feeling very unwell.
He was very strong but of delicate health, which he blamed on his excesses and on the
profusion of power plants don Juan had given him. Thus, although surprised, I did not find it
strange that he was calling for my help when he told me in a suffering voice that he had terrible
stomach ache. He asked me to go to a neighbouring village for a remedial brew that had been
prepared by his herbalist friend. I immediately put myself at his disposal and set out for the
When I arrived at my destination, things got complicated. It turned out I was to go to the
nearby hills to harvest the right herb for making the potion Carlos required. I was warned that
the area was dangerous, but in spite of that I waded into the shrubbery in search of the
necessary plants.
I was busy collecting a tiny amount of the rare herb, when a number of bad-tempered
muscular fellows armed with rifles and machetes sprung out of nowhere. They started a nasty
row with me, claiming I had invaded their collection area.
I tried to talk to them and explain why I needed the plants, offering them money and my
watch. When I said that the herbs were for don Eladio, however, they got really angry, and
began thrashing me, beating me so hard I thought I was going to die. I lay unconscious for an
unknown period of time. Too badly injured to move, I resigned myself to dying there among the
hills, but my lucky star wanted me to be found by a female healer who rescued me and healed
my wounds.
The healer was doa Silvia Magdalena who eventually became my teacher. With her I
learned the art of healing and much, much more. During my time in her care, we talked a lot.
She told me stories that made me cry with laughter, which in turn made my wounds hurt very
badly. I learned to love her unconditionally. How I relished those days in spite of being so very
According to her, I was almost dead when she got to me. She told me that she would
never have found me but for a whirlwind that gave her indication of where I was and led her to
me. When she saw me, she said, I was naked and covered in blood, whereupon she took me
home and personally nursed me for three months. She used her knowledge to heal my wounds
and then, following omens, took me on as her healers apprentice.
I remember one occasion when, from under the window where I used to spread my
bedroll, I could see the full moon shining in all its glory. I used to spend hours there gazing at
the stars. From where I lay, every night I would watch the constellation of the Big Dipper sail by.
Like a moving carriage, it would lull me into deep, healing sleep.
That particular night I had a strange dream. I even thought that my attacks had returned
and that I had relapsed into one of my recurring nightmares. Frightened, I woke up, and, by the
light of the moon, I saw a huge coyote sitting on the frame of the open window, examining me
with curiosity. My sudden movement frightened the animal away and my hysterical reaction
roused doa Silvia who immediately came to my aid.
I was still screaming in terror when she arrived. My voice faltered with emotion as I
described what I had seen. She dismissed the incident, however, saying it was just a bad
dream; she would prepare me a lime blossom infusion, which would calm me and make me go

back to sleep.
As she stoked up the fire in the wood stove to make the tea, I told her I was still excited
by what had happened. Although after a while I managed to calm down a bit, I was not all that
convinced that what I had seen had been just a dream. The sight of a coyote sitting in the
window with legs crossed like a person was really something outside the realm of the possible.
The next day, I asked doa Silvia again about what had happened, and to my surprise,
she said, laughing like anything, that Id probably been visited by the nagual.
I experienced a jolt. Until then I believed her to be just an ordinary healer, but hearing
her utter the word nagual filled me with excitement because that was the first time I had heard
that term being used outside the context of Carlos books. Full of curiosity, I asked:
"What do you know about the nagual, doa Silvia?"
She gave me a huge wide-eyed look full of terror and, crossing herself, said in a
dramatically broken whisper,
"The nagual is the devil!"
In a highly theatrical fashion she told me that the nagual often prowled around looking
for a sick person to snatch, and that I must have been lucky since it had not killed me.
The conversation was not what I had expected. In order to change the subject, I said she
may have been right last night when she said that it had all been just a dream. She, however,
vehemently insisted that I had been visited by the nagual and even began examining the
window frame for the animals hair to prove that what she had said was true. She went on
scaring me for a long time with casual comments about people she had heard had been carried
off by the nagual. She claimed that the nagual was a demon that could swoop down on anyone
and even pry into their dreams.
With a deadly serious face, she advised:
"You have to be very mindful of what goes on in your dreams. If you sense anything
strange in your dream, you must tell me at once."
I had suffered since childhood from terrible nightmares in which, among other things, I
would dream of falling into a bottomless pit. Or a monster would chase me, always just a few
steps behind. I was never able to see it, yet I somehow knew it was horrible and was going to
hurt me.
After a falling dream, I would wake up suddenly, frightened and screaming. But
whenever the monster pursued me through my dream, I would undergo hours of torment,
fleeing and hiding and trying unsuccessfully to wake up. I would finally end up falling into some
blurry blackness, then wake up very tired and covered in sweat, as if I had run a marathon.
My general weakened state and the rural environment were beginning to have an effect
on me. Her comments which in different circumstances may not have mattered to me at all now
worried me a great deal and further fuelled the fire of my nocturnal fears, so much so that I spent
several long nights with my eyes wide open, dreading the moment of falling asleep which
would inevitably come because of fatigue. As if they had only been waiting for my fear to
manifest itself, my nightmares would return with greater intensity than ever.
The attacks were so fierce that on some nights my screams would wake everyone. On
one such occasion, I began recounting one of my nightmares to doa Silvia, but she would not
listen, merely saying that I should stay alert in order to avoid the worst.
One night, when all seemed lost, I met with doa Silvia in one of my dreams. She started
giving me instructions that made me completely forget my fears. I would also forget the dream
itself. On waking, dream events would almost immediately fade from my memory. Id only
vaguely remember having encountered her and other people. It was as if a fog had invaded my
mind, preventing me from thinking coherently about what I had dreamed only a moment before.

At that time, I still had no control over the fluctuation of dream images and would lose
memory of them with tremendous speed. Eventually, I realized that if I followed the simple tip of
fixing a scene with my attention, the images remained in focus much longer. I also learned to
use the technique of returning to the starting point[11] for recuperation every time I felt I was
losing control. That is how I ended up participating in a world of activities that were truly beyond
any description.

Don Gabinito
Apart from her hut in the hills, doa Silvia also had another house situated on sizeable grounds
by the road on the outskirts of a small town, almost completely concealed by many trees that
grew around it. To the left of the house, a luxuriant tree provided excellent shade over several
benches crudely built of logs and planks. At the back, a ramada made of poles supported a
climbing vine which, in season, bloomed lavishly with beautiful flowers. On hot afternoons we
would sit and talk there while shelling corn or doing some other work.
While I was ill, my daily tasks consisted of nursing my wounds and, as doa Sylvia put it,
"cleansing away my sins." She explained that our principal responsibility towards the spirit was
to heal ourselves.
"For us, this is the basic principle, and the way that leads one to safety, happiness and
contentment. For that, one must first purify oneself. People are so used to being unwell that they
dont even realize they are ill and only look after themselves in extreme cases. We the healers,
however, are different; we are dedicated to constant maintenance of our health because it is a
sin to harm the body given us by God. The healing path demands that we stop sinning because
no one can enter glory unless their physical body is in perfect working condition."
I asked, "Why is that?"
"Because, as long as ones body is using its resources to heal, one hardly has enough
energy to do other work. The price one pays for neglecting ones health is very high. Not only
does one pay by disease and even death, but one can never manage to gather the energy
necessary for salvation.
While my wounds were healing, I walked using a cane as a makeshift crutch. I could not
help noticing strange activities in the healers house. At first I could not distinguish very well the
people who frequented it, but after a while I became able to tell the residents from those who
came for consultation or as occasional visitors.
Among the patients, the residents, and the frequent visitors, I made friends with a strange
old man who told me he was suffering from gastric ulcer, "because of alcohol abuse and other
shit", as he put it.
It turned out that the old man, called don Gabinito, was like a house dog. Everyone
treated him badly and seemed to want to chase him out. For some reason, however, I enjoyed
his company although I pitied him.
Doa Silvia even told me once not to give him too much rope, because otherwise
theyd never manage to get rid of him.
I asked, "Why do you want to get rid of him?"
"Ah, Bino simply couldnt be more annoying, but as hes homeless, hes moved in with
us. He came here ill with malaria, delirious all the time and close to dying. We cured him, but as
he had nowhere to go once wed finished with him, he stayed on and ended up living here with
us. Just imagine: one day, pretending to be crazy, he wanted to have his way with me. Fat
chance! I whacked him right across his mug. He went off with his noddle ringing and regained
his sanity double quick.
"I cant believe don Gabinito did that, I said. He seems so fragile and delicate with
everyone, and totally submissive." I honestly felt that way.
Never be fooled by appearances. And beware, because wolves are sometimes
disguised as sheep. Doa Silvia laughed to tears at her own words.
I thought she was quoting one of her biblical sayings or something similar to illustrate the
old mans indecent behaviour, and that in this case her quote meant that you always had to be

on your guard against evil.

Don Gabinito was always busy with something, actively tending to the sick or helping
them settle in. As they waited for their turn, he would serve them water or lemonade. He would
attend to everyone with courtesy and grace, yet, as soon as he spoke, no one could have the
slightest doubt that he was raving mad.
On many occasions he would even become violent, so we all preferred him to stay quiet.
Once he had calmed down, however, don Gabinito would display such clarity of thought that
my esteem for him grew steadily. We mainly discussed science, culture and religion. The man
was an erudite, but, for some reason or for no reason whatsoever, all of a sudden he would lose
his composure and begin babbling incoherently.
Don Gabinito kept a tilted board in the open area at the back of the house. One day I
asked him what it was for and he invited me to meet him there later that night.
The darkness was so impenetrable that I had to grope around. With arms extended in
front of me, I made my way as carefully as possible up to the area of our meeting. When I got
there, I could not see anyone. I felt the first pangs of fear, but at that moment don Gabinito
arrived with a kerosene lamp, as amiable as ever, and, pointing a finger at the myriads of
brilliant tiny lights in the sky, asked in his lively manner:
"Have you looked at the stars carefully?"
I had always loved the night sky so I told him that, yes, I had, and that I was enchanted
by them.
He then explained to me the workings of the device, adjustable both in angle and in
direction, with three hundred and sixty degree mobility. I wanted to know what his tilted bench
was for. He invited me to try out his observatory, as he called it, by lying down on it for a
I reclined on the wooden board and found the position extremely comfortable. The
direction he had selected provided me with a splendid view of a large milk-white patch
sprawling in the sky. That night we talked until the small hours, and don Gabinito demonstrated
vast knowledge of stellar cartography.
I became accustomed to meeting with don Gabinito at night. He taught me to identify
stars I had never heard of before. My visits became so frequent that he built an additional
observatory for me, and the two of us passed many a night hour discussing stars and life.
As I gazed, entranced, at the splendour of the night sky, don Gabinito helped me
distinguish the constellations the groupings of stars forming the zodiac which he knew by
their popular names, their scientific names, and their names in the language of the ancients.
We spent hours every night identifying the stars. With his help I learned to isolate unusual
groups of stars which, according to him, resembled one a death ray, another a vulture in flight,
and so on. He would give names as exotic as possible to each group he wanted me to learn.
In this manner he gave me a masterly introduction to the knowledge of the ancients,
explaining the characteristics of the stars in the form of anecdotes and tales of mythical
personages, drawing on literature or the indigenous tradition, or maybe inventing them himself.
One night, while discussing the constellation of Sagittarius, I asked don Gabinito if he
believed in horoscopes.
"Those in the magazines? he replied, with a horrified face. Are you kidding? Im crazy,
but Im not a dickhead. And yet, the healers over there believe in them," he added, pointing at
the house.
They believe in horoscopes in the magazines?
"That lot believe in any drivel theyre told," he replied, suppressing a chuckle and then

added, correcting himself:

"All right; they dont read the magazines, but they do believe that stars affect people; that
knowledge comes from their ancestors."
Do you know what that knowledge is about? I asked.
"Only what Ive heard them discuss."
He added that doubtlessly certain stars did exert some kind of influence on our planet.
For example, the Moon affects all living beings, including humans. The authorities
everywhere know that more crimes and accidents take place at the time of the full moon; the
tendency of pregnant women to give birth during the waxing phases of the moon is also
considered a mystery.
According to don Gabinitos teaching, understanding our relationship with the Universe
and how the cosmic influences affect us was vital for achieving harmony with our environment
and our peers.
There is a law of attraction and repulsion in the cosmos. Energy flows from one side to
the other following regular patterns and it is very important to understand how that swaying of
energy affects us.
I asked him how I could set about becoming aware of how it affected me, and he told me
that healers advised their apprentices to make a corroboration list. I did not understand what he
meant, so he gave me an example:
You should keep record of your emotional states and then compare it against the
phases of the moon. The list could also include notes of your energy level, physical disposition,
mental clarity, periods of greater irritability, and so on.
Every night, after everyone else had retired, I enjoyed getting together with don Gabinito
to gaze at the sky and talk. Sometimes I felt sure he would not come because he had reached
the peak of madness in the course of the day, but then hed turn up as if nothing had happened.
When I was with him time passed so fast that sometimes I only became aware that the night
was over as the day began to break.
With the intention of helping him, I tried to question him on a number of occasions about
his radical changes of character. He began calmly, trying to explain, but then lost control, so I
decided not to bother him any more with it.
However, piecing the fragments of what he told me together with what I heard from the
others, I managed to form an idea of what seemed to have happened to him. He told stories of
beings from other planets, and talked as if he had been abducted by aliens. What hurt me most
was that no one believed him, and even laughed in his face when he told them of his
How do you think I got malaria, eh, eh? he asked me in his typical whiny, urgent
manner. "Well, it was those damned rascals; they took me and then left me in the middle of the
Amazon jungle. I had to traipse through it for months, eating roots and forest fruit and facing all
kinds of danger, of which I managed to survive all but the mosquitoes Oh, those frigging
mosquitoes, they were something else! When I finally encountered the first signs of civilization,
I was already very sick, and I can guarantee you I was very far away from Mexico then. I had to
walk far to get back here.
I used to be fine in the head until those wretches did something to me. It took me years to
remember who I was, and I still come off the rails from time to time," said don Gabinito, referring
to his constant attacks of madness. Then he became agitated again and spoke incongruously,
with the expression of a frightened psychopath.
The stories of his abduction were famous among the residents and the visitors who

openly made fun of his yarns. Then he would end up becoming raving mad and start drooling
on his shirt, speaking incoherently, and even attacking people. On one occasion a dog spirit
entered him. He bit one of the assistants, then went to the back of the house and barked wildly
for hours.
One night of the new moon, I had the shock of my life. I was just about to go to bed when
I heard don Gabinito howl somewhere not far away and, filled with curiosity, went to see what
he was up to. I could see his silhouette in the distance by starlight alone. When I got closer,
however, I saw it was the outline of a huge wolf. I spun around and leaped as I had never done
before in my entire life, feeling stabs of vestigial pain in my healing wounds.
I ran like crazy and reached the door of the house in seconds, my heart pounding.
Concerned, doa Silvia asked me what had happened. I did not want to admit that I had been
spying on don Gabino and said:
Ive been running, thats all!
She laughed and said I was white as wax, as if Id seen a ghost or worse. Still laughing,
she added that shed seen me prowling around Bino.
I admitted her seeing had been accurate, and described the weird thing I had perceived.
She said Id bumped into the nagual.
I thought again that she had used the word nagual erroneously. I longed to corroborate
the description of nagualism Castaneda had given in his books more than anything, so I closed
myself to any other description, rejecting anything that did not fit its specifications.
Fanaticism is a disease of the mind where the patient strives to carry on in the same
direction. Self-importance and, even more, the shame of admitting ones mistakes often compel
one to act like an automaton that only sees what it is programmed to see.
One of the noblest concepts modern science shares with nagualism is that both are able
to admit to their mistakes and learn from them, the excitement of discovering the truth being as
great as discovering its opposite.
There is a whole collection of anecdotes about incidents involving Don Gabinito. On one
occasion, for example, a very unfriendly white nanny-goat got away. Don Gabinito went to his
den and pulled out a billy-goat hide complete with a stuffed head fashioned with a beautiful pair
of horns and glass eyes that gave it a macabre appearance. He put on his billy-goat disguise
and charged into the bushes, bellowing. Unsurprisingly, in a little while, he returned with the
goat meekly following him without the aid of a rope!
Don Gabinito was out once with one of the patients looking for herbs in the nearby hills.
It so happened that during the excursion the girl got bitten by a rattlesnake. The crazy old man
took care of her for several days among the hills, until he had cured her not only of the
snakebite, but also of the disease she had originally been suffering from.
I learned later that snakebite was the very medicine the patient needed for her condition.
In fact, that was the reason don Gabinito took her to the hills. He told us that he had already
spoken to the snake and asked it to help him. The snake had agreed, and so he took the sick
girl there.
He told us he had said to the snake:
"Lady Coatl, please help me cure a sick girl who needs a drop of your venom. But it must
be a very small amount because, if you inject too much, she will die."
The snake replied:
"Dont worry, old man. I know what Im doing."

And so, at the right moment, the snake injected enough of its venom to cure, but not kill the girl.
Speaking of the healers, don Gabinito said jokingly, with a look of exaggerated
disapproval: "And do our dear friends here recognize my achievement? No sir, they dont! They
say everything was pure coincidence, and that the girl was cured by potions they gave her. I
can heal no worse than they, but no one takes me seriously."
On another occasion, as part of our training, we were all going to climb a very steep
mountain. In his piping tone, don Gabinito managed to convince one of our companions that he
badly wanted to go with us but was very ill and could not walk would he be kind enough to
carry him? The young man agreed and don Gabinito clambered onto his back. The poor boy
carried him all the way up, stumbling, puffing, and sweating like a pig on a spit. When we finally
got to the top, don Gabinito jumped off the youths back with the agility of an acrobat and
vanished among the rocks and the shrubbery.
We searched for him for a while, but it was beginning to get dark, and we needed to put
up an emergency shelter right there on the hill top.
It was a crazy night. We were harassed by the allies. All of us heard the flapping of
wings and the screeching of what seemed to be a huge bird over our heads but could see
nothing. Then we were attacked by a horde of invisible monkeys that made us forget our fear of
the flying creature. We were so scared that we ran out of there in full darkness and only stopped
when we had reached the plains below.

One is What One Eats

One day I accompanied doa Silvia to town, to the market where some friends had a stall with
medicinal herbs. While she chatted with people there, I took the opportunity of buying a soft
drink and cookies. I was about to start eating them, when doa Silvia noticed and immediately
came over, chiding in an angry tone:
You motherfucking bastard!"
I looked at her in amazement, not understanding the reason for her anger. I noticed that
the people around me were laughing.
Pointing at my food, she went on:
"Youre poisoning yourself! You are still in the recovery stage, and you are not allowed
to eat that shit."
She urged me to throw it all into the dustbin. A minute later, we were walking from the
market to the square in front of the church. I was still stunned from her rebuke, but she spoke to
me kindly, introducing me to what she called "a healthy way of eating."
"Healers can eat anything, doa Silvia said, answering one of my questions, but they
avoid processed foods whenever they can. How much energy can there be in food processed
by machines and never touched by human hands? Today, people are guided by what they see
on telly. They feed on crap, which is why they are always unwell.
If, after a food advert, they have to advise you to eat fruit and vegetables, it means that
the advertised food is harmful. It is the same type of advert as the ones where they are obliged
by law to state that their product may cause cancer or contains a chemical of some kind.
For us, food has to be fresh and freshly cut; either beef or chicken butchered on the day,
or freshly picked fruit. Not that frozen junk or animal carcasses dead for who knows how long."
Her face showed a strange smile that made me shudder. With shining eyes, and lowering her
voice, she added:
"If they can, the witches drink the blood of sacrificed animals. They try to take the best
possible advantage of the gift of the life that has been extinguished."
I felt a slight twitch in the pit of my stomach as I imagined myself having to drink animal
blood. But doa Silvias stern voice brought me back.
"And you dont need to stuff your belly like a desperate son of a whore who only lives to
eat. There are assholes who transfer all their frustrations, fears, and other emotional states to
food, then remain fixated on the food and, even when theyre not hungry, still keep gobbling
and gobbling it down, like pigs with nothing else to do.
You need to give your guts a break from time to time. Occasionally you have to spend a
few days on water alone, without any food. Now, for a more thorough cleansing of the stomach,
one occasionally needs emetics and enemas.
After such cleansing, one must be careful and start eating not for the taste, not because
one is hungry, but to feed on the energy of the things you eat."
She discreetly pointed out a group of people milling before a stand with barbecued pork.
"Did you see the amount of fat that people ingest with their food?"
I had to agree, with some guilt, that in effect, the people were accustomed to eating
whatever was before them.
She imperceptibly pointed at a man and said:
"Look! He looks like a pig that gobbles up everything it is thrown." She was referring to a
fat gentleman walking on the other side of the park right in front of us. A fat lady came by from
the opposite direction, carrying a paper bag full of bread loaves under her arm. The man
greeted her as she walked by with difficulty, her enormous buttocks wobbling.
Shaking her head and clicking her tongue in disapproval, doa Silvia murmured:

"I cant look at her anymore! And then she doesnt understand why shes so fat and has
such high blood pressure. People abuse bread and pastry to the point where they get ill, and
then come crying to us to cure them."
I asked:
"But we eat tortillas; isnt that the same thing?"
"No! she replied categorically. Our tortillas are made with corn ground there and then,
by the hands that prepare them, so they preserve their energy level very well. The same applies
to all the other food we eat. All of it is chosen and selected to produce maximum yield and
She explained that food fell into the categories of cold, hot, or neutral, and that those
were in their turn classified according to their energy levels. Once she had explained the
difference between one food and another, she took me to various food stalls in the area and, to
test my understanding, ordered me to classify the food they served according to the energy
scheme she had explained. I could see that, with rare exception, there was little quality in the
food the people ate there.
From then on, I started paying more attention to what I ate, so much so that my body
learned to demand exactly what it needed, when it needed it and in the necessary quantity.
I also learned from the healers how to maintain a daily exercise regime. Once I felt
better, I began joining in their morning exercises. That kind of activity made me feel good for the
rest of the day.
Exercise keeps one alert and healthy; it makes one capable of making hard decisions. It
is particularly important that intellectual people who spend all day sitting down implement a
daily keep fit practice as otherwise that type of person is doomed to disease and rheumatic

The Ritual of Initiation

In the healers house time passed almost unnoticeably as, treating my wounds and performing
purification tasks, I received a huge amount of information about medicinal herbs and healing
techniques which at first I took for part of my healing treatment. Before long, however, I realised
that there was more to it than met the eye.
For doa Silvia, purification meant freeing ourselves from the horrendous emotional load
we carry. Only through deliberate acts such as recapitulation techniques, cleansing and
strengthening of the body can such purification help free an individual of that load.
The religious atmosphere and the stories we listened to every night helped create a
separate, almost fantasy world within me. Little by little, this world took possession of my mind. I
had always had an overdeveloped imagination, so in no time at all I found myself sharing alien
concepts that not so long ago would have been utterly unacceptable to me.
Understanding the customs and the mentality of the healers could prove to be more
complex than one might have expected. In daily life, people identify with them for their charity
and religious piety, but at night their hidden face comes into view with their nasty, almost
heretical stories, in which they play roles of traditional mythical characters and ancient gods.
Their tales are populated by angels, demons and infernal beasts, which according to them
roam the forests and the mountains.
I believed I was immune to those silly little tales of terror, until I found myself reacting
apprehensively to certain things that had no business existing. The healers had managed to
sow seeds of doubt in my heart.
In the beginning, when I first got there, my retiring ways separated me from the others,
which gave the healers the perfect opportunity to frighten me and set me up with all manner of
practical jokes. One of the sickest pranks was when I found a pair of discarded old sandals by a
pile of rubbish. They appeared to have no owner, so I grabbed them, thinking of mending and
using them myself, because the shoes I wore were not very comfortable.
I took them to the small room I had been allocated at one side of the house, left them in a
corner and went to bed to rest, planning to work on them on another occasion. I was half asleep
when I heard a noise. At first I believed I was dreaming, but the noise became stronger. Worried
it might be a rat or some other animal, I woke up just in time to experience the greatest scare of
my life.
In semi-darkness, I saw the sandals move by themselves and actually walk out of the
room. My whole body broke out in gooseflesh; I believe I fainted from fright, because the next
thing I remember was doa Silvia tending to me with a wet cloth and water in a washbasin.
I told her what had happened. She laughed and jokingly said Id probably seen a ghost,
but I rejected that explanation, preferring to believe I had had a hallucination which, because of
my weakness, made me lose conscience. I could, however, see that the sandals had really
Another story worth mentioning happened during a period of extraordinary drought. Even
the well from which we drew water had dried up, which forced us to walk a distance of two
miles in order to fetch water.
I remember ruminating at the time on the contradiction of being able to travel through the
universe with ones dreaming body while being at the mercy of the basic laws of everyday life a
moment later.
It so happened that on one occasion, as I went along lugging my pails full of water, the
nagual blocked my way. It appeared to me in the form of a disgusting beast that seemed to

have two ears on each side of the head and an enormous pair of horns. Its eyes were like those
of a fine bull, with a snout full of crooked pointed teeth. Its growl was so loud and inhuman that I
dropped the pails and ran away from there like a shot. I ran so hard that I must have fainted,
since to this day I cannot remember how I got to the house. When I regained conscience, two of
the grandparents were tending to me.
The healers crowning strategy was that, when the time came for me to be accepted as
an assistant, they prepared for me a ceremony of initiation containing a variety of demonic
elements. I said I did not take it seriously, but even then, the truth was that, within myself, I was
trembling with fear.
The ceremony took place after I had recovered from my wounds and accepted my role
among them. It is a good example of the magisterial way in which the healers took advantage of
my fear.
One day doa Silvia announced that at the next full moon an initiation ceremony for me
would be held. I accepted her invitation enthusiastically because I considered it to be a real
She warned me however that those who took part in those ceremonies became changed
forever and would never be the same again. I remember paying little attention to her comments,
being more worried about the ceremony itself. I was concerned about the procedures, but the
healers would give me no details or explanations of what was going to happen.
On the night of the ceremony, we got out of the house together and walked a long way in
the darkness, until we got to a place where a group of people was gathered around a bonfire.
As we approached them, doa Silvia indicated that I should sit down on a rock in the form of a
chair that was at one end of the group, next to the fire.
I noticed then that thick clouds had hidden the full moon that only a short while ago
helped us by illuminating our way to the meeting place. Without the moon, the scene seemed
even more sombre. The nearby waterfall made a thunderous noise. I could recognise the song
of various night birds. It gave the finishing touch to the scene which looked like something out
of a thriller.
By firelight, the participants looked like a circle of spectres that had emerged from
another time. I could see some of the healers assistants among them and was surprised to spot
some of the patients and even neighbours I had seen in doa Silvia house. The group
consisted of both young and old people. We were little more than a dozen. I noticed that the
others were regarding me with curiosity. I felt troubled and a bit out of place and hated being in
a position where I was attracting attention.
I had never taken part in a ceremony of this type before and consequently did not know
how to proceed which filled me with anxiety and anticipation. The participants began chanting
in a very low voice. I could not make out what they were saying, but the melody had a hypnotic
rhythm that made me feel a kind of longing for something I could not define.
After what seemed to me a very long wait, the deep silence was broken by the peculiar
sound of conches[12] and drums. The rhythm soon became frenzied and then, seemingly
appearing out of nothing, a man covered with the skin of a wolf or a coyote sprung out of the
darkness. He spun around dancing in a strange manner, performed a number of capers and
then approached the fire. From his behaviour and performance, I understood that he was a
A moment later the masked man came up to me. Without a single word, he extended his
hand as if to greet me. I began raising my right hand in answer to his greeting, but he grabbed
my left hand and with tremendous speed made a deep cut between my fingers. The cut bled

profusely. I was filled with fear and anger, and would have fled that place of madness if I had
not been paralysed by profound terror.
At that point I had become somewhat numb and was feeling that my vision was
darkening. I thought I was going to lose conscience but I recovered straight away. Then the
sorcerer came towards me and, in a strangely hoarse, deep voice that seemed to hail from
beyond the grave, ordered me to get up and to take off all my clothes, adding that I should keep
my eyes closed. His words had a huge force and an authority I could not disobey.
The unfamiliarity of the situation prevented me from feeling embarrassed by standing there
naked before all those people. At a certain moment, I felt that the sorcerer was blowing softly
over my skin. I also sensed that he was cleansing me with aromatic herbs, while praying or
murmuring something unintelligible. He cleansed me with smoke and with fire in the same way.
I could see a torch move up and down, repeatedly rubbing my skin.
Then, at a certain moment, I felt a warm and sticky liquid pour down on my head, oozing
all over my body and producing a pleasant sensation of being wrapped in a protective cloak.
When the sorcerer finally said I could open my eyes, I it did and felt my gorge rise. I was red all
over, covered in blood, and on top of a rock there lay the lifeless body of an animal. I wanted to
protest, but the solemnity of the occasion prevented me.
Next I was taken to the waterfall where I was given a ritual bath resembling baptism with
water. The water was cold but felt very pleasant to my body which was burning with heat. After
washing off the blood that had dyed me red, drying and dressing myself, I returned to the circle
and took my place by the fire. I had hardly sat down when the participants started passing
around baskets full of peyote buttons.
I knew of peyote from literature mainly from Carlos's books but even though I felt
great curiosity, it had never occurred to me to try it. I was fearful and prejudiced but also very
curious. When the basket got round to me, still wrapped up in my thoughts, I took a button and
placed it in front of me. I considered the possibility of refusing but at the same time wanted the
experience. Without giving much thought to my fears and mistrust, I grabbed the button and
started chewing. Its awfully bitter and pungent taste made it difficult to swallow. My stomach
was the worst affected. It felt like an independent entity protesting violently.
Each of us took a button and chewed it in silence. We sat there together for a long time
eating the buttons. As the hours went by, some participants got up to vomit or dispersed
towards the far ends of the area, while others remained seated with their eyes closed, humming
in a low voice.
I experienced the powerful effect of the plant as a river of light flooding my being. In the light
there was a man, or a man-like form, motioning with his hand for me to approach. I was not
afraid, knowing him to be a vision brought about by the peyote button. My curiosity was so great
that I came closer. What I saw was an extraordinary being, green of colour and resembling a
marshmallow. Its eyes were striking. I felt that this strange being was a friend whom I could
trust. It spoke into my ear, told me its name and talked about my life. It told me I had to learn to
forgive in order to be free and then sang a song to me, a song that is with me even today.
I saw the being depart, perceiving it as a greenish light disappearing amidst the
vegetation until it completely vanished. Very slowly, I regained awareness of my surroundings.
At a certain moment, as it dawned, the sorcerer came up to me and took off his mask.
The state of awareness I was in helped to lessen my fright: the sorcerer was the very phantom I
had seen in the crypt years ago! I was confused more than ever. I was afraid but still felt I knew
him well and remembered him from my dreaming.
The sorcerer introduced himself, saying his name was Melchor Ramos. He knew I had
been accepted by the Hcuri[13], he said, and he welcomed me into the present company. Then

he started giving me instructions: he said that I should gaze at the fire until the devil appeared
to me. Some of the participants had made a spiral with the embers from the bonfire.
With some apprehension, I did as he had suggested. I felt like in a dream as I gazed at
the embers, or perhaps I did fall asleep or lose consciousness, because the next thing I knew
was that I was hurtling down a black hole. All of a sudden, I found myself inside a monumental
cavern that seemed to be kilometres high, with enormous stalactites and stalagmites that
looked like monuments representing beings from another world. The walls exuded a
fluorescent, greenish, ghostly sheen. The roof was exquisitely beautiful; its dome appeared to
be teeming with stars, so many and so high that I was sure it could only be a dream or a vision.
While I gazed in ecstasy at that place which, in the semi-darkness, looked like a vision of
another world, I believed myself to be alone; slowly, however, I noticed other persons there with
me. Suddenly I recognized doa Silvia and her companions, seemingly appearing out of
nothingness. I felt that, if I were to focus on them, they would materialise.
As I regarded them, a voice that seemed to be don Melchors said that we were sharing
dreaming and that this was my real initiation test. I managed to steady my attention and saw
don Melchor as he spoke to me. He said that he had been entrusted with guiding me through
the mysteries of the healers and that today, as a gift of welcome into their company, he was
going to teach me a trick for entering dreaming.
He said that all one needed in order to enter dreaming was a profound desire to do so.
As he spoke, don Melchor moved his eyes in a strange way, as if to help me grasp something
one could not express in words. He went on to say that the technique consisted of
concentration and silencing the mind, and that, in order to help me, he would give me a gift of
power. He reached up into the air with his hand like a stage magician and took out of nowhere
a beautiful white feather reflecting the greenish light of the place.
You are dreaming right now because the energy of the Hcuri has helped you get here
this first time round, but to accompany us on other occasions, youll have to reach us on your
own. This feather will help you, he said handing me the glittering feather.
My joy knew no limits that memorable night: what I had believed was a common group of
unsophisticated healers was in fact a group of teachers of dreaming. I learned many things on
that occasion. Each one of the healers spoke to me in turn, giving me advice and teaching me
manoeuvres for entering and getting out of the other world.
Even today I do not remember the transition. When I woke up, the sun was already high
on the horizon. I was holding a white feather in my hand.
After the ritual, I had several opportunities to talk to don Melchor, but always only briefly.
At the time I was still under the impression that they were a religious order whose job was
healing people. It was their job only in a manner of speaking, however, because they did not
receive any money for the consultations.
Their subsistence was very humble, yet they lacked nothing. They worked in the fields;
that and the gifts they received were enough for them to have a good life.
It was hard for me to speak to don Melchor. He inspired in me a kind of fear or respect
that discouraged long conversations. Things were direct with him. Everything was pure action
and matters were resolved badly if need be. There were no half-tones with him; even if you
could not swim, he would throw you in the water, so to speak. We always went around don
Melchor very carefully.
He frequently repeated these words:
We are all going to die, and there is no other way. Its only a question of time, so you are
already dead: what more is there for you to lose? If we look at things that way, the world is our

In his lessons, he said:
Life is a fleeting event in the eternal flow of energy. Death is what gives it meaning.
Modern mans confusion comes from thinking that organic life and awareness are one and the
same. But that is a mistake, caused by lack of experience of dreaming.
The healers teaching hinges on the point that, to all intents and purposes, we are
already dead. Merely knowing that fact helps us live strong lives and make irreversible
One day don Melchor said to me:
Death is real; it is a process of initiation. You must always bear in mind that you are
already dead. You died the day when you were attacked there on the hill; now you must live a
new life.
There are only two types of people: those who consider themselves immortal and those
who know that they are going to die. Do not get distracted, dare to look at your imminent end!
The awakening is now or never.
Not wanting to disturb him at an inappropriate moment, I waited long for an opportunity to
approach don Melchor with my questions. One morning I found him in the granary arranging
some wooden boxes. I went over to him and asked him if he would be so kind to answer a few
questions. He replied:
Ive already told you more than once that you can ask me about anything you like; it isnt
necessary to go through so many formalities.
At the time, my questions were about the ritual I had been through, but nobody seemed
keen to discuss the subject. In addition, I was consumed by the desire to establish whether don
Melchor had been the phantom in the cathedral. Another one of my priorities was to find out
about the symbolism of the ritual and the pact with the devil.
My intention was to ask about the phantom, instead of which I pleaded:
Don Melchor, please tell me something about the ritual of initiation in which I took part.
He smiled.
Well talk about it right now, he said and set aside the tools he had been working with.
We sat down on some empty tomato boxes. I believe the game has gone on long enough. It is
important that there is no misunderstanding in this matter. The ritual we participated in was
prepared specially for you.
Having said that, he gave me an inquisitive look.
What he said was no news to me because I had already been informed that the ritual
was to represent my admission to the healers world.
That ritual was unique, he continued. It was designed just for you.
I dont understand. Everyone has a ritual initiation, dont they?
No, he replied. That was the only time that wed done something like that.
But why for me? I asked frantically. I thought you were devil worshipers of some sort,
masquerading as Christians.
Don Melchor laughed a great deal and said theyd put on that particular show to help me
break loose of my moorings and that theyd based it on my morbid and ritualistic personality.
Youll see, he said. Your initiation ritual had much more depth to it than you can
remember at this moment. That night we used your fear to propel you into dreaming, and it
In the ritual, I told you to find Xolostoc. I was sure you wouldnt even know the meaning
of that word but that youd intuit it. The important thing was the shock it gave to your body, and
that went very well; we achieved our goal.

What do you mean by that? I asked.

We were looking to put you in the state of total awareness and there is nothing better
than fear to achieve this. Once the ritual acts and the power plants had opened you up you
were ready to enter into the other world, but you needed one final push. That was when I told
you to look at the fire, remember?
I was able to recall the scene vaguely, as if it had been part of a dream.
That kind of rite serves to open the apprentice. The use of power plants, more than fear
and the anticipation caused by the ceremony, produces the movement of the assemblage point;
it takes one to the magic world directly, without the need for preliminary steps.
The events that had taken place during the ritual remained hidden from my daily
awareness for years and it took me a long time to remember them. In the world of daily affairs I
went on with my usual chores, believing that in my initiation I had seen the devil and was given
a feather by helpful spirits for my protection.
I even went as far as to believe that the feather had aided me in a life-or-death battle
against the demons that hung on by my side trying to prevent me from becoming a healer. With
time, I understood that the demons I thought I had seen were my own demons: a vision brought
about by the lamentable state of being I was in.
Some time later, while walking with don Melchor towards the hills, I noticed that he was
wearing the same old sandals I had previously found. I knew they were the same ones because
of a small metal staple fastening a torn piece of leather on the right sandal.

Becoming Healers Assistant

At first, even after having received a great amount of instruction in the healers art, I still did not
consider myself one. I despaired of my awkwardness and my failure to understand and apply
the knowledge that I had received. I felt inept and that troubled me, because whenever it was
my turn to attend to someone, a strange pressure which I could only describe as apprehension,
nervousness or even anguish took hold of me.
Noticing my frustration, doa Silvia advised:
Never become obsessed with anything. Enjoy whatever youre doing. If at any time you
feel that it is turning into hard work, put it aside for a while and do something else. Youll see
that the moment to continue with whatever you were doing before will come of its own accord.
When I told her about my nervousness, she said that I had to let myself go with that
feeling. Letting oneself go was in any case the technique of contacting the spirit that guides the
healers. Personally I describe it as yielding to the pressure, not putting up resistance. It is a
matter of becoming part of the spirit that guides all healers; it means aligning with the
emanations sorcerers share.
On one occasion, while walking in the nearby hills collecting medicinal herbs, I was
struck by lightning. More incredibly than it seems, apart from the fright, absolutely nothing
happened to me. Doa Silvia who was observing me from a distance, remained on the spot for
a moment. Seeing that I was well, she smiled with delight and commented:
Now you have the authority to cure. Youll see that from now on youll feel differently
about healing.
She was absolutely right. Since that time, whenever Ive attended to a patient, I could
feel his affliction within me, if one can put it that way.
From the very start of my stay among them, I noticed the healers liked riddles and
amused themselves by challenging each other to solve them. On one occasion, one of the
assistants proposed a riddle:
What is it that goes on walking after the death of a person?
It is the shoe, doa Silvia replied, then challenged us with one:
What is it that has legs but doesnt walk, yet moves around?
The riddles came in conjunction with healing instruction or other information related to
the topic. On that occasion doa Silvia taught us about the illness called elephantiasis, and
how it could be successfully treated by means of particular herbal infusions, baths and
therapeutic massages with oily ointments.
To finish, she told us, the leg must be bandaged with herbal paste.
The real problem with that illness is blood circulation. To get better, the patient must take
a lot of tea and drink a lot of water.
At the end of the meeting, as nobody had come up with the correct answer to her riddle,
she said, smiling:
It is the chair, fools; it has four legs but it does not walk and it definitely moves whenever
you use it.
In the course of another conversation I asked her about the purpose of the riddles and
she replied:
Everything in life is a riddle; in fact, the whole universe is a riddle to be solved.
She added that the ancients used to deal with the world through riddles.
Did you know that there is a personal riddle for every healer? That you have your own
riddle and that there is also one for the group, and even for our lineage?

I did not know anything of the sort. My curiosity was instantly aroused: what I believed to
be an inconsequential game was turning out to be an infinitely more complex affair.
I wanted to hear about my own personal puzzle but doa Silvia said it was something I
would have to find out for myself.
I asked her then about the puzzle that referred to us as a group and she offered:
The turkey turns over the soil searching for food;
The peasant injures the soil and places the seed in the wound.
How many times must the soil be turned?
How many seeds make a cornfield?
I had no idea of the meaning of those words, so I asked doa Silvia for an explanation.
Laughingly, she said it was a riddle the meaning of which I should discover by myself.
She remained silent for a few moments and then wondered if I was at all interested in the
riddle pertaining to our lineage of healers-seers.
Of course I am interested! I replied, suddenly conscious of my sluggishness. Doa
Silvia spoke the lines:
The ulama[14] pierces the divine circle.
I set my eyes on the temple wall.
I gaze at the beautiful, dazzling flower that opens in the morning.
I light the fire to prepare my food.
I told doa Silvia that this riddle made even less sense than the previous one. She
laughed and said that my reaction was understandable, as it was indeed a difficult riddle, and
that the translation did not help at all.

The Healers Vows

Stories are wonderful learning tools. They are the scouts, the instruments the spirit uses to
prepare us for direct experience. In some ways they are like a wedge or a lever opening the
way to a wider perception of the world for our awareness.
Being able to act at the level of energy initially requires dynamic faith, similar to that of a
farmer who plants a seed in the firm hope that hell see it sprout. That particular kind of faith
forces one to fine-tune in order to be able to perceive directly the energy one is beginning to
St. Augustine states that faith and understanding are complementary rather than in
opposition, saying that one must believe in order to understand and understand in order to
It is the same kind of confidence a child has in the wind that helps fly his kite. Whether
the wind will continue to blow or not is beyond the childs control, yet he maintains the
expectation it will do so. Just like dynamic faith, it is something that is in the realm of the spirit.
All that is required of us is to do our part and trust the results will happen.
For example, the standard energetic sensitisation of the patient, sometimes described as
'magnetization', begins with rapid hand movements from the head to the feet, always from the
top to the bottom. After a dozen or more repetitions, one can start the prescribed treatment of the
patient, be it an infusion, muscle massage, stretching, or any other relevant procedure.
We are energy beings; to see ourselves as anything else goes against modern science
itself, as the latter is already moving towards recognizing that we are more than just crude
animated organic matter. Using special devices, science has even managed to photograph
aspects of human emotions, revealed in the photos as a range of colours.
It is true that science still has a long way to go, but it has already taken the first steps.
There will always be curious researchers willing to set prejudice aside in order to investigate
issues that have generally gone unnoticed, as when someone says, "Whatsisname had an
incurable disease and all the doctors had given up on him, so he went to a healer and the
healer cured him."
Who has not heard something similar? The strange thing is that the healing incident will
immediately fall under the same suspicion that haunts poetically inclined sorcerers when they
make unusual claims in their stories. In that respect both situations are similar, because you
can never satisfy the mind with a rational explanation of what happens in reality.
The work of the healers, however, always has advantage over a sorcery story. Healers
can show verifiable results to anyone willing to take the trouble to investigate. Like the
discipline of the sorcerers, the healers way requires seriousness, commitment, discipline, and
dedication to the objective they pursue.
One basic movement that can be done by anyone is to energise ones hands by rubbing them
together. This movement generates heat: concentrated energy that can then be employed in
different tasks or placed into a body part as required, such as energizing the eyes, ears or
throat. It can also be used to cure, relieve pain and fatigue, among other possible benefits.
The sorcerers secret is that, while rubbing their hands, they silently intend to achieve
what theyve set out to do. That is how they transform the rubbing of hands into a magical act.
Among the healers, I have learned that one of the most effective vehicles of healing is
water. When used in specific ways, it becomes not only a sacred medicine but also a vehicle
for connecting one with the other world.
I once asked don Gabinito about it. Although he suffered fits of madness, he was sane
most of the time, and, to tell the truth, I felt most comfortable talking to him.
Don Gabinito told me that knowledge of water and its properties were secrets of power,

and that I should wait for the right time to learn about them. I saw his answer as a delicate and
effective way of getting rid of me. I agreed to wait for the appropriate time, but only a few days
later I betook myself to doa Silvia, asking her craftily to teach me the basic water techniques.
She glanced at don Gabinito with a severity that made him shrink. Then she addressed
me saying that she would teach me the first two manoeuvres with water.
"You can use water as a source of health, she said. This procedure is available to
everyone, and brings enormous benefits to the body. The treatment involves drinking a glass of
energized water just before bedtime, and another one on waking up. The procedure is, as ever,
simplicity itself: you fill a glass of water, rub your hands until hot, and put them on the water
container. The water is thereby energized. If you wish, while the water is being energized, you
can add a command such as, I infuse this water with healing vibrations for such and such a
complaint or to help achieve such and such an objective.
The other technique doa Silvia described involved putting coal, such as is used in a
charcoal grill, into a glass of water and then give to the patient to drink. She said it was a
miracle treatment that cured everything.
At first I thought she was making fun of me but later realised that when using intent,
anything was possible. The healers in fact offered patients the opportunity to hold on to
something in order to effect their recovery. In the words of the Nagual Juan Matus: one must
start with the principle that everything is energy, because otherwise we will always be stopped
by the hardness of the physical world.
To be able to carry out these simple exercises, it is therefore necessary to begin by
mentally conceiving of energy one can feel, though not yet see. This first step is very important
in the general scheme of acceptance and perception of energy, and it is exactly where the
wedge and the lever are placed. All you need is the desire to use them for the results to be
Those interested must give themselves the opportunity to connect with the ideas of
sorcerers-healers through exposure to their stories and healing treatments. One should start
with the premise that one is ill and needs healing, and then show oneself willing to devote time
and resources to seeking that healing. In principle, good health comes first. When the physical
body is a perfectly functional unit, the rest will come by itself.
Prevention is the best remedy. The first thing thus is to reorganize ones life, learning to be
clean inside and outside. I know from experience how good and useful that is for the
practitioner, not only for healing existing physical problems, but for the prevention of future
conditions, perhaps even the genetically programmed ones.
Experimenting with sorcerers techniques, the apprentice may feel inhibited at first: when
trying to talk to plants for the first time, for example. That feeling can be overcome simply by
perseverance. As one progresses, one acquires a strange self-confidence that grows and helps
one develop through successive stages of the path.
The first expectation prospective healers must fulfil is that their intention be sincere.
Some call it charity or love for ones neighbour. Although incorrect, those terms do describe the
healers empathy with the suffering of others. There are many whose motivation is twisted; such
people can never become healers.
Charity is something you either have or you dont. One can, of course, pretend to be
charitable, but it is not the same thing, since what counts here is a hard-to-explain feeling which
serves to connect one with the spirit. However, in the final analysis, selfishness can be
successfully used when applying healing techniques on oneself, with excellent results.
The next item in the healers code one needs consider is ones predisposition; that is to
say, ones desire, dedication, and the commitment of ones time to the path. Those who embark

on the path by their own decision face the great challenge of keeping the flame of their
awareness lit. The challenge is the same for the chosen ones, but the work it requires is much
easier in their case.
Practice is the third requirement of learning how to heal. Clearly, it implies study and
training with the help of a master healer who is not an ordinary teacher keeping a student
seated before him while he rabbits on for hours, but rather a living example for one to follow,
teaching through practice as he works.
Being an assistant, which is the healers term for an apprentice, is an honour for me and
one of the greatest gifts of fortune Ive had in my life. The practice of healing opened for me a
world of possibilities I had not even imagined existed.
Healers very often quote the biblical proverb that says: "Many are called but few are
chosen". They say that because they are always open and willing to attend to the needs of
anyone crossing their path, as a gesture to the spirit. They know that every being is a reflection
of the creative force; helping another thus represents the minimum amount of impeccability for
them. Deciding on who stays as an assistant and who must leave, however, lies outside the
healers remit. That outcome is always decided by the power.
Doa Silvia told me that there were some lineages of sorcerers that eschewed
engagement, and would do nothing even if someone appeared to be dying. For healers,
however, life is precious and must be preserved.
Taking the healers vows is in its essence similar to the vows of poverty taken by some
religious orders, but not quite the same, as rich people can be healers if they wish, though it is
very difficult for a rich person to set own ambition aside and help others.
That doesnt mean that healers are beggars with shaved heads. On the contrary, they
are engaged in various professions in the everyday world. When they undertake to cure
someone, they treat the patient with enthusiasm, goodwill and without expectation of reward.
One doesnt charge a tired and thirsty traveller who knocks on the door asking for a
glass of water. To do that would be unworthy of the human spirit. The same is the case with the
power of healing one receives as a gift that should not be exploited for ones personal gain. It is
thus the fourth requirement of the healers code that one does not charge for consultation. The
healer who charges is cursed and is a step away from becoming a black magician.
Those who turn their charity into a business need to repent, because healing the sick,
just like illumination coming from the spirit, must never serve commercial purposes. Healers
who do so are cursed forever and will eventually lose the gifts they received, with nothing left
them but their trickery.
Many are those who have succumbed to the pressure of fame and fortune. It is easy for
sorcerers to perform miracles and acquire devoted followers seeking their presence and their
words, but one should know that those who combine their personal interests with matters of the
spirit will be punished with terrible curses. To sum up, I warn as I myself was once warned: If
you feel that your ambition is greater than your love for others, youd best abandon the sorcererhealers path, since any deviation from its purpose could bring about your own destruction.
The healers path must be pure from the beginning. It tolerates no hidden agenda and no
diversion, because greed is like cancer that starts very small, but grows and grows, polluting
the entire body.
There are stories of people who requested to be trained in healing techniques; while
externally displaying the best of attitudes, within they were putrid with lust and desire for
recognition. One such story I heard tells of a certain Galindo Ornela, who for years faithfully
followed the steps mandatory for becoming a healer. When he felt he had acquired enough
knowledge, he became a peddler of healing and even opened a clinic in his home town. He

received money and favours from the residents until one day he was brought down by a
mysterious illness. The healer could not heal himself.
One may be punished by many calamities, bad luck, illness and even death for breaking
the sacred vows of the healers. But none of that is really bad compared to what is yet to come,
as the ancients say: when the moment to disincarnate comes, the corrupt healer enters a vortex
from which there is no escape. That is his punishment his sentence for trying to use the
higher powers for personal gain.
Each prospective apprentice is therefore repeatedly warned of the dangers they expose
themselves to when they take the healers oath. If, on hearing those words, one still decides to
proceed, one would better be sure ones purpose is genuine, because if it is not, one would be
better off leaving well alone.

A Different View of the World

An apprentice knows without the shadow of a doubt that he is part of a group of real sorcerers
from the very start because he lives immersed in the mystery of a magical world, in direct
contact with power and magic at all times. Indescribable and fantastic, the world revolves
around wonder. Even the most stubborn of apprentices at some point clearly understand that
something unusual is going on.
It is sad to see opportunists solicit knowledge not in order to attain enlightenment or
freedom, but for their own profit or the enhancement of their egos. Worst of all, their duplicity
discourages genuine seekers who become disillusioned with the quest. That is, however, how
charlatans serve as flawless filter for effective elimination of those who do not have freedom as
their unbending intent, thereby separating the wheat from the chaff that is to say, separating
those who will progress in their quest from those who are stuck at the level of the intellect.
Even when uttering words of wisdom, charlatans dont have any real power. They only
reflect what they have read or heard before. Never having achieved real results, they can only
pass on to their disciples what they themselves have received: rumours.
Working together is not undesirable for people who experiment with becoming healers,
but the problem arises when someone takes over and seeks to gain control over the others;
freedom-seeking warriors then turn into sheep.
Don Melchor used to say, If someone can profit from you, watch out! Only a fool can
confuse sincere friendship, born of an energy link, with a friendship offered by a shopkeeper
who hopes to do business with you."
The way in which we were programmed to see the world is very exclusive, which is why
we perceive only what lies within a very narrow set of parameters. Just as one needs training to
understand and operate a machine, we need training to use certain latent abilities we all have
but which remain inactive for our entire lifetime simply because, in the first place, no one ever
told us we had them and could use them, like in the story of the eagle that was raised by
chickens and did not know its true potential.
We have many hidden abilities just waiting to be explored, but we first need to become
aware that such possibilities really exist. One way to achieve this is to expose oneself to tales
of power because they help create a precedent in our view of the world. Once we know the
feasibility of something we had never even dared imagine, that possibility becomes real for us.
That is the case with the healing gift which we all have to a greater or lesser degree. All
one needs do is intend helping another with total detachment. In fact, the hardest part of healing
is the detachment required to channel healing energy. Out of the umbilical region then issues a
force which can perhaps be referred to as sincere desire to help and heal the patient, or
perhaps the same energy gets directed by the healing hands. At other times, detachment
generates healing procedures suitable for the particular complaint of the patient.
Healers-seers perceive the human energy field in the same manner as described by don
Juan, as an area of luminosity. In addition, they focus on the balance and the functioning of the
organic-energetic aggregate as a whole.
Don Melchor said once, It is essential to bear in mind that, just like fire needs firewood
as fuel in order to exist, the luminous body, which is our true essence, uses the physical body
as the primary source of energy. Hence, the better one tunes ones organism, the more one can
do at the energy level.
Concentrating on the energy, healers are thus able to cure the problem at the root, and
not just in the palliative form typical of Western doctors who try to eliminate the symptoms

without giving attention to the actual cause of the disease.

Turning off the alarm outside a building that is in flames does not solve the problem of
the fire inside it. Palliative remedies may stop a headache, but that merely gets rid of the
symptom while the problem itself lies dormant. Some doctors are more interested in examining
their patients pockets than their health.
Physicians should give more serious consideration to the famous Hippocratic Oath they
take when they graduate, which includes ethics and honesty. There are currently doctors who
like a taxi cab calculate their fees against a clock. Others may even offer price cuts for their
services to attract more clients, as if they were ordinary merchants.
Healing is a sacred art. Unfortunately, in the hands of modern medicine, it has become a
health supermarket. The vast majority of science students do not enter the medical field as a
vocation or out of dedication, but rather for financial interests and for the social status which
goes with the doctors title. That is the main reason why poor people die queuing up in hospital
Western doctors know nothing or almost nothing about energy, which is why they treat a
subject as an object, as organic matter that has become dysfunctional for reasons seldom
examined from any point of view other than the rational one. Very few doctors consider energy
as an alternative cause of illness, simply because they cannot see it.
One of my colleagues, a Zoque healer, once said:
When we first learned about the oriental healing technique of acupuncture, we were
filled with enthusiasm and immediately adopted the use of the small needles.
Our ancestors used thorns of the maguey plant[15] for this excellent practice. One needs
to be careful, though, because there are many practitioners out there who are not healers but
use the needles anyway. Sometimes they hit the target, but mostly they fail because they dont
see and thus cannot find the exact spot to insert the needle. To be a true needle healer, one
must first be a seer."
He said that acupuncture charts one could purchase merely identified the points by their
names and by an approximate description of their location. But those tiny points vary their
location from person to person, which is why it is so important to see the flow of energy if you
want to use the needles.
Acupuncture is certainly one of the most valuable resources healers use to help patients.
The strange thing is that modern medicine does recognize acupuncture as a bona fide practice,
not because it wants to but because its results cannot be denied. Modern medicine cannot
explain how acupuncture works because it refuses to recognise the human being as
conglomerate of energy channels invisible and undetectable to its instruments.
Glorious will be the day when medical science puts aside their prejudices and benefits
from the knowledge of the healers! But that will only be possible through a cultural revolution
which alone can make doctorates in energy studies acceptable to our universities.
Unfortunately, as long as huge economic interests are involved, that revolution will not happen.
Large pharmaceutical laboratories that commercialise medicines are the real villains. It
is they who sponsor doctors, they who toy with the public health. Not only do they make
medicines, they also create diseases for which they subsequently sell us cures.
There is no denying that much good has been done by pharmaceutical products: they do
help the sick recover. The same results, however, can be achieved much more simply and costeffectively by using natural means which do not have contraindications: plants, salts,
massages, cleansing, and energetic balancing. It is simply the matter of choosing the most
suitable treatment for each patient.
Once people have learned to take care of themselves, everything will be different.

People will be aware of themselves, and then therell be no need for doctors because everyone
will know how to cure themselves. In fact, there will be very few diseases because people will
know how to prevent them in the first place: how to avoid harmful habits, adopt a balanced diet
and appropriate physical activities. That will be a true revolution, like the introduction of latrines,
personal hygiene and regular washing of hands were in their time.
It would be really great if schools, instead of endlessly teaching useless things, taught
students about the functioning and the maintenance of the body as their basic subject. A simple
action of this kind could prevent countless diseases.
Self-healing is a matter of self-awareness. As our awareness increases, our energy
increases with it, and so does our ability to act upon ourselves. That in turn further increases
our energy and consequently our self-awareness, thus closing the circle.
Healing is a matter of common sense; learning to look after oneself should be the
benchmark for normalcy and taking responsibility for ones own health should be the obvious
thing to do.
In one of our conversations, doa Silvia said:
"People spend their lives putting up with pains here and pains there, but do little to solve
the problem. When their suffering becomes unbearable, they begin to worry and look for help.
Some do nothing even at that stage and thus become chronically ill. Lack of care towards ones
body results in all manner of misfortunes.
People usually excuse their gross carelessness by the high cost of consultations and
To them I say that a variety of highly beneficial alternative medicines exists and some of
them are practically free, as are the procedures that apply to anyone. With corrective remedies,
the progress of a disease can be halted and even reversed.
Which corrective remedies?
That depends on the dysfunction. The reason why our assistants are trained by
performing the actual healing practices is to enable them to diagnose accurately any kind of
disease, be it in the nervous, vascular, bone or digestive system, or in the functioning of the
organs in general.
She told us:
Seeing is hard work. At first, an apprentice is like a good locksmith who knows he
needs to get to the point where he can see the inside of the mechanism of the lock. A healer
starts by imagining and plotting out the patients organs, muscles, nerves and bones. He
continues by feeling them, and finally ends up seeing them as if he had x-ray vision.
Imagination plays a very important role in our work. One starts by imagining, and ends up
In the human body, there are many channels with their junctions. It is easy to find them:
one just needs to feel where the nerves, the blood circulation and other circuits are. Properly
identified within the body, those are the points where one seeks to apply intent.
Just as the physical body responds to the environment, so does the energy body,
although subject to different laws, respond to its own environment. That is why medicinal
plants, natures true pharmacies, are so useful: they are true blessings for the patients physical
body, while the vibrations of a friendly plant serve to heal the energy body."
I asked, How does one heal the energy body?
By cleansing. What do you think we do when we use herbs on the body of the patient?
That is the way we use the vibrations of the plants to heal the patients aura."
It is easy to see that doa Silvia was right in what she said, since it is evident that each
plant has its own active elements. It is however not my intention to turn this work into a

compendium of healing. Those interested in the subject can find a lot of information on the use
of medicinal plants and other alternative healing techniques in public libraries.

The Fabric of Life

In the morning I went looking for doa Silvia and found her busy weaving under the ramada. I
used the gait of power to approach her furtively with the intention of secretly watching her work.
Without turning, she asked:
What are you looking for, Pepito?
I was startled by her words. I had been certain that she could not have seen me or heard
my steps. Baffled, I said Id thought she hadnt seen me. She replied that in fact she had not, but
that her energy body had felt my approach.
She said she used her loom as a springboard to the other world: weaving, she stopped
talking to herself and so perceived everything in that other world. She said that was the reason
she was able to see me coming even though her back was turned to me.
She invited me to join her and said she had weaving to do. As we chatted, doa
Genoveva, doa Silvias healer friend from another town came to visit. During our conversation,
doa Silvia told me that doa Genoveva, too, knew about weaving. Laughing, she asked me to
tell doa Genoveva what had happened to me in connection with weaving.
She was referring to one of the most terrifying experiences I had ever had. I immediately
remembered that one of the first things doa Silvia taught me when I was ill was how to weave.
I subsequently spent endless hours weaving my attention that was how she introduced the
task to me: as the means of consolidating my attention. She helped me make a healing belt and
my dreaming band, and I also made a knapsack for power objects and other things under her
What doa Silvia wanted me to relate happened when I was once out walking alone. I
had been upset about how overwhelming my tasks were, so one day I just dropped everything
and went for a walk without a direction or destination in mind. Several days passed until I got to
the outskirts of a nameless small town lost among the mountains.
There I happened upon a lady weaving in front of her hut, using a handloom with nine
beaters. I was drawn to her work and went up to her in order to talk to her even though
something inside me told me I should not.
I approached her, begging her pardon for interrupting her work and explaining that I had
done it because I was fascinated by how the loom of the ancients worked. She was very
friendly and invited me to come closer, explaining that she was weaving a very special blanket.
A peasant woman of little culture, she left me spellbound by her way of explaining her work: the
fabric, she said, was to be a blanket for attracting good dreams.
I remained a long time in conversation with the woman. Her manner soon made me
realise that she was a sorceress. Even with the alarm bells sounding inside me, however, I
went on listening to her explanations. I was definitely captivated by her work and what she was
She said that the weaver's art consisted of arranging the vertical threads, known as the
warp, and the horizontally woven threads, known as the weft, so that the end result was a
picture, or a lace pattern. In her peculiar way, the old woman said, A mediocre weaver
produces worthless plain fabric. But a master weaver can arrange the threads in such a way
that they generate an added value: beauty.
As she spoke, her hands moved with extraordinary speed and harmony. The image that
came to my mind was that of a virtuoso pianist. Her hands performed an amazing ballet as they
passed the threads through and tightened them with a wooden comb, creating a wonderful
design in the fabric.
She said, "We all live in a fabric of relationships. Master weavers say that the loom
represents the universe; the warp, or vertical threads, represent the human beings and the weft,

or the traverse threads, the relationships that form between them."

She made extravagant comparisons between the fabric and social relations, assigning
different values to the colours and the shapes she was using.
I felt as if her voice was dragging me into a bottomless pit, but her explanation was so
interesting that I just stood there like an idiot, listening.
She went on with her explanation:
"According to our senses, we live in a real world, but it is not as real as we think. This
blanket for example, is merely a combination of its threads, but if you look closely, youll see
that it is more than just a simple blanket.
As she spoke, I realized that I was entering deeper and deeper into the mesh of the
fabric, to the point that I could not take my eyes off the cloth. The feeling was pleasant at first,
but after a while I felt that I was being hypnotized by her art and her words.
I became frightened and hastily fled the place, but it was too late. Something had stuck
to me, and the days that followed were really bad. In my dreams I repeatedly saw the image of
the sorceress and the blanket she was weaving. I felt that I had fallen prisoner to her spells,
until I managed to return to doa Silvias house, I dont know how. I told the healers what had
happened, and only through their intervention did I manage to escape from the sorceress who
had bound me up and was about to steal my soul.
Doa Silvia confirmed that my encounter with the sorceress had really been a fierce
battle, and that I only got away because I faithfully followed the healers instructions.

Doa Silvia was a superb fortune-teller. To make her predictions, she would consult her sacred
rings, or wheels of fate, as she called them. She had made them from cardboard and painted
them with symbols of Tonalmatl, better known today as the Aztec calendar. By moving the
rings, which fit together with clockwork precision, she made predictions and auguries for
people. Her consultations always began with the same words:
This is the manifestation of the voices of the gods, as determined by the cosmic dance,
Having thus commended herself to divine forces, doa Silvia would ask her subjects
their name, date and place of birth, and other background details of their personal life. She
would perform some calculations with the information they would give her, then close her eyes
and utter her predictions for the subject.
Sometimes she also spoke of the peoples past, explaining how and when their life had
got into a tangle, or identifying the moment when they had taken the wrong course, thereby
causing their current problems. She then advised them on what should be done to solve those
For the pre-Hispanic population, Tonalmatl was the equivalent of what the Bible is
today for Jews and Christians. In those days it formed the basis of their society; it was their way
of life, their science and religion. At that time everything was governed by the movement of the
stars and the signs of the calendar.
Those Aztec symbols were carved into what is now known as the Sun Stone, currently
on display in the Anthropological Museum in Mexico City. In ancient times pilgrimages were
made to pay homage, not to the stone, but to everything it stood for. Today this magnificent
work continues to attract crowds who gaze upon it in fascination, without understanding what it
In one of her consultations, doa Silvia predicted a future of misfortunes, diseases and
misery for the subject. After the meeting, the subject wanted to know how she could be sure of
the future she had seen.
Doa Silvia replied:
"The exterior of a person is the reflection of what is within. You only need take a
perfunctory look to know more than half of anyone's life. And with the help of the calendar, it's
easy to guess anyones odds. It works very well."
The subject said, "But mistakes occasionally happen, dont they?
"Sometimes deviations in the events do happen, doa Silvia conceded, and then
explained: Since the powers that rule the destiny of all things are in fact an unpredictable force
that is always in motion, nothing is final. By and large, however, events follow a course that is
more or less coherent, so it is easy to make the calculations."
Since we all looked at her questioningly, doa Silvia explained her meaning: "It is easy
to see that a person who abuses alcohol or tobacco is more likely to develop cirrhosis of the
liver or cancer than those who dont use those drugs. And it is just as easy to guess the
character of people who indulge in vices."
We all listened carefully to what she was saying. I noticed that the subject cringed at her
words as she went on:
People addicted to their vices are in the grips of self-pity, mercilessly buffeted by its
onslaughts. They express it in different ways, but in the end they all show the same suicidal
tendency. It is pretty simple to see through people if you focus on their essence. They open like

flowers in front of you."

An assistant jokingly added, "Some of those flowers stink." And we all laughed.
On one occasion, in response to a request, doa Silvia brought out her calendar rings
from the trunk where she kept them and explained their function and meaning:
The largest circle is the universe around us. It represents the great spiral of evolution in
which we find ourselves and which perpetually turns back on itself. The things that once were
will come to pass again. Because of that, you can predict the future relatively easily. In truth,
there is very little new under the sun.
The smaller circle inside is the space where things interconnect. That is where we move,
do battle and have our successes and failures. That space was created by the gods who
sacrificed themselves to provide an example, a path for us to follow. That is why that space is
filled with clouds and rays of sunshine: that is to say, with struggles and rewards.
In the centre is the face of the Sun. His tongue hanging out symbolically represents the
engine of the universe. It is the centre of everything. It is not the physical sun we see every day,
but the spiritual sun, the spark of life that animates everything. Through his mouth we can enter
the other world. Knife-like, his tongue at the entrance is a warning to those who desire
knowledge but do not have a pure heart."
Then she explained the meaning of each of the twenty symbols and said:
"You should know that absolutely everything that exists in the universe is
interconnected, be it visible or invisible. If not a single grain of sand moves without affecting
other things, imagine then the effect produced by the sun, the moon and the planets.
That is why the ancients looked so carefully at the sky. They concentrated on the
movement of stars because there they found the answers to their questions. They saw the
movement of the universe as a cosmic dance which communicated with us through the
language of rhythm, proportion and harmony.
Our forefathers were very patient. They gazed again and again at the ebb and flow of
things, and noticed secret relationships between them. They knew they had to ask the right
questions to get correct answers from what they observed. They were not crazy like the modern
man who sees himself as the centre of all that exists, so that wherever they look, people only
see their own reflections.
Our ancestors saw themselves and the things around them in proper perspective. They
discovered that the land on which they placed their feet was but a small part of a giant being
aware of itself. We learned from them that it is possible to contact that awareness.
They also taught that it is possible to hook up to a ray of light, whether it comes from the
moon or from the farthest stars. Hooked up like that, one can travel to those places.
Our ancestors were aware that Earth was much more than just a rock floating in space,
and that Sun was much more than a ball of fire. They knew that all the stars were sentient
beings because they actually communicated with them: they asked the stars what they wanted
to know, and the stars told them.
One would be crazy to turn against the universe. When someone acts contrary to its
cycle, problems arise: diseases, madness, rages, sorrows.
Learning the art of healing, one learns to flow with everything that surrounds him. That is
the true teaching; all else the knowledge of the man of reason is useless because it doesnt
teach the main thing, which is unity with everything.
Doa Silvia explained that the dance of the stars generated different vibrations, and that
each of us was imprinted with a specific vibration at birth. That imprint really influenced our

"That is why we all fall into one or the other of the categories that exist on the wheel of
destiny. What, havent you noticed how people form groups, classes and subclasses? Humans
share tastes, inclinations, and even physical characteristics. That is due to the vibrations that
marked us."
Doa Silvia gave us lessons on the alleged similarities between facial types, hands,
eyes, and other body parts in people. She explained that these similarities had a decisive
influence on peoples characters and lives. When asked why healers sought that kind of
knowledge so avidly, she replied, By knowing the harmonic vibration related to them, warriors
do their utmost to resonate in unison with that vibration. That is how one achieves
completeness as a human being.
All this was well and good, but there was something I felt did not quite fit in the
description of the calendar. On one hand, healers always insisted that we had to be free and
make our own decisions; however, they also claimed that there were forces in the world
controlling us and that our destiny depended on our personal tonal or the calendar day of ones
birth. I simply could not reconcile the two ideas.
I consulted don Melchor on the subject. As I had expected, his explanation was short. He
"There is no contradiction. You see yourself as separated from everything else. You
must remember that we are all dual beings; we are both tonal and nagual."
Hearing him speak of tonal and nagual, I could see that certain concepts Carlos used in
his books had indeed stayed fresh and meaningful among the healers.
Don Melchor went on:
"We are in an inexplicable unity with everything that exists. We are a giant symbiotic
organism parts of which interact on numerous levels. In the world of nagual, nothing makes
sense. But in the world of tonal, everything is interwoven like the bamboo strips that make this
basket. Everything has to do with you and you with everything, so favourable and unfavourable
influences are inevitable."
I could actually see doa Silvias predictions come true over and over again, but not in
the way I had hoped. Rather, I had an impression of us all being picked up by a nameless
whirlwind whether we liked it or not, everyone fulfilling their destiny.

Doa Lucrecia
One night, doa Lucrecia came to visit. She belonged to a group of healers that lived in another
village. In the middle of the conversation she started telling us about the war of the sorcerers
and how I was the result of it. I immediately became curious and wanted to know the details, but
noticed don Melchor giving doa Lucrecia an imperceptible sign to be silent. She changed the
subject with natural ease.
Doa Lucrecia fitted the classic description of a witch. Her face was fearsome. Crosseyed, she also had a wart on her nose, and some of her teeth were missing. The other
assistants had warned me about her, saying that she was crazy and very eccentric.
One of the oddities they commented on was that she habitually went to every funeral in
her village, and sometimes even to internments in nearby towns. When asked why she did it,
she explained that she had had the ability to speak with the dead since childhood, and she
liked to chat with them while they were still fresh.
One of the assistants asked why she bothered with the dead.
And why shouldnt I? doa Lucrecia replied with a menacing air. Because the living
are more important?
The discarnate ones have a great potential to prolong the continuation of their
awareness in the other world, just like us. Unfortunately, just like the everyday world clouds our
awareness, they are weighed down by memories of their experiences. When the dead are told
of their chances, they ignore the advice, entangled in their memories, and are gradually
consumed until nothing is left.
I have helped hundreds find their way to the light. Most of them are like headless chicken
when they first arrive, lost and confused. Nothing makes sense to them. Some arrive badly and
dont even know who they were or where they came from. Others set off in search of their
fantasies straight away."
What fantasies do you mean? we asked.
She replied:
When people die, they sometimes have a hard time letting go of the world of the living,
and will always cling to things. Theyre full of ideas and fantasies of what is or what should be
on the other side. So when they get there, that is exactly what they find. People who die see
what they expect to find on the other side. The seers who visit that place see them as they
really are: paralysed, staring into nothingness.
Doa Lucrecia said that in that place multitudes of awarenesses remained as motionless
as zombies. Seers say that they are reliving their memories, recounting their experiences for
one last time. They claim that this is what it is like when they are in the process of being
consumed by the Eagle.
That night doa Lucrecia told us about one of her terrible encounters with the dead. She
said that many of them returned if they could and interfered in the everyday world of the living.
She told us the story of a young man killed in a motorcycle accident. He had loved a girl madly.
"When I was at the funeral, she said, I saw the young man wandering among the
mourners. He was still wearing his black leather jacket. Nobody else saw him, but I noticed that
whenever he approached someone, that person would become uncomfortable and move away.
I watched him for a while. When the young man noticed I could see him, he came over to talk to
me. For a moment I pretended not to hear, but then found a more secluded spot and asked him
what it was he wanted. He begged me to contact his girlfriend and tell her he loved her.
I was vexed and said that even death hadnt rid him of his foolishness. We talked for a
long time and became friends. I then began telling him about sorcerers and how they used their
knowledge to continue their existence on another level of awareness. I spent several years with

him, teaching him what was necessary for increasing his survival chances on his journey
through the cruel world out there on the other side."
One of the women inquired about Anita, and doa Lucrecia told her that she was fine
and still increasing her abilities.
We wanted to know who Anita was. Doa Lucrecia replied that it was her little girl, her
daughter, but not one that had come out of her womb. She explained:
I found her at a wake, and it surprised me that she, too, could see the departed. As I
talked to her, I could see that she was gifted. Her perception was very fluid. I asked her if she
needed help since she appeared to be lost.
The little girl told me shed left her home following a spirit, and had ended up in that
place. It is very common for evil spirits to entice children away in order to hurt them or even kill
them but fortunately, this time, it had not been the case.
She told me her name was Anita. I asked if she knew her way home. The little one
lowered her head, and shrugged her shoulders as if to say, Who knows? or Who cares?
I took her to my house that night, hoping to return her to her family the next day. I actually
asked around the town but no one knew her or anything about her. I even went to the police but
they knew even less than the others.
She now lives with me. I am helping her develop her skills, and she is becoming a very
powerful little sorceress."
On a more convenient occasion, curious, I asked doa Lucrecia about the war of the
sorcerers. She replied that if I visited her at home, shed tell me everything. I never did.
Of all doa Silvias colleagues, doa Lucrecia was definitely the scariest. The tales of
her misdeeds were legendary among the apprentices. They said she not only healed people,
but also made them ill and even killed them.
She described herself as helper. One night, she told us how she helped a dying man
with his transition. She said that the patient was suffering and that there was no hope
whatsoever for him. So she prayed the death prayer, and Death came looking for the man,
finally ending his agony.
In a fearful voice, one of the assistants asked about the prayer. Doa Lucrecia was
reluctant at first, but then something changed her mind. She explained that the prayer was an
ancient spell in her ancestral language. It was so dangerous that she could not even speak it as
it was but would change the word Miquiztli, meaning Death, to Tecolotl, which translated as
owl. She then intoned with great intensity:
Eahh Tecolotl, xihuallauh!
Nican ce icnopiltzin.
Ma amo cocoliz!
Ma nican mahnozo!
Ye axcan yez.
Tla xihuiqui nota tlaca tecolotl.
Ma tlaocoya in amoyollo
In icnopiltzintli.
Amo semicac momacehual.
Nana mamatlapal
Ma xitlacuania in mictlan.
Tecolotl, xiccaqui!
Huallauh ye axcan yez.

Xiccaqui nonotza, Mictlantecuhtli!

Nehuatl, itonatiuh pilli imetztli pilli.
Nehuatl, in teteo tlahtoani,
Nehuatl, in tlaloque cale.
Nehuatl nimitztlalia xihuallauh
Ma nican mahnozo!
In translation, that became:
Hey Owl! You who inhabit the dark regions,
Come now!
Take this poor suffering wretch.
Do not let him pine! Come and do your duty!
Do not delay!
Come now! Oh Owl, come now!
Have mercy on this unfortunate sufferer!
There is no reason to keep him here!
Carry him off on your wings!
Take him to the Dark Kingdom!
Hey Owl!
Listen to what I say!
Come, then! Do not delay!
Listen to the one that calls you! Oh Owl!
I am the daughter of the Sun and the Moon!
I am the one who speaks to the gods!
I am the one at whose table spirits feast!
I am the one commanding you!
Come and perform your task!
Doa Lucrecia warned us that this prayer was very powerful and was used not only to
help the terminally ill die but also, with some variations which she would not reveal, to get rid of
ones enemies.
Jokingly, she said to one of the healers that if he did not visit her soon as hed promised,
she would call upon Death to come and get him. We all laughed nervously.
In the course of another conversation, doa Lucrecia said, "Like the wise virgins in the
parable who got ready for the arrival of their Lord, healers prepare for the greatest of all events:
the pending appointment we have with our Death.
"To deal with Death, she said, you have to reach an extreme state, beyond attachment
to this world."
She stated that Saint Death[16] was the only counsellor who always told the truth, and
that we could all perceive Death if we focused our attention on her. She said that even ordinary
people could sense her now and then.
"Doctors in hospitals usually know that a person is about to 'kick the bucket' when he or
she begins to see dead relatives and friends. That is normal. The proximity of Death breaks
their fixation on the quotidian, and even those less prepared can perceive the other world.
Our ancestors symbolically represented the passage to the other world by placing a jade
bead representing a replica of their lives into the mouths of their dead. Those who had no
money to give to the Hound of Hell would have to cross the River of Oblivion by themselves
and would never manage to reach the other bank."

Doa Lucrecia explained that this custom, based on the practice of sorcerers, served to
remind the living that dying means sinking into the dark sea of awareness. To escape this fate,
one must pay ones debt to the spirit. Our life experience is what we owe, and the payment
consists in unravelling every feeling, and every emotion weve had in our lifetime. That can be
achieved by means of impeccable and thorough recapitulation. She said:
Instead of collectively remembering the dead one day a year as ordinary people do,
sorcerers evoke the day on which they are going to die. That day, which is as real as any other,
is much more memorable than any other date one might celebrate.
To flow with Death means to become one with it, learn to accept it in such a way that it
becomes a friend, so that, when the moment comes for us to set off for the valley of shadows,
there will be no fear in us because well know how cross the River of Oblivion. That is the only
way to conquer Death.
Smiling wickedly, doa Lucrecia glared at us with the eyes of the devil and said in a
terrible voice:
"Ive come to take you."
We all laughed: the healers with total abandon, and the rest of us with total

Tales from the Kitchen

At night, it was our custom to assemble around the wood stove in doa Silvias house to listen
to stories, tell our dreams, relate our experiences and discuss topics of interest for the
apprentices. During the first phase of my stay among the healers I believed them to be a sort of
religious brotherhood; later, I believed for a while that they were relatives. Still later, however, I
discovered that they were much more than that.
On one of those occasions, don Melchor and two very strange old men came to visit us.
In the light of the oil lamp, the visitors cast weird shadows. From where I sat, I was able to focus
my attention on them. At first the shadows appeared to flicker with the glow of the fire, but after a
while I noticed that they were moving differently from other shadows in the room.
Everyone was concentrating on the conversation. I felt as if the shadows, realizing that I
had noticed they were different, surged towards me threateningly. I let out a tremendous scream
that interrupted the meeting. The assistants surrounded me, wanting to know what the matter
was. Feeling that I was slowly returning to my senses, I apologised and told them I had been
dreaming awake. They all laughed.
After the meeting, I discussed what I had seen with some of my fellow assistants. It
turned out that I had been the only one who had seen the two old men. When I questioned don
Melchor about it, he told me dryly that they were his allies.
The first time don Melchor took me to his house in the state of Veracruz, I was surprised
to see how fine it was. It was, in fact, an enormous house of very good quality, completely
opposite from what they had in the state of Morelos. I asked him about that, but he
misinterpreted my questions. Believing I wanted to know where he got the money for all that, he
told me an extraordinary story.
He said that an inorganic being visited him once, a ghost who told him that, while alive,
he used to be a rich landowners farm hand. One day, his boss ordered him and his mate to
drag a heavy trunk up to a very isolated area near a sharply pointed rock. The boss
commanded them to dig a large hole, carefully lower the trunk down to the bottom and bury it.
While they were in the middle of the task, the old man pulled out a gun and shot them, killing
them both. The greedy rich man did not want witnesses.
He said that the discarnate being told him that the old man, while covering their corpses
with soil, had put a charm on them to make them guard his treasure to the end of time. The
souls of the two labourers had been unable to free themselves of the enchantment ever since.
They appeared to don Melchor and told him the secret of the buried treasure in order to break
the power of the spell and thus escape their chore.
Don Melchor went up to the place the troubled spirit had indicated and excavated the
spot. Close to the surface, he found human bones, and then further down the already rotten
trunk full of gold doubloons.
I had already heard similar stories and had never believed a word; this time, however,
there was physical proof of the claim, so I had to accept the story as true. At that time, to accept
an idea like that was for me equivalent to accepting the existence of another world inhabited by
the dead. My hair stood up and I tried to think of something else. To change the subject, I told
don Melchor that the purpose of my original question was to find out the reason behind the
enormous discrepancy between his two lifestyles.
With an expression of understanding, he laughed, and replied that healers had to be
very detached and fluid and that the strategy of living a simple life in the mountains helped
them stay that way.

The Humility of a King

Shortly after my arrival at the healers house, doa Silvia drew my attention to the fact that my
hair was too long and that I was in need of a good trim. She offered to cut my hair. I looked at
her suspiciously but she explained with a serious expression that it was mostly she who gave
the assistants their haircuts.
I cherished my hair which for me was an important element of my identity. To reassure
myself, I asked her again if she was sure that she knew how to do the job. With a confident
tone, she replied that she was an expert hairdresser, so, albeit with some apprehension, I let
her cut my hair.
As she worked on, I felt a snip and saw a large amount of hair fall to the ground. Doa
Silvia let out a scream and told me that she had done something inconceivably clumsy. I ran to
look at myself in a mirror, but then remembered that there were none in the house. In my
despair I looked into the rear view mirror of the disintegrating old truck that was being used as
an improvised henhouse. Seeing my reflection, I realized that doa Silvia had cut off a massive
tuft of my hair, literally leaving my scalp bare on the most visible part of my skull. That hugely
upset me, but I saw no other remedy than to allow her to continue cutting until I was left
completely bald.
For me, being bald was like walking around naked. At first I felt awful and unnatural with
myself, but then the lesson took effect and I understood how trivial it was to base my internal
well-being on physical appearance.
The stories healers told were generally intended to teach us how to treat diseases.
Occasionally, however, they told local folktales that always had a moral about the warrior's way
and life in general.
One night doa Silvia told us the story about the pyramid on the hilltop, clearly visible
from the village. She explained that the ancients had built it to honour a king who had ruled
those lands in the past.
She said, "At that time, the government was in the hands of seers and sages who served
as beacons for the people. It was not like it is today when any crook can grab power. But well
talk about that some other day."
Adopting the tone used by traditional storytellers, doa Silvia began:
"They say that long ago there was a young virgin who was as beautiful within as she
was of appearance. Her black hair was smooth and very long. Her eyes were dark and shiny. In
her presence one could feel the fragrance of spring; the little birds sang to her in a chorus, and
in her wake the flowers opened and exhaled their perfumes.
Doa Silvia pointed to a south-facing window and said, "She lived in one of the glens in
that direction. Her name was Chimali.
It happened that on one occasion the beautiful girl went to fetch water from the river not
too far away from her village. She took a shortcut straight through the woods and there she met
the spirit of the forest.
Praising her beauty and the sweet look in her eyes, the spirit gave her an obsidian
pebble and said it would bring her good luck. Then the spirit disappeared and she went on.
Having filled her jug with clear water, she made her way back home.
She kept the pebble she got from the forest spirit in her mouth under her tongue, but it so
happened that in an unguarded moment she swallowed the pebble. As time went by, she
realized that the stone had been enchanted since she had become pregnant.
The wise rulers of her village saw Chimalis aura and realized that she was telling the

truth and that her pregnancy had been brought about by the spirit. They took that as an omen.
In due time, Chimali gave birth to a son who became the king of his people. Tepozteco
was his name, and he was a king so wise that his fame spread way beyond the frontiers of his
land. From everywhere, people came to hear his words.
The story tells that on one occasion the great king was invited to a banquet at the royal
court of Tenochtitlan, which was located where Mexico City is today. He arrived dressed in his
usual way, wearing his humble loincloth and leather sandals, but he was not allowed in. He
then returned home and put on fine clothes, gold, jewels and precious feathers. Thus attired, he
returned to the party. This time he was admitted in and seated alongside the other nobles.
During the meal, out of the blue and to everyones astonishment, king Tepozteco began
smearing food on his clothes and ornaments. When asked why he was doing it, he replied that
it was not he who had been invited to the banquet but his clothes and jewellery. The others
were profoundly embarrassed.
The lesson of this story is that we must look beyond appearances, unlike this baldy
here, Doa Silvia said, pointing at me, who believes that only external appearances matter.
Modern man has abandoned his good sense in favour of vanity. He has become a
puppet of fashion and behaves like a clown, only without even the slightest sense of the
ridiculous. It clearly shows how people continue to follow the propaganda blindly without ever
questioning anything and are thus mercilessly manipulated by hidden forces.
The price for emphasising any aspect of the ego is to remain locked up in the chosen
detail. Lack of awareness makes the masses behave mechanically and follow stereotypes.
Watching them, one doesnt know whether to laugh or cry.

Patients Stories
Patients past and present were the recurring subject of our night conversations. The healers
would very casually discuss the patients illnesses, how their afflictions were relieved and what
healing methods had been used in each case, so that the audience not only listened to the
story, but always learned something about the practice of healing. Each story was indeed a
lesson, and not just about healing.
This is the case of a lady called doa Mariana, who came seeking help for infertility. She
had been married for five years but had not yet managed to have children. After careful
examination, it became clear that the womans ovarian ducts were almost completely closed
because of a psychological trauma she had suffered when as a girl of barely ten she got raped
by her own father.
The healers subjected her to deep regression therapy of the event, and even then it took
many sessions for her to fully remember what had taken place. Doa Mariana finally freed her
feelings and recalled in detail the misdeed of which she had been victim.
According to her, her father had been drunk at the time. On such occasions they would
have terrible fights at home, usually ending in physical aggression against their mother or some
other family member.
She related how, on that unfortunate night, seeing that her father was drunk, she took
him to the shed at the back of the house where they lived in the hope of avoiding the usual
confrontations. She wanted to put him to sleep there and then go back to her chores in the
kitchen, but her father forced her to stay and lie down with him. At first she did not know what he
was doing and thought he was playing with her. On feeling the pain, however, she entered a
profound state of terror and closed her entire being up. The denial resulted in progressive
amnesia and caused an energy blockage in her reproductive system that eventually led to the
near-closing of her fallopian tubes, and her sterility.
It was only through extensive recapitulation together with the manipulation of her physical body
by massage and medicinal teas that her ovaries recovered. She now has two healthy children
and is very happy.
This case makes it demonstrably clear that the recapitulation technique is not just
warriors work. It is also useful for ordinary people to recapitulate the events of their life.
Recapitulation brings many advantages, from improving memory to enhancing selfawareness and awareness of the environment. It can get to the bottom of the energy attacks
one may suffer and recover whatever energy has been snatched away.
Sexual abuse of children is actually responsible for great many diseases and
psychological deviations in adults. The only thing one can do about this problem is struggle to
raise the educational level of the population so that they can take responsibility for their actions
and thereby break the chain that has existed for millennia: that of an abused child inevitably
growing up to become an abusing adult.

Mr Salas Attacks
Another interesting case that I have documented in my notes is that of a gentleman called Mr.
Salas who used to suffer constant attacks of irrational fear. The doctors had diagnosed
profound schizophrenia, which was why he was on powerful drugs all the time.
When his relatives brought him to doa Silvia, the first thing she did was discontinue his
medication. It took many sessions to achieve that, because part of him refused to open up to a
treatment using only tea and roots.
In addition, he underwent deep recapitulation therapy which revealed that he had
committed various crimes against the people of his village. He claimed that he was haunted by
the spirits of those whom he had killed, so much so that he suffered from severe seizures and
loss of consciousness, soiling himself with his own excrement.
Doctors did not know the cause of his illness and consequently stuffed him full of
psychotropic pills that did nothing other than keep him in an almost vegetable state.
Doa Silvia explained that healers-seers perceive the human energy field, which is why,
rather than being distracted by surface manifestations of the problem, they focus their attention
on the balance and the functioning of the energetic-organic union. That enables them to cure
the problem at its root.
Unable to find any organic or energy cause for that mans suffering, the healers had to
focus their attention in another direction: they went to the other world to negotiate with the spirits
that were tormenting Mr. Salas, since no other treatment had worked in his case.
It turned out that the spirits were not willing to forgive. They found strength in hating their
attacker but did not understand, however, that under those circumstances, they, too, had no
peace and that their existence was constant torment. The sorcerers had to explain to them the
reality of their discarnate condition and the possibilities of advancement towards a higher level
of awareness that that realm offered.
They finally agreed to leave Mr. Salas alone when it was explained to them that he would die
soon and that, without the knowledge and the discipline required, he would merge with
darkness and oblivion, and that would be his eternal punishment.
The spirits, nevertheless, insisted that Mr. Salas be beaten for twenty days in a row and
then, if he survived, they would leave him alone. This was done, with the consent of his family.
Every day for three weeks he was given a tremendous beating that left him barely alive, only to
have to endure the same thing the following day.
Mr. Salas survived the punishment and the spirits let him be, but his guilty conscience
never allowed him to have a completely normal life.
There is a saying among healers, "Until you have paid off your debts, you cannot enter
the kingdom of heaven." To them, it means that one can only enter the other world if one has
recovered the energy that has been scattered around. One achieves this by recapitulating ones
life in all its detail.

The Energy Parasite

On one occasion, Father Gratian, the parish priest of a nearby town, brought a rich and welleducated foreign woman who suffered from sudden fainting attacks for us to cure.
The lady said that she had no faith in indigenous healers, but that she had been to see
the best specialists there were, and not one could explain what was happening or what was
wrong with her. She had agreed to come to us as a last resort.
Her arrival caused great excitement, because everyone wanted to see her. I was also
curious but, as I was very new to the healers art at the time, I did not notice anything special
when I observed the lady.
Doa Silvia told me later that what had so shocked them all was that this woman carried
a pegoste clinging onto her energy. A pegoste would probably have been described as a
baby flyer in Carlos terminology. The seers perceived it as a dark spot clutching the ladys right
side and consuming the poor womans energy in such a way that it was killing her. It would only
wait for her to recover slightly before attacking again. That was what was causing her fainting
It took a full cure of cleansing with plants and smoke during which she was kept in
quarantine before the lady was finally rid of the clinging parasite.
The patient was delighted both by the healing process and the results obtained. She
wanted to pay money for the services, but doa Silvia would not accept payment. Instead, she
told the lady that if she really wanted to show her gratitude, it would be better if she made a
donation to Father Gratians church which looked after many orphans. And that was what the
lady did.

The Ball Player

It all began when one of the patients came to us with the rumour that a villager had been
unjustly imprisoned by the Mexican police. We all took a dim view of the news because of the
tremendous corruption prevalent among the officers. Rather than being guardians of the law,
they were a sort of mafia using weapons to keep everyone hostage and impose themselves on
them. The incident had sparked the fury of the people, culminating in an uprising in which
people confronted the government forces.
Later that night, as we commented on the events, doa Silvia told us a story that became
one of my favourites. It was about a Nagual of our lineage whose name was Xolotl.
"In ancient times, she began, adopting her usual story-telling tone, long before the
arrival of the foreign devils, a confrontation with the Aztec army took place in this very village. It
seems that history tends to repeat itself forever, doesnt it? she added with irony in her voice.
"Such confrontations were called xochiyaoyotl or flower wars. At that time everyone
agreed that human sacrifices were needed to appease the wrath of the gods, so wars were
conducted regularly with the collective consent of the people."
The concept of flower wars is not understood by scholars to this very day and will never
be understood unless they let go of their self-important habit of interpreting the culture of a
people on the basis of what they know of other cultures.
I said that Id read something about those military tournaments that aimed at capturing
enemies in order to sacrifice them. But doa Silvia, with a commanding gesture of her hand,
told me to shut up because I knew nothing of the matter.
"To understand their particular way of seeing the world, you must first imagine the
intimate relationship these people had with their gods. They lived in constant and close contact
with powerful entities that definitely interfered with their lives.
That was the era of sorcerer rulers who acted as a bridge between the world of daily
affairs and the other world. To secure their power, they made agreements with invisible forces
that became their gods. Those beings demanded blood sacrifices, and other strange things that
are now meaningless.
The hallmark of those ancient warriors was the extreme faith they had in their beliefs. For
them, war was a sacred activity. They used it not only to dominate, but also as a path for
spiritual work which they considered to be preparation for the encounter with the other side. It
was an honour for those warriors to sacrifice their lives for the benefit of others. They believed
that those who died in battle were immediately invited to sit at the table of the gods.
By all accounts, it was the custom to choose the defeated and those captured in battle to
be offered in sacrifice, because it was widely believed that the gods always coveted the blood
of brave warriors above all else.
It so happened that Xolotl, who belonged to the Ocelot brotherhood of warriors, got
captured during one of those skirmishes, but not before he had fought so bravely that he had
even won the admiration of his enemies.
He was then taken with other prisoners to the great Tenochtitlan to be offered as
sacrifice to god Tlaloc to help prayers for rain. In those days the drought was very severe, and
according to custom, gifts of blood were required to gain the ear of the powers that governed
The captives walked for many hours under the blazing summer sun which cast its rays
down at them like arrows of fire. Finally they reached the cool shadow of the Great Pyramid, a
delicious break for the bare, scorched skin of the prisoners."
Doa Silvia explained that, in the case of Xolotl, a slight alteration of the normal
procedure took place. Instead of sacrificing him at once as was the custom, the priests argued

that, having had fought so bravely, he deserved a reward. The masters of the pyramid gave him
the chance to play one last ball game, promising that he would be released if he won.
Ulama was a pre-Hispanic ball game, now almost extinct, which used two stone hoops
with round holes in their middle, each of them attached vertically at the height of about four
metres to parallel walls which were twenty metres apart from each other. The playing field was
about fifty metres long, resembling an alley between the high walls on either side, each of them
with a stone ring embedded at halfway point. The ball was a sphere of solid rubber weighing
more than three kilograms. According to the rules, players could not use their hands or feet to
hit the ball, and were only allowed to use body parts such as knees, elbows, and particularly
hips. The purpose was to keep the ball moving and put it through the opponents ring.
Continuing with the story in her theatrical manner, doa Silvia said:
"On the day of the game the stadium was full to bursting and the spectators shouted and
applauded their favourite players. The pandemonium was only silenced when the sound of the
ceremonial drums announced that the game had begun.
Xolotl played the game for his life and won, but the judges -- the very same priests who
had planned to execute him did not accept his victory, and falsely quoted certain rules.
The death ceremony scheduled for the next full moon was drawing closer, and at that
point Xolotl decided to run away, breaking with all the codes of honour of an Ocelot warrior. But
he had good reason to do so, or so he thought.
When, after a thousand adventures, he got to his village, his brothers rejected him. They
beat and stoned him because they did not want a coward among them. Almost dead, Xolotl fled
again. This time he would hide in the caves he knew were the abode of the dreaded Naguals.
He thought he would feel safe there, since no one else in their right mind would go to those
cursed lands.
As if in a dream, he knew he was close to the caves because of severed heads impaled
on poles and other grisly fetishes that could be seen everywhere along the road. Everything
looked like a hallucination to Xolotl who was bleeding profusely from the wounds inflicted by
his captors and by his former comrades.
A few steps on he lost his senses and only recovered when he felt his body being
manipulated by a dark man, almost black, with evil markings. Xolotl saw that the man was
chewing leaves and putting them on his wounds. What struck him most were the mans eyes,
the brightest he had ever seen.
Xolotls appearance was taken as an omen by the sorcerers of the caves, for they had
immediately seen that this warrior who came to die at the entrance of the Cave of the Naguals
was a double being. Needless to say, those sorcerers healed his wounds and adopted him as
one of their own. That was how he became the Nagual Xolotl, one of the greatest healers of
that period.
Many stories are told of this Nagual who was one of the most memorable Naguals of our

The Legend of the Warrior in Love

One of the assistants was in love with a girl from the city and was very troubled. He had
reached the crossroads where he had to choose between the family life and the way of the
healers. Doa Silvia took the opportunity to instruct us with one of her stories.
In the evening she asked don Melchor to tell us the true story of Popo and Ixta. He began
in the storytellers manner just like doa Silvia:
"The story of the warrior and his beloved is well known in Mexican culture. It is
immortalized in the form of Popocatepetl and Ixtlacihuatl, two huge volcanoes that are visible
even from Mexico City on a clear day. What is less well known, however, is the interpretation
we, the healers, give to this legend," said don Melchor with a malicious expression, moving his
eyebrows up and down in an undulating fashion. His buffoonery gave a great boost to the
assistants interest in his story. Moments like that make one appreciate the flair with which
sorcerers adapt any situation to their purpose.
Don Melchor went on: "This story goes back to antiquity; they say it goes back to
Ameca as that town was called in those days. Today it is called Amecameca, or the other
Ameca, because the new town was built on top of the previous one after it was destroyed by a
volcanic eruption. In those days before the eruption, when people still called it Ameca, there
lived in that area a great healer who had close contact with the spirit of the mountain.
They say that the sorcerer had made an agreement with the entity of the mountain, and
as planned, gave light so to speak to a virgin inside a cave. There, it is said, the spirit of the
mountain took possession of her newborn baby, and thus emerged the warrior Popocatepetl.
Many tales are told of the adventures of that warrior. The best known one is that of his
love for a beautiful princess of an enemy people, love that was obviously impossible. According
to popular history, the lovers decided to elope together and fled but were pursued. Having no
other choice, they climbed to the top of the mountain and threw themselves into the void. But
they never touched the ground: they became two birds and flew away together towards the
The healers version, however, says that Popocatepetl was fathered by a great healer
and according to their story, wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. He had felt the healers
vocation since childhood, and had in fact faithfully followed all the steps on the warriors path.
He was about to become a sorcerer like his father, but as fate would have it, Popo went to the
towns annual festival where he met the lovely Ixtlacihuatl for whom he instantly developed an
ardent passion.
The young lovers forgot the world and gave themselves over to their love. As they both
lived in that area, they wandered together through beautiful forests surrounding the mountains.
Stories past and present tell of how dangerous certain places are in those mountains. Old
people say that no one should climb up to or enter the caves there, for they are the abode of
Legend has it that during one of their strolls the young couple went to the mountains and
got lured away by the spirits that inhabited the place. That day the lovers climbed the steep
slopes and were never heard of again. Some believe they met an ordinary death in the ravines
or were lost in the maze of caves. Others believe they passed into the other world through an
opening that from time to time naturally appears in the area. The point is that this story shows
how easy it is to stray from the path. It is very easy indeed to give in to your feelings and be
engulfed by the everyday world. To be a warrior, one must have unbending intent."
As he spoke the words, don Melchor stared at the fellow who was suffering because of
the same problem. The man lowered his head to escape his withering look. After a moment of
awkward silence don Melchor continued:

Well, and as for the lovers who had entered the cave and tried to make the crossing,
they might even have made it. But that manoeuvre requires even more energy, since it involves
leaping from our world to the other world 'cold', to put it this way. Without proper preparation,
that kind of leap usually means death.
One of the assistants asked if it was true that there were or still are places like that. Don
Melchor retorted:
"Well, look here at little godfather[17] Manuel. Hes already been in the wolfs mouth but
has managed to return intact. Isnt it true, godfather?"
"It is true, godfather, Don Manuel replied. Many years ago, in my youth, I went to those
caves with two companions. We camped at that location and waited for three days until the
wolfs mouth opened. That is what we call the door to the other world.
It was midnight, and we believed ourselves sufficiently trained, but, upon entering, each
of us was sucked into the void. I managed to escape at the last moment because I realised that
I would not survive the test and, gathering all my strength, jumped backwards, but my two
companions who had entered ahead of me were lost. We never found out if they managed to
survive, or if they disintegrated under the tremendous pressure. My benefactor was furious
because of our audacity and disobedience.
Shaking his head, Don Manuel concluded:
"There are also those who believe that the secret to passing through that doorway lies in
the love shared by a couple, and only as a couple is it possible to pass through to the other
world, as was the case with Popo and Ixta.

The Tale of the Poet King

Among the kings of ancient Tenochtitlan, there was one who personified poetry itself. His name
was Nezahualcoyotl, and he raised greatly the level of culture among his people. During his
rule, great spiritual and material advances were made. Temples and aqueducts were built; the
streets were paved, and a general state of well-being prevailed, created by trade between
They say that, as King, Nezahualcoyotl was a great conqueror, and not only of his
enemies in battle, but also of the spirit. He constantly sought the path of illumination and
evolution. In doa Silvias kitchen, of an evening, it was customary to recite some of
Nezahualcoyotl poems. They would first be spoken in their original language, then repeated in
Spanish for those who did not understand the language of the ancients. It was made clear,
however, that although one could translate the words, the real feeling was inevitably lost. This
is one of my favourites:
Cuicatl anyolque
Xochitl ancueponque
Ni zacatimaltzin in tochihuitzin
Ompa ye huitze xochimecatl
Auh tocnihuane tla xoconcaquican
In itlatol temictli
Xoxopantla techemitia
In teocuitlaxilotl techonituitia
Techoncozquitia in ticmati ye
Ontlaneltoca toyollo tocnihuan!
How wonderful it was to hear the voice and partake in the knowledge of those who had
left long ago! It was as if they were speaking from distant past directly to our ears. The
translation of those wise words went as follows:
What a song I have lived.
What a flower I have brought to bud, oh, princes.
I am Tochihuitzin, the wreathmaker:
Here is my chain of flowers!
Friends, favour me and hear this word-woven dream!
In the spring the sweet corns golden sprout gives us life;
The flame-coloured cob refreshes us.
How rich it is, this necklace of knowledge,
How faithful to us the hearts of our friends!
We were very pleased to hear the poems and discuss their deeper meaning in such a
way that we were able to draw important lessons from each. In fact, I became so fond of the
inspired words of the poet king that I collected virtually all of his available texts. While doing
that, I unwittingly got into the idiom of the ancients and thus, with pleasure and almost without
effort, I managed to learn the language of our ancestors.
I had been granted the honour of preparing a recital for one of our poetry evenings and
performing it. To the surprise of the elders, I did it in their own language. At the end, they smiled
happily and applauded me. I remember reciting this beautiful poem on that occasion:
Quin oc tlamati noyollo
Niccaqui in cuicatl nicitta in xochitl

Maca in cuatlahuia in tlalticpac!

Nihuinti nichoca nicnotlamati
Nicmati niquitoa niquelnamiqui:
Maca aic nimiqui maca aic nipolihui!
Incan ahmicohua incan ontepetihua
In ma oncan niauh.
Maca aic nimiqui, maca aic nipolihui
Here is the translation:
At last I understand:
I hear a song, I see a flower.
Oh, may they never wilt!
I feel out of myself,
I weep, grieve and ponder, say and remember:
Oh, if I were never to die, never to disappear!
Go where death is not, where victory is mine,
Thither I should go!
Oh, if I were never to die, never to disappear!
That night we went to bed with the taste of rich hot atole[18] and with those sweet words:
it seemed as if, in some magical way, the poems prepared us to enter dreaming.

Part Three: The Lessons of the Healers

The Encounter in the Crypt
This book tells of what happened to me after I became involved with a group of healers and
practitioners of sorcery. I dont aim to describe everyday events here, but rather provide a
selection of facts and extraordinary moments when I learned or experienced something special.
My first contact with this magical world was through Carlos himself, who set up a trap for
me and indirectly introduced me to this sorcery tradition.
I remember that, on that occasion, before leaving me alone in the Metropolitan Cathedral
of the Assumption in Mexico City, Carlos told me that I had to go down to the catacombs and
stand with my eyes closed in the middle of a circle carved on the floor, facing south-east. I was
initially worried about orienting myself underneath the church, but I saw that the circular
drawing was marked with the four cardinal points.
I did what Carlos had told me and, after having stood there for a while with my eyes
closed, I had the strange feeling that someone was watching me. I opened my eyes just in time
to see a man in native garb hiding in the crypt at the end of the corridor. I walked over
apprehensively only to find out that there was no one there. I was very frightened, and classified
that episode as when I saw a ghost; or at least that was what I believed for a long time.
Once, after I had already known him for quite some time, don Melchor and I went
together on a trip to the nearby mountains and on that occasion I took the opportunity of asking
him a question that had been preying on my mind.
From the first moment I saw don Melchor, I had the distinct impression that he had been
the ghost I had seen in the crypt years earlier. I wanted to question him about it for a long time,
but every time something I could not explain prevented me from doing it. I thought it was my
timidity or the respect I had for him. That day, however, I mustered my courage and asked:
"Were you the ghost I saw in the crypt in the Cathedral of Mexico[19]?"
On hearing my question, he laughed with malice and asked me what I was on about. I
told him what had happened that day, and added that he looked extremely like the ghost I had
He burst out laughing again as if he could not believe what I said.
"Were you really the ghost?" I repeated.
"Nando, he sometimes called me by that pet name bear in mind that you and I have
known each other for a very long time. You dont remember because our meeting took place in
the other world.
I did not understand his allegation. My mind was firmly set on the question of whether or
not he had been the ghost.
"But was it you, or wasnt it?"
Don Melchor told me that the day Carlos introduced us in the crypt, the three of us had a
long conversation. He went on to describe what happened, and the strange thing was that as
he spoke, I recovered the memory of my experience. It was as if his words were a torch lighting
up the memories that had been shrouded by darkness till that moment.
Thus, with his help, I remembered that on that day Carlos had told me to go down to the
crypt. After I had been there for some time, I saw Carlos and an indigenous-looking gentleman
I exclaimed:
Carlos! I thought youd gone.

Laughing, Carlos patted me on the back, pointed at the gentleman and said that on his
way out hed met a friend and wanted to introduce us. He said his friends name was don
Pablo, and that he was a great sorcerer. I greeted don Pablo and told him my name.
He hugged me affectionately. I know that now, but I spent years with no memory of what
happened that day. As he hugged me, don Pablo unexpectedly gave me a tremendous grip. I
felt as if he was squeezing me, or pulling me by the top of my head. As I think of it now, the
image that comes to me is of toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube. I was sliding up. I felt I
was losing consciousness. Then, as I gradually became aware of myself again, I noticed that
something in me had been changed. As if in a dream, I could see Carlos and don Pablo
laughing. I knew I was in a different state of awareness because everything had an unusual
For a brief moment I perceived a web of light superimposed upon everything. That was
the first time I had such an experience, but rather than being surprised, I felt joy, as if all that
was already familiar to me. While in that state, I noticed otherworld entities roaming around.
I remembered that on that day we actually interacted for a long time. Don Pablo gave me
advice on how I should behave in life. He also recommended that I take certain teas to purify
When we had finished talking, Carlos told me to stand in the circle with my eyes closed
and let the power of that place return me to everyday awareness. I did, and I felt as if I were
waking from a dream. Then next thing I knew was a feeling that someone was watching me.
Remembering my meeting with don Pablo that day put me in a state of euphoria similar
to drunkenness and I spontaneously entered another level of perception. Don Melchor took the
opportunity to give me new lessons, which then became erased from my normal memory,
leaving me with a strange feeling that I had lost something. When I finally returned to my old
self, we were already on the hilltop, and I could not remember how we got there.

Don Melchors Stalking

Being with the healers was similar to being on a moving train. With them, I had no time to be
bored. We were always busy with something important, or "extremely urgent" as the healers
would say. We were either healing someone who was sick, or taking an arduous hike to the top
of a distant mountain, which we occasionally did for the sake of the walk itself.
"If you have nothing to do, dont come to do it here" was their much repeated refrain.
They gave jobs to all who came to them, an effective way of getting rid of the layabouts who just
wanted to gossip or hang around.
The events which took place during the first stage of my learning left a deep mark on me.
Strange occurrences and unexpected lessons together produced a state of alertness in me, as
if at any minute something momentous was about to happen.
Just when I thought that the dust had settled, so to speak, and was beginning to get an
idea of what was going on among those people, I was given another awesome lesson, this time
in the art of stalking.
I had asked don Melchor about power objects on a number of occasions, but he never
told me anything meaningful about them. One day he called me over and said he was going to
show me a place in the mountains where with luck we might find a power object. As he spoke,
he nodded repeatedly as if spurring me to adventure. But he warned me:
"This will be a long and dangerous expedition, so you need to prepare."
He had me prepare a large backpack with food and other necessary things, apparently
planning to spend several days away from home.
The walk was actually exhausting. After wed walked for two days, we still had not even
reached the mountain we were supposed to climb. The heat and the insects made the trip even
harder. Towards noon, as we headed for a rock wall, don Melchor decided it was a good
moment to take a break, and I agreed. He then suggested that I go to the bushes to empty my
We resumed the path and, as we climbed a steep ledge in order to cross a ravine, don
Melchor held out his hand to help me across the gap. Having crossed, I looked up and almost
shit my pants out of pure fright. I was holding the hand of don Gabinito, not don Melchors hand.
I was completely shocked and numb for a long time. Don Gabinito was very
understanding, saying that things like that were bound to happen sooner or later and should not
be taken too seriously. We sat down on some rocks at my request, because I did not feel well. I
was confused, half asleep, and for a moment not sure of where I was, or with whom I had been
I remained sitting there, trying to recover. Don Gabinito started throwing a tantrum
because I was not answering his questions. His histrionics took me out of my self-reflection. He
then said it might be better to call don Melchor back. I wanted to say no, but he did not wait for
my comments and began to shout:
"Chon, hey Chon, come here!"
He went behind some rocks, still calling for Chon. From behind the other side of the
rocks, don Melchor appeared, smiling like someone who had just made a prank.
I had the clear impression that they both had been playing tricks on me. I desperately
tried to calm my reason by telling myself that don Gabinito had perhaps been hiding among the
rocks and had grabbed my hand while don Melchor was hiding to scare me. Deep down,
however, I knew that was not the case, because don Gabinito had been wearing the same
clothes as don Melchor.
I became very suspicious from then on, silently observing every detail. Then I realized
that I had never before seen don Gabinito and don Melchor together in the same place.

It was only much later that I understood don Melchors stupendous manoeuvre. As don
Gabinito, he changed both his physical behaviour and his personality so radically that he
actually became someone else. He convinced everyone. Even after I had found out the secret
of his transformations, I still automatically kept acting one way with don Gabinito, and a different
way with don Melchor.

Profit at Minimum Cost

In the liturgies in which we often participated as part of the groups religious practice, we
learned the particulars of the Catholic faith. I resented contact with religion at first, believing that
I had already transcended that stage of my life. I did not like at all the idea of wasting my time
listening to nonsense, but the matter was presented to me as a challenge, so I consented and
accepted it as a task.
I remember reading in one of the Nagual Carlos Castanedas books that it is not what we
like, but what we do not like that counts in the struggle for impeccability. Being impeccable only
under perfect conditions meant being a straw warrior, because straw warriors, when confronted
with unexpected situations over which they had no control, fell apart and their self-importance
re-emerged at absurd levels.
Whenever he had a chance, at mass or during prayer sessions that were regularly held
in the homes of the faithful, we would discuss the details of the doctrines. On one occasion the
sermon was about the Ten Commandments. Later, back at the house, the healers gave us their
version and their interpretation of the Commandments. Don Melchor said:
First of all it is necessary to expand on the vision of humanised God we inherited from
the Europeans. The idea of God as a bearded man seated on a throne in the manner of the
medieval kings is childish. Believing in something like that is tantamount to believing in
childrens stories, like the story of Santa Claus which is presented to the infants as truth and
later ends up as the first great disappointment of their lives, not so much because Santa doesnt
exist but because their parents lied. It is at that point that lying becomes part of the childs world
and it is actually the moment when children lose their innocence.
To reach God, we need to recover our original purity which gave us the ability to believe
in Santa Claus. The only way to conceive of God is abstractly because everything is vibrating
energy. When we realize that we are part of that same energy, we integrate with God.
Consider the billions of galaxies that exist in the universe, each with its billions of suns,
each of them with planets revolving around it, all of it moving like clockwork. It is obvious even
to atheists that there is a powerful creative force at work behind all that. Even they intuit that
everything exists as part of something immeasurable and incomprehensible. That something is
what people call God. Each religion and each culture has a different name for this infinity.
Scientists call that nameless force gravity without understanding their own words. We
use names that came to us from antiquity. But names are really irrelevant. What matters is the
effort one makes to come into direct contact with this force, with God.
Contrary to the teachings brought by the Conquistadors who introduced us to a
humanized God, we teach ourselves that God is an impersonal force encompassing absolutely
everything that exists.
As it has been said: That force is not at all interested in man as a species, let alone in a
particular individual, so it is useless to pray to it or ask anything of it. The human part of the
Eagle is too small to sway it.
Sorcerers, however, know that there are ways to connect with that power. Our goal as
healers is exactly that: to unite with God, with the intent of all things.
I remember my nervousness and unease when we were ordered to strictly observe the
rules of the church. At first I was confused and distressed by those demands but later, as I
struggled to meet them, I realized that there was more to it than I thought. Following the Ten
Commandments helps a warrior achieve one of the most coveted goals of a sorcerer:
impeccability, or profit at minimum cost as they say.
In the sessions in which we participated, we were taught the laws, commandments and
rules until we had learned them all. At the beginning I really found it all quite repulsive.

Fortunately, back home after the sermons, our elders clarified matters, giving us the
healers explanation for the sermons and what lay behind the words that sounded hollow when
delivered mechanically.
On one of our evenings around the stove, doa Silvia gave the First Commandment as
an example: Love the Lord thy God above all things. She said that superficially it would seem
God needed the love of his faithful even more than his faithful needed him. According to the
healers interpretation, however, that commandment summarized the entire struggle of the
warrior. To them it represented their commitment to finding the source of awareness and
consciously uniting with it.
The ultimate goal of all living things, whether they know it or not, is to preserve
awareness. That is why death, or the idea of death, causes such fear. The reason for living is to
acquire experience and be filled with knowledge and awareness. That is the food of the Eagle.
At present, only sorcerers are aware of the possibility of disobeying the command to die and
deliver their awareness to the Eagle, because they practise recapitulation.
The Second Commandment was the next to be considered. It said, "Do not take Gods
name in vain, the words that generally end up mystifying people and causing the famous fear
of God. Warriors, however, understand the real issue. They know the secrets of the power of
words and use them for their purposes in a form that is reverent to the all-encompassing force,
reverent to God. Warriors know how to behave in front of power, and approach it with the
mandatory strength and humility."
Someone in the room asked, What does power of the word mean?
"It means that every word matters, so be careful about what comes out of your mouth. But
we will talk about that another time, doa Silvia replied. For now, let us continue with the topic
of Gods law."
Continuing with her analysis of the Commandments, she quoted:
"Honour thy father and thy mother. Unfortunately there are those who hate and deny
their very source their parents and then extend their grudge against all that exists, including
the very earth that gives them shelter. This original resentment is the cause of many diseases.
A warrior is aware of the tremendous price that was paid for his life, and in the most
detached manner honours and respects those who gave him existence. Only then can he fly
We continued with the lessons through a number of sessions in order to learn the true
meaning behind every Commandment so as to be able to understand what they really referred
to. This made it much easier for me to commit to the work of religious conversion. I remember
that doa Silvia gave us the task of hanging the Ten Commandments up on the wall in a visible
place in our sleeping quarters, and learning them by heart.
I thought I already knew them, but when I tried to write them down I realized I did not
know them all that well, so I copied them down on a sheet of paper after checking the source.
1. Love the Lord thy God above all things.
2. Do not take Gods name in vain.
3. Keep the Sabbath holy.
4. Honour thy father and thy mother.
5. Do not kill.
6. Do not commit adultery.
7. Do not steal.
8. Do not bear false witness.
9. Do not suffer impure thoughts and desires.
10. Do not covet the possessions of another.

Exodus (20,1-17) and Deuteronomy (5,6-21)

In addition to the above, we were later given to learn the list of the seven deadly sins
against which one must constantly be on guard. They are: Gluttony, Lust, Greed, Arrogance,
Pride, Vanity and Envy[20].
In one of our meetings, the lecturer spoke at length about the modern mans situation,
saying that the society had lost its way and that evil had taken root in the hearts of people. Dark
forces were seeking to stop human evolution, and those enemy forces worked tirelessly to
cloud peoples minds and to change the purpose for which humans had been created in such a
way that the old commandments based on morality and justice got swapped for those of the
man in the street that go something like this:
* First me, and next I.
* Love thy possessions and cling unto them.
* Lie and cheat to achieve thy goals.
* Satisfy thy desires by any means.
* Obtain profit at any cost.
* Always seek pleasure and personal gain.
* Take advantage of others.
* Crush the weak.
* Destroy that which thou canst not get.
* If thou canst not accomplish something, do not let others accomplish it either.
Part of that topic was the study of how the healers saw the world and what their Ten
Commandments were. For that lesson, we walked up to some monumental caves the interior of
which bore a strong resemblance to the vaults of Gothic churches. There, we were instructed in
the commandments of energy or the Ten Commandments of the healers, which are:
* Be good.
* Be honest.
* Be moral.
* Be true.
* Be impeccable.
* Be patient.
* Be detached.
* Do good.
* Cultivate energy.
* Cultivate Silence.
Here, don Melchor said:
The commandments of the healers are like a map to help us save energy.

The Power of the Word

Apart from our work as apprentice healers, we were taught and trained in the way of the warrior.
The healers called that path Xiuhyollotl ohtli, meaning the path of wisdom, or the path of the
heart. Regardless of the terminology used, however, the goal is the same: the connection to the
The modern man has renounced the magical world in favour of reason, and in so doing
"was cast out of paradise": he has lost his connection with intent.
The first step one needs take to return to the natural state is therefore to wholeheartedly
desire such a return. Then, step by step, through warriors training, one begins cleaning ones
connecting link with intent and bringing it back to life.
Energy is cumulative. Each act that exercises the will, every instance of choosing to
behave impeccably helps the next act and makes it easier. Making the connecting link
operational again is the way to achieve integration.
We learn that we create the world by attention and keep it stable by means of will. We
say that things are like this or like that, we believe in this or in that and thus ensure that things
are in this or that way. Sorcerers say that by doing so we decree the world, we set its
Doa Silvia clarified this point for us, saying:
"Decreeing is like sowing seeds of intent so that they germinate later.
What she meant was that if we put our intent into a certain thing it later becomes reality,
which is why we need to be careful with our thoughts and the words that come out of our
mouths, because, unless we have control, the intent coming to us will be blind.
She advised:
You must be very careful when you decree, because it works in both directions. Love
and hate are decreed with equal intensity, and so are forgiveness and revenge. Those who
choose evil condemn themselves because we are bound to our commands, and whatever we
decree comes to us later.
Its not that there are two kinds of intent, but rather the continuity that one decrees. To
decree the future deliberately is to decree what will happen next. One does it by activating
intent. For that purpose sorcerers generally use gestures and words concealed within other
techniques. What really matters here is that, having set up intent, the warrior maintains inner
silence and patiently hopes. The results will happen.
By being attached to ones habits, addictions, and emotions, one unconsciously decrees
their continuity. The only way to break away from that chain is to decree the opposite."
One of the assistants asked, Can you give us a concrete example of a decree?
She replied, "To decree is more than just tell yourself mechanically that something is this
or that. To decree is to give yourself an order, and do everything possible and impossible to
execute it. At first it may be difficult, but as you keep to your decision time and time again, there
will come a moment when your command will become law.
Giving yourself an order means giving yourself a command. A command is not a
promise, it isnt trying or testing. It is an order, something that must be obeyed. It is something
much deeper than mere desire.
Once the word has been spoken, once the commitment has been made, forces are
unleashed that forge and mould the world, and thereby we engage our will with that of others.
Now, if for any reason we go back on our word, we weaken our will and cloud our link with
To walk a path, your feet must be on it. There is no substitute for that. Take yourself as
an example, doa Silvia said to the assistant who had asked her the question. You live

complaining that you cant enter dreaming when all you need do is give yourself an order,
convince yourself that you are a dreamer, that you are already there.
We are what we say we are. That works for the good things and for bad. If we want to
change something in ourselves, we must begin by repeating again and again the desired
change. Even if at first the affirmations we utter arent entirely true, it is not a big deal, because
in time they will become so. Our command will become the Eagles command.
We decree at every moment, and in every decision we make, whether we like it or not. A
sorcerer therefore asks himself, If I have to decree anyway, why not do it consciously, and
select whatever suits me most? The sorcerers thus effectively eradicate from their vocabulary
all the negative or destructive thoughts, words and ideas that delay or harm their progress
along the path.
When we make a decision, however small, imponderable forces are unleashed, forces
that might well lead to our death. Any and every decision counts, because in a world where
death stalks, nothing is more important than anything else. Your sense of being impeccable will
come from knowing what decision to make, and when to make them."
It so happened that one of the assistants felt the need to say something to an absent
colleague that evening but had no way of communicating with him. Doa Silvia said:
Come with me for a moment.
She went out of the house, and gave a shrill whistle. I thought she had used a device to
produce the sound because of the way she had put her hands to her mouth, but then noticed
that she was not holding anything. She whistled repeatedly, then went back in and said, "Now
we just have to wait."
We looked at each other questioningly, and she explained:
"Healers work their tricks at crossroads, which means that we apply our will at the very
point of a decisive juncture. That is how we manage to do many things, including healing
I asked, What are you talking about?
"To answer that, I have to explain the art of interference," she replied and called
everyone to gather around her again.
"I must warn you that what I am about to explain is of such huge importance that great
responsibility comes with this knowledge. Some people feel that it ought to be kept secret, but
we have learned that only those who manage to accumulate enough power are able to make
use of what Ill tell you now.
"Once weve understood that we are connected to everything around us, we humbly take
our place within the creation. Then we observe carefully where the link between one point and
another lies. Once weve discovered that, the rest is easy: all one has to do is apply ones will
to that spot to interfere with its operation. Some people use ritual to keep their attention focused
for long periods of time, but over the time, with practice, ritual becomes unnecessary. One
decrees continuity. To interfere with anything, one must decree first."
Doa Silvia watched us for a while to see our reaction, then went on: "I will teach you a
magic verse, a formula to learn and repeat every night, like Hail Mary."
She put her hands together as if for prayer and said, It goes like this:
"I set upon my will
An unbending intent:
That, once I make a decision,
I shall carry it out to the end
If it costs me my life.
I shall never commit to what is not my will.

Doa Silvia finished her incantation by making the sign of the cross, then continued:
When spoken with purpose and intent, words carry great power. The main reason why
ordinary people are excluded from the world of power is because they never keep their word.
Warriors know that words are directly linked to intent and should therefore be used with
purpose, which is why they carefully consider everything that comes out of their mouths.
Ordinary people speak without thinking, and in so doing they expose themselves.
Using the same techniques that turn ordinary people into idiots, a warrior saves himself
from that predicament. He creates his own commands and instead of unconsciously repeating
set phrases, he deliberately chooses which commands he wishes to emphasize. A warrior
never lends himself to harmful displays of envy, hatred, resentment, and so on. He drowns them
in his silence and lets them die slowly away."
What does that mean?
"It means that a warrior avoids uttering sentences with connotations contrary to his
interest, like, for example, I hate this or that or I cannot stand this. By avoiding those and
similar comments, a warrior is cleansed and cured of debilitating concepts.
Observe that the idea here is to reinforce the positive and reduce the negative. Even
when saying, DONT do this or that one actually suggests that YES, it can be done. Such is
human nature. It is therefore important to cultivate the ideas of strength and beauty in the mind,
because they are the filter through which we look at the world. If we learn a word, its meaning
becomes an active part of our possibilities. It is therefore wise to deliberately choose strong,
commanding words that will help us build a character suitable for the hard struggle of warriors.
For that purpose, healers deliberately choose fortifying affirmations which they
incorporate into their everyday vocabulary: words of good humour, happiness, health and
vitality; words that make them feel good about themselves.
Once, while doing my chores, I absentmindedly hummed a popular song. Doa Silvia
drew my attention to the words of the song so that I would understand how we constantly give
ourselves commands we are not even aware of.
"A word becomes spent when it acquires connotations that weaken its essence and
divert its intention so that it is no longer impeccable and no longer suitable as a warriors
affirmation. Warriors avoid speaking such words or phrases.
There are fresh and strong words and there are old and worn-out ones. When a word
loses its force, it needs to be replaced. The word love, for example, has become so
commercialized it has almost lost its meaning. Yet those who truly love know what is behind
that word; they know it implies the abandonment of the ego. As a general rule, one must use
words with great care if one wants to preserve ones power, and must never fail intent."
As an exercise, Doa Silvia told us to make a list of words we unconsciously repeated
so that we would become aware of them. Then she instructed us to substitute positive words or
reaffirm positively the negative aspects of words we dragged along, so that they would be
We first of all need to become aware of our automatic repetitions and why we are making
them. We must understand what the word used without intent has turned into and what damage
it can cause. When, for example, someone innocently says that something is killing him, or
even that this or that makes him sick, one is self-programming the fulfilment of that statement.
The fact that I was creating my list alongside my fellow apprentices turned out to be very
useful, as other people notice our repetitions more readily than we do.
Following doa Silvias programme, we devoted ourselves to the task of becoming
aware that we did have a repetition habit. We then took every word or phrase that we were in
the habit of repeating and gave it a healing treatment. By meditating on it and then repeating it

many times in a sequence, sometimes even in a mocking tone, we made those words lose
completely their basic meaning and with it their suggestive power. By bathing them in attention,
we offloaded the burden of their subconscious meaning.
Another interesting exercise we practised, one which produced excellent results, was to
assign arbitrary values to words. Yet another one was to make lists of important words that
needed examining and pin them up where we could see them.
Some words, however, represent conglomerates of values deeply rooted in us and it is
difficult for us to break our fixation on them. Those are best dealt with as memories of
experiences to be examined during recapitulation.
There is a common saying among the healers: Our life is the sum of our intent. It is as you
decree it.
Words are so powerful, doa Silvia went on, that, all by themselves, they have the
power to move the assemblage points of people. That is what happens when charismatic
leaders who are gifted speakers influence crowds. It is mass hypnosis.
Being happy is the supreme accomplishment that warriors can achieve, which is why
they cultivate good humour and the art of not taking themselves seriously. They learn how to
apply the power of words in pursuit of happiness, laughter, and good living.
Our conversation was suddenly interrupted by the absent apprentices arrival. Doa
Silvia commented with a huge smile:
It never fails."

Ohtli Necuapalli
Once, while teaching us about keeping our energy layers tight, don Melchor spoke of
something that in the language of the healers meant shredding the basic components and
could be translated as genetic recapitulation. The only way to revitalize our congenital energy
and put it entirely at the disposal of our awareness was by compacting it, he said. To achieve
this, it was first necessary to scrutinise it from the base up.
I remembered that Carlos had touched upon that topic in one of his talks. He said it was
essential to know our energetic potential, and that it was therefore necessary to investigate our
origins by discovering how our parents had made us. In one of his public lectures in which I
assisted, he said:
"By finding out what mood our parents were in at the time of our conception, we can say
for certain whether the act that brought us to this world was infiltrated by ethical or religious
concerns. Through meticulous scrutiny it is possible to find out whether or not there was
passion. Without passion, the act was mediocre and lacked the necessary strength."
Carlos classified himself as the product of a bored fuck. He told us that because of our
socialization, very few people had in fact issued from passionate relationships. Because of that,
his teacher advised him to be very cautious with the use of his energy, and said that in his case
all excesses were strictly forbidden. Don Genaro used to tease him, saying that his chilli was
just for urinating and that he was allowed to give it only two shakes after peeing, because the
third one, for him, would count as masturbation. It was Carloss custom to illustrate his
teachings with jokes and funny comments.
On one occasion when the topic of sex was being discussed, he told us that until
recently the Spanish did not even undress during sexual intercourse. The idea that it was a sin
was so strong that, to rid themselves of the guilt for participating in so sinful an act, they would
kneel beside the bed and in their prayers repeat the refrain, Not as vice, not because its nice,
but to place a son in Thy service.
Carlos had spoken the invocation with an exaggerated Castilian accent, which provoked
a wave of laughter in the audience. He then added more seriously:
"It is easy to predict the energy level of the creature that is being created in that kind of
He added that in our case, it was possible to determine how we were made in two ways:
by directly asking our parents, or by using a specialized form of recapitulation, of which he gave
no details on that occasion.
Answering a question, he said:
"A good recapitulation has no limits. It can take you back to the moment of your birth, and
Since, for couples, sexual intercourse often turns into a mandatory event which must be
performed regardless, it tends to become an ordinary, boring act in which the fire of passion has
died, leaving daily routine in its place. The ones who pay the greatest price for this
transformation are the children, born with an energy level so low that they are like old people
from the day they are born."
That is why Carlos once said of one person in the group that he was fortunate to have
been a bastard. He explained that, in that type of relationship, there was at least a chance of
there being enough passion during the act of procreation. It was doubtlessly due to this that the
energy level of the person in question was higher than normal.
The healers tradition also uses those concepts. One of the speakers once commented

on an extract from the Bible which said that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven meant to be born a
second time. Don Melchor later explained what the passage was about, and confirmed that it
contained a great truth. He said:
It is not a metaphor but a literal truth. If we manage to unravel the events of our lives and
arrive at the rudimental vibration which created us, the possibility of performing an energy
miracle will open to us. By returning to our origins, we can compact the energy involved in that
initial act of creation, and in that way rescue our integrity.
Sorcerers take recapitulation seriously, because it not only helps one get rid of the
burdens imposed upon us by daily life, it can also reverse the stigma of the original sin, which
is to be born without energy.
That is how retracing the path helps us in a very profound way, effecting changes at the
fundamental level. We are not only what we consciously and unconsciously decree. At birth,
we acquire the heritage from the generations that preceded us.
By recapitulating and cancelling undesirable commands, it is possible to modify our
basic structure and shape our character at will. It is the only way we can rid ourselves of
unconscious repetitions, the only way we can prevent the onslaught of diseases and other
conditions that may have been programmed into the heritage we got from our ancestors.
Only by returning to our origins can we correct any fault that may have been there at the
moment of our formation. This is achieved by breaking the basic components of our character
down to their minimum expression. The warrior then uses intent to reconsolidate himself as a
whole, now free of external commands.
Although the revision of basic components as such has no power to cancel out our
parents acts, it does help restore our totality as luminous beings.
For sorcerers, constructing their energy body is a work of art that usually takes a lifetime
to complete. That is why they are so meticulous about anything relating to that goal.
I asked don Melchor how it was possible to recapitulate something that happened before
we even existed. He replied:
The memory we use in our daily lives is cerebral. Here, however, the type of
recollection sorcerers seek has to do with our origins, when we did not have a description of the
world around us. To be sure, our basic components, or the energy fibres that make us up,
obviously had to be present at the moment of our creation. Those fibres recorded it all.
Along the same line of thought, he clarified:
"Im not referring only to the physical aspect of our birth but to the exact moment of our
formation as units of luminosity. I am talking about luminous fibres, where the fusion of two
segments in a given moment produces the spark of individual awareness.
To our luminous body, the passage of time means nothing, so much so that it is perfectly
capable of activating those very same filaments that were employed at the exact moment of our
creation. That is the warriors feat. Achieving it, one might even get to perceive oneself as one
really is: a fibre of light aware of itself.
Every human beings potential includes all the capacities of a warrior; it is just a matter of
activating them. Everything begins with an initial act of will. If we then faithfully continue
reviewing our actions, we successfully revive our link with the spirit.
A warrior, then, is someone who has literally been reborn, or rather, someone who has
recreated himself and has been conceived anew, only this time fully, passionately and free from
the fetters of socialization.
The complete history of our ancestors is stored in our basic components. Retrieving that
history is an act of power through which we definitively disintegrate the illusion of I. That
history is not composed of words or images, although it is entirely possible to realign with any

of them in order to make the return journey.

Continuing with his explanation, don Melchor clarified that point:
The memories we usually access during our genetic recapitulation are in fact
impressions that jolt the totality of our fibres, making us aware of why we are as we are, and
why we react as we habitually do. Genetic recapitulation brings us into contact with the
immense burden we carry, imprinted in us as the heritage from our ancestors.
As a result of this type of recapitulation, we introduce ourselves to a unique dimension
where sensations hold priority over the mind, making it possible for us to perceive the forces
acting upon us.
Every aware being in the universe is connected to a particular luminous fibre. The act of
focusing on one of these lines is called aligning. To align, therefore, means to live a particular
experience, past or present, contained in the vast ocean of awareness."
One participant asked what the object of the exercise was, because it was bound to be
hard work. Don Melchor replied:
"You cannot evaluate the results of that effort unless you personally commit to it. Anyone
can understand that the practical results of that work are of enormous importance because it
has to do with the reason for our existence: keeping the flame of awareness alight.
Every living being in the universe is fighting for the same thing, whether they know it or
not. It is like a cosmic game where only those who manage to pass each evolutional stage can
Recapitulation should be the main task of our life. One cant know what one is missing if
ones never had a point of comparison. People have no idea how the transmission of the basics
components affects them, and are therefore constantly exposed."
Explaining the transmission of our personal characteristics by means of basics
components, don Melchor said that this phenomenon occurred not only vertically, in the
transmission from parents to children, but also horizontally, through other mechanisms of
contact. The way in which the presence of others affects us is a good example of this. He said
that was why the saying "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are" was
indisputably true.
"When our energy interacts with that of others, we receive something from them, and the
other way round. That exchange of filaments is what needs to be reset, and only a good
recapitulation can do it. That is why warriors go to extremes to save energy by strictly avoiding
taking part in activities that might drain their personal power."
He gave the way sorcerers interacted with ordinary people as an example:
"One can only deal with mundane people through acting, by dodging them to avoid
being ensnared in their coils."
What Carlos called the art of stalking, the healers called the art of acting.
Don Melchor said that in interacting with the people they were healing, the healers ran a
calculated risk. It was therefore common for them to disappear from time to time to retrace their
Consequently, whenever it was difficult to find someone in the group at a given moment,
everyone would know that he or she had retired, and under no circumstances was to be
disturbed. That is how they referred to someone who was busy recapitulating.
Don Melchor commented:
"That is the only way one can stay on top of things; otherwise you sink under the
pressure of relationships, and end up acting like ordinary people do; such is the power of
exchanging the basic components."
Someone wanted to know how it affected the relationship between parents and children.

At the time of conception, don Melchor explained, parents fused their energy. Each parent
donated a light fibre of his or her own energy to form the new life. The miracle of conception
consisted of trapping a handful of filaments of the energy at large inside a new luminous
cocoon. That is how new life was formed.
"Following the creation of a new being, the energies of parents and children inevitably
remain intermingled because each is part of the other. But recapitulation is very useful even
then because it minimizes the loss of energy."
He told us about a custom of the ancients that was still observed in rural communities:
one never carried a child in front of ones body, but mounted on the hip or on ones back. Adults
were also very careful not to embrace the child frontally. That practice came from the sorcerers
who knew that affection for children was, in reality, concern, and that parents were energetically
drained through that feeling. Frontal embraces increased the drainage, which is why they opted
for carrying the child strapped to the back or seated on the hip.
"It is also a favour to the little one since it helps the child feel more independent and
have self-confidence.
It is all about saving every bit of energy possible. It is an effort similar to following a diet,
and it is available to everyone. All one needs do is to make a commitment to oneself.
Unfortunately, as with a diet, the main factor is discipline, and as even the simplest decision to
change requires an extra amount of energy, most people are not even fit to embark on such an
When people are told they need to reassess the aspects of their life which they are most
attached to, they do an about-turn and leave the issue for another day, saying, What? Me, stay
single? or, Me, give up smoking? No, anything but that!
If we manage to solve the problem of energy we will have made a huge step; we will
have entered another world. But how many of us are willing to pay the price?"
I remember being assigned a very special exercise during our training. The exercise
consisted of walking backwards while treading in our own footsteps with precision. At first I
thought it would be easy, but trying to do it, I realised it was much more difficult than I had
thought. The level of concentration and physical control required was extremely intense, and
the execution had to be perfect.
We spent months training before we were sufficiently skilled to do it. After a tiring day of
practice, don Melchor came over to us and explained the finer points of the exercise. It was, he
said, a representation of the sorcerers task called ohtli necuapalli, or retracing the steps.
Smiling, he turned to me, his index finger in the air, and in the professorial manner, as if
expounding something very intellectual to his students, said Carlitos called it re-ca-pi-tu-la-tion.
Everyone turned to me and laughed. Don Melchor continued with his explanation:
"Sorcerers-healers also practise recapitulation, but weve added confessing our sins to
Grandfather Fire to the technique. Also, in certain cases, one must undertake a return journey
and return to the exact location where the recapitulated incident occurred, because there, with
the help of correct breathing, one can recover ones soul.
You may have heard that healers make return journeys to retrace their steps. That is
meant literally. They return to every place they passed through and where they left energy
smears. They collect every crumb they may have left scattered along the way.
The whole process requires a lot of preparation, as if getting ready to attend a very
important event -- the most important of all events, in fact: the recovery of the totality of oneself.
The warrior, then, prepares for the return journey, and, when he gets back to a place or
meets people involved in the past events, he uses recovery techniques, and calls back the

energy hed left behind."

How do we recover lost energy? What is the procedure? someone asked.
"For that you have to use intent. Having got to the place where his energy was
compromised, the warrior gets ready to draw on his reverting power. The procedure for
recovering energy is to make our hands into claws and, inhaling gently or hard as appropriate,
grab the emotions we injected into the place. To get rid of any undesirable energy that may
have been deposited in us there, one makes a gesture of rejection starting from the middle of
the chest, and, while doing that, exhales.
In the case of recovering energy left in another person, all you have to do is touch them
once with your left hand, and once with your right to give back the energy that has been left in
"Is there a particular place on the other persons body that one should touch?
"In most cases a simple squeeze of hand will do, but sometimes it is necessary to touch
the chest of the other person."
I was able to verify for myself the efficacy of those procedures and can say that to
recapitulate in conjunction with the healers practice of visiting the places where the events of
ones life took place greatly increases the power of ordinary recapitulation.
In my particular case, I was able to see the results when I tried to retrace my steps on the
subject of my family history. It was not until I had recovered every fibre of my energy that I could
get the full measure of the value of this procedure.
On another occasion, in a private conversation, don Melchor told me:
"Once we accept the challenge of being a warrior, the first thing we must do is retrace
our steps, because that will give us the extra energy well need to start making other changes. It
is the only thing that can give an assistant an understanding of what he is doing. If one tries to
become a healer without recapitulating, one is lost in endless doubts and hesitations.
After a moment of silence, he added:
"Through recapitulation, one can even change appearance."
What does that mean, don Melchor?
Im saying that sorcerers can change their appearance at will. Don Gabinito is an
example. Im mentioning it because youve often asked me how such transformations can be
done. I can now tell you that everything starts with recapitulation."
I told doa Silvia once that I was having difficulties with my recapitulation. To help me,
she said, referring to her weaving:
"Our life is like this fabric. To retrace our steps, we must become aware of how our
energy is interwoven. If one understands the tangle of ones life, it is much easier to unravel it."
That day she showed me a totally different recapitulation technique from the one I had
been using so far. The system had no name, but I half-jokingly called it recapitography
because I had to write down the particulars of my recollection in detail on the bark of trees. The
strips of bark were then exposed to the winds, after which they were ceremoniously burned,
either privately or collectively.
She said:
"Retracing steps serves not only to resolve traumas but also as a powerful technique for
improving the quality of life. It is something everyone should do as a discipline. The benefits of
that exercise include improved memory and becoming more aware of oneself and ones
surroundings. We recover whatever was taken from us during energy attacks by people as well
as by nasty mountain winds."
Along one of the regular routes we used on our walks, there was a tree the locals of the

area believed to be magical. It was an enormous ceiba[21] about forty metres high, considered
by many to be the mother of all the ceibas in that valley. It was rumoured to be very old,
possibly a thousand years or more.
Stories of that trees power have even attracted pilgrims who had come from afar to drink
from its life-giving fountain. From time to time, the healers would go there to fill their gourds with
the blessed water. For sorcerers, however, the greatest gift that the tree gave them was none of
the above but rather its very fine bark which they used for writing down the details of their
personal recapitulation.
On one of our visits to the tree, doa Silvia told me:
"Long ago, a powerful sorcerer chose this tree as his dwelling place, and settled there to
live in it. His spirit is still around."
She suggested that I sit in the shade of the tree and verify its strength myself, and I did.
Whether through the power of her suggestion, or for some other reason, I really felt I was inside
an unusually powerful field of awareness. While we were there, doa Silvia spoke about the
bark-writing technique. She said:
"Each ceiba tree is sacred to the Indians, not only for being the guardian of water and
staying green all year round, but also because those trees shed their bark which serves as a
sort of paper for recording the events of their lives and their sins. It is, therefore, a sacred tree
that helps us get rid of our crap.
And that is exactly what youre going to do. You need to collect a lot of this trees bark
and write down all your life on it."
So I collected a thick stack of sheets of bark on which I recorded all the incidents of my
life that I could remember. I was amazed at the number of important things I had previously
forgotten. Finally, when doa Silvia felt that my life had been sufficiently reviewed, she ordered
me to ceremonially burn the sheets.

The Art of Acting

Once we went to help put on a play of pre-Hispanic origin that was being staged in a
neighbouring town. After the show, don Melchor said:
"We know about the art of stalking Carlitos speaks about; well, among us it is called
acting, or the art of performance.
There are good actors and bad actors. The good ones give themselves completely to
their art and make you dream along with them. The bad ones, like those we saw today, give
you the impression that they are just acting."
Curious, I asked how this acting thing worked. He replied:
"Youre acting right now."
He gazed directly into my eyes. I felt uncomfortable, and said I did not understand what
he meant. He explained:
"Like it or not, we all wear masks. The sorcerers reasoning is, well, if I have to wear a
mask, Ill choose one that suits me. Being sorcerers, however, we have many masks; one for
every occasion."
Having said that, he laughed.
"What masks are you talking about, don Melchor?"
Personality masks. We present ourselves to others in one way or another, as it suits us.
Aware of this, warriors choose to be impeccable.
A practitioner is expected to be an actor. Sorcerers-healers give the highest importance
to this issue, and yet I cannot help you with it. You must figure out the secret for yourself."
The task of working out the question of stalking by myself made me suspicious and put
me in a bad mood although I was not aware of it. Without realizing it, I developed the intent of
monitoring others. This made me keep to myself and judge everyone around me.
On one occasion I told the healers that I wanted to go to Mexico City to fetch my clothes
and belongings. They endorsed the idea, but when I returned I was told to burn everything I had
brought. They even ordered me to get rid of my portable stereo. After I complied with their order
without question, they gave me new clothes. What surprised me most was that they fit me
As I plunged into my work, the healers gave me the task of erasing myself. I found it very
difficult to follow their request. They helped me heal not only my physical wounds, but also
some very old psychological ones I had been carrying within me. They taught me that only by
facing the unresolved situations of my life would I rid myself completely of my personal history.
It was easy enough for me to create a fog around me and leave everyone who knew me,
but understanding and forgiving those who had hurt me in the past was another matter. The
resentment I suffered prevented me from making progress in my work. I had to get rid of those
old grudges before completing my task, so I made long journeys to each place where I had
been hurt, to the exact spot. By doing this, I recovered every scrap of energy I had left behind.
One day, without notice, don Melchor asked me to come with him. I thought we would
head for the hills, but instead we caught a bus to a town I had never visited before. There he
took me to a house surrounded by high walls. One could barely see the house for the great
number of trees growing around it.
He told me to go to the front door which was a good distance from the gate, and
instructed me to knock loudly. Worried that there might be fierce dogs around, I walked
cautiously down the pathway. I knocked as hard as I could and ran back to don Melchor.
After a considerable wait, the owner came out of the house and very politely greeted don

Melchor as someone whom he held in high esteem. Don Melchor introduced him to me, saying
his friend was called Bernardo and was a theatre producer.
"Berna for my friends," don Melchors friend put in with a smile.
Don Berna had a slightly swollen or deformed upper lip that looked as if he had just
shaved off a moustache. He appeared to be about the same age as don Melchor, but his hair
was not gray. He seemed jovial and kind.
After a brief chat, don Melchor excused himself, saying he had things to do. He would
leave me with don Berna and come back for me later.
Don Berna was a model host showing trademark kindness and attention. I asked him if
he was producing any work at that time. He replied:
"No, but I am about to start a new production. Would you like to take part in it?"
His unanticipated question caught me by surprise. I said I was busy with my duties, and
that we should better leave it for some other time.
Looking like someone in possession of a secret, he told me he was charged with
teaching me to be an actor. Smiling, he added, "The Castanedistas call it the art of stalking.
What have you done in that field?"
Don Berna was a truly unique individual. During the months that followed he taught me
his art. At first I honestly thought he was merely teaching me the art of drama, but after a while I
could see that there was much more behind it.
Among the many tasks I received from don Berna, there was a whole list of actions to be
taken at once. Some were nothing more that simple analysis and acceptance of facts, while
other items on the list were practical activities requiring strategy and deliberate action.
Don Berna once told me, "Control your feelings and emotions and youll take control of
your life. Only then will you be free."
"Free from what?" I retorted belligerently, feeling threatened by the simple idea of
suppressing my feelings, and I even snapped at him that I wasnt interested in repressing what I
Don Berna just laughed, and said nothing. I spent a lot of time pondering the matter.
The next time I saw him, I reopened the debate on mental freedom. He accused me of
having a closed mind, and said I was extremely inflexible with my cherished concepts.
Naturally, I started defending myself. I told him I considered myself a reasonable person,
open-minded and willing to receive and learn new ideas.
"See? he said reproachfully. You always twist everything. Freedom of mind is much
more than willingness to learn new things. To achieve freedom of mind you need to be the
master of your emotions and of your thoughts. Look at the mind as if it were a wild horse that
has bolted. You can only say youve achieved freedom of mind when youve put reins on that
horse and are controlling it as you please. If not, youll always be slave to your sentimentalism.
I told him, without much conviction, that I believed I was master of my feelings. He
laughed heartily and said:
"It is common for people to confuse the concept of feeling with their sentiments."
I looked at him, bewildered, and said that for me those two words meant the same thing.
Don Berna explained:
It is very important not to confuse the two concepts, because if you do youll fall into
every trap laid by your mind, and your energy will drain away as if from a punctured hose.
Feeling is inherent to being alive. All living things feel. You can verify that in animals and even
insects. If threatened, they are afraid. If treated well they feel affection, or even love."
Then what are sentiments? I asked, now really confused.

Sentiments, on the other hand, are the result of the mental process in which we use our
memory to evoke certain moods."
He regarded me as if waiting for a comment. As I had none, he went on:
"So you can see that our sentiments are neither more nor less than mental masturbation.
We wallow like pigs in our own excrement and call that sensitivity. I say it is not sensitive at all,
but a shameful way to indulge in our vices."
I was speechless because of the implications of what he said. I felt that he was referring
directly to my weaknesses. I saw myself cornered and threatened by something that I could not
clearly define.
"There is nothing wrong with feeling, don Berna went on. On the contrary, youd have
to be dead not to feel anything. But when you use your memory to recall what you should feel,
then you are not feeling at all. What you perceive in that case is a second-hand feeling that has
been sullied by passing through the sieve of the mind.
But how can I control my emotions? I asked, knowing we all suffered emotional
assaults from time to time.
He replied, "By being deliberate, and not giving in to your vices. It is also most important
to have a definite purpose in everything you do. Only idiots go through life reacting to their
environment without the slightest control over themselves. They are like marionettes that let
themselves be manipulated by every hook they encounter.
I asked what he meant by hooks.
"By hooks I mean the lures of modern life. In the consumer society in which we live, it is
hard to go anywhere without someone trying to sell you something, or trying to take advantage
of you, or grab something from you. In the city it is hard to look anywhere without seeing an
advertisement. All this is designed to get people to react to the environment. That is the way the
powers-that-be hold people by the balls.
To achieve emotional freedom one must be crystal-clear. When you feel a rush of
emotion overtaking you, you must pull at the reins of that wild horse. By doing so you can save
huge amounts of energy."
I understood don Bernas lesson. He was right. Most of the time, when talking to myself, I
would evoke the feelings that corresponded to the course of my thoughts. I realized that the
amount of energy I spent in doing that was indeed exorbitant.
Once I went to see don Berna, but did not find him at home. I went to the market where
he had a stall for selling sundries and found him there busy selling a Xoloitzcuintli puppy. That
breed of dog is native to Mexico and their main characteristic is lack of hair. At first they seem
ugly, but after getting to know them you realize that they are the best friends you can have.
In a little while, having completed the sale, don Berna came to me and invited me for a
walk around the square. Our conversation turned to how one needed to work for a living.
"Achieving financial freedom is of utmost importance, he said. A sorcerer who cannot
make his own living does not deserve to be called a sorcerer. There are many people who are
dependent on others, and thus live under constant pressure due to their lack of vision and
Im not saying you have to make a fortune, no! What I mean is that you have to earn at
least enough not to be dependent on anyone. And you must plot your strategy so that you have
enough time for your training practices. As you can see, its more complicated than it seems."
I felt terrible after hearing those words. I thought he had said that because I lived with the
grandparents and, even though I helped with the daily chores, had no other source of income. I
discussed it with doa Silvia who assured me that there was no need for me to worry, and that

they did not need me to pay them anything to live there.

My anguish was not so easily calmed, and, in another encounter with don Berna, I asked
him what I could do to resolve my problem. He smiled with pleasure at my question, and said:
Id like you to make a list of lucrative activities with which you can identify, and present it
to me the next time you come to see me. For now, Ill teach you the preliminaries of marketing.
Taking into consideration that everything is bought and sold, all of us, whether we like it or not,
are buyers and sellers."
"I am sorry to disagree with you, but I can give you an employee as an example. An
employee is obviously not a seller," I said with conviction.
"Of course he is, don Berna replied. An employee sells to his employer what to him is
the most precious thing in the world: he sells the time of his life. The employee provides a skill
in his field of activity, and the employer pays him a salary which the employee uses to buy what
he needs to go on living, to keep working, and thereby continues the cycle of buying and
I stood in silence for a moment, considering what he had said, and then I asked, "What
can I do if I have nothing to sell?"
Jokingly, he said that those who had nothing to sell ended up selling their buttocks. He
laughed at his own joke, and then added in a more serious tone:
If you cannot resolve the mundane problem of money, how can you expect to resolve
the problem of freedom?" This he said with reproach in his voice.
I was shocked by the direction our conversation had taken. The implications of his words
were monumental. He went on:
"People are conditioned to buy whatever there is. In fact, people go shopping without
even knowing what they want, and depend on the salesperson to convince them that their
product, whatever that might be, is extremely necessary. If the seller acts convincingly, he gets
a sale; if not, he gets a No! But a no never discourages a good salesman, because he knows
that after the last no always comes a yes. So he persists.
I thought long and hard about how to fulfil that task, but I really had nothing to sell. Then I
remembered reading a real life story about a character who sold birds, so I started out with the
strategy of catching birds to sell them.
After a while I managed to put together enough money to buy part of the harvest from the
farmers in the area, which I then sold. I made enough money to invest in other items, and one
thing led to another until, following don Bernas instructions, in a short period of time I managed
to acquire a sizeable capital. I handed all of the money over to the healers so that they could
buy whatever they needed.
As I progressed in the art of acting, I was amazed by the variety of matters relating to that
subject that I never previously considered, indeed, that I never knew existed. At one point I
thought that the entire universe fell within the parameters of that art.
Viewed from the perspective of a warrior, the art of stalking is a tool for increasing ones
energy level. As one stalks oneself, one notices ones repetitions, defence of the ego, the
useless erosion of energy. Having become aware of them, a warrior takes action to plug up his
drainage points.
The story of a fellow assistant and his struggle to plug up his drainage points provides a
concrete example. When he first got among us he was a real savage, strong like a bull, with an
attitude of get out of my way or Ill squash you. When confronted with the healers exercises,
he realized what amount of energy he was using to maintain that image of himself and
designed a strategy for himself: he would focus all his fury on completing his warriors tasks.

Following this strategy, he exponentially increased his energy.

In addition, don Berna also taught me the art of survival in the mountains. On one
occasion he drew parallels between survival in nature and survival in the concrete jungle of
society. He said that one was not so different from the other, and the techniques of hiding, being
alert and using disguises or camouflages that I learned in either world, were applicable to both.
Don Berna explained that my apprenticeship with him would follow a predetermined
route. According to his training program, we began by roughly analysing the details of human
character. When don Berna judged me to be ready, we passed on to the finer aspects of human
behaviour. He then made me practise being each of the personality types we had studied. He
kept taking me to the market and to crowded places to interact with people in the everyday
Until it becomes natural to you, he would always say.
I spent years in training before I got to the heart of the matter. Eventually, however, I
became able to enact a change of mood without any difficulty. I could go from sadness to joy or
from a smile to tears in seconds.
Don Berna taught me to create different selves which I would have to put on as if they
were characters in a play. He personally guided me in creating what he called his masterpiece,
entitled The Role of the Impeccable Warrior. He helped me give body and form to that
character. We supplied him with a name, a personality and even a personal history. On one
occasion, to everyones delight, we had a christening party for the character we had created.
I took what we did half in jest, as entertainment or a game, until one day I surprised
myself by behaving like that character who was obviously so much more resourceful than my
old familiar self.
In don Melchors words, I had changed horses at a certain moment. I had stopped
acting like the weakling I believed my authentic self to be, and had begun acting as my new
self, created intentionally like a character in a play, and in whose skin I felt much more

Deeper into Dreaming

Every morning doa Silvia would ask:
What did you dream last night?"
At first I thought she was just having an informal chat, so I would reply with a string of
inconsequential topics I thought I had dreamt of or that I had made up on the spot.
On one occasion, she gestured with her hand to stop my tirade, and said:
"To fall asleep is to give in to unconsciousness, so a warrior never sleeps. Awake, he is
aware of himself; as he dozes off, he enters dreaming. A warrior never surrenders control."
She took every opportunity to point out the importance of the practice of dreaming.
Aware of the difficulties I was having with some of the topics of my healing training, one day
she said:
"A warrior knows that the odds are stacked against him, but that does not discourage
him. On the contrary, he gathers all his courage and joyfully throws himself into the battle
because he knows he is fighting for his freedom.
If you want solutions for your worries, formulate the problem in your mind before going to
sleep, and let the solution present itself of its own accord. Our dreaming body knows things we
cannot even imagine."
On one occasion she told me about one of the basic requirements of dreaming. She
said, Eating habits can greatly influence ones capacity for entering dreaming, especially in
novices. Whenever you eat after six in the evening, it actually interferes with the transition to
dreaming, so it is best not to eat anything before going to bed."
One evening, to help me with my nightmares, doa Silvia pointed at my bed and said,
Go to sleep now, announcing that she, too, was about to retire to her quarters and lie down.
Living with the sorcerers, I noticed that even couples never slept together in the same
bed. They said it would interfere with their luminous fibres, and consequently with their
dreaming. They claimed that sleeping and dreaming next to each other made it difficult for them
to reach energetic balance.
Following her command, I went to bed. It was still quite early, but since I had just been
working hard hauling stones, I had no difficulty going to sleep.
In my dream, I saw doa Silvia standing beside me. We were in the Zcalo in Mexico
City. That was the first time I had gone into dreaming consciously, although it was with her help.
In this dream, we entered the Cathedral which was strangely empty. I had the peculiar feeling of
deja vu, of having been there before.
Doa Silvia guided me all the time. If it had not been for the pressure of her hand holding
on to my arm, I would probably have left her and allowed myself to be pulled in by one of the
many vortexes I saw forming everywhere.
On that occasion she also showed me the elasticity of the other world. It was as if the
thought of an object or a place she suggested pulled us sometimes abruptly and that the
object or the place immediately appeared.
Upon awakening after each session with doa Silvia, I knew I had been dreaming with
her, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not remember the dreaming events. It took years
before I could recover those memories. In that sense, dreaming and stalking are similar since
both lead to the second attention, and in both cases a novice cannot readily remember the
events that have taken place there.
On waking up, for example, an apprentice almost immediately forgets what he has been
dreaming while asleep, as if layers of fog have hidden the dreaming events from the conscious

mind even though they happened just a moment before.

In the case of stalking, the situation is even worse, because one immediately forgets
what one was doing and suddenly finds oneself standing somewhere without a clue of how one
got there, and that is disconcerting.
I remember spending years in a kind of lethargy, not knowing what was really happening
to me. At one point I came to believe I was suffering from amnesia or some other memory
problem, whilst on another level of awareness I knew very well what was going on. What
helped me not lose the plot was the trust I had in doa Silvia, and the powerful feeling that I
was finally involved in something extraordinary.
During my first attempts at dreaming, I would invariably let myself be pulled in by torrents
of visions that appeared like a whirlwind before me. It was like sinking into a film projection, and
from that one into another one, and another, and on and on until I woke up. Following doa
Silvias instructions, however, I learned to keep my awareness fixed for longer periods before
being pulled into the next dream.
To galvanize my attention, she suggested that I watch the flame of a candle every night
without distraction. She said I should increase the length of the exercise, keeping my gaze on
the flame from the moment it was lit until it was extinguished.
With her help, and the help of the other healers, I prepared a net to catch my dreaming:
following their advice, I drew upon everything I could to reach my goal. I wore my nightcap and
my dreaming band. I made a belt to hold pebbles in place on my umbilical region. To help me
with the task, I placed a multitude of amulets strategically by the head of my bed.
As a very special dreaming aid, I made a sheepskin sleeping bag with the fur inside, and
dedicated it exclusively to my dreaming practice. During one period, I spent all the time I could
inside it. With actions like these, one becomes available to the intent of entering the other
Doa Silvia also taught me that the body position one adopted before entering dreaming
was very important. She said that in the beginning it was preferable to make the attempt from
sitting position, and only after achieving a certain degree of control could one start from any
position, even lying down. She said:
An experienced sorcerer can enter dreaming while awake, starting straight from his
daily awareness, and that is how one creates a double."
I asked her how that was done. She replied:
"When you close your eyes, beyond the images projected by your brain you can see a
point of light that is sometimes very clear and sometimes isnt. If one can place ones attention
on this point, one can perceive the world of dreaming even when awake.
With experience, it is possible to enter that other world without having to go through the
transition phase of going to bed and falling asleep. That is the rudiment of the technique used
by sorcerers to enter dreaming while awake.
To help me get into dreaming, doa Silvia also made me align my bed with my personal
direction. She said we all had a beneficial cardinal direction that kept us in good form. I
arranged my bedroll so that it was facing my good direction.
On another occasion she said:
"If we wish, we can recall our ordinary dreams. Children usually dont have a problem
doing that. Remembering dreams is the first real step towards deliberate control of dreaming.
That is why one must pay close attention to any recurring dreams one might have."
I also remember my horror when doa Silvia said I should deliberately seek my
nightmares. Luckily she first helped me understand and accept the reasons for my bad dreams

until one fine day I found that I was simply no longer afraid of my night visions. Instead, when
they occurred, I would watch them without emotion, feeling only a strange sensation that I was
forgetting something important I ought to be doing.
One day, when I was finally able to deploy enough energy, I remembered myself in my
dream. I discovered that dreaming was the same as the ordinary dreams we all had, only this
time it was controlled.
Little by little, I gained confidence and began to explore the world of dreaming by myself.
My night forays were mostly brief. I did not venture far beyond the familiar ground. As I entered
dreaming, I typically stayed within visions which Id had before, but in one dream, I began
chasing a firefly which resembled a luminous dandelion. I dont know how long the pursuit had
been going on when I realized that I was lost in that other world. Because of doa Silvias
repeated warnings, getting lost in dreaming was the greatest of my fears.
The spot of light seemed to understand my problem, because it held back and hovered
so close that I could see it in detail. Its brightness suddenly became more intense. It seemed to
inflate, stretching and convulsing for a moment, until it expanded into the diffused image of a
human being. I could not tell if what I saw was a boy or a girl. The being spoke to me without
using its mouth. I felt its voice within me. I thought I had heard it say:
Why did you stop?
That was the first time that I had met an aware entity during my adventures on the other
side. I was astonished. The feeling of surprise made my rational mind pick up the reins, and I
started waking up in my bed. I immediately used doa Silvias techniques of returning to a
particular dreaming vision, and went back to sleep.
When I managed to return to dreaming, the human image was gone, but I could still see
the speck of light. The context, too, had changed, and we were now in one of the places of
power the sorcerers used to take me to. In that place, I had more self-confidence. I made a
conscious effort to project a thought to the luminous being, a thought that said, Im afraid of
getting lost in this world. The light responded in the same way:
Fear not, Ill guide you.
That encounter was the start of a friendship. I became used to meeting up with Blor, my
friend from dreaming. I called the being Blor because that was the feeling I had in its presence:
In subsequent meetings, I learned that Blor was a female dreamer from another world
who had ties to a group of healers. In fact I found out that it was doa Silvia who had asked Blor
to help me move around in that other world, and it had worked!
Apart from learning to move around in that world, I learned many other things from Blor.
In one of our meetings, she taught me a manoeuvre of passing unnoticed in that environment.
Blor called the technique the invisibility cloak, claiming it was essential for survival in that
She showed me how to build a kind of igloo made of energy, where I could hide very
well. She made me turn my attention to certain properties some of Eagles emanations had and
showed me how that special type of energy responded more readily to attempts to mould them.
I did as I was shown and could see that the energy actually followed my command.
Using the will, one heaps up energy as if building a haystack. To understand this, one
must take into consideration that the texture of the world on the other side is very malleable,
and that will can be used to move quantities of emanations from one spot to another, so that,
having made a heap of light fibres inside which it is possible to hide, one can actually remain
unnoticed by the countless entities marauding through that place, many of whom are not really

Another emergency technique Blor taught me was to curl up on myself like a foetus, but
without lying down. That movement can be used if one needs to escape the many violent
predators inhabiting these regions. They are known to the sorcerers as marauders.
I am infinitely grateful to Blor for sharing the knowledge that is so useful over there in that
other place.
One of the greatest delights for sorcerers-dreamers is making contact with creatures from
other worlds. Those beings usually come from the neighbouring world, but occasionally one
may contact entities from more distant regions. It is known that the farther away they come from,
the greater the risk that they might be hostile. I was able to corroborate that these explorers from
distant worlds are indeed frightening. They are brightly coloured, and give the feeling of being
under unbearable pressure, seemingly on the verge of exploding.
Blor once took me to see her world. The beings that inhabit it are not at all like us. They
are not even solid like we are but resemble a kind of jelly, and the world they live in has the
same characteristics-- or at least that is how I perceived it. I saw that the concepts of male and
female were valid in that world just like in ours. Beings there engaged without any inhibition in
what we call sexual acts. It is natural for them to be connected all the time.
Blor told me that in her world she felt isolated from her fellows, finding it hard to carry out
her normal role within the society in which she lived. It struck me that Blors fate in her world
was paralleled to that of Carlos Castanedas here on Earth. Her world is similar to ours insofar
as, because of the predators[22], no one there believes in the possibility of dreaming. That is
truly a great pity, as so few individuals of either of our species are aware of their immense
possibilities and consequently, on both sides, ridicule those who speak of the subject.
I have not seen Blor for years. The last time I saw her, she took her leave of me, and told
me that she was about to set off on a very dangerous journey. She intended to cross a part of
the dreaming world controlled by very fierce inorganic beings. I tried to dissuade her from that
adventure, but she had confidence in her ability to hide and so set off on her journey. Ive had
no further news of her since. She may have achieved her objective, or she may have become
prisoner of the marauders.

From the Dreaming Log

On one occasion, doa Silvia asked me:
How are you getting on with your dreaming?
I answered that I was carefully recording every dream I had. She laughed and said it was
good to do that. I added that keeping a written record of my dreams had initially helped me
remember more easily to find my hands[23].
At one point the subject of dreaming became so important to me that I tackled it with true
passion. I considered it a legitimate field for personal investigation.
Even before going through the first gate of dreaming, I had discovered that writing down
experiences, common dreams as well as nightmares, dissipated the large part of ones
obsessions and morbidity. In my case, dreaming became much easier as I advanced in the
exercise of recapitulation. My instructors would often repeat, "For warriors, recapitulation is not
an option. It is mandatory."
That morning I was helping doa Silvia shell corn off the dried cobs. I had to wear hide
gloves to protect my hands from injury. As we worked, she said I was ready for a new phase of
With great seriousness, but without formality, she said, Its about a new manoeuvre to
be performed in the world of dreaming.
Youve learned to reach the other world, and youve managed to keep pretty good
control of yourself, so now its time to embark on a new task: go and recapitulate in dreaming."
That aspect of the recapitulation was new to me. I had never considered using dreaming
to recapitulate. I laid my gloves aside and jotted down her words.
"If you practise recapitulation and dreaming in parallel, youll notice that with time what
you experience in either of them will seem more and more alike to you. One reinforces the
other, until eventually there is no difference whatsoever between them.
Recapitulating in dreaming is one of the most rewarding tasks for an apprentice. What
makes this task so special is that not only do you remember an event; you totally and
completely re-live it.
I committed to the task. It was hard work at first, but when I chose beforehand what I
wanted to recapitulate, things changed. I would enter the pre-programmed scene in my
dreaming. I was impressed with the vividness of detail, and my visions were shaped by things I
had no idea I had witnessed.
Once our life experience has passed through the filter of recapitulation again and again,
details such as modes of behaviour, gestures and anecdotes emerge and we end up realizing
we had not been experiencing life as fully as we thought we had. We become aware that
behind everything we witness there is always more going on: perceptions of events which
seemingly have not happened. They have, though, but in different states of awareness.
As one progresses with this exercise, one ends up recapitulating not just the world of
daily affairs but also all the dreams ones ever had. It is a magical activity that happens of its
own accord and ends in the joining of the dreaming body and the physical body. A warrior who
has reached this level has no need to go to bed and sleep in order to dream: he can do it

Part Four: The Secret of the Plumed Serpent

On the Path of the Gods
From the very start of my stay with the healers, I speculated that they might be part of an original
religious sect. They seemed to have their own fraternity. I had the impression that I had got
involved with practising Catholics who were very serious about their worship.
If they had not put so much stress on healing, they could have been easily mistaken for
capuchin friars, I thought; all they were short of was the habit. In doa Silvias house there was
an altar covered in images of her protecting saints. It was the healers custom to pray the
Novenas of the Rosary there. They also regularly attended mass and frequented religious
festivals. We even went to celebrations in other towns. Although I did not much care for that
kind of thing, I saw their behaviour as normal, because at the time I was conditioned to perceive
them as very devout people.
The healers were very friendly with father Ignacio Rojas, a very nice man of short
stature, the best thing about whom was that he seemed to look kindly at the healers and
occasionally even sent them patients for consultation. In return, doa Silvia and other women of
the group, who presented themselves as relatives, regularly took part in cleaning and
maintenance of the chapel.
On one occasion, the healers told me they had joined a party of pilgrims from the parish
and wanted me to accompany them on a march. I replied that, although I was feeling much
better, I still hadnt fully recovered.
They said that if I wanted to be with them, I had to get used to their customs. There is a
saying among the sorcerers that nothing is free and that if one wants to learn, one needs to get
ones hands dirty.
I half-heartedly continued taking part in religious events as the healers did not give me
an option. Occasionally I felt like a rebellious child being dragged every Sunday to mass.
Whenever I accompanied them on a pilgrimage, they directed my attention principally at
the Christian aspect of the event, so much so that it took me a long time to realise what was
really going on during those festivities.
At that time, even as I witnessed many traditional rituals, I was always under the
impression that they were variations accepted by the Catholic Church. On one occasion,
however, we walked to a festival in another town. After the arduous march, the ceremony took
place. I noticed that, apart from Christian ones, certain other rituals were performed, different
from the usual repertoire and belonging to the ancient culture. I doubted very much that those
practices had been sanctioned by the church. From that moment on, I started suspecting that
something strange was going on.
The long prayers and vigils were sometimes very tiring. As I took part in the pilgrimages,
it did not take me long to discover that behind the Catholic facade the participants were
harbouring a powerful strain of pre-Hispanic culture. I could see how their practices were
flavoured by ancestral elements, and not just in the way they invoked the four directions or
purified the assistants with copal[24] incense. I also established that their prayers varied: in
Castilian they prayed to a Christian saint, and in the ancient language, the prayer was directed
at their gods.
Even at the beginning, when they presented their activities to me as folk traditions, it
was easy to notice the autochthonous tendency of the group. Their garments and ceremonies
had the colours and the flavour of the past.
On those occasions, without any real engagement, I learned a large number of songs
and prayers in both languages, even though at the time I did not fully understand the meaning

of the words I was repeating.

While assimilating their songs and listening to their stories, I began to understand the
significance they gave to the elements that constituted their world. To learn about each of them
in effect created a new world description for me, one in which the value of things was not the
same as in the world I came from.
When I asked don Melchor about the religious mumbo-jumbo, he answered that things
were exactly as they had to be. He seemed to have said all he wanted to say with that reply, so
I did not insist any further. A few days later, however, he himself reopened the topic.
He began by saying that the concheros[25] war with religion was still not finished and
that every year they performed the same dances in front of churches as a reminder that, even
though they had robbed the Indian of his lands, the invaders had not yet succeeded in
controlling his spirit. The outcome of the battle was thus still undecided and the war was
continuing. He said:
Due to the rigours of the period, at the time of the conquest the survivors allied with the
Catholic Church and, by that act most likely saved thousands of lives. It was the church that
gave Indians refuge from the indiscriminate slaughter by the conquistadors.
The reason why our ancestors decided to pursue that strategy was because it had been
their custom to flow with the energy for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years and they were
not willing to abandon their traditions that easily. They adopted religion, then, as a way of
carrying on with their customs and passed it on to us, but it doesnt hinder our practices at all.
On the contrary, it complements them.
I commented:
I thought it was the other way round; I believed that by joining religion the Indians lost
their roots.
Not at all, don Melchor said. The evidence that their strategy was successful is that
even today you can see dancers at every religious festival in Mexico.
Does that mean that all those dancers are sorcerers? I asked.
He shook his head slowly with an air of sadness and replied:
"No, thats not what I wanted to say. Unfortunately, almost all the ones I know have lost
the way and know very little of what theyre talking about. There are however some who have
kept the knowledge intact.
The truth is that the majority of them dont even know why they do what they do when
they get together at a fiesta. Thats not important at all, though, because what they are doing is
giving continuity to the ancient tradition of the Way of the Holy Cross, which in reality is the way
of energy.
Today, the majority of people have forgotten the original purpose. Each time theres
fewer of us who know why we go on pilgrimages and why we meet in those particular places.
At present theres only us few, and some Huichol brothers.
Continuing with his explanation, he said:
At the time of the conquest, the tlatoanis[26] found ways of convincing the priests to
construct their churches and Christian monuments in the exact places where, according to their
custom, the energy descended at a certain time of the year.
Christian priests were impressed by the demonstrations of faith and piety of the natives
who constructed chapels to honour obscure saints extracted from the canonical list of the
church; the saints not even they, the priests, knew existed. That was the strategy of those
sorcerers-stalkers, known in their times as the cunning ones or the trappers. That is how they
managed to continue their practices unmolested.
With the invasion, they had to disguise their practices in order to carry on with them. That

is why they adopted Christianity not as religion, but as a way of continuing with their traditions.
The only thing that really mattered to those sorcerers who followed the flow of the energy was
that the selected place coincided with the right date, so they renamed each of their gods.
How did they rename them?
They replaced them by the corresponding names of saints from the Catholic calendar.
They represented Quetzalcoatl, for example, as St James the Apostle and the goddess
Coatlicue as the Virgin Mary. Tezcatlipoca became Our Lord of Chalma[27] and so on. In that
way, without anyone objecting, they swapped the names of their deities to that of any saint or
holy person whose feast coincided with the day when, in accordance with the ancient calendar,
the energy would concentrate on that spot. To all appearances, they had left their ancient gods
for the new ones, but we of the tradition, we all know that only the names have changed.
Occasionally, as part of the groups religious practice, we would go on a pilgrimage to
the nearby shrines, sometimes to settlements so isolated it took days to get there. During such
fiestas, it was customary for the participants to engage in extensive cultural interaction. They
would exchange herbs and recipes and in their conversations discuss patient histories and
how they managed to heal them. We would usually receive an invitation to lodge at the house
of one of the villagers for the duration of the festival, and would be treated by them as family.
On such festive occasions, apart from visiting the Christian churches, don Melchor would
also take us to visit the ceremonial centres of the ancients. In that fashion we visited, I believe,
all the archaeological sites and pyramids of Mexico.
Once we had to walk for two days to get to a humble altar in the middle of the desert. The
shrine was no more than a pile of stones, very far from any road or settlement. In spite of its
isolated position, when we got there, the place was teeming with people, and the shrine was
covered in gifts.
Whispering, I asked don Melchor why the ancients had constructed a shrine in the
middle of nothing.
Because energy concentrates here, he answered in a very low voice.
Whats the story with the places where energy concentrates?
He gave me a sign to be silent. When the ceremony was over, we sat down on some
stones and then he answered my question:
You need to know that the sorcerers of antiquity discovered that from time to time the
lines of the world cross and form vortexes of energy. They saw that the vortexes came in cycles
which recurred year after year. For that reason they made a map specifying where and when
those concentrations of energy took place.
Their knowledge lies behind the ancient system of pilgrimages that endures to this day.
Pilgrimages along the sacred routes were walks to places of power, in the past as they are
today. Fragments of that ancient custom persist up to this day among the Mexican people who
unknowingly make the same journeys the ancients have done. Those that go to Teotihuacan or
to Chichen Itza year after year, for example, basically continue with the tradition of the ancient
energy trackers.
I had to admit that even when I used to hate going on pilgrimages, I always felt
optimistic, content and strong in the actual places of worship. With Don Melchors explanation, I
was able to understand why.

The Flight of the Quetzal

I liked to accompany doa Silvia on her walks to the surrounding fields to gather wild flowers,
insects and medicinal herbs. Once, while we were walking through the valleys to the south of
the house in search of some plants to prepare a remedy, we witnessed the flight of a quetzal,
the bird sacred to the ancients. The quetzal was supposed to be extinct in those places.
Its long tail and the undulating flight reinforced the impression of a flying snake. I pointed
at it and was about to say something about the spectacle that we had just seen, but doa Silvia
did not allow me to comment. She put her index finger on her lips to indicate that I must be
Later, in a reverent voice, she said I ought to be grateful for my good fortune. I tried to
guess what she was referring to. Because I had several times in the past broken certain
emotional bonds and had found it a bit painful, I believed that she was lecturing me on the
advantages of being free, and that she was doing so because it is generally known that quetzal
does not breed in captivity.
We returned to the house. Doa Silvia ordered me not to discuss what we had seen with
anybody; the vision, she said, was a gift of power and I should meditate on the experience. She
said it was my personal task to preserve that memory for the rest of my life. I thought it was
another one of her eccentricities.
She must have spoken to the others about what had happened, since after a while I
noticed a change in their behaviour towards me. Some of them who would have walked past
me and never even looked at me before now came to speak with me.
One day, don Melchor stopped repairing the henhouse behind the main building and
took me for a long walk in the mountains, to an area I had not yet explored. When we got to the
flat top of a medium-sized hill almost completely boxed in by other larger hills, we sat down
inside a stone circle that appeared to have been previously used as a meeting place.
Don Melchor collected a few branches, placed them on a ring of smaller stones in the
centre of the circle and said some words in his language. I could not help noticing the habit the
healers had of kneeling down and offering the flame to the four directions before actually
lighting the fire.
With his chin, he indicated that I should sit at one of the far ends of the circle. He sat
down next to me and placed his hat on top of the machete he had put by the stone he was
sitting on. We remained silent for a long time. An undeniable feeling of peace and well-being
pervaded that place.
Breaking the silence, don Melchor suddenly said:
Because of the omen you witnessed, I am going to initiate you in the secret knowledge
of the Plumed Serpent.
Although I could clearly hear what he had said, I did not understand what he was
referring to. He went on with his explanation:
The fact that the quetzal has chosen you to witness its flight is a very important omen for
us. It has been a long time since one of them was seen around here. It was a good omen
indicating to us that you have been chosen to receive the knowledge of our true religion.
I stared at him with a questioning, surprised expression. After repeatedly witnessing
tremendous acts of faith on their part for such a long time, I believed that the healers were
indisputably the most fanatical Catholics I had ever known. I looked at him with incredulity,
unable to guess what their true religion might be.
What, then, is your true religion? I asked.
All of us belong to the circle of the Plumed Serpent, he answered, even though we
have our own point of view on it.

I was surprised by the revelation and waited eagerly for him to begin telling me the
secrets of his religion, but all of a sudden, he changed the subject. I protested, saying it wasnt
fair that he should rouse my curiosity by announcing that he was going to tell me secrets and
then change the course of the conversation.
Don Melchor smiled and said:
We are definitely going to instruct you in the Way of the Serpent, but that cannot be
done by talking, nor can it be achieved overnight. It is therefore necessary to have patience,
and Id better mention that patience is one of the prerequisites if one is to take part in the Cult of
This was the first time in my life I heard anyone speak of the Cult of the Plumed Serpent.
I believed that that sort of thing had not been in existence for centuries.
I told him what I had studied the subject at school and that I knew quite a bit about it
because I had investigated it as a topic of personal interest, but he did not allow me to go on
Forget everything that you have learned! he exclaimed. Most of what people know is
corrupt; it has been manipulated by the conquistadors. Its not worth wasting your time on that
There are even stories that claim Quetzalcoatl was in fact Jesus Christ, who had come to
proclaim the Jewish doctrine to our ancestors. They describe him as blond of beard and with
blue eyes: do me a bloody favour! As he spoke pretending to be annoyed, don Melchor smiled.
Then he added:
First of all, suspend your judgment and allow me to introduce you to the authentic
knowledge of our ancestors. Wait until you know the secrets of the Plumed Serpent, so that you
can express an opinion of the subject.
He was absolutely right! What I learned with them was as far as could be from everything
that I knew or had heard about the subject.
Following that event, it took almost ten years for me to become fully integrated into the
movement of the Serpent. During that time, I continued with my normal work as the healers
assistant, so that, as I developed in the faith, I had the opportunity to learn their skills and put
my knowledge into practice.
For me, the big change in my relationship with the healers happened after the quetzal
bird omen. After that, my feelings about the festivities changed completely, as I was allowed to
participate in meetings that were forbidden to me earlier. During the years that followed, I was
introduced to the knowledge step by step. Gradually, I was given explanations of the real
meaning of the ceremonies which were sometimes performed in plain view of everyone, but in
such a surreptitious form that nobody had any idea of what was really going on.
I realized that in fact only very few of the healers belonged to the movement of the
Serpent. They were something like a secret society within another exclusive society, so much
so that the majority of the people who took part in the ceremonies were not really aware of what
was going on behind the curtains; they were merely the extras in the movie, so to speak.
The events culminated for me during the festivities dedicated to San Jose, the patron
saint of Tollan, the city now known as Tula. We performed our usual ceremonies there and, on
the third night of vigil in that sacred place, we performed the rituals: we sang, danced and took
communion with the flesh of the Hcuri.
At dawn, just as the sun came up, the leader of the ceremony made a series of gestures
and prayed to the divinities of the four winds. He then began invoking the Plumed Serpent with
such affection and tenderness in his voice that he seemed to be addressing his beloved. My

eyes filled with tears, not of sadness, but because I was flooded by a feeling of indescribable
love. The leader said:
Nimitznotlatlautilia inti Amilpampa
Nimitz notlatlautilia inti Cihuatlampa:
Nimitz notlatlautilia inti Mictlampa
Nimitz notlatlautilia inti Tlahiztlampa.
Nimitznotlatlautilia inti Xiuhtecuhtli, inti Tociatl, inti Tonantzintlalli, inti Tlaloqueh.
Ninotza notlazotla Quetzalcohuatl.
Tlaxihuiqui toicnocalaqui
Tehuantzitin mopipiltzitzin
Tinotza tehunatzitzin tlahuinextini
In huehuetlamatiliztli, in colnonotza.
Titechmaca mopetlacalli
Titechittitia moyelohuayan.
Translated, this meant:
With the permission of the Four Directions, the Four Winds,
With the permission of Grandfather Fire,
With the permission of Grandmother Water,
With the permission of our beloved Mother Earth,
With the permission of the Spirits of the Air,
We call on our well beloved, Tatawari[28] Quetzalcoatl.
Answer our call!
It is us, your children, calling.
We seek the knowledge of our ancestors.
Show yourself,
Oh Lord of Light!
Teach us your secrets,
Take us to your kingdom.
As the leader spoke the incantation, the others emitted a very low murmur. I dont know if
it was because of the physical exhaustion caused by fasting and the long vigil, but at a certain
moment, their voices, which seemed to me a choir of angels, became a hypnotic vehicle that
pulled me towards a kind of endless tunnel. Immediately and spontaneously, I entered a deep
state of dreaming. The transition to dreaming was most unusual; it was the first time something
like that ever happened to me.
This time I was able to follow the transition from normal awareness to the state of
dreaming step by step. What I found most fascinating was the realisation that all of us were
already permanently there but did not know it.
I was suddenly within a circle of persons radiating light. I could see their luminous
cocoons. At that moment I was perfectly aware that I was dreaming.
Noticing that I was in dreaming, I immediately tried to establish a point of reference. At
the time, my dreaming attention still fluctuated. At a certain moment, I perceived that my
attention was flagging, but then we all joined hands and I instantly felt a thrust of energy. I could
perceive that the circle we were forming vibrated and radiated power.
In that state of being, I could hear the others without their uttering a word. For a moment I
wondered if they could hear my thoughts as I was able to hear theirs. One of them immediately
answered me inside my head, saying that articulating words was not necessary in that
dimension, and that it was much easier to simply think what one wanted to say to the others.

I focused my attention on exploring my immediate environment. Depending on the way I

focused on them, I could see the other participants in two different ways: as physical bodies or
a s luminous beings. The leader of the ceremony appeared to be wearing a copilli[29] of
extremely brilliant light on his head.
At a certain moment, he performed some movements we all imitated. We began vibrating
with ever growing intensity. I immediately saw a great outburst of light. Shining down on us, it
projected shadows of everything including our physical bodies which stood still on the site of
the ceremony.
The light intensified further, grew in size and began describing circles as it floated above
us. It appeared to gain solidity and then a most vivid image of a Chinese dragon of the type that
can be seen during their festivals formed before us.
Suddenly my perception focused and I knew without the shadow of a doubt that this was
Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent, the same image that I had seen so many times represented
in stone of the ancient monuments throughout the country.
I was astonished. Even though I knew that I was dreaming, I did not expect to encounter
something like that. The surprise was such that I woke up, only to establish that the glow was
still there. If I brought it into focus, I could perceive the figure of the Serpent floating above our
That loving light touched the deepest core of my being and taught me the real meaning of the
path of the Plumed Serpent. What was taking place was a real gift of power for me, and I
treasure it as one of my best moments.
It took me years to recover those memories, as well as some other ones, in order to
understand better what had happened to me on that occasion. Even today I keep adding pieces
to the puzzle, but now at least I can clarify, for those who know what Im talking about, that the
secret of the followers of the Cult of Quetzalcoatl is a specific movement of the assemblage

The Lineage of the Ticis

In doa Silvias house, on the wall of the healing room, there hung a framed image of the spinal
column labelled with well-known anatomical terminology. In addition, next to each vertebra
there was an enigmatic corresponding handwritten inscription, giving its name in the native
Those inscriptions were a kind of secret among the healers. Doa Silvia called the
diagram the staircase to heaven and said that it represented the ranks of her lineage. Their
meaning unexplained, the writings had become an unbearable mystery which made me bite my
fingernails with curiosity.
During my time as assistant, I was taught to regard the spinal column as the centre of a
persons health. In fact, my instruction in the art of healing was based on the thirty three steps of
health and well-being of the human being. According to the tradition of the Ticis, as they used
to call the physicians of antiquity, the steps corresponded to the vertebrae, each of them with its
own lessons and tests presented to the healers assistant during his apprenticeship.
I had to know and learn about each of them. First they taught me their anatomy as it is
taught in schools. Years later, when I had sufficiently advanced in the cult of the Plumed
Serpent, the secret teachings of the spinal column were revealed to me.
Alluding to the drawing of the spinal column, don Melchor once said that the Ticis used
the scheme of the stairs to move the energy from one centre to another, and that was the Rule
for them.
According to seers, we have eight principal centres. The Rule says one must start from
the bottom, from the first centre, pass onto the second and carry on successively until one
reaches the last of the steps. That is how one discovers seeing. The energy climbs up the
spinal column, bang! bang! centre by centre, until one reaches the full potential that we as
luminous beings are destined for.
Where does the energy move to? asked one of the assistants.
As we have previously seen, don Melchor replied, for human beings, only sexual
energy exists. It can be wasted the way ordinary people waste it, or it can be accumulated and
transmuted to other levels. The challenge is to transform that energy, moving it from one centre
to another until it has come round full circle. That was the goal of the Ticis of antiquity. Not
having achieved integration, they tried to make the energy come round full circle in pairs; which
is the reason Ticis always come in pairs.
How does one move energy from one place to another? I asked.
By undergoing training in the way of the Ticis. Among other things, that training includes
the exercise of visualization of the progress of energy from one centre to another. Those steps
can take years to complete, although cases are known of warriors whose centres opened very
It follows that, for the believers, the intent of reaching the awareness of Quetzalcoatl or
the awareness of the Plumed Serpent is, like I said before, a specialized movement of the
assemblage point where the warrior, by means of unbending intent, takes his assemblage point
beyond the limits of the luminous egg. As he does that, the luminous egg stretches and turns
into a thin line of light with the assemblage point at one end like the head of a rattlesnake. For
an external observer, that vision resembles a luminous serpent floating in the sky.
The serpent people, as they are sometimes called, were warriors who have carried out
that manoeuvre. Alone, in a pair or in group, they managed to stretch the luminous egg until it
became a line of light. They are the sorcerers who have reached the level of the Plumed

Serpent and they eternally travel on the ocean of awareness as a community of explorers who
were once human like us.
The goal of those warriors was to join their two extreme points, to bite their own tail and
form a circle, but try as hard as they might, they never managed to attain their goal.
However, new generations of seers arose, who, continuing with the tradition, hit upon
the idea of trying to do it in pairs. In this particular sorcerers' intent, one bites the tail of the
other, thus forming a huge circle of energy: an enormous assemblage point. This time they
achieved their goal: the manoeuvre made it possible for the participants to raise their
awareness to unthinkable levels.
That is the great secret of the lineage of the Ticis. The lineage of the healers has after a
fashion followed their ancestral tradition, although in a modified form, as they currently dont
turn themselves into lines of light. They have, nevertheless, maintained the tradition of the
circular form.

The Rule for the Circular Parties of Warriors

On one occasion I accompanied don Melchor on a trip to Mexico City to deliver a small sack
containing a rare medicinal herb he had been keeping for a friend, a Sonora Market trader.
From there, we walked through the streets of the city centre to visit the pyramid of Tlaloc, the
god of rain and hurricanes, located within an underground station.
Amid the bustling river of people which flowed in waves, we came to the sacred place of
the ancients. Don Melchor showed me symbols on the monument which I would never have
noticed without his help and explained that what we were looking at was just the top of the
pyramid and that its body remained buried under the structure of the station.
What does it mean? I asked
"The serpent that encircles the pyramid corresponds to the element water. The fourpointed pyramid means the element earth. The round structure that is located at the top
corresponds to the element air and the roof, which was usually a flimsy structure built of sticks
and straw, relates to the element fire.
There, on the spot and in the midst of the crowd, he explained that only the apex of this
pyramid was round. Answering my question, he said that few round-topped pyramids remained
in existence, but that there were still sorcerers who followed practices associated with them.
From there we walked through a long tunnel with its book market until we got to the
Zcalo where we visited the sculpture of Coyolxauhqui. Don Melchor said that the stone, upon
which maidens used to be dismembered, was the symbol of death.
I did not know if that was true or not, but I felt the panic of those girls in the pit of my
stomach. In my imagination, I could see what used to happen in that place. I told don Melchor
that I wanted to get out of there. He agreed, and said that I was open enough for what was
coming next.
I wanted to know what he meant, but he put a finger to his lips to indicate we should be
silent. He pointed at something in the sky high above the cathedral. At first I saw nothing, but
then something adjusted itself and my eyes took in what he was indicating. It was a black
shadow of deformed and sinister appearance, floating like a giant balloon over the buildings.
I immediately grabbed don Melchors arm. He told me to calm down and not show fear or
surprise. He called it 'the shadow', but I knew what it was I was seeing. That shadow, as he
referred to it, was neither more nor less than one of the flyers Carlos Castaneda spoke about.
That was the first time I had ever seen one. Trembling from head to toe, I felt nauseated
and vomited. Don Melchor kindly took care of me, and said I still wasnt ready.
I asked, Not ready for what?
For what will come later, he answered and laughed as if he had beaten me at a game.
Later, he told me, "Each lineage is seeking its own way to freedom; that is the real goal. To
reach it, the Nagual uses all available resources.
If it were not for self-importance, following the Nagual would be childs play. All it really
takes is love of freedom, and willingness to do anything to achieve it."
Long after that visit to the Zcalo, don Melchor took me to the pyramid of Cuicuilco,
which is also in Mexico City, near the Ciudad Universitaria[30]. As we walked around this
magnificent monument one of the few existing circular pyramids he told me:
"This pyramids intent is dedicated to the warriors of the party of the Plumed Serpent."
He said that I had faithfully followed the teachings and that my time had finally come: in
his opinion I was ready for what was coming.
And what is it thats coming, don Melchor?

"Knowledge is coming, he replied, and knowledge is power. If you manage to flow with
the meaning of what I say, power will take you and it might happen that youll go on flowing with
it, perhaps forever. If that happens, it will be possible for you to embark on your ultimate
He said that place was, for the healers, the most sacred of all places. I asked him why.
"Because this is where the intent of our ancestors is concentrated. This place is the
symbol of our culture. The intent of thousands of sorcerers who have followed the path of the
Plumed Serpent is accumulated here.
This is, therefore, the appropriate place for me to pass on to you the knowledge that you
have been waiting for so long. In fact, all the healers of the tradition of the Serpent come to this
place to receive and transmit that knowledge. It is possible that one day you yourself will come
here to communicate it to someone else. If you like, you can call this an academic tradition.
To achieve their goals, warriors obey the Rule of the Nagual which is not a set of laws
created by men, but rather structures of power obtained by means of seeing."
When did the Rule begin? Who discovered it?
"The seers of antiquity, seeking to establish order in the chaos they were seeing, agreed
it was necessary to organize groups of warriors according to the order that forms the structure of
the universe itself.
Through their seeing, they examined the structure that supports the universe. They
discovered that the energy patterns of Eagles emanations generate geometric forms that
spontaneously bunch together into clusters which integrate all the elements we perceive as our
known world. That is exactly what those groupings of energy are: energy clusters that we, after
a long process of skimming, perceive as the physical world.
The seers, then, copied the design of the structures they saw and established warrior
parties based on their visions. For its solidity, the pyramid structure was chosen for warrior
parties which from then on adopted the way of the four cardinal directions. Organised thus, they
managed to survive for many thousands of years.
As Ive already explained, simultaneously with the attempt at pyramidal parties, some
groups of seers opted for the circular form.
Our tradition says that the seers of antiquity saw that the structure of the universe was
originally circular, or rather that it was a sphere the structure of which was maintained by
pyramidal patterns in such a way that the entire universe with its billions of galaxies was
contained within a single gigantic bubble criss-crossed by myriads of light rays. Those rays
intersected and formed an infinite number of pyramidal patterns.
After analysing their visions, the Ticis decided not to copy the basic structure of a
pyramid, but rather the overall structure of the universe that gives existence to all other
That was how the first attempts to organize circular warrior parties began. They are
actually spherical: conglomerates of warriors with the Nagual pair in the centre, those parties
are more like bubbles of awareness floating in eternity.
The initial intent of those ancient warriors was to join their extreme points. They became
a mystery even to the sorcerers of the pyramids who were increasingly becoming interested in
worldly rule over their peers rather than in the quest for freedom.
"How were those parties formed?"
"The fundamental structure of the Rule for Circular Parties demands that the minimum
number be two, a male and a female, who are the head of the serpent, so to speak.
The size of the serpent is relative to the power of the Naguals. As the party grows in
number, more rings are added to the body of the rattlesnake. They make up each of the

remaining parts: heart, belly, and tail. And, depending on the power of the Naguals, even the
rattle can be added.
The truth is that the party was designed just for the Nagual pair. The others are added,
sustained by the energy of the pair. That is the basis of creation, the essence of everything:
male and female forever. No other evolutionary form exists. That is the Rule.
"How many warriors make up those parties?"
"As I said, the minimum number is two, but in theory there is no upper limit to the number
of participants. It depends on the power of the Naguals who form the party, but warriors can
only be added in pairs."
How does this type of party function?
"The serpent formation is divided lengthwise into halves. The right half is male, and the
left is female. The rest of the structure is flexible and works in a very natural way. For this type
of party there are no fixed rules like with other structures. Here, everything is governed by
Don Melchor joined the thumbs and index fingers of both hands to form two circles, then
interchanged the fingers in a circular movement, ending up by forming the symbol for infinity. As
he moved his fingers, he said:
"Each individual contributes his own energy, thereby helping stabilize the party, adding
his qualities to feed the growth of others."
The force of don Melchors gesture and even more the tone of his words really made me
feel what he said.
Continuing with his explanation, he said:
"As they grew in number, the ancient serpent warriors formed new parties of power,
following the same structure from which theyd descended. Those who made up the body of the
serpent were called families. Each generation of sorcerers was a family and the succession of
families a lineage of power.
I asked if anyone seeking knowledge could become part of the Naguals party. Don Melchor
"Nagualism is not for sale. As it was in the past, it is still a matter of omens as to who
may or may not participate in a party. There is no rule, however, that prevents anyone from
trying. Of course, the challenges those who attempt to do it by themselves face are huge, and
that is why hardly anyone even tries. But there are those who will risk everything in the race
against death.
What unites a team of warriors is not only their unbending intent of freedom; families of
sorcerers are also sustained by the affinity between comrades.
The purpose of a family of Ticis is to transform itself into a unit of pure perception. To
achieve this, the Nagual Man and Woman change into a line of energy, into a worm of light, to
which other warriors are added. To join the Nagual pairs intent, those warriors align their
assemblage point in a homologous way so that they acquire uniformity and cohesion. Like a
chrysalis that has hatched, the warriors transform into a new being the old seers used to call the
Plumed Serpent; a cosmic being that sets off to explore the universe.
Thus emerged the Rule for circular pyramids, also called the Rule of the Serpent.
Here, the essence of the union between genders is not of sexual nature: the intent is to
form a ring of pure perception where male and female energies unite and complete each other.
In accordance with the Rule, the final act of the Nagual pair is to entwine, forming the
eternal circle. At that moment the warriors who have joined their fate with the Nagual pair are
brought together into a circle of energy. In that way the party disappears finally from this world,
their departure creating a force that draws in everything around it.

As I was learning the fine points of the cult of the Plumed Serpent, don Melchor took
several opportunities to explain those aspects of the Rule which pertained to our lineage of
"It is very important that you understand the basis of our beliefs if you are to go deeper into
them," he told me on one occasion.
I replied that I was feeling ready to move my apprenticeship up a step, but he smiled and
said that only the spirit could say if I was really ready or not.
"You must understand that our tradition is governed by the ancestral Rule which we who
follow it call the cosmic web. We are each of us under obligation to personally contact the Rule
and learn its intricacies.
As you can imagine, over the time, communities of warriors formed to pursue the goal of
biting ones tail. They formed lineages and adopted the circle as the Rule for their parties.
They even built circular pyramids to express their intent.
For them it was a way of giving themselves an opportunity to attempt the evolutionary
leap. Taken as a map, the Rule is an intricate set of guidelines and procedures which increase
the chances of success in the pursuit of freedom.
Established lineages follow the universal Rule. The way each party of warriors interprets
the details of the Rule, or the personal Rule of a warrior those are acts of seeing,
accumulated during the lifetime of each participant. Having accepted the Rule, the warrior starts
exploring for himself, thus validating and expanding the same Rule. He usually collects
evidence of those aspects of the Rule he has verified and shares it with others.
Agreement between participants makes up a large portion of the Rule for warrior parties.
To be part of a party, one must primarily be able to uphold the common intent, and for that it is
necessary that each participant has been in contact with the Rule and has accepted its
propositions. Who does not accept is out, its that simple."
One day I confronted don Melchor with the details of the Rule that Carlos had described
in his books.
What can you tell me about that type of warrior party? I asked with great curiosity,
remembering how pithy Carlos had been with that information. He explained:
"In an attempt to disobey the Eagles command which says that all living beings without
exception must die, the seers organized groups of explorers and examined all the available
possibilities. They saw that the command was indeed final, but as they went deeper into the
matter, they realized that to die was the transitional stage between this world and the other one,
before the complete disintegration of the self and its union with the whole.
In the investigations that followed, the seers discovered that it was possible to
outmanoeuvre death and keep awareness intact. Recapitulation helps achieve that goal by
stimulating memory.
As you know, the Universe as such is a huge collective memory containing the totality of
all that was, is and will be. We are like its neurons, or perhaps even less than that. Perhaps one
should say a particle orbiting a nucleus. The point is that this little electron or whatever
suddenly gains awareness of itself and, in order to know its place in the grand scheme,
performs its task so impeccably that it attains freedom."
Don Melchor laughed at his analogy and said that actually the most important thing
anyone could do was to get busy with the task of recapitulation because that was what
guaranteed the survival of awareness after the end of our organic time.

I had always marvelled at his erudition. In fact, the healers were very well informed of all
the advances in science. Don Gabinito even received magazines with news about science.
Regarding traditional warrior parties, don Melchor said:
The Rule for those parties postulates the pyramid structure, designed so that fourpronged Naguals are directed by its square base. The four sides are the four cardinal directions
with the four winds associated with them. From that starting point, depending on their interests,
the warriors of each pyramid group can draw any kind of interpretation."
"Could you tell me more about the general Rule?"
The Rule manifests itself in everything that exists: colours, sound, the sciences:
mathematics, geometry, astronomy, genetics, everything! We call modern scientists the
discoverers of the Rule, because that is what modern science does: it discovers aspects of the
universal Rule.
The Rule of the Nagual has diverse portions." And don Melchor went on to list the
different areas where the Rule applied in respect of warrior parties. "There are Rules for each
individual warrior, according to his direction or inclinations. We have already discussed the
Rule for Naguals; there also exist normative Rules for the planet of dreamers and for that of
stalkers, for the party as a whole, for the lineage and, finally, the Rule is present in each minute
aspect of the entire process that has been taking place since the forming of the parties,
including the rules for the behaviour of warriors.
"What are the rules for warriors behaviour? I asked.
To be impeccable," don Melchor replied.
I grumblingly told him that his answer did not explain anything. I had expected a list of
things one could and could not do.
Ah, but it does explain things! he retorted. Impeccability is like a multi-use tool that fits
any occasion. For example, between good and excellent, a warrior always chooses what is
better. And when he has to choose between a bad egg and a completely rotten one, the warrior
always strategically chooses the one which will cause the least possible damage.
He laughed at his own words, and then added:
Impeccability means always giving the best of yourself, all the time, in everything you
do, even when the situation is not the most favourable."
I begged him for more details, but he told me that I would discover them for myself over
the time, as my association with the healers meant I had to observe every facet of the Rule.
"What is the healers view on the matter of the three-pronged Nagual?" I asked
Don Melchor replied:
Three-pronged Naguals are a necessary anomaly within the cycle of the Naguals of the
Holy Cross. They appear only rarely, but when one does appear it is because the cycle his
party belongs to is about to fulfil its destiny."
What do you mean?
"Well, according to the Rule, all parties have a riddle. Just as each warrior receives a
task to fulfil as part of his individual path to freedom, each party and each lineage has its own
riddle to solve. A warriors riddles must be solved in his lifetime or hell perish in the attempt.
The same goes for a party of warriors. Their opportunity to solve the riddle of their existence
lasts as long as their time on earth.
A party of warriors makes it as a group only if each of its members has been able to
solve his or her own riddles.
And as for deciphering the riddle of a lineage, the lifespan of lineages is fifty-two
generations of warriors parties. A lineage attains holiness, however, only if all the parties that

constitute it achieve their objective; if not, the chain breaks and they are obliged to start all over
again. So when a lineage is about to reach its peak, a three-pronged Nagual appears, not to
continue the lineage as would normally be the case, but to dissolve it, closing a chapter before
opening a new one.
During that process, the teachings spread out. In the past, such dissemination was
extremely dangerous because the Naguals and their parties were hunted down and killed. Now
however, the circumstances are different. Through spreading of formerly secret knowledge,
new lineages may arise, re-starting the process.
I remembered that Carlos Castaneda had explained some aspects of his energetic
condition. He told everyone that he was a singular case because he was a three-pronged
Nagual, not a four-pronged one.
He used to say, "I cook on my own fire."
He told me once that his teacher, even though he knew that he, Carlos, was inadequate,
never said anything. I asked him about it and Carlos replied:
Don Juan did not immediately tell me what he had discovered because that would have
gone against the commands of his own Rule."
"The Rule for four-pronged Naguals dictates that they should be informed from the start
about their future responsibilities as leaders of a party. They receive this information in both
states of awareness. Don Juan, however, only taught me that in heightened awareness. In my
normal awareness he kept me entangled in a tremendous theatrical charade, so it took me
many years to remember it all.
The Naguals task, as his party develops, consists in remembering the Rule and
adapting it to his particular conditions. In other words, a Nagual transforms the general
interpretation into the individual one. The Rule for three-pronged Naguals, however, works in a
different way.
How does a three-pronged Nagual integrate into a four-pronged group? I asked.
"He doesnt. The peculiarity of my energy only allows me to create groups with three
sides. I cant do classical parties, the four-pronged ones; Id dissolve them.
That is exactly what happened to the party of warriors that don Juan had put together for
me. They were left without a leader to guide them. That is why don Juan did what he could, and
took with him the best prepared ones: Eligio, La Soledad, and the Nagual Woman."
What? I said, confused. I had seen Carol at his last presentation.
"Carol was sent back in the hope that she could help the others, but they are really
impossible, one cant get anywhere with them.
I understood that by them he was referring to his old party composed of the Little
Sisters and the Genaros, and asked:
What are their real chances?"
"Everything rests in the hands of the power that governs all things, he said with finality
in his voice. That power speaks through omens, or at least that is how sorcerers understand it."
I asked, somewhat rhetorically:
If it is so hard for apprentices who were in direct contact with don Juan, what, then, are
the chances for those who read your books and are interested in following the path of the
"Sorcerers do not seek disciples. If someone has been announced by an omen as a
prospective apprentice, or even more importantly as a Nagual, his benefactor will spare no
effort to help him, thus fulfilling the mandate of duplicating his own group. Once chosen, a

prospective Nagual is then trained for years as leader of a regular party of warriors, exactly as
in my case.
When my energy anomaly became obvious, however, don Juan and his party went back
to the Rule for a drastic revision. They discovered that what they had on their hands was not
totally out of place, since there was a specific Rule for my case. On examining the matter more
closely, they saw the three-pronged Nagual for what he really was: an alien parasite
inadvertently slipping into the lineage and disintegrating it.
Under these conditions don Juan did the only thing left to him to do. A warrior always
chooses the best option, and if life gives you a lemon, you make lemonade. That is why he
designed a strategy for making knowledge public, and thereby closing his lineage with a
golden key. That was the only reason for making the achievements of his lineage known.
What do you mean by that?
Don Juan is directly responsible for the books I wrote. It was he who instructed me to
prepare my manuscript as my degree thesis. Don Juan used the established institutions to
publicize his message. Following a different course of action would have meant frittering away
precious knowledge that had traditionally been kept as top secret for generations.
In my case, there was an additional anomaly due to my teachers somewhat hasty
decision to introduce me to what he thought was my group of warriors. Because of that
decision, he was forced to redesign the departure strategy of his own party. It had become clear
to everyone that the apprentices were doomed, and that I was going to be practically alone in
this world.
Meanwhile, I had failed to demonstrate my worth as three-pronged Nagual, and the only
remedy don Juan found for that was to entrust the continuation of my training to the spirit. In
other words, the Rule of the three-pronged Nagual was to be communicated to me at some
point in the future by a messenger they did not know.
Just before leaving, however, don Juan told me the essentials of my task. He did it in
such a veiled form that it was only years later, when I recapitulated the conversation I had with
the messenger, that my teachers revelations became structured as a coherent line of thought.
The pieces of the puzzle came together and I could understand the pernicious reason for my
presence among them."
"Why do you say that it was a pernicious reason?"
By saying that, I just follow the course of thoughts of my benefactor and his warriors. For
them, sorcery was a strictly controlled activity, regulated by the principles of discretion and
strategy. Although they fully belonged to the breed of new seers for whom trade secrets werent
worth a peanut, their activities and emotions to a great extent still belonged to the past. For that
reason, they would have seen my task as something truly devastating because it had to do with
giving sorcery to people, or rather bringing people to nagual, and not just in small groups, but in
great masses.
Of course, for modern seers, theres nothing nefarious about my task. It is a natural
occurrence in the flow of energy. They know that times of change need to be faced with
renewed spirit.

Part Five: Transmutations

On one occasion, at the time when I could already feel the effects of the teachings, I had to
spend a few days in the city. I stayed in an empty apartment which belonged to a friend of the
healers, in a residential block.
While I was there, I dreamed that I was a dog. I remember that I could feel my snout and
my teeth in a totally realistic way. What surprised me most was my dog's vision. I saw
everything blurred or distorted and without colour.
In my dream as dog, I saw myself go up a staircase which looked like a mountain of
steps before me. I passed through a metal door that was ajar; up there, I could sense the fresh
air and see the sky.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, an enormous dog appeared, furious and running towards me
with the clear intention of attacking me. I ran away from him, jumped a low fence and fell into
emptiness. In my dream, I saw the enormous dog that was chasing me jump the fence in my
wake. In one last glimpse, I perceived his fright and heard him groan with regret for having had
jumped, but it was already too late.
I kept on seeing dream images pass in front of me at full speed. I grabbed onto one of
them it was my room in the healers house, and my bedroll woke up and knew that I had
been dreaming. I got up, went up the stairs leading to the roof of the building and looked for the
banister. I could see that down below lay the neighbours Alasatian, dead.
A few days later, after I had returned to the healers house, don Melchor took me to see a
very special cave. The entrance seemed to lead to a tunnel and was completely circular. When
we entered, everything became dark after just a few steps, and a little further on the darkness
was total.
It was then that I saw the energy of the Earth for the first time. After a spell of inner
silence, in total darkness, I saw the whole cave ignite with brilliantly green colour, as if the walls
were emitting a living greenish light resembling neon. I felt inundated by that light.
The experience left me with a sensation of plenitude that lasted hours, so huge I did not
even want to speak. Finally breaking the silence, don Melchor explained that we had been in
the womb of our holy mother Earth.
In the course of the conversation, I told him what had happened to me on my visit to
Mexico City.
He commented, mysteriously, that I was a proper diablero.
My curiosity was aroused at once, and I asked him directly:
What is a diablero, don Melchor?
It is a term used by the godfathers of the north. There are some people in our parts who
use it, but it is more frequent up north. To understand this term, you need to know the history of
our people, and particularly anything concerning the brotherhood of knowledge led by the
In ancient times, after the arrival of the conquistadors, the Naguals had to conceal their
practices from laymen and assassins. Our ancestors chose to join the religion brought by the
white man. Some sorcerers, however, took the opposite direction, hid in remote places and
adopted the name of diableros.
They chose that name for the fear and respect it instilled in people, with the objective of
keeping them at a distance. The diableros used the faith of the people to frighten them. It was
an effective strategy that worked for centuries. Today hardly anyone uses it, but that does not
mean diableros dont exist.
As you know, Mexicans, those from the time of the conquest as well as those of today,

are very religious folk, and one must take that into consideration if one wants to coexist with
them. We use Catholic imagery to achieve our objective of putting the patient in the state of
inner silence. We exploit, so to speak, the patients faith, only this time for his personal gain: to
be healed.
It is characteristic for diableros that they dont like having people around, which is why
they scare them. To chase away the public, they generate fear, suspicion and disgust.
Yes, I understand, but what does it take for a sorcerer to be considered a diablero?
Those sorcerers know how to transform physically, usually into the animal of their
predilection, Don Melchor replied laconically. A diablero is by definition a sorcerer who
controls his assemblage point and uses it to transform physically into an animal, or into
anything. I knew a diablero who used to transform into fire. Hed begin by igniting himself and in
a few seconds hed be a human torch walking to and fro without burning himself.
Sorcerers can transform into almost anything if they place the assemblage point in the
correct position. They can turn into whatever they want, from a microbe to an elephant. Some
sorcerers spend their lives experimenting with alternative perceptions. For example, it is
possible to try and experience the world from the perspective of an animal. I enjoy very much
seeing the world as a falcon.
He watched me as if measuring the effect of his words.
Can you really transform into a bird, don Melchor?
Yes I can, and if you wish, Ill teach you how to do it, he said firmly.
My mind suddenly went blank. My fear was as great as my excitement. On one hand, my
rational mind did not believe a word of what the old man was saying, but on the other hand,
there were the stories of Carlos and his teacher transforming into crows. After some hesitation, I
said that Id be delighted to know those secrets.
He told me we would have to prepare ourselves for the event, and that it would be a
great moment for me.
One day, long after that conversation, don Melchor and I were walking through the desert
of Wirikuta[31] on our annual pilgrimage. He called me, and we began moving away from other
walkers. Although I did not know where we were headed, I followed him. We finally got
completely separated from the others.
We had been gathering peyote for four days. In the evening we would gather the plants
and at night we would perform the ceremony of communion.
On our last day, as we approached some high hills, we spotted an owl flying in circles
over our heads. It seemed to me strange to see an owl fly during the day, so close to us.
On impulse, I took a piece of dry meat out of my rucksack and offered it to the bird. To my
surprise, it flew up to where I was, took the food from my hand with its claws and flew away.
Don Melchor followed the flight of the bird attentively until it disappeared somewhere on
the eastern horizon. He told me that luck was smiling on me and that he was going to teach me
a sorcerers' secret.
I did not know what he was talking about and asked him what he was referring to.
He said that the flight of that owl was an omen and that he was going to teach me
secrets, but that we would not discuss it there and then.
At nightfall, don Melchor called me over to the fire. He said I was soft enough and that
we were going to go ahead with the magic. He then taught me the prayers and spells that
would transform me into an owl.
We spent days working on the transformation as don Melchor guided me step by step
through the procedure. My reason was the greatest obstacle I had to overcome. On the third

night of intending the transformation, we achieved our objective.

The truth is that, by then, there was very little left of my rationality. I allowed myself to go
with the sound of don Melchors voice in such a way that when I noticed I was flying through the
air, I had no fear whatsoever, as if I had done it all my life. I had transformed into an owl. I was
looking at the world through the eyes of a bird and could perceive a small peak in front of my
eyes. I could see the night, with clouds all white in moonlight. Below, I could discern the
outlines of the hills and of the cactuses on the plains.
When I woke up, I was naked among the hills. I knew that something phenomenal had
happened to me. I felt sleepy. Thorns and small, sharp pebbles were hurting my feet and
brought me back to reality. I walked nearly half an hour to the place where we were encamped,
and there I found don Melchor. Laughing, he gave me my clothes and said:
What do you think youre doing, walking without clothes in the middle of the desert?
I laughed. I knew that he was teasing me good-naturedly in order to break my obsession
with the experience I had just had.
When we discussed it later, he told me:
In a transformation of that type, the return is always a bitch. I once found myself
completely naked in a very crowded public square. There is nothing one can do about it.

Epilogue: The Final Farewell

When it was time for them to leave this world, don Melchor and his companions prepared to
face their destiny together. They were going to attempt the unthinkable: to perform one final
manoeuvre as a group, the manoeuvre they referred to as the flight of the Serpent. They were to
jump together into an abyss.
The only way one could accept as real an event as incredible as that is to witness it.
That was exactly what happened to me and the other assistants: we were witnesses to their
In fact, the only way to verify the principles of sorcery is to try them out; I know that all
else is just words. I know it because it happened to me with the Naguals books.
Thus, respecting the omens that have led me to this point, I relate here the events that
took place, so that the truth can be established: the claims Carlos makes in his books about the
departure of his teachers are in no sense metaphoric.
The final jump into the abyss is a custom with the lineages of Naguals who practise that
type of passage. This tradition remains as valid today as it always was.
During my stay among them, the healers gave us explanations in various states of
awareness about what they were proposing to do and provided us with detailed instruction
about everything regarding the ultimate voyage. In the beginning, while we were in the rational
state of awareness, the reason they gave us for what they were planning to do was that they
were going to heaven, that Daddy God was calling them. As we progressed, the direction of
their explanations changed. They said, among other things, We are going to throw ourselves
into the adventure; we will make ourselves pass through the eye of the needle. Well float off
like a particle of dust into that immensity out there. Well transform into a flying serpent and
melt into the cosmos. We are going to travel with the emanations of the cosmic spider.
Each of those explanations was accompanied by appropriate lessons and exercises. On
an occasion I asked don Melchor crabbily why we had to be drip-fed information. He said:
Its useless to give information that isnt going to make sense to you. We wouldnt be
giving you anything. Explanations are given according to the apprentices capacity to receive
The animals in the zoo are given fruit inside blocks of ice so that they cannot gobble it up
all at once but have to consume it little by little. An instructor must proceed in the same fashion:
teach his apprentice in small morsels so that he can assimilate the knowledge without
indigestion. He laughed at his own joke.
As part of our practice, the healers had occasionally taken us in our dreaming to a place
they called the edge of the world. At first I perceived it as an immense cave, but after a few
visits, I began to see it as a tunnel of yellowish energy. It was as if we were floating in a sea of
sparkling lights; there was nothing else there, only the yellow brilliance.
The healers ironically referred to that last outpost as the gates of heaven. In more
formal conversations, however, they referred to that perceptual limit as the gates of freedom, or
the gates of eternity.
To reach that place in dreaming is a big achievement, don Melchor said once. To turn
that into a real warrior's feat, however, one must to go there with ones whole body.
My insides cramped on just hearing him say those words. The mere thought of entering
that place with my physical body made me shiver.
Among ourselves, we the assistants had already discussed the subject of the
grandparents departure a great deal. We had carefully considered our chances of survival as a
group once we were abandoned to our fate.

We had known for years that the moment of grandparents departure was nearing but no
one knew the exact date, so we were thunderstruck when don Melchor announced his last day
on earth. On hearing his words, a shiver ran through my whole body. I was like a condemned
criminal who, although knowing what lies in store for him, still feels genuine surprise when the
fatal day arrives.
On his last day, don Melchor got us together and said:
My dear friends, we have already taught you everything of relevance; the moment has
now come to say the final goodbye. Tomorrow we shall embark on our ultimate voyage. What
you will do with the knowledge you have received will be up to each one of you.
We have given you the example of charity and helping your neighbour. We have also
shown you the path that generations of healers have travelled. It only remains now to give you
the ultimate demonstration of our faith. Tomorrow, we fly on the wings of the Plumed Serpent.
This is a mandatory step we all have to take one day, in one way or another, willy-nilly.
After a lifelong preparation sorcerers go to their appointment with Death, armed with
impeccable recapitulation of their lives. In exchange, Death lets them pass free, as if they had
never existed.
It befalls to you, my dear friends, to witness our departure, as we had to be present when our
teachers took their leave.
He was referring to the embarkation on his ultimate voyage, the one from which there is
no return. Carlos spoke of that event as the definitive journey. The healers called it the flight of
the Serpent. They had explained to me that, for sorcerers, it is the culmination of a lifetime of
On the penultimate day, after the announcement, the assistants generated an unusual
amount of energy. Frantic activity suddenly kicked off among them: they were all in a rush; they
all had some task to complete.
As for me, the news of the healers departure left me somewhat stunned. I could not
imagine my life without their presence. I looked around for doa Silvia in the hope that she
would tell me it had all been a joke and that the announcement was merely a strategy to get us
to behave impeccably. When I saw her, however, I realised that this would indeed be her last
day on the face of the earth.
She was radiant and appeared rejuvenated. I had never seen her acting like that; she was like
a girl on Christmas Eve, waiting for her presents. She saw me and embraced me. Tears
streamed freely down my cheeks. She said:
This is not an occasion to be sad; on the contrary, we should celebrate. Weve been
preparing for this moment all our lives and the day has finally come, so we should be happy
that we are on the point of fulfilling our destiny.
Up to that moment, I had not realised how much I loved her. I told her that the idea of
losing her was wringing my insides; I could not believe I would never see her again.
I wouldnt say never, she said, giving me a playful pinch. Our paths might cross again
some day.
We then got ready for our last ritual together, which was to take place on the same hill
where don Melchor had taken me once to tell me about the Plumed Serpent.
The spot was more than suitable for the ceremony. Whenever I visited it, images of
places like Machu Picchu, and Stonehenge would come to my mind. We got to the top of the
hill in time to take leave of that days sun as we always did, honouring it and giving thanks for
its light and heat.
That night we shared songs, stories and jokes that made us laugh, but there were tears

as well, particularly whenever one of us expressed his feelings. My emotions were high during
that final ceremony; we all wished the voyagers all the very best from the bottom of our hearts.
Whenever we previously met in that place, each one had his own designated seat, but
on that occasion, with the hour approaching, they seated us further away from the edge of the
The first rays of the rising sun showed up just in time to witness the setting of the planet
Venus, called Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli in the native language. That is the ancient name for the
bright morning star and also another name of Quetzalcoatl; not a coincidence. The
grandparents adopted the formation of the Serpent, with doa Silvia and don Melchor at the
head of the file.
They went to the edge of the precipice on the southeast side of the hill, a vertical cliff of
almost two hundred meters high. From where I stood I could see the formation walk towards the
abyss, but instead of falling into it, they gained height. Watching the spectacle, I thought that
they had justly named it the flight of the Serpent. Seeing them float like that, I could understand
the Mexican natives obsession with the image of the Plumed Serpent.
The light hovered over us for a moment and I remembered the vision of Quetzalcoatl I
had had at the ceremonial centre. Then they reorganised, forming a circle of energy that
vibrated as if it were a high voltage electrical wire.
Beginning to shine, the images of the sorcerers became diffused. I saw them as a
luminous circle floating in the air, reminding me of the descriptions of flying saucers. Suddenly,
the intensity of the brilliance became like that of the sun, blinding if looked at directly. Then they
turned into a bubble of light. The sphere of light made one last turn above the mountain top and
disappeared in the direction of the Star of the East.
That was the last time I saw the grandparents. We are now on our own, retracing as best
we can the path of our teachers. We have done well in our struggle, with the new Nagual pair at
the helm. With the Atocayo, we have made progress in moulding ourselves to our own matrix,
so that one day, perhaps, we might, like the healers did, fly free into that immensity out there.

About the Author

Not much is known about Armando Torres. As a student of journalism in Mexico City he used to
attend public talks given by Carlos Castaneda, anthropologist and author of twelve best-selling
books, about his long apprenticeship with don Juan Matus, a sorcerer-seer he met during his
field study of the use of psychotropic plants among the Sonoran Yaquis.
Although Castanedas training required him to shun close relationships with the uninitiated,
Torres became his friend and confidant, as well as the foretold bearer of the Rule of the ThreePronged Nagual. He described his experiences in his first book, Encounters with the Nagual:
Conversations with Carlos Castaneda.
Remaining elusive, Armando Torres lives and practises with a group of healers-seers at an
unknown location in rural Mexico.


An attempt by de Olmos to convey the obscene, denying, voiding nature (as he saw it) of the ritual he wrote about.

[2] Tratado

de hechiceras y sortilegios. Modern edition Georges Baudot, Instituto de Investigaciones Histricas, UNAM,
Mexico City, 1990

[3] Assistant is the healers term for apprentice.

[4] See Carlos Castanedas The Power of Silence
[5] Here, toltec is not capitalised and does not require a definite article as it does not refer to a Mesoamerican people but to
professional status, like doctor or lawyer.

[6] Honorific for the healers, Armandos teachers

[7] The Zcalo is the main plaza or square in the heart of the historic center of Mexico City. The plaza used to be known
simply as the Main Square or Arms Square, and today its formal name is Plaza de la Constitucin (Constitution Square).

[8] One of the Mexican federal states.

[9] Taking all directions (rather than just many as in multidirectional)
[10] In Spanish, atocayo means the one who has no namesake
[11] Armando is most likely referring to ones hands seen in dreaming;

in the dreaming technique described by Carlos

Castaneda, the dreamer begins dreaming by looking at his hands; having examined the dreaming scene, he is required to
bring his attention back to his hands.

[12] A conch is a wind musical instrument made from the shell of one of several different kinds of very large sea snail.
[13] The spirit of peyote. El Hcuri in the Spanish original.
[14] Ulama is an ancient Mesoamerican ball game described later in the book in more detail; here, the word also seems to
mean the rubber ball used in the game.

[15] Agave Americana

[16] Santa Muerte is a female folk saint venerated primarily in Mexico. A personification of death, she is associated with
healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees. (Wikipedia)

[17] Godfather (el compadrito, little godfather) here does not refer to the Mafia, but is a customary way of addressing an
elder in a familiar yet respectful way among the healers.

[18] Thick hot beverage prepared with cornflour

[19] The common way of referring to the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption in Mexico City
[20] Traditionally: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.
[21] A family of some 10-12 species of large trees found in tropical parts of the world. Ceibas can reach the height of up to
70 metres and play an important part in the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican mythologies: as the central world tree, ceiba
connects the Underworld, the terrestrial realm and the heavens. (Wikipedia)

[22] Energy-sapping flyers

[23] The first manoeuvre of dreaming
[24] Copal is a name given to an aromatic tree resin used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as ceremonially
burned incense. (Wikipedia)

[25] Dancers of a ceremonial dance which has been performed in Mexico since the early colonial period. It is based on the
old mitote dance, but modified to include Catholic symbolism as a means of preserving ancient ritual. Since late 20th
century, a sub-group of the dancers called Aztecas or Mexicas has emerged with the aim of eliminating the European
influence, often with political aims. (Wikipedia)

[26] Tlatoani is the Nahuatl term for the ruler of an altepetl, a pre-Hispanic state. The word literally means speaker, but may
be translated into English as king.

[27] The Sanctuary of Chalma

is the second most-important pilgrimage site in Mexico, dedicated to an image of what many
people describe as "Black Christ". (Wikipedia)

[28] Huichol word used to refer to the spirit of peyote. It only appears in the Spanish translation, however, but not in the
Nahuatl original!

[29] Headdress of quetzal feathers signifying royalty

[30] University City, part of Mexico City
[31] Wirikuta is a site sacred to the Wixarrica Huichol Indians in the mountains of central Mexico. (Wikipedia)

Table of Contents
Note by the Editor
Foreword: Living a Myth
Part One: Awakening Intent
Baiting Intent
Provoking Self-Importance
The Only External Help We Can Have
Beckoning Intent
Efficiency and Efficacy
Sealed Units of Energy
The Wheel of Time
The Parallel Lines
The Dome of the Naguals
The Sorcerers Option
The Ultimate Manoeuvre
The Naguals Plan
Part Two: The World of the Sorcerer-Healer
At the Healers House
Don Gabinito
One is What One Eats
The Ritual of Initiation
Becoming Healers Assistant
The Healers Vows
A Different View of the World
The Fabric of Life
Doa Lucrecia
Tales from the Kitchen
The Humility of a King
Patients Stories
Mr Salas Attacks
The Energy Parasite
The Ball Player
The Legend of the Warrior in Love
The Tale of the Poet King
Part Three: The Lessons of the Healers
The Encounter in the Crypt
Don Melchors Stalking
Profit at Minimum Cost
The Power of the Word
Ohtli Necuapalli
The Art of Acting
Deeper into Dreaming
From the Dreaming Log
Part Four: The Secret of the Plumed Serpent
On the Path of the Gods

The Flight of the Quetzal

The Lineage of the Ticis
The Rule for the Circular Parties of Warriors
Part Five: Transmutations
Epilogue: The Final Farewell
About the Author