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English Translation of an article originally written in Spanish by Arturo Garcia Hernandez. "Marcos? I don't know him... Excuse me. I don't know a bit..." "We as human beings live in constant thirst and with fear to free ourselves" (Castaneda) "It is necessary to cancel egomania and to discover our energy body", the shaman points out. Carlos Castaneda doesn't know 'Marcos' neither knows about the EZLN; he doesn't read newspapers; he denies being a guru or a messianic man; he considers compassion and social concerns a lie that regenerates itself; he is a critic of gurus and God merchants; he assures that his mother was 'a communist and a pamphletist'. He approached these and other matters on a conversation with the media during a recess of the seminar 'The New Paths of Tensegrity', held from Friday till Sunday in Mexico City, and with which a stage begins of massive dissemination of his knowledge as sorcerer or shaman. For more than one hour, on Saturday night, the author of 'The Teachings of Don Juan' and 'Tales of Power' answered many different questions. With calm eloquence, often joking, always respectful of his interlocutors, restrainless, Castaneda went from one topic to another as the questions were fired from the eight journalists around him. One thing, though: no cameras or tape recorders. Next there is a version of the talk, edited and put together from notes. It is convenient to keep in mind that for Castaneda words are insufficient and limited to describe or explain his experiences as sorcerer; also, he assigns to them values and meanings that escape the linear logic in which we normally move. "How do sorcerers consider spirituality and the sense of divinity?" "I don't know how you understand spirituality. The opposite to the flesh?" Not necessarily, but as a part of a whole, different. "Well, in that sense, Juan Matus is pure spirit. The sorcerer believes in the spirit of man, not in spirituality. Don Juan used to say: 'I love my spirit. Man's is a beautiful spirit. If you think that you owe me something and cannot pay me, pay it to the spirit of man'. "As for divinity: "Shamans don't have a sense of prayer and don't kneel before divinity. There is no need for begging. They ask intent, the force capable of building and modifying everything, perennial force. But they don't beg." "When you speak of the sorcerers of Ancient Mexico, who are you talking about? Because there were different cultures here: the Mayas, the Aztecs..." "No. For Don Juan the ancient times of Mexico were about seven and ten thousand years ago." "How was the process of your breakup with Don Juan?"
"I didn't break up. It is he who tells me. A time comes in which he realizes that I am so different to him that he can't go on with me. And he starts trapping me; he closes all my exits and leaves me only one." "You know the Indians of Mexico. They live in very bad conditions and there are six thousand of them in jails; how much are you interested in the Indians of Mexico?" "I am absolutely interested. I once made a question to Don Juan. Some time ago I wrote a book that couldn't be published, 'The Fame of Nacho Coronado'. Nacho was a Yaqui Indian who had tuberculosis and thought that with a bank loan he could buy 'Vitaminol' and would be cured. I asked Don Juan: 'Are you not worried about that? The premises of Nacho are my own'. He said: 'Yes, I'm very worried; but at the same time I worry about you. do you think you're better?... Of course, I'm also interested in them; but I'm interested in you. We are involved in a state of thirst that consumes us without giving us treuce, without giving us anything." "What do you think about Marcos, about the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (Zapatist Army of National Liberation) and of the Indian rising in Chiapas? "Who? Marcos? I don't know him. I don't have a clue. Puuuucha, I'm lost! Excuse me, I don't know a bit." "What is your feeling regarding mankind?" "It is a feeling of sadness. I work for mankind (...) Man is an extraordinary being, which implies a tremendous responsibility. But he is in the me, me, me, me, me, me. Why such homogeneity? Why does everything turn into a cult of the ego? Why the fear to free oneself?" Freedom as understood by Castaneda encompasses the breaking of the 'perceptive prejudices', the cancellation of egomania; the achievement of Dreaming, which would allow each of us to discover our 'energy body'. And after all, eventually, to be in condition to begin an 'arduous but exquisite' path to other worlds. "Within the logic of our everyday world, this freeing intention might be interpreted as messianic; and we already know what has happened with messianic experiences... "No, no, no, no. That's too embarrassing. We are not that worthy. Messianic is new age and all the gurus of the new wave. We don't pretend anything. We don't offer hopes of something that we cannot give." "How do you conciliate this concern about humankind with the lack of interest for issues like Bosnia, or Chiapas, in which there is a lot of human suffering?" But, honey-pies (fam Sp: 'corazonzotes', 'big hearts' [TN]), please, suffering is everywhere, not just there! My mother was a communist, a pamphletist, a proletarian. I inherited that. But Don Juan told me: 'you're lying. You say that worries you and look how you treat yourself. Stop annihilating your body. Do you really feel compassion for your fellow man?' 'Yes', I replied. 'Enough to stop smoking?'. Noooo! My compassion was a deceit. The old bandit told me: "be very
careful with social entertainment. Those are placebi, they are the big sucker. It's a lie that regenerates itself'." "Why don't you, as a man of your time, read newspapers?" "For the simple reason that I am very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very hardened against topical things." "You have written that the path of the warrior is a solitary path. Isn't there a contradiction in doing massive courses as the one on Tensegrity?" "No. I am not here talking about hard things. Perhaps Tensegrity will give you the energy to talk about really hard things. But you have to start somewhere." "'The Teachings of Don Juan' generated a cult for certain hallucinogenic plants, but now you disqualify that book; you say it's better to forget it. Why?" "The idea of ingesting one of those plants without preparation will lead nowhere. At most, to a displacement of the assemblage point, but fleetingly. Now, when Don Juan gave them to me, that was the tune of the moment. I grew up convinced of the value of my grandfather's severity. My assemblage point was almost welded. Don Juan Matus told me: 'Your grandfather is an old fart'. My assemblage point was welded and he knew that he could only move it with hallucinogens. But he never did the same with others; he didn't even gave them coffee. The hallucinogens were of value to me, but I took it as a total index." "What do you expect of the opening that is now beginning?" "I don't know what will happen. Don Juan never told me what it is that will happen to me in front of the mass (...). We were previously attentive to carry on in accordance with Don Juan's commands. He forbid us to be under the limelights. Now I want to teach like this, because it is a tremendous debt, which I cannot longer pay to him." "Are you not afraid to become a guru?" "No, because I have no ego; there is no way." © Copyright La Jornada Newspaper Publication Date: January 29, 1996
Carlos Castaneda Interview - La Jornada Newspaper (part 2)
English Translation of a Spanish Newspaper Article by Luis Enrique Ramirez The Tensegrity Seminar ended. "I am an idiot just like all of you": Carlos Castaneda.
What of? I do not know. We are dilettanti." He establishes: "I am not a guru. Sorcerers are pragmatic beings. A brave chicken gets out of the coop and becomes an escapee. We are scared.. He wears a long-sleeved shirt and jeans without back pockets. and thus he solves doubts or leave them as they were." He does not read letters to avoid facing 'far-fetched questions'. He is very thin. And we go away. These are questions that seem deep but are not. short and homely." "Give me a reason for reason to be reasonable. functional questions. Forever?. angry. The only way for us to sustain them is by getting angry: 'How can you say this is not true. Don Juan was so simple that scared me. "Make short. neither that he is in fact an idiot. No." (Pendejo(a) is a Spanish profanity that means extremely stupid. he wears his white hair short and combs it forward." Castaneda always puts humor ahead when he speaks. They are entertainment. That's too Hindu! I cannot tell anyone if he is a shaman or not. I will keep coming to Mexico". I don't know. He is dark-skinned. "Do you remember that joke I told you the other night? I will tell it to you again. it's either the chickencoop or freedom! I like freedom. and he mentions some of those his followers use to put forth: "I dreamt I was a bird" "Bird how? A Faggot. There is a terrible truth: no one wants to be free. Our beliefs are unsustainable. what was I saying? I'm senile!. pendeja. Double pendeja. but adequate. no! One must not be guided by intellect. Honey pie. Ask them out of desire to know." "How can I know if I am double?" "You are double. We are scared.. He did not get lost in convolutions that lead nowhere. On a platform. a fugitive. . you imbecile?'. I don't like the human-coop. he acts loosely before his audience. Who am I to tell him that? They put me in unsustainable situations. Pushing. with a small microphone attached to his clothes. they listen to him anticipating his jokes. a girl asked me. not because you want me to listen to you. which they celebrate laughing out loud and sometimes with applause. There are things in the humancoop which are not mine."If there is energy. I cannot allow or disallow anything to anyone. He was a direct being.. That takes place in friendship.. [TN]) "How can I become what I have never been?" "Well. he says. 700 people gathered at the last of his three lectures about the new paths of Tensegrity in the Centro Asturiano. Either sitting or lying on the carpet. But I am nobody's friend. or what? It's a Chinese reply. making an effort not to intellectualize the talk. There is nothing visible in Carlos Castaneda that allows to see a spiritual guide in him. I cannot wind anyone up because I find that to be totally disrespectful.
. to abolish the hegemony of the mind as a method to find freedom. I see the speed at which you learn. and my question as a fart was: 'And how do I know it's eight seconds?'. they don't wear a mask. honey-pie. "The ideology of the me is the most pernicious one. The knowledge learned in 30 years comes in two seconds. There isn't. "He also says that Julio Iglesias approached him.And the way I defend myself is not-seeing-anyone. People live thinking only about themselves. Not very well. Chicano. "I have seen things Don Juan never saw. Just that silence. There is nothing intrinsical to transform me into something special." He tells about his experience with a famous astrologist whom he went to see sometime ago. . This takes the righteousness away from oneself and transforms you into something functional: a being made for the fight. No. From that silence I speak to you.. We are not like that! Why do we defend postures that are not ours? They are mental masturbation.. Unhook the mind and that will be you. People unknowingly attracting their energy bodies. but everyday'. They asked me if I was from Campeche. Don Juan told me that when I achieved 8 or 10 seconds of silence things were going to get interesting.. He introduced himself as Joe Cortez. What a tragedy! I care about me and me and only me (he sings). accumulating second after second. I don't have anything extraordinary. I don't come from Campeche. I come from further down. "She left me very intrigued and I went back months later. "He's a darling". and she told him that his chakras were in bad shape. There is a layer within you which is what you really are. he affirms. That silence is over thirty years old now. Not from Yucatan. and we don't have it. How do you do it so quickly together? I don't know. The group gives more strength. No. Since august up until today I don't know what to think." He insists on 'Unhooking the mind' and use the energy body. What could transform our actions is the energy body. I have seen a lot of energetic talent and I don't know what to do with it." "In this kind of seminars". We don't question what they impose on us because we don't have energy. I don't know what tells you it's eight seconds. He revealed to him: 'I fuck everyday. I have made energetic inquiries and no. The most important key learned from Don Juan was to achieve inner silence. it's not like that." He again combats the egocentrism. The point is to accumulate silence second by second. Something internal tells us.. She had already forgotten about me. If I took you one at a time it would take me months to show you one fucking movement.. they go straight to the answer. going to the psychiatrist to talk about oneself. There is no more mind. I told her that I was Carlos Castaneda and now she exclaimed: 'So much light! So much light!'. "My mind is something very foreign to me. That's silencing the mind. The mass. I suddenly got to that threshold without knowing it. because I am big-headed and short. This is not sorcerer paranoia. I am an idiot like all of you." He makes revelations about his identity that at another time would have been unthinkable: "I come from South America. Sorcerers are too simple and direct.
" "What's the right way of speaking?" "Ah! We would have to talk about the right way of shitting. Thirty years as Carlos Castaneda. but do it. Intent is a force in the Universe. Oof! I have heard wonders.Castaneda does not know the reason for this personal revelation.. Castaneda says Don Juan had told him not to talk while he was eating to avoid farting." He listens to the questions of his audience at this last lecture. 'What for?' I asked him. but she busted 11 beds. But I do everything. There are many doubts concerning Tensegrity and the series of physical exercises implied in it. I don't do anything. which lasted about two hours. You fuck." "Is Tensegrity the only key?" "It's the only one I know. In Spanish. What we can do as parents is untie ourselves from so much bullshit of the social order". In Spanish. I don't spend it. He explains: "I'm a bored fuck." "Are we a part of one Intent?" "We are the sum total of Intent. "How is the will strengthened? "With energy. She never felt a thing. 'Pecados' (sins) and 'Pedos' (farts) are very similar words [TN]). Don Juan spoke about a right way of chewing. he told me. 'To avoid sins'. It's like saying 'Is life enough?'. honey-pie! Intent is everything.." "Is Intent enough?" "Oh.' (Pun. What the hell is this sexual impulse when you don't feel anything? I know a woman called 'the bed-buster'. Don Juan turned me into an energy miser. . Many address him as 'nagual'. Somewhere else. It's the only way." "Can Tensegrity be done without shoes?" "Do it naked. "I have practiced Tensegrity and I feel it's not enough. another pun. (Apparently. 'you fuck' is 'tu coges'. I cogitate. And I've heard more than you. and 'I cogitate' is 'yo cogito' [TN]). but he could only reply: 'Me too." "Enough for what?" "Can we untie our children from the social order?" "We are part of the social order.
In the 80s. evanescent: now you see him. They are the same people who organized this seminar. now you don't. He is the 20th century's own sorcerer's apprentice. Use of magical passes. he effectively vanished altogether. We are full of things which are not feasible to find under these lines of behavior.. Views about religion and life. and it's still out. to great surprise. It's been said that Jesus Christ was either the Son of God or the greatest liar who ever lived. Discussion on Tensegrity. He extends his right wrist for Castaneda to touch him but he says no."What would happen if a lot of people did what you say?" "What would happen? How do I know? I can't speculate.' "Will you keep coming to Mexico?" "If there is energy. he is a moron. and vanishes behind a door. he says. 1996 My lunch with Carlos Castaneda By: Benjamin Epstein Summary: Focuses on writer Carlos Castaneda. Critics grapple for middle ground: One called him a "sham-man bearing gifts . could you sign for me an autograph with your finger?'.. Castaneda has now produced nine books he claims are based on his supernatural experiences with Don Juan Matus.. He only rarely grants interviews.. presents a similar conundrum. a small group of people who wants to know more about these things. Mexico is filled with things that cannot be understood because we don't have the subtlety.. Castaneda recently materialized. A young man asks him: 'Nagual. He never allows photographs or a tape recording of his voice.." The seminar ends and Castaneda steps down from the platform into a crowd wishing to approach him. Reporter Benjamin Epstein was on hand to score a coup. He lied to bring us the truth. We are going to build a company. Like Don Juan used to say: 'Ask the stars. But the books continue to sell (8 million in 17 countries) and have never been out of print. One of the most elusive figures of modern times. and the following year The Art of Dreaming appeared. California.." The jury has been out ever since books such as The Teachings of Don Juan took the public and academia by storm in the 1960s and 70s. ephemeral. a Yaqui seer. yes. He only signs one book. Works. an idiot. Reputation. He is a navigator making his way through a living universe in exquisite flux. who may have a cult following but says deities are the last thing people need. © Copyright La Jornada Newspaper Publication Date: January 30. Carlos Castaneda. To remain invisible. not that. Well. is the sorcerer's way. at a small conference in Anaheim. He is the invisible man. he began to give occasional seminars. In 1993. . . .. a fart. Or as Carlos Castaneda himself might say.
you know. They came to learn a series of "magical passes. It has a different origin and a different purpose. He invents none of this. and if it was good enough for one nagual. The movements also force our awareness to focus on the idea that we are spheres of luminosity." he said. "It is a thinking universe. a conglomerate of energy fields held together by special glue. Well. energetic. the head sorcerer. slipping easily between lunch and workshop talks.Despite ads promoting "Carlos Castaneda's Tensegrity. a living universe. when we are broken? Why not when we are strong? Why not now? You have to face it pragmatically No idealities allowed. "Is this what you've been doing all this time. Castaneda responded to a request for an interview by unexpectedly inviting the writer to lunch. he insists. whether Castaneda showed or not. exuberantly kicking off the seminar. an exquisite universe!" Castaneda said. yes. "Noooo . the assemblage point. After all. Castaneda had replaced Don Juan as nagual. I was very chubby. . and indulging in the conversational format that Castaneda often used to elucidate his master's ideas. At the table were several Tensegrity staffers and the three women chacmools who helped Castaneda compile the movements and who taught them step-by-step at the seminar. magical passes?" I asked Castaneda. the purpose is shamanic." "Is Tensegrity the Toltec t'ai chi? Yaqui yoga?" I asked." he said. Sitting in a coffee shop in Anaheim opposite Castaneda was enough to realign anybody's assemblage point: The writer later took his nonlinearity to heart. Yet 400 devotees from around the world--about a third from California--paid $250 each to attend. taking the sheen off our luminous eggs and leaving only a rubble of self-absorption and egomania. So in terms of physical activity. . And at the conclusion of his opening talk. maybe a little insane. Our reason for being is to face infinity "We're all going to face infinity." "Where would Jesus fit into all this? Where would Buddha fit in?" . a place about an arm's length behind our shoulder blades that can be shifted to visit other realms. "To compare Tensegrity with yoga or t'ai chi is not possible." even event organizers didn't know whether Castaneda would actually show up at a recent weekend seminar near Disneyland in Anaheim. "We have to balance the linearity of the known universe with the nonlinearity of the unknown universe." The charismatic Castaneda proved amazingly convincing when describing life among inorganic beings." movements intended to heighten perception. . It has to do with our reason for being. "Don Juan recommended an obsessive use of magical passes to keep my body at an optimum. this is what we do. a being with double luminous spheres. and a predatory universe in which "flyers" incessantly feed on mankind's awareness. "Why face it when we are weakest. at the moment of dying. The origin is shamanic. it's good enough for another. fit. with whom he apparently spends a great deal of time. and funny. But not ridiculously insane!" He is also charming. I'm not insane.
The only choices under discussion seemed to be top sirloin. This was 30 years ago.' I tried to explain to him about intersubjectivity. Tracy Kramer. and filet mignon. The things shamans deal with are extremely practical. . Nobody ever said the warrior's way would be easy. Don't ask him "why are you there crucified. which organizes the seminars. It was a flop." chacmool Kylie Lundahl explained. 'Pfhhhh. ." The waiter arrived to take our lunch orders.' All of us divide our time between being here and being pulled by something that is not describable but that makes us visitors into another realm. prime rib. "Allowing your perception to break the interpretation system--a tree ceases to be a tree and becomes sheer energy--that is a pragmatic maneuver. "Recording is a way of fixing you in time." he said. He said hello to me." Castaneda answered. hardly the snuggest fit with most New Age disciplines. "I don't live here." He'd go bananas trying to explain to you why. are based in Santa Monica. Is that true? Hahahaha. "It is a . There was no photograph. His agent." Castaneda replied."They are idealities. Don Juan was once described as "an enigma wrapped in mystery wrapped in a tortilla. those are the antithesis of the sorcerer . I always use the euphemism 'I've been in Mexico. he pays property taxes somewhere. "They are too big." "Why don't you allow yourself to be photographed or tape-recorded?" I asked. He's very happy there! Don Juan said. "I'm not here at all.' he said. named for the gigantic. leave him alone. during his closing remarks. They break down parameters of normal historical reality Magical passes are just one aspect of that. 'tell me yes or no. the stagnant picture. . Castaneda relieved them of their duties at the end of the seminar." and Castaneda followed suit. Where Castaneda spends his time is unclear. "The Word of God is unchanging. . Idealities cannot be used in a pragmatic movement. "They tell me you turned into a crow." Photographs are not all that stand still. 'Don't bother him. Inc. and goodbye. "The sorcerers say that whether you're eating lettuce or a steak. If a passing remark at the seminar was to be taken literally. No good..' I said no. He decided to draw it again. were quite literally here today. Maybe you've seen a drawing of Carlos Castaneda [by Richard Oden for Psychology Today in December 1977]. They are deities. the chacmools. and Cleargreen. First thing the interviewer said was. But these aren't your usual diatribes: "Leave Jesus on the cross. "The stagnant word. reclining guardian figures of the Mexican pyramids. the other is the Son of God . too gigantic to be real. . gone tomorrow. As it turned out.' So I did that. "I had once an interview." Castaneda is very negative about religion. it's a sentient being. One is the Prince of Buddhism." Castaneda said. But you start talking about that and you start sounding like total nincompoops. Castaneda ordered a melted cheese on rye with a side of bacon and fries. . so he drew it.
where he was giving a talk.living universe." I recalled an article from at least a decade ago calling Castaneda the "godfather of the New Age. . "To be old and youthful. he 'burned from within. and Cajamarca. otherwise reliable sources variously list the year he earned his Ph. Sao Paulo. What is in flux is what is alive." When Castaneda's melted-cheese sandwich arrived. One New York Times article put him at 66 years old in 1981. So he's somewhere between 60 and 80. An unchanging word must by definition pertain to a dead world. I'm fighting age. in anthropology from UCLA as 1970 and 1973. I've fought for 35 years . "To be young and youthful is nothing. "Why should awareness be the exclusive possession of organisms?" The Art of Dreaming ends with Castaneda recounting an episode in the mid-70s when he and Carol Tiggs were "dreaming" in a hotel room in Mexico City. not grandfather! Uncle Charlie will do. . It was the reconstituted Tiggs who provided the impetus to compile the "magical passes" of . this is one slippery organic being." Castaneda replied. "I wish I would have the integrity to leave the way he did . other sources cite the late 1930s. Peru. I work my head off--both heads--toward that. Castaneda lists his birth date and place as December 25. I'm sure I'll die. In other words." said Castaneda. "And I thought. or cousin. "They are possessors of consciousness but not possessors of an organism. But I wish. he left. (She was on a journey in the "second attention. is both. please call me the uncle." Castaneda responded. she reappeared 10 years later in a bookstore in Santa Monica. According to Contemporary Authors. . . for whom ambiguity is a way of life to be ruthlessly pursued. In a universe that is forced to change there is a written word not forced to change? That is the world of a taxidermist. And his age is as good a place as any to get a sense of the man. My own mind was worlds away. "What is this. Brazil.") According to Castaneda. Don Juan Matus didn't die. being the grandfather of anything. "According to your book The Eagle's Gift. senility and old age. most likely 64. that is sorcery!" Castaneda." a state of consciousness not devoured by the "flyers. perhaps on a bench in Oaxaca." "It was 'grandfather'!" he protested. but 1925. immigration records say December 25. and Tiggs disappeared into those dreams. the rye was marbled with pumpernickel. I feel like hell. chocolate bread?" he asked before sending it back.D. . Similarly.' Will you leave or will you die?" "Since I'm a moron. I was senile when I met Don Juan. I asked about inorganic beings. 1931. I have this terrible fear that I won't. like you couldn't believe. Or 70. .
very heavy. . happily combining "tension" and "integrity") often seem angular and fierce in character. Almost immediately. he launched a newsletter." Castaneda said. Yank it out! You cancel the parameters of normal perception." "When sorcerers see. In science. in January. they are intended to produce a jolt.' We are champions of pseudo control--we reduce the problem to manageable science. The Warriors' Way: A Journal of Applied Hermeneutics. The other two.' It was impossible to establish a dialogue with him. hermeneutics is the ultimate affair for us. Take two days off. a set of culturally embedded "agreements" and "descriptions. "veeeery slowly A change in perception is never like that. the tautological questions prove themselves. luminous spheres. blobs. what do you see?" I asked. He very kindly prescribed a tranquilizer and said. If I'm lighthearted and I look at you I see nothing. It is like this. You move into it like a robber bandit." Castaneda addressed the futility of the usual avenues of inquiry: "If you seek with the mind. I saw energies. it will not take you anywhere. I didn't see people anymore. It was dazzling. Before that. But the moments get longer and longer. nothing existed except me. Titles under consideration for a gigantic work in progress have included "Ethnohermeneutics" and "Phenomenological Anthropology. you're working too hard. "I saw once a beautiful science fiction movie in which creatures from another planet appeared. Don Juan's premise was that the world as we know it is only one version of reality. Don Juan taught four disciples separate lines of everchanging magical passes.Tensegrity. "It is very difficult for me to see. 'All these variables and nothing else. What a fantasy! "One day on my way to the cafeteria at UCLA." he said. "When you look at me now. According to Castaneda. That the art of our science. It's just a moment. me. and what do I see? I see the sea!' . . and what do I see? '1 joined the navy to see the world." Castaneda's own inquiries have led him from academic anthropology to practical hermeneutics. the science of interpretation. I've got to get very somber. Then I turn around and I see her. both markedly different from Castaneda's but endorsed by him." The chacmools may have been erased. the robber bandit comes back. and then only minimally." arriving at a consensus generic enough to be used by mankind. Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar. but not Tensegrity A new formation of warrior guardians were set to lead future seminars with lectures to be given by all four Don Juan disciples--and an inorganic being called the blue scout. Over the past 10 years. the group "fixed the passes. have each published accounts of their apprenticeships." Castaneda said. I went to talk to a psychiatrist I worked with. Seeing for the rest of us apparently involves only the visual sense. "I have to be in a special mood to see. If the movements of Tensegrity (the name derives from an architectural term related to skeletal efficiency. 'Carlos. except to a tautological situation where you repeat the obvious. me.
not piss. a smelly fart--very assertive. "If you know you were not conceived in a state of real excitation." Castaneda ordered a cappuccino. I will be. development." ." "You don't know what is going to happen? Sounds irresponsible. "One was farts. . "This is an implication of our syntactical system. The two people involved didn't know what they were doing. and has you begging . I don't have that patience myself. golden piss--the sweetest. idiotic. so I came out very nervous. and end. "The third type. wonderful beings." he said. are you sure that's the way to do it?' and Don Juan would very patiently assure me that. you become unbearable. if you have the balls to take them seriously. Not fart. How can we know what you will be capable of if you have sufficient energy? "I am giving you a series of ideas. Maybe you say this is idiotical." The fourth disciple is no squeaker himself. which is very nice--nicer than the fart but then you die for him. but promises the world. "How was I conceived? Was it in the middle of great sexual excitation. we don't really know what will happen." "What about married people?" "That question has come up a lot. or was it nonsense. he was sure. "The other three disciples--those farts--have balls. It all depends on the circumstances under which they were conceived. And this is the way I am. With the launching of Tensegrity. We are caught in that. Try to stop Taisha Abelar and see what happens." "How can you know?" he asked. the product of bored fucks." Most of us are what we call BFs. Our syntax requires a beginning. On one level. these are huge women with the biggest balls you've ever seen. watching. If somebody asks me am I sure. I go bananas because I'm not sure! "The other. I was. what kind of shit is this? Like the little boy victims [whining]. And Don Juan had a ball with this fart. basically For me to make use of energy I don't have is lethal. most sorcerers must remain celibate in order to conserve energy. like me. ready to tell you. According to Castaneda. . pointless? Mine was stupid. It's a question of energy. I am. Try to stop Florinda. They could die for you. true hell. "Don Juan categorized people into three types. "Fortunately I was fart. it hasn't mattered if people are married. It's hell. but they say it. I was conceived behind a door. 'Fuck you. . puke. then meticulously removed the foamed milk teaspoon by teaspoon. or so they say They won't."I know more than I want to know. yes. just puke--the kind that doesn't have anything to give. then no." he explained. If you see too much. 'But what is going to happen to me?' They'll never find out." he said.
KEEN: How and where did you meet don Juan and become his apprentice? CASTANEDA: I was finishing my undergraduate study at UCLA and was planning to go to graduate school in anthropology. But when you told how don Juan and his friend don Genero made your car disappear in broad daylight I could only scratch my head. It has been around for many hundreds of years. Persons often use dreams to find lost articles. I put on my best airs and introduced myself to don Juan and said: "I understand you know a great deal about peyote. KEEN: Then don Juan is not an isolated phenomenon. you will find that the Catholic inquisitors tried to stamp out sorcery because they considered it the work of the devil.© Copyright Psychology Today Publication Date: Mar/Apr 1996 Seeing Castaneda. and they go on out-of-the-body journeys in their sleep. by Sam Keen Psychology Today SAM KEEN: As I followed don Juan through your three books. he just looked at me and my bravado melted. Most of the techniques don Juan taught me are very old. I know three sorcerers and seven apprentices and there are many more. He is almost to good to be true--a wise old Indian whose knowledge of human nature is superior to almost everybody's. CARLOS CASTANEDA: The idea that I concocted a person like don Juan is inconceivable. If you read the history of the Spanish conquest of Mexico. He is hardly the kind of figure my European intellectual tradition would have led me to invent. Is there a community of sorcerers that shares a secret knowledge? CASTANEDA: Certainly. I wasn't even prepared to make the changes in my life that my association with don Juan involved." Well. I was interested in becoming a professor and thought I might begin in the proper way by publishing a short paper on medicinal plants. He pointed out an old Indian man to me and said he knew about peyote and medicinal plants. KEEN: Some of the techniques that sorcerers use are in wide use in other occult groups. After that I began to visit him and about a year later he told me he had decided to pass on to me the knowledge of sorcery he had learned from his teacher. I suspected. I was absolutely tongue-tied and numb. that he was the creation of Carlos Castaneda. I am one of the experts on peyote (I had read Weston La Barre's The Peyote Cult) and it might be worth your while to have lunch and talk with me. I know that a hypnotist can create an illusion of the presence or absence of an object. at times. I was usually very aggressive and verbal so it was a momentous affair to be silenced by a look. I couldn't have cared less about finding a weirdo like don Juan. Do you think you were hypnotized? . The truth is much stranger. I was in a bus depot in Arizona with a high-school friend of mine.
CASTANEDA: Perhaps. The world is an agreement. each with its own syntax and rules--would have allowed him to understand sorcery as an alternative system of perception and meaning. Membership consists of being an expert in the innuendoes of meaning that are contained within a culture. poetry. teaches a new system of glossing. CASTANEDA: Exactly. this room is a gloss. a way that is supported by a social consensus. A child reconnoiters the world with few preconceptions until he is taught to see things in a way that corresponds to the descriptions everybody agrees on. The system of glossing seems to be somewhat like walking. like art. We have to learn to walk. Our normal expectations about reality are created by a social consensus. The trick of socialization is to convince us that the descriptions we agree upon define the limits of the real world. Once I read a bit of the linguistic philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein to don Juan and he laughed and said: "Your friend Wittgenstein tied the noose too tight around his neck so he can't go anywhere. An artist usually just rearranges the old glosses that are proper to his membership. metaphysics. creates an alternative world by building up different expectations and manipulating cues to produce a social consensus. ceiling. KEEN: Then a sorcerer. But we had to be taught to put the world together in this way. etc. But we have to begin by realizing. something like that. KEEN: So sorcery. rugs. For instance. We are taught how to see and understand the world.--to make a totality. religion. that there is much more to the world than we usually acknowledge. window. van Gogh broke with the artistic tradition and painted "The Starry Night" he was in effect saying: here is a new way of looking at things. as don Juan says. like a hypnotist." KEEN: Wittgenstein is one of the few philosophers who would have understood don Juan. my primary membership like most educated Western men was in the European intellectual world. But there is a difference. . We have lumped together a series of isolated perceptions--floor. for instance. politics. When. I say he was reglossing me and he says he was deglossing me. By teaching me sorcery he gave me a new set of glosses. a new language and a new way of seeing the world. but once we learn we are subject to the syntax of language and the mode of perception it contains. lights. CASTANEDA: Partly. You can't break out of one membership without being introduced into another. A gloss is a total system of perception and language. What we call reality is only one way of seeing the world. His notion that there are many different language games--science. KEEN: Was don Juan resocializing you or desocializing you? Was he teaching you a new system of meanings or only a method of stripping off the old system so that you might see the world as a wondering child? CASTANEDA: Don Juan and I disagree about this. I have come to understand sorcery in terms of Talcott Parsons' idea of glosses. Stars are alive and they whirl around in their energy field. For instance. You can only rearrange the glosses.
and to shatter certainty. Bad food. KEEN: Western man begins with the assumption that subject and object are separated. CASTANEDA: My conversation with the coyote is a good illustration of the different . What are the essential differences between them? CASTANEDA: In European membership the world is built largely from what the eyes report to the mind. The body is an awareness and it must be treated impeccably. to enhance the contradictions within the glosses. not alienated from it. the body is already in the world. KEEN: There is an ordinary reality that we Western people are certain is 'the' only world. CASTANEDA: That's right. schizophrenics. The disease is not a part of us. At that moment you slip between the descriptions. KEEN: Do you think it is possible to get beyond interpretation by using psychedelic drugs? CASTANEDA: I don't think so.CASTANEDA: But don Juan thinks that what he calls seeing is apprehending the world without any interpretation. Brown's idea that children. According to sorcery this burden on the eyes in unnecessary. I have never taken LSD. When something goes wrong we think germs have invaded the body from outside and so we import some medicine to cure it. That is why don Juan had to teach me sorcery. the true wonder of seeing the world without interpretation. To break the certainty that the world is the way you have always been taught you must learn a new description of the world--sorcery--and then hold the old and the new together. Our eyes feed our reason and we have no direct knowledge of things. For don Juan and the tradition of sorcery. Don Juan suggests something of the kind when he says the man of knowledge has fibers of light that connect his solar plexus to the world. In sorcery the total body is used as a perceptor. You are left with wonder. As Europeans we see a world out there and talk to ourselves about it. For him disease is a disharmony between a man and his world. it is pure wondering perception. The problem in sorcery is to tune and trim your body to make it a good receptor. We are united with the world. That is my quarrel with people like Timothy Leary. Then you will see that neither description is final. KEEN: This sounds similar to Norman O. We're isolated from the world and have to cross some gap to get to it. you stop the world and see. We fill them with alcohol. and anxiety. but what I gather from don Juan's teachings is that psychotropics are used to stop the flow of ordinary interpretations. Don Juan doesn't believe that. and then there is is the separate reality of the sorcerer. Europeans deal with their bodies as if they were objects. We know with the total body. and those with the divine madness of the Dionysian consciousness are aware of things and of other persons as extensions of their bodies. But the drugs alone do not allow you to stop the world. Sorcery is a means to this end. I think he was improvising from within the European membership and merely rearranging old glosses. We are here and the world is there. To do that you need an alternative description of the world. Sorcery has a different theory of embodiment.
How are you doing?" And he answered back: "I am doing fine. I drove alongside it and it didn't move. CASTANEDA: You didn't pick it up? KEEN: No. even if they were in the attic in a dream. Our ecosystem might well include communication between different forms of life. How about you?" Now. KEEN: My snake taught me that I had always had paranoid feelings about nature. We always see the unknown in terms of the known. calm. So I backed off and just looked. But my body knew the coyote was saying something and I translated it into dialogue. As an intellectual my relationship to dialogue is so profound that my body automatically translated into words the feeling that the animal was communicating with me. stretched out sunning itself. KEEN: When you are in that magical mode of consciousness in which coyotes speak and everything is fitting and luminous it seems as if the whole world is alive and that human beings are in a communion that includes animals and plants. little coyote. But you have to be in very good shape. One night I dreamt there was a snake in the attic of a house where I lived when I was a child. I didn't hear the words in the normal way. He coiled up and indicated that I had rushed our intimacy. Coyotes are tricksters and are not to be trusted. For don Juan and the other sorcerers there wasn't anything unusual about my conversation with the coyote. I took a stick and tried to kill it. If we drop our arrogant assumptions that we are the only comprehending and communicating form of life we might find all kinds of things talking to us. After about five minutes he went off into the bushes. KEEN: What animals make better friends? CASTANEDA: Snakes make stupendous friends? KEEN: I once had a conversation with a snake. She suggested that the next time a snake appeared in a dream I should feed it or do something to befriend it. . collected--in a friendly mood. John Lilly talked talked to dolphins. with no doubts or pending affairs. In the morning I told the dream to a friend and she reminded me that it was not good to kill snakes. A man can learn to call snakes. As a matter of fact they said I should have gotten a more reliable animal for a friend. Perhaps we would feel less alienated if we could believe we were not the only intelligent life. I considered animals and snakes dangerous. When he came up to me I said: "Hi. After we had looked at each other for a while I decided I should make some gesture to let him know I repented for killing his brother in my dream.theories of embodiment. About an hour later I was driving my motor scooter on a little-used road and there it was waiting for me--a four foot snake. After my meeting I could never kill another snake and it began to be more plausible to me that we might be in some kind of living nexus. CASTANEDA: We might be able to talk to any animal. CASTANEDA: It was a very good friend. I reached over and touched his tail.
His art is the metaphorical way in which he lives. This is why his teachings have such a dramatic flavor and unity. I had really stopped the world and. his spirit may cause you trouble. If you don't thank the animal for giving up his life so you may live. He lives in magical time and occasionally comes into ordinary time. KEEN: Perhaps psychotropic drugs momentarily wipe out the isolated ego and allow a mystical fusion with nature. got completely outside my European system of glossing. KEEN: The American Indians had similar beliefs about animals they killed. Something is altered every time we deliberately injure plant life or animal life. Were you using peyote when you talked with the coyote? CASTANEDA: No. I couldn't explain it away. He contains and controls his power. when don Juan took you out into the hills to hunt animals was he . Plants. always affect you. KEEN: Do you think don Juan lives in this state of awareness most of the time? CASTANEDA: Yes. KEEN: Was this experience more intense than similar experiences you had when don Juan gave you psychotropic plants? CASTANEDA: Much more intense. I think don Juan turns his loneliness into art. Nothing at all. Every time I took psychotropic plants I knew I had taken something and I could always question the validity of my experience. We are so important and take ourselves so seriously that we forget that the world is a great mystery that will teach us if we listen. KEEN: For instance. like animals. We take life in order to live but we must be willing to give up our lives without resentment when it is our time. the wonder and the loneliness. CASTANEDA: I think so. for a short time. He deliberately constructs his life and his manner of teaching. But when the coyote talked to me I had no defenses. Don Juan lives in an awesome world and he has left routine people far behind. Most cultures that have retained a sense of communion between man and nature also have made ceremonial use of psychedelic drugs. He says that if you don't apologize to plants for picking them you are likely to get sick or have an accident.CASTANEDA: Don Juan has a very interesting theory about this. CASTANEDA: We have a commonality with all life. KEEN: Anyone who travels so far from the beaten paths of consensus must be very lonely. I live in ordinary time and occasionally dip into magical time. Once when I was with don Juan and his friend don Genaro I saw the loneliness they shared and their sadness at leaving behind the trappings and points of reference of ordinary society. and turns them into art.
I tried to free him but couldn't open the trap. that is Castaneda. In the 10 years I have known him don Juan has killed only four animals to my knowledge. Psychotropics created a gap in my system of glosses. But if I behaved like a warrior and assumed responsibility I would not need them. KEEN: Does don Juan regularly use psychotropic drugs to stop the world? CASTANEDA: No. Once we caught a rabbit in a trap we had set and don Juan thought I should kill it because its time was up. I was desperate because I had the sensation that I was the rabbit. KEEN: In your most recent book. KEEN: Mystical feet? CASTANEDA: Yes. He told me that for me to try to see without the aid of psychotropic plants would be useless. I am . Don Juan had been trying to teach me that I must assume responsibility for being in this marvelous world. But I paid a tremendous price. You are something of a patron saint to the psychedelic revolution. you reverse the impression given in your first books that the use of psychotropic plants was the main method don Juan intended to use in teaching you about sorcery. sophisticated and cocky.consciously staging an allegory? CASTANEDA: Yes. my body was weakened and it took months to recuperate. that I walk barefooted like Jesus and have no calouses. To do this he must develop patience and will and move deliberately through the world. He leaned over and whispered in my ear: "I told you this rabbit had no more time to roam in this beautiful desert." She didn't believe him because she had the idea that I must be very mystical. The warrior is a man who hunts and accumulates personal power. The consensus is that I have mystical feet. I was anxious and functioned at a very low level. I was walking to a lecture I was giving at California State. I held on to my description of the world as if it were the only truth. So I stomped on the trap and accidentally broke the rabbit's neck. When the glue that held my world together was dissolved. How do you now understand the place of psychotropics in his teachings? CASTANEDA: Don Juan used psychotropic plants only in the middle period of my apprenticeship because I was so stupid. A friend has collected some of the stories that circulate about me. CASTANEDA: I do have a following and they have some strange ideas about me. They destroyed my dogmatic certainty. Don Juan used the dramatic situation of actual hunting to teach me because he was addressing himself to my body. and these only at times when he saw that their death was a gift to him in the same way his death would one day be a gift to something. they would only weaken my body. Long Beach the other day and a guy who knew me pointed me out to a girl and said: "Hey. He can now stop it at will. KEEN: This must come as quite a shock to many of your admirers. Journey to Ixtlan." He consciously set up the metaphor to teach me about the ways of a warrior. He had no interest in hunting for sport or to get meat.
We know something about don Juan but too little about Castaneda. KEEN: Rumors flourish in an information vacuum. I had come a long way from my birthplace in Brazil. CASTANEDA: That is a deliberate part of the life of a warrior. My life had been very erratic. I was struck with how classical don Juan's approach was. CASTANEDA: Yes. and photographs. KEEN: Maybe we can be personal without being historical. To weasel in and out of different worlds you have to remain inconspicuous. but within I was indecisive and unsure of myself. If little by little you create a fog around yourself then you will not be taken for granted and you will have more room for change. turn on and blow their minds. I was always looking within and talking to myself. with the eventual hope of being able to stop the world and see. Like most intellectuals. my back was against the wall. The more you are known and identified. then you can't move. but don Juan's approach has a strange twist because it comes from the tradition in sorcery that death is physical presence that can be felt and seen. KEEN: He seems to have hooked you with the old philosopher's trick of holding death before your eyes. At the time I met don Juan I had very little personal power. I have also committed suicide and died in several different places. That is the reason I avoid tape recordings when I lecture. the more your freedom is curtailed. A college class of mine almost freaked out when I began to talk about phenomenology and membership and to explore perception and socialization. Death is an impartial . I was always making excuses for myself. have been the most applicable. I had no place to go. The inner dialogue seldom stopped. You now minimize the importance of the psychedelic experience connected with your apprenticeship. They wanted to be told too relax. I couldn't see any way of life that really excited me. Don Juan once accused me of being a professional child because I was so full of self-pity. I heard echoes of Plato's idea that a philosopher must study death before he can gain any access to the real world and of Martin Heidegger's definition of man as being-toward-death. One of the earliest things don Juan taught me was that I must erase my personal history. All of this was exaggerated by my habit of introspection. What are the elements of don Juan's teachings that are important for you? Have you been changed by them? CASTANEDA: For me the ideas of being a warrior and a man of knowledge. I thought all I could do was make a mature adjustment to a life of boredom or find ever more complex forms of entertainment such as the use of psychedelics and pot and sexual adventures. When people have definite ideas about who you are and how you will act. They have given me peace and confidence in my ability to control my life. Don Juan turned my eyes outward and taught me to accumulate personal power. Outwardly I was aggressive and cocky. I felt like a leaf in the wind. And you don't seem to go around doing the kind of tricks you describe as the sorcerer's stock-in-trade.supposed to be stoned most of the time. But to me understanding is important. I don't think there is any other way to live if one wants to be exuberant. One of the glosses in sorcery is: death stands to your left.
KEEN: It isn't the content of decision that is important so much as the act of being decisive. Your feeble world of indecision and sadness is not equal to mine. I was very insulted and would have left but we were in the middle of the wilderness. I am here talking to you and I may never return to Los Angeles. When your body is properly tuned to the world and you turn your eyes to your left. discussions of responsibility usually follow discussion of death. This idea has been very freeing for me. After all. So everything must be done impeccably. It makes no difference to him. It seemed unfair for a sensitive man to have to decide. . the shadowlike presence of death. KEEN: How did don Juan teach you to be decisive? CASTANEDA: He spoke to my body with his acts." Well. I am a hunter and a warrior and you are a pimp. I finally realized that this man was not like my father who would make 20 New Year's resolutions and cancel them all out. only decisions that must be made now. death is in no hurry. If I spend my time regretting what I did yesterday I avoid the decisions I need to make today. The gloss--"death to your left"--isn't an intellectual matter in sorcery." He said: "I don't think we are.judge who will speak truth to you and give you accurate advice. I must live as if this is my last moment. The impact of that act was tremendous. After many hours I saw that don Juan would stay there forever if he had to. Each act is the warrior's last battle. you can witness an extraordinary event. I am ready to sum up my life at any moment. So I sat down and got trapped in my own ego involvement. My old way was to leave everything pending and never to decide anything. There are no large or small decisions. But that wouldn't matter because I took care of everything before I came. The moment you remember you must eventually die you are cut down to the right size. And there is no time for doubts or remorse. CASTANEDA: When death stands to your left you must create your world by a series of decisions. I think I haven't made this idea vivid enough. KEEN: In the existential tradition. So I went over and touched him and he got up and we went home. KEEN: This world of death and decisiveness is a long way from psychedelic utopias in which the vision of endless time destroys the tragic quality of choice. Nothing can be left pending. They could be canceled out only by other decisions. When there is no way of knowing whether I have one more minute of life. Don Juan's decisions were irrevocable as far as he was concerned. I was going to wait until he decided to go home. It convinced me that the way of the warrior is an exuberant and powerful way to live. One day don Juan asked me: "Do you think you and I are equals?" I was a university student and an intellectual and he was an old Indian but I condescended and said: "Of course we are equals. Why not? For a man with no pending business that is his power. it is perception. CASTANEDA: Then don Juan is a good existentialist. He will get you tomorrow or the next week or in 50 years. To me decisions were ugly.
and maybe I can accomplish it. What you are after is control. After some months I learned to find my hands and to stop the dream. KEEN: "The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of" and so does the rest of the body. CASTANEDA: That is the point. My mind has been in control all of my life and it would kill me rather than relinquish control. But that is not enough to stop the world. My intellect could easily dismiss his world of sorcery as nonsense. It is as though he proposes to establish a permanent. Once you are capable of finding your hands at will. You must silence the chatter that is going on inside your mind and surrender yourself to the outside world. But he would perform it perfectly. Or rather. To gain this kind of control you need to pick one thing in advance and learn to find it in your dreams. Let me speak for myself. if a warrior found a snake that was numb and cold. reason began to assume its proper place as a tool of the body. A man of knowledge must accumulate personal power. A gesture is a deliberate act which is undertaken for the power that comes from making a decision. a new and healthier reign was established. I was overwhelmed with terror and gloom and thoughts about suicide. stable observatory within inner space. . is to take the control away from my reason. Tell me about don Juan's dream training. The body has a will of its own. Once my mind waged this last battle and lost. KEEN: Don Juan's techniques for dealing with dreams engaged me became they suggest the possibility of voluntary control of dream images. believes that will rather than reason is the most fundamental faculty of man. Some abandon also is necessary. What you have said about decision and gesture suggests that don Juan. And once the body took over. That is why don Juan consistently put his teachings in dramatic form. KEEN: Is stopping the images in dreams anything like stopping the world? CASTANEDA: It is similar.CASTANEDA: That is what don Juan means by having a gesture. you realize that it is only a technique. What I want to do. For instance. the will is the voice of the body. The warrior would make the gesture just for the hell of it. But there are differences. He said my reason was making my body feel that there was no meaning in life. I became so fascinated with the technique that I could hardly wait to go to sleep. At one point in my apprenticeship I became profoundly depressed. CASTANEDA: I think that is right. But my body was attracted to his world and his way of life. KEEN: There seem to be many parallels between existential philosophy and don Juan's teachings. CASTANEDA: The trick in dreaming is to sustain dream images long enough to look at them carefully. he might struggle to invent a way to take the snake to a warm place without being bitten. Then don Juan warned me this was one of reason's tricks to retain control. like Nietzsche or Sartre. Don Juan suggested that I use my hands as a steady point and go back and forth between them and the images.
" he said. But how is it possible when we are half a zoom from the freeway? CASTANEDA: I once asked don Juan the same question. which do you still practice? CASTANEDA: My major discipline now is to disrupt my routines. For me the way to live--the path with heart--is not introspection or mystical transcendence but presence in the world. This is unlike visual perception which keeps us forming categories and thinking. if I could come and live in the wilderness with him. If you enter a state of nonordinary reality.KEEN: Of the many techniques that don Juan taught you for stopping the world." I live in Los Angeles now and I find I can use that world to accommodate my needs. categorizing. out there. KEEN: Your discipline reminds me of the Zen story of two disciples bragging about miraculous powers. The descriptions collapse. But what about the world of the modern urban person? Where is the magic there? If we could all live in the mountains we might keep wonder alive. Once you can stop the internal babble you stop maintaining your old world. The second disciple replied that such a miracle was unimpressive. One disciple claimed the founder of the sect to which he belonged could stand on one side of a river and write the name of Buddha on a piece of paper held by his assistant on the opposite shore. KEEN: The world you and don Juan have pictured is full of magical coyotes. You can use the buzzing of the freeway to teach yourself to listen to the outside world. It's easy to see how it could engage you. That is when personality change begins. and judging. I was always a very routinary person. When we stop the world the world we stop is the one we usually maintain by our continual inner dialogue. CASTANEDA: Not at all. When you concentrate on sounds you realize it is difficult for the brain to categories all the sounds. I ate and slept on schedule. This world is the warrior's hunting ground. "My miracle. It is a challenge to live with no set routines in a routinary world. He looked out the window at the passing cars and said: "That. the noise can be used. it is only to draw back from it what you need in order to see the miraculous character of ordinary reality. But it can be done. There is no need to transcend the world. In fact. Everything we need to know is right in front of us. We were sitting in a cafe in Yuma and I suggested that I might be able to stop the world and to see. is your world. as you do when you use psychotropic plants. It is so restful when you can turn off the talking. and when I feel thirsty I drink" CASTANEDA: It has been this element of engagement in the world that has kept me following the path which don Juan showed me. and in a short while you stop trying. I wrote in the quiet hours of the night and slept and ate when I felt the need. Now I have dismantled so many of my habitual ways of acting that before long I may become unpredictable and surprising even to myself. KEEN: The noise level and the constant pressure of the masses of people seem to destroy the silence and solitude that would be essential for stopping the world. enchanted crows and a beautiful sorceress. . In 1965 I began to change my habits. if we pay attention. "is that when I feel hungry I eat.
Nearly every night over the next three years. Any revolution must begin here in this body. I would drift toward sleep. It takes little daring to bomb a building. yet I would be entirely awake. I would shift without warning into a remarkable state of alertness. Typically. For me. This is where real reform begins. Don Juan and I were in Tucson not long ago when they were having Earth Week. as don Juan says. Is there any place for social or political reform in your thinking? CASTANEDA: I came from Latin America where intellectuals were always talking about political and social revolution and where a lot of bombs were thrown. Somehow I knew that it was then possible for me to leave my body.KEEN: The internal world changes but what about the external one? We can revolutionize individual consciousness but still not touch the social structures that create our alienation. My physical body would feel numb and heavy. I took part in a pioneering research study headed by Stephen LaBerge. the real accomplishment is the art of being a warrior. But I could never determine whether the worlds I entered were objectively real. I can alter my culture but only from within a body that is impeccably tuned-in to this weird world. I was fully conscious. and with my ability to manipulate these strange environments. Some man was lecturing on ecology and the evils of war in Vietnam. just prior to sleep. I had frequent conscious dreams and out-of-body experiences. All the while he was smoking. But revolution hasn't changed much. Using laboratory equipment and a series of prearranged signals." Yet even this scientific . When I was thirteen. He called the phenomenon "lucid dreaming. or merely projections. is the only way to balance the terror of being a man with the wonder of being a man." Our first concern should be with ourselves. you have to remake yourself. At age sixteen. © Copyright Psychology Today Publication Date: Dec 1972 Of Sorcery and Dreams: An Encounter With Carlos Castaneda By Michael Brenan Published in "The Sun" Dreaming was once an extraordinary affair for me. I experimented endlessly with my senses. I can like my fellow men only when I am at my peak of vigor and am not depressed. and tremendously curious about everything I encountered. only to wake up and venture into dream worlds of breathtaking clarity and beauty. To be in this condition I must keep my body trimmed. but in order to give up cigarettes or to stop being anxious or to stop internal chattering. LaBerge demonstrated that humans had the ability to be conscious within a physical state of sleep. when my body was completely relaxed. "I cannot imagine that he is concerned with other people's bodies when he doesn't like his own. which. Don Juan said.
offered by Castaneda's critics. school. According to them. and incarceration in jails and asylums. this emptiness carries with it a certain abandon and a delicious sense of anticipation I have nothing to lose. interspersed with vapid consumerism. My imminent mortality seems to offer a slim chance of recouping what I've lost: my experience of the world as a waking dream of great beauty and mystery. the seers of ancient Mexico experienced states of enhanced awareness while dreaming. The purpose of the workshop is to teach a magical discipline Castaneda purportedly learned from the Yaqui seer don Juan Matus. I had begun to feel that there was something wrong with me." Shrouded in secrecy. By the time I was seventeen. because it didn't explain. it came into conflict with everything I was being taught. The sense of exhilaration. of which don Juan Matus was the last. They learned to recreate these states white awake using a collection of precise movements called "sorcery passes. Over the next fifteen years. It is in this state of mind that I receive an invitation to attend an Oakland workshop given by associates of Carlos Castaneda. As this sensibility grew. I find an empty space within me. and death. sitting on the cusp of death myself. my perception of the world did not match up with that of my peers. but on top of that. my junkie companions on that occasion have both died of AIDS. Now Castaneda and a few of his cohorts claim to be the contemporary stewards of this ancient sorcerers' art. My fears overwhelmed the spirit of beauty that I longed to articulate. In the end. Life became a waking dream. for example. imbuing it with richness and magic. I embarked on a roguish course. Oddly. I suffered extended bouts of addiction. and to write about it as a journalist. I was committing slow-motion suicide. and of the myth of don Juan Matus. this discipline was passed down through twenty-seven generations of sorcerers. Castaneda's . and the answers didn't matter much anyway. and joy I encountered in those inner worlds was the true value of the experience. Before long. In so doing I betrayed everything that was sacred to me. freedom. Since then. According to Castaneda.validation did not entirely dispel my uncertainty. homelessness. The priests who schooled me seemed to believe that the age of miracles had ended two thousand years before. taking up with a bad crowd and acting out the turmoil inside me. only to be replaced by a waking nightmare. work. which Castaneda has named "tensegrity. And contemporary society counseled a safe and bloodless course of birth." after an architectural term for opposing forces in balance. I was beset by the usual adolescent insecurities. and my anguish was enormous. Now. Science suggested that everything could be reduced to base mechanics. To compensate for my perceived cowardice. I decided my questions were unanswerable for the moment. a process that reached its conclusion seven years ago. that same heightened state of awareness began to carry over into my ordinary day-to-day existence. when I shared bloody needles with two fellow addicts in a Lower East Side tenement in New York City. how I could sometimes be simultaneously aware within both my physical body and this "other" body. My dreams had deserted me. Another perspective. is that he is the inventor of this discipline.
they are opening up their discipline out of gratitude to their teachers and benefactors. They arrived at this unprecedented decision. Carol Tiggs. in loose-fitting pants and shirts.Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar . They are dressed martial arts style. Her improbable return had "ripped a hole in the fabric of the universe. A third colleague.D. borne on the wings of "intent. . and the three-hundred odd individuals surrounding them are here to learn. but in the summer of 1961." More. and come from Europe and America. and literary quarters. and Abelar were thoroughly disconcerted by the implications of this event. skeptics remain troubled by chronological inconsistencies in his books. and by the author's own inaccessibility. because they are the last of their lineage and will soon "ignite the fire from within and complete the somersault into the inconceivable. Donner-Grau and Abelar revealed themselves to be colleagues of Castaneda. I have been greatly moved and inspired by Castaneda's books especially (for obvious reasons) his writings about the magical possibilities of dreams. when Castaneda discovered her wandering in a daze in Santa Monica's Phoenix Bookstore. by his refusal to bring forth don Juan for public scrutiny.myth has its origins not in the preconquest world of the Toltecs. Donner-Grau. Castaneda presumably cooked up his engaging tales of sorcery. in which he described how." are standing in pairs atop three raised platforms in the Oakland Convention Center. In the end. offering seekers the opportunity to explore in detail the legendary seer's fantastic practices. They are here to teach. anticipation. Like many readers." Castaneda. a new dimension to the controversy arose when two women . don Juan Matus seems destined to haunt us like a phantom glimpsed at the edge of our vision. Tiggs disappeared from this world. I have maintained a journalist's skepticism about the whole affair. There. I go to hear their message bearing questions. They range in age from eleven to thirty-six. doubts.wrote elegant. their hair cut short. they would present the teachings of don Juan openly. they say. Their manner is simultaneously friendly and no-nonsense. called "energy trackers. when the then-thirty-seven-year-old UCLA anthropology student ventured into the Sonoran desert in search of his Ph. was mentioned in Castaneda's latest book. Despite high praise for Castaneda from respectable academic. In the end. and a longing for magic to refute the soulless dreams of contemporary society. Tiggs persuaded her fellow travelers to adopt a radical new approach to their work: for the first time. Six years ago. At the same time. The six female instructors." The "gales of infinity" blew her back to this dimension ten years later. while "dreaming together" with him in a Mexican hotel room. beneath the broiling Mexican sun. so that their ancient knowledge may live on. quickening our hearts with the possibility that sorcery still exists. But now the creatures molded by the myth of don Juan Matus have emerged from the fog of their inaccessibility and rustle through my awareness like windblown leaves. dreamlike books describing their own encounters with don Juan. The Art of Dreaming. scientific. all of them exuding an attractive strength and athleticism.
To Carlos Castaneda he was a fierce and fearsome presence of terrible import and beauty. due to this more formal presentation of the teachings. I speak to a variety of people. as if each word were a delectable morsel: "Don Juan Matus presented four faces to his four disciples. who in his youth practiced karate for six years." Mario says. I am struck by their evident similarity to the conscious dreams of my childhood.physicists. I am not sure where. Among participants. teachers.and nationalities: Spanish. and the results are just too powerful. "A week later. says he and a group of Mexican and Indian friends have long gathered informally to practice strategies gleaned from Castaneda's books. He asked me what I had learned in the workshop I had attended.Over the next two days the energy trackers demonstrate an elaborate series of movements . "The more I'm exposed to tensegrity. they're too sophisticated and systematic. I felt a chill. and I could not recollect it. Before I could speak he began describing the dream to me: the same hill. was with me." he tells me. There are too many of them. says he finds the tensegrity movements uniquely powerful. the same tree.the "sorcery passes" Castaneda has written about. and we exchanged more information about our personal lives. But there are some unusual elements to the tensegrity system that I cannot place in any familiar context. my ears began ringing loudly. engineers. Her brush-cut blond hair and elegant cheekbones look strongly Teutonic. The movements have evocative names: Cracking a Nugget of Energy. French. and a sense of awe. the same conversation. a Tarahumara Indian raised in northern Mexico who now lives in Los Angeles. searching for testimony to the movements' effectiveness. and she speaks with precise diction. To Taisha Abelar . Speaking first. He had thanked me for bringing him to this path. "I was beneath a tree on a hilltop. Now. Shaking Off the Mud of Energy. and what I hear slowly begins to shake my doubts. martial mood reminiscent of aikido and karate. and can confirm some parallels between the two disciplines." Over the course of the weekend we hear from all three of Castaneda's fellow teachers. Then he asked if I remembered what he had told me at the end of our dream. "Recently. "the more I think that nobody could just make these movements up. Before he could say anything more. who lives in Oaxaca. Many movements also have a fierce. they have increased their efforts. My brother Joss. I told him. but when I awoke I had forgotten something: Joss had told me something at the very end of the dream. Florinda Donner-Grau looks out over the audience and smiles like a Cheshire cat. I found myself awake within a dream. I have years of hatha yoga practice. he called me from Mexico. When Mario describes some of his dreaming adventures. Italian. I was fully conscious during the dream. and the forgotten scene replayed itself in a flash." Mario. there is an enormous mix of occupations . One man. Russian. American. German. artists. laborers. biologists . Stepping over a Root of Energy.
Using their womb. I would have been mincemeat." Given the delight with which she recounts the episode. Taisha Abelar is elegant yet energetic. For her part." At first I am puzzled by this." Abelar says. If you have doubts about the course of your life. a Toltec term meaning "teacher" or "leader. But at the same time. Like Castaneda. whether I wanted to be a stupid cunt for the rest of my life. and I am forced to recognize a third. Carol Tiggs describes dreaming adventures every bit as bizarre and otherworldly as Abelar's. fatherly figure capable of tremendous affection. in the world of sorcerers. If I had stayed another second on that roof. For Carol Tiggs he was a gentle. but her overall speech and appearance bring to mind a sixtyish Katharine Hepburn.." The affinity that links a nagual woman and a . because in my conscious dreams I could manipulate the environment in extraordinary ways. from above I heard a terrible racket. and as I did saw that the black shape was actually a helicopter. For me. she recounts wild tales that make me think her either insane or an accomplished liar. and your most reliable advisor. But everything in her manner suggests sobriety and sincerity. and I saw a black shape descending toward me out of the sky..he was an enigmatic yet intensely familiar figure. "in a very matter-of-fact tone. I cannot place her accent.. they are able to access universal energy and accomplish stupendous feats of transformation. No one especially not a man . you have only to consult your death for the proper direction. women are gifted creatures by virtue of their affinity with the feminine nature of the universe. and the horrible noise was the sound of its blades slicing the air. For the next hour. I moved immediately. women must contend with the immensely stupefying effects of their socialization. In short. Then it dawns on me: she's talking about transporting her physical body into those worlds. For myself he was an abrupt intrusion into my world. or make it burst into flames. I was horrified and insulted. I come from a very proper Spanish-German family." She goes on to tell us that. I can only conclude that at some point she got over her mortification. Suddenly. Tiggs identifies herself as a nagual. but most of her tales involve dreaming together with Carlos Castaneda.-"in the middle of a strange city. "Don Juan asked me. I wonder why Abelar did not will the helicopter away. I am intrigued by the differences between her dream experiences and mine.had ever used that word in my presence. nearly inconceivable alternative: that she is faithfully reporting her experiences. "I was on the roof of a building. and only by unyielding effort can they escape that fate. Death will never lie to you. they are trained from birth to be bimbos. the defining moment of her talk comes when she speaks of death: "Death is your truest friend. You must understand." Donner-Grau says. at once unsettling and soothing.
to kindle the awareness of his entire being. A sorcerer cannot avail himself of traditional medicine. A few weeks pass. if he can. in a bubble outside of time. He takes my pulses and examines my tongue. she smiles as if through tears and says." She pauses. and I regain my equilibrium. Tiggs answers a question from the audience about Castaneda's health (word is that he's ill). and knowledge of our ability to interpret myths in the fashion most befitting our needs. her voice is hushed with wonder. "and we embrace you in the dream. I go to a traditional Chinese doctor whose wisdom is derived from a long historical lineage. become more insistent. Before a sorcerer reaches the threshold where his body no longer functions. which have never really left me. Everything comes down to the authenticity of don Juan and his Toltec predecessors. But we do not know if this is the time of his leaving. you have helped us to expand and accelerate into the unknown. She grows still.nagual man and allows them to dream together is described in several of Castaneda's books. spreading her arms to the audience. or was he a flesh-and-blood sorcerer of mythic proportion? I am aware that only one person can answer that question for me. We thank you. which I consume. in order to leave this world intact and whole. I look for changes in myself and find instead that the discontent and emptiness that have plagued me for half my life have intensified tenfold. And our brother Carlos has made a promise to include us in that final act. Toward the end of her talk. I vacillate between my memories of the practical results reported by the tensegrity practitioners. Given my shortcomings . summoning what gratitude I can for the plants that have given their lives for mine. On top of this. he must rely on the spirit. "We are here together. endlessly doubting. like a thirsty crane dipping for water. He prepares a complex concoction of herbs. then sits back and nods his head repeatedly." As I drive back to Portland Sunday night. all the while murmuring in Chinese. but my doubts about Carlos Castaneda. and when she speaks again. dreaming the dream of the ancient Toltecs. my body erupts: my left testicle swells to twice its normal size. and chickenpox afflicts me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet.I have led a life of indulgence. and on his own resources. Then the seemingly impossible happens: my silent wish is granted. and I receive an unexpected invitation to meet with and interview Carlos Castaneda. but something much more profound. Was don Juan Matus a myth invented by Carlos Castaneda. have written no grand . It is neither a romantic nor a sexual bond. " she concludes softly. We do not know the nature of his illness. he will choose. endlessly writing. "Our brother Carlos could not join us because he is battling an infection. Drawing a deep breath and releasing it slowly. and I sense the fierce affection between them. By your efforts. I remain outside the great mysteries.
barely graduated high school. The ease of the last few days does not abandon me. He offers me some bottled water. "This discipline is an internal affair. "I wanted to be like these older . and professional skepticism. do you?" he inquires. but they must be fortified by a decision.an overwhelming ease and confidence. it is a matter of daily renewal. From my research I know that he is Peruvian-born and at least seventy-one years old." I reply. His eyes are sharp and lucid. then I will have lost nothing but my illusions. then I will have gained a gift of incalculable value . I feel as if I am among friends. but mostly I am absorbed in listening and taking notes." he says." Talk of discipline prompts me to ask about something he once said: that quitting smoking could be a revolutionary act. For me. I fuss with my notes and study him with covert glances.I should be enormously intimidated. But instead.epics. He is gracious and unpretentious. to be in his early sixties. from the moment the invitation is extended. "I started smoking when I was eight. I experience a profound and soothing sense of surety. bringing with it a tremulous sense of anticipation and . and by a feeling from within. A lovely quietude comes over me in the wake of this realization. "In honor of this occasion. "I have left my smokes at home. a thatch of salt-and-pepper hair.the possibility of restoring magic to the remainder of my life. friendly. and an elfin frame. The woman who arranged the interview for me is in front. his expression by turns thoughtful. and rolls up the sleeves of his rumpled white shirt with Old World courtliness as we settle into our seats. however. "There are techniques. I look up from the four single-spaced pages of questions I have prepared and glimpse a party of three weaving their way toward me through the Santa Monica restaurant. But if he is a bona fide heir to the legacy of Toltec seers. and by the banality of my problems.most remarkable for me . There seems nothing left to do but greet the unknown. If Castaneda is merely an inventive rogue. His face is handsome and weathered. and then to the little man behind her Carlos Castaneda. For the next three hours I ask sporadic questions from my lengthy list. You need to arrive at that decision and feeling yourself. and playful. affection." He seems unperturbed by my admission. with skin the color of burnished copper. and know nothing of science or anthropology . Everything has come full circle. She introduces me to one of the energy trackers from the workshop. and I greet Castaneda with a relaxed mixture of respect. and this small gesture seems to embody generosity. He is perhaps five-foot-two. He appears." Castaneda says at one point. frankly curious. "You don't smoke. a symphony of angles and furrows that suggest classic Spanish features.
"Please. I told her she must push her illness away with her hand. He matter-of-factly describes a bout with a deadly infection. She theorizes that. My time seems short. (I have said nothing of my own illness at this point. "Perhaps a few more seasons. These routines are difficult. You should have seen them. with her intent. a bundle of energy." he says kindly." I say. and I passed it on to her. The upshot . Even all these years later. "We are creatures who will die. almost as a non sequitur. "She was a tremendous friend." I look away. Then I tried to quit and couldn't. which he describes as "a vicious viral infection. but in fact I've known all along that I am seeking a healing of the heart before I leave this earth." he adds. . I have come here under the guise of a journalist. 'Use your heart. "I have a personal question. loath to appear manipulative or needy. nor does my appearance give any clue. "A few more blows to my system. repeatedly. I replied that I liked smoking and would stop when I was ready." I am spooked by the parallel to my own life. 'Then use your foot!' I cried." With an absurdly suave pantomime he mimics the coolest guys in the world. and momentarily stop taking notes in order to observe him. don Juan told me to stop smoking. and it is too much for me." he concludes. "Ask anything you like. I still find myself patting my breast pocket for the cigarettes that are no longer there. and before I can stop myself.that his apparently life-threatening condition resolved itself . and how his discipline compelled him to refuse the conventional treatments offered by a doctor. "She has this theory about the viral nature of the body. for as long as it took. they were the coolest guys in the world. "I hate melodrama. I rudely interrupt him. "You merely have to jump the -" His last word is lost to the lilt of his accent. but not impossible.) "I loved this woman dearly. He described a strategy to me." I murmur. we are simply sacks of viruses.is obvious from the fact that he now sits across from me. use your mind! Intend it out of you!' But she no longer had the energy to do so. to break. but the conventional wisdom is that . squinting his left eye and tilting his head to blow an invisible cloud of smoke into the air. We live in a predatory universe." "Well. please. "One day. and nothing is more predatory than viruses. physically. and-" I flick my wrist as if sweeping dust from the table: poof. swish." Without prompting on my part. I asked don Juan what I could do for her." he continues. or the second time. beckoning with his hands.Argentinian guys. . gone. he begins talking about his recent illness. She replied that she was too weak to lift her arm. I let it pass and listen as he describes a woman friend of his who was dying in a hospital. . not the first time." he says." I begin. "I have been reading a book by the ex-wife of Carl Sagan. So I will just say that I have a health condition. There is a lot of leeway with it.
defending. yet. Perhaps I will die a doddering old fool. like slivers of obsidian. In the meantime. they seem to hold a kind of open challenge. and I am still capable of endlessly justifying. At its purest." He pauses to lift an invisible needle from a turntable. the track upon which I choose to walk between the exclamation of my coming and the ellipsis of my going. Rather. I think childishly." My adolescent journals are full of this same metaphor. I feel a sense of displaced anger and longing. "I would move. throughout it all. He regards me from beneath slightly lowered lids. The three routines I most sought to change were my habit of picking my nose. something resilient within me has refused to die. the habitual momentum of dying. But I will die . "So. he started it. I find it is only my temper that has mellowed. Yet. the one-track groove that the stylus followed on a record symbolized for me the habitual nature of my mind. this track is trackless. In the interim. and . " he concludes. Holding my gaze intently yet dispassionately. And trodding such virgin paths is the most enduring image of my adolescent dreams. I would jump the . "I would change the groove. and excusing my past actions. To these insipid routines I have added. because he repeats slowly. At that time. Changing the groove meant changing those habits that robbed me of my ability to experience ordinary life as full of beauty and wonder. "I would jump the groove. my adolescent temper. this one about an alcoholic friend of his. over the past seven years. I still pick my nose. as well as the anguish that I have carried since I first turned my back on all that was sacred to me. "I would move. and my anxiety must be apparent.What I have done seems terribly unprofessional to me.. Death is the one inexorable fact in our transitory lives. what remains within my control is the groove of my life. yet their effect is neither hypnotic nor overpowering. Now. his eyes never leaving mine. like a professor summarizing his wisdom. or perhaps as the articulation of my spiritual barrenness. that same part has come to view AIDS as a fitting punishment for my sins. His eyes are keen and bright." and it is that same spirit that is aroused in me now as I listen to Castaneda's prescription for change. with his books. ." he says. I prefer to call that inviolate something "spirit. with his straightforward assertions that in this day and age we are still capable of experiencing the world as magic. I lose his last word. like a path covered by freshly fallen snow." Again. at age thirty-six. as if squinting into the sun. perhaps I will die before the sun sets tonight.that much is certain. Castaneda launches into another lengthy tale.hardest of all my endless capacity for rehashing old events in my mind instead of simply letting go. I have known from the moment I shared that needle that a part of me was conspiring in my own death.
" he begins slowly. I can only describe this feat as a genuine act of sorcery. The students of Carlos Castaneda referred to this questionnaire as the first part of a series. because there are no tracks -we find them as we go. Ah. His gaze is fixed in the distance. and Castaneda is gently signaling the end of our meeting by unrolling the sleeves of his weathered cotton shirt. How did he move me so? How did he touch my spirit so that every beat of my heart is filled with the feeling of this path?" "Every beat of my heart. the mythic Yaqui seer whose bones I have come to exhume? Does he sit before me now. . in the tonal. How do we know if we’re following that flow? Because when we go in that direction. the silence is broken once more by Castaneda's lovely accent. "If I could ask don Juan one final question. There is still time for that final and most compelling journalistic question. If it doesn’t work. unexpectedly. folly. Again. It is probable that not all the questions reflect everyone’s concerns. "I would ask. This train is a bit different than most. 1999. we don’t go there -or we shift direction immediately.not where it flowed yesterday. a trickster-teacher weaving deceptive tales of wisdom. and left the door opened to questions of practitioners everywhere. it works. and for a brief moment his words seem to hang in the air like fog. and cannot say. but something within me lets it pass. The Nagual compared this to being at the front of a train. but undoubtedly all the answers are for everyone. Do you have a clear awareness. or new direction that instruction of the magical passes is taking? Do you read this in infinity or how do you know? We are navigating. © Copyright The Sun Publication Date: September 1997 Interview with the Instructors of the Magical Passes This interview is the answer of tensegrity instructors to a series of questions sent by Mexico City practitioners in October. and he speaks softly. I study him for evidence of deception and come away empty-handed. but what of don Juan Matus. Then his whispered phrase is touched by time. And then. facing the oncoming time. and truth? I do not know. his words like those of a man confronting an insoluble mystery. Castaneda has reawakened it within my heart." he repeats quietly. of the new course. Three hours have passed. Given the perilously low ebb I have reached in life.By speaking directly to that memory. We read energy and follow where it is flowing today. and disappears into the mystery that surrounds us.
This doesn’t mean harshness. or pity for someone else based on the idea that we are better off than they are. or a real possibility? Several of us asked the Nagual this question at one time or another. The proposal of Infinity. interpreting things for us. nor could we leave behind socialization. Participating in a Tensegrity practice group is one way for practitioners to push themselves to the front of the train. they can only guide us -we are the ones who have to act. or possess each other. with no guarantees. “Don’t take my word for it. “Don’t journey only in your mind. but–are there magical passes or breaths that would facilitate the change of direction when the hormones become overwhelming? The Nagual told us that there is no way to get rid of our longing. no assurances. Following its flow is the challenge that all of us face -practitioners and instructors alike. The female students of don Juan are guiding us in this effort. Now we each have to be the eyes and ears for the others. . Infinity is the one who points out the direction to take.The Nagual gave us certain guidelines. He imbued each of his apprentices with a specific facet of his knowledge. and yet each of us has to pull his or her own weight. We move around it. For us. telling us personally what to do. This is not an easy path to take. taking care of details. than it is to follow the track of courtship. Is there any possibility that we will see them again? The female students of don Juan told us that anyone who wants to can meet them in the place of no pity. Each of us has to decide whether they want do this -to run joyfully after the bird of freedom. As a unified body of practitioners. It takes much more imagination. it means no self-pity. we use it to our advantage. we are entering the unknown. watching at the front of the train. Find out for yourself!” We know that the task of celibacy is individual. as Florinda Matus did with don Juan’s four students after don Juan left. There is much longing for the presence of the witches which manifests itself in many ways. this means none of us can see the direction we are moving by ourselves. We are just dying to have an authority figure around. not looking to be carried or rescued. “Be my eyes and ears!” he would tell us. giving orders. They said it is our time. and also. that’s something exquisite. The Nagual told us that it takes guts of steel to sustain one’s purpose without a person in charge. Why not work together as male and female to enhance our awareness. So in working together without that leader. we are moving our assemblage points.” he said. rather. we have to work together. is it a concept. It also means we are standing side by side. we are entering new terrain. from doubts to sadness. rather than to keep ourselves locked into rigid roles and behaviors that keep us from dreaming? It’s much more challenging to interact with each other without trying to control each other. but looking in the same direction: toward infinity. We are accustomed to having a leader who gives orders. and be what the nagual called energetically available.
For seers. or personal disgust. or burdensome? Because we are approaching the task with our old opinions. interactions. The magical passes. making it possible for us to see patterns in our behavior and interactions we weren’t aware of. If we approach the recapitulation as a magical passa seers’ technique for enhancing awareness. daydreams. How do we break our resistance to recapitulate? In recapitulating. is really the longing for the energy body. or just boring -what they have in common is that they have lost their personal sting. In the sexual act.” Or “I love you madly and forever until you look at someone else. then the Nagual let us know: you haven’t really recapitulated that event. The detached view of the second attention cancels out these feelings. Those stories may be funny. letting go of our personal history. or embarrassing. Are there any specific strategies to maintain the focus during the recapitulation.that are created between the two partners. the only way to have a sexual union with another being was from the position of total affection. which lead us to believe we find reward only through deep suffering. we have the discipline to take a look at ourselves and see what we are doing. and our habits. Otherwise. or a friend. All the magical passes help us to be more aware of the nature of our longing -which according to seers. our resistance breaks down. He told us that by recapitulating. found in the second attention.” Carlos Castaneda considered this to be a travesty—to merge the best of your energy with another being as an investment? No. and impeccable actions. “I’ll do this for you if you do that for me. or enchantment with the self. these lines become broken. The Nagual suggested that we could just as easily enjoy the recapitulation. he said is like a snapshot that can help us to see our own patterns. rendering our assemblage points fluid. and you have a real problem here. and is not for baby warriors. help us to entice the energy body. we turn our life events into stories. without expectations. This takes guts of steel. foods. or deep sadness. or puffing up with pride. there are lines of energy -lines of affection. he said. Anytime we were telling a story from our lives and we ended up weeping with shame or pity.Seers recommend celibacy for young practitioners because we are trained to approach sexuality from the standpoint of an investor. or a co-worker. he said. or deeply moving. Add two or three sexual partners. Don Juan’s four students have told us that we resist recapitulating because our view of past events is clouded by fear. and cause turmoil in the body. or even more.the energetic counterpart of the physical body. memories. especially for the female. we would not feel such personal attachment. The Nagual told us that a navigator uses everything around him that can help him to see his or her life from this detached view-films. What moved you in that film? What did someone else notice that you missed? What bothered you in the conversation you had at lunch today? These are definite signals to guide us in seeing our own actions. How could this be boring. Unless the two are free of personal expectations. we are lightening our burden. Each of them. Before we judge the director of the movie. .
so to speak. He told us that one of the simplest cures for our bored-conception state was to breathe -to allow the body to connect with the air outside it and the new perceptions that it brings in. so it’s not in charge. and that gives them other possibilities of evolution. one single being. we can’t even find a cup in our dreams. he said. like an organism. much less enter into full-fledged dreaming. He said that we never get rid of doubt. and for seers. like tourists bringing all the comforts of home into the jungle. Just do the magical passes. You might find yourselves making sentences that are unlike any you’ve formulated before. On a more basic level. How can we reestablish that flow? The Nagual told us that this is the vice of the bored conception: to doubt.” We could find ourselves communicating with each other. he told us. if we live artistically in our daily lives. The Nagual warned us about too much speculation about the effects of the magical passes.work as a group. an awareness that requires a new syntax to describe.” he said. We would like a clarification of how to approach the magical passes for crossing phyla. in a different syntax. The Nagual told us. If we are worried about what our boss thinks of us. for example. Are these about converting oneself into an insect? Some of us understood them as having to do with the alignment of perception and the way in which insects -on aligning perception as a whole. and find out where they take you. we don’t know all the implications of what these magical passes bring. The truth is. “You have to hone the body. and be fluent in many languages? . was direct experience. such as the calves.To cultivate the dreaming attention. We don’t need to abandon what we’ve learned. We explore this avenue in a series of magical passes called Mapping the Body. The practice of Tensegrity has facilitated perceiving with our bodies. The magical passes that involve energetically crossing phyla are practiced to bring us the new view that comes with a new position of the assemblage point. bring us a strange awareness of a moth-like being that seers refer to as the guardian of the second attention. How do you deal with this? You can place the attention on a number of areas of the body. or whether she likes him better than me. Much more valuable than speculation. “You may notice a new line of thought that comes through as you practice this series. Insects do have a syntax. We are finding out as we practice them. as a body of practitioners. in order to survive.” He said there’s no way to doubt and to dream at the same time. then we will find ourselves dreaming artistically. human beings haven’t done that well using their own. The magical passes of Olinda in a form called The Amber-Blue Dust of Infinity. But sometimes the linear mind interrupts the flow. We just put it on the back burner. What a delightful question. “so that the intent to perceive can prevail over the intent to doubt. On the other hand. He said that we loved to try to make things familiar. is it required to maintain the attention between the eyebrows -there are coincidences to certain geographic areas. the attention of daily life has a direct affect on the dreaming attention. but why not learn some others.
© Copyright Fractalum Magazine Publication Date: April 2000 .Many practitioners have asked us what we mean by “unified body of practitioners.” or “group dream. These signals can be sent from anywhere -we don’t need geographic proximity to hear each other. We just need discipline: the art of feeling awe.” Whoever is available energetically is in the dream that the Nagual had for us. finding our way together. in which we are sending signals of awareness to each other.
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