XI - Magical Passes
XII - The Sorcerers' Crossing

XI - Magical Passes
Carlos Castaneda, Magical Passes
The practical Wisdom of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico
Harper Perennial (1999), Harper Collins, First Edition, New York (1998)

The magical passes were not invented. They were discovered by the shamans of don Juan's lineage who lived in Mexico in ancient times, while they were in shamanistic states of heightened awareness. The discovery of the magical passes was quite accidental. It began as very simple queries about the nature of an incredible sensation of well-being that those shamans experienced in those states of heightened awareness when they held certain bodily positions, or when they moved their limbs in some specific manner. Their sensation of well-being had been so intense that their drive to repeat those movements in their normal awareness became the focus of all their endeavors. ....
It was the belief of the sorcerers of don Juan's lineage that there is an inherent amount of energy existing in each one of us, an amount which is not subject to the onslaughts of outside forces for augmenting it or for decreasing it. They believed that this quantity of energy was sufficient to accomplish something which those sorcerers deemed to be the obesession of every man on Earth: breaking the parameters of normal perception. .... “Regardless of whether or not we accept this premise, we are obsessed with breaking those parameters, and we fail miserably at it, hence the profusion of drugs and stimulants and religious rituals and ceremonies among modern man.” ....
For sorcerers, success is determined only by the accessability or the inaccessability of energy.
“Since it is impossible,” he continued, “to augment our inherent energy, the only avenue open for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico was the redeploymen of that energy. For them, this process of redeployment began with the magical passes, and the way they affected the physical body.” ....
Their suberp physical and mental balance was the most obvious feature about them. [e2f]
“To navigate, in a genuine way, in the unknown necessitates an attitude of daring, but not one of recklessness. In order to establish a balance between audacity and recklessness, a sorcerer has to be extremely sober, cautious, skillfull, and in superb physical condition.” [e4]
Accepting that I was the last link of his lineage implied automatically for me the task of finding new ways to disseminate the knowledge of his lineage, since its continuity was no longer an issue.
I need to clarify a very important point in this regard: Don Juan Matus was not ever interested in teaching his knowledge; he was interested in perpetuating his lineage. [e6]
Finally, I came to accept what don Juan called my fate. Accepting it put me face to face with another issue that he referred to as locking the door when you leave. That is to say, I assumed the responsibility of deciding exactly what to do with everything he had taught me and carrying out my decision impeccably. ....
I have called this new configuration of movements Tensegrity, a term which belongs to architecture, where it means “the property of skeleton structures that employ continuous tension members and discontinuous compression members in such a way that each member operates with the maximum efficiency and economy.”
In order to explain what the magical passes of the sorcerers who lived in Mexico in ancient times are, I would like to make a clarification: “ancient times” meant, for Don Juan, a time ten thousand years ago and beyond .... [e8]
“A more careful scrutiny revealed to them that whenever that sensation of well-being occured, they had always been engaged in some specific kind of bodily movement. They realized that while they were in states of heightened awareness, their bodies moved involuntarily in certain ways, and that those certain ways were indeed the cause of that unusual sensation of physical and mental plenitude.”
Don Juan speculated that it had always appeared to him that the movements that the bodies of those shamans executed automatically in heightened awareness were a sort of hidden heritage of mankind, something that had been put in deep storage, to be revealed only to those who were looking for it. He portrayed those sorcerers as deep-sea divers, who without knowing it, reclaimed it.
.... the movements that they discovered were never revealed in the same fashion to modern shamans .... perhaps this was because modern shamans had learned the movements beforehand, in some fashion or the other, from their predecessors, or perhaps because the sorcerers of ancient times had more energetic mass. ....
“I don't think they were physically any bigger,” he said, “but energetically, they appeared to the eye of a seer as an oblong shape. They called themselves luminous eggs. I have never seen a luminous egg in my life. All I have seen are luminous balls. It is presumable, then, that man has lost some energetic mass over the generations.” ....
Therefore, energy fields that touched human beings at the crown of the luminous egg are no longer touching them now that they are luminous balls. Don Juan felt that this meant to him a loss of energy mass, which seemed to have been crucial for the purpose of reclaiming that hidden treasure: the magical passes. ....
“These movements are not physical exercises or mere postures of the body; they are real attempts at reaching an optimal state of being.
”The magic of the movements,” he went on, “is a subtle change that the practitioners experience on executing them. It is an ephemeral quality that the movement brings to their physical and mental states, a kind of shine, a light in the eyes. This subtle change is a touch of the spirit. It is as if the practitioners, through the movements, reestablish an unused link with the life force that sustains them.”
He further explained that another reason that the movements are called magical passes is that by means of practicing them, shamans are transported, in terms of perception, to other states of being in which they can sense the world in an indescribable manner.
“Because of this quality, because of this magic,” don Juan said to me, “the passes must be practiced not as exercises, but as a way of beckoning power.”
“But can they be taken as physical movements, although they have never been taken as such?” I asked.
“You can practice them any way you wish,” don Juan replied. “The magical passes enhance awareness, regardless of how you take them. The intelligent thing would be to take them as what they are: magical passes that on being practiced lead the practitioner to drop the mask of socialization.” [e11f]
“The veneer that all of us defend and die for,” he said. “The veneer we acquire in the world. The one that makes us believe we are immortal. The intent of thousands of sorcerers permeates these movements. Executing them, even in a casual way, makes the mind come to a halt.” ....
“Everything that we do in the world,” he said, “we recognize and identify by converting it into lines of similarity, lines of things that are strung together by purpose. For example, if I say to you fork, this immediately brings to your mind the idea of spoon, knife, tablecloth, napkin, plate, cup and saucer, glass of wine, chili con carne, banquet, birthday, fiesta. You could certainly go on naming things strung together by purpose, nearly forever. Everything is strung like this. The strange part for sorcerers is that they see that all these lines of affinity, all these lines of things strung together by purpose, are associated with man's idea that things are unchangeable and forever, like the word of God .... absolute and unchanging. This is the way we conduct ourselves. In the depths of our minds, there is a checking device that doesn't permit us to stop to examine that the word of God, as we accept it and believe it to be, pertains to a dead world. A live world, on the other hand, is in constant flux. It moves. It changes. It reverses itself.
“The most abstract reason why the magical passes of the sorcerers of my lineage are magical,” he went on, “is that in practicing them, the body of the practitioner realizes that everything, instead of being an unbroken chain of objects that have affinity for each other, is a current, a flux. And if everything in the universe is a flux, a current, that current can be stopped. A dam can be put on it, and in this manner, its flux can be halted or deviated.” [e13]
He gave the example of one of his cohorts, a sorcerer by the name of Silvio Manuel, whose delight and predilection was to adapt the magical passes of the sorcerers of ancient times to the steps of his modern dancing. Don Juan described Silvio Manuel as a superb acrobat and dancer who actually danced the magical passes.
“The nagual Elias Ulloa,” don Juan continued, “was the most prominent innovator of my lineage. He was the one who threw all the ritual out the window, so to speak, and practiced the magical passes exclusively for the purpose for which they were originally used at one time in the remote past: for the purpose of redeploying energy.” [e14]
“The natural tendency of human beings,” he said, “is to push energy away from the centers of vitality, which are located on the right side of the body, right at the edge of the rib cage on the area of the liver and gallbladder; on the left side of the body, again, at the edge of the rib cage, on the area of the pancreas and spleen; on the back, right behind the other two centers, around the kidneys, and right above them, on the area of the adrenal glands; at the base of the neck on the V spot made by the sternum and clavicle; and around the uterus and ovaries in women.”
“How do human beings push this energy away, don Juan?” I asked.
“By worrying,” he replied. “By succumbing to the stress of everyday life. The duress of daily actions takes its toll on the body.“
“And what happens to this energy, don Juan?” I asked.
“It gathers on the periphery of the luminous ball,” he said, “sometimes to the point of making a thick barlike deposit. The magical passes relate to the total human being as a physical body, and as a conglomerate of energy fields. They agitate the energy that has been accumulated in the luminous ball and return it to the phyiscal body itself .... energy on the periphery of the luminous ball .... is as useless as not having energy at all .... inaccessible for all practical purposes ....” [e15]
“I don't have any problems with high blood pressure,” he went on, “not because I am stronger than the average man or because of my genetic frame, but because my magical passes have made my body break through any patterns of behavior that result in high blood pressure. I can truthfully say that every time I crack my joints, following the execution of a magical pass, I am blocking off the flow of expectations and behavior that ordinarily result in high blood pressure at my age.” [e16]
“Remember this: It is not just a slogan for sorcerers to say that they do not honor agreements in which they did not participate. To be plagued by old age is one such agreement.” [e17]
Tensegrity is the modern version of the magical passes of the shamans of ancient Mexico. The word Tensegrity is a most appropriate definition, because it is a mixture of two terms, tension and integrity: terms which connote the two driving forces of the magical passes .... the first drive of the sorcerers .... in relation to the magical passes, was to saturate themselves with movement. They arranged every posture, every movement of the body that they could remember, into groups. They believed that the longer the group, the greater its effect of saturation, and the greater the need for practitioners to use their memory to recall it.
The shamans of don Juan's lineage, after arranging the magical passes into long groups and practicing them as sequences, deemed that this criterion of saturation had fulfilled its purposes, and they dropped it. From then on, what was sought was the opposite: the fragmentation of the long groups into single segments, which were practiced as individual, independent units. The manner in which don Juan Matus taught the magical passes to his four disciples - Taisha Abelar, Florinda Donner-Grau, Carol Tiggs, and myself - was the product of this drive for fragmentation.
Don Juan's personal opinion was that the benefit of practicing the long groups was patently abvious; such practice forced the shaman initiates to use their kinesthetic memory. He considered the use of kinesthetic memory to be a real bonus, which those shamans had stumbled upon accidentally, and which had the marvelous effect of shutting off the noise of the mind: the internal dialogue. .... “The internal dialogue is the key to maintaining the assemblage point stationary at the position shared by the entire human race: at the height of the shoulder blades, an arm's length away from them. ....
It took the practitioners of Tensegrity years of meticulous and concentrated work to reassemble a great number of the dismembered groups.
Reestablishing the criteria of saturation by performing the long series gave, as a result, something which don Juan had already defined as the modern goal of the magical passes: the redeployment of energy. Don Juan was convinced that this had always been the unspoken goal of the magical passes, even at the time of the old sorcerers. The old sorcerers didn't seem to have known this, but even if they did, they never conceptualized it in those terms. By all indications, what the old sorcerers sought avidly and experienced as a sensation of well-being and plenitude when they performed the magical passes was, in essence, the effect of unused energy being reclaimed by the centers of vitality in the body. ....
“When I teach you the magical passes,” he explained to me once when I questioned him about the subject, “I am following the traditional sorcerer's device of clouding your linear view. By saturating your kinesthetic memory, I am creating a pathway for you to inner silence.
“Since all of us,” he continued, “are filled to the brim with the doings and undoings of the world of everyday life, we have very little room for kinesthetic memory. You may have noticed that you have none. When you want to imitate my movements, you cannot remain facing me. You have to stand side by side with me in order to establish in your own body what's right and what's left. Now, if a long sequence of movements were presented to you, it would take you weeks of repetition to remember all the movements. While you're trying to memorize the movements, you have to make room for them in your memory by pushing other things out of the way. That was the effect that the old sorcerers sought.” [e21ff]
Don Juan's contention was that if his disciples kept on doggedly practicing the magical passes, in spite of their confusion, they would arrive at a threshold when their redeployed energy would tip the scales, and they would be able to handle the magical passes with absolute clarity. ....
.... brought to the surface a flock of hidden resources that I had but didn't know existed, such as the ability to concentrate and the ability to remember detail; and two, he gently broke my obsession with my linear mode of interpretation. ....
“As you chase away your internal dialogue, other items of awareness begin to fill in the empty space, so to speak.
“The new flux of energy,” he went on, “which the magical passes have brought to your centres of vitality is making your assemblage point more fluid. It's no longer rigidly palisaded. You're no longer driven by our ancestral fears, which make us incapable of taking a step in any direction. Sorcerers say that energy makes us free, and that is the absolute truth.”
The ideal state of Tensegrity practitioners, in relation to the Tensegrity movements, is the same as the ideal state of a practitioner of shamanism in relation to the execution of the magical passes. Both are being led by the movements themselves into an unprecedented culmination. From there, the practitioners of Tensegrity will be able to execute, by themselves, for whatever effect they see fit, without any coaching from outside sources, any movement from the bulk of movements with which they have been saturated; they will be able to execute them with precision and speed, as they walk, or eat, or rest, or do anything, because they will have the energy to do so.
The execution of the magical passes, as shown in Tensegrity, doesn't necessarily require a particular space or prearranged time. However, the movements should be done away from sharp currents of air. Don Juan dreaded currents of air on a perspiring body. He firmly believed that not every current of air was caused by the rising or lowering of temperature in the atmosphere, and that some currents of air were actually caused by conglomerates of consolidated energy fields moving purposefully through space.
Don Juan was convinced that such conglomerates of energy fields possessed a specific type of awareness, particularly deleterious because human beings cannot ordinarily detect them, and become exposed to them indiscriminately. The deleterious effect of such conglomerates of energy fields is especially prevalent in large metropolis, where they could be easily disguised as, if nothing else, the momentum created by the speed of passing automobiles. ....
The practice of Tensegrity should not be mixed with elements with which we are already thoroughly familiar, such as conversation, music, the sound of a radio or TV newsman reporting the news, no matter how muffled the sound might be. [e24f]
Practicing in groups .... is deleterious because it fosters the reliance on others, and the emergence of syntactic commands and solicitations dealing with hierarchy.
Don Juan conceived that since the totality of human behavior was ruled by language, human beings have learned to respond to what he called syntactic commands, praising or deprecatory formulas built into language - for example, the responses that each individual makes, or elicits in others, with slogans such as No problem, Piece of cake, It's time to worry, You could do better, I can't do it, My butt is too big, I'm the best, I'm the worst in the world, I could live with that, I'm coping, Everything's going to be okay, etc., etc. Don Juan maintained that what sorcerers have always wanted, as a basic rule of thumb, is to run away from activities derived from syntactic commands.
Originally, as don Juan described it, the magical passes were performed by the shamans of ancient Mexico individually and in solitariness, on the spur of the moment or as the necessity arose. He taught them to his disciples in the same fashion. Don Juan stated that for the shaman practitioners, the challenge of performing the magical passes has always been to execute them perfectly, holding in mind only the abstract view of their perfect execution. .... However, the conditions of modern life make it imperative that a new approach be taken. Tensegrity should be practiced in whatever form is easiest: either in groups, or alone, or both.
In my particular case, the practice of Tensegrity in very large groups has been more than ideal, because it has given me the unique opportunity of witnessing something which don Juan Matus and all the sorcerers of his lineage never did: the effect of human mass. ....
If the number of Tensegrity practitioners is in the hundreds, an energetic current is nearly instantaneously formed among them. This energetic current, which a shaman could easily see, creates in the practitioners a sence of urgency. It is like a vibratory wind that sweeps through them, and gives them the primary elements of purpose. I have been privileged to see something HEREITIS I considered to be a portentous sight: the awakening of purpose, the energetic basis of man. Don Juan Matus used to call this unbending intent. He taught me that unbending intent is the esential tool of those who journey into the unknown.
.... “Human beings are on a journey of awareness, which has been momentarily interrupted by extraneous forces. Believe me, we are magical creatures of awareness. If we don't have this conviction, we have nothing.”
He further explained that human beings, from the moment their jourmey of awareness was interrupted, have been caught in an eddy, so to speak, and are spinning around, having the impression of moving with the current, and yet remaining stationary. [e26f]
The particular magical passes of Tensegrity that comprise each of the six series conform with a criterion of maximum efficiency. In other words, each magical pass is the precise ingredient of a formula. ....
All the magical passes of the six series can be repeated as many times as desired, unless otherwise specified. If they are first done with the left side of the body, they must be repeated an equal number of times with the right side. As a rule, every magical pass of the six series begins with the left side. ....
One of the leaders of don Juan Matus's lineage was the nagual Lujan, a sailor from China whose original name was something like Lo-Ban. He came to Mexico around the turn of the nineteenth century, and stayed there for the rest of his life. One of the women sorcerers in don Juan Matus's own party went to the Orient and studied martial arts. Don Juan Matus himself recommended that his disciples learn to move in a disciplined fashion by taking up some form of martial arts training. ....
The back muscles of the legs must be tensed. (fig. 6). This is a very difficult accomplishment. Most people can learn quite easily to tense the front muscles of the legs, but the back muscles of the legs still remain flaccid. Don Juan said that the back muscles of the thighs are where personal history is always stored in the body. According to him, feelings find their home there and get stagnant. He maintained that difficulty in changing behavior patterns could be easily attributed to the flaccidity of the back muscles of the thighs. ....
The thumb must always be kept in a locked position, meaning that it is folded over the edge of the hand. It should never stick out (fig. 8). The sorcerers of don Juan's lineage considered the thumb to be a crucial element in terms of energy and function. They believed that at the base of the thumb exist points where energy can become stagnant, and points that can regulate the flow of energy in the body. ....
When the hand is made into a fist, the little finger is raised to avoid an angular fist (fig. 9) in which the middle, fourth, and fifth fingers drop. ....
The hands, when they have to be opened, are fully extended. The tendons of the back of the hand are at work, presenting the palm as an even, flat surface (fig. 11). Don Juan preferred a flat palm to counteract the tendency (established, he felt, through socialisation) to present the hand as a hollow palm (fig. 12). He said that a hollow palm was the palm of a beggar, and that whoever practices the magical passes is a warrior, not a beggar in the least. ....
Breath and breathing were, according to don Juan, of supreme importance for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico. They divided breath ino breathing with the tops of the lungs, breathing with the midsection of the lungs, and breathing with the abdomen (fig. 17, 18, 19). Breathing by expanding the diaphragm they called the animal breath, and they practiced it assiduously, don Juan said, for longevity and health. .... He maintained that the tendency of human beings nowadays is to take shallow breaths. ....
.... Tensegrity is in essence the interplay between relaxing and tensing the muscles of choice parts of the body in order to arrive at a most coveted physical explosion, which the sorcerers of ancient Mexico knew only as the energy of the tendons. This is a veritable explosion of the nerves and tendons below or at the core of the muscles. [e29ff]

The First Series The Series for Preparing Intent
For don Juan, intending was the tacit act of filling out the empty spaces left by direct sensory perception, or the act of enriching the observable phenomena by means of intending a completeness that doesn't exist from the point of view of pure perception.
The act of intending this completeness was referred to by don Juan as calling intent. [e38]
“The sorcerers of my lineage were very emphatic in recommending a systematic and controlled stirring of energy with the legs and feet. For them, long walks, which were their nemesis for this reason, and the inflow of excessive energy had to be balanced by the execution of specific magical passes performed while they were walking.” ....
He stated that each of the steps is a magical pass which has a built-in control for the mashing of energy, and that practitioners can repeat these magical passes hundreds of times, if they so desire, without worrying about an excessive stirring of energy. In don Juan's view, energy for intending that was stirred up excessively ended up further depleting the centres of vitality. [e40f]
Following the first series, arranged into 4 groups of movements: Mashing energy for intent - 15, Stirring up energy for intent - 10, Gathering energy for intent - 9, and Breating in the energy of intent - 3

The Second Series The Series for the Womb
According to don Juan Matus, one of the most specific interests of the shamans who lived in Mexico in ancient times was what they called the liberation of the womb .... the awakening of its secondary functions .... evolution .... of the womb's capacity to process direct knowledge ....
For shamans, the moment in which practitioners are transformed from beings that are socialized to reproduce into beings capable of evolving is the moment when they become conscious of seeing energy as it flows in the universe. In the opinion of shamans, females can see energy directly more readily than males because of the effect of their wombs. .... The reason for this incapacity is something which shamans consider to be a travesty: the fact that there is no one to point out to human beings that it is natural for them to see energy directly.
Shamans maintain that women, because they have a womb, are so versatile, so individualistic in their ability to see energy directly that this accomplishment, which should be a triumph of the human spirit, is taken for granted. Women are never conscious of their ability. In this respect, males are more proficient. Since it is more difficult for them to see energy directly, when they do accomplish this feat, they don't take it for granted. Therefore male sorcerers were the ones who set up the parameters of perceiving energy directly and the ones who tried to describe the phenomenon.
“The basic premise of sorcery,” don Juan said to me one day, “discovered by the shamans of my lineage who lived in Mexico in ancient times is that we are perceivers. The totality of the human body is an instrument of perception. However, the predominance of the visual in us gives to perception the overall mood of the eyes. This mood, according to the old sorcerers, is merely the heritage of a purely predatorial state. ....
Those shamans viewed it as a woman's paradox to have endless power at her disposal and no interest whatsoever in gaining access to it. However, don Juan had no doubt that this lack of desire to do anything wasn't natural; it was learned. ....
Don Juan called the womb the perceiving box .... the uterus and ovaries, if they are pulled out of the reproductive cycle, can become tools of perception, and become indeed the epicenter of evolution. [e71f]
“The advantage of women is their capacity to transfer the interpretation function of the assemblage point to the womb. The result of this transfer function is something that cannot be talked about, not because it is something forbidden, but because it is something indescribable.” [e73]
Don Juan Matus believed that evolution was the product of intending at a very profound level. In the case of sorcerers, that profound level was marked by what he had called inner silence. ....
Don Juan was of the opinion that if we were to intend it now, there is no way of knowing what other options for flying would be available besides wings. He insisted that because intent is infinite, there was no logical way in which the mind, following processes of deduction or induction, could calculate or determine what these options for flying might be. ....
The magical passes of the Series for the Womb are extremely potent, and should be practiced sparingly. ....
.... the secondary function of the male organs is something which they termed evolutionary support: a sort of springboard that catapults men to perform extraordinary feats of what sorcerers of ancient Mexico called unbending intent, or clearheaded purpose and concentration. [e74f]
Following the second series, arranged into 4 groups of movements: Magical passes belonging to Taisha Abelar - 3, A magical pass directly related to Florinda Donner-Grau - 1, Magical passes that have to do exclusively with Carol Tiggs - 3, and Magical passes that belong to the Blue Scout - 5
(Introduction to the Fourth Group:) .... The criticism of sorcerers about our normal state of being is that we seem to be perennially on automatic pilot; we say things that we don't mean to say, we ignore things that we shouldn't ignore. In other words, we are aware of what surrounds us only in very short spurts. Most of the time, we function on sheer momentum, habit, and that habit is, in essence, to be oblivious to everything. The idea of the sorcerers of ancient Mexico was that, in women, the womb is the organ that can resolve this impasse, and for that, it needs to acquire hardness. [e84]

The Third Series
The Series of the Five Concerns:
The Westwood Series
.... was taught publicly for the first time in the Pauley Pavilion at the University of California at Los Angeles, which is located in an area called Westwood. .... Everything those sorcerers did rotated around five concerns: one, the magical passes; two, the energetic center in the human body called the center for decisions; three, recapitulation, the means for enhancing the scope of human awareness; four, dreaming, the bona fide art of breaking the parameters of normal perception; five, inner silence, the stage of human perception from which those sorcerers launched every one of their perceptual attainments. This sequence of five concerns was an arrangement patterned on the understanding that those sorcerers had of the world around them.
.... the existence in the universe of an agglutinating force that binds energy fields together into concrete, functional units .... described it as a vibration, or a vibratory condition, that permeates groups of energy fields and glues them together.
In terms of this arrangement of five concerns of the shamans of ancient Mexico, the magical passes fulfill the function of the vibratory condition those shamans talked about. When those sorcerers put together this shamanistic sequence of five concerns, they copied the patterning of energy that was revealed to them when they were capable of seeing energy as it flows in the universe. The binding force was the magical passes. The magical passes were the unit that permeated through the four remaining units and grouped them together into one functional whole.
Following the third series, arranged into 4 groups of movements: The center for decisions - 12, The recapitulation - 14, Dreaming - 9, and Inner Silence - 15

The First Group: The Center for Decisions - 12 movements
The most important topic for the shamans who lived in Mexico in ancient times, and for all the shamans of don Juan's lineage, was the center for decisions. Shamans are convinced, by the practical results of their endeavors, that there is a spot on the human body which accounts for decision making, the V-spot - the area on the crest of the sternum at the base of the neck, where the clavicles meet to form a letter V. It is a center where energy is rarefied to the point of being tremendously subtle, and it stores a specific type of energy which shamans are incapable of defining. They are utterly certain, however, that they can feel the presence of that energy, and its effects. It is the belief of shamans that this special energy is always pushed out of that center very early in the lives of human beings, and it never returns to it, thus depriving human beings of something perhaps more important than all the energy of the other centers combined: the capacity to make decisions.
In relation to the issue of making decisions, don Juan expressed the hard opinion of the sorcerers of his lineage. Their observations, over the centuries, had let them to conclude that human beings are incapable of making decisions, and that for this reason, they have created the social order: gigantic institutions that assume responsibility for decision making. They let those gigantic institutions decide for them, and they merely fulfill the decisions already made on their behalf.
The V spot at the base of the neck was, for those shamans, a place of such importance that they rarely touched it with their hands; if it was touched, the touch was ritualistic and always performed by someone else with the aid of an object. They used higly polished pieces of hardwood or polished bones of animals, utilizing the round head of the bone so as to have an object of the perfect contour, the size of the hollow spot on the neck. They would press with those bones or pieces of wood to create pressure on the borders of that hollow spot. Those objects were also used, although rarely, for self-massage, or for what we understand nowadays as acupressure.
“Are there many such centers in the body, don Juan?” I asked.
“There are hundreds of them”, he replied, “if not thousands! One can say that a human being is nothing else but a conglomerate of thousands of twirling vortexes, some of them so very small that they are, let's say, like pinholes, but very important pinholes. Most of the vortexes are vortexes of energy. Energy flows freely through them, or is stuck in them. There are, however, six which are so enormous that they deserve special treatment. They are centers of life and vitality. Energy there is never stuck, but sometimes the supply of energy is so scarce that the center barely rotates.”
Don Juan explained that those enormous centers of vitality were located on six areas of the body. He enumerated them in terms of the importance that shamans accorded to them. The first was on the area of the liver and gallbladder; the second on the area of the pancreas and spleen; the third on the area of the kidneys and adrenals; and the fourth on the hollow spot at the base of the neck on the frontal part of the body. The fifth was around the womb, and the sixth was on the top of the head.
The fifth center, pertinent only to women, had, according to what don Juan said, a special kind of energy that gave sorcerers the impression of liquidness. It was a feature that only some women had. It seemed to serve as a natural filter that screened out superfluous influences.
The sixth center, located on the top of the head, don Juan described as something more than an anomaly, and refrained absolutely from having anything to do with it. He portrayed it as possessing not a circular vortex of energy, like the others, but a pendulumlike, back-and-forth movement somehow reminiscent of the beating of a heart. ....
“That sixth center of energy,” he said, “doesn't quite belong to man. You see, we human beings are under siege, so to speak. That center has been taken over by an invader, an unseen predator. And the only way to overcome this predator is by fortifying all the other centers.”
“.... I also see that in a sorcerer who has been capable of vanquishing the mind, which sorcerers call a foreign installation, the fluctuation of that center has become exactly like the fluctuation of all the others. ...”
“This fourth center,” he said, “has a special type of energy, which appears to the eye of the seer as possessing a unique transparency, something that could be described as resembling water: energy so fluid that it seems liquid. The liquid appearance of this special energy is the mark of a filterlike quality of the center for decisions itself, which screens any energy coming to it, and draws from it only the aspect of it that is liquidlike. Such a quality of liquidness is a uniform and consistent feature of this center. Sorcerers also call it the watery center.
“The rotaion of the energy at the center for decisions is the weakest of them all,” he went on. “That's why man can rarely decide anything. Sorcerers see that after they practice certain magical passes, that center becomes active, and they can certainly make decisions to their hearts' content, while they couldn't even take the first step before.”
Don Juan was quite emphatic about the fact that the shamans of ancient Mexico had an aversion that bordered on phobia about touching their own hollow spot at the base of the neck. The only way in which they accepted any interference whatsoever with that spot was through the use of their magical passes, which reinforce that center by bringing dispersed energy to it, clearing away, in this manner, any hesitation in decision making born out of the natural energy dispersion brought about by the wear and tear of everyday life.
“A human being,” don Juan said, “perceived as a conglomerate of energy fields, is a concrete and sealed unit into which no energy can be injected, and from which no energy can escape. The feeling of losing energy, which all of us experience at one time or another, is the result of energy being chases away, dispersed from the five enormous natural centers of life and vitality. Any sense of gaining energy is due to the redeployment of energy previously dispersed from those centers. That is to say, the energy is relocated onto those five centers of life and vitality.” [e89ff]
The next three magical passes, according to don Juan, transfer energy which belongs to the center for decisions from the frontal edge of the luminous sphere, where it has accumulated over the years, to the back, and then from the back of the luminous sphere to the front. He said that this energy transferred back and forth goes through the V spot, which acts as a filter, utilizing only the energy that is proper to it and discarding the rest. He pointed out that because of this selective process of the V spot, it is essential to perform these three magical passes as many times as possible. Following passes ten to twelve [e98]

The Second Group: The Recapitulation - 14 movements
The recapitulation .... one, the abstract goal of fulfilling a universal code that demands that awareness must be relinquished at the moment of death; and two, the extremely pragmatic goal of acquiring perceptual fluidity.
.... the Eagle, or the dark sea of awareness .... is the force that lends awareness to all living beings, from viruses to men. They believed that it lends awareness to a newborn being, and that this being enhances that awareness by means of its life experiences until a moment in which the force demands its return .... an energetic fact of the universe, a fact that can't be explained in terms of cause and effect, or in terms of a purpose which can be determined a priori. ....
They believed that by means of the recapitulation, however, they could acquire a degree of control that could permit them to separate their life experiences from their life force. For them, the two were not inextricably intertwined; they were joined only circumstantially .... the dark sea of awareness doesn't want to take the lives of human beings; it wants only their life experiences. Lack of discipline in human beings prevents them from separating the two forces, and in the end, they lose their lives, when it is meant that they lose only the force of their life experiences. Those sorcerers viewed the recapitulation as the procedure by which they could give the dark sea of awareness a substitute for their lives. They gave up their life experiences by recounting them, but they retained their life force.
The perceptual claims of sorcerers, when examined in terms of the linear concepts of our Western world, make no sense whatsoever. Western civilization has been in contact with the shamans of the New World for five hundred years, and there has never been a genuine attempt on the part of scholars to formulate a serious philosophical discourse based on statements made by those shamans. For instance, the recapitulation may seem to any member of the Western world to be congruous with psychoanalysis, something in the line of a psychological procedure, a sort of self-help technique. Nothing could be further from the truth.
According to don Juan Matus, man always loses by default. In the case of the premises of sorcery, he believed that Western man is missing a tremendous opportunity for the enhancement of his awareness, and that the way in which Western man relates himself to the universe, life, and awareness is only one of a multiplicity of options.
.... thousands of sorcerers .... didn't die in the usual sense in which we understand death, but .... transcended it by retaining their life force and vanishing from the face of the earth, embarked on a definitive journey of perception.
The belief of the shamans of don Juan's lineage was that when death takes place in this fashion, all of our being is turned into energy, a special kind of energy that retains the mark of our individuality. Don Juan tried to explain this in a metaphorical sense, saying that we are composed of a number of single nations: the nation of the lungs, the nation of the heart, the nation of the stomach, the nation of the kidneys, and so on. Each of these nations sometimes works independently of the others, but at the moment of death, all of them are unified into one single entity. The sorcerers of don Juan's lineage called this state total freedom. For those sorcerers, death is a unifier, and not an annihilator, as it is for the average man. ....
“This is in no way immortality,” he replied. “It is merely the entrance into an evolutionary process, using the only medium for evolution that man has at his disposal: awareness .... At the moment of dying, sorcerers are not annihilated by death, but transformed into inorganic beings: beings that have awareness, but not an organism. To be transformed into an inorganic being was evolution for them, and it meant that a new, indescribable type of awareness was lent to them, an awareness that would last for veritably millions of years, but which would also someday have to be returned to the giver: the dark sea of awareness.” ....
“It is our twin world,” he replied. “It occupies the same time and space as our world, but the type of awareness of our world is so different from the type of awareness of the inorganic world that we never notice the presence of inorganic beings, although they do notice ours .... The inorganic beings of our twin world have been intrinsically inorganic from the start .... They are beings whose consciousness can evolve just like ours ....” [e102ff]
To recapitulate is to relive every, or nearly every, experience that we have had, and in doing so to displace the assemblage point, ever so slightly or a great deal, propelling it by the force of memory to adopt the position that it had when the event being recapitulated took place. This act of going back and forth from previous positions to the current one gives the shaman practitioners the necessary fluidity to withstand extraordinary odds in their journeys into infinity. To the Tensegrity practitioners, the recapitulation gives the necessary fluid to withstand odds which are not in any way part of their habitual cognition.
The recapitulation as a formal procedure was done in ancient times by recollecting every person the practitioner knew and every experience in which they had taken part. Don Juan suggested that in my case, which is the case of modern man, I make a written list of all the persons that I had met in my life, as a mnemonic device. Once I had written that list, he proceeded to tell me how to use it. I had to take the first person on the list, which went backwards in time from the present to the time of my very first life experience, and set up, in my memory, my last interaction with that first person on my list. This act is called arranging the event to be recapitulated.
A detailed recollection of minutiae is required as the proper means to hone one's capacity to remember. This recollection entails getting all the pertinent physical details, such as the surroundings where the event being recollected took place. Once the event is arranged, one should enter into the locale itself, as if actually going into it, paying special attention to any relevant physical configurations. If, for instance, the interaction took place in an office, what should be remembered is the floor, the doors, the walls, the pictures, the windows, the desks, the objects on the desks, everything that could have been observed in a glance and then forgotten.
The recapitulation as a formal procedure must begin by the recounting of events that have just taken place. In this fashion, the primacy of the experience takes precedence. Something that has just happened is something that one can remember with great accuracy. Sorcerers always count on the fact that human beings are capable of storing detailed information that they are not aware of, and that that detail is what the dark sea of awareness is after.
The actual recapitulation of the event requires that one breathe deeply, fanning the head, so to speak, very slowly and gently from side to side, beginning on one side, left or right, whichever. This fanning of the head was done as many times as needed, while remembering all the details accessible. .... his position was that things like the recapitulation could only be experienced, not explained. He said that in the act of doing, one can find liberation, and that to explain it was to dissipate our energy in fruitless efforts. His invitation was congruous with everything related to his knowledge: the invitation to take action. ....
On a more mundane level, the recapitulation gives practitioners the capacity to examine the repetition in their lives. Recapitulating can convince them, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that all of us are at the mercy of forces which ultimately make no sense, although at first sight they seem perfectly reasonable; such as being at the mercy of courtship. .... To hear a seventy-five-year-old man or woman say that they are still in search of a perfect companion is an affirmation of something idealistic, romantic, beautiful. However, to examine this obsession in the context of the endless repetitions of a lifetime makes it appear as it really is: something grotesque.
Don Juan assured me that if any behavioral change is going to be accomplished, it has to be done through the recapitulation, since it is the only vehicle that can enhance awareness by liberating one from the unvoiced demands of socialization, which are so automatic, so taken for granted, that they are not even noticed under normal conditions, much less examined.
The actual act of recapitulating is a lifetime endeavor. It takes years to exhaust the list of people, especially for those who have made the acquaintance of and have interacted with thousands of individuals. This list is augmented by the memory of impersonal events in which no people are involved, but which have to be examined because they are somehow related to the person being recapitulated.
Don Juan asserted that what the sorcerers of ancient Mexico sought avidly in recapitulating was the memory of interaction, because in interaction lie the deep effects of socialization, which they struggled to overcome by any means available.
The recapitulation affects something that don Juan called the energy body. He formally explained the energy body as a conglomerate of energy fields that are the mirror images of the energy fields that make up the human body when it is seen directly as energy. He said that in the case of sorcerers, the physical body and the energy body are one single unit. The magical passes for the recapitulation bring the energy body to the physical body, which are essential for navigating into the unknown. [e105ff]
While the physical body as a conglomerate of energy fields has super-defined boundaries, the energy body lacks that feature. Spreading energy literally gives the energy body the defined boundaries that it lacks. ....
The human body, as a conglomerate of energy fields, has not only super-defined boundaries, but a core of compact luminosity, which shamans call the band of man, or the energy fields with which man is most familiar. The idea of shamans is that within the luminous sphere, which is also the totality of man's energetic possibilities, there are areas of energy of which human beings are not at all aware. Those are the energy fields located at the maximum distance from the band of man. To establish the core of the energy body is to fortify the energy body in order for it to venture into those areas of unknown energy. [e109f]
Shamans put an enormous emphasis on tightening the muscles of the backs of the thighs. They believe that the tighter those muscles, the greater the facility of the practicioner to identify and get rid of behavioral patterns that are useless. [e112]
The only glow of awareness left in human beings is at the bottom of their luminous spheres, a fringe that extends in a circle and reaches the level of the toes. With this magical pass, that fringe is tapped with the backs of the fingers, and stirred with the breath. [e115]

The Third Group: Dreaming - 9 movements
The syntax of any language refers only to perceptual possibilities found in the world in which we live. ....
They noticed that during sleep the assemblage point was displaced in a very natural, easy way from its habitual position ....
After this observation took hold of them, those sorcerers began to look avidly for opportunities to displace their own assemblage points. They ended up using psychotropic plants to accomplish this. Very quickly, they realized that the displacement brought about by using theses plants was erratic, forced, and out of control. In the midst of this failure, nonetheless they discovered one thing of great value. The called it dreaming attention. [e116]
The cultivation of dreaming attention gave the sorcerers of don Juan's lineage a basic taxonomy of dreams. They found out that most of their dreams were imaginary, products of the cognition of their daily world; however, there were some which escaped that classification. Such dreams were veritable states of heightened awareness in which the elements of the dream were not mere imaginary, but energy-generating affairs. Dreams which had energy-generating elements were, for those shamans, dreams in which they were capable of seeing energy as it flowed in the universe. ....
Their visions of such places were, however, for those shamans, too fleeting, too temporary, to be of any value to them. They attributed this flaw to the fact that their assemblage points could not be held fixed for any considerable time at the position to which they had been displaced. Their attempts to remedy the situation resulted in the other high art of sorcery: the art of stalking.
Don Juan defined the two arts very clearly one day when he said to me that the art of dreaming consisted of purposely displacing the assemblage point from its habitual position. The art of stalking consisted in volitionally making it stay fixed on the new position to which it had been displaced. ....
“When the old sorcerers finished mapping human being as luminous spheres,” don Juan said to me once, “they had discovered no less than six hundred spots in the total luminous sphere that were the sites of bona fide worlds. Meaning that, if the assemblage point became attached to any of those places, the result was the entrance of the practicioner into a total new world.” [e117f]
He said that more than anything else, dreaming was an arduous effort on the part of the practitioners to put themselves in contact with the indescribable all-pervading force that the sorcerers of ancient Mexico called intent. Once this link was established, dreaming also mysteriously became established. Don Juan asserted that this linkage could be accomplished following any pattern that implied discipline. ....
“The only way you could intend it is by intending it,” he declared. “One of the most difficult things for a man of our day to accept is a lack of procedure. Modern man is in the throes of manuals, praxes, methods, steps leading to. He is ceaselessly taking notes, making diagrams, deeply involved in the know-how'. But in the world of sorcerers, procedures and rituals are mere designs to attract and focus attention. The are devices used to force a focusing of interest and determination. They have no other value.”
What don Juan considered to be of supreme importance in order to dream is the rigorous execution of the magical passes: the only device that the sorcerers of his lineage used to aid the displacement of the assemblage point. The execution of the magical passes gave those sorcerers the stability and the energy necessary to call forth their dreaming attention, without which there was no possibility of dreaming for them. ....
“Was it really true for them that the sky was the limit, don Juan?” I asked.
“This question could be answered only by each of us individually,” he said, smiling expansively. “They gave us the tools. It is up to us individually to use them or refuse them. In essence, we are alone in front of infinity, and the issue of whether or not we are capable of reaching our limits has to be answered personally.” [e119f]
The shamans of ancient Mexico believed that everything in the universe is composed of dual forces, and that human beings are subjected to that duality in every aspect of their lives. At the level of energy, they considered that two forces are at play. Don Juan called them the A and B forces. The A force is employed ordinarily in our daily affairs, and is represented by a straight vertical line. The B force is ordinarily an obscure one which rarely enters into action, and it is kept lying down. It is represented by a horizontal line drawn to the left of the vertical one, at its base, making in this fashion a reversed capital letter L.
Shamans, men and women, were the only ones who, in don Juan's view, had been capable of turning the force B, which is ordinarily lying down horizontally, out of use, into an active vertical line. And consequently, they had succeeded in putting force A to rest. This process was represented by drawing a horizontal line at the base of the vertical one, to its right, and making, as a result, a capital letter L. Don Juan portrayed this magical pass as the one which best exemplified this duality and the effort of the sorcerers to reverse its effects. (Magical Pass 30. Playing Out the A and B Types of Energy) [e123]

The Fourth Group: Inner Silence - 15 movements
Don Juan said that inner silence was the state most avidly sought by the shamans of ancient Mexico. He defined it as a natural state of human perception in which thoughts are blocked off and all of man's faculties operate from a level of awareness which doesn't require the utilization of our daily cognitive system.
Inner silence has always been associated with darkness, for the shamans of don Juan's lineage, perhaps because human perception, deprived of its habitual companion, the internal dialogue, falls into something that resembles a dark pit. He said that the body functions as usual, but awareness becomes sharper. Decisions are instantaneous, and seem to stem from a special sort of knowledge which is deprived of thought-verbalizations.
Human perception functioning in a condition of inner silence, according to don Juan, is capable of reaching indescribable levels. Some of these levels of perception are worlds in themselves, and not at all like the worlds reached through dreaming. They are indescribable states, inexplicable in terms of the linear paradigms that the habitual state of human perception employs for explaining the universe.
Inner silence, in don Juan's understanding, is the matrix for a gigantic step of evolution: silent knowledge, or the level of human awareness where knowing is automatic and instantaneous. Knowledge at this level is not the product of cerebral cogitation or logical induction and deduction, or of generalizations based on similarities and dissimilarities. There is nothing a priori at the level of silent knowledge, nothing that could constitute a body of knowledge, for everything is imminently now. Complex pieces of information could be grasped without any cognitive preliminaries.
Don Juan believed that silent knowledge was insinuated to early man, but that early man was not really the possessor of silent knowledge. Such an insinuation was infinitely stronger than what modern man experiences, where the bulk of knowledge is the product of rote learning. It is a sorcerers' axiom that although we have lost that insinuation, the avenue that leads to silent knowledge will always be open to man by means of inner silence.
Don Juan taught the hard line of his lineage: that inner silence must be gained by a consistent pressure of discipline. It has to be accrued or stored, bit by bit, second by second. In other words, one has to force oneself to be silent, even if it is only for a few seconds. According to don Juan, it was common knowledge among sorcerers that if one persists in this, persistence overcomes habit, and thus, it is possible to arrive at a threshold of accrued seconds or minutes, which differs from person to person. If the threshold of inner silence is ten minutes for a given individual, for instance, then once this threshold is reached, inner silence happens by itself, of its own accord, so to speak.
I was warned beforehand that there was no possible way of knowing what my individual threshold might be, and that the only way of finding this out was through direct experience. ....
I became conscious that although I was seeing for the first time in my life, I had been seeing energy as it flows in the universe all my life, but I had not been conscious of it. To see energy as it flows in the universe was not the novelty. The novelty was the query that arose with such fury that it made me surface back into the world of everyday life. I asked myself what had been keeping me from realizing that I had been seeing energy as it flows in the universe all my life.
“There are two issues at stake here,” don Juan explained to me, when I asked him about this maddening contradiction. “One is general awareness. The other is particular, deliberate consciousness. Every human being in the world is aware, in general terms, of seeing energy as it flows in the universe. However, only sorcerers are particularly and deliberately conscious of it. To become conscious of something that you are generally aware of requires energy, and the iron-handed discipline needed to get it. Your inner silence, the product of discipline and energy, bridged the gap between general awareness and particular consciousness.”
Don Juan stressed, in every way he was able, the value of a pragmatic attitude in order to buttress the advent of inner silence. He defined a pragmatic attitude as the capacity to absorb any contingency that might appear along the way. He himself was, to me, the living example of such an attitude. There wasn't any uncertainty or liability that his mere presence would not dispel.
He reiterated every time he could that the effects of inner silence were very unsettling, and that the only deterrent to this condition was the pragmatic attitude which was the product of a superbly pliable, agile, strong body. He said that for sorcerers, the physical body was the only entity that made any sense to them, and that there was no such thing as a dualism between body and mind. He further stated that the physical body involved both the body and the mind as we knew them, and that in order to counterbalance the physical body as a holistic unit, sorcerers considered another configuration of energy which was reached through inner silence: the energy body. He explained that what I had experienced at the moment in which I had stopped the world was the resurgence of my energy body, and that this configuration of energy was the one which had always been able to see energy as it flowed in the universe. [e127ff]

The Fourth Series
The Separation of the Left Body and the Right Body:
The Heat Series
“When the human body is perceived as energy, it is utterly patent that it is composed not of two parts, but of two different types of energy: two different currents of energy, two opposing and at the same time complementary forces that coexist side by side, mirroring, in this fashion, the dual structure of everything in the universe at large.”
The shamans of ancient Mexico accorded each one of these two different kinds of energy the stature of a total body, and spoke exclusively in terms of the left body and the right body. Their emphasis was on the left body, because they considered it to be the most effective, in terms of the nature of its energy configuration, for the ultimate goals of shamanism .... depicted the left stream as being more turbulent and aggressive, moving in undulating ripples and projecting out waves of energy. When illustrating what he was talking about, don Juan asked me to visualize a scene in which the left body was like half of the sun, and that all the solar flares happened on that half. The waves of energy projected out of the left body were like those solar flares - always perpendicular to the round surface from which they originated.
He depicted the stream of energy of the right body as not being turbulent at all on the surface. It moved like water inside a tank which was being slightly tilted back and forth. There were no ripples in it, but a continuous rocking motion. At a deeper level, however, it swirled in rotational circles in the form of spirals. Don Juan asked me to envision a very wide, peaceful-looking tropical river, where the water on the surface seemed barely to move, but which had shattering riptides below the surface. In the world of everyday life, these two currents are amalgamated into a single unit: the human body as we know it. ....
“The division of energy between the two bodies is not measured by dexterity, or the lack of it. The predominance of the right body is an energetic predominance, which was encountered by the shamans of those ancient times. They never tried to explain why this predominance happened in the first place, nor did they try to further investigate the philosphical implications of it. For them, it was a fact, but a very special fact. It was a fact that could be changed.”
“Why did they want to change it, don Juan?” I asked.
“Because the predominant circular motion of the right body's energy is too friggin' boring!” he exclaimed. “That circular motion certainly takes care of any event of the daily world, but it does it circularly, if you know what I mean. .... Every situation in life is met in this circular fashion,” he replied, making a small circle with his hand. “On and on and on and on and on. It's a circular movement that seems to draw the energy inward always, and turns it around and around in a centripetal motion. Under these conditions, there's no expansion. Nothing can be new. There is nothing that cannot be inwardly accounted for. What a drag!”
“And what way can this situation be changed, don Juan?” I asked.
“It's too late to be really changed,” he replied. “The damage is already done. The spiral quality is here to remain. But it doesn't have to be ceaseless .... The contribution of the left body would make those centers of vitality more pliable. If they could undulate instead of moving in spirals, if only for an instant, different energy would get into them, with staggering results.” ....
“The sensation that human beings have of being utterly bored with themselves,” he continued, “is due to this predominance of the right body. The only thing left for human beings to do, in a universal sense, is to find ways of ridding themselves of boredom. What they end up doing is finding ways of killing time: the only commodity no one has enough of. But what's worse is the reaction to this unbalanced distribution of energy. The violent reactions of people are due to this unbalanced distribution. It seems that from time to time, helplessness builds furious currents of energy within the human body, which explode in violent behavior. Violence seems to be, for human beings, another way of killing time.” ....
“Awareness is the only avenue that human beings have for evolution,” he said to me once, “and something extraneous to us, something that has to do with the predatorial condition of the universe, has interrupted our possibility of evolving by taking possession of our awareness. Human beings have fallen prey to a predatorial force, which has imposed on them, for its own convenience, the passivity which is characteristic of the energy of the right body.”
Don Juan described our evolutionary possibility as a journey that our awareness takes accross something the shamans of ancient Mexico called the dark sea of awareness: something which they considered to be an actual feature of the universe, an incommensurable element that permeates the universe, like clouds of matter, or light.
Don Juan was convinced that the predominance of the right body in this unbalanced merging of the right and left bodies marks the interruption of our journey of awareness. What seems for us to be the natural dominance of one side over the other was, for the sorcerers of his lineage, an aberration, which they strove to correct.
Those shamans believed that in order to establish a harmonious division between the left and the right bodies, practitioners needed to enhance their awareness. Any enhancement of human awareness, however, had to be buttressed by the most exigent discipline. Otherwise, this enhancement, painfully accomplished, would turn into an obsession, resulting in anything from psychological aberration to energetic injury.
Don Juan Matus called the collection of magical passes which deal exclusively with the separation between the left body and the right body The Heat Group: the most crucial element in the training of the shamans of ancient Mexico. This was a nickname given to this collection of magical passes because it makes the energy of the right body a little more turbulent. .... Don Juan urged all his disciples to practice the Heat Group assiduously, in order to use its aggressiveness to reinforce the weak left body. ....
In all the magical passes of this series, it is recommended to adopt the division of left and right bodies, rather than left and right sides of the body. The end result of this observance would be to say that during the execution of these magical passes, the body that doesn't perform the movements is kept immobile. However, all its muscles should be engaged, not in activity, but in awareness. This immobility of the body that is not performing the movements should be extended to include its head; that is to say, to the opposite side of the head. Such immobility of half of the face and head is more difficult to attain, but it can be accomplished with practice. [e139ff]
Following the fourth series, arranged into 4 groups of movements: Stirring Energy on the Left Body and the Right Body - 16, Mixing Energy from the Left Body and the Right Body -14, Moving the Energy of the Left Body and the Right Body with the Breath -9, The Predilection of the Left Body and the Right Body - 5

The Fifth Series
The Masculinity Series
Masculinity was the name given to a specific group of magical passes by the shamans who first discovered and used them. Don Juan thought that perhaps it was the oldest name given to any such group of magical passes. This group was practiced originally for generations only by male shaman practitioners, and this discrimination in favor of male shamans was done not out of necessity, but rather for reasons of ritual and to satisfy an original drive for male supremacy. Nevertheless, this drive was soon terminated under the impact of enhanced perception. ....
The value of this group of magical passes .... is its continuity. All of its magical passes were generic from the beginning, and this condition provided the only instance in don Juan's lineage of sorcerers in which a whole party of shaman practitioners, whatever their number may have been, were allowed to move in unison. The number of participants in any party of sorcerers, throughout the ages, could never have been more than sixteen. Therefore, none of those sorcerers were even in the position to witness the stupendous energetic contribution of human mass. .... Such an energetic effect is twofold: not only are the participants of Tensegrity performing an activity that unites them energetically, but they are also involved in a quest delineated in states of enhanced awareness by the shamans of ancient Mexico: the rediployment of energy. Performing these magical passes in the setting of seminars on Tensegrity is a unique experience. It permits the participants to arrive, pushed or pulled by the magical passes themselves and by the human mass, at energetic conclusions never even alluded to in don Juan's teachings.
The reason for calling this set of movements Masculinity is its aggressive quality, and because its magical passes are very brisk and forcefully executed, characteristics easily identified with maleness. Don Juan stated that their practice fostered not only a sensation of well-being, but a special sensorial quality, which, if not examined, could easily be confused with strife and aggressiveness. However, if it is carefully scrutinized, it is immediately apparent that it is, rather, an unmistakable sensation of readiness that places the practitioners at a level from which they could strike toward the unknown.
Another reason that the shamans of ancient Mexico called this group of magical passes Masculinity was because the males who practiced it became a special type of practitioner who didn't need to be taken by the hand. They became men who benefited indirectly from everything they did. Ideally, the energy generated by this group of magical passes goes to the centers of vitality themselves, as if every center made an automatic bidding for energy, which goes first to the center that nees it the most.
For don Juan Matus's disciples, this set of magical passes became the most crucial element in their training. Don Juan himself introduced it to them as a common denominator, meaning that he urged them to practice the set unaltered. What he wanted was to prepare his disciples to withstand the rigors of journeying in the unknown. ....
The goal of the first and second groups of the Masculinity Series is the tuning of tendon energy. Each of these twenty magical passes is short, but extremely focused. Tensegrity practitioners are seriously encouraged, as the shamanistic practitioners of ancient times were, to get the maximum effect from the short movements by aiming to release a jolt of tendon energy every time they execute them. ....
“You can't drain any energy out of yourself,” he said. “The energy that you are seemingly wasting by delivering a jolt to the air is not really being wasted, because it never leaves your boundaries, wherever those boundaries may be. So what you're really doing is delivering a jolt of energy to what the sorcerers of ancient Mexico called our crust', our bark'. Those sorcerers stated that energetically, human beings are like luminous balls that have a thick peel around them, like an orange; some of them have something even harder and thicker, like the bark of an old tree.” ....
He said that this bark or peel was the crusted-down energy that had been discarded throughout our lifetime from our vital centers of energy, because of the wear and tear of daily life.
“Is it beneficial to hit this bark, don Juan?” I asked.
“Most beneficial,” he said. “Especially if the practitioners aim all their intent at reaching that bark with their blows. If they intent to shatter portions of this crusted-down energy by means of the magical passes, that shattered energy could be absorbed by the vital centers of energy.”
The magical passes of the third group of the Masculinity Series are broader, more extensive. What practitioners need in order to execute the ten magical passes of the third group is steadiness of the hands, the legs, and the rest of the body. The aim of this third series, for the shamans of ancient Mexico, was the building of endurance, of stability.
Those shamans believed that holding the body steadily in position while executing those long movements gives the practitioners a foothold from which they can stand on their own.
What modern practitioners of Tensegrity have found out through their practice is that the Masculinity Series can be executed only in moderation, in order to avoid overtiring the tendons of the arms and the muscles of the back. [e194ff]
Following the fifth series, arranged into 3 groups of movements: Magical Passes in Which the Hands Are Moved in Unison but Held Separately - 10, The Magical Passes for Focusing {\rm Tendon Energy} - 10, The Magical Passes for Building Endurance - 10

The Sixth Series
Devices Used in Conjunction with Specific Magical Passes
I asked don Juan if by tendon he meant the tissue that attaches the muscles to the bones.
“I am at a loss to explain tendon energy,” he said. “I'm following the easy path of usage. I was taught that it's called tendon energy. If I don't have to be specific about it, you understand what tendon energy is, don't you?” ....
“The old sorcerers,” he said, “gave the name of tendon energy to a current of energy that moves along the deep muscles from the neck down to the chest and arms, and the spine. It cuts across the upper and lower abdomen from the edge of the rib cage to the groin, and from there it goes to the toes .... it doesn't include the head. What comes from the head is a different kind of energetic current; not what I am talking about. One of the formidable attainments of sorcerers is that in the end, they push out whatever exists in the center of energy located at the top of the head, and then they anchor the tendon energy of the rest of their bodies there. But that is a paragon of success. At the moment, what we have at hand, as in your case, is the average situation of tendon energy beginning at the neck at the place where it joins the head. In some cases tendon energy goes up to a point below the cheekbones, but never higher than that point.
“This energy,” he went on, “which I call tendon energy for a lack of a better name, is a dire necessity in the lives of those who travel in infinity, or want to travel in it.”
Don Juan said that the traditional beginning in the utilization of tendon energy was the use of some simple devices which were employed by the shamans of ancient Mexico in two ways. One was to create a vibratory effect on specific centers of tendon energy, and the other was to create a pressure effect on the same centers. He explained that those shamans considered the vibratory effect to be the agent for loosening the energy which has become stagnant. The second effect, the pressure effect, was thought to be the agent that disperses the energy. ....
Don Juan Matus was horrified at the idea of directly pressing points of energy in the body without the preliminary vibration. His contention was that energy that was stuck would get even more inert if pressure were applied to it.
Don Juan started off his disciples with two basic devices. He explained that the shamans of ancient times used to search for a pair of round pebbles or dry round seed pods, and use them as vibratory and pressure devices to aid in manipulating the flow of energy in the body, which they believed becomes periodically stuck along the tendon track. However, the round pebbles that shaman practitioners normally used were definitely too hard, and the seed pods to fragile. Other objects that those shamans searched for avidly were flat rocks the size of the hand or pieces of heavy wood, in order to place them on specific areas of tendon energy on their abdomens while they were lying flat on their backs. The first area is just below the navel; another is right on the top of the navel, and another yet, on the area of the solar plexus. The problem with using rocks or other objects is that they have to be heated or cooled to approximate the termperature of the body, and besides, these objects are usually too stiff, and they slide and move around.
Tensegrity practitioners have found a much better equivalent to the devices of the shamans of ancient Mexico: a pair of round balls and a small, flat, circular leather weight. The balls are the same size as the ones used by those shamans, but they are not fragile at all; they are made of a mixture of Teflon reinforced by a ceramic compound. This mixture gives the balls a weight, a hardness, and a smoothness which are thoroughly congruous with the purpose of the magical passes.
The other device, the leather weight, has been found to be an ideal device for creating a steady pressure on centers of tendon energy. Unlike rocks, it is pliable enough to adapt itself to the contours of the body. Its leather cover makes it possible to be applied directly to the body without needing to be warmed or cooled. However, its most remarkable feature is its weight. It is light enough not to cause any discomfort, and yet heavy enough to aid some specific magical passes that foster inner silence by pressing centers on the abdomen. Don Juan Matus said that a weight placed on any of the three areas mentioned above engages the totality of one's energy fields, which means a momentary shutting off of the internal dialogue: the first step toward inner silence.
The modern devices used in conjunction with specific magical passes are divided by their very nature into two categories.

The First Category
This first category of magical passes that use the help of a device consists of sixteen magical passes aided by the teflon balls. [Note: zwei bälle etwa so groß wie golfbälle.]
Eight of these magical passes are performed on the left arm and wrist, and eight on the points of the liver and gallbladder, the pancreas and spleen, the bridge of the nose, the temples, and the crown of the head. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico considered the first eight magical passes to be the first step toward the liberation of the left body from the unwarranted dominion of the right body.

The Second Category
The second category comprises the uses if the leather weight for the purpose of creating a steady pressure on a larger area of tendon energy. There are two magical passes used in conjunction with the leather weight.
The hand positions for both of these magical passes are shown here with the practitioner standing. The actual practice of these magical passes is performed lying flat on the back with the leather weight pressing right above the navel or on either of the other two choice spots on the abdomen: below the navel, or above it by the solar plexus, if placing the weight on them is more comfortable. [e217ff]

XII - The Sorcerers' Crossing
Taisha Abelar, The Sorcerers' Crossing - A Woman's Journey
Forword by Carlos Castaneda
Penguin - Arkana, New York, 1992
And Taisha Abelar was grouped with the stalkers and trained by them. Her book bears the mark of her stupendous training as a stalker. [ix]
“The dog is an authentic member of the household. You must be very careful with what you feel or say around him.” [e28]
“You bring your innocence to this house and the house with all the intent it stores turns it into wisdom.” [e60]
“But what happened to you just now is that your normal ability to remember was held in check for an instant and you saw my shadow move .... You've seen shadows move before as a child, but then you were not yet rational so it was all right to see them move. As you grew up, your energy was harnessed by social constraints, and so you forgot you had seen them moving, and only remember what you think is permissible to remember.” [e74]
“When you breathe, allow the energy flow out of your ears,” she continued. [e83]
She explained that the two opposing forces that move us, male and female, positive and negative, light and dark, have to be kept in balance so that an opening is created in the energy that surrounds us: an opening through which our awareness can slip. It is through this opening in the energy encompassing us that the spirit manifests itself. [e87]
Clara stressed that for us to fix our attention on any abstract manifestation, we have to merge the known with the unknown in a spontaneous amalgamation. In this way, we can engage our reason yet at the same time be indifferent to it ....
“Not-doing is a term that comes to us from our own sorcery tradition,” Clara went on, obviously aware of my need for explanations.
“It refers to everything that is not included in the inventory that was forced upon us. When we engage any item of our forced inventory, we are doing; anything that is not part of that inventory is not-doing.” [e88]
Clara had advised me never to wear shoes while recapitulating because, by constricting the feet, they impede the circulation of energy. [e91]
She told me to firmly press the crystals between my index and middle fingers. Helping me from behind, she gently made me extend my arms in front of me at the height of my shoulders, and rotated them in a counterclockwise direction. She had me begin making large circles that became increasingly smaller until the movement stopped and the crystals became two dots pointed into the distance; their extended imaginary lines converged at a spot on the horizon.
“When you make the circles, be sure to keep your palms facing each other,” she corrected me. “And always begin by making large, smooth circles. This way you gather energy that you can then focus onto whatever you want to affect, regardless of whether is is an object, a thought or a feeling.
“How will pointing the crystals affect them?” I asked.
“To move the crystals and point them the way I showed you takes the energy out of things,” she explained. “The effect is like defusing a bomb. This is exactly what you want to do at this stage of your training. So never under any circumstance rotate your arms in a clockwise direction while holding the crystals.
“What would happen if I rotated them in that direction?”
“You would not only make a bomb, but you would light the fuse and cause a gigantic explosion. A clockwise movement is for charging things, for gathering energy for any enterprise. We'll save that movement for a later occasion, when you are stronger.”
“But isn't that what I need now, Clara? To gather energy? I feel so depleted.”
“Of course you need to gather energy,” she agreed, “but right now you must do it by demolishing your indulgence in absurdities. There is plenty of energy you can harness simply by not doing the things you are accustomed to, like complaining, or feeling sorry for yourself or worrying about things that can't be changed. Defusing these concerns will give you a positive, nurturing energy that will help to balance and heal you .... [e93ff]
Clara explained that the recapitulation reveals to us a crucial facet of our being: the fact that for an instant, just before we plunge into any act, we are capable of accurately assessing its outcome, our chances, motives and expectations. This knowledge is never to our convenience or satisfaction, so we immediately suppress it ....
“The ancient men of wisdom who invented the recapitulation believed that since we never stop subduing the seer, it finally destroys us. But they also assured us that by means of the recapitulation, we can allow the seer to grow and unfold as it was meant to do.” [e99]
“Knowledge gathers energy, therefore knowledge is power. To make sorcery work, we must know what we're doing when we intend the result - not the purpose, mind you, but the result of the sorcery act. If we intended the purpose of our sorcery actions, we would be creating sorcery, and you and I don't have that much power.” [e106]
She also warned me never to do any of the breathing passes she was about to show me for more than a few minutes at a time. [e112]
“If you like, you can call it the life line that links us to a greater awareness,” she said. “The sun, if used properly, charges this line and causes it to spring into action. That's why the crown of the head must always be protected ....
I can't urge you enough to practice all the passes I've shown you,” she said. “They are the indispensable companions of the recapitulation. This one did wonders for me. Watch me closely. See if you can see my double.” [e114]
“This is a sorcery path of the twilight,” she said. “But you have to have lots of energy and be extremely calm in order to do it. The twilight helps you to become calm and gives you an added boost of energy. That's why the end if the day is the best time to practice it.” [e115]
Clara explained that as children, we often make vows and then become bound by those vows, even though we can no longer remember making them.
“Such impulsive pledges can cost us our freedom,” Clara said. “Sometimes we are bound by preposterous childish devotion or pledges of undying, eternal love.”
She said that there are moments in everyone's life, especially in early childhood, when we have wanted something so badly that we automatically fixed our total intent on it, which, once fixed, remains in place until we fulfill our desire. She elaborated by saying that vows, oaths and promises bind our intent, so that from then on, our actions, feelings and thoughts are consistenly directed toward fulfilling or maintaining those commitments regardless of whether or not we remember having made them. [e117]
“You ought to know by now that the outward form of anything we do is really an expression of our inner state.” ....
“Placing rocks is just like practicing kung fu,” Clara said. “It's how we do things that matters, not how fast or how much we get done.” ....
When I had settled comfortably, propping my feet on the rim of a huge ceramic pot, Clara began to explain that the term “kung fu” is derived from the juxtaposition of two chinese characters, one meaning “work done over a period of time,” the other signifying “man”. When these two characters are combined, the term refers to man's endeavor to perfect himself through constant effort. She contended that whether we practice formal exercises, arrange rocks or rake leaves, we always express our inner state through our actions.
“Therefore, to perfect our acts is to perfect ourselves,” Clara said. “This is the true meaning of kung fu.” ....
“What you have been learning here with me might be referred to in China as internal kung fu, or nei kung,” Clara continued. “Internal kung fu uses controlled breathing and the circulation of energy to strengthen the body and augment one's health; whereas external martial arts, like the karate forms you learned from your Japanese teachers and some of the forms I showed you, focus on buiding muscles and quick body responses in which energy is released and is directed away from us.”
Clara said that internal kung fu was practiced by monks in China long before they developed the external or hard styles of fighting that are popularly known as kung fu today. ....
A feeling of dejection swept over me like a somber cloud. [e119ff]
“It is the grace with which you manipulate things that matters,” Clara reminded me as she picked up another rock. “Your inner state is reflected in the way you move, talk, eat or place rocks. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you gather energy with your actions and transform it into power.” ....
“As an artist you should know that the rocks have to be put where they are in balance,” she said, “not where it is the easiest for you to drop them. Of course, if you were imbued with power, you could drop them any which way and the result would be beauty itself. To understand this is the real purpose of the exercise of placing rocks.” [e123]
“The human body has an extra energy system that comes into play when we are under stress,” Clara explained. “And stress happens any time we do anything to excess. Like being overly concerned with yourself and your performance, as you are now. That's why one of the fundamental precepts of the art of freedom is to avoid excesses.”
She said that the movements she was teaching me, whether she called them breaths or sorcery passes, were important because they operate directly on the reserve system, and that the reason they can be called indispensable passes is because they allow added energy to pass into and through our reserve pathways. Then when we are summoned to action, instead of becoming depleted from stress, we become stronger and have surplus energy for extraordinary tasks. ....
“This movement is particularly important for you, Taisha, because your lungs are weakened from excessive weeping,” she said. “A lifetime of feeling sorry for yourself certainly has taken its toll on your lungs.” [e125]
“For the next sorcery pass,” Clara said, “stand with your feet together and look straight ahead as if you were facing a door that you are going to open.” ....
“This is one of the most powerful and mysterious of all the sorcery passes,” Clara cautioned. “With it we can open doors to different worlds, provided of course that we have stored a surplus of internal energy and are able to realize the intent of the pass.” [e127]
She added that cautiousness without cowardice is hinged on our ability to control our internal energy and to divert it into the reserve channels, so that it is available to us when we need it for extraordinary actions. [e128]
“Close your eyes,” she whispered. “When your eyes are closed, it's easier to use energy lines that are already there to keep your balance.” [e129]
Clara nodded. “Tonight you've found out something of real value, Taisha. In the worlds outside this one, there are no shadows!” [e130]
“Your movements are too jerky,” he said in a low murmur. “Breathe like this.”
He inhaled deeply as he gently turned his head to the left. Then he exhaled thoroughly as he smoothly turned his head to the right. Finally, he moved his head from his right shoulder to the left and back to the right again without breathing, then back to the center. I copied his movements inhaling and exhaling as completely as I could.
“That's more like it,” he said. “When exhaling, throw out all the thoughts and feelings you are reviewing. And don't just turn your head with your neck muscles. Guide it with the invisible energy lines from your midsection. Enticing those lines to come out is one of the accomplishments of the recapitulation.”
He explained that just below the navel was a key center of power, and that all body movements, including one's breathing, had to engage this point of energy. He suggested I synchronize the rhythm of my breathing with the turning of my head, so that together they would entice the invisible energy lines from my abdomen to extend outward into infinity. ....
“What is the double?” I managed to ask before I drifted off into a drowsy stupor.
“That's a good question,” he said. “It means that a part of you is still alert and listening.”
I sensed him take a deep breath and inflate his chest. “The physical body is a covering, a container, if you will,” he said after slowly exhaling. “By concentrating on your breathing, you can make the solid body dissolve so that only the soft, ethereal part is left.” [e132f]
“Clara tells me you are interested in martial arts,” Mr. Abelar said. “The difference between the average person and an expert in kung fu is that the latter has learned to control his soft body.” [e137]
“Imagine lines extending out from the sides of your body, beginning at your feet,” he said.
“What if I can't imagine them?”
“If you want to, you certainly can,” he said. “Use all your strength to intend the lines into existence.” ....
“Practice until you can let go of your physical body and can place your attention at will on your luminous net,” he said. “Eventually, you'll be able to cast and sustain that net with a single thought.” ....
“Intend it with your intent, which is the layer beneath your thoughts. Listen carefully, look for it beneath the thoughts, away from them. Intent is so far away from thoughts that we can't talk about it; we can't even feel it. But we can certainly use it.” [e141f]
“A sorcerer, to us, is someone who, through discipline and perseverance, can break the limits of natural perception,” Clara said with an air of formality .... “We are all sorcerers, all abstract beings. If you want to think of sorcery as something concrete, involving rituals and magic potions, all I can tell you is that there are sorcerers who are as concrete as that, but you won't find them in this house.” ....
She went on to elaborate that abstract sorcerers seek freedom through enhancing their capacity to perceive; while concrete sorcerers, like the traditional ones who lived in ancient Mexico, seek personal power and gratification through increasing their self-importance. [e151f]
“Is the double inside or outside the physical body?” I asked .... “It's both,” Mr. Abelar said. “It is inside and outside the physical body at the same time. How can I put it? In order to command it, the part of it that is outside floating freely has to be linked to the energy that is housed inside the physical body. The external force is beckoned and held by an unwavering concentration, while the internal energy is released by opening some mysterious gates in and around the body. When the two sides merge, the force that is produced allows one to perform inconceivable feats .... Some are close to the skin, others are deep inside the body .... There are seven main gates. When they are closed, our inner energy remains locked within the physial body. The presence of the double inside us is so subtle that we can go through our entire lives without ever knowing that it is there. However, if one is going to release it, the gates must be opened and this is done through the recapitulation and the breathing exercises Clara showed you .... The double must be released gradually, harmoniously. A prerequisite, however, is that one remains celibate .... For without a thorough recapitulation first, you would literally opening a can of worms. And to have sex would only be adding more fuel to the fire .... Seriously, though, storing sexual energy is the first step in the journey toward the ethereal body, the journey into awareness and total freedom.” [e159ff]
“Shame and self-importance make terrible companions,” he said seriously. You haven't recapitulated that incident or you wouldn't be in such a state now.” [e164]
“Nobody is born with the Nagual's mark,” Clara laughed. “The Nagual's energy is lodged behind your left shoulder blade. Think about it; your shoulders got out of alignment after the Nagual struck you with the broom.”
For as long as I can remember, I had been always searching, looking out of windows, peering down streets as if something or someone was around the corner waiting for me. I've always had premonitions, dreams of escaping, although I didn't know from what. It was this feeling that had compelled me to follow Clara to an unknown destination. And it was also what prevented me from leaving in spite of the impossibility of my tasks. As I held Mr. Abelar's gaze, an indescribable wave of well-being enveloped me. I knew that I had at last found what I had been looking for. Following an impulse of the purest affection, I leaned over and kissed his hand. And out of the unsuspected depth of me, I muttered something that had no rational but only an emotional significance. “You are the Nagual to me, too,” I said. [e167f]
She said that the Nagual's explanation of my craziness was that I was conceived under unusual and desperate conditions. [e177]
“In the sorcerers' world anything is possible,” Nelida said, touching my hand. “But one thing is for certain: it is not a world to be taken for granted. In it, we must voice our thanks now, because there is no tomorrow.”
I stared at her blankly, totally stunned. She gazed back at me and whispered, “The future doesn't exist. It's time you realize this. And when you have finished recapitulating and have completely erased the past, all that will be left is the present. And then you will know that the present is but an instant, nothing more.” [e179]
“When you are agitated as you are now, prop your lower back against a piece of furniture. Or bend your arms backward, pressing your hands against the top of your kidneys.” [e181]
“You can accomplish wonders by controlling and circulating the energy from the womb,” Nelida said, pulling her skirt over her calves again. ....
“The womb is the way female animals sense things and regulate their bodies,” she said. “Through the womb, women can generate and store power in their doubles to build or destroy or to become one with everything around them.” [e184]
She explained that by systematically directing words to our source of awareness - the double - one can receive a manifestation of that source. ....
Nelida extended her arms in a sweeping gesture. “The double is nearly infinite,” she said. “For just as the physical body is in communication with other physical bodies, the double is in communication with the universal life force.” [e185f]
Since it must have been obvious to him that I hadn't understood, he explained that the intent of sorcerers differs from that of average people in that sorcerers have learned to focus their attention with infinitely more force and precision. ....
He thought for a moment as he looked around. His face lit up and he pointed at the house. “This house is a good example,” he said. “It is the result of the intent of countless sourcerers who amassed energy and pooled it over many generations. By now, this house is no longer just a physical structure, but a fantastic field of energy. The house itself could be destroyed ten times over, which it has been, but the essence of the sorcerers' intent is still intact, for it is indestructible.”
“What happens when the sorcerers want to leave?” I asked. “Is their power trapped here forever?”
“If the spirit tells them to leave,” Emilito said, “they are capable of lifting off the intent from the present spot where the house stands and placing it somewhere else.”
“I have to agree that the house is really spooky,” I said and told him how it had resisted my detailed measurements and calculations.
“What makes this house spooky is not the disposition of the rooms or walls or patios,” the caretaker remarked, “but the intent that generations of sorcerers poured into it. In other words, the mystery of this house is the history of the countless sorcerers whose intent went into building it. You see, they not only intended it, but constructed it themselves, brick by brick, stone by stone. Even you have already contributed your intent and your work to it.”
“What could my contribution be?” I asked, sincerely taken aback by Emilito's statement. “You can't possibly mean that crooked garden path I laid.”
“No one in his right mind could call that a contribution,” he said, laughing. “No, you've made a few others.”
He remarked that on the mundane level of bricks and structures, he considered my contribution to be the careful electric wiring, the pipe fitting and the cement casing for the water pump I had installed to pump water from the stream up the hill to the vegetable garden.
“On the more ethereal level of energy flow,” he went on, “I can tell you in all sincerity that one of your contributions is that never before have we witnessed in this house anyone merging her intent with Manfred.” [e209f]
Emilito said that it was up to the sorcerers' intent to decide not only whether Manfred lived or died, but whether Manfred would be a dog or something else. And he lived and became something more than a dog. ....
“For instance, I would say that you jumped into the arena in Japan not to demonstrate your martial arts skills, but to prove to the world that your intent is to lose.”
He pounced on me, saying that everything I did was tainted by defeat. Therefore the most important thing I had to do now was to set up a new intent. He explained that this new intent was called sorcerers' intent because it isn't just the intent of doing something new, but the intent of joining something already established: an intent that reaches out to us through thousands of years of human toil.
He said that in that sorcerers' intent there wasn't room for defeat, for sorcerers have only one path open to them: to succeed in whatever they do. But in order to have such a powerful and clear view, sorcerers have to reset their total being, and that takes both understanding and power. Understanding comes from recapitulating their lives, and power gathers from their impeccable acts. [e211f]
“If you can move your awareness outside your body, you'll realize that there is blackness all around you. Try to pierce that blackness; make a hole in it.”
“I don't think I can,” I said, tensing up.
“Of course you can,” he assured me. “Remember, sorcerers are never defeated, they can only succeed.” ....
The caretaker urged me to relax, to let go and act and feel as if I had made that hole. [e213]
“It's a matter of energy; the more of it you call back through recapitulating, the easier it is for that recovered energy to nourish your double. To send energy to the double is what we call casting your energy lines. Someone who sees energy will see it as lines coming out of the physical body .... The greater your energy, .... the greater your capacity to perceive extraordinary things .... Perception is the ultimate mystery because it's totally unexplainable. Sorcerers as human beings are perceiving creatures, but what they perceive is neither good nor evil; everything is just perception. [e215]
“When we enter into absolute darkness, where there are no distractions,” the caretaker said, “the double takes over. It stretches its ethereal limbs, opens its luminous eye and looks around .... Animals and infants .... have no problem perceiving the double and they are often disturbed by it.” [e218f]
“It's your double that's talking. It's always direct and to the point and since you have never allowed it expression, it is full of hatred and bitterness.” [e221]
“Power, the spirit, that boundless force out there decides all that. For us, the proof that you belong to the new era is your total similarity with Nelida.” [e222]
“The sorcerers' crossing consists of shifting the awareness of daily life, which the physical body possesses, to the double,” he replied. “Listen carefully. The awareness of daily life is what we want to shift from the body to the double. The awareness of daily life!”
“But what does that mean, Emilito?”
“It means that we are after sobriety, measure, control. We are not interested in craziness and helter-skelter results.” [e224]
“Sorcerers always count events in sets of threes.”
“Do I also have to do things in sets of threes?” I asked.
`Certainly. You're Nelida's heir, aren't you? You're the continuation of her line.” [e227]
“Why is it that the names Grau and Abelar keep on recurring?”
“Those are power names,” Emilio explained. Every generation of sorcerers uses them. And every Nagual's name follows an alternate generation rule. That means that John Michael Abelar inherited the name from Elías Abelar, but the new Nagual, the one that will come after John Michael Abelar, will inherit the name Grau from Julian Grau. That's the rule for the Naguals.”
“Why did Nelida say that I am an Abelar?“
“Because you are just like her. And the rule says that you will inherit her last name or her first name or, if you wish, you can inherit both names. She herself inherited both names from her predecessor.” [e229]
Abelar to us means stalker. And Grau means dreamer. All the sorcerers in this house are either dreamers or stalkers.”
“What is the difference, Emilito?”
“Stalkers plan and act out their plans; they connive and invent and change things whether they are awake or in dreams. Dreamers move onward without any plan or thought; they jump into reality of the world or into the reality of dreams.” [e231]
“How can we be sure that we're balancing the double?”
“By opening our gates,” he replied. “The first gate is in the sole of the foot, at the base of the big toe .... The second gate is the area that includes the calves and the inner part of the knee .... The third is at the sexual organs and tailbone .... The fourth and the most important is in the area of the kidneys .... The fifth point is in between the shoulder blades .... The sixth is at the base of the skull. And the seventh is at the crown of the head.” ....
“If our first or second centers are open, we transmit a certain kind of force that people may find intolerable,” he went on. “On the other hand, if the third and fourth gates are not as closed as they are supposed to be, we transmit a certain force that people will find most appealing.” [e232]
“The cracking sound you hear at the back of your neck is the moment when your right and left sides have separated. This leaves a gap directly in the middle of your body where the energy rises to the neck, the place where the sound is heard. To hear that pop means that your double is about to become aware.”
“What should I do when I hear it?”
“To know what to do isn't that important because there's very little we can do,” he said. “We can either remain seated with our eyes shut or we can get up and move about. The important point is to know that we are limited because our physical body controls our awareness. But if we can turn it around so that our double controls our awareness, we can do practically anything we can imagine.” [e233]
After a time of concentrating on my breath, I felt a vibrating energy rising up my back, trying to push out of the top of my head. Then something opened inside me. Every time I inhaled, a line elongated to the top of the tree; when I exhaled, the line was pulled down into my body again. The feeling of reaching the top of the tree became stronger with my every breath until I truly believed that my body expanded, becoming as tall and voluminous as the tree.
At one point, a profound affection and empathy for the tree enveloped me; it was at that same moment that something surged up my back and out my head and I found myself viewing the world from the top branches. This sensation lasted only an instant, for it was disrupted by the caretaker's voice commanding me to come down and flow inside my body again. I felt something like a waterfall, an effervescence flowing downward, entering the top of my head and filling my body with a familiar warmth.
“You don't want to stay mixed with the tree too long,” he told me when I opened my eyes.
I had an overwhelming desire to embrace the tree, but the caretaker pulled me by the arm to a large boulder some distance away, where we sat down. He pointed out that aided by an outside force, in this case uniting my awareness with the tree, one can easily make the double expand. However, because it's easy, we run the risk of staying merged with the tree too long, in which case we might sap the tree of the vital energy it needs to maintain itself in a strong and healthy state. Or we might leave some of our own energy behind by becoming emotionally attached to the tree.
“One can merge with anything,” he explained. “If whatever or whomever you merge with is strong, your energy will be enhanced, as it was whenever you merged with the magician, Manfred. But if it is sick or weak, stay away. In any case, you must do the exercise sparingly for, like everything else, it is a double-edged sword. Outside energy is always different from your own, often antagonistic to it.” ....
He picked up a twig and drew an oval shape on the soft ground. Then he added a horizontal line that transected it midway. Pointing to the two partitions, he explained that the double is divided into a lower and an upper section, which correspond roughly in the physical body to the abdomen and the chest cavities. Two different currents of energy circulate in these two sections. In the lower one circulates the original energy we had while still in the womb. In the upper section circulates the thought energy. This energy enters the body at birth with the first breath. He said that thought energy is enhanced by experience and rises upward into the head. The original energy sinks down into the genital area. Usually, in life, these two energies become separated in the double, causing weaknesses and unbalance in the physical body. ....
He explained that the error many people make when trying to seek the double is to apply to it the rules of the physical body, training it, for example, as if it were made of muscle and bone. He assured me that there is no way to condition the double through physical exercises.
“The easiest way to resolve this problem is to separate the two,” the caretaker explained. “Only when they are undeniably separate can awareness flow from one to the other. That is what sorcerers do. So they can dispense with the nonsense of rituals, incantations and elaborate breathing techniques that are supposed to unify them.”
“But what about the breaths and sorcery passes that Clara taught me? Are they nonsense too?“
“No. She taught you only things that would help you separate your body and your double. Therefore they are all useful for our purpose.” [e234ff]
“When awareness is turned steadily to the left side of the double, the double is fleshed out and emerges,” he went on, “and one is capable of performing inconceivable feats. This shouldn't be surprising, for the double is our energy source. The physical body is merely the receptacle where that energy has been placed.” ....
He said that some people can shift their awareness to the right or the left side of the double, after they have successfully completed the abstract flight, simply by manipulating the flow of their breath. Such people can practice sorcery or martial arts as readily as they can manipulate intricate academic constructs. He emphasized that the urge to turn awareness steadily to the left is a trap infinitely more deadly than the attractions of the world of everyday life because of the mystery and power inherent in it.
“The real hope for us lies in the center,” he said, touching my forehead and the center of my chest, “for in the wall that divides the two sides of the double is a hidden door that opens into a third, thin, secret compartment. Only when this door opens can one experience true freedom.” [e237]
My transition period ended right then as Emilito attacked me for having misread his thoughts. From then on he dropped his whimsical air of a prankster and became a most demanding taskmaster. There were no more lengthy explanations of the double or the other aspects of sorcery, hence no more solace stemming from intellectual understanding. There was only work, pragmatic and demanding. Every day for months from morning until night, I would be steeped in activity until, exhausted, I went to sleep in the tree house. [e239]
Clara had asked me to write on the ground the names of each person I had encountered in my life, then erase it with my hand after I had breathed in the memories associated with that person. Emilito, on the other hand, had me write the names of people on dry leaves and then light a match to them after I had finished breathing in everything I had recollected about them. He had given me a special device to incinerate the leaves .... As I gazed at the flames consuming each leaf, I was to draw in the energy of the fire with my eyes, always being careful not to inhale the smoke. .... He was careful never to touch the matches or the bag. My best guess was that he buried them somewhere in the hills, or perhaps tossed them in the stream to let the water disintegrate them. Disposing of the matches, he had assured me, was the final act in the process of breaking the ties with the world. [e240f]
Discarding his admonitions to look only in glances, I stared at every one of those unidentifiable objects.
“I am merely the caretaker,” Emilito said. “All this is under my care.” He swept his hand over the room, “But I'll be damned if I know what it is. In fact, none of us knows what this is. We inherited it with the house from my teacher, the Nagual Julian, and he inherited it from his teacher, the Nagual Elías, who had also inherited it.” [e247f]
“Now prepare yourself for the sorcerers' flight,” Emilito said. “Hold on to me for dear life. Grab my belt if you have to or climb on my back piggyback fashion. But whatever you do, don't let go.” [e249]
Now the objects I saw in the room where tiny, like chess pieces on a chess board. I had to deliberately seek them out to notice them. On the other hand, the coldness and awesomeness of that space filled my soul with unmitigated terror. I remembered what Clara had said about seers that had sought it; how they had stared at that immensity and how it had stared back at them with a cold and unyielding indifference. Clara never told me that she herself had stared at it, which now I knew she had. But what would have been the point of telling me then? I would only have laughed or found her fanciful. Now it was my turn to stare at it with no hope of comprehending what I was looking at. Emilito was right, it would take me a lifetime of discipline and of storing power to understand that I'm gazing at the boundless ....
“Look inside,” he said. “What do you see?”
I was looking at the house. I saw the front door and the dining room on the left side of the house, which I had glanced into briefly as I had passed it with Emilito the first time I used the main entrance. The room was well lit and filled with people. They were laughing and conversing in Spanish. Some of them were helping themselves to food from a sideboard set with an assortment of tempting dishes, beautifully laid out on silver platters. I saw the Nagual and then Clara. She was radiant and happy. She was playing the guitar and singing a duet with another woman who could easily have been her sister. She was as large as Clara but dark complected. She didn't have Clara's fiery green eyes. Hers were fiery, but dark and sinister. Then I saw Nelida dancing by herself to the hauntingly beautiful tune. She was somehow different from the way I remembered her, although I couldn't pinpoint what the difference was .... I saw a second Nelida entering the dining room from a side door ....
“The one that's dancing is Florinda,” he said. “She and Nelida are exactly alike, except that Nelida is a bit softer looking.” He peered at me and winked. “But far more ruthless.” ....
Four of the men were older and looked as fierce as the Nagual, but one was young. He had a dark complexion; he was short and seemed very strong. His hair was black, curly. He gesticulated in an animated way as he talked, and his face was energetic, full of expression. There was something about him that made him stand out from all the rest. My heart leaped and I was instantly drawn to him.
“That one is the new Nagual,” the caretaker said.
As we looked into the room, he explained that every Nagual imbues his sorcery with his particular temperament and experience. The Nagual John Michael Abelar, being a Yaqui indian, had brought to his group the pathos of the Yaquis as a characterizing mark of all their actions. Their sorcery, he said, was soaked in the somber mood of those indians. And all of them, myself included, were bound by the rule to familiarize ourselves with the Yaquis, to follow their ups and downs.
“This perspective will prevail for you until the new Nagual takes over,” he said in my ear. “Then you will have to soak yourself in his temperament and experience. That is the rule. You will have to go to college. He's lost in academic pursuits.” ....
“This room, of which I am the caretaker, is the accumulated intent and range of temperament of all the Naguals that preceded John Michael Abelar,” he said in my ear. “There is no way on earth I can explain what this room is. To me, just as it is to you, it's incomprehensible.”
I moved my eyes away from the dining room with all its ebullient people and looked at Emilito. I wanted to weep, for I had finally understood that Emilito was as solitary as Manfred; a being capable of inconceivable awareness, yet burdened by the solitude that that awareness brings. But my desire to weep was momentary for I realized that sadness is such a base emotion when in its place I could feel awe.
“The new Nagual will take care of you,” Emilito said, pulling my attention back into the dining room. “He is your final teacher, the one who will take you to freedom. He has many names, one for each of the different facets of sorcery he is involved with. For the sorcery of infinity, his name is Dilas Grau. Someday you will meet him and the others. You couldn't do it the day you were with Nelida in the left hallway, nor can you do it now, here with me. But you will cross over soon. They are waiting for you.”
A nameless longing took hold of me. I wanted to slip through that viewing hole into the room to be with them. There was warmth and affection there. And they were waiting for me. [e250ff]
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