A Journal of Applied Hermeneutics
A Journal of Applied Hermeneutics
- 1 Content by Chronological Order
- 2 Author's Notes
- 3 Philosophical Discourse
- 4 The Warrior's Way as a Philosophical-Practical Paradigm
- 5 Queries About the Warrior's Way
- 6 Tensegrity Log
Content by Chronological Order
1. THE WARRIORS' WAY. A Journal of Applied Hermeneutics. Number 1, Volume 1. Los Angeles, January 1996
- WHAT IS HERMENEUTICS ?
- THE WARRIORS' WAY VIEWED AS A PHILOSOPHICAL-PRACTICAL PARADIGM.
- QUERIES ABOUT THE WARRIORS' WAY: WHO ARE THE CHACMOOLS ?
- THE TENSEGRITY LOG: WHAT IS TENSEGRITY?
2. THE WARRIORS' WAY. A Journal of Applied Hermeneutics. Number 2, Volume 1. Los Angeles, February, 1996
- Author's Note
- WHAT IS INTENTIONALITY ?
- QUERIES ABOUT THE WARRIORS' WAY
- The Warriors' Way Viewed as a Philosophical-Practical Paradigm
- THE TENSEGRITY LOG: WHAT ARE WARRIOR GUARDIANS?
3. READERS OF INFINITY. A JOURNAL OF APPLIED HERMENEUTICS. Los Angeles, March, 1996. Number 3, Volume 1
- Author's Note
- What is Phenomenology?
- The Warriors' Way Viewed as a Philosophical-Practical Paradigm
- Queries About the Warriors' Way: What is the point of doing Tensegrity...?
- Tensegrity Log: The Force that Holds Us Together as Fields of Energy
4. READERS OF INFINITY. A Journal of Applied Hermeneutics. Number 4, Volume 1. Los Angeles, April, 1996
- Author's Note
- A NEW AREA FOR PHILOSOPHICAL INQUIRY
- THE WARRIORS' WAY VIEWED AS A PHILOSOPHICAL-PRACTICAL PARADIGM
- QUERIES ABOUT THE WARRIORS' WAY
- TENSEGRITY LOG: HOW TO DO TENSEGRITY
Number 2 - February 1996
Author's note : For purposes of elucidation, it is necessary that language be used in this journal in its fullest permissible scope. Thus, philosophical discourse will be rendered as formally as it demands. Sorcerers' discourse, on the other hand, will be rendered as it was stated. The fullest permissible scope of language enters into play in this instance.
Number 3 - March 1996
Author's Note :
The exclusive goal of this journal is the dissemination of ideas. Due to the fact that the ideas proposed here are, to a considerable degree, foreign to Western man, the format of this journal must be adapted to the nature of those ideas. The ideas I am referring to were proposed to me by don Juan Matus, a Mexican Indian sorcerer or shaman who guided me through a thirteen-year apprenticeship into the cognitive world of sorcerers who lived in Mexico in ancient times. I intend to present these concepts in the same fashion that he did : directly, concisely and using language to the fullest possible extent. This is the manner in which don Juan conducted every facet of his teachings ; it attracted my attention, from the beginning of my association with him, to the extent that I have made clarity and precision in language usage one of the desired goals of my life.
My attempts to publish this journal go back as far as 1971, when I presented this format to some book editors, who promptly turned me down because it did not conform to the preconceived notion of a scholarly journal, nor did it conform to the format of a magazine, or even a newsletter.
My argument that the ideas contained in the journal were foreign enough to dictate a format that was an amalgamation of all three of those established genres did not have the sufficient force to convince them to publish it. The title that I had for the journal, at that time, was The Journal of Ethno-Hermeneutics. Years later, I actually found that a publication bearing that name was in circulation.
Now, I find myself in the position of publishing this journal. It is not an attempt at commercializing anything, nor is it a vehicle for apologetics of any sort. I envision it as an attempt to join the Western man's world of philosophical speculation with the seeing-observations of the Indian sorcerers who lived in Mexico in ancient times and whose cultural descendants were don Juan Matus and his cohorts.
I vowed, since entering into don Juan's cognitive world, to remain truthful to what he taught me. I can say, without being boastful, that for thirty-five years, I have kept this promise alive. It now bears on the conception and development of this journal. It conforms to one of don Juan's seeing- observations : he called it reading infinity. He said that when one is empty of thoughts and has acquired something he called "inner silence," the horizon appears to the eye of the seer as a sheet of lavender. On that sheet of lavender, a point of color becomes visible : pomegranate. That point of pomegranate expands suddenly and bursts into an infinity that can be read. It can be said that at this moment in our history, we human beings are readers, regardless of whether we read philosophical themes or instructional manuals. A worthwhile challenge conceived by don Juan for such readers is to become readers of infinity . Thisjournal is congruous, I assure you, in spirit and practice, with that challenge. It stems from inner silence ; it is an invitation to all to become readers of infinity.
In view of these arguments, I have decided, backed by the unanimous agreement of my cohorts, to change the name of this journal from, The Warriors' Way, a term long in use, to something current, which has not been used yet: READERS OF INFINITY
Number 4 - April 1996
The April issue of Readers of Infinity: A journal of Applied Hermeneutics, is being published at this late date, because it, together with the first three issues, belongs to an original set of four, specifically conceived in harmony with the sorcerers' idea that the number four implies order and permanency.
It was the writer's utmost wish to give this journal a character as distant as possible from temporariness, whatever that character may turn out to be. It seems that in this case, it turned out to be the publication of this journal in book form. So be it. Since the fourth issue was already finished by late March and ready to go to press, it became impossible to pass up the opportunity to publish it as a monthly issue.
WHAT IS HERMENEUTICS ?
Hermeneutics was first a method for interpreting sacred texts, essentially Biblical texts. Later, it covered the interpretation of literary texts and texts in general, and finally as it stand today, it is a philosophical method that deals with the interpretation of the historical, social, psychological, etc., aspects of our world.
It is called a method because it is a manner or mode, a systematic way to approach a topic of inquiry. Hermeneutics as a philosophical method seeks to examine the bases that structure the different aspects of our world and to lay bare their presuppositions.
What we propose to do in this journal of applied hermeneutics is to take the position delineated by don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian sorcerer from Mexico, and to describe the way which he and other sorcerers like himself interpreted the social, historical, psychological, etc., aspects of their world.
Thus our intention to emphasize the sorcerers' idea of practicality as opposed to the purely abstract reflection of a philosophical method; hence, our proposal to call it a journal of applied hermeneutics.
WHAT IS INTENTIONALITY ?
In the first issue of this j ournal, intentionality was defined as "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 intention." This definition is an attempt at staying away from the standard philosophical explanations of intentionality. The concept of intentionality is of key importance in elucidating the themes of sorcery, as bona fide topics for philosophical discourse. The slant proposed for this journal -- applied hermeneutics -- is expressed through the revision and reinterpretation of themes pertinent to the discipline of philosophy ; themes which are congruous with other themes pertinent to the discipline of sorcery.
In the discipline of philosophy, intentionality is a term first used by the Scholastics in the Middle Ages to define, in terms of natural and unnatural motion, the intent of God in relation to his creation and the free will of man to choose or reject a virtuous life ; Scholastics were Western European scholars who developed a system of theological and philosophical teachings based on the authority of the church fathers and of Aristotle and his commentators.
The term intentionality was restructured in the late 19th century by Franz Brentano, a German philosopher, whose main concern was to find a characteristic which separates mental from physical phenomena. He said, "Every mental phenomenon is characterized by what the Scholastics of the Middle Ages called the intentional or the mental inexistence of an object, and what we would like to call the reference to a content, the directness toward an object, which in this context is not to be understood as something real. In the representation, something is represented, in the judgment, something is acknowledged or rejected, in the desiring, something is desired.
This intentional inexistence is peculiar alone to mental phenomena. No physical phenomenon shows anything like it. And thus, we can define mental phenomena by saying that such phenomena contain objects in themselves byway of intentionality."
Brentano's understanding was that it is the property of all mental phenomena to contain objects as inexistents, combined with the property of referring to those objects. Therefore, for him, only mental phenomena encase intentionality. Thus, intentionality becomes the irreducible feature of mental phenomena. He argued that since no physical phenomena could encase intentionality, the mental (the mind) cannot stem from the brain.
In the discipline of sorcery, there is an entry called calling intent. It refers to the definition of intentionality that was given in this journal: "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 intention." Sorcerers maintain, as Brentano intuited, that the act of intending is not in the realm of the physical ; that is to say, it is not part of the physicality of the brain or any other organ. Intent, for sorcerers, transcends the world we know. It is something like an energetic wave, a beam of energy which attaches itself to us.
===What is Phenomenology?=== Phenomenology is a philosophical method, or a philosophical system proposed by a German mathematician and philosopher, Edmund Gustav Husserl (1859-1938) in a monumental work whose title has been translated as Logical Investigations, which he published in three volumes from 1900 to 1913.
The term Phenomenology had already been in use in philosophical circles since the 1700's. It meant, then, abstracting consciousness and experience from their realm of intentional components and describing them in a philosophical frame ; or it meant the historical research into the development of the consciousness of the self from primary sensations to rational thought.
It is, however, Husserl who gave it its modern-day format. He postulated Phenomenology as a philosophical method for the study of essences, or the act of putting those essences into the flux of life experience. He thought of it as a transcendental philosophy dealing only with the residue left after a reduction is performed. He called this reduction epochйй, the bracketing of meaning or the suspension of judgment. "Going back to the origins" was Husserl's motto, when it referred to any philosophical-scientific inquiry. To go back to the origins implied such a reduction, which Husserl expected to inject into any given philosophical inquiry, as an integral part, a world that exists before reflection begins. He intended Phenomenology to be a method for approaching living experience as it occurs in time and space ; it is an attempt to describe directly our experience as it happens, without pausing to consider its origins or its causal explanations.
To achieve this task, Husserl proposed epochйй : a total change of attitude where the philosopher moves from things themselves to their meanings ; that is to say, from the realm of objectified meaning - the core of science - to the realm of meaning as it is experienced in the immediate life- world.
Later on, other Western philosophers defined and redefined Phenomenology to suit their particular specifications. Phenomenology as it stands today is a philosophical method that defies definition.
It has been said that it is still in the process of defining itself. This fluidity is what holds the interest of sorcerers.
From my association with don Juan Matus and the other practitioners of his line, I came to the conclusion, by directly experiencing their shamanistic practices, that the bracketing of meaning, or the suspension of judgment that Husserl postulated as the essential reduction of every philosophical inquiry, is impossible to accomplish when it is a mere exercise of the philosopher's intellect.
I was told by someone who studied with Martin Heidegger, Husserl's student, that when Husserl was asked for a pragmatic indication of how to accomplish this reduction, he said: "How in the hell should I know? I'm a philosopher." Contemporary philosophers who have reworked and enlarged the parameters of Phenomenology have never actually addressed the subject of practicalities. For them, Phenomenology has remained a purely philosophical theme. In their realm, therefore, this bracketing of meaning is at best merely a philosophical exercise.
In the sorcerers' world, suspending judgment is not the desired beginning of any philosophical- practical inquiry, but the necessity of every shamanistic practice. Sorcerers expand the parameters of what they can perceive to the point that they systematically perceive the unknown. To realize this feat, they have to suspend the effect of their normal interpretation system. This act is accomplished as a matter of survival rather than as a matter of choice. In this sense, the practitioners of don Juan's knowledge go a step beyond the intellectual exercises of philosophers.
The proposition in this section of this journal is to follow the statements made by philosophers and correlate them with the practical accomplishments of sorcerers, who have, strangely enough, worked their practices, in many cases, seemingly along the same lines as those proposed by Western philosophers.
A NEW AREA FOR PHILOSOPHICAL INQUIRY
We have briefly discussed in the previous issues of this journal the idea of Hermeneutics as a method of interpretation, the idea of the Phenomenological Method, and the idea of intentionality.
I would like to outline now the possibility of a new area of philosophical inquiry. The elucidation of this topic is hinged on the definition of certain concepts that were developed by sorcerers or shamans who lived in Mexico in ancient times.
The first of such concepts, which is the cornerstone of sorcerers' activities and beliefs, is called seeing. By seeing, sorcerers mean the capacity that, in their belief, human beings have to perceive energy as it flows in the universe. The claim that sorcerers make, which is substantiated by their practices, is that energy can be perceived directly as it flows in the universe, using our entire organism as a vehicle for perception.
Sorcerers make a distinction between the body as part of the cognition of our everyday life, and the entire organism as an energetic unit which is not part of our cognitive system. This energetic unit includes the unseen parts of the body, such as the internal organs, and the energy that flows through them. They assert that it is with this part that energy can be directly perceived.
Because of the predominance of sight in our habitual way of perceiving the world, sorcerers describe the act of directly apprehending energy as seeing. For sorcerers to perceive energy as it flows in the universe means that energy adopts nonidiosyncratic, specific configurations that repeat themselves consistently, and that can be apprehended in the Same terms by anyone who sees.
The most important example of this consistency of energy in adopting specific configurations is the human body when it is perceived directly as energy. Sorcerers perceive a human being as a conglomerate of energy fields that gives the total impression of a clear-cut sphere of luminosity.
Taken in this sense, energy is described by sorcerers as a vibration that agglutinates itself into cohesive units. They describe the entire universe as composed of energy configurations that appear to the seeing sorcerers as filaments, or luminous fibers that are strung in every which way, but without ever being entangled. This is an incomprehensible proposition for the linear mind. It has a built-in contradiction that can't be resolved: how could those fibers extend themselves every which way and yet not be entangled ?
Sorcerers, as unstudied practitioners of the phenomenological method, can only describe events. If their terms of description seem inadequate and contradictory, it is because of the limitations of syntax. Yet, their descriptions are as strict as anything can be. The luminous energetic fibers that make up the universe at large do extend themselves to infinity in every which way, and yet, they are not entangled. Each fiber is an individual, concrete configuration; each fiber is infinity itself.
In order to deal with these phenomena more adequately, perhaps it would be proper to construct an entirely different way of describing them. According [actual page 3/12] to sorcerers, this is not at all a far-fetched idea, because perceiving energy directly is something that can be achieved by every human being. Sorcerers argue that this condition accords human beings the potential of reaching, through an evolutionary consensus, an agreement on how to describe the universe.
Another sorcerers' concept that deserves close scrutiny in terms of this elucidation is something they call intent. They describe it as a perennial force that permeates the entire universe ; a force that is aware of itself to the point of responding to the beckoning or to the command of sorcerers.
The act of using intent they call intending. By means of intending, sorcerers are capable, they say, of unleashing not only all the human possibilities of perceiving, but all the human possibilities of action. They maintain that through intent, the most far-fetched formulations can be realized.
The limit of sorcerers' capability of perceiving is called the band of man, meaning that there is a boundary that marks human capabilities as dictated by the human organism. These boundaries are not merely the traditional boundaries of orderly thought, but the boundaries of the totality of resources locked within the human organism. Sorcerers believe that these resources are never used, but are kept in situ by preconceived ideas about our limitations, limitations that have nothing to do with our actual potential.
The point that sorcerers present is that since perceiving energy as it flows in the universe is not arbitrary or idiosyncratic, seers witness formulations of energy that happen by themselves and are not a product of interpretation on our part. Sorcerers declare that the perception of such formulations is, in itself and by itself, the key that releases the locked-in human potential that never enters into play. Such formulations of energy, since they happen, by definition, independently of man's volition or intervention, are capable of creating a new subjectivity. Being cohesive and homogeneous for all human beings that see, these energy formulations are, for sorcerers, the source of a new intersubjectivity.
According to sorcerers, the subjectivity of everyday life is dictated by the syntax of our language.
It necessitates guidelines, and teachers, who, by means of well-placed traditional commands that seem to be the product of our historical growth, begin to direct us, from the instant of our birth, to perceive the world. Sorcerers maintain that the intersubjectivity resulting from this syntax-guided rearing is, naturally, ruled by syntactical description-commands. They give as an example the statement, "I am in love," a feeling which is shared intersubjectively by all of us, and which, they point out, is released upon hearing that description-command.
Sorcerers are convinced that, on the other hand, the subjectivity resulting from perceiving energy directly as it flows in the universe is not guided by syntax. It does not necessitate guidelines and teachers to point out this or that by commentary or command. The resulting intersubjectivity among sorcerers exists by means of something which they call power, which is the sum total of all the intending brought together by an individual. Since such intersubjectivity is not elicited through the aid of syntactical commands or solicitations, sorcerers claim that this subjectivity is a direct byproduct of the total human organism at work, fixed on one single purpose : intending direct communication.
In summation, intentionality or intending, for sorcerers, is the pragmatic utilization of intent, the force that expedites everything. For them, intent is a pragmatic channel for attainment, and intentionality is the means to use it. It is not merely, as it is with the philosophical discourse of the Western man, the intellectual account of the growth of human awareness from basic sensations to complex processes that can produce knowledge. Given that sorcerers are thoroughly pragmatic in their approach to life and living, intentionality is an active affair. It entails a posture on the part of sorcerers that they describe as a stand of power. From this stand, they can actually call intent. In this sense, intentionality becomes the [actual page 4/12] completely conscious act of intending.
Sorcerers explain that these phenomena are actualized when the total human organism, in all its potential, is engaged in one single, all-inclusive purpose : intending.
Taking sorcerers' capacity to perceive energy directly as a point of departure, it is possible to conceive a new area for philosophical discourse. The impediment to the realization of this possibility has been, so far, the lack of interest on the part of the sorcery practitioners in conceptualizing their knowledge and their practices. Sorcerers claim that after reaching certain thresholds of perception, which are like entrances into other realms of existence, the interest of practitioners is focused solely on the practical aspect of their knowledge.
Because of this bent towards pragmatism, sorcerers can seriously contemplate the transformation of philosophy and philosophical inquiry into a realm of practicalities by incorporating in it a more inclusive view of human potential. They consider that the direct perception of energy is then the usher that would lead us into a new subjectivity, free from syntax. Sorcerers propose that this new subjectivity is the way to reach intent, through the active process of intentionality.
The Warrior's Way as a Philosophical-Practical Paradigm
One premise of the warriors' way will be discussed in every one of our issues.
WE ARE PERCEPTORS. This is the first premise o the warriors' way, according to the form in which don Juan Matus taught it to his disciples. It seems to be a tautological statement: the reassertion of the obvious; something like saying a bald man is one that doesn't have hair, but it is not tautology, what we have here. In the sorcerers' world, it refers to the fact that we are organisms whose basic orientation is perceiving. We are perceptors, and that, according to sorcerers, is the only source from which we could establish our stability and obtain our orientation in the world.
Don Juan Matus told his disciples that human being as organisms perform a stupendous maneuver which, unfortunately, gives perception a false front; they take the influx of sheer energy and turn it into sensory data, which they interpret following a strict system of interpretation which sorcerers call the human form. This magical act of interpreting pure energy gives rise to the false front: the peculiar conviction on our part that our interpretation system is all that exists. Don Juan explained that a tree as we know tree is more interpretation than perception. He said that for us to deal with tree, all we need is a cursory glance that tells us hardly anything. The rest is a phenomena which he described as the calling of intent: the intent of tree, that is to say, the interpretation of sensory data pertaining to this specific phenomena that we call tree.
And just like this example, the whole world for us is composed of an endless repertoire of interpretations where our senses play a minimal role. In other words, only our visual sense touches the energy influx which is the universe, and it does so only minimally. Sorcerers maintain that the majority of our perceptual activity is interpretation ; they maintain that human beings are the kind of organisms that need a minimal input of sheer perception in order to create their world or, that they perceive only enough to serve their interpretation system. To assert that we are perceptors is an attempt on the part of sorcerers to push us back to our origin; to push us back to what should be our original stand : perceiving.
In the previous issue of this journal, the first premise of the warriors' way was stated as : We Are Perceptors. Perceptors was used in place of perceivers. This was not an error, but the desire to extend the use of the Spanish language term perceptor which is very active, in order to connote in English the urgency of being a perceiver. In this journal of applied hermeneutics, the problem of enhancing the meaning of a term by propping it with a foreign cognate is going to arise quite often ; sometimes even to the point of forcing the creation of a new term ; not as a show of snobbery, but because of the inherent need to describe some sensation or experience or perception that has either never been described before, or if it has, it has escaped our knowledge. The implication is that our knowledge, no matter how adequate it might be, is limited.
The second premise of the warriors' way is called WE ARE WHAT OUR INCEPTION IS. This is one of the most difficult premises of the warriors' way ; not so much because of its complexity or rarity, but because it is nearly impossible for any of us to admit certain conditions pertaining to ourselves, conditions which sorcerers have been aware of over the millennia.
The first time don Juan Matus began to explain this premise, I thought he was joking, or that he was merely trying to shock me. He was teasing me at the time about my stated concern with finding love in life. He had asked me once what were my aims in life. Since I couldn't come up with any intelligible answer, I replied to him half jokingly that I wanted to find love.
"The search for love, for the people who reared you, meant having sex," don Juan had said to me on that occasion. "Why don't you call a spade a spade ? You are in search of sexual satisfaction, true ?"
I denied it, of course. But the topic remained with don Juan as a source for teasing me. Every time I saw him, he would find or construct the proper context to ask me about my search for love, i.e.
The first time he discussed the second premise of the warriors' way he began by teasing me, but suddenly he became very serious.
"I recommend that you change venues," he said, and abstain totally from continuing your search.
It will lead you nowhere at best ; at worst, it will lead you to your downfall."
"But why don Juan, why must I give up sex?" I asked in a plaintive voice.
"Because you are a bored fuck," he said.
"What is that, don Juan? What do you mean, bored fuck?"
"One of the most serious things warriors do," don Juan explained, "is to search, confirm, and realize the nature of their inception. Warriors must know as accurately as they can whether their parents were sexually excited when they conceived them, or whethertheywere merely fulfilling a conjugal function. Civilized lovemaking is very, very boring to the participants. Sorcerers believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that children conceived in a civilized fashion are the products of a very bored . . . fuck. I don't know what else to call it. If I used another word, it would be a euphemism, and it would lose its punch."
After being told this incessantly, I began to ponder seriously what he was talking about. I thought I had understood him. Then doubt crept up on me every time and I found myself asking the same question : "What is a bored fuck, don Juan ?" I suppose I unconsciously wanted him to repeat what he had already said dozens of times.
"Don't begrudge my repetition," don Juan used to say to me every time. "It'll take years of pounding before you admit that you are a bored fuck. So, I'll repeat to you again : If there is no excitation at the moment of conception, the child that comes out of such a union will be intrinsically, sorcerers say, just as he was conceived. Since there is no real excitation between the spouses, but perhaps merely mental desire, the child must bear the consequences of their act.
Sorcerers assert that such children are needy, weak, unstable, dependent. Those, they say, are the children that never, ever leave home ; they stay put for life. The advantage of such beings is that they are extremely consistent in the midst of their weakness. They could do the same job for a lifetime without ever feeling the urge to change. If they happen to have a good, sturdy model as children, they grow to be very efficient, but if they fail to have a good pattern, there is no end to their anguish, turmoil and instability
"Sorcerers say with great sadness that the enormous bulk of humanity was conceived like that.
This is the reason we hear endlessly about the urge to find something that we don't have. We search, for the duration of our lives, according to sorcerers, for that original excitation that we were deprived of. That's why I said that you are a bored fuck. I see anguish and discontent written all over you. But don't feel bad. I am also a bored fuck. There are very few people, in my knowledge, who are not."
"What does this mean to me, don Juan?" I asked him once, genuinely alarmed.
Somehow don Juan had hit my inner core directly with every one of his words. I was exactly what he had described as the bored fuck reared in a bad pattern. Finally one day, it all boiled down to a crucial statement and question.
"I admit I'm a bored fuck. What can I do?" I said.
Don Juan laughed uproariously, tears coming to his eyes. "I know, I know," he said, patting me on the back, trying to comfort me, I suppose. "To begin with, don't call yourself a bored fuck." He looked at me with such a serious, concerned expression that I began to take notes.
"Write everything down," he said encouragingly. "The first positive step is to use just the initials : B.F." I wrote this down before I realized the joke. I stopped and looked at him. He was veritably about to split his sides laughing. In Spanish, bored fuck is cojida aburrida, C. A., just like the initials of my birth name, Carlos Aranha.
When his laughter had subsided, don Juan seriously delineated a plan of action to offset the negative conditions of my inception. He laughed uproariously as he described me as not only an average B.F., but as one that had an extra charge of nervousness.
"In the warriors' path," he said, "nothing is finished. Nothing is forever. If your parents didn't make you as they should have, remake yourself."
He explained that the first maneuver of the sorcerers' kit is to become a miser of energy. Since a B.F does not have any energy, it is useless to waste the little bit that he has in patterns that are not adequate to the amount of energy available. Don Juan recommended that I abstain from engaging in patterns of behavior that demanded energy I did not have. Abstinence was the answer, not because this was morally correct or desirable, but because it was energetically the only way for me to store enough energy to be on par with those who were conceived under conditions of tremendous excitation.
The patterns of behavior he was talking about included everything that I did, from the way I tied my shoes, or ate, to the way I worried about my selfpresentation, or the way I pursued my daily activity, especially when it referred to courtship. Don Juan insisted that I abstain from sexual intercourse, because I had no energy for it.
"All you accomplish in your sexual foragings," he declared, "is to get yourself into states of profound dehydration. You get circles under your eyes ; your hair is falling off ; you have weird spots on your nails ; your teeth are yellow ; and your eyes are tearing all the time. Relationships with women cause you such nervousness that you devour your food without chewing it, so you're always plugged up."
Don Juan enjoyed himself immensely, telling me all this, which added enormously to my chagrin.
His last remark was, however, like the act of throwing a lifesaver to me.
"Sorcerers say," he went on, "that it is possible to turn a B.F into something inconceivable. It is just a matter of intending it ; I mean, intendi ng the inconceivable. To do this, to intend the inconceivable, one must use anything that is available, anything at all."
"What is 'anything at all,' don Juan ?" I asked, genuinely touched.
"Anything is anything. A sensation, a memory, a wish, an urge ; perhaps fear, desperation, hope ; perhaps curiosity"
I didn't quite understand this last part. But I understood it sufficiently to begin my struggle to get out from the underpinnings of a civilized conception. A lifetime later, the Blue Scout wrote a poem that explained it to me in full.
The Conception of a B.F by the Blue Scout
She was made in an Arizonan trailer,
after a night of playing poker
and drinking beer with friends.
His foot got caught
in the torn lace of her nightie.
She smelled like a mixture of tobacco smoke
and Aqua Net hair spray
He was thinking of his bowling score
when he found himself erect.
She was wondering how this life
could possibly last a lifetime.
She wanted to go to the bathroom
when she found herself pinned down.
He stifled a belch as she was conceived,
but luckily for her,
the two were in the desert,
and at that moment,
a coyote howled,
sending a chill of longing
through the woman's womb.
That chill was all
she brought into this world.
The third premise of the warriors' way is:PERCEPTION MUST BE INTENDED IN ITS COMPLETENESS. Don Juan said that perception is perception, and that it is void of goodness or evil. He presented this premise as one of the most important components of the warriors' way, the essential arrangement that all sorcerers have to yield to. He argued that since the basic premise of the warriors' way is that we are perceivers, whatever we perceive has to be catalogued as perception per se, without inflicting any value on it, positive or negative.
My natural inclination was to insist that good and evil had to be inherent conditions of the universe; they had to be essences, not attributes. Whenever I presented my arguments to him, which were unwitting counterstatements, he would point out that my arguments lacked scope, that they were dictated merely by the whims of my intellect and by my affiliation to certain syntactical arrangements.
"Yours are only words," he used to say, "words arranged in a pleasing order ; an order that conforms to the views of your time. What I give you are not merely words, but precise references from my book of navigation."
The first time he mentioned his book of navigation, I was very taken with what I thought was a metaphor, and I wanted to know more about it. Everything don Juan said to me, in those days, I took as a metaphor. I found his metaphors extremely poetic and never missed an opportunity to comment on them.
"A book of navigation! What a beautiful metaphor, don Juan," I said to him on that occasion.
"Metaphor, my eye!" he said. "A sorcerer's book of navigation is not like any of your arrangements of words."
"What is it then, don Juan?"
"It is a log. It is a record of all the things sorcerers perceive on their journeys to infinity."
"Is it a record of what all the sorcerers of your lineage perceived, don Juan?"
"Of course! What else can it be?"
"Do you keep it in your memory alone?" When I asked that question, I was thinking, naturally, about oral history, or the ability of people to keep accounts in the form of stories, especially people who lived in times prior to written language, or people who live on the margins of civilization in modern times. In don Juan's case, I thought that a record of that nature had to be of monumental length.
Don Juan seemed to be aware of my reasoning. He chuckled before he answered me. "It is not an encyclopedia!" he said. "It is a log that is precise and short. I will acquaint you with all its points, and you will see that there is little that you or anyone else could add, if anything at all."
"I cannot conceive how it could be short, don Juan, if it is the accumulation of the knowledge of all your lineage," I insisted.
"In infinity, sorcerers find few essential points. The permutations of those essential points are infinite, but as I hope you will find out someday, those permutations are not important. Energy is extremely precise."
"But how can sorcerers differentiate the permutations from the essential points, don Juan ?"
"Sorcerers don't focus on the permutations. By the time they are ready to travel into infinity, they are also ready to perceive energy as it flows in the universe, and more important than anything else yet, they are capable of reinterpreting the flow of energy without the intervention of the mind."
When don Juan voiced, for the first time, the possibility of interpreting sensory data without the aid of the mind, I found it impossible to conceive. Don Juan was definitely aware of my train of thought.
"You are trying to understand all this in terms of your reason," he said, "and that's an impossible task. Accept the simple premise that perception is perception, void of complexities and contradictions. The book of navigation I am telling you about consists of what sorcerers perceive when they are in a state of total internal silence."
"What sorcerers perceive in a state of total silence is seeing , isn't it ?" I asked.
"No," he said firmly, looking me right in the eyes. "Seeing is perceiving energy as it flows in the universe, and it certainly is the beginning of sorcery, but what sorcerers are concerned with to the point of exhaustion is perceiving. As I have already told you, perceiving, for a sorcerer, is interpreting the direct flow of energy without the influence of the mind. This is why the book of navigation is so sparse."
Don Juan then outlined a complete sorcery scheme, even though I didn't understand a word of it. It took me a lifetime to come around to handling what he said to me at that time :
"When one is free from the mind," he said - something that was more than incomprehensible to me - "the interpretation of sensory data is no longer an affair taken for granted. One's total body contributes to it ; the body as a conglomerate of energy fields. The most important part of this interpretation is the contribution of the energy body, the body's twin in terms of energy ; an energy configuration that is the mirror image of the body as a luminous sphere. The interplay between the two bodies results in interpretation which cannot be good or bad, right or wrong, but an indivisible unit that has value only for those who journey into infinity."
"Why couldn't it have value in our daily life, don Juan ?" I asked.
"Because when the two sides of man, his body and his energy body, are joined together, the miracle of freedom happens. Sorcerers say that at that moment, we realize that for reasons extraneous to us, we have been detained in our journey of awareness. This interrupted journey begins again at that moment of joining.
"An essential premise of the warriors' way is, therefore, that perception ought to be intended in its completeness ; that is to say, the reinterpretation of direct energy as it flows in the universe must be made by man in possession of his two essential parts : body and energy body. This reinterpretation, for sorcerers, is completeness and, as you will understand someday, it must be intended."
The fourth unit of the warriors' way is THE ENERGY BODY. Don Juan Matus explained that, since time immemorial, sorcerers have given the name of energy body to a special configuration of energy which belongs to each human being individually. He also called this configuration the dreaming body, or the double or theother. His preference, in accordance with a sorcerers' agreement to emphasize abstract concepts, was to call it the energy body. But he also told me about a secret fun name for the energy body, which was used as a euphemism, a nickname, a term of endearment, a friendly reference to something incomprehensible and veiled : que ni te jodan -- which in English means, "they shouldn't bother you, energy body, or else."
Don Juan formally explained the energy body as a conglomerate of energy fields which are the mirror image of the energy fields that make up the human body when it is seen directly as energy.
Don Juan said that for sorcerers, the physical body and the energy body are one single unit. He further explained that sorcerers believe that the physical body involves both the body and the mind as we know them, and that the physical body and the energy body are the only counterbalanced energy configurations in our human realm. Since there is no such thing as a dualism between body and mind, the only possible dualism that exists is between the physical body and the energy body.
The contention of sorcerers is that perceiving is a process of interpreting sensory data, but that every human being has the capacity to perceive energy directly, that is to say, without processing it through an interpretation system. As it has already been stated, when human beings are perceived in this fashion, they have the appearance of a sphere of luminosity. Sorcerers affirm that this sphere of luminosity is a conglomerate of energy fields held together by a mysterious binding force.
"What do you mean by a conglomerate of energy fields?" I asked don Juan when he first told me about this.
"Energy fields compressed together by some strange agglutinating force," he replied. "One of the arts of sorcerers is to beckon the energy body, which is ordinarily very far away from its counterpart, the physical body, and bring it closer so it can begin to preside energetically over everything the physical body does."
"if you want to be very exact," don Juan went on, "you can say that when the energy body is very close to the physical body, a sorcerer sees two luminous spheres, almost superimposed on each other. To have our energy twin close by would be our natural state, were it not for the fact that something pushes our energy body away from our physical body, starting at the very moment of our birth."
The sorcerers of don Juan's lineage put an enormous emphasis on the discipline required to bring the energy body closer to the physical body. Don Juan explained that once the energy body is within a certain energetic range, which varies for each individual, its proximity allows sorcerers the opportunity of forging the energy body into the other or the double : another being, solid and three-dimensional, exactly like themselves.
Following the same practices, sorcerers can change their solid, three-dimensional physical bodies into a perfect replica of the energy body ; that is to say, a conglomerate of pure energy fields which are invisible to the normal eye, as all energy is ; an ethereal charge of energy capable of going, for example, through a wall.
"Is it possible to transform the body to such an extent, don Juan? Or are you merely describing a mythical proposition?" I asked, amazed and bewildered when I heard these statements.
"There's nothing mythical about sorcerers," he responded. "Sorcerers are pragmatic beings, and what they describe is always something quite sober and down-to-earth. Our handicap is to be unwilling to stray away from our linearity. This makes us into disbelievers who are killing themselves to believe the damnedest things one can imagine."
"When you talk like this, don Juan, you always mean me," I said. "What am I killing myself to believe ?"
"You are killing yourself to believe, for instance, that anthropology is meaningful or that it exists.
Just like a religious man kills himself to believe that God is a man who resides up in heaven and that the devil is a cosmic evildoer who has taken residence down in hell."
It was don Juan's style to make cutting but astoundingly accurate remarks about my person in the world. The more cutting and direct they were, the greater their effect on me and the greater my chagrin upon hearing them. Another of his didactic devices was to give extremely pertinent information about sorcerers' concepts in a mood that was light, but deeply critical of my compulsion to commit him to linear explanations. I asked him once, while discussing the topic of the energy body, one of my convoluted questions :
"Through what processes," I said, "can sorcerers transform their ethereal energy bodies into solid, three-dimensional bodies, and their physical bodies into ethereal energy, capable of going through a wall?"
Don Juan, adopting a professorial seriousness, raised his finger and said : "Through the volitional -- although not always conscious -- yet quite within our capabilities, but not altogether within our immediate ability -- use of the binding force that ties the physical and the energy bodies together, as two conglomerates of energy fields."
Stated in the vein of teasing, his explanation was nonetheless an extremely accurate phenomenological description of processes inconceivable to our linear minds, yet continually accomplished by our hidden energetic resources. Sorcerers maintain that the link between the physical body and the energy body is a mysterious agglutinating force which we use incessantly without ever being aware of it.
It has been stated that when sorcerers perceive the body as a conglomerate of luminous energy fields, they perceive a sphere the size of both arms extended laterally and the height of the arms extended upwardly. They also perceive that in this sphere exists something they call the assemblage point ; a spot of even more intense luminosity, the size of a tennis ball, located towards the back, at the height of the shoulder blades, at an arm's length away from them.
Sorcerers consider the assemblage point to be the place where the flow of direct energy is turned into sensory data and interpreted as the world of everyday life. Don Juan said that the assemblage point, aside from doing all this, also has a most important secondary function: it is the linking connection between the physical body and the assemblage point of the energy body. He described such a connection as being analogous to two magnetized circles, each the size of a tennis ball, coming together, attracted by forces of intent.
He also said that when the physical body and the energy body are not joined, the connection between them is an ethereal line, which sometimes is so tenuous that it seems not to exist. Don Juan was certain that the energy body is pushed farther and farther away as one grows older, and that death comes as the result of the severance of that tenuous connection.
Queries About the Warrior's Way
WHO ARE THE CHACMOOLS ?
One of the questions that has been asked with remarkable insistence has to do with the three persons who have been teaching the seminars and workshops so far : Kylie Lundahl, Reni Murez and Nyei Murez. They have been called "the chacmools." This is a term taken from the name given to some massive human figures found in the pyramids of Tula and Yucatan in Mexico.
Archeologists have classified those massive figures of reclining men as incense burners set at the doors of the pyramids, but don Juan Matus believed that they were representations of warrior guardians that protected the pyramids as sites of power.
These figures were first encountered in the Mayan town of Chacmool, hence the name "chacmool." The three persons mentioned above fit into this general category of warrior guardian.
However, it is erroneous to believe that the three of them by themselves constitute this category of warrior. The three of them are the ones on which has rested, so far, the responsibility of sustaining the idea of a warrior guardian. Any one of us who accepts the responsibility of guarding becomes, ipso facto, a chacmool. Carlos Castaneda, as the nominal head of our enterprise of freedom, is the chacmool of all of us, and by the same measure, so is Carol Tiggs.
On Kylie Lundahl, Reni Murez and Nyei Murez falls, nevertheless, the burden of having been the first ones to apply to dayly living some movements called magical passes discovered and developed by shamans who lived in Mexico in ancient times ; on these three women falls also the joy and the honor of having brought those magical pa sses to the public in general. And the act of bringing them out should have liberated them; it should have further cut their ties with the self- importance that rules the acts of everyday life. Ideally, Tensegrity should bring freedom to its practitioners, and the three chacmools known to the participants in our seminars and workshops should profit from this situation. However, the novelty of our bringing out for public consumption something so secretive as the magical passes has been a pitfall we had no means to anticipate.
After having said thank you and good-bye, in the seminar and workshop of December 9 and 10 of 1995, to their audience, the three of them will head for another strata of the multi-leveled affair that is the warriors' path. They will part to test their discipline against indeterminable odds.
About Tensegrity and its Effects
Here are two questions that we would like to address ourselves to in this issue. The first is : When am I going to see? I have been doing Tensegrity steadily, and I have been recapitulating as much as I can. What's next?
To see energy as it flows in the universe has been the primary goal of sorcerers since the beginning of their quest. For thousands of years, according to don Juan, warriors have endeavored to break the effect of our interpretation system and be able to perceive energy directly. In order to accomplish this, they developed, over the millennia, very exigent steps. We don't want to call them "praxes" or "procedures," but rather, "maneuvers." The warriors' way, in this sense, is a sustained maneuver designed to buttress warriors so they might fulfill the goal of seeing energy directly.
As the various premises of the warriors' way are discussed in each issue of this journal in the section called The Warriors' Way Viewed as a Philosophical-Practical Paradigm, it will become obvious that the sorcerers' efforts have been and are directed at obliterating the predominance of self-importance, as the only means to suspend the effects of our interpretation system. Sorcerers have a description of suspending that effect ; they call it stopping the world.
When they reach this state, they see energy directly.
The reason don Juan advised refraining from focusing on praxes and procedures is because, along with doing Tensegrity or recapitulating or following the warriors' path, practitioners must intend their change ; they must intend stopping the world. So, it is not merely following the steps that counts ; what is of supreme importance is intending the effect of following the steps.
Are you doing something to me through Tensegrity ? Today, I felt something moving on my back and I am afraid. I have stopped doing Tensegrity until you clarify this point.
It has been our experience that the most rational people, such as lawyers, for instance, or psychologists, have asked this type of question. Some years ago, Florinda Donner-Grau made the following statement in Spanish to one of her friends, a very serious, cultured woman : "Eres tan linda que te queremos robar." "You are so darling that we want to steal you." In Spanish, this locution is thoroughly correct as an expression of endearment.
Florinda did not see her friend until a year later, when she announced to Florinda that she had to see her on her psychiatrist's advice. She wanted to confront Florinda and her cohorts, after a year of analysis spurred by obsessive, recurring dreams in which an inhuman force was trying to take her away from her family and her close friends. In her mind, that inhuman force was, of course, Florinda DonnerGrau and her cohorts.
Nothing of this is new to us. Every one of us has had the same feelings and asked the same question to don Juan Matus in varying degrees of coarseness. We all felt something moving on our backs. Don Juan said that it was a thankful muscle which had been fed with oxygen for the first time ever, after we had done the magical passes. He assured every one of us, self-important complainers, that he needed us as he needed a hole in the head. He reminded us that he had daily appointments with the infinite ; appointments that he had to attend in a state of profound ease and purity, and that influencing others was not in any way part of that needed ease and purity. He pointed out to us that the idea that we were being manipulated by some evil force that had us by the neck, like guinea pigs, was a product of our lifetime habit of relishing being victims. He used to chide us in a mocking tone of despair, "He's doing it to me, and I can't help myself."
Don Juan's recommendation to us, regarding our fears of being unduly influenced, was a sort of parody of the political turmoil of the sixties, when the following statement was an axiom of the political activists of the time: "In case of doubt, burn." Don Juan modified it to : "In case of doubt, be impeccable."
Nowadays, we understand don Juan's position when he said, "It is inconceivable to fulfill, loaded with misgivings, misconceptions and wrongdoings, the true goal of sorcery : a journey to infinity." When we hear our old complaints voiced by someone else, our act of impeccability is to assure the complainer that we are in search of freedom and that freedom is free ; free in the sense that it is gratis and free in the sense of not having the staggering grip of unwarranted and obsessive self- importance.
What is the point of doing Tensegrity?
What is the point of doing Tensegrity, recapitulating, doing all the things that you propose? What is the gain? I am a middle-aged woman with three children of college age; my marriage is not that stable ; my weight is too high. I don't know what to do.
Again, just as in other cases I have related before, this is not a new question to me. I have voiced my own version of it countless times to don Juan Matus. There were two levels of abstraction to which he referred every time he answered a question like this posed by me or any other of his disciples - I know that all of them asked the same question at one time or another, in the same mood of despair, dejection, and uselessness.
On the first level, the level of practicalities, don Juan would point out that the execution of the magical passes, by itself, led the practitioner to an incomparable state of wellbeing.
"The physical and mental prowess that results from a systematic performance of the magical passes," he used to say, "is so evident that any discussion about their effects is irrelevant. All one needs to do is to practice without stopping to consider the possible gain or uselessness of it all."
I was in no way different than the rest of don Juan's disciples, or the person who posed this question to me. I felt and believed that I was not qualified for the warriors' way because my flaws were exorbitant. When don Juan would ask me what my flaws were, I would find myself mumbling, incapable of describing those flaws that afflicted me so deeply. I settled it all by saying to him that I had a sensation of defeat that seemed to be the mark of my entire life. I saw myself as a champion of performing to perfection idiotic things that never took me anywhere. This feeling was expressed in doubts and tribulations, and in an endless necessity to justify everything I did. I knew that I was weak and undisciplined in areas that don Juan counted as essential. On the other hand, I was very disciplined in areas that held no interest for him. My sense of defeatism was a most natural consequence of this contradiction. When I asserted and reasserted my doubts to him, he pointed out that obsessive thinking about oneself was one of the most tiring things he knew.
"To think only about oneself," he said to me once, "produces a strange fatigue; a most overwhelming, drowning fatigue."
As years went by, I came to understand and fully accept don Juan's assertion. My conclusion, as well as the conclusion of all his disciples, is that the first thing one has to do is to become aware of the obsessive concern with the self. Another of our conclusions has been that the only means to have enough energy to draw away from this concern - something that cannot be attained intellectually - is by practicing the magical passes. Such a practice generates energy, and energy accomplishes wonders.
If the performance of the magical passes is coupled with what sorcerers call the recapitulation, which is the systematic viewing and reviewing of one's life experiences, one's chances of getting out from the underpinnings of self-reflection are increased manyfold.
All this is on the level of practicalities. The other level that don Juan referred to, he called the magical realm : the sorcerers' conviction that we are indeed magical beings ; that the fact that we are going to die makes us powerful and decisive. Sorcerers indeed believe that if we strictly follow the warriors' path, we could use our death as a guiding force in order to become beings that are going to die. It is their belief that beings that are going to die are magical by definition and that they do not die the death brought about by fatigue, and wear and tear, but that they continue on a journey of awareness. The force of the awareness that they are going to die of fatigue and wear and tear if they do not reclaim their magical nature makes them unique and resourceful.
"At a given moment in our lives, if we so desire," don Juan said to me once, "that magical uniqueness and power comes to our lives ever so gently, as if it were shy." The Blue Scout wrote a poem once that has seemed to me always the most appropriate depiction of recovering our magical aspect :
Angels' Flight by the Blue Scout There are angels who are destined to fly downward into the dark mists.
Often, they get caught there, and for a time, they lose their wings and they are lost, sometimes for nearly a lifetime.
It doesn't really matter, they are still angels ; angels never die.
They know that the mist will clear someday, if only for a moment.
And they know that they will be reclaimed then, at last, by a golden sky.
What's going to happen to me?
There has been a series of questions posed by different people on the same topic. This concern could be classified in general terms as, "What's going to happen to me?" People have asked me this question personally, they have written to me about it, or I have heard about this worry through third persons.
The following question was asked in this vein: "I understand that you are trying to gather a mass of people, because your original sorcerers' plan failed. I am hooked by what you do. What do you plan to do with me?"
This is a question that should be addressed to a guru, to a spiritual teacher. I see myself as neither a guru nor a spiritual teacher, but as someone who is trying to fit a definition given by don Juan.
He was referring to my role in relation to the rest of his disciples, my cohorts, when he said :
"All you can aspire to be is a counselor. You must point out an error if you see one; you must advise about the proper way to do something, because you will be viewing everything from the vantage point of total silence. Sorcerers call this a sight from the bridge. Sorcerers see the water - life - as it rushes under the bridge. Their eyes are, so to speak, right at the point where the water goes under the bridge. They cannot see ahead. They cannot see behind. They can see only the now."
I have made the utmost effort, and I will continue to do so, to fulfill this role. When a person is interested and says, "I am hooked," I don't dare believe that that person is hooked onto me. To have a personal link with a teacher is a response that all of us have learned and practiced. It stems, no doubt, from, being personally attached to Mother or Father, or both, or to someone else who fulfills that role in the family or in our circle of friends.
If I have given, in my books, the impression that don Juan was personally related to me, it was my own unconscious misinterpretation. He worked incessantly, from the moment I met him, to exterminate this drive in me. He called it neediness and explained that it is developed and sponsored by the social order, and that neediness is the most obscene manner of creating and nourishing a slave's mentality. He said that if I believed that I was "hooked," I was hooked not to him personally, but to the idea of freedom, an idea which sorcerers had spent generations formulating.
With regard to the original plan failing, all I can [actual page 7/12] say is that I have indeed stated that don Juan's lineage terminates with me and don Juan's other three disciples, but this is not the indication of a failure of any plan. It's simply a situation which sorcerers explain by saying: "it is a natural condition of any order to come to an end."
The fact that I have said that I would like to reach as many people as possible and create a mass of consensus is a consequence of realizing that we are the end of a most interesting line of thoughts and actions. We do feel that we are the undeserving recipients of a gigantic task : the task of explaining that the sorcerers' world is not an illusion, nor is it wishful thinking.
Another question is: "You had a teacher. How can I advance without one? I worry because I don't have a don Juan."
To worry is a bona fide way of interacting in our social milieu, thus, we worry about everything.
To "worry" is a syntactical category, similar to saying, "I don't understand." To worry doesn't mean to be preoccupied with something ; it's simply a way of underlining a topic that has importance to us. To say that you worry because there is not a don Juan available is already a declaration of possible defeat. It is as if that statement opens a way out which remains ready for use at any time.
Don Juan himself told me that all the force he put into guiding me was a mandatory procedure set up by the sorcerers' tradition. He had to prepare me for continuing his lineage. Throughout the years, there have been scores of people who traveled to Mexico to look for don Juan. They took the narration in my books as a description of an open possibility. That is again my fault. It is not that I wasn't careful, but rather, that I had to abstain from making bombastic claims that I was in any way special.
Don Juan was interested in perpetuating his lineage, not in teaching his knowledge. I have already made this point, but it is important that I stress it repeatedly : don Juan was not a teacher at all. He was a sorcerer passing on his knowledge to his disciples, exclusively for the continuation of his lineage.
Since his lineage comes to an end with me and his other three disciples, he himself proposed that I write about his knowledge. And it is precisely because his line comes to an end that his disciples have opened the otherwise closed door to the sorcerers' world, and are now endeavoring to explain what sorcery is and what sorcerers do.
Sorcerers say that the only possible teacher or guide that we can have is the spirit, meaning an abstract, impersonal force that exists in the universe, conscious of itself. Perhaps it could be called by another name, such as awareness, consciousness, cognition, life force. Sorcerers believe that it permeates the total universe, and can guide them, and that all they need to reach this force is inner silence ; thus their assertion that our sole worthwhile link is with this force, and not with a person.
Another question asked quite often is : "How come you never talked about Tensegrity in your books, and why are you talking about it now?" I had never talked about Tensegrity before because Tensegrity is don Juan's disciples' version of some movements called magical passes, developed by shamans who lived in Mexico in ancient times, and who were the initiators of don Juan's lineage. Tensegrity is based on those magical passes, and it stems from an agreement reached by don Juan Matus' four disciples to amalgamate the four different lines of movements taught to each of them individually to fit their physical and mental configurations.
Following don Juan's request, I have abstained throughout all these years from mentioning the magical passes. The highly secretive manner in which they were taught to me entailed an agreement on my part to surround them with the same secrecy. The closest I ever came to mentioning them was when I wrote about the way don Juan "cracked his joints." In a joking manner he suggested that I refer to the magical passes, which he practiced incessantly, as "the way in which he cracked his joints." Every time he [actual page 8/12] executed one of those passes, his joints used to make a cracking sound. He used this as a device to entice my interest and to hide the true significance of what he was doing.
When he made me aware of the magical passes by explaining to me what they really were, I had already been trying compulsively to replicate the sound his joints made. By arousing my competitiveness, he "hooked me," so to speak, to learn a series of movements. I never achieved that cracking sound, which was a blessing in disguise because the muscles and tendons of the arms and back should never be stressed to that point. Don Juan was born with a facility to crack the joints of his arms and back, just like some people have the facility to crack their knuckles.
When don Juan and the rest of his companion sorcerers formally taught me the magical passes, and discussed their configurations and effects, they did it in accordance with the strictest procedures ; procedures which demanded utmost concentration and were cushioned in total secrecy and ritualistic behavior. The ritualistic part of those teachings was quickly cast aside by don Juan, but the secretive part was made even more emphatic.
As previously stated, Tensegrity is the amalgamation of four lines of magical passes which had to be transformed from highly specialized movements that fit specific individuals into a generic form that would fit everybody. The reason why Tensegrity, the modern version of the ancient magical passes, is being taught now is because don Juan's four disciples agreed that, since their role is no longer that of perpetuating don Juan's lineage of sorcerers, they had to lighten their burden, and do away with the secrecy about something which has been of incommensurable value to them for their well-being.
WHAT IS TENSEGRITY?
Another question that has been asked consistently is "What is Tensegrity ?" Tensegrity is the modernized version of some movements called "magical passes" developed by Indian shamans who lived in Mexico in times prior to the Spanish Conquest.
"Times prior to the Spanish Conquest" is a term used by don Juan Matus, a Mexican Indian sorcerer who introduced Carlos Castaneda, Carol Tiggs, Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar to the cognitive world of shamans who lived in Mexico, according to Don Juan, between 7000 and 10000 years ago.
Don Juan explained to his four disciples that those shamans, or sorcerers, as he called them, discovered through practices that he could not fathom, that it is possible for human beings to perceive energy directly as it flows in the universe. In other words, those sorcerers maintained, according to don Juan, that any one of us can do away, for a moment, with our system of turning energy inflow into sensory data pertinent to the kind of organism that we are (in our case, we are apes). Turning the inflow of energy into sensory data creates, sorcerers affirm, a system of interpretation that turns the flowing energy of the universe into the world of everyday life that we know.
Don Juan further explained that once those sorcerers of ancient times had established the validity of perceiving energy directly, which they called seeing, they proceeded to refine it by applying it to themselves, meaning that they perceived one another, whenever they wanted it, as a conglomerate of energy fields. Human beings perceived in such a fashion appear to the seer as gigantic luminous spheres. The size of these luminous spheres is the breadth of the extended arms.
When human beings are perceived as conglomerates of energy fields, a point of intense luminosity can be perceived at the height of the shoulder blades an arm's length away from them, on the back.
The seers of ancient times who discovered this point of luminosity called it "the assemblage point," because they concluded that it is there that perception is assembled. They noticed, aided by their seeing, that on that spot of luminosity, the location of which is homogeneous for mankind, converge zillions of energy fields in the form of luminous filaments which constitute the universe at large. Upon converging there, they become sensory data, which is utilizable by human beings as organisms. This utilization of energy turned into sensory data was regarded by those sorcerers as an act of pure magic : energy at large transformed by the assemblage point into a veritable, all- inclusive world in which human beings as organisms can live and die. The act of transforming the inflow of pure energy into the perceivable world was attributed by those sorcerers to a system of interpretation. Their shattering conclusion, shattering to them, of course, and perhaps to some of us who have the energy to be attentive, was that the assemblage point was not only the spot where perception was assembled by turning the inflow of pure energy into sensory data, but the spot where the interpretation of sensory data took place.
Their next shattering observation was that the assemblage point is displaced in a very natural and unobtrusive way out of its habitual position during sleep. They found out that the greater the displacement, the more bizarre the dreams that accompany it. From these seeing observations, those sorcerers jumped to the pragmatic action of the volitional displacement of the assemblage point. And they called their concluding results the art of dreaming.
This art was defined by those sorcerers as the pragmatic utilization of ordinary dreams to create an entrance into other worlds by the act of displacing the assemblage point at will and maintaining that new position, also at will. The observations of those sorcerers upon practicing the art of dreaming were a mixture of reason and seeing energy directly as it flows in the universe. They realized that at its habitual position, the assemblage point is the spot where converges a given, minuscule portion of the energy filaments that make up the universe, but if the assemblage point changes location, within the luminous egg, a different minuscule portion of energy fields converges on it, giving as a result a new inflow of sensory data : energy fields different from the habitual ones are turned into sensory data, and those different energy fields are interpreted as a different world.
The art of dreaming became for those sorcerers their most absorbing practice. In the course of that practice, they experienced unequaled states of physical prowess and well-being, and in their effort to replicate those states in their hours of vigil, they found out that they were able to repeat them following certain movements of the body. Their efforts culminated in the discovery and development of a great number of such movements, which they called magical passes.
The magical passes of those sorcerers of Mexican antiquity became their most prized possession.
They surrounded them with rituals and mystery and taught them only to their initiates in the midst of tremendous secrecy. This was the manner in which don Juan Matus taught them to his disciples. His disciples, being the last link of his lineage, came to the unanimous conclusion that any further secrecy about the magical passes was counter to the interest that they had in making don Juan's world available to their fellow men. They decided, therefore, to rescue the magical passes from their obscure state. They created in this fashion, Tensegrity, which is a term proper to architecture that 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."
This is a most appropriate name because it is a mixture of two terms : tension and integrity ; terms which connote the two driving forces of the magical passes.
WHAT ARE WARRIOR GUARDIANS?
It was stated in the previous issue, that for don Juan and other practitioners like him, a sorcerer was any person who, through discipline and purpose, was capable of interrupting the effect of the interpretation system we use to construct the world that we know. Sorcerers maintain that energy at large is transformed into sensorial data and these sensorial data are interpreted as the world of everyday life. Sorcery is, therefore, a maneuver of interference ; a maneuver by means of which a flow is interrupted. For sorcerers, sorcery has nothing to do with incantations or rituals, which are mere concatenations designed to obscure purposefully its true nature and goal : the enlargement of the parameters of normal perception.
For don Juan Matus, the practitioners of sorcery were fighters who struggled to return their perceiving attributes to an origin that was more engulfing than the perceiving accomplished in daily living. He called this kind of fighter, warrior guardian, and said that all the practitioners like him were warrior guardians. Warrior guardian was for him a synonym for sorcerer.
The only thing that differentiates some warrior guardians from others is the fact that a specific goal or purpose has been designated for some of them, and not for others. A case in question is, for example, the three Chacmools, known to the attendants of the Tensegrity seminars and workshops. Their specific purpose was to guard the other warrior guardians and, as a unit, teach Tensegrity.
Circumstances beyond anybody's control appeared on the scene, and the reactions of those three warrior guardians made it imperative to dissolve their configuration. Don Juan had already warned his disciples that whoever takes the warriors' path is subject to the effects of energy, which opens the way or closes it. He insisted that his disciples have the prowess to obey the dictums of energy and not try to command it by imposing their wills.
When a state of profound sobriety is reached by a practitioner, there is no mistake whatsoever when reading the commands of energy. It is as if energy is conscious and alive, and it gives manifestations of its will. To go against it means an unnecessary risk which practitioners pay for dearly when, due to ignorance, or willfulness, they refuse to follow energy indications.
The present format of warrior guardians that has replaced the Chacmools, has been selected by energy itself. This new format is called the Energy Trackers. At the beginning, when the formulation presented itself, the Energy Trackers were called, for a moment, the Pathfinders. The belief was that the Pathfinders would find new paths, new procedures, new solutions. In the act of working together, it became apparent that what they were doing was tracking energy.
The explanation of tracking energy that don Juan Matus gave was somewhat confusing at the beginning. It became more and more clear as time went by, until it reached a level of being obvious to the point of redundancy.
"To track energy is to be able to follow the tenuous trail that energy leaves as it flows," don Juan explained. "Not every one of us is an energy tracker ; however, a moment comes in the life of every practitioner when he can follow the flow of energy, even if he does it in a clumsy manner.
So I could say that some warriors are more elegant energy trackers than others, because their proclivity is to track energy."
The sparseness of his explanation made it very difficult for me even to conceive what he was referring to. Later on I became more acutely cognizant of what don Juan had in mind. My change of awareness was at first a vague sensation, derived mostly from a curious intellect, which affirmed that it is reasonable to assume that energy, although I didn't know what energy was, must leave a trail. As my involvement with don Juan Matus' world became super-intense, I became convinced that all of his concepts were based on direct observations made at a level incomprehensible to my daily awareness.
Don Juan explained my queries and sensations as a natural consequence of an inner silence I had gradually learned to attain.
"What you are feeling is the flow of energy," don Juan told me. "It is like a very mild electric charge, or a weird itching on your solar plexus, or above your kidneys. It is not a visual effect, yet every sorcerer I know speaks of it as seeing energy. I'll tell you a secret. I have never seen energy.
I only feel it. My advantage is that I have never tried to explain what I feel. I just feel whatever I feel, end of the story."
His statements were a revelation to me. I happened to feel what he was describing. From there, I passed to the acceptance of those new feelings as events in my life without trying to explain them by finding a relationship of cause and fect [fact].
On the topic of tracking energy, don Juan also said that a nexus of warrior guardians could be formed, because of their close proximity to one other ; and that the members of such a nexus that could very well show a remarkable capacity for tracking energy. Such an event took place among us after the Chacmools' collapse. And a new format emerged ; a group of warrior guardians became, quite suddenly, strangely capable of tracking energy. This was manifested by their unusual nervousness and their agility to grab onto new situations with uncanny certainty.
If the modern jargon were to be used, it could be said that energy trackers are "channelers" par excellence. But the idea of channeling implies a certain degree of will on the part of the practitioner, who as the term describes, channels things into himself or herself. Energy trackers, on the other hand, do not impose their volition. They simply allow energy to show itself to them.
The Force that Holds Us Together as Fields of Energy
The sorcerers of ancient Mexico, who discovered and developed the magical passes on which Tensegrity is based, maintained, according to what don Juan explained, that the performance of those passes prepares and leads the body to a transcendental realization : the realization that as conglomerates of energy fields, human beings are held together by a vibratory, agglutinating force that joins those individual energy fields into one concise, cohesive unit.
Don Juan Matus, in acquainting me with the propositions of those sorcerers of ancient times, emphasized to no end the fact that the performance of the magical passes was, to the best of his knowledge, the only means to lay the foundation for becoming fully conscious of that vibratory binding force ; something that happens when all the premises of the warriors' way are internalized and put into practice.
It was his ability as a teacher to make those premises a subject for embodiment ; in other words, he handled the premises of the warriors' way in such a fashion that it was feasible for me and his other disciples to transform them into units of our daily lives.
His contention was that this vibratory, agglutinating force that holds together the conglomerate of energy fields that we are is apparently similar to what modern-day astronomers believe must happen at the core of all the galaxies that exist in the cosmos. They believe that there, at their cores, a force of incalculable strength holds the stars of galaxies in place. This force, called a black hole, is a theoretical construct which seems to be the most reasonable explanation as to why stars do not fly away, driven by their own rotational speeds.
Modern man has found out, through the research of scientists, that there is a binding force that holds together the component elements of an atom. By the same token, the component elements of cells are held together by a similar force that seems to compel them to combine into concrete and particular tissues and organs. Don Juan said that those sorcerers who lived in Mexico in ancient times knew that human beings, taken as conglomerates of energy fields, are held together not by energetic wrappings or energetic ligaments, but by some sort of vibration that renders everything at once alive and in place ; some energy, some vibratory force, some power that cements those energy fields into one single energetic unit.
Don Juan explained that those sorcerers, by means of their practices and their discipline, became capable of handling that vibratory force, once they were fully conscious of it. Their expertise in dealing with it became so extraordinary that their actions were transformed into legends, mythological events that exist only as fables. For instance, one of the stories that don Juan told about the ancient sorcerers was that they were capable of dissolving their physical mass by merely placing their full consciousness and intent on that force.
Don Juan stated that, although they were capable of actually going through a pinhole if they deemed it necessary, they were never quite satisfied with the result of this maneuver of dissolving their mass. The reason for their discontent was that once their mass was dissolved, so was their capacity to act. They were left with the alternative of only witnessing events in which they were incapable of participating. Their ensuing frustration, the result of being incapacitated to act, turned, according to don Juan, into their damning flaw : their obsession with uncovering the nature of that vibratory force, an obsession driven by their concreteness, which made them want to hold and control that force. Their fervent desire was to strike from the ghostlike condition of masslessness, something which don Juan said cannot ever be accomplished.
Modern-day practitioners, cultural heirs of those sorcerers of antiquity, having found out that it is not possible to be concrete and utilitarian about that vibratory force, have opted for the only rational alternative : to become conscious of that force with no other purpose in sight except the elegance and well-being brought about by knowledge.
The only permissible instance which don Juan gave for the utilization of the power of this vibratory agglutinating force, was its capacity to make sorcerers burn from within, when the time comes for them to leave this world. Don Juan said that it is simplicity itself for sorcerers to place their absolutely total consciousness on the binding force with the intent to burn, and off they go, like a puff of air.
HOW TO DO TENSEGRITY
The magical passes were treated by the shamans of ancient Mexico from the start as something unique, and were never used as sets of exercises for developing musculature or agility. Don Juan said that they were viewed as magical passes from the first moment that they were formulated. He described the "magic" of the movements as a subtle change that the practitioners experience on executing them; an ephemeral quality that the movement brings to their physical and mental states, a kind of shine, a light in the eyes. He spoke of this subtle change as a "touch of the spirit" ; as if practitioners, through the movements, reestablish an unused link with the life force that sustains them. He further explained that the movements were called magical passes because by means of practicing them, sorcerers were transported, in terms of perception, to other states of being in which they could sense the world in an indescribable manner.
"Because of this quality, because of this magic," don Juan said to me once, "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.
I had faithfully practiced all the movements that don Juan had taught me, and 1 felt extraordinarily well. This feeling of wellbeing was sufficient for me.
"You can practice them as 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 practitioners to drop the mask of socialization."
"What is the mask of socialization?" I asked.
"The veneer that all of us defend and die for," he said. "The veneer we acquire in the world ; the one that prevents us from reaching all our potential ; the one that makes us believe we are immortal."
Tensegrity, being the modernized version of those magical passes, has been taught so far as a system of movements because that has been the only manner in which this mysterious and vast subject of the magical passes could be faced in a modern setting. The people who now practice Tensegrity are not shaman practitioners ; therefore, the emphasis of the magical passes has to be on their value as movements.
The point of view that has been adopted in this case is that the physical effect of the magical passes is the most important issue for the purpose of establishing a solid base of energy in the practitioners. Since the shamans of ancient Mexico were interested in other effects of the magical passes, they fragmented long series of movements into single units, and practiced each fragment as an individual segment. In Tensegrity, the fragments have been reassembled into their original long forms. In this manner, a system of movements has been obtained, a system in which the movements themselves are emphasized above all.
The execution of the magical passes, as shown in Tensegrity, does require a particular space or prearranged time, but ideally, the movements should be done in solitariness, on the spur of the moment, or as the necessity arises. However, the setting of urban life facilitates the formation of groups, and under these circumstances, the only manner in which Tensegrity can be taught is to groups of practitioners. Practicing in groups is beneficial in many aspects and deleterious in others. It is beneficial because it allows the creation of consensus of movement and the opportunity to learn by examination and comparison. It is deleterious because it fosters the emergence of syntactical commands and solicitations dealing with hierarchy ; and what sorcerers want is to run away from subjectivity derived from syntactical commands. Unfortunately, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too ; so Tensegrity should be practiced in whatever form is easier : either in groups, or alone, or both.
In every other respect, the way Tensegrity has been taught is a faithful reproduction of the way in which don Juan taught the magical passes to his disciples. He bombarded them with a profusion of detail and let their minds be bewildered by the amount and variety of movements, and by the implication that each of them individually was a pathway to infinity.
His disciples spent years overwhelmed, confused, and above all, despondent, because they felt that being bombarded in such a manner was an unfair onslaught on them. Don Juan, following the traditional sorcerers' device of clouding the linear view of practitioners, saturated the kinesthetic memory of his disciples. His contention was that if they kept on practicing the movements, in spite of their confusion, some of them, or all of them, would attain inner silence. He said that in inner silence everything becomes clear to the point that we are able not only to remember, with absolute precision, magical passes already forgotten, but that we know exactly what to do with them, or what to expect from them, without anybody telling us or guiding us.
Don Juan's disciples could hardly believe such statements. However, at one moment, every one of them ceased to be confused and despondent. In a most mysterious way, the magical passes, since they are magical, arranged themselves into extraordinary sequences that cleared up everything.
The concern of people practicing Tensegrity nowadays matches exactly the concern of don Juan's disciples. People who have attended the seminars and workshops on Tensegrity feel bewildered by the amount of movements. They are clamoring for a system that would allow them to integrate the movements into categories that could be practiced and taught.
I must emphasize again what I have been emphasizing from the beginning : Tensegrity is not a standard system of movements for developing the body. It indeed develops the body, but only as a byproduct of a more transcendental purpose. The [actual page 10/12] sorcerers of ancient Mexico were convinced that the magical passes conduce the practitioners to a level of awareness in which the parameters of normal, traditional perception are canceled out by the fact that they are enlarged.
And the practitioners are thus allowed to enter into unimaginable worlds ; worlds which are as inclusive and total as the one in which we live.
"But why would I want to enter into those worlds?" I asked don Juan on one occasion.
"Because you are a traveler, like the rest of us human beings," he said, somewhat annoyed by my question. "Human beings are on a journey of awareness, which has been momentarily interrupted by strenuous forces. Believe me, we are travelers. If we don't have traveling, we have nothing."
His answer didn't satisfy me in the least. He further explained that human beings have decayed morally, physically and intellectually since the moment they ceased to travel, and that they are caught in an eddy, so to speak, and are spinning around, having the impression of moving with the current, and yet remaining stationary.
It took me thirty years of hard discipline to come to a cognitive plateau in which don Juan's statements were recognizable and their validity was established beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Human beings are indeed travelers. If we don't have that, we have nothing.
Tensegrity must be practiced with the idea that the benefit of those movements comes by itself.
This idea must be stressed at any cost. At the beginner's level, there is no way to direct the effect of the magical passes, and there is no possibility whatsoever that some of them could be beneficial for one organ or another. As we gain in discipline and our intending becomes clearer, the effect of magical passes can be selected by each one of us personally and individually, for specific purposes pertinent to each of us only.
What is of supreme importance at the present is to practice whatever Tensegrity sequence one remembers, or whatever set of movements comes to mind. The saturation that has been carried on will give, in the end, the results sought by the shamans of ancient Mexico : entering into a state of inner silence and deciding from inner silence what the next step will be.
Naturally, when I was told, in more or less the same terms, about the sorcerers' maneuver to saturate the mind into inner silence, my response was the response of any person who is interested in Tensegrity today : "It's not that I don't believe you, but it's something very hard to believe." The only answer that don Juan had to my more than justified queries and the queries of his other three disciples was to say, "Take my word, because mine are not arbitrary statements. My word is the result of corroborating, for myself, what the sorcerers of ancient Mexico found out : that we human beings are magical beings."
Don Juan's legacy includes something that I have been repeating and I will continue to repeat : human beings are beings unknown to themselves, filled to the brim with incredible resources that are never used.
By saturating his disciples with movement, don Juan accomplished two formidable feats : he brought those hidden resources to the surface, and he gently broke our obsession with our linear mode of interpretation. By forcing his disciples to reach inner silence, he set up the continuation of their interrupted journey of awareness. In this manner, the ideal state of any Tensegrity practitioner, in relation to the Tensegrity movements, is the same as the ideal state of a practitioner of sorcery, in relation to the execution of magical passes. Both are being led by the movements themselves into an unprecedented culmination : inner silence.
From inner silence, 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.