The Eagle's Gift, by Carlos Castaneda

Every person is a philosopher by nature; however, we are quickly dissuaded from this delightful activity by those who call philosophy impractical. But there is nothing more practical than knowing who you are and what you think. Try it sometime.

Re: The Eagle's Gift, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:32 am

Part three: The Eagle's Gift

9. The Rule of the Nagual


Don Juan had been extremely sparing with information about his background and personal life. His reticence [* reticence -- not volunteering anything more than necessary] was, fundamentally, a didactic [* didactic -- instructive] device. As far as he was concerned, his time began when he became a warrior. Anything that had happened to him before was of very little consequence.

All la Gorda and I knew about his early life was that he was born in Arizona of Yaqui and Yuma Indian parentage. When he was still an infant, his parents took him to live with the Yaquis in northern Mexico. At ten years of age he was caught in the tide of the Yaqui wars. His mother was killed then, and his father was apprehended by the Mexican army. Both don Juan and his father were sent to a relocation center in the farthest southern state of Yucatan. He grew up there.

Whatever happened to him during that period was never disclosed to us. Don Juan believed there was no need to tell us about it. I felt otherwise. The importance that I gave to that segment of his life arose from my erroneous conviction that the distinctive features and the emphasis of his leadership grew out of that personal inventory of experience.

But that inventory, important as it might have been, was not what gave him the paramount significance he had in our eyes and in the eyes of his other companions. His total preeminence [* preeminence -- high status importance owing to marked superiority] rested on the fortuitous act of becoming involved with the 'rule.'

Being involved with the rule may be described as living a myth. Don Juan lived a myth, a myth that caught him and made him the Nagual.

Don Juan said that when the rule caught him, he was an aggressive, unruly man; living in exile as thousands of other Yaqui Indians from northern Mexico lived at that time. He worked in the tobacco plantations of southern Mexico.

One day after work, in a nearly fatal encounter with a fellow worker over matters of money, he was shot in the chest.

When he regained consciousness an old Indian was leaning over him, poking the small wound in his chest with his fingers. The bullet had not penetrated the chest cavity, but was lodged in the muscle against a rib. Don Juan fainted two or three times from shock, loss of blood, and in his own words, from fear of dying. The old Indian removed the bullet, and since don Juan had no place to stay, the old Indian took don Juan to his own house and nursed him for over a month.

The old Indian was kind but severe. One day when don Juan was fairly strong and almost recovered, the old man gave him a sound blow on his back and forced him into a state of heightened awareness. Then, without any further preliminaries, he revealed to don Juan the portion of the rule which pertained to the Nagual and his role.

Don Juan did exactly the same thing with me and with la Gorda. He made us shift levels of awareness, and told us the rule of the Nagual in the following way:

The power that governs the destiny of all living beings is called the Eagle, not because it is an eagle or has anything to do with an eagle, but because it appears to the seer as an immeasurable jet-black eagle, standing erect as an eagle stands; its height reaching to infinity.

As the seer gazes on the blackness that the Eagle is, four blazes of light reveal what the Eagle is like.

The first blaze, which is like a bolt of lightning, helps the seer make out the contours of the Eagle's body. There are patches of whiteness that look like an eagle's feathers and talons.

A second blaze of lightning reveals the flapping, wind-creating blackness that looks like an eagle's wings.

With the third blaze of lightning, the seer beholds a piercing, inhuman eye.

The fourth and last blaze discloses what the Eagle is doing...

The Eagle is devouring the awareness of all the creatures that a moment before were alive on earth, are now dead, and have floated to the Eagle's beak like a ceaseless swarm of fireflies to meet their owner; this being their reason for having had life.

The Eagle disentangles these tiny flames, lays them flat like a tanner stretches out a hide, and then consumes them; for awareness is the Eagle's food.

The Eagle -- the power that governs the destinies of all living things -- reflects equally and at once all those living things.

There is no way, therefore, for man to pray to the Eagle, to ask favors, or to hope for grace. The human part of the Eagle is too insignificant to move the whole.

It is only from the Eagle's actions that a seer can tell what it wants. The Eagle, although it is not moved by the circumstances of any living thing, has granted a gift to each of those beings.

In those beings' own way, and by right, any one of them, if it so desires, has the power to keep the flame of awareness; the power to disobey the summons to 'die and be consumed'.

Every living thing has been granted the power, if it so desires, to seek an opening to freedom and to go through it. It is evident to the seer who sees the opening, and to the creatures that go through it, that the Eagle has granted that gift in order to perpetuate awareness.

For the purpose of guiding living things to that opening, the Eagle created the Nagual. The Nagual is a double being to whom the rule has been revealed.

Whether the Nagual be in the form of a human being, an animal, a plant, or anything else that lives; the Nagual by virtue of its doubleness is drawn to seek that hidden passageway.

In human beings, the Nagual comes in pairs; male and female. A double man and a double woman become the Nagual only after the rule has been told to each of them, and each of them has understood it and accepted it in full.

To the eye of the seer, a Nagual man or Nagual woman appears as a luminous egg with four compartments.

Unlike the average human being who has two sides only -- a left and a right -- the Nagual has a left side divided into two long sections, and a right side equally divided in two.

The Eagle created the first Nagual man and Nagual woman as seers and immediately put them in the world to see.

The Eagle provided them with four female warriors who were stalkers; three male warriors; and one male courier -- whom the Nagual pair were to nourish, enhance, and lead to freedom.

The female warriors are called the four directions; the four corners of a square; the four moods; the four winds; and are the four different female personalities that exist in the human race.

The first is the east. She is called order. She is optimistic, light-hearted, smooth, and persistent; like a steady breeze.

The second is the north. She is called strength. She is resourceful, blunt, direct, and tenacious; like a hard wind.

The third is the west. She is called feeling. She is introspective, remorseful, cunning, and sly; like a cold gust of wind.

The fourth is the south. She is called growth. She is nurturing, loud, shy, and warm; like a hot wind.

The three male warriors and the courier are representative of the four types of male activity and temperament.

The first type is the knowledgeable man; the scholar; a noble, dependable, and serene man fully dedicated to accomplishing his task, whatever it may be.

The second type is the man of action; highly volatile, and a great humorous, fickle companion.

The third type is the organizer behind the scenes: the mysterious, unknowable man. Nothing can be said about him because he allows nothing about himself to slip out.

The courier is the fourth type. He is the assistant; a taciturn, [* taciturn -- habitually reserved and uncommunicative] somber man who does very well if properly directed, but who cannot stand on his own.

In order to make things easier, the Eagle showed the Nagual man and Nagual woman that each of these types among men and women of the earth has specific features in their luminous bodies.

The scholar has a sort of shallow dent; a bright depression at his solar plexus. In some men it appears as a pool of intense luminosity; sometimes smooth and shiny like a mirror without a reflection.

The man of action has some fibers emanating from the area of the will. The number of fibers varies from one to five, and their size ranges from a mere string to a thick, whiplike tentacle up to eight feet long. Some men of action have as many as three of these fibers developed into tentacles.

The man behind the scenes is recognized not by a feature, but by his ability to create, quite involuntarily, a burst of power that effectively blocks the attention of seers. When in the presence of this type of man, seers find themselves immersed in extraneous detail rather than seeing.

The assistant has no obvious configuration. To seers he appears as a clear glow in a flawless shell of luminosity.

In the female realm, the east is recognized by the almost imperceptible blotches in her luminosity; something like small areas of discoloration.

The north has an overall radiation. She exudes a reddish glow, almost like heat.

The west has a tenuous film enveloping her, a film which makes her appear darker than the others.

The south has an intermittent glow; she shines for a moment and then gets dull, only to shine again.

The Nagual man and the Nagual woman have two different movements in their luminous bodies. Their right sides wave, while their left sides whirl.

In terms of personality, the Nagual man is supportive, steady, unchangeable. The Nagual woman is a being at war and yet relaxed; ever aware but without strain. Both of them reflect the four types of their sex; as four ways of behaving.

The first command that the Eagle gave the Nagual man and Nagual woman was to find, on their own, another set of four female warriors, four directions, who were the exact replicas of the stalkers but who were dreamers.

Dreamers appear to a seer as having an apron of hairlike fibers at their midsections. Stalkers have a similar apronlike feature, but instead of fibers the apron consists of countless small, round protuberances.

The eight female warriors are divided into two bands, which are called the right and left planets. The right planet is made up of four stalkers, the left of four dreamers. The warriors of each planet were taught by the Eagle the rule of their specific task: stalkers were taught stalking; dreamers were taught dreaming.

The two female warriors of each direction live together. They are so alike that they mirror each other, and only through impeccability can they find solace and challenge in each other's reflection.

The only time when the four dreamers or four stalkers get together is when they have to accomplish a strenuous task.

But only under special circumstances should the four of them join hands because their touch fuses them into one being. This should be done only in cases of dire need, or at the moment of leaving this world.

The two female warriors of each direction are attached to one of the males, in any combination that is necessary. Thus they make a set of four households which are capable of incorporating as many warriors as needed.

The male warriors and the courier can also form an independent unit of four men, or each can function as a solitary being as dictated by necessity.

Next the Nagual and his party were commanded to find three more couriers. These could be all males or all females or a mixed set, but the male couriers had to be of the fourth type of man, the assistant, and the females had to be from the south.

In order to make sure that the first Nagual man would lead his party to freedom and not deviate from that path or become corrupted, the Eagle took the Nagual woman to the other world to serve as a beacon, guiding the party to the opening.

The Nagual and his warriors were then commanded to forget.

They were plunged into darkness and were given new tasks; the task of remembering themselves, and the task of remembering the Eagle.

The command to forget was so great that everyone was separated. They did not remember who they were. The Eagle intended that if they were capable of remembering themselves again, they would find the totality of themselves.

Only then would they have the strength and forebearance necessary to seek and face their definitive journey.

Their last task, after they had regained the totality of themselves, was to get a new pair of double beings and transform them into a new Nagual man and a new Nagual woman by virtue of revealing the rule to them.

And just as the first Nagual man and Nagual woman had been provided with a minimal party, they had to supply the new pair of Naguals with four female warriors who were stalkers, three male warriors, and one male courier.

When the first Nagual and his party were ready to go through the passageway, the first Nagual woman was waiting to guide them.

They were ordered then to take the new Nagual woman with them to the other world to serve as a beacon for her people, leaving the new Nagual man in the world to repeat the cycle.

While in the world, the minimal number under a Nagual's leadership is sixteen: eight female warriors, three male warriors, four couriers, and the Nagual himself.

At the moment of leaving the world when the new Nagual woman is with them, the Nagual's number is seventeen. If his personal power permits him to have more warriors, then more must be added in multiples of four.

I had confronted don Juan with the question of how the rule became known to man. He explained that the rule was endless and covered every facet of a warrior's behavior. The interpretation and the accumulation of the rule is the work of seers whose only task throughout the ages has been to see the Eagle; to observe its ceaseless flux.

From their observations, the seers have concluded that, providing the luminous shell that comprises one's humanness has been broken, it is possible to find in the Eagle the faint reflection of man. The Eagle's irrevocable dictums can then be apprehended by seers, properly interpreted by them, and accumulated in the form of a governing body.

Don Juan explained that the rule was not a tale, and that to cross over to freedom did not mean eternal life as eternity is commonly understood -- that is, as living forever.

What the rule stated was that one could keep the awareness which is ordinarily relinquished at the moment of dying.

Don Juan could not explain what it meant to keep that awareness, or perhaps he could not even conceive of it. His benefactor had told him that at the moment of crossing, one enters into the third attention, and the body in its entirety is kindled with knowledge. Every cell at once becomes aware of itself, and also aware of the totality of the body.

His benefactor had also told him that this kind of awareness is meaningless to our compartmentalized minds. Therefore the crux of the warrior's struggle was not so much to realize that the crossing over stated in the rule meant crossing to the third attention, but rather to conceive that there exists such an awareness at all.

Don Juan said that in the beginning the rule was to him something strictly in the realm of words. He could not imagine how it could lapse into the domain of the actual world and its ways.

Under the effective guidance of his benefactor, however, and after a great deal of work, he finally succeeded in grasping the true nature of the rule, and totally accepted it as a set of pragmatic directives rather than a myth. From then on, he had no problem in dealing with the reality of the third attention.

The only obstacle in his way arose from his being so thoroughly convinced that the rule was a map that he believed he had to look for a literal opening in the world, a passageway. Somehow he had become needlessly stuck at the first level of a warrior's development.

Don Juan's own work as a leader and teacher, as a result, was directed at helping the apprentices, and especially me, to avoid repeating his mistake. What he succeeded in doing with us was to lead us through the three stages of a warrior's development without overemphasizing any of them.

First he guided us to take the rule as a map; then he guided us to the understanding that one can attain a paramount awareness, because there is such a thing; and finally he guided us to an actual passageway into that other concealed world of awareness.

In order to lead us through the first stage, the acceptance of the rule as a map, don Juan took the section which pertains to the Nagual and his role and showed us that it corresponds to unequivocal facts.

He accomplished this by allowing us to have, while we were in stages of heightened awareness, an unrestricted interaction with the members of his group, who were the living personifications of the eight types of people described by the rule.

As we interacted with them, more complex and inclusive aspects of the rule were revealed to us, until we were capable of realizing that we were caught in the network of something which at first we had conceptualized as a myth, but which in essence was a map.

Don Juan told us that in this respect his case had been identical to ours. His benefactor helped him go through that first stage by allowing him the same type of interaction. To that effect he made him shift back and forth from the right side to the left side awareness, just as don Juan had done to us. On the left side, he introduced him to the members of his own group, the eight female and three male warriors, and the four couriers, who were, as is mandatory, the strictest examples of the types described by the rule.

The impact of knowing them and dealing with them was staggering to don Juan. Not only did it force him to regard the rule as a factual guide, but it made him realize the magnitude of our unknown possibilities.

He said that by the time all the members of his own group had been gathered, he was so deeply committed to the warrior's way that he took for granted the fact that, without any overt effort on anybody's part, they had turned out to be perfect replicas of the warriors of his benefactor's party. The similarity of their personal likes, dislikes, affiliations, and so forth, was not a result of imitation. Don Juan said that they belonged, as the rule had stated, to specific blocks of people who had the same input and output. The only differences among members of the same block were in the pitch of their voices, and the sound of their laughter.

In trying to explain to me the effects that the interaction with his benefactor's warriors had had on him, don Juan touched on the subject of the very meaningful difference between his benefactor and himself in how they interpreted the rule; and also in how they led and taught other warriors to accept it as a map.

He said that there are two types of interpretations -- universal and individual. Universal interpretations take the statements that make up the body of the rule at face value. An example would be to say that the Eagle does not care about man's actions and yet it has provided man with a passageway to freedom.

An individual interpretation, on the other hand, is a current conclusion arrived at by seers using universal interpretation's as premises. An example would be to say that because of the Eagle's lack of concern, I would have to make sure that my chances to reach freedom are enhanced, perhaps by my own dedication.

According to don Juan, he and his benefactor were quite different in the methods they used to lead their wards. Don Juan said that his benefactor's mode was severity; he led with an iron hand, and following his conviction that with the Eagle free handouts are out of the question, he never did anything for anyone in a direct way. Instead, he actively helped everyone to help themselves. He considered that the Eagle's gift of freedom is not a bestowal but a chance to have a chance.

Don Juan, although he appreciated the merits of his benefactor's method, disagreed with it. Later on, when he was on his own, he himself saw that it wasted precious time. For him it was more expedient to present everyone with a given situation and force them to accept it, rather than wait until they were ready to face it on their own. That was his method with me and the other apprentices.

The instance in which that difference in leadership had the greatest bearing for don Juan was during the mandatory interaction that he had with his benefactor's warriors. The command of the rule was that his benefactor had to find for don Juan first a Nagual woman, and then a group of four women and four men to make up his warrior's party.

His benefactor saw that don Juan did not yet have enough personal power to assume the responsibility of a Nagual woman, and so he reversed the sequence and asked the females of his own group to find don Juan the four women first, and then the four men.

Don Juan confessed that he was enthralled with the idea of such a reversal. He had understood that those women were for his use, and in his mind that meant sexual use. His downfall, however, was to reveal his expectations to his benefactor who immediately put don Juan in contact with the men and women of his own party and left him alone to interact with them.

For don Juan, to meet those warriors was a true ordeal, not only because they were deliberately difficult with him, but because the nature of that encounter is meant to be a breakthrough.

Don Juan said that interaction in the left-side awareness cannot take place unless all the participants share that state. This was why he would not let us enter into the left-side awareness except to carry on our interaction with his warriors. That was the procedure his benefactor had followed with him.

Don Juan gave me a brief account of what had taken place during his first meeting with the members of his benefactor's group. His idea was that I could use his experience perhaps as a sample of what to expect.

He said that his benefactor's world had a magnificent regularity. The members of his party were Indian warriors from all over Mexico. At the time he met them they lived in a remote mountainous area in southern Mexico.

Upon reaching their house, don Juan was confronted with two identical women, the biggest Indian women he had ever seen. They were sulky and mean, but had very pleasing features.

When he tried to go between them, they caught him between their enormous bellies, grabbed his arms, and started beating him up. They threw him to the ground and sat on him, nearly crushing his rib cage. They kept him immobilized for over twelve hours while they conducted on-the-spot negotiations with his benefactor, who had to talk nonstop throughout the night until they finally let don Juan get up around midmorning.

He said that what scared him the most was the determination that showed in the eyes of those women. He thought he was done for; that they were going to sit on him until he died, as they had said they would.

Normally there should have been a waiting period of a few weeks before meeting the next set of warriors, but due to the fact that his benefactor was planning to leave him in their midst, don Juan was immediately taken to meet the others. He met everyone in one day and all of them treated him like dirt.

They argued that he was not the man for the job; that he was too coarse and way too stupid; young but already senile in his ways. His benefactor argued brilliantly in his defense. He told them that they could change those conditions, and that it should be an ultimate delight for them and for don Juan to take up that challenge.

Don Juan said that his first impression was right. For him there was only work and hardship from then on. The women saw that don Juan was unruly and could not be trusted to fulfill the complex and delicate task of leading four women.

Since they were seers themselves, they made their own individual interpretation of the rule and decided that it would be more helpful for don Juan to have the four male warriors first and then the four females. Don Juan said that their seeing had been correct, because in order to deal with women warriors, a Nagual has to be in a state of consummate personal power; a state of serenity and control in which human feelings play a minimal part; a state which at the time was inconceivable for him.

His benefactor put him under the direct supervision of his two westerly women, the most fierce and uncompromising warriors of them all. Don Juan said that all westerly women, in accordance with the rule, are raving mad and have to be cared for. Under the duress of dreaming and stalking they lose their right sides, their minds. Their reason burns up easily due to the fact that their left-side awareness is extraordinarily keen. Once they lose their rational side, they are peerless dreamers and stalkers since they no longer have any rational ballast to hold them back.

Don Juan said that those women cured him of his lust. For six months he spent most of his time in a harness suspended from the ceiling of their rural kitchen, like a ham that was being smoked, until he was thoroughly purified from thoughts of gain and personal gratification.

Don Juan explained that a leather harness is a superb device for curing certain maladies that are not physical. The idea is that the higher a person is suspended and the longer that person is kept from touching the ground by dangling in midair, the better the possibilities of a true cleansing effect.

While he was being cleansed by the westerly warriors, the other women were involved in the process of finding the men and the women for his party. It took years to accomplish this. Don Juan, in the meantime, was forced to interact with all his benefactor's warriors by himself.

The presence of those warriors and his contact with them was so overwhelming to don Juan that he believed he would never get out from under them. The result was his total and literal adherence to the body of the rule.

Don Juan said that he spent irreplaceable time pondering the existence of an actual passageway into the other world. He viewed such a concern as a pitfall to be avoided at all costs. To protect me from it, he allowed the required inter action with the members of his group to be carried on while I was protected by the presence of la Gorda or any of the other apprentices.

In my case, meeting don Juan's warriors was the end result of a long process. There was never any mention of them in casual conversations with don Juan. I knew of their existence solely by inference from the rule which he was revealing to me in installments. Later on, he admitted that they existed, and that eventually I would have to meet them. He prepared me for the encounter by giving me general instructions and pointers.

He warned me about a common error; that of overestimating the left-side awareness; of becoming dazzled by its clarity and power. He said that to be in the left-side awareness does not mean that one is immediately liberated from one's folly -- it only means an extended capacity for perceiving, a greater facility to understand and learn, and above all, a greater ability to forget.

As the time approached for me to meet don Juan's own warriors, he again gave me a scanty description of his benefactor's party as a guideline for my own use. He said that to an onlooker, his benefactor's world may have appeared at certain times as consisting of four households. The first was formed by the southerly women and the Nagual's courier; the second by the easterly women, the scholar, and a male courier; the third by the northerly women, the man of action, and another male courier; and the fourth by the westerly women, the man behind the scenes, and a third male courier.

At other times that world may have seemed to be composed of groups. There was a group of four thoroughly dissimilar older men, who were don Juan's benefactor and his three male warriors. Then a group of four men who were very similar to one another, who were the couriers. A group composed of two sets of apparently identical female twins who lived together and were the southerly and easterly women.

And two other sets of apparently sisters, who were the northerly and westerly women.

None of these women were relatives -- they just looked alike because of the enormous amount of personal power that don Juan's benefactor had. Don Juan described the southerly women as being two mastodons, scary in appearance but very friendly and warm. The easterly women were very beautiful, fresh and funny, a true delight to the eyes and the ears. The northerly women were utterly womanly, vain, coquettish, [* coquettish -- like a seductive woman who uses her sex appeal to exploit men] concerned with their aging, but also terribly direct and impatient. The westerly women were mad at times, and at other times they were the epitome of severity and purpose. They were the ones who disturbed don Juan the most because he could not reconcile the fact that they were so sober, kind, and helpful, with the fact that at any given moment they could lose their composure and be raving mad.

The men, on the other hand, were in no way memorable to don Juan. He thought that there was nothing remarkable about them. They seemed to have been thoroughly absorbed by the shocking force of the women's determination and by his benefactor's overpowering personality.

Insofar as his own awakening was concerned, don Juan said that upon being thrust into his benefactor's world, he realized how easy and convenient it had been for him to go through life with no self-restraint. He understood that his mistake had been to believe that his goals were the only worthwhile ones a man could have.

All his life he had been a pauper. His consuming ambition, therefore, was to have material possessions; to be somebody. He had been so preoccupied with his desire to get ahead and his despair at not being successful, that he had had no time for examining anything. He had gladly sided with his benefactor because he realized that he was being offered an opportunity to make something of himself. If nothing else, he thought he might learn to be a sorcerer. He conceived that immersion in his benefactor's world might have an effect on him analogous to the effect of the Spanish Conquest on the Indian culture. It destroyed everything, but it also forced a shattering self-examination.

My response to the preparations to meet don Juan's party of warriors was not, strangely enough, awe or fear, but a petty intellectual concern about two topics. The first was the proposition that there are only four types of men and four types of women in the world. I argued with don Juan that the range of individual variation in people is too great for such a simple scheme. He disagreed with me. He said that the rule was final, and that it did not allow for an indefinite number of types of people.

The second topic was the cultural context of don Juan's knowledge. He did not know that himself. He viewed it as the product of a sort of Pan-Indianism. His conjecture about its origin was that at one time, in the Indian world prior to the Conquest, the handling of the second attention became vitiated. [* vitiated -- ruined in character or quality]

It was developed without any hindrance over perhaps thousands of years, to the point that it lost its strength. The practitioners of that time may have had no need for controls, and thus without restraint, the second attention, instead of becoming stronger, became weaker by virtue of its increased intricacy.

Then the Spanish invaders came and, with their superior technology, destroyed the Indian world. Don Juan said that his benefactor was convinced that only a handful of those warriors survived and were capable of reassembling their knowledge and redirecting their path. Whatever don Juan and his benefactor knew about the second attention was the restructured version; a new version which had built-in restraints because it had been forged under the harshest conditions of suppression.
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Re: The Eagle's Gift, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:32 am

10. The Nagual's Party of Warriors

When don Juan judged that the time was right for me to have my first encounter with his warriors, he made me shift levels of awareness. He then made it perfectly clear that he would have nothing to do with their way of meeting me. He warned me that if they decided to beat me, he could not stop them. They could do anything they wanted, except kill me. He stressed over and over again that the warriors of his party were a perfect replica of his benefactor's, except that some of the women were more fierce, and all the men were utterly unique and powerful. Therefore, my first encounter with them might resemble a head-on collision.

I was nervous and apprehensive on the one hand, but curious on the other. My mind was running wild with endless speculations, most of them about what the warriors would look like.

Don Juan said that he had the choice either of coaching me to memorize an elaborate ritual, as he had been made to do, or of making it the most casual encounter possible. He waited for an omen to point out which alternative to take.

His benefactor had done something similar, only he had insisted don Juan learn the ritual before the omen presented itself. When don Juan revealed his sexual daydreams of sleeping with four women, his benefactor interpreted it as the omen, chucked the ritual, and ended up pleading like a hog dealer for don Juan's life.

In my case, don Juan wanted an omen before he taught me the ritual. That omen came when don Juan and I were driving through a border town in Arizona and a policeman stopped me. The policeman thought I was an illegal alien. Only after I had shown him my passport -- which he suspected of being a forgery -- and other documents, did he let me go.

Don Juan had been in the front seat next to me all the time, and the policeman had not given him a second glance. He had focused solely on me. Don Juan thought the incident was the omen he was waiting for. His interpretation of it was that it would be very dangerous for me to call attention to myself, and he concluded that my world had to be one of utter simplicity and candor -- elaborate ritual and pomp were out of character for me.

He conceded, however, that a minimal observance of ritualistic patterns was in order when I made my acquaintance with his warriors. I had to begin by approaching them from the south, because that is the direction that power follows in its ceaseless flux. Life force flows to us from the south, and leaves us flowing toward the north. He said that the only opening to a Nagual's world was through the south, and that the gate was made by two female warriors who would have to greet me, and who would let me go through if they so decided.

He took me to a town in central Mexico to a house in the countryside. As we approached it on foot from a southerly direction, I saw two massive Indian women standing four feet apart, facing each other. They were about thirty or forty feet away from the main door of the house in an area where the dirt was hard-packed.

The two women were extraordinarily muscular and stern. Both had long, jet-black hair held together in a single thick braid. They looked like sisters. They were about the same height and weight. I figured that they must have been around five feet four, and weighed 150 pounds. One of them was extremely dark, almost black, the other much lighter. They were dressed like typical Indian women from central Mexico with long, full dresses and shawls, and homemade sandals.

Don Juan made me stop three feet from them. He turned to the woman on our left and made me face her. He said that her name was Cecilia and that she was a dreamer. He then turned abruptly without giving me time to say anything, and made me face the darker woman to our right. He said that her name was Delia and that she was a stalker. The women nodded at me. They did not smile or move to shake hands with me, or make any gesture of welcome.

Don Juan walked between them as if they were two columns marking a gate. He took a couple of steps and turned as if waiting for the women to invite me to go through. The women stared at me calmly for a moment. Then Cecilia asked me to come in as if I were at the threshold of an actual door.

Don Juan led the way to the house. At the front door we found a man. He was very slender. At first sight he looked extremely young, but on closer examination he appeared to be in his late fifties. He gave me the impression of being an old child: small, wiry, with penetrating dark eyes. He was like an elfish apparition, a shadow. Don Juan introduced him to me as Emilito, and said that he was his courier and all-around helper who would welcome me on his behalf.

It seemed to me that Emilito was indeed the most appropriate being to welcome anyone. His smile was radiant. His small teeth were perfectly even. He shook hands with me, or rather he crossed his forearms and clasped both my hands. He seemed to be exuding enjoyment. Anyone would have sworn that he was ecstatic in meeting me. His voice was very soft and his eyes sparkled.

We walked into a large room. There was another woman there. Don Juan said that her name was Teresa and that she was Cecilia's and Delia's courier. She was perhaps in her early thirties, and she definitely looked like Cecilia's daughter. She was very quiet but very friendly.

We followed don Juan to the back of the house where there was a roofed porch. It was a warm day. We sat there around a table, and after a frugal dinner we talked until after midnight.

Emilito was the host. He charmed and delighted everyone with his exotic stories. The women opened up. They were a great audience for him. To hear the women's laughter was an exquisite pleasure. They were tremendously muscular, bold, and physical. At one point, when Emilito said that Cecilia and Delia were like two mothers to him, and Teresa like a daughter, they picked him up and tossed him in the air like a child.

Of the two women, Delia seemed the more rational, down-to-earth. Cecilia was perhaps more aloof, but appeared to have greater inner strength. She gave me the impression of being more intolerant, or more impatient. She seemed to get annoyed with some of Emilito's stories.

Nonetheless, she was definitely on the edge of her chair when he would tell what he called his 'tales of eternity'. He would preface every story with the phrase, "Do you, dear friends, know that...?"

The story that impressed me most was about some creatures that he said existed in the universe, who were the closest thing to human beings without being human; creatures who were obsessed against movement, and were capable of detecting the slightest fluctuation inside themselves or around them. These creatures were so sensitive to motion that it was a curse to them. It gave them such pain that their ultimate ambition was to find quietude.

Emilito would intersperse his tales of eternity with the most outrageous dirty jokes. Because of his incredible gifts as a raconteur, I understood every one of his stories as a metaphor, or a parable with which he was teaching us something.

Don Juan said that Emilito was merely reporting about things he had witnessed in his journeys through eternity. The role of a courier was to travel ahead of the Nagual, like a scout in a military operation. Emilito went to the limits of the second attention, and whatever he witnessed he passed on to the others.

My second encounter with don Juan's warriors was just as contrived as the first. One day don Juan made me shift levels of awareness and told me that I had a second appointment. He made me drive to Zacatecas in northern Mexico. We arrived there very early in the morning. Don Juan said that that was only a stopover, and that we had until the next day to relax before we embarked on my second formal meeting to make the acquaintance of the eastern women and the scholar warrior of his party.

He explained then an intricate and delicate point of choice. He said that we had met the south and the courier in the midafternoon, because he had made an individual interpretation of the rule and had picked that hour to represent the night. The south was really the night -- a warm, friendly, cozy night -- and properly we should have gone to meet the two southerly women after midnight. However, that would have been inauspicious for me because my general direction was toward the light, toward optimism, an optimism that works itself harmoniously into the mystery of darkness. He said that that was precisely what we had done that day: We had enjoyed each other's company and talked until it was pitch-black. I had wondered why they did not light their lanterns.

Don Juan said that the east, on the other hand, was the morning, the light, and that we would meet the easterly women the next day at midmorning.

Before breakfast we went to the plaza and sat down on a bench. Don Juan told me that he wanted me to remain there and wait for him while he ran some errands. He left and shortly after he had gone, a woman came and sat down on the other end of the bench.

I did not pay any attention to her and started reading a newspaper. A moment later another woman joined her. I wanted to move to another bench, but I remembered that don Juan had specifically said that I should sit there.

I had turned my back to the women and had even forgotten that they were there since they were so quiet, when a man greeted them and stood facing me. I became aware from their conversation that the women had been waiting for him. The man apologized for being late. He obviously wanted to sit down. I slid over to make room for him.

He thanked me profusely and apologized for inconveniencing me. He said that they were absolutely lost in the city because they were rural people, and that once they had been to Mexico City and had nearly died in the traffic. He asked me if I lived in Zacatecas. I said no and I was going to end our conversation right there but there was something very winning about his smile.

He was an old man, but was remarkably fit for his age. He was not an Indian. He seemed to be a gentleman farmer from a small rural town. He was wearing a suit and had a straw hat on. His features were very delicate. His skin was almost transparent. He had a high-bridged nose, a small mouth, and a perfectly groomed white beard. He looked extraordinarily healthy and yet he seemed frail. He was of medium height and well built, but at the same time gave the impression of being slender, almost effete. [* effete -- marked by excessive self-indulgence and moral decay]

He stood up and introduced himself to me. He told me that his name was Vicente Medrano, and that he had come to the city on business only for the day. He then pointed to the two women and said that they were his sisters. The women stood up and faced us.

They were very slim and darker than their brother. They were also much younger. One of them could have been his daughter. I noticed that their skin was not like his; theirs was dry. The two women were very good-looking. Like the man, they had fine features, and their eyes were clear and peaceful. They were about five feet four. They were wearing beautifully tailored dresses, but with their shawls, low heeled shoes, and dark cotton stockings they looked like well-to-do farm women. The older one appeared to be in her fifties, the younger in her forties.

The man introduced them to me. The older woman was named Carmela and the younger one Hermelinda. I stood up and briefly shook hands with them. I asked them if they had any children. That question was usually a sure conversation opener for me.

The women laughed and in unison ran their hands down their stomachs to show me how lean they were. The man calmly explained that his sisters were spinsters, and that he himself was an old bachelor. He confided to me, in a half-joking tone, that unfortunately his sisters were too mannish: They lacked the femininity that makes a woman desirable, and so they had been unable to find husbands.

I said that they were better off, considering the subservient role of women in our society. The women disagreed with me. They said that they would not have minded at all being servants if they had only found men who wanted to be their masters. The younger one said that the real problem was that their father had failed to teach them to behave like women.

The man commented with a sigh that their father was so domineering that he had also prevented him from marrying by deliberately neglecting to teach him how to be a macho. All three of them sighed and looked gloomy. I wanted to laugh.

After a long silence we sat down again and the man said that if I stayed a while longer on that bench I would have a chance to meet their father, who was still very spirited for his advanced age. He added in a shy tone that their father was going to take them to eat breakfast because they themselves never carried any money. Their father handled the purse strings.

I was aghast. Those old people who looked so strong were in reality like weak, dependent children. I said goodbye to them and got up to leave. The man and his sisters insisted that I stay. They assured me that their father would love it if I would join them for breakfast.

I did not want to meet their father and yet I was curious. I told them that I myself was waiting for someone. At that, the women began to chuckle and then broke into a roaring laughter. The man also abandoned himself to uncontained laughter. I felt stupid, I wanted to get out of there. At that moment don Juan showed up and I became aware of their maneuver. I did not think it was amusing.

All of us stood up. They were still laughing as don Juan told me that those women were the east -- that Carmela was the stalker and Hermelinda the dreamer -- and that Vicente was the warrior scholar and his oldest companion.

As we were leaving the plaza, another man joined us, a tall, dark Indian, perhaps in his forties. He was wearing Levi's and a cowboy hat. He seemed terribly strong and sullen. Don Juan introduced him to me as Juan Tuma, Vicente's courier and research assistant.

We walked to a restaurant a few blocks away. The women held me between them. Carmela said that she hoped I was not offended by their joke; that they had had the choice of just introducing themselves to me or kidding me. What made them decide to kid me was my thoroughly snobbish attitude in turning my back to them and wanting to move to another bench.

Hermelinda added that one has to be utterly humble and carry nothing to defend, not even one's person; that one's person should be protected, but not defended. In snubbing them, I was not protecting but merely defending myself.

I felt quarrelsome. I was frankly put out by their masquerade. I began to argue, but before I had made my point don Juan came to my side. He told the two women that they should overlook my belligerence, that it takes a very long time to clean out the garbage that a luminous being picks up in the world.

The owner of the restaurant where we went knew Vicente and had prepared a sumptuous breakfast for us. All of them were in great spirits, but I was unable to let go of my brooding.

Then, at don Juan's request, Juan Tuma began to talk about his journeys. He was a factual man. I became mesmerized by his dry accounts of things beyond my comprehension. To me, the most fascinating was his description of some beams of light or energy that allegedly crisscross the earth. He said that these beams do not fluctuate as everything else in the universe does, but are fixed into a pattern. This pattern coincides with hundreds of points in the luminous body.

Hermelinda had understood that all the points were in our physical body, but Juan Tuma explained that, since the luminous body is quite big, some of the points are as much as three feet away from the physical body. In a sense they are outside of us, and yet they are not. They are on the periphery of our luminosity and thus still belong to the total body. The most important of those points is located a foot away from the stomach, 40 degrees to the right of an imaginary line shooting straight forward. Juan Tuma told us that that was a center of assembling for the second attention, and that it is possible to manipulate it by gently stroking the air with the palms of the hands. Listening to Juan Tuma, I forgot my anger.

My next encounter with don Juan's world was with the west. He gave me ample warning that the first contact with the west was a most important event because it would decide, in one way or another, what I should subsequently do. He also alerted me to the fact that it was going to be a trying event, especially for me, as I was so stiff and felt so self-important.

He said that the west is naturally approached at dusk, a time of day which is difficult just in itself, and that his warriors of the west were very powerful, bold, and downright maddening. At the same time, I was also going to meet the male warrior who was the man behind the scenes. Don Juan admonished me to exercise the utmost caution and patience: Not only were the women raving mad, but they and the man were the most powerful warriors he had ever known. They were, in his opinion, the ultimate authorities of the second attention. Don Juan did not elaborate any further.

One day, as though on the spur of the moment, he suddenly decided that it was time to start on our trip to meet the westerly women. We drove to a city in northern Mexico. Just at dusk, don Juan directed me to stop in front of a big unlit house on the outskirts of town.

We got out of the car and walked to the main door. Don Juan knocked several times. No one answered. I had the feeling that we had come at the wrong time. The house seemed empty.

Don Juan kept on knocking until he apparently got tired. He signaled me to knock. He told me to keep on doing it without stopping because the people who lived in there were hard of hearing. I asked him if it would be better to return later or the next day. He told me to keep on banging on the door.

After a seemingly endless wait, the door began to open slowly. A weird looking woman stuck her head out and asked me if my intention was to break down the door or to anger the neighbors and their dogs.

Don Juan stepped forward to say something. The woman stepped out and forcefully brushed him aside. She began to shake her finger at me, yelling that I was behaving as if I owned the world, as if there were no one else besides myself. I protested that I was merely doing what don Juan had told me to do. The woman asked if I had been told to break the door down. Don Juan tried to intervene but was again brushed away.

The woman looked as if she had just gotten out of bed. She was a mess. Our knocking had probably awakened her and she must have put on a dress from her basket of dirty clothes. She was barefoot. Her hair was graying and terribly unkempt. She had red, beady eyes. She was a homely woman, but somehow very impressive, rather tall -- about five feet eight -- dark and enormously muscular. Her bare arms were knotted with hard muscles. I noticed that she had beautifully shaped calves.

She looked me up and down, towering over me, and shouted that she had not heard my apologies. Don Juan whispered to me that I should apologize loud and clear.

Once I had done that, the woman smiled and turned to don Juan and hugged him as if he were a child. She grumbled that he should not have made me knock because my touch on the door was too shifty and disturbing.

She held don Juan's arm and led him inside, helping him over the high threshold. She called him 'dearest little old man'. Don Juan laughed.

I was appalled to see him acting as if he were delighted at the absurdities of that scary woman. Once she had helped the dearest little old man into the house, she turned to me and made a gesture with her hand to shoo me away as if I were a dog.

She laughed at my surprise. Her teeth were big, uneven, and filthy. Then she seemed to change her mind and told me to come in.

Don Juan was heading to a door that I could barely see at the end of a dark hall. The woman scolded him for not knowing where he was going. She took us through another dark hall. The house seemed to be enormous and there was not a single light in it. The woman opened a door to a very large room; almost empty except for two old armchairs in the center under the weakest light bulb I had ever seen. It was an old fashioned long bulb.

Another woman was sitting in one of the armchairs. The first woman sat down on a small straw mat on the floor and rested her back against the other chair. Then she put her thighs against her breasts, exposing herself completely. She was not wearing underpants. I stared at her dumbfounded.

In an ugly gruff tone, the woman asked me why I was staring at her vagina. I did not know what to say except to deny it. She stood up and seemed about to hit me. She demanded that I tell her that I had gaped at her because I had never seen a vagina in my life. I felt guilty. I was thoroughly embarrassed and also annoyed at having been caught in such a situation.

The woman asked don Juan what kind of Nagual I was if I had never seen a vagina. She began repeating this over and over, yelling it at the top of her voice. She ran around the room and stopped by the chair where the other woman was sitting. She shook her by the shoulders and, pointing at me, said that I was a man who had never seen a vagina in his whole life. She laughed and taunted me.

I was mortified. I felt that don Juan should have done something to save me from that humiliation. I remembered that he had told me these women were quite mad. He had understated it. This woman was ready for an institution. I looked at don Juan for support and advice. He looked away. He seemed to be equally at a loss; although I thought I caught a malicious smile which he quickly hid by turning his head.

The woman lay down on her back and pulled up her skirt, and commanded me to look to my heart's content instead of sneaking glances. My face must have been red, judging by the heat in my head and neck. I was so annoyed that I almost lost control. I felt like bashing her head in.

The woman who was sitting in the chair suddenly stood up and grabbed the other one by the hair and made her stand up in one single motion, seemingly with no effort at all. She stared at me through half closed eyes, bringing her face no more than two or three inches from mine. She smelled surprisingly fresh.

In a high pitched voice, she said that we should get down to business. Both of the women stood close to me under the light bulb. They did not look alike. The second woman was older, or looked older, and her face was covered by a thick coat of cosmetic powder that gave her a clownish appearance. Her hair was neatly arranged in a chignon. She seemed calm except for a continuous tremor in her lower lip and chin.

Both women were equally tall and strong looking; they towered menacingly over me and stared at me for a long time. Don Juan did not do anything to break their fixation. The older woman nodded her head, and don Juan told me that her name was Zuleica and that she was a dreamer. The woman who had opened the door was named Zoila, and she was a stalker.

Zuleica turned to me and, in a parrotlike voice, asked me if it was true that I had never seen a vagina. Don Juan could not hold his composure any longer and began to laugh. With a gesture, I signaled him that I did not know what to say. He whispered in my ear that it would be better for me to say that I had not; otherwise I should be prepared to describe a vagina, because that was what Zuleica would demand that I do next.

I answered accordingly, and Zuleica said that she felt sorry for me. Then she ordered Zoila to show me her vagina. Zoila lay down on her back under the light bulb and opened her legs.

Don Juan was laughing and coughing. I begged him to get me out of that madhouse. He whispered in my ear again that I had better take a good look and appear attentive and interested, because if I did not we would have to stay there until kingdom come.

After my careful and attentive examination, Zuleica said that from then on I could brag that I was a connoisseur, and that if I ever stumbled upon a woman without pants, I would not be so coarse and obscene as to let my eyes pop out of their sockets, because now I had seen a vagina.

Zuleica very quietly led us to the patio. She whispered that there was someone out there waiting to meet me. The patio was pitch black. I could hardly make out the silhouettes of the others. Then I saw the dark outline of a man standing a few-feet away from me. My body experienced an involuntary jolt.

Don Juan spoke to the man in a very low voice, saying that he had brought me to meet him. He told the man my name. After a moment's silence, don Juan said to me that the man's name was Silvio Manuel, and that he was the warrior of darkness and the actual leader of the whole warrior's party. Then Silvio Manuel spoke to me. I thought that he must have had a speech disorder -- his voice was muffled and the words came out of him like spurts of soft coughing.

He ordered me to come closer. As I tried to approach him, he receded, just as if he were floating. He led me into an even darker recess of a hall, walking, it seemed, noiselessly backwards. He muttered something I could not understand. I wanted to speak: My throat itched and was parched.

He repeated something two or three times until it dawned on me that he was ordering me to undress. There was something overpowering about his voice and the darkness around him. I was incapable of disobeying. I took off my clothes and stood stark naked, shivering with fear and cold.

It was so dark that I could not see if don Juan and the two women were around. I heard a soft prolonged hissing from a source a few feet away from me. Then I felt a cool breeze. I realized that Silvio Manuel was exhaling his breath all over my body.

He then asked me to sit on my clothes and look at a bright point which I could easily distinguish in the darkness, a point that seemed to give out a faint amber light. I stared at it for what seemed hours, until I suddenly realized that the point of brightness was Silvio Manuel's left eye. I could then make out the contour of his whole face and his body. The hall was not as dark as it had seemed.

Silvio Manuel advanced to me and helped me up. To see in the dark with such clarity enthralled me. I did not even mind that I was naked or that, as I then saw, the two women were watching me. Apparently they could also see in the dark: They were staring at me. I wanted to put on my pants, but Zoila snatched them out of my hands.

The two women and Silvio Manuel stared at me for a long time. Then don Juan came out of nowhere, handed me my shoes, and Zoila led us through a corridor to an open patio with trees. I made out the dark silhouette of a woman standing in the middle of the patio. Don Juan spoke to her and she mumbled something in reply.

He told me that she was a southerly woman, that her name was Marta, and that she was a courier to the two westerly women. Marta said that she could bet I had never been introduced to a woman while I was naked; that the normal procedure is to get acquainted and then undress. She laughed out loud. Her laughter was so pleasing, so clear and youthful, that it sent chills through me. It reverberated through the whole house, enhanced by the darkness and the silence there.

I looked to don Juan for support. He was gone and so was Silvio Manuel. I was alone with the three women. I became very nervous and asked Marta if she knew where don Juan had gone. At that precise moment, someone grabbed the skin of my armpits. I yelled with pain. I knew that it was Silvio Manuel. He lifted me up as if I weighed nothing and shook my shoes off me. Then he stood me in a shallow tub of ice-cold water that came up to my knees.

I remained in the tub for a long time while all of them scrutinized me. Then Silvio Manuel lifted me up again and set me down next to my shoes, which someone had neatly placed next to the tub.

Don Juan again came out of nowhere and handed me my clothes. He whispered that I should put them on and stay only long enough to be polite. Marta gave me a towel to dry myself. I looked around for the other two women and Silvio Manuel, but they were nowhere in sight.

Marta, don Juan, and I stood in the darkness talking for a long time. She seemed to be speaking mainly to don Juan, but I believed that I was her real audience. I waited for a clue from don Juan to leave, but he appeared to be enjoying Marta's agile conversation. She told him that Zoila and Zuleica had been at the peak of their madness that day. Then she added for my benefit that they were extremely rational most of the time.

As if she were revealing a secret, Marta told us that the reason Zoila's hair looked so unkempt was because at least one third of it was Zuleica's hair.

What had happened was that the two of them had had a moment of intense camaraderie and were helping one another to groom their hair. Zuleica braided Zoila's hair as she had done hundreds of times, except that, being out of control, she had braided portions of her own hair in with Zoila's.

Marta said that when they got up from their chairs they went into a commotion. She ran to their rescue, but by the time she entered the room, Zuleica had taken over, and since she was more lucid than Zoila that day, she had decided to cut the portion of Zoila's hair that was braided to hers. She got confused in the melee that ensued and cut her own hair instead.

Don Juan was laughing as if it were the funniest thing ever. I heard soft coughlike bursts of laughter coming from the darkness on the far side of the patio.

Marta added that she had to improvise a chignon until Zuleica's hair grew out.

I laughed along with don Juan. I liked Marta. The two other women were abhorrent to me: They gave me a sensation of nausea. Marta, on the other hand, seemed a paragon of calm and silent purpose. I could not see her features, but I imagined her to be very beautiful. The sound of her voice was haunting.

She very politely asked don Juan if I would accept something to eat. He replied that I did not feel comfortable with Zuleica and Zoila, and that I would probably get sick to my stomach. Marta assured me that the two women were gone and took my arm and led us through the darkest hall yet into a well-lit kitchen. The contrast was too great for my eyes. I stood in the doorway trying to get used to the light.

The kitchen had a very high ceiling and was fairly modern and adequate. We sat in a sort of dinette area. Marta was young and very strong. She had a plump, voluptuous figure, a round face, and a small nose and mouth. Her jet-black hair was braided and coiled around her head.

I thought that she must have been as curious to examine me as I had been to see her. We sat and ate and talked for hours. I was fascinated by her. She was an uneducated woman but she held me spellbound with her talk. She gave us detailed accounts of the preposterous things that Zoila and Zuleica did when they were mad.

As we drove away, don Juan expressed his admiration for Marta. He said that she was perhaps the finest example he knew of how determination can affect a human being. With no background or preparation at all except for her unbending intent, Marta had successfully tackled the most arduous task imaginable; that of taking care of Zoila, Zuleica, and Silvio Manuel.

I asked don Juan why Silvio Manuel had refused to let me look at him in the light. He replied that Silvio Manuel was in his element in darkness, and that I was going to have countless opportunities to see him. For our first meeting, nonetheless, it was mandatory that he maintain himself within the boundaries of his power; the darkness of the night. Silvio Manuel and the two women lived together because they were a team of formidable sorcerers.

Don Juan advised me that I should not make hasty judgments about the westerly women. I had met them at a moment when they were out of control, but their lack of control pertained only to surface behavior. They had an inner core which was unalterable; thus, even at the time of their worst madness they were capable of laughing at their own aberration, [* aberration -- a state or condition markedly different from the norm] as if it were a performance staged by someone else.

Silvio Manuel's case was different. He was in no way deranged; in fact, it was his profound sobriety that enabled him to deal so effectively with those two women because he and they were opposite extremes. Don Juan said that Silvio Manuel had been born that way and everyone around him acknowledged his difference. Even his benefactor, who was stern and unsparing with everybody, lavished a great deal of attention on Silvio Manuel.

It took don Juan years to understand the reason for this preference. Due to something inexplicable in his nature, once Silvio Manuel had entered into the left-side awareness, he never came out of it. His proclivity to remain in a state of heightened awareness, coupled with the superb leadership of his benefactor, allowed him to arrive before anyone else -- not only at the conclusion that the rule is a map and there is in fact another kind of awareness -- but also to the actual passageway into that other world of awareness.

Don Juan said that Silvio Manuel, in a most impeccable manner, balanced his excessive gains by putting them at the service of their common purpose. He became the silent force behind don Juan.

My last introductory encounter with don Juan's warriors was with the north. Don Juan took me to the city of Guadalajara to fulfill that meeting. He said that our appointment was only a short distance from the center of town and had to be at noon, because the north was the midday. We left the hotel around 11 a.m. and took an easy stroll through the downtown area. I was walking along without watching where I was going, worried about the meeting, and I

collided head-on with a lady who was rushing out of a store. She was carrying packages, which scattered all over the ground.

I apologized and began to help her pick them up. Don Juan urged me to hurry because we were going to be late.

The lady seemed to be stunned. I held her arm. She was a very slender, tall woman, perhaps in her sixties, very elegantly dressed. She seemed to be a lady of social standing. She was exquisitely polite and assumed the blame, saying that she had been distracted looking for her manservant. She asked me if I would help her locate him in the crowd.

I turned to don Juan. He said that the least I could do after nearly killing her was to help her.

I took her packages and we walked back into the store. A short distance away I spotted a forlorn looking Indian who seemed thoroughly out of place there. The lady called him and he came to her side like a lost puppy. He looked as if he was about to lick her hand.

Don Juan was waiting for us outside the store. He explained to the lady that we were in a hurry and then told her my name. The lady smiled graciously and initiated a handshake. I thought that in her youth she must have been ravishing, because she was still beautiful and alluring.

Don Juan turned to me and abruptly said that her name was Nelida, that she was of the north, and that she was a dreamer. Then he made me face the manservant and said that his name was Genaro Flores, and that he was the man of action, the warrior of deeds in the party.

My surprise was total. All three of them had a belly laugh: The greater my dismay, the more they seemed to enjoy it.

Don Genaro gave the packages away to a group of children, telling them that his employer, the kind lady who was talking, had bought those things as a present for them. It was her good deed for the day.

Then we strolled in silence for half a block. I was tongue-tied. Suddenly Nelida pointed to a store and asked us to wait just an instant because she had to pick up a box of nylons that they were holding for her there. She peered at me, smiling, her eyes shining, and told me that, all kidding aside, sorcery or no sorcery, she had to wear nylons and lace panties.

Don Juan and don Genaro laughed like two idiots. I stared at Nelida because I could not do anything else. There was something about her that was utterly earthly and yet she was almost ethereal.

She kiddingly told don Juan to hold on to me because I was about to pass out. Then she politely asked don Genaro to run in and get her order from a specific clerk. As he started in, Nelida seemed to change her mind and called him back, but he apparently did not hear her and disappeared inside the store. She excused herself and ran after him.

Don Juan pressed my back to get me out of my turmoil. He said that I would meet the other northerly woman, whose name was Florinda, by herself at another time, because she was to be my link into another cycle, another mood. He described Florinda as a carbon copy of Nelida, or vice versa.

I remarked that Nelida was so sophisticated and stylish that I could imagine seeing her in a fashion magazine. The fact that she was beautiful and so fair, perhaps of French or northern Italian extraction, had surprised me. Although Vicente was not an Indian either, his rural appearance made him less of an anomaly. I asked don Juan why there were non-Indians in his world. He said that power is what selects the warriors of a Nagual's party, and that it is impossible to know its designs.

We waited in front of the store for perhaps half an hour. Don Juan seemed to get impatient and asked me to go inside and tell them to hurry. I walked into the store. It was not a big place, there was no back door, and yet they were nowhere in sight. I asked the clerks, but they could not help me.

I confronted don Juan and demanded to know what had happened. He said that they had either disappeared into thin air, or had sneaked out while he was cracking my back.

I raged at him that most of his people were tricksters. He laughed until tears were rolling down his cheeks. He said that I was the ideal dupe. My self-importance made me a most enjoyable subject. He was laughing so hard at my annoyance that he had to lean against a wall.

La Gorda gave me an account of her first meeting with the members of don Juan's party. Her version differed only in content. The form was the same. The warriors were perhaps a bit more violent with her, but she had understood this as their attempt to shake her out of her slumber, and also as a natural reaction to what she considered her ugly personality.

As we reviewed don Juan's world, we realized that it was a replica of his benefactor's world. It could be seen as consisting either of groups or households. There was a group of four independent pairs of apparent sisters who worked and lived together; another group of three men who were don Juan's age and were very close to him; a team of two somewhat younger men, the couriers Emilito and Juan Tuma; and finally a team of two younger, southerly women who seemed to be related to each other, Marta and Teresa.

At other times it could be seen as consisting of four separate households, located quite far from one another in different areas of Mexico. One was made up of the two westerly women, Zuleica and Zoila, Silvio Manuel, and the courier Marta. The next was composed of the southerly women, Cecilia and Delia, don Juan's courier, Emilito, and the courier Teresa. Another household was formed by the easterly women, Carmela and Hermelinda, Vicente, and the courier Juan Tuma; and the last, of the northerly women, Nelida and Florinda, and don Genaro.

According to don Juan, his world did not have the harmony and balance of his benefactor's. The only two women who thoroughly balanced one another, and who looked like identical twins were the northerly warriors, Nelida and Florinda. Nelida once told me in casual conversation, they were so alike that they even had the same blood type.

For me one of the most pleasant surprises of our interaction was the transformation of Zuleica and Zoila, who had been so abhorrent. They turned out to be, as don Juan had said, the most sober and dutiful warriors imaginable.

I could not believe my eyes when I saw them again. Their mad spell had passed and they now looked like two well-dressed Mexican ladies, tall, dark, and muscular, with brilliant dark eyes like pieces of shiny black obsidian. They laughed and joked with me about what had happened the night of our first meeting, as if someone else and not they had been involved in it.

I could easily understand don Juan's turmoil with the westerly warriors of his benefactor's party. It was impossible for me to accept that Zuleica and Zoila could ever turn into such obnoxious, nauseating creatures as I had first encountered. I was to witness their metamorphoses many times, yet I was never again able to judge them as harshly as I had on our first encounter. More than anything else, their outrages made me feel sad.

But the biggest surprise to me was Silvio Manuel. In the darkness of our first meeting I had imagined him to be an imposing man, an overpowering giant. In fact, he was tiny, but not small-boned tiny. His body was like the body of a jockey -- small, yet perfectly proportioned. He looked to me as if he might be a gymnast.

His physical control was so remarkable that he could puff himself up like a toad, to nearly twice his size, by contracting all the muscles of his body. He used to give astounding demonstrations of how he could dislodge his joints and put them back together again without any overt signs of pain.

Looking at Silvio Manuel, I always experienced a deep unfamiliar feeling of fright. To me he seemed like a visitor from another time. He was pale-dark, like a bronze statue. His features were sharp; his aquiline nose, full lips, and widely separated, slanted eyes made him look like a stylized figure on a Mayan fresco.

He was friendly and warm during the daytime, but as soon as the twilight set in, he would become unfathomable. His voice would change. He would sit in a dark corner and let the darkness swallow him. All that was visible of him was his left eye, which remained open and acquired a strange shine, reminiscent of the eyes of a feline.

A secondary issue that came up in the course of our interaction with don Juan's warriors was the subject of controlled folly. Don Juan gave me a succinct explanation once when he was discussing the two categories into which all the women warriors are mandatorily divided, the dreamers and the stalkers. He said that all the members of his party did dreaming and stalking as part of their daily lives, but that the women who made up the planet of the dreamers and the planet of the stalkers were the foremost authorities on their respective activities.

The stalkers are the ones who take the brunt of the daily world. They are the business managers, the ones who deal with people. Everything that has to do with the world of ordinary affairs goes through them. The stalkers are the practitioners of controlled folly, just as the dreamers are the practitioners of dreaming. In other words, controlled folly is the basis for stalking, as dreams are the basis for dreaming. Don Juan said that, generally speaking, a warrior's greatest accomplishment in the second attention is dreaming, and in the first attention his greatest accomplishment is stalking.

I had misunderstood what don Juan's warriors were doing to me in our first meetings. I took their actions as instances of trickery -- and that would still be my impression today had it not been for the idea of controlled folly. Don Juan said that their actions with me had been masterful lessons in stalking.

He told me that the art of stalking was what his benefactor had taught him before anything else. In order to survive among his benefactor's warriors he had had to learn that art quickly. In my case, he said, since I did not have to contend by myself with his warriors, I had to learn dreaming first. When the time was right, Florinda would step out to guide me into the complexities of stalking. No one else could deliberately talk to me about it. They could only give me direct demonstrations, as they had already done in our first meetings.

Don Juan explained to me at great length that Florinda was one of the foremost practitioners of stalking because she had been trained in every intricacy of it by his benefactor and his four female warriors who were stalkers.

Florinda was the first female warrior to come into don Juan's world, and because of that, she was to be my personal guide-not only in the art of stalking, but also in the mystery of the third attention, if I ever got there. Don Juan did not elaborate on this. He said it would have to wait until I was ready, first to learn stalking, and then to enter into the third attention.

Don Juan said that his benefactor had taken extra time and care with him and his warriors in everything that pertained to their mastering the art of stalking. He used complex ploys to create an appropriate context for a counterpoint between the dictums of the rule and the behavior of the warriors in the daily world as they interacted with people. He believed that that was the way to convince them that, in the absence of self-importance, a warrior's only way of dealing with the social milieu is in terms of controlled folly.

In the course of working out his ploys, don Juan's benefactor would pit the actions of people and the actions of the warriors against the commands of the rule, and would then sit back and let the natural drama unfold itself.

The folly of the people would take the lead for a while and drag the warriors into it, as seems to be the natural course, only to be vanquished in the end by the more encompassing designs of the rule.

Don Juan told us that at first he resented his benefactor's control over the players. He even told him that to his face. His benefactor was not fazed. He argued that his control was merely an illusion created by the Eagle. He was only an impeccable warrior, and his actions were a humble attempt to mirror the Eagle.

Don Juan said that the force with which his benefactor carried out his designs originated from his knowledge that the Eagle is real and final, and that what people do is utter folly.

The two together gave rise to controlled folly, which don Juan's benefactor described as the only bridge between the folly of people and the finality of the Eagle's dictums.
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Re: The Eagle's Gift, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:55 am

11. The Nagual Woman

Don Juan said that when he was put in the care of the westerly women to be cleansed, he was also put under the guidance of the northerly woman who was comparable to Florinda, the number-one stalker, who taught him the principles of that art. She and his benefactor gave him the actual means to secure the three male warriors, the one courier, and the four female stalkers who were to make up his party.

The eight female seers of his benefactor's group had searched for the distinctive configurations of luminosity and had had no difficulty whatever in finding the appropriate types of male and female warriors for don Juan's party. His benefactor, however, did not permit those seers to do anything to gather the warriors they had found. It was left to don Juan to apply the principles of stalking and secure them.

The first warrior to appear was Vicente. Don Juan did not have enough of a command of stalking to be able to draft him. His benefactor and the northerly stalker had to do most of the work. Then came Silvio Manuel, later don Genaro, and finally Emilito, the courier.

Florinda was the first female warrior. She was followed by Zoila, then Delia, and then Carmela. Don Juan said that his benefactor had insisted relentlessly that they deal with the world exclusively in terms of controlled folly. The end result was a stupendous team of practitioners, who thought up and executed the most intricate schemes.

When they had all acquired a degree of proficiency in the art of stalking, their benefactor thought it was time for him to find the Nagual woman for them -- which he did.

But before he brought her into their world, and true to his policy of helping everyone to help themselves; he waited not only until all of them were expert stalkers, but until don Juan had learned to see. Although don Juan regretted immensely the time wasted in waiting, he conceded that their joint effort in securing her created a stronger tie among all of them. It revitalized their commitment to seek their freedom.


His benefactor began to unfold his strategy for drawing in the Nagual woman by all of a sudden becoming a devout Catholic. He demanded that don Juan, being the heir to his knowledge, behave like a son and go to church with him. He dragged him to mass nearly every day. Don Juan said that his benefactor, who was very charming and glib, would introduce him to everyone in church as his son, a bone-setter.

Don Juan, by his own account an uncivilized pagan at that time, was mortified to find himself in social situations where he had to talk and give an account of himself. He put his mind at ease with the idea that his benefactor had an ulterior motive for everything he was doing. He attempted to deduce from observing him what his reasons might be.

His benefactor's actions were consistent and seemed aboveboard. As an exemplary Catholic, he gained the trust of scores of people, especially the parish priest, who held him in high esteem, considering him a friend and confidant. Don Juan could not figure out what he was up to. The thought crossed his mind that his benefactor might have sincerely taken up Catholicism, or gone mad. He had not yet understood that a warrior never loses his mind under any circumstances.

Don Juan's qualms about going to church vanished when his benefactor began introducing him to the daughters of people he was acquainted with. He enjoyed that, although he felt ill at ease. Don Juan thought that his benefactor was helping him to exercise his tongue. He was neither glib nor charming, and his benefactor had said that a Nagual, perforce, has to be both.

One Sunday during mass, after nearly a year of almost daily attendance, don Juan found out the real reason for their going to church. He was kneeling next to a girl named Olinda, the daughter of one of his benefactor's acquaintances. He turned to exchange a glance with her, as had become their custom after months of daily contact.

Their eyes met, and suddenly don Juan saw her as a luminous being -- and then he saw her doubleness. Olinda was a double woman. His benefactor had known it all along, and had taken the most difficult path in order to put don Juan in touch with her. Don Juan confessed to us that the moment was overwhelming to him.

His benefactor knew that don Juan had seen. His mission to put the double beings together had been completed successfully and impeccably. He stood up and his eyes swept every corner of that church, then he walked out without a backward glance. There was nothing more for him to do there.

Don Juan said that when his benefactor walked out in the middle of mass, all heads turned. Don Juan wanted to follow him, but Olinda boldly clasped his hand and held him back. He knew then that the power of seeing had not been his alone. Something had gone through both of them and they were transfixed.

Don Juan realized all of a sudden that not only had the mass ended, but that they were already outside the church. His benefactor was trying to calm Olinda's mother, who was incensed and shamed by their unexpected and inadmissible display of affection.

Don Juan was at a loss as to what to do next. He knew that it was up to him to figure out a plan. He had the resources, but the importance of the event made him lose confidence in his ability. He forsook his training as a stalker and became lost in the intellectual dilemma of whether or not to treat Olinda as controlled folly.

His benefactor told him that he could not help him. His duty had been only to put them together, and that was where his responsibility ended. It was up to don Juan to take the necessary steps to secure her. He suggested that don Juan even consider marrying her, if that was what was needed. Only after she came to him of her own accord could he help don Juan by directly intervening with her as a Nagual.

Don Juan tried a formal courtship. He was not well received by her parents, who could not conceive of someone from a different social class as a suitor for their daughter. Olinda was not an Indian: Her family were middle-class urban dwellers; owners of a small business. The father had other plans for his daughter. He threatened to send her away if don Juan persisted in his intention to marry her.

Don Juan said that double beings, especially women, are extraordinarily conservative, even timid. Olinda was no exception. After their initial exhilaration in church, she was overtaken by caution, and then by fear. Her own reactions scared her.

As a strategic maneuver, his benefactor made don Juan retreat, to make it appear as if he were acquiescing to his father, who had not approved of the girl -- which was the assumption of everyone who had witnessed the incident in church. People gossiped that their display had displeased his father so intensely that his father, who was such a devout Catholic, had never returned to church.

His benefactor told don Juan that a warrior is never under siege. To be under siege implies that one has personal possessions that could be blockaded. A warrior has nothing in the world except his impeccability, and impeccability cannot be threatened. Nonetheless, in a battle for one's life, such as the one don Juan was waging to secure the Nagual woman, a warrior should strategically use every means available.

Accordingly, don Juan resolved to use any portion of his stalker's knowledge that he had toto get the girl. To that end, he engaged Silvio Manuel to use his sorcerer's arts, which even at that early stage were formidable, to abduct the girl. Silvio Manuel and Genaro, who was a true daredevil, stole into the girl's house disguised as old washerwomen. It was midday and everyone in the house was busy preparing food for a large group of relatives and friends who were coming to dinner.

They were having an informal going-away party for Olinda. Silvio Manuel was counting on the likelihood that people who saw two strange washerwomen coming in with bundles of clothes would assume that it had to do with Olinda's party and would not get suspicious. Don Juan had supplied Silvio Manuel and Genaro beforehand with all the information they needed concerning the routines of the members of the household. He told them that the washerwomen usually carried their bundles of washed clothes into the house and left them in a storage room to be ironed. Carrying a large bundle of clothes, Silvio Manuel and Genaro went directly into that room, knowing that Olinda would be there.

Don Juan said that Silvio Manuel went up to Olinda and used his mesmeric powers to make her faint. They put her inside a sack, wrapped the sack with her bed sheets, and walked out, leaving behind the bundle they had carried in. They bumped into her father at the door. He did not even glance at them.

Don Juan's benefactor was utterly put out with their maneuver. He ordered don Juan to take the girl back immediately to her house. It was imperative, he said, that the double woman come to the benefactor's house of her own free will, perhaps not with the idea of joining them but at least because they interested her.

Don Juan felt that everything was lost -- the odds against getting her back into her house unnoticed were too great -- but Silvio Manuel figured out a solution. He proposed that they should let the four women of don Juan's party take the girl to a deserted road, where don Juan would rescue her.

Silvio Manuel wanted the women to pretend that they were kidnapping her. At some point along the road someone would see them and come in pursuit. Their pursuer would overtake them and they would drop the sack, with a degree of force so as to be convincing. The pursuer would be, of course, don Juan, who would happen miraculously to be at just the right place at the right time.

Silvio Manuel demanded true-to-life action. He ordered the women to gag the girl, who by then would surely be awake and screaming inside the sack, and then to run for miles carrying the sack. He told them to hide from their pursuer. Finally, after a truly exhausting ordeal, they were to drop the sack in such a way that the girl could witness a most vicious fight between don Juan and the four women. Silvio Manuel told the women that this had to be utterly realistic. He armed them with sticks and instructed them to hit don Juan convincingly before they were driven away.

Of the women, Zoila was the one most easily carried away by hysteria. As soon as they began whacking don Juan she became possessed by her role and gave a chilling performance, striking don Juan so hard that flesh was torn from his back and shoulders. For a moment it seemed that the kidnappers were going to win. Silvio Manuel had to come out of his hiding place and, pretending to be a passerby, remind them that it was only a ploy and that it was time to run away.

Don Juan thus became Olinda's savior and protector. He told her that he could not take her back to her house himself because he had been injured, but he would send her back instead with his pious father.

She helped him walk to his benefactor's house. Don Juan said that he did not have to pretend injury. He was bleeding profusely and barely made it to the door. When Olinda told his benefactor what had happened, his benefactor's desire to laugh was so excruciating he had to disguise it as weeping.

Don Juan had his wounds bandaged and then went to bed. Olinda began to explain to don Juan why her father was opposed to him, but she did not finish. Don Juan's benefactor came into the room and told her that it was evident to him, from observing her walk, that the kidnappers had injured her back. He offered to align it for her before it became critical.

Olinda hesitated. Don Juan's benefactor reminded her that the kidnappers had not been playing -- they had nearly killed his son, after all. That comment sufficed. She came to the benefactor's side and let him give her a sound blow on her shoulder blade. It made a cracking sound and Olinda entered into a state of heightened awareness. He disclosed the rule to her, and just like don Juan, she accepted it in full. There was no doubt, no hesitation.

The Nagual woman and don Juan found completeness and silence in each other's company. Don Juan said that the feeling they had for each other had nothing to do with affection or need. It was rather a shared physical sense that an ominous barrier had been broken within them, and they were one and the same being.

Don Juan and his Nagual woman, as the rule prescribed, worked together for years to find the set of four female dreamers, who turned out to be Nelida, Zuleica, Cecilia, and Hermelinda and the three couriers, Juan Tuma, Teresa, and Marta.

Finding them was another occasion when the pragmatic nature of the rule was made clear to don Juan: All of them were exactly what the rule said they were going to be. Their advent introduced a new cycle for everyone, don Juan's benefactor and his party included. For don Juan and his warriors it meant the cycle of dreaming, and for his benefactor and his party it meant a period of unequalled impeccability in their acts.

His benefactor explained to don Juan that when he was young and was first introduced to the idea of the rule as the means to freedom, he had been elated, transfixed with joy. Freedom to him was a reality around the corner. When he came to understand the nature of the rule as a map, his hopes and optimism were redoubled.

Later on, sobriety took hold of his life. The older his benefactor got, the less chance he saw for his success and the success of his party. Finally he became convinced that no matter what they did, the odds were too great against their tenuous human awareness ever flying free. He made peace with himself and his fate, and surrendered to failure. He told the Eagle from his inner self that he was glad and proud to have nourished his awareness. The Eagle was welcome to it.

Don Juan told us that the same mood was shared by all the members of his benefactor's party. The freedom proposed in the rule was something they considered unattainable. They had caught glimpses of the annihilating force that the Eagle is, and felt that they did not stand a chance against it. All of them had agreed, nevertheless, that they would live their lives impeccably for no other reason than to be impeccable.

Don Juan said that his benefactor and his party, in spite of their feelings of inadequacy, or perhaps because of those feelings, did find their freedom. They did enter into the third attention -- not as a group, however, but one by one. The fact that they found the passageway was the final corroboration of the truth contained in the rule. The last one to leave the world of everyday-life awareness was his benefactor. He complied with the rule and took don Juan's Nagual woman with him.

As the two of them dissolved into total awareness, don Juan and all his warriors were made to 'explode from within' -- he could find no other way of describing the feeling entailed in being forced to forget all they had witnessed of their benefactor's world.

The one who never forgot was Silvio Manuel. It was he who engaged don Juan in the backbreaking effort of bringing back together the members of their group, all of whom had been scattered. He then plunged them into the task of finding the totality of themselves. It took them years to accomplish both tasks.

Don Juan had extensively discussed the topic of forgetting, but only in connection with their great difficulty in getting together again and starting over without their benefactor. He never told us exactly what it entailed to forget or to gain the totality of oneself. In that respect he was true to his benefactor's teachings, only helping us to help ourselves.

To this effect, he trained la Gorda and me to see together and was able to show us that, although human beings appear to a seer as luminous eggs, the egglike shape is an external cocoon; a shell of luminosity that houses a most intriguing, haunting, mesmeric core made up of concentric circles of yellowish luminosity the color of a candle's flame.

During our final session, he had us see people milling around a church. It was late afternoon, almost dark, yet the creatures inside their rigid, luminous cocoons radiated enough light to render everything around them crystal clear. The sight was wondrous.

Don Juan explained that the egg-shaped shells which seemed so bright to us were indeed dull. The luminosity emanated from the brilliant core: The shell in fact dulled its radiance. Don Juan revealed to us that the shell must be broken in order to liberate that being. It must be broken from the inside at the right time, just as creatures that hatch out of eggs break their shells. If they fail to do so, they suffocate and die. As with creatures that hatch out of eggs, there is no way for a warrior to break the shell of his luminosity until the time is right.

Don Juan told us that losing the human form was the only means of breaking that shell, the only means of liberating that haunting luminous core; the core of awareness which is the Eagle's food. To break the shell means remembering the other self, and arriving at the totality of oneself.

Don Juan and his warriors did arrive at the totality of themselves, and turned then to their last task, which was to find a new pair of double beings. Don Juan said that they thought it was going to be a simple matter -- everything else had been relatively easy for them. They had no idea that the apparent effortlessness of their accomplishments as warriors was a consequence of their benefactor's mastery and personal power.

Their quest for a new pair of double beings was fruitless. In all their searching, they never came across a double woman. They found several double men, but those double men were all well-situated, busy, prolific, and so satisfied with their lives that it would have been useless to approach them. Those men felt that they did not need to find purpose in life: They thought they had already found it.

Don Juan said that one day he realized that he and his group were getting old, and there seemed to be no hope of ever accomplishing their task. That was the first time they felt the sting of despair and impotence.

Silvio Manuel insisted that they should resign themselves and live impeccably without hope of finding their freedom. It seemed plausible to don Juan that this might indeed be the key to everything.

In this respect he found himself following in his benefactor's footsteps. He came to accept that an unconquerable pessimism overtakes a warrior at a certain point on his path. A sense of defeat, or perhaps more accurately, a sense of unworthiness, comes upon him almost unawares.

Don Juan said that, before, he used to laugh at his benefactor's doubts and could not bring himself to believe that he worried in earnest. In spite of the protests and warnings of Silvio Manuel, don Juan had thought it was all a giant ploy designed to teach them something. Since he could not believe that his benefactor's doubts were real, neither could he believe that his benefactor's resolution to live impeccably without hope of freedom was genuine.

When don Juan finally grasped that his benefactor, in all seriousness, had resigned himself to fail, it also dawned on don Juan that a warrior's resolution to live impeccably in spite of everything cannot be approached as a strategy to ensure success.

Don Juan and his party proved this truth for themselves when they realized for a fact that the odds against them were astonishing. Don Juan said that at such moments a lifelong training takes over, and the warrior enters into a state of unsurpassed humility: When the true poverty of his human resources becomes undeniable, the warrior has no recourse but to step back and lower his head.

Don Juan marveled that this realization seems to have no effect on the female warriors of a party: The disarray seems to leave them unfazed.

He told us that he had noted this in his benefactor's party: the females were never as worried and morose about their fate as were the males. They seemed simply to acquiesce in the judgment of don Juan's benefactor and followed him without showing signs of emotional wear and tear. If the women were ruffled at some level, they were indifferent to it. To be busy was all that counted for them. It was as if only the males had bid for freedom and felt the impact of a counter-bidding.

In his own group, don Juan observed the same contrast. The women readily agreed with him when he said that his resources were inadequate. He could only conclude that the women, although they never mentioned it, had never believed they had any resources to begin with. There was consequently no way they could feel disappointed or despondent at finding out they were impotent: They had known it all along.

Don Juan told us that the reason the Eagle demanded twice as many female warriors as males was precisely because females have an inherent balance which is lacking in males. At the crucial moment, it is the men who get hysterical and commit suicide if they judge that everything is lost. A woman may kill herself due to lack of direction and purpose, but not because of the failure of a system to which she happens to belong.

After don Juan and his party of warriors had given up hope -- or rather, as don Juan put it, after he and the male warriors had reached rock bottom and the women had found suitable ways to humor them -- don Juan finally stumbled upon a double man he could approach.

I was that double man. He said that since no one in his right mind is going to volunteer for such a preposterous project as a struggle for freedom, he had to follow his benefactor's teachings and, in true stalker's style, reel me in as he had reeled in the members of his own party. He needed to have me alone at a place where he could apply physical pressure to my body, and it was necessary that I go there of my own accord. He lured me into his house with great ease. As he said, securing the double man is never a great problem, the difficulty is to find one who is available.

That first visit to his house was, from the point of view of my daily awareness, an uneventful session. Don Juan was charming and joked with me. He guided the conversation to the fatigue the body experiences after long drives; a subject that seemed thoroughly inconsequential to me as a student of anthropology.

Then he made the casual comment that my back appeared to be out of alignment, and without another word put a hand on my chest and straightened me up and gave me a sound rap on the back. He caught me so unprepared that I blacked out. When I opened my eyes again I felt as if he had broken my spine, but I knew that I was different. I was someone else and not the me I knew. From then on, whenever I saw him he would make me shift from my right-side awareness to my left, and then he would reveal the rule to me.

Almost immediately after finding me, don Juan encountered a double woman. He did not put me in touch with her through a scheme, as his benefactor had done with him; but devised a ploy, as effective and elaborate as any of his benefactor's, by which he himself enticed and secured the double woman. He assumed this burden because he believed that it was the benefactor's duty to secure both double beings immediately upon finding them, and then to put them together as partners in an inconceivable enterprise.

He told me that one day when he was living in Arizona, he had gone to a government office to fill out an application. The lady at the desk told him to take it to an employee in the adjacent section, and without looking she pointed to her left.

Don Juan followed the direction of her outstretched arm and saw a double woman sitting at a desk. When he took his application to her he realized that she was just a young girl. She told him that she had nothing to do with applications. Nevertheless, out of sympathy for a poor old Indian, she took the time to help him process it.

Some legal documents were needed, documents which don Juan had in his pocket, but he pretended total ignorance and helplessness. He made it seem that the bureaucratic organization was an enigma to him. It was not difficult at all to portray total mindlessness, don Juan said. All he had to do was revert to what had once been his normal state of awareness.

It was to his purpose to prolong his interaction with the girl for as long as he could. His mentor had told him, and he himself had verified it in his search, that double women are quite rare. His mentor had also warned him that they have inner resources that make them highly volatile. Don Juan was afraid that if he did not play his cards expertly she would leave.

He played on her sympathy to gain time. He created further delay by pretending that the legal documents were lost. Nearly every day he would bring in a different one to her. She would read it and regretfully tell him that it was not the right one. The girl was so moved by his sorry condition that she even volunteered to pay for a lawyer to draw him up an affidavit in lieu of the papers.

After three months of this, don Juan thought it was time to produce the documents. By then she had gotten used to him and almost expected to see him every day. Don Juan came one last time to express his thanks and say goodbye. He told her that he would have liked to bring her a gift to show his appreciation, but he did not have money even to eat.

She was moved by his candor and took him to lunch. As they were eating he mused that a gift does not necessarily have to be an object that one buys. It could be something that is only for the eyes of the beholder. Something to remember rather than to possess.

She was intrigued by his words. Don Juan reminded her that she had expressed compassion for the Indians and their condition as paupers. He asked her if she would like to see the Indians in a different light -- not as paupers but as artists. He told her that he knew an old man who was the last of his line of power dancers. He assured her that the man would dance for her at his request; and furthermore, he promised her that never in her life had she seen anything like it, nor would she ever again. It was something that only Indians witnessed.

She was delighted at the idea. She picked him up after her work, and they headed for the hills where he told her the Indian lived. Don Juan took her to his own house. He made her stop the car quite a distance away, and they began to walk the rest of the way. Before they reached the house he stopped and drew a line with his foot in the sandy, dried dirt. He told her that the line was a boundary and coaxed her to step across.

The Nagual woman herself told me that up to that point she had been very intrigued with the possibility of witnessing a genuine Indian dancer, but when the old Indian drew a line on the dirt and called it a boundary, she began to hesitate. Then she became outright alarmed when he told her that the boundary was for her alone, and that once she stepped over it there was no way of returning.

The Indian apparently saw her consternation and tried to put her at ease. He politely patted her on the arm and gave her his guarantee that no harm would come to her while he was around. The boundary could be explained, he told her, as a form of symbolic payment to the dancer because he did not want money. Ritual was in lieu of money, and ritual required that she step over the boundary of her own accord.

The old Indian gleefully stepped over the line and told her that to him all of it was sheer Indian nonsense, but that the dancer, who was watching them from inside the house, had to be humored if she wanted to see him dance.

The Nagual woman said that she suddenly became so afraid that she could not move to cross the line. The old Indian made an effort to persuade her, saying that stepping over that boundary was beneficial to the entire body. Crossing it had not only made him feel younger, it had actually made him younger, such power did that boundary have. To demonstrate his point, he crossed back again and immediately his shoulders slouched, the corners of his mouth drooped, his eyes lost their shine. The Nagual woman could not deny the differences the crossings had made.

Don Juan recrossed the line a third time. He breathed deeply, expanding his chest, his movements brisk and bold. The Nagual woman said that the thought crossed her mind that he might even make sexual advances. Her car was too far away to make a run for it. The only thing she could do was to tell herself that it was stupid to fear that old Indian.

Then the old man made another appeal to her reason and to her sense of humor. In a conspiratorial tone, as if he were revealing a secret with some reluctance, he told her that he was just pretending to be young to please the dancer, and that if she did not help him by crossing the line, he was going to faint at any moment from the stress of walking without slouching. He walked back and forth across the line to show her the immense strain involved in his pantomime.

The Nagual woman said that his pleading eyes revealed the pain his old body was going through to mimic youth. She crossed the line to help him and be done with it: She wanted to go home.

The moment she crossed the line, don Juan took a prodigious jump and glided over the roof of the house. The Nagual woman said that he flew like a huge boomerang. When he landed next to her she fell on her back. Her fright was beyond anything she had ever experienced, but so was her excitement at having witnessed such a marvel. She did not even ask how he had accomplished such a magnificent feat. She wanted to run back to her car and head for home.

The old man helped her up and apologized for having tricked her. In fact, he said, he himself was the dancer and his flight over the house had been his dance. He asked her if she had paid attention to the direction of his flight. The Nagual woman circled her hand counterclockwise.

He patted her head paternally and told her that it was very auspicious that she had been attentive. Then he said that she may have injured her back in her fall, and that he could not just let her go without making sure she was all right. Boldly, he straightened her shoulders, and lifted her chin and the back of her head, as if he were directing her to extend her spine. He then gave her a sound smack between her shoulder blades, literally knocking all the air out of her lungs. For a moment she was unable to breathe and she fainted.

When she regained consciousness, she was inside his house. Her nose was bleeding, her ears were buzzing, her breathing was accelerated, and she could not focus her eyes. He instructed her to take deep breaths to a count of eight. The more she breathed, the clearer everything became. At one point, she told me, the whole room became incandescent: Everything glowed with an amber light.

She became stupefied and could not breathe deeply any more. The amber light by then was so thick it resembled fog. Then the fog turned into amber cobwebs. It finally dissipated, but the world remained uniformly amber for a while longer.

Don Juan began to talk to her then. He took her outside the house and showed her that the world was divided into two halves. The left side was clear but the right side was veiled in amber fog. He told her that it is monstrous to think that the world is understandable or that we ourselves are understandable. He said that what she was perceiving was an enigma; a mystery that one could only accept in humbleness and awe.

He then revealed the rule to her. Her clarity of mind was so intense that she understood everything he said. The rule seemed to her appropriate and self-evident.

He explained to her that the two sides of a human being are totally separate and that it takes great discipline and determination to break that seal and go from one side to the other. A double being has a great advantage: The condition of being double permits relatively easy movement between the compartments on the right side. The great disadvantage of double beings is that by virtue of having two compartments they are sedentary, conservative, afraid of change.

Don Juan said to her that his intention had been to make her shift from her extreme right compartment to her more lucid, sharper left-right side; but instead, through some inexplicable quirk, his blow had sent her all across her doubleness, from her everyday extreme-right side to her extreme-left side.

He tried four times to make her revert back to a normal state of awareness, but to no avail. His blows helped her, however, to turn her perception of the wall of fog on and off at will. Although he had not intended it, don Juan had been right in saying that the line was a one-way boundary for her. Once she crossed it, just like Silvio Manuel, she never returned.

When don Juan put the Nagual woman and me face to face, neither of us had known of the other's existence, yet we instantly felt that we were familiar with one another. Don Juan knew from his own experience that the solace double beings feel in each other's company is indescribable, and far too brief.

He told us that we had been put together by forces incomprehensible to our reason, and that the only thing we did not have was time. Every minute might be the last; therefore, it had to be lived with the spirit.

Once don Juan had put us together, all that was left for him and his warriors to do was find four female stalkers, three male warriors, and one male courier to make up our party.

To that end, don Juan found Lydia, Josefina, la Gorda, Rosa, Benigno, Nestor, Pablito, and the courier Eligio. Each one of them was a replica in an undeveloped form of the members of don Juan's own party.
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Re: The Eagle's Gift, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:56 am

12. The 'Not-Doings' of Silvio Manuel

Don Juan and his warriors sat back to allow the Nagual woman and myself room to enact the rule -- that is, to nourish, enhance, and lead the eight warriors to freedom. Everything seemed perfect, yet something was wrong.

The first set of female warriors don Juan had found were dreamers when they should have been stalkers. He did not know how to explain this anomaly. [* anomaly -- deviation from the normal or common order or form or rule] He could only conclude that power had put those women in his path in a manner that made it impossible to refuse them.

There was another striking anomaly that was even more baffling to don Juan and his party: Three of the women and the three male warriors were incapable of entering into a state of heightened awareness, despite don Juan's titanic efforts. They were groggy, out of focus, and could not break the seal; the membrane that separates their two sides. They were nicknamed the drunkards because they staggered around without muscular coordination.

The courier Eligio and la Gorda were the only ones with an extraordinary degree of awareness, especially Eligio who was par with any of don Juan's own people.

The three girls clustered together and made an unshakable unit. So did the three men. Groups of three when the rule prescribes four were something ominous. The number three is a symbol of dynamics, change, movement, and above all, a symbol of revitalization.

The rule was no longer serving as a map. And yet it was not conceivable that an error was involved. Don Juan and his warriors argued that power does not make mistakes. They pondered the question in their dreaming and seeing. They wondered whether they had perhaps been too hasty, and simply had not seen that the three women and the three men were inept.

Don Juan confided to me that he saw two relevant questions. One was the pragmatic problem of our presence among them.

The other was the question of the rule's validity. Their benefactor had guided them to the certainty that the rule encompassed everything a warrior might be concerned with. He had not prepared them for the eventuality that the rule might prove to be inapplicable.

La Gorda said that the women of don Juan's party never had any problems with me. It was only the males who were at a loss. To the men, it was incomprehensible and unacceptable that the rule was incongruous in my case. The women, however, were confident that sooner or later the reason for my being there was going to be made clear.

I had observed how the women kept themselves detached from the emotional turmoil, seeming to be completely unconcerned with the outcome. They seemed to know without any reasonable doubt that my case had to be somehow included in the rule. After all, I had definitely helped them by accepting my role. Thanks to the Nagual woman and myself, don Juan and his party had completed their cycle and were almost free.

The answer came to them at last through Silvio Manuel. His seeing revealed that the three little sisters and the Genaros were not inept. It was rather that I was not the right Nagual for them. I was incapable of leading them because I had an unsuspected configuration that did not match the pattern laid down by the rule; a configuration which don Juan as a seer had overlooked. My luminous body gave the appearance of having four compartments when in reality it had only three. There was another rule for what they called a 'three pronged Nagual'. I belonged to that other rule.

Silvio Manuel said that I was like a bird hatched by the warmth and care of birds of a different species. All of them were still bound to help me, as I myself was bound to do anything for them, but I did not belong with them.

Don Juan assumed responsibility for me because he had brought me into their midst, but my presence among them forced them all to exert themselves to the maximum, searching for two things: an explanation of what I was doing among them, and a solution to the problem of what to do about it.

Silvio Manuel very quickly hit upon a way to dislodge me from their midst. He took over the task of directing the project, but since he did not have the patience or energy to deal with me personally, he commissioned don Juan to do so as his surrogate.

Silvio Manuel's goal was to prepare me for a moment when a courier bearing the rule pertinent to a three pronged Nagual would make himself or herself available to me. He said that it was not his role to reveal that portion of the rule. I had to wait, just as all the others had to wait, for the right time.

There was still another serious problem that added more confusion. It had to do with la Gorda, and in the long run with me. La Gorda had been accepted into my party as a southerly woman. Don Juan and the rest of his seers had attested to it. She seemed to be in the same category with Cecilia, Delia, and the two female couriers. The similarities were undeniable. Then la Gorda lost all her superfluous weight and slimmed down to half her size. The change was so radical and profound that she became something else.

She had gone unnoticed for a long time simply because all the other warriors were too preoccupied with my difficulties to pay any attention to her. Her change was so drastic, however, that they were forced to focus on her, and what they saw that she was not a southerly woman at all. The bulkiness of her body had misled their previous seeing.

They remembered then that from the first moment she came into their midst, la Gorda could not really get along with Cecilia, Delia, and the other southerly women. She was, on the other hand, utterly charmed and at ease with Nelida and Florinda, because in fact she had always been like them. That meant that there were two northerly dreamers in my party, la Gorda and Rosa -- a blatant discrepancy with the rule.

Don Juan and his warriors were more than baffled. They understood everything that was happening as an omen, an indication that things had taken an unforeseeable turn. Since they could not accept the idea of human error overriding the rule, they assumed that they had been made to err by a superior command, for a reason which was difficult to discern but real.

They pondered the question of what to do next, but before any of them came up with an answer, a true southerly woman, dona Soledad, came into the picture with such a force that it was impossible for them to refuse her. She was congruous with the rule. She was a stalker.

Her presence distracted us for a time. For a while it seemed as if she were going to pull us off to another plateau. She created vigorous movement. Florinda took her under her wing to instruct her in the art of stalking. But whatever good it did, it was not enough to remedy a strange loss of energy that I felt, a listlessness that seemed to be increasing.

Then one day Silvio Manuel said that in his dreaming he had received a master plan. He was exhilarated and went off to discuss its details with don Juan and the other warriors. The Nagual woman was included in their discussions, but I was not. This made me suspect that they did not want me to find out what Silvio Manuel had discovered about me.

I confronted every one of them with my suspicions. They all laughed at me, except for the Nagual woman, who told me that I was right. Silvio Manuel's dreaming had revealed the reason for my presence among them, but I would have to surrender to my fate, which was not to know the nature of my task until I was ready for it.

There was such finality in her tone that I could only accept without question everything she said. I think that if don Juan or Silvio Manuel had told me the same thing, I would not have acquiesced so easily.

She also said that she disagreed with don Juan and the others. She thought I should be informed of the general purpose of their actions, if only to avoid unnecessary friction and rebelliousness.

Silvio Manuel intended to prepare me for my task by taking me directly into the second attention. He planned a series of bold actions that would galvanize my awareness.

In the presence of all the others, he told me that he was taking over my guidance and that he was shifting me to his area of power; the night. The explanation he gave was that a number of not-doings had presented themselves to him in dreaming. They were designed for a team composed of la Gorda and myself as the doers, and the Nagual woman as the overseer.

Silvio Manuel was awed by the Nagual woman and had only words of admiration for her. He said that she was in a class by herself. She could perform on a par with him or any of the other warriors of his party. She did not have experience, but she could manipulate her attention in any way she needed. He confessed that her prowess was as great a mystery to him as was my presence among them, and that her sense of purpose and her conviction were so keen that I was no match for her. In fact, he asked la Gorda to give me special support, so I could withstand the Nagual woman's contact.

For our first not-doing, Silvio Manuel constructed a wooden crate big enough to house la Gorda and me if we sat back-to-back with our knees up. The crate had a lid made of latticework to let in a flow of air.

La Gorda and I were to climb inside it and sit in total darkness and total silence without falling asleep. He began by letting us enter the box for short periods. Then he increased the time as we got used to the procedure until we could spend the entire night inside it without moving or dozing off.

The Nagual woman stayed with us to make sure that we would not change levels of awareness due to fatigue. Silvio Manuel said that our natural tendency under unusual conditions of stress is to shift from the heightened state of awareness to our normal one, and vice versa.

The general effect of the not-doing every time we performed it was to give us an unequalled sense of rest; which was a complete puzzle to me, since we never fell asleep during our nightlong vigils. I attributed the sense of rest to the fact that we were in a state of heightened awareness, but Silvio Manuel said that the one had nothing to do with the other; that the sense of rest was the result of sitting with our knees up.

The second not-doing consisted of making us lie on the ground like curled-up dogs, almost in the fetal position, resting on our left sides, our foreheads on our folded arms. Silvio Manuel insisted that we keep our eyes closed as long as possible, opening them only when he told us to shift positions and lie on our right sides.

He told us that the purpose of this not-doing was to allow our sense of hearing to separate from our sight. As before, he gradually increased the length of time until we could spend the entire night in auditory vigil.

Silvio Manuel was then ready to move us to another area of activity. He explained that in the first two not-doings we had broken a certain perceptual barrier while we were stuck to the ground.

By way of analogy, he compared human beings to trees. We are like mobile trees. We are somehow rooted to the ground. Our roots are transportable, but that does not free us from the ground.

He said that in order to establish balance we had to perform the third not-doing while dangling in the air. If we succeeded in channeling our intent while we were suspended from a tree inside a leather harness, we would make a triangle with our intent, a triangle whose base was on the ground and its vertex in the air. Silvio Manuel thought that we had gathered our attention with the first two not-doings to the point that we could perform the third perfectly from the beginning.

One night he suspended la Gorda and me in two separate harnesses like strap chairs. We sat in them and he lifted us with a pulley to the highest large branches of a tall tree. He wanted us to pay attention to the awareness of the tree which he said would give us signals since we were its guests. He made the Nagual woman stay on the ground and call our names from time to time during the entire night.

While we were suspended from the tree in the innumerable times we performed this not-doing, we experienced a glorious flood of physical sensations like mild charges of electrical impulses.

During the first three or four attempts, it had been as if the tree were protesting our intrusion. Then after that, the impulses became signals of peace and balance.

Silvio Manuel told us that the awareness of a tree draws its nourishment from the depths of the earth, while the awareness of mobile creatures draws it from the surface. There is no sense of strife in a tree, whereas moving beings are filled to the brim with it.

His contention was that perception suffers a profound jolt when we are placed in states of quietude in darkness. Our hearing takes the lead then, and the signals from all the living and existing entities around us can be detected -- not with our hearing only, but with a combination of the auditory and visual senses, in that order. He said that in darkness, especially while one is suspended, the eyes become subsidiary to the ears.

He was absolutely right, as la Gorda and I discovered. Through the exercise of the third not-doing, Silvio Manuel gave a new dimension to our perception of the world around us.

He then told la Gorda and me that the next set of three not-doings would be intrinsically different and more complex. These had to do with learning to handle the other world. It was mandatory to maximize their effect by moving our time of action to the evening or predawn twilight.

He told us that the first not-doing of the second set had two stages. In stage one we had to bring ourselves to our keenest state of heightened awareness so as to detect the wall of fog. Once that was done, stage two consisted of making that wall stop rotating in order to venture into the world between the parallel lines.

He warned us that what he was aiming at was to place us directly into the second attention, without any intellectual preparation. He wanted us to learn its intricacies without rationally understanding what we were doing.

His contention was that a magical deer or a magical coyote handles the second attention without having any intellect. Through the forced practice of journeying behind the wall of fog, we were going to undergo, sooner or later, a permanent alteration in our total being; an alteration that would make us accept that the world between the parallel lines is real because it is part of the total world; just as our luminous body is part of our total being.

Silvio Manuel also said that he was using la Gorda and me to probe into the possibility that we could someday help the other apprentices by ushering them into the other world; in which case they could accompany the Nagual Juan Matus and his party in their definitive journey.

He reasoned that since the Nagual woman had to leave this world with the Nagual Juan Matus and his warriors, the apprentices had to follow her because she was their only leader in the absence of a Nagual man. He assured us that she was counting on us; that this was the reason she was supervising our work.

Silvio Manuel had la Gorda and me sit down on the ground in the area in back of his house, where we had performed all the not-doings. We did not need don Juan's aid to enter into our keenest state of awareness. Almost immediately I saw the wall of fog. La Gorda did too. Yet no matter how we tried, we could not stop its rotation. Every time I moved my head, the wall moved with it.

The Nagual woman was able to stop it and go through it by herself, but for all her efforts she could not take the two of us with her. Finally don Juan and Silvio Manuel had to stop the wall for us and physically push us through it. The sensation I had upon entering into that wall of fog was that my body was being twisted like the braids of a rope.

On the other side, there was the horrible desolate plain with small round sand dunes. There were very low yellow clouds around us, but no sky or horizon. Banks of pale yellow vapor impaired visibility. It was very difficult to walk.

The pressure seemed much greater than what my body was used to. La Gorda and I walked aimlessly, but the Nagual woman seemed to know where she was going. The further we went away from the wall, the darker it got and the more difficult it was to move. La Gorda and I could no longer walk erect. We had to crawl. I lost my strength and so did la Gorda. The Nagual woman had to drag us back to the wall and out of there.

We repeated our journey innumerable times. At first we were aided by don Juan and Silvio Manuel in stopping the wall of fog, but then la Gorda and I became almost as proficient as the Nagual woman. We learned to stop the rotation of that wall.

It happened quite naturally to us. In my case, on one occasion I realized that my intent was the key; a special aspect of my intent because it was not my volition as I know it.

It was an intense desire that was focused on the midpoint of my body. It was a peculiar nervousness that made me shudder and then it turned into a force that did not really stop the wall, but made some part of my body turn involuntarily ninety degrees to the right. The result was that for an instant I had two points of view. I was looking at the world divided in two by the wall of fog and at the same time I was staring directly at a bank of yellowish vapor. The latter view gained predominance and something pulled me into the fog and beyond it.

Another thing that we learned was to regard that place as real. Our journeys acquired for us the factuality of an excursion into the mountains, or a sea voyage in a sailboat. The deserted plain with sand-dune like mounds was as real to us as any part of the world.

La Gorda and I had the rational feeling that the three of us spent an eternity in the world between the parallel lines, yet we were unable to remember what exactly transpired there. We could only remember the terrifying moments when we would have to leave it to return to the world of everyday life. It was always a moment of tremendous anguish and insecurity.

Don Juan and all his warriors followed our endeavors with great curiosity, but the one who was strangely absent from all our activities was Eligio. Although he was himself a peerless warrior comparable to the warriors of don Juan's own party, he never took part in our struggle; nor did he help us in any way.

La Gorda said that Eligio had succeeded in attaching himself to Emilito and thus directly to the Nagual Juan Matus. He was never part of our problem because he could go into the second attention at the drop of a hat. To him, journeying into the confines of the second attention was as easy as snapping his fingers.

La Gorda reminded me of the day when Eligio's unusual talents allowed him to find out that I was not their man long before anyone else had even an inkling of the truth...

I had been sitting on the back porch of Vicente's house in northern Mexico when Emilito and Eligio suddenly showed up. Everyone took for granted that Emilito had to disappear for long periods of time. When he would show up again, everyone also took for granted that he had returned from a voyage. No one asked him any questions. He would report his findings first to don Juan and then to whoever wanted to hear them.

On that day it was as if Emilito and Eligio had just come into the house through the back door. Emilito was ebullient as ever. Eligio was his usual quiet somber self. I had always thought that when I saw both of them together, that Emilito's exquisite personality overwhelmed Eligio and made him even more sullen.

Emilito went inside looking for don Juan and Eligio opened up to me. He smiled and came to my side. He put his arm around my shoulders and placing his mouth to my ear whispered that he had broken the seal of the parallel lines and he could go into something he said Emilito had called glory.

Eligio went on to explain certain things about glory which I was unable to comprehend. It was as if my mind could only focus on the periphery of that event. After explaining it to me, Eligio took me by the hand and made me stand in the middle of the patio, looking at the sky with my chin slightly turned up.

He was to my right, standing with me in the same position. He told me to let go and fall backwards pulled by the heaviness of the very top of my head. Something grabbed me from behind and pulled me down. There was an abyss behind me. I fell into it. And then suddenly I was on the desolate plain with dune-like mounds.

Eligio urged me to follow him. He told me that the edge of glory was over the hills. I walked with him until I could not move any longer. He ran ahead of me with no effort at all as if he were made of air. He stood on top of a large mound and pointed beyond. He ran back to me and begged me to crawl up that hill which he told me was the edge of glory. It was perhaps only a hundred feet away from me, but I could not move another inch.

He tried to drag me up the hill, but he could not budge me. My weight seemed to have increased a hundred-fold. Eligio finally had to summon don Juan and his party. Cecilia lifted me up on her shoulders and carried me out.

La Gorda added that Emilito had put Eligio up to it. Emilito was proceeding according to the rule. My courier had journeyed into glory. It was mandatory that he show it to me.

I could recollect the eagerness in Eligio's face and the fervor with which he urged me to make one last effort to witness glory. I could also recollect his sadness and disappointment when I failed. He never spoke to me again.

La Gorda and I had been so involved in our journeys behind the wall of fog that we had forgotten that we were due for the next not-doing of the series with Silvio Manuel. He told us that it could be devastating, and that it consisted of crossing the parallel lines with the three little sisters and the three Genaros directly into the entrance to the world of total awareness. He did not include dona Soledad because his not-doings were only for dreamers and she was a stalker.

Silvio Manuel added that he expected us to become familiar with the third attention by placing ourselves at the foot of the Eagle over and over. He prepared us for the jolt.

He explained that a warrior's journeys into the desolate sand dunes is a preparatory step for the real crossing of boundaries. To venture behind the wall of fog while one is in a state of heightened awareness or while one is doing dreaming entails only a very small portion of our total awareness, while to cross bodily into the other world entails engaging our total being.

Silvio Manuel had conceived the idea of using the bridge as the symbol of a true crossing. He reasoned that the bridge was adjacent to a power spot; and power spots are cracks, passageways into the other world. He thought that it was possible that la Gorda and I had acquired enough strength to withstand a glimpse of the Eagle.

He announced that it was my personal duty to round up the three women and the three men and help them get into their keenest states of awareness. It was the least I could do for them, since I had perhaps been instrumental in destroying their chances for freedom.

He moved our time of action to the hour just before dawn, or the morning twilight. I dutifully attempted to make them shift awareness, as don Juan did to me. Since I had no idea how to manipulate their bodies or what I really had to do with them, I ended up beating them on the back.

After several grueling attempts on my part, don Juan finally intervened. He got them as ready as they could possibly be and handed them over to me to herd like cattle onto the bridge. My task was to take them one by one across that bridge. The power spot was on the south side, a very auspicious omen. Silvio Manuel planned to cross first, wait for me to deliver them to him and then usher us as a group into the unknown.

Silvio Manuel walked across, followed by Eligio, who did not even glance at me. I held the six apprentices in a tight group on the north side of the bridge. They were terrified. They got loose from my grip and began to run in different directions. I caught the three women one by one and succeeded in delivering them to Silvio Manuel.

He held them at the entrance of the crack between the worlds. The three men were too fast for me. I was too tired to run after them.

I looked at don Juan across the bridge for guidance. He and the rest of his party and the Nagual woman were clustered together looking at me. They had coaxed me with gestures to run after the women or the men, laughing at my fumbling attempts. Don Juan made a gesture with his head to disregard the three men and to cross over to Silvio Manuel with la Gorda.

We crossed. Silvio Manuel and Eligio seemed to be holding the sides of a vertical slit the size of a man. The women ran and hid behind la Gorda. Silvio Manuel urged all of us to step inside the opening. I obeyed him. The women did not.

Beyond that entrance there was nothing. Yet it was filled to the brim with something that was nothing. My eyes were open. All my senses were alert. I strained myself trying to see in front of me. But there was nothing in front of me. Or if there was something there, I could not grasp it.

My senses did not have the compartmentalization I have learned to regard as meaningful. Everything came to me at once, or rather nothingness came to me to a degree I had never experienced before or after. I felt that my body was being torn apart. A force from within myself was pushing outward. I was bursting, and not in a figurative way. Suddenly I felt a human hand snatching me out of there before I disintegrated.

The Nagual woman had crossed over and saved me. Eligio had not been able to move because he was holding the opening, and Silvio Manuel had the four women by their hair, two in each hand, ready to hurl them in.

I assume that the whole event must have taken at least a quarter of an hour to unfold, but at the time it never occurred to me to worry about people around the bridge.

Time seemed to have been somehow suspended; just as it became suspended years later when the apprentices and I returned to the bridge on our way to Mexico City.

Silvio Manuel said that although the attempt had seemed to be a failure, it was a total success. The four women did see the aperture and through it into the other world; and what I experienced in there was a true sense of death.

"There is nothing gorgeous or peaceful about death," he said, "because the real terror begins upon dying. With that incalculable force you felt in there, the Eagle will squeeze out of you every flicker of awareness you have ever had."

Silvio Manuel prepared la Gorda and me for another attempt. He explained that power spots were actual holes in a sort of canopy that prevents the world from losing its shape. A power spot could be utilized as long as one has gathered enough strength in the second attention.

He told us that the key to withstanding the Eagle's presence was the potency of one's intent. Without intent there was nothing. He said to me that, since I was the only one who had stepped into the other world, what had nearly killed me was my incapacity to change my intent.

He was confident, however, that with forced practice all of us would get to elongate our intent. He could not explain, however, what intent was. He joked that only the Nagual Juan Matus could explain it -- but that he was not around.

Unfortunately our next attempt did not take place because I became depleted of energy. It was a swift and devastating loss of vitality. I was suddenly so weak that I passed out in Silvio Manuel's house.

I asked la Gorda whether she knew what happened next: I myself had no idea. La Gorda said that Silvio Manuel told everyone that the Eagle had dislodged me from their group, and that finally I was ready for them to prepare me to carry out the designs of my fate.

His plan was to take me to the world between the parallel lines while I was unconscious, and let that world draw out all the remaining and useless energy from my body. His idea was sound in the judgment of all his companions because the rule says that one could only enter in there with awareness. To enter without it brings death, since without consciousness the life force is exhausted by the physical pressure of that world.

La Gorda added that they did not take her with me.

But the Nagual Juan Matus had told her that once I was empty of vital energy -- practically dead -- all of them took turns in blowing new energy into my body. In that world, anybody who has life force can give it to others by blowing on them. They put their breath in all the spots where there is a storage point. Silvio Manuel blew first, then the Nagual woman. The remaining part of me was made up of all the members of the Nagual Juan Matus' party.

After they had blown their energy into me, the Nagual woman brought me out of the fog to Silvio Manuel's house. She laid me on the ground with my head toward the southeast.

La Gorda said that I looked as if I were dead. She and the Genaros and the three little sisters were there. The Nagual woman explained to them that I was ill, but that I was going to come back someday to help them find their freedom because I would not be free myself until I did that.

Silvio Manuel then gave me his breath and brought me back to life. That was why she and the little sisters remembered that he was my master. He carried me to my bed and let me sleep, as if nothing had happened. After I woke up I left and did not return.

And then la Gorda forgot because no one ever pushed her into the left side again. She went to live in the town where I later found her with the others. The Nagual Juan and Genaro had set up two different households. Genaro took care of the men and the Nagual Juan Matus looked after the women.

I had gone to sleep feeling depressed, feeble. When I woke up I was in perfect control of myself, ebullient, filled with extraordinary and unfamiliar energy. My well-being was marred only by don Juan's telling me that I had to leave la Gorda and strive alone to perfect my attention until one day when I would be able to return to help her. He also told me not to fret or get discouraged, for the carrier of the rule would eventually make himself or herself known to me in order to reveal my true task.

Afterward I did not see don Juan for a very long time. When I came back, he kept on making me shift from the right to the left side awareness for two purposes; first, so I could continue my relationship with his warriors and the Nagual woman; and second, so he could put me under the direct supervision of Zuleica, with whom I had a steady interaction throughout the remaining years of my association with don Juan.

He told me that the reason he had to entrust me to Zuleica was because according to Silvio Manuel's master plan there were to be two kinds of instruction for me, one for the right side and one for the left.

The right side instruction pertained to the state of normal consciousness and had to do with leading me to the rational conviction that there is another type of awareness concealed in human beings. Don Juan was in charge of this instruction.

The left side instruction had been assigned to Zuleica. It was related to the state of heightened awareness, and had to do exclusively with the handling of the second attention.

Thus every time I went to Mexico I would spend half of my time with Zuleica, and the other half with don Juan.
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Re: The Eagle's Gift, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:57 am

13. The Intricacies of Dreaming

Don Juan began the task of ushering me into the second attention by telling me that I had already had a great deal of experience in entering into it -- Silvio Manuel had taken me to the very entrance.

The flaw had been that I had not been given the appropriate rationales. Male warriors must be given serious reasons before they safely venture into the unknown. Female warriors are not subject to this and can go without any hesitation, providing that they have total confidence in whoever is leading them.

He told me that I had to start by learning first the intricacies of dreaming. He then put me under Zuleica's supervision. He admonished me to be impeccable and practice meticulously whatever I learned, and above all, to be careful and deliberate in my actions so as not to exhaust my life force in vain. He said that the prerequisite for entrance into any of the three stages of attention is the possession of life force, because without it warriors cannot have direction and purpose. He explained that upon dying our awareness also enters into the third attention; but only for an instant as a purging action just before the Eagle devours it.

La Gorda said that the Nagual Juan Matus made every one of the apprentices learn dreaming. She thought that all of them were given this task at the same time I was. Their instruction was also divided into right and left. She said that the Nagual and Genaro provided the instruction for the state of normal awareness. When they judged that the apprentices were ready, the Nagual made them shift into a state of heightened awareness and left them with their respective counterparts.

Vicente taught Nestor, Silvio Manuel taught Benigno, Genaro taught Pablito. Lydia was taught by Hermelinda, and Rosa by Nelida. La Gorda added that Josefina and she were put under the care of Zuleica in order to learn together the finer points of dreaming so they would be able to come to my aid someday.

Moreover, la Gorda deduced on her own that the men were also taken to Florinda to be taught stalking. The proof of this was their drastic change of behavior. She claimed that she knew, before she remembered anything, that she had been taught the principles of stalking but in a very superficial manner. She had not been made to practice.

The men were given practical knowledge and tasks. Their behavioral change was the proof. They became lighthearted and jovial. They enjoyed their lives, while she and the other women, because of their dreaming became progressively more somber and morose.

La Gorda believed that the men were unable to remember their instruction when I asked them to reveal their stalking knowledge to me, because they practiced it without knowing what they were doing. Their training was revealed, however, in their dealings with people. They were consummate artists in bending people to their wishes.

Through their stalking practice, the men had even learned controlled folly. For example, they carried on as if Soledad were Pablito's mother. To any onlooker, it would seem that they were mother and son pitted against each other when in reality they were acting out a part. They convinced everybody. Sometimes Pablito would give such a performance that he would even convince himself.

La Gorda confessed that all of the apprentices were more than baffled by my behavior after I returned to Mexico following the departure of don Juan and his warriors. The apprentices did not know whether I was insane, or was myself a master of controlled folly: I gave all the outward indications that I believed their masquerade.

Soledad told them not to be fooled because I was indeed insane. I appeared to be in control, but I was so completely aberrated that I could not behave like a Nagual. She engaged every one of the women in delivering a deadly blow to me. She told them that I had requested it myself at one time when I had been in control of my faculties.

La Gorda said that it took her several years under Zuleica's guidance to learn dreaming. When the Nagual Juan Matus had judged that she was proficient, he finally took her to her true counterpart, Nelida.

It was Nelida who showed her how to behave in the world. She groomed her not only to be at ease in Western clothes, but to have good taste. Thus when she put on her city clothes in Oaxaca and amazed me with her charm and poise, she was already experienced in that transformation.

Zuleica was very effective as my guide into the second attention. She insisted that our interaction take place only at night, and in total darkness. For me, Zuleica was only a voice in the dark; a voice that started every contact we had by telling me to focus my attention on her words and nothing else. Her voice was the woman's voice that la Gorda thought she had heard in dreaming.

Zuleica told me that if dreaming is going to be done indoors, it is best to do it in total darkness, while lying down or sitting up on a narrow bed; or better yet, while sitting inside a coffin-like crib. She thought that outdoors, dreaming should be done in the protection of a cave, in the sandy areas of water holes, or sitting against a rock in the mountains; never on the flat floor of a valley, or next to rivers, or lakes, or the sea; because flat areas as well as water were antithetical [* antithetical -- sharply contrasted in character or purpose] to the second attention.

Every one of my sessions with her was imbued with mysterious overtones. She explained that the surest way to make a direct hit on the second attention is through ritual acts: monotonous chanting; intricate repetitious movements.

Her teachings were not about the preliminaries of dreaming which had already been taught to me by don Juan. Her assumption was that whoever came to her already knew how to do dreaming; so she dealt exclusively with esoteric points of the left side awareness.

Zuleica's instructions began one day when don Juan took me to her house. We got there late in the afternoon. The place seemed to be deserted, but the front door opened as we approached. I expected Zoila or Marta to show up but no one was at the entrance. I felt that whoever had opened the door for us had also moved out of our way very quickly.

Don Juan took me inside to the patio and made me sit on a crate that had a cushion and had been turned into a bench. The seat on the crate was bumpy, hard, and very uncomfortable. I ran my hand underneath the thin cushion and found sharp edged rocks. Don Juan said that my situation was unconventional because I had to learn the fine points of dreaming in a hurry. Sitting on a hard surface was a prop to keep my body from feeling it was in a normal sitting situation.

Just a few minutes before arriving at the house, don Juan had made me change levels of awareness. He said that Zuleica's instruction had to be conducted in that state in order for me to have the speed that I needed. He admonished me to abandon myself and trust Zuleica implicitly.

He then commanded me to focus my gaze with all the concentration I was capable of, and memorize every detail of the patio that was within my field of vision. He insisted that I had to memorize the detail as much as the feeling of sitting there. He repeated his instructions to make sure that I had understood. Then he left.

It quickly got very dark, and sitting there I started to fret. I had not had enough time to concentrate on the detail of the patio.

I heard a rustling sound just behind me and then Zuleica's voice jolted me. In a forceful whisper she told me to get up and follow her. I automatically obeyed her. I could not see her face, she was only a dark shape walking two steps ahead of me. She led me to an alcove in the darkest hall in her house. Although my eyes were used to the darkness I was still unable to see a thing. I stumbled on something and she commanded me to sit down inside a narrow crib and support my lower back with something I thought was a hard cushion.

I next felt that she had backed up a few steps behind me; a thing which baffled me completely because I thought that my back was only a few inches from the wall. Speaking from behind me, she ordered me in a soft voice to focus my attention on her words and let them guide me. She told me to keep my eyes open and fixed on a point right in front of me at my eye level; and that this point was going to turn from darkness to a bright and pleasing orange-red.

Zuleica spoke very softly with an even intonation. I heard every word she said. The darkness around me seemed to have effectively cut off any distracting external stimuli. I heard Zuleica's words in a vacuum, and then I realized that the silence in that hall was matched by the silence inside me.

Zuleica explained that a dreamer must start from a point of color; intense light or unmitigated darkness are useless to a dreamer in the initial onslaught. Colors such as purple or light green or rich yellow are, on the other hand, stupendous starting points.

She preferred, however, orange-red, because through experience it had proven to be the one that gave her the greatest sensation of rest. She assured me that once I had succeeded in entering into the orange-red color I would have rallied my second attention permanently-providing that I could be aware of the sequence of physical events.

It took me several sessions with Zuleica's voice to realize with my body what she wanted me to do. The advantage of being in a state of heightened awareness was that I could follow my transition from a state of vigil to a state of dreaming. Under normal conditions that transition is blurred, but under those special circumstances I actually felt in the course of one session how my second attention took over the controls.

The first step was an unusual difficulty in breathing. It was not a difficulty in inhaling or exhaling -- I was not short of breath -- rather, my breathing changed rhythm all of a sudden. My diaphragm began to contract and it forced my midsection to move in and out with great speed. The result was the fastest short breaths I had ever taken. I breathed in the lower part of my lungs and felt a great pressure in my intestines. I tried unsuccessfully to break the spasms of my diaphragm. The harder I tried, the more painful it got.

Zuleica ordered me to let my body do whatever was necessary and to forget about directing or controlling it. I wanted to obey her, but I did not know how. The spasms, which must have lasted ten to fifteen minutes, subsided as suddenly as they had appeared and were followed by another strange, shocking sensation.

I felt it first as a most peculiar itch; a physical feeling which was not pleasing or displeasing. It was something like a nervous tremor. It became very intense to the point of forcing me to focus my attention on it in order to determine where in my body it was happening. I was stunned by the realization that it was not taking place anywhere in my physical body, but outside of it; and yet I still felt it.

I disregarded Zuleica's order to enter into a patch of coloration that was forming right at my eye level, and gave myself fully to the exploration of that strange sensation outside me. Zuleica must have seen what I was going through. She suddenly began to explain that the second attention belongs to the luminous body, just as the first attention belongs to the physical body. She said that the point where the second attention assembles itself was situated right where Juan Tuma had described it the first time we met -- approximately one and one-half feet in front of the midpoint between the stomach and the belly button and four inches to the right.

Zuleica ordered me to massage that place; to manipulate it by moving the fingers of both my hands right on that point as if I were playing a harp. She assured me that sooner or later I would end up feeling my fingers going through something as thick as water, and that finally I would feel my luminous shell.

As I kept on moving my fingers the air got progressively thicker until I felt a mass of sorts. An undefined physical pleasure spread all over me. I thought that I was touching a nerve in my body and felt silly at the absurdity of it. I stopped.

Zuleica warned me that if I did not move my fingers she was going to bop me on the head. The longer I kept up the wavering motion, the closer I felt the itching. It finally got as near as five or six inches from my body. It was as if something in me had shrunk. I actually thought I could feel a dent.

I then had another eerie sensation. I was falling asleep and yet I was conscious. There was a buzzing in my ears, which reminded me of the sound of a bullroarer. Next I felt a force rolling me over on my left side without waking me up. I was rolled very tightly, like a cigar, and was tucked into the itching depression. My awareness remained suspended there, incapable of waking up, but so tightly rolled on itself that I could not fall asleep either.

I heard Zuleica's voice telling me to look around. I could not open my eyes, but my tactile sense told me that I was in a ditch, lying on my back. I felt comfortable and secure. There was such a tightness to my body, such a compactness, that I did not ever want to get up. Zuleica's voice ordered me to stand up and open my eyes. I could not do it. She said that I had to will my movements; that it was no longer a matter of contracting my muscles to get up.

I thought that she was annoyed at my slowness. I realized then that I was fully conscious, perhaps more conscious than I had ever been in my entire life. I could think rationally and yet I seemed to be sound asleep. The thought occurred to me that Zuleica had put me in a state of deep hypnosis. It bothered me for an instant, then it did not matter. I abandoned myself to the feeling of being suspended; floating free.

I could not hear anything else she said. It was either that she had stopped talking to me or that I had shut off the sound of her voice. I did not want to leave that haven. I had never been so peaceful and complete. I lay there unwilling to get up or to change anything. I could feel the rhythm of my breathing. Suddenly I woke up.

In my next session with Zuleica, she told me that I had succeeded in making a dent in my luminosity all by myself, and that making a dent meant bringing a distant point in my luminous shell closer to my physical body; therefore closer to control. She asserted repeatedly that from the moment the body learns to make that dent, it is easier to enter into dreaming. I agreed with her. I had acquired a strange impulse; a sensation that my body had instantly learned to reproduce. It was a mixture of feeling at ease, secure, dormant, suspended without tactile sense, and at the same time fully awake; aware of everything.

La Gorda said that the Nagual Juan Matus had struggled for years to create that dent in her -- in all three little sisters, and in the Genaros as well, so as to give them the permanent ability to focus their second attention.

He had told her that ordinarily the dent is created on the spur of the moment by the dreamer when it is needed. Then the luminous shell changes back to its original shape. But in the apprentices' case, since they did not have a Nagual leader, the depression was created from the outside and was a permanent feature of their luminous bodies; a great help, but also a hindrance. It made all of them vulnerable and moody.

I remembered then that once I had seen and kicked a depression in the luminous shells of Lydia and Rosa. I thought that the dent was at the height of the upper portion of the outside of their right thigh, or perhaps just at the crest of their hipbone. La Gorda explained that I had kicked them in the dent of their second attention and that I had nearly killed them.

La Gorda said that she and Josefina lived in Zuleica's house for several months. The Nagual Juan Matus had delivered them to her one day after making them shift levels of awareness. He did not tell them what they were going to do there, nor what to expect. He simply left them by themselves in the hall of her house, and walked away.

They sat there until it got dark. Zuleica then came to them. They never saw her: They only heard her voice as if she were talking to them from a point on the wall.

Zuleica was very demanding from the moment she took over. She made them undress on the spot and ordered both of them to crawl inside thick fluffy cotton bags, some poncho-like garments that were lying on the floor. The garments covered them from neck to toes.

Next, she ordered them to sit back to back on a mat in the same alcove where I myself used to sit. Zuleica told them that their task was to gaze at the darkness until it began to acquire a hue. After many sessions they indeed began to see colors in the darkness; at which time Zuleica made them sit side by side and gaze at the same spot.

La Gorda said that Josefina learned very fast, and that one night she dramatically entered into the patch of orange-red by swishing physically out of the poncho. La Gorda thought that either Josefina had reached out for the blotch of color or it had reached out for her. The result was that in one instant Josefina was gone from inside the poncho. Zuleica separated them from then on, and la Gorda started her slow, solitary learning.

La Gorda's account made me remember that Zuleica had also made me crawl inside a fluffy garment. In fact, the commands she used to order me to crawl inside revealed to me the rationale for its use. She directed me to feel its fluffiness with my naked skin, especially with the skin of my calves.

She repeated over and over that human beings have a superb center of perception on the outside of the calves, and that if the skin in that area could be made to relax or be soothed, the scope of our perception would be enhanced in ways that would be impossible to fathom rationally. The garment was very soft and warm, and it induced an extraordinary sensation of pleasurable relaxation in my legs. The nerves in my calves became highly stimulated.

La Gorda reported the same sensation of physical pleasure. She went as far as to say that it was the power of that poncho that guided her to find the patch of orange-red color. She was so impressed with the garment that she made herself one by copying the original. Its effect was not the same, but it still provided her solace and well-being. She said that she and Josefina ended up spending all of their available time inside the ponchos that she had sewn for both of them.

Lydia and Rosa had also been placed inside the garment, but they were never particularly fond of it. Neither was I.

La Gorda explained Josefina's and her own attachment as a direct consequence of having been led to finding their dreaming color while they were inside the garment. She said that the reason for my indifference to it was the fact that I did not enter into the area of coloration at all; rather, the hue had come to me.

She was right. Something else besides Zuleica's voice dictated the outcome of that preparatory phase. By all indications, Zuleica had lead me through the same steps she had led la Gorda and Josefina.

I had stared at the darkness throughout many sessions, and was ready to visualize the spot of coloration. In fact, I witnessed its entire metamorphosis from plain darkness to a precisely outlined blotch of intense brightness.

First I was swayed by the external itch. I then focused my attention upon it until I ended up entering into a state of restful vigil. It was then that I first became immersed in an orange-red coloration.

After I had learned to remain suspended between sleep and vigil, Zuleica seemed to relax her pace. I even believed that she was not in any hurry to get me out of that state. She let me stay in it without interfering, and never asked me about it; perhaps because her voice was only for commands and not for asking questions. We never really talked -- at least not the way I talked with don Juan.

While I was in the state of restful vigil, I realized one time that it was useless for me to remain there; that no matter how pleasant it was, its limitations were blatant.

I sensed then a tremor in my body and I opened my eyes, or rather my eyes became open by themselves. Zuleica was staring at me. I experienced a moment of bafflement. I thought I had woken up, and to be faced with Zuleica in the flesh was something I had not expected. I had gotten used to hearing only her voice. It also surprised me that it was no longer night. I looked around. We were not in Zuleica's house. Then the realization struck me that I was dreaming and I woke up.

Zuleica started then on another facet of her teachings. She taught me how to move.

She began her instruction by commanding me to place my awareness on the midpoint of my body. In my case the midpoint is below the lower edge of my belly button. She told me to sweep the floor with it, that is, make a rocking motion with my belly as if a broom were attached to it. Throughout countless sessions, I attempted to accomplish what her voice was urging me to do.

She did not allow me to go into a state of restful vigil. It was her intention to guide me to elicit the perception of sweeping the floor with my midsection while I remained in a waking state. She said that to be on the left side awareness was enough of an advantage to do well in the exercise.

One day, for no reason I could think of, I succeeded in having a vague feeling in the area of my stomach. It was not something defined, and when I focused my attention on it I realized that it was a prickling sensation inside the cavity of my body, not quite in my stomach area but above it. The closer I examined it, the more details I noticed. The vagueness of the sensation soon turned into a certainty. There was a strange connection of nervousness -- a prickling sensation -- between my solar plexus and my right calf.

As the sensation became more acute, I involuntarily brought my right thigh up to my chest. Thus the two points were as close to each other as my anatomy permitted. I shivered for a moment with an unusual nervousness and then I clearly felt that I was sweeping the floor with my midsection. It was a tactile sensation that happened over and over every time I rocked my body in my sitting position.

In my next session, Zuleica allowed me to enter into a state of restful vigil. But this time that state was not quite as it had been before. There seemed to be a sort of control in me that curtailed my enjoying it freely as I had done in the past; a control that also made me focus on the steps I had taken to get into it.

First I noticed the itch on the point of the second attention in my luminous shell. I massaged that point by moving my fingers on it as if I were playing a harp and the point sunk towards my stomach. I felt it almost on my skin.

I experienced a prickling sensation on the outside of my right calf. It was a mixture of pleasure and pain. The sensation radiated to my whole leg and then to my lower back.

I felt that my buttocks were shaking. My entire body was transfixed by a nervous ripple. I thought that my body had been caught upside down in a net. My forehead and my toes seemed to be touching. I was like a closed U-shape.

Then I felt as if I were being folded in two and rolled inside a sheet. My nervous spasms were what made the sheet roll into itself, with me in the center. When the rolling ended I could not sense my body any more.

I was only an amorphous awareness; a nervous spasm wrapped in itself. That awareness came to rest inside a ditch, inside a depression of itself.

I understood then the impossibility of describing what takes place in dreaming. Zuleica said that the right and left side awareness are wrapped up together. Both of them come to rest in one single bundle in the dent; the depressed center of the second attention. To do dreaming one needs to manipulate both the luminous body and the physical body.

First, the center of assembling for the second attention has to be made accessible by being pushed in from the outside by someone else, or sucked in from within by the dreamer. Second, in order to dislodge the first attention, the centers of the physical body located in the midsection and the calves, especially the right one, have to be stimulated and placed as close to one another as possible until they seem to join. Then the sensation of being bundled takes place and automatically the second attention takes over.

Zuleica's explanation, given in commands, was the most cogent way of describing what takes place because none of the sensory experiences involved in dreaming are part of our normal inventory of sensory data. All of them were baffling to me.

The sensation of an itch -- a tingling outside myself -- was localized; and because of that, the turmoil of my body upon feeling it was minimal.

The sensation of being rolled on myself, on the other hand, was by far the most disquieting. It included a range of sensations that left my body in a state of shock. I was convinced that at one point my toes were touching my forehead, which is a position I am not able to attain; and yet I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was inside a net hanging upside down in a pear shape with my toes right against my forehead. On a physical plane I was sitting down and my thighs were against my chest.

Zuleica also said that the feeling of being rolled up like a cigar and placed inside the dent of the second attention was the result of merging my right and left awareness into a single awareness in which the order of predominance has been switched, and the left has gained supremacy.

She challenged me to be attentive enough to catch the reversal motion; the two attentions again becoming what they normally are with the right holding the reins.

I never caught the feelings involved, but her challenge obsessed me to the point that I became trapped in deadly vacillations in my effort to watch everything. She had to withdraw her challenge by ordering me to stop my scrutinies, for I had other things to do.

Zuleica said that first of all I had to perfect my command of moving at will. She began her instruction by directing me time and time again to open my eyes while I was in a state of restful vigil. It took a great deal of effort for me to do it.

One time my eyes opened suddenly and I saw Zuleica looming over me. I was lying down but I could not determine where. The light was extremely bright as if I were just underneath a powerful electric bulb, but the light was not shining directly on my eyes. I could see Zuleica without any effort.

She ordered me to stand up by willing my movement. She said that I had to push myself up with my midsection, that I had three thick tentacles there which I could use as crutches to lift up my whole body.

I tried every conceivable way to get up. I failed. I had a sensation of despair and physical anguish reminiscent of nightmares I used to have as a child in which I was unable to wake up and yet I was fully awake desperately trying to scream.

Zuleica finally spoke to me. She said that I had to follow a certain sequence, and that it was wasteful and downright dumb of me to fret and get agitated as if I were dealing with the world of everyday life.

Fretting was proper only in the first attention: The second attention was calmness itself.

She wanted me to repeat the sensation I had had of sweeping the floor with my midsection. I thought that in order to repeat it I would have to be sitting. Without any deliberation on my part I sat up and adopted the position I had used when my body first elicited that sensation.

Something in me rocked, and suddenly I was standing. I could not figure out what I had done to move. I thought that if I started all over again I could catch the sequence. As soon as I had that thought I found myself lying down again. Upon standing up once more I realized that there was no procedure involved; that in order to move I had to intend my moving at a very deep level.

In other words, I had to be utterly convinced that I wanted to move, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I had to be convinced that I needed to move.

Once I had understood that principle, Zuleica made me practice every conceivable aspect of volitional movement. The more I practiced, the clearer it became for me that dreaming was in fact a rational state.

Zuleica explained it. She said that in dreaming, the right side, the rational awareness, is wrapped up inside the left side awareness in order to give the dreamer a sense of sobriety and rationality; but that the influence of rationality has to be minimal and used only as an inhibiting mechanism to protect the dreamer from excesses and bizarre undertakings.

The next step was learning to direct my dreaming body. From the first time I met Zuleica, Don Juan had proposed the task of gazing at the patio as I sat on the crate. I religiously engaged myself, sometimes for hours, in gazing at it. I was always alone in Zuleica's house. It seemed that on the days when I went there everyone was gone or was hiding. The silence and the solitude worked in my favor and I succeeded in memorizing the details of that patio.

Zuleica presented to me, accordingly, the task of opening my eyes from a state of restful vigil to see the patio. It took many sessions to accomplish it. At first I would open my eyes and I would see her, and she, with a jerk of her body, would make me bounce back like a ball into the state of restful vigil.

On one of those bounces, I felt an intense tremor. Something that was located in my feet rattled its way up to my chest and I coughed it up. The scene of the patio at night came out of me just as if it had emerged out of my bronchial tubes. It was something like the roar of an animal.

I heard Zuleica's voice coming to me as a faint murmur. I could not understand what she was saying. I vaguely noticed that I was sitting on the crate. I wanted to get up but I felt that I was not solid. It was as if a wind were blowing me away.

Then I heard Zuleica's voice very clearly telling me not to move. I tried to remain motionless but some force pulled me and I woke up in the alcove in the hall. Silvio Manuel was facing me.

Typically, after every session of dreaming in Zuleica's house, don Juan would be waiting for me in the pitch-black hall. He would take me out of the house and make me shift levels of awareness.

This time Silvio Manuel was there. Without saying a word to me, he put me inside a harness and hoisted me up against the beams of the roof. He kept me there until midday at which time don Juan came and let me down. He explained that to be kept without touching the ground for a period of time tunes the body, and that it is essential to do this before embarking on a dangerous journey such as the one I was about to undertake.

It took many more sessions of dreaming for me to learn, at last, to open my eyes to see either Zuleica or to see the dark patio. I realized then that she herself had been dreaming all along. She had never been in person behind me in the alcove in the hall. I had been right the first night when I thought that my back was against the wall. Zuleica was merely a voice from dreaming.

During one of the dreaming sessions, when I opened my eyes deliberately to see Zuleica, I was shocked to find la Gorda as well as Josefina looming over me together with Zuleica. The final facet of her teaching began then.

Zuleica taught the three of us to journey with her. She said that our first attention was hooked to the emanations of the earth, while our second attention was hooked to the emanations of the universe. What she meant by that was that a dreamer by definition is outside the boundaries of the concerns of everyday life. As a traveler in dreaming then, Zuleica's last task with la Gorda, Josefina, and me was to tune our second attention to follow her around in her voyages into the unknown.

In successive sessions, Zuleica's voice told me that her 'obsession' was going to lead me to a rendezvous; that in matters of the second attention the dreamer's obsession serves as a guide; and that hers was focused on an actual place beyond this earth. From that place she was going to call me, and I had to use her voice as a line to pull myself.

Nothing happened for two sessions: Zuleica's voice would become more and more faint as she spoke, and I worried that I was incapable of following her. She had not told me what to do. I also experienced an unusual heaviness. I could not break a binding force around me that prevented me from getting out of the state of restful vigil.

During the third session, I suddenly opened my eyes without even trying to. Zuleica, la Gorda and Josefina were staring at me. I was standing with them. I immediately realized that we were in some place completely unknown to me.

The most obvious feature was a brilliant indirect light. The whole scene was inundated by a white, powerful, neonlike light. Zuleica was smiling as if inviting us to look around. La Gorda and Josefina seemed to be as cautious as I was. They gave me and Zuleica furtive glances.

Zuleica signaled us to move around. We were outdoors, standing in the middle of a glaring circle. The ground seemed to be hard, dark rock, yet it reflected a great deal of the blinding white light which came from above. The strange thing was that, although I knew that the light was too intense for my eyes, I was not at all hurt when I looked up and spotted its source. It was the sun. I was staring directly at the sun which, perhaps due to the fact that I was dreaming, was intensely white.

La Gorda and Josefina were also staring at the sun; apparently without any injurious effect. Suddenly I felt frightened. The light was alien to me. It was a merciless light. It seemed to attack us, creating a wind that I could feel. I could not sense any heat, however. I believed it to be malignant.

In unison, la Gorda, Josefina and I huddled together like frightened children around Zuleica. She held us, and then the white, glaring light began to diminish by degrees until it had completely vanished. In its place there was a mild, very soothing, yellowish light.

I became aware then that we were not in this world. The ground was the color of wet terracotta. There were no mountains, but where we were standing was not flat land either. The ground was cracked and parched. It looked like a rough dry sea of terra-cotta. I could see it all around me just as if I were in the middle of the ocean.

I looked up. The sky had lost its maddening glare. It was dark, but not blue. A bright, incandescent star was near the horizon. It dawned on me at that instant that we were in a world with two suns; two stars. One was enormous and had gone over the horizon, the other was smaller or perhaps more distant.

I wanted to ask questions, to walk around and look for things. Zuleica signaled us to relax, to wait patiently. But something seemed to be pulling us. Suddenly la Gorda and Josefina were gone. And I woke up.

From that time on I never went back to Zuleica's house. Don Juan would make me shift levels of awareness in his own house or wherever we were, and I would enter into dreaming. Zuleica, la Gorda and Josefina were always waiting for me. We went back to the same unearthly scene over and over, until we were thoroughly familiar with it.

Whenever we could do it, we would skip the time of glare -- the daytime -- and go there at night just in time to witness the rise over the horizon of a colossal celestial body; something of such magnitude that when it erupted over the jagged line of the horizon it covered at least half of the one hundred and eighty degree range in front of us. The celestial body was beautiful, and its ascent over the horizon was so breathtaking that I could have stayed there for an eternity, just to witness that sight.

The celestial body took up nearly the entire firmament when it reached the zenith. Invariably we would lie on our backs in order to gaze at it. It had consistent configurations, which Zuleica taught us to recognize.

I realized that it was not a star. Its light was reflected, It must have been an opaque body because the reflected light was mellow in relation to its monumental size. There were enormous, unchanging brown spots on its saffron-yellow surface.

Zuleica took us systematically on voyages that were beyond words. La Gorda said that Zuleica took Josefina even farther and deeper into the unknown, because Josefina was, just like Zuleica herself, quite a bit crazy. Neither of them had that core of rationality that supplies a dreamer with sobriety, thus they had no barriers and no interest in finding out rational causes or reasons for anything.

The only thing that Zuleica told me about our journeys that sounded like an explanation was that the dreamers' power to focus on their second attention made them into living slingshots. The stronger and the more impeccable the dreamers were, the farther they could project their second attention into the unknown, and the longer their dreaming projection would last.

Don Juan said that my journeys with Zuleica were no illusion, and that everything I had done with her was a step toward the control of the second attention. In other words, Zuleica was teaching me the perceptual bias of that other realm.

He could not explain, however, the exact nature of those journeys; or perhaps he did not want to commit himself. He said that if he attempted to explain the perceptual bias of the second attention in terms of the perceptual bias of the first, he would only trap himself hopelessly in words. He wanted me to draw my own conclusion, and the more I thought about the whole matter, the clearer it became to me that his reluctance was functional.

Under Zuleica's guidance during her instruction for the second attention, I made factual visitations to mysteries that were certainly beyond the scope of my reason, but obviously within the possibilities of my total awareness. I learned to voyage into something incomprehensible and ended up, like Emilito and Juan Tuma, having my own tales of eternity.
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Re: The Eagle's Gift, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:00 am

Part 1 of 2

14. Florinda

La Gorda and I were in total agreement that by the time Zuleica had finished teaching us the intricacies of dreaming: we had accepted the undeniable fact that the rule is a map; that there is another awareness concealed in us; and that it is possible to enter into that awareness.

Don Juan had accomplished what the rule prescribed he do.

The rule determined that his next movement was to intro-duce me to Florinda; the only one of his warriors whom I had not met. Don Juan told me that I had to go to her house by myself because whatever transpired between Florinda and myself was of no concern to others. He said that Florinda was to be my personal guide exactly as if I were a Nagual like him. He had had that kind of relationship with the warrior of his benefactor's party who was comparable to Florinda.

Don Juan left me one day at the door of Nelida's house. He told me to walk in; that Florinda was waiting for me inside.

"It's an honor to make your acquaintance," I said to the woman who was facing me in the hall.

"I'm Florinda," she said.

We looked at each other in silence. I was awestruck. My state of awareness was as keen as it had ever been. Never again have I experienced a comparable sensation.

"That's a beautiful name," I managed to say, but I meant more than that.

The soft and long enunciation of the Spanish vowels made the name fluid and sonorous; especially the 'i' after the 'r'. The name was not rare; I simply had never met anyone, until that day, who was the essence of that name. The woman in front of me fit into it as if it had been made for her, or perhaps as if she herself had made her person fit into it.

Physically she looked exactly like Nelida, except that she seemed more self-confident; more powerful. She was rather tall and slender. She had the olive skin of Mediterranean people; Spanish, or perhaps French. She was old and yet she was not feeble or even aged. Her body seemed to be supple and lean: long legs, angular features, small mouth, a beautifully chiseled nose, dark eyes and braided white hair; no jowls, no sagging skin on her face and neck. She was old as if she had been made up to look old.

Remembering in retrospect my first meeting with her, I am reminded of something thoroughly unrelated but apropos. [* apropos -- of an appropriate or pertinent nature]

I saw once in a weekly newspaper a reprint of a twenty year old photograph of a young Hollywood actress who had been made up to look twenty years older in order to play the role of an aging woman.

Next to it, the paper had printed a current picture of the same actress as she looked after twenty real years of hard living.

Florinda, in my subjective judgment, was like the first picture of the movie actress; a young girl made up to look old.

"What do we have here?" she said pinching me. "You don't look like much. Soft. Indulging to the core no doubt."

Her bluntness reminded me of don Juan's; as did the inner life of her eyes. It had occurred to me, looking back at my life with don Juan, that his eyes were always in repose. One could see no agitation in them. It was not that don Juan's eyes were beautiful to look at. I have seen gorgeous eyes, but never have I found them to say anything. Florinda's eyes, like don Juan's, gave me the feeling that they had witnessed all there is to witness. They were calm, but not bland. The excitement had been driven inward and had turned into something I could only describe as inner life.

Florinda took me through the living room and out to a roofed patio. We sat on some comfortable sofalike chairs. Her eyes seemed to look for something in my face.

She asked, "Do you know who I am and what I'm supposed to do for you?"

I said that all I knew about her and her relation to me was what don Juan had sketched out. In the course of explaining my position I called her dona Florinda.

"Don't call me dona Florinda," she said with a childish gesture of annoyance and embarrassment. "I'm not that old yet, or even that respectable."

I asked her how she expected me to address her.

"Just Florinda will do," she said. "Insofar as to who I am, I can tell you right off that I am a woman warrior who knows the secrets of stalking.

"And insofar as what I am supposed to do for you, I can tell you that I am going to teach you: the first seven principles of stalking; the first three principles of the rule for stalkers; and the first three maneuvers of stalking."

She added that the normal thing was for every warrior to forget what transpires when the interaction is on the left side, and that it would take years for me to come to grips with whatever she was going to teach me. She said that her instruction was merely the beginning, and that some day she would finish teaching me, but under different circumstances.

I asked her if she minded my asking her questions. "Do as you please," she said. "All I need from you is your commitment to practice. After all, you know in one way or another whatever we're going to discuss. Your shortcomings are that you have no self-confidence and that you are unwilling to claim your knowledge as power. The Nagual Juan Matus, being a man, mesmerized you. You cannot act on your own. Only a woman can liberate you from that.

"I will begin by telling you the story of my life, and in doing so, things will become clear to you. I will have to tell it to you in bits, so you will have to come here quite often."

Her apparent willingness to tell me about her life struck me as being at odds with the reticence [* reticence -- the trait of being uncommunicative; not volunteering anything more than necessary] of everyone else to reveal anything personal about themselves. After years with them I had accepted their ways so unquestioningly that her voluntary intent to reveal her personal life was freakish to me. Her statement put me immediately on guard.

"I beg your pardon," I said. "Did you say that you are going to reveal your personal life to me?"

"Why not?" she asked.

I answered her with a long explanation of what don Juan had told me about the encumbering force of personal history, and the need that a warrior has to erase it. I wrapped it up by telling her that he had prohibited me from ever talking about my life.

She laughed in a high falsetto voice. She seemed to be delighted.

"That applies only to men," she said. "The not-doing of your personal life is to tell endless stories, but not a single one about your real self. You see, being a man means that you have a solid history behind you. You have family, friends, and acquaintances; and every one of them has a definite idea of you. Being a man means that you're accountable. You cannot disappear that easily. In order to erase yourself, you needed a lot of work.

"My case is different. I'm a woman and that gives me a splendid advantage. I'm not accountable. Don't you know that women are not accountable?"

"I don't know what you mean by accountable," I said.

"I mean that a woman can easily disappear," she replied. "A woman can, if nothing else, get married. A woman belongs to the husband. In a family with lots of children, the daughters are discarded very early. No one counts on them and chances are that some will vanish without leaving a trace. Their disappearance is easily accepted.

"A son, on the other hand, is something one banks on. It's not that easy for a son to slip off and vanish. And even if he does, he will leave traces behind him. A son feels guilty for disappearing. A daughter does not.

"When the Nagual trained you to keep your mouth shut about your personal life, he intended to help you to overcome your feeling of having done wrong to your family and friends who were counting on you one way or another.

"After a lifetime struggle, the male warrior ends up, of course, erasing himself, but that struggle takes its toll on the man. He becomes secretive; forever on guard against himself. A woman doesn't have to contend with that hardship. A woman is already prepared to disintegrate into thin air. In fact, it's expected of her.

"Being a woman, I'm not compelled to secrecy. I don't give a fig about it. Secrecy is the price you men have to pay for being important to society. That struggle is only for the men because they resent erasing themselves, and they would find curious ways to pop up somewhere; somehow. Take yourself for in-stance: You go around giving lectures."

Florinda made me nervous in a very peculiar way. I felt strangely restless in her presence.

I would admit without hesitation that don Juan and Silvio Manuel also made me feel nervous and apprehensive, but it was a different feeling. I was actually afraid of them, especially Silvio Manuel. He terrified me and yet I had learned to live with my terror.

Florinda did not frighten me. My nervousness was rather the result of being annoyed; threatened by her savoir faire. [* savoir faire -- social skill]

She did not stare at me the way don Juan or Silvio Manuel used to. They would always fix their eyes on me until I moved my face away in a gesture of submission. Florinda only glanced at me. Her eyes moved continually from thing to thing. She seemed to examine not only my eyes, but every inch of my face and body. As she talked, she would shift in quick glances from my face to my hands, or to her feet, or to the roof.

"I make you ill at ease, don't I?" she asked.

Her question caught me thoroughly off guard. I laughed. Her tone was not threatening at all.

"You do," I said.

"Oh, it's perfectly understandable," she went on. "You are used to being a man. A woman for you is something made for your benefit. A woman is stupid to you. And the fact that you're the Nagual and a man makes things even more difficult."

I felt obligated to defend myself. I thought that she was a very opinionated lady and I wanted to tell her so. I started off in great form, but petered out almost immediately upon hear-ing her laughter. It was a joyous, youthful laughter. Don Juan and don Genaro used to laugh at me all the time and their laughter was also youthful, but Florinda's had a different vibration. There was no hurry in her laughter; no pressure.

"I think we'd better go inside," she said. "There shouldn't be any distractions. The Nagual Juan Matus has already taken you around, showing you the world. That was important for what he had to tell you. I have other things to talk about which require another setting."

We sat on a leather couch in a den off the patio. I felt more at ease indoors. She went right into the story of her life.

She said that she had been born in a fairly large Mexican city to a well-to-do family. As she was an only child, her parents spoiled her from the moment she was born. Without a trace of false modesty Florinda admitted that she had always been aware of being beautiful.

She said that beauty is a demon that breeds and proliferates when admired. She assured me that she could say without the shadow of a doubt that that demon is the hardest one to overcome, and that if I would look around to find those who are beautiful, I would find the most wretched beings imaginable.

I did not want to argue with her, yet I had the most intense desire to tell her that she was somehow dogmatic. [* dogmatic -- characterized by assertion of unprovable principles] She must have caught my feelings because she winked at me.

"They are wretched, you'd better believe it," she continued. "Try them. Be unwilling to go along with their idea that they are beautiful, and because of it, important. You'll see what I mean."

She said that she could hardly give her parents or herself full blame for her conceit. Everyone around her had conspired from her infancy on to make her feel important and unique.

"When I was fifteen," she went on, "I thought I was about the greatest thing that ever came to earth. Everybody said so, especially men."

She confessed that throughout her adolescent years she indulged in the attention and adulation of scores of admirers. At eighteen, she judiciously chose the best possible husband from the ranks of no less than eleven serious suitors. She married Celestino, a man of means, fifteen years her senior.

Florinda described her married life as heaven on earth. To the enormous circle of friends she already had, she added Celestino's friends. The total effect was that of a perennial [* perennial -- lasting an indefinitely long time; suggesting self-renewal] holiday.

Her bliss, however, lasted only six months -- which went by almost unnoticed. It all came to a most abrupt and brutal end when she contracted a mysterious and crippling disease.

Her left foot, ankle, and calf began to swell. The line of her beautiful leg was ruined. The swelling became so intense that the cutaneous tissues started to blister and burst. Her whole lower leg from the knee down became the site of scabs and a pestilent secretion. The skin became hard. The disease was diagnosed as elephantiasis. Doctors' attempts to cure her condition were clumsy and painful, and their final conclusion was that only in Europe were there medical centers advanced enough to possibly undertake a cure.

In a matter of three months Florinda's paradise had turned into hell on earth. Desperate and in true agony she wanted to die rather than go on. Her suffering was so pathetic that one day a servant girl, not being able to bear it any longer, confessed to her that she had been bribed by Celestino's former mistress to slip a certain concoction into her food -- a poison manufactured by sorcerers.

The servant girl, as an act of contrition, promised to take her to a curer; a woman reported to be the only person who could counteract such a poison.

Florinda chuckled, remembering her dilemma. She had been raised a devout Catholic. She did not believe in witch-craft or in Indian curers. But her pain was so intense and her condition so serious that she was willing to try anything.

Celestino was deadly opposed. He wanted to turn the servant girl over to the authorities. Florinda interceded, not so much out of compassion, but out of the fear that she might not find the curer on her own.

Florinda suddenly stood up. She told me that I had to leave. She held my arm and walked me to the door as if I had been her oldest and dearest friend. She explained that I was exhausted, because to be in the left side awareness is a special and frail condition which has to be used sparingly. It certainly is not a state of power.

The proof was that I had nearly died when Silvio Manuel had tried to rally my second attention by forcing me to enter boldly into it. She said that there is no way on earth that we can order anyone or ourselves to rally knowledge. It is rather a slow affair. The body, at the right time and under the proper circumstances of impeccability, rallies its knowledge without the intervention of desire.

We stood at the front door for a while exchanging pleasant remarks and trivialities. She suddenly said that the reason the Nagual Juan Matus had brought me to her that day was because he knew that his time on earth was coming to an end. The two forms of instruction that I had received, according to Silvio Manuel's master plan, had already been completed. All that was left pending was what she had to say to me. She stressed that hers was not instruction proper, but rather the establishing of my link to her.

The next time don Juan took me to see Florinda -- just before he left me at the door -- he repeated what she had told me; that the time was approaching for him and his party to enter into the third attention. Before I could question him, he shoved me inside the house. His shove sent me not only into the house, but into my keenest state of awareness. I saw the wall of fog.

Florinda was standing in the hall as if she had been waiting for don Juan to shove me in. She held my arm and quietly led me to the living room. We sat down. I wanted to start a conversation but I could not talk.

She explained that a shove from an impeccable warrior, like the Nagual Juan Matus, can cause a shift into another area of awareness. She said that my mistake all along had been to believe that the procedures are important. The procedure of shoving a warrior into another state of consciousness is utilizable only if both participants, especially the one who shoves, are impeccable and imbued with personal power.

The fact that I was seeing the wall of fog made me feel utterly nervous on a physical level. My body was shaking uncontrollably. Florinda said that my body was shaking because it had learned to crave for activity while it remained in that state of awareness, and that my body could also learn to focus its keenest attention on whatever was being said, rather than whatever was being done.

She told me then that to be placed on the left side consciousness was an expediency. By forcing me into a state of heightened awareness and allowing me to interact with his warriors only when I was in that state, the Nagual Juan Matus was making sure that I would have a ledge to stand on.

Florinda said that his strategy was to cultivate a small part of the other self by deliberately filling it with memories of interaction. The memories are forgotten only to resurface someday in order to serve as a rational outpost from where to depart into the immeasurable vastness of the other self.

Because I was so nervous, she proposed to calm me down by proceeding with the story of her life, which, she clarified, was not really the story of her life as a woman in the world, but the story of how a crummy woman was helped to become a warrior.

She said that once she made up her mind to see the curer there was no way to stop her. She started off, carried on a stretcher by the servant girl and four men, on the two-day trip that changed the course of her life. There were no roads. It was mountainous and sometimes the men had to carry her on their backs.

They arrived at the curer's house at dusk. The place was well lit and there were lots of people in the house. Florinda said that a polite old man told her that the curer was away for the day treating a patient. The man seemed to be very well informed about the curer's activities and Florinda found it easy to talk to him.

He was solicitous and he confided that he was a patient himself. He described his disease as an incurable condition that made him oblivious to the world. They chatted amicably until late. The old man was so helpful that he even gave Florinda his bed so she could rest and wait until the next day when the curer would return.

In the morning Florinda said that she was suddenly awakened by a sharp pain in her leg. A woman was moving her leg, pressing it with a piece of shiny wood.

"The curer was a very pretty woman," Florinda went on. "She took a look at my leg and shook her head.

"I know who has done this to you" she said. "He must have been handsomely paid, or he must have surmised that you are a useless human being. Which do you think it was?"

Florinda laughed. She said that she thought the curer was either crazy or was being rude. She had no conception that anyone in the world could possibly believe that she was a useless human being. Even though she was in excruciating pain, she let the woman know, in so many words, that she was a rich and worthy person, and nobody's fool.

Florinda recalled that the curer changed her attitude on the spot. She seemed to have gotten scared. She respectfully addressed her as "Missy", and got up from her chair and ordered everyone out of the room.

When they were alone the curer sat on Florinda's chest and pushed her head backward over the edge of the bed. Florinda said that she fought her. She thought that she was going to be killed. She tried to scream to alert her servants, but the curer quickly covered her head with a blanket and plugged her nose.

Florinda gasped for air and had to breathe through her open mouth. The more the curer pressed on Florinda's chest and the tighter she plugged her nose, the wider Florinda opened her mouth.

When she realized what the curer was really doing, she had already drunk the foul liquid contents of a large bottle which the curer had put into her open mouth. Florinda commented that the curer had maneuvered her so well that she did not even choke in spite of the fact that her head was dangling over the side of the bed.

"I drank so much liquid that I was about to get sick," Florinda said. "She made me sit up and looked right into my eyes without blinking. I wanted to put my finger down my throat and vomit. She slapped me until my lips bled. An Indian slapping me! Drawing blood from my lips! Neither my father nor my mother had ever laid a hand on me. My surprise was so great that I forgot the discomfort in my stomach.

"The curer called my men and told them to take me home. Then she leaned over and put her mouth to my ear so no one would hear. 'If you don't come back in nine days, you asshole,' she whispered, 'you'll swell up like a toad and wish to God you were dead.'

Florinda said that the liquid had irritated her throat and vocal cords. She could not utter a word. This, however, was the least of her worries. When she arrived at her home Celestino was waiting in a state of frenzy.

Being incapable of speaking, Florinda was in the position to observe him. She noticed that his anger had nothing to do with worrying about her health, but with concern about his standing as a man of wealth and social status. He could not bear to be seen by his influ-ential friends as resorting to Indian curers.

He was raging, shouting that he was going to take his complaint to the army headquarters, have the soldiers capture the woman curer and bring her to town to be thrashed and thrown in jail. These were not just empty threats: He actually pressed a military commander to send a patrol after the curer. The soldiers came back a few days later with the news that the woman had fled.

Florinda was put at ease by her maid who assured her that the curer would be waiting for her if she cared to go back. Although the inflammation of her throat persisted to the point that she could not eat solid food and could barely swallow liquids, Florinda could hardly wait for the day when she was supposed to go back to see the curer. The medicine had eased the pain in her leg.

When she let Celestino know her intentions, he became furious enough to round up some help in order to put an end to the nonsense himself. He and three of his trusted men went on horseback ahead of her.

Florinda said that when she arrived at the curer's house, she expected to find her perhaps dead, but instead she found Celestino sitting alone. He had sent his men to three different places in the vicinity with orders to bring back the curer, by force if necessary. Florinda saw the same old man she had met the time before. He was trying to calm her husband down, assuring him that any one of his men would be back shortly with the woman.

As soon as Florinda was placed on a cot in the front porch, the curer stepped out of the house. She began to insult Celestino, calling him names, yelling obscenities at him until she got him so angry that he rushed to strike her.

The old man held him back and begged him not to hit her. He implored on his knees, pointing out that she was an old woman. Celestino was unmoved. He said that he was going to horsewhip her regardless of her age.

He advanced to grab her but was stopped cold. Six awesome-looking men came out from behind the bushes wielding their machetes. Florinda said that fear froze Celestino to the spot. He was ashen.

The curer came to him and told him that either he would meekly let her whip him on the buttocks or her helpers would hack him to pieces. As proud a man as he was, he bent over meekly to be whipped. The curer had reduced him in a few moments to a helpless man. She laughed in his face. She knew that he was pinned down and she let him sink. He had walked into her trap, like the careless fool that he was, drunk with his own inflated ideas about his worth.

Florinda looked at me and smiled. She was quiet for a while.

"The first principle of the art of stalking is that warriors choose their battleground," she said. "A warrior never goes into battle without knowing what the surroundings are. The woman curer had shown me, through her battle with Celestino, the first principle of stalking.

"Then the curer came over to where I was lying down. I was crying. That was the only thing I could do. She seemed concerned. She tucked my blanket around my shoulders and smiled and winked at me.

"The deal is still on, asshole," she said. "Come back as soon as you can if you want to live. But don't bring your master with you, you little whore. Come only with those who are absolutely necessary."

Florinda fixed her eyes on me for a moment. From her silence I surmised that she wanted my comments.

"To discard everything that is unnecessary is the second principle of the art of stalking," she said without giving me time to say anything.

Her account had absorbed me so intensely that I had not noticed that the wall of fog had disappeared -- nor when. I simply realized that it was not there anymore. Florinda got up from her chair and led me to the door. We stood there for awhile, as we had done at the end of our first meeting.

Florinda said that Celestino's anger had also permitted the curer to point out, not to her reason, but to her body, the first three precepts of the rule for stalkers.

Although her mind was focused entirely on herself, since nothing else existed for her outside her physical pain and the anguish of losing her beauty, still her body had acknowledged what had happened, and needed later on only a reminder in order to put everything in place.

"Warriors don't have the world to cushion them, so they must have the rule," she went on. "Yet the rule of stalkers applies to everyone.

"Celestino's arrogance was his undoing and the beginning of my instruction and liberation. His self-importance, which was also mine, forced us both to believe that we were above practically everybody. The curer brought us down to what we really are; nothing.

"The first precept of the rule is that everything that surrounds us is an unfathomable mystery.

"The second precept of the rule is that we must try to unravel these mysteries, but without ever hoping to accomplish this.

"The third, that a warrior, aware of the unfathomable mystery that surrounds him and aware of his duty to try to unravel it, takes his rightful place among mysteries and regards himself as one. Consequently, for a warrior there is no end to the mystery of being, whether being means being a pebble, or an ant, or oneself. That is a warrior's humbleness. One is equal to everything."

There was a long and forced silence. Florinda smiled, playing with the tip of her long braid. She said that I had had enough.

The third time I went to see Florinda, don Juan did not leave me at the door but walked in with me. All the members of his party were congregated in the house, and they greeted me as if I were returning home from a long trip. It was an exquisite event. It integrated Florinda with the rest of them in my feelings since that was the first time she had joined them while I was present.

The next time I went to Florinda's house, don Juan unexpectedly shoved me as he had done before. My shock was immense. Florinda was waiting for me in the hall. I had entered instantly into the state where the wall of fog is visible.

"I've told you how the principles of the art of stalking were shown to me," she said as soon as we sat down on the couch in her living room. "Now, you must do the same for me. How did the Nagual Juan Matus show them to you?"
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Re: The Eagle's Gift, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:00 am

Part 2 of 2

I told her that I could not remember offhand. I had to think about it, and I could not think. My body was frightened.

"Don't complicate things," she said in a tone of command. "Aim at being simple. Apply all the concentration you have to decide whether or not to enter into battle, for any battle is a battle for one's life. This is the third principle of the art of stalking, A warrior must be willing and ready to make his last stand here and now. But not in a helter-skelter way."

I simply could not organize my thoughts. I stretched my legs and lay down on the couch. I took deep breaths to relax my midsection, which seemed to be tied in knots.

"Good," Florinda said. "I see that you're applying the fourth principle of the art of stalking. Relax, abandon yourself, fear nothing. Only then will the powers that guide us open the road and aid us. Only then."

I struggled to remember how don Juan had shown me the principles of the art of stalking. For some inexplicable reason my mind refused to focus on my past experience. Don Juan was so vague a memory. I stood up and began to look around.

The room we were in was exquisitely arranged. The floor was made of large buff-colored tiles. Excellent craftsmanship had been involved in laying it. I was about to examine the furniture. I moved toward a beautiful dark-brown table. Florinda jumped to my side and shook me vigorously.

"You've correctly applied the fifth principle of the art of stalking" she said. "Don't let yourself wander away."

"What is the fifth principle?" I asked.

"When faced with odds that cannot be dealt with, warriors retreat for a moment," she said. "They let their minds meander. They occupy their time with something else. Anything would do.

"You've done just that. But now that you've accomplished it, you must apply the sixth principle: Warriors compress time; even an instant counts. In a battle for your life, a second is an eternity; an eternity that may decide the outcome. Warriors aim at succeeding, therefore they compress time. Warriors don't waste an instant."

All of a sudden a bulk of memories erupted into my awareness. I excitedly told Florinda that I could certainly remember the first time don Juan had acquainted me with those principles. Florinda put her fingers to her lips in a gesture that demanded my silence. She said that she had only been interested in bringing me face to face with the principles, but she did not want me to relate those experiences to her.

Florinda went on with her story. She said that as the curer was telling her to come back without Celestino, the curer had her drink a concoction that alleviated her pain almost instantly, and the curer also whispered in her ear that Florinda had to make a momentous decision by herself; and that Florinda should put her mind at ease by doing something else, but that she should not waste a moment once she had reached her decision.

At home she stated her desire to go back. Celestino did not see any point in objecting because her conviction was unshakable.

"Almost immediately I went back to see the curer," Florinda continued. "This time we went on horseback. I took my two most trusted servants with me: the girl who had given me the poison, and a man to handle the horses. The horses were very nervous because of the stench of my leg, and we had a rough time going over those mountains; but we somehow made it.

Without knowing it, I had used the third principle of the art of stalking. I had put my life, or what was left of it, on the line. I was willing and ready to die. It wasn't such a great decision for me, I was dying anyway. It is a fact that when one is half dead, as in my case, not with great pain but with great discomfort, the tendency is to get so lazy and weak that no effort is possible.

"I stayed at the curer's house for six days. By the second day I felt better already. The swelling went down. The oozing from the leg had stopped. There was no more pain. I was just a little weak and wobbly in the knees when I tried to walk.

"During the sixth day the curer took me to her room. She was very careful with me and, showing me every consideration. She made me sit on her bed, and gave me coffee.

"The curer then sat on the floor at my feet, facing me. I can remember her exact words. 'You are very, very sick and only I can cure you,' she said. 'If I don't, you'll die a death that is not to be believed. Since you're an imbecile, you'll last to the bitter end. On the other hand, I could cure you in one day but I won't. You will have to keep coming here until you have understood what I have to show you. Only then will I cure you completely -- otherwise, being the imbecile you are, you will never come back.'"

Florinda said that the curer, with great patience, explained to her the very delicate points of her decision to help her. Florinda did not understand a word of it. The explanation made her believe more than ever that the curer was a bit touched in the head.

When the curer realized that she was not getting through to Florinda, the curer became more stern, and made Florinda repeat over and over, as if Florinda were a child, that without the curer's help her life was finished, and that the curer could choose to cancel the cure and leave her hopelessly to die.

Finally, the curer lost her patience when Florinda begged her to finish healing her, and send her home to her family. The curer picked up a bottle containing the medicine, and smashed it on the ground, and told Florinda that she was through with her.

Florinda told me, "I cried then the only real tears of my life."

Florinda told the curer that all she wanted was to be cured and that she was more than willing to pay for it. The curer said it was too late for monetary payment; that what she wanted from Florinda was her attention, not her money.

Florinda admitted to me that she had learned during the course of her life how to get anything she wanted. She knew how to be obstinate, and she raised the point that there must have been thousands of patients that had come to the curer -- half dead just like herself -- and that the curer took their money; so why was her case different?

The curer's reply, which was no explanation at all for Florinda, was that being a seer she had seen Florinda's luminous body, and Florinda and the curer were exactly alike.

Florinda thought that the woman had to be mad not to realize that there was a world of difference between them. The curer was a rude Indian, uneducated and primi-tive, while Florinda was rich and beautiful and white.

Florinda asked the woman what she was planning to do to her. The curer told her that she had been commissioned to heal her, and then teach her something of great importance. Florinda wanted to know who had commissioned her. The woman replied that it was the Eagle -- a reply which convinced Florinda that the woman was absolutely crazy.

And yet Florinda saw no alternative to complying with the woman's demands. She told her that she was willing to do anything.

The woman changed her belligerent attitude instantly. She gave Florinda some medicine to take home, and told her to come back as soon as she could.

"As you yourself know," Florinda went on, "a teacher must trick the disciple. She tricked me with my cure. She was right. I was such an idiot that if she had cured me right away, I would've gone back to my stupid life as if nothing had ever happened to me. Don't we all do that?"

Florinda returned the following week. Upon arriving she was greeted by the old man she had met before. He talked to her as if they were the best of friends.

He said that the curer had been away for several days and would not be back for several more; and that she had entrusted him with some medicine for her in case she showed up.

He told Florinda in a very friendly but commanding tone that the curer's absence had left Florinda with only two alternatives: she could either go back home, possibly in worse physical shape than before due to the strenuous trip; or she could follow the curer's carefully out-lined instructions.

He added that if she decided to stay and start her treatment right away, in three to four months she would be as good as new. There was, however, one stipulation: if she decided to stay, she had to remain in the curer's house for eight consecutive days and had, perforce, to send her servants home.

Florinda said that there was nothing to decide; that she had to stay. The old man immediately gave her the potion that the curer had apparently left for her. He sat up with her most of the night. He was reassuring, and his easy talk kindled Florinda's optimism and confidence.

Her two servants left the next morning after breakfast. Florinda was not at all afraid. She trusted the old man implicitly. He told her that he had to build a box for her treatment in accordance with the curer's instructions. He made her sit on a low chair which had been placed in the center of a circular area with no vegetation on it. While she was seated there, the old man introduced her to three young men he said were his assistants. Two were Indians and one was white.

It took the four of them less than an hour to construct a crate around the chair where Florinda was sitting. When they were finished, Florinda was encased snugly inside a crate which had a lattice top to allow for ventilation. One of its sides was hinged in order to serve as a door.

The old man opened the door and helped Florinda to step out of it. He took her to the house, and asked her to help him prepare her medicine in order to have it handy for the time when the curer would return.

Florinda was fascinated with the way he worked. He made a potion out of plants with a pungent odor, and prepared a bucket of a hot liquid. He suggested that for her comfort she should immerse her leg in the bucket, and if she felt like it, she should drink the concoction he had prepared before it lost its potency. Florinda obeyed him unquestioningly. The relief she felt was remarkable.

The old man then assigned her a room to herself, and had the young men put the crate inside the room. He told her that it might be days before the curer would show up. In the meantime she had to follow meticulously all the instructions left for her.

She agreed with him, and he produced a list of tasks. They included a great deal of walking in order to collect the medicinal plants needed for her potions, and her assistance in their actual preparation.

Florinda said that she spent twelve days there instead of eight because her servants were late due to torrential rains. It was not until the tenth day that she discovered that the woman had never left, and that the old man was actually the real curer.

Florinda laughed, describing her shock. The old man had tricked her into actively participating in her own cure. Furthermore, under the pretext that the curer demanded it, he put her inside the crate daily for at least six hours, in order to fulfill a specific task he had called the 'recapitulation'.

At that point in her account, Florinda scrutinized me and concluded that I had had enough, and that it was time for me to leave.

On our next meeting, she explained that the old man was her benefactor, and that she was the first stalker that the women of her benefactor's party had found for the Nagual Juan Matus; but none of that was known to her then.

Even though her benefactor made her shift levels of awareness and revealed this to her, it was to no avail. She had been raised to be beautiful, and that had created a shield around her so im-penetrable that she was impervious to change.

Her benefactor concluded that she needed time. He devised a plan to draw Celestino to Florinda's battleground. He made her see things about Celestino's personality that she herself knew to be true, but had not had the courage to face on her own.

Celestino was very possessive of everything he owned; his wealth and Florinda ranked high among his possessions. He had been forced to swallow his pride over his humiliation at the hands of the curer because the curer was cheap, and Florinda was actually recuperating. He was biding his time; waiting for a moment when the cure would be complete in order to seek revenge.

Florinda said that her benefactor told her that the danger was that her complete recovery was going to be too quick and Celestino would decide, since he made all the decisions in the house, that there was no longer any need for Florinda to see the curer.

Her benefactor then gave her a potion to apply on her other leg. The unguent was terribly pungent, and produced an irritation on the skin that resembled the spreading of the disease. Her benefactor advised her to use the unguent every time she wanted to come back to see him even though she did not need a treatment.

Florinda said that it took a year to be cured. In the course of that time, her benefactor acquainted her with the rule and drilled her like a soldier in the art of stalking. He made her apply the principles of stalking to the things she did daily; small things at first, leading up to the major issues of her life.

In the course of that year, her benefactor also introduced her to the Nagual Juan Matus, whom she described as very witty and thoughtful, but still the most unruly and terrifying young man she had ever met. She said that it was the Nagual Juan Matus who helped her escape from Celestino.

He and Silvio Manuel smuggled her out of the city through police and army roadblocks. Celestino had filed a legal complaint for desertion, and being an influential man, he had used his re-sources to try to stop her from leaving him.

Because of this her benefactor had to move to another part of Mexico, and she had to remain in hiding in his house for years. This situation suited Florinda as she had to fulfill the task of recapitulating, and for that she needed absolute quiet and solitude.

She explained that a recapitulation is the forte of stalkers just as the dreaming body is the forte of dreamers. The recapitulation consisted of recollecting one's life down to the most insignificant detail.

Thus her benefactor had given her that crate as a tool and a symbol. It was a tool that would permit her to learn concentration, because she would have to sit in there for years until all of her life had passed in front of her eyes.

And it was a symbol of the narrow boundaries of our person. Her benefactor told her that when-ever she had finished her recapitulation, she would break the crate to symbolize that she no longer abided by the limitations of her person.

She said that stalkers use crates or earth coffins in order to seal themselves in while they are reliving, more than merely recollecting, every moment of their lives.

The reason why stalkers must recapitulate their lives in such a thorough manner is that the Eagle's gift to man includes its willingness to accept a surrogate instead of genuine awareness -- if such a surrogate be a perfect replica. Florinda explained that since awareness is the Eagle's food, the Eagle can be satisfied with a perfect recapitulation in place of consciousness.

Florinda gave me then the fundamentals of recapitulating. She said that the first stage is a brief recounting of all the incidents in our lives that in an obvious manner stand out for examination.

The second stage is a more detailed recollection, which starts systematically at a point that could be the moment prior to the stalker sitting in the crate, and theoretically could extend to the moment of birth.

She assured me that a perfect recapitulation could change a warrior as much, if not more, than the total control of the dreaming body.

In this respect, dreaming and stalking led to the same end, the entering into the third attention. It was important for a warrior, however, to know and practice both. She said that for women it took different configurations in the luminous body to master one or the other. Men, on the other hand, could do both with a degree of ease, yet they could never get to the level of proficiency that the women attained in each art.

Florinda explained that the key element in recapitulating was breathing. Breath for her was magical, because it was a life-giving function.

She said that recollecting was easy if one could reduce the area of stimulation around the body. This was the reason for the crate.

Then breathing would foster deeper and deeper memories. Theoretically, stalkers have to remember every feeling that they have had in their lives, and this process begins with a breath. She warned me that the things she was teaching me were only preliminaries; that at a later time in a different setting she would teach me the intricacies.

Florinda said that her benefactor directed her to write down a list of the events to be relived.

He told her that the procedure starts with an initial breath. Stalkers begin with their chin on the right shoulder and slowly inhale as they move their head over a hundred and eighty degree arc. The breath terminates on the left shoulder. Once the inhalation ends, the head goes back to a relaxed position. They exhale looking straight ahead.

The stalker then takes the event at the top of the list and remains with it until all the feelings expended in it have been recounted. As stalkers remember the feelings they invested in whatever it is that they are remembering, they inhale slowly, moving their heads from the right shoulder to the left. The function of this breathing is to restore energy.

Florinda claimed that the luminous body is constantly creating cob-web like filaments which are projected out of the luminous mass; propelled by emotions of any sort. Therefore, every situation of interaction, or every situation where feelings are involved, is potentially draining to the luminous body.

By breathing from right to left while remembering a feeling, stalkers, through the magic of breathing, pick up the filaments they left behind. The next immediate breath is from left to right and it is an exhalation. With it stalkers eject filaments left in them by other luminous bodies involved in the event being recollected.

She stated that these were the mandatory preliminaries of stalking, which all the members of her party went through as an introduction to the more demanding exercises of the art. Unless stalkers have gone through the preliminaries in order to retrieve the filaments they have left in the world, and particularly in order to reject those that others have left in them, there is no possibility of handling controlled folly, because those foreign filaments are the basis of one's limitless capacity for self-importance.

In order to practice controlled folly, since it is not a way to fool or chastise people or feel superior to them, one has to be capable of laughing at oneself. Florinda said that one of the results of a detailed recapitulation is genuine laughter upon coming face to face with the boring repetition of one's self-esteem, which is at the core of all human interaction.

Florinda emphasized that the rule defined stalking and dreaming as arts; therefore they are something that one performs. She said that the life-giving nature of breath is what also gives it its cleansing capacity. It is this capacity that makes a recapitulation into a practical matter.

In our next meeting Florinda summed up what she called her last-minute instructions. She asserted that since the joint assessment of the Nagual Juan Matus and his party of warriors had been that I did not need to deal with the world of every-day life, they taught me dreaming instead of stalking.

She explained that this assessment had been radically modified, and that they had found themselves in an awkward position. They did not have any more time to teach me stalking.

She had to stay behind on the periphery of the third attention in order to fulfill her assignment at a later time when I would be ready. On the other hand, if I were to leave the world with them, she was exonerated from that responsibility.

Florinda said that her benefactor considered the three basic techniques of stalking -- the crate, the list of events to be recapitulated, and the stalker's breath-to be about the most important tasks a warrior can fulfill.

Her benefactor thought that a profound recapitulation is the most expedient means to lose the human form. Thus it is easier for stalkers, after recapitulating their lives, to make use of all the not-doings of the self, such as erasing personal history, losing self-importance, breaking routines and so forth.

Florinda said that her benefactor gave all of them an ex-ample of what he meant. First he acted out his premises, and then he gave them the warrior's rationales for his actions.

In her own case, he, being a master of the art of stalking, acted out the ploy of her disease and cure which not only was congruous with the warrior's way, but was a masterful introduction to the seven basic principles of the art of stalking.

He first drew Florinda to his own battleground where she was at his mercy; he forced her to discard what was not essential; he taught her to put her life on the line with a decision; he taught her how to relax; he showed her how to regroup her resources using a new mood of optimism and self-confidence; he taught her to compress time; and finally he showed her that a stalker never pushes himself to the front.

Florinda was most impressed by the last principle. To her it summarized everything she wanted to tell me in her last-minute instructions.

"My benefactor was the chief," Florinda said. "And yet, looking at him, no one would've ever believed it. He always had one of his female warriors as a front while he freely mingled with the patients pretending to be one of them; or he posed as an old fool who was constantly sweeping dry leaves with a handmade broom."

Florinda explained that in order to apply the seventh principle of the art of stalking, one has to apply the other six. Thus her benefactor was always looking on from behind the scenes. Thanks to that he was capable of avoiding or parrying conflicts. If there was strife, it was never directed toward him, but towards his front, the female warrior.

"I hope that you have realized by now," she went on, "that only a master stalker can be a master of controlled folly. Controlled folly doesn't mean to con people. It means, as my benefactor explained it, that warriors apply the seven basic principles of the art of stalking to whatever they do, from the most trivial acts to life and death situations.

"Applying these principles brings about three results. The first is that stalkers learn never to take themselves seriously. They learn to laugh at themselves. If they're not afraid of being a fool, they can fool anyone. The second is that stalkers learn to have endless patience. Stalkers are never in a hurry. They never fret. And the third is that stalkers learn to have an end-less capacity to improvise."

Florinda stood up. We had been sitting, as usual, in her living room. I immediately assumed that our conversation was over. She said that there was one more topic to present to me before we said goodbye.

She took me to another patio inside her house. I had never been in that part of her house before. She called someone softly and a woman stepped out from a room. I did not recognize her at first.

The woman called my name and then I realized that she was dona Soledad. Her change was stupendous. She was younger and more powerful. Florinda said that Soledad had been inside a recapitulating crate for five years; that the Eagle had accepted her recapitulation in place of her awareness and had let her go free.

Dona Soledad assented with a movement of her head. Florinda abruptly ended the meeting, and told me that it was time for me to leave because I had no more energy.

I went to Florinda's house many more times afterward. I saw her every time but only for a few moments. She told me that she had decided not to instruct me anymore because it was to my advantage that I deal only with dona Soledad.

Dona Soledad and I met several times, but whatever took place during our meetings is something quite incomprehensible to me. Every time we were together she would make me sit at the door of her room facing the east. She would sit to my right, touching me. Then we would make the wall of fog stop rotating and both of us would be left facing the south, into her room.

I had already learned with la Gorda to stop the rotation of the wall. It seemed that dona Soledad was helping me to realize another aspect of that perceptual capacity.

I had correctly detected with la Gorda that only a portion of us stopped the wall. It was as if suddenly I had become divided in two. A portion of my total self was looking straight ahead and saw an immobile wall to my right while another larger portion of my total self had turned ninety degrees to the right and was staring at the wall.

Every time dona Soledad and I stopped the wall we remained staring at it. We never entered into the area between the parallel lines as the Nagual woman, la Gorda and I had done scores of times.

Dona Soledad would make me gaze every time into the fog as if the fog were a reflective glass. I would experience then the most extravagant disassociation. It was as if I were racing at breakneck speed. I would see bits of a landscape forming in the fog, and suddenly I was in another physical reality.

It was a mountainous area, rugged and inhospitable. Dona Soledad was always there in the company of another lovely woman who laughed uproariously at me.

My incapacity to remember what we did beyond that point was even more acute than my incapacity to remember what the Nagual woman and la Gorda and I did in the area between the parallel lines. It seemed that dona Soledad and I entered into another area of awareness that was unknown to me.

I was already in what I thought was my keenest state of conscious-ness, and yet there was something even keener. The aspect of the second attention that dona Soledad was obviously showing me was more complex and more inaccessible than anything I had witnessed so far.

All I could recollect was a sense of having moved a great deal; a physical sensation comparable to having walked for miles, or to having hiked on rugged mountain trails. I also had a clear bodily certainty, although I could not fathom why, that dona Soledad, the woman, and I ex-changed words, thoughts, feelings; but I could not pinpoint them.

After every meeting with dona Soledad, Florinda would immediately make me leave. Dona Soledad gave minimal verbal feedback. It appeared to me that being in a state of such heightened awareness affected her so profoundly she could hardly talk. There was something that we were seeing in that rugged landscape besides the lovely woman, or something we were doing together that left us breathless. She could not remember anything, although she tried.

I asked Florinda to clarify the nature of my journeys with dona Soledad. She said that a part of her last-minute instruction was to make me enter into the second attention as stalkers do, and that dona Soledad was more capable than she herself was to usher me into the stalker's dimension.

On the meeting that was to be our last, Florinda, as she had done at the beginning of our instruction, was waiting for me in the hall. She took my arm and led me to the living room. We sat down.

She warned me not to try as yet to make sense of my journeys with dona Soledad. She explained that stalkers are inherently different than dreamers in the way they use the world around them, and that what dona Soledad was doing was trying to help me to turn my head.

When don Juan had described the concept of turning a warrior's head to face a new direction, I had understood it as a metaphor that depicted a change in attitude. Florinda said that that description was true, but it was no metaphor.

It was true that stalkers turn their heads; however, they do not turn them to face a new direction, but to face time in a different way. Stalkers face the oncoming time. Normally we face time as it recedes from us. Only stalkers can change that and face time as it advances on them.

Florinda explained that turning the head did not mean that one sees into the future, but that one sees time as something concrete, yet incomprehensible.

It was superfluous, therefore, for me to try to think out whatever dona Soledad and I were doing. All of it would make sense when I could perceive the totality of myself and would then have the energy necessary to unravel that mystery.

Florinda told me, in the spirit of someone giving a bonus, that dona Soledad was a supreme stalker. Florinda called her the greatest of them all. She said that dona Soledad could cross the parallel lines anytime.

Furthermore, none of the warriors of don Juan Matus' party had been able to do what she had done. Dona Soledad, through her impeccable stalking techniques, had found her parallel being.

Florinda explained that whatever I had experienced with the Nagual Juan Matus, or Silvio Manuel, or Genaro, or Zuleica were only minute portions of the second attention. Whatever dona Soledad was helping me witness was still another minute, but different portion.

Dona Soledad had not only made me face the oncoming time, but she had taken me to her parallel being. Florinda defined the parallel being as the counterbalance that all living creatures have by the fact that they are luminous beings filled with inexplicable energy.

A parallel being of any person is another person of the same sex who is intimately and inextricably joined to the first one. They coexist in the world at the same time. The two parallel beings are like the two ends of the same pole.

It is nearly impossible for warriors to find their parallel being, because there are too many distracting factors in the life of a warrior; other priorities. But whoever is capable of accomplishing this feat would find in his parallel being, just as dona Soledad had, an endless source of youth and energy.

Florinda stood up abruptly and took me to dona Soledad's room. Perhaps because I knew that it was going to be our last meeting, I was taken by a strange anxiety. Dona Soledad smiled at me when I told her what Florinda had just told me. She said, with what I thought to be a true warrior's humbleness, that she was not teaching me anything; that all she had aspired to do was to show me her parallel being because that would be where she would retreat when the Nagual Juan Matus and his warriors left the world.

However, something else had happened which was beyond her understanding. Florinda had explained to her that we had boosted each other's energy; and that had made us face the oncoming time, not in small doses as Florinda would have liked us to, but in incomprehensible gobbles as my unruly nature wanted it.

The result of our last meeting was even more baffling. Dona Soledad, her parallel being and I remained for what I felt was an extraordinarily long time together. I saw every feature of the parallel being's face. I felt she was trying to tell me who she was. She also seemed to be cognizant that this was our last meeting. There was such an overpowering sense of frailty in her eyes. Then a windlike force blew us away into something that held no meaning for me.

Florinda suddenly helped me to stand up. She took me by the arm and led me to the door. Dona Soledad walked with us. Florinda said that I would have a hard time remembering all that had transpired because I was indulging in my rationality; a condition that could only worsen because they were about to leave and I would have no one to help me to shift levels of awareness. She added that someday dona Soledad and I would meet again in the world of everyday life.

It was then that I turned to dona Soledad and begged her to drive me out of my indulging; I told her that if she failed she should kill me. I did not want to live in the meagerness of my rationality.

"It's wrong to say that," Florinda said. "We're warriors, and warriors have only one thing in mind -- their freedom. To die and be eaten by the Eagle is no challenge. On the other hand, to sneak around the Eagle and be free is the ultimate audacity."
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Re: The Eagle's Gift, by Carlos Castaneda

Postby admin » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:02 am

15. The Plumed Serpent

Having accomplished every one of the goals which the rule specified, don Juan and his party of warriors were ready for their final task; to leave the world of everyday life. And all that was left for la Gorda, for the other apprentices, and for me was to witness it.

There was only one unresolved problem: What to do with the apprentices? Don Juan said that properly they should leave with him by becoming incorporated into his own group. However, they were not ready. The reactions they had while attempting to cross the bridge had demonstrated to him what their weaknesses were.

Don Juan expressed the feeling that his benefactor's choice to wait years before gathering a warrior's party for him had been a wise choice and had produced positive results; while his own decision to set me up quickly with the Nagual woman and my own group had nearly been fatal to us.

I understood that he was voicing this not as an expression of regret, but rather as an affirmation of the warrior's freedom to choose, and accept his choice.

He said, furthermore, that he had seriously considered following his benefactor's example, and that if he had done so, he would have found out soon enough that I was not a Nagual like him and no one else besides me would have been engaged beyond that point.

As it was, Lydia, Rosa, Benigno, Nestor and Pablito were seriously handicapped; la Gorda and Josefina needed time to perfect themselves; only Soledad and Eligio were safe because they were perhaps even more proficient than the warriors in his own group. Don Juan added that it was up to the nine of them to take their unfavorable or favorable circumstances, and without regret or despair, or patting themselves on the back, turn their curse or blessing into a living challenge.

Don Juan pointed out that not everything about us had been a failure. The small part that we had played amidst his warriors had been a complete triumph in as much as the rule fit every one of my party except me. I fully agreed with him.

To begin with, the Nagual woman was everything the rule had prescribed. She had poise; control. She was a being at war and yet thoroughly at ease. Without any overt preparation, she handled and led all of don Juan's gifted warriors even though they were more than twice her age.

These men and women asserted that she was a carbon copy of the other Nagual woman they had known. She reflected perfectly each one of the female warriors. Consequently she could also reflect the five women don Juan had found for my party, for they were the replicas of the older ones. Lydia was like Hermelinda, Josefina was like Zuleica, Rosa and la Gorda were like Nelida, and Soledad was like Delia.

The men were also replicas of don Juan's warriors. Nestor was a copy of Vicente, Pablito of Genaro, Benigno of Silvio Manuel, and Eligio was like Juan Tuma. The rule was indeed the voice of an overpowering force that had molded these people into a homogeneous whole. It was only by a strange twist of fate that they had been left stranded without the leader that would find for them the passageway into the other awareness.

Don Juan said that all the members of my party had to enter into that other awareness by themselves, and that he did not know what their chances were because that was up to each one of them individually. He had helped everyone impeccably; thus his spirit was free from worry and concern and his mind was free from idle speculations. All that was left for him to do was to show us pragmatically what it meant to cross over the parallel lines in one's totality.

Don Juan told me that at best I could only help one of the apprentices, and that he had picked la Gorda because of her prowess and because I was already familiar with her. He said that I had no more energy for the others due to the fact that I had other duties to perform; other paths of action which were congruous with my true task.

Don Juan explained to me that every one of his own warriors knew what that task was but had not revealed it to me because I needed to prove that I was worthy of it. The fact that they were at the end of their trail, and the fact that I had faithfully followed my instructions made it imperative that this revelation take place, although only in a partial form.

When the actual time came for don Juan to leave, he let me know that his time on Earth was up while I was in a state of normal awareness. Yet I missed the full significance of what he was saying.

Don Juan tried to the very end to induce me to join my two states of awareness. Everything would have been so simple if I had been capable of that merger. Since I was not, and was only rationally touched by his revelation, he forced me to shift levels of awareness in order to allow me to assess the event in more encompassing terms.

He warned me repeatedly that to be in the left side awareness is an advantage only in the sense that our grasp of things is accelerated. It is a disadvantage because it allows us to focus with inconceivable lucidity only on one thing at a time. This renders us dependent and vulnerable. We cannot be on our own while being in the left side awareness, and have to be cushioned by warriors who have gained the totality of themselves and who know how to handle themselves in that state.

La Gorda said that one day the Nagual Juan Matus and Genaro rounded up all the apprentices at her house. The Nagual made them shift into the left side awareness, and told them that his time on earth had come to an end.

She did not believe him at first. She thought that he was trying to startle them into acting like warriors. But then she realized that there was a glow in his eyes that she had never seen before.

Having made them shift levels of awareness, he talked with every one of them individually, and made them go through a summation so as to refreshen all the concepts and procedures he had acquainted them with.

Don Juan did the same with me. My appointment took place the day before I saw him for the last time. In my case he conducted that summation in both states of awareness. In fact, he made me shift back and forth various times as if making sure that I would be completely saturated in both.

I had been unable to recollect at first what had taken place after this summation. One day la Gorda finally succeeded in breaking the barriers of my memory. She told me that she was inside my mind as if she were reading me.

Her assessment was that what kept my memory locked up was that I was afraid to remember my pain. What had happened at Silvio Manuel's house the night before they left was inextricably enmeshed with my fear. She said that she had the clearest sensation that I was afraid, but she did not know the reason why. Nor could she remember what exactly had taken place in that house specifically in the room where we sat down.

As la Gorda spoke, I felt as if I were plummeting into an abyss. I realized that something in me was trying to make a connection between two separate events that I had witnessed in my two states of awareness.

On my left side I had the locked-up memories of don Juan and his party of warriors on their last day on earth. On my right side I had the memory of having jumped that day into an abyss. In trying to join my two sides, I experienced a total sense of physical descent. My knees gave way and I fell to the floor.

When I described my experience and my interpretation of it, la Gorda said that what was coming to my right side awareness was doubtlessly the memory that had surfaced in her as I talked. She had just remembered that we had made one more attempt to cross the parallel lines with the Nagual Juan Matus and his party. She said that the two of us, together with the rest of the apprentices, had tried once more to cross the bridge.

I could not bring that memory into focus. There seemed to be a constricting force that prevented me from organizing my thoughts and feelings about it. La Gorda said that Silvio Manuel had told the Nagual Juan Matus to prepare me and all the apprentices for their crossing.

Silvio Manuel did not want to leave me in the world because he thought that I did not stand a chance of fulfilling my task. The Nagual Juan Matus disagreed with him but carried out the preparations regardless of how he felt.

La Gorda told me that she remembered I had driven to her house to take her as well as the other apprentices to Silvio Manuel's house. They remained there while I went back to the Nagual Juan Matus and Genaro in order to prepare for the crossing.

I did not remember it at all. She insisted that I should use her as a guide since we were so intimately joined. She assured me that I could read her mind and find something there that would awaken my full recollection.

My mind was in a state of great turmoil. A feeling of anxiety prevented me from even focusing on what la Gorda was saying. She kept on talking, describing what she remembered of our second attempt to cross that bridge.

She said that Silvio Manuel had harangued them. He told them that they had had sufficient training to try once again to cross. What they needed to enter fully into the other self was to abandon the intent of their first attention. Once they were in the awareness of the other self the power of the Nagual Juan Matus and his party would pick them up and lift them off into the third attention with great facility -- something they could not do if the apprentices were in their normal awareness.

At one instant, I was not listening to la Gorda any more. The sound of her voice was indeed a vehicle for me. Suddenly the memory of the entire event surfaced in my mind. I reeled under the impact of remembering.

La Gorda stopped talking, and as I described my memory she also recollected everything. We had put together the last pieces of the separate memories of our two states of awareness.

I remembered that don Juan and don Genaro prepared me for the crossing while I was in a state of normal consciousness. I rationally thought that they were preparing me for a jump into an abyss.

La Gorda remembered that to prepare her and the other apprentices for the crossing, Silvio Manuel had hoisted them to the beams of his roof strapped in leather harnesses. There was a harness in every room of his house. They were kept suspended in them nearly all day.

La Gorda commented that to have a harness in one's room is an ideal thing. The Genaros, without really knowing what they were doing, had hit upon the quasi-memory of the harnesses they had been suspended from and had created their game.

It was a game that combined the curative and cleansing qualities of being kept away from the ground, with the possibility of exercising the concentration that one needs for shifting from the right to the left side consciousness. Their game was indeed a device that helped them remember.

La Gorda said that after she and all the apprentices had remained suspended all day, Silvio Manuel had brought them down at dusk. All of them went with him to the bridge and waited there with the rest of the party until the Nagual Juan Matus and Genaro showed up with me. The Nagual Juan Matus explained to all of them that it had taken longer than he had anticipated to prepare me.

I remembered that don Juan and his warriors crossed over the bridge before we did. Dona Soledad and Eligio automatically went with them. Then Carol the Nagual woman crossed over.

From the other side of the bridge Silvio Manuel signaled us to start walking. Without saying a word, all of us began at once. Midway across the bridge, Lydia, Rosa and Pablito seemed incapable of taking one more step. Benigno and Nestor walked almost to the end and then stopped. Only la Gorda, Josefina and I arrived to where don Juan and the others were standing.

What happened next was very much like what had happened the first time we attempted to go through. Silvio Manuel and Eligio held open something I believed was an actual slit. I had enough energy to focus my attention on it. It was not an opening on the hill that stood at the end of the bridge, nor was it an opening in the wall of fog, although I could distinguish a foglike vapor around the slit.

It was a dark mysterious opening that stood by itself apart from everything else. It was as big as a man, but narrow. Don Genaro made a joke and called it 'the cosmic vagina', a remark that brought roaring laughter from his peers. La Gorda and Josefina held on to me and we stepped in.

I felt instantly that I was being crushed. The same incalculable force that had nearly made me explode the first time had gripped me again. I could feel la Gorda and Josefina merging with me. I seemed to be wider than they were and the force flattened me against the two of them together.

The next thing I knew I was lying on the ground with la Gorda and Josefina on top of me. Silvio Manuel helped us stand up. He told me that it would be impossible for us to join them in their journey at that time, but that perhaps later, when we had tuned ourselves to perfection, the Eagle would let us go through.

As we walked back to his house, Silvio Manuel told me almost in a whisper that their path and my path had diverged from each other that night. He said that our paths would never meet again, and that I was alone.

He exhorted me to be frugal and utilize every bit of my energy without wasting any of it. He assured me that if I could gain the totality of myself without excessive drainage, I would have the energy to fulfill my task. If I drained myself excessively before I lost my human form, I was done for.

I asked him if there was a way to avoid drainage. He shook his head. He replied that there was a way, but not for me. Whether I succeeded or not was not a matter of my volition. He then revealed my task. But he did not tell me how to carry it out. He said that someday the Eagle would put someone in my path to tell me how to do it. And not until I had succeeded would I be free.

When we got to the house, all of us congregated in the large room. Don Juan sat in the center of the room facing the southeast. The eight female warriors surrounded him. They sat in pairs on the cardinal points, also facing the southeast. Then the three male warriors made a triangle outside the circle with Silvio Manuel at the vertex that pointed to the southeast. The two female couriers sat flanking him, and the two male couriers sat in front of him almost against the wall.

The Nagual woman made the male apprentices sit against the east wall. She made the women sit against the west wall. She then led me to a place directly behind don Juan. We sat there together.

We remained seated for what I thought was only an instant, yet I felt a surge of unusual energy in my body. I believed that we had sat down and then immediately stood up.

When I asked the Nagual woman why we got up so quickly, she replied that we had been sitting there for several hours, and that someday before I entered into the third attention, all of it would come back to me.

La Gorda stated that not only did she have the sensation that we sat in that room only for an instant, but that she was never told that it had been otherwise.

What the Nagual Juan Matus told her afterward was that she had the obligation to help the other apprentices, especially Josefina, and that one day I would return to give her the final push she needed to cross totally into the other self.

She was tied to me and to Josefina. In our dreaming together under Zuleica's supervision we had exchanged enormities of our luminosity. That was why we were able to withstand together the pressure of the other self upon entering it in the flesh.

He also told her that it was the power of the warriors of his party which had made the crossing so easy this time, and that when she would have to cross on her own, she had to be prepared to do it in dreaming.

After we had stood up that night, Florinda came over to where I was. She took me by the arm and walked around the room with me, while don Juan and his other warriors talked to the apprentices.

Florinda said that I should not allow the events of that night at the bridge to confuse me. I should not believe, as the Nagual Juan Matus had believed at one time, that there is an actual physical passageway into the other self.

The slit that I had seen was simply a construct of their intent which had been trapped by a combination of the Nagual Juan Matus' obsession with passageways and Silvio Manuel's bizarre sense of humor. The mixture of both had produced the cosmic vagina.

As far as she was concerned, the passage from one self to the other had no physicality. The cosmic vagina was a physical expression of the two men's power to move the 'wheel of time'.

Florinda explained that when she or her peers talked about time, they were not referring to something which is measured by the movement of a clock. Time is the essence of attention. The Eagle's emanations are made out of time, and properly, when one enters into any aspect of the other self, one is becoming acquainted with time.

Florinda assured me that that very night while we sat in formation, they had had their last chance to help me and the apprentices to face the wheel of time.

She said that the wheel of time is like a state of heightened awareness which is part of the other self -- just as the left side awareness is part of the self of everyday life. Florinda said that that state could physically be described as a tunnel of infinite length and width; a tunnel with reflective furrows.

Every furrow is infinite, and there are infinite numbers of them. Living creatures are compulsorily made, by the force of life, to gaze into one furrow. To gaze into it means to be trapped by it; to live that furrow.

Florinda asserted that what warriors call will belongs to the wheel of time. It is something like the runner of a vine, or an intangible tentacle which all of us possess. She said that a warrior's final aim is to learn to focus it on the wheel of time in order to make it turn.

Warriors who have succeeded in turning the wheel of time can gaze into any furrow and draw from it whatever they desire, such as the cosmic vagina.

To be trapped compulsorily in one furrow of time entails seeing the images of that furrow only as they recede. To be free from the spellbinding force of those grooves means that one can look in either direction, as images recede or as they approach.

Florinda stopped talking and embraced me. She whispered in my ear that she would be back to finish her instruction someday when I had gained the totality of myself.

Then don Juan called everyone to come to where I was. They surrounded me. Don Juan spoke to me first. He said that I could not go with them on their journey because it was impossible that I could withdraw from my task. Under the circumstance, the only thing they could do for me would be to wish me well.

He added that warriors have no life of their own. From the moment they understand the nature of awareness, they cease to be persons and the human condition is no longer part of their view. I had my duty as a warrior and nothing else was important. I was going to be left behind to fulfill a most obscure task.

Since I had already relinquished my life, there was nothing else for them to say to me except that I should do my best. And there was nothing for me to say to them except that I had understood and had accepted my fate.

Vicente came to my side next. He spoke very softly. He said that the challenge of a warrior is to arrive at a very subtle balance of positive and negative forces. This challenge does not mean that a warrior should strive to have everything under control, but that a warrior should strive to meet any conceivable situation, the expected and the unexpected, with equal efficiency.

To be perfect under perfect circumstances was to be a paper warrior. My challenge was to be left behind. Theirs was to strike onward into the unknowable. Both challenges were consuming. For warriors, the excitation of staying put is equal to the excitation of the journey. Both are equal, because both entail the fulfilling of a sacred trust.

Silvio Manuel came to my side next. He was concerned with practicalities. He gave me a formula; an incantation for times when my task would be greater than my strength. It was the incantation that came to my mind the first time I remembered the Nagual woman.

I am already given to the power that rules my fate.
And I cling to nothing, so I will have nothing to defend.
I have no thoughts, so I will see.
I fear nothing, so I will remember myself.

Detached and at ease,
I will dart past the Eagle to be free.

Ya me di al poder que a mi destino rige.
No me agarro ya de nada, para asi no tener nada que defender.
No tengo pensamientos, para asi poder ver.
No temo ya a nada, para asi poder acordarme de mi.

Sereno y desprendido,
me dejara el aguila pasar a la libertad.


He told me that he was going to reveal to me a practical maneuver of the second attention, and right then he turned into a luminous egg. He reverted back to his normal appearance and repeated this transformation three or four more times. I understood perfectly well what he was doing. He did not need to explain it to me, and yet I could not put into words what I knew.

Silvio Manuel smiled, cognizant of my problem. He said that it took an enormity of strength to let go of the intent of everyday life. The secret that he had just revealed was how to expedite letting go of that intent. In order to do what he had done, one must place one's attention on the luminous shell.

He turned one more time into a luminous egg and then it became obvious to me what I had known all along. Silvio Manuel's eyes turned for an instant to focus on the point of the second attention. His head was straight, as if he had been looking ahead of him, only his eyes were askew. He said that a warrior must evoke intent. The glance is the secret. The eyes beckon intent.

I became euphoric at that point. I was at long last capable of thinking about something I knew without really knowing. The reason why seeing seems to be visual is because we need the eyes to focus on intent. Don Juan and his party of warriors knew how to use their eyes to catch another aspect of intent and called this act seeing. What Silvio Manuel had shown me was the true function of the eyes; the catchers of intent.

I then used my eyes deliberately to beckon intent. I focused them on the point of the second attention. All of a sudden don Juan, his warriors, dona Soledad, and Eligio were luminous eggs; but not la Gorda, the three little sisters, and the Genaros. I kept on moving my eyes back and forth between the blobs of light and the people until I heard a crack in the base of my neck, and then everybody in the room was a luminous egg.

I felt for an instant that I could not tell them apart, but then my eyes seemed to adjust and I held two aspects of intent; two images at once. I could see their physical bodies and also their luminosities.

The two scenes were not superimposed on each other. They were separate, and yet I could not figure out how. I definitely had two channels of vision, and seeing had everything to do with my eyes, and yet was independent of them. I could still see the luminous eggs, but not their physical bodies when I closed my eyes.

I had at one moment the clearest sensation that I knew how to shift my attention to my luminosity. I also knew that to revert to the physical level all I had to do was to focus my eyes on my body.

Don Genaro came to my side next and told me that the Nagual Juan Matus, as a parting gift, had given me duty, Vicente had given me challenge, Silvio Manuel had given me magic, and he was going to give me humor. He looked me up and down and commented that I was the sorriest looking Nagual he had ever seen. He examined the apprentices and concluded that there was nothing else for us to do, except to be optimistic and to look on the positive side of things. He told us a joke about a country girl who was seduced and jilted by a city slicker. When she was told on the day of her wedding that the groom had left town, she pulled herself together with the sobering thought that not everything had been lost. She had lost her virginity, but she had not yet killed her piglet for the wedding feast.

Don Genaro told us that the only thing that would help us to get out of our situation, which was the situation of the jilted bride, was to hold onto our piglets, whatever they might be, and laugh ourselves silly. Only through laughter could we change our condition.

He coaxed us with gestures of his head and hands to give him a hearty 'ha-ha'. The sight of the apprentices trying to laugh was as ridiculous as my own attempt. Suddenly I was laughing with don Juan and his warriors.

Don Genaro, who had always made jokes about my being a poet, asked me to read a poem out loud. He said that he wanted to summarize his sentiments and his recommendations with the poem that celebrates life, death and laughter. He was referring to a fraction of Jose Gorostiza's poem, "Death Without End."

The Nagual woman handed me the book and I read the part that don Juan and don Genaro had always liked.

Oh, what blind joy
What hunger to use up
the air that we breathe,
the mouth, the eye, the hand.
What biting itch
to spend absolutely all of ourselves
in one single burst of laughter.
Oh, this impudent, insulting death
that assassinates us from afar.
over the pleasure that we take in dying
for a cup of tea...
for a faint caress.


The setting for the poem was overpowering. I felt a shiver.

Emilito and the courier Juan Tuma came to my side. At first, they did not say a word. Their eyes were shining like black marbles. All their feelings seemed to be focused in their eyes.

Then the courier Juan Tuma said very softly that once he had ushered me into the mysteries of Mescalito at his house, and that that had been a forerunner of another occasion in the wheel of time when he would usher me into the ultimate mystery.

Emilito said, as if his voice were an echo of the courier Juan Tuma's, that both of them were confident that I was going to fulfill my task. They would be waiting because for I would join them someday.

The courier Juan Tuma added that the Eagle had put me with the Nagual Juan Matus' party as my rescue unit. They embraced me again and whispered in unison that I should trust myself.

After the couriers, the female warriors came to me. Each one hugged me and whispered a wish in my ear; a wish of plenitude and fulfillment.

The Nagual woman came to me last. She sat down and held me in her lap as if I were a child. She exuded affection and purity. I was breathless. We stood up and walked around the room. We talked about and pondered our fate. Forces impossible to fathom had guided us to that culminating moment. The awe that I felt was immeasurable. And so was my sadness.

She then revealed a portion of the rule that applies to the three-pronged Nagual. She was in a state of ultimate agitation and yet she was calm. Her intellect was peerless and yet she was not trying to reason anything out.

Her last day on earth overwhelmed her. She filled me with her mood. It was as if up to that moment I had not quite realized the finality of our situation. Being on my left side entailed that the primacy of the immediate took precedence, which made it practically impossible for me to foresee beyond that moment.

However, the impact of her mood engaged a great deal of my right side awareness and its capacity to prejudge feelings that are to come. I realized that I would never again see her. That was unbearable!

Don Juan had told me that on the left side there are no tears; that a warrior can no longer weep; and that the only expression of anguish is a shiver that comes from the very depths of the universe. It is as if one of the Eagle's emanations is anguish. The warrior's shiver is infinite.

As the Nagual woman talked to me and held me, I felt that shiver.

She put her arms around my neck and pressed her head against mine. I thought she was wringing me like a piece of cloth. I felt something coming out of my body, or out of hers into mine. My anguish was so intense, and it flooded me so fast that I went berserk. I fell to the floor with the Nagual woman still embracing me. I thought, as if in a dream, that I must have gashed her forehead in our fall. Her face and mine were covered with blood. Blood had pooled in her eyes.

Don Juan and don Genaro very swiftly lifted me up. They held me. I was having uncontainable spasms, like seizures.

The female warriors surrounded the Nagual woman. Then they stood in a row in the middle of the room. The men joined them. In one moment there was an undeniable chain of energy going between them.

The row moved and paraded in front of me. Each one of them came for a moment and stood in front of me, but without breaking the row. It was as if they were moving on a conveyor that transported them and made each of them stop in front of me.

The male couriers went by first, then the female couriers, then the male warriors, then the dreamers, the stalkers, and finally the Nagual woman. They went by me and remained in full view for a second or two, long enough to say goodbye, and then they disappeared into the blackness of the mysterious slit that had appeared in the room.

Don Juan pressed my back and relieved some of my unbearable anguish. He said that he understood my pain, and that the affinity of the Nagual man and the Nagual woman is not something that can be formulated. It exists as a result of the emanations of the Eagle. Once the two people are put together and are separated there is no way to fill the emptiness because it is not social emptiness, but a movement of those emanations.

Don Juan told me then that he was going to make me shift to my extreme right. He said that it was a merciful, although temporary maneuver. It would allow me to forget for the time being, but it would not soothe me when I remembered.

Don Juan also told me that the act of remembering is thoroughly incomprehensible. In actuality it is the act of remembering oneself which does not stop at recollecting the interaction warriors perform in their left side awareness, but goes on to recollect every memory that the luminous body has stored from the moment of birth.

The systematic interaction warriors go through in states of heightened consciousness is only a device to entice the other self to reveal itself in terms of memories. This act of remembering, although it seems to be only associated with warriors, is something that is within the realm of every human being. Every one of us can go directly to the memories of our luminosity with unfathomable results.

Don Juan said then that that day they would leave at dusk and that the only thing they still had to do for me was to create an opening; an interruption in the continuum of my time.

They were going to make me jump into an abyss as a means of interrupting the Eagle's emanation that accounts for my feeling that I am whole and continuous. The jump was going to be done while I was in a state of normal awareness, and the idea was that my second attention would take over.

Rather than dying at the bottom of the abyss I would enter fully into the other self. Don Juan said that I would eventually come out of the other self once my energy was exhausted; but I would not come out on the same mountaintop from where I was going to jump. He predicted that I would emerge at my favorite spot wherever it might be. This would be the interruption in the continuum of my time.

He then pushed me completely out of my left side awareness. And I forgot my anguish, my purpose, and my task.

At dusk that afternoon, Pablito, Nestor and I did jump off a precipice. The Nagual's blow had been so accurate and so merciful that nothing of the momentous event of their farewell transcended beyond the limits of the other momentous event of jumping to certain death and not dying. Awe-inspiring as that event was, it was pale in comparison to what was taking place in another realm.

Don Juan made me jump at the precise moment when he and all of his warriors had kindled their awareness. I had a dreamlike vision of a row of people looking at me. Afterwards I rationalized it as just one of a long series of visions or hallucinations I had had upon jumping. This was the meager interpretation of my right side awareness, overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the total event.

On my left side, however, I realized that I had entered into the other self, and this entrance had had nothing to do with my rationality. The warriors of don Juan's party had caught me for an eternal instant before they vanished into the total light; before the Eagle let them go through.

I knew that they were in a range of the Eagle's emanations which was beyond my reach. They were waiting for don Juan and don Genaro. I saw don Juan taking the lead. And then there was only a line of exquisite lights in the sky. Something like a wind seemed to make the cluster of lights contract and wriggle. There was a massive glow on one end of the line of lights where don Juan was. I thought of the plumed serpent of the Toltec legend. And then the lights were gone.

The End  
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