Book 4: The
Totality of Oneself.
Tales of Power
set of concepts: Totality of oneself, Dreaming and the double,
the Tonal and the Nagual, the Bubble of perception, having to believe.
Personally, I found this to be the most important of all books not only because this book reaches
the pinnacle and crux of all the pragmatic knowledge of DJ's lineage, but also because this is the
last book in which DJ is "present" in this world in terms of the normal consciousness. The book
ends with a dramatic farewell in which CC also wants to leave the "world" with DJ but which is
not congruous with the task and the Will of CC, and therefore CC is "forced" by necessity (the
Eagle) to return to this world to fulfill his task and Will.
Introductory Summary of Book 4: Tales of Power
The summation of the fourth book is of the form:
A warrior is hunter for power, and in
becoming a man of knowledge,
has to hunt and store a critical threshold of personal power so that he/she
is able to get a handle over the totality of oneself - revelation of which then
itself generates the necessary and sufficient momentum for the person to
fulfill the task that the totality of oneself indicates.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While the expression 'the totality of oneself' is fairly good, but my own
preference is the expression 'the integrity of oneself'. Although 'totality' and 'integrity' are
not exactly synonymous, they provide interesting alternative ways of expressing similar
ideas. I would add that just as CC calls "intent" as the "active side of infinity", similarly,
"integrity" can be called the "active side of totality".
In this fourth book, all the earlier 'teachings'
culminate in the crux of it all - the totality of oneself. The book
opens with DJ indicating that all the while he has been working on CC to become a warrior by hunting power
so that CC can store or accumulate enough personal power - so that CC can reach for or have some measure of
his own totality, so that CC can carry on the rest of his life with the momentum of the power of his totality even
after DJ has left the world. Ideally, of course this would mean that CC would be able to perpetuate the lineage
of DJ in a new cycle, but as we shall learn in the later books, it will be the end of the lineage, and that the
lineage will be closed with a 'golden key'. By the expression 'closure with a golden key', DJ means that the
essence of the lineage would be available to any one who seeks it (or is 'connected' with it in some way),
without this essence being corrupted or turned into an organized religion. This closure also implies that
there would not be another cycle in the lineage, and this also implies that we have entered the era of the
end process of this world or the beginning of the destruction of this world.
It is to prevent the essence of the lineage from abuse
or corruption that the books have many twists, turns,
paradoxes and particularly - deliberate obfuscation of material facts so that the 'material factologists' or
in other words the 'fanatics of science and religion' are left going around blowing up their energies only
to attempt proving that a person like DJ could never have existed. This serves a very vital purpose for
the spirit of DJ's lineage: that by giving 'proofs' that the entire work of CC is only imagination, and
therefore 'unreal', the 'mass of readers' will be unable to turn it into an organized religion, and thus the
works remain till the very end, simply as works of art - the arts of becoming a warrior and a seer who
is able to reach his/her totality and act upon or create from that totality for the rest of his/her life.
The question then is whether the reader is capable of gathering enough power to reach to that
"I have given you all the information necessary. Now it's your responsibility
to gain enough personal power to tip the scales."
Part 1: A Witness to the Acts of Power
Chapter 1. An Appointment With Knowledge.
The book opens with CC questioning DJ as to why DJ
gave him the power plants so many times, especially
when these are not central or 'absolutely necessary' to the knowledge of the lineage of DJ. Also CC seems
to be resentful that many of the encounters with these power plants CC had horrifying experiences as well
as 'suffer' unpleasant side effects and deterioration of his physical well-being. DJ is quite sure that these
were necessary for CC because of CC's background, education and rigid rationality - all of which were
severe bottlenecks in the way of CC becoming a seer, sorcerer or warrior. Such bottlenecks required
'jolts' (a kind of exotic shock therapy) for them to be dislodged to clear the way ahead, or CC may well
have never given up his 'faith' in normal perception and interpretations. In any case DJ proceeded with
the available signs and omens, and while there may have been an overkill in the use of power plants with
CC, there is no way to be sure of the 'dosage' of these for a given individual. DJ is the expert here and
while no man is infallible, it is his decision as the leader which CC must respect, even though CC may
There is no
question that the path of attempting to become a seer, sorcerer or warrior is
with unseen and unknown risks to the seeker's health and happiness, but to ensure only health and
happiness is a dead end - only a paradise for the 'lotus eaters', not a path of knowledge, let alone
power. In any case, the seeker who attains some measure of his/her totality/integrity is able to
heal himself/herself to a sufficient degree in order to complete the task for which his/her existence
has meaning and fulfillment.
I wanted to talk about my book but he made a gesture that indicated that he did
not want me
to say anything about it. He smiled. His mood was light and charming and he immediately
engaged me in a casual conversation about people and current events. Finally I managed to steer
the conversation onto the topic of my interest. I began by mentioning that I had reviewed my
early notes and had realized that he had been giving me a detailed description of the sorcerers'
world from the beginning of our association. In light of what he had said to me in those stages, I
had begun to question the role of hallucinogenic plants.
"Why did you make me take those power plants so many times?" I asked.
He laughed and mumbled very softly, "'Cause you're dumb."
I heard him the first time, but I wanted to make sure and pretended I had not understood.
"I beg your pardon?" I asked.
"You know what I said," he replied and stood up.
He tapped me on the head as he walked by me.
"You're rather slow," he said. "And there was no other way to jolt you."
"So none of that was absolutely necessary?" I asked.
"It was, in your case. There are other types of people, however, that do not seem to need them."
He stood next to me, staring at the top of the bushes by the left side of his house; then he sat
down again and talked about Eligio, his other apprentice. He said that Eligio had taken
psychotropic plants only once since he became his apprentice, and yet he was perhaps even more
advanced than I was.
"To be sensitive is a natural condition of certain people," he said. "You are not. But neither
am I. In the final analysis sensitivity matters very little."
"What's the thing that matters then?" I asked.
He seemed to search for an appropriate answer."
"What matters is that a warrior be impeccable. But that's only a way of
talking, a way of beating around the bush. You have already accomplished
some tasks of sorcery and I believe this is the time to mention the source
of everything that matters.
So I will say that what matters to a warrior is arriving at the totality of oneself."
What is the totality of oneself, don Juan?"
"I said that I was only going to mention it. There are still a lot of loose ends in your life that you
must tie together before we can talk about the totality of oneself."
'We're not going to engage ourselves in dwelling on any experience of that nature," don Juan
said upon hearing my question. "It is not advisable for you to indulge in focusing your attention
on past events. We may touch on them, but only in reference."
"Why is that so, don Juan?"
"You don't have enough personal power yet to seek the sorcerers' explanation."
"Then there is a sorcerers' explanation!"
"Certainly. Sorcerers are men. We're creatures of thought. We seek clarifications."
"I was under the impression that my great flaw was to seek explanations."
"No. Your flaw is to seek convenient explanations, explanations that fit you and your world.
What I object to is your reasonableness. A sorcerer explains things in his world too, but he's not
as stiff as you."
"How can I arrive at the sorcerers' explanation?"
"By accumulating personal power. Personal power will make you slide with great ease into
the sorcerers' explanation. The explanation is not what you would call an explanation;
nevertheless, it makes the world and its mysteries, if not clear, at least less awesome. That should
be the essence of an explanation, but that is not what you seek. You're after the reflection of your
At the rate I'm going, will I ever have enough of it?" I asked.
"That's up to you," he replied. "I have given you all the information necessary. Now it's your
responsibility to gain enough personal power to tip the scales."
I told him that sometimes I thought I knew, but that most of the
time I had no self-confidence.
"I'm afraid that you are confusing issues," he said. "The self-confidence of the warrior is not
the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the
onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and
calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked
only to himself. Perhaps you are chasing rainbows. You're after the self-confidence of the
average man, when you should be after the humbleness of a warrior. The difference between the
two is remarkable. Self-confidence entails knowing something for sure; humbleness entails being
impeccable in one's actions and feelings."
"I've been trying to live in accordance with your suggestions," I said. "I may not be the best,
but I'm the best of myself. Is that impeccability?"
"No. You must do better than that.
You must push yourself beyond your limits, all the time."
"But that would be insane, don Juan. No one can do that."
"There are lots of things that you do now which would have seemed insane to you ten years
ago. Those things themselves did not change, but your idea of yourself changed; what was
impossible before is perfectly possible now and perhaps your total success in changing yourself
is only a matter of time. In this affair the only possible course that a warrior has is to act
consistently and without reservations. You know enough of the warrior's way to act accordingly,
but your old habits and routines stand in your way."
A very interesting conversation follows when CC asks
DJ whether his writing or taking notes is a
'routine' that has to be dropped. Obviously DJ does not consider 'writing' or taking notes as a useless
routine but 'sees' this as a vital activity for CC to become a man of knowledge in his own right, and
therefore has never forbid CC from writing - only that DJ himself is neither involved directly in the
writing of the books, nor gives even a hint about what content CC should or has put there - DJ doesn't
even want to read the books already published.
I told him that I had received letters from various people telling me that it was wrong to write
about my apprenticeship. They had cited as a precedent that the masters of Eastern esoteric
doctrines demanded absolute secrecy about their teachings.
"Perhaps those masters are just indulging in being masters," don Juan said without looking at
me. "I'm not a master, I'm only a warrior. So I really don't know what a master feels like."
"But maybe I'm revealing things I shouldn't, don Juan."
"It doesn't matter what one reveals or what one keeps to oneself," he said.
Now here DJ comes to the crux if it all - and puts it so simply and effectively:
we do, everything we are, rests on our personal power.
If we have enough of it, one word uttered to us might be sufficient
to change the course of our lives. But if we don't have enough
personal power, the most magnificent piece of wisdom can be
revealed to us and that revelation won't make a damn bit of
The contrast between the knowledge of the lineage of
DJ and other cultures is striking in many ways,
especially the Eastern religions, and one such divergence of values is brought out well in this conversation.
Here DJ also gives CC a hint about the essential nature of eternity - and that is that eternity
itself is integral in the present moment, and this is also a hint towards 'the totality of oneself',
that is that the 'the totality of oneself' is glimpsed or intuited by the touch of eternity in a
moment of intense awareness in the present moment.
He then lowered his voice as if he were disclosing a confidential
matter to me.
"I'm going to utter perhaps the greatest piece of knowledge anyone can voice," he said. "Let
me see what you can do with it.
"Do you know that at this very moment you are surrounded by eternity?
And do you know that you can use that eternity, if you so desire?"
After a long pause, during which he urged me with a subtle movement of his eyes to make a
statement, I said that I did not understand what he was talking about.
"There! Eternity is there!" he said, pointing to the horizon.
Then he pointed to the zenith. "Or there, or perhaps we can say that eternity is like this.” He
extended both arms to point to the east and west.
We looked at each other. His eyes held a question.
"What do you say to that?" he asked, coaxing me to ponder upon his words.
I did not know what to say.
"Do you know that you can extend yourself forever in any of the directions I have pointed
to?" he went on.
"Do you know that one moment can be eternity? This is not a riddle;
it's a fact, but only if you mount that moment and use it to take the
totality of yourself forever in any direction."
He stared at me.
"You didn't have this knowledge before," he said, smiling. "Now you do. I have revealed it to
you, but it doesn't make a bit of difference, because you don't have enough personal power to
utilize my revelation. Yet if you did have enough power, my words alone would serve as the
means for you to round up the totality of yourself and to get the crucial part of it out of the
boundaries in which it is contained."
He came to my side and poked my chest with his fingers; it was a very light tap.
"These are the boundaries I'm talking about," he said. "One can get out of them. We are a
feeling, an awareness encased here.
The conversation then moves to 'Dreaming', which is another powerful art developed by DJ's lineage.
"Dreaming" entailed cultivating a peculiar control over one's
dreams to the extent
that the experiences undergone in them and those lived in one's waking hours acquired the same
pragmatic valence. Then sorcerers' allegation was that under the impact of dreaming the ordinary
criteria to differentiate a dream from reality became inoperative.
"Each warrior has his own way of dreaming. Each way is different.
The only thing which we
all have in common is that we play tricks in order to force ourselves to abandon the quest. The
counter-measure is to persist in spite of all the barriers and disappointments."
"The sorcerers' explanation of how to select a topic for
dreaming" he said, "is that a warrior
chooses the topic by deliberately holding an image in his mind while he shuts off his internal
dialogue. In other words, if he is capable of not talking to himself for a moment and then holds
the image or the thought of what he wants in dreaming, even if only for an instant, then the
desired topic will come to him. I'm sure you've done that, although you were not aware of it."
"We won't talk about dreaming any more," he said. "You might become obsessed. If one is to
succeed in anything, the success must come gently, with a great deal of effort but with no stress
At the end of the day, DJ who has already had an
intuitive insight into some entity lurking in the
bushes, takes CC to a particular spot where in the twilight the entity would make its presence felt
to CC, who has been somewhat successful by now in 'stopping the world' or 'stopping the internal
dialog'. This encounter is also significant for CC because he is able to perceive non-physical entities
without the use of power plants or DJ's direct intervention - thus DJ calls this CC's appointment with
knowledge, and the entity is symbolically termed as a moth - a symbol of knowledge for DJ's lineage
just as an owl is symbolic of wisdom in the Greek world.
What happened out there, don Juan?" I finally asked.
"You had an appointment with knowledge," he said, pointing with a movement of his chin to
the dark edge of the desert chaparral. "I took you there because I caught a glimpse of knowledge
prowling around the house earlier. You might say that knowledge knew that you were coming
and was waiting for you. Rather than meeting it here, I felt it was proper to meet it on a power
spot. Then I set up a test to see if you had enough personal power to isolate it from the rest of the
things around us. You did fine."
Again the use of the expression 'appointment with
knowledge' sounds strange, simply because DJ has
no other simpler terms to express his feelings and intuitions that certain 'energies' or 'entities' have
coincidentally become active or 'present' as CC approaches DJ's place, and DJ, being a sorcerer has
noticed these and interpreted this event as CC's appointment with knowledge - that is, an encounter
with these entities (ally) or forces connected with CC in particular. Again DJ has to provide meaningful
interpretations to CC, but because CC's cognitive or interpretive system is not attuned to it, makes it
difficult for CC to make sense of.
"Wait a minute!" I protested. "I saw the silhouette of a man hiding behind a bush and then I
saw a huge bird."
"You didn't see a man!" he said emphatically. "Neither did you see a bird. The silhouette in
the bushes and what flew to us was a moth. If you want to be accurate in sorcerers' terms, but
very ridiculous in your own terms, you could say that tonight you had an appointment with a
moth. Knowledge is a moth."
CC is of course scared and terrified and as usual wants to quit at the drop of a hat.
I told him that I felt unworthy and that perhaps I should
go home and come back when I felt
"You're talking nonsense," he snapped. "A warrior takes his lot, whatever it may be, and
accepts it in ultimate humbleness. He accepts in humbleness what he is, not as grounds for regret
but as a living challenge.
"It takes time for every one of us to understand that point and fully live it. I, for instance,
hated the mere mention of the word “humbleness”. I'm an Indian and we Indians have always
been humble and have done nothing else but lower our heads. I thought humbleness was not in
the warrior's way. I was wrong! I know now that the humbleness of a warrior is not the
humbleness of a beggar. The warrior lowers his head to no one, but at the same time, he doesn't
permit anyone to lower his head to him. The beggar, on the other hand, falls to his knees at the
drop of a hat and scrapes the floor for anyone he deems to be higher; but at the same time, he
demands that someone lower than him scrape the floor for him.
"That's why I told you earlier today that I didn't
understand what masters felt like. I
only the humbleness of a warrior, and that will never permit me to be anyone's master."
The following conversation is crucial because the time
has come when CC must learn quickly to stand on his
own by making knowledge his own and to develop it into personal power - which a warrior must eventually
do without the continuous support of a benefactor. DJ realizes that now he must let CC try to make his own
interpretations of the encounters with the unknown. The abstract explanations will also be provided in the
latter part of the book, but before that DJ wants that CC should attempt coming out of the crib and start
taking the first steps rather than depend upon DJ to provide for everything.
We were quiet for a moment. His words had caused me a profound
agitation. I was moved by
them and at the same time I felt concerned with what I had witnessed in the chaparral. My
conscious assessment was that don Juan was holding out on me and that he must have known
what was really taking place.
I was involved in those deliberations when the same strange tapping noise jolted me out of my
thoughts. Don Juan smiled and then began to chuckle.
"You like the humbleness of a beggar," he said softly. "You bow your head to reason."
"I always think that I'm being tricked," I said. "That's the crux of my problem."
"You're right. You are being tricked," he retorted with a disarming smile. "That cannot be
your problem. The real crux of the matter is that you feel that I am deliberately lying to you, am I
"Yes. There is something in myself that doesn't let me believe that what's taking place is
"You're right again. Nothing of what is taking place is real."
"What do you mean by that, don Juan?"
A conversation of what is 'real' and what is 'unreal'
is illustrative of how words and their fixed meanings
can be a cause of confusion. 'Real' for CC is what can be established by consensus, especially by the
"Things are real only after one has learned to agree on their realness. What took place this
evening, for instance, cannot possibly be real to you, because no one could agree with you about
"Do you mean that you didn't see what happened?"
"Of course I did. But I don't count. I am the one who's lying to you, remember?"
Don Juan laughed until he coughed and choked. His laughter was friendly even though he
was making fun of me.
"Don't pay too much attention to all my gibberish," he said reassuringly. "I'm just trying to
relax you and I know that you feel at home only when you're muddled up."
His expression was deliberately comical and we both laughed. I told him that what he had
just said made me feel more afraid than ever.
"You're afraid of me?" he asked.
"Not of you, but of what you represent."
"I represent the warrior's freedom. Are you afraid of that?"
"No. But I'm afraid of the awesomeness of your knowledge. There is no solace for me, no
haven to go to."
"You're again confusing issues. Solace, haven, fear, all of them are moods that you have
learned without ever questioning their value. As one can see, the black magicians have already
engaged all your allegiance."
In the metaphor of the 'black magicians' DJ is telling
CC clearly that so far CC is still bound by the culture
he has been brought up in and which has already laid out a default path for CC, and that the time has
come for CC to develop his own path and that freedom lies in a path that is found by one's own heart, and
that to blindly follow a default path already laid out by the cultural norms is a form of slavery.
"Who are the black magicians, don Juan?"
"Our fellow men are the black magicians. And since you are with them,
you too are a black magician. Think for a moment. Can you deviate from
the path that they've lined up for you? No.
Your thoughts and your actions are fixed forever in their terms.
That is slavery. I, on the other hand, brought you freedom. Freedom is
expensive, but the price is not impossible. So, fear your captors, your
masters. Don't waste your time and your power fearing me."
Over the years of our association I had developed a notion that what he meant by seeing was
an intuitive grasp of things, or the capacity to understand something at once, or perhaps the
ability to see through human interactions and discover covert meanings and motives.
"I should say that tonight, when you faced the moth, you were half looking and half seeing,"
don Juan proceeded. "In that state, although you were not altogether your usual self, you were
still capable of being fully aware in order to operate your knowledge of the world."
Don Juan paused and looked at me. I did not know what to say at first.
"How was I operating my knowledge of the world?" I asked.
"Your knowledge of the world told you that in the bushes one can only find animals prowling
or men hiding behind the foliage. You held that thought, and naturally you had to find ways to
make the world conform to that thought."
"But I wasn't thinking at all, don Juan."
"Let's not call it thinking then. It is rather the habit of having the world always
conform to our thoughts. When it doesn't, we simply make it conform.
Moths as large as a man cannot be even a thought, therefore, for you, what was in the bushes
had to be a man.
A very important exchange is taking place here about
the relationship between 'learned interpretations
of reality' and reality itself. While we can agree to most aspects of the normal mode of perception - that
which exclusively involves sensory perception, but when non-ordinary perception or synthetic perception
takes place, triggered by internal forces or external forces (non-physical), then the normal, learned
system of interpretation breaks down, and the default tendency is to try to make it somehow conform to
the existing, consensual, cultural way of interpreting.
"The same thing happened with the coyote. Your old habits decided the nature of that
encounter too. Something took place between you and the coyote, but it wasn't talk. I have been
in the same quandary myself. I've told you that once I talked with a deer; now you've talked to a
coyote, but neither you nor I will ever know what really took place at those times."
At least DJ 'knows' that there is no way to know what
exactly is happening and how it is happening when
synthetic perception is taking place.
"What are you telling me, don Juan?"
"When the sorcerers' explanation became clear to me, it was too late to know what the deer
did to me. I said that we talked, but that wasn't so. To say that we had a conversation is only a
way of arranging it so I can talk about it. The deer and I did something, but at the time it was
taking place I needed to make the world conform to my ideas, just like you did. I had been
talking all my life, just like you, therefore my habits prevailed and were extended to the deer.
When the deer came to me and did whatever it did, I was forced to understand it as talking."
"Is this the sorcerers' explanation?"
"No. This is my explanation for you. But it is not opposed to the sorcerers' explanation."
His statement threw me into a state of great intellectual excitation. For a while I forgot the
prowling moth or even to take notes. I tried to rephrase his statements and we involved ourselves
in a long discussion about the reflexive nature of our world. The world, according to don Juan,
had to conform to its description; that is, the description reflected itself.
Our conversation engendered a most interesting speculation. Examined in light of
explanation, my "talk" with the coyote acquired a new character. I had indeed "intended" the
dialogue, since I have never known another avenue of intentional communication. I had also
succeeded in conforming to the description that communication takes place through dialogue,
and thus I made the description reflect itself.
I had a moment of great elation. Don Juan laughed and said that to be so moved
was another aspect of my foolery. He made a comical gesture of talking without sounds.
"All of us go through the same shenanigans," he said after a long pause. "The only way to
overcome them is to persist in acting like a warrior. The rest comes of itself and by itself."
"What is the rest, don Juan?"
"Knowledge and power. Men of knowledge have both. And yet none of them could tell how
they got to have them, except that they had kept on acting like warriors and at a given moment
"I'm really scared," I said. "Moth or whatever, there is something prowling around out there
in the bushes."
"Of course there is!" he exclaimed. "My objection is that you insist on thinking that it is a
man, just like you insist on thinking that you talked with a coyote."
A part of me fully understood his point; there was, however, another aspect of myself that
would not let go and in spite of the evidence clung steadfast to "reason."
I told don Juan that his explanation did not satisfy my senses, although I was in complete
intellectual agreement with it.
"That's the flaw with words," he said in an assuring tone. "They always force us to feel
enlightened, but when we turn around to face the world they always fail us and we end up facing
the world as we always have, without enlightenment. For this reason, a sorcerer seeks to act
rather than to talk and to this effect he gets a new description of the world — a new description
where talking is not that important, and where new acts have new reflections."
"I'm looking for marks on your body," he explained. "You may not know it, but this evening
you had quite a bout out there."
"What kind of marks are you looking for?"
"Not actual physical marks on your body but signs, indications in your luminous fibers, areas
of brightness. We are luminous beings and everything we are or everything we feel shows in our
fibers. Humans have a brightness peculiar only to them. That's the only way to tell them apart
from other luminous living beings.
"If you would have seen tonight, you would have noticed that the shape in the bushes was not
a luminous living being."
"What is it going to help me with?"
"Tonight, you're going to try to finish what you've started earlier. Seeing happens only when
the warrior is capable of stopping the internal dialogue.
"Today, you stopped your talk at will, out there in the bushes. And you saw. What you saw
was not clear. You thought that it was a man. I say it was a moth. Neither of us is correct, but
that's because we have to talk. I still have the upper hand because I see better than you and
because I'm familiar with the sorcerers' explanation; so I know, although it's not altogether
accurate, that the shape you saw tonight was a moth.
"We've never talked about moths," he went on. "The time was not right until now. As you
already know, your spirit was unbalanced. To counteract that I taught you to live the warrior's
way. Well, a warrior starts off with the certainty that his spirit is off balance; then by living in
full control and awareness, but without hurry or compulsion, he does his ultimate best to gain this
"In your case, as in the case of every man, your imbalance was due to the sum total of all
your actions. But now your spirit seems to be in the proper light to talk about moths."
"How did you know that this was the right time to talk about moths?"
"I caught a glimpse of the moth prowling around when you arrived. It was the first time it
was friendly and open. I had seen it before in the mountains around Genaro's house, but only as a
menacing figure reflecting your lack of order."
On the one hand CC can't accept that what is happening
is 'real', on the other hand he is shit scared of what
is out there.
"Don't get jumpy," he said calmly. "There is nothing in this world that a warrior cannot
account for. You see, a warrior considers himself already dead, so there is nothing for him to
lose. The worst has already happened to him, therefore he's clear and calm; judging him by his
acts or by his words, one would never suspect that he has witnessed everything."
(DJ is really talking about himself here, for CC has hardly 'witnessed everything')
Don Juan's words, and above all his mood, were very soothing to me. I told him that in my
day-to-day life I no longer experienced the obsessive fear I used to, but that my body entered into
convulsions of fright at the thought of what was out there in the dark.
"Out there, there is only knowledge," he said in a factual tone. "Knowledge is frightening,
true; but if a warrior accepts the frightening nature of knowledge he cancels out its
Here DJ explains that (for the sorcerers of his lineage), moths are the repositories of knowledge in the
(metaphorical) gold dust on their wings.
"The moths are the heralds or, better yet, the guardians of eternity," don Juan
the sound had stopped. "For some reason, or for no reason at all, they are the depositories of the gold
dust of eternity."
The metaphor was foreign to me. I asked him to explain it.
"The moths carry a dust on their wings," he said. "A dark gold dust. That dust is the dust of knowledge.
"Knowledge is a most peculiar affair," he said, "especially for a warrior. Knowledge for a warrior is
something that comes at once, engulfs him, and passes on."
"The moths have been the intimate friends and helpers of sorcerers from time immemorial,"
he said. "I had not touched upon this subject before, because of your lack of preparation."
With the help of the
'moth', CC goes into an elaborate experiment in 'seeing', which finally end up
Don Genaro himself 'materializing' before him through this seeing'. CC is shocked and tries to put together
a rational explanation for it. Both DG and DJ call him a genius for this rationalization. But even that rational
possibility is shattered when the 'moth' becomes active again. Again CC is shocked, and this becomes a non-
stop joke for DJ and DG.
CC then wonders as to how DG could have materialized
from such a long distance, and it is here that DJ
explains about the power of the 'double' - a feat that a sorcerer can achieve. CC is utterly confused
while DJ and DG are thoroughly enjoying themselves with the endless jokes that follow because CC
tries to get a hang of the 'double' by asking questions that end up in answers from DJ that because of
the use of certain words turn out to be hilarious.
"Genaro is a man of knowledge," don Juan said dryly. "And being a man of knowledge, he's
perfectly capable of transporting himself over great distances."
He reminded me that once, years before, the three of us had been in the mountains, and that
don Genaro, in an effort to help me overcome my stupid reason, had taken a prodigious leap to
the peaks of the Sierras, ten miles away. I remembered the event, but I also remembered that I
could not even conceive that he had jumped.
Don Juan added that don Genaro was capable of performing extraordinary feats at certain
"Genaro at certain times is not Genaro but his double," he said.
He repeated it three or four times. Then both of them watched me as if waiting for my
I had not understood what he meant by "his double." He had never mentioned that before. I
asked for a clarification.
"There is another Genaro," he explained.
All three of us looked at one another. I became very apprehensive. Don Juan urged me with a
movement of his eyes to keep on talking.
"Do you have a twin brother?" I asked, turning to don Genaro.
"Of course," he said. "I have a twin."
I could not determine whether or not they were putting me on. They both giggled with the
abandon of children that were pulling a prank.
"You may say," don Juan went on, "that at this moment Genaro is his twin."
That statement brought both of them to the ground with laughter. But I could not enjoy their
mirth. My body shivered involuntarily.
Don Juan said in a severe tone that I was too heavy and self-important.
"Let go!" he commanded me dryly. "You know that Genaro is a sorcerer and an impeccable
warrior. So he's capable of performing deeds that would be unthinkable for the average man. His
double, the other Genaro, is one of those deeds."
CC tries all angles, all kinds of questions that would
make it possible for him to rationalize what was
being witnessed , and every attempt becomes an exquisite joke.
I was speechless. I could not conceive that they were just teasing me.
"For a warrior like Genaro," he went on, "to produce the other is not such a farfetched
After pondering for a long time what to say next, I asked, "Is the other like the self?"
"The other is the self," don Juan replied.
His explanation had taken an incredible turn, and yet it was not really more incredible than
anything else they did.
"What's the other made of?" I asked don Juan after minutes of indecision.
"There is no way of knowing that," he said.
"Is it real or just an illusion?"
"It's real of course."
"Would it be possible then to say that it is made of flesh and blood?" I asked.
"No. It would not be possible," don Genaro answered.
"But if it is as real as I am . . ."
"As real as you?" don Juan and don Genaro interjected in unison.
They looked at each other and laughed until I thought they were going to get ill. Don Genaro
threw his hat on the floor and danced around it. His dance was agile and graceful and, for some
inexplicable reason, utterly funny. Perhaps the humor was in the exquisitely "professional"
movements he executed. The incongruency was so subtle and at the same time so remarkable that
I doubled up with laughter.
"The trouble with you, Carlitos," he said as he sat down again, "is that you're a genius."
"I have to know about the double," I said.
"There's no way of knowing whether he's flesh and blood," don Juan said. "Because he is not
as real as you. Genaro's double is as real as Genaro. Do you see what I mean?"
"But you have to admit, don Juan, that there must be a way to know."
"The double is the self; that explanation should suffice. If you would see, however, you'd
know that there is a great difference between Genaro and his double.
For a sorcerer who sees, the double is brighter."
double is the pinnacle of sorcery arrived at through dreaming for it enables the
perform feats that are impossible for the normal state to accomplish. This may also be called
the pure energy being. For most of us, it is a 'tale of power', a story about a possibility that seems
implausible because in this technological world there is almost no scope for it to be a meaningful
achievement. The possibility cannot be denied because in lucid or controlled dreaming, the
synthetic perception does generate a 'double of the self' which can perform incredible acts -
even to the extent of generating a 'body' in the normal, physical world. This is not inconceivable
because every moment of our existence even in the 'normal' physical world is ultimately a
result of perception and memory or recollection, which due to it's continuity in the waking state
and by the force of social consensus, makes us conclude that the 'physical' is absolutely real,
and therefore the dreaming state perception is 'imaginary'. This only 'seems' logical because
of the assumption of our time is that only agreed upon or consensus perceptions are real, the
rest are not. This unconscious assumption itself sharply limits the range of our perceptual
possibilities - a tragedy of the modern, post-modern world.
"Tell me more about the double, don Juan," I said.
Don Juan pointed at don Genaro and don Genaro bowed.
"There he is," don Juan said. "There is nothing to tell. He's here for you to witness him."
"But he's don Genaro," I said in a feeble attempt to guide the conversation.
"Surely I'm Genaro," he said and perked his shoulders.
"What is a double then, don Genaro?" I asked.
"Ask him," he snapped, pointing to don Juan. "He's the one who talks. I'm dumb."
"A double is the sorcerer himself, developed through his dreaming" don Juan explained. "A
double is an act of power to a sorcerer but only a tale of power to you. In the case of Genaro, his
double is indistinguishable from the original. That's because his impeccability as a warrior is
supreme; thus, you've never noticed the difference yourself. But in the years that you've known
him, you've been with the original Genaro only twice; every other time you've been with his
"But there must be a way to talk about it," I said. "You yourself have told me that you
explained your conversation with the deer in order to talk about it. Can't you do the same with
He was quiet for a moment. I pleaded with him. The anxiety I was experiencing was beyond
anything I had ever gone through.
"Well, a sorcerer can double up," don Juan said. "That's all one can say."
"But is he aware that he is doubled?"
"Of course he's aware of it
"Does he know that he is in two places at once?"
Both of them looked at me and then they exchanged a glance.
"Where is the other don Genaro?" I asked.
Don Genaro leaned towards me and stared into my eyes.
"I don't know," he said softly. "No sorcerer knows where his other is."
"Genaro is right," don Juan said. "A sorcerer has no notion that he is in two places at once.
To be aware of that would be the equivalent of facing his double, and the sorcerer that finds
himself face to face with himself is a dead sorcerer. That is the rule. That is the way power has
set things up. No one knows why."
Don Juan explained that by the time a warrior had conquered dreaming and seeing and had
developed a double, he must have also succeeded in erasing personal history, self-importance,
and routines. He said that all the techniques which he had taught me and which I had considered
to be empty talk were, in essence, means for removing the impracticality of having a double in
the ordinary world, by making the self and the world fluid, and by placing them outside the
bounds of prediction.
"A fluid warrior can no longer make the world chronological," don Juan explained. "And for
him, the world and himself are no longer objects. He's a luminous being existing in a luminous
world. The double is a simple affair for a sorcerer because he knows what he's doing. To take
notes is a simple affair for you, but you still scare Genaro with your pencil."
"Can an outsider, looking at a sorcerer, see that he is in two places at once?" I asked don
"Certainly. That would be the only way to know it."
"But can't one logically assume that the sorcerer would also notice that he has been in two
"Aha!" don Juan exclaimed. "For once you've got it right. A sorcerer may certainly notice
afterwards that he has been in two places at once. But this is only bookkeeping and has no
bearing on the fact that while he's acting he has no notion of his duality."
My mind boggled. I felt that if I did not keep on writing I would explode.
"Think of this," he went on. "The world doesn't yield to us directly, the description of the
world stands in between. So, properly speaking, we are always one step removed and our
experience of the world is always a recollection of the experience. We are perennially
recollecting the instant that has just happened, just passed. We recollect, recollect, recollect."
He turned his hand over and over to give me the feeling of what he meant.
"If our entire experience of the world is recollection, then it's not so outlandish to conclude
that a sorcerer can be in two places at once. This is not the case from the point of view of his own
perception, because in order to experience the world, a sorcerer, like every other man, has to
recollect the act he has just performed, the event he has just witnessed, the experience he has just
lived. In his awareness there is only a single recollection. But for an outsider looking at the
sorcerer it may appear as if the sorcerer is acting two different episodes at once. The sorcerer,
however, recollects two separate single instants, because the glue of the description of time is no
longer binding him."
Constantly, CC wants a clear cut rational explanation of the double, some kind
explanation that can fit into the scientific - material paradigm of reality. But CC is yet to
realize that in the sorcerer's world the materialistic paradigm of reality does not hold, and
must be suspended. The only consolation for CC is that even DJ and DG cannot provide a
clear-cut rational explanation for the double, they can provide only the basic principles
involved in the pragmatic aspects of the double, rather than a precise theory - in which
they are not even interested.
"I just can't grasp all this, don Juan," I said.
"I can't either," don Juan retorted, shrugging his shoulders.
"Neither can I, dear Carlitos," don Genaro added.
"Is the double solid?" I asked don Juan after a long silence.
They looked at me.
"Does the double have corporealness?" I asked.
"Certainly," don Juan said. "Solidity, corporealness are memories. Therefore, like everything
else we feel about the world, they are memories we accumulate. Memories of the description.
You have the memory of my solidity, the same way you have the memory of communicating
through words. Thus, you talked with a coyote and you feel me as being solid."
"Do you also have a double, don Juan?" I asked.
"Of course!" he exclaimed.
Chapter 2. The Dreamer And the Dreamed.
In these conversations, what comes to the fore is that human beings have an additional "body"
or rather field of perception, like the one normally encountered in ordinary dreams - the field of
perception which is disconnected from the physical world of sensory perception, and which can
attain an autonomy of it's own to the extent that these two fields of perception can operate
simultaneously, without interference or inhibition from each other. Normally, the dream state
inhibits the waking state and vice versa. In the case of the "activated" double - the lucid
dreaming state - both operate simultaneously and independently in a manner that they
do not interfere with each other. Therefore, in their interactions with the world at large,
they do not and cannot operate in the same space-temporal location, and therefore each is
not aware of the "location" of the other, and cannot thus come "face-to-face" with the other.
While we may for a while indulge in the question as to which is the dreamer and which is the
dreamed, from a purely pragmatic point of view, it is only a technicality, and therefore not an
CC goes back the next day, after having had too much the previous day, but he is still scared and confused.
He casually remarked that I was somber and heavy. He said that I reminded him of Eligio,
who was morbid enough to be a good sorcerer but too morbid to become a man of knowledge. He
added that the only way to counteract the devastating effect of the sorcerers' world was to laugh
He was right in his
assessment of my mood. I was indeed worried and frightened. We went
for a long walk. It took hours for my feelings to ease up. Walking with him made me feel better
than if he had attempted to talk me out of my somberness.
We returned to his house in the late afternoon. I was famished. After eating we sat under his
ramada. The sky was clear. The afternoon light made me feel complacent. I wanted to talk.
"I've felt uneasy for months," I said. "There was something truly awesome in what you and
don Genaro said and did the last time I was here."
Don Juan did not say anything. He got up and moved around the ramada.
"I've got to talk about this," I said. "It obsesses me and I can't stop pondering upon it."
"Are you afraid?" he asked.
I was not afraid but baffled, overwhelmed by what I had heard and witnessed. The loopholes
in my reason were so gigantic that either I had to repair them or I had to dispose of my reason
My comments made him laugh.
"Don't throw away your reason yet," he said. "It's not time for it. It'll happen though, but I
don't think that now is the moment."
"Should I try to find an explanation for what happened, then?" I asked.
"Certainly!" he retorted. "It's your duty to put your mind at ease. Warriors do not win victories
by beating their heads against walls but by overtaking the walls. Warriors jump over the walls;
they don't demolish them."
"How can I jump over this one?" I asked.
"First of all, I think it's deadly wrong for you to regard anything in such a serious fashion," he
said as he sat down by my side. "There are three kinds of bad habits which we use over and over
when confronted with unusual life situations. First, we may disregard what's happening or has
happened and feel as if it had never occurred. That one is the bigot's way. Second, we may accept
everything at its face value and feel as if we know what's going on. That's the pious man's way.
Third, we may become obsessed with an event because either we cannot disregard it or we cannot
accept it wholeheartedly. That's the fool's way. Your way? There is a fourth, the correct one, the
warrior's way. A warrior acts as if nothing had ever happened, because he doesn't believe in
anything, yet he accepts everything at its face value. He accepts without accepting and disregards
without disregarding. He never feels as if he knows, neither does he feel as if nothing had ever
happened. He acts as if he is in control, even though he might be shaking in his boots. To act in
such a manner dissipates obsession."
We were quiet for a long time. Don Juan's words were like a balm to me.
In spite of
DJ's reassurances, explanations, and his very own powerful presence as a
benefactor to CC, the
bewilderment and shock that CC has experienced doesn't seem to subside. Instead of awe and wonder at
the possibilities he as been shown, he wants to indulge in trying to understand everything in the context
of narrow Western rationality. And that is what propels his anxiety: that he will look like a fool in the
eyes of his academic and cultural peers, and at present he doesn't have enough personal power to deal
with that situation.
"I want to indulge
in explanations," I said. "I'm obsessed because I haven't dared come to see
you and I haven't been able to talk about my qualms and doubts with anyone."
"Don't you talk with your friends?"
"I do, but how could they help me?"
"I never thought that you needed help. You must cultivate the feeling that a warrior needs
nothing. You say you need help. Help for what? You have everything needed for the extravagant
journey that is your life. I have tried to teach you that the real experience is to be a man, and that
what counts is being alive; life is the little detour that we are taking now. Life in itself is
sufficient, self-explanatory and complete.
"A warrior understands this and lives accordingly; therefore, one may say without being
presumptuous that the experience of experiences is being a warrior."
He seemed to wait for me to say something. I hesitated for a moment. I wanted to select my
"If a warrior needs solace," he went on, "he simply chooses anyone and expresses to that
person every detail of his turmoil. After all, the warrior is not seeking to be understood or helped;
by talking he's merely relieving himself of his pressure. That is, providing that the warrior is
given to talking; if he's not, he tells no one. But you're not living like a warrior altogether. Not yet
anyway. And the pitfalls that you encounter must be truly monumental. You have all my
CC recounts and recalls his achievements and the
changes he has been able to incorporate in his life, and
this does serve to soothe his frayed nerves somewhat. At the same time CC is also torn by the realization
that what he has witnessed as the double of DG is something that is beyond his own talents or capabilities.
In order to relax I
began to talk about my dilemma. I felt that it was inherently too late for me
to pretend to be an innocent bystander. Under his guidance I had trained myself to achieve
strange perceptions, such as "stopping the internal dialogue," and controlling my dreams. Those
were instances that could not be faked. I had followed his suggestions, although never to the
letter, and had partially succeeded in disrupting daily routines, assuming responsibility for my
acts, erasing personal history and had finally arrived at a point which years before I had dreaded;
I was capable of being alone without disrupting my physical or emotional well-being. That was
perhaps my single most astounding triumph. From the point of view of my former expectations
and moods, to be alone and not "go out of my mind" was an inconceivable state. I was keenly
aware of all the changes that had taken place in my life and in my view of the world, and I was
also aware that it was somehow superfluous to be affected so profoundly by don Juan and don
Genaro's revelation about the double.
"What's wrong with me, don Juan?" I asked.
"You indulge," he snapped. "You feel that indulging in doubts and tribulations is the sign of a
sensitive man. Well, the truth of the matter is that you're the farthest thing from being sensitive.
So why pretend?
I told you the other day, a warrior accepts in humbleness what he is."
"You make it sound as if I were confusing myself deliberately," I said.
"We do confuse ourselves deliberately," he said. "All of us are aware of our doings. Our puny
reason deliberately makes itself into the monster it fancies itself to be. It's too little for such a big
I explained to him that my dilemma was perhaps more complex than what he was making it
out to be. I said that as long as he and don Genaro were men like myself their superior control
made them models for my own behavior. But if they were in essence men drastically different
than I, then I could not conceive of them any longer as models, but as oddities, which I could not
possibly aspire to emulate.
"Genaro is a man," don Juan said in a reassuring tone. "He's no longer a man like yourself,
true. But that's his accomplishment and it shouldn't give rise to fear on your part. If he's different,
the more reason to admire him."
"But his difference is not a human difference," I said.
"And what do you think it is? The difference between a man and a horse?"
"I don't know. But he's not like me."
"He was at one time, though."
"But can his change be understood by me?"
"Of course. You yourself are changing."
"Do you mean that I will develop a double?"
In the process of getting some kind of handle on the
'double' and it's implications through the use of words,
DJ provides insightful answers, and these responses give us some inclination towards the possibility of
reaching to that state of awareness. He makes it clear that that awareness is within us all, but there are
also 'insurmountable barriers' to reach to it, and therefore also the stupendous challenge involved.
"No one develops a double. That's only a way of talking about it. You,
for all the talking you do, are a sap for words. You get trapped by their
meanings. Now you think that one develops a double through evil means,
I suppose. All of us luminous beings have a double. All of us! A warrior
learns to be aware of it, that's all. There are seemingly insurmountable
barriers protecting that awareness. But that's expected; those barriers
are what makes arriving at that awareness such a unique challenge."
"Why am I so afraid of it, don Juan?"
"Because you're thinking that the double is what the word says, a double, or another you. I
chose those words in order to describe it. The double is oneself and cannot be faced in any other
"What if I don't want to have it?"
"The double is not a matter of personal choice. Neither is it a matter of personal choice who is
selected to learn the sorcerers' knowledge that leads to that awareness. Have you ever asked
yourself, why you in particular?"
"All the time. I've asked you that question hundreds of times but you've never answered it."
"I didn't mean that you should ask it as a question that begs an answer, but in the sense of a
warrior's pondering on his great fortune, the fortune of having found a challenge.
"To make it into an ordinary question is the device of a conceited ordinary man who wants to
be either admired or pitied for it. I have no interest in that kind of question, because there is no
way of answering it. The decision of picking you was a design of power; no one can discern the
designs of power. Now that you've been selected, there is nothing that you can do to stop the
fulfillment of that design."
"But you yourself told me, don Juan, that one can always fail."
"That's true. One can always fail. But I think that you are referring to something else. You
want to find a way out. You want to have the freedom to fail and quit on your own terms. Too
late for that. A warrior is in the hands of power and his only freedom is to choose an impeccable
life. There is no way to fake triumph or defeat. Your reason may want you to fail altogether in
order to obliterate the totality of yourself. But there is a countermeasure which will not permit
you to declare a false victory or defeat. If you think that you can retreat to the haven of failure,
you're out of your mind. Your body will stand guard and will not let you go either way."
He began to chuckle softly.
"Why do you laugh?" I asked.
"You're in a terrible spot," he said. "It's too late for you to retreat but too soon to act. All you
can do is witness. You're in the miserable position of an infant who cannot return to the mother's
womb, but neither can he run around and act. All an infant can do is witness and listen to the
stupendous tales of action being told to him. You are at that precise point now. You cannot go
back to the womb of your old world, but you cannot act with power either. For you there is only
witnessing acts of power and listening to tales, tales of power.
"The double is one of those tales. You know that, and that's why your reason is so taken by it.
You are beating your head against a wall if you pretend to understand. All that I can say about it,
by way of explanation, is that the double, although it is arrived at through dreaming, is as real as
it can be."
"Obviously the double can perform acts," I said.
"Obviously!" he replied.
"But can the double act in behalf of the self?"
"It is the self, damn it!"
I found it very difficult to explain myself. I had in mind that if a sorcerer could perform two
actions at once, his capacity for utilitarian production had to double. He could work two jobs, be
in two places, see two persons, and so on, at once.
Don Juan listened patiently.
"Let me put it this way," I said. "Hypothetically, can don Genaro kill someone hundreds of
miles away by letting his double do it?"
Don Juan looked at me. He shook his head and moved his eyes away.
"You're filled with tales of violence," he said. "Genaro cannot kill anyone, simply because he
no longer has any interest in his fellow men. By the time a warrior is capable of conquering
seeing and dreaming and having the awareness of his luminosity, there is no such interest left in
I pointed out that at the beginning of my apprenticeship he had made the statement that a
sorcerer, aided by his ally, could be transported over hundreds of miles to deliver a blow to his
"I am responsible for your confusion," he said. "But you must remember that on another
occasion I told you that, with you, I was not following the steps my own teacher prescribed. He
was a sorcerer and I should've properly plunged you into that world. I didn't, because I am no
longer concerned with the ups and downs of my fellow men. Yet, my teacher's words stuck with
me. I talked to you many times in the manner he himself would have talked.
"Genaro is a man of knowledge. The purest of them all. His actions are impeccable. He's
beyond ordinary men, and beyond sorcerers. His double is an expression of his joy and his
humor. Thus, he cannot possibly use it to create or resolve ordinary situations. As far as I know,
the double is the awareness of our state as luminous beings. It can do anything, and yet it chooses
to be unobtrusive and gentle.
"It was my error to mislead you with borrowed words. My teacher was not capable of producing
the effects Genaro does. For my teacher, unfortunately, certain things were, as they are for you,
only tales of power."
In a comparatively rare occasion of experience after
an explanation, DJ and DG experiment and
demonstrate to CC the double awareness by forcing or inducing CC into a state of dual location
perception in which CC can make the choice of 'materialization' at either location. (CC doesn't
have the capacity so far to 'materialize' at both locations.)
There was one crucial instant in which I was neither in one place nor the other, but I was rather
in both places as an observer seeing two scenes at once. I had the incredible sensation that at
that instant I could have gone either way. All I had to do at that moment was to change perspective
and rather than watch either scene from the outside feel it from the point of view of the subject.
There was something very warm about don Juan's house. I preferred that scene.
I next had a terrifying seizure, so shocking that my entire ordinary awareness came back to
me at once. Don Juan and don Genaro were pouring buckets of water on me. I was in the ramada
of don Juan's house.
Once again CC, in the normal state searches for a rational explanation, and in that exercise he concludes that
DG had hypnotized him - which is again extremely funny to both DJ and DG.
Even though I was completely myself, I still was numb. It was not until I had begun to write
in my notebook that I regained my usual awareness. It was a surprise to me that taking notes
could bring about instantaneous sobriety. The moment I was myself again a barrage of reasonable
thoughts immediately came to my mind; they purported to explain the phenomenon I had
experienced. I "knew" on the spot that don Genaro had hypnotized me the moment he pinned me
down on the ground, but I did not attempt to figure out how he had done it.
They both laughed hysterically when I expressed my thoughts. Don Genaro examined my
pencil and said that the pencil was the key to wind up my mainspring. I felt quite belligerent. I
was tired and irritable. I found myself practically yelling at them while their bodies shook with
Don Juan said that it was permissible to miss the boat, but not by such a wide margin, and
that don Genaro had come exclusively to help me and show me the mystery of the dreamer and
CC is angry and irritated by their laughter,
especially on CC's rational explanation, which is quite the opposite
of what a sorcerer's explanation is. DJ and DG then take CC out to exercise animal sounds so that CC's tension
is released, which takes hours to do so.
My irritability came
to a peak. Don Juan signaled don Genaro with a movement of his head.
Both of them stood and took me around the house. There don Genaro demonstrated his great
repertoire of animal grunts and cries. He asked me to choose one and he taught me how to
After hours of practice I got to the point where I could imitate it quite well. The end result
was that they themselves had enjoyed my clumsy attempts and laughed until they were practically
weeping, and I had released my tension by reproducing the loud cry of an animal. I told them that
there was something truly awesome in my imitation. The relaxation of my body was unequaled.
Don Juan said that if I would perfect the cry I could turn it into an affair of power, or I could
simply use it to relieve my tension whenever I needed to. He suggested I should go to sleep. But I
was afraid to fall asleep. I sat with them by the kitchen fire for a while and then, quite
unintentionally, I fell into a deep sleep.
The next day CC's mood is the opposite. He no more has
any questions, and yet he has no idea that
in the experiment of the double, he was at grave risk - and could have died or become badly sick.
Don Juan said that the night before I had begun to be aware of my luminosity. He admonished
me not to indulge in the sense of well-being I was having, because it would turn into
Don Juan's comment was that I was indulging in being broad-minded and good.
"Watch out!" he said. "A warrior never lets his guard down. If you keep on being so happy
you're going to drain the little power you have left."
"What should I do?" I asked.
"Be yourself," he said. "Doubt everything. Be suspicious.
"But I don't like to be that way, don Juan.''
"It is not a matter of whether you like it or not. What matters is, what can you use as a shield?
A warrior must use everything avail able to him to close his mortal gap once it opens. So, it's of
no importance that you really don't like to be suspicious or ask questions. That's your only shield
"Write, write. Or you'll die. To die with elation is a crappy way of dying."
"How should a warrior die, then?" don Genaro asked in exactly my own tone of voice.
"A warrior dies the hard way," don Juan said. "His death must struggle to take him. A warrior
does not give himself to it."
Don Genaro opened his eyes to an enormous size and then blinked.
"What Genaro showed you yesterday is of utmost importance," don Juan went on. "You can't
slough it off with piousness. Yesterday you told me that you had been driven wild with the idea
of the double. But look at you now. You don't care any more. That's the trouble with people that
go wild, they go wild both ways. Yesterday you were all questions, today you are all acceptance."
I pointed out that he always found a flaw in what I did, regardless of how I did it.
"That's not true!" he exclaimed. "There is no flaw in the warrior's way. Follow it and your
acts cannot be criticized by anyone. Take yesterday as an example. The warrior's way would have
been, first, to ask questions without fear and without suspicion and then let Genaro show you the
mystery of the dreamer; without fighting him, or draining yourself. Today, the warrior's way
would be to assemble what you've learned, without presumptuousness and without piousness. Do
that and no one can find flaws in it."
I thought by his tone that don Juan must have been terribly annoyed with my blunderings. But
he smiled at me and then giggled as if his own words had made him laugh.
I told him that I was just holding back, not wanting to burden them with my probes. I was
indeed overwhelmed by what don Genaro had done. I had been convinced - although it no longer
mattered - that don Genaro had been waiting in the bushes for don Juan to call him. Then later on
he had cashed in on my fright and used it to stun me. After being held forcibly on the ground, I
must have undoubtedly passed out, and then don Genaro must have mesmerized me.
Don Juan argued that I was too strong to be subdued that easily.
"What took place then?" I asked him
"Genaro came to see you to tell you something very exclusive," he said. "When he came out
of the bushes, he was Genaro the double. There is another way to talk about this that would
explain it better, but I can't use it now."
"Why not, don Juan?"
"Because you are not ready yet to talk about the totality of oneself. For the time being I can
only say that this Genaro here is not the double now."
He pointed to don Genaro with a movement of his head. Don Genaro blinked repeatedly.
"The Genaro of last night was the double. And as I told you already, the double has
inconceivable power. He showed you a most important issue. In order to do that he had to touch
you. The double simply tapped you on the neck, on the same spot the ally walked over you years
ago. Naturally, you went out like a light. And naturally too, you indulged like a son of a bitch. It
took us hours to round you up. Thus, you dissipated your power and when the time came for you
to accomplish a warrior's feat you did not have enough sap."
"What was that warrior's feat, don Juan?"
DJ explains what would have been CC's impeccable
response in the experiment, and that CC could
have learned the crux of the double - the dreamer and the dreamed. But CC instead wants to hold
on to his own convenient explanations.
"I told you that Genaro came to show you something, the mystery of luminous beings as
dreamers. You wanted to know about the double. It begins in dreams. But then you asked, “What
is the double?” And I said the double is the self. The self dreams the double. That should be
simple, except that there is nothing simple about us. Perhaps the ordinary dreams of the self are
simple, but that doesn't mean that the self is simple. Once it has learned to dream the double, the
self arrives at this weird crossroad and a moment comes when one realizes that it is the double
who dreams the self."
I had written down everything he had said. I had also paid attention to what he was saying but
had failed to understand him.
Don Juan repeated his statements.
"The lesson last night, as I told you, was about the dreamer and the dreamed, or who dreams
"I beg your pardon," I said.
Both of them broke into laughter.
"Last night," don Juan proceeded, "you almost chose to wake up at the power place."
"What do you mean, don Juan?"
"That would have been the feat. If you had not indulged in your stupid ways, you would have
had enough power to tip the scales, and you would've, no doubt, scared yourself to death.
Fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be, you did not have enough power. In fact, you
wasted your power in worthless confusion to the point that you almost didn't have enough to
"So, as you may very well understand, to indulge in your little quirks is not only stupid and
wasteful but also injurious. A warrior that drains himself cannot live. The body is not an
indestructible affair. You might have gotten gravely ill. You didn't, simply because Genaro and I
deviated some of your crap."
The full impact of his words was beginning to take hold of me.
"Last night Genaro guided you through the intricacies of the double," don Juan went on. "Only
he can do that for you. And it was not a vision or a hallucination when you saw yourself lying on
the ground. You could have realized that with infinite clarity if you had not gotten lost in your
indulging, and you could have known then that you yourself are a dream, that your double is
dreaming you, in the same fashion that you dreamed him last night."
"But how can that be possible, don Juan?"
"No one knows how it happens. We only know that it does happen. That's the mystery of us as
luminous beings. Last night you had two dreams and you could have awakened in either one, but
you didn't have enough power even to understand that."
They looked at me fixedly for a moment.
"I think he understands," don Genaro said."What will his call be like?"
Chapter 3: The Secret of The Luminous Beings.
DJ and DG keep pushing CC to be actively involved in engaging with the knowledge CC is being exposed to,
but since that is risky, CC wants to remain the the comfort zone of note taking. Now DG wants to test CC's
will - as to how active it is. So he set sup another experiment, but CC is again apprehensive and does not
understand that unless he himself exercises his will, he cannot claim knowledge as power - that is, the
knowledge being presented, cannot become personal power for CC unless he actively engages his will into
the process. CC still wants to remain a note-taking bystander or detached observer.
"I don't know.
His call is for you, not for me. He'll
be tapping your will directly. In other
words, you must use your will in order to know the call.
"Genaro feels that he must make sure, at this point, that you have stored sufficient personal
power to enable you to turn your will into a functioning unit."
Will was another concept which don Juan had delineated with great care but without making it
clear. I had gathered from his explanations that will was a force that emanated from the umbilical
region through an unseen opening below the navel, an opening he had called the "gap." Will was
allegedly cultivated only by sorcerers. It came to the practitioners veiled in mystery and
purportedly gave them the capacity to perform extraordinary acts.
I remarked to don
Juan that there was no chance that anything so vague could ever be a
functioning unit in my life.
"That's where you're wrong," he said. "The will develops in a warrior in spite of every
opposition of the reason."
"Can't don Genaro, being a sorcerer, know whether I'm ready or not, without testing me?" I
"He certainly can," he said. "But that knowledge won't be of any value or
consequence, because it has nothing to do with you. You are the one
who's learning, therefore you yourself must claim knowledge as power,
not Genaro. Genaro is not concerned with his knowing as much as with
your knowing. You must find out whether or not your will works. This is
a very difficult point to make. In spite of what Genaro or I know about
you, you must prove to yourself that you are in the position to claim
knowledge as power. In other words, you yourself have to be convinced
that you can exercise your will. If you're not, then you must become
convinced today. If you cannot perform this task, then Genaro's conclusion
will be that regardless of what he might see about you, you're not ready yet."
CC is irritated with his own ineptitude of facing up to unknown tasks without first knowing all the steps
and the precise theories or explanations in advance.
I told him that
sometimes I felt irked with myself because I was so helpless.
"There is nothing wrong with the feeling of being helpless," he said. "All of us are most
familiar with it. Remember that we have spent an eternity as helpless infants. I have already told
you that at this very moment you are like an infant who can't get out of the crib by himself, much
less act on his own. Genaro gets you out of your crib, let's say, by picking you up. But an infant
wants to act and since he can't, he complains. There is nothing wrong with that, but to indulge in
protesting and complaining is another matter."
In this experiment, CC is mostly successful, and DJ
provides the explanation of what happened, since CC is
not in any position yet to comprehend by himself. DJ also tells CC something very significant: that an ally
connected with CC has actively been in the aid of CC, and because DJ 'sees' this ally of CC ( who has not
yet even actively tamed it!) in the form or shape of a moth it is a double omen of sorts for DJ and therefore
for CC also. This is a very important indication for both DJ as well as DG. They are now approaching the
final stages of CC's training.
His eyes had a
strange glimmer that I had seen only a few times before. After I told him what
I thought of his unusual attitude he said that he was happy for me, that as a warrior he could
rejoice in the triumphs of his fellow men, if they were triumphs
of the spirit.
"Genaro's power was
like a tide that engulfed you," he said.
"Did don Genaro want to hurt me?" I asked.
"No," he said. "Genaro wants to help you. But power can be met only with power. He was
testing you and you failed."
"But I solved his riddle, didn't I?"
"You did fine," he said. "So fine that Genaro had to believe that you were capable of a
complete warrior's feat. You almost made it. What floored you this time was not indulging,
"What was it then?"
"You're too impatient and violent; instead of relaxing and going with Genaro you began to
fight him. You can't win against him; he's stronger than you."
Don Juan then volunteered some advice and suggestions about my personal relations with
people. His remarks were a serious sequel to what don Genaro had jokingly said to me earlier. He
was in a talkative mood and without any coaxing on my part he began to explain what had taken
place during the last two times I had been there.
DJ is now giving more detailed explanations of the
experiment of testing CC's will, an indication that
events are mow moving at a rapid pace towards the climax.
"As you know," he said, "the crux of sorcery is the internal dialogue; that is the key to
everything. When a warrior learns to stop it, everything becomes possible; the most farfetched
schemes become attainable. The passageway to all the weird and eerie experiences that you have
had recently was the fact that you could stop talking to yourself. You have, in complete sobriety,
witnessed the ally, Genaro's double, the dreamer and the dreamed, and today you almost learned
about the totality of yourself; that was the warrior's feat that Genaro expected you to perform. All
this has been possible because of the amount of personal power that you have stored. It started the
last time you were here when I caught sight of a very auspicious omen. As you arrived I heard the
ally prowling around; first, I heard its soft steps and then I saw the moth looking at you as you
got out of your car. The ally was motionless, watching you. That to me was the best omen. Had
the ally been agitated, moving around as if it was displeased with your presence, the way it
always has been, the course of the events would have been different. Many times I have caught
sight of the ally in an unfriendly state towards you, but this time the omen was right and I knew
that the ally had a piece of knowledge for you. That was the reason why I said that you had an
appointment with knowledge, an appointment with a moth that had been pending for a long time.
For reasons inconceivable to us the ally selected the form of a moth to manifest itself to you."
"But you said that the ally was formless, and that one could only judge its effects," I said.
"That is right," he said. "But the ally is a moth for the onlookers who are associated with you
- Genaro and myself. For you, the ally is only an effect, a sensation in your body, or a sound, or
the golden specks of knowledge. It remains as a fact, nonetheless, that by choosing the form of a
moth, the ally is telling Genaro and me something of great importance. Moths are the givers of
knowledge and the friends and helpers of sorcerers. It is because the ally chose to be a moth
around you that Genaro places such a great emphasis on you.
"That night that you met the moth, as I had anticipated, was a true appointment with
knowledge for you. You learned the moth's call, felt the gold dust of its wings, but above all, that
night for the first time, you were aware that you saw and your body learned that we are luminous
beings. You have not yet assessed correctly that monumental event in your life. Genaro
demonstrated for you with tremendous force and clarity that we are a feeling and that what we
call our body is a cluster of luminous fibers that have awareness.
DJ is now coming close to provide the sorcerer's
explanation, and at the centre of the sorcerer's
explanation is the distinctive mode of perceiving the world - in two very different, even divergent ways:
one by reason and the other by will. Since reason is mostly a shared or common mode of perceiving the
world, it dominates all our thought and the order of perceptions. Will on the other hand is individual and
personal, and so has to make or synthesize perceptions on the spur of the moment so as to catch the
dynamic flux in events that are unusual or fluid.
"Last night you were
back again under the good auspices of the ally. It came to look at you as you
arrived and I knew that I had to call Genaro so he could explain to you the mystery of the
dreamer and the dreamed. You believed then, just as you always have, that I was tricking you; but
Genaro was not hiding in the bushes as you thought. He came over for you, even if your reason
refuses to believe it."
That part of don Juan's elucidation was indeed the hardest to take at its face value. I could not
admit it. I said that don Genaro had been real and of this world.
"Everything that you've witnessed so far has been real and of this world," he said. "There is no
other world. Your stumbling block is a peculiar insistence on your part and that peculiarity of
yours is not going to be cured by explanations. So today Genaro addressed himself directly to
your body. A careful examination of what you did today will reveal to you that your body (psyche)put
things together in a most praiseworthy manner. Somehow, you refrained from indulging in your
visions at the irrigation ditch. You kept a rare control and aloofness as warriors should; you didn't
believe anything, but you still acted efficiently and thus you were capable of following Genaro's
call. You actually found him without any aid from me.
"When we arrived at the rock ledge, you were imbued with power and you saw Genaro
standing where other sorcerers have stood, for similar reasons. He walked over to you after
jumping from the ledge. He himself was all power. Had you proceeded as you did earlier by the
irrigation ditch, you would've seen him as he really is, a luminous being. Instead, you got
frightened, especially when Genaro made you leap. That leap in itself should have been sufficient
to transport you beyond your boundaries. But you didn't have the strength and fell back into the
world of your reason. Then, of course, you entered into mortal combat with yourself. Something
in you, your will, wanted to go with Genaro, while your reason opposed him. Had I not helped
you, you now would be lying dead and buried in that power place. But even with my help the
outcome was dubious for a moment."
"These are eight points on the fibers of
a luminous being. A sorcerer says, as you can see in the
diagram, that a human being is, first of all, will, because will is directly connected to three points,
feeling, dreaming and seeing; then next, a human being is reason. This is properly a center that
is smaller than will; it is connected only with talking."
The explanation of the eight points is fuzzy and unclear, and of not much use. Perhaps it is because a
complete explanation of this model has not been provided, and not even mentioned directly in the latter
books, but it is somewhat obvious that the two remaining points are what the next chapters are all about.
"What are the other two points, don Juan?"
He looked at me and smiled.
"You're a lot stronger now than you were the first time we talked about this diagram," he said.
"But you're not yet strong enough to know all the eight points. Genaro will someday show you
the other two."
"Does everybody have those eight points or only sorcerers?"
"We may say that every one of us brings to the world eight points. Two of them, reason and
talking, are known by everyone. Feeling is always vague but somehow familiar. But only in the
world of sorcerers does one get fully acquainted with dreaming, seeing and will. And finally, at
the outer edge of that world one encounters the other two. The eight points make the totality of
He showed me in the diagram that in essence all the points could be made to connect with one
I asked him again about the two mysterious remaining points. He showed me that they were
connected only to "will" and that they were removed from "feeling," "dreaming" and "seeing,"
and much more distant from "talking" and "reason." He pointed with his finger to show that they
were isolated from the rest and from each other.
"Where are the other two points?" I asked.
He gave me a most obscene answer and broke into a belly laugh.
"You're so sneaky," he said. "You think I'm a sleepy old goat, don't you?"
I explained to him that my questions created their own momentum.
"Don't try to hurry," he said. "You'll know in due time and then you will be on your own, by
"Do you mean that I won't see you any more, don Juan?"
"Not ever again," he said. "Genaro and I will be then what we always have been, dust on the
I had a jolt in the pit of my stomach.
"What are you saying, don Juan?"
"I'm saying that we all are unfathomable beings, luminous and boundless. You, Genaro and I
are stuck together by a purpose that is not our decision."
"What purpose are you talking about?"
"Learning the warrior's way. You can't get out of it, but neither can we. As long as our
achievement is pending you will find me or Genaro, but once it is accomplished, you will fly
freely and no one knows where the force of your life will take you."
"What is don Genaro doing in this?"
"That subject is not in your realm yet," he said. "Today I have to pound the nail that Genaro
put in, the fact that we are luminous beings. We are perceivers. We are an awareness; we are not
objects; we have no solidity. We are boundless. The world of objects and solidity is a way of
making our passage on earth convenient. It is only a description that was created to help us. We,
or rather our reason, forget that the description is only a description and thus we entrap the
totality of ourselves in a vicious circle from which we rarely emerge in our lifetime.
"At this moment, for instance, you are involved in extricating yourself from the snarls of
reason. It is preposterous and unthinkable for you that Genaro just appeared at the edge of the
chaparral, and yet you cannot deny that you witnessed it. You perceived it as such."
Don Juan chuckled. He carefully drew another diagram in the ashes and covered it with his hat
before I could copy it.
The experiment with DG was to demonstrate with the
total involvement of CC's will, that human beings
are not bound by the physical. That there is a non-physical dimension that makes possible acts that are
not constrained by physical laws. This is what DJ calls the secret of luminous beings - that for the seers
of his lineage, it is a 'seeing' which reveals the luminous ball or lines or structure of a living being, and
which has a dynamic which is not bound by physical lays or by the physical world.
"We, the luminous beings, are born with two rings of power, but we use only one to create the
world. That ring, which is hooked very soon after we are born, is reason, and its companion is
talking. Between the two they concoct and maintain the world.
"So, in essence, the world that your reason wants to sustain is the world created by a
description and its dogmatic and inviolable rules, which the reason learns to accept and defend.
"The secret of the luminous beings is that they have another ring of power which is never
used, the will. The trick of the sorcerer is the same trick of the average man. Both have a
description; one, the average man, upholds it with his reason; the other, the sorcerer, upholds it
with his will. Both descriptions have their rules and the rules are perceivable, but the
advantage of the sorcerer is that will is more engulfing than reason.
"The suggestion that I want to make at this point is that from now on you should
let yourself perceive whether the description is upheld by your reason
or by your will. I feel that is the only way for you to use your daily
world as a challenge and a vehicle to accumulate enough personal
power in order to get to the totality of yourself.
"Perhaps the next time that you come you'll have enough of it. At any rate, wait until you feel,
like you felt today at the irrigation ditch, that an inner voice is telling you to do so.
If you come in any other spirit it'll be a waste of time and a danger to you."
I remarked that if I had to wait for that inner voice I would never see them again.
"You'd be surprised how well one can perform if one is against the wall."
CC is lucky in a way, because in all these episodes,
he does not have to tackle the ally directly, DJ and DG
are there for him. He is lucky because Los Angeles will still be there for him, the car and the road are all
intact, and therefore the old world of CC, although shaken, is still there for him to go to, and anyway
without that world, CC cannot complete his task.
journey back to Los Angeles, his path, is very different from don Genaro's
journey to Ixtlan.
Part 2:The Tonal and the Nagual
Chapter 4: Having to Believe
sorcerer, seer, warrior or a man of knowledge does not have a fixed belief
system to operate
from because every belief has limits or conditions in which it becomes valid or true for oneself.
These limits or conditions themselves change with time or circumstances or active forces. Two
broad conditions have already been elaborated upon: the condition where will must prevail and
the condition where reason must prevail.
What added to my bewilderment was the maddening sensation I had had that when don Juan
tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around I thought I had seen him in his khaki pants and
shirt, his sandals and his straw hat, and then as he made me aware of his attire, and as I focused
my attention on every detail of it, the complete unit of his dress became fixed, as if I had created
it with my thoughts. My mouth seemed to be the area of my body which was most taxed by the
surprise. It opened involuntarily. Don Juan touched me gently on my chin, as if he were helping
me to close it.
I had not seen him for several months and I wanted more than anything else in
the world to talk
with him, but somehow the setting was wrong and my attention meandered around. Don Juan
must have noticed my anxiety and suggested that we walk to La Alameda, a more quiet park a
few blocks away.
There were not too many people in the park and we had no trouble finding an empty bench.
We sat down. My nervousness had given way to a feeling of uneasiness. I did not dare to look at
There was a long unnerving pause; still without looking at him, I said that the inner voice had
finally driven me to search for him, that the staggering events I had witnessed at his house had
affected my life very deeply, and that I just had to talk about them.
He made a gesture of impatience with his hand and said that his policy was never to dwell on
"What's important now is that you've fulfilled my suggestion," he said. "You have taken your
daily world as a challenge, and the proof that you have stored sufficient personal power is the
indisputable fact that you have found me with no difficulty whatever, at the precise spot where
you were supposed to."
"I doubt very much that I could take credit for that," I said.
"I was waiting for you and then you showed up," he said. "That's all I know; that's all any
warrior would care to know."
"What's going to happen now that I've found you?" I asked.
"For one thing," he said, "we won't discuss the dilemmas of your reason; those experiences
belong to another time and to another mood. They are, properly speaking, only steps of an endless
ladder; to emphasize them would mean to take away from the importance of what's taking place
now. A warrior cannot possibly afford to do that."
I had an almost invincible desire to complain. It was not that I resented anything that had
happened to me but I craved solace and sympathy. Don Juan appeared to know my mood and
spoke as if I had actually voiced my thoughts.
"Only as a warrior can one withstand the path of knowledge," he said.
"A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless
challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges
are simply challenges."
His tone was dry and severe, but his smile was warm and disarming.
"Now that you are here, what we'll do is wait for an omen," he said.
"What kind of omen?" I asked.
"We need to find out whether your power can stand on its own," he said. "The last time it
petered out miserably; this time the circumstances of your personal life appear to have given you,
at least on the surface, all the necessaries to deal with the sorcerers' explanation."
"Is there a chance that you might tell me about it?" I asked.
"It depends on your personal power," he said. "As is always the case in the doings and not-
doings of warriors, personal power is the only thing that matters. So far, I should say that you're
"To wear a suit is a challenge for me," he said. "A challenge as difficult as wearing sandals
and a poncho would be for you. You have never had the necessity to take that as a challenge,
though. My case is different; I'm an Indian."
We looked at each other. He raised his brows in a silent question, as if asking for my
"The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything
as a challenge," he went on, "while an ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or as a
curse. The fact that you're here today indicates that you have tipped the scales in favor of the
"You are going to sit here without fretting until we're through," he said imperatively. "We are
waiting for an omen; we can't proceed without it, because it isn't enough that you found me, as it
wasn't enough that you found Genaro that day in the desert. Your power must round itself up and
give an indication.".
He put me at ease with the argument that my personal affairs were not
private, because they
included a task of sorcery that he and don Genaro were fostering in me. I jokingly remarked that
my life had been ruined because of that task of sorcery and recounted the difficulties in maintaining
my day-to-day world..
"Your suit scares me more than anything you've done to me," I said.
"You'll get used to it," he said. "A warrior must be fluid and must shift harmoniously
with the world around him, whether it is the world of reason, or the world of
The most dangerous aspect of that shifting comes forth every time the warrior
finds that the world is neither one nor the other. I was told that the only way
to succeed in that crucial shifting was by proceeding in one's actions as if one
believed. In other words, the secret of a warrior is that he believes without
believing. But obviously a warrior cannot just say he believes and let it go at
that. That would be too easy. To just believe would exonerate him from
examining his situation. A warrior, whenever he has to involve himself with
believing, does it as a choice, as an expression of his innermost predilection.
A warrior doesn't believe, a warrior has to believe."
When a particular non-ordinary, unusual, or unexpected situation presents itself, the warrior
must make use of all resources, evaluate all possibilities, and then choose the belief that is in
harmony with one's will and spirit, and then with death as the arbitrator, make decisions or
take actions based upon a complete confidence in that belief. In other words, the warrior has
to hold that belief as the focal point, as the ultimate sort of faith in his own personal power.
The belief is however, specific to the situation, and may even reverse in an alternate or
changed situation. If however, the situation and the events surrounding it are of an all-
encompassing nature, then that belief can and does become central or generic to that
person, that is, the person HAS to believe it for his/her entire life, because that belief is
central to the core nature, the will, the purpose, the meaning of the life of that person.
In other words, 'having to belief' is actually the 'faith' of that person in the truest sense
of the word.
Howsoever strongly one 'has to believe', how true it becomes then all depends
whether one's actions are 'faithful' to that belief or not, and depends upon whether
one lives according to the significance and implications of that belief, otherwise that
will lapse into just an ordinary, empty belief. One's actions must therefore also be
worthy of what one 'has to believe' or it just becomes what one 'has to wish'.
Something took hold of my body, a form of apprehension, despair, or perhaps embarrassment for
being part of what was taking place.
In the months that followed, the incident became a symbol to me. I fancied or perhaps I saw a
weird flicker in Max's eyes when he looked at me before jumping out of the car. And I believed
that for an instant that castrated, overweight, and useless pet became a cat.
I told don Juan that I was convinced that when Max had run across the street and plunged into
the sewer his "cat spirit" was impeccable, and that perhaps at no other time in his life was his
"catness" so evident. The impression that the incident left on me was unforgettable.
I told the story to all of my friends; after telling it and retelling it, my identification with the
cat became quite pleasurable.
I thought myself to be like Max, overindulgent, domesticated in many ways, and yet I could
not help thinking that there was always the possibility of one moment in which the spirit of man
might take over my whole being, just like the spirit of "catness" took over Max's bloated and
Don Juan had liked the story and had made some casual comments about it. He had said
that it was not so difficult to let the spirit of man flow and take over;
to sustain it, however, was something that only a warrior could do.
What about the story of the cats?" I asked.
"You told me you believed that you' re taking your chances, like Max," he said.
"I do believe that."
"What I've been trying to tell you is that as a warrior you cannot just believe this and let it go
at that. With Max, having to believe means that you accept the fact that his escape might have
been a useless outburst. He might have jumped into the sewer and died instantly. He might have
drowned or starved to death, or he might have been eaten by rats. A warrior considers all those
possibilities and then chooses to believe in accordance with his innermost predilection.
"As a warrior you have to believe that Max made it, that he not only escaped but that he
sustained his power. You have to believe it. Let's say that without that belief you have nothing."
The distinction became very clear. I thought I really had chosen to believe that Max had
survived, knowing that he was handicapped by a lifetime of soft and pampered living.
"Believing is a cinch," don Juan went on. "Having to believe is something else. In this case,
for instance, power gave you a splendid lesson, but you chose to use only part of it.
If you have to believe, however, you must use all the event.
the story of the two cats, DJ points out that CC's belief in his own life as an
analogy to Max
does not fully qualify as a belief that he HAS TO BELIEVE, because he has not accounted for
all other possibilities that must be evaluated and rejected as unacceptable to CC's very being
and existence. Only that belief qualifies as 'have to believe' (faith) wherein only that belief
is worth all, and the other beliefs or possibilities are considered, evaluated and rejected as
worthless or not worthy of holding or operated from.
"I see what you mean," I said.
My mind was in a state of clarity and I thought I was grasping his concepts with no effort at
"I'm afraid you still don't understand," he said, almost whispering.
He stared at me. I held his look for a moment.
"What about the other cat?" he asked.
"Uh? The other cat?" I repeated involuntarily.
I had forgotten about it. My symbol had rotated around Max. The other cat was of no
consequence to me.
"But he is!" don Juan exclaimed when I voiced my thoughts. ''Having to believe means that
you have to also account for the other cat. The one that went playfully licking the hands that were
carrying him to his doom. That was the cat that went to his death trustingly, filled with his cat's
There was an intriguing sadness in his words, or perhaps the sadness was mine.
quiet for a long time. Never had it crossed my mind that I might be like the other cat. The thought
was very distressing to me.
CC's mood is affected by the realization that he might be like the other cat, and wishes he
and DJ were in the countryside. DJ reprimands CC.
It is not what you mean that matters, though. A warrior, or any man for that
possibly wish he were somewhere else; a warrior because he lives by challenge,
an ordinary man because he doesn't know where his death is going to
The omen that DJ is waiting for is now manifesting: a
man is dying before them in the park, and
DJ, being a seer and sorcerer, sees that the man is dying, but CC is again skeptical.
"He's dying!" don Juan said with ultimate conviction. "When we sat down here I caught a
glimpse of his death as it circled around him. That's why I told you not to get up; rain or shine,
you can't get up from this bench until the end. This is the omen we have been waiting for. It is
late afternoon. Right now the sun is about to set. It is your hour of power. Look! The view of that
man is only for us."
"That man is about to die now," he said. "You don't believe it, though, do you?"
He opened his eyes and stared at me for a second. His look was so penetrating that it stunned
"No. I don't believe it," I said.
I really felt that the whole thing was too easy. We had come to sit in the park and right there,
as if everything were being staged, was a man dying.
"The world adjusts itself to itself," don Juan said after listening to my doubts. "This is not a
setup. This is an omen, an act of power.
Here DJ is trying to express the idea that events in
the world are connected or synchronized, especially at
crucial moments in the lives of the beings in the world. ( Also check the Jung's concept of synchronicity)
CC however has not yet realized this and therefore he thinks that this is another of DJ's concoctions or
a deliberate set up. But by CC's way of thinking, he cannot ever explain how he 'coincidentally' met DJ
in the market that day. As we shall learn in the concept of the eagle, the control structures of the reality
of the world are setup to synchronize the events, actions, will or intent of the beings of the world.
"The world upheld by reason makes all this into an event that we can watch for a moment on
our way to more important things. All we can say about it is that a man is lying on the grass in the
park, perhaps drunk.
"The world upheld by will makes it into an act of power, which we can see. We can see death
whirling around the man, setting its hooks deeper and deeper into his luminous fibers. We can see
the luminous strings losing their tautness and vanishing one by one.
"Those are the two possibilities opened to us luminous beings. You are somewhere in the
middle, still wanting to have everything under the rubric of reason. And yet, how can you discard
the fact that your personal power rounded up an omen? We came to this park, after you had found
me where I had been waiting for you - you found me by just walking into me, without thinking,
or planning, or deliberately using your reason - and after we sat down here to wait for an omen,
we became aware of that man, each of us noticed him in our own way, you with your reason, I
with my will.
"That dying man is one of the cubic centimeters of chance that power always makes available
to a warrior. The warrior's art is to be perennially fluid in order to pluck it. I have plucked it, but
I could not answer. I became aware of an immense chasm within myself and for a moment I
was somehow cognizant of the two worlds he was talking about.
For DJ it is a double omen: one that CC's power
has rounded up the omen, (but CC does not know it!)
and secondly the omen has death as it's central feature - a very important indication for a sorcerer,
seer or warrior. The omen's indications are explained perfectly by DJ:
"What an exquisite omen this is!" he went on. "And all for you. Power is
showing you that death is the indispensable ingredient in having to believe.
Without the awareness of death everything is ordinary, trivial. It is only
because death is stalking us that the world is an unfathomable mystery.
Power has shown you that. All I have done myself is to round up the details
of the omen, so the direction would be clear to you; but in rounding up the
details, I have also shown you that everything I have said to you today
is what I have to believe myself, because that is the predilection of my
Don Juan whispered that he had to believe that the dying man had had enough personal
power to enable him to choose the streets of Mexico City as the place of his death.
"We're back again to the story of the two cats," he said. "We have to believe
that Max became aware of what was stalking him and, like that man over there,
had enough power at least to choose the place of his end. But then there was the
other cat, just like there are other men whose death will encircle them while they
are alone, unaware, staring at the walls and ceiling of an ugly barren room.
"That man, on the other hand, is dying where he has always lived, in the
streets. Three policemen are his guards of honor. And as he fades away his eyes
will catch a last glimpse of the lights in the stores across the street - the cars, the
trees, the throngs of people milling around - and his ears will be flooded for the
last time with the sounds of traffic and the voices of men and women as they
"So you see, without an awareness of the presence of our death
there is no power, no mystery."
Chapter 5: The Island of The Tonal
suit and all this paraphernalia is important because it represents my condition
in life. Or
rather, the condition of one of the two parts of my totality. This discussion has been pending. I
feel that now is the time to have it. It has to be done properly, though, or it will never make sense.
I wanted my suit to give you the first clue. I think it has. Now is the time to talk, for in matters of
this topic there is no complete understanding without talking."
"What is the topic, don Juan?"
"The totality of oneself," he said.
"You are at a very poignant crossroad,"
he said. "Perhaps the last one, and also perhaps the
most difficult one to understand. Some of the things I am going to point out to you today will
probably never be clear. They are not supposed to be clear anyway. So don't be embarrassed or
discouraged. All of us are dumb creatures when we join the world of sorcery, and to join it
doesn't in any sense insure us that we will change. Some of us remain dumb until the very end."
"Don't fret if you don't make sense out of what I'm going to tell you," he continued.
"Considering your temperament, I'm afraid that you might knock yourself out trying to
understand. Don't! What I'm about to say is meant only to point out a direction."
"I have put on my suit," he said all of
a sudden, "in order to tell you about something,
something you already know but which needs to be clarified if it is going to be effective. I have
waited until now, because Genaro feels that you have to be not only willing to undertake the road
of knowledge, but your efforts by themselves must be impeccable enough to make you worthy of
that knowledge. You have done well. Now I will tell you the sorcerers' explanation."
I had a sudden feeling of apprehension. Don Juan's admonitions forced me into an endless
speculation. He had warned me on other occasions, in very much the same fashion, and every
time he had done so, what he was warning me about had turned out to be a devastating issue.
"It makes me very nervous when you talk to me this way," I said.
"I know it," he replied calmly. "I'm deliberately trying to get you on your toes. I need your
attention, your undivided attention."
He paused and looked at me, I laughed nervously and involuntarily. I knew that he was
stretching the dramatic possibilities of the situation as far as he could.
"I'm not telling you all this for effect," he said, as if he had read my thoughts. "I am simply
giving you time to make the proper adjustments."
At that moment the waiter stopped at our table to announce that they did not have what we had
ordered. Don Juan laughed out loud and ordered tortillas and beans. The waiter chuckled
scornfully and said that they did not serve them and suggested steak or chicken. We settled for
We ate in silence. I did not like the soup and could not finish it, but don Juan ate all of his.
"I have put on my suit," he said all of a sudden, "in order to tell you about something,
something you already know but which needs to be clarified if it is going to be effective. I have
waited until now, because Genaro feels that you have to be not only willing to undertake the road
of knowledge, but your efforts by themselves must be impeccable enough to make you worthy of
that knowledge. You have done well. Now I will tell you the sorcerers' explanation."
He paused again, rubbed his cheeks and played with his tongue inside his mouth, as if he
were feeling his teeth.
Now DJ comes to the crux of the sorcerer's
explanation: the tonal and the nagual and the
totality of oneself.
The simplest way to understand the two counterparts of the totality of a being is:
The tonal is the
abstract sum of all physical processes in a being's life - which also
includes all the social interactions and learning from the social, cultural system. Therefore the
tonal includes not only the physical body, but also the mind - the abstract concept structure
and all it's operating beliefs. A proper tonal is one which reflects an efficient and effective order
of the knowledge accumulated by that being, that is valid for the being. The tonal is therefore
that centre of the being on which depends the potential for the manifestation of the nagual,
and thus the tonal is metaphorically the 'guardian that guards something priceless - our very
being'. The tonal is all that is known - about oneself (personal tonal: the known counterpart)
and all that is known in the social system ( collective tonal of a society/culture).
The tonal has all to do with reason, order, organization, understanding, comprehension,
making sense, making interpretations, assigning and making meaning, assigning attributes
to things, casual relationships, learning, systematizing, arranging, analyzing, ....
The primary function of the tonal is to secure the survival and survivability of the organism.
And since survivability is very closely related to social conditions, the tonal becomes intrinsically
hooked into the social system and it's norms, for survivability depends mostly in the tonal's
ability to maneuver favorably in the social sphere. The secondary function of the tonal then
becomes to position the person to the topmost hierarchy in the social system - in short, the
default goals of the tonal are: firstly, survivability and secondly, enhancement of the social
status of the person. These defaults may be over-ridden by the cognition of the tonal of a
value that transcends these defaults, or by the force of the effects of the nagual on the
The abstract sum of all non-physical forces and essence of a
being, which includes
will, spirit, psyche. The nagual is essentially the dynamic, moving centre of the being that
is independent of all physical processes or socially acquired habits and concepts. The nagual is
the unknown counterpart of a being.
TOTALITY OF A BEING or
is the attained abstract
the two counterparts: the harmonious, complimentary, synchronized operation of the two
centers or counterparts of a being. As DJ points out, the totality of a being is revealed to every
being at the moment of death, even if it amounts to nothing substantial.
totality of a being is glimpsed/envisioned or partly revealed under certain
consciousness: in a state of ecstasy or in a near-death experience.
Native American Vision Quest is a quest to get a vision of the totality of the
he/she then follows the power of the vision to fulfill the revealed totality.
the realm of the nagual, all notions of physicality, solidity, conceptual
dissolves as these all are in the realm of the tonal. In the realm of the nagual, what comes
forth from it are intuitions, insights, foresight, vision, spontaneous knowing, revelation...but
these have to be successfully incorporated, consolidated and rationalized by the tonal for
them to become powerfully sustainable, and hence the importance of the tonal to build
Thus the tonal is directly related to knowledge
and the nagual is directly related to power.
"I'm going to tell you about the tonal and the nagual" he said and looked at me piercingly.
This was the first time in our association that he had used those two terms. I was vaguely
familiar with them through the anthropological literature on the cultures of central Mexico. I
knew that the "tonal" (pronounced, toh-na'hl) was thought to be a kind of guardian spirit, usually
an animal, that a child obtained at birth and with which he had intimate ties for the rest of his life.
"Nagual" (pronounced, nah-wa'hl) was the name given to the animal into which sorcerers could
allegedly transform themselves, or to the sorcerer that elicited such a transformation.
"This is my tonal" don Juan said, rubbing his hands on his chest.
"No. My person."
He pounded his chest and his thighs and the side of his ribs.
"My tonal is all this."
He explained that every human being had two sides, two separate entities, two counterparts
which became operative at the moment of birth; one was called the "tonal" and the other the
I told him what anthropologists knew about the two concepts. He let me speak without
"Well, whatever you may think you know about them is pure nonsense," he said. "I base this
statement on the fact that whatever I'm telling you about the tonal and the nagual could not
possibly have been told to you before. Any idiot would know that you know nothing about them,
because in order to be acquainted with them, you would have to be a sorcerer and you aren't. Or
you would've had to talk about them with a sorcerer and you haven't. So disregard everything
you've heard before, because it is inapplicable."
"It was only a comment," I said.
He raised his brows in a comical gesture.
"Your comments are out of order," he said. "This time I need your undivided attention, since I
am going to acquaint you with the tonal and the nagual. Sorcerers have a special and unique
interest in that knowledge. I would say that the tonal and the nagual are in the exclusive realm of
men of knowledge. In your case, this is the lid that closes everything I have taught you. Thus, I
have waited until now to talk about them.
"The tonal is not an animal that guards a person. I would rather say that it is a guardian that
could be represented as an animal. But that is not the important point."
He smiled and winked at me.
"I'm using your own words now," he said. "The tonal is the social person."
He laughed, I supposed, at the sight of my bewilderment.
"The tonal is, rightfully so, a protector, a guardian - a guardian that most of the time turns into
I fumbled with my notebook. I was trying to pay attention to what he was saying. He laughed
and mimicked my nervous movements.
"The tonal is the organizer of the world," he proceeded. "Perhaps the best way of describing
its monumental work is to say that on its shoulders rests the task of setting the chaos of the world
in order. It is not farfetched to maintain, as sorcerers do, that everything we know and do as men
is the work of the tonal.
"At this moment, for instance, what is engaged in trying to make sense out of our conversation
is your tonal; without it there would be only weird sounds and grimaces and you wouldn't
understand a thing of what I'm saying.
"I would say then that the tonal is a guardian that protects something priceless, our very being.
Therefore, an inherent quality of the tonal is to be cagey and jealous of its doings. And since its
doings are by far the most important part of our lives, it is no wonder that it eventually changes,
in every one of us, from a guardian into a guard."
He stopped and asked me if I had understood. I automatically nodded my head affirmatively
and he smiled with an air of incredulity.
"A guardian is broad-minded and understanding," he explained. "A guard, on the other hand,
is a vigilante, narrow-minded and most of the time despotic. I say, then, that the tonal in all of us
has been made into a petty and despotic guard when it should be a broad-minded guardian."
I definitely was not following the trend of his explanation. I heard and wrote down every word
and yet I seemed to be stuck with some internal dialogue of my own.
"It is very hard for me to follow your point," I said.
"If you didn't get hooked on talking to yourself you would have no quarrels," he said cuttingly.
"The tonal is everything we are," he proceeded. "Name it! Anything we have a word for is the
tonal. And since the tonal is its own doings, then everything, obviously, has to fall under its
"The tonal is everything we know," he said. "I think this in itself is enough reason for the
tonal to be such an overpowering affair."
"The tonal is everything we know," he repeated slowly. "And that includes not only us, as
persons, but everything in our world. It can be said that the tonal is everything that meets the eye.
"We begin to groom it at the moment of birth. The moment we take the first gasp of air we
also breathe in power for the tonal. So, it is proper to say that the tonal of a human being is
intimately tied to his birth.
"You must remember this point. It is of great importance in understanding all this.
The tonal begins at birth and ends at death."
"The tonal makes the world only in a manner of speaking. It can not create or change
anything, and yet it makes the world because its function is to judge, and assess, and witness. I
say that the tonal makes the world because it witnesses and assesses it according to tonal rules. In
a very strange manner the tonal is a creator that doesn't create a thing. In other words, the tonal
makes up the rules by which it apprehends the world. So, in a manner of speaking, it creates the
"The tonal is an island," he explained. "The best way of describing it is to say that the tonal is
He ran his hand over the table top.
The metaphor of the tonal as an island, and
the second level of metaphor of the restaurant
table as individual tonal is as good a metaphor as can be to explain the tonal.
"We can say that the tonal is like the top of this table. An island. And on this island we have
everything. This island is, in fact, the world.
There is a personal tonal for every one of us, and there is a collective
one for all of us at any given time, which we can call the tonal of the
He pointed to the rows of tables in the restaurant.
"Look! Every table has the same configuration. Certain items are present on all of them. They
are, however, individually different from each other; some tables are more crowded than others;
they have different food on them, different plates, different atmosphere, yet we have to admit that
all the tables in this restaurant are very alike. The same thing happens with the tonal. We can say
that the tonal of the times is what makes us alike, in the same way it makes all the tables in this
restaurant alike. Each table separately, nevertheless, is an individual case, just like the personal
tonal of each of us. But the important factor to keep in mind is that everything we know about
ourselves and about our world is on the island of the tonal. See what I mean?"
"If the tonal is everything we know about ourselves and our world, what, then, is the nagual?"
"The nagual is the part of us which we do not deal with at all."
"I beg your pardon?"
"The nagual is the part of us for which there is no description - no words,
no names, no feelings, no knowledge."
"That's a contradiction, don Juan. In my opinion if it can't be felt or described or named, it
"It's a contradiction only in your opinion. I warned you before, don't knock yourself out trying
to understand this."
Then there is a series of things named by CC
which DJ identifies as belonging on the island of
tonal - because these have been described already by the collective tonal. The main thrust
of DJ's arguments is that all that is known and conceptualized, mostly in pairs, are rightly
to be considered as belonging on the island of the tonal. It becomes interesting when CC
suggests God as what DJ would call as the nagual.
"Is the nagual the Supreme Being, the
Almighty, God?" I asked.
"No. God is also on the table. Let's say that God is the tablecloth."
He made a joking gesture of pulling the tablecloth in order to stack it up with the rest of the
items he had put in front of me.
"But, are you saying that God does not exist?"
"No. I didn't say that. All I said was that the nagual was not God, because God is an item of
our personal tonal and of the tonal of the times. The tonal is, as I've already said, everything we
think the world is composed of, including God, of course. God has no more importance other than
being a part of the tonal of our time."
"In my understanding, don Juan, God is everything. Aren't we talking about the same thing?"
Here is the crucial difference:
"No. God is only everything you can think of, therefore, properly speaking, he is only another
item on the island. God cannot be witnessed at will, he can only be talked about.
The nagual, on the other hand, is at the service of the warrior. It can be witnessed, but it
cannot be talked about."
"If the nagual is not any of the things I have mentioned," I said, "perhaps you can tell me
about its location. Where is it?"
Don Juan made a sweeping gesture and pointed to the area beyond the boundaries of the table.
He swept his hand, as if with the back of it he were cleaning an imaginary surface that went
beyond the edges of the table.
crux of any explanation about the nagual is that because it is
a force) it does not have a spatial location nor any tangible or quantifiable attributes.
"The nagual is there," he said. "There, surrounding the island. The nagual is there, where
"We sense, from the moment we are born, that there are two parts to us. At the time of birth,
and for a while after, we are all nagual. We sense, then, that in order to function we need a
counterpart to what we have. The tonal is missing and that gives us, from the very beginning, a
feeling of incompleteness. Then the tonal starts to develop and it becomes utterly important to
our functioning, so important that it opaques the shine of the nagual, it overwhelms it. From the
moment we become all tonal we do nothing else but to increment that old feeling of
incompleteness which accompanies us from the moment of our birth, and which tells us
constantly that there is another part to give us completeness.
"From the moment we become all tonal we begin making pairs. We sense our two sides, but
we always represent them with items of the tonal. We say that the two parts of us are the soul and
the body. Or mind and matter. Or good and evil. God and Satan. We never realize, however, that
we are merely pairing things on the island, very much like pairing coffee and tea, or bread and
tortillas, or chili and mustard. I tell you, we are weird animals. We get carried away and in our
madness we believe ourselves to be making perfect sense."
I'm afraid I haven't asked the right question," I said. "Maybe we could arrive at a better
understanding if I asked what one can specifically find in that area beyond the island?"
By far this is the best statement that can be made about the nagual:
"There is no way of answering that. If I would say, Nothing, I would
only make the nagual part of the tonal. All I can say is that there,
beyond the island, one finds the nagual"
"But, when you call it the nagual, aren't you also placing it on the island?"
"No. I named it only because I wanted to make you aware of it."
"All right! But becoming aware of it is the step that has turned the nagual into a new item of
"I'm afraid you do not understand. I have named the tonal and the nagual as a true pair. That
is all I have done."
"We sense that there is another side to us. But when we try to pin down
that other side the tonal gets hold of the baton, and as a director it is
quite petty and jealous. It dazzles us with its cunningness and forces us to
obliterate the slightest inkling of the other part of the true pair, the nagual"
As we left the restaurant I told don Juan that he had been correct in warning me about the
difficulty of the topic, and that my intellectual prowess was inadequate to grasp his concepts and
explanations. I suggested that perhaps if I should go to my hotel and read my notes, my
comprehension of the subject might improve. He tried to put me at ease; he said that I was
worrying about words. While he was speaking I experienced a shiver, and for an instant I sensed
that there was indeed another area within me.
I mentioned to don Juan that I was having some inexplicable feelings. My statement
apparently aroused his curiosity. I told him that I had had the same feelings before, and that they
seemed to be momentary lapses, interruptions in my flow of awareness. They always manifested
themselves as a jolt in my body followed by the sensation that I was suspended in something.
We headed for downtown, walking leisurely. Don Juan asked me to relate all the details of
my lapses, I had a hard time describing them, beyond the point of calling them moments of
forgetfulness, or absent-mindedness, or not watching what I was doing.
He patiently rebuffed me. He pointed out that I was a demanding person, had an excellent
memory, and was very careful in my actions. It had occurred to me at first that those peculiar
lapses were associated with stopping the internal dialogue, but I also had had them when I had
talked to myself extensively. They seemed to stem from an area independent of
everything I knew.
Don Juan patted me on the back. He smiled with apparent delight.
"You're finally beginning to make real connections," he said.
"This is my very favorite bench," he
said, caressing the wood.
He winked at me and added with a grin, "It likes me. That's why no one was sitting on it. It
knew I was coming."
DJ gives an example of the connectivity of the nagual with everything, and also
the crux of the nagual is the spirit - pure consciousness. So it is not the bench that knew that
they were coming, but DJ's nagual connected with the spirit - the nagual of the world. And also
the cumbersome, even frustrating fact that the nagual can only be talked bout in the terms
of the tonal. The thing is that whatever becomes known becomes so only in terms of the already
known, and so the nagual is essentially the unknown counterpart of the known (tonal) counter
part of the totality of oneself. Once the nagual as the unknown potential is fully expressed in the
tonal, the totality of oneself is fully achieved, and thus the purpose and the meaning of one's life
is fulfilled. The possibility of further enhancement is always there depending upon the further
development of one's will.
"The bench knew that?"
"No! Not the bench. My nagual."
"Does the nagual have consciousness? Is it aware of things?"
"Of course. It is aware of everything. That's why I'm interested in your
account. What you call lapses and feelings is the nagual. In order to talk
about it we must borrow from the island of the tonal, therefore it is more
convenient not to explain it but to simply recount its effects."
"Are the nagual and the tonal within ourselves?"
He looked at me piercingly.
"Very difficult question," he said. "You yourself would say that they are within ourselves. I
myself would say that they are not, but neither of us would be right. The tonal of your time calls
for you to maintain that everything dealing with your feelings and thoughts takes place within
yourself. The sorcerers' tonal says the opposite, everything is outside. Who's right? No one.
Inside, outside, it doesn't really matter."
has somewhat fudged the answer to the question. The correct answer should have
since both the tonal and the nagual are abstractions, they cannot be said to have a specific
physical location. At most, since the tonal is associated with physical processes, one can say that
the tonal is within the self, and in temporal reality the self has a physical location in a world and
connected to a particular society or culture, whereas the nagual cannot be said to have any
physical location, because it is not limited by any physical processes.
I raised a point. I said that when he talked about the tonal and the nagual it sounded as if
there was still a third part. He had said that the tonal "forces us" to perform acts. I asked him to
tell me who he was referring to as being forced.
He did not answer me directly.
"To explain all this is not that simple," he said. "No matter how clever the checkpoints of the
tonal are the fact of the matter is that the nagual surfaces. Its coming to the surface is always
inadvertent, though. The tonal's great art is to suppress any manifestation of the nagual in such a
manner that even if its presence should be the most obvious thing in the world, it is unnoticeable."
"For whom is it unnoticeable?"
He chuckled, shaking his head up and down. I pressed him for an answer.
"For the tonal" he said. "I'm speaking about it exclusively. I may go around in circles but that
shouldn't surprise or annoy you. I warned you about the difficulty of understanding what I have to
tell. I went through all that rigamarole because my tonal is aware that it is
speaking about itself. In other words, my tonal is using itself in order to understand the
information I want your tonal to be clear about. Let's say that the tonal, since it is keenly aware
of how taxing it is to speak of itself, has created the terms 'I,' 'myself,' and so forth as a balance
and thanks to them it can talk with other tonals, or with itself, about itself.
CC asks a tricky question, and although the correct answer "for whom" would be
and although the self consists of the two counterparts, the tonal is the counterpart that is in charge
most of the time, and does all the defining, does all the conceptualization, thinking and organizing
that for all practical purposes the tonal is the self until it learns to force itself to relinquish control
of the consciousness to the nagual. DJ explains it quite well and points out that when the nagual
becomes active, the being gets a glimpse of the totality of itself.
"Now when I say that the tonal forces us to do something, I don't mean that there is a third
party there. Obviously it forces itself to follow its own judgments.
"On certain occasions, however, or under certain special circumstances, something in the
tonal itself becomes aware that there is more to us. It is like a voice that comes
from the depths, the voice of the nagual. You see, the totality of ourselves is a natural
condition which the tonal cannot obliterate altogether, and there are
moments, especially in the life of a warrior, when the totality becomes
apparent. At those moments one can surmise and assess what we really are.
"I was concerned with those jolts you have had, because that is the way the nagual surfaces.
At those moments the tonal becomes aware of the totality of oneself. It is always a jolt because
that awareness disrupts the lull.
I call that awareness the totality of the being that is going to die.
The idea is that at the moment of death the other member of the true pair, the nagual, becomes
fully operative and the awareness and memories and perceptions stored in our calves and thighs,
in our back and shoulders and neck, begin to expand and disintegrate. Like the beads of an
endless broken necklace, they fall asunder without the binding force of life."
He looked at me. His eyes were peaceful. I felt ill at ease, stupid.
"The totality of ourselves is a very tacky affair," he said. "We need only a very small portion
of it to fulfill the most complex tasks of life. Yet when we die, we die with the totality of
ourselves. A sorcerer asks the question, 'If we're going to die with the totality of ourselves, why
not, then, live with that totality?'
the following passages in the 'day of the tonal', DJ stresses the importance of
maintaining a proper, well balanced, neat, efficient and effective tonal, without which one cannot
develop an awareness of the nagual and also then the totality of oneself. DJ is pointing out that
that only the tonal can deal with itself to set it's own house, it's own island in order, so that the
creative potential of the nagual can be actualized.
I said that today was going to be the day of the tonal; I meant that today I want to deal with it
exclusively. I also said that I had put on my suit for that specific purpose. With it I wanted
to show you that a warrior treats his tonal in a very special manner.
I've pointed out to you that my suit has been made to order and that
everything I have on today fits me to perfection. It is not my vanity
that I wanted to show, but my warrior's spirit, my warrior's tonal.
"Those two women gave you your first view of the tonal today.
Life can be as merciless with you as it is with them, if you are careless
with your tonal. I put myself as the counterpoint. If you understand
correctly I should not need to stress this point.
analysis and insights about the tonals of the persons being observed that day
illustrative of the importance of the tonal for a person striving to live like a warrior.
"Look at that young man in green pants and a pink shirt," don Juan whispered, pointing to a
very thin and very dark complexioned, sharp-featured young man who was standing almost in
front of us.
The young man's clothes were tattered and wrinkled, and his shoes were in absolute pieces.
"He's obviously very poor," I said.
"Is that all you can say about him?" he asked.
I enumerated a series of reasons that might have accounted for the young man's shabbiness:
poor health, bad luck, indolence, indifference to his personal appearance, or the chance that he
may have just been released from prison.
Don Juan said that I was merely speculating, and that he was not interested in justifying
anything by suggesting that the man was a victim of unconquerable forces.
"Maybe he's a secret agent made to look like a bum," I said jokingly.
The young man walked away towards the street with a disjointed gait.
"He's not made to look like a bum; he is a bum," don Juan said. "Look how weak his body is.
His arms and legs are thin. He can hardly walk. No one can pretend to look that way. There is
something definitely wrong with him, not his circumstances, though. I have to stress again that I
want you to see that man as a tonal"
"What does it entail to see a man as a tonal?"
"It entails to cease judging him in a moral sense, or excusing him on the grounds that he is like
a leaf at the mercy of the wind. In other words, it entails seeing a man without thinking that he is
hopeless or helpless.
"You know exactly what I am talking about. You can assess that young man without
condemning or forgiving him."
“He drinks too much," I said.
My statement was not volitional. I just made it without really knowing why. For an instant I
even felt that someone standing behind me had voiced the words, I was moved to explain that my
statement was another of my speculations.
"That was not the case," don Juan said. "Your tone of voice had a certainty that you lacked
before. You didn't say, 'Maybe he's a drunkard.'"
I felt embarrassed although I could not exactly determine why. Don Juan laughed.
"You saw through the man," he said. "That was seeing. Seeing is like that. Statements are
made with great certainty, and one doesn't know how it happened.
"You know that young man's tonal was shot, but you don't know how you know it."
I had to admit that somehow I had had that impression.
"You're right," don Juan said. "It doesn't really matter that he's young, he's as decrepit as the
two women. Youth is in no way a barrier against the deterioration of the tonal.
"You thought that there might be a great many reasons for that man's condition. I find that
there is only one, his tonal. It is not that his tonal is weak because he drinks; it is the other way
around, he drinks because his tonal is weak. That weakness forces him to be what he is. But the
same thing happens to all of us, in one form or another."
"But aren't you also justifying his behavior by saying that it's his tonal?"
"I'm giving you an explanation that you have never encountered before. It is not a justification
or a condemnation, though. That young man's tonal is weak and timid. And yet he's not unique.
All of us are more or less in the same boat."
At that moment a very large man passed in front of us heading towards the church. He was
wearing an expensive dark gray business suit and was carrying a briefcase. The collar of his shirt
was unbuttoned and his necktie loose. He was sweating profusely. He had a very light
complexion which made the perspiration all the more obvious.
"Watch him!" don Juan ordered me.
The man's steps were small but heavy. There was a wobbling quality to his walking. He did
not go up to the church; he circumvented it and disappeared behind it.
"There is no need to treat the body in such an awful manner," don Juan said with a note of
scorn. "But the sad fact is that all of us have learned to perfection how to make our tonal weak. I
have called that indulging."
He put his hand on my notebook and did not let me write any more. His rationale was that as
long as I kept on taking notes I was incapable of concentrating. He suggested I should relax, shut
off the internal dialogue and let go, merging with the person being observed.
I asked him to explain what he meant by "merging." He said there was no way to explain it,
that it was something that the body felt or did when put in observational contact with other
bodies. He then clarified the issue by saying that in the past he had called
that process seeing, and that it consisted of a lull of true silence within,
followed by an outward elongation of something in the self, an elongation
that met and merged with the other body, or with anything within one's
field of awareness.
He added that only a warrior had a "proper tonal," and that the average man, at
best, could have a "right tonal."
After the remarks about the tonal of three young Indians, DJ makes incisive remarks about
the cultural interactions, the conquest, and it's effect on the tonal of the Indians.
I told don Juan that for some strange reason I had liked them very much.
"It isn't so strange," he said. "You must've felt that their tonal is just right. It is right, but not
for our time.
"You probably felt they were like children. They are. And that is very tough. I understand
them better than you, thus I couldn't help but feel a tinge of sadness. Indians are like dogs, they
have nothing. But that is the nature of their fortune and I shouldn't feel sad. My sadness, of
course, is my own way of indulging."
Indians are the losers of our time. Their downfall began with the Spaniards and now under
the reign of their descendants the Indians have lost everything. It is not an exaggeration to say
that the Indians have lost their tonal"
"Is that a metaphor, don Juan?"
No. It is a fact. The tonal is very vulnerable. It cannot withstand maltreatment.
The white man, from the day he set foot on this land, has systematically
destroyed not only the Indian tonal of the time, but also the personal tonal
of every Indian. One can easily surmise that for the poor average Indian the
reign of the white man has been sheer hell. And yet the irony is that for
another kind of Indian it has been sheer bliss."
"Who are you talking about? What kind of Indian is that?"
"The sorcerer. For the sorcerer the Conquest was the challenge of a lifetime.
They were the only ones who were not destroyed by it but adapted to it and
used it to their ultimate advantage."
"How was that possible, don Juan? I was under the impression that the Spaniards left no stone
"Let's say that they turned over all the stones that were within the limits
of their own tonal. In the Indian life, however, there were things that were
incomprehensible to the white man; those things he did not even notice.
Perhaps it was the sheer luck of the sorcerers, or perhaps it was their
knowledge that saved them. After the tonal of the time and the personal
tonal of every Indian was obliterated, the sorcerers found themselves
holding on to the only thing left uncontested, the nagual. In other words,
their tonal took refuge in their nagual. This couldn't have happened had it
not been for the excruciating conditions of a vanquished people. The men of
knowledge of today are the product of those conditions and are the ultimate
connoisseurs of the nagual since they were left there thoroughly alone.
There, the white man has never ventured. In fact, he doesn't even have the
idea it exists."
I felt compelled at that point to present an argument. I sincerely
contended that in European
thought we had accounted for what he called the nagual. I brought in the concept of the
Transcendental Ego, or the unobserved observer present in all our thoughts, perceptions and
feelings. I explained to don Juan that the individual could perceive or intuit himself, as a self,
through the Transcendental Ego, because this was the only thing capable of judgment, capable of
disclosing reality within the realm of its consciousness.
model presented by CC is quite different and in this model, the Transcendental
for example, account for the the dynamic forces like will and spirit that are the forces that
make active or act upon the dynamic centre of a being - the nagual. There is one feature or
attribute that is common though - that is the idea of transcendence.
Don Juan was unruffled. He laughed.
"Disclosing reality," he said, mimicking me. "That's the tonal."
I argued that the tonal may be called the Empirical Ego found in one's passing stream of
consciousness or experience, while the Transcendental Ego was found behind that stream.
"Watching, I suppose," he said mockingly.
"That's right. Watching itself," I said.
Watching or observing are not the attributes of the nagual, but are the
attributes of the tonal.
"I hear you talking," he said. "But you're saying nothing. The nagual is not experience or
intuition or consciousness. Those terms and everything else you may care to say are only items on
the island of the tonal.
The nagual, on the other hand, is only effect. The tonal begins at birth
and ends at death, but the nagual never ends. The nagual has no limit.
I've said that the nagual is where power hovers; that was only a way of
alluding to it. By reasons of its effect, perhaps the nagual can be best
understood in terms of power.
For instance, when you felt numb and couldn't talk earlier today, I was actually soothing you;
that is, my nagual was acting upon you."
"How was that possible, don Juan?"
"You won't believe this, but no one knows how. All I know is that I wanted your undivided
attention and then my nagual went to work on you. I know that much because I can witness its
effect, but I don't know how it works."
He was quiet for a while. I wanted to keep on the same topic. I at tempted to ask a question; he
"One can say that the nagual accounts for creativity," he finally said and looked at me
piercingly. "The nagual is the only part of us that can create."
nagual is the centre for power and creativity, the tonal is the centre
for organization, construction and order, conceptualization and language.
He remained quiet, looking at me. I felt he was definitely leading me into an area I had
wished he would elucidate further. He had said that the tonal did not create anything, but only
witnessed and assessed. I asked how he explained the fact that we construct superb structures and
"That's not creativity," he said. "That's only molding. We can mold anything with our hands,
personally or in conjunction with the hands of other tonals. A group of tonals can mold anything,
superb structures as you said."
"But what's creativity then, don Juan?"
DJ has to perform a sorcery in order to
demonstrate to CC about creativity - whereas CC would
have preferred a definition of creativity. In this sorcery, DJ uses his nagual to force CC's nagual
to synthesize or create in his perception an unknown creature. CC is ruffled.
"One of the acts of a warrior is never to let anything affect him," he said. "Thus, a warrior may
be seeing the devil himself, but he won't let anyone know that. The control of a warrior has to be
He waited until I had finished writing and then asked me laughingly, "Did you get all that?"
I suggested that we should go to a restaurant and have dinner. I was famished. He said that we
had to stay until the "proper tonal" appeared. He added in a serious tone that if the "proper tonal"
did not come that day we had to remain on the bench until it cared to show up.
"What is a proper tonal?" I asked.
"A tonal that is just right, balanced and harmonious. You are supposed to find one today, or
rather your power is supposed to bring one to us."
"But how can I tell it apart from other tonals?"
"Never mind that. I will point it out to you."
"What is it like, don Juan?"
"Hard to tell. It depends on you. This
is a show for you, therefore you will set up those
"I don't know that. Your power, your nagual, will do that.
"There are, roughly speaking, two sides to every tonal. One is the outer part, the fringe, the
surface of the island. That's the part related to action and acting, the rugged side. The other part is
the decision and judgment, the inner tonal, softer, more delicate and more complex.
"The proper tonal is a tonal where the two levels are in perfect harmony and balance."
"Is she a warrior?" I asked.
"Not quite," don Juan said. "Your power is not that keen yet to bring a warrior. But she's a just
right tonal. One that could turn into a proper tonal. Warriors come from that stock."
His statements aroused my curiosity. I asked him if women could be warriors. He looked at
me, apparently baffled by my question.
"Of course they can," he said, "and they are even better equipped for the path of knowledge
than men. But then men are a bit more resilient. I would say, however, that, all in all, women
have a slight advantage."
I said that it puzzled me that we had never talked about women in relation to his knowledge.
"You're a man," he said, "therefore I use the masculine gender when I talk to you. That's all.
The rest is the same."
"The end of the day is your best time," don Juan said. "The appearance of that young woman
at the very edge of the day is an omen. We were talking about the tonal, therefore it is an omen
about your tonal."
"What does the omen mean, don Juan?"
"It means that you have very little time left to organize your arrangements. Any arrangements
that you might have constructed have to be viable arrangements because you don't have time to
make new ones. Your arrangements must work now, or they are not arrangements at all.
It is an interesting interpretation by DJ of
the omen for CC: at the end of the day, a right tonal
shows up but not a warrior tonal. For CC the implications are profound and deadly, and DJ
explains CC's situation beautifully and precisely.
"I suggest that when you go back home you check your lines and make sure they are strong.
You will need them."
"What's going to happen to me, don Juan?"
"Years ago you bid for power. You have followed the hardships of learning faithfully, without
fretting or rushing. You are now at the edge of the day."
"What does that mean?"
"For a proper tonal everything on the island of the tonal is a challenge.
Another way of saying it is that for a warrior everything in this world
is a challenge. The greatest challenge of all, of course, is his bid for
power. But power comes from the nagual, and when a warrior finds
himself at the edge of the day it means that the hour of the nagual
is approaching, the warrior's hour of power."
"I still don't understand the meaning of all this, don Juan. Does it mean that I am going to die
"If you're stupid, you will," he retorted cuttingly. "But putting it in milder terms, it means that
you're about to shiver in your pants.
You bid for power once and that bidding is irreversible.
I won't say that you're about to fulfill your destiny, because there is no destiny. The only
thing that one can say then is that you're about to fulfill your power. The omen was clear.
That young woman came to you at the edge of the day. You have little time left, and none
of it for crap. A fine state.
I would say that the best of us always comes out when we are against
the wall, when we feel the sword dangling overhead. Personally, I
wouldn't have it any other way."
Chapter 6: Shrinking The Tonal
The next day, CC is being followed by someone, and in order to shake that person off, DJ
performs a maneuver, a sorcery that transports them to a different location. CC is completely
shaken by this and keeps on questioning DJ as to how it happened. DJ's nagual induces CC to
see a vision in order to unravel CC's queries, but that doesn't work well with CC.
"You can do better than that," he said. "You want me to explain what happened. Well, I want
you to use your seeing to do that. You saw, but you saw crap. That kind of information is useless
to a warrior. It would take too long to figure out what's what. Seeing must be direct, for a warrior
can't use his time to unravel what he himself is seeing.
Seeing is seeing because it cuts through all that nonsense."
I asked him if he thought that my vision had only been a hallucination and not really seeing.
He was convinced it had been seeing because of the intricacy of detail, but that it was
inappropriate for the occasion.
"Do you think that my visions explain anything?" I asked.
"Sure they do. But I wouldn't try to unravel them if I were you. In the beginning seeing is
confusing and it's easy to get lost in it. As the warrior gets tighter, however, his seeing becomes
what it should be, a direct knowing."
As don Juan spoke I had one of those peculiar lapses of feelings and I clearly sensed that I was
about to unveil something which I already knew, a thing which eluded me by turning into
something very blurry. I became aware that I was involved in a struggle. The more I tried to
define or reach that elusive piece of knowledge the deeper it sank.
"That seeing was too... too visionary," don Juan said.
The sound of his voice shook me.
"A warrior asks a question, and through his seeing he gets an answer, but the answer is simple,
never embellished to the point of flying French poodles."
We laughed at the image. And half jokingly I told him that he was too strict, that anyone going
through what I had gone through that morning deserved a bit of leniency.
"That is the easy way out," he said. "That is the indulging way. You hinge
the world on the feeling that everything is too much for you. You're not
living like a warrior."
I told him that there were so many facets of what he called a warrior's way that it was
impossible to fulfill all of them, and that the meaning of it became clear only as I encountered
new instances where I had to apply it.
"A rule of thumb for a warrior," he said, "is that he makes his decisions so carefully that
nothing that may happen as a result of them can surprise him, much less drain his power.
"To be a warrior means to be humble and alert. Today you were supposed to watch the scene
which was unfolding in front of your eyes, not to ponder how all that was possible. You focused
your attention on the wrong place. If I wanted to be lenient with you I could easily say that since
this was the first time it had happened to you, you were not prepared.
But that's not permissible, because you came here as a warrior, ready to
die; therefore, what happened to you today shouldn't have caught you
with your pants down."
I conceded that my tendency was to indulge in fear and bewilderment.
"Let's say that a rule of thumb for you should be that when you come to see me you should
come prepared to die," he said. "If you come here ready to die, there shouldn't be any pitfalls, or
any unwelcome surprises, or any unnecessary acts. Everything should gently fall into place
because you're expecting nothing."
"That's easy to say, don Juan. I am on the receiving end, though. I am the one who has to live
with all this."
"It is not that you have to live with all this. You are all this. You're not
just tolerating it for the time being. Your decision to join forces with this
evil world of sorcery should have burned all the lingering feelings of
confusion and should give you the spunk to claim all this as your world."
The water soothed me. We were quiet for a long time.
"Write, write," don Juan coaxed me in a friendly tone. "Let's say that your notebook is the
only sorcery you have. To rip it up is another way of opening yourself to your death. It will be
another of your tantrums, a flashy tantrum at best, not a change. A warrior doesn't ever leave the
island of the tonal. He uses it."
He pointed all around me with a quick movement of his hand and then touched my notebook.
"This is your world. You can't renounce it. It is useless to get angry and
feel disappointed with oneself. All that that proves is that one's tonal is
involved in an internal battle; a battle within one's tonal is one of the
most inane contests I can think of. The tight life of a warrior is designed
to end that struggle. From the beginning I have taught you to avoid wear
and tear. Now there is no longer a war within you, not as it used to be,
because the warrior's way is harmony - the harmony between actions
and decisions, at first, and then the harmony between tonal and nagual.
"Throughout the time I have known you, I have talked to both your tonal and your nagual.
That is the way the instruction should be conducted.
"In the beginning, one has to talk to the tonal. It is the tonal that has
to relinquish control. But it should be made to do so gladly.
For example, your tonal has relinquished some controls without much struggle, because it
became clear to it that, had it remained the way it was, the totality of you would be dead by
now. In other words, the tonal is made to give up unnecessary things like self-importance
and indulging, which only plunge it into boredom. The whole trouble is that the tonal clings
to those things when it should be glad to rid itself of that crap.
The task then is to convince the tonal to become free and fluid.
That's what a sorcerer needs before anything else, a strong, free tonal. The stronger it gets
the less it clings to its doings, and the easier it is to shrink it. So what happened this morning
was that I saw the opportunity to shrink your tonal. For an instant, you were absent-minded,
hurrying, not thinking, and I grabbed that moment to shove you.
"The tonal shrinks at given times, especially when it is embarrassed. In fact, one of the
features of the tonal is its shyness. Its shyness is not really an issue. But there are certain
instances when the tonal is taken by surprise, and its shyness unavoidably makes it shrink.
"This morning I plucked my cubic centimeter of chance. I noticed the open door of that office
and gave you a shove. A shove is then the technique for shrinking the tonal. One must shove at
the precise instant; for that, of course, one must know how to see.
"Once the man has been shoved and his tonal has shrunk, his nagual,
if it is already in motion, no matter how small this motion is, will take
over and achieve extraordinary deeds. Your nagual took over this morning and
you ended up in the market."
He remained silent for a moment. He seemed to be waiting for questions. We looked at each
Repeatedly DJ tells CC that there is no way to know how the nagual works, and even 'seeing'
cannot reveal the workings of the nagual.
"I really don't know how," he said as if reading my mind. "All I know is that the nagual is
capable of inconceivable feats.
"This morning I asked you to watch. That scene in front of you, whatever it may have been,
had an incalculable value for you. But instead of following my advice, you indulged in self-pity
and confusion and did not watch.
"For a while you were all nagual and could not talk. That was the time to watch. Then, little
by little, your tonal took over again; and rather than plunging you into a deadly battle between
your tonal and nagual, I walked you here."
"What was there in that scene, don Juan? What was so important?"
"I don't know. It wasn't happening to me."
"What do you mean?"
"It was your experience, not mine."
"But you were with me. Weren't you?"
"No. I wasn't. You were alone. I repeatedly told you to watch everything, because that scene
was only for you."
"But you were next to me, don Juan."
"No. I wasn't. But it's useless to talk about it. Whatever I may say doesn't make sense, because
during those moments we were in nagual's time. The affairs of the nagual can be witnessed only
with the body, not the reason."
"If you were not with me, don Juan, who or what was the person I witnessed as you?"
"It was me and yet I wasn't there."
"Where were you then?"
"I was with you, but not there. Let's say that I was around you but not in the particular place
where your nagual had taken you."
"You mean you didn't know that we were at the market?"
"No, I didn't. I just tagged along in order not to lose you."
"This is truly awesome, don Juan."
In these conversations, one striking feature of the nagual's domain is that time and physical
location are not necessarily linear or have continuity, because in a creative or synthetic realm,
the linearity of time and physical location or physical concreteness are suspended or are no
longer valid. In this situation it is CC's nagual, prompted or 'pushed' by DJ's nagual that creates
the time and location for the events witnessed by CC, whereas DJ is 'seeing' that CC is in the
synthetic realm of the nagual, and tags along CC so that CC does not get 'lost'.
"We were in nagual's time, and there is nothing awesome about it.
We are capable of much more than that. That is the nature of us as
luminous beings. Our flaw is to insist on remaining on our monotonous,
tiring, but convenient island. The tonal is the villain and it shouldn't be."
I described the little bit I remembered. He wanted to know if I had witnessed any features of
the sky, such as daylight, clouds, the sun. Or if I had heard noises of any sort. Or if I had caught
sight of unusual people or events. He wanted to know if there had been any fights. Or if people
were yelling, and if they were, what they had said.
I could not answer any of his questions. The plain truth was that I had accepted the event at its
apparent face value, admitting as a truism that I had "flown" over a considerable distance in one
or two seconds, and that thanks to don Juan's knowledge, whatever it may have been, I had
landed in all my material corporeality inside the market.
My reactions were a direct corollary of such an interpretation. I wanted to know the
procedures, the member's knowledge, the "how to do it." Therefore, I did not care to observe what
I was convinced were the ordinary happenings of a mundane event.
"Do you think that people saw me in the market?" I asked.
Don Juan did not answer. He laughed and tapped me lightly with his fist.
I tried to remember if I had actually had any physical contact with people. My memory failed
"What did the people in the airline office see when I stumbled in?" I asked.
"They probably saw a man staggering from one door to the other."
"But did they see me disappear into thin air?"
That is taken care of by the nagual. I don't know how. All I can tell
you is that we are fluid, luminous beings made out of fibers. The
agreement that we are solid objects is the tonal's doing. When the
tonal shrinks, extraordinary things are possible. But they are only
extraordinary for the tonal.
desperately wants some 'concrete' explanations for that is happening to him, and
do only that which is possible, and that is to explain what is happening to CC's tonal - which
is that CC's tonal is undergoing a crisis. A crisis because CC's tonal wants to make sense of
all that is happening without giving up control, without giving up faith in reason, even though
reason doesn't work in the domain of the nagual.
"For the nagual, it's nothing to move the way you did this morning. Especially for your
nagual, which is already capable of difficult ploys. As a matter of fact, it has plunged into
something terribly weird. Can you feel what it is?"
A million questions and feelings came to me all at once. It was as if a gust of wind had blown
off my veneer of composure. I shivered. My body felt it was at the edge of an abyss. I struggled
with some mysterious but concrete piece of knowledge. It was as if I were on the verge of being
shown something, and yet some stubborn part of me insisted on blowing a cloud over it. The
struggle made me numb by degrees, until I could not feel my body. My mouth was open and my
eyes were half closed. I had the feeling I could see my face getting harder and harder until it was
the face of a dried corpse with the yellowish skin stuck tight to the skull.
The next thing I felt was a jolt. Don Juan was standing by me holding an empty bucket of
water. He had soaked me. I coughed and wiped the water from my face and felt another cold
seizure in my back. I jumped up from the bench. Don Juan had poured some water down my
There was a group of children looking at me and laughing. Don Juan smiled at me. He held
my notebook and said that we had better go to my hotel so I could change my clothes. He led me
out of the park. We stood on the curb for a moment before a cab came along.
Hours later, after eating lunch and resting, don Juan and I sat on his favorite bench in the park
by the church. In an oblique manner we got to the topic of my strange reaction. He seemed to be
very cautious. He did not confront me directly with it.
"Things like that are known to happen," he said. "The nagual, once it learns to surface, may
cause a great damage to the tonal by coming out without any control. Your case is special,
though. You are given to indulging in such an exaggerated manner that you would die and not
even mind it, or worse yet, not even be aware that you're dying."
I told him that my reaction began when he had asked me if I could feel what my nagual had
done I thought I knew exactly what he was alluding to, but when I tried to describe what it was, I
found I could not think clearly. I experienced a sensation of lightheadedness, almost an
indifference, as if I did not really care about anything. Then that sensation grew into a
mesmerizing concentration. It was as though all of me was slowly being sucked out. What
attracted and trapped my attention was the clear sensation that a portentous secret was about to be
revealed to me and I did not want anything to interfere with such a revelation.
"What was going to be revealed to you was your death," don Juan said. "That's the danger of
indulging. Especially for you, since you are naturally so exaggerated. Your tonal is so given to
indulging that it threatens the totality of you. This is a terrible way of being."
"What can I do?"
Finally when CC breaks down in the crisis and is in mortal danger, DJ douses CC
to bring him back to his senses, and provides the explanation of the nature of the tonal and
it's tricky relation with the nagual, and how to balance or harmonize the two.
"Your tonal has to be convinced with reasons, your nagual with actions,
until one props the other. As I have told you, the tonal rules, and yet it
is very vulnerable. The nagual, on the other hand, never, or almost never,
acts out; but when it does, it terrifies the tonal. This morning your tonal
got frightened and began to shrink by itself, and then your nagual
began to take over.
I had to borrow a bucket from one of the photographers in the park in
order to whip your nagual like a bad dog back to its place. The tonal must
be protected at any cost. The crown has to be taken away from it, but it
must remain as the protected overseer.
"Any threat to the tonal always results in its death. And if the tonal dies,
so does the whole man. Because of its inherent weakness the tonal is easily
destroyed, and thus one of the balancing arts of the warrior is to make the
nagual emerge in order to prop up the tonal. I say it is an art, because
sorcerers know that only by boosting the tonal can the nagual emerge.
See what I mean? That boosting is called personal power."
Chapter 7: In Nagual's Time
CC goes the next day to the same locations so as to put together the sequence of events,
and finds that there is no linearity or continuity in them, which again shocks him, and his
tonal is yet to reconcile with the non-linearity of the realm of the nagual - where the
linearity of time and spatial continuity does not hold.
"What really took place, don Juan?" I asked.
"Believe me, there is no way of knowing that," he said dryly. "In those matters you and I are
on equal ground. My advantage over you at this moment is that I know how to get to the nagual,
and you don't. But once I have gotten there I have no more advantage and no more knowledge
"Did I really land in the market, don Juan?" I asked.
"Of course. I've told you, the nagual is at the warrior's command. Isn't it so, Genaro?"
DG gives more demonstrations of the nagual.
"No. There's no explanation," he said, turning away from me. "The nagual is only for
"When one is dealing with the nagual, one should never look into it directly," he said. "You
were peering at it this morning, and therefore you were sapped. The only way to look at the
nagual is as if it were a common affair. One must blink in order to break the fixation. Our eyes
are the eyes of the tonal, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that our eyes have been
trained by the tonal, therefore the tonal claims them. One of the sources of your bafflement and
discomfort is that your tonal doesn't let go of your eyes. The day it does, your nagual will have
won a great battle. Your obsession or, better yet, everyone's obsession is to arrange the world
according to the tonal's rules; so every time we are confronted with the nagual, we go out of our
way to make our eyes stiff and intransigent. I must appeal to the part of your tonal which
understands this dilemma and you must make an effort to free your eyes. The point is to convince
the tonal that there are other worlds that can pass in front of the same windows. The nagual
showed you that this morning. So, let your eyes be free; let them be true windows. The eyes can
be the windows to peer into boredom or to peek into that infinity."
Don Juan made a sweeping arc with his left arm to point all around us. There was a glint in his
eyes, and his smile was at once frightening and disarming.
"How can I do that?" I asked.
"I say that it is a very simple matter. Perhaps I say it is simple because I've been doing it for so
long. All you have to do is to set up your intent as a customs house. Whenever you are in the
world of the tonal, you should be an impeccable tonal; no time for irrational crap. But whenever
you are in the world of the nagual, you should also be impeccable; no time for rational crap. For
the warrior, intent is the gate in between. It closes completely behind him when he goes either
"Another thing one should do when facing the nagual is to shift the line of the eyes from time
to time, in order to break the spell of the nagual. Changing the position of the eyes always eases
the burden of the tonal. This morning I noticed that you were extremely vulnerable and I changed
the position of your head. If you are in a pinch like that you should be able to shift by yourself.
This shifting should be done only as a relief, though, not as another way of palisading yourself to
safeguard the order of the tonal. My bet would be that you would strive to use this technique to
hide the rationality of your tonal behind it, and thus believe that you're saving it from extinction.
The flaw of your reasoning is that nobody wants or seeks the extinction of the tonal's rationality.
That fear is ill founded.
"There is nothing else I can tell you, except that you must follow every movement that Genaro
makes, without draining yourself. You are testing now whether or not your tonal
is crammed with nonessentials. If there are too many unnecessary items
on your island you won't be able to sustain the encounter with the nagual."
"What would happen to me?"
"You may die. No one is capable of surviving a deliberate encounter with the nagual without a
long training. It takes years to prepare the tonal for such an encounter. Ordinarily, if an average
man comes face to face with the nagual the shock would be so great that he would die. The goal
of a warrior's training then is not to teach him to hex or to charm, but to prepare his tonal not to
crap out. A most difficult accomplishment. A warrior must be taught to be impeccable and
thoroughly empty before he could even conceive witnessing the nagual.
In your case, for instance, you have to stop calculating. What you were
doing this morning was absurd. You call it explaining. I call it a sterile and
boring insistence of the tonal to have everything under its control.
Whenever it doesn't succeed, there is a moment of bafflement and then
the tonal opens itself to death. What a prick! It would rather kill itself
than relinquish control. And yet there is very little we can do to change
"How did you change it yourself, don Juan?"
"The island of the tonal has to be swept clean and maintained clean.
That's the only alternative that a warrior has. A clean island offers no
resistance; it is as if there were nothing there."
There is no end to the shocks CC is facing this time. DJ informs CC that DG is actually CC's
benefactor, and that for some key apprentices two separate guides, one each for the tonal and
the nagual, are the norm.
"Genaro is your benefactor," he repeated.
"But you are, aren't you?" I asked in a frantic tone.
"I'm the one who helped you sweep the island of the tonal" he said. "Genaro has two
apprentices, Pablito and Nestor. He is helping them sweep the island; but I will show them the
nagual. I will be their benefactor. Genaro is only their teacher. In these matters one can either
talk or act; one cannot do both with the same person. One either takes the island of the tonal
or one takes the nagual. In your case my duty has been to work with your tonal.''
As don Juan spoke I had an attack of terror so intense that I was about to get ill, I had the
feeling that he was going to leave me with don Genaro and that was a most dreadful scheme to
Don Juan laughed and laughed as I voiced my fears.
"The same thing happens to Pablito," he said. "The moment he sets eyes on me he gets ill. The
other day he walked into the house when Genaro was gone. I was alone here and I had left my
sombrero by the door. Pablito saw it and his tonal became so frightened that he actually shit in
I could easily understand and project into Pablito's feelings. When I considered the matter
carefully, I had to admit that don Juan was terrifying. I had learned, however, to feel comfortable
with him. I experienced with him a familiarity born out of our long association.
"I'm not going to leave you with Genaro," he said, still laughing. "I'm the one who takes care
of your tonal. Without it you're dead."
"Has every apprentice a teacher and a benefactor?" I asked to ease my turmoil.
"No, not every apprentice. But some do."
"Why do some of them have both a teacher and a benefactor?"
"When an ordinary man is ready, power provides him with a teacher, and he becomes an
apprentice. When the apprentice is ready, power provides him with a benefactor, and he becomes
"What makes a man ready, so that power can provide him with a teacher?"
"No one knows that. We are only men. Some of us are men who have learned to see and use
the nagual, but nothing that we may have gained in the course of our lives can reveal to us the
designs of power. Thus, not every apprentice has a benefactor. Power decides that."
I asked him if he himself had had a teacher and a benefactor, and for the first time in thirteen
years he freely talked about them. He said that both his teacher and his benefactor were from
central Mexico. I had always considered that information about don Juan to be of value for my
anthropological research, but somehow at the moment of his revelation it did not matter.
Don Juan glanced at me. I though it was a look of concern. He then abruptly changed the
subject and asked me to recount every detail of what I had experienced in the morning.
"A sudden fright always shrinks the tonal" he said as a comment on
my description of how I felt when don Genaro screamed. "The problem
here is not to let the tonal shrink itself out of the picture. A grave issue
for a warrior is to know exactly when to allow his tonal to shrink and when
to stop it. This is a great art. A warrior must struggle like a demon to shrink
his tonal; and yet at the very moment the tonal shrinks, the warrior must
reverse all that struggle to immediately halt that shrinking."
"But by doing that isn't he reverting back to what he already was?" I asked.
"No. After the tonal shrinks, the warrior is closing the gate from the other
side. As long as his tonal is unchallenged and his eyes are tuned only for the
tonal's world, the warrior is on the safe side of the fence. He's on familiar
ground and knows all the rules. But when his tonal shrinks, he is on the windy
side, and that opening must be shut tight immediately, or he would be swept
away. And this is not just a way of talking. Beyond the gate of the tonal's eyes
the wind rages. I mean a real wind. No metaphor. A wind that can blow one's
life away. In fact, that is the wind that blows all living things on this earth.
Years ago I acquainted you with that wind. You took it as a joke, though."
"It's not important whether you took it seriously or not," he said after listening to my protests.
"As a rule the tonal must defend itself, at any cost, every time it is threatened; so it is of no real
consequence how the tonal reacts in order to accomplish its defense. The only important matter is
that the tonal of a warrior must become acquainted with other alternatives. What a teacher aims
for, in this case, is the total weight of those possibilities. It is the weight of those new possibilities
which helps to shrink the tonal. By the same token, it is the same weight which helps stop the
tonal from shrinking out of the picture."
He signaled me to proceed with my narrative of the events of the morning, and he interrupted
me when I came to the part where don Genaro slid back and forth from the tree trunk to the
"The nagual can perform extraordinary things," he said. "Things that do not seem possible,
things that are unthinkable for the tonal. But the extraordinary thing is that the performer has no
way of knowing how those things happen. In other words, Genaro doesn't know how he does
those things; he only knows that he does them. The secret of a sorcerer is that he knows how to
get to the nagual, but once he gets there, your guess is as good as his as to what takes place."
"But what does one feel while doing those things?"
"One feels like one is doing something."
"Would don Genaro feel like he's walking up the trunk of a tree?"
Don Juan looked at me for a moment, then he turned his head away.
"No," he said in a forceful whisper. "Not in the way you mean it."
He did not say anything else. I was practically holding my breath, waiting for his explanation.
Finally I had to ask, "But what does he feel?"
"I can't say, not because it is a personal matter, but because there is no way of describing it."
"Come on," I coaxed him. "There is nothing that one can't explain or elucidate with words. I
believe that even if it's not possible to describe something directly, one can allude to it, beat
around the bush."
Don Juan laughed. His laughter was friendly and kind. And yet there was a touch of mockery
and sheer mischievoiisness in it.
"I have to change the subject," he said. "Suffice it to say that the nagual was aimed at you this
morning. Whatever Genaro did was a mixture of you and him. His nagual was tempered by your
I insisted on probing and asked him, "When you're showing the nagual to Pablito, what do
"I can't explain that," he said in a soft voice. "And not because I don't want to, but simply
because I can't. My tonal stops there."
I did not want to press him any further. We remained silent for a while, then he began to talk
"Let's say that a warrior learns to tune his will, to direct it to a pinpoint, to focus it wherever he
wants. It is as if his will, which comes from the midsection of his body, is one single luminous
fiber, a fiber that he can direct at any conceivable place. That fiber is the road to the nagual. Or I
could also say that the warrior sinks into the nagual through that single fiber.
"Once he has sunk, the expression of the nagual is a matter of his personal temperament. If the
warrior is funny the nagual is funny. If the warrior is morbid the nagual is morbid. If the warrior
is mean the nagual is mean.
"Genaro always cracks me up because he's one of the most delightful creatures alive. I never
know what he's going to come up with. That to me is the ultimate essence
of sorcery. Genaro is such a fluid warrior that the slightest focusing of his
will makes his nagual act in incredible ways."
"Did you yourself observe what don Genaro was doing in the trees?" I asked.
"No, I just knew, because I saw, that the nagual was in the trees. The rest of the show was for
"Do you mean, don Juan, that, like the time when you pushed me and I ended up in the
market, you were not with me?"
"It was something like that. When one meets the nagual face to face, one
always has to be alone. I was around only to protect your tonal.
That is my charge."
Don Juan said that my tonal was nearly blasted to pieces when don Genaro descended from
the tree; not so much because of any inherent quality of danger in the nagual, but because my
tonal indulged in its bewilderment. He said that one of the aims of the warrior's training was to
cut the bewilderment of the tonal, until the warrior was so fluid that he could admit everything
without admitting anything.
When I described don Genaro's leap up to the tree and his leap down from it, don Juan said
that the yell of a warrior was one of the most important issues of sorcery, and that don Genaro
was capable of focusing on his yell, using it as a vehicle.
"You are right," he said. "Genaro was pulled partly by his yell and partly by the tree. That was
true seeing on your part. That was a true picture of the nagual. Genaro's will was focused on the
yell and his personal touch made the tree pull the nagual. The lines went both ways from Genaro
to the tree and from the tree to Genaro.
"What you should have seen when Genaro jumped from the tree was that he was focusing on a
spot in front of you and then the tree pushed him. But it only seemed to be a push; in essence it
was more like being released by the tree. The tree released the nagual and the nagual came back
to the world of the tonal on the spot he focused on.
"The second time that Genaro came down from the tree your tonal was not so bewildered; you
were not indulging so hard and therefore you were not as sapped as you were the first time."
Around four in the afternoon don Juan stopped our conversation.
"We are going back to the eucalyptus trees," he said. "The nagual is waiting for us there."
"Aren't we risking being seen by people?" I asked.
"No. The nagual will keep everything suspended," he said.
Chapter 8: The Whispering of The Nagual
In this chapter a series of demonstrations of
the nagual are performed by DG, and CC is a witness
more than a participant, and CC is often confused or jumpy. He is also unsettled by DJ's revelation
that DG is CC's 'Benefactor' and DJ himself is CC's teacher. Certain remarks of DJ during that time
are significant for explaining the nature of the tonal and the witnessing of the nagual:
"Don't be so jumpy," don Genaro said. "The nagual is not after you all the time."
"You must be concerned with the nagual only at certain moments," he said. "The rest of the
time you and I are like all the other people on this earth.""
"I must warn you," don Juan said to me,
"you have to exert the most demanding vigil to be
sure when a man is a nagual and when a man is simply a man. You may die if you come into
direct physical contact with the nagual"
"If you're dumb enough not to remember,"
he said, "we'd better leave it that way. A warrior
follows the dictums of power. You will remember it when it becomes necessary."
Don Juan said that it was the duty of a
benefactor to deliver his ward to power, and that the
benefactor imparted to the neophyte his personal touch, as much if not more so than the teacher.
To maintain order means to be a perfect tonal, and to be a perfect tonal means to be aware
of everything that takes place on the island of the tonal.
"What about someone who doesn't see?"
"He would witness nothing, just the trees being blown by a wild wind perhaps. We interpret
any unknown expression of the nagual as something we know; in this case the nagual might be
interpreted as a breeze shaking the leaves, or even as some strange light, perhaps a lightning bug
of unusual size. If a man who doesn't see is pressed, he would say that he thought he saw
something but could not remember what. This is only natural. The man would be talking sense.
After all, his eyes would have judged nothing extraordinary; being the eyes of the tonal they have
to be limited to the tonal's world, and in that world there is nothing staggeringly new, nothing
which the eyes cannot apprehend and the tonal cannot explain."
"Why is the splitting of a man a great feat?"
"Because it is dangerous. You may have died like a little bug. Or worse yet, we may have
never been able to put you back together, and you would have remained on that plateau of
"Why was it necessary to do it to me, don Juan?"
"There is a certain time when the nagual has to whisper in the ear of the apprentice and split
"What does that mean, don Juan?"
"In order to be an average tonal a man must have unity. His whole being must belong to the
island of the tonal. Without that unity the man would go berserk; a sorcerer, however, has to
break that unity, but without endangering his being. A sorcerer's goal is to last; that is, he doesn't
take unnecessary risks, therefore he spends years sweeping his island until a moment when he
could, in a manner of speaking, sneak off it. Splitting a man in two is the gate for such an escape.
"The splitting, which is the most dangerous thing you've ever gone through, was smooth and
simple. The nagual was masterful in guiding you. Believe me, only an impeccable warrior can do
that. I felt very good for you."
"You were gliding," he said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Through the air?"
"No. For the nagual there is no land, or air, or water. At this point you yourself can agree with
that. Twice you were in that limbo and you were only at the door of the nagual. You've told me
that everything you encountered was uncharted. So the nagual glides, or flies, or does whatever it
may do, in nagual's time, and that has nothing to do with tonal's time. The two things don't jibe."
"An immortal being has all the time in the world for doubts and bewilderment
and fears. A warrior, on the other hand, cannot cling to the meanings made
under the tonal's order, because he knows for a fact that the totality of
himself has but a little time on this earth."
"A warrior cannot be helpless," he said. "Or bewildered or frightened, not
under any circumstances. For a warrior there is time only for his impeccability;
everything else drains his power, impeccability replenishes it."
'Impeccability is to do your best in whatever you're engaged in.'"
The key to all these matters of impeccability is the sense of having or not
having time. As a rule of thumb, when you feel and act like an immortal being
that has all the time in the world you are not impeccable; at those times you
should turn, look around, and then you will realize that your feeling of having
time is an idiocy. There are no survivors on this earth!"
Chapter 9: The Wings of Perception
In this chapter, DJ and DG induce CC to have
an extra-ordinary perceptual experience, which was
not quite satisfactorily explained.
Part 3: The Sorcerers' Explanation
In this section, some important explanations are provided by DJ that sum up the teaching so
Chapter 10. Three Witnesses to The Nagual
In this chapter CC finally "sees" the
"luminous beings", further demonstrations of the nagual
and the frightful experiences associated with it.
Chapter11. The Strategy of a Sorcerer
In laying the ground for the sorcerers
explanation, DJ makes it clear that it's no big deal,
nor any need for secrecy, especially now that CC had crossed a certain threshold as per
What you did yesterday made Genaro feel
that you have stored enough power to go for the
real thing. You have obviously followed his suggestions. Yesterday you let the wings of your
perception unfold. You were stiff but you still perceived all the comings and goings of the
nagual; in other words, you saw. You also confirmed something which at this time is even
more important than seeing, and that was the fact that you can now place your unwavering
attention on the nagual. And that's what will decide the outcome of the last issue,
the sorcerers' explanation.
"I've told you countless times that a most drastic change was needed if you wanted to succeed in
the path of knowledge. That change is not a change of mood, or attitude, or outlook; that change
entails the transformation of the island of the tonal. You have accomplished that task."
"At this precise point a teacher would usually say to his disciple that they have arrived at a
final crossroad," he continued. "To say such a thing is misleading, though. In my opinion there is
no final crossroad, no final step to anything. And since there is no final step to anything, there
shouldn't be any secrecy about any part of our lot as luminous beings. Personal power decides
who can or who cannot profit by a revelation; my experiences with my fellow men have proven
to me that very, very few of them would be willing to listen; and of those few who listen even
fewer would be willing to act on what they have listened to; and of those who are willing to act
even fewer have enough personal power to profit by their acts. So, the matter of secrecy about
the sorcerers' explanation boils down to a routine, perhaps a routine as empty as any other
At any rate, you know now about the tonal and the nagual, which are the core of the
sorcerers' explanation. To know about them seems to be quite harmless. We are sitting here,
talking innocently about them as if they were just an ordinary topic of conversation. You are
calmly writing as you've done for years. The scenery around us is a picture of calmness. It is
early afternoon, the day is beautiful, the mountains around us have made a protective cocoon for
us. One doesn't have to be a sorcerer to realize that this place, which speaks of Genaro's power
and impeccability, is the most appropriate background for opening the door; for that is what I'm
doing today, opening the door for you. But before we venture beyond this point a fair warning is
required; a teacher is supposed to speak in earnest terms and warn his disciple that the
harmlessness and placidity of this moment are a mirage, that there is a bottomless abyss in front
of him, and that once the door opens there is no way to close it again."
"You don't have any time, and yet you're surrounded by eternity.
What a paradox for your reason!"
"What will happen here today depends on whether or not you have enough personal power to
focus your unwavering attention on the wings of your perception," he said.
It is here that DJ gives the entire
recapitulated details of how he has been systematically
working on CC to turn him into a warrior, seer or sorcerer. DJ makes it clear that CC was
indicated as an apprentice by unmistakable omens, and that DJ had no personal choice in
the matter. When DJ "sees" the first omen, he immediately "hooks" CC as an apprentice.
"Let me begin by telling you that a teacher never seeks apprentices and no one
can solicit the
teachings," he said. "It's always an omen which points out an apprentice."
"Whenever the nagual prevails, even if it is only for an instant, there is no way of describing the
feeling that the body experiences. I know that you have spent endless hours trying to figure out
what you felt and that to this day you haven't been able to. I accomplished what I wanted, though.
I hooked you."
"It works only when the warrior learns to focus his will" don Juan explained after he moved
his eyes away. "There's no way of practicing it, therefore I have not recommended or encouraged
its use. At a given moment in the life of a warrior it simply happens. No one knows how."
The first step after "hooking" CC was "de-programming" the apprentice so as clean up the
island of the tonal...mainly by stopping the world/internal dialog of the tonal. All the early
training was designed to achieve this in an apprentice, and without which the apprentice
could not become capable of learning anything new.
"Once the apprentice has been hooked, the instruction begins," he continued. "The first act of
a teacher is to introduce the idea that the world we think we see is only a view, a description of
the world. Every effort of a teacher is geared to prove this point to his apprentice. But accepting
it seems to be one of the hardest things one can do; we are complacently caught in our particular
view of the world, which compels us to feel and act as if we knew everything about the world. A
teacher, from the very first act he performs, aims at stopping that view. Sorcerers call it stopping
the internal dialogue, and they are convinced that it is the single most important technique that an
apprentice can learn."
"Together with the right way of walking," don Juan went on, "a teacher must teach his
apprentice another possibility, which is even more subtle: the possibility of acting without
believing, without expecting rewards - acting just for the hell of it. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I
told you that the success of a teacher's enterprise depends on how well and how harmoniously he
guides his apprentice in this specific respect."
"Stopping the internal dialogue is, however, the key to the sorcerers' world," he said. "The rest
of the activities are only props; all they do is accelerate the effect of stopping the internal
He said that there were two major activities or techniques used to accelerate the stopping of
the internal dialogue: erasing personal history and dreaming.
He said that in line with that rationale he had rallied my interest around
the idea of seeing, which, properly understood, was the act of dealing
directly with the nagual, an act that was an unavoidable end result of
the teachings but an unattainable task as a task per se.
"What was the point of tricking me that way?" I asked.
"Sorcerers are convinced that all of us are a bunch of nincompoops," he said. "We can never
relinquish our crummy control voluntarily, thus we have to be tricked."
"The secret of all this is one's attention," he said.
"What do you mean, don Juan?"
"All of this exists only because of our attention. This very rock where we're sitting is a rock
because we have been forced to give our attention to it as a rock."
Focusing one's attention or awareness is what seeing and sorcery is all about, and the idealism
that DJ refers to is the axiomatic basis of sorcery. But it must be pointed out here that it's opposite
axiomatic basis, that of materialism is the one valid for the scientific discipline, but worthless for
DJ now explains why the way of the warrior is necessary for attaining balance.
"What any apprentice needs to buffer him is temperance and strength. That's why a teacher
introduces the warrior's way, or living like a warrior. This is the glue that joins together
everything in a sorcerer's world. Bit by bit a teacher must forge and develop it. Without
the sturdiness and level-headedness of the warrior's way there is no possibility of
withstanding the path of knowledge."
He explained that in order to help erase personal history three other techniques were taught.
They were: losing self-importance, assuming responsibility, and using death as an adviser. The
idea was that, without the beneficial effect of those three techniques, erasing personal history
would involve the apprentice in being shifty, evasive and unnecessarily dubious about himself
and his actions.
In a new light, DJ again points out the value
of the awareness of death as the most powerful
advisor over other emotions which are more draining than energizing.
Don Juan asked me to tell him what had been the most natural reaction I had had
of stress, frustration and disappointment before I became an apprentice. He said that his own
reaction had been wrath. I told him that mine had been self-pity.
"Although you're not aware of it, you had to work your head off to make that feeling a natural
one," he said. "By now there is no way for you to recollect the immense effort that you needed to
establish self-pity as a feature of your island. Self-pity bore witness to everything you did. It was
just at your fingertips, ready to advise you. Death is considered by a warrior to be a more
amenable adviser, which can also be brought to bear witness on everything one does, just like
self-pity, or wrath. Obviously, after an untold struggle you had learned to feel sorry for yourself.
But you can also learn, in the same way, to feel your impending end, and thus you can learn to
have the idea of your death at your fingertips. As an adviser, self-pity is nothing in comparison to
The recounting then flows over to
reorganizing the island of the tonal in order to make it more
efficient and optimized. Each element of the tonal needs to be re-prioritized to it's proper place.
Erasing personal history and its three companion techniques are the sorcerers'
changing the facade of the elements of the island. For instance, by erasing your personal history,
you have denied use to self-pity; in order for self-pity to work you had to feel important,
irresponsible, and immortal. When those feelings were altered in some way, it was no longer
possible for you to feel sorry for yourself.
"The same was true with all the other elements which you've changed on your island. Without
using those four techniques you never could've succeeded in changing them. But changing
facades means only that one has assigned a secondary place to a formerly important element.
Your self-pity is still a feature of your island; it will be there in the back in the same way that the
idea of your impending death, or your humbleness, or your responsibility for your acts were
there, without ever being used.
Once again DJ explains why power plants were
necessary for CC as also they were for himself -
the reordering of the tonal for both of them seemed unattainable without the jolts from the
"It had indeed taken me years to realize the importance of those early
suggestions made by don
Juan. The extraordinary effect that psychotropic plants had had on me was what gave me the bias
that their use was the key feature of the teachings. I held on to that conviction and it was only in
the later years of my apprenticeship that I realized that the meaningful transformations and
findings of sorcerers were always done in states of sober consciousness.
"What would have happened if I had taken your recommendations seriously?" I asked.
"You would have gotten to the nagual" he replied.
"But would I have gotten to the nagual without a benefactor?"
"Power provides according to your impeccability," he said. "If you had
seriously used those four techniques, you would've stored enough personal
power to find a benefactor. You would've been impeccable and power
would have opened all the necessary avenues. That is the rule."
"Why didn't you give me more time?" I asked.
"You had all the time you needed," he said. "Power showed me the way. One night I gave you
a riddle to work out; you had to find your beneficial spot in front of the door of my house. That
night you performed marvelously under pressure and in the morning you fell asleep over a very
special rock that I had put there. Power showed me that you had to be pushed mercilessly or you
wouldn't do a thing."
"Did the power plants help me?" I asked.
"Certainly," he said. "They opened you up by stopping your view of the world. In this respect
power plants have the same effect on the tonal as the right way of walking. Both flood it with
information and force the internal dialogue to come to a stop. The plants are excellent for that,
but very costly. They cause untold damage to the body. This is their drawback, especially with
the devil's weed."
"If you knew that they were so dangerous, why did you give me so many of them, so many
times?" I asked.
He assured me that the details of the procedure were decided by power itself. He said that
although the teachings were supposed to cover the same issues with all apprentices, the order was
different for each one, and that he had gotten repeated indications that I needed a great deal of
coercion in order to bother with anything.
"I was dealing with a sassy immortal being that had no respect for his life or his death," he
Here DJ gives his assessment of his own teacher (Julian), who as DJ describes was a remarkable
sorcerer, but who couldn't become a man of knowledge because he failed to get to the totality
My teacher and benefactor were the clearest examples of that. They were
men of great power,
but they were not men of knowledge.
They never broke the bounds of their enormous views and thus never arrived at the totality of
themselves, yet they knew about it. It wasn't that they lived aberrant lives, claiming things beyond
their reach; they knew that they had missed the boat and that only at their death would the total
mystery be revealed to them. Sorcery had given them only a glimpse but never the real means to
get to that evasive totality of oneself.
providing the sorcerer's explanation, DJ clarifies that just as there is a
socially provided worldview
there is a completely contrasting sorcerer's worldview, and that by pitting these worldviews against
each other, a person can not only get a broader view of reality, but also how and where each world
view becomes valid or applicable. But the crux is to reach to the totality of oneself, only then does
knowledge can be complete and manifest powerfully. Without this totality (or integrity) there is no
critical threshold of knowledge that becomes personal power.
"I gave you enough of the sorcerers' view without letting you get hooked by it.
I said that only
if one pits two views against each other can one weasel between them to arrive at the real world. I
meant that one can arrive at the totality of oneself only when one fully understands that the world
is merely a view, regardless of whether that view belongs to an ordinary man or to a sorcerer.
"Here is where I varied from the tradition. After a lifelong struggle I know that what matters is
not to learn a new description but to arrive at the totality of oneself. One should get to the nagual
without maligning the tonal, and above all, without injuring one's body. You took those plants
following the exact steps I followed myself. The only difference was that instead of plunging you
into them I stopped when I judged that you had stored enough views of the nagual.
DJ correctly pinpoints the greatest drawback
of power plants, and thus the technique of using a
worthy opponent when the usefulness of power plants has been exhausted, but their side effects
are becoming threatening.
"Power plants shake the tonal and threaten the solidity of the whole island," he
said. "It is at
this time that the apprentice retreats, and wisely so; he wants to get out of the whole mess. It is
also at this time that the teacher sets up his most artful trap, the worthy opponent. This trap has
two purposes. First, it enables the teacher to hold his apprentice, and second, it enables the
apprentice to have a point of reference for further use. The trap is a maneuver that brings forth a
worthy opponent into the arena. Without the aid of a worthy opponent, who's not really an enemy
but a thoroughly dedicated adversary, the apprentice has no possibility of continuing on the path
of knowledge. The best of men would quit at this point if it were left up to them to decide. I
brought to you as a worthy opponent the finest warrior one can find, la Catalina.""
worthy opponent is also used as a tool to force the nagual of the apprentice to
decisive movement in making the apprentice's tonal decide to fully embrace the path of the
warrior. The tonal of the apprentice, which till now has been dithering, is forced to make
a decision, but which is actually his will (so far unknown to his tonal) manifest through the
"Because of the acts of a worthy
opponent, then, an apprentice can be either blasted to pieces
or changed radically. La Catalina's actions with you, since they did not kill you - not because she
did not try hard enough but because you were durable - had a beneficial effect on you, and also
provided you with a decision.
"The teacher uses the worthy opponent to force the apprentice into the choice of his life. The
apprentice must choose between the warrior's world and his ordinary world. But no decision is
possible unless the apprentice understands the choice; thus a teacher must have a thoroughly
patient and understanding attitude and must lead his man with a sure hand to that choice, and
above all he must make sure that his apprentice chooses the world and the life of a warrior.
explains why he was confident that CC would choose to come back, and that this
already been made (fated) but not conscious as yet.
What would have happened if I had chosen to go back to Los Angeles?" I asked.
"That would have been an impossibility," he said. "That choice didn't exist. All that was
required of you was to allow your tonal to become aware of having decided to join the world of
sorcerers. The tonal doesn't know that decisions are in the realm of the nagual. When we think
we decide, all we're doing is acknowledging that something beyond our understanding has set up
the frame of our so-called decision, and all we do is to acquiesce.
"In the life of a warrior there is only one thing, one issue alone which is really undecided: how
far one can go on the path of knowledge and power. That is an issue which is open and no one
can predict its outcome. I once told you that the freedom a warrior has is either to act impeccably
or to act like a nincompoop. Impeccability is indeed the only act which is free and thus the true
measure of a warrior's spirit."
One of the most pragmatic use of our resources was channelized by DJ's lineage by making use
of the dreaming state to get to the nagual, as also to enhance awareness or even perform certain
tasks through the double.
"Dreaming is a practical aid devised by sorcerers," he said. "They were not
fools; they knew
what they were doing and sought the usefulness of the nagual by training their tonal to let go for
a moment, so to speak, and then grab again. This statement doesn't make sense to you. But that's
what you've been doing all along: training yourself to let go without losing your marbles.
Dreaming, of course, is the crown of the sorcerers' efforts, the ultimate use of the nagual''
He went through all the exercises of not-doing that he had made me perform, the routines of
my daily life that he had isolated for disrupting, and all the occasions when he had forced me to
engage in the gait of power."
After completing the recapitualation of CC's training, DJ now gives him the main part of the
sorcerer's explanation - The Bubble of Perception - again pointing out that this is one explanation
of perception using the metaphor of a bubble. In this model, our description of the world given
to us by our society, becomes closed once our functional requirement for survival has been
sufficiently fulfilled, and for all practical purposes we live inside this closed and limited bubble
for the rest of our lives, content and satisfied with it, since it fulfills all our functional
requirements. Since a stable mind is one important aspect of our functional requirements,
the bubble remains static and limited for most people. But for a creative person or artist
(in the context here - a sorcerer) this limited and closed bubble of perception has to be
necessarily broken temporarily for anything new or creative to manifest.
Sorcerers say that we are inside a bubble. It is a bubble into which we are placed
at the moment of our birth. At first the bubble is open, but then it begins to close until it has
sealed us in. That bubble is our perception. We live inside that bubble all of our lives. And what
we witness on its round walls is our own reflection."
"The thing reflected is our view of the world," he said. "That view is first a description, which
is given to us from the moment of our birth until all our attention is caught by it and the
description becomes a view.
"The teacher's task is to rearrange the view, to prepare the luminous being for the time when
the benefactor opens the bubble from the outside."
"The bubble is opened in order to allow the luminous being a view of his totality," he went on.
"Naturally this business of calling it a bubble is only a way of talking, but in this case it is an
(Again DJ makes it clear that the bubble of perception is only a metaphor)
"The delicate maneuver of leading a luminous being into the totality of himself requires that
the teacher work from inside the bubble and the benefactor from outside. The teacher reorders the
view of the world. I have called that view the island of the tonal. I've said that everything that we
are is on that island. The sorcerers' explanation says that the island of the tonal is made by our
perception, which has been trained to focus on certain elements; each of those elements and all of
them together form our view of the world. The job of a teacher, insofar as the apprentice's
perception is concerned, consists of reordering all the elements of the island on one half of the
bubble. By now you must have realized that cleaning and reordering the island of the tonal means
regrouping all its elements on the side of reason. My task has been to disarrange your ordinary
view, not to destroy it but to force it to rally on the side of reason. You've done that better than
anyone I know.
In the case of DJ's lineage, this opening of
the bubble was the crux of sorcery since it
was the only way that an apprentice could get a glimpse of his/her totality. DJ explains
how this relates to the tonal and the nagual. DJ relates the tonal with reason and the
nagual with the Will - and this is fairly accurate for the sake of simplicity. Before the
opening is done, however, DJ explains that a long and arduous process of reordering
the tonal towards one "side" of the bubble has to be successfully done by the teacher,
so that when the bubble is opened or "exposed", it does not lead to chaos/haywire
on the island of the tonal. This is mostly accomplished by making the apprentice live
like a warrior.
"He drew an imaginary circle on the rock
and divided it in two along a vertical diameter. He
said that the art of a teacher was to force his disciple to group his view of the world on the right
half of the bubble.
"Why the right half?" I asked.
"That's the side of the tonal" he said. "The teacher always addresses himself to that side, and
by presenting his apprentice on the one hand with the warrior's way he forces him into
reasonableness, and sobriety, and strength of character and body; and by presenting him on the
other hand with unthinkable but real situations, which the apprentice cannot cape with, he forces
him to realize that his reason, although it is a most wonderful affair, can only cover a small area.
Once the warrior is confronted with his incapacity to reason everything out, he will go out of his
way to bolster and defend his defeated reason, and to that effect he will rally everything he's got
around it. The teacher sees to that by hammering him mercilessly until all his view of the world is
on one half of the bubble. The other half of the bubble, the one that has been cleared, can then be
claimed by something sorcerers call will.
This is also similar to what DJ called the "shrinking of the tonal", or "sweeping clean the island of
the tonal". The important thing is that unless the tonal is in proper order, and thus unless there is
"room" in the perceptual space, the nagual cannot operate or manifest, and thus remains latent.
"We can better explain this by saying that the task of the teacher is to wipe clean one half of
the bubble and to reorder every thing on the other half. The benefactor's task then is to open the
bubble on the side that has been cleaned. Once the seal is broken, the warrior is never the same.
He has then the command of his totality. Half of the bubble is the ultimate center of reason, the
tonal. The other half is the ultimate center of will, the nagual. That is the order that should
prevail; any other arrangement is nonsensical and petty, because it goes against our nature;
it robs us of our magical heritage and reduces us to nothing."
In a somewhat different way of explanation, in the root website, another kind of explanation has
been given, in which instead of the term nagual, the term supraconscious has been used, and
similarly the conscious and the subconscious can be called the tonal.
"To be ready for the sorcerers' explanation is a very difficult accomplishment," he said. "It
shouldn't be, but we insist on indulging in our lifelong view of the world. In this respect you and
Nestor and Pablito are alike. Nestor hides behind his shyness and gloom, Pablito behind his
disarming charm; you hide behind your cockiness and words. All are views that seem to be
unchallengeable; and as long as you three persist in using them, your bubbles of perception
have not been cleared and the sorcerers' explanation will have no meaning.""
12. The Bubble of Perception
In this chapter, DJ makes the "wings of
perception" of CC and Pablito to "take flight",
demonstrating that the wings of perception when opened up does make perception take
flight way beyond the confines, limits, rules and modes of the physical world.
The important thing about the sorcerer's explanation (of DJ's lineage) is that to make sense
it requires some experience of or some excursion into the realm of the nagual. This vital
experience is induced into CC by DJ and DG as part of their training, so that CC can relate
at least somewhat to the explanation provided by DJ.
Since the nagual is conceived as an extreme abstraction by the tonal (of a person) of it's
own counterpart, the entire onus to make sense of this conceptual abstract counterpart
rests upon the tonal itself, and the entire exercise that DJ and DG is undertaking with CC
is to firstly provide the necessary experience of the excursion into the nagual and then
also thereby make the tonal aware of the possibilities and potentialities of the nagual.
What Genaro wanted to show you with the
first exercise the other night was how sorcerers
use the nagual," he went on. "There's no way to get to the sorcerers' explanation unless one has
willingly used the nagual, or rather, unless one has willingly used the tonal to make sense out of
one's actions in the nagual. Another way of making all this clear is to say that the view of the
tonal must prevail if one is going to use the nagual the way sorcerers do."
I told him that I had found a blatant incongruity in what he had just said. On the one hand, he
had given me, two days before, an incredible recapitulation of his studied acts over a period of
years, acts designed to affect my view of the world; and on the other hand, he wanted that same
view to prevail.
"One thing has nothing to do with the other," he said.
This is how DJ best explains how important the tonal is as a tool for order and comprehension:
"Order in our perception is the exclusive realm of the tonal; only there
can our actions have a sequence; only there are they like stairways
where one can count the steps. There is nothing of that sort in the nagual.
Therefore, the view of the tonal is a tool, and as such it is not only the
best tool but the only one we've got.
"Last night your bubble of perception opened and its wings unfolded. There is nothing else to
say about it. It is impossible to explain what happened to you, so I'm not going to attempt to and
you shouldn't try to either. It should be enough to say that the wings of your perception were
made to touch your totality. Last night you went back and forth from the nagual to the tonal time
and time again. You were hurled in twice so as to leave no possibility for mistakes. The second
time you experienced the full impact of the journey into the unknown. And your perception
unfolded its wings when something in you realized your true nature. You are a cluster.
The metaphysics is however a bit oversimplified because it does not reveal much by way of
explanation as to why and for what does an individual being comes into existence.
Once again DJ shows poor understanding of the potentialities of reason and specifically the
vitality of the rational process in ordering the tonal from within it's own domain.
"This is the sorcerers' explanation. The nagual is the unspeakable. All the possible feelings
and beings and selves float in it like barges, peaceful, unaltered, forever. Then the glue of life
binds some of them together. You yourself found that out last night, and so did Pablito, and so
did Genaro the time he journeyed into the unknown, and so did I. When the glue of life binds
those feelings together a being is created, a being that loses the sense of its true nature and
becomes blinded by the glare and clamor of the area where beings hover, the tonal. The tonal is
where all the unified organization exists. A being pops into the tonal once the force of life has
bound all the needed feelings together. I said to you once that the tonal begins at birth and ends at
death; I said that because I know that as soon as the force of life leaves the body all those single
awarenesses disintegrate and go back again to where they came from, the nagual. What a warrior
does in journeying into the unknown is very much like dying, except that his cluster of single
feelings do not disintegrate but expand a bit without losing their togetherness. At death, however,
they sink deeply and move independently as if they had never been a unit."
DJ's assertion that "reason is merely reflecting an outside order , and that it knows
nothing about this order" is true only for those who depend only on society and culture
for their understanding and comprehension, and have no internal autonomous reasoning
of their own. An autonomous reason works on itself to achieve an order that is not dependent
on social, cultural norms, rather it becomes capable of a self defined order, although hardly
without support from the operations of the nagual, that is, the Will.
"The last piece of the sorcerers' explanation says that reason is merely reflecting an outside
order, and that reason knows nothing about that order; it cannot explain it, in the same way it
cannot explain the nagual. Reason can only witness the effects of the tonal, but never ever could
it understand it, or unravel it. The very fact that we are thinking and talking points out an order
that we follow without ever knowing how we do that, or what the order is."
"Sorcerers do the same thing with their will," he said. "They say that through the will they can
witness the effects of the nagual. I can add now that through reason, no matter what we do with
it, or how we do it, we are merely witnessing the effects of the tonal. In both cases there is no
hope, ever, to understand or to explain what it is that we are witnessing."
Again DJ's is reflecting a very pessimistic potential of a tonal's reach to understand and reorder
or refine itself to improve it's own functioning. (Note please: it is DJ's tonal talking about itself!)
A further point of clarification: while I disagree with DJ about the tonal's potential to understand
itself, I fully agree with DJ that there is no way we can understand the functioning of the nagual.
13. The Predilection of Two
Now they are coming to the end of their journey together, and reach a pre selected place
where their final interaction takes place.
"This journey is our last journey together."
Apparently CC and Pablito will make a
leap into the metaphorical "unknown" the nagual, on
their own after DJ and DG have left, and will find out whether they disappear into the "unknown"
or return back to the world to fulfill their task - what that is, is not revealed, but the warnings
about not living up to the mark that is expected of them as warriors, come thick and fast,
especially from DG, who is doing most of the talking today.
"I must also add that few warriors survive the encounter with the unknown that you are about
to have; not so much because it is hard, but because the nagual is enticing beyond any statement,
and warriors who are journeying into it find that to return to the tonal, or to the world of order
and noise and pain, is a most unappealing affair."
DG explains the returning to the world is decided by one's will - which is the realm of the nagual.
"The decision to stay or to return is done by something in us which is
neither our reason nor our desire, but our will, so there is no way of
knowing the outcome of it beforehand.
DG points out that fulfilling their tasks means foremost that they will have command over the
totality of themselves.
"If you choose not to return you will disappear as if the earth had swallowed you. But if you
choose to return to this earth you must wait like true warriors until your
particular tasks are finished. Once they are finished, either in success
or defeat, you will have the command over the totality of yourselves."
"It means that the warrior has finally encountered power," don Juan said. "No one can tell
what each warrior would do with it; perhaps you two will roam peacefully and unnoticed on the
face of the earth, or perhaps you will turn out to be hateful men, or perhaps notorious, or kind. All
that depends on the impeccability and the freedom of your spirit.
"The important thing, however, is your task. That is the bestowal made by a teacher and a
benefactor to their apprentices. I pray that you two will succeed in bringing your tasks to a
DG presents a fascinating story about a pact between warriors and gives two very important
pieces of advice: 1) "without expecting rewards" and 2) "aim all your personal power at
fulfilling your tasks."
"If you two decide to return to this earth," he said, "you will have to wait
like true warriors
until your tasks are fulfilled. That waiting is very much like the walk of the warrior in the story.
You see, the warrior had run out of human time and so have you. The only difference is in who is
aiming at you. Those who were aiming at the warrior were his warrior comrades. But what's
aiming at you two is the unknown. Your only chance is your impeccability. You must wait
without looking back. You must wait without expecting rewards. And you must aim all of your
personal power at fulfilling your tasks.
"If you don't act impeccably, if you begin to fret and get impatient
and desperate, you'll be cut down mercilessly by the sharpshooters
from the unknown.
"If, on the other hand, your impeccability and personal power are such that you are capable of
fulfilling your tasks, you will then achieve the promise of power. And what's that promise you
may ask? It is a promise that power makes to men as luminous beings.
Even while fulfilling one's task "without expecting rewards", what then is the expected
outcome to be?
"Each warrior has a different fate, so there is no way of telling what
that promise will be for either of you."
"You have learned that the backbone of a warrior is to be humble and
efficient," don Genaro said and his voice made me jump. "You have learned to act without
expecting anything in return.
Now I tell you that in order to withstand what lies ahead of you beyond this day, you'll need your
"A warrior must be always ready," he said. "The fate of all of us here has been
to know that
we are the prisoners of power. No one knows why us in particular, but what a great fortune!"
"Prisoners" is a very misleading word to use here...either the articulation is lacking or
the translation. But.... let's not get too heavy on technicalities.
How right he was when he had said that the serenity of the scenery around
us was only a
mirage and that the sorcerers' explanation delivered a blow that no one could parry.
I had heard the sorcerers' explanation and I had experienced its premises; and there I was,
more naked and more helpless than ever in my entire life. Nothing that I had ever done,
nothing that I had ever imagined, could even compare to the anguish and the loneliness
of that moment.
CC realizes that the sorcerer's explanation by itself is of cold comfort. However, DJ's words
are reassuring and comforting:
"A warrior acknowledges his pain but he doesn't indulge in it," don Juan said.
"Thus the mood
of a warrior who enters into the unknown is not one of sadness; on the contrary, he's joyful
because he feels humbled by his great fortune, confident that his spirit is impeccable, and above
all, fully aware of his efficiency. A warrior's joyfulness comes from having accepted his fate, and
from having truthfully assessed what lies ahead of him."
DJ now articulates very movingly what is
closest to the heart of a warrior - and that the warrior's
heart is filled with passion....and the gratitude is expressed beautifully.
"The life of a warrior cannot possibly be cold and lonely and without feelings,"
"because it is based on his affection, his devotion, his dedication to his beloved. And who, you
may ask, is his beloved? I will show you now."
"Genaro's love is the world," he said. "He was just now embracing this enormous
since he's so little all he can do is swim in it. But the earth knows that Genaro loves it and it
bestows on him its care. That's why Genaro's life is filled to the brim and his state, wherever he'll
be, will be plentiful. Genaro roams on the paths of his love and, wherever he is, he is complete."
Don Juan squatted in front of us. He caressed the ground gently.
"This is the predilection of two warriors," he said. "This earth, this world. For a warrior there
can be no greater love."
Don Genaro stood up and squatted next to don Juan for a moment while both of them peered
fixedly at us, then they sat in unison, cross-legged.
"Only if one loves this earth with unbending passion can one release one's sadness," don Juan
said. "A warrior is always joyful because his love is unalterable and his beloved, the earth,
embraces him and bestows upon him inconceivable gifts. The sadness belongs only to those who
hate the very thing that gives shelter to their beings.
"Don Juan again caressed the ground with tenderness.
"This lovely being, which is alive to its last recesses and understands every feeling, soothed
me, it cured me of my pains, and finally when I had fully understood my love for it, it taught me
"The antidote that kills that poison is here," don Juan said, caressing the
sorcerers' explanation cannot at all liberate the spirit. Look at you two. You have gotten to the
sorcerers' explanation, but it doesn't make any difference that you know it. You're more alone
than ever, because without an unwavering love for the being that gives you shelter, aloneness is
"Only the love for this splendorous being can give freedom to a warrior's spirit; and freedom
is joy, efficiency, and abandon in the face of any odds. That is the last lesson. It is always left for
the very last moment, for the moment of ultimate solitude when a man faces his death and his
aloneness. Only then does it make sense."
This marks the end of Book 4
INDEX PAGE: The Last of the Shamans
ROOT LINK http://www.personalvalidity.webs.com/
epistemology, philosophy, metaphysics, religion, belief, system, social, cultural, paradigm, knowledge,
ontology, power, moral, fundamental, force, Will, Spirit, Intent, knowing, Heart, Mind, reason, intuition,
autonomous, unique, being, existence, space, time, meaning, purpose
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