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Carlos Castaneda was a student at UCLA in the late 1950’s studying Anthropology. He was working on his doctorate in Mesoamerican Shamanism and of course this led him to the small border towns of Southern Arizona where he could research the indigenous peoples of the area. One day he came upon an old man at a bus station and they began to talk. He told the old man that he was doing research on the religious ceremonies of the Yaqui Indian nation and that it was very important work he was doing for this big University in California. Needless to say the old man turned out to be Don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian Shaman from Sonora, Mexico. The two became friends and Castaneda had found the “in” that he’d been looking for. Little did he know that Don Juan would offer to teach him the ways of his learning, and begin an education that will completely BLOW you away.
It needs to be said however, that after Castaneda’s rise to fame and riches he became a reclusive cult leader. Who’s life and times after these first three books was filled with rumor and innuendo and a most questionable lifestyle as cult leader and generally “over the top” personality. I wanted to make it clear that those accusations and humiliations never shook my faith in what I learned from these books, the first of which is entitled “The teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge”. Most of Castaneda’s education into this new world takes place in the Sonoran desert near the home of Don Juan and his friend Don Genaro who, is himself, a Shaman. He was taught to use the desert to “alter his state of consciousness” with plants from the desert itself. The first was the magic “Mushroom” (psilocybin) that was to be “The Power”, and Peyote, The Wisdom. Both of these desert plants are halluicinogens and are very powerful substances meant to offer Castaneda a new perspective. The perspective that comes from the desert itself and all its beautiful color and life. At first Castaneda has a very difficult time overcoming his western rationalism and grasping what he was being taught, which was based in ancient Mexican Mysticism. He was motivated by the fact that he needed to get his thesis done and had “really” found the golden opportunity. So as he bravely presses on deeper and deeper into Don Juans teachings he finally comes to understand that his goal is ultimately to learn to “Stop the World” which, if accomplished, will allow you to enter a “Separate Reality” known as the “Nagual”, a world of Supernatural understanding. A world where people appear as “themselves”, luminous, egg shaped, balls of light and energy.
Interestingly enough, we are now capable of using modern photography to capture human energy output, which, on film, appears as luminous egg-shaped balls of energy.
(These books were written in the 1960’s.) He goes onto learn how to manipulate the energy for healing, and even the UNTHINKABLE, how to use the energy to levitate in the air, or be unafraid to jump into the abyss. How to control one’s dreams, how to manipulate the energy of others. The possibilities and the methodology of these teachings are staggering. UCLA gave Castaneda flying colors on his book and he graduated with a Doctorate in Anthropology. But afterwards he returns to Don Juan and Don Genaro because he wants to learn it all. They are waiting for him on his return.
These books are a philosophical walk on the wild side in which you are taught to “Stop The World” by breaking free of everyday learned indoctrination and breaking free from habitual ways of thinking and perceiving the world around us. To this day these conversations and teachings between Don Juan and Carlos Castaneda cannot be disproved or proved. It is a debate that has been going on for over 50 years. Some of the teachings in these three books are now a working part of my personal belief system. They are pieces of information which have allowed me to accomplish some incredible things through meditation and focusing of energy and faith. I guarantee you one of the best reads of your life if you are at all interested in the Metaphysical. I have gone into some of these accomplishments in past postings on this blog and I wish to relate one to you now.
I had just visited the pyramid at Teotihuacan outside of Mexico city, where I had met an old woman at the top of the Pyramid and spent several hours talking with her. (I go into some detail about that conversation in my “Altered States” posting) During the course of that conversation she revealed to me that I could find the man I was looking for in the small town of San Miguel de Allende, about 5 hours by bus from Mexico City. I was a true seeker in those days so I did not hesitate, I left that same day. My interest was in finding real Peyote out in the Mexican desert, I had already participated in a mushroom ceremony with the Indians in the mountains of Oaxaca. This was one of the things I had on my list of “Things to do” from my notes on the Castaneda books. I managed to find the man I was looking for with no problem. By the way, San Miguel de Allende, is one of the most beautiful little towns in the world. (i’ll tell you about my stay there some time) His name was Washington, he was from the States and everyone called him that because his real home was in Washington DC, he pretty much stood out in the town. Very tall Black man. Nice as could be. When we first met he took me to a local cantina where we talked and drank Tequila, I think he wanted to know my real reasons for wanting to find peyote. He was surprised when I told him that it had to be fresh and that I wanted to pick it myself out in the desert. After that, he never questioned my motives again. After, recovering from a hangover, from the tequila, we ate and lounged until about three in the afternoon, when he suddenly spoke, “It’s time to go” and in a moment I was primed and ready. I had been looking forward to this for months. According to the books Peyote was “The Wisdom” and I was desperate to find out. After about 40 minutes of walking into the desert we came to a spot. Washington pointed out the plant and drew a BIG arrow in the sand so I would know which way to go after experiencing my hallucination out in the desert, alone. I think its one of the bravest things I ever did. Considering I really didn’t know Washington at all. But there it was. A cactus like plant just as I knew would look and as the book had described it. As soon as I put a piece in my mouth i knelt down, mostly out of fear I think, and began to chew slowly. My mouth went completely numb, tongue too. I swallowed. Within minutes I was vomiting, but not normal vomiting, it was almost pleasant as I watched what looked like blue water coming out of my mouth. I vomited, this pleasant vomit for a minute or two and then I got to my feet, wiped my mouth, and began to see the desert for the very first time. It all seemed so fast, this transition into color. Like in The Wizard of Oz when the black and white turns to color. The desert was filled with colors I’d somehow neglected to recognize. I could see everything from the smallest insects to the occasional bird over head. The experience was nothing like the mushroom experience which was more of a feeling in the body itself. This was more like a VERY logical conversation in my mind. I pondered. And grew more quiet. I sat back down and crossed my legs. I watched and waited for hours while this ballet played out in front of my eyes. A snake crawled right in front of me, I thought it was trying to tell me something I couldn’t understand. A large bird seemed to be passing by every little while to check on me. When suddenly, on the horizon, a man was walking toward me. Closer and closer I could begin to make him out. He was an average looking man with an old sombrero on his head. When he grew close enough, I looked into his eyes, and at that very moment, he burst into a ball of light, exploding in all directions, I covered my eyes for a moment, and when I opened them there were hundreds of large black birds flying off into the distance. The strange thing was that throughout this whole ballet, I was not once, afraid. I sat there for what must have been 3 hours just watching the sun go down and considering what had happened, I was in one of the most reflective states of my life.
It wasn’t until years later that I was able to put those experiences together in my mind. I accomplished some measure of understanding through meditation techniques and other spiritual practices but I was simply trying to make a point about these books. There is so much to these books that I cannot relate them to you here, but suffice it to say, these books were the beginning of the journey I still find myself on to this day. To prove that we are all beings of light and ENERGY. And no matter what path we take in life, there is only one basic truth. Everything we know is made of energy. Everything. Energy is immortal and constantly evolving. We are all of the same stuff. Whether we choose spirituality or science, we will all eventually come to the same conclusion. That our lives are of a divine energy that we as human beings are blessed to have innately bound in the inner recesses of our minds and souls. We as people, are luminous balls of energy and light and I highly recommend these books if you have a search for truth in your future…………I am Dartanion2….and that’s the way I see it……..t xx