Florinda Donner-Grau Chronology Part V [1992]

Feb. 1992 - DIMENSIONS (Canadian New Age magazine) publishes article, "Being-In-Dreaming--Florinda Donner in Conversation with Alexander Blair-Ewart."

Florinda, who is described as living in Los Angeles and Sonora, mentions that she has been giving lectures in conjunction with this book, whereas she did nothing regarding the publication or promotion of her two previous books. She also explains, "Actually I¡¯m not an apprentice of Don Juan. I was an apprentice of Castaneda who was an apprentice of Don Juan. And I am one of the 'sisters¡¯ who were actually of the women of Florinda, and she gave me her name. So, in that sense, it is a myth which exists." [Interesting admission at Florinda's first interview: "I'm not an apprentice of don Juan." The claim that she was don Juan's apprentice as opposed to Castaneda's seems to get started with Castaneda's publication of The Art of Dreaming the following year.]

When asked about there being "an unbroken lineage from the ancient Toltecs right down to modern times" and "what the pattern of the myth actually is," Florinda responds: "Well, there is no pattern of the myth. That¡¯s why the whole thing is so baffling, and so difficult. When I first got involved with these people my main quest, my main aberration . . . was that I wanted to have some rules and regulations about what the hell it is I had to do. There were none. There is no blueprint. Because each new group has to find their own way to deal with this idea of trying to break the barriers of perception." In a later response, she explains: "For [Castaneda], whatever the people he is working with¡ªand there are six of us¡ªit¡¯s a matter of decision. That¡¯s all. Our decision is all that counts, nothing else."

As to Castaneda¡¯s "original group of apprentices," Florinda says, "Castaneda is the last of his line. There is no one else. There¡¯s a group of Indians that we work with. You see, Don Juan, in a weird way made almost a mistake with Castaneda. And he rallied right away. His circle of apprentices¡ªand I think it¡¯s in Tales of Power and The Second Ring of Power, when he talks about the people in Oaxaca and the Little Sisters and all those people. And then, years later, Don Juan realizes that that¡¯s not the way Castaneda is going. Castaneda was even more abstract than Don Juan was. His path was a totally different path. And then when he gathered these other people, because the people that are with Castaneda, we all met Don Juan before we met Castaneda. Actually there was only five of us before¡ªfour of us and Castaneda." Florinda also claims, "When I was in school, I was just a step away from going into graduate school, and I had been in this world for two or three years, and I said, ¡®What am I doing by continuing school? Why should I get a Ph.D.? It is absolutely redundant.¡¯ And Don Juan and all the women [who should have been gone already at least a year before Florinda received her Masters degree] said it¡¯s absolutely not redundant, because in order to reject something you have to understand it at its most sophisticated. . . . . And for them it was extremely important that all of us are very well trained. Everyone working within this little group has a degree. There are historians, anthropologists, librarians."

She also volunteers that, "Don Juan was interested in women, and people always ask, ¡®Well, how come there¡¯s always so many women? Do you have orgies? Is there all kinds of stuff going on?¡¯ He said, ¡®No, it¡¯s because the male doesn¡¯t have the womb. He needs that magical "womb power (laughter).¡¯" She also mentions "two people that have come in contact with us, and they are there. I mean, we¡¯re never together anyway; each person lives on their own, and just from time to time we do get together. Originally we had this little class when Castaneda was here. He teaches certain very interesting movements, basically to store up energy. So, these people have been there for two years, and they¡¯re changing little by little. And it¡¯s amazing. You see, if you let something go, something in you will know."

A final question: "Why would a woman read this book Being-in-Dreaming?" Florinda responds: "Very interesting, hmmm. Well, if nothing else, I think people who have been interested in the Castaneda work, would be interested to see it presented from a female¡¯s perspective, from somebody who has been in that work for over twenty years. I do approach the problems differently, probably more directly."

  Replica Watches  Replica Watches

April 1992 - Magical Blend #35 contains Brian S. Cohen¡¯s "Being-in- Dreaming Florinda Donner Interview ."

In response to the question, "How do you describe yourself, and what are you currently doing?" Florinda responds: "I am an anthropologist who no longer practices anthropology, and I have an interest in non-Western healing practices. My work with the Yanomamo Indians in South America was the subject of my first book, Shabono. I then did another study in which I worked with a healer in Northern Venezuela. [Note: This reverses the chronology of the two "studies" that is set forth in Shabono.] By that time I had already been exposed to the world of don Juan, and carried a desire to continue with it. I am no longer involved in academic research. What I am trying to do now, along with the other people who are involved in the same quest, is to work and live the way don Juan taught us, within a whole other world that he and his cohorts opened for us." Later, she explains, "One of the first exercises all sorcerers do¡ªone that I did not do for years because I didn¡¯t believe in it¡ªis a recapitulation of their lives with all the people with whom they have had any kind of interaction." And, "Don Juan was the nagual of a group of 14 sorcerers. Castaneda is the nagual of a much smaller group."

When asked, "When you first came across Castaneda, he was working as a cook in Tucson as part of a task assigned to him by don Juan. Did you have an assigned task?" Florinda responds: "My task was to finish school [note: she enrolled at UCLA after she purportedly met them in July 1970], get a Ph.D., and continue to study. . . . . All the people in this group have upper degrees, because when you plunge into the darkness, if your mind is not so keen and so well trained from a rational point of view, you cannot make sense out of what you find in the darkness." And, in a similar vein, later in the interview: "The world of the sorcerer is a sophisticated world; it is not enough to understand its principles intuitively. One needs to absorb them intellectually. Contrary to what people believe, sorcerers are not practitioners of obscure, esoteric rituals. Sorcerers are men of reason. They have a romance with ideas. They have cultivated reason to its limits, for they believe that only by fully understanding the intellect can they embody the principles of sorcery without losing sight of their own sobriety and integrity. This is where sorcerers differ drastically from other people. Most people have very little sobriety and even less integrity."

Florinda also opines: "Buddhism is a system that works inside the social order. Sorcery doesn¡¯t work within the social order. To truly embody sorcery, one has to be almost outside the social order. It is not that one is a deviant, but that one has to extract oneself." But, seemingly contradictorily, she concludes, "Only by being challenged by our daily life, by what we know, will we be able to change. The pressure always becomes such that we cannot uphold this new rationale, precisely because we are being pressured. And we are only going to be pressured by the world we know."

[1992 - Taisha¡¯s The Sorcerers' Crossing, published by Viking Arkana]

[mid-1992 - Castaneda invites people to attend evening sessions, generally three days a week]

August? 1992 - Florinda appears at a small book signing event in Berkeley for Being-in-Dreaming sponsored by Gaia Bookstore and held across the street from the bookstore in the Gaia Annex. [Carol Tiggs was on hand but not introduced. There were no chacmools or other "guardians" on hand on this occasion.]

October 1992 - Florinda lectures a crowd of 200 at the Jewish Cultural Center in Berkeley, at a lecture sponsored by Gaia Bookstore. [Florinda says that don Juan called his female apprentices "the Crazy Cunts." The audience asked a lot of questions about the sexual energy lines between male and female partners. Florinda said that the seven years of abstinence mentioned in her book as being needed to break the lines was a rule of thumb, but that it could take less. A woman asked if lesbian sex was better for women because they did not have to deal with some man draining their energy. Florinda responded that sexual energy lines could exist between same-sex partners. She also mentioned that don Juan was "very sexually active." Florinda mentioned having seen don Juan in a San Francisco hotel room. Carol was on hand, and this time Florinda introduced her to the audience as the Nagual woman.]

November 1992 - Body, Mind & Spirit #6 publishes interview with Florinda Donner by Ken Eagle Feather & Carol Kramer, "Being-in-Dreaming."

Upon being asked "What are dreaming and stalking in this tradition," Florinda answers: "[O]ne is either an Abelar or a Grau. I am a dreamer, so I am a Grau. Sometimes I use that name, either as Grau-Donner, or Donner-Grau, depending on my mood."

Later in the interview, on the same topic, she states: "Dreaming and stalking form a nearly indivisible unit of action. A sorcerer has to practice both of these aspects, and yet, one is better at one or the other. Besides Castaneda, my closest cohort is Taisha Abelar. The sorcerers paired me with her from the very beginning. She is a stalker. To me, she looks like a dreamer--she is tall and thin and ethereally beautiful. She is sweet and patient and good-natured. And yet, she is the most agressive being I know. She gets things done with minimal effort and fuss."

To the question, "How many people are in your group?", she says: "Not enough. There were sixteen sorcerers in the nagual Juan Matus's group. Together, they had the mass and energy to perform astounding feats. Our group, comprised of Castaneda, Taisha Abelar, myself, and a few other elusive, mysterious people I am not at liberty to name, has too few."

The next question was, "What happened to the people Carlos Castaneda wrote about in his books?" Florinda answers: "We are often with the little sisters--Lydia, Josefina, and Rosa--and the Genaros--Nestor, Pablito, and Benigno--either in Mexico or Los Angeles. However, their pursuits are different from ours. They are struggling to formulate and attain concrete goals extremely similar to the goals of the sorcerers of antiquity. For instance, Nestor, a practical botanist, wants to find a plant or clump of plants in the tundra which, according to the sorcerers' calculations, are over 300,000 years old. He wants to find them and sell them to the Japanese pharmacologists for their regenerative properties. He thinks that those plants will enhance the sexual potency of men."

"The women are equally involved in pursuits of this nature. Another example: Lydia wants to find a sorcerers' cure for AIDS, slowly emptying a sick person's body from the virus invasion by transmitting it to a tree. La Gorda had an attack of such intense self-importance in 1985 that she believed she was the only one of us who could lead us to freedom. She died in a futile attempt to reach beyond her energetic capabilities. Soledad is extremely well situated as a movie producer. She uses her arts in sorcery to gather money for her projects. Her motto is: Dollars from any source for movies."

"When La Gorda died, Carol Tiggs (the nagual woman) returned, which means to us that the sorcery configurations of don Juan's world are no longer applicable to us. We are on our own. Our group is composed of Carlos Castaneda, Taisha Abelar, Carol Tiggs and myself. Since we cannot see eye to eye with the concrete interests of the other apprentices, we have found ourselves in the odd situation of being explorers in a new territory, trying to find viable directions."

"Carlos Castaneda's readers will soon hear from him. Taisha Abelar, Carol Tiggs, and I found that it was imperative that Carlos send his manuscript on the art of dreaming to his agent for publication. Carlos finished writing it years ago, but believed that it was too outlandish for consideration. Taisha, Carol, and I disagreed vehemently and succeeded."

In response to the question of why the nagual is the leader, Florinda claims: "Carol Tiggs, as the nagual woman, could very easily be the leader of our group. However, it is a sorcerer's belief that women are universes in themselves. As universes they have no interest whatsoever in leading other universes! Sorcerers also believe that maleness is an extension of femaleness. Therefore, it is antithetical to the spirit of womanhood to lead. The nagual is not quite a leader; he is the person who lends the sorceresses soundmindedness, sobriety, and purpose. He can do this because of the heavy conditioning he suffered under the hands of the previous nagual."

Late 1992 - Florinda Donner lectures at a bookstore in Westwood

Go to Florinda Donner-Grau Chronology part VI