Florinda Donner-Grau Chronology Part VI [1993 - 1994]
1993 - Castaneda’s The Art of Dreaming is published by HarperCollins.
Castaneda begins by explaining that he had previously written about the first party that don Juan had found for him, but "I have never mentioned the second group of apprentices; don Juan did not permit me to do so." [Even though don Juan was gone by ?3, before Tales of Power was published?] "He argued that they were exclusively in my field and that the agreement I had with him was to write about his field, not mine. The second group of apprentices was extremely compact. It had only three members: a dreamer, Florinda Donner-Grau; a stalker, Taisha Abelar; and a nagual woman, Carol Tiggs." p. x. He further explained, "It took me fifteen years of uninterrupted work, from 1973 to 1988, to store enough energy to rearrange everything linearly in my mind. I remembered then sequences upon sequences of dreaming events, and I was able to fill in, at last, some seeming lapses of memory. . . . . Being in possession of most of the pieces of don Juan’s lessons in the art of dreaming, I would like to explain, in a future work, the current position and interest of his last four students: Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar, Carol Tiggs, and myself." p. xi. In Chapter 10, Castaneda explains that, while he had previously met Taisha Abelar in the world of everyday life a few years before, he was now meeting "Florinda Grau" and Carol Tiggs in "the world of everyday life."]
[July 7, 1993 - Castaneda Mailing List --firstname.lastname@example.org -- established as the first use of the Internet I’m aware of devoted to sharing personal experiences related to the concepts covered in the books of Castaneda, Florinda and Taisha.]
July 23-25, 1993 - Florinda, Taisha, Carol and the Chacmools?first workshop, at the Rim Institute in Arizona.
[Per Kylie at Omega in 1995, the workshops were first suggested by Michael Kraft of the Rim Institute, and they were "all surprised when Castaneda agreed."] According to a letter in issue 4 of the Nagualist, Florinda stated during this workshop that don Juan and his party did not make their leap, and were stuck in the world of the inorganics. She indicated that the group was too heavy to extricate itself, and that Carlos and the Witches intended to join them and to supply the energy needed for them all to leave the world of the inorganics.
J.J. Stoecker remembers that Florinda described la Gorda’s death by claiming that la Gorda had seen that, together with Taisha and Florinda, they had enough energy to join don Juan’s party. She grabbed Taisha and Florinda by the arms to join together energetically, but Taisha and Florinda struggled and broke free just as they were "taking flight." La Gorda hadn’t counted on their resistance, and purportedly continued her attempt, even though the struggle had weakened her. La Gorda then allegedly collapsed into a corpse of an old woman before their eyes. Florinda also claimed they (the witches) had just returned from visiting Lidia and Rosa in Mexico. She said that they had become curanderos, and were trying to find a way to transfer the AIDS virus from people into trees. "Soon trees will be dying all over Mexico," Florinda joked. When asked about Pablito and Nestor, she said they had become master carpenters, and had a thriving business in Oaxaca. Soledad, Florinda said, was a producer of soap operas in Mexico City. What became of the others, she didn't say. [Beginning in May 1995, these "other apprentices" were said to have been recently whisked away by don Juan into the Second Attention.)
Florinda also blurted out that the Blue Scout was Carol Tiggs’s daughter, and that Florinda's daughter was the Orange Scout. This gave rise to audience questions about sex and energetic holes. Florinda explained that a sorceress can simply cause one of her eggs to start dividing "by an act of will," but that normally no warrior would want this because it would cause a huge "energetic hole." In the case of the scouts, she asserted that they had their own energy, but no body, so they could be conceived and delivered without sex or causing "holes" in the mother either. According to J.J., when Carol was later asked about the scouts, she didn’t address Florinda’s story of parthenogenesis, but simply did a turn on the edge of the platform, like a runway model in a fashion show, asking "See any holes?" About 100 people attended.
September 14, 1993 - Florinda Donner files for change of name to Florinda Donner Grau. Lists Amberg, Germany, as place of birth; 183 N. Martel Ave., #220 as present address; and Taisha Abelar, "sister," as nearest living relative. Change effective Oct. 25, 1993. [SS 005026 in Santa Monica.]
September 14, 1993 - Premajyoti Galvez y Fuentes (known, at least from mid ?3 through ?6, as "the Orange Scout"), files for change of name to Nayely Tycho Aranha Thal. She lists her address as 1675 Manning Ave., #2, 90024; place of birth as Mexico D.F. (area around Mexico City), Mexico; and nearest relative as Florinda Donner, "mother," at 183 N. Martel Ave., #220, 90036 (old Toltec Artists address). [SS 005027 in Santa Monica].
September 27, 1993 - Carlos Castaneda marries Florinda Donner in Las Vegas. Marriage license No. C 472101 lists Castaneda’s date of birth as 12/25/31 in Peru and his parents as Frank Castaneda and Susan Novoa of Peru. It states that it is his first marriage. Florinda Donner is listed as the wife’s name by "legal name change." Her date of birth is listed as Feb. 15, 1944, in Germany. Her parents are listed as Rudolph Thal and Katarina Claussnitzer of Germany. It is also listed as her first marriage. [Two days later, Carlos "Aranha" marries "Carol Muni Tiggs Alexander" in Las Vegas.]
October 14-17, 1993 - Witches appear at a four-day workshop at Akahi Farms in Maui [Florinda speaks the first night, Taisha the second, Carol the third and all four take questions on Sunday morning. Notes quote Florinda as saying they were "testing out the workshop format, and had reformulated them in the last year." She claimed they had "noticed a difference in the people who returned later having done the recapitulation." She also said something about some people being able to "take just one year instead of twenty" before they are "ready to jump into the unknown." She explained that "Don Juan’s group had enough energy to shift us into the second attention and reduce us to nothing." She also claimed, "We are the last of our line; our group doesn’t have the strength for another cycle." They recommended Tai Chi, demonstrated some "sorcery passes"; otherwise topics were consistent with later workshops--recapitulation, phenomenology, intentionality, courtship rituals taking energy. Van’s notes on final Q&A session with all three reports "They avoid chronological histories so that people won’t know their personal history, they keep from a linear discussion, they don’t cross reference with each other."]
? 1993 - Florinda Donner radio interview (by telephone) on "Earth Mysteries Show," with Haines Ely, KVMR Grass Valley
Florinda says: "According to don Juan, he said, illness and disease didn't really exist in his world because it is basically . . . I don't want to say it's self inflicted because that's going too far, but we do make ourselves sick with stress. And the stress basically comes because the ego cannot deal with the world outside." Ely follows up with, "Is there any particular portion of the body where we store these energy blows?" Florinda responds: "Well it depends. Usually we store those energy blows in our weakest part . . . . For instance, if you’re under stress, let’s say you feel certain pains, or you feel drained, you get a cold, I mean you know your body better than anyone else. Well, that is exactly where the blow is going. [It] varies person to person. For instance, I have very weak bronchitis, whenever I get drained, I start coughing very, very badly so whether it is just something physically or I really got stressed out, you know, I start coughing."
Florinda describes growing up blond and cute in South America: "I was the greatest thing that ever lived, I mean, the world validated my idea of the self. I grew up in South America, I had advantages just by the mere fact of the way I looked. Children know how to manipulate that extremely well; I was President in my elementary school from kindergarten until sixth grade. I was in Venezuelan schools . . . there were very few blond children. I mean, I was treated like a little goddess and I believed that that was my inherent right."
She asserts, "We have not retreated from the world but we are not in the world in the sense that whatever makes us react like our fellow man, we have curtailed this to the minimum. It doesn't really matter what they do to us anymore. How they bang us." As to other philosophical systems, Florinda says: "In terms of what we know from the sorcerers of the lineage of don Juan, it’s only one line what we know, you see? I am sure there are many other systems of knowledge that express, let's say the terminology; the vocabulary is different, but ultimately the intent is the same. It is not that the different systems of knowledge . . . this system of knowledge is extremely pragmatic. It truly gives us the way, if you are interested, to follow certain . . . I don't want to say rules and regulations, because there are none, but does give us a very pragmatic way of trying to implement something that in other traditions we can only read about."
Florinda responds to a question about her relationship with her family: "Actually I think I am the only one that has any kind of relationship with the family because of my circumstances. When I first entered, if there is such a thing, entered into the sorcerers world, I cut myself off, purposefully, from most people that I knew including my parents of course. My parents did not know for about ten, twelve years whether I was dead or alive. It was a very calculated move, because of the sorcerers?point of view is that for us to change, for us to be able to change, we need to cut off from the people who know us so well because, not that they do it maliciously, but they prevent us from changing because they already know what we are and nothing that we do will make them change their mind. . . . . [Old] Florinda at one time said "Look, it doesn't matter, why not just go and see your parents?" and at that time, you know, I had been working, you know I was doing . . . I was an anthropologist, actually I was in contact with one brother and from time to time I would let him know--I just wanted to at least re-assure them that I was not dead. I said I was involved in something that I had to cut myself off. Personally, I had parents who were extremely understanding and let’s say, at least from my perspective, it went very well. When I, let’s say, re-established contact with my parents, it was extremely interesting to see that my relationship with my parents was much more loving and understanding than it had ever been before."
Replica Watches Replica Watches
November 1993 - Florinda and Taisha, along with the Chacmools, give a workshop at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.
? late 1993/?4 - Castaneda visits Mexico City. His relationship with Jacobo Grinberg, a brilliant Mexican academic, deteriorates--Grinberg later calls Castaneda "an egomaniac, more interested in power than truth." Tere Grinberg (later suspected by many to have killed her husband, who disappears without a trace) continues to speak of her friendship with Florinda Donner. [See July/Aug 1997 New Age Journal article]
March 1994 - Details Magazine contains Bruce Wagner’s "The Secret Life of Carlos Castaneda: You Only Live Twice." [Bruce quotes Florinda as describing the collective consensus of their books as "intersubjectivity among sorcerers," but then inaccurately describes the "players"--i.e., Castaneda, Florinda, Carol and Taisha)--as "all Ph.D.’s from UCLA’s department of anthropology" and "stupendous methodologists whose academic disciplines are in fact oddly suited for describing the magical world they present." [In fact, only Castaneda and Taisha held Ph.D.’s.] Bruce writes, "When Donner-Grau first encountered don Juan and his circle, she thought that they were unemployed circus workers who trafficked in stolen goods. How else to explain the Baccarat crystal, the exquisite clothes, the antiquarian jewelry?" He also quotes Florinda describing the first time Castaneda took her to Mexico to see don Juan: "We went via this long, snaky route—you know, the ‘coyote trail.?I thought he was taking a weird route so we wouldn’t be followed, but it was something else. You had to have enough energy to find that old Indian. After I don’t know how long, there was someone on the road waving us in. I said to Carlos, ‘Hey, aren’t you going to stop??He said, ‘It isn’t necessary.?See, we had crossed over the fog." Article notes that Castaneda had spoken before groups in San Francisco and L.A., and that the Witches had recently given lectures in Arizona, Maui and at Esalen. Bruce claims he "met with Castaneda and ‘the witches?over a period of a week at restaurants, hotel rooms, and malls."]
April 1994 - Magical Blend #42 contains Keith Nichols, "Castaneda's Clan: an exclusive interview with three of the female warriors of Carlos Castaneda’s sorcery lineage: Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar, Carol Tiggs."
When asked, "Why are the women of this lineage just beginning to come out and speak about their practices?" Florinda responds: "Well, there is a fundamental difference in the way males and females perceive and respond to reality. Females, such as Taisha, Carol, and I, didn’t write about anything for twenty years. [Actually, of course, Florinda’s first book mentioning her involvement with don Juan and Old Florinda came out in 1985, only 15 years after she allegedly first met them.] This is the fundamental difference: females need to embody a system of belief before they can write about it. While males build their bridges of understanding with words, women build their understanding with their life." Florinda also claims, "I love books; I’m an avid reader. Now Carlos hasn’t read a book in over twenty years. I know that because he gave all his books to me. . . . . Well, I’ll be reading something and then I’ll ask Carlos a question. He’ll be quiet for about ten minutes and then he’ll give me an explanation of exactly what I have been reading. At that point, I know that he’s been out there grabbing that knowledge from elsewhere. And this ability has no limitation; I can ask him something about physics and he immediately gives me a bonafide answer." Florinda also says that Castaneda "recently" took "a group of twenty people to a small church in Mexico," and that "[w]hile in the church, he took the whole group into a state of dreaming, and journeyed into another world." She also explains: "When sorcerers enter into dreaming, the first thing they will usually encounter is a bank of fog. When you see this fog you are pulling at something else energetically. In a way, sorcery is like Chinese Medicine in that it treats the body as if it were a field of energy."
June/July 1994 - Dan Lawton anonymously publishes first issue of Nagualist: The Nagualist Newsletter and Open Forum (with articles on dream crystals, recapitulation crates, and Tula information). [Four more issues are published, with the last, dated Feb./March 1995, announcing the end of the publication at the request of Cleargreen.]
[1994 ?There were no Tensegrity workshops this year, only a few lectures prior to Castaneda’s appearance in Sunnyvale on Dec. 3, 1994. A hint as to what might have been going on is suggested by a source from Milwaukee printed on p. 13 of Issue 4 of the Nagualist. This person asked Tracy Kramer’s secretary why no further workshops were being offered at the time, and was told, "They were surprised to find the new nagual as fast as they did." This person was further told that the group had all returned to Mexico and no further workshops were being offered in 1994. This would seem to coincide with the group’s increased involvement with Tony Karam, the head of Casa Tibet in Mexico. The event involving the Dalai Lama, where Tony captured the Flyer photo, took place in ?4.]
June 23, 1994 - Florinda "Grau" marries Tracy Kramer in Las Vegas. Marriage License no. C 540511 lists Tracy’s date of birth as 4/4/1954 in California. His father is Searle Kramer of Michigan and his mother is Jan Freidberg of California. He lists this as his second marriage, after a final divorce in 1989. Florinda Grau lists her date of birth as Feb. 14, 1954, in Venezuela. She lists her father as Ray Rommel of Germany and her mother as Florinda Matus of Venezuela. She lists this as her first marriage.
July 22, 1994 - A fictitious business name statement for Elemental Films is recorded [94-1369443], listing The 300 Movies Company (Bruce Wagner, President) and Toltec Artists as registrants (at 183 N. Martel, LA 90036), signed by Muni Aranha Alexander, Florinda Donner Grau, Tracy Kramer and Bruce Wagner.
Late Summer 1994[?] - Taisha lectures and signs books at On the Edge Books on Main Street for a crowd of about 45-50 people, mostly women. [Taisha apologized for not being a great public speaker, and recommended that they hear Florinda, "who always keeps people riveted."]
Fall 1994 - Florinda speaks during Women’s Career Week at Sony Pictures. [Bruce and Tracy were on hand. The talk was announced the day before at a concert at Sony, and "Doctor Florinda Donner-Grau" was characterized as an anthropologist who was "going to talk about the role of women in society." People were allowed to reserve seats, and tables were set up, as if for a large business presentation, with gourmet appetizers being served and about 60 people on hand. Florinda, dressed in black, first described who they were and what they did. She said, "We are the cohorts of Carlos Castaneda, but don’t get me wrong--we’re not his women." She mentioned the rainforest activist she knew who had a lot of children and asked, "How can you expect to save the rainforests if you are driving around in a big Mercedes"?
People wanted to know what one would get out of their practices. Florinda responded, "There is no there there. We have no temple; there is no place you can be with us. You just recapitulate and work on your own." She also indicated that she didn’t live too far away. She was asked if Castaneda was celibate, and responded that, at the present time, he was "trying that." She also mentioned that Taisha was the better speaker, and would have people "in stitches." She was also asked whether don Juan got stuck, and responded that they suspected he was in the "Inorganics? world" and was trying to find a way "to catapult himself out."]
November 1994 - Magical Blend #44 contains Merilyn Tunneshende’s first piece, "Dreaming within the Dream." [Merilyn is billed as "of the sorcerer’s party of Carlos Castaneda." Tunneshende states, "Carlos, Florinda and Taisha have presented excellent accounts of their instruction, and good explanations of the goals of the training." Tunneshende claims she is the original Nagual woman, and involved with la Gorda ("Maria Tena, who I call Butterfly Woman"), the Genaros and doña Soledad.)]
[December 3, 1994 - Castaneda gives a two-hour-and-15-minute lecture to about 100 people in Sunnyvale, California. (Notes appear on pp. 18-19 of Issue 5 of the Nagualist. He described the gathering of the Tibetans at the Pyramids in Mexico, and the photo of the Flyer. He claimed that the Genaros and little Sisters were "all doing fine living good lives, but would not follow me." He also described don Juan’s "burning" in a novel way: "Don Juan burned with an incredible implosion of energy as he held his awareness in his hands. Then he took off like a bullet.")]
Go to Florinda Donner-Grau Chronology part VII