School is now in session, but tuition is high.
Last issue, a new reader sincerely stated a desire for a sorcery school. At the same time, information on such activities started coming in. As you may recall, the stated purpose of the newsletter is to explore and investigate the possibility of participating in the practices described as modern Nagualism. It now seems that there are lots of groups describing themselves as Nagualists. This shouldn't be surprising, don Juan's description of the Nagualist community included a wide range of behavior, from the egotistical old Toltecs, to the post conquest copycats with no real knowledge. The number described as being exactly like don Juan's was a mere handful. Aside from that, there is a lot of public interest in the topic and it's surely a marketable commodity.
I believe that we have readers who follow each of the groups described in this column. I don't want to offend anyone, so everyone should keep in mind how ruthless we have all been about Merilyn and expressing our opinions on her. We haven't printed half the comments about her. We ought to feel just as comfortable talking about any Naguals who pop up, just as we should all feel free to lay into Carlos' group if that's the way we see it. It's our lives that are at stake here, let's not be self-important idiots.
One of the hallmarks of an esoteric teaching that doesn't work is student touchiness. For instance, if you traveled to a tribe on the mountain tops of Brazil, and they didn't believe that cars existed, you wouldn't take offense. You ride in cars everyday. You would simply find it amusing. But if you'd made up the car, or belonged to a group that invented it as part of a group identification and purpose, you would certainly take offense. The same's true here. If you're touchy about it, maybe you have doubts.
For starters, we have been sent information on Victor Sanchez, author of a couple of Spanish language books claiming a tie to Carlos. It seems he had placed an ad for his seminars (which cost money) in a Mexican new age magazine. Somehow Carlos himself got wind of this ad and placed his own on the same page. It was hand signed. It read (translated from the spanish original):
To the readers of Carlos Castaneda and to the public in general
Carlos Castaneda declares that he is NOT responsible for any acts and projects of any of those groups or persons without his explicit authorization who claim to be his apprentices or students, neither for those who use his name or the terms and concepts belonging to the teachings of don Juan - no matter if their goals are altruistic or if their goal is profit - in seminars or publications.
We were sent a copy of this advertisement and we compared the signature to that on Carlos' signed first edition of The Art of Dreaming. Not surprisingly, the signatures did not match. That devil Carlos doesn't even let his signature slip out! Readers may recall that Time Magazine supposedly printed authentic pictures of Carlos, but they turned out to be fakes.
The reader who sent this info pointed out that this advertisement statement included even the newsletter, and we completely agree. Carlos and group may in fact hate the newsletter. We don't know. Our only consolation is that we might qualify for his altruistic category.
The information we have on Victor (besides the ad story) is as follows: He has authored at least two books in Spanish. One is called, Las ensenanzas de don Carlos (The Teachings of don Carlos). Another is called, Toltecas del nuevo milenio (The Toltecs of the New Millenium). They are both published in Mexico, and my information states that Victor claims intensive contact with Carlos (implying that he is an apprentice, but he doesn't state this). He does charge for his teachings, but the only info we have on the amount is "a lot". We have the insinuation that power plants are part of his teaching, but we can't verify this and it may be entirely incorrect.
Several readers have asked about Swift Deer and his cohorts. This triggered an information submission by a reader who seems to have the scoop on everyone. If you ask, he'll investigate anyone. This reader has had a lot more personal contact with Carlos' group than most readers and is very clear about his dislike of Naguals that charge. For this reason, I'd advise readers to abstain from mentioning their particular leader unless they don't mind having him compared to Carlos. We really do have an obligation to print most information we receive. If you ask us not to print info you send, we absolutely will not print it. But if another reader sends in the same info for use, we'll honor his request to print it.
Our source states that Swift Deer's group charges between $500 and $700 per weekend, and students pay for instruction all year round. Seminars with Swift Deer in the States or Mexico were about $3000 in an offer sent to this reader in 1992. Swift Deer's "Nagual," Tom Wilson, who was rumored to be don Genaro, died. He even had children. Carlos' books indicate he had no children and didn't die.
They have printed photos of Tom Wilson, with eagle feathers and other Indian ceremonial garb. Our source tells us that they also claim that Silvio Manuel is Gus Graymountain and that the Nagual Julian was also a teacher of Swift Deer. As far as this reader knows, they have not mentioned don Juan. Not surprisingly, their teachings are totally different from Carlos' group. Their way is ceremonial medicine and rituals, according to our source. You have to pass certain gateways (something like changing classes in school) to proceed. And before you have reached the 6th gateway, where you will have earned the title of Medicine Person (or something similar), you will likely have spent thousands of dollars.
In issue 44 of Magical Blend, a full page ad for don Miguel Ruiz's Sixth Sun foundation is on page 5. Simply stated, the ad lists a seminar at $900 and two tours at $2250.It states that he is a Nagual of the Toltec tradition who learned from his mother, "passed on" grandfather, who now teaches him in his dreams, and a desert sorcerer. He's preparing the world for a transformation that was predicted in the Mayan Calendar. An interview with a student of his was sent to us. It seemed to be in a publication called Llewellyn's New Worlds of Mind and Spirit, Nov 1993. The interview was with Dr. Susan Gregg, who had an advertisement for a book she is selling, complete with 1-800 number, next to the article. The book is Dance of Power, A Shamanic Journey. A review of this material, plus the advertisement, makes it obvious that don Miguel is using or teaching the same material as don Juan's group. In fact, it's such a close copy that it makes one a bit suspicious. For instance, his advertisement says that "Their system of teaching involved three levels of mastery: Awareness, Stalking, and Intent". It almost sounds like a book review for The Fire from Within. Likewise, the article has don Miguel directing Dr. Gregg to gaze at shadows and warns about inorganic beings attaching themselves to feed on emotions. There is also an account of her sensing the presence of death nearby, and feeling like fleeing. It all seems to be a re-enactment of Carlos' books, formula style. But everything isn't exactly the same. Don Miguel's ad implies that being a Nagual is passed from father to son. Delia said the new seers never do that. And while don Juan warned his students not to visit the Toltec ruins, don Miguel is selling guided tours of them. Also, Carlos fed fake photos to Time magazine, but don Miguel features his image at the top of his ad. Dr. Gregg's attitude toward the teachings is also different from that of Carlos' group. While Taisha warns that dabbling in sorcery can be worse than not practicing it at all, a blurb on the ad for Dr. Gregg's book states, "Learn how to be happy, no matter what is happening around you." My own experience agrees with Taisha; if you seriously practice sorcery for a while, you won't easily recommend it to your friends.We also have 2 reports of criticism from don Miguel's group, directed at Carlos. The gist of it was that Carlos' understanding is lacking on a few topics. I had heard that Merilyn said that too, but it didn't come out in the article by her. She has another coming in a future issue of Magical Blend. Now I know it's childish of me to jump to Carlos' defense, but I'll do it anyway. Carlos' books are about don Juan's teachings, not his own. They don't mention anything at all about his own view except as it relates at the time of the story. So what is there to criticize, unless the party making the comment claims to know Carlos personally? Or do they mean to imply that Carlos made up don Juan, in which case the whole thing is a hoax and what are they selling anyway?
Please don't get me wrong, I sincerely wish don Miguel's group the best of luck. If he starts throwing people onto the sulfur plane, body and all, I'll be driving for San Diego as fast as my truck can go, cash in hand. We have several readers who follow him and their comments range from superlative to luke warm. The ones that love him are very well versed with Carlos' teachings, and obviously not naive. The one that was luke warm mentioned don Miguel in the same paragraph as his Novadreamer, apparently seeing both as being tools to an end. We aren't clear if paying for the teachings is absolutely mandatory for all, but it seems to be the rule for most. For those who want to check out don Miguel, I suggest you research if he was teaching recapitulation before The Eagle's Gift, or emphasizing awareness, stalking and intent before The Fire from Within. That would be absolute proof of his authenticity as far as I am concerned. But don't ask his students. Members of groups are notorious for passing on rumors which have no apparent source.Our eyes widened when a reader sent us a seminar announcement for a man called the "Tlakaelel". The seminar was called "The Prophesies & Medicine of the Mexica Tolteca". It stated that Tlakaelel is an indigenous elder from Mexico, a master of the oral tradition, and founder and director of the Kapulli Koakalko, a spiritual school and community in Coacalco, near Mexico City (and near the Toltec ruins). It said that the name Tlakaelel is a title, a spiritual grade that he received in 1947, and that there was only one. Their goal is to preserve the Mexico Tolteca culture and to rebuild the ancestral cultures of the North American continent. It further said that he was joined by Tonal (Juan Salazar), who assists and translates for him. The announcement mentioned the prophesy of the dawn of the Sixth Sun, perhaps the same prophesy in which don Miguel is interested. The Tlakaelel expressed a heavy concern for the condition of the planet, siting earthquakes as an indication of something bad happening.
We wondered if this could be some form of Nagualism and contacted someone who makes a hobby of looking into these things. He said:
...This Tlakaelel seems to be an Aztec, for his words are Aztec Nahua and not Toltec Nahua. The Aztecs call themselves "Mexica", and "Tolteca" isn't a word describing a culture, but means "artist" (or exact meaning: "master-builder"). Maybe Tlakaelel is some kind of title, but I doubt it. A man of knowledge is called "Tlamantini" ("He, who knows the things") in Toltec Nahua. Kapuli (again Aztec Nahua: "large house"), may mean anything. If he's a sorcerer at all, he's probably of that kind don Juan mentions in The Fire from Within - those who inherited certain Toltec techniques, but not the inner knowledge. On the other hand, I might be deadly wrong...
Separate from this, we have reports of a large school in Canada, with hundreds of students, and organized class levels. We don't know the nature of this school but they do emphasize Carlos' material. Students seem to feel a sense of pride at advancing through a given class level, and titles of some form seem to be part of the offering.
We also have a report of groups led by Luis Molinar who describes himself as a Nagual guide and teaches recapitulation in the Boulder, CO area where there are at least 3 groups of 5-7 people studying under him.
Then we have El. G's group. Her benefactor has provided some material for the newsletter, making it possible for you to reach your own conclusion.
That's all we have on other groups. If anyone has more info, we'll be grateful to receive it. Corrections are also welcomed, we don't want to print anything false. Those reading this article should be sure to check the next issue for any facts which are in dispute.
My last encounter with Carol Tiggs (at the RIM conference) was brief. She looked me up and down and then stared at me. She tapped me on the chest and said, "get grounded." I thought that was a strange (yet compassionate) comment from someone who's been off the planet for ten years. Then she walked away towards some other people, but when she was a few yards away she turned around towards me. Someone was standing partially in front of her and all I could see was the left half of her face. A black blank stare of intent was coming at me from her left eye. Then she was gone.
A few weeks later I was back in New York in bed with my girlfriend. I was telling her about the meeting with Carol and the others and I remembered that last look coming from Carol. As I was describing it I got hooked into the energy of that intent. The sound of my words seemed to be sort of far away. My mouth and voice were moving in a way that was connected to something else. My friend and I both felt our bodies begin to dissolve; to fragment into energy.
- Then something shifted. - Maybe it was our fear or just the newness of the unknown. But the reality shifted back to ordinary and we said, "What just happened?" It did kind of freak us out, but it was also humorous as well. And we still get chills and laugh about it when it comes up. I'm still wondering how I did that and would like to do it again.
Source: New York, NY
THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE
My interest in Castaneda began at the age of 24. About a week before I started at University, I had the great good fortune to meet a fascinating older man, an ex-academic who had done research at Sussex University into shamanism in general and the magical traditions of Britain in particular.
What he talked about was apparent nonsense, but he had a quicksilver mind and a strange enigmatic quality, a confidence that was almost frightening, that I could not resist. He said he was a Sorcerer. Via a complex and bewildering series of events I became, to my own astonishment, his apprentice.
The apprenticeship lasted for three years and began with an emphasis on the ancient magical practices of Old England, the Anglo-Saxons and Celts, lots of earth-magic, tree and fire spirits, ley-lines and ancient sites of power. As it developed it became more abstract and philosophical, and pulled in threads from all sorts of traditions and writers and thinkers, centering finally on Castaneda's work.
My teacher was not in the league of don Juan or Genaro, but he thoroughly shattered my continuity and pushed me into many bizarre expressions of awareness. If I were to write it all down I don't suppose it would sound all that different from some of the events in Journey to Ixtlan or Tales of Power.Although I had some dramatic visions and dreaming experiences, I eventually found these to be unsustainable: I wasn't solid enough and didn't have the energy to maintain my sense of self. The relationship between my teacher and my self was intense and highly cerebral, and we slowly found ourselves at the rough center of a Hippy/Occult scene.
This was fun, but became increasingly hedonistic; people were taking a lot of LSD and thinking all they had to do to achieve Cosmic Consciousness was sit about on a hill and wait for something weird to happen. Although I squirmed about trying to avoid it, it eventually became obvious to me that I wasn't going to get anywhere off-planet until I'd sorted myself out as a tonal. My life was ragged, I had no money, no concrete goals, and my flat was a dump.
I realized I felt anxious about the future and was carrying all sorts of neurotic baggage from the past. Above all I felt that I had no inner silence, and that although I had experienced silence and had felt it for short periods, I was going to have to change myself radically to get that extraordinary alertness and composed passion to stay.
Attempting to make these changes in myself seemed only to bring me into conflict with other people I knew who had shared similar interests, and eventually I became estranged from them and my teacher. I am still in contact with him and a few others, but I am no longer in a teaching relationship with him. So since then all my intent has gone on learning how to deal with the everyday world, amateur stalking I suppose.Source: Norfolk, England