Men seem to jump into Nagualism as if their self image depended on it, oblivious to what they might have to give up in the process. With women, there seems to be a consciousness of the need to make a choice. This letter shows the kind of struggle we've observed several times.
Hello! So, you've been saying you wish more women would write... well, here you go!
I wasn't sure I had anything to say until I read the first three issues. Then I found myself overwhelmed with questions, feelings, and the desire to communicate my own experiences.
...I feel a lot better now that I have a forum for more information, questions, fellowship. I could probably have found an address for Carlos and the women with a little digging, but I didn't really want to write to them, because the tone of every interview I've read is that they don't have the energy for everybody, and that it's all possible to accomplish on one's own. So this is the ideal alternative.
After reading over everything I've written, I realize it's quite a lot of verbiage. I offer it in utmost humility - do whatever you want with it. I just feel better getting it off my chest. Reprint any you like, or none of it. Use my name, state, or city, it's up to you. So here goes, a little history, a few experiences, and some questions:
I always knew there were other options available for perception and reality. It seems to me there is a very thin veil between this world and the unknown. I have always sensed this, but at the same time it's clear the veil is held in place with formidable anchors.
As a child and early adolescent I definitely had what I called a "cosmic" side, even thought I grew up in a very "concrete" environment. My father is a physician, and anything that can't be proven by the scientific method does not exist. I spent many years in therapy working on my self of ordinary reality. I view this as positive, because it enabled me to function well in this world, to be stable and balanced. After all, it's hard to vanquish an ego if you don't understand anything about it. Taisha mentioned in the lecture that it's important to use the social order for stability. I totally agree! I could never have attempted any of this work without a thorough understanding of myself in ordinary reality.
In April of 1993 I met someone who became a close friend. In our talks he told me a lot about the books, Carlos, etc. At that time I thought it was a bunch of crap, but because I respected him I kept my mind semi-open. Last Christmas he gave me Journey to Ixtlan and Tales of Power as a gift. I read the books diligently, and as I did so, doors flung open, and I knew I wanted to do this. When I read the Details article in March, I realized that this work could actually be available to me. I began voraciously devouring the rest of the books, the women's as well. After reading Sorcerers' Crossing I began recapitulating. I practiced almost every day for three months, then intermittently, and in August I stopped altogether. But I've just started again, thanks to the inspiration of the newsletter!
I am very confused, concerned, excited, etc. about all this, but there are a number of issues that I find very difficult to resolve. Well, two major ones especially.
First, it has been my lot in life to be extremely interested in finding a relationship, "someone who loves me." This has plagued me to the point of obsession. Since I have been gaining more power (through recapitulating and changing my behavior), this has become a more balanced part of my life. But, in the world of every day reality, it is a perfectly acceptable thing to assume that one day I will have a partner in life with whom I can walk my path. I'm struggling with the choice between Nagualism and something that has been THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE UNTIL NOW. But I have also seen how much energy I have lost in the pursuit of relationships, and how much power I've given away. I've gotten some of it back now, and it's great. But the concept that I could never again want or seek a relationship is extremely difficult to grasp and leaves me feeling quite at loose ends. Is the value of Nagualism greater than the value of happy family life in ordinary reality? I'm not quite sure what I'm getting into here... I only know I am COMPELLED to keep doing it, so I'm in a quandary.
I have gotten a clear message in the newsletters that it is important to do sorcery 100%, not half-assed at all or bad things will happen. This causes me to feel extremely torn, like I have to make a choice RIGHT NOW between two worlds. That if I pursue the recapitulation, the dreaming practices, etc., without completely renouncing a very large and loud part of myself (connecting with others in relationships, the concepts of family, work, creativity, etc.), then it won't work. Does anyone else feel torn this way? I'm not ready to choose sorcery 100% today, but I can't let it go either. What I would like to do is pursue the practice and pursue my everyday life. I feel the more I get into it, the stronger I become, and if this is in fact what I need to be doing, the choice will become more clear. I'm just struck on this "half-assed" thing, that possibly I could go crazy or something, which brings me to my second point:
FEAR! It has plagued me all my life. I always knew I had a lot of energy. I always knew there was more out there. I have always been afraid of the dark because I could sense a presence near me and just DID NOT want to see it. I honestly feel like fear is the only thing that keeps me in this world at all. I realize this is the Tonal's way of keeping the agreement, of keeping me in ordinary reality. But again, I'm confused. I don't know where I'm indulging and where I'm being prudent. This work can be dangerous and it's certainly nothing to screw around with. I truly don't know how other readers can help me there, except to explain their feelings of fear and how they have overcome them or just worked with them. I already feel comforted reading the experiences of everyone and knowing that people are brave enough just to dive right in. How does one stop indulging fear, and in what instance should fear be a guide to protect oneself from harm?
What I truly want is a CHOICE. I want to have my power available to me. I want to be able to choose freedom if I want, or choose ordinary reality if I want. It seems the two can't jive together. Ordinary reality is really tied up with things that prevent us from choosing freedom. Can I live in ordinary reality and not have sex, not get married, not have an ego? They say it's possible, I don't know yet if I want to do it that way. But, to be honest, the process of recapitulation has diminished my interest in sex and seeking a relationship, and my ego has definitely changed. And I feel better for it, so maybe I have answered my own questions. Plus, blah, blah, blah, the more I talk and think, the worse off I am. If I just do it, experience it, see it, I'm fine...
So, my experiences go like this:
I did it almost every day for a few months. I sat in my room (on a hill in San Francisco), facing the Southwest. I start by moving the energy in my body doing the breath exercise from Sorcerers' Crossing in which you breathe the earth's energy through the vagina, up the spine, and rest it between the eyebrows, then exhale it down the front of the body. I do this until I have a good sense of the energy moving through the cycle in my body, like a wave. Then, I close my eyes and visualize the scene as it progressed, setting it up. After I feel I can see as much of the scene as possible, I visualize extending the fibers from my belly and casting a net around the entire scene. I start by inhaling myself out of the scene. I just suck myself up through the web of fibers. (I inhale while turning my head to the left and exhale while turning it to the right). Then I move to the person I am recapitulating (I'm still working on my sexual relationships, so each scene has to do with one person). I lock onto their feelings, and as I exhale I send them back to that person. If it is a sexual act, I spit the luminous worms from my belly and see them laying in the scene in front of the person. Finally, I inhale the room, walls, furniture, everything else in through the web. Then I take a few general breaths, sucking every last bit of my energy back through the fibers. When I feel ready, I begin pushing the scene away from me with each exhale, continuing to suck the last bit of energy in with each inhale. When the scene is very far away and now very small, I retract the web on one last inhale, and on the last exhale I just blow the scene away into nothing, which leaves blackness in front of me. I then make one sweep without a breath, then I sit quietly for as long as possible without internal dialogue (the amount of time varies), inhaling intent with every breath.
I have found recapitulating to be EXCRUCIATING. Not because it's hard to look at parts of my life, I've already looked at most of them in therapy. But it's very slow. The books talk about being thorough, so I really suck everything in. Actually, after a while I was really struggling, so I started speeding it up, which made it a little easier. I don't believe I have sacrificed thoroughness, but I can't be sure. I'm certain this won't be the only time I recapitulate.
Also, with heavily charged scenes where I dropped a lot of energy, taking it back can be uncomfortable. The hit of energy coming in can make me very tense, sometimes it makes me cry. I have to stop for a moment and let it sink in before continuing.
The small amount of recapitulation I have done has really affected me. I have become aware that I am a person who was given a lot of energy. I am also aware that it is all dispersed. I'm totally psyched to get it back! It has also helped me to keep from giving my energy away in my current life. As a result, my level of personal power has increased quite a bit. My daily life is so much better as a result! There doesn't seem to be much to fear here, I think everyone should do this. But... It is really hard, and so when my daily life got hectic and personal relationships began to interfere, it was easy to let it fall by the wayside. This was, I guess, my first lesson in how hard this work really is. But I have started back up now... I don't have a true enclosed space, and there's not much room in my house for a refrigerator box. Initially, I wasn't in an enclosed space at all, but I like the idea of putting physical pressure on the energy body. So now I sit in a corner of my room, surrounded by the wall on one side and my bed on the other. I've rigged a large piece of fabric to drape over the space so I'm completely enclosed. It's the best I can do, and I do feel a difference. At the end of the session, I'm much more aware of shifts in my perception, little movements that settle down after a few minutes.
Another result (I think) of recapitulating is I see more things. All my life I would occasionally see... um... points of light (I did not vote from George Bush - this is the best way of describing this). Usually they're white, but they can be green, black or blue. They would appear briefly somewhere in my field of vision and then disappear. Since I've been recapitulating, they happen all the time. Lots of white ones now, but also more colored ones. The blue ones are bigger and more amorphous. Occasionally, they will stay around for a couple seconds, and one of the blue ones actually sizzled. They are almost never directly in front of me, more in my peripheral vision. (Actually, it seems that they're not a part of my vision at all) I usually greet them now, acknowledge them in some way, say hello... I really don't know what it is, except that I may be letting some energy in or something.
Also I see a lot of things in my peripheral vision that I never used to. Often it looks like a cat is walking down the hall. Sometimes a person. When I turn to look directly at it, there's nothing there.
Not much luck with this yet, but not much effort either. I tried to focus on finding my hands in the beginning, before I started recapitulating. Strangely enough, I did see my hands twice, but not because I even tried to - both times it happened when I feel asleep after having sex with my (then) boyfriend (go figure...). My hands were green and slimy both times, and both times I woke up right after I saw them because I was so excited that I had actually seen them... When I read The Art of Dreaming I realized that dreaming doesn't work well when recapitulating, so I stopped even trying. But I figure, it can't hurt to work on shutting off the internal dialogue and continue asking to see my hands. Who knows how much energy I really have recovered?
The internal dialogue thing is very hard, but I find that gazing has gotten me to a certain point. I can focus all the chatter on one point and then there is a blankness in the rest of me. I have gazed at trees mostly (I'm fond of them), but I did gather some dried leaves recently. I'm going to try that too (by the way, gardening is a good way of getting close to the earth's energy - and the awareness of plants and trees is very compelling to me). Of course, as soon as I get anywhere near quieting the internal dialogue, a big wall of fear takes me out of the whole thing.
Normally, in the last few years, my sleeping has not been too great. I toss and turn a lot and wake up many times in the night. When I have tried to focus on quieting the inner dialogue and finding my hands while going to sleep, I have great sleeps. All night long, very peaceful, no waking up. Unfortunately, I don't remember a damned thing, and I certainly don't find my hands!
I have had strange experiences in airplanes. Once I saw a blob of light moving around in the clouds outside my window. It was not blinking like an airplane light, and it was amorphous and changed shape a few times. And it glowed...
Then, on the same trip, on the way back, I had been reading The Power of Silence, I think, and I put it down and turned on the Walkman. Now, I feel like music speaks directly to my left side, and this particular tape really got me going. I decided to focus on my womb. I closed my eyes, and as soon as I sent my focus to that area, it felt like my entire inner self just slid right down inside my womb, so I was completely enveloped in it. Then I don't really know what happened. It did not feel like I was asleep, but I had a dream in which I was planting a tree, and I decided to step back away from my body (to release the double I guess). When I made the concerted effort to back away, my whole body went with me. (Of course, at that point I felt that I had not succeeded, but when I mentioned this to a friend he noted that I did not look down to see if my body had actually come with me or not. Nor did I notice my body in front of me...). At that point I came to and realized that the tape in the Walkman was nearly over, so quite a bit of time had passed. I wasn't aware that I had slept, but I really don't know what happened.
The interesting thing about this experience was that I had NO FEAR. I'm normally afraid of flying, so possibly my fear was already taken. I was feeling very soothed, comforted, happy with the music, reading the book, there was simply no fear. So then I had one of my most significant experiences. This points out to me more than ever that fear is what keeps me here.
Also on the dreaming thing, I have what I call "sleepwalking" dreams often. I don't ever get very far before I wake up. Usually I wake up as I'm getting out of the bed. The interesting thing about this is that the dreams are very loud, very intense, more than regular dreams. Also, when I wake up, the reality of the dream is superimposed on the reality of my bedroom. My eyes are seeing both things at once. It is very uncomfortable and confusing until the dream reality recedes and I'm once again in just this reality. I have always felt this was a significant thing, but I'm not sure in what way. Perhaps I will learn more as my dreaming progresses.
I did have a dream about the women and Carlos. The women did not want to teach me. They were very intimidating, and did not seem to have time or something. Then one of them (I think it was Taisha) had some realization and agreed to take me on. They showed me some ways of walking that I can't remember. Then later in the dream I was on a hillside with sheep, and we were all sitting there with Carlos. I remember hoping he would like me. I honestly feel this was just an ordinary dream reflecting my desire to work with them and my constant "please love me" obsession. But you said you wanted to know...
1. Where did Carol Tiggs actually go? Before I read The Art of Dreaming I assumed (based on what Carlos said in Details about her being gone for ten years) that she had gone with don Juan. Other references in the books seemed to indicate that as well. But in The Art of Dreaming, it seems more like she was in some realm of the Death Defier's dream...
2. What is impeccability really? The only real definition I got for it was "doing the best you can in all situations," but I'm sure there's more to it than that. From reading Taisha's lecture notes it seems that the concepts of loving unconditionally, vanquishing the ego and not feeling better than anyone else are part of this. Possibly honesty, too, but that may not always fit in with controlled folly.
3. What exactly is the point of this, other than a compelling challenge, hard work, fun and possible insanity? What are we trying to achieve? Taisha said their goal is "total freedom, not just another position of the assemblage point." If I understand that correctly, the point is to burn with the fire from within, as don Juan did, and become pure awareness, thereby moving around death. She said she thinks this is possible, that intent will guide us if we make sincere effort. But if we fall short of that, then what? I suppose we will never know unless we try. But if one gives up the comfort of the ordinary world and falls short of the goals of the sorcerer's world, one would find oneself in a pretty shitty place, wouldn't one? Maybe I just don't understand the death thing well enough...
4. What about masturbation? (Well, somebody had to say it.) Do we have a definitive answer on that? I can see how sex with someone can be draining, but it seems the energy generated from a self-induced orgasm is purely for oneself. I do recall don Juan telling Carlos in The Art of Dreaming to grab his dick if he got too cold after dreaming.
5. What about abortions? Aside from the fact that they need to be completely recapitulated, does the act of conceiving a child - even if the child is never born - make a woman lose her edge? What about the man involved?
Well, that's it. My apologies if your eyes are tired now, but I do appreciate the opportunity to communicate.
Source: San Francisco, CA
Editor: We seem to have decided, in the last issue, that comparisons to other techniques are OK. So, about those lights: Yogananda and Muktananda have described them, Muktananda being by far the most obsessed with them. He called the blue one, "the blue pearl". He equated them to the inner lights mentioned by Patanjali, about 2000 years ago, who described a technique where the phrase "inner light" is held as the only thought in the mind, then dropped into total silence, devoid even of self image. The results vary, but some report seeing a white dot, followed by a red blob, followed by a black hole, followed by a blue sphere. Patanjali also described other phrases to produce a wide range of results, including invisibility and levitation. Read Muktananda's book about how he reached enlightenment for a longer treatment of the inner lights. Some of our TM readers have emphasized the rest of Patanjali's techniques, especially the levitation.
One of the lights, probably the blue pearl, is the symbol for a church of Yogananda in Fullerton, CA, so don't get spooked and convert to their religion if you see it in a newspaper ad and think, "Hey! I see that light!"
I was interested to see your comments because I see the friendly lights too, and even say hello to them. But I've learned that it's best to forget the darned things, otherwise you'll get a big ego or go religious from wondering about them.
I'm surprised about your interpretation of your tree planting dream. You succeeded royally! Forget about the dream content. Getting into dreaming from waking is enough, imagine the practice you could get if you could master that! And your sleep walking is truly great! If that isn't preliminary dreaming-awake, I don't know what is. I say you're an evil witch in the making. I believe that reading accounts in the books over dramatizes our expectations. When we dream alone, it's likely to feel normal, even when it's quite a change.
I do have to honestly say that your doubts are worth considering. You might find yourself 20 years older, and wishing you'd mated with more men while you were young and hot. That happens all the time to people who join cults. It could happen to you. It's a difficult predicament. If you try to be both a Nagualist, and an average person in pursuit of reproduction, I believe that nothing good will come of it. I find that the path is so straight and narrow, and the bird flies away so fast, that falling off the wagon for even a week has serious effects. And there doesn't seem to be a point when you can relax and work less hard. Hard work produces results, but then they seem to become "normal" and you have to work even harder to get the kind of contrast that's exciting.
I believe that the women face even bigger decision problems because the men in their lives are more likely to try to stop them if they don't approve. But then desperate women can be quite violent, as described by a male reader in another letter in this issue. All in all, it's a big struggle to break away from the social order.
I can't answer most of your questions. The books state that Carol merged with the death defier and that the combination of them went off with don Juan's party when he left. The lecture notes confirm this and add that she returned 10 years later. We don't yet know exactly why she returned. Maybe it's the normal thing, the nagual women is just taken away for a while. Or perhaps don Juan getting stuck and la Gorda going off on her own has something to do with the return. Merilyn said that some are in in-between places, including herself (and la Gorda too). There's some pretty interesting speculation there. If Merilyn is for real, maybe she left as la Gorda, triggering the return of Carol, and came back as Merilyn. And the death defier just went along for the free ride. But of course, this is wild speculation.
When Carlos used to ask don Juan about impeccability, don Juan always told him that he already knew. I think that holds for us too. If someone were to make a rule, there'd be loopholes as big as the universe. And it's good to ask what the point is. That depends on each of us. But you should also ask what the alternative is.
This issue we have a report that masturbation is considered worse than actual sex, as far as the men go. I don't understand the sex thing very well, but lecture notes indicate that the energy loss is exactly like the energy loss that takes place in other events. I was thinking in terms of some magical sex-specific process, but that's obviously wrong. About the abortion, don Juan said that when someone dies their edge goes to someone else, so probably you get it back.