The Nagualist Newsletter and Open Forum / Issue 1 June/July 1994
Copyright 1994 by Nagualist Newsletter, all rights reserved. Individual submissions by readers and staff of the newsletter are also protected under copyright law. No portion may be reproduced without the written permission of the Nagualist Newsletter and of the individual who made the submission. Additional copies may be available at no charge.


Reader finds his hands more often after recapitulating.

Before I started recapitulating I struggled very hard to find my hands in my dreams a couple of times a week (if I was lucky!). When I started recapitulating it stopped altogether because my concentration was broken. But now it's starting to have an accumulative effect. I dream at least twice a week without even looking for it and the dreaming lasts much longer. Besides that all of my dreams have become vivid and it feels like I dream all night. I require less sleep too.

Source: Corona, CA

Questions about the process, success in practice.

My first contribution [to the newsletter] is a question: Does it really make any difference which direction we move our heads as we inhale and exhale in recapitulation? Is it arbitrary? In The Eagle's Gift, Florinda instructs Carlos to inhale while moving his head from right to left. In The Sorcerers' Crossing, Clara instructs Taisha to do the same: inhale while moving from right to left. But in The Art of Dreaming, Carlos wrote "Long exhalations are performed as the head moves gently and slowly from right to left; and long inhalations are taken as the head moves back from left to right." (page 149) 1 suspect practice is what counts, not direction, but I wonder if any lecture-attendees heard something not written in the books.

I have begun to recapitulate at an undisciplined and erratic pace. Nevertheless, my ways of dealing with people are changing as never before. Over the next three months I am going to double my recapitulation efforts and work on regularity and consistency.

The nature of one's crate or container is probably not all that important--what counts is the proximity of a physical structure that puts "pressure" on the energy body. I started out using a teepee-like cone of a dozen or so bamboo poles cinched by a strong rubber band. Now I'm planning to make an enclosure out of some tall old window shutters I have stored away for years.

[In answer to the newsletter ad question about darkening rooms] To meditate in total darkness, work toward a "layering" effect. If you use a closet, for example, then take steps to darken the main room the closet opens into. When the main room is as dark as possible, the additional work on the closet may be minimal. As a photographer, I've built nine or ten darkrooms, and find today's weather-stripping (especially the folding kind) quite effective around and under doors. Do your best and then sit in your space for ten minutes or more. Light leaks will become apparent. Some might be sealed with tape while others may require more extensive covering. Double black cloth curtains are helpful when your adaptations must be temporary rather than permanent.

Source: Little Rock, AR

Editor: As I'm sure you've noticed, your questions about recapitulating have been answered in a letter printed on page 9. Another reader attended a seminar by the women of Carlos' group and reported similarly that they weren't too serious about the details of recapitulating. Unfortunately, she requested not to be published. Maybe she can write in and give permission to print her letter since she can see we aren't using any names or exact addresses.

Use of sweeping technique.

I have not taken the opportunity to confine myself within a cave like structure to gather lost energy as yet. However, I have found the sweeping technique helpful when I become troubled by a bad memory. The energy returns to me as was written and the moment ceases to carry emotion after a few passes. As an adult survivor of abuse, I think this is a good between step until I can work up the nerve to do a session in confinement. In theory, then sessions of less than 20 minutes can be of benefit as long as the attention is held on a limited number of past events.

Source: Moscow, ID

Editor: The reason I posed the question about shorter periods of recapitulation in the newsletter ad was that I suspect it takes some time to develop the ability to actually see the scene. I wonder if the longer period of time might encourage the energy body to take a more active part in the actual recollection. Think how much more fun recapitulating would be if the scene was actually seen.

Even so, I agree with you that the sweeping breath is a good thing to use anytime. For some reason I end up using it the most when I'm driving my car. I must look a little odd to other people driving down the road with my head turning back and forth. If they catch me, I pretend to be lost and looking for the right turnoff.

Drug crazed hippies?

This has nothing to do with recapitulating but I discovered something weird to try after you finish. I was looking for more experiences of the shifting assemblage point type and I got tired of recapitulating but I didn't want to leave the crate. While I was sitting there I remembered something from a topic I had already finished recapitulating. I hadn't done that event so I went back to the older topic. That triggered another recollection of another event from a previous topic. These were things I had missed from other time periods in my recapitulation and my policy is to go back to them as soon as I remember them.

Well, I noticed that it felt different when I did a different time period. Since I'm always looking for new highs in my practice I thought about whether I could put it to use to shift my assemblage point. I thought about anything Don Juan might have said about it and it occurred to me that Don Juan's goal had been to "bum with the fire from within" by lighting up all of the emanations within his luminous cocoon. I conjectured that lighting them up must feel like something normal to the person who can do it. Don Juan has already said that recapitulating lights up old emanations. Now if they stay lit up when a new topic is started it might be possible to increase the total number lit up and gain enough of them to see energy. Well, it's a theory anyway.

So I tried to light up as many as I could by skipping between events I had recapitulated as far apart in time as I could. The first thing I noticed is that there is a real difference in the way each time period "feels". It's like a different frequency or pressure. After a few minutes of concentrating on skipping around as quickly as I could while getting a complete picture of the time period I got a big fat jolt of energy. I successfully repeated it three times. Actually, towards the last time I decided not to fool around with that anymore, it wasn't very pleasant.

Source: Lake Elsinore, CA

Editor: You aren't one of those people who actually went out and dug a yard deep to get Devil's Weed root are you?

More questions about the process.

I feel you are correct in targeting the recapitulation as the foundation upon which all else is built. One question I haven't been able to resolve, no matter how many times I reread the appropriate passages, is, does one move their head from left to right and back again without breathing after each sweeping breath, or only at the end of the session. I have tried both ways. Doing it each time certainly creates a different rhythm, but I have no idea which approach is correct. As to your question [from the newsletter ad], I don't see why recapitulating for short periods (20-30 minutes) should impair the process, although I'm not really qualified to comment because that's usually about all I'm good for. I do the breathing technique from Taisha's book where you sit with your knees drawn up to your chest for at least a half hour prior to recapitulating [reader gives reason he can't spend more time on this]. I don't have a crate or closet, I just hang a blanket down from the bed above me [description of bed] and that creates a dark space just high enough to sit up in, about 3.5 ft. wide.

Source: Otisville, NY

A common feeling..

I've done limited recapitulating, and think it's useless and annoying, but I stay with it. I have experienced a state in dream in which I pass what seems to be a portal between waking and sleeping. On one side, I'm aware of the dream landscape; on the other, I'm aware of my sleeping body. I've willed my dream self across the landscape and seen some interesting things. I have observed my hands at length. I see no practical use for these abilities, and I'm not able to consistently apply them. None of this seems like Dreaming as Castaneda or Abelar describe it. Dreaming seems to be a way of perceiving in ordinary reality that suspends the agreement of the rules of ordinary reality. I haven't accomplished any of that.

Source: Clayton, NM

Editor: Other readers seem to have experienced both the feeling that recapitulating is annoying and your experience of being aware of both waking and sleeping at the same time. There isn't much to say about recapitulation being annoying (it annoys me too), but isn't your experience of being aware of the dream landscape and your sleeping body at the same time a little like Genaro's attempt to make Carlos aware of his dreaming body? If you consider what happened, you were in two places at the same time (perceptually) and there is no reason that ability wouldn't grow with practice. If we take the development of a separate dreanzing body as a serious possibility, I would say your experience is the beginning. I think your feeling that your experience was not like Carlos' or Taisha's is a result of their being around individuals with a lot of energy to spare. Also, you had your experience alone and there was no one to "agree" with you about it so it seems like it's only in your mind.


I had just gained an extraordinary amount of volition and clarity in my dream. The dream itself had been vivid and pleasant up to this point. Now I was nearly ecstatic, remembering everything I wanted to try out.

Forgetting my normal practices I decided to give a try at isolating a scout. I pointed my little finger at everything in sight and to my amazement it worked! Anything I pointed at lit up a little bit to let me know it was "selected".

Not wanting to let anything stand in my way, I quickly stepped from stone to stone across the stream meandering through the landscape. The phantoms around me seemed to know what I was trying to do and a nightmarish clown tried to stop me. I tried pushing him away, but he clung to my side.

Finally, something changed and I turned my back and walked on. I was about to uncover something, I could feel it. Just at that moment there was a knock on my apartment door in the "real" world. My attention was divided, I was waking up. Annoyed, I ran to the door only to find no one anywhere in sight.

SOURCE: Corona, CA

Nagualist Newsletter and Open Forum / Issue 1 June/July 1994