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
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
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.
A SHORT STORY
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