“Therein lies the secret of great hunters. To be available and unavailable at the precise turn of the road.
You must learn to become deliberately available and unavailable. As your life goes now, you are unwittingly available at all times. To be unavailable does not mean to hide or to be secretive but to be inaccessible. It makes no difference to hide if everyone knows that you are hiding.
We are fools, all of us, and you cannot be different. At one time in my life I, like you, made myself available over and over again until there was nothing of me left for anything except perhaps crying. And that I did, just like yourself.
You must take yourself away. You must retrieve yourself from the middle of the road. Your whole being is there, thus it is of no use to hide; you would only imagine that you are hidden. Being in the middle of the road means that everyone passing by watches your comings and goings.
The art of a hunter is to become inaccessible. To be inaccessible means that you touch the world around you sparingly. You don’t expose yourself to the power of the wind unless it is mandatory. You don’t use and squeeze people until they have shriveled to nothing, especially the people you love.
To be unavailable means that you deliberately avoid exhausting yourself and others. It means that you are not hungry and desperate.
A hunter knows he will lure game into his traps over and over again, so he doesn’t worry. To worry is to become accessible, unwittingly accessible. And once you worry you cling to anything out of desperation; and once you cling you are bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whoever or whatever you are clinging to.
I’ve told you already that to be inaccessible does not mean to hide or to be secretive. It doesn’t mean that you cannot deal with people either. A hunter uses his world sparingly and with tenderness regardless of whether the world might be things, or plants, or animals, or people, or power. A hunter deals intimately with his world and yet he is inaccessible to that same world. He is inaccessible because he’s not squeezing his world out of shape. He taps it lightly, stays for as long as he needs to, and then swiftly moves away leaving hardly a mark.”
‘Journey to Ixtlan’ by Carlos Castaneda
At various times I’ve attempted to name my knowledge for your benefit. I’ve said that the most appropriate name is nagualism, but that that term is too obscure. Calling it simply “knowledge” makes it too vague, and to call it “witchcraft” is debasing. “The mastery of intent ” is too abstract, and “the search for total freedom” too long and metaphorical. Finally, because I’ve been unable to find a more appropriate name, I’ve called it “sorcery.” You consider if it is accurate or not.
I’ve given you different definitions of sorcery, but I have always maintained that definitions change as knowledge increases. Now you are in a position to appreciate a clearer definition.
* * *
From where the average man stands, sorcery is nonsense or an ominous mystery beyond his reach. And he is right–not because this is an absolute fact, but because the average man lacks the energy to deal with sorcery.
Human beings are born with a finite amount of energy, an energy that is systematically deployed, beginning at the moment of birth, in order that it may be used most advantageously by the modality of the time.
The modality of the time is the precise bundle of energy fields being perceived. I believe man’s perception has changed through the ages. The actual time decides the mode; the time decides which precise bundle of energy fields, out of an incalculable number, are to be used. And handling the modality of the time–those few, selected energy fields–takes all our available energy, leaving us nothing that would help us use any of the other energy fields.
* * *
The average man, if he uses only the energy he has, can’t perceive the worlds sorcerers do. To perceive them, sorcerers need to use a cluster of energy fields not ordinarily used. Naturally, if the average man is to perceive those worlds and understand sorcerers’ perception he must use the same cluster they have used. And this is just not possible, because all his energy is already deployed.
Think of it this way. It isn’t that as time goes by you’re learning sorcery; rather, what you’re learning is to save energy. And this energy will enable you to handle some of the energy fields which are inaccessible to you now. And that is sorcery: the ability to use energy fields that are not employed in perceiving the ordinary world we know. Sorcery is a state of awareness. Sorcery is the ability to perceive something which ordinary perception cannot.
* * *
Everything a teacher puts his apprentice through, each of the things he shows him is only a device to convince him that there’s more to us than meets the eye.
We don’t need anyone to teach us sorcery, because there is really nothing to learn. What we need is a teacher to convince us that there is incalculable power at our fingertips. What a strange paradox! Every warrior on the path of knowledge thinks, at one time or another, that he’s learning sorcery, but all he’s doing is allowing himself to be convinced of the power hidden in his being, and that he can reach it.
I’m trying to convince you that you can reach that power. I went through the same thing. And I was as hard to convince as you are. Once we have reached it, it will, by itself, make use of energy fields which are available to us but inaccessible. And that, as I have said, is sorcery. We begin then to see –that is, to perceive–something else; not as imagination, but as real and concrete. And then we begin to know without having to use words. And what any of us does with that increased perception, with that silent knowledge, depends on our own temperament.
* * *
Now, I’m going to give you a different and more precise definition of sorcery.
In the universe there is an unmeasurable, indescribable force which sorcerers call intent. Absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached tointent by a connecting link. Sorcerers, warriors, are concerned with discussing, understanding, and employing that connecting link. They are especially concerned with cleaning it of the numbing effects brought about by the ordinary concerns of their everyday lives. Sorcery at this level could be defined as the procedure of cleaning one’s connecting link to intent.
The task of sorcery is to take this seemingly incomprehensible knowledge and make it understandable by the standards of awareness of everyday life.
The guide in the lives of sorcerers is called “the nagual.” The nagual is a man or a woman with extraordinary energy, a teacher who has sobriety, endurance, stability; someone seers see as a luminous sphere having four compartments, as if four luminous balls have been compressed together. Naguals are responsible for supplying what sorcerers call “the minimal chance”: the awareness of one’s connection with intent.
* * *
Naguals school their apprentices toward three areas of expertise: the mastery of awareness, the art of stalking , and the mastery of intent . These three areas of expertise are the three riddles sorcerers encounter in their search for knowledge.
The mastery of awareness is the riddle of the mind; the perplexity sorcerers experience when they recognize the astounding mystery and scope of awareness and perception.
The art of stalking is the riddle of the heart; the puzzlement sorcerers feel upon becoming aware of two things: first that the world appears to us to be unalterably objective and factual, because of peculiarities of our awareness and perception; second, that if different peculiarities of perception come into play, the very things about the world that seem so unalterably objective and factual change.
The mastery of intent is the riddle of the spirit, or the paradox of the abstract–sorcerers’ thoughts and actions projected beyond our human condition.
The art of stalking and the mastery of intent depend upon instruction on the mastery of awareness, which consists of the following basic premises:
- The universe is an infinite agglomeration of energy fields, resembling threads of light.
- These energy fields, called the Eagle’s, or the Indescribable Force ‘s emanations, radiate from a source of inconceivable proportions metaphorically called the Eagle–the Indescribable Force .
- Human beings are also composed of an incalculable number of the same threadlike energy fields. These Indescribable Force ‘s emanations form an encased agglomeration that manifests itself as a ball of light the size of the person’s body with the arms extended laterally, like a giant luminous egg.
- Only a very small group of the energy fields inside this luminous ball are lit up by a point of intense brilliance located on the ball’s surface.
- Perception occurs when the energy fields in that small group immediately surrounding the point of brilliance extent their light to illuminate identical energy fields outside the ball. Since the only energy fields perceivable are those lit by the point of brilliance, that point is named “the point where perception is assembled” or simply “the assemblage point.”
- The assemblage point can be moved from its usual position on the surface of the luminous ball to another position on the surface, or into the interior. Since the brilliance of the assemblage point can light up whatever energy field it comes in contact with, when it moves to a new position it immediately brightens up new energy fields, making them perceivable. This perception is known as seeing .
- When the assemblage point shifts, it makes possible the perception of an entirely different world–as objective and factual as the one we normally perceive. Sorcerers go into that other world to get energy, power, solutions to general and particular problems, or to face the unimaginable.
- Intent is the pervasive force that causes us to perceive. We do not become aware because we perceive; rather, we perceive as a result of the pressure and intrusion of intent .
- The aim of sorcerers is to reach a state of total awareness in order to experience all the possibilities of perception available to man. This state of awareness even implies an alternative way of dying.
* * *
A level of practical knowledge is included as part of teaching the mastery of awareness. On this practical level are taught the procedures necessary to move the assemblage point. The two great systems devised by the sorcerer seers of ancient times to accomplish this are dreaming , the control and utilization of dreams; and stalking , the control of behavior.
Moving one’s assemblage point is an essential maneuver that every sorcerer has to learn.
Sorcerers consult their past in order to obtain a point of reference. Establishing a point of reference means getting a chance to examine intent and nothing can give sorcerers a better view of intent than examining stories of other sorcerers battling to understand the same force.
* * *
In sorcery there are abstract cores, and then, based on those abstract cores, there are scores of sorcery stories about the naguals of our lineage battling to understand the spirit.
The only way to know intent is to know it directly through a living connection that exists between intent and all sentient beings. Sorcerers call intent the indescribable, the spirit, the abstract.