Art is intended to guide society. Our early development as a species was principally based upon art, language and imagination. To our ancestors there would have been no barrier between the real and the imagined.
In the first place ‘Art’ was our sacred science, and the guiding force of culture…
Let me explain….
Cave paintings are some of the oldest forms of art in the world. There are many beliefs as to what they represent; including ideas about hunting and ceremonial rites, to the depiction of contact with extraterrestrial species. However, I have had many remarkable experiences with cave paintings, megaliths and petroglyphs, and this has led me to a conclusion regarding the practical nature of these early means of communication.
While man was developing the power of speech and self-reflection – along side there would have been the development of a stronger need to communicate through other forms such as drumming. It is perfectly possible that cave painting developed out of verbalization
The early experience of man was ‘Band’ culture. This is the form of society that existed before tribal societies grew up. From the beginning these societies were hunter-gatherers, but primarily they would have been nomadic in nature. With the need to hunt comes the need to move around with your prey. In north-west Europe – it is a widely documented fact, that the tribes of the British Isles, had very pronounced migration routes. In particular between Ireland, the north of England and Scotland – the Picts, Celts and the Scots, occupying various different regions throughout history. The prehistory of Britain would likely have been no different. This idea of migration can be extended throughout Europe. During the period just after the building of Stonehenge, for instance it is documented that a culture arose of itinerant Magi. Travelling around Europe with brass conical hats (much like wizards hats) these druids, possessed information regarding the movement of the heavens – knowledge which prior to this point would have been built inherently into the megalithic structures. These events happened upon the entering of the agrarian age, where for the first time societies were focusing more on growing crops and as such had the need to settle in one place for the first time. Prior to this the tribes of north west europe would have been no strangers to migration. The megalithic structures that were built before this time were generally aligned with stars. In fact most ancient monuments have some connection with the heavens. But whatever the nature of the knowledge these Structures were a means of relaying information – art represented a means of communication. But communicating what exactly?
In the first place – the very earliest form of art were handprints on cave walls. These were dated to some 40,000 years ago. Hand stencils have been found in various parts of the world from, Timpuseng cave Sulawesi, Indonesia to Cueva de las Manos located Perito Moreno, Argentina. The earliest known cave paintings/drawings of animals were at least 35,000 years old, these too found in caves in the district of Maros, located in Bantimurung district, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The earliest figurative paintings in Europe date back to the Aurignacian period, approximately 30,000 to 32,000 years ago, and are found in the Chauvet Cave in France, and in the Coliboaia Cave in Romania.
There are also similar later paintings in Africa, Australia and South America, continuing until recent times in some places. There is a tendency worldwide for open air rock art to supersede deep cave paintings.
However these hand stencils, were more than just a means of self-reflection and self-identification. Rather they were a means of identifying yourself to others. They were a signature to allow others to know who had been present at a specific place at a specific time. People who knew you, would have also know your handprint, and from this your whereabouts. Keeping track of each others movements in this early age would have been of vital importance. This information could have been mapped by leaving these markings. Also the movements and quantity of availability of game – marked in codes known only to the other members of the tribe. This would account for animal depictions seen in some of the earliest paintings.
To some extent there would have been a link to the spiritual side of the existence for the tribe. In as much as these stencils and paintings were a description of their outer world – they would have undoubtedly been also a representation of the inner world. Perhaps visions of prey, hunting and actual places or event were depicted as the same reality. For our ancestors there was no little or no separation from the spirit; very different from our postmodernist approach of seeing spiritual practice as something separate from the rest of your life. Early man would have lived in accordance with the spirit – an existence uncorrupted and undivided by the passage of time.
So knowing where your friends family and allies were – would been an essential strategy for survival. I have no doubt – that this ritual became quite a developed science and subsequently an “art”, to the people of the Neolithic period. It would have developed alongside the growth and development of their civilisation. Bringing in more elements of ritualistic practice into sacred space. Making it more a representation of the abstract rather than the physical world. The need to map the outer world becoming less important over time as the balance tipped towards the metaphysical, as man’s success was assured.
But for the early ancestors looking to the stars for guidance – was also a cause and inspiration for how they decorated their world – perhaps they imagined messages from the gods written into the code of the celestial bodies and mapped the heavens as a direct guidance for their well-being and development too.
~ Toltec Warrior
“It is getting dark. The world is very strange at this time of the day. We are very noticeable here and something is coming to us. It may seem to be wind to you, because wind is all you know. Here it comes. Look how it is searching for us. It’s something that hides in the wind and looks like a whorl, a cloud, a mist, a face that twirls around. It moves in a specific direction. It either tumbles or it twirls. A hunter must know all that in order to move correctly.
To believe that the world is only as you think it is, is stupid. The world is a mysterious place. Especially in the twilight. This can follow us. It can make us tired or it might even kill us. At this time of the day, in the twilight, there is no wind. At this time there is only power.
If you would live out here in the wilderness you would know that during the twilight the wind becomes power. A hunter that is worth his salt knows that, and acts accordingly. He uses the twilight and that power hidden in the wind. If it is convenient to him, the hunter hides from the power by covering himself and remaining motionless until the twilight is gone and the power has sealed him into its protection.
The protection of the power seals you like in a cocoon. A hunter can stay out in the open and no puma or coyote or slimy bug could bother him. A mountain lion could come up to the hunters nose and sniff him, and if the hunter does not move, the lion would leave. I can guarantee you that.
If the hunter, on the other hand, wants to be noticed all he has to do is to stand on a hilltop at the time of the twilight and the power will nag him and seek him all night. Therefore, if a hunter wants to travel at night or if he wants to be kept awake he must make himself available to the wind.”
Journey to Ixtlan Carlos Castaneda
A number of years ago, I had a trip on Salvia Divinorum, that I was not likely to forget. I had been researching Salvia for some while. It is an entheogen, originally used by the Mazatec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico, in healing and divination. Salvia is a member of the ‘sage’ family and is often loosely translated as “diviner’s sage” or “seer’s sage”. The main psychoactive ingredient is a diterpenoid called salvinorin A; which is a potent κ-opioid and D2 receptor agonist. Because of the legal status of this psychoactive substance Salvia Divinorum, is legal in the UK and can be purchased from head shops.
I bought an extract of Salvia, which was described as x50 strength. This was an elixir produced through the process of adding “salvinorin A” to the crush leaf of the plant making available something fifty times the strength of the leaf.
I sat down with a friend one night prepared to ingest this x50 extract. It is smoked in a bong or a pipe, and for my trip I borrowed a bubble bong – which looked something like this:
I warned my friend that it might be a strong trip as he was intending to have a go as well. I filled the bowl of the bong with the extract, lit it and drew back on the pipe. I never even got to finish the bowl. As soon as the smoke entered my lungs, the Salvia Divinorum, kicked in and took hold. I blacked out immediately – when I came to, I lunged and stood up. I was then standing over my friend staring at him wildly. At first I didn’t recognize him and then gradually his name returned to me. The problem was though, I had no idea who I was. Everything had gone – my name, my identity, everything about me had dissolved. I was stood there staring at him. I vocalized all this – to his great amusement. Eventually, my identity began to return and I started coming back to consciousness – at which point I felt a sharp pain in my thumb – I was still holding onto the smoldering bowl of the pipe. I lunged again falling over on the other side of the room while screaming in agony – the water and the contents of the burning bong spilling on the carpet. It took me a little while to recover – it had been an intense experience but only lasted a quarter of an hour.
After the experience had worn off sufficiently, I started discussing what had happened. It was a surprising event, to actually lose my name and with it my identity – it was horrifying. The trip felt like everything had been stripped away from me. Along with my internal dialogue – the description of who I was simply was not there. Don Juan in the books of Castaneda describes how our world and perceptions are created and upheld by an internal dialogue. He also considered everything in our world to have a proper name. The naming of things was intrinsic to upholding and maintaining this internal dialogue. So, for me when my name was no longer available neither was my identity.
When we are in the state of the unborn, we are without identity. When we enter the world we come with a gender. The first thing we are then given is our name. As life progresses, we are then subsequently given attributes as our roles develop. The imprinting continues all our lives and we become enmeshed in our world, indivisible from it. The stripping away that the Salvia, experience had on me was a returning me to this original state. This place of innocence was fundamentally without need for identity or labeling of any kind. For a brief moment I was in the place of pure consciousness and being. Considering its legality Salvia Divinorum, is a powerful drug and should be treated with respect. Having said that the plant showed me something of the truth about the nature of reality and about the nature of myself.
I had a dreamed experience quite a few years ago that pointed for me to the non-linear nature of time and reality.
When I was sixteen I went on a camping trip for a week with my brother. We got to a specific location and something weird happened. It got close to the gloaming and I ran into the woods. My brother came looking for me but said he couldn’t see me even when relatively close – I had become “Invisible” in his words; I had to shout to get his attention. Well we walked out of that area, and as we walked I remember cheerfully “twiddling” sticks at either side.
Well the dreamed experience came around three or four years ago…
I was in the throes of a full-scale lucid dream – having found my hands I was flying around to different locations. The dream then crashed as it sometimes does and I found myself walking along a path with complete clarity. Dim sunlight was coming through the trees. I realized then I was in the same location. I ran along up the path – to find myself walking behind someone who was “twiddling” sticks – dressed in combats as I had been. It was a stunning realization. I was now walking behind myself.. – ‘stalking myself’ through this dream. I had accessed something like a loop in reality and was dreaming a scene from the past.
In the dream I was also reminded of something I had intuited from that time …This thought came to me just as all thoughts do but stuck out from the rest as something of an anomaly – I was “told” I was a ‘pioneer’ And I heard it again when whispered by the voice of the Dreaming Emissary. Like a promise to an imagined future, I recognised this had now been fulfilled.
The becoming ‘invisible’ was no coincidence.
The strange recurrence of this situation seen from a totally different perspective – this echo in time – was I am sure due to the presence of “Inorganic Beings”. Don Juan said of these entities that they possess a Gap much smaller than that of man – which means they certainly live longer or at least without threat of immediate annihilation. Perhaps to some extent they are ‘without time’ and can move around freely within this plane of existence. But this would mean that the nature of time and reality is non-sequential to permit such a movement. All the evidence would suggests that time is instead a circular motion, a wheel of time, like a spiral that turns infinitely in space. Perhaps if you travel far enough you would eventually emerge back at the beginning. This loop in the fabric of time unleashes unlimited possibilities in my opinion. So, in dreaming it is certainly possible to meet yourself walking along a path you took many years before.
Some years ago I made the decision, I was going to get back into hiking and camping in a big way. I decided I wanted to go to Scotland, but felt slightly trepidations about heading straight for the highlands. I needed somewhere remote but wanted to test the water first. I found myself in a second-hand book shop, a copy of a map came into my hands. It was for an area of Scotland, called the Ochill Hills, near Perth. I decided I was going to try this area.
I arrived on the train at the place I was going to start my hike and headed off into the hills. Then next day, I was walking along a path near a train line. I noticed some woods just beyond. I crossed the railway line and found lying there the carcass of a dead Roe deer. It had one of its antlers missing, I suspected it had been hit by a train. Some distance from the body, I found the other antler. Then I noticed from where the deer must have come. There was a woodland directly in front of me, which seemed somehow familiar. I stood there for a moment looking into the wood assessing the situation. I suddenly realised, I had been here before in lucid dreaming.
The dream had been a protracted one. As I remembered it had been very intense in its vividness. There was someone in the dream I had known. A person who had been living with me for sometime. I was following him in the dream through various dreamscapes. Then toward the end of the dream, I found myself in another place entirely. This part was more lucid than the rest, it was like waking up in daylight. I climbed over a branch of a fallen tree entering this new location. I looked down on the ground and there was a zippo lighter. The most significant thing about this person I had been following; was that I had given him a zippo just the day before. I picked up the shiny metal object and studied it. I walked several more paces and there to my amazement, was another lighter nestling in the undergrowth. This was a gas lighter but just as shiny, I picked it up as well. It was at that point I looked up and realised, I was in the grounds of something like a stately home; I suspected there might be even a game keeper. I woke from the dream.
This dream had been weird on several levels. It was odd that this person I knew had been in the dream. It was also strange that he had been leading me and the lucidness of the dream was stunning and unforgettable, in particularly this last part. The lighters seemed significant as something I had recently given away. And the fact I was finding them again seemed to mean I was being given something in recompense. The phrase “a double portion of the spirit” reverberated round my head.
The concept of dreaming is an important aspect of Don Juan’s teachings. He set out the idea that there are different levels of dreaming and gates to be crossed. The first gate of dreaming is to gain control over ones attention in dreaming by finding the hands. This anchors the double in the second attention. The second gate of dreaming is to learn how to wake up in the dream into yet another dream – enabling the dreamer to change dreaming locations entirely. The third gate of dreaming is reached when you find you are staring at yourself in a dream. The fourth gate of dreaming involves learning to use the energy body to travel. This can be used to find:
“firstly concrete places in this world; two, to travel to concrete places out of this world; and, three, to travel to places that exist only in the intent of others.”
There are three further gates. The Fifth gate of dreaming is to be able to bring out the dreaming double in everyday life. The sixth is to be able to transport the physical body to another location entirely. And the seventh gate is to be able to transcend the world entirely and to step beyond this world with the totality of oneself.
So, I understood that this is wood now in front of me in some way represented the woodland within my dream. The concept for me was that this was reaching the fourth gate of dreaming. I had found a “concrete places in this world”. The concept then in stalking relative to the dreamed experience, meant I had entered a state of awareness called “Dreaming Awake”. This is finding the location of your dreaming in waking life and dreaming the location again.
I had a moment’s deliberation, then set off into the wood. It all seemed very familiar. I took the zippo out of my pocket and inspected it looking down at my hands. I heard a noise which startled me and which made me look up. There some distance in front of me stood a huge stag. He was staring at me. The moment lasted for a while then he turned and lumbered heavily off into the woods. I went to follow him but realised there was a huge ravine that separated us, one more step and I would have fallen in.
I went back to the railway line. I understood then that I had been in the location of my dreaming. That the dream itself had meant reaching the fourth gate of dreaming and I had crossed it. The Antler was a power object – I took as my spirit catcher. In the dream the friend I had known must have been a Scout, even the shiny lighters I took must have been Inorganic Beings – hiding in the fabric of the dream. But most importantly, I had found in my waking experience the place which I had dreamed (the realisation of stalking)/and within the dream, I had found a real location of the world (the culmination of dreaming).
I had also through this state of ‘Dreaming Awake’ found my spirit animal. I looked up sometime later the significance of the deer and the stag. In terms of the systems of the indigenous Peoples of North America; the Deer is regarded as my spirit animal in connection with their horoscope. Also, especially in relation to the Mayan calendar; my Ahua Kin, is “Manik” which means ‘deer’ and the glyph for Manik shows the hand of the hunter. Manik is the powerful and transformative seventh face of the Ahau Kin and is associated with accomplishment and the Craft of Life. The successful hunt requires that the hunter fully understands – even becomes one with – the life energy of the prey. This balance between hunter and hunted is imagined as wholeness rather than opposition and expresses the character of Manik. Manik is the knowledge and transformation manifested by the sacrifice/forgiveness of Cimi(death).
A Nagual’s dream ~ The Warrior’s Journey – The quest for knowledge leading into the heart of the unknown. A visual and auditory landscape – a dedication to all those who faithfully follow the path with heart without rushing or faltering.
The most demanding aspect of the teachings of Don Juan Matus, is in regard to the duality of the warrior; how is it possible to reconcile the two halves of our double nature that comprise the whole.
Our dual nature is at best both an advantage and something of a burden… it can inhibit our actions and cloud our judgement at times.
The balancing of the two sides of our being is the answer to this dilemma.
Don Juan makes it clear that all that remains of the Toltec teachings is in a sense ‘stalking’ and its counterpart ‘dreaming’.
“Stalkers deal with people, with the world of ordinary affairs. Stalkers are the practitioners of controlled folly as the dreamers are the practitioners of dreaming. Controlled folly is the basis for stalking, as dreams are the basis for dreaming. Generally speaking, a warrior’s greatest accomplishment in the second attention is dreaming, and in the first attention his greatest accomplishment is stalking. In the absence of self-importance, a warrior’s only way of dealing with the social milieu is in terms of controlled folly.”
A warrior follows the rule of the stalkers. The Rule applies to everyone but the stalker takes it on as the only means of buffering the onslaughts of power that come in the pursuit of knowledge. The rule is that a warrior has essentially given up the concerns of his everyday life in the pursuit of knowledge. He is only interested in unravelling the mysteries of the universe. He must come to the understanding that this mystery is infinite, and as such this is a hopeless task but he must proceed anyway. In doing so the warrior becomes a part of the mystery themselves – everything within his universe becomes equal unimportant and as to nothing. This principle is the Rule of stalkers.
Don Juan lays out the principles for the warrior in regard to stalking:
- To choose the battlefield
- To discard everything which is unnecessary
- To choose your battles with care
- To relax, abandon yourself and to fear nothing
- When faced with odds that cannot be dealt with, warriors retreat for a moment
- A warrior compresses time – making every moment count, aiming at success and ready to make his last stand at any moment
- A stalker never Pushes himself to the front – this last principle can only be applied with the implementation of the former six principles
The application of these principles results in three things:-
“The first is that stalkers learn never to take themselves seriously; they learn to laugh at themselves. If they’re not afraid of being a fool, they can fool anyone. The second is that stalkers learn to have endless patience. Stalkers are never in a hurry; they never fret. And the third is that stalkers learn to have an endless capacity to improvise.”
Don Juan also outlined the mood for stalking this being:- Ruthlessness, Cunning, Patience and Sweetness. This is the guiding attitude a warrior needs to adopt to stalk effectively.
One of the principle tools of stalking is recapitulation. This comprises the stalkers ‘sweeping breath’, the purpose of which is to free the warrior from the bonds of energetic filaments that become attached to them though energetic exchanges. The breath itself gives the life-giving healing force needed to purge the luminous being.
The aim of a stalker is to lose human form. This is can be achieved through a powerful recapitulation followed by implementation of the not-doings of the self such as erasing personal history, losing self-importance and breaking of routines.
The stalker is the epitome of a warrior in this way is both light and fluid. Free of human form the stalker is also unpredictable, deliberate in action, patient, not concerned about being understood nor concerned about the self-reflection of others – but instead this state allows the individual to be light-hearted and jovial and they truly enjoy their lives.
Dreaming is built on the premise that there is something called the ‘double’ or the ‘other’ and this is a replica of the warrior themselves. The important aspect of this concept is in being able to comprehend such idea. ‘Will’ is how the dreaming double is accessed and channelled and through ‘Will’ the dreaming double can become anything. The knowledge of this opens us to the concept that what we are in fact is an energetic configuration of energy fields or indeed as Don Juan called it ~ the luminous being.
The aim of the dreamer is to find themselves in dreaming. He achieves this with a simple manoeuvre; this is to find the hands in dreaming – which is to look down at the hands while asleep and to realize the dream state. The dreamer also hopes to actually see themselves dreaming. In this instant it is important to avoid the shock of experiencing such a thing. As with all things in dreaming the dreamer takes nonchalantly whatever he sees. The way anything is achieved in dreaming is through the volition of the dreamer. Once the dreamer has found their hands they next attempt to find a location within dreaming and with practice this can then be found in the waking experience.
There are as in all things various stages within dreaming. Don Juan sited these as:
- “Restful vigil is the preliminary state, a state in which the senses become dormant and yet one is aware.”
- “The second state is dynamic vigil. In this state one is left looking at a scene, a tableau of sorts, which is static. One sees a three-dimensional picture, a frozen bit of something – a landscape, a street, a house, a person, a face, anything.”
- “The third state is passive witnessing. In it the dreamer is no longer viewing a frozen bit of the world but is observing, eye witnessing, an event as it occurs. It is as if the primacy of the visual and auditory senses makes this state of dreaming mainly an affair of the eyes and ears.”
- “The fourth state is the one in which you are drawn to act. In it one is compelled to enterprise, to take steps, to make the most of one’s time. This state is called dynamic initiative.”
Quote from “The Eageles Gift”
As with all aspects of Don Juan’s teachings “stopping the internal dialogue” through the process of Not-doing is a vital component of dreaming. Dreaming requires then a quickened mind and the energy saved from talking to oneself allows one to dream.
Don Juan states also:
“The best way to enter into dreaming is to concentrate on the area just at the tip of the sternum, at the top of the belly. The attention needed for dreaming stems from that area. The energy needed in order to move and to seek in dreaming stems from the area an inch or two below the belly button. That energy is the will, or the power to select, to assemble. In a woman both the attention and the energy for dreaming originate from the womb.”
What one seeks in dreaming is not what one would pay attention to in everyday life. The shift into dreaming is achieved by anchoring the double to the second attention that being the attention of the nagual, The assemblage point makes a natural shift into this left side of awareness when one sleeps. The trick being to store attention in dreaming ~ this is to become totally immersed in the dream to the extent that one is totally detached from the waking experience.
There are seven gates of dreaming that must be crossed for the dreamer to gain mastery over their dreaming.
- The first gate of dreaming is to gain control of ones attention in dreaming. The easiest way of doing this is through finding the hands in dreaming, this anchors the double in the second attention.
- The second gate of dreaming is to learn how to wake up in the dream into yet another dream – enabling the dreamer to change dreaming locations entirely.
- The third gate of dreaming is reached when you find yourself staring at someone in a dream and that someone turns out to be you. There are two stages to this gate. The first stage, is to arrive at the gate; the second is to cross it. By dreaming that you see yourself asleep, you arrive at the third gate. The second phase is to move around once you’ve seen yourself asleep.
- The fourth gate of dreaming involves learning to use the energy body as a means of travel. This then be used to travel to “firstly concrete places in this world; two, to travel to concrete places out of this world; and, three, to travel to places that exist only in the intent of others.”
- The Fifth gate of dreaming is to be able to bring out the dreaming double in everyday life.
- The sixth is to be able to transport the physical body to another location entirely
- And the seventh is to be able to transcend the world entirely and to step beyond this world with the totality of oneself.
It takes years to master the arts of stalking and dreaming – it requires perseverance and only then comes about by practicing the disciplines that Don Juan prescribed. I have found that remembering direction is a key element. Not only in terms of a long perspective but on the basis of moment to moment orientation (in all planes of being simultaneously). Balancing ourselves and the forces in our world is also of prime importance. Understanding the relativistic and dualistic nature of reality. And coming to an understanding that nothing essentially matters except perhaps the rule. Once we set out on this path there really is little alternative – when one begins to comprehend the knowledge it cannot then be unlearned, only expanded upon. One may run away but this is not the path with heart and ultimately you will have to pay for this. Understanding the concepts of control folly and controlled abandonment is key. In regard to stalking controlled folly is our shield and guards us against the rigors of power. Control abandonment Don Juan describes as being something simple and ‘there being nothing to it’. But controlled abandonment is in principle the art of sorcery specifically in the application of dreaming – the ability to acquiesce to the situation – to know how and in what proportion. We require both Controlled abandonment and controlled folly in both waking and dreaming – being able to give ourselves to the moment and in the same instance able to act to produce the best possible outcome. A life lived like a warrior is unsurpassed – one becomes the master of oneself – the ego being defeated along the way. But as Don Juan says this can only be achieved without either rushing or faltering. The abstract will be achieved in time if one holds firm to the path with heart. But in the end reaching the spirit means there are really no devices one can cling to, no object, and no person. We have in the final outcome the say over our lives – it is our decision.
I am already given to the power that rules my fate.
And I cling to nothing, so I will have nothing to defend.
I have no thoughts, so I will see.
I fear nothing, so I will remember myself.
Detached and at ease,
I will dart past the Eagle
To be free