I have just been away camping, I hiked about 50 miles from Aviemore to Breamar, in the Scottish Highlands. While I was away, I camped one night by a Loch and took magic mushrooms (humito). I didn’t ingest a great deal as I didn’t take much with me. However it was prepared right; kept in a gourd for a couple of months to dry out and mixed with other herbs including Mary Jane. As I sat by the Loch with a fire blazing away, I smoked part of the mixture and ingested the rest. I felt the effects almost immediately, it wasn’t strong but there was a power in its subtlety. I stared at the moon hoping the trip would intensify. Suddenly in the clouds there appeared a message of sorts. I saw clearly emerging in the clouds the face of Terence McKenna. It was the typical image of Terence that we are familiar with. He had said before his death in the year 2000: “I’ll be around” – I presumed this was an indication of his presence. But the face then morphed into the face of Buddha. Things then got particularly funky. The cumulus lit up by the light of the moon turned into the enormous shape of a lotus seated Buddha. It seemed to move swaying and became alive. Then Quetzalcoatl, in the form of the Feathered Serpent from above came swooping in swallowing the whole scene as he went…devouring the Buddha.
My trips into the wilds are a Vision Quest, led and inspired by the wish for silent knowledge and a revealing from the spirit. So I was delighted to receive such a vision.
To me the interpretation was clear. The first part is a personal reference and an answer to a question I often wonder about Terence – in a sense; “did he make it?” And by that I mean did he burn with the fire from within and attain liberation – I know now he did. It was also a validation of the knowledge which was revealed during his lifetime. But the second part is a telling of the impending return of Quetzalcoatl and the devouring of the Earth.
This is the second time I have had a vision of Quetzalcoatl – the first was during dreaming and Quetzalcoatl was in the form of a man. Quetzalcoatl is the Feathered Serpent worshiped in many of the MesoAmerican cultures. He was born of a virgin, who had an appearance from the god ‘Onteol’ in a dream. He is associated with “the morning star” and his name also means: “lord of the star of the dawn.” He was also known to have been incarnated as a Toltec king, who is set to return; Quetzalcoatl is said to be the ruler of the coming Age of the fifth Son.
I am not yet fully aware of the implications of the Buddha, but I believe this Vision means Quetzalcoatl’s impending arrival is imminent. We will be caused to see the greatest increase of change and outpouring of energy and spirit this planet has ever seen. And of course this outpouring will continue to produce a massive increase in novelty; just as Terence McKenna suggested in his theory of timewave zero.
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
The western system is flawed; we are beginning to see evidence of a total system crash from economics to social unrest; with the developed world imploding in on itself. The world has finite resources and yet materialism demands production that cannot be sustained – blundering on at the risk of a complete environmental breakdown. Man works best in the tribal system. From the very beginning man formed into small tribal groups or bands and settled for this for a very long time. These tribal and clan systems grew up out of the need to organize in order to survive and from this developed into the indigenous systems we hear of today.
The people of the indigenous system, follow the shaman, in regard to their spiritual well-being. He recognizes everything is an illusion. This, in turn, means nothing is of importance. Even the suffering of his fellow-man is not his concern unless he chooses to make it so. The shaman in connection with his ancestral spirit knows that those he needs concern for are the people of his tribe. He is the one who guides, heals and protects the tribe from external forces. In this western world, however, we are separated from our tribe and tribal nature. And instead, our tribal ‘urges’ are tapped and suppressed with such activities as supporting your local football team or other artificial enticements (too numerous to name). The world in which we live is divided, each ‘individual’ supporting his own interests, be it his team, political party, or whatever.
Often people say, it is important to know your roots – to know where you come from. This generally means knowing what region your name originates from or something about your hometown or country. But to truly understand ‘who you are’, I would suggest takes dedication and discipline. In order to understand yourself, you must have some idea of the processes which lead to this present moment. In this modern age, we are mostly cut off from the past; cast adrift in the dark seas of awareness.
In past ages, man knew who he was by being aware of the hereditary lineage he was a part of. The ancestors were present. They could either be asked for advice or even sort for as guides. Knowledge would be passed down by word of mouth through stories and other means of transmission such as song or dance. Nothing was written – instead, the oral tradition kept knowledge alive. With the advent of religion, there was an inevitable fall into reason; a need to construct a means of organization and things were written down for the first time. Once something is written it ceases being known in the sense of ‘Lore’, and instead becomes ‘law’. When knowledge is acquired in the first place it has the capacity to be enlarged upon, developed to gain further understanding – to evolve! But once it is written it loses this ability.
Once religion took hold it was an obvious means of control for those who would wish to subvert the message. We arrive at the point today, where religion is empty and the rituals and ceremony reflect nothing of the true spirit of what early man ‘saw’ but are hollow gestures. If you go to any Anglican ‘high church’ service or maybe Catholic mass, you will see that all the pomp and ceremony is nothing but a reflection of the self-importance that it represents. The spirit I believe lost interest in religion a long time ago…
Religion is now the domain of man and his fruitless desires. Science has come along to de-construct the universe and while it still seeks knowledge, it does so in total isolation from the pressing issues troubling the planet. Religion and science while seeming to be avowed enemies, are in reality two halves of the same device. It is like the two-party state. The acquisition of knowledge has been divided into two camps: the first believing that everything is unfathomable mystery and nothing can be understood, while the other believes everything will someday succumb to its inquiry. Both are wrong and this duality causes only separation from the meaning of existence.
At this eleventh hour recognizing our tribal nature is of vital importance. The Ancestral spirit is what connects us to the past, brings us into relationship with the present and maps a way to the future. At this time more than ever man needs to remember his ancestral nature, in order to return to the spirit and to save the planet from annihilation.
The shaman is by no means the chief of the tribe. He is the one who is somewhat removed, even commonly living separately from the rest of the community. This person has the responsibility for the spiritual well-being of the group. Shamans are intermediaries between the human world and that of the spirits. Shamans treat individuals by healing the soul, alleviating traumas and removing foreign bodies that afflict the spirit and restoring the physical body to balance and well-being. Shamans may visit other worlds or dimensions to obtain guidance from the spirits, bringing back information that will benefit the whole community.
“Shamanism is really applied animism, or animism in practice. Because Nature is alive with gods and spirits, because all aspects of the cosmos are perceived as interconnected – the universe consisting of a veritable network of energies, forms, and vibrations – the shaman is required as an intermediary between the different planes of being….
…We can define shamanism as a person who is able to perceive this world of souls, spirits, and gods, and who, in a state of ecstatic trance, is able to travel amongst them, gaining special knowledge of the supernatural realm. He or she is ever alert to the intrinsic perils of human existence, of the magic forces which lie waiting to trap the unwary, or which give rise to disease, famine or misfortune. But the shaman also takes the role of an active intermediary – a negotiator in both directions. As American anthropologist, Joan Halifax points out: ‘Only the shaman is able to behave as both a god and a human. The shaman then is an interspecies being, as well as a channel for the gods. He or she affects the interpretation of the diverse realms.'”
Shamans are called to their vocation in differing ways. For some, it is a matter of ancestral lineage or hereditary bonds which bring them into the position to seek initiation from an already established shaman. In other cases, it would seem that the spirits rather choose the shaman. To begin with, as children or young adults, shamans are often of a nervous disposition and may be strangely withdrawn from society. Anthropologist Ralph Linton is quoted as saying: “The shaman as a child usually shows marked introvert tendencies. When the inclinations become manifest they are encouraged by society. The budding shaman often wanders off and spends a long time by himself. He is rather anti-social in his attitudes and is frequently seized by mysterious illnesses of one sort or another”.
The Cukchee peoples of Siberia believe that a future shaman can be recognized by ‘the look in the eyes’ which are not directed towards a listener during a conversation but seemed fixed on something beyond. The eyes also have a strange quality of light, a peculiar brightness which allows them to see the spirits and those things hidden from the ordinary person. Waldemar Bogoras, who studied the Chukchee at first hand, provides a context for this occurrence: “The shamanistic call may come during some great misfortune, dangerous and protracted illness, sudden loss of family or property. Then the person, having no other services, turns to the spirits and claims their assistance.”
With the concept of the vocation of the shaman being born out of trial and crisis, a natural comparison can be drawn from the experience of the shaman compared to that of a Schizophrenic. The parallels between shaman and schizophrenic are obvious, and it is the view of Julian Silverman, a leading proponent of this theory that suggests the difference between the Schizophrenic and the Shaman is that in some way the Shaman is sanctioned by the community; ‘institutionally supported’ whereas the condition of the Schizophrenic is seen as an aberration. A description of Schizophrenia makes clear the striking similarity between the two cases: “The experience which the patient undergoes is of the most awesome, universal character; he seems to be living in the midst of struggle between personified cosmic forces of good and evil, surrounded by animistic enlivened natural objects which are engaged in ominous performances that it is terribly necessary – and impossible – to understand.” The clear distinction between the shaman and the schizophrenic however seems to be that although they both share the same ability to move between different states of consciousness, the shaman is able to integrate these states into his role within the community and as such is able to bring this ability under control.
Mircea Eliade a scholar of comparative religion is quoted as saying: “The primitive magician, the medicine man, or the shaman is not only a sick man; he is, above all, a sick man who has been cured, who has succeeded in curing himself. Often when the shaman’s or medicine man’s vocation is revealed through an illness or epileptoid attack, the initiation of the candidate is equivalent to a cure.” Eliade also goes on to say in his book ‘Birth and rebirth’: “The shamans and the mystics of primitive societies are considered – and rightly – to be superior beings; their magico-religious powers also find expression in an extension of their mental capabilities. The shaman is the man who knows and remembers, that is, who understands the mysteries of life and death.”
Ancient man came together in tribal social groups. ‘Tribe’ is described by theorists as representative of a stage in social evolution intermediate between bands and states. A Band society being the simplest form of human society. Tribalism had a very adaptive effect on human evolution as humans are social animals, and ill-equipped to live on their own. Neolithic man gathered himself into these small groups to provide himself with the greatest opportunities for survival. Through anthropology, we know these ancient societies are the basis for the modern indigenous shamanic cultures of today. The means by which a successful hunt was achieved was through the shaman who would enter into states of non-ordinary reality/states of ecstasy, in order to deliver information to the tribe about the hunt from omens gained from the spirit world. The hunt was of utmost importance to Neolithic man living in these tribal/shamanic societies and cave paintings are an early example of a means by which the shaman could present these omens in a practical pictorial form to the rest of the tribe. The shaman is then the ancient of EVOLUTION, he is the catalyst to our early development. He is the one who saw us through these difficult times and enabled man to grow and develop. In a sense the foundation of modern culture itself. Had we not survived these harder times there would be no civilization to this day.
There is a genetic predisposition for both the calling of the shaman and the schizophrenic – two sides of the same coin if you like. People with mental illnesses are renowned for their artistic ability, it almost seen in some cases as their only redeeming factor. There are examples of success stories where mental illness is concerned. Generally in cases where the person seems to have ‘found their niche’ – the mental illness is deemed controlled and it can even seem to be of benefit to the community, if not the sufferer. Like for instance the case of perhaps an executive with bipolar disorder who for at least a period is able to make incredibly courageous decisions that benefit the company. Think also of the many artists who have suffered mental illness, Van Gogh is an obvious example. Surely a throwback to a time when the creation of art would have been an absolute necessity for the survival and guidance of the group. Art is fundamentally a means of pushing back the barriers of reality – a way of exploring the world and the universe. It is a means of communicating the very nature of reality and by pointing out its flaws a means of correction of culture and civilization. Modern art still performs the function of informing and enriching society, perhaps now in a more sophisticated way but still the purpose to heal the community in some way in these abundant times as well; as it was in the beginning with early man.
Modern man has the same dispositions as he always had namely:- the same instincts for survival, the same genetic makeup and the same needs and requirements for living on the planet. People with mental health disorders especially schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, I believe are those who possess this same genetic disposition to altered states of consciousness that were so beneficial to early man. They are the link to our past and the spirit yet they are diagnosed as unwell, locked up in mental institutions, and medicated being shunned by society. It was this very connection with the spirit that was established by such people who enabled us to survive ice ages, cross the ice floes and allowed civilization to flourish as it has. What a difference from the role of the shaman in a tribal society where they are still revered and esteemed – The Catalyst of our Evolution is being rejected.
Most aspects of human biology involve both genetic (inherited) and non-genetic environmental) factors. The mapping the human genome has allowed an exploration of subtle genetic influences on many common diseases. Schizophrenia is one of those illnesses that has been investigated as having the possible genetic cause. It is suggested that schizophrenia is a condition of complex inheritance, with many potential genes each of which has a small effect, with different pathways for different individuals. Due to difficulties of diagnosis and the complex nature of the condition, involving many genetic and environmental factors, there is some disagreement in particular cases whether it can be termed a genetic disorder. Some have suggested that several genetic and other risk factors need to be present before a person becomes affected but this is still uncertain. Schizophrenia is identified by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality. It most commonly manifests as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking with significant social or occupational dysfunction. The onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, with around 0.4-0.6% of the population affected. Diagnosis is based on the patient’s self-reported experiences and observed behavior. No laboratory test for schizophrenia currently exists.