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 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
“I never noticed the noise in my head, until it stopped”.
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).
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
I first found my hands in dreaming about 12 years ago. It was not for a want of trying that it took me so long to achieve. I would practice setting up dreaming before falling asleep most nights, I would remind myself that the purpose of my dreaming was to find my hands, I would often wear a dreaming headband, and attempt to watch myself falling asleep. I invested in a Spirit Catcher and kitted it out with a Quartz, I even tried attaching a quartz crystal to the top of my head while sleeping, as recommended by Don Juan.
The results were pitiful however. Nightly I would fall asleep and enter dreaming. I was dreaming frequently and fairly lucidly at the time, but at no point would I remember the instruction to find my hands. It seems I would never become aware enough that I was actually within a dream. I was getting close however I felt a tension was starting to build within my dreaming experience.
There was one dreamscape/location, I kept returning to. I would be standing outside of a house, aware vegetation was growing out of it; perhaps a plant or tree, something that seemed very familiar to me. I would be standing on a path that led past the bay windows of the house, I even remember looking in on one occasion. I could not make it any further up the path however, something would end the dream. But it was in this location that I eventually managed to realise that I was asleep which prompted me to act – and I found my hands. The process was initially that I looked straight ahead – in awe of the fact that I had managed to realise I was dreaming. I felt very alive at that point, I could even feel the gravel of the path beneath my feet and realise I was somewhere else altogether. I then immediately looked down at my hands, inspecting them – the lines on my hands seemed to jump out at me. I became engrossed in studying my palms then turned them over….
At that moment the dream location changed. I cannot recall how many locations I travelled to. I seemed to be flying from one to another. Various things were happening at each location I found myself in, but I was limited by the amount of time I was there to how much I could recall. The general theme was that I was on a ‘night out’. I do remember going with friends to a bar, being thrown out then stumbling away down the street. But with this like all the locations I travelled to, I would suddenly be whipped away and would ‘fly’ somewhere else. I ended up in an alley, looking down at myself from above, but aware at the same time that it was myself I was looking at. Presumably exhausted by my night-time aeronautics I sat there till the friends I had been drinking with turned up to collect me. At which point I awoke, in astonishment and particularly happy with my success.
“Journey to Ixtlan”
“I am going to teach you how to set up dreaming.”
“You must start by doing something very simple,” he said. “Tonight in your dreams you must look at your hands.” I laughed out loud. His tone was so factual that it was as if he were telling me to do something commonplace. “Why do you laugh?” he asked with surprise. “How can I look at my hands in my dreams?”..
“Very simple, focus your eyes on them just like this.” He bent his head forward and stared at his hands with his mouth open. His gesture was so comical that I had to laugh. “Seriously, how can you expect me to do that?” I asked “The way I’ve told you,” he snapped. “You can, of course, look at whatever you goddamn please…
…I asked him to give me some pointers. “There aren’t any pointers,” he said. “Just look at your hands.”
“When they begin to change shape you must move your sight away from them and pick something else, and then look at your hands again. It takes a long time to perfect this technique.”
Many moons ago I had what could be termed the first of my extra-sensory experiences…I was informed by a friend of mine about a technique he described as something that would enable ‘dream navigation’. He told me this technique and said that I had to stick to it very rigidly but if you did it was almost guaranteed to work. I had been working on developing my dreaming, so one night I went to bed and decided to try the technique. This is what he told me:
‘To lie very still in bed, close your eyes and keep them closed, in your mind count backwards from 100 down to 1, but actually picturing the numbers in your mind as they go past and count very slowly. As you are doing this examine every part of your anatomy, starting with your feet – become aware of every part of the body working upwards to the head (sort of saying goodbye to each part of the body as you examine it). Then as the numbers get down to one in your head imagine a ‘Door’ in the centre of your mind. Really picture the door in every detail, the handle the frame, the door itself – then once you have this door fixed in your mind open it and step through!’
Well the effect of this was dramatic – As I tried to synchronise all the different activities to reach a kind moment of singularity – I felt my body going to sleep, but my mind was clear. I went into full sleep paralysis with my mind full aware, my body seemingly unconscious. At the moment I imagine the door I realised I was then dreaming but in a strange place as I could see the room in my mind’s eye but it was not exactly like my room, the door seemed to appear in the air above me, I opened it and to my astonishment there was a white light behind it which was exceedingly bright. I remember the door and the light clearly to this day. I then had the sensation of lifting out of my body fully detached from my waking body – I tried to go through the door – I felt I did but also in a sense could not. I saw the room clearly. At this point my courage gave out and I wanted back to my waking body. I seem to remember counting again and coming back to sensation in my body and in time to full wakefulness once again.
The experience kicked off everything for me. It gave me an understanding of the dynamics of dreaming to a large extent – that we enter into another world during dreaming that there is a cord that binds our waking body and the dreaming body and that we can traverse this cord with enough skill and precision (or even given the right advice). That we are not trapped in this reality but called to traverse a multi-layered reality that includes dream scape. There then is the possibility to become aware of our dreaming and to actual navigate through this immense area of our sub-consciousness.