Sorcerers’ aspirations are to reach infinity, and to be conscious of it. The task of sorcerers is to face infinity. They plunge into it daily, as a fisherman plunges into the sea. It is such an overwhelming task that sorcerers have to state their names before venturing into it. In this manner, they assert their individuality in front of the infinite.
What makes human beings into sorcerers is their capacity to perceive energy directly as it flows in the universe. Human beings are not only capable of seeing energy directly as it flows in the universe, but they actually do see it, although they are not deliberately conscious of seeing it.
“Awareness” is energy and “energy” is constant flux, a luminous vibration that is never stationary, but always moving of its own accord.
From “The Active Side of Infinity”
“I never noticed the noise in my head, until it stopped”.
“Now let us call that spirit of the water hole,” he said.
I tried to turn my head to look at him. He held me vigorously by the hair and said that I was in a very vulnerable position and in a terribly weak physical state and had to remain quiet and motionless. He had put all those special branches on my belly to protect me and was going to remain next to me in case I could not take care of myself.
He was standing next to the top of my head, and if I rolled my eyes I could see him. He took his string and tensed it and then realized I was looking at him by rolling my eyes way into my forehead. He gave me a snappy tap on the head with his knuckles and ordered me to look at the sky, not to close my eyes, and to concentrate on the sound. He added, as if on second thought, that I should not hesitate to yell the word he had taught me if I felt something was coming at me.
Don Juan and his “spirit catcher” began with a low-tension twang. He slowly increased the tension, and I began to hear a sort of reverberation first, and then a definite echo which came consistently from a southeasterly direction. The tension increased. Don Juan and his “spirit catcher” were perfectly matched. The string produced a low-range note and don Juan magnified it, increasing its intensity until it was a penetrating cry, a howling call. The apex was an eerie shriek, inconceivable from the point of view of my own experience.
The sound reverberated in the mountains and echoed back to us. I fancied it was coming directly toward me. I felt it had something to do with the temperature of my body. Before don Juan started his calls I had been very warm and comfortable, but during the highest point of his calls I became chilled; my teeth chattered uncontrollably and I truly had the sensation that something was coming at me.
At one point I noticed that the sky had become very dark. I had not been aware of the sky although I was looking at it. I had a moment of intense panic and I yelled the word don Juan had taught me.
Don Juan immediately began to decrease the tension of his eerie calls, but that did not bring me any relief.
“Cover your ears,” don Juan mumbled imperatively.
I covered them with my hands.
After some minutes don Juan stopped altogether and came around to my side. After he had taken the branches and leaves off my belly, he helped me up and carefully put them on the rock where I had been lying. He made a fire with them, and while it burned he rubbed my stomach with other leaves from his pouch.
He put his hand on my mouth when I was about to tell him that I had a terrible headache.
We stayed there until all the leaves had burned. It was fairly dark by then. We walked down the hill and I got sick to my stomach.
A Separate Reality: Chapter 11. [Carlos Castaneda]
“Every one of us has an energetic fissure, an energetic crack below the navel. That crack, which sorcerers call the gap, is closed when a man is in his prime.
Normally, all that is discernible to the sorcerer’s eye is a tenuous discoloration in the otherwise whitish glow of the luminous sphere. But when a man is close to dying, that gap becomes quite apparent.”
Don Juan Matus ~ The Active side of Infinity (Carlos Castaneda)
“Dreaming is the vehicle that brings dreamers to this world,” the emissary said, “and everything sorcerers know about dreaming was taught to them by us. Our world is connected to yours by a door called dreams. We know how to go through that door, but men don’t. They have to learn it.”
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.
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).