involvement in the works of
Castaneda, I have encountered a lot of people who seem far more interested in the
himself than in the truths he taught to Carlos and/or through
Carlos, which probably explains why Castaneda himself became reclusive
and touted the advantages of "being unknown".
times, when I’ve mentioned an interest in Castaneda, I’ve been
met with a smug snicker, and something along the lines of, “Oh, but don’t
you know he’s been discredited? Don’t
you know that he was really in Los Angeles when he was claiming to be in Mexico?
Oh, my, I read all his books back in the 60s and 70s, but when I heard that,
well, harrumph (puffing out chest), I just forgot about all that stuff
obsessing on one detail of a small truth, people blind
themselves to any larger
truths contained in the man's works. (But that's what makes
Based on a lifetime of being on this journey and more
than 12 years of intense
involvement in this quest for an evolution of consciousness, I can state with
unshakable certainty that the message given by Castaneda is
entirely true, regardless of whether don Juan ever existed in the flesh or not.
You don’t have to take my word for it.
I didn’t have to take Carlos’s word for it. I had to Do it and keep on doing it – and through
journey, I have come to see that other shamans or mystics such as Castaneda have
stumbled on a Truth so all-encompassing that words alone will never be
sufficient to explain it, and words alone will never be sufficient to discredit
learning to stop the
dialogue, through learning to
what Orlando calls the
through encounters with
allies which became possible only after I stopped
clinging so tenaciously to the
reality, I have come to see that the message is altogether true.
world not only exists, but it is all around us – and it isn’t another
world at all. It’s this
world, but seen through the eyes of freedom from the
programs we’ve all been equipped with since the moment we were born.
And it’s because of those programs that shamans and mystics have traditionally brought their message into this world through
allegory and archetypal personas. Was
don Juan real? Of course!
He was, in the end, perhaps more real than Castaneda
himself, for it is The
Teachings of don Juan that have inspired so many and which serve as validation for a portion of our own individual journeys.
In a very short time, the world will not remember much about Carlos
Castaneda, yet don Juan will live forever through his teachings. Carlos was "just" the guy
asking the questions. And
yet, without the question, the answer has little meaning,
and so ultimately each person’s journey is a yin/yang interaction between
oneself and one’s teachers, whether those teachers are old Yaqui Indian
sorcerers, or the inner wisdom available to all
true seekers through the
Sadly, it is human nature to not only
rebel against ideas that are in direct contradiction to our status quo reality,
but to actively discredit the messenger in any way possible.
If you choose to believe Orlando or don Juan
are fictional characters, then you will
undoubtedly see all of this as just another work of fiction, and you will miss
out on the message. But... then again... you'll sleep better.
the shaman, it is your nature to hold out a common apple and casually suggest to
an apprentice that it is the forbidden fruit of all Knowledge. But more than
that, it is within the shaman's ability to engender that belief
within others, and through their belief, the apple becomes
the fruit of all Knowledge, and once ingested the ecstasy of creation is passed
on to another human being who might otherwise never have found it. That it
started out as nothing more than a grocery store apple is beside the point. This
is the shaman's gift, the sorcerer's trick. This is the creation of a new
intuitively sensed that no one would be interested in hearing the truth from a mere
anthropologist, the shaman inside might have seen that the
only way to impart the truth would be to put the
words of the shaman in the mouth of a mystic – don Juan himself.
Was don Juan, then, only the alter-ego of Carlos Castaneda?
This has been the raging debate for decades.
But – ultimately – it doesn’t matter/
Oh, I’m sure plenty of
folks would say that if Carlos lied about this
he’s probably lying about everything else.
And yet, I cannot stress this strongly enough: to anyone who has
made any serious attempt at the journey, whether
don Juan was really an old Yaqui Indian
in Mexico, or the
shaman inside the skin of Carlos is irrelevant. The truths imparted
through the collected works of Castaneda and other Toltec
writers remain unshakable, regardless of the
source. So, perhaps
Carlos wasn’t a very good anthropologist if his works are based on distortions of the truth, but he was
undeniably a master shaman. And, in the long run, the world has plenty of good
anthropologists. What we are
lacking are visionaries with the ability not only to impart wisdom and truth to
their fellow human beings, but also the means whereby to bring those truths into
of course, if one really thinks about it, the world we live in is largely built
on illusions and misconceptions, right down to its core level. Just to
take one example with which all Westerners are intimately familiar, what is
money? Allegedly it represents a certain amount of gold in Fort Knox, but
as we all fully well know, there isn't nearly enough gold in Fort Knox to
back up all that green paper we're all scrambling and slaving our lives away to
get, so... what is money?
symbol. It's a tool, but is it real, or do we all simply agree to say that it has meaning and so it
does? We fight for it. We'll lie, cheat and steal for it.
We'll even betray those we love for it. And yet, in the final analysis,
it's just one more illusion, one more agreed-upon icon that has no meaning
beyond what we attribute to it. In the same way, at some point in time, we all agreed to
agree that gold has greater value than the petals of a wild rose. It's
arbitrary and it is a leg trap when the illusions take on greater
significance than than the ghost inside the machine, the human spirit, the Self.
Orlando has stressed: reality is only what we agree it is. The things we hold
true are often only programs, so deeply imbedded in our human
mainframe that we don't even recognize them until someone points them out.
Why is gold more valuable than silver? Because it is more
scarce? Because someone in some past society thought it was
prettier? There is no logical reason for any of it, just as there
is no logical reason for many of the things we take for granted
- but as long as we are passive participants within the agreement, we are
not free to experience the voice of the double, and mystery of the nagual, and
the higher reality that lies beyond the programs themselves.
excerpt from my journal:
We live in a made-up world where the reflections on the nuthouse walls have been
mistaken for reality, yet we’ve been doing it so long that we
think it is real. The
society we live in, the rules we live by, the morals and standards of the
world are 100%, absolutely, completely, irrevocably, undeniably nuts!
And what’s even more nuts is that people refuse to see it, as if
by their group denial, they can somehow believe that the white picket fence and the
Norman Rockwell paintings represent “reality”.
Personally, I think it’s far more
likely that faeries, wizards and elves are real than the wholesome
Americana we’ve all been programmed to believe in.
Sometimes I still hear
my mother’s voice: “Now Della,
do you really think everybody else is crazy and you’re the only one
who’s sane?” Well, in a word
– YES! I really have come to see
that 99.9% of the people in the world (or at least in this Western culture)
are living in some kind of grand illusion.
They go to work to pay for the car to drive to work in.
They work to pay for basic human rights – food, shelter, heat – and
the primary result of being magnanimously granted these
basic human rights is that then they must work harder
to pay for them. (At which point they
are no longer "rights" but only commodities to be purchased for a
price, and the value of human life has lost all meaning).
They buy “insurance” (if they have enough green slips of
paper) to pay the medicine man for his pills (which are mostly placeboes anyway)
and the reason they’re so sick in the first place is because they’ve worked
themselves into all kinds of stress-related illnesses trying to gather enough
green slips of paper with which to pay for the insurance to cover their
stress-related illnesses. Then one day when they're 65, they wake up and
wonder where their lives went - but by then it's too late. They've sold
their souls for the house they live in, the car they drive, the watch on their
wrist, the virtual money in their virtual bank
account... and they don't have a single clue as to who they are. Their
life is over while they've been trapped in the prison of paying for the
privilege of living. And most of them have never really lived
at all because the illusion is designed in such a fashion to insure that most of
us never have enough of that illusory green paper to escape the prison
until it is too late.
Who’s more crazy?
The lunatics in
the asylum or the lunatics running
the asylum? Yes, Mom, the world
a nut-house and I’m ass-deep in cashews!
Only when we see the illusions do we have any possibility of stepping
outside of them in order to embrace real change - not changing the external
world, but changing how we see it and how we live within it once we recognize
the multi-layered program for what it truly is. When we do see the
illusions for the first time, it's shocking, depressing, and downright scary
(which is why most people choose to pretend they never saw it in the first
place, and go right on living in it... but that's another story). But to
even see the overlay at all usually requires someone with their eyes already wide open to point
it out to us - a teacher, a guide, a more spiritually evolved being.
Orlando teaches primarily through letters and gnosis
(the art of silent knowing).
met him in person only a few times, yet those few meetings
now many years in the past were destined to change our lives forever. To
say Orlando is physically beautiful is to do him an injustice.
Admittedly, I was first drawn to him because
of his attractiveness, and though I had never approached a stranger in such a
blatant fashion, I found myself talking to him before I realized I had spoken. Only in hindsight could I
see that I was constrained to speak to him because
he was my teacher. I was physically
and emotionally compelled
to approach this man – this “man” who stands 6’5, appears to be
somewhere around 30 years old, has dark hair that brushes his collar, a light 5 o’clock shadow, and eyes that are contradictorily
light in color, pale brown with brilliant flecks of green.
has taught me more than anyone ever has, for he has
taught me how to see the world both for the illusion it is and for the raw
material of creation it can be when a person is willing to do the journey in
earnest, willing to do the work it requires to strip away our automatic human
programming in order to discover the truly magickal beings we are inside.
as Orlando first said to me in the beginning of our relationship, this is not a
journey for someone with only a passing interest in a potential evolution of
consciousness. It is not a journey
for someone who wants to believe they can be “saved” through belief, faith or divine intervention.
It is, instead, a journey of self-empowerment and self-Realization that can take the traveler as far as s/he cares to go.
So, in that regard, it is a journey that can serve the traveler in
whatever manner s/he chooses. It
can be about an evolution of the spirit designed to insure a continuity of
consciousness beyond the threshold of physical death, or it can even be a
journey to seek immortality itself.
The only limits are those we place on ourselves through our limited
perceptions, and through believing we already know what those limits are. For me personally? This
journey began as a quest for immortality for the simple reason
that the mere idea of death - oblivion, loss of identity, the Nothing at the
bottom of the abyss - was altogether too horrific to bear. Here today, gone
tomorrow. We are more than that. We are better than that, or
at least we have the potential to be better than that. I wanted more of it. I wanted to live forever. More than
even that, I wanted Wendy to live forever, for I could not bear the idea of a world without her. So to save her, some form of
immortality must exist. And if it did not exist already, I would
simply have to create it. No other alternative is possible nor
acceptable. (Such is the nature of Intent).
"Love is the reason, love is the motivation," Orlando has said many
times. Love of life. Love of one another. Love of Self in all
its manifestations. And yet, this isn't some hokey new-age message that will try to tell you love is all you need. It's the motivator.
It's the reason. But you are the little engine who has to
climb the hill and build the immortal Self, gathering
identity which can only be called "I Am."
At the bottom line, this need for continuity or eternal
life is the basis of most of the world’s
religions – yet this journey is not a religion.
It is a way of life, what don Juan and Orlando would call a way of
Knowledge, a path of the heart. If anyone
offers to save you, run the other way. If anyone tells you they can give
you eternal life, run faster. A truly evolved and enlightened teacher can
perhaps instruct you in how to achieve this evolution for yourself, but no one -
neither church nor man - can give it to you or do it for you. You're on
If Jesus ever existed, he was an evolved teacher, a master shaman who had figured it out for
himself and who was trying to teach others how to achieve the same
evolution. But as already discussed in this chapter, humanity has a nasty
habit of killing the messenger when they don't like the message. Clearly,
what Jesus and other mystics meant was that they could show us the way to
self-salvation (continuity into eternity); but instead of allying ourselves to
the Knowledge offered, we killed the messenger and rewrote the message to say,
"I can give you eternal life." (And so we sleep
better, thinking our salvation is automatic merely by virtue of
What we believe won't save
us. Only what we Do will serve to define our identity sufficiently to
withstand the maelstrom of eternity. The
primary reason men and women ally themselves with any religion or spiritual
belief is because – when all is said and done – they are seeking to be
redeemed from the abyss of death. Whether the Christian seeks this salvation in
the concept of entering heaven through the grace of God, or the Buddhist seeks
it through reincarnation, or the alchemist through metamagickal transformation
of the body, we are all seeking the same thing.
Regardless of the well-rehearsed lines we speak when we tell one another we are
not afraid of death, we would much rather go right on living. Or at least
have some real assurance that the Self one recognizes in the private
silence of one's own inner reality will continue beyond the barrier of mortal
than a devout atheist – if there are truly any devout atheists on their
deathbeds – every living thing on Earth seeks its own individual continuity
– one more day of living, one more hour, one more
breath. We seek our immortality in
the continuity of consciousness beyond the threshold of “death”.
Unfortunately, through eons of programming and blind acceptance of reality as it is presented to us
from the moment we are born, many of us have lost sight of the fact that the
earth really wasn’t flat in the
first place. So when someone says,
“Why, it’s a fact that all things die,” remember that it is only a fact insofar as
perception, science and technology available to us right now are able to
discern. And, for that matter,
who’s to say that there aren’t immortals alive on the planet right here and
now, evolved beings who have overcome the “fact” that “all things die”?
Any “fact” is only true until it is proven false – and
the “facts” of science are the most fleeting of all. It was once a fact of science that Man could never fly.
Man could not go to the moon. The
flat earth was the center of the universe. Science
can only prove what it is capable of proving or disproving at any given moment
As humans, we tend to think of
ourselves as the most enlightened
beings on the planet. And yet, we
perceive only what our 5 senses enable us to perceive.
As quantum science has indicated, there are other space/time continuums,
other realities – not existing apart from us or on distant,
far-flung planets, but all around us. Right
here. Right now.
Just because we cannot perceive them with the physical senses doesn’t
mean they don’t exist. We can’t
directly perceive a virus or atoms, yet these things exist.
Before science began to understand viruses, though, they were perceived
as manifestations of demons or possession by spirits – and the consensual
reality of the day treated them accordingly, often maiming or killing the
patient in their attempts to cure him.
It’s no different today, at least
with regards to how we are killing ourselves with the limits of our own
perceptions. By automatically assuming that we will die, do we condemn ourselves automatically
to death? If we are programmed
based on a consensual agreement stretching back millions of years, that we
will die, do we have any reason to go
on a quest for immortality? It’s much easier
to look at history and make the observation that “all
things die” than it is to look beyond
our present ability to perceive and ask if death is perhaps only one more virus
we do not perceive accurately yet, and therefore do not begin to understand.
Not a virus that can be seen under a microscope, perhaps, but one which
invades the human programming itself – right down to the level of DNA, to the
level of consciousness itself. Is death only another program, something we
believe because we have not yet come to see and know other possibilities
existing beyond our present perceptions?
this: it will always be easier to take the road already built by those who
have gone before, for the journey is well-mapped and the conveniences along the
way even make the trip easy. Ah, but what if that road you're on truly was
first forged by a suicidal blind madman running headlong through the jungle with
a sword, hacking out the path to his own death so he might find it waiting at
the end of the way, and what if all of humanity timidly followed that demented
fool just to see where he was going, but now they've been on that same fatal
road ever since, never stopping to consider that there are many paths to the
river, and not all of them need end with mortal death?"
Is it possible that we die not because
we must but because we believe
we must? In the same way that
thinking we already know something will prevent us from learning anything more
about it, does the consensual human belief – 6 billion strong – that we will
all one day die create the reality wherein we do
die? Not because it is necessarily
inevitable, but because we must fulfill the programming, even if it is we
ourselves who are responsible for the program in the first place?
In short, we base our idea of reality on what we perceive instead of
attempting to alter our perceptions to the point that a new reality becomes
science has now confirmed that the very basic components of "reality"
alter in response to the presence of an observer. In other words,
"reality" knows we're here. It knows we're watching. And
it appears to change because we're watching. What does this tell us
about ourselves and our programming? Are we really only the
passive, impotent handful of chemicals we've been taught to believe, or are we
the gods themselves - co-creators of reality at a quantum level? And if we
are, can we not then change our nature through the process of
cannot see a mortal breath, yet you can witness its effects on dandelions
scattered on the wind of a wish, and so it is with the will, the invisible but
tangible breath of your desire acting upon the physical world. Ah, but the
trick is this: you have to believe it in order to see it and before you
can believe it you need a reason.
Think on this, for it is the
cornerstone of your new foundation, yes"
As long as the medical community as a
whole accepted that certain illnesses such as epilepsy were the result of
possession by demons, the patient was treated accordingly.
To the reality of the day, to the science of the times, this was
just the way things were. It no more occurred to them to question the diagnosis
(demons) than it occurs to us to hold our hand in flame to determine whether or
not it is hot. It was simply an
accepted part of reality – yet just as science and perception have evolved to
demonstrate that demons are not at the root of epilepsy, the perceptions of a
few have also evolved to enable firewalking and other so-called miracles (which
could just as easily be called magick) which would
be considered impossible by current, common standards of reality.
Reality is perception.
That’s what Orlando has spent the past ten years teaching us.
I often wonder if perhaps I have felt his influence in
my life even prior to that time, since I have questioned if he is a being
constrained by the linear flow of time at all.
He is an inhabitant of what I have come to call the
– though it could as easily be called the sorcerer's world, the
third attention, or a
level of evolved awareness existing both as part of this world and as part of
whatever lies beyond the normal realm of our perceptions.
it is from the seventh sense that all our grandest ideas and art come, and all
our greatest teachers. It is a world assembled
not only with our five physical senses, but also with the addition of the
sixth sense (telepathy, clairvoyance, pure perception, non-local awareness), and the result of
that “assemblage point” is “the seventh sense".
In the seventh sense
we might find a lot of strange goings-on – things that go bump in the night,
faeries, wizards, time travelers, immortals of many different kinds.
In the seventh sense, we might also find ourselves – for it is not a land with
which humans are unfamiliar, nor even a land we are forbidden to travel.
Indeed, it is a land that has been whispered of in myth and legend for as far
back as time can measure. Human encounters with "the little people" of Ireland.
Strange but undeniable accounts of men and women vanishing into "otherworlds"
for years, often for decades, yet when they return they haven't aged even a day.
In his book DIMENSIONS, Jacques
Vallee deals with this subject in a most brilliant and astounding manner,
likening these old legends to modern-day legends of human encounters with alien
beings. It is only our automatic
programming that causes us to initially scoff and close our minds when we hear
such tales, but if we're willing to even consider some new possibilities,
we can open ourselves to a vast world of incredible potential.
these "otherworlds" known to the shamans and mystics are lands we have slowly but surely placed outside our
normal human perceptions simply by refusing to perceive them – perhaps a milieu once as commonplace to us
as cyberspace is in the early 21st century – but a milieu still
accessible to us if we choose to see it, if we choose to seek it.
Instead of being accessed with the tools of mouse and keyboard, however,
the tools used to access this otherworld of experience are the tools of
will, and a force we can only
call magick because
it is a science not yet understood.
can understand it. And through understanding, we can even visit
these otherworlds. One day, through the completion of our individual
evolution, perhaps we will even master the ability to stay, to live there as
immortal citizens. Perhaps on that day we will become the teachers
and facilitators for other humans struggling to see beyond the limits of their
five common senses.
"What exists is only perception and will and energy. When that energy
is at rest it tends to create the world of men and matter. When the energy
is in motion it tends to create all possibilities, governed only by
to THE FLAT EARTH
FORWARD to THE SCREAM