© Carlos Castaneda 1993

     Carlos Castaneda asserts the moral right to be identified as the author
of this work

     Author's Note
     1 Sorcerers of Antiquity: An Introduction
     2 The First Gate of Dreaming
     3 The Second Gate of Dreaming
     4 The Fixation of the Assemblage Point
     5 The World of Inorganic Beings
     6 The Shadows' World
     7 The Blue Scout
     8 The Third Gate of Dreaming
     9 The New Area of Exploration
     10 Stalking the Stalkers
     11 The Tenant
     I2 The Woman in the Church 13 Flying on the Wings of Intent

     Over the past twenty years, I  have  written a series of books about my
apprenticeship with a Mexican Yaqui Indian sorcerer, don Juan Matus.  I have
explained in those books that he taught me sorcery, but not as we understand
sorcery in  the  context  of our daily world: the use of supernatural powers
over others, or the calling of spirits through charms, spells, or rituals to
produce supernatural effects. For don Juan, sorcery was the act of embodying
some specialized theoretical and  practical premises  about  the nature  and
role of perception in molding the universe around us.
     Following don Juan's suggestion, I have refrained from using shamanism,
a category proper to anthropology, to classify  his knowledge. I have called
it all along what he himself called it: sorcery. On examination,  however, I
realized that  calling  it sorcery obscures even  more  the already  obscure
phenomena he presented to me in his teachings.
     In anthropological works, shamanism is  described as a belief system of
some native people of northern Asia--prevailing  also  among  certain native
North  American  Indian  tribes--which  maintains  that an  unseen world  of
ancestral  spiritual forces, good and  evil, is pervasive around us and that
these  spiritual  forces can be summoned or controlled  through  the acts of
practitioners,  who   are  the   intermediaries  between  the   natural  and
supernatural realms.
     Don  Juan  was  indeed  an intermediary  between  the  natural world of
everyday life and an unseen world,  which he called not the supernatural but
the second attention. His role  as a teacher was to make  this configuration
accessible to me. I have described in my previous work  his teaching methods
to this effect,  as well as the sorcery arts he  made me practice,  the most
important of which is called the art of dreaming.
     Don Juan contended that our world,  which  we believe  to be unique and
absolute, is only one in a cluster of  consecutive worlds, arranged like the
layers of an onion. He asserted that even though we have  been energetically
conditioned to  perceive solely our  world,  we still have the capability of
entering into those other realms, which are as real,  unique, absolute,  and
engulfing as our own world is.
     Don Juan explained to me that, for us  to perceive those other  realms,
not only do we  have to covet them but  we need to have sufficient energy to
seize them. Their existence is constant and independent of our awareness, he
said, but their inaccessibility is entirely  a  consequence of our energetic
conditioning.   In  other   words,  simply   and  solely  because   of  that
conditioning, we are compelled to assume that the world of daily life is the
one and only possible world.
     Believing  that  our  energetic  conditioning is  correctable, don Juan
stated that sorcerers of ancient times developed a set of practices designed
to recondition our energetic capabilities  to perceive. They called this set
of practices the art of dreaming.
     With the perspective time gives, I  now realize that the  most  fitting
statement don  Juan  made  about dreaming was to  call it  the  "gateway  to
infinity."  I remarked, at the time he said  it, that  the metaphor  had  no
meaning to me.
     "Let's then do  away  with metaphors," he  conceded.  "Let's  say  that
dreaming is the sorcerers' practical way of putting ordinary dreams to use."
     "But how can ordinary  dreams be put  to use?"  I asked. "We always get
tricked  by  words," he said.  "In  my  own case, my  teacher  attempted  to
describe  dreaming to me by saying  that it  is the  way sorcerers say  good
night to the world. He was,  of course, tailoring his description  to fit my
mentality. I'm doing the same with you."
     On  another  occasion  don  Juan  said  to me,  "Dreaming  can  only be
experienced. Dreaming  is not just having  dreams; neither is it daydreaming
or  wishing or  imagining.  Through dreaming we  can perceive other  worlds,
which  we can  certainly  describe,  but  we  can't describe  what  makes us
perceive  them. Yet we can  feel how  dreaming opens up  those other realms.
Dreaming seems to be  a sensation--a process in our bodies, an  awareness in
our minds."
     In the course  of his general  teachings, don Juan thoroughly explained
to me the principles,  rationales, and practices of the art of dreaming. His
instruction was  divided into two parts. One was about  dreaming procedures,
the other  about the purely abstract explanations of  these procedures.  His
teaching method was an interplay between enticing  my intellectual curiosity
with the abstract principles of dreaming and guiding me to seek an outlet in
its practices.
     I  have already described all this in as much detail as I was able  to.
And I have also described the sorcerers' milieu in which  don Juan placed me
in order to teach  me his arts. My interaction in this milieu was of special
interest to me because it took place  exclusively in the second attention. I
interacted  there  with the  ten women and  five  men who  were  don  Juan's
sorcerer companions and with the four young men and the four young women who
were his apprentices.
     Don Juan gathered them immediately after I came into his world. He made
it clear to me that they formed a traditional sorcerers' group--a replica of
his own party-and that I was supposed to lead them. However, working with me
he realized  that I  was  different  than  he expected.  He  explained  that
difference in  terms  of an energy  configuration  seen  only by  sorcerers:
instead of having four compartments of energy, as he himself had, I had only
three. Such a configuration, which he had mistakenly hoped was a correctable
flaw, made me so completely inadequate for interacting with or leading those
eight  apprentices that it became imperative for don  Juan to gather another
group of people more akin to my energetic structure.
     I  have  written extensively  about  those  events. Yet  I  have  never
mentioned the second group of apprentices;  don Juan did not permit me to do
so. He argued  that they were exclusively in my field and that the agreement
I had with him was to write about his field, not mine.
     The  second group of  apprentices was  extremely compact. It  had  only
three members: a  dreamer, Florinda Grau; a  stalker, Taisha  Abelar;  and a
nagual woman, Carol Tiggs.
     We interacted with one another solely  in  the second attention. In the
world of everyday life, we did not have  even a vague notion of one another.
In terms of our relationship with don Juan, however, there was no vagueness;
he put enormous effort into training all of us equally. Nevertheless, toward
the  end,  when  don  Juan's time  was  about to  finish, the  psychological
pressure of  his  departure started to collapse the rigid boundaries of  the
second attention. The result  was that our  interaction began to  lapse into
the world of everyday affairs, and we met, seemingly for the first time.
     None of us, consciously, knew about our deep and arduous interaction in
the second attention. Since all of us were involved in academic  studies, we
ended up more than shocked when we found out we had met before. This was and
still is, of  course, intellectually inadmissible to us, yet we know that it
was thoroughly within our experience. We have been left, therefore, with the
disquieting  knowledge that the human psyche is infinitely more complex than
our mundane or academic reasoning had led us to believe.
     Once we asked don Juan, in unison, to shed light on our predicament. He
said  that he had two  explanatory options.  One  was to  cater to our  hurt
rationality and patch it up, saying that the second  attention is a state of
awareness as illusory as elephants flying in the  sky and that everything we
thought we  had  experienced in that state was simply a product of  hypnotic
suggestions.  The other option was to  explain it the  way sorcerer dreamers
understand it: as an energetic configuration of awareness.
     During the fulfillment of my  dreaming tasks, however, the  barrier  of
the second attention remained unchanged. Every time I entered into dreaming,
I also entered into the  second attention, and waking up  from  dreaming did
not necessarily mean I had  left  the second  attention. For years  I  could
remember only bits of my  dreaming experiences. The bulk of what I  did  was
energetically  unavailable to me. It took me fifteen  years of uninterrupted
work, from  1973 to  1988,  to store enough  energy to rearrange  everything
linearly in my  mind. I remembered then sequences upon sequences of dreaming
events, and I was able to fill in, at last, some seeming  lapses of  memory.
In this manner  I captured the inherent continuity of  don Juan's lessons in
the art of  dreaming, a  continuity  that had been lost to me because of his
making me weave between the awareness of our everyday life and the awareness
of the second attention. This work is a result of that rearrangement.
     All this brings me  to the final part of my  statement: the  reason for
writing this book. Being  in possession  of most of the pieces of don Juan's
lessons in  the art of dreaming, I would like to explain,  in a future work,
the current position and interest of his last four students:  Florinda Grau,
Taisha  Abelar, Carol  Tiggs, and myself. But before I  describe and explain
the  results of don  Juan's guidance and influence on us, I must  review, in
light of what I know now, the parts of don  Juan's  lessons  in dreaming  to
which I did not have access before.
     The definitive reason for this work, however, was given by Carol Tiggs.
Her belief is that explaining the world that don Juan made us inherit is the
ultimate expression of our gratitude to him and our commitment to his quest.

     -- Don  Juan  stressed, time and time again,  that  everything  he  was
teaching me had been  envisioned and worked  out by  men he  referred  to as
sorcerers of antiquity. He  made  it very clear  that  there was  a profound
distinction between those  sorcerers and the sorcerers of  modern times.  He
categorized sorcerers  of antiquity  as men  who  existed in Mexico  perhaps
thousands  of  years  before  the  Spanish  Conquest,  men   whose  greatest
accomplishment had been  to build  the structures  of  sorcery,  emphasizing
practicality and  concreteness. He rendered them as  men who were  brilliant
but lacking in wisdom. Modern sorcerers, by contrast, don Juan  portrayed as
men renowned for  their sound minds and their capacity to rectify the course
of sorcery if they deemed it necessary.
     Don  Juan  explained  to me  that the  sorcery  premises  pertinent  to
dreaming were naturally envisioned and  developed by sorcerers of antiquity.
Out of necessity--for those premises are key in explaining and understanding
dreaming--1 again have to write  about  and discuss them. The major  part of
this book is, therefore, a reintroduction and  amplification of what  I have
presented in my previous works.
     During one of  our  conversations, don Juan  stated  that, in  order to
appreciate the position of dreamers  and dreaming, one has to understand the
struggle  of modern-day sorcerers  to  steer  sorcery away from concreteness
toward the abstract.
     "What do you call concreteness, don Juan?" I asked.
     "The practical part  of  sorcery," he said. "The obsessive  fixation of
the mind on practices and techniques, the unwarranted influence over people.
All of these were in the realm of the sorcerers of the past."
     "And what do you call the abstract?"
     "The search for  freedom, freedom to perceive, without obsessions,  all
that's humanly possible. I  say that present-day sorcerers seek the abstract
because they seek freedom; they  have no interest in  concrete gains.  There
are no social functions  for them,  as there  were for the sorcerers of  the
past. So you'll never catch  them  being the official seers or the sorcerers
in residence."
     "Do you mean,  don  Juan, that  the past  has no  value  to  modern-day
     "It  certainly has value.  It's the taste  of that past  which we don't
like. I personally detest the darkness and morbidity of the mind. I like the
immensity  of thought. However, regardless  of my likes and dislikes, I have
to give due credit to the sorcerers of antiquity, for they were the first to
find out and  do  everything we know and do today.  Don  Juan explained that
their  most  important attainment  was to perceive  the energetic essence of
things.  This insight was  of  such  importance that it  was turned into the
basic premise of sorcery. Nowadays, after lifelong discipline and  training,
sorcerers  do  acquire the  capacity to  perceive the essence  of things,  a
capacity they call seeing.
     "What would it mean to me to perceive the energetic essence of things?"
I once asked don Juan.
     "It would mean  that you  perceive energy  directly,"  he replied.  "By
separating the  social  part of perception,  you'll perceive the essence  of
everything.  Whatever  we  are  perceiving  is  energy,  but  since we can't
directly perceive energy, we process our perception to fit a mold. This mold
is the social part of perception, which you have to separate."
     "Why do I have to separate it?"
     "Because it deliberately reduces the scope of what can be perceived and
makes us believe that the mold into which we fit our perception is  all that
exists. I  am convinced that for  man  to survive now, his  perception  must
change at its social base."
     "What is this social base of perception, don Juan?"
     "The physical certainty  that the  world is made of concrete objects. I
call this a social base because a serious and  fierce  effort  is put out by
everybody to guide us to perceive the world the way we do."
     "How then should we perceive the world?"
     "Everything is energy. The whole universe is energy. The social base of
our perception should be the physical certainty that energy is all there is.
A mighty effort should  be  made  to  guide us to perceive energy as energy.
Then we would have both alternatives at our fingertips."
     "Is it possible to train people in such a fashion?" I asked.
     Don Juan replied that it was possible and that this  was precisely what
he was doing with me and his other apprentices. He was teaching us a new way
of  perceiving, first, by making us realize we process our perception to fit
a mold and, second, by  fiercely guiding us to perceive energy  directly. He
assured  me that this method was very  much like the one used to teach us to
perceive the world of daily affairs.
     Don  Juan's  conception  was  that  our  entrapment  in processing  our
perception to  fit a social mold  loses  its power when we  realize we  have
accepted this mold, as  an inheritance from our ancestors, without bothering
to examine it.
     "To perceive a world  of hard objects that  had either a positive or  a
negative  value  must  have  been  utterly  necessary   for  our  ancestors'
survival,"  don Juan said. '"After ages  of perceiving in  such a manner, we
are now forced to believe that the world is made up of objects."
     "I can't conceive  the world in any other way, don Juan," I complained.
"It is unquestionably a world of objects. To prove it, all we have to  do is
bump into them."
     "Of course it's a world of objects. We are not arguing that."
     "What are you saying then?"
     "I am saying that this is first a world of energy; then it's a world of
objects.  If we don't  start with the premise that it is a  world of energy,
we'll never be able  to perceive energy directly. We'll always be stopped by
the  physical certainty  of what you've just pointed  out:  the hardness  of
     His  argument was  extremely mystifying  to me.  In those days, my mind
would simply refuse  to consider any way  to understand the world except the
one with which I was familiar. Don Juan's claims and the points he struggled
to raise were outlandish propositions that I could  not accept but could not
refuse either.
     "Our way  of  perceiving is  a predator's way," he said to  me  on  one
occasion. "A very efficient manner of appraising  and  classifying food  and
danger. But this  is not the only  way we  are  able  to perceive.  There is
another mode, the one I am familiarizing you with: the act of perceiving the
essence of everything, energy itself, directly.
     "To  perceive  the essence  of  everything  will  make  us  understand,
classify,  and  describe the  world  in entirely  new, more  exciting,  more
sophisticated terms." This was don Juan's claim.  And the more sophisticated
terms  to  which  he was  alluding  were those  he  had been  taught by  his
predecessors, terms  that  correspond  to  sorcery  truths,  which  have  no
rational foundation  and  no  relation whatsoever to the facts of  our daily
world  but  which  are  self-evident truths for  the sorcerers  who perceive
energy directly and see the essence of everything.
     For such sorcerers, the most significant act of  sorcery is  to see the
essence of the  universe. Don  Juan's  version  was  that the  sorcerers  of
antiquity, the first ones to see  the essence of the universe,  described it
in the  best manner. They  said that  the  essence of the universe resembles
incandescent threads stretched into infinity in every conceivable direction,
luminous filaments that  are conscious of themselves in ways impossible  for
the human mind to comprehend.
     From  seeing the essence of  the  universe, the sorcerers  of antiquity
went on to see the energy essence of human beings. Don Juan stated that they
depicted human beings as bright shapes that resembled  giant eggs and called
them luminous eggs.
     "When  sorcerers see a human being," don Juan said,  "they see a giant,
luminous shape that floats, making, as it moves, a deep furrow in the energy
of  the  earth,  just  as  if  the luminous shape had  a  taproot  that  was
     Don Juan  had the  impression that our  energy shape  keeps on changing
through  time.  He said that every  seer he knew, himself included, saw that
human beings are shaped more like balls or even  tombstones than  eggs. But,
once in a while,  and for no reason  known to  them, sorcerers see  a person
whose  energy is shaped like an egg.  Don Juan suggested that people who are
egglike in shape today are more akin to people of ancient times.
     In the  course  of  his  teachings, don Juan  repeatedly  discussed and
explained  what he  considered the  decisive finding  of  the  sorcerers  of
antiquity. He called  it  the  crucial feature  of human beings  as luminous
balls:  a round  spot of intense  brilliance, the  size  of a  tennis  ball,
permanently lodged inside the luminous  ball, flush with  its surface, about
two feet back from the crest of a person's right shoulder blade.
     Since I had trouble visualizing this the first time don  Juan described
it to me, he explained that the luminous ball is much larger  than the human
body, that the spot of intense  brilliance is  part of  this ball of energy,
and  that  it is located on a place at the height of the shoulder blades, an
arm's  length from a person's back. He said that  the old sorcerers named it
the assemblage point after seeing what it does.
     "What does the assemblage point do?" I asked.
     "It makes us perceive,"  he  replied.  "The old sorcerers saw that,  in
human beings, perception is assembled  there, on that point. Seeing that all
living beings have such a point  of brilliance, the old  sorcerers  surmised
that  perception in  general  must  take  place  on  that spot,  in whatever
pertinent manner."
     "What did the old sorcerers see that made them conclude that perception
takes place on the assemblage point?" I asked.
     He  answered  that,  first,  they saw  that out of the  millions of the
universe's  luminous energy filaments  passing through the  entire  luminous
ball, only  a  small number pass directly through the assemblage  point,  as
should be expected since it is small in comparison with the whole.
     Next, they saw that  a spherical extra glow,  slightly bigger than  the
assemblage point, always surrounds it,  greatly  intensifying the luminosity
of the filaments passing directly through that glow.
     Finally,  they saw two things. One, that the assemblage points of human
beings can dislodge themselves from the spot where they are usually located.
And, two,  that  when the assemblage  point  is  on its  habitual  position,
perception  and awareness seem to be normal, judging by the  normal behavior
of  the  subjects  being observed.  But  when their  assemblage  points  and
surrounding glowing  spheres are  on a different position than the  habitual
one, their  unusual  behavior seems to be the proof  that their awareness is
different, that they are perceiving in an unfamiliar manner.
     The  conclusion  the old  sorcerers  drew from  all this was  that  the
greater  the  displacement  of  the  assemblage  point  from  its  customary
position,  the  more  unusual  the consequent behavior  and,  evidently, the
consequent awareness and perception.
     "Notice  that  when  I  talk  about  seeing,  I always say 'having  the
appearance of' or 'seemed  like,'" don Juan warned me. "Everything one  sees
is so unique that there is no way to talk about it except by comparing it to
something known to us."
     He said that the most adequate example  of this difficulty was  the way
sorcerers talk about the assemblage point  and  the glow  that surrounds it.
They describe them as brightness, yet it cannot be brightness, because seers
see them without their eyes. They have to  fill out the difference, however,
and  say  that  the assemblage point is  a spot  of light and that around it
there is a halo, a glow.  Don  Juan pointed out that  we  are so visual,  so
ruled by our predator's perception, that everything we see must be  rendered
in terms of what the predator's eye normally sees.
     After seeing what  the assemblage point and its surrounding glow seemed
to be doing, don Juan said  that the old sorcerers  advanced an explanation.
They proposed that  in human beings  the assemblage  point, by  focusing its
glowing  sphere  on  the universe's filaments of energy  that pass  directly
through  it,   automatically  and  without   premeditation  assembles  those
filaments into a steady perception of the world.
     "How  are  those  filaments you  talk  about assembled  into  a  Steady
perception of the world?" I asked.
     "No one can  possibly know  that," he emphatically  replied. "Sorcerers
see the movement of  energy, but just seeing  the  movement of energy cannot
tell them how or why energy moves.'
     Don  Juan  stated  that,  seeing  that  millions  of  conscious  energy
filaments  pass  through the assemblage point, the old  sorcerers postulated
that in passing  through it  they  come together, amassed  by the  glow that
surrounds it. After seeing that the glow is extremely dim in people who have
been rendered unconscious or are about to die, and that it is totally absent
from corpses, they were convinced that this glow is awareness.
     "How about the assemblage point? Is it absent from a corpse?" I asked.
     He answered that there is no trace of  an assemblage point  on  a  dead
being, because the assemblage point and its surrounding glow are the mark of
life  and  consciousness.  The  inescapable conclusion of  the sorcerers  of
antiquity was that awareness and perception go together  and are tied to the
assemblage point and the glow that surrounds it.
     "Is  there a chance that those sorcerers might have been mistaken about
their seeing?" I asked.
     "I  can't explain  to you  why, but there is  no  way sorcerers can  be
mistaken  about their seeing," don Juan said,  in a  tone  that admitted  no
argument. "Now, the conclusions  they  arrive at from their seeing might  be
wrong, but that would be  because they are naive, uncultivated.  In order to
avoid this  disaster,  sorcerers have to cultivate their minds,  in whatever
form they can."
     He softened up then  and remarked that it certainly would be infinitely
safer for sorcerers to remain solely at  the level  of describing  what they
see, but  that  the temptation to  conclude and  explain,  even  if  only to
oneself, is far too great to resist.
     The  effect of the assemblage  point's  displacement was another energy
configuration  the sorcerers  of antiquity  were able  to see and study. Don
Juan said that when the assemblage point is displaced to another position, a
new conglomerate of millions of luminous  energy filaments come  together on
that point. The sorcerers of antiquity saw this and concluded that since the
glow  of  awareness is always  present  wherever the  assemblage  point  is,
perception  is  automatically  assembled  there.  Because  of the  different
position of the assemblage  point, the resulting  world,  however, cannot be
our world of daily affairs.
     Don   Juan   explained  that   the   old  sorcerers  were   capable  of
distinguishing  two  types  of  assemblage  point  displacement. One  was  a
displacement  to  any  position  on  the surface  or  in the interior of the
luminous  ball;  this displacement  they  called a shift of  the  assemblage
point. The other was a displacement to a position outside the luminous ball;
they called this displacement a movement of the assemblage point. They found
out that the difference between a shift and a movement was the nature of the
perception each allows.
     Since  the shifts of the  assemblage point are displacements within the
luminous ball, the  worlds  engendered  by  them, no matter  how bizarre  or
wondrous or unbelievable they might be, are still  worlds  within the  human
domain.  The human  domain  is the  energy  filaments  that pass through the
entire luminous  ball. By contrast, movements of the assemblage point, since
they are  displacements  to  positions  outside  the  luminous ball,  engage
filaments  of energy  that  are  beyond  the  human  realm.  Perceiving such
filaments  engenders  worlds  that are  beyond comprehension,  inconceivable
worlds with no trace of human antecedents in them.
     The problem of validation always played a key  role in my mind in those
days. "Forgive  me, don Juan,"  I said  to  him on one  occasion, "but  this
business of  the assemblage point is an  idea so farfetched, so inadmissible
that I don't know how to deal with it or what to think of it."
     "There  is  only one thing  for  you  to  do," he  retorted.  "See  the
assemblage point!  It isn't that  difficult  to  see. The  difficulty  is in
breaking the retaining wall we all have in our minds that holds us in place.
To  break it, all we need is energy. Once  we have energy, seeing happens to
us by itself. The trick  is  in abandoning our fort of  self-complacency and
false security."
     "It is obvious  to me, don  Juan, that it takes  a  lot of knowledge to
see. It isn't just a matter of having energy."
     "It is just a  matter of having  energy, believe me.  The  hard part is
convincing yourself that it  can be  done.  For this, you  need to trust the
nagual. The marvel of sorcery is that every sorcerer has to prove everything
with his own experience. I am  telling you about  the principles of  sorcery
not  with the hope that you will memorize  them but  with the hope  that you
will practice them."
     Don Juan was  certainly  right  about the  need for  trusting.  In  the
beginning  stages of my  thirteen-year  apprenticeship with him, the hardest
thing for me  was to affiliate myself with his world  and  his  person. This
affiliating meant that I had to learn to trust him implicitly and accept him
without bias as the nagual.
     Don Juan's  total role in  the  sorcerers' world was synthesized in the
title  accorded to  him by  his  peers;  he was called  the nagual.  It  was
explained to me  that this concept refers to any person, male or female, who
possesses  a specific kind of energy  configuration, which to a seer appears
as  a  double luminous ball. Seers  believe  that  when  one of these people
enters into the sorcerers' world, that extra load of energy is turned into a
measure of strength and the capacity for leadership. Thus, the nagual is the
natural guide, the leader of a party of sorcerers.
     At first, to feel such a trust for don Juan was quite disturbing to me,
if not  altogether odious. When I discussed it with  him, he assured me that
to trust his teacher in such a manner had been just as difficult for him.
     "I told  my teacher the same thing you are saying to  me now," don Juan
said.  "He replied  that without trusting the nagual there is no possibility
of  relief and thus no possibility of clearing  the debris from our lives in
order to be free."
     Don Juan reiterated how right his teacher had been. And I reiterated my
profound disagreement.  I told him that being reared in a stifling religious
environment  had  had  dreadful  effects  on  me,  and  that  his  teacher's
statements and his  own  acquiescence  to his teacher  reminded  me  of  the
obedience dogma  that  I had to learn as  a  child  and that I abhorred. "It
sounds  like  you're voicing a  religious  belief when  you  talk about  the
nagual," I said.
     "You may believe whatever you want," don Juan replied undauntedly. "The
fact remains, there is no game without the nagual. I know this and I say so.
And so did all the naguals who preceded me. But they didn't say it from  the
standpoint  of self-importance,  and neither  do 1. To  say there is no path
without the nagual is to refer totally to the fact that the man, the nagual,
is a nagual because he can  reflect  the abstract, the  spirit, better  than
others.  But  that's  all.  Our link  is with  the  spirit itself  and  only
incidentally with the man who brings us its message."
     I did learn to trust don Juan implicitly as the nagual, and this, as he
had stated it, brought me an  immense sense of relief and a greater capacity
to accept what he was striving to teach me.
     In his teachings, he put a great emphasis  on explaining and discussing
the assemblage point. I asked him once if the assemblage point  had anything
to do with the physical body.
     "It has  nothing to do with what we normally perceive as  the body," he
said. "It's part of the luminous egg, which is our energy self."
     "How is it displaced?" I asked.
     "Through  energy currents.  Jolts  of  energy,  originating outside  or
inside  our  energy shape.  These are  usually  unpredictable currents  that
happen  randomly, but with sorcerers they are very predictable currents that
obey the sorcerer's intent."
     "Can you yourself feel these currents?"
     "Every sorcerer feels them. Every human being  does,  for that  matter,
but average  human  beings are too busy with their own pursuits  to  pay any
attention to feelings like that."
     "What do those currents feel like?"
     "Like  a  mild  discomfort,  a  vague  sensation  of  sadness  followed
immediately  by euphoria.  Since neither the sadness nor the euphoria has an
explainable cause, we never  regard  them  as  veritable  onslaughts of  the
unknown but as unexplainable, ill-founded moodiness."
     "What happens when the assemblage point moves outside the energy shape?
Does it hang outside? Or is it attached to the luminous ball?"
     "It  pushes the contours of the  energy shape out, without breaking its
energy boundaries."
     Don Juan explained  that the end result of a movement of the assemblage
point is a total change in the energy shape  of a human  being. Instead of a
ball or an egg, he becomes  something resembling a smoking  pipe. The tip of
the stem is the assemblage  point, and the bowl of the pipe is  what remains
of the  luminous  ball. If the  assemblage point  keeps on moving, a  moment
comes when the luminous ball becomes a thin line of energy.
     Don Juan went  on to explain  that the old sorcerers were the only ones
who accomplished this feat of energy  shape transformation. And  I asked him
whether in their new energetic shape those sorcerers were still men.
     "Of course they were still men," he said. "But I think what you want to
know  is  if they  were still  men of reason, trustworthy persons. Well, not
     "In what way were they different?"
     "In their  concerns. Human endeavors and preoccupations  had no meaning
whatsoever to them. They also had a definite new appearance."
     "Do you mean that they didn't look like men?"
     "It's  very  hard  to  tell what  was what about those sorcerers.  They
certainly looked like men. What else would they look like? But they were not
quite like what you or I would expect. Yet if you pressed me to tell in what
way  they were  different, I  would go  in circles, like a dog  chasing  its
     "Have you ever met one of those men, don Juan?"
     "Yes, I have met one."
     "What did he look like?"
     "As  far as looks,  he looked  like a regular person.  Now, it was  his
behavior that was unusual."
     "In what way was it unusual?"
     "All  I  can tell  you is that the  behavior  of the  sorcerer I met is
something  that defies the  imagination. But to make it  a matter of  merely
behavior is misleading. It is really something you must see to appreciate."
     "Were all those sorcerers like the one you met?"
     "Certainly  not.  I don't  know  how the  others  were,  except through
sorcerers'  stories  handed down from generation  to  generation. And  those
stories portray them as being quite bizarre."
     "Do you mean monstrous?"
     "Not at  all. They say that they were very likable but extremely scary.
They were more like unknown creatures. What makes mankind homogeneous is the
fact  that we are all luminous  balls. And  those sorcerers were  no  longer
balls of energy but lines of energy that were trying to bend themselves into
circles, which they couldn't quite make."
     "What finally happened to them, don Juan? Did they die?"
     "Sorcerers'  stories say that because they had succeeded  in stretching
their shapes, they had  also succeeded in  stretching  the duration of their
consciousness.  So they  are  alive and  conscious to this  day.  There  are
stories about their periodic appearances on the earth."
     "What do you think of all this yourself, don Juan?"
     "It  is  too  bizarre  for  me.  I want freedom. Freedom to  retain  my
awareness and yet disappear into the vastness. In my personal opinion, those
old sorcerers  were extravagant, obsessive,  capricious  men who  got pinned
down by their own machinations.
     "But  don't  let my  personal  feelings  sway you.  The  old sorcerers'
accomplishment is unparalleled.  If  nothing  else,  they proved to us  that
man's potentials are nothing to sneeze at."
     Another topic  of don Juan's  explanations was  the indispensability of
energetic uniformity  and  cohesion  for  the  purpose  of  perceiving.  His
contention was that mankind perceives the world we know, in the terms we do,
only because we share energetic uniformity  and  cohesion. He  said  that we
automatically attain these two conditions  of  energy  in the course  of our
rearing and that they are so taken for granted we do not realize their vital
importance  until  we are faced with  the  possibility  of perceiving worlds
other than the world we know.  At  those moments, it becomes evident that we
need  a new  appropriate  energetic  uniformity  and  cohesion  to  perceive
coherently and totally.
     I asked him what uniformity  and cohesion were,  and  he explained that
man's energetic shape has uniformity in the sense  that every human being on
earth has the form of a ball or an egg. And the fact that man's energy holds
itself  together as a ball or an egg proves it has cohesion. He said that an
example  of a  new uniformity and cohesion  was the old sorcerers' energetic
shape when it  became a line: every one  of them uniformly became a line and
cohesively  remained  a  line. Uniformity  and  cohesion  at  a  line  level
permitted those old sorcerers to perceive a homogeneous new world.
     "How are uniformity and cohesion acquired?" I asked.
     "The  key  is  the  position  of the  assemblage point,  or rather  the
fixation of the assemblage point," he said.
     He did  not  want to elaborate any further at that time, so I asked him
if those old sorcerers could have reverted to being egglike. He replied that
at one  point  they could  have, but that  they did  not. And then the  line
cohesion set in and made it impossible for them to go back. He believed that
what really crystallized  that line cohesion and  prevented them from making
the journey back was a matter of  choice and greed.  The scope of what those
sorcerers were able to perceive and do as lines of energy was astronomically
greater than what an average man or any average sorcerer can do or perceive.
     He  explained  that  the human  domain when one  is  an  energy ball is
whatever  energy  filaments  pass   through  the  space  within  the  ball's
boundaries. Normally, we perceive  not all the human domain but perhaps only
one  thousandth  of it. He was  of  the  opinion that, if we take  this into
consideration, the enormity of what the old sorcerers did becomes  apparent;
they extended themselves into a line  a  thousand times the size of a man as
an energy ball  and perceived  all the energy  filaments that passed through
that line.
     On his insistence, I made giant efforts to understand the new model  of
energy configuration he  was outlining for me. Finally, after much pounding,
I could follow the  idea  of  energy  filaments inside the luminous ball and
outside it.  But  if I thought  of a multitude of luminous balls,  the model
broke  down  in my mind. In  a multitude of luminous balls, I reasoned,  the
energy filaments that are  outside one of  them will perforce be  inside the
adjacent  one.  So  in  a multitude there could not possibly  be  any energy
filaments outside any luminous ball.
     "To understand all this certainly isn't  an exercise for your  reason,"
he replied after carefully listening to  my  arguments. "I  have  no  way of
explaining  what sorcerers  mean by filaments  inside and  outside the human
shape. When  seers see the human energy shape,  they  see one single ball of
energy. If there is another ball next to it, the other ball is seen again as
a single ball of  energy. The  idea of a  multitude of luminous balls  comes
from  your  knowledge of human crowds. In the universe of energy, there  are
only single individuals, alone, surrounded by the boundless.
     "You must see that for yourself!"
     I argued with don Juan then that  it was pointless to tell me to see it
for  myself  when he  knew I  could  not. And he proposed that  I borrow his
energy and use it to see.
     "How can I do that? Borrow your energy."
     "Very  simple.  I can  make  your assemblage  point  shift  to  another
position more suitable to perceiving energy directly."
     This  was the  first  time, in  my  memory, that he deliberately talked
about  something he  had been doing  all  along: making  me  enter into some
incomprehensible state of awareness that defied my  idea of the world and of
myself,  a state he called the second attention.  So, to make  my assemblage
point shift to a position more suitable to perceiving  energy  directly, don
Juan slapped my back, between my shoulder blades, with such a force that  he
made me lose my breath. I thought  that I must have fainted or that the blow
had  made me  fall asleep. Suddenly,  I  was looking or I was dreaming I was
looking at something literally beyond  words. Bright  strings  of light shot
out from everywhere,  going  everywhere,  strings  of light  which were like
nothing that had ever entered my thoughts.
     When  I recovered  my breath, or when I woke  up, don Juan  expectantly
asked me, "What did you see?" And  when I  answered,  truthfully, "Your blow
made me see stars," he doubled up laughing.
     He  remarked  that  I  was not  ready  yet  to  comprehend  any unusual
perception I  might have had. "I made  your assemblage point shift," he went
on, "and for an instant you were dreaming the filaments of the universe. But
you don't yet have the discipline or the energy to rearrange your uniformity
and  cohesion.  The  old  sorcerers  were  the  consummate masters  of  that
rearranging. That was how they saw everything that can be seen by man."
     "What does it mean to rearrange uniformity and cohesion?"
     "It  means  to  enter  into  the  second  attention  by  retaining  the
assemblage point on its new position and keeping it from sliding back to its
original spot."
     Don Juan then gave me a traditional definition of the second attention.
He said that the old sorcerers called  the  result of fixing the  assemblage
point on new positions the second attention and that they treated the second
attention as an area of all-inclusive activity, just as the attention of the
daily world is. He pointed out that sorcerers really have two complete areas
for  their  endeavors: a  small one,  called  the  first  attention  or  the
awareness of our daily world or  the fixation of the assemblage point on its
habitual position;  and  a much  larger area,  the  second  attention or the
awareness of other worlds or the fixation of the assemblage point on each of
an enormous number of new positions.
     Don Juan  helped me to experience  inexplicable  things  in the  second
attention by means of what he called a sorcerer's maneuver:  tapping my back
gently or forcefully striking it at  the  height of my shoulder  blades.  He
explained that with  his  blows  he displaced my assemblage  point.  From my
experiential position, such  displacements meant that  my  awareness used to
enter into  a  most disturbing  state  of  unequaled  clarity,  a  state  of
superconsciousness, which I enjoyed for short periods of time and in which I
could  understand  anything  with minimal  preambles. It  was  not  quite  a
pleasing  state.  Most of the  time it  was like a strange dream, so intense
that normal awareness paled by comparison.
     Don Juan justified the indispensability of such a maneuver, saying that
in  normal awareness a sorcerer teaches his  apprentices basic concepts  and
procedures and in the second attention  he gives  them abstract and detailed
     Ordinarily, apprentices do not remember these explanations at all,  yet
they  somehow store  them, faithfully  intact, in their memories.  Sorcerers
have  used  this seeming  peculiarity of  memory and have turned remembering
everything that happens to them in the second attention into one of the most
difficult and complex traditional tasks of sorcery.
     Sorcerers  explain this  seeming peculiarity of memory, and the task of
remembering, saying that every time anyone enters into the second attention,
the assemblage point is on a different position. To remember, then, means to
relocate  the assemblage point on the exact position it occupied at the time
those entrances into the second attention occurred. Don Juan assured  me not
only that  sorcerers  have  total  and absolute recall but that they  relive
every experience they  had in the second  attention by this act of returning
their assemblage point to each of those  specific positions. He also assured
me   that  sorcerers   dedicate  a  lifetime  to  fulfilling  this  task  of
     In the second attention, don Juan gave me very detailed explanations of
sorcery, knowing  that the accuracy and fidelity  of  such instruction  will
remain with me, faithfully intact, for the duration of my life.
     About this quality of faithfulness he  said, "Learning something in the
second attention  is just like learning when we were children. What we learn
remains with us for life. `It's second nature with me,' we say when it comes
to something we've learned very early in life."
     Judging from  where I stand today,  I  realize that  don  Juan made  me
enter, as  many times  as he could, into the  second  attention in order  to
force  me  to  sustain,  for  long  periods  of  time, new positions  of  my
assemblage point and  to  perceive coherently  in them, that is  to  say, he
aimed at forcing me to rearrange my uniformity and cohesion.
     I succeeded countless times  in perceiving everything as precisely as I
perceive in the daily world.  My problem was my incapacity to make  a bridge
between my actions in the  second  attention and my awareness  of the  daily
world. It took a great deal of effort and time for me to understand what the
second attention  is. Not so much because of  its intricacy and  complexity,
which are  indeed extreme,  but  because,  once  I  was  back in  my  normal
awareness, I  found  it  impossible to remember not only  that I had entered
into the second attention but that such a state existed at all.
     Another monumental breakthrough  that  the old sorcerers  claimed,  and
that don Juan carefully explained to me, was to find out that the assemblage
point becomes very easily displaced during sleep. This realization triggered
another one: that  dreams are totally associated with that displacement. The
old sorcerers  saw that the  greater the  displacement, the more unusual the
dream  or  vice   versa:  the  more  unusual  the  dream,  the  greater  the
displacement.  Don  Juan  said  that this observation  led  them  to  devise
extravagant techniques to force  the displacement of  the assemblage  point,
such as ingesting plants  that can produce altered states  of consciousness;
subjecting  themselves  to  states  of  hunger,  fatigue,  and  stress;  and
especially controlling  dreams. In this fashion,  and  perhaps  without even
knowing it, they created dreaming.
     One day, as we strolled around the  plaza  in the city of  Oaxaca,  don
Juan  gave me  the most coherent  definition  of dreaming from  a sorcerer's
     "Sorcerers view dreaming  as  an extremely sophisticated art," he said,
"the  art  of  displacing the assemblage  point at  will  from  its habitual
position  in  order  to  enhance  and  enlarge  the  scope  of  what can  be
     He said  that the old sorcerers  anchored the  art of dreaming  on five
conditions they saw in the energy flow of human beings.
     One, they saw that only the energy filaments that pass directly through
the assemblage point can be assembled into coherent perception.
     Two, they  saw that if  the  assemblage point is displaced  to  another
position,  no matter how minute the displacement, different and unaccustomed
energy filaments begin to pass  through it,  engaging awareness and  forcing
the assembling of  these unaccustomed energy  fields into a steady, coherent
     Three, they saw that, in the course of ordinary  dreams, the assemblage
point becomes easily displaced by itself to another position  on the surface
or in the interior of the luminous egg.
     Four, they saw  that  the  assemblage point  can  be  made  to  move to
positions  outside  the  luminous  egg,  into  the  energy  filaments of the
universe at large.
     And, five, they saw that through discipline it is possible to cultivate
and perform,  in  the  course  of sleep  and ordinary  dreams, a  systematic
displacement of the assemblage point.

     As a  preamble to his  first lesson in  dreaming, don Juan talked about
the second attention as a progression: beginning as an idea that comes to us
more  like a curiosity than an actual  possibility;  turning  into something
that  can only be felt, as a sensation  is felt; and finally evolving into a
state of being, or  a realm of practicalities, or  a  preeminent  force that
opens for us worlds beyond our wildest fantasies.
     When explaining sorcery, sorcerers have two options. One is to speak in
metaphorical terms  and talk about a world  of magical dimensions. The other
is  to explain their business in abstract terms  proper  to  sorcery. I have
always preferred the latter, although  neither option will  ever satisfy the
rational mind of a Western man.
     Don  Juan told me that what he meant by his metaphorical description of
the  second attention as a  progression was  that,  being a by-product of  a
displacement of the  assemblage point, the second  attention does not happen
naturally but  must be intended,  beginning with intending it as an idea and
ending up  with intending  it as a steady and  controlled  awareness of  the
assemblage point's displacement.
     "I am  going to  teach you the first  step  to  power," don  Juan said,
beginning his  instruction in the art of dreaming. "I'm  going  to teach you
how to set up dreaming."
     "What does it mean to set up dreaming?"
     "To set up  dreaming means to have a precise and practical command over
the general situation of a dream. For example, you may dream that you are in
your classroom. To set up  dreaming means that you don't let the dream  slip
into something else. You don't jump from the classroom to the mountains, for
instance. In  other words, you control  the view of the classroom  and don't
let it go until you want to."
     "But is it possible to do that?"
     "Of course it's possible. This control is no different from the control
we have over any situation in our daily lives. Sorcerers are used to  it and
get it every time they want or need to. In order to get used to it yourself,
you must start by doing something very  simple. Tonight, in your dreams, you
must look at your hands.".
     Not much more was said  about this in the awareness of our daily world.
In  my recollection of my experiences  in  the second attention,  however, I
found out that we had  a more  extensive exchange. For instance, I expressed
my feelings  about the absurdity of the task, and don Juan  suggested that I
should face it in terms of a quest that was entertaining, instead  of solemn
and morbid.
     "Get  as  heavy  as you want when we talk  about  dreaming,"  he  said.
"Explanations always call for deep thought. But when you  actually dream, be
as  light  as a  feather.  Dreaming has  to be performed  with integrity and
seriousness, but in the midst of laughter and with the confidence of someone
who doesn't have a  worry in the world. Only under these conditions  can our
dreams actually be turned into dreaming."
     Don  Juan  assured me  that  he  had selected my  hands  arbitrarily as
something  to look  for in  my dreams and that looking for anything else was
just as valid. The goal of the exercise was not finding a specific thing but
engaging my dreaming attention.
     Don  Juan described the dreaming attention as  the control one acquires
over one's dreams upon fixating the assemblage point on any new position  to
which it  has been displaced during dreams. In more general terms, he called
the dreaming attention an incomprehensible facet of awareness that exists by
itself, waiting for a moment when we would entice it, a moment when we would
give it purpose; it is a veiled faculty that every one  of us has in reserve
but never has the opportunity to use in everyday life.
     My first attempts at looking for my  hands in my dreams were  a fiasco.
After months of unsuccessful efforts,  I gave up and complained to  don Juan
again about the absurdity of such a task.
     "There  are seven gates," he  said as a way of answering, "and dreamers
have to open all seven of them, one at the time. You're up against the first
gate that must be opened if you are to dream."
     "Why didn't you tell me this before?"
     "It would've been  useless  to  tell  you  about the gates of  dreaming
before you smacked your head against the first one. Now you know  that it is
an obstacle and that you have to overcome it."
     Don  Juan explained that there  are  entrances and exits  in the energy
flow of the universe and that, in the specific case  of  dreaming, there are
seven entrances, experienced as obstacles, which sorcerers  call  the  seven
gates of dreaming.
     "The  first gate  is a threshold we must cross by becoming  aware of  a
particular sensation before deep sleep," he said. "A sensation which is like
a pleasant heaviness that doesn't let  us open our eyes. We  reach that gate
the instant we become aware that we're falling asleep, suspended in darkness
and heaviness."
     "How do I become aware that I am falling asleep? Are there any steps to
     "No. There  are no steps to follow. One just intends to become aware of
falling asleep."
     "But how does one intend to become aware of it?"
     "Intent or intending  is something very  difficult to  talk about. I or
anyone else would sound idiotic trying to explain it. Bear that in mind when
you  hear  what  I have  to  say  next:  sorcerers intend  anything they set
themselves to intend, simply by intending it."
     "That doesn't mean anything, don Juan."
     "Pay  close attention.  Someday it'll  be your  turn  to  explain.  The
statement seems  nonsensical because you  are  not putting it in  the proper
context. Like  any rational man, you think that understanding is exclusively
the realm of our reason, of our mind.
     "For  sorcerers, because the  statement  I made pertains to  intent and
intending,  understanding it pertains  to  the  realm  of energy.  Sorcerers
believe that  if one would intend that statement for  the energy  body,  the
energy body  would understand  it in terms entirely different from those  of
the mind. The trick is to reach the energy body. For that you need energy."
     "In  what terms  would the energy  body  understand that statement, don
     "In terms of a bodily feeling, which it's hard to describe. You'll have
to experience it to know what I mean."
     I  wanted a more precise explanation, but don Juan  slapped my back and
made me enter into the second attention. At that time, what he did was still
utterly mysterious to me. I could have sworn that his touch hypnotized me. I
believed he had  instantaneously put me to sleep, and I  dreamt that I found
myself walking with him on a  wide  avenue lined with trees in some  unknown
city. It was such a vivid dream,  and I was so aware of  everything, that  I
immediately tried to orient myself  by reading  signs and looking at people.
It definitely was not any English- or Spanish-speaking  city, but  it was  a
Western   city.  The  people  seemed  to  be  northern   Europeans,  perhaps
Lithuanians. I became absorbed  in  trying  to read  billboards  and  street
     Don  Juan nudged me gently. "Don't bother  with that," he said. "We are
nowhere identifiable. I've  just lent you my energy  so you would reach your
energy body, and with it you've just  crossed into another world. This won't
last long, so use your time wisely.
     "Look at everything, but without being obvious. Don't let anyone notice
     We walked in silence. It was a block-long walk,  which had a remarkable
effect on me. The  more we  walked,  the  greater  my sensation of  visceral
anxiety.  My  mind was curious, but  my body was alarmed. I had the clearest
understanding that I  was not in this  world. When we got to an intersection
and stopped walking, I saw that the trees on the  street  had been carefully
trimmed. They were short trees with hard-looking,  curled leaves. Each  tree
had  a big square space for watering. There were no weeds or  trash in those
spaces, as  one would find around  trees in  the city, only  charcoal black,
loose dirt.
     The moment I  focused my eyes on the curb, before I stepped off  it  to
cross the street,  I noticed that there were no cars. I tried desperately to
watch the people who milled around us, to discover something about them that
would explain  my anxiety. As I stared at them, they stared  back  at me. In
one instant a circle of hard blue and brown eyes had formed around us.
     A certainty hit me like a blow: this was not a dream at all; we were in
a reality beyond what I  know to be  real. I  turned to face don Juan. I was
about to realize what was different  about those people, but  a strange  dry
wind that went directly to my sinuses hit my face, blurred my view, and made
me forget what I wanted to tell don Juan. The next instant, I was back where
I had started from: don Juan's house. I was lying on a  straw mat, curled up
on my side.
     "I lent you my energy, and you reached your energy body," don Juan said
     I heard him talk, but I was numb. An unusual itching on my solar plexus
kept my  breaths short and painful.  I knew that  I had been on the verge of
finding something transcendental about  dreaming and about the people I  had
seen, yet I could not bring whatever I knew into focus.
     "Where  were  we, don Juan?" I asked. "Was it all  a dream?  A hypnotic
     "It wasn't  a dream," he  replied. "It was dreaming. I helped you reach
the second attention so that you would understand intending as a subject not
for your reason but for your energy body.
     "At  this  point, you can't yet  comprehend the import of all this, not
only because  you  don't  have  sufficient  energy  but  because you're  not
intending  anything.  If  you  were,  your   energy  body  would  comprehend
immediately  that the  only way to intend is  by  focusing  your  intent  on
whatever you want to intend. This time I focused it for you on reaching your
energy body."
     "Is the goal of dreaming  to intend the energy body?" I asked, suddenly
empowered by some strange reasoning.
     "One  can certainly  put  it that way," he  said. "In  this  particular
instance, since we're  talking about the first gate of dreaming, the goal of
dreaming is to  intend that  your energy body  becomes  aware  that you  are
falling asleep. Don't try to force yourself to be  aware of  falling asleep.
Let your energy body do  it.  To  intend is to  wish without wishing,  to do
without doing.
     "Accept  the  challenge of  intending," he went  on.  "Put  your silent
determination, without a  single thought, into convincing  yourself that you
have  reached your energy body and that you  are  a dreamer. Doing this will
automatically  put  you in  the position  to be aware that  you are  falling
     "How can I convince myself that I am a dreamer when I am not?"
     "When you hear  that you have to  convince yourself,  you automatically
become more rational. How can  you convince  yourself you are a dreamer when
you know you are not? Intending is  both: the act of convincing yourself you
are indeed a dreamer, although you have never dreamt before, and the  act of
being convinced."
     "Do  you mean I have to tell myself I am a dreamer  and  try my best to
believe it? Is that it?"
     "No,  it  isn't.  Intending  is  much  simpler  and, at  the same time,
infinitely  more complex than that. It requires imagination, discipline, and
purpose. In this case, to intend means that you get an unquestionable bodily
knowledge that you are  a dreamer.  You feel you are a dreamer with all  the
cells of your body."
     Don Juan added  in a joking tone that he did not have sufficient energy
to make me another loan for intending and that  the thing to do was to reach
my  energy body on my  own. He assured  me that intending the first  gate of
dreaming was  one of the means discovered by  the sorcerers of antiquity for
reaching the second attention and the energy body.
     After  telling me  this,  he  practically  threw me  out  of his house,
commanding me not  to  come back  until I had  intended  the first  gate  of
     I returned home, and every night for months I  went  to sleep intending
with all my might to  become aware that  I was  falling asleep and to see my
hands in  my  dreams.  The other part of the task--to convince myself that I
was a dreamer and that I  had reached my energy body--was totally impossible
for me.
     Then, one afternoon  while  taking a nap, I  dreamt I was looking at my
hands.  The shock was enough to wake me up. It proved to be a  unique  dream
that could not be repeated. Weeks went by, and I was unable either to become
aware that  I was  falling asleep or  to find  my  hands. I began to notice,
however,  that  I was having  in  my dreams a vague  feeling that  there was
something  I should have  been  doing but could  not remember.  This feeling
became so strong that it kept on waking me up at all hours of the night.
     When I told don Juan about my futile attempts  to cross the  first gate
of  dreaming,  he gave  me some  guidelines.  "To ask a  dreamer  to find  a
determined item in his dreams is a  subterfuge," he said. "The real issue is
to become  aware  that  one  is falling asleep. And, strange as it may seem,
that doesn't happen by commanding oneself  to be aware  that one  is falling
asleep  but  by  sustaining the sight  of  whatever  one is  looking at in a
     He  told me that dreamers  take quick, deliberate glances at everything
present  in a  dream.  If they focus  their dreaming attention  on something
specific, it is only as a point  of departure.  From there, dreamers move on
to look at other  items in the dream's content,  returning  to the point  of
departure as many times as possible.
     After a great effort, I indeed found hands in my dreams, but they never
were  mine. They were  hands that  only seemed  to belong to me,  hands that
changed shape, becoming quite nightmarish at times. The  rest of  my dreams'
content, nonetheless, was  always pleasantly steady.  I could almost sustain
the view of anything I focused my attention on.
     It  went on like this  for months, until one day  when  my  capacity to
dream  changed seemingly by itself.  I had  done nothing  special besides my
constant earnest determination to be aware that  I was falling asleep and to
find my hands.
     I dreamt I was visiting my hometown. Not  that the town I was  dreaming
about looked at all like my  hometown, but somehow I had the conviction that
it was the place  where I was  born. It all  began as an ordinary,  yet very
vivid dream. Then the light in the dream changed. Images became sharper. The
street where I was walking became noticeably more real than a moment before.
My feet began  to hurt. I  could  feel that  things  were absurdly hard. For
instance, on bumping into a door, not only did I experience pain on the knee
that hit the door but I also was enraged by my clumsiness.
     I realistically walked in that town until I was completely exhausted. I
saw everything  I could have  seen had I been a  tourist walking through the
streets of a city. And there was no difference whatsoever between that dream
walk and any  walk I  had actually taken on the streets of a city I  visited
for the first time.
     "I think you  went  a bit too far," don Juan said after listening to my
account. "All that was required was your  awareness of falling  asleep. What
you've done is equivalent to bringing a wall down just to  squash a mosquito
sitting on it."
     "Do you mean, don Juan, that I flubbed it?"
     "No. But apparently you're trying  to repeat  something you did before.
When  I made  your  assemblage  point shift and you  and I ended up  in that
mysterious city, you  were not  asleep. You were  dreaming,  but not asleep,
meaning that  your  assemblage point  didn't  reach that position  through a
normal dream. I forced it to shift.
     "You  certainly  can  reach the same position  through dreaming,  but I
wouldn't advise you to do that at this time."
     "Is it dangerous?"
     "And how! Dreaming has to be a very sober affair. No false movement can
be afforded. Dreaming  is  a process of  awakening,  of gaming  control. Our
dreaming attention must be systematically exercised, for  it is the door  to
the second attention."
     "What's  the difference  between the dreaming attention  and the second
     "The second  attention is like an ocean, and the dreaming attention  is
like a river feeding into it. The second attention is the condition of being
aware of  total  worlds, total like our world  is  total, while the dreaming
attention is the condition of being aware of the items of our dreams."
     He heavily stressed that  the  dreaming  attention is  the key to every
movement in the sorcerers' world. He  said that among the multitude of items
in our dreams,  there exist real energetic  interferences,  things that have
been put in our dreams extraneously, by  an alien force. To be able to  find
them and follow them is sorcery.
     The emphasis he put on those statements was so pronounced that I had to
ask him to explain them. He hesitated for a moment before answering.
     "Dreams are, if not a door, a hatch  into  other worlds," he began. "As
such, dreams  are  a two-way street.  Our awareness goes through that  hatch
into other realms, and those other realms send scouts into our dreams."
     "What are those scouts?"
     "Energy charges  that get mixed with  the  items  of our normal dreams.
They  are bursts of  foreign  energy  that  come  into  our dreams,  and  we
interpret them as items familiar or unfamiliar to us."
     "I am sorry,  don  Juan, but I can't  make heads  or tails  out of your
     "You can't because  you're insisting on thinking about dreams  in terms
known  to you: what occurs to us during sleep. And I am insisting  on giving
you another version:  a  hatch into other realms of perception. Through that
hatch, currents of unfamiliar energy seep in. Then the mind or the brain  or
whatever takes  those currents of energy  and turns them  into parts of  our
     He  paused,  obviously to give  my  mind  time to take in  what he  was
telling me. "Sorcerers are  aware of  those currents of foreign  energy," he
continued.  "They  notice them and strive to  isolate  them  from the normal
items of their dreams."
     "Why do they isolate them, don Juan?"
     "Because  they  come from  other  realms. If  we follow  them  to their
source, they  serve us as  guides into areas  of such mystery that sorcerers
shiver at the mere mention of such a possibility."
     "How do sorcerers isolate them from the normal items of their dreams?"
     "By  the  exercise  and control  of their  dreaming  attention.  At one
moment, our dreaming attention discovers them among the items of a dream and
focuses on them, then the total dream collapses,  leaving  only  the foreign
     Don Juan refused  to explain  the topic any  further.  He went back  to
discussing my dreaming experience and said that, all in all, he had  to take
my dream as being my  first genuine attempt at dreaming, and that this meant
I had succeeded in reaching the first gate of dreaming.
     During another discussion, at a different  time, he abruptly brought up
the subject again.  He  said, "I'm going to repeat  what you must do in your
dreams in order  to pass  the first gate  of dreaming. First  you must focus
your gaze on anything of your choice as the starting point.  Then shift your
gaze to other items and look at them in brief glances. Focus your gaze on as
many things as you can. Remember that if you glance only briefly, the images
don't shift. Then go back to the item you first looked at."
     "What does it mean to pass the first gate of dreaming?"
     "We  reach the first  gate  of  dreaming by becoming aware that  we are
falling asleep, or by having, like  you did, a gigantically real dream. Once
we reach the  gate,  we must cross it  by being able to sustain the sight of
any item of our dreams."
     "I  can  almost look  steadily  at the  items of  my  dreams, but  they
dissipate too quickly."
     "This is precisely what I am trying to tell you. In order to offset the
evanescent quality of dreams, sorcerers have devised the use of the starting
point  item. Every  time you isolate it and look at  it,  you get a surge of
energy, so at  the beginning  don't look at too many things  in your dreams.
Four items will  suffice. Later on,  you may enlarge the scope until you can
cover  all you want,  but as soon as  the images begin to shift and you feel
you  are losing control,  go back to your starting point item  and start all
over again."
     '"Do  you believe that I really reached the first gate of dreaming, don
     "You did, and that's a  lot. You'll find out, as you go along, how easy
it'll be to do dreaming now."
     I  thought don Juan was either exaggerating or giving me incentive. But
he assured me he was being on the level.
     "The  most  astounding  thing  that happens to dreamers," he  said, "is
that, on reaching the first gate, they also reach the energy body."
     "What exactly is the energy body?"
     "It's the counterpart of the  physical body. A ghostlike  configuration
made of pure energy."
     "But isn't the physical body also made out of energy?"
     "Of  course it  is. The difference is  that the  energy body  has  only
appearance but no mass. Since it's pure energy, it can perform acts that are
beyond the possibilities of the physical body."
     "Such as what for example, don Juan?"
     "Such  as  transporting itself  in  one  instant to  the  ends  of  the
universe. And dreaming is the art of tempering the energy body, of making it
supple and coherent by gradually exercising it.
     "Through dreaming we condense the energy body until it's a unit capable
of  perceiving. Its perception,  although affected  by  our  normal  way  of
perceiving  the daily world, is  an independent  perception.  It has its own
     "What is that sphere, don Juan?"
     "Energy. The energy body deals with energy in terms  of  energy.  There
are  three  ways in which it deals with energy in dreaming: it can  perceive
energy as it flows, or it can use energy to boost itself like  a rocket into
unexpected areas, or it can perceive as we ordinarily perceive the world."
     "What does it mean to perceive energy as it flows?"
     "It means to see. It means that the energy body sees energy directly as
a light or as a vibrating current of sorts or as a disturbance. Or  it feels
it directly as a jolt or as a sensation that can even be pain."
     "What about the other way you  talked about, don  Juan? The energy body
using energy as a boost."
     "Since energy is  its  sphere, it is no problem for the energy body  to
use currents of energy  that exist in the universe to  propel itself. All it
has to do is isolate them, and off it goes with them."
     He  stopped  talking and seemed to be undecided, as if he wanted to add
something  but was not sure  about it. He smiled at me, and,  just as I  was
beginning to ask him a question, he continued his explanation.
     "I've mentioned  to you  before that  sorcerers isolate in their dreams
scouts  from  other  realms," he  said. "Their energy  bodies  do that. They
recognize  energy and go  for  it.  But  it isn't  desirable for dreamers to
indulge  in  searching for scouts. I was  reluctant to tell  you  about  it,
because of the facility with which one can get swayed by that search."
     Don Juan then quickly went on to another subject. He carefully outlined
for me an entire block of practices. At the time, I found that  on one level
it was  all incomprehensible  to me, yet on another it was perfectly logical
and understandable.  He  reiterated that reaching,  with deliberate control,
the first gate of  dreaming is a way of arriving  at the energy body. But to
maintain that gain is  predicated on energy alone. Sorcerers get that energy
by  redeploying, in a more  intelligent manner, the energy they have and use
for perceiving the daily world.
     When I urged don Juan to explain it more clearly,  he added that we all
have a determined quantity of  basic energy. That quantity is all the energy
we have, and we use all of it for perceiving  and dealing with our engulfing
world. He  repeated  various times, to emphasize  it,  that there is no more
energy for us anywhere  and, since our available energy is already  engaged,
there  is not a single bit left in us for any extraordinary perception, such
as dreaming.
     "Where does that leave us?" I asked.
     "It  leaves  us  to scrounge energy for ourselves, wherever we can find
it," he replied.
     Don  Juan  explained  that  sorcerers have  a scrounging  method.  They
intelligently  redeploy their energy  by cutting down anything they consider
superfluous in their  lives. They call this  method the  sorcerers' way.  In
essence,  the sorcerers'  way, as don Juan put it, is a chain of  behavioral
choices for dealing with the world, choices much more intelligent than those
our progenitors taught us.  These sorcerers' choices are designed to  revamp
our lives by altering our basic reactions about being alive.
     "What are those basic reactions?" I asked.
     "There  are two ways of  facing our being alive," he said.  "One  is to
surrender to  it, either by acquiescing to  its demands or by fighting those
demands.  The other  is by molding our particular life  situation to fit our
own configurations."
     "Can we really mold our life situation, don Juan?"
     "One's  particular   life  situation   can  be  molded   to  fit  one's
specifications," don Juan insisted. "Dreamers do that. A wild statement? Not
really, if you consider how little we know about ourselves."
     He  said  that  his interest, as a teacher,  was to  get  me thoroughly
involved  with the  themes of life and being alive; that is to say, with the
difference between life, as a consequence  of biological forces, and the act
of being alive, as a matter of cognition.
     "When  sorcerers talk  about molding  one's life situation,"  don  Juan
explained, "they mean molding the awareness of being  alive. Through molding
this awareness,  we can get  enough energy to reach and sustain  the  energy
body, and with it we can certainly mold the total direction and consequences
of our lives." Don Juan ended our conversation about dreaming admonishing me
not merely to think about what he had told  me but to turn his concepts into
a viable way of life by a  process of repetition. He claimed that everything
new in  our lives, such as the sorcerers' concepts he was teaching  me, must
be repeated to us to the point of exhaustion before we open ourselves to it.
He pointed out that repetition is the way  our  progenitors socialized us to
function in the daily world.
     As I continued my dreaming practices, I gained the capability  of being
thoroughly aware  that I  was falling asleep  as  well as the  capability of
stopping  in  a  dream  to examine at will  anything that  was  part of that
dream's content. To experience this was for me no less than miraculous.
     Don  Juan stated  that as we tighten the  control over our  dreams,  we
tighten the mastery over our dreaming attention. He was right in saying that
the dreaming attention comes into play when it is called, when it is given a
purpose. Its coming into play is not really a process, as one would normally
understand a process: an ongoing system of operations or a series of actions
or functions that bring  about an end  result.  It  is rather  an awakening.
Something dormant becomes suddenly functional.

     I found  out  by means of my dreaming practices that a dreaming teacher
must create  a didactic  synthesis in order to  emphasize a  given point. In
essence, what don Juan wanted with my first task was to exercise my dreaming
attention by focusing it on  the items of my dreams. To  this effect he used
as a spearhead the idea of being aware of falling asleep. His subterfuge was
to say  that the only  way to be aware of falling  asleep is  to examine the
elements of one's dreams.
     I realized, almost  as soon as I  had begun my dreaming practices, that
exercising the dreaming attention is the essential point in dreaming. To the
mind, however, it seems impossible that one can train oneself to be aware at
the level of dreams. Don Juan said that the active element  of such training
is persistence, and that the mind and all its  rational defenses cannot cope
with persistence. Sooner or later, he said, the mind's  barriers fall, under
its impact, and the dreaming attention blooms.
     As I practiced focusing and holding my dreaming attention on  the items
of my  dreams, I began to feel a peculiar self-confidence so remarkable that
I sought a comment from don Juan.
     "It's your entering into the second attention that gives you that sense
of  self-assurance,"  he said.  "This calls for even more  sobriety on  your
part. Go slowly, but don't stop, and above all, don't talk about it. Just do
     I told him that in practice I had corroborated what he had already told
me, that if one takes short glances at everything in a dream, the  images do
not dissolve. I commented  that the  difficult part is to break the  initial
barrier  that prevents us from bringing dreams to our conscious attention. I
asked  don  Juan to give  me his  opinion on  this  matter, for  I earnestly
believed  that  this   barrier  is   a  psychological  one  created  by  our
socialization, which puts a premium on disregarding dreams.
     "The barrier is more than socialization,"  he replied.  "It's the first
gate of dreaming. Now that you've overcome  it,  it seems stupid to you that
we can't stop at will and pay attention to the items of our dreams. That's a
false certainty. The  first gate  of dreaming  has  to do  with  the flow of
energy in the universe. It's a natural obstacle."
     Don Juan  made me agree then that we would  talk about dreaming only in
the second attention and as he saw fit. He encouraged me to practice in  the
meantime and promised no interference on his part.
     As  I   gained  proficiency  in  setting   up  dreaming,  I  repeatedly
experienced sensations  that  I  deemed  of  great  importance, such  as the
feeling  that I  was rolling into a ditch just as I  was falling asleep. Don
Juan never told me that they were nonsensical  sensations but let  me record
them in my notes.  I  realize now how absurd  I must  have  appeared to him.
Today, if I were teaching  dreaming,  I would  definitely discourage  such a
behavior. Don Juan merely  made fun of me, calling me a covert egomaniac who
professed  to   be  fighting   self-importance   yet   kept  a   meticulous,
superpersonal diary called "My Dreams."
     Every  time he had an opportunity, don Juan pointed out that the energy
needed to release our dreaming attention from its socialization prison comes
from redeploying  our existing  energy. Nothing could  have been truer.  The
emergence of  our dreaming attention is a direct corollary  of revamping our
lives.  Since we have,  as don Juan said, no  way  to plug into any external
source for a boost  of energy,  we must redeploy our existing energy, by any
means available.
     Don Juan insisted that the sorcerers' way is the best means  to oil, so
to speak, the wheels of energy redeployment,  and  that of all the  items in
the  sorcerers' way, the  most effective is "losing self-importance." He was
thoroughly convinced that this is indispensable for everything sorcerers do,
and for this reason  he put an enormous emphasis on guiding all his students
to fulfill this requirement. He  was of the opinion that self-importance  is
not only the sorcerers' supreme enemy but the nemesis of mankind.
     Don Juan's argument was that most of our energy goes into upholding our
importance. This is most obvious in our endless worry about the presentation
of the self, about  whether or not we are  admired or liked or acknowledged.
He reasoned that if we were capable of losing  some  of that importance, two
extraordinary things would happen  to us. One, we would free our energy from
trying to  maintain  the illusory idea of  our grandeur; and, two, we  would
provide ourselves with enough energy to enter into  the second attention  to
catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe.
     It  took me more  than  two  years  to be able  to focus my  unwavering
dreaming attention on anything I wanted. And I became  so proficient  that I
felt  as if I had been  doing  it all my  life.  The eeriest part was that I
could  not conceive of not having had that ability. Yet I could remember how
difficult it had been even to think of this as a possibility. It occurred to
me that the capability of examining the contents of one's dreams must be the
product  of  a natural configuration of  our  being, similar perhaps  to our
capability of walking. We  are physically conditioned  to  walk only in  one
manner, bipedally, yet it takes a monumental effort for us to learn to walk.
     This new  capacity of looking in glances at the items of my dreams  was
coupled  with  a most  insistent nagging to  remind myself  to  look at  the
elements of my dreams. I knew about  my compulsive bent of character, but in
my dreams my  compulsiveness was vastly augmented. It  became so  noticeable
that not only did I resent hearing  my nagging at myself but I also began to
question whether it was really my compulsiveness  or something else. I  even
thought I was losing my mind.
     "I  talk to myself endlessly in  my dreams, reminding myself to look at
things," I said to don Juan.
     I  had  all along  respected our  agreement  that we  would talk  about
dreaming  only when he brought up the  subject. However, I thought that this
was an emergency.
     "Does it sound to you like it's not you but someone else?" he asked.
     "Come to think of it, yes. I don't sound like myself at those times."
     "Then it's not you. It's not time yet to explain it. But let's say that
we  are not alone in this  world.  Let's say  that  there  are other  worlds
available  to  dreamers,  total  worlds.  From  those  other  total  worlds,
energetic entities  sometimes come  to us. The  next time you hear  yourself
nagging  at  yourself in  your dreams,  get really angry and yell a command.
Say, Stop it!"
     I entered into  another challenging  arena: to remember in my dreams to
shout that command. I  believe  that, perhaps, out of being  so tremendously
annoyed  at hearing  myself nagging, I did remember  to  shout, Stop it. The
nagging ceased instantly and never again was repeated.
     "Does every dreamer  experience  this?" I asked don Juan when I saw him
     "Some do," he answered, uninterestedly.
     I  began to  rant about  how  strange it had all been.  He cut me  off,
saying, "You are ready now to get to the second gate of dreaming."
     I seized the opportunity to seek  answers for questions I  had not been
able to ask him. What  I had experienced the first time he made me dream had
been  foremost in my mind. I  told don Juan that I had observed the elements
of my own  dreams to my heart's content, and  never had I felt anything even
vaguely similar in terms of clarity and detail.
     "The  more I think about it," I said, "the more intriguing it  becomes.
Watching  those  people in  that dream,  I  experienced a fear and revulsion
impossible to forget. What was that feeling, don Juan?"
     "In my opinion, your energy body hooked onto the foreign energy of that
place and had the time of its life. Naturally, you felt afraid and revolted;
you were examining alien energy for the first time in your life.
     "You have a proclivity for  behaving  like the sorcerers of  antiquity.
The moment you have the chance, you  let your assemblage point go. That time
your  assemblage point shifted quite a  distance. The result was  that  you,
like the old sorcerers, journeyed beyond the world we know. A  most real but
dangerous journey."
     I bypassed the  meaning of  his statements in favor of my  own interest
and asked him, "Was that city perhaps on another planet?"
     "You can't  explain dreaming by  way of things you know or suspect  you
know," he said. "All I can  tell you is that the city you visited was not in
this world."
     "Where was it, then?"
     "Out  of this world, of course. You're not  that stupid.  That was  the
first thing you  noticed.  What  got you going in  circles is that you can't
imagine anything being out of this world."
     "Where is out of this world, don Juan?"
     "Believe  me,  the  most   extravagant  feature  of  sorcery  is   that
configuration called out of this world. For instance, you assumed that I was
seeing the same things you did. The proof is that you never  asked me what I
saw.  You  and  only you  saw a city and people  in  that city. I didn't see
anything  of  the sort. I saw  energy. So, out  of this  world was, for  you
alone, on that occasion, a city."
     "But then, don Juan, it wasn't a  real city. It existed only for me, in
my mind."
     "No.   That's  not  the  case.  Now   you  want   to  reduce  something
transcendental  to  something  mundane. You  can't do that. That journey was
real. You saw  it as a city.  I saw it as energy. Neither of  us is right or
     "My confusion comes when  you talk  about things  being real.  You said
before that we reached a real place. But if it was real, how can we have two
versions of it?"
     "Very simple. We have two versions because  we had,  at that  time, two
different rates  of uniformity and  cohesion. I have  explained to  you that
those two attributes are the key to perceiving."
     "Do you think that I can go back to that particular city?"
     "You got me there. I don't know. Or perhaps I do know but can't explain
it. Or perhaps I can explain it but I don't want to. You'll have to wait and
figure out for yourself which is the case."
     He refused any further discussion.
     "Let's get on  with our business,"  he said. "You reach the second gate
of dreaming  when you wake up from a dream  into another dream. You can have
as many dreams as  you want or as many as  you are  capable of, but you must
exercise adequate control and not wake up in the world we know."
     I had a  jolt of panic. "Are you saying that I  should never wake up in
this world?" I asked.
     "No, I  didn't mean that. But now that you  have pointed it out, I have
to tell you that it is an alternative. The sorcerers of antiquity used to do
that, never wake up in the world we know. Some of  the  sorcerers of my line
have done it too. It certainly can be done, but I don't recommend it. What I
want is for you to wake up naturally when you are through with dreaming, but
while  you are dreaming, I want you to  dream that  you wake  up  in another
     I  heard myself asking the same question  I had asked the first time he
told me about setting up dreaming. "But is it possible to do that?"
     Don Juan obviously caught on to my mindlessness and laughingly repeated
the answer he had given me before. "Of course it's possible. This control is
no  different  from  the  control we have  over any  situation in  our daily
     I  quickly  got  over  my  embarrassment  and  was  ready to  ask  more
questions, but don Juan anticipated me  and began to  explain facets  of the
second gate of dreaming, an explanation that made me yet more uneasy.
     "There's one problem with the second  gate,"  he said. "It's a  problem
that can be serious,  depending on one's bent  of character. If our tendency
is to indulge in clinging to  things or situations, we are  in for a sock in
the jaw."
     "In what way, don Juan?"
     "Think  for a moment. You've already experienced the outlandish  joy of
examining your dreams' contents. Imagine yourself going from dream to dream,
watching everything, examining every detail. It's  very easy to realize that
one may sink to mortal depths. Especially if one is given to indulging."
     "Wouldn't the body or the brain naturally put a stop to it?"
     "If it's a natural sleeping situation, meaning normal, yes. But this is
not a  normal situation. This  is dreaming. A dreamer  on crossing the first
gate  has already reached the  energy body. So  what is really going through
the second gate, hopping from dream to dream, is the energy body."
     "What's the implication of all this, don Juan?"
     "The implication is that on crossing the second gate  you must intend a
greater and more sober control over your dreaming attention: the only safety
valve for dreamers."
     "What is this safety valve?"
     "You will find  out for yourself that  the true goal  of dreaming is to
perfect the  energy  body. A  perfect  energy body, among  other  things  of
course, has such a control over the dreaming attention that it makes it stop
when needed. This is the safety valve dreamers have. No matter how indulging
they might  be, at  a given  time, their  dreaming  attention must make them
     I started all  over again on another dreaming quest. This time the goal
was more elusive  and the difficulty even  greater. Exactly as with my first
task, I  could not begin  to figure out what to do. I  had  the discouraging
suspicion that all my practice was not going  to be of much  help this time.
After countless failures, I gave  up and settled down to simply continue  my
practice  of fixing my  dreaming  attention  on every  item  of  my  dreams.
Accepting my shortcomings seemed to give me a boost, and I became even  more
adept at sustaining the view of any item in my dreams.
     A year went by without any change. Then one day something changed. As I
was  watching a  window  in a dream, trying to find out if I could  catch  a
glimpse of the scenery outside the  room, some windlike force, which I  felt
as a buzzing  in my ears, pulled me through the window to the  outside. Just
before  that  pull,  my  dreaming  attention  had been caught by  a  strange
structure some  distance away. It looked like a  tractor.  The  next thing I
knew, I was standing by it, examining it.
     I  was perfectly aware that I was dreaming. I looked around to find out
if I could tell from what window I had been looking. The scene was that of a
farm  in the countryside.  No buildings were in  sight.  I wanted  to ponder
this. However, the quantity of farm machinery lying around, as if abandoned,
took  all  my  attention.  I   examined  mowing  machines,  tractors,  grain
harvesters,  disk plows,  thrashers. There were so  many  that  I forgot  my
original dream. What  I wanted  then was  to  orient myself  by watching the
immediate scenery. There was something in the distance  that  looked  like a
billboard and some telephone poles around it.
     The instant I focused my attention on that billboard, I was next to it.
The steel structure  of the billboard gave me a  fright. It was menacing. On
the billboard itself was a picture of a building. I read the text; it was an
advertisement for a  motel. I had a peculiar certainty that I was  in Oregon
or northern California.
     I looked  for  other features  in the  environment  of  my dream. I saw
mountains very far away  and some green,  round  hills not too far. On those
hills were clumps of what  I thought were California oak trees.  I wanted to
be pulled by the green hills, but what pulled me were the distant mountains.
I was convinced that they were the Sierras.
     All my dreaming energy left me on those mountains. But before it did, I
was pulled by every possible feature. My dream ceased to be a  dream. As far
as my capacity to perceive was concerned, I  was  veritably in  the Sierras,
zooming  into ravines, boulders,  trees, caves. I went  from scarp faces  to
mountain  peaks until I had no  more drive and  could not focus my  dreaming
attention  on anything. I felt myself losing control. Finally, there  was no
more scenery, just darkness.
     "You have reached the second gate  of dreaming,"  don  Juan said when I
narrated my  dream to him. "What you should do next is to cross it. Crossing
the second  gate is a very serious affair;  it  requires a most  disciplined
     I  was not sure I had  fulfilled the task he outlined for me, because I
had  not  really woken  up in another dream.  I asked don  Juan  about  this
irregularity. "The mistake was mine," he said. "I  told you that one  has to
wake up in another dream, but what I meant is that one  has to change dreams
in an orderly and precise manner, the way you have done it.
     "With the first gate, you wasted  a lot of time looking exclusively for
your hands. This time, you went  directly to the solution without  bothering
to follow the given command: to wake up in another dream."
     Don Juan said  that  there are two ways of properly crossing the second
gate of dreaming.  One is to  wake up in  another dream, that is  to say, to
dream that one  is having a dream and then dream that one wakes up from  it.
The  alternative  is to  use the items of a dream  to trigger another dream,
exactly as I had done.
     Just as he  had been doing all along, don Juan let me practice  without
any  interference on his  part.  And I corroborated the two alternatives  he
described. Either I dreamt that I was having a dream  from which I  dreamt I
woke up or I zoomed from a definite item accessible to my immediate dreaming
attention to another one, not quite accessible.  Or  I entered into a slight
variation  of  the second: I gazed  at any item of a dream,  maintaining the
gaze until  the  item changed shape  and,  by changing shape, pulled me into
another  dream through  a buzzing  vortex. Never was I  capable, however, of
deciding beforehand which of the three I would follow. My dreaming practices
always ended  by my running  out of dreaming attention and finally waking up
or by my falling into dark, deep slumber.
     Everything went smoothly in my  practices. The only  disturbance  I had
was  a  peculiar interference,  a  jolt of fear or discomfort I had begun to
experience with increasing frequency. My way of discarding it was to believe
that  it was related to my  ghastly  eating habits or  to  the fact that, in
those days, don Juan was giving me a  profusion of hallucinogenic plants  as
part of my training. Those jolts became so prominent, however, that I had to
ask don Juan's advice.
     "You have entered now  into the most dangerous facet  of the sorcerers'
knowledge," he  began. "It  is  sheer dread, a veritable nightmare.  I could
joke  with you and say  that I didn't mention this possibility to you out of
regard  for  your  cherished rationality, but I can't. Every sorcerer has to
face it.  Here is  where, I fear, you might very well think you're going off
the deep end."
     Don Juan  very solemnly  explained that  life and consciousness,  being
exclusively a matter of energy, are not solely the property of organisms. He
said that  sorcerers have seen that there are two types  of conscious beings
roaming the earth, the organic and the inorganic, and that  in comparing one
with the  other, they have  seen that  both are luminous masses crossed from
every imaginable angle by millions  of the universe's energy filaments. They
are  different  from each  other  in their  shape  and in  their  degree  of
brightness. Inorganic  beings  are long and candlelike but  opaque,  whereas
organic  beings  are  round  and  by  far the  brighter. Another  noteworthy
difference, which don Juan  said sorcerers  have seen, is  that the life and
consciousness of organic beings  is short-lived, because  they  are made  to
hurry, whereas the life of inorganic beings  is infinitely  longer and their
consciousness infinitely more calm and deeper.
     "Sorcerers  find no  problem interacting with  them," don Juan went on.
"Inorganic   beings   possess   the  crucial  ingredient   for  interaction,
     "But do these inorganic  beings really exist? Like you  and I exist?" I
     "Of  course  they  do," he replied.  "Believe  me,  sorcerers  are very
intelligent creatures; under no condition would they toy with aberrations of
the mind and then take them for real."
     "Why do you say they are alive?"
     "For sorcerers, having life means having consciousness. It means having
an  assemblage point and its surrounding glow of awareness, a condition that
points  out  to  sorcerers  that  the  being in front  of  them, organic  or
inorganic, is thoroughly capable of  perceiving. Perceiving is understood by
sorcerers as the precondition of being alive."
     "Then the inorganic beings must also die. Is that true, don Juan?"
     "Naturally. They lose their awareness just like  we do, except that the
length of their consciousness is staggering to the mind."
     "Do these inorganic beings appear to sorcerers?"
     "It's  very  difficult to tell what is what with  them.  Let's say that
those  beings are enticed by us  or, better yet, compelled to  interact with
     Don Juan peered at me  most intently. "You're not taking in any of this
at all," he said with the tone of someone who has reached a conclusion.
     "It's nearly impossible for me to think about this rationally," I said.
     "I  warned you that the subject will tax your  reason. The proper thing
to do then is to suspend judgment and let things take their  course, meaning
that you let the inorganic beings come to you."
     "Are you serious, don Juan?"
     "Deadly serious.  The difficulty  with  inorganic  beings is that their
awareness  is very slow  in comparison  with ours. It  will take years for a
sorcerer to be acknowledged by inorganic beings. So, it is advisable to have
patience and wait. Sooner or later they show up. But not like you or I would
show up. Theirs is a most peculiar way to make themselves known."
     "How do sorcerers entice them? Do they have a ritual?"
     "Well,  they certainly don't stand in the middle of the  road  and call
out to them with trembling voices at the stroke of midnight, if  that's what
you mean."
     "What do they do then?"
     "They entice them in dreaming. I said that what's involved is more than
enticing them; by the  act of dreaming,  sorcerers  compel  those  beings to
interact with them."
     "How do sorcerers compel them by the act of dreaming?"
     "Dreaming  is sustaining  the position  where the assemblage  point has
shifted  in  dreams. This  act  creates a distinctive  energy charge,  which
attracts  their  attention.  It's  like bait  to  fish;  they'll go for  it.
Sorcerers,  by reaching  and crossing the first  two  gates of dreaming, set
bait for those beings and compel them to appear.
     "By going through the two gates,  you have made your  bidding  known to
them. Now, you must wait for a sign from them."
     "What would the sign be, don Juan?"
     "Possibly the appearance of one of them, although  that seems too soon.
I am of the opinion that their sign will be simply some interference in your
dreaming. I believe that the jolts of fear you are experiencing nowadays are
not indigestion but energy jolts sent to you by the inorganic beings."
     "What should I do?"
     "You must gauge your expectations."
     I could not understand what  he  meant, and he carefully explained that
our  normal expectation when engaging in interaction with our fellow  men or
with other  organic beings is to get an immediate reply to our solicitation.
With inorganic beings, however, since they are separated  from us by  a most
formidable  barrier--energy  that moves at a different speed--sorcerers must
gauge their  expectations  and sustain  the solicitation for as  long as  it
takes to be acknowledged.
     "Do you  mean,  don  Juan, that the  solicitation is the  same  as  the
dreaming practices?"
     "Yes. But for a  perfect  result,  you  must add to your  practices the
intent  of  reaching those inorganic  beings. Send a  feeling  of power  and
confidence to them,  a feeling of strength, of detachment. Avoid at any cost
sending  a  feeling  of  fear  or  morbidity.  They  are  pretty  morbid  by
themselves; to add your morbidity to them is unnecessary, to say the least."
     "I'm not clear, don Juan, about the way they appear to sorcerers.  What
is the peculiar way they make themselves known?"
     "They do, at times, materialize themselves in the daily world, right in
front of us. Most of the time, though, their invisible presence is marked by
a bodily jolt, a shiver of sorts that comes from the marrow of the bones."
     "What about in dreaming, don Juan?"
     "In dreaming we have the total opposite. At times, we feel them the way
you  are feeling them, as a jolt of fear. Most of the time, they materialize
themselves right in front of us. Since  at the beginning of dreaming we have
no  experience  whatsoever  with them, they might imbue us  with fear beyond
measure. That is a  real danger to us. Through the channel of fear, they can
follow us to the daily world, with disastrous results for us."
     "In what way, don Juan?"
     "Fear can settle down in our lives,  and we would have to be  mavericks
to deal  with  it. Inorganic beings can be worse  than a pest.  Through fear
they can easily drive us raving mad."
     "What do sorcerers do with inorganic beings?"
     "They  mingle  with  them.  They  turn  them  into  allies.  They  form
associations,  create   extraordinary   friendships.   I  call   them   vast
enterprises, where  perception  plays  the  uppermost  role. We  are  social
beings. We unavoidably seek the company of consciousness.
     "With inorganic beings, the secret is  not to fear  them. And this must
be done from the beginning. The intent one has to send out to them has to be
of power and abandon. In  that intent one must encode the  message `1  don't
fear you. Come to see me. If you do, I'll welcome you. If you don't want  to
come, I'll  miss you.' With a message like this, they'll get so curious that
they'll come for sure."
     "Why should they come to seek me, or why on earth should I seek them?"
     "Dreamers, whether  they  like  it  or  not,  in  their  dreaming  seek
associations  with other  beings.  This may  come  to you  as a  shock,  but
dreamers automatically seek groups of beings, nexuses of inorganic beings in
this case. Dreamers seek them avidly."
     "This is very strange to me, don Juan. Why would dreamers do that?"
     "The novelty  for us is the inorganic beings. And the novelty  for them
is  one  of our kind crossing the boundaries of their  realm.  The thing you
must bear  in mind  from  now  on is that inorganic beings with their superb
consciousness exert a tremendous pull over dreamers and can easily transport
them into worlds beyond description.
     "The sorcerers of antiquity used them, and they are the ones who coined
the name allies. Their allies taught  them  to move the assemblage point out
of the egg's  boundaries into the non-human universe. So when they transport
a sorcerer, they transport him to worlds beyond the human domain."
     As I  heard him talk, I was plagued by  strange fears  and  misgivings,
which he promptly realized.
     "You are a religious man to the  end." He laughed. "Now, you're feeling
the devil breathing  down your  neck. Think about  dreaming  in these terms:
dreaming  is  perceiving  more  than what  we  believe  it  is  possible  to
     In my waking hours,  I worried  about  the  possibility  that inorganic
conscious beings really existed. When I was dreaming, however,  my conscious
worries did not have much effect. The jolts  of physical fear continued, but
whenever  they happened a strange calmness always trailed behind, a calmness
that took control of me and let me proceed as if I had no fear at all.
     It seemed  at that time that every breakthrough in dreaming happened to
me suddenly, without warning. The  presence of inorganic beings in my dreams
was no exception. It happened while I was dreaming about a  circus I knew in
my childhood. The setting looked like a  town in the mountains in Arizona. I
began  to  watch  people with the  vague  hope I always had that I would see
again  the people I had seen the first  time don Juan made me enter into the
second attention. As I watched them, I felt a sizable jolt of nervousness in
the pit of my stomach; it was  like a punch. The  jolt distracted me,  and I
lost sight of the people, the circus, and the  mountain  town in Arizona. In
their  place stood two strange-looking figures. They were thin,  less than a
foot wide, but long, perhaps  seven feet. They were looming over me like two
gigantic earthworms.
     I knew that it was a dream, but I also knew that I was seeing. Don Juan
had discussed seeing in my  normal awareness and in the  second attention as
well. Although  I was incapable  of experiencing it myself, I  thought I had
understood the idea of directly perceiving energy. In that dream, looking at
those  two strange apparitions,  I  realized that  I was seeing  the  energy
essence of something unbelievable.
     I remained very  calm. I did not move. The most  remarkable thing to me
was that  they  didn't  dissolve or  change into  something else.  They were
cohesive beings that retained their  candlelike shape. Something in them was
forcing  something in me to hold the view  of their shape. I knew it because
something was telling me that if I did not move, they would not move either.
     It all came to an end, at a given moment, when I woke up with a fright.
I was immediately besieged by fears. A deep preoccupation  took  hold of me.
It was not psychological worry but rather a bodily sense of anguish, sadness
with no apparent foundation.
     The two strange shapes appeared  to me from then on  in every one of my
dreaming sessions. Eventually, it was as if I dreamt only to encounter them.
They never  attempted to move toward me or to interfere with me in any  way.
They just  stood there, immobile, in front of  me, for as  long as my  dream
lasted. Not only did I never make any effort  to change my dreams but I even
forgot the original quest of my dreaming practices.
     When I finally discussed with don Juan what was happening to  me, I had
spent months solely viewing the two shapes.
     "You  are  stuck at a dangerous crossroad," don  Juan  said.  "It isn't
right  to chase these  beings away, but it  isn't right  either to let  them
stay. For the time being, their presence is a hindrance to your dreaming."
     "What can I do, don Juan?"
     "Face them, right now,  in  the world of  daily life,  and tell them to
come back later, when you have more dreaming power."
     "How do I face them?"
     "It's not simple, but it  can be  done. It requires  only that you have
enough guts, which of course you do."
     Without waiting for me to tell him that I had no  guts at all, he  took
me to  the hills. He lived then in northern Mexico, and he had  given me the
total  impression he  was  a  solitary  sorcerer,  an old  man  forgotten by
everybody and completely outside the main  current of human affairs.  I  had
surmised, however,  that he  was  intelligent beyond measure. And because of
this  I   was  willing  to  comply  with  what  I  half-believed  were  mere
     The  cunningness  of sorcerers, cultivated through  the ages,  was  don
Juan's  trademark.  He made sure that I understood  all I could in my normal
awareness and, at the same time, he made sure that I entered into the second
attention,  where  I   understood  or  at  least  passionately  listened  to
everything he taught me. In this fashion, he divided me in two. In my normal
consciousness, I could not understand  why or how I was more than willing to
take his  eccentricities  seriously. In  the  second attention,  it all made
sense to me.
     His contention was that the second attention is available to all of us,
but, by willfully holding on to our half-cocked rationality, some of us more
fiercely than  others, keep the second attention  at arm's length. His  idea
was that  dreaming brings down the barriers  that surround  and insulate the
second attention. The day  he took  me to the hills of the Sonoran desert to
meet the  inorganic  beings, I was  in my  normal  state  of  awareness. Yet
somehow  I  knew  I had  to  do  something  that was certainly  going  to be
     It had rained lightly in the desert. The red dirt was still wet, and as
I walked it got clumped up in the rubber soles of my shoes. I had to step on
rocks to  remove  the  heavy  chunks  of  dirt.  We  walked in  an  easterly
direction, climbing toward the hills. When we got to a narrow  gully between
two hills, don Juan stopped.
     "This is for sure an ideal place to summon your friends," he said.
     "Why do you call them my friends?"
     "They have singled you out themselves. When they do that, it means that
they seek an association. I've mentioned to you that sorcerers form bonds of
friendship with  them. Your case seems to be an example. And you  don't even
have to solicit them."
     "What does such a friendship consist of, don Juan?"
     "It  consists of  a  mutual exchange  of  energy.  The inorganic beings
supply their high awareness, and sorcerers supply their heightened awareness
and high energy. The  positive result  is an even exchange. The negative one
is dependency on both parties.
     "The old sorcerers used to love their allies. In fact, they loved their
allies more  than they loved their  own kind. I can foresee terrible dangers
in that."
     "What do you recommend I do, don Juan?"
     "Summon them. Size them up, and then decide yourself what to do."
     "What should I do to summon them?"
     "Hold your  dream view of  them  in  your mind.  The  reason  they have
saturated you with their presence in your dreams is that they want to create
a memory  of their  shape in  your mind.  And this is the  time to  use that
memory."  Don  Juan forcefully  ordered me  to close  my eyes and keep  them
closed. Then he guided me to sit down on some rocks. I felt the hardness and
the coldness of the rocks. The rocks were slanted; it was  difficult to keep
my balance.
     "Sit here and visualize their shape until they are  just  like they are
in your dreams," don Juan said in my ear. "Let me know when you have them in
     It  took me very little  time  and  effort  to  have a  complete mental
picture of their shape, just  like in my dreams.  It did not surprise  me at
all  that I  could  do  it. What  shocked  me  was  that,  although I  tried
desperately to let don Juan know I had pictured them in my mind, I could not
voice  my words  or open  my  eyes.  I  was  definitely awake.  I could hear
     I  heard don Juan say, "You can open your eyes now." I opened them with
no difficulty.  I was sitting cross-legged on some rocks, which were not the
same ones I had felt under me when I sat down. Don  Juan was  just behind me
to my right.  I  tried to turn around to face him,  but he forced my head to
remain straight. And then I saw two dark figures, like two thin tree trunks,
right in front of me.
     I  stared at them openmouthed; they  were not as tall as in my  dreams.
They had shrunk to  half  their  size. Instead of  being  shapes  of  opaque
luminosity,  they  were now  two  condensed, dark,  almost  black,  menacing
     "Get up and grab one of  them," don Juan ordered me, "and don't let go,
no matter how it shakes you."
     I definitely did not want to do anything of the  sort, but some unknown
drive made  me  stand up  against my  will.  I had at  that moment the clear
realization  that I would end up doing what he had ordered me to, although I
had no conscious intention of doing so.
     Mechanically,  I advanced toward the two  figures,  my  heart  pounding
nearly out of my chest. I  grabbed the one to my  right. What I felt  was an
electric discharge that almost made me drop the dark figure.
     Don  Juan's voice came to me as if he had been yelling from a  distance
away. "You drop it and you're done for," he said.
     I held on to the figure, which  twirled and shook.  Not  like a massive
animal would,  but like  something quite fluffy and light, although strongly
electrical. We  rolled and turned on the sand  of  the gully for quite  some
time.  It  gave me jolt after jolt of  some  sickening electric  current.  I
thought it  was  sickening because  I fancied  it to  be  different from the
energy I had always encountered in our daily world. When it  hit my body, it
tickled me and made me yell and growl like an animal, not  in anguish but in
a strange anger.
     It finally became a still, almost solid form under me.  It lay inert. I
asked don Juan if it was dead, but I did not hear my voice. I
     "Not  a  chance," said someone laughing, someone who was  not don Juan.
"You've just depleted  its energy  charge. But  don't get up yet.  Lie there
just a moment longer."
     I  looked at don Juan  with a question in my eyes. He  was examining me
with great  curiosity. Then he helped  me up. The I dark figure remained  on
the ground.  I wanted to ask  don Juan  if  the dark figure  was  all right.
Again, I could not  voice my question. Then I  did something extravagant.  I
took it all for real. Up to that moment something in my mind  was preserving
my rationality by taking what was happening as a dream, a I dream induced by
don Juan's machinations.
     I went to the figure on the ground and tried to lift it up. I could not
put my arms around it because it had no mass. I became disoriented. The same
voice, which was not don Juan's, told me to lie down on top of the inorganic
being. I did it, and both  of us got up in one  motion, the  inorganic being
like  a  dark  shadow  attached to  me.  It  gently  separated from  me  and
disappeared, leaving me with an extremely pleasant feeling of completeness.
     It took me more than twenty-four hours to regain  total control  of  my
faculties. I slept most of the time. Don Juan checked me  from time to  time
by asking me the same question, "Was the  inorganic being's energy like fire
or like water?"
     My throat seemed scorched. I could not tell him that the energy jolts I
had felt were  like jets  of electrified water. I  have never  felt jets  of
electrified  water  in  my life. I am  not sure if it is possible to produce
them or to feel them, but that was the  image playing in  my mind every time
don Juan asked his key question.
     Don Juan was  asleep  when  I  finally knew I was completely recovered.
Knowing that his question  was of  great importance, I  woke him up and told
him what I had felt.
     "You  are not going to have helping friends among the inorganic beings,
but relationships of annoying dependence," he stated. "Be extremely careful.
Watery  inorganic beings  are more given  to  excesses.  The  old  sorcerers
believed that  they  were more loving, more capable of imitating, or perhaps
even having  feelings. As opposed to the  fiery ones, who were thought to be
more serious, more contained than the others, but also more pompous."
     "What's the meaning of all this for me, don Juan?"
     "The meaning is too vast to discuss  at this time. My recommendation is
that  you  vanquish fear from your dreams and  from your  life,  in order to
safeguard  your unity. The inorganic  being you depleted of  energy and then
recharged again was thrilled out of its candlelike shape with it. It'll come
to you for more."
     "Why didn't you stop me, don Juan?"
     "You didn't give me time. Besides, you  didn't even hear me shouting at
you to leave the inorganic being on the ground."
     "You  should have lectured me, beforehand, the way you always do, about
all the possibilities."
     "I  didn't  know all the  possibilities.  In  matters  of the inorganic
beings, I  am  nearly  a novice.  I  refused  that  part  of  the sorcerers'
knowledge on the  ground that it is too cumbersome  and capricious.  I don't
want to be at the mercy of any entity, organic or inorganic."
     That was the end of our exchange. I should have been worried because of
his definitely negative reaction, but I was  not. I somehow was certain that
whatever I had done was all right.
     I continued  my  dreaming  practices without any interference  from the
inorganic beings.

     Since our agreement  had been  to discuss  dreaming only when don  Juan
considered it necessary, I rarely asked him about it and  never  insisted on
continuing my  questions  beyond a certain  point.  I was  more than  eager,
therefore, to listen to him whenever  he decided to take up the subject. His
comments  or  discussions  on  dreaming were  invariably  cushioned in other
topics of his teachings,  and they were always suddenly and abruptly brought
     We  were  engaged in  some  unrelated conversation once,  while  I  was
visiting with him in his house, when without any preamble  he said  that, by
means of their dreaming contacts  with inorganic  beings, the old  sorcerers
became  immensely well-versed in the manipulation of the assemblage point, a
vast and ominous subject.
     I immediately  grabbed  the opportunity  and  asked  don  Juan  for  an
estimate  of the time when the  old  sorcerers  might have lived. At various
opportunities before, I had  asked the same question, but he never gave me a
satisfactory answer. I was confident,  however,  that at the moment, perhaps
because he had brought up the subject himself, he might be willing to oblige
     "A most trying subject," he said. The way he said it made me believe he
was discarding my question. I was quite surprised when he continued talking.
"It'll tax your rationality as much '  as the topic of inorganic beings.  By
the way, what do you think ' about them now?"
     "I have let my opinions rest," I said. "I can't afford to think one way
or another."
     My answer  delighted him. He laughed and commented on his  own fears of
and aversions to the inorganic beings.
     "They have  never been  my  cup of tea," he said. "Of course,  the main
reason was my fear of them. I was unable to get over it  when I  had to, and
then it became fixed."
     "Do you fear them now, don Juan?"
     "It's  not quite fear  I feel but revulsion. I  don't  want any part of
     "Is there any particular reason for this revulsion?"
     "The best reason in the world: we  are antithetical. They love slavery,
and I love freedom. They love to buy, and I don't sell."
     I became inexplicably agitated and brusquely  told him that the subject
was so farfetched for me that I could not take it seriously.
     He  stared at  me,  smiling, and  said,  "The  best thing  to  do  with
inorganic  beings is what you do: deny their existence but  visit with  them
regularly and maintain that you  are dreaming  and  in dreaming anything  is
possible. This way you don't commit yourself."
     I felt  strangely guilty,  although  I could not figure out why. I felt
compelled to ask, "What are you referring to, don Juan?"
     "To your visits with the inorganic  beings," he replied dryly. "Are you
kidding? What visits?"
     "I didn't want to discuss this,  but I think it's time I  tell you that
the nagging voice you heard, reminding you to fix your dreaming attention on
the items of your dreams, was the voice of an inorganic being."
     I thought  don  Juan was completely  irrational.  I became so irritated
that I even  yelled at him.  He laughed at me and asked me to tell him about
my  irregular  dreaming  sessions.  That request surprised  me. I  had never
mentioned to anyone that  every  so  often I  used to  zoom out  of a dream,
pulled by a given item, but instead of my changing dreams, as I should have,
the total  mood of the dream changed and  I would find myself in a dimension
unknown to me. I soared in it, directed  by some invisible guide, which made
me twirl around and around. I  always  awoke from one  of these dreams still
twirling, and I continued tossing and turning for a long time before I fully
woke up.
     "Those are bona fide meetings  you are having with your inorganic being
friends," don Juan said.
     I did not want to argue with him,  but  neither did I want to  agree. I
remained silent.  I had forgotten my  question about the  old sorcerers, but
don Juan picked up the subject again.
     "My understanding is that the old sorcerers existed perhaps as far back
as ten thousand years ago," he said, smiling and watching my reaction.
     Basing my response on current archaeological data on the  migration  of
Asiatic nomadic tribes to the Americas, I said that I believed his  date was
incorrect. Ten thousand years was too far back.
     "You have your  knowledge and  I have mine," he said. "My knowledge  is
that the old sorcerers ruled for four thousand years, from seven thousand to
three thousand years  ago. Three thousand years  ago, they  went to nothing.
And from  then on,  sorcerers have  been regrouping, restructuring what  was
left of the old ones."
     "How can you be so sure about your dates?" I asked.
     "How can you be so sure about yours?" he retorted.
     I told him that archaeologists have foolproof methods to  establish the
date  of past cultures.  Again  he  retorted that sorcerers  have  foolproof
methods of their own.
     "I'm  not trying to be contrary or  argue you down," he continued, "but
someday soon you may be able to ask someone who knows for sure."
     "No one can know this for sure, don Juan."
     "This is another of those impossible things to  believe, but  there  is
somebody who can verify all this. You'll meet that person someday."
     "Come on,  don  Juan,  you've got  to be  joking. Who can  verify, what
happened seven thousand years ago?"
     "Very simple,  one of  the old sorcerers we've been  talking about. The
one  I met. He's the one who told me all about the old sorcerers. I hope you
remember what I am going  to  tell you about that particular  man. He is the
key to many of our endeavors, and he's also the one you have to meet."
     "I told don  Juan  that I  was  hanging on every  word  he said, I even
though  I did not understand what  he was  saying. He accused me of humoring
him and not believing a word about the old  sorcerers. I admitted that in my
state of daily consciousness, of course, I had not believed those farfetched
stories. But neither had I in the second attention,  although there I should
have had a different reaction.
     "Only when you ponder what  I said does  it become a farfetched story,"
he  remarked. "If you don't  involve  your common sense, it remains purely a
matter of energy."
     "Why did you say, don Juan, that I am  going  to meet  one of  the  old
     "Because you are. It  is vital that the  two of you meet, someday. But,
for the  moment, just let me tell you another farfetched story about  one of
the naguals of my line, the nagual Sebastian."
     Don Juan told me then that the nagual Sebastian had been a  sexton in a
church in southern Mexico around the beginning of the eighteenth century. In
his account, don Juan stressed how sorcerers, past or present, seek and find
refuge in established institutions, such as the Church. It was his idea that
because of their superior  discipline, sorcerers are  trustworthy  employees
and that they are avidly sought by institutions that are always in dire need
of such persons. Don Juan maintained that  as long as no one is aware of the
sorcerers' doings, their lack of ideological sympathies makes them appear as
model workers.
     Don Juan continued his story and said that one day, while Sebastian was
performing his duties as a  sexton, a strange man came to the church, an old
Indian  who  seemed  to be ill. In a  weak voice he  told Sebastian  that he
needed help. The nagual thought that the Indian  wanted  the  parish priest,
but the man, making a  great effort, addressed  the nagual.  In a  harsh and
direct tone, he told him that he knew that Sebastian was not only a sorcerer
but a nagual.
     Sebastian,  quite  alarmed  by this  sudden turn of events, pulled  the
Indian aside and  demanded an apology. The man replied that he was not there
to apologize but to get specialized help. He needed, he said, to receive the
nagual's energy in order to maintain his life, which, he  assured Sebastian,
had spanned thousands of years but at the moment was ebbing away.
     Sebastian, who was a very  intelligent man, unwilling  to pay attention
to  such nonsense, urged the Indian  to stop  clowning around.  The old  man
became angry and threatened Sebastian with exposing him and his group to the
ecclesiastical authorities if he did not comply with his request.
     Don  Juan reminded me that those were the times when the ecclesiastical
authorities were brutally and systematically eradicating heretical practices
among the Indians of the New Worlds The man's threat was not something to be
taken  lightly;  the  nagual  and  his group were  indeed in  mortal danger.
Sebastian asked the Indian  how he could  give him energy. The man explained
that naguals, by means of their discipline, gain a peculiar energy that they
store in their  bodies and that he would get it painlessly  from Sebastian's
energy center on  his navel. In return for it, Sebastian would get not  only
the  opportunity  to continue his activities  unscathed but also a  gift  of
     The knowledge that he was  being manipulated  by the old Indian did not
sit  right  with the nagual, but  the man was  inflexible and  left  him  no
alternative but to comply with his request.
     Don  Juan assured me that the old Indian was not exaggerating about his
claims at all. He turned out  to be  one of the sorcerers  of ancient times,
one of  those known as the death defiers. He had apparently  survived to the
present  by manipulating  his assemblage  point in  ways that  only he  knew
     Don Juan said that what transpired between Sebastian and that man later
became  the  ground for  an  agreement that  had bound all  six  naguals who
followed Sebastian. The death defier, kept his word; in exchange  for energy
from every  one of  those men, he made  a  donation to the giver, a  gift of
power.  Sebastian had  to accept  such a  gift, although reluctantly; he had
been  cornered and had no  other choice. All the other  naguals who followed
him, however, gladly and proudly accepted their gifts.
     Don Juan  concluded  his story, saying that over time the death  defier
came to be known as the tenant. And  for over two hundred years, the naguals
of don  Juan's  line honored  that binding  agreement,  creating a symbiotic
relationship that changed the course and final goal of their lineage.
     Don Juan did not care  to explain the story any further, and I was left
with a strange  sensation of truthfulness, which was more  bothersome to  me
than I could have imagined.
     "How did he get to live that long?" I asked.
     "No  one knows,"  don  Juan replied. "All we've  known about  him,  for
generations, is what he tells us. The death defier is the one  I asked about
the old sorcerers,  and  he  told  me  that they were  at  their peak  three
thousand years ago."
     "How do you know he was telling you the truth?" I asked.
     Don Juan  shook  his head  in amazement, if not revulsion. "When you're
facing that inconceivable unknown out there," he  said,  pointing all around
him, "you don't fool around with petty  lies. Petty lies are only for people
who have never witnessed what's out there, waiting for them."
     "What's waiting for us out there, don Juan?"
     His answer,  a seemingly  innocuous  phrase,  was more terrifying to me
than if he had described the most horrendous thing.
     "Something utterly  impersonal,"  he said. He must have  noticed that I
was coming apart.  He  made me change levels of awareness  to make my fright
     A  few months later, my dreaming practices took a strange turn. I began
to get, in my dreams, replies to questions I was planning  to ask  don Juan.
The most  impressive part of this  oddity was that it quickly lapsed into my
waking hours. And one day,  while I was sitting at my desk, I got a reply to
an  unvoiced  question  about the  realness  of inorganic beings. I had seen
inorganic beings in dreams so many times I  had  begun  to think of  them as
real. I reminded  myself I  had even  touched one, in a state of  seminormal
consciousness in  the  Sonoran desert. And my dreams  had been  periodically
deviated to views of worlds I seriously doubted could  have been products of
my  mentality. I wished to give don Juan my best shot, in terms of a concise
query, so I molded a question in my mind: if one is to accept that inorganic
beings are as real as  people, where, in the physicality of the universe, is
the realm in which they exist?
     After formulating the question  to myself, I  heard a strange laughter,
just as  I had the day  I wrestled with  the inorganic  being. Then  a man's
voice  answered me. "That  realm exists  in a  particular  position  of  the
assemblage point," it said. "Just like  your world  exists  in  the habitual
position of the assemblage point."
     The last thing I wanted was to enter into a dialogue with a disembodied
voice, so I stood  up and ran out of  my house. The  thought occurred to  me
that I was losing my mind. Another worry to add to my collection of worries.
     The  voice  had  been  so  clear  and authoritative  that  it  not only
intrigued me but  terrified me. I waited with great trepidation for oncoming
barrages  of that  voice,  but the  event was never  repeated. At the  first
opportunity I had, I consulted with don Juan.
     He was not impressed  in the  least. "You must understand, once and for
all, that things like  this are very normal in the  life of a sorcerer,"  he
said.  "You  are  not  going mad;  you  are simply hearing the  voice of the
dreaming  emissary.  Upon  crossing  the first or  second gate  of dreaming,
dreamers reach  a  threshold  of  energy and  begin to see things or to hear
voices. Not  really plural voices, but  a  singular voice. Sorcerers call it
the voice of the dreaming emissary."
     "What is the dreaming emissary?"
     "Alien  energy  that has conciseness. Alien energy that purports to aid
dreamers by telling them things. The problem  with  the dreaming emissary is
that it can  tell only what the sorcerers already know or  should know, were
they worth their salt."
     "To say that  it's alien energy that has conciseness doesn't help me at
all, don Juan. What kind of energy - benign, malignant, right, wrong, what?"
     "It's just what I said, alien  energy. An impersonal force that we turn
into a  very personal one because it  has voice. Some sorcerers swear by it.
They even  see  it. Or, as you yourself have done,  they simply hear it as a
man's or  a  woman's voice. And the  voice  can tell them about the state of
things, which most of the time they take as sacred advice."
     "Why do some of us hear it as a voice?"
     "We see it or hear it because we maintain  our assemblage points  fixed
on a specific new position; the more intense this fixation, the more intense
our experience of the  emissary. Watch out! You may  see it and feel it as a
naked woman."
     Don Juan laughed at his own remark, but I was too scared for levity.
     "Is this force capable of materializing itself?" I asked.
     "Certainly,"  he  replied.  "And  it  all  depends  on  how  fixed  the
assemblage point is. But, rest  assured, if you are capable of maintaining a
degree of detachment, nothing happens. The  emissary  remains what it is: an
impersonal force that acts on  us because of the fixation of our  assemblage
     "Is its advice safe and sound?"
     "It  cannot be advice. It only tells us  what's what, and  then we draw
the inferences ourselves."
     I told don Juan then about what the voice had said to me.
     "It's  just like I said," don Juan  remarked. "The emissary didn't tell
you anything new.  Its statements were correct,  but  it  only seemed  to be
revealing things to you. What  the  emissary did was merely  repeat what you
already knew."
     "I'm afraid I can't claim that I knew all that, don Juan."
     "Yes, you can.  You know now infinitely  more  about the mystery of the
universe than what you rationally suspect. But that's our  human  malady, to
know more about the mystery of the universe than we suspect."
     Having  experienced  this incredible phenomenon all by  myself, without
don  Juan's coaching, made  me feel elated.  I wanted more information about
the emissary. I began to  ask don Juan whether he also heard  the emissary's
     He  interrupted me and with a broad smile said, "Yes, yes. The emissary
also talks to me. In my youth I used to see it as a friar with a black cowl.
A talking friar who used to scare the daylights out of me, every time. Then,
when my fear was more manageable, it became a disembodied voice, which tells
me things to this day."
     "What kinds of things, don Juan?"
     "Anything I focus my intent on, things I don't want to take the trouble
of following up  myself. Like, for example, details about the behavior of my
apprentices. What they do when  I  am not  around. It tells  me things about
you, in particular. The emissary tells me everything you do."
     At that point, I really did not care for the direction our conversation
had taken.  I frantically searched  my mind for questions about other topics
while he roared with laughter.
     "Is the dreaming emissary an inorganic being?" I asked.
     "Let's  say  that the dreaming emissary is a force that comes from  the
realm of inorganic beings. This is the reason dreamers always encounter it."
     "Do you mean, don Juan, that every dreamer hears or sees the emissary?"
     "Everyone hears the emissary; very few see it or feel it."
     "Do you have any explanation for this?"
     "No.  Besides, I really don't care about the emissary. At  one point in
my life,  I had  to make a decision whether to concentrate on  the inorganic
beings and follow in the footsteps of the old sorcerers or to refuse it all.
My teacher, the nagual Julian, helped me make up my  mind to refuse it. I've
never regretted that decision."
     "Do you think I should refuse the inorganic beings myself, don Juan?"
     He did  not answer  me; instead,  he explained that  the whole realm of
inorganic beings is always poised to teach. Perhaps because inorganic beings
have a deeper consciousness than ours, they feel compelled to  take us under
their wings.
     "I  didn't  see any  point in  becoming their pupil," he added.  "Their
price is too high."
     "What is their price?"
     "Our  lives,  our energy, our devotion  to  them.  In other  words, our
     "But what do they teach?"
     "Things pertinent to their world. The same way we ourselves would teach
them,  if we were capable  of teaching them,  things pertinent to our world.
Their method, however, is to take our basic self as a gauge of what we  need
and then teach us accordingly. A most dangerous affair!"
     "I don't see why it would be dangerous."
     "If someone was going to take your basic self as a gauge, with all your
fears and greed and  envy, et cetera, et cetera, and teach you what fulfills
that horrible state of being, what do you think the result would be?"
     I had no comeback.  I thought I  understood perfectly  well the reasons
for his rejection.
     "The problem with  the old sorcerers was  that  they  learned wonderful
things, but on the basis of their unadulterated lower selves," don Juan went
on. "The inorganic beings became their allies, and,  by means of  deliberate
examples, they taught the old sorcerers marvels. Their allies performed  the
actions, and  the  old  sorcerers  were  guided step by  step  to copy those
actions, without changing anything about their basic nature."
     "Do these relationships with inorganic beings exist today?"
     "I can't answer that truthfully. All I can say is that I can't conceive
of having a  relationship like  that  myself.  Involvements of  this  nature
curtail our search  for freedom by consuming  all  our available energy.  In
order to really follow their allies' example, the old sorcerers had to spend
their  lives  in  the realm of  the  inorganic  beings. The amount of energy
needed to accomplish such a sustained journey is staggering."
     "Do you mean, don Juan, that the  old sorcerers  were  able to exist in
those realms like we exist here?"
     "Not  quite like we exist here, but certainly they lived: they retained
their awareness, their individuality. The dreaming emissary became  the most
vital  entity for those sorcerers. If a sorcerer  wants to live in the realm
of the inorganic beings, the emissary is the perfect  bridge; it speaks, and
its bent is to teach, to guide."
     "Have you ever been in that realm, don Juan?"
     "Countless times.  And so have  you. But there is  no point in  talking
about  it  now. You  haven't cleared  all  the  debris  from  your  dreaming
attention yet. We'll talk about that realm some day."
     "Do  I  gather,  don  Juan,  that  you don't  approve of  or  like  the
     "I neither  approve of it nor like it. It belongs to another mood,  the
old sorcerers' mood. Besides,  its  teachings  and guidance in our world are
nonsense. And for that nonsense the emissary  charges us enormities in terms
of energy. One day you will agree with me. You'll see."
     In  the tone of don Juan's words, I caught a veiled  implication of his
belief that I disagreed with him about the emissary. I was about to confront
him with it when I heard the emissary's  voice in my ears. "He's right," the
voice said. "You like  me because  you find nothing wrong with exploring all
possibilities.  You want knowledge;  knowledge  is  power. You don't want to
remain safe in the routines and beliefs of your daily world."
     The  emissary said  all  that in English  with  a marked Pacific  Coast
intonation. Then it shifted into Spanish. I heard a slight Argentine accent.
I had never heard the  emissary speaking like this before. It fascinated me.
The emissary  told me about fulfillment, knowledge; about how far away I was
from  my  birthplace; about  my craving for adventure and my  near obsession
with new things, new horizons. The  voice even  talked  to me in Portuguese,
with a definite inflection from the southern pampas.
     To hear that voice pouring out all this flattery not only scared me but
nauseated me.  I told don Juan, right on  the spot, that I  had to  stop  my
dreaming  training.  He looked  up at me,  caught  by surprise.  But when  I
repeated what I had heard, he agreed I should stop, although I sensed he was
doing it only  to appease me. A few  weeks  later, I found my reaction a bit
hysterical  and my decision to withdraw unsound.  I went back to my dreaming
practices. I was  sure  don Juan  was  aware  that  I  had canceled  out  my
     On  one  of my visits to  him,  quite abruptly, he spoke about  dreams.
"Just because we haven't been taught to emphasize dreams as a  genuine field
for  exploration  doesn't  mean  they are  not one," he began.  "Dreams  are
analyzed  for  their meaning or are  taken as portents,  but  never are they
taken as a realm of real events."
     "To my  knowledge, only the old sorcerers  did that," don Juan went on,
"but at the end they flubbed it. They  got greedy, and  when they came to  a
crucial crossroads, they took the wrong fork. They put all their eggs in one
basket: the fixation  of the assemblage point on  the thousands of positions
it can adopt."
     Don Juan expressed  his  bewilderment at the fact that out of  all  the
marvelous  things  the old sorcerers  learned exploring  those  thousands of
positions,  only  the art of dreaming and the  art of  stalking  remain.  He
reiterated that the  art  of dreaming is concerned with  the displacement of
the assemblage point.  Then he defined  stalking as the art that deals  with
the  fixation of  the  assemblage  point on any  location  to  which  it  is
     "To  fixate  the  assemblage point  on any new  spot  means  to acquire
cohesion,"  he said.  "You  have  been  doing  just that  in  your  dreaming
     "I thought I was perfecting my energy body," I said,  somehow surprised
at his statement.
     "You are doing  that and much more, you  are learning to have cohesion.
Dreaming  does it by forcing dreamers  to fixate the  assemblage  point. The
dreaming attention, the energy body, the second  attention, the relationship
with  inorganic  beings,  the  dreaming  emissary  are  but  by-products  of
acquiring cohesion; in other words, they are all by-products of fixating the
assemblage point on a number of dreaming positions."
     "What is a dreaming position, don Juan?"
     "Any  new  position  to which  the assemblage  point has been displaced
during sleep."
     "How do we fixate the assemblage point on a dreaming position?"
     "By sustaining  the view  of any item in  your  dreams, or by  changing
dreams at  will. Through your dreaming practices, you are  really exercising
your capacity  to  be  cohesive;  that is  to say, you  are  exercising your
capacity  to  maintain a new  energy shape by  holding the assemblage  point
fixed on the position of any particular dream you are having."
     "Do I really maintain a new energy shape?"
     "Not exactly,  and not because  you  can't  but  only  because  you are
shifting the assemblage point instead of moving it. Shifts of the assemblage
point  give rise to minute changes, which are practically unnoticeable.  The
challenge  of  shifts  is that they  are  so small and so  numerous that  to
maintain cohesiveness in all of them is a triumph."
     "How do we know we are maintaining cohesion?"
     "We know it by the clarity of our  perception. The clearer the view  of
our dreams, the greater our cohesion."
     He said then that it was time for me to have a practical application of
what I had  learned in dreaming. Without giving me a chance to ask anything,
he urged me to focus my attention, as if I were  in a  dream, on the foliage
of a desert tree growing nearby:  a mesquite tree. "Do you  want  me to just
gaze at it?" I asked. "I don't want you to just gaze at it; I want you to do
something very special with that foliage," he said.  "Remember that, in your
dreams, once you  are able  to  hold the  view of any  item, you are  really
holding the  dreaming position of your assemblage point.  Now, gaze at those
leaves as  if you were  in  a dream, but with a  slight yet most  meaningful
variation: you are going to hold  your  dreaming attention on the  leaves of
the mesquite tree in the awareness  of our daily world." My nervousness made
it  impossible  for me to follow his line of thought. He patiently explained
that by staring at the foliage, I would accomplish a minute  displacement of
my  assemblage  point.  Then,  by  summoning my dreaming  attention  through
staring   at  individual  leaves,  I   would  actually  fixate  that  minute
displacement, and my cohesion would make me perceive  in terms of the second
attention. He added, with a  chuckle, that the process  was so simple it was
     Don Juan was right.  All  I needed was to focus my sight on the leaves,
maintain it, and  in one  instant I was drawn into a  vortex-like sensation,
extremely like  the vortexes in my dreams. The foliage  of the mesquite tree
became a universe of sensory  data. It was  as  if the foliage had swallowed
me,  but it was not only my sight that was engaged; if I touched the leaves,
I  actually felt them. I could  also smell them.  My dreaming attention  was
multisensorial instead of solely visual, as in my regular dreaming.
     What had begun as gazing at the foliage of the mesquite tree had turned
into a dream.  I believed I was in a dreamt  tree, as I had been in trees of
countless dreams. And, naturally, I behaved  in  this dreamt tree  as I  had
learned to behave  in  my dreams; I moved from item to  item, pulled  by the
force of a vortex that took  shape on whatever part of the tree I focused my
multisensorial dreaming attention. Vortexes were formed not only  on  gazing
but also on touching anything with any part of my body.
     In the midst  of  this  vision  or  dream, I  had an attack of rational
doubts. I began to wonder if I had really climbed the tree in a daze and was
actually hugging the leaves, lost in the foliage, without knowing what I was
doing. Or perhaps I had fallen asleep, possibly mesmerized by the fluttering
of leaves in the wind, and was having a dream. But  just like in dreaming, I
didn't have enough energy to ponder for too long. My thoughts were fleeting.
They lasted an instant; then  the force of direct  experience blanketed them
out completely. A  sudden motion  around me shook  everything and  virtually
made  me  emerge  from a clump of leaves, as  if I  had broken away from the
tree's  magnetic pull.  I  was  facing then, from an  elevation,  an immense
horizon. Dark mountains and green vegetation surrounded  me. Another jolt of
energy made me shake from my bones out; then I was somewhere else.  Enormous
trees loomed everywhere.  They  were bigger than the  Douglas firs of Oregon
and Washington State.  Never had I  seen a forest like that. The scenery was
such  a contrast to the aridness of the Sonoran desert that it left  me with
no doubt that I was having a dream.
     I held on to that extraordinary view, afraid to let go, knowing that it
was  indeed  a dream  and would disappear  once  I had  run out of  dreaming
attention. But the images lasted, even when I thought I should have  run out
of dreaming attention. A horrifying thought crossed  my  mind then:  what if
this was neither a dream nor the daily world?
     Frightened, as  an  animal must  experience fright, I recoiled into the
clump of leaves I had emerged from. The momentum of my backward  motion kept
me going through the tree foliage and around the hard branches. It pulled me
away from the tree, and in one split second I was standing next to don Juan,
at the door of his house, in the desert in Sonora.
     I instantly realized  I had entered again into a state in which I could
think  coherently,  but I could not talk. Don Juan told  me not to worry. He
said that our speech faculty is extremely flimsy and attacks of muteness are
common among sorcerers who venture beyond the limits of normal perception.
     My  gut feeling was that don Juan had taken pity on me  and had decided
to  give  me a pep  talk.  But the voice  of the dreaming emissary,  which I
clearly heard at that instant, said that in a  few hours and after some rest
I was going to be perfectly well.
     Upon awakening  I gave don Juan, at his request, a complete description
of what I had  seen and done. He warned me  that it was not possible to rely
on  my rationality to  understand  my experience, not because my rationality
was in any way impaired but because  what  had taken place was a  phenomenon
outside the parameters of reason.
     I, naturally, argued that nothing can be outside the limits  of reason;
things can be obscure, but sooner or later reason always finds a way to shed
light on anything. And I really believed this.
     Don Juan,  with  extreme patience, pointed out  that  reason  is only a
by-product  of the habitual  position  of  the assemblage  point; therefore,
knowing what is going on, being of sound mind, having our feet on the ground
- sources of great pride to  us and assumed to  be a  natural consequence of
our worth - are merely the result of the fixation of the assemblage point on
its  habitual  place. The more rigid  and stationary it is,  the greater our
confidence  in ourselves, the greater our  feeling of knowing  the world, of
being able to predict.
     He added  that what dreaming does is give us the fluidity to enter into
other  worlds  by destroying  our  sense of  knowing this  world. He  called
dreaming a  journey of unthinkable dimensions,  a journey that, after making
us  perceive everything we can humanly perceive, makes  the assemblage point
jump outside the human domain and perceive the inconceivable.
     "We  are  back again, harping  on  the  most  important  topic  of  the
sorcerers' world,"  he went on,  "the  position of the assemblage point. The
old sorcerers' curse, as well as mankind's thorn in the side."
     "Why do you say that, don Juan?"
     "Because  both, mankind in general and the  old sorcerers, fell prey to
the position of the assemblage point: mankind,  because  by not knowing that
the  assemblage point exists we  are obliged to take  the by-product of  its
habitual position as something final and indisputable. And the old sorcerers
because, although they knew all  about  the assemblage  point, they fell for
its facility to be manipulated.
     "You  must  avoid  falling  into  those traps," he  continued. "It'd be
really disgusting if you sided with mankind, as if you didn't know about the
existence of  the assemblage point. But  it'd be  even more insidious if you
sided with the old sorcerers  and cynically manipulate the assemblage  point
for gain."
     "I still don't understand. What is the connection of all this with what
I experienced yesterday?"
     "Yesterday, you were in a different world. But if you ask me where that
world is, and I tell you that it is in the position of the assemblage point,
my answer won't make any sense to you."
     Don Juan's argument was  that  I had  two  choices.  One was  to follow
mankind's rationales  and  be faced with a predicament: my  experience would
tell me that other worlds exist, but my reason would say that such worlds do
not  and cannot exist. The  other  choice  was  to follow the old sorcerers'
rationales,  in  which case I  would automatically  accept the  existence of
other worlds,  and my greed  alone would make my assemblage point hold on to
the position that creates  those worlds. The result would be another kind of
predicament: that of  having  to  move  physically  into  visionlike realms,
driven by expectations of power and gain.
     I  was too numb to follow his argument,  but then I  realized I did not
have to  follow  it  because I agreed with him completely, despite  the fact
that  I did not have a total  picture of what I was agreeing about. Agreeing
with him was rather a feeling that came from far away,  an ancient certainty
I had lost, which was now slowly finding its way back to me.
     The return  to  my dreaming  practices  eliminated  these turmoils, but
created  new ones. For example,  after months of hearing it daily, I stopped
finding the dreaming emissary's voice an annoyance  or a wonder. It became a
matter of course for me. And I made so  many mistakes influenced by  what it
said that I almost understood don Juan's reluctance  to take it seriously. A
psychoanalyst would have had a field day interpreting the emissary according
to all the possible permutations of my intrapersonal dynamics.
     Don Juan maintained a  steadfast view  on  it: it is  an impersonal but
constant  force  from the realm of  inorganic  beings;  thus,  every dreamer
experiences it, in more or less the same terms. And if we choose to take its
words as advice, we are incurable fools.
     I was  definitely  one of  them. There was no way I could have remained
impassive being in direct contact with  such an extraordinary event: a voice
that  clearly and concisely told me in  three  languages hidden things about
anything or anyone I focused  my attention on. Its  only drawback, which was
of  no consequence to  me,  was that we were  not synchronized. The emissary
used to tell  me things about people or events when I had honestly forgotten
I had been interested in them.
     I asked don Juan about this  oddity, and he said that it had to do with
the rigidity  of my assemblage point. He explained that I had been reared by
old adults and that they had imbued me with old people's views; therefore, I
was dangerously righteous.  His  urge to give  me potions of  hallucinogenic
plants was but an effort, he said, to shake my assemblage point and allow it
to have a minimal margin of fluidity.
     "If  you don't  develop this margin," he went on, "either you'll become
more  righteous  or you'll  become  a hysterical  sorcerer.  My interest  in
telling you about the old sorcerers is not to bad-mouth them but to pit them
against you. Sooner or later, your assemblage point will  be more fluid, but
not  fluid  enough to offset your  facility to be  like them: righteous  and
     "How can I avoid all that, don Juan?"
     "There is only  one way. Sorcerers call it sheer understanding. I  call
it a  romance  with knowledge. It's  the  drive  sorcerers  use  to know, to
discover, to be bewildered."
     Don Juan changed the subject and continued to  explain  the fixation of
the  assemblage  point.  He  said that seeing children's  assemblage  points
constantly  fluttering, as if  moved  by tremors,  changing their place with
ease, the old sorcerers came to the  conclusion that  the assemblage point's
habitual  location is  not innate  but brought about  by habituation. Seeing
also that only in adults  is it  fixed on one spot, they  surmised  that the
specific location  of  the  assemblage  point  fetters  a  specific  way  of
perceiving. Through usage, this specific way of perceiving becomes  a system
of interpreting sensory data.
     Don Juan  pointed  out that, since we are  drafted into that system  by
being born into it, from the moment of our  birth  we imperatively strive to
adjust  our  perceiving to conform  to the demands of  this system, a system
that rules  us  for life.  Consequently,  the old sorcerers were  thoroughly
right  in believing that the act of countermanding it  and perceiving energy
directly is what transforms a person into a sorcerer.
     Don Juan expressed wonder at what he called the greatest accomplishment
of  our  human  upbringing: to  lock  our  assemblage point on  its habitual
position. For, once it  is immobilized there, our perception  can be coached
and  guided to interpret what we perceive. In  other words,  we can then  be
guided to perceive more in terms of our system than  in terms of our senses.
He assured me that human perception  is universally homogeneous, because the
assemblage points of the whole human race are fixed on the same spot.
     He went on to say that sorcerers prove all this to themselves when they
see  that at  the moment the assemblage  point is displaced beyond a certain
threshold, and  new  universal  filaments  of energy begin to be  perceived,
there is  no  sense to  what we  perceive.  The immediate cause is that  new
sensory data  has rendered our system inoperative;  it can no longer be used
to interpret what we are perceiving.
     "Perceiving  without  our  system  is, of course,  chaotic,"  don  Juan
continued. "But  strangely enough,  when  we  think we have  truly  lost our
bearings, our old system rallies; it comes to  our rescue and transforms our
new incomprehensible  perception into a thoroughly comprehensible new world.
Just like what happened to  you when you gazed at the leaves of the mesquite
     "What exactly happened to me, don Juan?"
     "Your perception was  chaotic  for a while;  everything came  to you at
once, and your system for interpreting the world didn't  function. Then, the
chaos cleared up, and there you were in front of a new world."
     "We are  again,  don Juan, at the same place we were before. Does  that
world exist, or is it merely my mind that concocted it?"
     "We certainly are back, and the answer is still the same. It  exists in
the precise position your  assemblage  point was at that moment. In order to
perceive it,  you  needed cohesion,  that  is, you needed  to  maintain your
assemblage point fixed on that position, which you did. The  result was that
you totally perceived a new world for a while."
     "But would others perceive that same world?"
     "If  they  had  uniformity  and cohesion, they would. Uniformity  is to
hold,  in  unison,  the  same position  of  the  assemblage  point.  The old
sorcerers called the entire act of acquiring uniformity and cohesion outside
the normal world stalking perception.
     "The art  of stalking,"  he continued,  "as I have  already said, deals
with the  fixation  of the  assemblage point.  The old sorcerers discovered,
through practice, that important as it is to  displace the assemblage point,
it  is even  more  important to  make  it stay  fixed on its  new  position,
wherever that new position might be."
     He explained that if the assemblage point  does not  become stationary,
there is  no way that we can perceive coherently. We would experience then a
kaleidoscope of disassociated images. This is the  reason the  old sorcerers
put  as  much  emphasis on dreaming as they did on stalking.  One art cannot
exist without the other, especially for the kinds of activities in which the
old sorcerers were involved.
     "What were those activities, don Juan?"
     "The old sorcerers called  them the intricacies of the second attention
or the grand adventure of the unknown."
     Don Juan  said that these activities stem from the displacements of the
assemblage  point. Not only had the old sorcerers learned to  displace their
assemblage points  to thousands of positions on the surface or on the inside
of their energy masses but they had  also learned to fixate their assemblage
points on those positions, and thus retain their cohesiveness, indefinitely.
     "What was the benefit of that, don Juan?"
     "We can't talk about benefits. We can talk only about end results."
     He explained that the cohesiveness  of the old  sorcerers was such that
it  allowed  them  to  become  perceptually  and  physically everything  the
specific position of their assemblage  points dictated. They could transform
themselves  into  anything  for which  they had  a  specific  inventory.  An
inventory is, he said, all the details of perception  involved  in becoming,
for example, a jaguar, a bird, an insect, et cetera, et cetera.
     "It's very  hard for  me to  believe that  this  transformation can  be
possible," I said.
     "It is possible,"  he assured me. "Not  so much for you and me, but for
them. For them, it was nothing."
     He said that the old sorcerers had superb fluidity. All they needed was
the slightest shift of their assemblage points, the slightest perceptual cue
from their dreaming,  and they would instantaneously stalk their perception,
rearrange their cohesiveness to fit their new state of  awareness, and be an
animal, another person, a bird, or anything.
     "But isn't that  what mentally ill people do? Make up their own reality
as they go along?" I said.
     "No,  it  isn't the same. Insane people imagine a reality of their  own
because they don't have any preconceived purpose at all. Insane people bring
chaos into the chaos. Sorcerers, on the contrary, bring order  to the chaos.
Their  preconceived,  transcendental purpose  is to free  their  perception.
Sorcerers don't make lip the world they are perceiving; they perceive energy
directly, and then they discover that what they are perceiving is an unknown
new world, which can swallow them whole,  because it is as  real as anything
we know to be real."
     Don Juan  then  gave  me a new version of what had happened  to me as I
gazed at the mesquite tree. He said that I began by perceiving the energy of
the  tree. On  the subjective  level,  however,  I  believed I was  dreaming
because I employed dreaming techniques to  perceive energy. He asserted that
to use  dreaming techniques in the world of everyday life was one of the old
sorcerers'  most  effective  devices. It  made  perceiving  energy  directly
dreamlike,  instead  of  totally  chaotic,  until  a  moment when  something
rearranged perception  and  the  sorcerer found himself facing a new world -
the very thing that had happened to me.
     I told him  about the  thought I'd had, which I  had  barely  dared  to
think: that the scenery I was viewing was not a dream, nor was  it our daily
     "It wasn't," he said. "I've been  saying this to you over and over, and
you think that I am merely  repeating myself. I know how difficult it is for
the mind to allow mindless  possibilities  to  become real.  But  new worlds
exist! They are wrapped  one  around  the other, like the skins of an onion.
The world we exist in is but one of those skins."
     "Do you mean, don Juan, that the goal of your teaching is to prepare me
to go into those worlds?"
     "No.  I don't mean  that. We go into those worlds only as  an exercise.
Those journeys are the antecedents of the sorcerers of today. We do the same
dreaming  that the  old  sorcerers used  to do, but at one moment we deviate
into new ground.  The old  sorcerers  preferred the shifts of the assemblage
point, so they  were always on more or  less known, predictable  ground.  We
prefer the  movements of the assemblage point. The old  sorcerers were after
the human unknown. We are after the nonhuman unknown."
     "I haven't gotten to that yet, have I?"
     "No.  You are only  beginning. And at the beginning everyone has to  go
through the old sorcerers' steps. After all, they were the ones who invented
     "At what point will I  then begin to learn the new sorcerers'  brand of
     "You  have enormous  ground  yet  to  cover. Years  from  now  perhaps.
Besides, in your  case, I  have to be extraordinarily careful. In character,
you are  definitely  linked to the  old sorcerers.  I've  said  this to  you
before, but you always manage  to avoid  my probes. Sometimes I  even  think
that some alien energy is advising you, but then I discard the idea. You are
not devious."
     "What are you talking about, don Juan?"
     "You've done, unwittingly,  two things  that  worry the hell out of me.
You traveled  with  your energy body to a place outside this world the first
time  you dreamt. And  you  walked there! And  then  you traveled  with your
energy  body to  another place  outside  this world,  but parting  from  the
awareness of the daily world."
     "Why would that  worry you, don  Juan?" '"Dreaming is too easy for you.
And that is a damnation if we don't watch it. It leads to the human unknown.
As I  said  to  you, modern-day  sorcerers  strive to  get  to  the nonhuman
     "What can the nonhuman unknown be?"
     "Freedom from  being human. Inconceivable  worlds that are outside  the
band of man but that  we  still can perceive. This is where modern sorcerers
take the side road. Their predilection  is what's outside  the human domain.
And what are  outside that  domain are all-inclusive worlds, not merely  the
realm  of birds or the realm of animals  or the realm  of man, even if it be
the unknown man. What I am talking  about are worlds, like  the one where we
live; total worlds with endless realms."
     "Where are  those  worlds,  don Juan?  In different  positions  of  the
assemblage point?"
     "Right. In different positions of the assemblage  point, but  positions
sorcerers arrive  at with a movement  of the assemblage point, not a  shift.
Entering into those worlds is  the type of dreaming only  sorcerers of today
do. The old sorcerers  stayed away from it, because it requires a great deal
of detachment  and no  self-importance  whatsoever.  A  price they  couldn't
afford to pay.
     "For the  sorcerers who practice dreaming today, dreaming is freedom to
perceive worlds beyond the imagination."
     "But, what's the point of perceiving all that?"
     "You already asked  me, today, the same question. You speak like a true
merchant.  What's the risk?  you  ask.  What's  the percentage  gain  to  my
investment? Is it going to better me?"
     "There is  no way to answer  that. The merchant mind does commerce. But
freedom  cannot  be an investment. Freedom is  an adventure with no end,  in
which we risk our lives  and much more for a few moments of something beyond
words, beyond thoughts or feelings."
     "I didn't  ask that question  in that spirit,  don Juan. What I want to
know is  what  can be the driving force to  do all this for a lazy  bum like
     "To seek freedom is the only  driving force  I know. Freedom to fly off
into that infinity out there. Freedom to dissolve;  to lift  off; to be like
the flame of a candle, which, in spite of  being up against  the  light of a
billion stars, remains intact,  because  it never pretended to be  more than
what it is: a mere candle."

     Faithful to my  agreement to wait for don Juan to initiate any  comment
on  dreaming,  only  in  cases  of  necessity  did  I  ask him  for  advice.
Ordinarily,  though, he not only  seemed reluctant to  touch the subject but
was somehow displeased with me about it. In my estimation, a confirmation of
his  disapproval was  the fact that  whenever  we talked  about my  dreaming
activities, he always minimized the import of anything I had accomplished.
     For  me, at that  time, the animate existence  of  inorganic beings had
become the most crucial aspect  of my dreaming practices. After encountering
them in  my  dreams, and  especially after my bout with  them  in the desert
around  don Juan's  house,  I  should  have been more willing to  take their
existence as a serious affair.  But all these events had quite the  opposite
effect on me. I became adamant and doggedly denied the possibility that they
     Then I  had  a  change of heart  and  decided to conduct  an  objective
inquiry about them. The method of this inquiry required that I first compile
a  record of everything that transpired in my  dreaming  sessions, then  use
that  record as  a matrix  to find  out if my dreaming proved  or  disproved
anything about the inorganic beings. I actually wrote down hundreds of pages
of meticulous but meaningless details, when it should  have been clear to me
that the evidence of their existence had been gathered almost as soon  as  I
had started my inquiry.
     It took but a few sessions for me to discover that what I thought to be
don Juan's casual recommendation - to suspend judgment and let the inorganic
beings come to me - was, in fact,  the  very procedure used by the sorcerers
of  antiquity to attract them. By leaving me to find it out for myself,  don
Juan was simply  following his  sorcery  training. He had remarked  time and
time  again  that  it is  very  difficult  to  make  the  self  give  up its
strongholds  except through practice. One of  the  self's strongest lines of
defense is indeed  our rationality, and this  is not only  the  most durable
line  of defense when it comes to sorcery actions and explanations but  also
the  most threatened.  Don  Juan believed that  the existence  of  inorganic
beings is a foremost assailant of our rationality.
     In my dreaming practices, I had an established course, which I followed
every single  day  without  deviation.  I aimed  first  at  observing  every
conceivable  item of  my  dreams, then  at  changing dreams. I  can  say  in
sincerity  that I  observed  universes of detail in dreams upon dreams. As a
matter of course, at one  given moment my  dreaming attention began to wane,
and  my  dreaming sessions  ended  either  in my  falling asleep and  having
regular dreams, in which I  had  no dreaming attention whatsoever,  or in my
waking up and not being able to sleep at all.
     From time to time, however, as don Juan  had described it, a current of
foreign energy, a scout, as he called it, was injected into my dreams. Being
forewarned helped  me to adjust  my  dreaming attention and be on the alert.
The first time I noticed foreign  energy, I was dreaming about shopping in a
department store. I was going from counter to  counter looking for antiques.
I  finally  found  one.  The  incongruence  of  looking  for  antiques in  a
department store was  so  obvious that it made me chuckle, but  since  I had
found one, I forgot about that incongruence. The antique was the handle of a
walking stick. The  salesman told  me that it was  made of iridium, which he
called one of the  hardest substances in the world. It was  a  carved piece:
the head and shoulders of a monkey. It looked like jade  to me. The salesman
was insulted when I insinuated that it might be jade, and to prove his point
he hurled the object, with  all  his  strength, against the cement floor. It
did  not break but bounced like a ball and then sailed away, spinning like a
Frisbee. I followed it. It  disappeared behind some trees. I ran to look for
it, and I found it,  stuck on  the ground. It had  been  transformed into an
extraordinarily beautiful, deep green and black, full-length walking stick.
     I coveted  it. I grabbed it and struggled to pull it out of  the ground
before anyone  else came  along. But,  hard as  I tried, I could not make it
budge.  I  was afraid I  would break it  if I  attempted  to pry it loose by
shaking  it back and  forth. So I began to dig around it with my bare hands.
As I kept on digging, it kept on melting, until only a puddle of green water
was left in its place. I stared at the water; it suddenly seemed to explode.
It turned into a white bubble, and then it was gone. My dream continued into
other  images  and details,  which  were not outstanding, although they were
crystal clear.
     When I told don  Juan about this dream, he said, "You isolated a scout.
Scouts are more  numerous  when our  dreams are average,  normal  ones.  The
dreams of dreamers are strangely  free from scouts. When they  appear,  they
are identifiable by the strangeness and incongruity surrounding them."
     "Incongruity, in what manner, don Juan?"
     "Their presence doesn't make any sense."
     "Very few things make sense in a dream."
     "Only  in average dreams are things nonsensical. I would say  that this
is  so because more  scouts are injected then,  because average  people  are
subject to a greater barrage from the unknown."
     "Do you know why is that so, don Juan?"
     "In my opinion, what takes place is a balance of forces. Average people
have  stupendously  strong barriers  to  protect  themselves  against  those
onslaughts. Barriers  such  as worries  about the  self.  The  stronger  the
barrier, the greater the attack.
     "Dreamers, by  contrast,  have fewer barriers and fewer scouts in their
dreams.  It seems that in dreamers'  dreams  nonsensical  things  disappear,
perhaps to ensure that dreamers catch the presence of scouts."
     Don Juan advised me to  pay  close attention and remember every  single
possible detail  of  the dream  I had had. He even made me repeat what I had
told him.
     "You  baffle me," I  said. "You don't want to hear  anything  about  my
dreaming,  and  then  you  do. Is  there  any order  to  your  refusals  and
     "You bet there is order behind all this," he said. "Chances are, you'll
do the same  someday to another dreamer. Some items are  of  key  importance
because they are associated with the spirit. Others are entirely unimportant
by reason of being associated with our indulging personality."
     "The first scout you isolate will always  be present, in any form, even
iridium. By the way, what's iridium?"
     "I don't really know," I said in total sincerity.
     "There you are! And what will you say if it turns out to be one  of the
strongest substances in the world?"
     Don  Juan's  eyes shone with delight, while I nervously laughed at that
absurd possibility, which, I learned later, is true.
     I began to notice from then  on the presence of incongruous items in my
dreams.  Once I  had accepted don Juan's categorization of foreign energy in
dreams,  I  totally agreed with  him  that incongruous  items  were  foreign
invaders  of  my dreams. Upon  isolating them, my  dreaming attention always
focused on  them with  an  intensity  that  did not  occur  under any  other
     Another thing I  noticed was that every time  foreign energy invaded my
dreams,  my  dreaming attention had to work  hard to turn  it  into  a known
object.  The  handicap  of  my  dreaming  attention  was  its  inability  to
accomplish fully  such a  transformation; the  end result  was a bastardized
item, nearly unknown to me. The foreign energy then dissipated quite easily,
the bastardized  item vanished,  turning  into  a blob of  light, which  was
quickly absorbed by other pressing details of my dreams.
     When I asked don Juan to comment on  what was happening to me, he said,
"At this point in  your  dreaming,  scouts are  reconnoiterers sent  by  the
inorganic realm. They are very fast, meaning that they don't stay long."
     "Why do you say that they are reconnoiterers, don Juan?"
     "They come in search  of potential  awareness. They have  consciousness
and  purpose, although  it  is  incomprehensible to  our  minds,  comparable
perhaps  to the consciousness and purpose of trees. The inner speed of trees
and inorganic  beings is incomprehensible  to  us because  it  is infinitely
slower than ours."
     "What makes you say that, don Juan?"
     "Both trees and inorganic beings last longer than we do. They  are made
to stay put. They are immobile, yet they make everything move around them."
     "Do  you mean,  don Juan, that  inorganic  beings  are stationary  like
     "Certainly. What you see in dreaming as bright or dark sticks are their
projections. What you hear as the voice of the dreaming emissary  is equally
their projection. And so are their scouts."
     For some unfathomable reason, I was overwhelmed  by these statements. I
was  suddenly  filled  with  anxiety.  I asked don  Juan if trees  also  had
projections like that."
     "They do," he said. "Their projections are, however, even less friendly
to us than those of the inorganic beings. Dreamers  never seek  them, unless
they  are  in a  state  of  profound  amenity with trees,  which  is  a very
difficult state to  attain. We have no friends on this  earth, you know." He
chuckled and added, "It's no mystery why."
     "It may not be a mystery to you, don Juan, but it certainly is to me."
     "We  are destructive. We have antagonized every  living being  on  this
earth. That's why we have no friends."
     I  felt  so  ill  at  ease  that  I  wanted  to stop  the  conversation
altogether. But a compulsive urge made me return to the subject of inorganic
beings. "What do you think I should do to follow the scouts?" I asked.
     "Why in the world would you want to follow them?"
     "I am conducting an objective inquiry about inorganic beings."
     "You're  pulling my leg, aren't you?  I  thought you  were unmovable on
your stand that inorganic beings don't exist."
     His scoffing tone and cackling laughter told me  what his thoughts  and
feelings about my objective inquiry were.
     "I've  changed  my  mind,  don Juan. Now I  want  to  explore all those
     "Remember, the realm of inorganic beings was  the old sorcerers' field.
To  get there, they tenaciously fixed their dreaming attention on the  items
of their dreams. In that fashion, they  were able to isolate the scouts. And
when they had the scouts in focus, they shouted their intent to follow them.
The instant the  old sorcerers  voiced that intent, off they went, pulled by
that foreign energy."
     "Is it that simple, don Juan?"
     He did not answer. He just laughed at me as if daring me to do it.
     At home,  I tired of  searching  for  don  Juan's  true meanings. I was
thoroughly unwilling to consider that  he  might  have described  an  actual
procedure. After  running out of ideas and patience, one day I let my  guard
down. In a  dream I  was  having  then,  I  was baffled by a fish  that  had
suddenly jumped out  of a pond I was walking  by. The  fish twitched  by  my
feet, then flew like a  colored bird,  perching on a branch,  still  being a
fish. The scene was so outlandish that my dreaming attention was galvanized.
I instantly knew it was a scout. A second  later,  when the fish-bird turned
into a point of light,  I shouted my intent to  follow it, and, just as  don
Juan had said, off I went into another world.
     I flew through a seemingly dark tunnel as if I were a weightless flying
insect. The sensation of a tunnel ended abruptly. It was exactly as if I had
been  spewed out of  a tube and  the  impulse had left me smack  against  an
immense physical mass; I was almost touching it. I could  not see the end of
it  in  any direction  I looked. The  entire  thing  reminded  me so much of
science fiction movies that I  was utterly convinced I was  constructing the
view of that mass myself, as one constructs a dream. Why  not? The thought I
had was that, after all, I was asleep, dreaming.
     I settled down to observe the details of my dream.  What I  was viewing
looked very  much like a  gigantic sponge.  It  was porous  and cavernous. I
could  not feel its texture, but it looked  rough and  fibrous. It  was dark
brownish  in color.  Then I had a momentary jolt of doubt about that  silent
mass being just a dream. What I was facing did not change shape. It  did not
move either. As I  looked at  it fixedly,  I had the complete  impression of
something  real but stationary; it was planted somewhere, and it had such  a
powerful attraction that  I was incapable of deviating my dreaming attention
to examine anything else, including myself.  Some strange force, which I had
never before encountered in my dreaming, had me riveted down.
     Then I  clearly felt that the mass  released my dreaming attention; all
my awareness focused on the  scout that had taken me there. It looked like a
firefly in  the darkness, hovering over me, by my side. In its realm, it was
a blob of sheer energy. I was able  to see its energetic sizzling. It seemed
to be conscious of me. Suddenly, it lurched onto me and tugged me or prodded
me. I did not feel its touch, yet I knew it  was touching me. That sensation
was startling and new, it was as if a part of me that was not there had been
electrified  by  that  touch,  ripples of  energy went through it, one after
     From that moment on, everything in my dreaming became much more real. I
had a very difficult time keeping the idea that I  was dreaming  a dream. To
this  difficulty,  I had to add the  certainty I had that with its touch the
scout had made an energetic connection with me.  I knew what it wanted me to
do the instant it seemed to tug me or shove me.
     The  first thing it did was to push me through a huge cavern or opening
into the  physical mass I had  been  facing. Once I was inside  that mass, I
realized that the interior was as  homogeneously porous  as  the outside but
much softer  looking, as if  the roughness had been sanded down. What  I was
facing was  a structure that looked something like the enlarged picture of a
beehive.  There were  countless  geometric-shaped  tunnels  going  in  every
direction. Some went up or  down, or to my left or  my  right; they were  at
angles with one another, or going up or down on steep or mild inclines.
     The  light was very  dim, yet  everything was  perfectly  visible.  The
tunnels  seemed to be alive  and conscious;  they sizzled. I stared at them,
and the realization that  I was seeing hit me. Those were tunnels of energy.
At  the  instant of this  realization,  the voice of the  dreaming  emissary
roared inside my ears, so loudly I could not understand what it said. "Lower
it down," I yelled with  unusual impatience and became aware that if I spoke
I blocked my view of the tunnels and entered into a vacuum where all I could
do was hear.
     The emissary modulated its voice and said, "You are inside an inorganic
being. Choose a tunnel and you can even live in it."  The voice  stopped for
an instant, then added, "That is, if you want to do it."
     I  could  not bring  myself  to  say anything. I  was  afraid  that any
statement of mine might be construed as the opposite of what I meant.
     "There are endless advantages for you," the emissary's voice continued.
"You can live  in  as many  tunnels  as you want. And each one  of them will
teach something  different.  The sorcerers of antiquity lived in this manner
and learned marvelous things."
     I sensed without any feeling that the scout was pushing me from behind.
It  appeared to want me  to  move onward. I took the tunnel to my  immediate
right. As  soon as  I was in it, something  made  me aware  that  I was  not
walking on the tunnel; I was hovering  in it, flying. I was a blob of energy
no different from the scout.
     The  voice of the emissary sounded inside my ears again. "Yes, you  are
just a blob  of energy,"  it  said.  Its redundancy  brought me  an  intense
relief. "And you are floating inside one inorganic being," it went on. "This
is the way  the scout wants you to move in this world. When  it touched you,
it changed you forever. You  are practically  one of us  now. If you want to
stay  here, just  voice your intent." The emissary stopped talking, and  the
view  of the tunnel returned to  me. But when  it spoke again, something had
been adjusted; I did not lose sight of that world and I still could hear the
emissary's voice. "The ancient sorcerers learned  everything they knew about
dreaming by staying here among us," it said.
     I was  going to ask  if they had  learned everything they knew  by just
living  inside  those tunnels, but before I voiced my question the  emissary
answered  it.  "Yes,  they learned  everything  by  just living  inside  the
inorganic beings," it  said. "To live inside them, all the old sorcerers had
to do was say they wanted  to, just like all it took for you to get here was
to voice your intent, loud and clear."
     The  scout  pushed  against  me  to  signal  me  to  continue moving. I
hesitated, and it did  something equivalent to shoving me with  such a force
that I shot like a bullet through endless tunnels. I finally stopped because
the scout stopped.  We  hovered  for an  instant;  then  we  dropped into  a
vertical tunnel. I did not feel  the drastic change of direction. As  far as
my  perception was concerned, I was still moving  seemingly parallel  to the
     We changed directions many times with the same perceptual effect on me.
I began to formulate a thought about my incapacity to feel that I was moving
up  or down  when I  heard the  emissary's voice.  "I think  you'll  be more
comfortable if you crawl rather than fly," it said.  "You can also move like
a spider or a fly, straight up or down or upside down."
     Instantaneously,  I  settled down.  It was as if  I had been fluffy and
suddenly I got some weight, which grounded me. I could not feel the tunnel's
walls,  but  the emissary  was  right about my being  more comfortable  when
     "In this world you don't have to  be pinned down by  gravity," it said.
Of  course, I was  able to realize that myself.  "You  don't have to breathe
either," the voice went on. "And, for your convenience alone, you can retain
your eyesight and see as you see in your  world." The emissary  seemed to be
deciding  whether to add  more.  It  coughed, just  like a man  clearing his
throat,  and  said, "The eyesight  is never impaired;  therefore,  a dreamer
always speaks about his dreaming in terms of what he sees."
     The scout pushed  me  into a tunnel to  my right. It was somehow darker
than the others. To me, at a preposterous level,  it seemed cozier  than the
others, more friendly or even known to me. The  thought crossed my mind that
I was like that tunnel or that the tunnel was like me.
     "You two have met before," the emissary's voice said.
     "I beg your pardon," I  said. I  had understood what  it said,  but the
statement was incomprehensible."
     "You two  wrestled, and  because  of  that you  now carry each  other's
energy." I  thought that the emissary's voice carried a  touch of  malice or
even sarcasm.
     "No, it isn't  sarcasm,"  the emissary  said. "I am glad that you  have
relatives here among us."
     "What  do  you  mean  by  relatives?"  I  asked.  "Shared energy  makes
kinship," it replied. "Energy is like blood."
     I was unable to  say anything else. I clearly felt pangs of fear. "Fear
is  something that is absent in this world," the emissary said. And that was
the only statement that was not true.
     My  dreaming ended  there.  I  was  so  shocked  by  the  vividness  of
everything, and  by the impressive clarity and continuity  of the emissary's
statements, that  I could not  wait to  tell  don  Juan.  It  surprised  and
disturbed me that he did not want to hear my account. He did not say so, but
I had the impression that  he believed all of  it  had  been a product of my
indulging personality.
     "Why are you behaving like this with me?" I asked. "Are you  displeased
with me?"
     "No. I am  not  displeased  with  you," he said. "The problem is that I
can't talk  about this part of your dreaming. You are completely by yourself
in  this case. I have  said to you  that inorganic beings  are real. You are
finding out how real  they are.  But what you do  with  this finding is your
business, yours alone. Someday you'll see the reason for my staying away."
     "But  isn't  there  something  you  can tell  me  about that  dream?" I
     "What I can say  is that it  wasn't a dream. It was a journey into  the
unknown. A necessary journey, I may add, and an ultrapersonal one."
     He changed the subject  then and  began to talk about other aspects  of
his  teachings.  From  that  day  on, in spite of  my  fear  and  don Juan's
reluctance to advise  me,  I became a  regular dream traveler to that spongy
world. I discovered right away that the greater  my  capacity to observe the
details of my dreams,  the greater my  facility to isolate  the scouts. If I
chose to acknowledge the  scouts as foreign energy, they  remained within my
perceptual field for a while. Now, if I chose to turn the scouts into  quasi
known objects,  they stayed even longer, changing shapes erratically. But if
I followed them, by revealing out loud my intent to go with them, the scouts
veritably transported  my dreaming attention to a  world  beyond what I  can
normally imagine.
     Don Juan had said that inorganic beings are always poised to teach. But
he  had  not told me that dreaming is what they are  poised to teach. He had
stated  that  the  dreaming emissary,  since  it is a voice,  is the perfect
bridge between that world and ours. I found  out  that the dreaming emissary
was not  only a teacher's  voice but the voice of a most subtle salesman. It
repeated  on and on, at the proper time and  occasion, the advantages of its
world. Yet it also taught me invaluable things  about dreaming. Listening to
what it said,  I  understood  the  old  sorcerers'  preference for  concrete
     "For perfect dreaming, the first thing you have  to do is shut off your
internal dialogue," it said to me one time. "For best results in shutting it
off, put between your fingers some  two- or three-inch-long quartz  crystals
or a couple of smooth,  thin river pebbles. Bend your fingers slightly,  and
press the crystals or pebbles with them."
     The emissary said that metal pins, if they were  the size  and width of
one's fingers, were equally effective.  The procedure consisted of  pressing
at least  three thin items between the fingers of each hand and creating, an
almost painful pressure in the hands. This pressure had the strange property
of shutting off the internal dialogue. The  emissary's expressed  preference
was  for quartz crystals; it said that they gave the best  results, although
with practice anything was suitable.
     "Falling  asleep  at a  moment of total silence  guarantees  a  perfect
entrance into dreaming," said the emissary's voice, "and  it also guarantees
the enhancing of one's dreaming attention."
     "Dreamers  should wear a  gold ring,"  said the emissary to me  another
time, "preferably fitted a bit tight."
     The emissary's explanation was that such a ring  serves as a bridge for
surfacing  from dreaming back into  the daily world or for sinking  from our
daily awareness into the inorganic beings' realm.
     "How does  this bridge  work?" I asked.  I had not  understood what was
     "The contact of  the fingers  on the ring  lays  the bridge down,"  the
emissary  said. "If a dreamer comes into my  world wearing a ring, that ring
attracts  the energy of my world and keeps  it;  and when it's needed,  that
energy  transports the dreamer back to this  world, by the ring releasing it
into the dreamer's fingers.
     "The pressure  of that  ring  around a  finger  serves equally well  to
ensure a  dreamer's return  to  his world. It gives him a constant, familiar
sense on his finger."
     During another dreaming session, the emissary said that our skin is the
perfect organ for transposing energy waves from the mode  of the daily world
to  the mode  of the inorganic beings and vice versa. It recommended  that I
keep my skin cool  and free from  pigments or oils. It also recommended that
dreamers wear a  tight belt  or headband or  necklace to  create a  pressure
point  that serves as  a  skin  center  of  energy  exchange.  The  emissary
explained that the skin automatically screens energy, and  that what we need
to do to make the skin not only screen but exchange energy from one  mode to
the other is to express our intent out loud, in dreaming.
     One day the emissary's voice gave me a fabulous bonus. It said that, in
order to ensure the keenness and accuracy of our dreaming attention, we must
bring it from behind  the roof of the mouth, where an enormous reservoir  of
attention is located in all human beings. The emissary's specific directions
were to practice and learn the discipline and control necessary to press the
tip of the tongue on the roof of the  mouth while dreaming. This task  is as
difficult and  consuming,  the emissary  said, as finding one's  hands  in a
dream.  But, once it is accomplished,  this task gives  the most  astounding
results in terms of controlling the dreaming attention.
     I  received  a profusion  of instructions on every conceivable subject,
instructions  that I promptly forgot if they were not endlessly  repeated to
me. I sought don Juan's advice on how to resolve this problem of forgetting.
     His  comment  was as  brief  as I had expected. "Focus only on what the
emissary tells you about dreaming," he said.
     Whatever the emissary's  voice repeated enough  times, I  grasped  with
tremendous  interest and  fervor. Faithful to don  Juan's  recommendation, I
only followed its  guidance when  it referred to  dreaming and I  personally
corroborated  the  value  of  its  instruction.  The  most  vital  piece  of
information for  me was that the dreaming  attention  comes from  behind the
roof of  the mouth. It took a  great  deal of effort on my part to  feel  in
dreaming that I was pressing the roof of my mouth with the tip of my tongue.
Once I  accomplished  this, my dreaming attention took on a life of  its own
and became, I may say, keener than my normal attention to the daily world.
     It  did not  take  much for  me to deduce how  deep  must have been the
involvement  of  the  old sorcerers with  the  inorganic beings.  Don Juan's
commentaries and warnings  about the  danger of  such  an involvement became
more  vital  than  ever. I  tried my best  to  live up to  his standards  of
self-examination with  no indulgence. Thus, the emissary's voice and what it
said became a superchallenge for me. I had to avoid, at all cost, succumbing
to the temptation  of the emissary's promise of knowledge,  and I had to  do
this all by  myself  since don Juan  continued  to  refuse  to  listen to my
     "You must give me at least a hint about what I  should do,"  I insisted
on one occasion when I was bold enough to ask him.
     "I  can't," he said with finality, "and don't ask again. I've told you,
in this instance, dreamers have to be left alone."
     "But you don't even know what I want to ask you."
     "Oh yes I do.  You want me  to tell you that it is all right to live in
one of  those  tunnels,  if for no other  reason  than just to know what the
emissary's voice is talking about."
     I admitted that this was exactly my dilemma.  If nothing else, I wanted
to know  what  was implied in  the statement that one can live inside  those
     "I went through the same turmoil myself," don Juan went on, "and no one
could help me, because this is a  superpersonal and final decision,  a final
decision made the  instant  you voice your desire to live in that  world. In
order to get  you  to voice  that desire,  the inorganic beings are going to
cater to your most secret wishes."
     "This is really diabolical, don Juan."
     "You can say that again. But not just because of what you are thinking.
For you, the diabolical part  is  the temptation to give in, especially when
such  great  rewards  are  at  stake. For  me, the  diabolical nature of the
inorganic beings' realm is  that it might very  well be the  only  sanctuary
dreamers have in a hostile universe."
     "Is it really a haven for dreamers, don Juan?"
     "It definitely  is for some dreamers. Not for me. I don't need props or
railings.  I know what I am.  I am alone  in a hostile  universe, and I have
learned to say. So be it!"
     That was the end of  our  exchange. He had not said  what  I  wanted to
hear, yet I knew that even  the desire to know what it was like to live in a
tunnel meant almost to choose that way of life. I was not interested in such
a  thing. I made  my  decision right then to continue my  dreaming practices
without any further implications.  I quickly told don Juan  about it. "Don't
say anything," he advised me. "But do understand that if you choose to stay,
your decision is final. You'll stay there forever."
     It is impossible for me to judge objectively what took place during the
countless times I dreamt of that world. I can  say that  it appeared to be a
world as real  as any dream can be real. Or I can say that it appeared to be
as  real as our daily world is real. Dreaming of that world,  I became aware
of what don Juan had said  to  me  many times:  that  under the influence of
dreaming, reality suffers a metamorphosis. I found  myself then  facing  the
two  options  which,  according to don  Juan, are  the options  faced by all
dreamers: either  we carefully revamp or we completely disregard our  system
of sensory input interpretation.
     For don Juan,  to  revamp our interpretation system meant to intend its
reconditioning. It  meant  that one deliberately  and carefully  attempts to
enlarge  its capabilities. By living in accordance with  the sorcerers' way,
dreamers save and store  the necessary energy to suspend  judgment and  thus
facilitate  that intended revamping.  He explained  that  if  we  choose  to
recondition  our interpretation system, reality becomes fluid, and the scope
of what  can  be real  is  enhanced  without  endangering  the  integrity of
reality. Dreaming, then, indeed opens the door into other aspects of what is
     If we  choose to  disregard  our  system,  the  scope  of  what can  be
perceived  without interpretation  grows  inordinately. The expansion of our
perception is so gigantic that  we are  left with very few tools for sensory
interpretation and, thus, a sense of an infinite realness  that is unreal or
an infinite unrealness that could very well be real but is not.
     For me, the  only acceptable option was reconstructing and enlarging my
interpretation system. In  dreaming the inorganic beings' realm, I was faced
with the  consistence of that world from dream to  dream, from isolating the
scouts through  listening to  the dreaming emissary's voice to going through
tunnels. I went through them without  feeling anything, yet being aware that
space  and  time  were  constant,  although  not  in  terms  discernible  by
rationality under normal conditions. However,  by noticing the difference or
the absence  or profusion of detail in each tunnel, or by noticing the sense
of distance  between tunnels, or by noticing the apparent length or width of
each  tunnel in  which  I  traveled,  I  arrived at  a  sense  of  objective
     The area where this reconstruction of my interpretation  system had the
most dramatic effect was the knowledge of how I related  to the world of the
inorganic beings. In that  world,  which was  real to  me, I  was a blob  of
energy. Thus, I could whiz  in  the tunnels, like a fast-moving light, or  I
could crawl on their walls, like  an insect.  If I flew, a voice told me not
arbitrary but consistent information about details on the  walls on which  I
had  focused   my  dreaming   attention.   Those   details  were   intricate
protuberances, like the Braille  system of  writing.  When  I crawled on the
walls, I could see the same details with greater accuracy and hear the voice
giving me more complex descriptions.
     The unavoidable consequence for me was the development of a dual stand.
On the one hand, I knew I  was dreaming a dream; on the other,  I knew I was
involved in a pragmatic journey,  as real as any journey  in the world. This
bona fide  split was  a  corroboration  of what don  Juan had said: that the
existence of inorganic beings is the foremost assailant of our rationality.
     Only after I had really suspended judgment did I get any relief. At one
moment, when the tension of my  untenable position - seriously  believing in
the attestable existence of inorganic beings, while seriously believing that
it was only  a  dream - was about to  destroy me,  something in  my attitude
changed drastically, but without any solicitation on my part.
     Don  Juan maintained  that  my  energy level,  which had been  steadily
growing,  one  day  reached  a  threshold  that  allowed  me   to  disregard
assumptions  and  prejudgments  about  the   nature  of  man,  reality,  and
perception.  That day I  became enamored with knowledge, regardless of logic
or functional value, and, above all, regardless of personal convenience.
     When  my objective inquiry  into  the  subject of  inorganic  beings no
longer mattered  to  me, don Juan himself brought up the subject of my dream
journey  into  that world.  He  said,  "I don't  think  you are aware of the
regularity of your meetings with inorganic beings."
     He  was  right. I had never bothered to  think about it. I commented on
the oddity of my oversight.
     "It isn't an  oversight," he said. "It's the  nature of  that  realm to
foster secretiveness. Inorganic beings veil themselves in mystery, darkness.
Think about their world:  stationary, fixed to draw us like moths to a light
or a fire.
     "There is something  the emissary hasn't dared to tell you so far: that
the inorganic beings are after our awareness or  the awareness of  any being
that falls into their nets. They'll give us knowledge, but they'll extract a
payment: our total being."
     "Do you mean, don Juan, that the inorganic beings are like fishermen?"
     "Exactly. At one moment, the  emissary will show you men who got caught
in there or other beings that are not human that also got caught in there."
     Revulsion and fear should have been my response. Don Juan's revelations
affected me  deeply, but in the sense of creating uncontainable curiosity. I
was nearly panting.
     "Inorganic beings can't force anyone to stay  with them," don Juan went
on. "To  live in their world is a voluntary affair. Yet they are  capable of
imprisoning  any  one  of  us by catering to  our  desires, by pampering and
indulging us. Beware of awareness that  is immobile. Awareness like that has
to  seek  movement,  and  it  does  this,  as  I've  told  you, by  creating
projections, phantasmagorical projections at times."
     I asked don Juan to explain what "phantasmagorical projections"  meant.
He  said that  inorganic beings hook onto  dreamers' innermost  feelings and
play  them mercilessly. They  create phantoms to please dreamers or frighten
them. He reminded  me  that  I had  wrestled with one  of those phantoms. He
explained that inorganic beings are  superb  projectionists, who delight  in
projecting themselves like pictures on the wall.
     "'The  old  sorcerers were brought down by their inane  trust in  those
projections," he  continued.  "The old sorcerers believed  their allies  had
power. They overlooked the fact their allies were tenuous  energy  projected
through worlds, like in a cosmic movie."
     "You are contradicting yourself, don  Juan. You yourself said that  the
inorganic beings are real. Now you tell me that they are mere pictures."
     "I  meant  to say that the  inorganic beings, in  our  world,  are like
moving pictures projected on a screen; and I may even add that they are like
moving pictures of rarefied energy projected  through the boundaries of  two
     "But  what about inorganic  beings in  their world?  Are they also like
moving pictures?"
     "Not  a  chance. That world is as real as our world. The  old sorcerers
portrayed  the  inorganic  beings'  world  as a  blob of caverns  and  pores
floating in some dark space.  And  they portrayed  the  inorganic beings  as
hollow canes bound together, like the cells of our bodies. The old sorcerers
called that immense bundle the labyrinth of penumbra."
     "Then every dreamer sees that world in the same terms, right?"
     "Of course. Every  dreamer sees  it  as  it is. Do  you  think you  are
     I confessed that  something  in that world had been giving me all along
the sensation  I was  unique.  What  created this  most  pleasant  and clear
feeling of being exclusive  was not the voice of the  dreaming  emissary, or
anything I could consciously  think about. "That's  exactly what floored the
old sorcerers," don Juan said. "The inorganic  beings did to them  what they
are  doing to  you now; they created  for  them the sense of  being  unique,
exclusive plus a more pernicious sense yet: the sense of having power. Power
and uniqueness are unbeatable as corrupting forces. Watch out!"
     "How did you avoid that danger yourself, don Juan?"
     "I went to that world a few times, and then I never went back."
     Don  Juan explained that in  the opinion of  sorcerers, the universe is
predatorial, and  sorcerers  more  than anyone else  have to  take this into
account in their daily sorcery activities. His  idea was  that consciousness
is intrinsically compelled to grow, and the only way it can  grow is through
strife, through life-or-death confrontations.
     "The awareness of sorcerers grows when they  do dreaming,"  he went on.
"And the moment  it  grows, something  out  there  acknowledges its  growth,
recognizes it and makes a bid for it. The inorganic beings  are  the bidders
for that new, enhanced awareness. Dreamers have to be forever on their toes.
They are prey the moment they venture out in that predatorial universe."
     "What do you suggest I do to be safe, don Juan?"
     "Be on your toes every second! Don't let anything or anybody decide for
you. Go to the inorganic beings' world only when you want to go."
     "Honestly, don Juan, I wouldn't know how to  do that. Once  I isolate a
scout, a tremendous pull is exerted on me to go. I don't  have a  chance  in
hell to change my mind."
     "Come on! Who do you think  you're kidding? You can definitely stop it.
You haven't tried to, that's all."
     I earnestly insisted that it was impossible for me to stop.  He did not
pursue  the subject any longer, and  I  was thankful for that.  A disturbing
feeling  of  guilt had  begun  to gnaw at me.  For some  unknown reason, the
thought of consciously stopping the pull of the scouts had never occurred to
     As  usual, don  Juan was  correct. I found out that  I could change the
course of my dreaming by  intending that course. After all, I did intend for
the scouts  to  transport me  to their  world.  It  was  feasible that  if I
deliberately intended the opposite,  my dreaming would follow  the  opposite
     With practice,  my capacity to intend  my  journeys into the  inorganic
beings' realm became extraordinarily keen.  An increased  capacity to intend
brought  forth  an  increased  control  over  my  dreaming  attention.  This
additional control  made  me more  daring. I  felt that I could journey with
impunity, because I could stop the journey any time I wanted to.
     "Your confidence is very scary" was don Juan's comment when I told him,
at  his request,  about  the  new  aspect  of my  control  over  my dreaming
     "Why  should  it be  scary?" I  asked.  I  was  truly convinced  of the
practical value of what I had found out.
     "Because yours is the confidence  of a fool," he  said. "I am  going to
tell you a sorcerers' story that is apropos. I didn't witness it myself, but
my teacher's teacher, the nagual Elias, did."
     Don  Juan  said  that  the nagual Elias and  the love of  his  life,  a
sorceress named Amalia, were lost, in  their youth, in the inorganic beings'
     I  had  never heard  don Juan talk about sorcerers  being the  love  of
anybody's  life.  His  statement  startled  me.  I   asked  him  about  this
     "It's  not an inconsistency.  I have  simply refrained all  along  from
telling  you  stories of  sorcerers' affection," he  said.  "You've been  so
oversaturated with love all your life that I wanted to give you a break.
     "Well, the nagual Elias and the love of his life, the witch Amalia, got
lost in the inorganic beings' world," don Juan went on. "They went there not
in dreaming but with their physical bodies."
     "How did that happen, don Juan?"
     "Their teacher, the  nagual Rosendo, was very close  in temperament and
practice  to  the  old sorcerers. He intended to help Elias and Amalia,  but
instead  he pushed  them across some  deadly  boundaries. The nagual Rosendo
didn't have that crossing in mind. What he  wanted  to do was to put his two
disciples into the  second attention, but what he got as a result was  their
     Don Juan said that he was not going to go into the details of that long
and complicated story. He was only going to tell me how they  became lost in
that world. He stated that the nagual Rosendo's miscalculation was to assume
that the inorganic beings are not, in  the slightest, interested  in  women.
His  reasoning was  correct and was guided  by the sorcerers' knowledge that
the  universe is  markedly female and that  maleness,  being an  offshoot of
femaleness, is almost scarce, thus, coveted.
     Don Juan made a digression and commented that  perhaps that scarcity of
males is the reason for men's unwarranted dominion on  our  planet. I wanted
to remain on that topic,  but he went ahead with his story. He said that the
nagual  Rosendo's  plan  was  to  give  instruction  to  Elias  and   Amalia
exclusively in the second attention. And to that effect, he followed the old
sorcerers'  prescribed  technique.  He  engaged a  scout,  in dreaming,  and
commanded  it to  transport  his  disciples  into the  second  attention  by
displacing their assemblage points on the proper position.
     Theoretically, a powerful scout could displace their assemblage  points
on  the proper  position with no effort at all. What the  nagual Rosendo did
not take into  consideration  was the trickery of the  inorganic beings. The
scout did displace the assemblage points  of his disciples, but it displaced
them on a position from which it was easy  to transport them bodily into the
realm of the inorganic beings. "Is this possible, to be transported bodily?"
I asked.  "It is possible," he assured me. "We are energy that  is kept in a
specific shape and position by  the fixation of the  assemblage point on one
location. If that location is changed, the shape and position of that energy
will change accordingly. All the inorganic beings have to do is to place our
assemblage point on the right location, and off we go, like a bullet, shoes,
hat, and all."
     "Can this happen to any one of us, don Juan?"
     "Most certainly. Especially if  our  sum  total  of  energy  is  right.
Obviously, the  sum total of the  combined energies of  Elias and Amalia was
something the inorganic beings couldn't overlook. It  is absurd to trust the
inorganic beings. They have their own rhythm, and it isn't human."
     I  asked  don Juan  what  exactly  the  nagual Rosendo did to  send his
disciples  to that world. I knew it was stupid of me to ask, knowing that he
was  going to ignore my  question. My  surprise was genuine when he began to
tell me.
     "The steps  are simplicity  itself,"  he said.  "He put  his  disciples
inside  a very  small, closed  space, something like a closet. Then  he went
into dreaming, called  a scout from the inorganic  beings' realm by  voicing
his intent to get one, then voiced his  intent to offer his disciples to the
     "The  scout, naturally, accepted  the  gift and took them away,  at  an
unguarded  moment, when they  were making love inside  that closet. When the
nagual opened the closet, they were no longer there."
     Don  Juan  explained that  making  gifts  of  their  disciples  to  the
inorganic beings was precisely what the old sorcerers used to do. The nagual
Rosendo did not mean to do that, but he got swayed by the absurd belief that
the inorganic beings were under his control.
     "Sorcerers'  maneuvers are deadly," don Juan went on. "I beseech you to
be  extraordinarily  aware.  Don't  get  involved  in  having  some  idiotic
confidence in yourself."
     "What finally happened to the nagual Elias and Amalia?" I asked.
     "The nagual  Rosendo  had  to go  bodily into that world  and look  for
them," he replied. "Did he find them?"
     "He  did,  after untold struggles. However, he could  not totally bring
them out. So the two young people were always semiprisoners of that realm."
     "Did you know them, don Juan?"
     "Of course I knew them, and I assure you, they were very strange."

     You  must be extremely careful,  for you are about  to fall prey to the
inorganic beings," don  Juan  said to me, quite  unexpectedly, after we  had
been talking about something totally unrelated to dreaming.
     His statement  caught me by  surprise. As usual, I attempted to  defend
myself. "You don't have to warn me. I'm very careful," I assured him.
     "The  inorganic beings  are plotting," he said.  "I sense that,  and  I
can't console myself by saying that they set traps at the  beginning and, in
this manner, undesirable dreamers  are effectively and  permanently screened
     The tone of his voice was so urgent that I immediately had  to reassure
him I was not going to fall into any trap.
     "You must seriously consider that  the inorganic beings have astounding
means  at  their disposal,"  he  went  on.  "Their awareness is  superb.  In
comparison,  we  are  children, children with  a lot  of  energy, which  the
inorganic beings covet."
     I wanted  to tell him that, on an  abstract level, I had understood his
point and  his  concern,  but, on a concrete plane, I saw no  reason for his
warning, because I was in control of my dreaming practices.
     A few minutes  of uneasy silence followed  before don Juan spoke again.
He changed the subject and said that he had  to bring to my attention a very
important  issue  of  his dreaming  instruction, an issue that had, so  far,
bypassed my awareness.
     "You  already  understand  that  the  gates  of  dreaming are  specific
obstacles," he said, "but you haven't understood  yet that whatever is given
as  the exercise to  reach and cross a gate  is not really what that gate is
all about."
     "This is not clear to me at all, don Juan."
     "I mean that it's not true to say, for example, that the second gate is
reached and  crossed  when a dreamer learns to wake up  in another dream, or
when a dreamer learns to change  dreams  without  waking  up in the world of
daily life."
     "Why isn't it true, don Juan?"
     "Because the second gate of dreaming is reached and crossed only when a
dreamer learns to isolate and follow the foreign energy scouts."
     "Why then is the idea of changing dreams given at all?"
     "Waking up in another dream or changing dreams is the drill  devised by
the old  sorcerers to exercise a dreamer's  capacity to isolate and follow a
     Don  Juan  stated that following  a scout is a high accomplishment  and
that when dreamers are able to perform it, the second gate is flung open and
the universe that  exists behind  it becomes accessible to them. He stressed
that this universe is  there  all  the  time but that we cannot go  into  it
because  we lack energetic prowess and that, in essence, the second gate  of
dreaming is the  door into the  inorganic beings' world, and dreaming is the
key that opens that door.
     "Can  a dreamer isolate a scout directly, without having to go  through
the drill of changing dreams?" I asked.
     "No, not at all," he said.  "The drill  is essential. The question here
is  whether this is the only drill  that  exists. Or  can a  dreamer  follow
another drill?"
     Don Juan looked at me quizzically. It seemed  that he actually expected
me to answer the question.  "It's too difficult to  come up  with a drill as
complete as the one  the old sorcerers devised," I said, without knowing why
but with irrefutable authority.
     Don Juan admitted that I  was  absolutely  right and said that  the old
sorcerers had devised a series of perfect drills to go  through the gates of
dreaming  into  the  specific  worlds  that  exist  behind  every  gate.  He
reiterated that dreaming, being  the  old sorcerers'  invention,  has to  be
played by their rules. He described  the rule of the second gate in terms of
a  series  of  three steps: one, through  practicing the  drill of  changing
dreams, dreamers  find out about  the scouts; two, by following  the scouts,
they enter into another  veritable universe; and three, in that universe, by
means of their actions, dreamers find out, on  their own, the governing laws
and regulations of that universe.
     Don  Juan said  that in  my dealings  with the inorganic  beings, I had
followed the  rule  so  well  that he feared  devastating  consequences.  He
thought that the unavoidable reaction  on the  part  of the inorganic beings
was going to be an attempt to keep me in their world.
     "Don't you think that you are exaggerating, don Juan?" I asked. I could
not believe that the picture was  as  bleak as he was painting it. "I am not
exaggerating at all," he said, in a dry, serious tone.
     "You'll see. The  inorganic beings don't let anyone go,  not  without a
real fight."
     "But what makes you think they want me?"
     "They've already shown you  too many things. Do you really believe that
they are going to all this trouble just to entertain themselves?"
     Don  Juan  laughed at his own  remark. I did  not find him  amusing.  A
strange fear made me ask  him whether  he thought I should interrupt or even
discontinue my dreaming practices.
     "You have to  continue your  dreaming  until you  have gone through the
universe behind the  second  gate," he  said.  "I  mean that  you alone must
either accept or reject the lure  of  the inorganic  beings. That is  why  I
remain aloof and hardly ever comment on your dreaming practices."
     I confessed to him that I had been at a loss  to explain  why he was so
generous in elucidating other aspects of his knowledge and so  miserly  with
     "I was  forced to teach you dreaming," he said,  "only because that  is
the  pattern set out by the  old  sorcerers. The path of dreaming  is filled
with pitfalls,  and  to  avoid  those  pitfalls or to fall into them  is the
personal and individual  affair of each dreamer, and I may  add that it is a
final affair."
     "Are  those  pitfalls  the  result of  succumbing  to  adulation  or to
promises of power?" I asked.
     "Not  only  succumbing to those, but succumbing to anything  offered by
the  inorganic  beings.  There is no way  for  sorcerers to accept  anything
offered by them, beyond a certain point."
     "And what is that certain point, don Juan?"
     "That  point depends on us as individuals. The challenge is for each of
us to take only what is needed from that world, nothing more. To know what's
needed is  the virtuosity of sorcerers, but to take  only what's  needed  is
their  highest accomplishment. To fail to understand this simple rule is the
surest way of plummeting into a pitfall."
     "What happens if you fall, don Juan?"
     "If  you  fall,  you pay  the  price,  and  the  price  depends on  the
circumstances and the  depth  of the  fall. But there is  really  no way  of
talking about  an eventuality of  this  sort, because  we  are not  facing a
problem  of  punishment. Energetic  currents  are  at stake  here, energetic
currents  which  create circumstances that  are more  dreadful  than  death.
Everything in the  sorcerers' path is a matter of life or death,  but in the
path of dreaming this matter is enhanced a hundred fold."
     I reassured don  Juan  that  I always exercised the utmost  care in  my
dreaming practices, and that I was extremely disciplined and conscientious.
     "I know  that  you  are,"  he  said. "But I  want  you to be  even more
disciplined and handle everything related to dreaming  with kid gloves.  Be,
above all, vigilant. I can't foretell where the attack will come from."
     "Are you seeing, as a seer, imminent danger for me, don Juan?"
     "I have seen  imminent  danger for you since the day you walked in that
mysterious city, the first time I helped you round up your energy body."
     "But  do you  know  specifically  what I should  do  and  what I should
     "No, I  don't. I only know that  the universe behind the second gate is
the closest to our own, and our own universe is pretty crafty and heartless.
So the two can't be that different."
     I persisted in asking him  to tell me what was in store  for me. And he
insisted that, as  a sorcerer, he sensed a state  of general danger but that
he could not be more specific.
     "The universe of the  inorganic beings is  always ready  to strike," he
went on. "But so is our own universe. That's why  you have to go into  their
realm exactly as if you were venturing into a war zone."
     "Do you mean, don Juan, that dreamers always have  to be afraid of that
     "No. I don't mean that. Once a dreamer goes through the universe behind
the second  gate,  or  once  a dreamer refuses  to consider it  as a  viable
option, there are no more headaches."
     Don Juan stated that only then are dreamers free to continue. I was not
sure what he meant; he explained that the universe behind the second gate is
so powerful and aggressive that it serves  as a natural screen or  a testing
ground where dreamers are probed for  their weaknesses. If they survive  the
tests, they  can  proceed to  the next  gate;  if  they  do not, they remain
forever trapped in that universe.
     I was left choking with  anxiety but, in spite of my coaxing, that  was
all he  said.  When I went home, I  continued my  journeys  to the inorganic
beings'  realm, exerting great care.  My carefulness seemed only to increase
my  sense of enjoying  those journeys.  I got to  the point  that  the  mere
contemplation  of  the  inorganic  beings' world  was  enough  to  create an
exultation impossible to describe. I feared that my delight was going to end
sooner or  later, but it was not  so. Something unexpected made it even more
     On  one  occasion, a  scout  guided me very roughly  through  countless
tunnels, as if searching for something, or as if  it were trying to draw all
my energy out and exhaust me. By the time it finally stopped, I felt as if I
had run a marathon.  I seemed to be at the edge of that world. There were no
more tunnels, only blackness  all around me. Then  something lit up the area
right in front of me; there, light shone from  an indirect source. It  was a
subdued light that rendered  everything  diffusely gray or  brownish. When I
became used to the light, I vaguely distinguished some dark,  moving shapes.
After a while, it seemed to me that focusing  my dreaming attention on those
moving shapes made them substantial. I  noticed that there were three types:
some of them were round, like balls;  others were like bells; and others yet
like gigantic, undulating candle flames.  All  of them  were basically round
and the same size. I  judged that they were three  to four feet in diameter.
There were hundreds, perhaps even thousands of them.
     I  knew that I  was having a  strange, sophisticated vision,  yet those
shapes  were so real that I found myself reacting with genuine queasiness. I
got the nauseating feeling of being over  a nest  of giant, round, brown and
grayish bugs. I felt somehow safe, though, hovering above them. I  discarded
all these considerations, however, the moment I realized that it was idiotic
of  me  to  feel  safe  or  ill at ease, as  if  my  dream were  a real-life
situation. However, as I observed those buglike shapes squirm, I became very
disturbed at the idea that they were about to touch me.
     "We are the mobile unit of our world,"  the emissary's voice said,  all
of a sudden. "Don't be afraid.  We  are  energy,  and, for  sure,  we're not
intending  to touch you.  It would be impossible anyway. We are separated by
real boundaries."
     After a long pause, the voice added, "We want you to join us. Come down
to  where we are. And don't be ill at ease. You are not ill at ease with the
scouts and certainly not with me. The scouts and I are just like the others.
I am bell-shaped, and scouts are like candle flames."
     That last statement was definitely a cue  of sorts for my energy  body.
On hearing it, my queasiness and fear vanished. I descended  to their level,
and the  balls and bells and candle flames surrounded me. They came so close
to me that they would have touched me had I had a physical body. Instead, we
went through one another, like encapsulated air puffs.
     I  had, at that  point, an unbelievable sensation. Although  I  did not
feel anything with  or  in  my energy body, I was feeling and recording  the
most unusual tickling somewhere  else; soft,  airlike things were definitely
going through me, but  not right there. The sensation was vague and fast and
did not give me  time to  catch it fully.  Instead  of focusing  my dreaming
attention on it, I became entirely absorbed in watching those oversized bugs
of energy.
     At  the  level  where  we  were,  it  seemed  to  me that there  was  a
commonality between the shadow entities and myself: size.
     Perhaps it was because I judged them to  be  the same size as my energy
body that I felt almost cozy with them. On examining them, I  concluded that
I did not mind them at all.  They  were  impersonal, cold,  detached,  and I
liked  that immensely. I wondered for an  instant  whether my disliking them
one minute and liking them the next was a natural consequence of dreaming or
a product of some energetic influence those entities were exerting on me.
     "They are most likable," I said to  the  emissary, at the very moment I
was overpowered by a wave of profound friendship or even affection for them.
     No sooner had I spoken my mind than the dark shapes scurried away, like
bulky guinea pigs, leaving me alone in semidarkness.
     "You  projected  too much feeling and scared them off," the  emissary's
voice said. "Feeling is too hard for them, and for me for that  matter." The
emissary actually laughed shyly.
     My dreaming session ended there. On awakening, my first reaction was to
pack  my  bag  to go  to  Mexico  and see don Juan.  However,  an unexpected
development in my  personal  life made it  impossible  for me to travel,  in
spite  of my frantic preparations to leave. The anxiety resulting  from this
setback  interrupted my dreaming practices  altogether. I did not  engage my
conscious volition to stop them; I had unwittingly put so  much  emphasis on
this specific dream  that I simply knew if I could not get to don Juan there
was no point in continuing dreaming.
     After an interruption that lasted over half a  year, I became more  and
more mystified by what had happened. I  had no idea  that my feelings  alone
were going  to  stop my  practices.  I wondered then if the  desire would be
sufficient to reinstate it. It was! Once  I  had  formulated  the thought of
reentering  dreaming,  my  practices  continued  as if  they  had never been
interrupted. The scout picked  up where we had left off and took me directly
to the vision I'd had during my last session.
     "This  is the shadows'  world," the emissary's  voice said as soon as I
was there. "But,  even though we are shadows, we shed light. Not only are we
mobile but we are the light in the tunnels. We are another kind of inorganic
being that exists  here. There are  three kinds:  one  is  like  an immobile
tunnel,  the other is like a mobile  shadow. We are  the mobile shadows. The
tunnels give us their energy, and we do their bidding."
     The  emissary stopped talking. I felt it was daring me to ask about the
third kind  of inorganic  being. I  also felt  that  if  I did not ask,  the
emissary would not tell  me. "What's  the third kind of inorganic  being?" I
said. The emissary coughed and chuckled. To me, it sounded  like it relished
being  asked. "Oh, that's our most mysterious feature," it said. "The  third
kind is revealed to our visitors only when they choose to stay with us."
     "Why is that so?" I asked.
     "Because it takes a  great deal of  energy  to see them," the  emissary
answered. "And we would have to provide that energy."
     I knew that the  emissary was telling me the truth. I also  knew that a
horrendous danger was  lurking. Yet  I was driven  by  a  curiosity  without
limits. I wanted to see that third kind.
     The  emissary  seemed to be aware  of my mood. "Would  you like  to see
them?" it asked casually. "Most certainly," I said.
     "All you have to do is to say out loud that you want  to stay with us,"
the emissary said  with a nonchalant  intonation. "But if I say that, I have
to stay,  right?" I  asked. "Naturally,"  the  emissary  said in a  tone  of
ultimate conviction. "Everything  you  say out  loud  in  this  world is for
     I could  not help thinking that, if the emissary had wanted to trick me
into staying, all it  had  to  do was lie to me. I would not have  known the
     "I cannot lie to you, because a lie doesn't exist,"  the emissary said,
intruding into my thoughts. "I can  tell you  only about what  exists. In my
world, only intent exists; a lie has no intent  behind it; therefore, it has
no existence."
     I wanted to  argue that there  is intent even behind lies, but before I
could  voice  my argument,  the  emissary  said  that behind  lies  there is
intention but that intention is not intent.
     I  could  not keep my  dreaming  attention focused  on the argument the
emissary was posing. It went to  the shadow beings. Suddenly, I noticed that
they  had  the  appearance  of a herd  of  strange,  childlike  animals. The
emissary's voice  warned me to hold my emotions in  check, for sudden bursts
of  feelings had the capacity to make them  disperse, like a flock of birds.
"What do you want me to do?" I asked. "Come down to our side and try to push
or pull  us," the emissary's  voice urged me. "The quicker  you learn to  do
that, the quicker  you'll be able to  move  things  around in your  world by
merely looking at them."
     My merchant's  mind went berserk with  anticipation.  I  was  instantly
among them, desperately trying to push them  or pull  them. After a while, I
thoroughly exhausted my  energy. I had then the  impression that  I had been
trying to do something equivalent to lifting a house with the strength of my
     Another impression  I  had was that the  more  I  exerted  myself,  the
greater the  number of shadows.  It was as  if they  were  coming from every
corner  to  watch me, or to  feed on me. The moment I had  that thought, the
shadows again scurried away.
     "We are  not feeding on  you," the  emissary said. "We all come to feel
your energy, very much like what you do with sunlight on a cold day."
     The emissary urged me to open up to them by canceling out my suspicious
thoughts. I heard the voice, and, as I listened to  what  it was  saying,  I
realized  that I  was hearing, feeling, and  thinking exactly  as I do in my
daily world. I slowly turned to  see  around me. Taking  the clarity  of  my
perception  as  a  gauge,  I  concluded  that  I  was in a  real world.  The
emissary's voice sounded in my ears. It said that for me the only difference
between perceiving my world and  perceiving theirs was that perceiving their
world started  and ended  in the blink of  an  eye; perceiving mine did not,
because my awareness -  together with the awareness of an  immense number of
beings like me, who held my world in place  with their intent - was fixed on
my world. The emissary added  that perceiving my world started and ended the
same way for the  inorganic beings, in the blink of an  eye, but  perceiving
their world did not, because there were immense  numbers of them holding  it
in place with their intent.
     At that instant the scene started to dissolve. I was like a  diver, and
waking up from that world was like swimming up to reach the surface.
     In  the  following session,  the emissary began its dialogue with me by
restating  that  a  totally  coordinated and  coactive relationship  existed
between  mobile shadows and  stationary  tunnels. It finished its  statement
saying, "We can't exist without each other."
     "I understand what you mean," I said. There was a touch of scorn in the
emissary's voice when it retorted that I could not possibly understand  what
it means to be related in that fashion, which was infinitely more than being
dependent. I intended  to ask the emissary to explain what it meant by that,
but the  next instant I was inside of what I  can only describe as  the very
tissue of the tunnel. I saw some grotesquely merged, glandlike protuberances
that emitted an  opaque  light. The thought  crossed my mind that those were
the  same protuberances  that had  given me  the  impression  of being  like
Braille. Considering  that  they were  energy blobs three to  four  feet  in
diameter, I began to wonder about the actual size of those tunnels.
     "Size here  is not  like size in your  world,"  the emissary said. "The
energy  of this world is  a different  kind  of energy;  its features  don't
coincide with the features of the energy of your world, yet this world is as
real as your own."
     The emissary  went  on to  say that it had told me everything about the
shadow  beings when it  described  and  explained  the  protuberances on the
tunnels' walls. I retorted that I had  heard the explanations but I  had not
paid attention to them because I believed that they did not pertain directly
to dreaming.
     "Everything  here, in this realm,  pertains directly  to dreaming," the
emissary stated.
     I  wanted to  think  about the  reason for my misjudgment, but my  mind
became  blank.  My  dreaming attention  was  waning.  I  was  having trouble
focusing it on  the world  around  me. I braced myself  for waking  up.  The
emissary started  to speak again, and the sound of its voice propped  me up.
My dreaming attention perked up considerably.
     "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."
     The emissary's voice went  on explaining what it had  already explained
to me before.
     "The protuberances on the tunnels' walls are shadow beings,"  it  said.
"I  am  one of them.  We  move inside the tunnels, on their  walls, charging
ourselves with the energy of the tunnels, which is our energy."
     An idle thought crossed my mind: I was really incapable of conceiving a
symbiotic relationship such as the one I was witnessing.
     "If you would stay among us, you would certainly learn to feel  what it
is like to be connected as we are connected," the emissary said.
     The emissary seemed to be waiting for my reply. I had the feeling  that
what it really wanted was for me to say that I had decided to stay.
     "How many shadow beings are in each tunnel?" I asked to change the mood
and immediately  regretted  it  because  the  emissary  began to give  me  a
detailed account  of the numbers and functions of the shadow beings  in each
tunnel.  It  said  that  each  tunnel  had  a specific  number  of dependent
entities, which performed specific functions having to do with the needs and
expectations of the supporting tunnels.
     I did not want the emissary to go into more detail. I reasoned that the
less I  knew about  the tunnel  and shadow beings  the better off I was. The
instant I formulated that thought, the emissary stopped, and my  energy body
jerked  as  if it had been pulled  by a cable. The next  moment, I was fully
awake, in my bed.
     From  then  on,  I  had  no  more fears that could  have interrupted my
practices.  Another idea  had begun to rule me: the  idea  that I had  found
unparalleled excitation. I could hardly wait every day to start dreaming and
have the scout take me to the  shadows' world. The added attraction was that
my visions of the shadows' world became even more true to life  than before.
Judged by the  subjective standards of orderly  thoughts, orderly visual and
auditory sensory input, orderly responses on my part, my experiences, for as
long as they lasted, were as real as any situation in our daily world. Never
had  I had perceptual experiences in  which  the  only difference between my
visions and my everyday world was the speed with which my visions ended. One
instant  I was in  a strange, real world, and the next  instant I  was in my
     I craved don Juan's  commentaries  and  explanations, but  I was  still
marooned in Los Angeles. The more  I considered my situation, the greater my
anxiety; I even began to sense that something in the inorganic beings' realm
was brewing at tremendous speed.
     As my anxiety grew,  my  body entered into a state of profound  fright,
although my mind was ecstatic in the contemplation of the shadows' world. To
make  things worse,  the  dreaming  emissary's voice  lapsed into  my  daily
consciousness.  One  day while I was attending a class at  the university, I
heard the voice say, over and over, that any attempt on my part  to  end  my
dreaming practices would  be deleterious to  my total  aims. It  argued that
warriors  do not shy away from a challenge and that I had no valid rationale
for  discontinuing  my  practices.  I  agreed with the  emissary.  I had  no
intention of stopping  anything, and the voice was merely reaffirming what I
     Not only did the emissary change but a new scout appeared on the scene.
On one occasion,  before I  had begun to examine  the items of  my dream,  a
scout literally jumped in front of me and aggressively captured my  dreaming
attention. The notable feature of this scout was that it did not  need to go
through any energetic metamorphosis; it was a blob of energy from the start.
In the blink of an eye, the scout transported me, without my having to voice
my intent to go with it, to another part of the inorganic beings' realm: the
world of the saber-toothed tigers.
     I have  described  in my other works glimpses of those  visions. I  say
glimpses  because  I  did  not  have sufficient energy then to  render these
perceived worlds comprehensible to my linear mind.
     My nightly visions of the saber-toothed tigers occurred regularly for a
long time, until  one night when the aggressive scout that had  taken me for
the first time to that realm suddenly appeared again. Without waiting for my
consent, it took me to the tunnels.
     I heard the emissary's voice. It immediately went into the  longest and
most  poignant  sales  pitch I  had  heard  so far.  It  told me  about  the
extraordinary advantages  of  the  inorganic  beings'  world.  It  spoke  of
acquiring  knowledge  that  would  definitely  stagger  the mind  and  about
acquiring it by the simplest act, of staying  in those marvelous tunnels. It
spoke of incredible  mobility, of endless  time  to  find things, and, above
all, of being pampered by cosmic  servants that would cater to my  slightest
     "Aware beings from the most  unbelievable  corners  of the cosmos  stay
with us," the emissary said, ending its talk. "And they love their stay with
us. In fact, no one wants to leave."
     The thought that crossed my mind at that moment was that  servitude was
definitely antithetical to me.  I had  never  been at ease with servants  or
with being served.
     The scout took over and made  me glide through many tunnels. It came to
a  halt in a tunnel that seemed somehow larger  than the others. My dreaming
attention became  riveted on die size and configuration of  that tunnel, and
it would have  stayed  glued there had I not  been  made to  turn around. My
dreaming attention  focused  then on a blob  of energy a bit bigger than the
shadow  entities. It  was blue,  like the blue in  the center of a  candle's
flame.  I  knew that  this energy configuration was  not a shadow entity and
that it did not belong there.
     I became  absorbed in sensing  it. The scout signaled  me to leave, but
something was making me impervious  to its cues. I remained, uneasily, where
I  was. However,  the  scout's signaling broke my concentration,  and I lost
sight of the blue shape.
     Suddenly, a considerable force made me  spin around and put me squarely
in front of the blue shape. As I gazed at it, it turned into the figure of a
person: very small,  slender,  delicate,  almost  transparent. I desperately
attempted to  determine  whether it was  a  man or a  woman, but, hard as  I
tried, I could not.
     My attempts  to ask the emissary failed.  It flew away quite  abruptly,
leaving me suspended  in that tunnel,  facing now an unknown person. I tried
to talk to that person the  way I talked to the emissary. I got no response.
I  felt a wave  of  frustration at not being able to break the  barrier that
separated us. Then  I  was besieged by the fear of being  alone with someone
who might have been an enemy.
     I  had  a  variety of  reactions  triggered by  the  presence  of  that
stranger.  I even felt elation, because  I knew that the scout  had  finally
shown me another human being caught in that  world. I only despaired at  the
possibility that  we  were  not able  to  communicate  perhaps  because that
stranger was  one of  the  sorcerers of  antiquity  and belonged  to  a time
different from mine.
     The more  intense my elation and curiosity, the heavier I became, until
a moment  in which I  was so massive that I was back in my body, and back in
the world.  I found myself in Los Angeles, in a  park  by the  University of
California. I was standing on the grass, right in the line of people playing
     The person in front of me had solidified at the same rate. We stared at
each other for a fleeting instant. It was a girl, perhaps six or seven years
old. I thought I  knew her. On seeing her, my elation  and curiosity grew so
out of proportion  that they triggered  a reversal. I lost mass so fast that
in another instant I  was again a blob of  energy  in  the inorganic beings'
realm. The scout came back for me and hurriedly pulled me away.
     I woke up with a  jolt of  fright. In the process of surfacing into the
daily world, something had let a  message slip through. My mind went  into a
frenzy  trying to put together  what I knew or thought I knew. I spent  more
than forty-eight continuous hours attempting to get at a hidden feeling or a
hidden knowledge that had gotten stuck to  me. The only success I had was to
sense a force - I fancied it to be outside my mind or my body - that told me
not to trust my dreaming anymore.
     After a few days,  a dark and mysterious certainty began to get hold of
me,  a  certainty  that grew  by degrees  until I  had no  doubt  about  its
authenticity: I was sure that the blue blob  of energy was a prisoner in the
inorganic beings' realm.
     I needed  don Juan's  advice more desperately than ever. I knew that  I
was throwing years of work out the window, but I couldn't help it; I dropped
everything I was doing and ran to Mexico.
     "What do you really  want?" don Juan asked  me as a way  to  contain my
hysterical babbling.
     I could not  explain to him what  I wanted  because I did not  know  it
     "Your problem must be very serious to make you run like this," don Juan
said with a pensive expression.
     "It is, in spite of the fact that  I can't  figure out what my  problem
really is," I said.
     He  asked me  to describe my  dreaming practices in all the detail that
was pertinent. I told him about my vision of  the little girl and how it had
affected me  at  an  emotional level. He instantly advised me to  ignore the
event and regard  it  as  a  blatant attempt,  on the  part of the inorganic
beings,  to  cater  to  my  fantasies.  He  remarked  that  if  dreaming  is
overemphasized, it becomes  what it was  for the old  sorcerers: a source of
inexhaustible indulging.
     For some inexplicable reason,  I  was unwilling  to tell don Juan about
the realm of the shadow entities. It was only when he discarded my vision of
the little  girl that  I felt obliged to describe  to him my visits to  that
world. He was silent for a long time, as if he were overwhelmed.
     When he  finally spoke, he said, "You are more  alone  than I  thought,
because I can't  discuss  your  dreaming  practices at all.  You are at  the
position  of  the old sorcerers. All I can do is  to repeat to you that  you
must exercise all the care you arc able to muster up."
     "Why do you say that I am at the position of the old sorcerers?"
     "I've  told you repeatedly that your  mood  is dangerously like the old
sorcerers'. They were very capable beings; their flaw was that  they took to
the inorganic beings' realm like fish take to the water. You are in the same
boat. You  know things  about  it  that none of us can  even  conceive.  For
instance,  I  never knew  about  the shadows' world;  neither did the nagual
Julian  or the nagual Elias,  in spite of the fact that he spent a long time
in the world of the inorganic beings."
     "But what difference does knowing the shadows' world make?"
     "A  great deal of  difference.  Dreamers are taken  there only when the
inorganic beings are sure the  dreamers are going to stay in that world.  We
know this through the old sorcerers' stories."
     "I assure you, don Juan, that I have no intention whatsoever of staying
there. You talk as if  I am just about to be lured by promises of service or
promises of power. I am not interested in either, and that's that."
     "At  this level,  it isn't that easy anymore. You've  gone  beyond  the
point  where you could simply quit. Besides, you had the misfortune of being
singled out by  a watery inorganic being.  Remember how you tumbled with it?
And how it felt? I told you then that  watery inorganic beings  are the most
annoying. They are dependent and possessive, and once they sink their hooks,
they never give up."
     "And what does that mean in my case, don Juan?"
     "It means real trouble. The specific inorganic being who's running  the
show is the  one  you grabbed that fatal  day. Over the years, it  has grown
familiar with you. It knows you intimately."
     I sincerely  remarked to don Juan that the mere idea that  an inorganic
being knew me intimately made me sick to my stomach.
     "When dreamers realize that  the inorganic beings  have no appeal,"  he
said, "it is usually too late for them, because by then the inorganic beings
have them in the bag."
     I  felt  in the  depths  of me  that he was talking  abstractly,  about
dangers that might exist theoretically but not in practice.  I  was secretly
convinced there was no danger of any sort.
     "I am not going to allow the inorganic beings to lure me in any way, if
that's what you're thinking," I said.
     "I am thinking that  they are going to trick you," he said.  "Like they
tricked the nagual Rosendo.  They are going to set you up, and you won't see
the trap  or even suspect it. They  are smooth operators. Now they have even
invented a little girl."
     "But there is  no  doubt  in my  mind that  the  little girl exists," I
     "There is no little girl," he snapped. "That bluish blob of energy is a
scout. An explorer caught  in the inorganic beings' realm.  I've said to you
that  the  inorganic beings  are  like  fishermen;  they  attract and  catch
     Don Juan  said that he believed, without  a doubt, that the bluish blob
of energy was from a  dimension entirely  different  from ours, a scout that
got stranded and caught like a fly in a spider's web.
     I  did not  appreciate his  analogy.  It  worried  me to the  point  of
physical discomfort. I did mention this to don Juan, and  he told me that my
concern  with the prisoner scout was making him feel  very close to despair.
"Why does this bother you?" I asked.
     "Something is brewing in  that confounded world," he said. "And I can't
figure out what it is."
     While I remained with don Juan and his  companions, I  did not dream at
all about the inorganic beings' world. As usual, my practice was to focus my
dreaming attention on the items of  my dreams and to change dreams. As a way
to offset  my  concerns, don Juan made  me  gaze at  clouds  and  at faraway
mountain peaks. The result was an immediate feeling  of being level with the
clouds, or the feeling that I was actually at the faraway mountain peaks.
     "I am very pleased, but very worried," don Juan said as a comment on my
effort.  "You are  being taught marvels, and you don't  even  know it. And I
don't mean that you are being taught by me."
     "You are talking about the inorganic beings, true?"
     "Yes,  the  inorganic  beings.  I  recommend  that  you don't  gaze  at
anything; gazing was the old sorcerers' technique. They were  able to get to
their energy bodies  in the blink of an eye, simply by gazing at objects  of
their  predilection.  A very impressive  technique,  but  useless  to modern
sorcerers.  It does nothing to increase our sobriety or our capacity to seek
freedom. All  it does is  pin us down  to  concreteness, a most  undesirable
     Don Juan  added that, unless I kept myself in  check, by the time I had
merged the second attention with the  attention  of my  everyday life, I was
going to be an insufferable man. There was, he said, a dangerous gap between
my mobility in the second  attention  and  my insistence on immobility in my
awareness of the daily world. He remarked that the  gap between the  two was
so  great that  in my daily state  I was nearly  an idiot, and in the second
attention I was a lunatic.
     Before I went home,  I  took  the  liberty  of  discussing  my dreaming
visions  of the  shadows' world  with Carol  Tiggs,  although don  Juan  had
advised  me not to discuss them with anybody. She was most understanding and
most interested, since she was my total counterpart. Don Juan was definitely
annoyed with  me for having revealed my troubles to her.  I  felt worse than
ever. Self-pity possessed me, and I began to complain about always doing the
wrong thing.
     "You haven't done anything yet," don Juan snapped at  me. "That much, I
     Was  he right!  On my next  dreaming session,  at home, all hell  broke
loose.  I reached the shadows'  world, as I had done on countless occasions;
the difference was  the presence of  the blue energy shape. It was among the
other shadow  beings.  I felt  it  was possible that the blob had been there
before and  I  hadn't  noticed it.  As soon  as  I spotted  it, my  dreaming
attention was inescapably attracted to that blob  of energy. In a matter  of
seconds,  I was next  to  it. The other shadows came to me,  as usual, but I
paid no attention to them.
     All of a sudden, the blue, round  shape turned  into the little girl  I
had seen before. She  craned  her thin, delicate, long neck to one side  and
said in a barely  audible  whisper, "Help  me!"  Either  she said that  or I
fantasized  that  she said  it. The  result  was  the same: I  stood frozen,
galvanized by  genuine concern. I experienced a chill,  but not in my energy
mass. I felt a chill in another part of me. This  was the first  time  I was
completely  aware  that  my  experience  was  thoroughly  separate  from  my
sensorial feelings.  I  was  experiencing  the shadows' world,  with all the
implications of what I normally  consider experiencing: I was able to think,
to assess,  to make  decisions;  I  had  psychological continuity; in  other
words, I was myself. The  only  part of me that was missing was my sensorial
self. I  had  no bodily  sensations.  All  my input came through  seeing and
hearing.  My  rationality  then  considered a  strange  dilemma:  seeing and
hearing  were not  physical faculties  but  qualities of the  visions  I was
     "You  are  really  seeing  and  hearing,"  the  emissary's voice  said,
erupting  into my  thoughts.  "That  is the  beauty  of this  place. You can
experience everything through seeing and hearing, without having to breathe.
Think of it! You don't have to breathe! You can go anywhere in the  universe
and not breathe."
     A most disquieting ripple of emotion went through me, and, again, I did
not  feel  it there,  in the shadows'  world. I felt it in  another place. I
became enormously agitated by the obvious yet veiled realization  that there
was a live connection between the me  that was  experiencing and a source of
energy, a source of sensorial feeling located somewhere else. It occurred to
me that this somewhere else was my actual physical body, which was asleep in
my bed.
     At  the instant of this thought, the shadow beings  scurried away,  and
the  little girl  was alone in  my field of vision. I watched her and became
convinced  that I  knew  her. She seemed to falter as  if she were about  to
faint. A boundless wave of affection for her enveloped me.
     I tried to speak to her,  but  I was incapable  of uttering sounds.  It
became clear  to me then  that all my dialogues with the  emissary  had been
elicited and accomplished by the emissary's  energy. Left to my own devices,
I was  helpless. I attempted next to direct my thoughts  to the little girl.
It  was useless.  We were  separated  by  a  membrane  of energy I could not
     The   little  girl  seemed  to  understand  my  despair   and  actually
communicated with  me, directly into my  thoughts. She told me, essentially,
what don Juan had already said: that she was a scout  caught in the webs  of
that world. Then she added  that she had adopted the shape of a  little girl
because that shape was familiar to me and to her and that she needed my help
as much  as I needed hers.  She said this to  me in one clump  of  energetic
feeling,  which  was  like  words that  came  to  me all at  once. I  had no
difficulty understanding her, although this  was  the first time anything of
the sort had happened to me.
     I  did not know what to do.  I tried to convey to  her  my sensation of
incapacity. She  seemed to comprehend me instantly. She silently appealed to
me with a  burning look. She even smiled  as if to let me know  that she had
left  it up  to me to extricate  her from her bonds. When  I retorted, in  a
thought, that I had no abilities whatsoever, she gave me the impression of a
hysterical child in the throes of despair.
     I frantically tried to talk  to her.  The little  girl  actually cried,
like  a child  her age  would  cry, out  of desperation and fear. I couldn't
stand  it. I charged at her,  but with no effective  result.  My energy mass
went through her. My idea was to lift her up and take her with me.
     I attempted the same maneuver over and  over until  I  was exhausted. I
stopped to consider my next  move. I was  afraid that my dreaming  attention
was going to wane, and then  I  would lose sight of her. I doubted that  the
inorganic beings would bring  me back to  that specific part of their realm.
It seemed to me that this was  going to be my last visit to them: the  visit
that counted.
     Then  I  did  something  unthinkable.  Before  my  dreaming   attention
vanished,  I  yelled  loud and clear my intent  to merge my energy  with the
energy of that prisoner scout and set it free.

     I was  dreaming  an  utterly nonsensical  dream. Carol Tiggs  was by my
side. She was speaking to me, although I could not understand what she said.
Don Juan  was also in  my dream, as  were all the members of his party. They
seemed to be trying to drag me out of a foggy, yellowish world.
     After a serious effort, during  which I lost and regained sight of them
various times,  they  succeeded in extricating  me from  that place. Since I
could not conceive the sense of all that endeavor, I  finally figured that I
was having a normal, incoherent dream.
     My surprise was staggering when I  woke up and found myself in bed,  in
don Juan's house. I was incapable of moving. I had  no energy at  all. I did
not know  what  to think,  although  I immediately  sensed the gravity of my
situation. I had the vague feeling  that  I  had lost  my energy because  of
fatigue caused by dreaming.
     Don Juan's  companions  seemed to be extremely affected by whatever was
happening  to me. They kept  on coming into my  room, one  at  a  time. Each
stayed for a moment, in  complete silence,  until someone else showed up. It
appeared to me that they were taking turns watching over  me. I was too weak
to ask them to explain their behavior.
     During the subsequent days, I began to feel better, and they started to
talk to me about my dreaming. At first,  I did not know what  they wanted of
me.  Then it  dawned  on  me,  because of their  questions,  that  they were
obsessed with the shadow beings. Every one of them appeared to be scared and
said to me more or less  the same  thing. They insisted that they had  never
been in the shadows' world. Some of them even claimed that they did not know
it  existed. Their claims  and reactions  increased my sense of bewilderment
and my fear.
     The  questions  everyone asked were, "Who took you into  that world? Or
how did  you even begin to know how to get there?" When I told them that the
scouts had  shown me that world, they could  not believe me. Obviously, they
had surmised that  I had been there, but since it was not possible for  them
to use their personal experience as a reference point,  they were unable  to
fathom  what I was saying.  Yet they still wanted to  know all  I could tell
them about the shadow beings and their realm.  I obliged them. All  of them,
with the exception of don Juan, sat by my bed, hanging on every word I said.
However, every  time I asked them about my situation,  they  scurried  away,
just like the shadow beings.
     Another disturbing reaction, which they never had before, was that they
frantically avoided any physical contact with me. They kept their  distance,
as if  I were carrying the plague. Their reaction worried me  so much that I
felt obliged to ask them about it. They denied it. They seemed  insulted and
even went so far as to insist  on proving to me that  I was wrong. I laughed
heartily  at the tense situation that ensued. Their  bodies went rigid every
time they tried to embrace me.
     Florinda  Grau, don Juan's closest  cohort,  was the only member of his
party who lavished physical attention on me and tried  to explain to me what
was  going  on. She told  me that  I had been  discharged of energy  in  the
inorganic beings' world and charged again, but  that my new energetic charge
was a bit disturbing to the majority of them.
     Florinda used  to put  me to bed every night, as  if I were an invalid.
She even spoke to  me in baby talk, which all  of them celebrated with gales
of laughter. But regardless of how she made  fun  of me,  I appreciated  her
concern, which seemed to be real.
     I have written about Florinda before in connection with my meeting her.
She was by far the most beautiful woman  I had ever met. Once I said to her,
and I really meant  it, that she could  have been  a fashion magazine model.
"Of a magazine of nineteen ten," she retorted.
     Florinda, although  she was old, was not old  at all. She was young and
vibrant. When I asked don  Juan  about her unusual  youthfulness, he replied
that sorcery kept her in  a vital state. Sorcerers' energy, he remarked, was
seen by the eye as youth and vigor.
     After satisfying  their initial curiosity about the shadows' world, don
Juan's  companions  stopped  coming into  my room,  and  their  conversation
remained  at the  level  of casual inquiries about  my health. Every time  I
tried to get up, however, there was someone around who gently put me back to
bed. I did not want their ministrations, yet it seemed that I needed them; I
was weak. I accepted that.  But  what  really took  its  toll on me was  not
having anyone explain to me what I was  doing  in Mexico when I  had gone to
bed to dream in Los Angeles. I asked them repeatedly. Every one of them gave
me the same answer, "Ask the nagual. He's the only one who can explain it.
     Finally,  Florinda  broke  the ice. "You were lured into a trap; that's
what happened to you," she said.
     "Where was I lured into a trap?"
     "In the world of the inorganic beings, of  course.  That  has been  the
world you've been dealing with for years. Isn't that so?"
     "Most definitely, Florinda. But can you  tell me about the kind of trap
it was?"
     "Not really. All I can tell you is that you lost all your energy there.
But you fought very well."
     "Why am I sick, Florinda?"
     "You  are not sick with an illness; you were energetically wounded. You
were critical, but now you are only gravely wounded."
     "How did all this happen?"
     "You entered into  a mortal combat  with the inorganic  beings, and you
were defeated."
     "I don't remember fighting anyone, Florinda."
     "Whether  you  remember  or  not  is  immaterial. You  fought  and were
outclassed. You didn't have a chance against those masterful manipulators."
     "I fought the inorganic beings?"
     "Yes. You had a mortal encounter with them. I really don't know how you
have survived their death blow."
     She refused  to tell  me anything  else and hinted that the  nagual was
coming to see me any day.
     The next day don Juan showed up. He was very jovial and  supportive. He
jokingly announced that he was  paying me a  visit in his capacity of energy
doctor. He  examined me by gazing at me from head  to  toe.  "You're  almost
cured," he concluded.
     "What happened to me, don Juan?" I asked.
     "You fell into a trap the inorganic beings set for you," he answered.
     "How did I end up here?"
     "Right  there  is  the big  mystery,  for  sure,"  he said  and  smiled
jovially, obviously trying to make light of a serious matter. "The inorganic
beings snatched  you,  body and all. First they took your energy  body  into
their realm, when  you followed one of their scouts, and then they took your
physical body."
     Don Juan's companions seemed  to be in a state of  shock.  One of  them
asked don  Juan whether the  inorganic beings could abduct anyone.  Don Juan
answered that they certainly could. He  reminded them that the  nagual Elias
was taken into that universe, and he definitely did not intend to go there.
     All of them assented with  a nod. Don Juan  continued speaking to them,
referring to me in the third person.  He said that the combined awareness of
a group of inorganic  beings had first consumed my energy body by forcing an
emotional  outburst  from  me:  to  free the blue scout. Then  the  combined
awareness of the same group of inorganic beings had pulled my inert physical
mass into their  world.  Don Juan added that without the energy body one  is
merely a lump of organic matter that can be easily manipulated by awareness.
     "The inorganic beings are glued together,  like the cells of the body,"
don  Juan  went  on.  "When  they put  their  awareness  together, they  are
unbeatable. It's nothing for  them to yank us out of our moorings and plunge
us into  their  world.  Especially  if we  make  ourselves  conspicuous  and
available, like he did."
     Their sighs  and gasps echoed against the walls. All of them  seemed to
be genuinely frightened and concerned.
     I wanted to  whine  and  blame don  Juan  for  not  stopping  me, but I
remembered how he had  tried to warn me, to deviate me, time and time again,
to no  avail. Don Juan was definitely aware of what was going on in my mind.
He gave a knowing smile.
     "The  reason you think you're  sick," he said,  addressing me, "is that
the inorganic beings discharged your energy and gave you theirs. That should
have  been enough to  kill anyone. As  the  nagual, you have  extra  energy;
therefore, you barely survived."
     I mentioned to don Juan that I remembered  bits  and pieces of quite an
incoherent dream, in  which I was in a yellow-fogged world. He, Carol Tiggs,
and his companions were pulling me out.
     "The  inorganic beings' realm looks like  a  yellow- fog  world to  the
physical  eye,"  he  said. "When you thought you were  having  an incoherent
dream, you  were actually looking  with  your physical eyes, for  the  first
time, at the inorganic beings' universe. And, strange as it may seem to you,
it was also  the first  time  for us. We  knew about  the fog  only  through
sorcerers' stories, not through experience."
     Nothing of  what  he was saying made  sense to me.  Don Juan assured me
that,  because  of  my  lack  of  energy,  a more complete  explanation  was
impossible; I had to be satisfied, he said, with what he  was telling me and
how I  understood it. "I  don't understand it at all," I insisted. "Then you
haven't lost anything," he said. "When  you get stronger, you  yourself will
answer your questions."
     I confessed to don Juan that  I was having hot flashes.  My temperature
rose  suddenly, and,  while I felt hot and sweaty,  I  had extraordinary but
disturbing insights into my situation.
     Don Juan scanned my entire body with his penetrating gaze. He said that
I was in a  state of energetic shock. Losing energy had temporarily affected
me, and what I interpreted as hot flashes were, in essence, blasts of energy
during  which  I  momentarily  regained control  of my energy body and  knew
everything that had happened to me.
     "Make  an  effort, and  tell me  yourself what happened to  you in  the
inorganic beings' world," he ordered me. I told him that the clear sensation
I got, from time to time, was that he and his companions  had gone into that
world with their physical  bodies and had snatched  me out  of the inorganic
beings' clutches.
     "Right!"  he exclaimed.  "You're doing  fine.  Now, turn that sensation
into a view of what happened."
     I  was  unable to do what he wanted, hard  as I tried. Failing made  me
experience an unusual fatigue, which seemed to dry up the inside of my body.
Before don Juan left the room,  I remarked  to him that I was suffering from
     "That means nothing," he said, unconcerned. "Gain back your energy, and
don't worry about nonsense."
     More than  two  weeks went by, during  which  I  slowly gained  back my
energy. However, I kept on worrying about everything. I worried mainly about
being unknown to myself, especially  about a streak of coldness in me that I
had not  noticed before,  a sort  of indifference,  a detachment that  I had
attributed to my lack of energy until I regained it. Then I realized that it
was  a new feature of my being,  a  feature  that had me  permanently out of
synchronization. To elicit the feelings I was accustomed to, I had to summon
them up and  actually wait a moment until they made  their  appearance in my
     Another new feature of my being was a strange longing that took hold of
me from  time to time. I longed for  someone I did  not know; it was such an
overpowering and  consuming feeling that, when I experienced  it,  I had  to
move around the room incessantly to alleviate  it. The longing remained with
me until  I  made use  of another newcomer in my  life:  a  rigid control of
myself, so new and powerful that it only added more fuel to my worrying.
     By the end of the fourth week, everybody felt that I was finally cured.
They  cut down their  visits drastically.  I spent much of  the time  alone,
sleeping.  The rest  and  relaxation I was getting was  so complete  that my
energy began to increase remarkably. I felt like my old  self  again. I even
began to exercise.
     One day around noon, after a light lunch, I returned to my room to take
a nap. Just before I sank into a deep sleep, I was tossing in my bed, trying
to find a  more comfortable spot, when a strange pressure on my temples made
me open my eyes. The little girl of the inorganic beings' world was standing
by the foot of my bed, peering at me with her cold, steel blue eyes.
     I  jumped out of  bed and  screamed so loudly that three  of don Juan's
companions were  in  the room before  I had  stopped my  scream.  They  were
aghast. They watched in horror as the little girl came to me and was stopped
by the boundaries of my luminous physical being. We looked at each other for
an eternity.  She  was telling me something, which I could not comprehend at
first but which in the  next moment became as clear as a bell. She said that
for me to understand what she was saying, my awareness had to be transferred
from my physical body into my energy body.
     Don Juan came into the room at  that moment. The little  girl  and  don
Juan stared at each other. Without a word, don Juan turned around and walked
out of  the  room.  The little  girl  swished  past the door after him.  The
commotion this scene created among don Juan's  companions was indescribable.
They lost all their composure. Apparently, all of them  had seen  the little
girl as she left the room with the nagual.
     I myself seemed to  be on the verge of exploding. I felt  faint and had
to sit down. I had experienced the presence of the little girl as  a blow on
my solar  plexus. She bore an astonishing likeness  to my  father.  Waves of
sentiment hit  me. I wondered about the meaning of this until I was actually
     When don Juan returned to the room, I had gained  minimal control  over
myself. The expectation of hearing what he had to  say about the little girl
was making my breathing very difficult. Everybody was as  excited as I  was.
They all talked to don Juan at once and laughed when they realized what they
were  doing.  Their main interest was  to  find  out whether there  was  any
uniformity in the way  they  had perceived the scout's appearance. Everybody
was in agreement that they had seen  a little  girl, six to seven years old,
very thin, with angular, beautiful features. They also  agreed that her eyes
were  steel  blue and burning  with  a  mute emotion;  her eyes, they  said,
expressed gratitude and loyalty.
     Every  detail they  described  about  the  little girl  I  corroborated
myself. Her  eyes were so  bright  and overpowering that they  had  actually
caused me  something like pain.  I  had  felt the  weight  of her look on my
     A  serious query, which  don  Juan's companions had and which  I echoed
myself, was about  the implications of this event. All agreed that the scout
was  a  portion  of foreign  energy  that had  filtered  through  the  walls
separating the second attention and the attention of  the daily  world. They
asserted that since they were not dreaming and yet  all of them had seen the
alien  energy projected  into  the figure of  a human child; that child  had
     They  argued  that there must have  been hundreds, if not thousands, of
cases in  which foreign energy slips unnoticed through natural barriers into
our human  world, but  that in  the history of their  lineage there  was  no
mention  whatsoever of an event of  this nature. What worried them  the most
was that there were no sorcerers' stories about it.
     "Is  this the first  time  in  the  history  of  mankind that  this has
happened?" one of them asked don Juan.
     "I  think  it  happens  all the  time,"  he replied, "but it  has never
happened in such an overt, volitional way."
     "What does it mean to us?" another one of them asked don Juan.
     "Nothing to us, but everything to him," he said and pointed at me.
     All of them then entered into a most disturbing silence. Don Juan paced
back and forth for a moment.  Then  he stopped in front of  me and peered at
me, giving all the indications of  someone who cannot find  words to express
an overwhelming realization.
     "I can't even begin to assess the scope of what you've done,"  don Juan
finally said to me in a tone of bewilderment. "You fell into  a pitfall, but
it  wasn't the  kind  of  pitfall I was  worrying  about.  Your pitfall  was
designed  for you alone,  and  it was deadlier than anything  I  could  have
thought of. I worried about  your falling prey to flattery and being served.
What I never  counted on  was that the shadow beings would set a trap  using
your inherent aversion to chains."
     Don Juan  had once made a comparison  of his reaction and mine,  in the
sorcerers' world, to the things that  pressed us the most.  He said, without
making it sound  like a  complaint, that although he wanted and tried to, he
had never been able to inspire the kind of affection his teacher, the nagual
Julian, inspired in people.
     "My  unbiased reaction, which I  am  putting  on the table  for  you to
examine, is to be able to say, and mean  it: it's not my fate to evoke blind
and total affection. So be it!"
     "Your unbiased reaction," he went on, "is that you can't  stand chains,
and you would forfeit your life to break them."
     I sincerely disagreed with him and told him that he  was  exaggerating.
My views were not that clear.
     "Don't worry,"  he  said laughing,  "sorcery is action. When  the  time
comes, you'll act your passion the same way I act mine. Mine is to acquiesce
to  my fate, not  passively,  like an idiot,  but actively, like a  warrior.
Yours  is to jump  without  either  capriciousness or  premeditation to  cut
someone else's chains."
     Don  Juan  explained that upon merging my energy with  the  scout I had
truthfully  ceased to  exist. All my physicalness had then been  transported
into the  inorganic beings' realm and, had  it  not been for the  scout  who
guided don Juan and  his companions  to where  I was, I  would  have died or
remained in that world, inextricably lost.
     "Why  did the scout guide you to where I was?" I asked. "The scout is a
sentient being  from another  dimension," he said. "It's  a little girl now,
and  as such she told me that in order to get  the necessary energy to break
the barrier that had trapped her in the inorganic beings' world, she  had to
take all of yours. That's her human part now. Something resembling gratitude
drove her to me. When I saw her, I knew instantly that you were done for."
     "What did you do then, don Juan?"
     "I rounded up everyone I could get hold of, especially Carol Tiggs, and
off we went into the inorganic beings' realm."
     "Why Carol Tiggs?"
     "In the first place, because she has endless energy, and, in the second
place, because she had to familiarize herself with the scout. All  of us got
something invaluable out  of this experience.  You and  Carol Tiggs  got the
scout. And the rest of us got a reason to round up our physicality and place
it on our energy bodies; we became energy."
     "How did all of you do that, don Juan?"
     "We displaced our  assemblage points,  in unison. Our impeccable intent
to save you did the work.  The scout took  us,  in the blink of  an  eye, to
where you were lying, half dead, and Carol dragged you out."
     His explanation made no sense to me.  Don Juan laughed when I  tried to
raise that point.
     "How can you understand this when  you don't even have enough energy to
get out of your bed?" he retorted.
     I confided  to him that I was certain  I knew infinitely  more  than  I
rationally admitted but that something was keeping a tight lid on my memory.
     "Lack of energy  is what has  put a tight lid on your memory," he said.
"When you have sufficient energy, your memory will work fine."
     "Do you mean that I can remember everything if I want to?"
     "Not quite. You may  want as much as you like, but if your energy level
is not on a par with the importance of what you know, you might as well kiss
your knowledge good-bye: it'll never be available to you."
     "So what's the thing to do, don Juan?"
     "Energy  tends  to  be  cumulative;  if you  follow  the  warrior's way
impeccably, a moment will come when your memory opens up."
     I confessed that hearing  him talk gave me the  absurd sensation that I
was indulging in feeling sorry for myself, that there was nothing wrong with
     "You are not just indulging," he said. "You were actually energetically
dead  four weeks ago. Now you  are merely stunned. Being stunned and lacking
energy is what makes  you hide your  knowledge. You certainly know more than
any of  us about the inorganic beings' world.  That world was the  exclusive
concern  of the old  sorcerers.  All of us  have told  you that only through
sorcerers' stories do we know about it. I sincerely say that it is more than
strange to me  that  you've become,  in  your  own right,  another source of
sorcerers' stories for us."
     I  reiterated that  it  was impossible  for  me to  believe I had  done
something he  had not.  But I could not believe  either  that  he was merely
humoring me.
     "I am not flattering  or humoring you," he said, visibly annoyed. "I am
stating  a sorcery fact.  Knowing  more  than  any of  us  about that  world
shouldn't  be a  reason for feeling pleased.  There's no  advantage  in that
knowledge; in fact, in spite of all you know, you couldn't save yourself. We
saved you, because we found you. But without the aid of the scout, there was
no point in  even trying  to find you. You were  so infinitely lost in  that
world that I shudder at the mere thought."
     In my  state of mind,  I did not  find  it strange in the least  that I
actually  saw a ripple of emotion going through all of don Juan's companions
and apprentices.  The only one who  remained unaltered was Carol Tiggs.  She
seemed to have fully accepted her role. She was one with me.
     "You did free  the scout,"  don  Juan continued, "but you gave up  your
life. Or, worse yet, you gave up your freedom. The inorganic beings let  the
scout go, in exchange for you."
     "I  can  hardly believe  that, don  Juan.  Not that  I  doubt you,  you
understand, but  you  describe  such  an  underhanded  maneuver  that  I  am
     "Don't  consider  it underhanded  and  you have the  whole thing  in  a
nutshell.  The inorganic  beings  are forever  in  search of  awareness  and
energy;  if you supply them with  the possibility of both, what do you think
they'll do? Blow you kisses from across the street?"
     I  knew  that don  Juan  was  right.  However,  I  could not hold  that
certainty for too long; clarity kept drifting away from me.
     Don Juan's  companions continued asking him questions.  They wanted  to
know if he had given any thought to what to do with the scout.
     "Yes, I  have. It is a most  serious problem, which the nagual here has
to resolve," he said, pointing at  me. "He and Carol Tiggs are the only ones
who can free the scout. And he knows it too."
     Naturally, I asked him the only possible question, "How can I free it?"
     "Instead of my  telling  you how, there is a much  better and more just
way of finding out," don Juan said with a big smile. "Ask  the emissary. The
inorganic beings cannot lie, you know."

     "The  third gate of dreaming is  reached when  you  find  yourself in a
dream, staring at someone else who  is  asleep. And that someone else  turns
out to be you," don Juan said.
     My energy level was so  keyed up at the time that I went to work on the
third  task right away, although he did not offer any more information about
it. The first thing I noticed, in my dreaming practices, was that a surge of
energy immediately rearranged the focus of my dreaming attention. Its  focus
was now on waking  up in  a dream and seeing  myself sleeping; journeying to
the realm of inorganic beings was no longer an issue for me.
     Very soon after, I found myself in a dream looking at  myself asleep. I
immediately reported it to don Juan. The  dream had happened while I  was at
his house.
     "There are two phases to each of  the gates of dreaming," he said. "The
first, as  you know, is to arrive at the gate; the second is to cross it. By
dreaming what you've dreamt,  that you saw  yourself asleep, you  arrived at
the third gate. The second phase is to move around once you've seen yourself
     "At the third gate of dreaming," he went on, "you begin to deliberately
merge your dreaming reality with the reality of the daily world. This is the
drill, and sorcerers call it completing the  energy body.  The merge between
the two realities has to be so thorough that you need to be more fluid  than
ever. Examine everything at the third gate with great care and curiosity."
     I complained that his  recommendations  were too  cryptic  and were not
making  any  sense to me. "What do you mean by great care and  curiosity?" I
asked. "Our  tendency at  the  third gate  is to get  lost  in  detail,"  he
replied. "To view things with great  care and curiosity means to resist  the
nearly irresistible temptation to plunge into detail.
     "The given  drill, at the third gate, as I said, is to consolidate  the
energy body. Dreamers begin forging the energy body by fulfilling the drills
of the first  and second gates. When they reach the third  gate,  the energy
body is ready to come out, or perhaps it would be better  to say that it  is
ready  to  act.  Unfortunately,  this  also means  that  it's  ready  to  be
mesmerized by detail."
     "What does it mean to be mesmerized by detail?"
     "The energy  body  is  like a child who's been imprisoned all its life.
The  moment  it is  free,  it soaks up  everything it can  find, and I  mean
everything.  Every  irrelevant,  minute  detail totally absorbs  the  energy
     An  awkward  silence  followed. I  had no  idea  what  to  say.  I  had
understood him perfectly,  I just didn't have anything in  my  experience to
give me an idea of exactly what it all meant.
     "The most asinine detail becomes a world for the energy body," don Juan
explained. "The effort that dreamers have to make to  direct the energy body
is staggering. I know that it sounds awkward to tell you to view things with
care and curiosity, but that is the best way to describe what you should do.
At  the third gate, dreamers have  to avoid a nearly irresistible impulse to
plunge into everything,  and they avoid it by being so curious, so desperate
to  get  into everything that  they don't  let any particular thing imprison
     Don Juan  added that his recommendations, which he  knew sounded absurd
to  the  mind, were directly aimed at my  energy body.  He stressed over and
over that my energy body had to unite all its resources in order to act.
     "But hasn't my energy body been acting all along?" I asked.
     "Part of it has, otherwise you wouldn't have journeyed to the inorganic
beings' realm,"  he replied. "Now your entire energy body has  to be engaged
to perform the drill of the third gate. Therefore, to make things easier for
your energy body, you must hold back your rationality."
     "I am afraid you are barking up the wrong tree," I said. "There is very
little rationality left in me  after all the experiences you've brought into
my life."
     "Don't say anything. At the third gate, rationality is  responsible for
the  insistence  of our  energy  bodies  on being obsessed with  superfluous
detail. At  the  third gate,  then, we need irrational fluidity,  irrational
abandon to counteract that insistence."
     Don  Juan's statement that each gate is an obstacle could not have been
more truthful. I labored to fulfill  the drill of the third gate of dreaming
more intensely  than I  had on the  other two tasks combined.  Don Juan  put
tremendous pressure on  me.  Besides,  something else had  been added to  my
life: a true sense of fear.  I had been normally and even excessively afraid
of one thing or another throughout my life, but there had been nothing in my
experience  comparable  to the fear I felt after my  bout with the inorganic
beings. Yet  all  this wealth of  experience  was  inaccessible to my normal
memory. Only in the presence of don Juan were those memories at my disposal.
     I asked  him about this  strange  situation once  when we  were  at the
National  Museum  of  Anthropology  and History  in Mexico  City.  What  had
prompted  my  question was that, at  the  moment, I had the  odd ability  to
remember everything that had  happened to me in the course of my association
with don Juan. And that  made me feel  so  free, so  daring and light-footed
that I was practically dancing around.
     "It just happens that the presence of the nagual induces a shift of the
assemblage point," he said.
     He guided me then into one of the display rooms of the museum  and said
that my question was apropos to what he had been planning to tell me.
     "My intention was to explain to you that the position of the assemblage
point is like a  vault  where sorcerers keep their records," he said. "I was
tickled pink when your energy body felt my intent and you asked me about it.
The energy body knows immensities. Let me show you how much it knows."
     He instructed me to enter into total silence. He reminded me that I was
already  in  a special state of  awareness,  because my assemblage point had
been made to  shift by his  presence. He assured me that entering into total
silence  was  going to allow the sculptures  in that room to make me see and
hear inconceivable things.  He  added, apparently to  increase my confusion,
that some  of the archaeological  pieces in  that  room had  the capacity to
produce, by themselves,  a  shift of  the  assemblage  point,  and that if I
reached a  state  of total  silence  I would be  actually witnessing  scenes
pertaining to the lives of the people who made those pieces.
     He then began the strangest tour of a museum I have ever taken. He went
around the room, describing and interpreting astounding details of every one
of the  large pieces. According  to him, every  archaeological piece in that
room was a purposeful record left by  the people of antiquity, a record that
don Juan as a sorcerer was reading to me as one would read a book.
     "Every  piece  here is designed to make the assemblage point shift," he
went on. "Fix  your  gaze  on any of them,  silence your mind, and  find out
whether or not your assemblage point can be made to shift."
     "How would I know that it has shifted?"
     "Because you would  see and  feel  things  that are  beyond your normal
     I gazed at the sculptures and saw and heard things that I would be at a
loss to explain. In the past, I had examined all  those pieces with the bias
of anthropology, always bearing in mind the descriptions of scholars  in the
field. Their descriptions of the functions of those pieces, rooted in modern
man's  cognition  of the world,  appeared to me,  for the  first time, to be
utterly prejudiced if not asinine. What don Juan said about those pieces and
what I  heard and saw myself, gazing  at them, was  the  farthest thing from
what I had always read about them.
     My discomfort was so great that I felt obliged to apologize to don Juan
for what  I thought  was my suggestibility. He did  not laugh or make fun of
me.  He patiently explained that sorcerers were  capable of leaving accurate
records of  their  findings  in  the position of the  assemblage  point.  He
maintained  that  when it  comes to  getting to  the  essence of  a  written
account,   we  have   to  use   our  sense  of  sympathetic  or  imaginative
participation  to  go  beyond  the  mere  page into  the experience  itself.
However, in the  sorcerers' world,  since there  are no written pages, total
records, which can be relived instead of read, are left  in  the position of
the assemblage point.
     To  illustrate his  argument,  don  Juan  talked about  the  sorcerers'
teachings for the  second  attention. He said that they  are  given when the
apprentice's assemblage  point is  on a place other than the normal one. The
position of the assemblage point becomes, in this manner, the record of  the
lesson. In order to play the  lesson back, the apprentice has to  return his
assemblage point  to the position it occupied when the lesson was given. Don
Juan concluded  his  remarks by reiterating that  to  return  the assemblage
point to  all the  positions it occupied when the  lessons  were given is an
accomplishment of the highest magnitude.
     For nearly  a year, don  Juan did  not  ask me anything about  my third
dreaming task. Then one day, quite abruptly, he wanted me to describe to him
all the nuances of my dreaming practices.
     The first thing I mentioned was a baffling recurrence. For a period  of
months, I had dreams in which I found myself  staring at me,  sleeping in my
bed. The odd part  was the  regularity of  those dreams; they happened every
four days, like clockwork. During the other three days, my dreaming was what
it  always had been so far: I  examined every possible  item in my dreams, I
changed dreams, and occasionally, driven by a suicidal curiosity, I followed
the  foreign  energy scouts, although I felt extremely guilty  doing this. I
fancied it to be like having  a secret drug addiction. The realness of  that
world was irresistible to me.
     Secretly, I felt somehow exonerated from  total responsibility, because
don  Juan himself had suggested that I ask  the dreaming emissary about what
to do to free the blue  scout trapped among us.  He meant for me to pose the
question in  my everyday practice, but I  construed  his statement  to imply
that I had  to  ask  the emissary while I was in its world.  The question  I
really wanted to ask the emissary was whether the inorganic beings had set a
trap for me. The emissary not only told me that everything don Juan had said
was  true but also gave me instructions on what Carol Tiggs and I had  to do
to liberate the scout.
     "The regularity  of your dreams is  something that  I rather expected,"
don Juan remarked, after listening to me.
     "Why did you expect something like that, don Juan?"
     "Because of your relationship with the inorganic beings."
     "That's  over and  forgotten,  don Juan," I lied,  hoping he  would not
pursue the subject any further.
     "You are saying that for my benefit, aren't  you?  You don't need to; I
know  the true  story. Believe me, once you get to play with them,  you  are
hooked. They'll always be after  you. Or, what's worse yet, you'll always be
after them."
     He stared at me, and my  guilt must have been  so obvious that it  made
him laugh.
     "The  only  possible  explanation  for  such  regularity  is  that  the
inorganic beings are catering  to  you  again," don Juan said in  a  serious
     I hurried to change the subject and told  him that another nuance of my
dreaming practices worth  mentioning was my reaction to the  sight of myself
lying sound asleep. That view was  always so startling  that it either glued
me to the  spot until the dream  changed or frightened me so profoundly that
it made me wake up,  screaming at the top of  my voice. I had  gotten to the
point where I was afraid to  go to  sleep on the days I  knew I was going to
have that dream.
     "You are not yet ready for a true merging of your dreaming reality  and
your  daily  reality,"  he  concluded.  "You  must  recapitulate  your  life
     "But I've  done all the  recapitulating  possible," I protested.  "I've
been recapitulating for years. There is nothing more I can remember about my
     "There must be much more," he said  adamantly, "otherwise, you wouldn't
wake up screaming."
     I did not like the idea of having to recapitulate again. I had done it,
and I  believed  I had done it so well that  I did not  need  to  touch  the
subject ever again.
     "The recapitulation of  our lives never  ends, no matter how well we've
done  it once," don Juan  said. "The reason average people lack volition  in
their  dreams is  that they  have never recapitulated  and  their  lives are
filled to capacity with heavily loaded emotions like memories, hopes, fears,
et cetera, et cetera.
     "Sorcerers,  in  contrast,  are  relatively  free from  heavy,  binding
emotions, because  of their  recapitulation. And if something stops them, as
it has stopped you at this  moment, the  assumption is that  there  still is
something in them that is not quite clear."
     "To recapitulate is too involving,  don Juan. Maybe there is  something
else I can do instead."
     "No. There isn't. Recapitulating  and dreaming  go hand in  hand. As we
regurgitate our lives, we get more and more airborne."
     Don Juan had given me very detailed and explicit instructions about the
recapitulation.  It  consisted  of  reliving  the  totality  of  one's  life
experiences by remembering  every possible minute detail of them. He saw the
recapitulation  as the  essential  factor  in a dreamer's  redefinition  and
redeployment  of  energy.  "The recapitulation sets free  energy  imprisoned
within us, and without this liberated energy dreaming is not possible." That
was his statement.
     Years before,  don Juan had coached me to make a list of all the people
I had met in  my life, starting at the present. He helped  me to  arrange my
list in an orderly fashion, breaking it down into areas of activity, such as
jobs  I had had, schools I  had  attended. Then he guided me to go,  without
deviation, from the first person on my list to the last  one, reliving every
one of my interactions with them.
     He  explained that  recapitulating  an  event starts  with  one's  mind
arranging everything pertinent  to  what  is being  recapitulated. Arranging
means reconstructing the event, piece by piece, starting by recollecting the
physical details of the surroundings, then going to the person with whom one
shared  the interaction, and then going  to oneself, to  the  examination of
one's feelings. Don Juan taught me that the recapitulation is coupled with a
natural,  rhythmical breathing. Long exhalations  are performed as  the head
moves gently and slowly from right to  left; and long inhalations  are taken
as the head moves back from left  to right. He called this act of moving the
head from side to side "fanning the event." The mind examines the event from
beginning to end while the body fans, on and on, everything the mind focuses
     Don Juan said  that the  sorcerers  of antiquity,  the inventors of the
recapitulation, viewed  breathing as a magical, life-giving act and used it,
accordingly, as a magical  vehicle;  the  exhalation, to  eject  the foreign
energy left  in them during the  interaction  being  recapitulated  and  the
inhalation to pull back the  energy that they themselves  left behind during
the interaction.
     Because  of  my academic training, I took  the recapitulation to be the
process  of analyzing one's life. But don  Juan insisted  that  it was  more
involved   than   an   intellectual   psychoanalysis.   He  postulated   the
recapitulation  as  a  sorcerer's  ploy  to   induce  a  minute  but  steady
displacement  of the assemblage  point. He said  that the  assemblage point,
under the impact of reviewing past actions and feelings, goes back and forth
between  its  present site and  the site it  occupied  when the  event being
recapitulated took place.
     Don  Juan   stated   that  the  old  sorcerers'  rationale  behind  the
recapitulation  was  their  conviction  that   there  is  an   inconceivable
dissolving force in the universe, which makes organisms live by lending them
awareness. That force also makes organisms die, in order to extract the same
lent  awareness,  which   organisms   have   enhanced  through   their  life
experiences. Don  Juan explained the old sorcerers' reasoning. They believed
that since  it is our life experience this force is after,  it is of supreme
importance that it can be satisfied with a facsimile of our life experience:
the recapitulation. Having had what it seeks, the dissolving force then lets
sorcerers  go, free to expand  their capacity to  perceive and reach with it
the confines of time and space.
     When  I  started again to  recapitulate, it was a great surprise  to me
that  my dreaming  practices  were  automatically  suspended  the moment  my
recapitulation began. I asked don Juan about this unwanted recess.
     "Dreaming requires every bit of our available energy," he replied.  "If
there is  a deep preoccupation in  our  life,  there  is  no possibility  of
     "But I have been deeply preoccupied before," I said, "and  my practices
were never interrupted."
     "It must be then that every time  you thought you were preoccupied, you
were only egomaniacally  disturbed," he said, laughing. "To  be preoccupied,
for sorcerers, means that all your energy sources are  taken on. This is the
first time you've engaged your energy sources in their totality. The rest of
the time,  even  when  you  recapitulated  before,  you were not  completely
     Don Juan gave me this time a new recapitulation pattern. I was supposed
to construct a jigsaw puzzle by recapitulating,  without any apparent order,
different events of my life. "But it's going to be a mess," I protested.
     "No, it won't be," he assured  me. "It'll be  a  mess  if  you let your
pettiness choose the events you are going to recapitulate. Instead, let  the
spirit decide. Be silent, and then get to the event the spirit points out."
     The results of  that  pattern  of recapitulation were shocking to me on
many levels. It was very impressive to find out that, whenever I silenced my
mind, a  seemingly  independent force  immediately plunged  me  into a  most
detailed memory of  some  event in my life. But it  was even more impressive
that a  very orderly configuration resulted. What I thought  was going to be
chaotic turned out to be extremely effective.
     I  asked  don Juan why  he had not made me recapitulate in  this manner
from  the  start.  He  replied  that  there  are  two  basic  rounds to  the
recapitulation,  that  the first  is  called formality and rigidity, and the
second fluidity.
     I had no inkling about how different my recapitulation  was going to be
this  time.  The ability to concentrate, which I had acquired by means of my
dreaming practices, permitted me to examine my life at a depth I would never
have imagined possible. It  took  me over a year to  view  and  review all I
could about my life experiences. At  the  end, I had to agree with don Juan:
there  had been immensities of loaded emotions hidden so deeply inside me as
to be virtually inaccessible.
     The result  of  my  second  recapitulation  was  a  new,  more  relaxed
attitude. The very  day I returned to my dreaming practices, I dreamt  I saw
myself asleep. I turned around and daringly left  my room, penuriously going
down a flight of stairs to the street.
     I was elated with what  I had done  and  reported  it  to  don Juan. My
disappointment  was enormous when he did not consider  this dream part of my
dreaming practices. He  argued that  I had  not gone to  the street  with my
energy  body, because  if I  had I would have  had a  sensation  other  than
walking down a flight of stairs.
     "What kind of sensation are you talking about, don Juan?" I asked, with
genuine curiosity.
     "You have  to establish some valid guide  to find out  whether you  are
actually seeing your body asleep in your bed," he  said instead of answering
my question. "Remember, you  must be in your actual room, seeing your actual
body. Otherwise, what you are having is  merely a dream. If that's the case,
control that dream, either by observing its detail or by changing it."
     I insisted he tell me more about  the valid guide  he  had referred to,
but he cut me short. "Figure  out a way  to validate the  fact  that you are
looking at yourself," he said.
     "Do you  have any  suggestions  as to  what can be  a valid  guide?"  I
     "Use your own judgment. We  are coming to the end of our time together.
You have to be on your own  very  soon." He changed the subject  then, and I
was left with  a clear taste of my ineptitude.  I  was  unable to figure out
what he wanted or what he meant by a valid guide.
     In the next dream in which I saw myself asleep, instead  of leaving the
room  and walking down the stairs, or waking up screaming, I remained glued,
for a  long time,  to the spot  from which I watched.  Without  fretting  or
despairing, I observed the details  of my dream.  I  noticed then that I was
asleep wearing a white  T-shirt that was ripped at the shoulder.  I tried to
come closer and examine the rip,  but  moving was  beyond my capabilities. I
felt a heaviness that seemed to be part of my very being. In fact, I was all
weight. Not knowing  what to do next, I instantly entered into a devastating
confusion. I tried to  change  dreams, but some  unaccustomed force  kept me
staring at my sleeping body.
     In the midst of  my turmoil,  I heard the dreaming emissary saying that
not having control  to move  around was  frightening me to the  point that I
might have  to do another recapitulation. The emissary's  voice and what  it
said  did  not  surprise  me at  all.  I  had  never  felt  so  vividly  and
terrifyingly  unable to move. I  did  not, however, give in to my  terror. I
examined  it and  found out that it  was not  a psychological  terror but  a
physical sensation of  helplessness, despair, and  annoyance. It bothered me
beyond words that I was not capable of moving my limbs. My annoyance grew in
proportion  to my realization  that  something  outside  me had me  brutally
pinned down. The effort I made to  move my  arms or legs was so  intense and
single-minded that at one moment I actually saw one leg of my body, sleeping
on the bed, flung out as if kicking.
     My awareness  was then pulled into my inert, sleeping  body, and I woke
up with such a force  that it  took  more  than half an hour to  calm myself
down. My  heart was beating almost erratically. I was shivering, and some of
the  muscles  in  my  legs twitched uncontrollably. I had  suffered  such  a
radical loss of body heat that I  needed  blankets  and hot-water bottles to
raise my temperature.
     Naturally,  I went  to  Mexico  to  ask don  Juan's  advice  about  the
sensation of paralysis, and  about the fact that I really had been wearing a
ripped T-shirt, thus, I had indeed seen myself asleep. Besides, I was deadly
afraid of hypothermia. He was reluctant to discuss my predicament. All I got
out of him was a caustic remark.
     "You  like  drama," he said flatly.  "Of course you really saw yourself
asleep. The problem  is  that you got nervous, because your  energy body has
never been consciously in one piece before. If you ever get nervous and cold
again, hold on  to your  dick. That will restore your body  temperature in a
jiffy and without any fuss."
     I felt  a  bit offended by his  crassness.  However,  the advice proved
effective.  The  next time  I became frightened, I  relaxed and  returned to
normal in a  few  minutes, doing what he had  prescribed.  In this manner, I
discovered that if I did not fret and kept  my annoyance in check, I did not
panic. To remain controlled did not help me move, but it certainly gave me a
deep sensation of peace and serenity.
     After  months  of  useless efforts  at  walking,  I  sought  don Juan's
comments  once  again,  not so  much for his advice  this time but because I
wanted to concede defeat. I was up against an impassable barrier, and I knew
with indisputable certainty that I had failed.
     "Dreamers have to be imaginative," don Juan said with a malicious grin.
"Imaginative  you  are  not. I didn't  warn  you  about having to  use  your
imagination to move  your energy body  because I wanted to find out  whether
you  could resolve  the riddle  by  yourself.  You didn't, and your  friends
didn't help you either."
     In  the past, I had  been driven to defend myself viciously whenever he
accused  me of lacking imagination. I thought I was imaginative, but  having
don Juan as  a teacher had taught me,  the hard way, that I am not. Since  I
was not going to engage my energy in futile  defenses of myself, I asked him
instead, "What is this riddle you are talking about, don Juan?"
     "The riddle of how impossible and yet how easy it is to move the energy
body. You are trying to move it as if you were  in the daily world. We spend
so much time and effort learning to walk that we believe our dreaming bodies
should also walk. There is no reason why they should, except that walking is
foremost in our minds."
     I marveled at the simplicity of the solution. I instantly knew that don
Juan was right. I had gotten stuck again at the  level of interpretation. He
had told me I had to move around once I reached  the third gate of dreaming,
and to  me  moving  around meant  walking.  I told him that I understood his
     "It  isn't my  point," he  curtly  answered. "It's  a sorcerers' point.
Sorcerers say that at  the third gate the entire  energy body  can move like
energy moves: fast and directly. Your energy body knows exactly how to move.
It can move as it moves in the inorganic beings' world.
     "And  this brings us to the other issue  here," don Juan added with  an
air of pensiveness. "Why didn't your inorganic being friends help you?"
     "Why do you call them my friends, don Juan?"
     "They are like  the classic friends who  are not  really  thoughtful or
kind  to  us but not mean either. The friends who are just waiting for us to
turn our backs so they can stab us there."
     I understood him completely and agreed with him one hundred percent.
     "What makes me go there? Is it a suicidal tendency?" I  asked him, more
rhetorically than not.
     "You don't have any suicidal tendency," he  said. "What you have  is  a
total  disbelief  that  you were near death.  Since you were not in physical
pain, you can't quite convince yourself you were in mortal danger."
     His argument was most reasonable, except that I  did  believe  a  deep,
unknown  fear  had been  ruling my  life since  my  bout with the  inorganic
beings. Don Juan listened in silence as I described to him my predicament. I
could not discard or explain away  my  urge to go  to the inorganic  beings'
world, in spite of what I knew about it.
     "I have a streak of insanity," I said. "What I do doesn't make sense."
     "It  does  make sense. The inorganic  beings  are still reeling you in,
like a fish  hooked at the  end of  a line," he said.  "They throw worthless
bait at you from time to time  to keep you going. To arrange your  dreams to
occur every  four days without fail is worthless bait. But they didn't teach
you how to move your energy body."
     "Why do you think they didn't?"
     "Because when  your  energy body learns  to  move by itself,  you'll be
thoroughly out  of their reach. It  was premature of me  to believe that you
are free  from  them. You are  relatively but not completely  free. They are
still bidding for your awareness."
     I felt a chill in my back. He had touched  a sore spot in me.  "Tell me
what to do, don Juan, and I'll do it," I said.
     "Be  impeccable. I have told you this dozens of times. To be impeccable
means to  put your life on the  line in order to back up your decisions, and
then to do quite a lot more than  your best to realize those decisions. When
you are  not  deciding anything,  you are merely  playing roulette with your
life in a helter-skelter way."
     Don Juan ended our conversation, urging me to ponder what he had said.
     At  the  first opportunity I  had, I  put don  Juan's suggestion  about
moving my  energy body to  the test. When I found myself  looking at my body
asleep,  instead of  struggling to walk  toward it I simply willed myself to
move closer to the bed. Instantly, I was nearly touching  my body. I  saw my
face. In fact, I could see every pore in my skin. I cannot say  that I liked
what  I saw. My view of my own body  was too  detailed  to be  aesthetically
pleasing. Then something like a wind came into the room, totally disarranged
everything, and erased my view.
     During subsequent dreams, I entirely corroborated that the only way the
energy body can move is to glide or soar. I discussed this with don Juan. He
seemed unusually satisfied with  what I had done, which certainly  surprised
me. I was accustomed to his cold reaction to anything  I  did in my dreaming
     "Your energy body is used to moving only  when something pulls it,"  he
said. "The  inorganic beings have  been pulling your energy  body  right and
left,  and  until  now you have never moved  it  by yourself,  with your own
volition. It doesn't seem like you've done much, moving the way you did, yet
I assure you that I was seriously considering ending  your practices. For  a
while, I believed you were not going to learn how to move on your own."
     "Were you considering ending my dreaming practices because I am slow?"
     "You're  not  slow.  It takes sorcerers  forever to  learn to move  the
energy body. I was going to end your  dreaming  practices because  I have no
more time. There are other topics, more pressing than dreaming, on which you
can use your energy."
     "Now that I've learned how to move my energy body by myself,  what else
should I do, don Juan?"
     "Continue moving. Moving your energy body has opened  up a new area for
you, an area of extraordinary exploration."
     He  urged me again to come up with an idea to validate the faithfulness
of  my  dreams; that request did not seem as odd as it had the first time he
voiced it.
     "As you know, to be transported by a scout is the real dreaming task of
the second gate,"  he  explained. "It is a very serious  matter, but  not as
serious as  forging and  moving the energy body. Therefore, you have to make
sure,  by some means of your own,  whether you are actually  seeing yourself
asleep  or whether you  are merely  dreaming  that  you're  seeing  yourself
asleep. Your new extraordinary  exploration hinges on really seeing yourself
     After some heavy pondering and wondering, I believed that I had come up
with the  right  plan.  Having seen my ripped  T-shirt gave me an idea for a
valid  guide.  I  started  from  the assumption that,  if  I  were  actually
observing myself  asleep,  I would also  be observing whether I had the same
sleeping attire I had gone to bed in, an attire that I had decided to change
radically every four days. I  was confident that I was not going to have any
difficulty in remembering, in dreams, what I was wearing when I went to bed;
the  discipline I had acquired through  my  dreaming practices made me think
that  I had the  ability to record things  like this in my mind and remember
them in dreams.
     I engaged my best efforts to follow this guide, but the results did not
pan  out as  I  thought they  would. I lacked the necessary control  over my
dreaming  attention,  and  I  could not  quite  remember the details  of  my
sleeping attire. Yet something else was definitely at work; somehow I always
knew whether my  dreams were ordinary dreams  or not. The outstanding aspect
of the dreams that were not just ordinary dreams was that my body lay asleep
in bed while my consciousness observed it.
     A notable  feature of these dreams was  my  room. It was never  like my
room in the daily world but an enormous empty hall with my bed at one end. I
used to soar over a considerable distance to be at the side of the bed where
my body lay.  The moment I was next to it, a windlike  force used to make me
hover over  it, like a  hummingbird.  At  times  the  room used  to  vanish;
disappear piece by piece until only my body and the bed  were left. At other
times, I used  to  experience a  complete  loss  of  volition.  My  dreaming
attention  seemed  then to  function  independently  of  me.  Either it  was
completely  absorbed  by  the first  item it encountered in the room  or  it
seemed unable to decide  what to do. In those instances, I had the sensation
that I was helplessly floating, going from item to item.
     The  voice of the  dreaming emissary explained to  me once that all the
elements of the dreams,  which were not just commonplace dreams, were really
energy  configurations  different  from  those  of  our  normal  world.  The
emissary's voice pointed out that,  for example, the  walls were  liquid. It
urged me then to plunge into one of them.
     Without thinking twice, I dived into  a wall as if I were diving into a
huge lake. I did not feel the waterlike wall; what I felt was not a physical
sensation of  plunging into  a body of  water  either. It was  more like the
thought of diving and the visual sensation of going through liquid matter. I
was going, head-first,  into something that opened up, like water does, as I
kept moving downward.
     The sensation  of going  down,  headfirst, was so real  that I began to
wonder how long or how deep or how  far I was diving. From my point of view,
I spent  an  eternity in there. I saw clouds and  rocklike masses of  matter
suspended  in  a  waterlike substance.  There  were some  glowing, geometric
objects that resembled  crystals, and  blobs of the deepest primary colors I
had ever seen. There were also zones  of intense light and others  of  pitch
blackness. Everything went by me, either  slowly  or at a fast speed.  I had
the thought that I  was viewing the  cosmos. At the instant of that thought,
my speed increased so immensely that everything became blurred, and all of a
sudden, I found myself awake with my nose smack against the wall of my room.
     Some hidden fear urged  me to consult with don Juan. He listened to me,
hanging on every word.
     "You need to do some drastic maneuvering at this point,"  he said. "The
dreaming emissary has no business  interfering with your dreaming practices.
Or rather, you should not, under any conditions, permit it to do so."
     "How can I stop it?"
     "Perform a simple  but difficult maneuver. Upon entering into dreaming,
voice out loud your desire not to have the dreaming emissary anymore."
     "Does that mean, don Juan, that I will never hear it again?"
     "Positively. You'll get rid of it forever."
     "But is it advisable to get rid of it forever?"
     "It most certainly is, at this point."
     With those words,  don Juan involved me in a most disturbing dilemma. I
did not want to put an end to my relationship with the emissary, but, at the
same time, I wanted to follow don Juan's advice. He noticed my hesitation.
     "I  know it's  a very difficult affair," he conceded, "but if you don't
do it, the inorganic beings will always have a  line on you.  If you want to
avoid this, do what I said, and do it now."
     During my next dreaming  session,  as  I prepared  myself to  utter  my
intent, the emissary's voice interrupted me.  It said, "If you refrain  from
stating your request,  I  promise you never to interfere with your  dreaming
practices and talk to you only if you ask me direct questions."
     I instantly accepted its proposition  and sincerely felt  that it was a
good  deal.  I was even relieved  it had turned out this way.  I was afraid,
however, that don Juan was going to be disappointed.
     "It was a good maneuver," he remarked  and laughed.  "You were sincere;
you  really intended to voice your request. To be  sincere  is  all that was
required. There was, essentially, no need for you to eliminate the emissary.
What  you  wanted  was  to  corner  it into  proposing  an alternative  way,
convenient to you. I am sure the emissary won't interfere anymore."
     He  was right. I continued my dreaming practices  without any  meddling
from  the  emissary.  The remarkable consequence  was  that  I began to have
dreams in which my  dream rooms  were my room  in the  daily world, with one
difference: in the dreams, my room was always so slanted, so distorted  that
it looked  like  a giant cubist  painting; obtuse and acute angles  were the
rule instead of the  normal right angles of walls, ceiling, and floor. In my
lopsided room, the very slant, created by the  acute or obtuse angles, was a
device to display prominently some absurd, superfluous, but real detail; for
example, intricate lines in the hardwood floor, or weather discolorations in
the wall paint, or dust spots on the ceiling, or smudged fingerprints on the
edge of a door.
     In those  dreams,  I unavoidably got lost in the waterlike universes of
the detail pointed  out by the  slant.  During my entire dreaming practices,
the profusion of detail  in my room  was so immense  and its pull so intense
that it instantly made me dive into it.
     At the first free  moment I had, I was at don  Juan's place, consulting
him about this state. "I can't overcome my room," I  said to him after I had
given him the details of my dreaming practices.
     "What  gives  you  the idea you have to overcome it?" he asked  with  a
     "I feel that I have to move beyond my room, don Juan."
     "But  you  are moving beyond your room. Perhaps you should ask yourself
whether you are caught again  in interpretations.  What do you  think moving
means in this case?"
     I told him walking  from my room to the street had been such a haunting
dream for me that I felt a real need to do it again.
     "But you are doing greater things  than  that," he protested.  "You are
going to unbelievable regions. What else do you want?"
     I tried to explain to him that I had  a physical urge to move away from
the trap of detail. What upset me the  most was my incapacity to free myself
from whatever caught my  attention. To have  a modicum  of volition  was the
bottom line for me.
     A very long  silence followed. I waited  to hear more about the trap of
detail. After all, he had warned me about its dangers. "You are doing fine,"
he  finally  said. "Dreamers take a  very long time to perfect their  energy
bodies.  And  this is exactly  what's  at stake here: perfecting your energy
     Don Juan  explained that the  reason my energy body  was  compelled  to
examine detail and  get inextricably stuck in  it was  its inexperience, its
incompleteness. He  said that sorcerers spend  a  lifetime consolidating the
energy body by letting it sponge up everything possible.
     "Until  the energy body is complete and mature,  it  is self-absorbed,"
don Juan went on.  "It can't get  free from the compulsion to be absorbed by
everything. But  if one  takes this into consideration, instead  of fighting
the energy body, as you're doing now, one can lend it a hand."
     "How can I do that, don Juan?"
     "By directing its behavior, that is to say, by stalking it."
     He explained that since everything related  to the  energy body depends
on the appropriate  position  of the assemblage point, and since dreaming is
nothing else  but the  means to displace  it, stalking is, consequently, the
way  to  make the assemblage point stay put on the perfect position, in this
case, the position  where the  energy body  can become consolidated and from
which it can finally emerge.
     Don  Juan said that the moment the  energy  body can  move on its  own,
sorcerers assume that the optimum position of  the assemblage point has been
reached.  The  next step  is  to stalk it, that is,  to  fixate  it on  that
position  in  order  to  complete  the energy  body.  He remarked  that  the
procedure is simplicity itself. One intends to stalk it.
     Silence and  looks  of expectation followed that statement.  I expected
him to say  more, and he expected me to have understood  what he had said. I
had not.
     "Let your  energy  body intend to reach the optimum dreaming position,"
he explained. "Then, let your energy body  intend  to  stay at that position
and you will be stalking."
     He  paused and,  with  his eyes,  urged me  to consider  his statement.
"Intending  is the secret, but you already know that,"  he said.  "Sorcerers
displace their assemblage points through intending and fixate them, equally,
through  intending.  And  there is no  technique for  intending. One intends
through usage."
     To have another of my wild assumptions about my worth as a sorcerer was
unavoidable at that  point. I  had boundless  confidence that  something was
going to put me on the right track to intend the fixation of  my  assemblage
point  on  the  ideal  spot.  I had accomplished in the  past  all  kinds of
successful maneuvers  without knowing how I performed them. Don Juan himself
had marveled at my ability or my luck, and I was sure this was going  to  be
one of those instances. I was gravely mistaken. No matter what I did, or how
long I waited, I had no success whatsoever in fixing my assemblage  point on
any spot, much less on the ideal one.
     After  months  of  serious  but unsuccessful  struggling, I gave up. "I
really believed I could do  it," I said to don Juan, the moment I was in his
house. "I am afraid that nowadays I am more of an egomaniac than ever."
     "Not  really,"  he said with a  smile. "What happens  is that  you  are
caught in another of your routinary misinterpretations of terms. You want to
find the  ideal spot,  as if you were  finding  your lost car keys. Then you
want  to tie your assemblage point,  as if  you were  tying  your shoes. The
ideal spot and the fixation of the assemblage point are metaphors. They have
nothing to do with the words used to describe them."
     He asked  me  then  to tell  him  the  latest events  of  any  dreaming
practices.  The first thing I  mentioned was that my urge to be  absorbed by
detail  had subsided  notably. I said that perhaps  because I  moved  in  my
dreams,  compulsively and incessantly,  the  movement  might have been  what
always managed to stop me before I plunged into  the detail I was observing.
To be stopped in that  fashion gave me the opportunity to examine the act of
being absorbed  by detail. I came  to the conclusion that  inanimate  matter
actually  possesses an immobilizing force, which  I  saw as a beam  of  dull
light  that kept me pinned down. For example, many times some minute mark on
the walls or in the wood lines of the hardwood floor of my room used to send
a line  of light that transfixed  me; from the moment  my dreaming attention
was focused on that light, the whole dream rotated around that  minute mark.
I  saw it enlarged perhaps to the size of the cosmos. That view used to last
until I woke up, usually with my  nose pressed against the wall or  the wood
floor. My own  observations were that, in the first  place,  the detail  was
real, and, in the  second place, I seemed to have been observing it while  I
was asleep.
     Don  Juan smiled and said,  "All this is happening  to you because  the
forging of your  energy body was completed  the moment it moved by itself. I
didn't tell you that, but I insinuated it. I  wanted to know  whether or not
you were capable of finding it out by yourself, which, of course, you did."
     I  had  no  idea  what he  meant.  Don Juan scrutinized me in his usual
manner. His penetrating gaze scanned my body.
     "What exactly did I find out by myself, don Juan?" I was forced to ask.
     "You found out that your energy body had been completed," he answered.
     "I didn't find out anything of the kind, I assure you."
     "Yes, you did. It started some time ago, when you couldn't find a guide
to validate the realness of your dreams, but then something went to work for
you and let you know whether you were having a regular dream. That something
was your energy body. Now, you despair that you couldn't find the ideal spot
to  fix  your assemblage  point. And  I tell you that you did. The  proof is
that,  by  moving around,  your energy  body curtailed  its  obsession  with
     I was nonplussed. I could not even ask one of my feeble questions.
     "What comes next for you is  a sorcerers' gem," don Juan  went on. "You
are  going to practice seeing energy, in your  dreaming. You  have fulfilled
the drill for the third gate of dreaming: moving your energy body by itself.
Now you are going  to perform  the real task: seeing energy with your energy
     "You  have seen energy before," he went on, "many  times,  in fact. But
each  of  those  times, seeing  was  a  fluke.  Now you are going  to  do it
     "Dreamers have a rule of thumb," he continued. "If their energy body is
complete, they see  energy  every  time  they  gaze at an item in the  daily
world. In  dreams, if they  see  the energy of an item, they  know  they are
dealing with  a real world, no matter how distorted that world may appear to
their dreaming attention. If they can't see the  energy of an item, they are
in an ordinary dream and not in a real world."
     "What is a real world, don Juan?"
     "A  world that  generates  energy; the opposite  of a phantom world  of
projections, where nothing generates energy, like most of  our dreams, where
nothing has an energetic effect."
     Don Juan  then gave  me another  definition  of dreaming: a process  by
which   dreamers   isolate  dream   conditions   in   which  they  can  find
energy-generating elements. He must have noticed my bewilderment. He laughed
and gave another, even more convoluted definition:  dreaming is  the process
by which we  intend to  find  adequate positions  of  the assemblage  point,
positions  that permit us  to perceive energy-generating items in  dreamlike
     He explained that  the energy body is also capable of perceiving energy
that is quite different from the  energy of our own world, as in the case of
items of  the inorganic beings' realm,  which  the energy  body perceives as
sizzling energy. He added that in our world nothing sizzles; everything here
     "From now on,"  he said, "the issue of your dreaming is going to be  to
determine whether  the  items on which you focus your dreaming attention are
energy  generating,  mere  phantom  projections,  or  generators of  foreign
     Don Juan admitted that he  had hoped I was  going to come  up  with the
idea  of seeing  energy  as  the  gauge  to determine  whether  or not I was
observing my  real body asleep. He laughed at my  spurious device of putting
on  elaborate sleeping attire, every four days. He said that I'd had, at  my
fingertips, all the information  necessary to deduce what was the  real task
of the third gate of dreaming and to come up with the right idea but that my
interpretation  system had forced me to seek contrived solutions that lacked
the simplicity and directness of sorcery.

     Don Juan told me that in order to see  in dreaming not only did I  have
to intend  seeing but I had to put my intent into loud words. For reasons he
refused to explain,  he  insisted that I had  to speak up. He conceded  that
there  are  other means to accomplish the same  result, but he asserted that
voicing one's intent is the simplest and most direct way.
     The first time I  put into words my intent to see,  I was dreaming of a
church bazaar. There were so many articles that I could  not make up my mind
which one to gaze  at. A giant, conspicuous vase in a corner made up my mind
for  me.  I gazed at it,  voicing my intent to see. The vase remained  in my
view for an instant, then it changed into another object.
     I  gazed at as many things as I could in  that dream. After I voiced my
intent  to see, every item I had  chosen to gaze  at vanished or turned into
something else, as had  happened  all along in  my  dreaming  practices.  My
dreaming  attention  was  finally  exhausted,  and  I woke  up  tremendously
frustrated, almost angry.
     For months on end, I  actually gazed  at hundreds of items in my dreams
and deliberately voiced my  intent to see, but nothing ever happened.  Tired
of waiting, I finally had to ask don Juan about it.
     "You  need  to  have  patience.  You  are  learning  to  do   something
extraordinary," he remarked.  "You are  learning  to  intend to  see in your
dreams. Someday you will not  have  to voice your intent; you'll simply will
it, silently."
     "I think I  have not understood the function of whatever I am doing," I
said. "Nothing happens when I shout my intent to see. What does that mean?"
     "It  means that  your dreams,  so far, have been ordinary  dreams; they
have been phantom projections; images that  have life only in your  dreaming
     He wanted to know exactly what had happened to the items on which I had
focused  my gaze.  I said  that they had vanished  or  changed shape or even
produced vortexes that eventually changed my dreams.
     "It has been like  that in all  my daily dreaming  practices,"  I said.
"The only thing out  of the  ordinary is that I am learning  to  yell in  my
dreams, at the top of my voice."
     My last statement threw don Juan into a genuine fit  of belly laughter,
which  I found  disconcerting. I failed to find the humor of my statement or
the reason for his reaction.
     "Someday you'll appreciate how funny all this is," he said as an answer
to my  silent protest. "In the meantime, don't give up  or  get discouraged.
Keep on trying. Sooner or later, you'll hit the right note."
     As usual, he was right. A couple  of months later, I hit the jackpot. I
had a most unusual dream. It started with the appearance of a scout from the
inorganic  beings'  world. The scouts as well as the  dreaming  emissary had
been strangely  absent from my  dreams.  I  had not missed them  or pondered
their  disappearance.  In  fact,  I was  so at  ease without them I had even
forgotten to ask don Juan about their absence.
     In that dream, the  scout had been, at first, a  gigantic yellow topaz,
which  I  had  found stuck in the back of a  drawer. The  moment I voiced my
intent to  see,  the topaz  turned into a blob of sizzling energy. I  feared
that I  would be compelled to follow it, so I moved  my  gaze away  from the
scout and focused it on an aquarium with  tropical fish. I voiced my  intent
to see and got a tremendous surprise. The aquarium  emitted a low,  greenish
glow and changed into a large surrealist portrait  of a bejeweled woman. The
portrait emitted the same greenish glow when I voiced my intent to see.
     As I gazed at that glow, the whole dream changed. I was walking then on
a street in a town that seemed familiar to me;  it might have been Tucson. I
gazed  at a display of women's clothes in a  store window and spoke out loud
my intent to see. Instantly, a black mannequin, prominently displayed, began
to glow. I gazed next  at  a saleslady who came at  that moment to rearrange
the window. She  looked at me.  After voicing my intent, I saw her  glow. It
was  so stupendous  that I  was afraid some detail in her  splendorous  glow
would trap  me, but the  woman moved  inside the store before  I had time to
focus my total attention on her. I certainly intended to follow her  inside;
however, my  dreaming attention was caught  by a  moving glow. It came to me
charging,  filled with hatred. There  was loathing in it and viciousness.  I
jumped backward. The glow stopped its  charge; a black  substance  swallowed
me, and I woke up.
     These images were so vivid that I firmly believed I had seen energy and
my  dream  had  been  one  of those  conditions  that don  Juan  had  called
dreamlike, energy-generating.  The idea that dreams can  take place  in  the
consensual reality of our daily world intrigued me, just as the dream images
of the inorganic beings' realm had intrigued me.
     "This time, you not only saw energy but  crossed a dangerous boundary,"
don Juan said, after hearing my account.
     He reiterated that the  drill for the third gate of dreaming is to make
the  energy  body  move on its  own.  In  my last  session,  he  said, I had
unwittingly superseded the effect  of  that drill  and  crossed into another
     "Your energy body moved," he said. "It  journeyed, by itself. That kind
of  journeying  is  beyond  your  abilities  at this moment,  and  something
attacked you."
     "What do you think it was, don Juan?"
     "This is a predatorial universe. It could have been one of thousands of
things existing out there."
     "Why do you think it attacked me?"
     "For  the  same reason  the inorganic beings  attacked you: because you
made yourself available."
     "Is it that clear-cut, don Juan?"
     "Certainly. It's as clear-cut as what you would do if a strange-looking
spider crept across your desk while you were writing.  You'd  squash it, out
of fright, rather than admire it or examine it."
     I was at a  loss and searched for words  to ask the proper  question. I
wanted to ask  him where my dream had taken place, or what world I was in in
that dream. But those questions did  not make any sense; I could gather that
myself. Don Juan was very understanding.
     "You want  to know where  your  dreaming  attention  was focused, don't
you?" he asked with a grin.
     This was exactly how I wanted to word  my question.  I reasoned that in
the dream under consideration, I must have been looking at some real object.
Just like what had happened when I saw in  dreams the minute details on  the
floor or  the  walls  or the  door of my room,  details  that  I  later  had
corroborated, existed.
     Don  Juan  said  that in special  dreams, like  the  one  I'd had,  our
dreaming attention  focuses on the daily world, and that it moves  instantly
from one real  object to  another  in the world. What  makes  this  movement
possible is  that  the assemblage point is on the proper dreaming  position.
From that  position, the  assemblage point gives the dreaming attention such
fluidity  that it  can move in a split second over incredible distances, and
in doing so it produces a perception  so fast, so fleeting that it resembles
an ordinary dream.
     Don Juan explained that in my dream I had seen a real vase and  then my
dreaming  attention  had  moved over  distances to  see  a  real  surrealist
painting of  a bejeweled  woman.  The result, with  the exception of  seeing
energy, had been very close to an ordinary dream, in which items, when gazed
at, quickly turn into something else.
     "I  know  how disturbing this  is," he went on, definitely aware  of my
bewilderment.  "For some reason  pertinent  to  the mind,  to  see energy in
dreaming is more upsetting than anything one can think of."
     I remarked that I had seen  energy in dreaming before, yet it had never
affected me like this.
     "Now  your  energy  body   is  complete   and  functioning,"  he  said.
"Therefore,  the implication  that you see energy in  your dream is that you
are  perceiving a  real world,  through  the  veil of  a  dream.  That's the
importance   of  the   journey   you  took.  It   was  real.   It   involved
energy-generating items that nearly ended your life."
     "Was it that serious, don Juan?"
     "You bet! The creature that attacked you was made of pure awareness and
was as deadly as anything can be.  You saw  its  energy. I am sure  that you
realize by now that  unless  we see  in  dreaming,  we  can't  tell a  real,
energy-generating  thing  from a  phantom projection.  So, even  though  you
battled the inorganic beings and indeed saw the scouts and the tunnels, your
energy  body  doesn't  know  for  sure  if  they were  real, meaning  energy
generating. You are ninety-nine but not one hundred percent sure."
     Don  Juan  insisted  on talking  about  the journey  I  had taken.  For
inexplicable reasons, I was reluctant to deal with that subject. What he was
saying produced an  instantaneous reaction in me. I found  myself  trying to
come to  grips with a deep, strange  fear;  it  was dark and  obsessive in a
nagging, visceral way.
     "You  definitely  went into another layer of the onion," don Juan said,
finishing a statement to which I had not paid attention.
     "What is this other layer of the onion, don Juan?"
     "The world is like  an  onion, it has many skins. The world we know  is
but one of them. Sometimes, we cross boundaries and enter into another skin:
another world, very  much  like this  one, but not the same. And you entered
into one, all by yourself."
     "How is this journey you're talking about possible, don Juan?"
     "That is  a meaningless  question, because no one can answer it. In the
view  of sorcerers, the universe is constructed in  layers, which the energy
body can cross. Do you  know where  the old sorcerers are still  existing to
this day? In another layer, in another skin of the onion."
     "For me, the idea of  a real, pragmatic  journey,  taken in dreams,  is
very difficult to understand or to accept, don Juan."
     "We  have  discussed  this  topic to  exhaustion. I  was  convinced you
understood that the journey  of  the energy body  depends exclusively on the
position of the assemblage point."
     "You've told me that. And I have been  mulling it over and over; still,
saying that the journey  is in the position of  the assemblage point doesn't
say anything to me."
     "Your problem is your cynicism. I was just  like  you. Cynicism doesn't
allow us to make drastic changes  in our understanding of the world. It also
forces us to feel that we are always right."
     I understood his point to perfection, but I reminded him about my fight
against all that.
     "I propose that you do one nonsensical thing that might turn the tide,"
he said. "Repeat to yourself incessantly  that the hinge of sorcery  is  the
mystery of the assemblage point. If you repeat this to yourself long enough,
some unseen force takes over and makes the appropriate changes in you."
     Don Juan did not give me any indication that he  was being facetious. I
knew he meant every word of  it.  What bothered me was his insistence that I
repeat the formula ceaselessly to myself. I caught myself  thinking that all
of it was asinine.
     "Cut  your cynical attitude," he snapped at me.  "Repeat this in a bona
fide manner.
     "The mystery  of the  assemblage  point is everything in  sorcery,"  he
continued, without looking at me. "Or rather, everything in sorcery rests on
the manipulation of the assemblage point. You know all this, but you have to
repeat it."
     For an instant, as I heard his remarks, I thought I was going to die of
anguish.  An incredible sense of physical sadness gripped my  chest and made
me  scream with  pain.  My stomach and diaphragm seemed  to  be  pushing up,
moving into my  chest  cavity.  The  push was  so intense that  my awareness
changed levels, and  I entered  into my normal state. Whatever we  had  been
talking  about  became  a vague  thought  about  something  that might  have
happened but  actually  had not, according to  the mundane reasoning  of  my
everyday-life consciousness.
     The next  time don Juan and I talked  about dreaming, we discussed  the
reasons I had been unable  to proceed with my dreaming practices for  months
on end. Don  Juan warned me that to explain my  situation he  had to go in a
roundabout way. He pointed out, first, that  there is an enormous difference
between the thoughts  and deeds of the men of antiquity and those of  modern
men. Then he pointed out that the men of ancient times  had a very realistic
view of  perception  and  awareness because their  view  stemmed from  their
observations  of the universe around them. Modern men,  in contrast, have an
absurdly  unrealistic view  of perception  and awareness  because their view
stems  from their observations of the social  order and from their  dealings
with it.
     "Why are you telling me this?" I asked.
     "Because you are a modern man involved with the views  and observations
of men of antiquity," he replied.  "And none of those views and observations
are familiar to you. Now more  than ever you need sobriety  and aplomb. I am
trying to make a solid  bridge, a  bridge you can walk on, between the views
of men of ancient times and those of modern men."
     He remarked that  of all  the transcendental observations of the men of
ancient  times, the  only  one  with  which  I was familiar, because it  had
filtered down  to our day, was the idea of selling our souls to the devil in
exchange for immortality, which he admitted sounded  to him  like  something
coming straight  out  of  the  relationship of  the old  sorcerers  with the
inorganic  beings.  He reminded me how  the dreaming  emissary  had tried to
induce me to stay in its realm by offering me the possibility of maintaining
my individuality and self-awareness for nearly an eternity.
     "As you  know,  succumbing to the lure of the inorganic  beings  is not
just  an  idea; it's real," don Juan  went  on.  "But you haven't  yet fully
realized the  implication of that realness. Dreaming, likewise, is  real; it
is an energy-generating  condition. You hear my statements and you certainly
understand what I mean, but your awareness hasn't caught up  with  the total
implication of it yet."
     Don Juan said that my rationality knew the import  of a  realization of
this nature,  and during our last talk it  had forced my awareness to change
levels. I  ended  up in my  normal awareness  before  I could  deal with the
nuances  of  my dream.  My  rationality  had  further  protected  itself  by
suspending my dreaming practices.
     "I  assure you that  I  am fully  aware of  what  an  energy-generating
condition means," I said.
     "And I assure you that you  are not,"  he retorted. "If you  were,  you
would measure dreaming with greater care and deliberation. Since you believe
you are just dreaming, you take blind  chances. Your  faulty reasoning tells
you that no matter what  happens, at  a given moment  the dream will be over
and you will wake up."
     He was right. In spite of all the things I had witnessed in my dreaming
practices,  somehow I still retained the general  sense that  all  of it had
been a dream.
     "I am talking to you about the views of men of antiquity and  the views
of modern man," don  Juan went  on, "because  your  awareness, which is  the
awareness of modern man, prefers to deal with an unfamiliar concept as if it
were an empty ideality.
     "If I  left it up to you, you'd regard dreaming as an idea.  Of course.
I'm sure  you take dreaming seriously, but you  don't  quite  believe in the
reality of dreaming."
     "I understand what you are saying, don Juan, but I don't understand why
you are saying it."
     "I am saying all this  because you  are now, for the first time, in the
proper  position  to  understand  that  dreaming   is  an  energy-generating
condition. For  the  first time, you can understand now that ordinary dreams
are the honing devices used  to train  the  assemblage  point to  reach  the
position that creates this energy-generating condition we call dreaming."
     He  warned me  that,  since  dreamers touch  and  enter real worlds  of
all-inclusive effects, they ought to be  in a  permanent state  of the  most
intense and sustained alertness; any deviation from total alertness imperils
the dreamer in ways more than dreadful.
     I began  again, at this  point, to experience  a movement  in my  chest
cavity, exactly as I had felt the day my awareness changed levels by itself.
Don Juan forcibly shook me by the arm.
     "Regard  dreaming as  something extremely dangerous!"  he commanded me.
"And begin that now! Don't start any of your weird maneuvers."
     His  tone  of  voice  was  so  urgent  that I  stopped whatever I  was,
unconsciously, doing.
     "What is going on with me, don Juan?" I asked.
     "What's  going on  with you  is that you  can  displace your assemblage
point quickly and easily," he said. "Yet that ease has the tendency  to make
the displacement erratic. Bring your ease to order. And don't allow yourself
even a fraction of an inch leeway."
     I  could easily  have argued  that I did not  know what  he was talking
about,  but I  knew. I also knew I  had only a  few seconds  to round up  my
energy and change my attitude, and I did.
     This was the end of our  exchange that day. I went home, and for nearly
a year I faithfully  and daily repeated what  don Juan had  asked me to say.
The results  of my  litany-like  invocation  were incredible.  I  was firmly
convinced that it had the same effect on my awareness that  exercise has  on
the muscles of the body. My assemblage point  became more agile, which meant
that  seeing  energy in dreaming  became the  sole  goal of my practices. My
skill  at intending to see  grew  in proportion to my efforts. A moment came
when I was able just to intend  seeing, without saying a word, and  actually
experience the same result as when I voiced out loud my intent to see.
     Don Juan congratulated me  on my accomplishment.  I, naturally, assumed
he was being facetious. He assured me that he meant it, but  beseeched me to
continue shouting, at least  whenever I was  at a loss. His request  did not
seem odd  to me. On my own, I had been yelling in my dreams at the top of my
voice every time I deemed it necessary.
     I discovered that the energy of our world  wavers. It scintillates. Not
only living beings  but everything in our world glimmers with an inner light
of its  own.  Don  Juan explained that  the energy  of our world consists of
layers of shimmering hues.
     The  top layer is  whitish; another,  immediately  adjacent  to  it, is
chartreuse; and another one, more distant yet, is amber.
     I found all those hues, or rather I saw glimmers of them whenever items
that I encountered in my dreamlike states changed shapes. However, a whitish
glow was always the initial impact of seeing anything that generated energy.
"Are  there  only three different  hues?" I asked  don  Juan.  "There  is an
endless number of them," he replied, "but  for the purposes of  a  beginning
order, you  should  be concerned with those three. Later on,  you can get as
sophisticated as you want and isolate dozens of  hues, if you are able to do
     "The  whitish  layer  is the hue of  the present  position of mankind's
assemblage point," don Juan continued. "Let's say that  it  is a modern hue.
Sorcerers  believe  that everything  man  does nowadays is  tinted with that
whitish glow.  At another time, the  position  of mankind's assemblage point
made the hue  of the ruling energy in  the world chartreuse; and at  another
time, more distant yet, it  made it amber. The color of sorcerers' energy is
amber,  which means that they are energetically  associated with the men who
existed in a distant past."
     "Do you think, don  Juan,  that  the  present  whitish  hue will change
     "If man is capable of evolving. The grand task of sorcerers is to bring
forth the idea that,  in order to evolve, man  must first free his awareness
from its  bindings to the social order. Once  awareness is free, intent will
redirect it into a new evolutionary path."
     "Do you think sorcerers will succeed in that task?"
     "They  have  already  succeeded.  They  themselves  are the  proof.  To
convince others of the value and import of evolving is another matter."
     The other kind of  energy I found present in  our world but alien to it
was  the  scouts'  energy,  the  energy  don  Juan had  called  sizzling.  I
encountered scores of items in my dreams that, once I saw  them, turned into
blobs  of energy that seemed to be frying, bubbling with some heatlike inner
     "Bear in mind that not every scout you are going to find belongs to the
realm of inorganic  beings," don Juan remarked. "Every scout  you have found
so  far, except for the  blue scout, has been from that realm, but  that was
because the inorganic  beings were catering to you. They were directing  the
show.  Now  you are on your own.  Some of the scouts you  will encounter are
going  to be not from the inorganic beings' realm but from  other, even more
distant levels of awareness."
     "Are the scouts aware of themselves?" I asked.
     "Most certainly," he replied.
     "Then why don't they make contact with us when we are awake?"
     "They do.  But our  great misfortune is to  have our  consciousness  so
fully  engaged that we  don't have  time  to  pay attention.  In  our sleep,
however,  the  two-way- traffic trapdoor opens: we dream. And in our dreams,
we make contact."
     "Is there any way  to  tell whether the scouts are from a level besides
the inorganic beings' world?"
     "The  greater their sizzling, the farther  they  come  from.  It sounds
simplistic, but you have to let your energy  body  tell  you what is what. I
assure you,  it'll make very  fine  distinctions and unerring judgments when
faced with alien energy."
     He was right  again. Without much ado, my energy body distinguished two
general types of alien energy. The  first  was the scouts from the inorganic
beings' realm. Their energy fizzled mildly. There was no sound to it, but it
had all the overt appearance of effervescence, or of water  that is starting
to boil.
     The energy of the second general type of scouts gave me  the impression
of  considerably more power. Those scouts seemed  to be just  about to burn.
They vibrated from within as if they were filled with pressurized gas.
     My encounters with the alien energy were always fleeting because I paid
total  attention to what  don  Juan recommended.  He said,  "Unless you know
exactly what you are  doing and what you want out of  alien energy, you have
to be content with a brief glance. Anything beyond a glance is as  dangerous
and as stupid as petting a rattlesnake."
     "Why is it dangerous, don Juan?" I asked.
     "Scouts  are  always very aggressive  and  extremely  daring," he said.
"They  have to  be  that  way  in  order to  prevail in their  explorations.
Sustaining our dreaming attention  on them is tantamount to soliciting their
awareness  to  focus  on us.  Once they focus their attention  on us, we are
compelled to go with them. And that, of course, is the danger. We may end up
in worlds beyond our energetic possibilities."
     Don Juan explained that there are many  more  types of scouts  than the
two I had classified, but that at  my present level of  energy  I could only
focus on  three. He described  the first two  types as the easiest to  spot.
Their  disguises  in our  dreams  are so  outlandish,  he  said,  that  they
immediately  attract our dreaming  attention. He depicted the scouts of  the
third type as the most dangerous, in terms of aggressiveness and  power, and
because they hide behind subtle disguises.
     "One  of the strangest  things dreamers  find,  which you yourself will
find  presently," don Juan continued,  "is this third type of scout. So far,
you have found  samples of only the first  two types, but that's because you
haven't looked in the right place."
     "And what is the right place, don Juan?"
     "You have  again  fallen prey  to words;  this time the culprit word is
'items,'  which you have taken to mean only things, objects.  Well, the most
ferocious scout hides behind people in our dreams. A formidable surprise was
in store for me, in my dreaming,  when  I focused my gaze on the dream image
of my mother. After  I voiced my intent to see, she turned into a ferocious,
frightening bubble of sizzling energy."
     Don Juan paused to let his statements sink  in. I felt stupid for being
disturbed at the possibility of finding a scout behind the dream image of my
     "It's annoying that they are always associated with the dream images of
our parents or close friends," he went on. "Perhaps that's why we often feel
ill at ease when we dream of them." His grin  gave me the impression that he
was enjoying my turmoil. "A rule of thumb for dreamers is to assume that the
third type of scout is present whenever they feel perturbed by their parents
or friends in a dream. Sound advice is to avoid those dream images. They are
sheer poison."
     "Where does the  blue  scout stand in relation to the other  scouts?" I
     "Blue energy doesn't sizzle," he replied. "It is like ours; it  wavers,
but  it is blue instead of  white. Blue  energy doesn't exist  in  a natural
state in our world.
     "And this  brings us to something we've  never talked about. What color
were the scouts you've seen so far?"
     Until  the  moment he mentioned it, I had never  thought about  this. I
told don Juan that the scouts I had seen were either pink or reddish. And he
said that the deadly scouts of the third type were bright orange.
     I  found out myself  that the  third  type of  scout is outright scary.
Every  time  I  found one of  them,  it  was behind the dream images  of  my
parents, especially of  my mother. Seeing it always reminded  me of the blob
of energy  that had attacked me in  my  first deliberate seeing dream. Every
time I found it, the alien exploring energy actually seemed about to jump on
me. My energy body used to react with horror even before I saw it.
     During  our next discussion of  dreaming, I queried don Juan about  the
total  absence of inorganic beings in my dreaming practices. "Why don't they
show up anymore?" I asked.
     "They only  show themselves  at  the  beginning," he explained.  "After
their scouts take us to their world, there is no necessity for the inorganic
beings'  projections. If  we want to see the inorganic beings, a scout takes
us there.  For  no one, and I mean no one, can  journey by  himself to their
     "Why is that so, don Juan?"
     "Their  world is  sealed. No one can enter or leave without the consent
of the inorganic beings. The only thing you can do by yourself  once you are
inside is, of course, voice your intent to stay. To say it out loud means to
set  in  motion  currents of energy that  are irreversible. In olden  times,
words were incredibly  powerful. Now they  are not. In the inorganic beings'
realm, they haven't lost their power."
     Don Juan laughed and said that he had no business saying anything about
the inorganic beings' world because I really knew more  about it than he and
all his companions combined.
     "There is  one  last  issue  related  to that  world  that  we  haven't
discussed," he said. He  paused for  a  long while, as  if searching for the
appropriate words. "In the  final analysis," he  began, "my aversion to  the
old sorcerers' activities is very personal. As a nagual,  I detest what they
did. They cowardly sought refuge in the inorganic beings' world. They argued
that in  a predatorial  universe, poised to rip us apart, the only  possible
haven for us is in that realm."
     "Why did they believe that?" I asked.
     "Because  it's true,"  he said. "Since the inorganic beings  can't lie,
the sales pitch of the dreaming emissary is all true. That world can give us
shelter and prolong our awareness for nearly an eternity."
     "The emissary's sales pitch,  even if it's the  truth, has no appeal to
me," I said.
     "Do you mean you will chance a road that might rip you apart?" he asked
with a note of bewilderment in his voice.
     I assured don Juan  that I did not want the inorganic  beings' world no
matter what advantages it  offered. My  statement seemed to please him to no
end. "You are ready then for  one final statement about that world. The most
dreadful statement I can make," he said,  and tried smile but  did not quite
make it.
     Don  Juan searched in my  eyes,  I suppose  for  a glimmer agreement or
comprehension. He was silent for a moment.
     "The energy necessary to  move the assemblage points of sorcerers comes
from the realm of inorganic beings," he said, as  if he were hurrying to get
it over with.
     My heart nearly stopped. I felt a vertigo and had  to  stomp my feet on
the ground not to faint.
     "This is the  truth," don Juan  went  on,  "and  the legacy of the  old
sorcerers to us. They have us pinned down  to this day. This is the reason I
don't like them. I resent having to dip into one source alone. Personally, I
refuse  to do  it. And I have  tried  to steer you away from it. But with no
success, because something pulls you to that world, like a magnet."
     I understood don Juan better  than  I could have thought. Journeying to
that  world had always  meant to me, at  an energetic level, a boost of dark
energy. I had even thought of it in those terms, long before don Juan voiced
his statement.
     "What can we do about it?" I asked.
     "We can't have dealings with them," he answered, "and yet we can't stay
away from them. My solution has been to take their energy but not give in to
their  influence. This is known as  the  ultimate stalking.  It is  done  by
sustaining the  unbending intent of  freedom, even though  no sorcerer knows
what freedom really is."
     "Can  you explain to me,  don  Juan, why sorcerers have to take  energy
from the realm of inorganic beings?"
     "There is no other  viable energy for  sorcerers. In order  to maneuver
the assemblage  point in the manner  they do,  sorcerers  need an inordinate
amount of energy."
     I reminded him  of his own statement:  that a redeployment of energy is
necessary in order to do dreaming.
     "That is  correct," he replied.  "To start  dreaming sorcerers need  to
redefine their premises and save their  energy, but that redefining is valid
only to have  the necessary  energy to  set  up dreaming.  To fly into other
realms, to see energy, to  forge  the  energy body, et cetera, et cetera, is
another  matter. For  those  maneuvers, sorcerers  need loads of dark, alien
     "But how do they take it from the inorganic beings' world?"
     "By the mere act of going to that world.  All the sorcerers of our line
have  to do this.  However, none of us is idiotic enough  to do what  you've
done. But this is because none of us has your proclivities."
     Don Juan  sent me home to ponder  what  he had  revealed to  me. I  had
endless questions, but he did not want to hear any of them.
     "All the questions  you have, you can  answer yourself," he  said as he
waved good-bye to me.

     At home, I soon realized that it was impossible for me to answer any of
my  questions. In  fact, I could not even  formulate them. Perhaps that  was
because  the boundary of the second attention had  begun  to collapse on me;
this was when I met Florinda Grau and  Carol Tiggs in the world of  everyday
life.  The  confusion  of  not  knowing  them  at  all  yet knowing  them so
intimately  that I would  have died for them  at  the drop of a hat was most
deleterious to  me.  I had met Taisha Abelar a  few years  before, and I was
just beginning to get used  to the confounded feeling of knowing her without
having  the vaguest idea of  how. To add two  more  people to  my overloaded
system proved too much for me. I got ill out of fatigue and  had to seek don
Juan's aid.  I  went to  the  town  in  southern  Mexico  where  he and  his
companions lived.
     Don Juan  and his fellow sorcerers laughed  uproariously  at  the  mere
mention of my turmoils. Don Juan explained  to me that  they were not really
laughing at me but at themselves. My cognitive problems reminded them of the
ones they had had when the boundary of the second attention had collapsed on
them, just  as  it had on me.  Their  awareness,  like  mine,  had not  been
prepared for it, he said.
     "Every  sorcerer  goes  through the  same  agony,"  don Juan  went  on.
"Awareness  is  an endless  area  of  exploration for  sorcerers and  man in
general. In order to enhance awareness, there is no risk we should not  run,
no means  we should refuse. Bear in mind, however, that only in soundness of
mind can awareness be enhanced."
     Don Juan reiterated, then, that his time was  coming to an end and that
I had to use my resources wisely to cover as much  ground as I could  before
he left. Talk like that used to throw me into states of profound depression.
But as the time of  his departure approached, I had begun to react with more
resignation. I no longer felt depressed, but I still panicked.
     Nothing else was said after that. The next day, at his request, I drove
don Juan to Mexico City. We arrived  around noon and  went  directly to  the
hotel del Prado, in the  Paseo Alameda, the place  he usually lodged when he
was in the city. Don Juan had an appointment with a lawyer that day, at four
in the afternoon. Since we had  plenty of time, we went to have lunch in the
famous Cafe  Tacuba,  a restaurant  in  the heart of  downtown where it  was
purported that real meals were served.
     Don Juan  was not  hungry. He ordered only two  sweet  tamales, while I
gorged myself on  a sumptuous  feast. He  laughed at  me and  made signs  of
silent despair at my healthy appetite.
     "I'm going to propose a line of action for you," he said in a curt tone
when  we  had  finished our lunch. "It's the last task of  the third gate of
dreaming,  and  it  consists of  stalking the stalkers,  a  most  mysterious
maneuver. To stalk the stalkers means to  deliberately  draw energy from the
inorganic beings' realm in order to perform a sorcery feat."
     "What kind of sorcery feat, don Juan?"
     "A  journey,  a  journey  that  uses awareness  as  an element  of  the
environment," he explained. "In the world of daily life, water is an element
of  the environment  that we  use for traveling. Imagine  awareness  being a
similar  element  that  can be  used  for traveling. Through  the  medium of
awareness, scouts from all over the universe come to us, and vice versa; via
awareness, sorcerers go to the ends of the universe."
     There had been certain  concepts, among the hosts of  concepts don Juan
had made me aware of in  the course of his teachings, that attracted my full
interest without any coaxing. This was one.
     "The  idea  that awareness is a physical element  is  revolutionary," I
said in awe.
     "I  didn't  say it's  a  physical  element,"  he corrected me. "It's an
energetic element. You have to make that distinction. For sorcerers who see,
awareness  is a glow. They can hitch  their energy body  to that glow and go
with it."
     "What's the difference between a physical  and an energetic element?" I
     "The   difference  is   that   physical  elements  are  part   of   our
interpretation system,  but  energetic elements are not. Energetic elements,
like  awareness, exist in our  universe. But we, as average people, perceive
only the  physical  elements because  we  were  taught  to do  so. Sorcerers
perceive  the energetic elements for the same reason: they were taught to do
     Don Juan explained that the use of awareness as an energetic element of
our environment is the essence  of sorcery, that in terms of practicalities,
the trajectory of  sorcery is, first, to free the existing  energy in  us by
impeccably  following  the sorcerers'  path; second,  to use that  energy to
develop the energy body by  means of dreaming; and, third, to use  awareness
as an element of the environment in  order to enter with the energy body and
all our physicality into other worlds.
     "There are two kinds of energy journeys into other worlds," he went on.
"One  is when  awareness  picks  up the sorcerer's energy body and takes  it
wherever  it  may,  and  the other  is  when the  sorcerer decides, in  full
consciousness, to use the avenue of awareness to make a journey. You've done
the  first kind  of journeying.  It takes an  enormous discipline  to do the
     After a long  silence, don Juan  stated that in the  life  of sorcerers
there are  issues that require  masterful  handling,  and  that dealing with
awareness, as  an energetic  element open to the energy body,  is  the  most
important, vital, and dangerous of those issues.
     I had no  comment. I was suddenly on pins and needles, hanging on every
one of his words.
     "By yourself,  you don't have enough energy to perform the last task of
the third gate  of dreaming," he  went on, "but you and Carol Tiggs together
can certainly do what I have in mind."
     He paused,  deliberately egging me  on with  his silence to ask what he
had in mind. I did. His laughter only increased the ominous mood.
     "I  want you two to break the boundaries of the normal world and, using
awareness  as  an energetic  element, enter into  another,"  he said.  "This
breaking and  entering amounts to stalking the stalkers. Using awareness  as
an element of  the  environment  bypasses  the influence  of  the  inorganic
beings, but it still uses their energy."
     He  did not  want  to give me any more  information,  in order  not  to
influence me,  he said. His belief was that the less  I  knew beforehand the
better off I would be. I disagreed, but he assured me  that, in a  pinch, my
energy body was perfectly capable of taking care of itself.
     We  went from  the restaurant to  the lawyer's office. Don Juan quickly
concluded his business, and we were, in no time at all, in a taxi on our way
to  the  airport. Don Juan informed me that Carol  Tiggs  was arriving  on a
flight from Los Angeles, and that she was coming to Mexico  City exclusively
to fulfill this last dreaming task with me.
     "The valley of Mexico is a superb place to perform the kind of  sorcery
feat you are after," he commented. "You haven't  told me yet what  the exact
steps to follow are," I said.
     He didn't answer me. We did not speak any more, but while we waited for
the plane  to land, he explained the procedure I had to follow.  I had to go
to  Carol's room at the Regis Hotel, across the  street from our hotel, and,
after getting  into a state of total inner silence,  with her  I had to slip
gently into dreaming, voicing our intent to go to the realm of the inorganic
     I interrupted to remind him that I always  had to wait for  a scout  to
show up before I could manifest  out loud my intent  to go to  the inorganic
beings' world.
     Don Juan chuckled and  said, "You  haven't dreamt with Carol Tiggs yet.
You'll find out that  it's a treat.  Sorceresses don't need  any props. They
just go to that world  whenever  they want to; for them, there is a scout on
permanent call."
     I could  not bring myself to believe  that a sorceress would be able to
do what he was asserting. I thought I had a degree of expertise in  handling
the inorganic beings' world. When  I mentioned to him what was going through
my mind, he retorted that I had no expertise whatsoever when it came to what
sorceresses are capable of.
     "Why do you think I  had Carol Tiggs with me to pull you  bodily out of
that world?" he asked. "Do you think it was because she's beautiful?"
     "Why was it, don Juan?"
     "Because I couldn't do it myself; and for her, it was  nothing. She has
a knack for that world."
     "Is she an exceptional case, don Juan?"
     "Women in  general have a natural bent for that realm; sorceresses are,
of  course, the champions, but  Carol  Tiggs  is better  than  anyone I know
because she, as the nagual woman, has superb energy."
     I thought I had caught don Juan in a serious contradiction. He had told
me that the inorganic beings were not interested at all in women. Now he was
asserting the opposite.
     "No.  I'm  not asserting  the  opposite," he remarked when I confronted
him. "I've said  to you that the inorganic beings don't pursue females; they
only go after males. But I've also said to you that the inorganic beings are
female, and that  the entire universe is female to a  large  degree. So draw
your own conclusions."
     Since I  had no way to draw any conclusions, Don  Juan  explained to me
that  sorceresses, in  theory,  come and  go as  they please  in that  world
because of their enhanced awareness and their femaleness.
     "Do you know this for a fact?" I asked.
     "The  women  of  my party  have  never done that,"  he confessed,  "not
because they can't but because I dissuaded them. The women of your party, on
the other hand, do it like changing skirts."
     I felt a vacuum in my stomach. I really did not know anything about the
women of my  party. Don Juan  consoled me, saying that my circumstances were
different from his, as was my role as a nagual. He assured me that I did not
have it in me to  dissuade any of the women of my party, even  if I stood on
my head.
     As the taxi drove us to her hotel, Carol delighted don Juan and me with
her  impersonations of  people we knew. I tried to be serious and questioned
her  about our task. She mumbled some apologies for not being able to answer
me with the seriousness  I deserved. Don Juan  laughed uproariously when she
mimicked my solemn tone of voice.
     After registering  Carol at the hotel, the three of us meandered around
downtown, looking  for secondhand bookstores. We ate a light  dinner  at the
Sanborn's restaurant in the House of Tiles. About ten o'clock,  we walked to
the Regis  Hotel. We went directly to the elevator. My fear had sharpened my
capacity to perceive  details. The hotel building was  old and  massive. The
furniture in the lobby had obviously seen better  days. Yet there was still,
all around  us, something left of an old glory that had a definite appeal. I
could easily understand why Carol liked that hotel so much.
     Before we got into the  elevator, my anxiety mounted  to  such  heights
that I had to ask don Juan for last- minute instructions. "Tell me again how
we are going to proceed," I begged.
     Don Juan pulled us to the huge, ancient stuffed chairs in the lobby and
patiently explained to us that, once we were  in the world of  the inorganic
beings, we had to voice our intent to transfer our normal  awareness to  our
energy  bodies. He suggested  that  Carol and  I voice our intent  together,
although that part was  not really  important.  What was important, he said,
was that each of  us intend the transfer of the total awareness of our daily
world to our energy body.
     "How do we do this transference of awareness?" I asked.
     "Transferring awareness is purely  a  matter of voicing our intent  and
having the  necessary  amount of  energy," he said.  "Carol knows  all this.
She's  done it before.  She  entered  physically into  the inorganic beings'
world when she pulled you out of it, remember? Her energy will do the trick.
It'll tip the scales."
     "What does it mean to tip the scales? I am in limbo, don Juan."
     Don  Juan explained  that to  tip the  scales meant to add  one's total
physical mass to the energy  body.  He said that using awareness as a medium
to make the journey  into another world is not the result  of  applying  any
techniques but the corollary of intending and having enough energy. The bulk
of energy from Carol Tiggs added to mine, or  the bulk of my energy added to
Carol's, was going to make us into  one single entity, energetically capable
of pulling our physicality  and placing  it on the energy body  in  order to
make that journey.
     "What exactly  do  we have  to do in  order to  enter  into that  other
world?"  Carol asked. Her question  scared me half  to death;  I thought she
knew what was going on.
     "Your total physical mass has to be  added  to  your energy  body," don
Juan replied, looking into her eyes. "The great difficulty of this  maneuver
is  to discipline the energy body, a thing the two of you have already done.
Lack of discipline is the only reason the two of you may  fail in performing
this feat of ultimate stalking.  Sometimes,  as a  fluke, an  average person
ends  up  performing  it and  entering  into  another  world.  But  this  is
immediately explained away as insanity or hallucination."
     I  would have  given anything  in  the  world  for don Juan to continue
talking. But he put us in the  elevator, and we went up to the second floor,
to  Carol's room, despite my protests and  my  rational need  to know.  Deep
down, however, my turmoil was not so much  that I needed to know; the bottom
line was my fear. Somehow, this  sorcerers' maneuver was more frightening to
me than anything I had done so far.
     Don Juan's parting words to us were "Forget the self and you  will fear
nothing." His  grin and the  nodding of  his head were invitations to ponder
the statement.
     Carol laughed and began to clown, imitating don Juan's voice as he gave
us his cryptic instructions.  Her lisping added quite a bit of color to what
don Juan had said. Sometimes I found her lisping adorable. Most of the time,
I detested it. Fortunately, that night her lisping was hardly noticeable.
     We went  to  her  room and sat down  on  the edge of  the  bed. My last
conscious thought was  that the  bed was a  relic  from the beginning of the
century. Before I had  time to  utter  a  single word, I found  myself in  a
strange-looking  bed. Carol was with me. She half sat up  at the same time I
did. We were naked, each covered with a thin blanket.
     "What's going on?" she asked in a feeble voice.
     "Are you awake?" I asked inanely.
     "Of course I am awake," she said in an impatient tone.
     "Do you remember  where we were?" I asked. There was a long silence, as
she obviously tried to put her thoughts  in  order. "I think I  am real, but
you are not," she  finally said. "I know where I  was before this.  And  you
want to trick me."
     I thought she was doing the same thing herself. She knew what was going
on  and was  testing me or pulling  my leg. Don Juan  had  told  me that her
demons and mine  were caginess and distrust.  I was having a grand sample of
     "I refuse to be part  of any shit where you are  in control," she said.
She looked at me with  venom in her eyes. "I am  talking to you, whoever you
     She took  one of the blankets  we  had been  covered with  and  wrapped
herself with it. "I am  going to lie here and go back to where I came from,"
she said, with an air of finality. "You and the nagual go and play with each
     "You have to stop this nonsense," I said forcefully. "We are in another
     She didn't pay any attention and turned her back to me like an annoyed,
pampered  child.  I  did not  want to waste my dreaming  attention in futile
discussions of realness. I began to examine my  surroundings. The only light
in the room was moonlight  shining through the  window directly in  front of
us. We were  in  a small room,  on a high bed.  I noticed  that the bed  was
primitively  constructed.  Four thick posts  had been planted in the ground,
and the bed frame was a  lattice, made of long poles  attached to the posts.
The bed  had a thick mattress, or rather a  compact  mattress. There were no
sheets or pillows.  Filled  burlap sacks  were stacked up against the walls.
Two sacks by the foot of the bed, staggered one on top  of the other, served
as a stepladder to climb onto it.
     Looking  for a light  switch, I became aware that the high bed was in a
corner,  against the wall. Our heads were to the wall; I was  on the outside
of the bed  and  Carol on the inside. When I sat on the  edge of the bed,  I
realized that it was perhaps over three feet above the ground.
     Carol sat up suddenly and said with a heavy  lisp, "This is disgusting!
The nagual certainly didn't tell me I was going to end up like this."
     "I didn't know  it either,"  I  said. I wanted to  say more and start a
conversation, but my anxiety had grown to extravagant proportions.
     "You shut up,"  she snapped at me, her voice cracking with anger.  "You
don't exist. You're a ghost. Disappear! Disappear!"
     Her lisping was actually cute and distracted me from my obsessive fear.
I shook her by the shoulders. She yelled, not so much in pain as in surprise
or annoyance.
     "I'm not  a ghost," I said. "We made the  journey because we joined our
     Carol Tiggs  was  famous  among us for  her speed  in adapting  to  any
situation.  In  no  time at  all she was convinced  of the  realness  of our
predicament and began  to  look  for  her clothes  in  the  semidarkness.  I
marveled at the fact that she was not afraid. She became busy, reasoning out
loud where she might have put her clothes had she gone to bed in that room.
     "Do you see any chair?" she asked.
     I faintly saw a stack of three sacks  that might have served as a table
or high bench. She got out of the bed, went to it, and found her clothes and
mine,  neatly  folded, the  way  she always handled garments.  She handed my
clothes to me;  they were my clothes,  but not the ones I had been wearing a
few minutes before, in Carol's room at the Regis Hotel.
     "These are not my clothes,"  she  lisped. "And yet  they are  mine. How
     We dressed in silence. I wanted  to tell her  that I was about to burst
with anxiety.  I also wanted to comment on the speed of our journey, but, in
the time I  had  taken to dress,  the thought of our journey had become very
vague. I could hardly remember where we  had  been  before waking up in that
room.  It was as if I had dreamt the  hotel room. I made a supreme effort to
recollect,  to  push  away  the vagueness  that had  begun to envelop  me. I
succeeded  in dispelling  the  fog, but that act exhausted all  my energy. I
ended up panting and sweating.
     "Something  nearly, nearly got  me," Carol said. I looked at  her. She,
like me, was covered with perspiration. "It nearly got you  too. What do you
think it is?"
     "The position of the assemblage point," I said with absolute certainty.
     She did not agree with me. "It's the inorganic  beings collecting their
dues," she said shivering. "The nagual told  me it was going to be horrible,
but I never imagined anything this horrible."
     I was  in total agreement with her; we were in a horrifying mess, yet I
could not conceive what the horror of that situation was. Carol  and I  were
not novices;  we had seen and done  endless  things,  some of them  outright
terrifying.  But  there  was  something  in  that dream room that chilled me
beyond belief.
     "We are dreaming, aren't we?" Carol asked.
     Without hesitation, I reassured her that we were, although I would have
given anything to have don Juan there to reassure me of the same thing.
     "Why am  I  so  frightened?" she  asked  me,  as if I were  capable  of
rationally explaining it.
     Before I could formulate a  thought about it, she answered her question
herself. She said that  what frightened her was to realize, at a body level,
that perceiving is  an all-inclusive act when the  assemblage point has been
immobilized on one position. She reminded me  that don Juan had told us that
the  power our daily world has over  us  is  a result  of the fact  that our
assemblage  point is immobile on its  habitual  position. This immobility is
what makes our perception of the world so inclusive and overpowering that we
cannot escape from it. Carol also reminded me about another thing the nagual
had said: that if we want to break this totally inclusive force, all we have
to do is  dispel the fog, that is to say, displace  the  assemblage point by
intending its displacement.
     I had  never really understood what don Juan meant  until the  moment I
had to bring my assemblage  point to  another  position,  in order to dispel
that world's fog, which had begun to swallow me.
     Carol and I, without saying another word, went to the window and looked
out. We were in the country. The moonlight revealed some low, dark shapes of
dwelling  structures. By all  indications,  we were in the utility or supply
room of a farm or a big country house.
     "Do you remember going to bed here?" Carol asked.
     "I almost do," I said and meant it. I told her I had to  fight to  keep
the image of her hotel room in my mind, as a point of reference.
     "I have to do the same," she said in a frightened whisper. "I know that
if we let go of that memory, we are goners."
     Then  she asked me  if  I wanted us  to  leave that  shack and  venture
outside. I did  not. My apprehension was so acute that I was unable to voice
my words. I could only give her a signal with my head.
     "You are  so very  right not to want to go out," she said. "I have  the
feeling that if we leave this shack, we'll never make it back."
     I was going to open the door and just look outside, but she stopped me.
"Don't do that," she said. "You might let the outside in."
     The thought  that crossed  my mind at that instant was that we had been
placed inside a frail cage. Anything, such as opening  the door, might upset
the precarious balance of that cage. At the moment I had  that thought, both
of us had the same urge. We took off our clothes as if our lives depended on
that; we then jumped into the  high  bed  without  using the two sack steps,
only to jump down from it in the next instant.
     It  was  evident that  Carol and I had the same realization at the same
time. She confirmed my  assumption  when she said,  "Anything  that  we  use
belonging to this world can only weaken us. If I  stand here naked  and away
from the bed and away from the window, I don't have any  problem remembering
where I came from. But if I lie  in  that bed or wear those clothes or  look
out the window, I am done for."
     We stood in the center of the room for a long time, huddled together. A
weird  suspicion began to  fester in my mind. "How are we going to return to
our world?" I asked, expecting her to know.
     "The  reentry into our world is automatic if we don't let the  fog  set
in," she said with the air of a foremost authority, which was her trademark.
     And she was right. Carol and I woke up, at the same time, in the bed of
her room in the Regis Hotel. It was so obvious we were  back in the world of
daily  life  that  we didn't  ask questions or make  comments about  it. The
sunlight was nearly blinding.
     "How did we get back?" Carol asked. "Or rather, when did we get back?"
     I  had  no idea  what to  say  or  what to  think. I  was  too  numb to
speculate, which was all I could have done.
     "Do you think that  we just returned?" Carol  insisted. "Or maybe we've
been asleep here all night. Look! We're naked. When did we take  our clothes
     "We  took  them off in that  other world," I said and  surprised myself
with the sound of my voice.
     My answer seemed to stump Carol. She looked uncomprehendingly at me and
then at her own naked body.
     We sat there  without moving for an endless time. Both  of us seemed to
be deprived of volition. But then, quite abruptly,  we had the  same thought
at  exactly  the  same time. We got  dressed in record time,  ran out of the
room,  went down two flights of stairs, crossed the street,  and rushed into
don Juan's hotel.
     Inexplicably and excessively out of  breath,  since we  had  not really
exerted  ourselves physically, we  took turns explaining to him what we  had
done. He  confirmed our  conjectures.  "What you two did was  about the most
dangerous thing one can imagine," he said.
     He addressed  Carol and told her that our attempt had been both a total
success and a fiasco. We  had succeeded in transferring our awareness of the
daily world  to  our energy  bodies,  thus making  the journey with  all our
physicality, but we  had failed in avoiding the influence of  the  inorganic
beings.  He said that ordinarily dreamers experience the whole maneuver as a
series of slow transitions, and that they have to voice their intent to  use
awareness as an element. In our case, all  those steps were  dispensed with.
Because  of the intervention  of  the inorganic beings, the two  of  us  had
actually been hurled into a deadly world with a most terrifying speed.
     "It  wasn't your  combined energy that made your journey possible,"  he
continued. "Something else did  that. It even selected  adequate clothes for
     "Do  you  mean,  nagual, that  the clothes and  the  bed  and  the room
happened  only  because  we were  being run by the inorganic  beings?" Carol
     "You  bet your  life,"  he replied.  "Ordinarily,  dreamers are  merely
voyeurs. The way your  journey  turned out, you  two got a ringside seat and
lived the old sorcerers' damnation. What happened to them was precisely what
happened to you. The inorganic beings took them  to  worlds from which  they
could  not  return. I should  have known, but it didn't even enter  my mind,
that the  inorganic beings would  take  over and try to set up the same trap
for you two."
     "Do you mean they wanted to keep us there?" Carol asked.
     "If  you  had  gotten  outside  that  shack, you'd  now  be  meandering
hopelessly in that world," don Juan said.
     He explained  that  since  we  entered into  that  world  with  all our
physicality,  the  fixation  of  our  assemblage   points  on  the  position
preselected by the  inorganic beings was  so overpowering that it created  a
sort of fog that obliterated any  memory of the world we came from. He added
that  the  natural consequence  of such an immobility, as in the case of the
sorcerers of antiquity, is that the dreamer's assemblage point cannot return
to its habitual position.
     "Think  about this,"  he  urged us. "Perhaps this is  exactly  what  is
happening to  all of us in the world of  daily life.  We  are  here, and the
fixation of our  assemblage  point  is so overpowering that it  has  made us
forget where we came from, and what our purpose was for coming here."
     Don Juan did not want to say any more about our journey. I felt that he
was sparing us further discomfort and fear. He  took us to eat a late lunch.
By the  time  we reached the restaurant, a couple of  blocks down  Francisco
Madero Avenue, it was  six o'clock  in the afternoon. Carol and I had slept,
if that is what we did, about eighteen hours.
     Only don Juan was hungry. Carol  remarked with a touch of anger that he
was eating like a pig. Quite a few heads turned  in our direction on hearing
don Juan's laughter.
     It was a  warm  night. The  sky was clear. There  was a soft, caressing
breeze as we sat down on a bench in the Paseo Alameda.
     "There is  a  question that's burning me," Carol  said to don Juan. "We
didn't use awareness as a medium for traveling, right?"
     "That's true," don Juan said and sighed  deeply. "The task was to sneak
by the inorganic beings, not be run by them."
     "What's going to happen now?" she asked.
     "You are  going  to postpone stalking  the  stalkers until you  two are
stronger,"  he said.  "Or perhaps  you'll  never accomplish  it. It  doesn't
really matter;  if one  thing doesn't  work,  another  will.  Sorcery  is an
endless challenge."
     He  explained to us again, as if he  were trying to fix his explanation
in  our  minds,  that  in  order  to  use  awareness as  an  element  of the
environment, dreamers  first have to make a journey to the inorganic beings'
realm. Then they have to use that journey as a  springboard, and, while they
are  in possession of the necessary dark energy, they  have  to intend to be
hurled through the medium of awareness into another world.
     "The  failure  of  your  trip was  that  you  didn't  have time to  use
awareness as an element for traveling," he went on. "Before  you even got to
the inorganic beings' world, you two were already in another world."
     "What do you recommend we do?"  Carol asked. "I recommend that you  see
as little  of each  other  as possible,"  he said. "I'm  sure  the inorganic
beings  will not  pass up the opportunity to get you two, especially if  you
join forces."
     So Carol Tiggs and I deliberately stayed away from each other from then
on. The prospect that we might  inadvertently elicit  a  similar journey was
too  great a risk for us. Don Juan encouraged our decision by repeating over
and over that we had enough combined energy to tempt the inorganic beings to
lure us again.
     Don  Juan  brought  my  dreaming  practices  back to seeing  energy  in
energy-generating dreamlike states. In the course of  time, I saw everything
that presented itself to me.  I  entered in this manner into a most peculiar
state:  I  became  incapable  of  rendering  intelligently what  I  saw.  My
sensation was always that I had reached states of perception for which I had
no lexicon.
     Don Juan explained my incomprehensible and indescribable visions as  my
energy body  using awareness as an  element  not for  journeying, because  I
never had  enough  energy,  but  for entering  into  the  energy  fields  of
inanimate matter or of living beings.

     There were no more dreaming  practices for me, as  I was accustomed  to
having them.  The  next time I saw don Juan, he put me under the guidance of
two women of his party: Florinda and Zuleica, his two closest cohorts. Their
instruction  was not  at all about the gates of dreaming but about different
ways  to  use  the energy  body,  and it  did  not last long  enough  to  be
influential. They  gave me the impression that  they were more interested in
checking me out than in teaching me anything.
     "There is nothing else I can teach  you about dreaming," don Juan  said
when I questioned him about this state of affairs. "My time on this earth is
up. But Florinda will stay. She's the one who will  direct, not only you but
all my other apprentices."
     "Will she continue my dreaming practices?"
     "I don't know that,  and neither does she. It's  all  up to the spirit.
The real player. We are not players ourselves.  We are  mere  pawns  in  its
hands.  Following the commands  of the spirit, I have  to tell you what  the
fourth gate of dreaming is, although I can't guide you anymore."
     "What's the point of whetting my appetite? I'd rather not know."
     "The spirit is  not leaving  that up to me or to you. I have to outline
the fourth gate of dreaming for you, whether I like it or not."
     Don  Juan explained that,  at  the fourth gate of dreaming, the  energy
body travels to specific, concrete places and that there  are three ways  of
using the fourth gate: one, to travel to 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. He stated that the last one
is the most  difficult and dangerous of the  three and was,  by far, the old
sorcerers' predilection.
     "What do you want me to do with this knowledge?" I asked.
     "Nothing for the moment. File it away until you need it."
     "Do you mean that I can cross the fourth gate by myself, without help?"
     "Whether or not you can do that is up to the spirit."
     He  abruptly  dropped  the subject,  but  he did not leave  me with the
sensation that I should try to reach and cross the fourth gate by myself.
     Don Juan then made one last  appointment with me to give me, he said, a
sorcerers' send-off: the concluding touch of my dreaming practices. He  told
me  to  meet him  in  the small  town  in southern Mexico where  he  and his
sorcerer companions lived.
     I arrived there in the late afternoon. Don Juan and  I sat in the patio
of his house on some uncomfortable wicker chairs fitted with thick, oversize
pillows. Don Juan laughed and winked at me. The chairs were a  gift from one
of  the women members of  his party, and we simply had to sit as  if nothing
was  bothering us, especially him.  The chairs  had been  bought for him  in
Phoenix, Arizona, and with great difficulty brought into Mexico.
     Don Juan asked me to read to him a poem  by Dylan Thomas, which he said
had the most pertinent meaning for me at that point in time.

     I have longed to move away
     From the hissing of the spent lie
     And the old terrors' continual cry
     Growing more terrible as the day
     Goes over the hill into the deep sea. . . .

     I have longed to move away but am afraid;
     Some life, yet unspent, might explode
     Out of the old lie burning on the ground,
     And, crackling into the air, leave me half-blind.

     Don Juan stood up and  said that he was  going for a walk in the plaza,
in the center of town. He asked me to come along. I immediately assumed that
the poem had evoked a negative response in him and he needed to dispel it.
     We  reached the square  plaza without  having  said a  word. We  walked
around it a couple of times, still not talking. There were quite a number of
people, milling  around the stores  on the streets facing the east and north
sides of the park. All the streets around the plaza were unevenly paved. The
houses   were  massive,  one-story  adobe   buildings,  with  tiled   roofs,
whitewashed walls,  and  blue  or brown painted doors.  On a side  street, a
block away from  the plaza,  the high walls of the enormous colonial church,
which looked like a Moorish mosque,  loomed ominously  over the roof of  the
only hotel in  town.  On the south side, there were two  restaurants,  which
inexplicably   coexisted  side  by   side,  doing  good  business,   serving
practically the same menu at the same prices.
     I broke the silence  and asked don  Juan whether  he  also found it odd
that both restaurants were just about the same.
     "Everything is possible in this town," he replied.
     The way he said it made me feel uneasy.
     "Why are you so nervous?" he asked,  with a serious expression. "Do you
know something you're not telling me?"
     "Why  am I nervous? That's a laugh. I am always nervous around you, don
Juan. Sometimes more so than others."
     He seemed to be making a serious effort  not to laugh. "Naguals are not
really the most friendly beings on earth," he said in  a tone of apology. "I
learned this  the  hard way, being  pitted  against my teacher, the terrible
nagual Julian. His mere presence used to scare the daylights out  of me. And
when he used to zero in  on me, I always thought my life wasn't worth a plug
     "Unquestionably, don Juan, you have the same effect on me."
     He  laughed  openly. "No,  no.  You are definitely exaggerating. I'm an
angel in comparison."
     "You may be an angel in comparison, except that I don't have the nagual
Julian to compare you with."
     He laughed for a moment, then became serious again.
     "I don't know why, but I definitely feel scared," I explained.
     "Do  you  feel  you have  reason  to  be scared?"  he asked and stopped
walking to peer at me.
     His  tone  of voice and his  raised eyebrows gave  me the impression he
suspected that I knew  something  I was not revealing to him. He was clearly
expecting a disclosure on my part.
     "Your insistence  makes me wonder," I said. "Are you sure  you  are not
the one who has something up his sleeve?"
     "I do  have something up  my  sleeve," he  admitted  and  grinned. "But
that's  not  the issue. The issue  is  that there  is something in this town
awaiting you. And you don't quite  know what it is or you do know what it is
but don't dare to tell me, or you don't know anything about it at all."
     "What's waiting for me here?"
     Instead of answering me, don Juan briskly  resumed his  walking, and we
kept going around the plaza in complete silence.  We circled it quite a  few
times, looking for a place to sit. Then,  a group of young women got up from
a bench and left.
     "For years now, I have been describing to you the aberrant practices of
the sorcerers of ancient Mexico," don  Juan said as he sat down on the bench
and gestured for me to sit by him.
     With the  fervor of  someone who has never said it before, he began  to
tell me again what  he had told  me many times, that those sorcerers, guided
by  extremely  selfish  interests, put  all  their efforts  into  perfecting
practices that pushed  them further and further away from sobriety or mental
balance, and that they were finally exterminated when their complex edifices
of beliefs  and practices  became so  cumbersome  that they could  no longer
support them.
     "The sorcerers  of antiquity, of course, lived and proliferated in this
area," he said,  watching my  reaction.  "Here in  this  town. This town was
built on the actual foundations of one of  their towns. Here  in  this area,
the sorcerers of antiquity carried on all their dealings."
     "Do you know this for a fact, don Juan?"
     "I do, and so will you, very soon."
     My mounting anxiety was forcing me to do something I detested: to focus
on myself. Don Juan, sensing my frustration, egged me on.
     "Very soon,  we'll  know  whether  or not you're  really like  the  old
sorcerers or like the new ones," he said.
     "You are driving me nuts with all  this strange  and  ominous  talk," I
     Being  with don  Juan  for thirteen years  had  conditioned  me,  above
everything else, to conceive of panic as something that  was just around the
corner at all times, ready to be released.
     Don Juan seemed to  vacillate.  I noticed  his furtive  glances in  the
direction of  the church. He was even distracted.  When I  talked to him, he
was  not  listening.  I had  to  repeat  my  question. "Are you waiting  for
     "Yes, I  am," he  said.  "Most certainly I am. I was  just  sensing the
surroundings. You caught me  in the act of scanning the area with my  energy
     "What did you sense, don Juan?"
     "My  energy body senses  that  everything  is in place. The play is  on
tonight. You are the main protagonist.  I am a character actor with  a small
but meaningful role. I exit in the first act."
     "What in the world are you talking about?"
     He did not answer me. He  smiled knowingly. "I'm preparing the ground,"
he said. "Warming you up, so to  speak,  harping on the idea that modern-day
sorcerers have learned a hard lesson. They have realized  that  only if they
remain totally detached can they have  the  energy  to be  free. Theirs is a
peculiar type of detachment, which is born not out of fear or  indolence but
out of conviction."
     Don Juan paused and  stood up,  stretched his arms in front of him,  to
his  sides, and then behind him. "Do the same," he  advised  me. "It relaxes
the body,  and  you have to  be very  relaxed  to face what's coming to  you
tonight." He  smiled broadly. "Either total detachment or utter indulging is
coming to you tonight. It  is a choice that every nagual in my  line  has to
make." He sat  down again and took a deep breath. What he had said seemed to
have taken all his energy.
     "I  think I  can  understand  detachment  and  indulging," he  went on,
"because I  had  the  privilege of knowing  two naguals: my benefactor,  the
nagual Julian,  and  his  benefactor, the  nagual  Elias.  I  witnessed  the
difference  between the two. The nagual Elias was detached to the point that
he could put aside a gift of power. The nagual Julian was also detached, but
not enough to put aside such a gift."
     "Judging by the way you're talking," I said, "I would say that you  are
going to spring some sort of test on me tonight. Is that true?"
     "I  don't have the power to spring tests  of any sort on you,  but  the
spirit does." He said this with a grin, then added, "I am merely its agent."
     "What is the spirit going to do to me, don Juan?"
     "All  I can  say  is that  tonight  you're going to  get  a  lesson  in
dreaming, the way lessons in dreaming used  to be, but you are  not going to
get that lesson  from me. Someone else is going to be your teacher and guide
you tonight."
     "Who is going to be my teacher and guide?"
     "A visitor, who might be a horrendous surprise to you or no surprise at
     "And what's the lesson in dreaming I am going to get?"
     "It's  a lesson about the  fourth gate of dreaming.  And it  is  in two
parts. The first part  I'll explain to you presently. The second part nobody
can explain  to you, because it is something that pertains only to you.  All
the naguals of my line got this two-part lesson, but no two of those lessons
were alike; they  were tailored  to fit those  naguals'  personal  bents  of
     "Your  explanation doesn't help me at all, don Juan. I am getting  more
and more nervous."
     We remained quiet  for a long moment. I was shaken  up and  fidgety and
did not know what else to say without actually nagging.
     "As you  already know,  for  modern-day  sorcerers to  perceive  energy
directly is a matter of personal attainment,"  don Juan  said. "We  maneuver
the  assemblage  point  through self-discipline. For the  old sorcerers, the
displacement of the assemblage point was a  consequence of their subjugation
to others, their teachers, who accomplished those displacements through dark
operations and gave them to their disciples as gifts of power.
     "It's possible for someone with greater energy than ours to do anything
to us," he went on. For example, the nagual Julian could have turned me into
anything he wanted, a fiend or a saint. But he was an impeccable nagual  and
let me be myself. The old  sorcerers were not that impeccable, and, by means
of  their ceaseless  efforts  to  gain control over others,  they  created a
situation  of darkness  and  terror  that  was  passed  on from  teacher  to
     He  stood  up  and swept his gaze  all around us. "As you can see, this
town isn't much," he continued,  "but  it has a  unique fascination for  the
warriors of my line. Here lies  the  source of what we are and the source of
what we don't want to be.
     "Since I am at the end of my time, I must pass on to you certain ideas,
recount to you certain stories,  put you in touch with certain beings, right
here in this town, exactly as my benefactor did with me."
     Don Juan said that he was  reiterating something I already was familiar
with,  that whatever he  was  and everything he  knew were a legacy from his
teacher,  the  nagual  Julian.  He  in  turn inherited  everything from  his
teacher, the nagual Elias. The nagual Elias from the nagual Rosendo; he from
the nagual  Lujan; the nagual Lujan  from the  nagual  Santisteban; and  the
nagual Santisteban from the nagual Sebastian.
     He told  me again, in a very formal tone, something he had explained to
me  many  times  before, that  there  were eight naguals  before  the nagual
Sebastian, but that they were quite different. They had a different attitude
toward sorcery, a different concept of it, although they were still directly
related to his sorcery lineage.
     "You must recollect now,  and repeat to  me,  everything I've told  you
about the nagual Sebastian," he demanded.
     His request seemed odd to me, but I repeated everything I had been told
by  him  or by  any  of his companions about the nagual  Sebastian  and  the
mythical old sorcerer, the death defier, known to them as the tenant.
     "You  know that  the  death  defier  makes  us  gifts  of  power  every
generation," don Juan said. "And the specific nature of those gifts of power
is what changed the course of our lineage."
     He explained that the tenant, being a sorcerer from the old school, had
learned from his  teachers all the  intricacies of  shifting his  assemblage
point.  Since  he  had  perhaps thousands  of  years  of  strange  life  and
awareness-ample time to perfect anything - he knew now how to reach and hold
hundreds, if not thousands, of  positions of the assemblage point. His gifts
were like both maps for shifting the assemblage point  to specific spots and
manuals on how to  immobilize it on any of those positions and  thus acquire
     Don Juan  was at the peak of his raconteur's form. I had never seen him
more dramatic. If I had not known him  better, I would have sworn  that  his
voice  had the  deep and worried inflection of  someone  gripped  by fear or
preoccupation.  His  gestures  gave  me  the  impression  of  a  good  actor
portraying nervousness and concern to perfection.
     Don Juan peered at  me, and, in the tone and manner of someone making a
painful revelation,  he said that, for  instance, the  nagual Lujan received
from the tenant a gift of fifty  positions. He  shook his head rhythmically,
as if he  were silently asking me to consider what he had  just said. I kept
     "Fifty positions!" he exclaimed in wonder. "For a  gift, one or, at the
most, two positions of the assemblage point should be more than adequate."
     He shrugged his shoulders, gesturing bewilderment. "I was told that the
tenant liked the nagual Lujan immensely," he continued. "They struck up such
a close friendship that they were practically  inseparable.  I was told that
the  nagual Lujan and the tenant used to stroll into the  church over  there
every morning for early mass."
     "Right here, in this town?" I asked, in total surprise.
     "Right here," he replied. "Possibly they sat down on this very spot, on
another bench, over a hundred years ago."
     "The  nagual Lujan and the tenant really walked in this plaza?" I asked
again, unable to overcome my surprise.
     "You  bet!" he exclaimed.  "I brought you here tonight because the poem
you were reading to me cued me that it was time for you to meet the tenant."
     Panic overtook me with the speed of wildfire. I had to breathe  through
my mouth for a moment.
     "We have been discussing  the strange accomplishments of  the sorcerers
of ancient times," don Juan continued. "But it's always hard when one has to
talk exclusively  in  idealities, without  any  firsthand  knowledge.  I can
repeat to  you from now until doomsday something that is crystal clear to me
but impossible for you  to understand or believe, because you don't have any
practical knowledge of it."
     He stood up and gazed  at me from head to toe. "Let's go to church," he
said. "The  tenant likes the  church and its surroundings. I'm positive this
is the moment to go there."
     Very few times in the course of my association with don Juan had I felt
such apprehension. I  was numb. My entire body trembled when  I stood up. My
stomach was tied in knots, yet I followed him  without a word when he headed
for  the  church, my knees wobbling and sagging involuntarily  every time  I
took a step. By the time we had walked the short block from the plaza to the
limestone  steps of the church  portico, I was  about to faint. Don Juan put
his arm around my shoulders to prop me up.
     "There's the  tenant," he said as casually as if he had just spotted an
old friend.
     I looked in the direction he was pointing and saw a group of five women
and three men at the far end of the portico. My fast and panicked glance did
not  register  anything unusual about  those  people.  I couldn't  even tell
whether they  were going  into the church or coming out  of  it. I  noticed,
though, that they seemed to be congregated there accidentally. They were not
together. By the time don Juan  and I reached the small door, cut out in the
church's massive wooden portals,  three  women  had entered the church.  The
three men and the other two women were  walking away. I experienced a moment
of  confusion  and  looked  at don Juan for  directions.  He pointed with  a
movement of his chin to the holy water font.
     "We must observe the rules and cross ourselves," he whispered.
     "Where's the tenant?" I asked,  also in a whisper. Don  Juan dipped the
tips of  his fingers in  the basin  and made the sign  of the cross. With an
imperative gesture of the chin, he urged me to do the same.
     "Was  the  tenant one of the three men who left?" I whispered nearly in
his ear.
     "No," he  whispered  back.  "The tenant is one  of  the three women who
stayed. The one in the back row."
     At that  moment, a woman in  the back row turned her  head  toward  me,
smiled, and nodded at me.
     I reached the door in one jump and ran out.
     Don Juan ran after me. With incredible agility, he overtook me and held
me by the arm.
     "Where  are you  going?" he  asked,  his face  and body contorting with
     He held  me  firmly by  the arm as  I took big  gulps  of  air.  I  was
veritably choking.  Peals  of laughter came out of him, like ocean waves.  I
forcefully pulled away and walked toward the plaza. He followed me.
     "I never imagined you were  going  to  get so upset,"  he said,  as new
waves of laughter shook his body.
     "Why didn't you tell me that the tenant is a woman?"
     "That sorcerer in there is the death defier,"  he  said solemnly.  "For
such a  sorcerer, so versed in the shifts of  the assemblage point, to be  a
man or a woman is  a matter of choice or convenience. This is the first part
of the lesson in dreaming I said you were going to get. And the death defier
is the mysterious visitor who's going to guide you through it."
     He held his sides as laughter made him cough. I was  speechless. Then a
sudden fury possessed me. I was not mad at  don Juan or  myself or anyone in
particular. It was a cold fury, which made me feel as if my chest and all my
neck muscles were going to explode.
     "Let's go back to the church," I shouted, and I didn't recognize my own
     "Now, now,"  he said softly. "You don't have to jump into the fire just
like  that. Think. Deliberate. Measure things up. Cool that  mind  of yours.
Never in your life have you been put to such a test. You need calmness now.
     "I can't tell you  what  to do," he continued. "I  can only,  like  any
other  nagual,  put you  in front of your challenge,  after  telling you, in
quite  oblique terms, everything that is  pertinent. This is  another of the
nagual's maneuvers: to  say everything without saying  it or  to ask without
     I wanted to get it over with quickly. But don Juan said that a moment's
pause would restore  whatever  was left of my  self-assurance. My knees were
about to give in. Solicitously, don  Juan made me sit  down on the  curb. He
sat next to me.
     "The first part of the dreaming lesson in question is that maleness and
femaleness are not final  states but  are  the result of  a specific  act of
positioning  the assemblage point," he said. "And this act  is, naturally, a
matter  of volition  and  training. Since it was a  subject close to the old
sorcerers' hearts, they are the only ones who can shed light on it."
     Perhaps  because it was the only rational thing to do, I began to argue
with  don  Juan. "I can't accept or believe what you are saying," I  said. I
felt heat rising to my face.
     "But you saw the woman," don Juan retorted. "Do  you  think that all of
this is a trick?"
     "I don't know what to think."
     "That being in  the church  is  a real woman," he said forcefully. "Why
should that  be so  disturbing to you? The fact  that  she was  born  a  man
attests only to the power of the old sorcerers' machinations. This shouldn't
surprise you. You have already embodied all the principles of sorcery."
     My  insides were  about to burst with tension. In an accusing tone, don
Juan said that I was just being argumentative. With forced patience but real
pomposity,  I explained to him the  biological  foundation  of  maleness and
     "I understand  all  that,"  he said. "And  you're right in  what you're
saying. Your flaw is to try to make your assessments universal."
     "What we're talking about are basic principles," I shouted. "They'll be
pertinent to man here or in any other place in the universe."
     "True. True," he said in a quiet voice. "Everything you  say is true as
long  as our assemblage  point  remains on  its  habitual position. But  the
moment it is  displaced beyond certain boundaries and our daily  world is no
longer  in function, none of the principles you cherish has  the total value
you're talking about.
     "Your mistake is to forget that the death defier  has transcended those
boundaries thousands upon thousands  of  times.  It doesn't take a genius to
realize that the tenant is no  longer bound by the same forces that bind you
     I told him that  my quarrel, if it could be  called a quarrel,  was not
with him but with accepting the practical side of sorcery, which, up to that
moment, had been so farfetched that it had never posed a real problem to me.
I reiterated that, as a dreamer, it was  within my experience to attest that
in  dreaming anything is  possible.  I  reminded  him  that  he himself  had
sponsored  and  cultivated  this  conviction,  together  with  the  ultimate
necessity for soundness of mind. What he was proposing as  the tenant's case
was  not sane. It  was a subject only  for  dreaming,  certainly not for the
daily world.  I let  him know  that to me it was an abhorrent  and untenable
     "Why this violent reaction?" he asked with a smile.
     His question  caught  me  off  guard.  I felt embarrassed. "I  think it
threatens  me at the core," I admitted. And  I meant  it. To think that  the
woman in the church was a man was somehow nauseating to me.
     A thought  played in  my  mind: perhaps the tenant is a transvestite. I
queried don Juan,  in earnest, about this possibility. He laughed so hard he
seemed about to get ill.
     "That's  too mundane  a possibility," he said.  "Maybe your old friends
would  do  such  a  thing. Your  new ones  are  more  resourceful  and  less
masturbatory.  I repeat. That being in the church  is a woman. It is a  she.
And  she  has  all  the  organs  and attributes  of  a  female."  He  smiled
maliciously  "You've always been attracted to women, haven't  you? It  seems
that this situation has been tailored just for you."
     His mirth was so intense and childlike that it  was contagious. We both
laughed. He, with total abandon. I, with total apprehension.
     I  came to  a decision then. I stood up and said out loud that I had no
desire to deal with the tenant in any form or shape. My choice was to bypass
all this business and go back to don Juan's house and then home.
     Don Juan said that my decision was perfectly all right with him, and we
started  back to his house. My thoughts raced wildly.  Am  I doing the right
thing? Am I running away  out of fear? Of course, I immediately rationalized
my decision as the right and unavoidable one. After all, I assured myself, I
was  not  interested  in acquisitions, and  the  tenant's  gifts  were  like
acquiring property. Then doubt  and curiosity  hit me.  There  were so  many
questions I could have asked the death defier.
     My heart  began  to  pound  so intensely I  felt it beating against  my
stomach.  The pounding suddenly  changed into the emissary's voice. It broke
its  promise  not  to  interfere  and  said  that  an  incredible  force was
accelerating my heart beat in order to drive me back to the church; to  walk
toward don Juan's house was to walk toward my death.
     I stopped walking and hurriedly confronted don Juan with the emissary's
words. "Is this true?" I asked.
     "I am afraid it is," he admitted sheepishly.
     "Why didn't  you tell me yourself, don Juan?  Were you going to  let me
die because you think I am a coward?" I asked in a furious mood.
     "You were not going to die just like that. Your energy body has endless
resources. And it had  never occurred  to  me  to  think you're  a coward. I
respect your decisions, and I don't give a damn about what motivates them.
     "You are  at the end of the  road, just like  me. So be a true  nagual.
Don't be  ashamed of what you are.  If you were a coward, I think  you would
have died of fright years ago. But if  you're too afraid  to  meet the death
defier, then die rather than face him. There is no shame in that."
     "Let's go back to the church," I said, as calmly as I could. "Now we're
getting to the crux of the matter!" don Juan exclaimed. "But first, let's go
back to the  park  and  sit down  on a  bench  and  carefully consider  your
options. We  can spare the time; besides, it's too early for the business at
     We walked  back to the park and  immediately found  an unoccupied bench
and sat down.
     "You have to  understand that only you, yourself, can make the decision
to  meet  or  not to  meet  the tenant or to accept or reject his  gifts  of
power," don Juan  said. "But your decision has to be voiced  to the woman in
the church, face to face and alone; otherwise it won't be valid."
     Don  Juan  said that the tenant's gifts were extraordinary but that the
price for  them  was tremendous.  And  that  he himself did  not  approve of
either, the gifts or the price.
     "Before  you make your real decision," don Juan continued, "you have to
know all the details of our transactions with that sorcerer."
     "I'd rather not hear about this anymore, don Juan," I pleaded.
     "It's your duty to  know," he said. "How else are you going  to make up
your mind?"
     "Don't you think  that the less I  know about the tenant the better off
I'll be?"
     "No. This is  not a matter  of hiding until the danger is over. This is
the  moment  of  truth.  Everything  you've  done  and  experienced  in  the
sorcerers'  world has channeled you  to this spot. I didn't  want to say it,
because  I knew your energy body was going to tell you, but there is no  way
to get  out  of this appointment. Not even by dying. Do  you understand?" He
shook me by the shoulders. "Do you understand?" he repeated.
     I understood so  well that I asked him  if it would be possible for him
to make  me change levels of awareness  in  order  to alleviate my fear  and
discomfort. He nearly made me jump with the explosion of his no.
     "You  must  face  the  death  defier  in  coldness  and  with  ultimate
premeditation," he went on. "And you can't do this by proxy."
     Don Juan calmly began to repeat everything he had already told me about
the death defier. As he talked, I realized that part of my confusion was the
result of his use of words.  He rendered "death  defier"  in Spanish  as  el
desafiante  de  la muerte, and  "tenant" as  el  inquilino,  both  of  which
automatically denote  a male. But in describing the relationship between the
tenant  and  the  naguals  of  his  line,  don  Juan  kept  on  mixing   the
Spanish-language  male  and  female  gender  denotation,  creating  a  great
confusion in me.
     He said that the tenant was supposed to pay for the energy he took from
the naguals  of our  lineage,  but  that whatever he  paid  has  bound those
sorcerers for generations. As payment for  the energy  taken from all  those
naguals,  the woman in the church taught them exactly what to do to displace
their  assemblage point to some specific  positions, which  she  herself had
chosen.  In  other words,  she bound every one  of those men with  a gift of
power consisting of a preselected, specific position of the assemblage point
and  all its implications. "What do you mean  by 'all its implications,' don
     "I mean  the negative results of  those gifts.  The woman in the church
knows only of indulging. There is no frugality, no temperance in that woman.
For  instance,  she  taught the nagual Julian how to arrange his  assemblage
point to be, just like her, a woman. Teaching this to my benefactor, who was
an incurable voluptuary, was like giving booze to a drunkard."
     "But isn't it up to each one of us to be responsible for what we do?"
     "Yes, indeed. However, some of us have more  difficulty than others  in
being  responsible. To augment that difficulty  deliberately,  as that woman
does, is to put too much unnecessary pressure on us."
     "How do you know the woman in the church does this deliberately?"
     "She has done it to every  one of the naguals of my line. If we look at
ourselves fairly and squarely, we  have to admit  that the  death defier has
made  us,  with  his  gifts,  into  a  line  of  very  indulging,  dependent
     I  could not overlook  his inconsistency of language  usage any longer,
and I complained to him. "You have  to speak about that sorcerer as either a
male or a female, but not as both," I said harshly. "I'm too stiff, and your
arbitrary use of gender makes me all the more uneasy."
     "I am  very uneasy  myself," he  confessed. "But  the truth is that the
death defier  is both: male and  female. I've never been able  to take  that
sorcerer's change with grace. I was sure you would feel the same way, having
seen him as a man first."
     Don Juan reminded me of a  time,  years before, when he took me to meet
the death defier and I met a man,  a strange Indian who was not old but  not
young  either  and was very  slightly built. I  remember mostly  his strange
accent  and his  use of one odd metaphor when describing things he allegedly
had seen. He said, mis ojos se pasearon, my eyes walked on. For instance, he
said, "My eyes walked on the helmets of the Spanish conquerors."
     The event was  so fleeting in my mind that  I had  always  thought  the
meeting  had  lasted only a few minutes. Don  Juan later told me that  I had
been gone with the death defier for a whole day.
     "The reason I was trying to find out from  you earlier whether you knew
what was going on," don Juan  continued,  "was because  I thought that years
ago you had made an appointment with the death defier yourself."
     "You were giving  me undue credit, don Juan. In this instance, I really
don't know whether  I am  coming or going. But what gave you the idea that I
     "The death defier seemed to have taken a liking to you. And  that meant
to me that he  might have already given you  a gift of power,  although  you
didn't remember it.  Or he might have set up your appointment with him, as a
woman. I even suspected she had given you precise directions."
     Don Juan remarked that the death defier, being definitely a creature of
ritual habits, always met the naguals of his line first as a man, as it  had
happened with the nagual Sebastian, and subsequently as a woman.
     "Why do you call the death defier's gifts, gifts of power? And why  the
mystery?"  I asked.  "You  yourself can displace your  assemblage  point  to
whatever spot you want, isn't that so?"
     "They  are  called  gifts of power because  they are  products  of  the
specialized knowledge of the sorcerers of antiquity," he  said. "The mystery
about the gifts is  that  no one on  this earth,  with the  exception of the
death defier, can  give us a sample of that knowledge. And, of course, I can
displace  my assemblage  point  to  whatever spot I want, inside  or outside
man's energy shape. But what  I can't do, and only the  death defier can, is
to know what  to do with my energy body in each one of those  spots in order
to get total perception, total cohesion."
     He  explained, then, that  modern-day sorcerers do not know the details
of  the thousands  upon thousands  of  possible positions  of the assemblage
     "What do you mean by details?" I asked.
     "Particular  ways of treating the energy body  in order to maintain the
assemblage point fixed on specific positions," he replied.
     He took himself as an example. He said that the death defier's  gift of
power to him had been the position of the assemblage point of a crow and the
procedures to manipulate his  energy body  to get the total  perception of a
crow.  Don Juan explained that total perception, total cohesion was what the
old  sorcerers sought at any cost,  and that, in the case of his own gift of
power, total  perception came to him by means of a deliberate process he had
to learn, step by step, as one learns to work a very complex machine.
     Don Juan further explained that most of the shifts modern-day sorcerers
experience  are mild  shifts  within a  thin  bundle  of  energetic luminous
filaments  inside  the luminous egg, a bundle called the band of man, or the
purely human  aspect  of the universe's energy.  Beyond that band, but still
within the  luminous  egg,  lies  the realm of the grand  shifts.  When  the
assemblage  point  shifts  to  any  spot  on that area,  perception is still
comprehensible to us, but extremely  detailed  procedures  are  required for
perception to be total.
     "The  inorganic beings tricked you and Carol Tiggs in your last journey
by helping you two  to get total cohesion on a grand shift,"  don Juan said.
"They displaced your assemblage  points to  the farthest possible spot, then
helped  you perceive  there as  if you  were in  your daily world.  A nearly
impossible  thing. To do  that type of perceiving a sorcerer needs pragmatic
knowledge, or influential friends.
     "Your friends would have betrayed you in the end and left you and Carol
to fend for yourselves and learn pragmatic measures in order  to  survive in
that  world.  You  two would have ended filled  to  the brim  with pragmatic
procedures, just like those most knowledgeable  old  sorcerers. "Every grand
shift has different inner  workings," he continued, "which modern  sorcerers
could learn if they knew  how to fixate  the assemblage point long enough at
any  grand shift. Only  the sorcerers  of  ancient times  had  the  specific
knowledge required to do this."
     Don Juan went  on  to say  that the  knowledge  of specific  procedures
involved in shifts  was  not available to the eight naguals who preceded the
nagual  Sebastian, and  that the tenant showed the nagual  Sebastian  how to
achieve total perception on ten new  positions of the assemblage point.  The
nagual  Santisteban  received seven, the  nagual  Lujan  fifty,  the  nagual
Rosendo six,  the nagual Elias four, the nagual Julian  sixteen,  and he was
shown  two; that  made  a  total  of  ninety-five specific  positions of the
assemblage point that his lineage knew about.  He said that  if  I asked him
whether he considered this an advantage to his lineage, he would have to say
no, because the weight of those gifts put them  closer to the old sorcerers'
     "Now it's  your turn to meet the tenant,"  he continued.  "Perhaps  the
gifts he will give you  will offset our total balance  and our lineage  will
plunge into the darkness that finished off the old sorcerers."
     "This is  so  horribly  serious,  it's  sickening,"  I  said.  "I  most
sincerely  sympathize  with you," he retorted with  a serious expression. "I
know it's no consolation to you if I  say that this is the toughest trial of
a modern  nagual. To face something  so old and mysterious as  the tenant is
not awe-inspiring but revolting. At least it was to me, and still is."
     "Why do I have to continue with it, don Juan?"
     "Because, without  knowing it, you accepted the death defier challenge.
I drew an acceptance from you in the course  of  your apprenticeship, in the
same manner my teacher drew one from me, surreptitiously.
     "I went through the same horror, only a little more brutally than you."
He began  to chuckle. "The  nagual Julian  was  given to  playing horrendous
jokes.  He told me that there was  a very beautiful and passionate widow who
was madly in love with me. The nagual used to take me to church often, and I
had seen the woman staring  at  me. I thought she was  a good-looking woman.
And I  was a horny young man. When the nagual said that she liked me, I fell
for it. My awakening was very rude."
     I had to fight not to laugh  at don Juan's  gesture  of lost innocence.
Then the idea of his predicament hit me, as being not funny but ghastly.
     "Are  you sure,  don  Juan, that that  woman is  the tenant?" I  asked,
hoping that perhaps it was a mistake or a bad joke.
     "I am very, very sure," he said. "Besides, even if I were so dumb as to
forget the tenant, my seeing can't fail me."
     "Do  you  mean, don  Juan, that  the  tenant  has a different  type  of
     "No,  not  a different  type  of energy, but certainly different energy
features than a normal person."
     "Are you  absolutely sure, don  Juan, that that woman is the tenant?" I
insisted, driven by a strange revulsion and fear.
     "That woman is the tenant!" don Juan exclaimed in a voice that admitted
no doubts.
     We remained  quiet. I waited for the next  move in the midst of a panic
beyond description.
     "I have already said to you that to be a natural man or a natural woman
is a matter of positioning the assemblage point," don Juan said. "By natural
I mean  someone who was born either male or  female. To a seer, the shiniest
part  of  the assemblage  point faces outward, in  the  case  of females and
inward, in the case of males.  The tenant's assemblage  point was originally
facing inward,  but  he changed it by  twisting it  around  and  making  his
egglike energy shape look like a shell that has curled up on itself."

     Don Juan and  I  sat in silence. I  had  run out  of questions,  and he
seemed  to  have said to  me all that  was pertinent. It could not have been
more than seven o'clock, but the plaza was unusually deserted. It was a warm
night. In the evenings, in  that town, people  usually meandered  around the
plaza until ten or eleven.
     I took a moment to reconsider what  was happening to  me. My  time with
don Juan was coming to an end.  He and his party  were going to  fulfill the
sorcerers'  dream of  leaving  this world and  entering  into  inconceivable
dimensions. On this basis of my limited success in dreaming, I believed that
the claims  were  not  illusory  but extremely  sober, although  contrary to
reason. They were seeking to perceive the unknown, and they had made it.
     Don  Juan  was  right   in  saying  that,   by  inducing  a  systematic
displacement   of  the  assemblage  point,  dreaming  liberates  perception,
enlarging  the  scope of what  can be  perceived.  For the sorcerers  of his
party, dreaming had not  only opened  the doors of other perceivable  worlds
but  prepared  them  for  entering  into  those  realms  in  full awareness.
Dreaming, for them,  had become  ineffable,  unprecedented, something  whose
nature and scope  could only be alluded to, as when don Juan said that it is
the gateway to the light and to the darkness of the universe.
     There was only one thing pending for them: my  encounter with the death
defier.  I regretted that don Juan had  not  given me notice so that I could
prepare myself  better. But he was a nagual who did everything of importance
on the spur of the moment, without any warning.
     For a moment, I seemed to  be doing fine, sitting with don Juan in that
park,  waiting  for  things  to  develop. But then  my  emotional  stability
suffered a downward  swing and,  in the twinkling  of  an eye, I was  in the
midst  of a  dark despair. I  was  assailed by petty considerations about my
safety, my  goals,  my hopes in  the world,  my worries.  Upon  examination,
however, I had to admit  that perhaps the only true worry I had was about my
three cohorts in don Juan's world.  Yet, if I thought it out, even that  was
no real worry to me. Don Juan had  taught them to be the kind of sorceresses
who always knew what to do, and, most important, he had prepared them always
to know what to do with what they knew.
     Having  had  all  the possible  worldly  reasons  for  feeling  anguish
stripped  off me  a long time  ago, all I had been left with was concern for
myself.  And  I gave  myself to it  shamelessly.  One last indulging for the
road: the fear of dying at the hands of the death defier. I became so afraid
that I got sick to my stomach. I tried to apologize, but don Juan laughed.
     "You're not in any way unique at barfing out of fear," he said. "When I
met the death defier, I wet my pants. Believe me."
     I waited in silence for a long, unbearable moment. "Are you ready?"  he
asked.  I said yes. And  he added,  standing up, "Let's go then and find out
how you are going to stand up in the firing line."
     He led  the way back  to  the church. To the best of my ability,  all I
remember of that  walk, to this day,  is that he had to  drag me  bodily the
whole way. I do not remember arriving at the church or entering it. The next
thing I  knew, I was kneeling on  a long,  worn-out wooden  pew next  to the
woman  I had seen earlier.  She  was  smiling  at me. Desperately, I  looked
around, trying to spot don  Juan, but he was nowhere  in sight. I would have
flown like a bat out of hell  had the woman not restrained me by grabbing my
     "Why should you be  so afraid of poor little me?" the woman asked me in
     I  stayed  glued to  the spot where I was  kneeling. What had  taken me
entirely and instantaneously was her  voice. I cannot  describe what it  was
about its raspy sound that called out the  most recondite memories in me. It
was as if I had always known that voice.
     I  remained  there  immobile, mesmerized  by  that  sound. She asked me
something else in English, but I could not make out what she was saying. She
smiled at me, knowingly. "It's all right," she whispered in Spanish. She was
kneeling to my right. "I understand real fear. I live with it."
     I was about to talk to her when I heard the emissary's voice in my ear.
"It's the  voice of  Hermelinda, your wet nurse," it said. The only thing  I
had  ever known  about  Hermelinda  was the story  I  was told  of her being
accidentally killed  by a runaway truck. That  the  woman's voice would stir
such deep,  old  memories was  shocking  to me. I  experienced  a  momentary
agonizing anxiety. "I am your  wet  nurse!" the woman exclaimed softly. "How
extraordinary! Do you want my breast?" Laughter convulsed her body.
     I made a supreme effort  to remain calm, yet I  knew that I was quickly
losing ground and in no time at all was going to take leave of my senses.
     "Don't  mind  my joking," the woman said in a low voice.  "The truth is
that I like you very much. You are bustling with energy. And we are going to
get along fine."
     Two  older  men  knelt down right  in  front of us. One of them  turned
curiously to look at us. She paid no attention to him and kept on whispering
in my ear.
     "Let me hold your  hand," she pleaded. But her plea was like a command.
I  surrendered my hand to her, unable to say no. "Thank you. Thank  you  for
your confidence and your trust in me," she whispered.
     The sound of her voice was driving me mad. Its raspiness was so exotic,
so utterly feminine. Not under any circumstances would I have taken it for a
man's voice  laboring  to sound  womanly. It was a  raspy voice,  but  not a
throaty  or harsh-sounding one.  It  was more  like  the sound of bare  feet
softly walking on gravel.
     I made a tremendous effort to  break an invisible sheet  of energy that
seemed to have enveloped me.  I  thought I succeeded.  I  stood up, ready to
leave, and I would have had not the woman also stood  up and whispered in my
ear, "Don't run away. There is so much I have to tell you."
     I automatically sat down,  stopped by curiosity. Strangely, my  anxiety
was suddenly gone, and so was my fear. I even had enough presence to ask the
woman, "Are you  really a woman?" She chuckled softly,  like  a young  girl.
Then  she  voiced a convoluted sentence. "If you dare to think  that I would
transform myself into a  fearsome man  and cause you harm,  you  are gravely
mistaken," she said, accentuating  even  more that strange, mesmeric  voice.
"You are my benefactor. I am your servant, as I have been the servant of all
the naguals who preceded you."
     Gathering all the energy  I could, I  spoke my mind  to  her. "You  are
welcome to my energy," I said. "It's a gift from me to you, but I don't want
any gifts of power from you. And I really mean this."
     "I can't take your energy for free," she  whispered. "I  pay for what I
get, that's the deal. It's foolish to give your energy for free."
     "I've been  a  fool  all my life.  Believe  me," I said. "I  can surely
afford to make you  a gift. I  have no problem with it. You need the energy,
take  it. But I don't need  to be saddled with unnecessaries. I have nothing
and I love it." "Perhaps," she said pensively.
     Aggressively, I asked her whether she meant that perhaps she would take
my energy or that she did not believe I had nothing and loved it.
     She giggled with delight and said that she might take my energy since I
was so generously offering it but that she had to make a payment. She had to
give me a thing of similar value.
     As I heard her speak, I became aware that she spoke Spanish with a most
extravagant  foreign  accent.  She  added an  extra  phoneme  to the  middle
syllable of every word. Never in my life had I heard anyone speak like that.
     "Your accent is quite extraordinary," I said. "Where is it from?"
     "From nearly eternity," she said and sighed. We had begun to connect. I
understood  why she sighed. She  was the closest thing to permanent, while I
was temporary.  That was my advantage. The death defier  had worked  herself
into a corner, and I was free.
     I examined her closely. She seemed to be between  thirty-five and forty
years old.  She was a  dark, thoroughly Indian woman,  almost husky, but not
fat or even  hefty. I could see that the skin  of her forearms and hands was
smooth, the muscles, firm and youthful. I judged that she was five feet, six
or seven inches  tall. She wore a long dress,  a black shawl, and guaraches.
In her kneeling position, I could  also see her smooth heels and part of her
powerful calves. Her midsection was lean. She had big breasts that she could
not or perhaps did not  want to hide under her shawl. Her hair was jet black
and  tied in  a  long braid.  She  was not beautiful, but she was not homely
either. Her features were in no way  outstanding. I felt that  she could not
possibly have attracted anybody's attention, except  for her eyes, which she
kept low, hidden beneath downcast eyelids. Her eyes were magnificent, clear,
peaceful. Apart from  don Juan's, I had never seen eyes more brilliant, more
     Her eyes  put me  completely  at  ease.  Eyes  like that  could  not be
malevolent.  I had a surge of trust and optimism and the feeling  that I had
known her all  my life. But I was also  very conscious of something else: my
emotional instability. It had always plagued me in don Juan's world, forcing
me  to be like a yo-yo. I had moments of total trust and insight only to  be
followed  by  abject  doubts and distrust. This  event was not  going to  be
different. My suspicious mind suddenly came up with the warning thought that
I was falling under the woman's spell.
     "You learned Spanish late in life, didn't you?" I said, just to get out
from under my thoughts and to avoid her reading them.
     "Only  yesterday," she retorted and broke  into a crystalline laughter,
her small, strangely white teeth, shining like a row of pearls.
     People  turned to  look at us. I lowered  my  forehead  as  if  in deep
prayer. The  woman moved  closer to  me.  "Is  there a  place where we could
talk?" I asked.  "We  are talking here," she said. "I have talked here  with
all  the  naguals of your  line.  If you  whisper, no one will  know  we are
     I was dying to ask  her about her age. But a sobering memory came to my
rescue. I remembered a friend of mine who  for years had been setting up all
kinds of traps  to  make  me  confess  my  age  to him. I detested his petty
concern, and now I was about  to engage in the  same behavior. I dropped  it
     I wanted to tell her about it, just to keep the conversation going. She
seemed to  know what  was going  through  my mind.  She squeezed my arm in a
friendly gesture, as if to say that we had shared a thought.
     "Instead of giving me a gift, can you tell me something that would help
me in my way?" I asked her.
     She shook  her head. "No," she whispered. "We are extremely  different.
More different than I believed possible."
     She got up and slid sideways out of the  pew. She deftly genuflected as
she faced the main altar. She crossed herself and signaled me  to follow her
to a large side altar to our left.
     We  knelt in  front  of a life-size crucifix.  Before I had time to say
anything, she spoke. "I've been alive for a very, very long time," she said.
"The reason  I have had  this  long  life is that I control the  shifts  and
movements of my assemblage point. Also, I  don't stay here in your world too
long. I have  to save the energy I get from the naguals of your line." "What
is it like to exist in other worlds?"  I asked. "It's like in your dreaming,
except that I have more  mobility.  And I  can stay longer anywhere  I want.
Just like if you would stay as long as you wanted in any of your dreams."
     "When you are in this  world, are you pinned  down to this area alone?"
"No. I go everywhere I want." "Do you always go as a woman?"
     "I've  been  a  woman longer  than a  man. Definitely,  I like it  much
better. I think I've nearly forgotten how to be a man. I am all female!"
     She took my hand and made me touch her crotch. My heart was pounding in
my throat. She was indeed a female.
     "I  can't just  take your  energy," she said, changing the subject. "We
have to strike another kind of agreement."
     Another  wave of mundane  reasoning hit me  then. I  wanted to ask  her
where she  lived  when  she was  in this world.  I did not need  to voice my
question to get an answer.
     "You're much,  much younger than I," she  said,  "and you already  have
difficulty  telling people where you live. And  even if you take them to the
house you own or pay rent on, that's not where you live."
     "There are  so many things I  want  to ask you, but  all  I do is think
stupid thoughts," I said.
     "You don't need to ask me anything,"  she  went  on. "You  already know
what I know. All you needed  was a  jolt in order to claim what you  already
know. I am giving you that jolt."
     Not  only did  I  think  stupid  thoughts but  I was in a state of such
suggestibility that no sooner had she finished saying that  I knew what  she
knew than I felt I knew everything, and I no longer  needed to ask  any more
questions. Laughingly, I told her about my gullibility.
     "You're  not  gullible," she  assured  me  with  authority.  "You  know
everything,  because you're  now  totally  in  the  second  attention.  Look
     For  a moment, I could not focus my sight. It was exactly  as if  water
had  gotten into my  eyes. When  I arranged  my view, I  knew that something
portentous had happened. The church was different, darker, more ominous, and
somehow harder. I stood up  and took a couple of steps toward the nave. What
caught my eye were the  pews;  they  were made not out of  lumber but out of
thin, twisted  poles.  These were  homemade pews,  set  inside a magnificent
stone  building.  Also, the  light in  the  church  was  different.  It  was
yellowish, and its dim  glow cast the blackest  shadows  I had ever seen. It
came from  the candles of the many altars. I had  an  insight about how well
candlelight  mixed with the massive stone walls and  ornaments of a colonial
     The  woman  was  staring  at me; the  brightness of her eyes  was  most
remarkable. I knew then that I was dreaming and she was directing the dream.
But I was  not afraid  of  her or  of the  dream. I moved away from the side
altar and looked again at the nave of the church. There were people kneeling
in prayer there.
     Lots  of  them, strangely  small, dark, hard people. I could see  their
bowed heads all the way to the foot of  the  main altar.  The ones  who were
close to me stared at  me, obviously, in disapproval. I  was  gaping at them
and at everything else. I could not  hear any noise, though.  People  moved,
but there was no sound.
     "I  can't hear anything," I  said  to the woman,  and my  voice boomed,
echoing as if the church were a hollow shell.
     Nearly all the  heads turned to look at me.  The  woman pulled  me back
into the darkness of the side altar.
     "You will hear if you don't  listen with  your ears," she said. "Listen
with your dreaming attention."
     It  appeared that  all I  needed  was her  insinuation. I  was suddenly
flooded by the droning sound of a multitude in prayer. I was instantly swept
up by it. I found it the most exquisite sound I  had ever heard. I wanted to
rave  about it to the woman, but she  was  not by my side. I looked for her.
She had  nearly reached  the door.  She turned  there to signal me to follow
her. I caught  up  with her  at the portico. The streetlights were gone. The
only  illumination  was  moonlight.  The  facade  of  the  church  was  also
different;  it  was unfinished. Square  blocks of  limestone lay everywhere.
There were  no  houses or buildings around the  church. In the moonlight the
scene was eerie.
     "Where are we going?" I asked her.
     "Nowhere,"  she replied. "We simply came out  here to have more  space,
more privacy. Here we can talk our little heads off."
     She  urged  me  to  sit  down on  a quarried,  half-chiseled  piece  of
limestone. "The  second attention  has endless treasures  to be discovered,"
she began. "The initial position in which the dreamer places his  body is of
key importance. And  right there is the secret of the ancient sorcerers, who
were already ancient in my time. Think about it."
     She sat so close to me that I felt the heat of her body. She put an arm
around my shoulder  and pressed  me against  her bosom. Her body  had a most
peculiar fragrance; it reminded me of trees or sage. It was not that she was
wearing perfume; her whole being seemed to exude that characteristic odor of
pine  forests. Also the heat of her body  was  not like mine or like that of
anyone else I knew. Hers was  a cool, mentholated heat,  even, balanced. The
thought  that came to  my mind was that her heat would press on relentlessly
but knew no hurry.
     She began then  to whisper in my left ear. She said  that the gifts she
had given to the  naguals of my  line had to do  with what the old sorcerers
used to call,  the twin positions. That is to  say,  the initial position in
which a dreamer holds his physical body to begin dreaming is mirrored by the
position in  which he  holds  his  energy body,  in  dreams, to  fixate  his
assemblage point on any spot of his choosing. The two positions make a unit,
she said, and it took the old sorcerers thousands of  years to find  out the
perfect  relationship  between  any  two  positions.  She commented,  with a
giggle, that  the  sorcerers  of  today  will never  have the  time  or  the
disposition to do all that work, and that the men and women of my line  were
indeed  lucky to have her  to give them such gifts. Her laughter  had a most
remarkable, crystalline sound.
     I  had  not  quite understood her  explanation  of the  twin positions.
Boldly,  I told  her that I did not want to practice  those  things but only
know about them as intellectual possibilities. "What  exactly do you want to
know?" she asked softly. "Explain to me what you mean by the twin positions,
or  the  initial  position  in  which  a  dreamer  holds his  body  to start
dreaming." I said.
     "How do you lie  down to start  your dreaming?" she  asked. "Any  which
way. I don't have  a pattern.  Don Juan never stressed this point." "Well, I
do stress it," she said and stood up. She changed positions. She sat down to
my  right  and whispered  in my other ear  that, in accordance with what she
knew, the position in which one places the body is of utmost importance. She
proposed a  way  of  testing  this by performing an  extremely delicate  but
simple exercise.
     "Start your dreaming by lying on your right side, with your knees a bit
bent,"  she said. "The  discipline  is  to maintain that position  and  fall
asleep in it. In dreaming, then, the exercise is to dream that you  lie down
in exactly the same position and fall asleep again." "What does that do?"  I
     "It makes the assemblage point stay put, and I mean really stay put, in
whatever position it is at the instant of that second falling asleep." "What
are  the  results  of  this  exercise?"  "Total perception. I am  sure  your
teachers have already told you that my gifts are gifts of total perception."
     "Yes. But I think I am not  clear about what total perception means," I
     She ignored me and went on  to tell me that the four variations of  the
exercise were to fall asleep lying on the  right  side, the left,  the back,
and  the  stomach.  Then in  dreaming  the exercise was  to dream of falling
asleep a second time  in the same position as the dreaming had been started.
She  promised me extraordinary results, which she said were not possible  to
     She abruptly changed the subject  and asked  me,  "What's  the gift you
want for yourself?" "No gift for me. I've told you that already." "I insist.
I must offer you a gift, and you must accept it. That is our agreement."
     "Our agreement is that we give you energy. So take it from me. This one
is on me. My gift to you."
     The woman seemed dumbfounded. And I persisted in telling her it was all
right  with me  that she took my energy.  I even told  her  that I liked her
immensely. Naturally, I meant it. There was something supremely  sad and, at
the same time, supremely appealing about her.
     "Let's go back inside the church," she muttered. "If you really want to
make me a  gift,"  I  said,  "take me  for a stroll  in this  town,  in  the
     She shook her head affirmatively. "Provided that you don't say a word,"
she said.
     "Why  not?"  I asked, but I already  knew the  answer.  "Because we are
dreaming," she said. "I'll be taking you deeper into my dream."
     She  explained that as long as we  stayed in the  church, I  had enough
energy to think and converse,  but that beyond the boundaries of that church
it was a different situation. "Why is that?" I asked daringly.
     In  a  most  serious tone,  which not only  increased  her eeriness but
terrified me, the  woman  said, "Because there  is no out  there. This  is a
dream. You are at the fourth gate of dreaming, dreaming my dream."
     She told  me  that  her art was to be capable of projecting her intent,
and that everything I  saw around me was her intent. She  said in  a whisper
that the  church and  the town were the results  of her intent; they did not
exist, yet  they  did. She added,  looking into my eyes, that this is one of
the mysteries of intending in  the second  attention  the twin positions  of
dreaming. It can be done, but it cannot be explained or comprehended.
     She told me then that she came from a line of sorcerers who knew how to
move about in the second attention by projecting their intent. Her story was
that  the  sorcerers  of her  line  practiced  the  art  of projecting their
thoughts in dreaming in order to accomplish the truthful reproduction of any
object or structure or landmark or scenery of their choice.
     She said that the sorcerers  of her  line used to start  by gazing at a
simple object and memorizing every detail of it. They would then close their
eyes and  visualize  the object  and correct their visualization against the
true object until  they could see it, in  its completeness, with their  eyes
shut. The next thing in their developing scheme was to dream with the object
and create  in  the dream, from the point of view of their own perception, a
total materialization of the object. This  act,  the  woman said, was called
the first step to total perception.
     From a  simple  object, those sorcerers went  on  to take more and more
complex items. Their final aim was for  all of them together to  visualize a
total world, then dream  that world and thus re-create  a totally  veritable
realm where they could exist.
     "When  any of the sorcerers of my line were able to do that," the woman
went on, "they could easily pull anyone into their intent, into their dream.
This  is what I am doing  to you  now,  and what I did to all the naguals of
your line."
     The  woman giggled. "You better believe it," she said, as if I did not.
"Whole populations disappeared dreaming like that. This is the reason I said
to you that this church and  this town are one of the mysteries of intending
in the second attention."
     "You say  that whole  populations  disappeared  that  way.  How was  it
possible?" I asked.
     "They visualized and then re-created in dreaming the same scenery," she
replied. "You've never visualized anything, so  it's  very dangerous for you
to go into my dream."
     She warned me, then, that to cross the fourth gate and travel to places
that exist only  in someone else's intent was perilous, since every  item in
such a dream had to be an ultimately personal item.
     "Do you still want to go?" she asked.
     I said yes. Then she told me more about the twin positions. The essence
of her explanation was that if I were, for instance, dreaming of my hometown
and  my dream  had  started when I lay down  on  my right side, I could very
easily stay in the town of  my dream if I would lie on my right side, in the
dream, and dream that I had fallen  asleep. The second dream  not only would
necessarily be a  dream of my hometown, but would be the most concrete dream
one can imagine.
     She was  confident that  in my dreaming training I had gotten countless
dreams of great concreteness, but she assured me that every one  of them had
to be a fluke.  For  the only way to  have absolute control of dreams was to
use the technique of the twin positions.
     "And  don't  ask me why," she added.  "It just happens. Like everything
     She made me stand up and  admonished me again not to talk or stray from
her. She took my  hand gently,  as if I  were a child,  and  headed toward a
clump of dark silhouettes of houses. We were on a cobbled street. Hard river
rocks  had been pounded edgewise into the dirt.  Uneven pressure had created
uneven surfaces.  It seemed that the cobblers  had followed  the contours of
the ground without bothering to level it.
     The houses were big, whitewashed, one-story, dusty buildings with tiled
roofs. There were people meandering quietly. Dark shadows inside the  houses
gave me  the  feeling  of curious but frightened neighbors gossiping  behind
doors. I could also see the flat mountains around the town.
     Contrary to what had happened to me all along in my dreaming, my mental
processes were unimpaired. My thoughts were not pushed away  by the force of
the events in  the dream. And my mental calculations  told  me I was  in the
dream version of the town where don Juan lived, but at a different  time. My
curiosity  was at its peak. I was  actually with  the death  defier  in  her
dream. But was it  a dream? She herself had said it was a dream. I wanted to
watch everything, to be superalert.  I wanted to  test everything by  seeing
energy. I felt  embarrassed, but  the woman tightened her grip on my hand as
if to signal me that she agreed with me.
     Still  feeling  absurdly bashful,  I automatically stated  out loud  my
intent to  see.  In  my  dreaming practices, I had  been using all along the
phrase "I want to see energy."  Sometimes, I had to  say  it  over and  over
until I got results.  This  time, in the woman's  dream town,  as I began to
repeat  it in my usual manner, the woman  began  to  laugh. Her laughter was
like don Juan's: a deep, abandoned belly laugh.
     "What's so funny?" I asked, somehow contaminated by her mirth.
     "Juan  Matus  doesn't like  the old  sorcerers  in  general and  me  in
particular," the woman said between fits of laughter. "All we have to do, in
order to see in our dreams,  is to  point with our little finger at the item
we  want to see. To make you yell in my  dream  is his way  to send  me  his
message.  You  have to admit  that  he's really clever." She  paused  for  a
moment, then said in  the tone of a revelation, "Of course, to  yell like an
asshole works too."
     The sorcerers' sense of humor bewildered me beyond measure. She laughed
so  hard she seemed to be  unable  to proceed with our walk. I felt  stupid.
When  she calmed down and was  perfectly poised again, she politely told  me
that I could point at anything I wanted in her dream, including herself.
     I pointed  at a house with the little finger of my left hand. There was
no energy in  that house. The house was like any other  item  of  a  regular
dream. I pointed at everything around me with the same result.
     "Point at  me,"  she urged me.  "You  must corroborate that this is the
method dreamers follow in order to see."
     She was thoroughly right. That was the method. The instant I pointed my
finger at  her, she was a blob of  energy. A very peculiar blob of energy, I
may add. Her energetic shape  was exactly  as don Juan had described  it; it
looked like an enormous seashell, curled inwardly along a  cleavage that ran
its length.
     "I am  the only energy-generating being  in this  dream," she said. "So
the proper thing for you to do is just watch everything."
     At that  moment I  was struck, for the  first time, by the immensity of
don  Juan's joke. He had actually contrived to have  me learn to yell in  my
dreaming so that I could yell in the privacy of the  death defier's dream. I
found  that touch  so funny that  laughter spilled out of  me in suffocating
     "Let's continue our walk," the woman  said softly when  I  had  no more
laughter in me.
     There were only two streets that intersected; each had three  blocks of
houses. We walked the  length of both  streets,  not once  but four times. I
looked at everything and listened with my dreaming attention for any noises.
There were  very few, only dogs barking in  the distance, or people speaking
in whispers as we went by.
     The dogs barking brought me an  unknown and profound  longing. I had to
stop walking.  I  sought relief  by  leaning my shoulder against a wall. The
contact with  the wall was shocking to  me, not because the wall was unusual
but because what I had leaned on was a solid wall, like any other wall I had
ever  touched. I felt it  with my  free hand. I ran my  fingers on its rough
surface. It was indeed a wall!
     Its stunning realness put an immediate end to my longing and renewed my
interest  in  watching everything. I was looking, specifically, for features
that could be correlated  with  the town of my day. However, no  matter  how
intently I  observed,  I had no success. There was a plaza in that town, but
it was in front of the church, facing the portico.
     In the moonlight the mountains around the town were clearly visible and
almost recognizable. I tried  to  orient myself,  observing the moon and the
stars, as if I  were  in the consensual  reality of everyday  life. It was a
waning moon, perhaps a day after full. It was high over the horizon. It must
have been between eight  and  nine in  the evening. I could see Orion to the
right of the  moon;  its  two main stars,  Betelgeuse  and Rigel,  were on a
horizontal straight line with the moon. I estimated it to be early December.
My time was May. In May, Orion is nowhere in sight at that time.  I gazed at
the moon  as  long as I could. Nothing shifted. It was the moon  as far as I
could tell. The disparity in time got me very excited.
     As I reexamined the southern horizon, I thought I could distinguish the
bell-like peak  visible  from don Juan's patio. I tried  next  to figure out
where his house  might have been. For  one  instant I thought I found it.  I
became  so  enthralled  that  I pulled  my hand  out of  the  woman's  grip.
Instantly, a  tremendous anxiety possessed me. I knew that I had to go  back
to  the  church, because if I did not I would simply drop dead on the spot I
turned around and bolted for the church. The woman quickly grabbed  my  hand
and followed me.
     As  we approached the church at a running pace, I became aware that the
town  in  that  dreaming  was  behind  the  church. Had  I  taken  this into
consideration,  orientation might have been possible.  As  it was, I  had no
more dreaming  attention.  I focused  all  of  it on the  architectural  and
ornamental details on the back of the church.  I had never seen that part of
the  building in the world of everyday  life, and I thought that  if I could
record  its features  in  my memory, I  could  check  them later against the
details of the real church.
     That was  the  plan I concocted on  the spur  of the moment.  Something
inside  me,  however,  scorned  my  efforts at  validation.  During  all  my
apprenticeship, I  had been  plagued by the need for objectivity,  which had
forced me to check and recheck everything about don Juan's world. Yet it was
not  validation per se that was always  at stake  but  the need to  use this
drive for  objectivity as a  crutch to give me protection  at the moments of
most  intense cognitive disruption;  when it was  time to check  what I  had
validated, I never went through with it.
     Inside the church, the woman and I knelt in front of the small altar on
the left  side, where  we had  been, and the  next instant, I woke up in the
well-illuminated church of my day.
     The woman crossed herself  and stood up. I  did the same automatically.
She took my arm and began to walk toward the door.
     "Wait, wait," I said  and was surprised  that I could talk. I could not
think clearly, yet I wanted to ask  her a convoluted question. What I wanted
to know was how anyone could have  the energy to visualize every detail of a
whole town.
     Smiling, the woman answered my unvoiced question; she said that she was
very good at visualizing because after a lifetime of doing it, she had many,
many lifetimes to perfect it.  She added that the town I had visited and the
church where we had talked were  examples of  her recent visualizations. The
church was the same church where Sebastian had been a  sexton. She had given
herself the task  of  memorizing every detail of every corner of that church
and that town, for that matter, out of a need to survive.
     She ended her talk with a most disturbing afterthought. "Since you know
quite  a  bit  about this  town, even though you've never tried to visualize
it," she said, "you are now helping me to intend it. I bet you won't believe
me if I tell you that this town you are looking at now doesn't really exist,
outside your intent and mine."
     She peered at me  and laughed at  my sense of horror,  for  I  had just
fully  realized what  she  was  saying.  "Are  we still dreaming?"  I asked,
     "We  are," she said.  "But this dreaming  is more real than  the other,
because you're helping  me. It  is not possible to explain  it beyond saying
that  it  is happening. Like  everything  else." She pointed all around her.
"There is no way to tell how it happens, but  it does. Remember  always what
I've told you: this is the mystery of intending in the second attention."
     She  gently pulled me closer to her. "Let's stroll to the plaza of this
dream," she said. "But perhaps I should fix myself a little bit so you'll be
more at ease."
     I  looked  at  her  uncomprehendingly  as  she  expertly   changed  her
appearance. She did this with very simple, mundane  maneuvers. She undid her
long  skirt,  revealing the very  average  midcalf  skirt  she  was  wearing
underneath. She then twisted her long braid into a chignon and changed  from
her guaraches into inch-heel shoes she had in a small cloth sack.
     She turned over her reversible black shawl to reveal a beige stole. She
looked like a typical middle-class Mexican woman from the city, perhaps on a
visit to that town.
     She took my arm with a woman's aplomb and led the way to the plaza.
     "What happened to your tongue?" she  said  in English. "Did the cat eat
     I was totally engrossed in the unthinkable possibility that I was still
in a dream; what is more, I was beginning to believe that if it were true, I
ran the risk of never waking up.
     In a nonchalant tone that  I could not recognize  as  mine, I  said, "I
didn't realize until now that you spoke in English to me  before.  Where did
you learn it?"
     "In  the world out  there.  I  speak  many  languages." She paused  and
scrutinized me. "I've had plenty of time to learn them. Since we're going to
spend a lot of time together, I'll teach you my own language sometime."  She
giggled, no doubt at my look of despair.
     I stopped walking. "Are we going to spend a  lot of time  together?"  I
asked, betraying my feelings.
     "Of  course," she replied in  a joyful tone. "You are, and I should say
very generously, going to give  me your  energy,  for  free.  You  said that
yourself, didn't you?" I was aghast.
     "What's  the  problem?" the woman  asked, shifting back  into  Spanish.
"Don't tell me  that you  regret  your decision. We are  sorcerers. It's too
late to change your mind. You are not afraid, are you?"
     I was again more than terrified, but, if I  had been put on the spot to
describe  what terrified me, I  would  not have known.  I  was certainly not
afraid of being with the death defier in  another dream or of losing my mind
or  even my  life. Was I  afraid of evil? I asked myself. But the thought of
evil could not withstand examination. As  a result of all those years on the
sorcerers' path, I knew without the shadow of  a  doubt that in the universe
only  energy exists; evil  is  merely  a concatenation  of the  human  mind,
overwhelmed  by  the  fixation  of  the  assemblage  point  on its  habitual
position. Logically, there was really nothing for me to be afraid of. I knew
that, but I also knew that my  real weakness was to lack the fluidity to fix
my assemblage point instantly on any new position to which it was displaced.
The contact with the death  defier was displacing my  assemblage  point at a
tremendous rate,  and I did not have the prowess to  keep  up with the push.
The  end result  was a vague pseudo-sensation of fearing that I might not be
able to wake up.
     "There is no problem," I said. "Let's continue our dream walk."
     She linked  her arm with  mine, and we reached the park in silence.  It
was not at all a  forced silence. But  my  mind was running in circles.  How
strange,  I thought; only a  while  ago  I had walked with don Juan from the
park  to the church, in the midst of the most terrifying normal fear. Now  I
was walking back from the church to the park with the object of my fear, and
I was more terrified than ever, but in a different, more mature, more deadly
     To fend off my worries, I began to look around. If this was a dream, as
I  believed it  was, there was a  way to prove or disprove it. I pointed  my
finger at  the houses, at the church,  at  the  pavement  in the  street.  I
pointed  at people.  I pointed  at  everything. Daringly, I even  grabbed  a
couple of people, whom I seemed  to  scare considerably. I felt  their mass.
They  were  as real as  anything I consider real, except  that they  did not
generate  energy. Nothing in that  town generated energy. Everything  seemed
real and normal, yet it was a dream.
     I turned to the woman, who was holding on to my arm, and questioned her
about it.
     "We are dreaming," she said in  her  raspy voice and  giggled. "But how
can people and things around us to be so real, so three-dimensional?"
     "The  mystery  of intending  in  the  second attention!"  she exclaimed
reverently.  "Those  people  out  there  are  so  real that they  even  have
     That was the last  stroke. I did not want to question anything  else. I
wanted to  abandon myself  to that dream.  A  considerable jolt  on  my  arm
brought  me back to  the moment.  We had reached the  plaza. The  woman  had
stopped walking and was pulling  me to sit down on a bench. I  knew I was in
trouble  when I did not feel the bench underneath me  as I sat down. I began
to spin. I thought I was ascending. I caught a most fleeting glimpse  of the
park, as if I were looking at it from above.
     "This  is it!" I yelled. I  thought I was dying. The spinning ascension
turned into a twirling descent into blackness.

     "Make  an  effort,  nagual,"  a  woman's voice urged me.  "Don't  sink.
Surface, surface. Use your dream-techniques!"
     My  mind  began to  work. I thought it  was  the  voice of  an  English
speaker, and I also thought that if I were to use dreaming techniques, I had
to find a point of departure to energize myself.
     "Open your eyes," the voice said. "Open them now.  Use  the first thing
you see as a point of departure."
     I made a supreme effort  and opened my  eyes. I saw trees and blue sky.
It was  daytime! A blurry  face was peering at me. But I could not focus  my
eyes. I thought that it was the woman in the church looking at me.
     "Use my face," the voice said. It was a familiar voice, but I could not
identify  it. "Make  my face your home base;  then  look at everything," the
voice went on.
     My ears were clearing up, and so  were my eyes. I gazed at the  woman's
face, then at the trees  in  the  park, at the wrought-iron bench, at people
walking by, and back again at her face.
     In spite of the fact that her face changed every time I gazed at her, I
began to experience a minimum  of  control. When I was more in possession of
my faculties, I realized that  a  woman was sitting on the bench, holding my
head on  her lap. And she  was not the woman  in the  church;  she was Carol
Tiggs. "What are you doing here?" I gasped.  My fright and surprise were  so
intense that I wanted to jump up and  run, but my body was  not ruled at all
by  my  mental  awareness.  Anguishing  moments  followed, in which  I tried
desperately but uselessly to get up. The world around me  was too clear  for
me  to believe I  was still dreaming, yet  my impaired motor control made me
suspect  that  this was really  a dream.  Besides, Carol's  presence was too
abrupt; there were no antecedents to justify it.
     Cautiously,  I attempted to  will  myself  to  get  up,  as I had  done
hundreds of times in dreaming, but nothing  happened. If I ever needed to be
objective,  this was the time. As carefully as I could, I  began  to look at
everything within my field of vision  with  one  eye first. I  repeated  the
process with the  other eye. I took the consistency between the images of my
two eyes  as an indication that I was in  the consensual reality of everyday
     Next, I examined  Carol. I  noticed at that moment that I could move my
arms.  It  was only my  lower body that was veritably  paralyzed. I  touched
Carol's  face and hands; I embraced her. She was solid and, I believed,  the
real  Carol Tiggs. My relief was enormous, because for  a moment I'd had the
dark suspicion that she was the death defier masquerading as Carol.
     With utmost  care, Carol helped me  to sit up on the bench.  I had been
sprawled on  my  back,  half on the bench and half on  the ground. I noticed
then something totally out of  the norm. I was wearing faded blue Levi's and
worn brown leather boots. I also had on a Levi's jacket and a denim shirt.
     "Wait a minute," I said to Carol. "Look at me! Are these my clothes? Am
I myself?"
     Carol laughed and shook me by  the shoulders, the way she always did to
denote camaraderie, manliness, that she was one of the boys.
     "I'm  looking at  your beautiful self," she  said in  her funny  forced
falsetto. "Oh massa, who else could it possibly be?"
     "How  in the  hell can I be  wearing Levi's and boots?" I  insisted. "I
don't own any."
     "Those are my  clothes you are wearing.  I found  you  naked!"  "Where?
     "Around the church, about an hour ago. I came to the plaza here to look
for  you. The nagual  sent me  to  see if I  could find you.  I  brought the
clothes, just in case."
     I told  her  that I felt terribly vulnerable  and  embarrassed  to have
wandered around without my clothes.
     "Strangely enough, there was no one around," she assured me, but I felt
she was saying it just to ease my discomfort. Her playful smile told me so.
     "I  must  have  been with  the death defier all last night, maybe  even
longer," I said. "What day is it today?"
     "Don't worry  about  dates,"  she  said, laughing. "When you  are  more
centered, you'll count the days yourself."
     "Don't humor  me, Carol Tiggs.  What day is  it  today?" My voice was a
gruff, no-nonsense voice that did not seem to belong to me.
     "It's the day  after the big fiesta," she said and slapped me gently on
my shoulder. "We all have been looking for you since  last night." "But what
am I doing here?"
     "I took you to the hotel across the plaza. I couldn't carry you all the
way to the nagual's house; you ran out of the room a few minutes ago, and we
ended up here." "Why didn't  you ask the nagual  for help?" "Because this is
an affair that concerns only you and me. We must solve it together."
     That shut me up.  She made perfect sense to  me. I asked  her one  more
nagging question. "What did I say when you found me?"
     "You said that you had been so deeply into the second attention and for
such a long time that you were not quite rational yet. All you  wanted to do
was to fall asleep." "When did I lose my motor control?"
     "Only a moment  ago. You'll get it back. You yourself  know that it  is
quite  normal,  when  you enter  into  the  second attention and  receive  a
considerable energy jolt, to lose control of your  speech or of your limbs."
"And  when did  you  lose  your lisping,  Carol?"  I caught  her  totally by
surprise. She peered at me and broke into a hearty laugh. "I've been working
on it for a long time,"  she confessed. "I think that it's terribly annoying
to hear a grown woman lisping. Besides, you hate it."
     Admitting that I detested her lisping was not difficult. Don Juan and I
had  tried to cure  her, but we  had  concluded  she  was not interested  in
getting  cured.  Her  lisping made her extremely cute  to everyone,  and don
Juan's  feelings  were that she loved  it and  was not  going to give it up.
Hearing her speak without lisping was tremendously rewarding and exciting to
me. It proved to me that she was  capable of  radical  changes on her own, a
thing neither don Juan nor I was ever sure about.
     "What else did the nagual say to you when he sent  you to look for me?"
I asked.
     "He  said you  were  having  a  bout  with  the  death  defier."  In  a
confidential tone, I revealed to  Carol that the death defier  was a  woman.
Nonchalantly, she said that she knew it.
     "How  can you know it?" I shouted.  "No one has ever known  this, apart
from don Juan. Did he tell you that himself?"
     "Of course he  did," she replied, unperturbed by my shouting. "What you
have overlooked is that I also met the woman in the church. I met her before
you did. We amiably chatted in the church for quite a while."
     I believed Carol was telling me the  truth. What she was describing was
very much what don Juan would do. He would in all likelihood send Carol as a
scout in order to draw conclusions.
     "When did you  see the death defier?" I asked. "A couple of weeks ago,"
she replied in  a matter-of-fact tone. "It was no great event for me. I  had
no energy to give her, or at least not the energy that woman wants."
     "Why did you see her then? Is dealing  with the  nagual woman also part
of the death defier's and sorcerers' agreement?"
     "I saw her because the nagual said that you and I  are interchangeable,
and for no other reason. Our energy bodies have merged many times. Don't you
remember?  The woman  and  I talked  about the  ease with which we  merge. I
stayed with her maybe  three or four hours, until the nagual came in and got
me out."
     "Did you stay  in the  church all that time?" I asked, because  I could
hardly believe that they had knelt in  there for  three  or four hours  only
talking about the merging of our energy bodies.
     "She took me into another facet of her intent,"  Carol conceded after a
moment's thought. "She made me see how she actually escaped her captors."
     Carol related then a  most intriguing story. She said that according to
what the woman in the  church had made her see, every  sorcerer of antiquity
fell, inescapably, prey to the inorganic beings. The inorganic beings, after
capturing them, gave them power to  be the intermediaries  between our world
and their realm, which people called the netherworld.
     The death  defier was unavoidably caught  in the nets of the  inorganic
beings.  Carol  estimated  that he  spent perhaps  thousands  of years  as a
captive,  until  the moment  he was  capable  of transforming himself into a
woman.  He had clearly  seen  this as his  way out of  that world the day he
found  out  that  the  inorganic  beings  regard  the  female  principle  as
imperishable. They believe that the female  principle has such  a pliability
and its scope is so vast that its members are impervious to traps and setups
and can  hardly be held  captive. The death  defier's transformation was  so
complete and so detailed that  she was instantly spewed out of the inorganic
beings' realm.
     "Did she tell you that the  inorganic beings  are still after  her?"  I
     "Naturally  they are after her," Carol assured me.  "The woman told  me
she has to fend off her pursuers  every moment  of her life." "What can they
do to her?"
     "Realize she was  a man  and pull her back to captivity,  I suppose.  I
think  she  fears them  more  than  you  can  think it's  possible  to  fear
     Nonchalantly, Carol told me that the woman in the church was thoroughly
aware of  my run-in with the inorganic  beings and  that she also knew about
the blue scout.
     "She  knows everything  about you  and  me," Carol continued. "And  not
because I told her anything, but  because  she is part of  our lives and our
lineage. She mentioned that she had always followed all of us, you and me in
     Carol  related  to me the instances that the woman knew  in which Carol
and I had  acted together.  As she  spoke, I began to  experience  a  unique
nostalgia for the very person  who was in front of me: Carol Tiggs. I wished
desperately to embrace her. I  reached out to her, but I lost my balance and
fell off the bench.
     Carol helped me up from the pavement and anxiously examined my legs and
the pupils of my eyes, my neck and  my lower back. She said that I was still
suffering from an energetic jolt.
     She  propped  my  head  on  her  bosom and caressed  me as if I were  a
malingering child she was humoring.
     After  a  while  I  did  feel better;  I even began to regain my  motor
     "How  do you like  the clothes I  am  wearing?" Carol asked me all of a
sudden. "Am I overdressed for the occasion? Do I look all right to you?"
     Carol  was always exquisitely  dressed.  If there was anything  certain
about her, it was her impeccable taste in clothes. In fact, as long as I had
known  her, it had been a running joke between  don Juan and  the rest of us
that  her  only  virtue was  her  expertise at buying beautiful  clothes and
wearing them with grace and style.
     I  found her question very odd  and  made a  comment. "Why would you be
insecure about your  appearance?  It has never  bothered you before. Are you
trying  to  impress  someone?" "I'm trying to  impress you, of  course," she
said. "But  this is not the time,"  I protested. "What's going  on with  the
death defier is the important matter, not your appearance."
     "You'd  be  surprised how important my appearance is." She laughed. "My
appearance is a matter of life or death for both of us."
     "What are you talking about? You remind me of the nagual setting  up my
meeting with the death defier. He nearly  drove me nuts with  his mysterious
     "Was his mysterious talk justified?" Carol  asked with a deadly serious
expression. "It most certainly was," I admitted.
     "So  is my  appearance.  Humor  me. How  do  you  find  me?  Appealing,
unappealing, attractive, average, disgusting, overpowering, bossy?"
     I thought  for a  moment and  made  my assessment.  I found  Carol very
appealing.  This was quite strange  to  me. I had never consciously  thought
about her appeal. "I find you divinely beautiful,"  I said. "In fact, you're
downright stunning." "Then this must be the right appearance." She sighed.
     I was trying  to  figure out  her meanings, when  she spoke again.  She
asked, "What was your time with the death defier like?"
     I  succinctly  told her  about my  experience, mainly about  the  first
dream. I  said  that I believed the death defier had made  me see that town,
but at another time in the past.
     "But that's not possible," she blurted out. "There is no past or future
in the universe. There is only the moment."
     "I know that it was the past,"  I  said. "It was the same church, but a
different town."
     "Think  for a  moment,"  she  insisted. "In the universe  there is only
energy, and energy has only a here and now, an endless and ever-present here
and now."  "So  what do you think  happened to me,  Carol?" "With the  death
defier's help,  you crossed the  fourth  gate  of dreaming,"  she said. "The
woman in the church took you  into her dream,  into her intent. She took you
into her visualization of this  town.  Obviously,  she visualized it  in the
past,  and  that  visualization  is  still  intact  in her.  As her  present
visualization of this town must be there too."
     After a long silence she asked me another  question. "What else did the
woman do with you?"
     I told Carol about the second dream. The dream of the town as it stands
     "There you are," she said. "Not only  did the woman take you  into  her
past intent but she further helped you cross the fourth  gate by making your
energy body journey to another place that exists today, only in her intent."
     Carol paused and asked me whether the woman in the church had explained
to me what intending in the second attention meant.
     I  did  remember her mentioning but not really explaining what it meant
to intend in the second attention. Carol was dealing with concepts don  Juan
had never spoken about.
     "Where did you get all these novel  ideas?" I asked, truly marveling at
how lucid she was.
     In  a noncommittal tone, Carol assured me that the  woman in the church
had explained to her a great deal about those intricacies.
     "We are intending  in the second  attention now,"  she  continued. "The
woman in the church made us fall asleep; you here, and I in Tucson. And then
we fell asleep again in our dream. But you don't remember that part, while I
do. The  secret of the twin positions. Remember what the woman told you; the
second dream is intending in the second attention: the only way to cross the
fourth gate of dreaming."
     After  a long pause, during which I could not articulate  one word, she
said, "I think  the woman in the church really made you a gift, although you
didn't want to receive one. Her gift  was to add her energy to ours in order
to move backward and forward on the here-and-now energy of the universe."
     I got extremely excited. Carol's  words were precise,  apropos. She had
defined for me something I considered  undefinable, although  I did not know
what it was that she had defined. If I could  have moved, I would have leapt
to hug her. She smiled beatifically as I kept on ranting nervously about the
sense her words made to me. I commented rhetorically that don Juan had never
told me anything similar.
     "Maybe   he   doesn't   know,"   Carol   said,   not  offensively   but
     I did not argue with her. I remained  quiet for a while, strangely void
of thoughts. Then my  thoughts and  words erupted out  of me like a volcano.
People went around the  plaza,  staring at us  every so often or stopping in
front of us  to watch us. And we must have been a sight: Carol Tiggs kissing
and caressing my face while I  ranted on  and on about her  lucidity  and my
encounter with the death defier.
     When I was able to walk,  she guided  me across the  plaza to the  only
hotel  in town. She assured me that I did  not yet have the  energy to go to
don Juan's house but that everybody there knew our whereabouts.
     "How would they  know our  whereabouts?" I asked. "The nagual is a very
crafty old sorcerer," she replied,  laughing. "He's the one who told me that
if I found you energetically mangled, I  should put you in the  hotel rather
than risk crossing the town with you in tow."
     Her words and especially her smile made me feel so relieved that I kept
on  walking in a state of bliss. We went around the  corner to  the  hotel's
entrance, half a block down  the street, right  in front of  the church.  We
went  through  the bleak lobby, up the  cement stairway to the second floor,
directly to an unfriendly  room I  had never seen before. Carol said that  I
had been there; however,  I had no recollection of the hotel  or the room. I
was so tired, though, that I could not think about it. I  just sank into the
bed, face down. All I  wanted to do was sleep, yet I was too keyed up. There
were  too many loose  ends, although everything seemed so  orderly. I had  a
sudden surge of nervous excitation and sat up.
     "I never told you that I  hadn't accepted  the death  defier's gift," I
said, facing Carol. "How did you know I didn't?"
     "Oh, but you told me that yourself," she protested as she sat down next
to me. "You were so proud  of it. That was  the  first thing you blurted out
when I found you."
     This was  the only  answer, so far, that did not quite satisfy me. What
she was reporting did not sound like my statement.
     "I think you read  me  wrong,"  I  said. "I  just  didn't want  to  get
anything that would deviate  me from my goal." "Do  you mean you didn't feel
proud of refusing?" "No.  I didn't feel anything. I am  no longer capable of
feeling anything, except fear."
     I stretched my  legs and put my head  on the pillow. I  felt that if  I
closed my eyes or did not keep on talking I would be asleep in an instant. I
told  Carol  how  I  had  argued  with  don  Juan,  at the  beginning  of my
association  with  him,  about  his  confessed motive  for  staying  on  the
warrior's path. He had said that fear kept him going in a straight line, and
that what he feared the most was  to  lose  the  nagual,  the abstract,  the
     "Compared with losing the nagual, death is nothing," he had said with a
note of true passion in his voice. "My fear of losing the nagual is the only
real thing I have, because without it I would be worse than dead."
     I  said  to Carol  that I had immediately  contradicted  don  Juan  and
bragged that  since I was  impervious  to fear, if I had  to stay within the
confines of one path, the moving force for me had to be love.
     Don Juan had retorted that when the real pull comes, fear is  the  only
worthwhile  condition for a  warrior. I  secretly resented  him  for what  I
thought was his covert narrow-mindedness.
     "The wheel has done a full turn," I said to Carol, "and look at me now.
I can swear to you that the only  thing that keeps me going  is  the fear of
losing the nagual."
     Carol stared at me with a strange look I had never seen in her. "I dare
to disagree," she  said  softly. "Fear is  nothing compared  with affection.
Fear makes you run wildly; love makes you move intelligently."
     "What are you saying, Carol Tiggs? Are sorcerers people in love now?"
     She did not answer. She lay next to me and put her head on my shoulder.
We stayed there, in that strange, unfriendly room, for a long time, in total
     "I feel what  you feel," Carol said abruptly. "Now, try to  feel what I
feel. You can do it. But let's do it in the dark."
     Carol stretched her arm up and  turned off  the  light above the bed. I
sat up straight  in one single motion. A jolt of fright  had gone through me
like electricity. As  soon as  Carol turned  off the light, it was nighttime
inside that room. In the middle of great agitation, I asked Carol about it.
     "You're not all together  yet," she said reassuringly. "You had  a bout
of  monumental proportions.  Going so deeply  into  the second attention has
left you  a little mangled, so to  speak. Of course, it's daytime,  but your
eyes can't yet adjust properly to the dim light inside this room."
     More or less convinced, I lay down again. Carol kept on  talking, but I
was not listening. I felt  the sheets. They were real sheets. I ran my hands
on the bed. It was a bed! I leaned over and ran the palms of my hands on the
cold tiles of the floor. I got out of bed and checked every item in the room
and in the bathroom. Everything was perfectly normal, perfectly real. I told
Carol that when she turned off  the  light,  I had the clear sensation I was
     "Give yourself a break," she said. "Cut this investigatory nonsense and
come to bed and rest."
     I  opened  the curtains of the window to  the street.  It  was day-time
outside, but the moment I closed them  it was nighttime inside. Carol begged
me to come back to bed. She feared that I might  run away and end up in  the
street,  as I had done before.  She made sense.  I went  back to bed without
noticing that not  even  for a  second  had it  entered  my mind to point at
things. It was as if that knowledge had been erased from my memory.
     The darkness in that hotel room was most extraordinary. It brought me a
delicious sense of peace and harmony. It brought me also a profound sadness,
a longing for human warmth, for companionship. I felt more  than bewildered.
Never  had anything like  this  happened  to  me.  I  lay in bed, trying  to
remember if that longing was something I knew.  It was not.  The  longings I
knew were not for human companionship; they were abstract; they  were rather
a sort of sadness for not reaching something undefined.
     "I am coming apart," I said to Carol. "I am about to weep for people."
     I thought she would understand my statement as being funny.  I intended
it as a joke. But she did not say anything; she seemed to agree with me. She
sighed. Being in an unstable state of mind, I became instantly swayed toward
emotionality. I faced  her in the darkness and muttered something  that in a
more lucid  moment  would  have been quite  irrational to  me. "I absolutely
adore you," I said.
     Talk like  that among the sorcerers of don Juan's line was unthinkable.
Carol Tiggs was the nagual woman. Between the two of us, there was  no  need
for demonstrations of affection. In fact, we did not even know  what we felt
for each other. We had been taught  by  don Juan that  among sorcerers there
was no need or time for such feelings.
     Carol  smiled  at me  and embraced me.  And  I was  filled with such  a
consuming affection for her that I began to weep involuntarily.
     "Your  energy  body  is  moving  forward  on  the  universe's  luminous
filaments of energy," she whispered in my ear. "We are being carried by  the
death defier's gift of intent."
     I  had  enough  energy  to understand  what  she  was  saying.  I  even
questioned her about whether she, herself, understood what it all meant. She
hushed me and whispered in my ear. "I do understand; the death defier's gift
to  you  was  the  wings of intent. And with them,  you and  I  are dreaming
ourselves in another time. In a time yet to come."
     I pushed her away and sat  up.  The way Carol was voicing those complex
sorcerers'  thoughts was  unsettling  to  me.  She  was  not  given  to take
conceptual  thinking seriously. We had always joked among ourselves that she
did not have a philosopher's mind.
     "What's the matter with you?" I asked. "Yours is a new development  for
me: Carol the sorceress-philosopher. You are talking like don Juan."
     "Not yet."  She laughed. "But it's coming.  It's rolling,  and when  it
finally  hits  me, it'll be the  easiest thing in the world  for me  to be a
sorceress-philosopher.  You'll see. And no one will  be able  to  explain it
because it will just happen."
     An alarm  bell rang in my mind. "You're not Carol!" I shouted.  "You're
the death defier masquerading as Carol. I knew it."
     Carol laughed,  undisturbed by  my accusation.  "Don't be absurd,"  she
said. "You're  going to miss the lesson. I knew  that, sooner or later,  you
were going  to give in to your indulging. Believe me, I am Carol. But  we're
doing something  we've never done: we are intending in the second attention,
as the sorcerers of antiquity used to do."
     I was not  convinced, but I  had no more energy to pursue  my argument,
for  something  like the great vortexes of my dreaming was beginning to pull
me in. I  heard  Carol's  voice faintly, saying in my ear,  "We are dreaming
ourselves. Dream your intent of me. Intend me forward! Intend me forward!"
     With great effort, I voiced my innermost  thought.  "Stay  here with me
forever," I  said  with  the slowness of a  tape recorder on the blink.  She
responded with  something incomprehensible. I wanted  to laugh at my  voice,
but then the vortex swallowed me.
     When I woke up, I was alone in the hotel room. I had no idea how long I
had slept. I felt  extremely disappointed at not finding Carol by my side. I
hurriedly  dressed and went down to the lobby to look  for her.  Besides,  I
wanted to shake off some strange sleepiness that had clung to me.
     At the desk, the manager told me that the American woman who had rented
the room had just  left a moment ago. I ran out to  the  street,  hoping  to
catch her, but  there was no sign of her. It was midday; the sun was shining
in a cloudless sky. It was a bit warm.
     I walked to the church. My surprise was genuine but dull at finding out
that  I  had indeed seen the  detail of its architectural structure  in that
dream. Uninterestedly,  I played my own devil's advocate and gave myself the
benefit of the doubt. Perhaps don Juan and I  had examined the  back of  the
church and I did not  remember it. I thought about it. It did not matter. My
validation scheme had  no meaning for me anyway.  I was  too sleepy to care.
From  there I slowly walked to don Juan's house, still  looking for Carol. I
was sure I was going to find her there, waiting for me. Don Juan received me
as if I had come back from the dead.
     He and his  companions were in the throes of agitation as they examined
me with undisguised curiosity. "Where have you been?"  don  Juan demanded. I
could not comprehend  the reason for all  the fuss.  I  told him  that I had
spent the  night  with Carol  in the hotel  by  the plaza, because I  had no
energy to walk back  from the church to their  house, but that  they already
knew this. "We knew nothing of the sort," he snapped. "Didn't Carol tell you
she was with me?"  I asked in the midst of a dull suspicion, which, if I had
not been so exhausted, would have been alarming.
     No one answered.  They  looked at one another, searchingly. I faced don
Juan and told him I was under the impression he  had sent Carol to find  me.
Don Juan paced the room up and down without saying a word.
     "Carol  Tiggs hasn't  been with  us at all," he said.  "And you've been
gone for nine days."
     My  fatigue prevented me  from being blasted by  those  statements. His
tone of voice and the concern  the others  showed were ample proof that they
were serious. But I was so numb that there was nothing for me to say.
     Don  Juan  asked  me to  tell them, in  all  possible  detail, what had
transpired between  the death defier and me. I was shocked at being able  to
remember  so  much, and at  being  able to  convey all of it in  spite of my
fatigue. A moment of levity broke the tension  when I told them how hard the
woman had laughed at my inane yelling in her dream, my intent to see.
     "Pointing  the  little finger  works  better," I said to  don Juan, but
without any feeling of recrimination.
     Don  Juan  asked if  the  woman  had  any other reaction  to my yelling
besides laughing. I had no memory of one, except her mirth and the fact that
she had commented how intensely he disliked her.
     "I  don't dislike her," don Juan protested. "I just  don't like the old
sorcerers' coerciveness."
     Addressing everybody, I  said that  I personally had  liked  that woman
immensely and  unbiasedly.  And  that I  had loved  Carol  Tiggs as I  never
thought I  could love anyone. They did not  seem  to appreciate what  I  was
saying. They looked at one another as if I had suddenly gone crazy. I wanted
to  say  more,  to explain myself. But don Juan, I believed just to stop  me
from babbling idiocies, practically dragged  me out of the house and back to
the hotel.
     The same  manager I had  spoken to earlier obligingly listened  to  our
description of Carol Tiggs,  but he flatly denied ever having seen her or me
before. He even called the hotel maids; they corroborated his statements.
     "What can  the  meaning of  all this be?" don Juan asked  out loud.  It
seemed to be  a question addressed to himself. He  gently ushered me  out of
the hotel. "Let's get out of this confounded place," he said.
     When we  were outside, he ordered me not to  turn around to look at the
hotel or at the church across the street, but to keep my head down. I looked
at my shoes and instantly realized I  was  no longer wearing Carol's clothes
but my own. I could not remember, however, no matter how  hard I tried, when
I  had changed clothes. I figured that it must have been when  I woke  up in
the hotel room.  I must have put on my own clothes then, although my  memory
was blank.
     By then we  had  reached the plaza. Before we crossed it to head off to
don  Juan's house,  I  explained to him about my clothes. He  shook his head
rhythmically, listening to every word. Then he sat down  on a bench, and, in
a voice that conveyed genuine concern, he  warned  me that, at the moment, I
had  no way of knowing  what had transpired in the second attention  between
the woman in  the church and my energy body. My  interaction  with the Carol
Tiggs of the hotel had been just the tip of the iceberg.
     "It's  horrendous to think that  you  were in the second attention  for
nine  days," don Juan went on. "Nine  days  is  just a second  for the death
defier,  but  an eternity for us." Before I could  protest or explain or say
anything, he  stopped me with  a comment. "Consider this," he said.  "If you
still can't remember all the things  I  taught you  and did with you in  the
second attention, imagine how much  more  difficult  it must  be to remember
what the  death defier taught you and did  with  you. I only made you change
levels of awareness; the death defier made you change universes."
     I  felt meek and  defeated. Don Juan and his two companions urged me to
make a titanic effort and try to remember when I changed my clothes. I could
not. There was nothing in my mind: no feelings, no memories.  Somehow, I was
not totally there with them.
     The nervous agitation of don Juan  and his  two  companions  reached  a
peak. Never had I seen him so discombobulated. There had always been a touch
of fun, of not quite taking himself seriously  in everything  he did or said
to me. Not this time, though.
     Again, I tried to think, bring forth some memory that would shed  light
on all this; and again I failed, but I did not  feel defeated; an improbable
surge of optimism overtook me. I felt that everything was coming along as it
     Don Juan's  expressed  concern  was that  he  knew  nothing  about  the
dreaming I had done with the woman in the church. To create a dream hotel, a
dream town,  a  dream  Carol  Tiggs was to him  only  a  sample of  the  old
sorcerers'   dreaming  prowess,  the  total  scope  of  which  defied  human
     Don Juan opened his arms expansively and finally smiled with his  usual
delight. "We can only deduce that the woman in the church showed  you how to
do  it," he said in  a slow, deliberate tone. "It's going to be a giant task
for  you to  make comprehensible an incomprehensible maneuver. It has been a
masterful movement  on the  chessboard, performed by the death defier as the
woman in the church. She has used Carol's energy body and yours to lift off,
to  break  away from  her moorings. She took you  up on your  offer of  free
     What he was saying had no meaning to me; apparently,  it meant  a great
deal to his two companions. They became immensely agitated. Addressing them,
don  Juan explained that the death defier  and the woman  in the church were
different  expressions  of the same energy; the  woman in the church was the
more  powerful and  complex of the two. Upon taking control, she made use of
Carol Tiggs's energy body, in  some obscure, ominous  fashion congruous with
the old sorcerers' machinations, and created the Carol Tiggs of the hotel, a
Carol  Tiggs  of sheer intent. Don Juan  added that Carol  and the woman may
have arrived at some sort of energetic agreement during their meeting.
     At  that instant,  a  thought seemed to  find its way to don  Juan.  He
stared at his two companions, unbelievingly. Their eyes darted around, going
from one  to  the other.  I  was  sure they  were  not  merely  looking  for
agreement, for they seemed to have realized something in unison.
     "All  our speculations are useless,"  don Juan said in  a  quiet,  even
tone. "I believe there is no longer any Carol  Tiggs. There  isn't any woman
in  the  church  either;  both  have merged and  flown away on  the wings of
intent, I believe, forward.
     "The  reason the  Carol Tiggs of  the hotel  was so  worried about  her
appearance was because she was the  woman in the church, making  you dream a
Carol  Tiggs of another kind; an infinitely more powerful Carol Tiggs. Don't
you remember what  she said? 'Dream  your intent of me. Intend me forward."'
"What does this mean, don  Juan?"  I asked stunned. "It means that the death
defier has seen her total way out. She has caught a ride with you. Your fate
is her fate." "Meaning what, don  Juan?" "Meaning that if you  reach freedom
so will she." "How is she going to do that?"
     "Through Carol Tiggs. But don't worry about Carol." He said this before
I voiced my apprehension. "She's capable of that maneuver and much more."
     Immensities were piling up on me. I already felt their crushing weight.
I had  a  moment of  lucidity and asked don  Juan, "What is going to be  the
outcome of all this?"
     He did not answer.  He gazed at  me, scanning me from head to toe. Then
he  slowly  and deliberately  said, "The  death  defier's  gift consists  of
endless dreaming possibilities. One of them was your dream of Carol Tiggs in
another time, in another world; a more vast world, open-ended; a world where
the impossible might even be feasible. The implication was not only that you
will live those possibilities but that one day you will comprehend them."
     He  stood  up, and we  started to walk in silence toward his house.  My
thoughts began to race wildly. They were not thoughts, actually, but images,
a mixture of memories of the woman in the church and of Carol Tiggs, talking
to me in the darkness in the dream hotel room. A couple of  times I was near
to condensing those  images into a feeling of my  usual  self, but  I had to
give it up; I had no energy for such a task.
     Before we arrived at the house, don Juan stopped walking and  faced me.
He  again scrutinized  me carefully, as if he were  looking  for signs in my
body. I then felt obliged to set him straight on a subject I believed he was
deadly wrong about.
     "I was with the real Carol Tiggs at the hotel,"  I said. "For a moment,
I myself believed she  was the death defier, but after careful evaluation, I
can't hold  on to that belief. She was Carol.  In some  obscure, awesome way
she was at the hotel, as I was there at the hotel myself."
     "Of course she was Carol," don Juan  agreed. "But not the Carol you and
I know. This one was a dream Carol,  I've told you, a Carol made out of pure
intent. You helped the woman in  the church spin that dream.  Her art was to
make that  dream an all-inclusive reality: the art of the old sorcerers, the
most  frightening thing there is. I told you  that you were going to get the
crowning lesson in dreaming, didn't I?" "What do you think happened to Carol
Tiggs?" I asked.
     "Carol Tiggs  is gone," he replied. "But someday you will find  the new
Carol  Tiggs,  the  one in the dream hotel  room." "What do you  mean  she's
gone?" "She's gone from the world," he said.
     I  felt  a surge of  nervousness cut through  my  solar  plexus. I  was
awakening. The awareness of myself had started to become familiar to me, but
I was not yet fully in control of it. It had begun, though, to break through
the fog of  the dream;  it  had begun as a mixture of not  knowing  what was
going on and the foreboding  sensation  that  the incommensurable  was  just
around the corner.
     I must have had an expression of disbelief, because don Juan added in a
forceful  tone,  "This  is  dreaming.  You  should  know  by  now  that  its
transactions are final. Carol  Tiggs  is gone." "'But where do you think she
went, don Juan?" "Wherever the sorcerers  of antiquity went. I told you that
the death  defier's gift was endless dreaming possibilities. You didn't want
anything concrete, so the woman in the church gave you an abstract gift: the
possibility of flying on the wings of intent."

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