WE ARE PERCEPTORS. This is the first premise o the warriors' way, according to the form in which don Juan Matus taught it to his disciples. It seems to be a tautological statement: the reassertion of the obvious; something like saying a bald man is one that doesn't have hair, but it is not tautology, what we have here. In the sorcerers' world, it refers to the fact that we are organisms whose basic orientation is perceiving. We are perceptors, and that, according to sorcerers, is the only source from which we could establish our stability and obtain our orientation in the world.

Don Juan Matus told his disciples that human being as organisms perform a stupendous maneuver which, unfortunately, gives perception a false front; they take the influx of sheer energy and turn it into sensory data, which they interpret following a strict system of interpretation which sorcerers call the human form. This magical act of interpreting pure energy gives rise to the false front : the peculiar conviction on our part that our interpretation s stem is all that exists. Don Juan explained that a tree as we know tree is more interpretation than perception. He said that for us to deal with tree, all we need is a cursory glance that tells us hardly anything. The rest is a phenomena which he described as the calling of intent: the intent of tree, that is to say, the interpretation of sensory data pertaining to this specific phenomena that we call tree.

And just like this example, the whole world for us is composed of an endless repertoire of interpretations where our senses play a minimal role. In other words, only our visual sense touches the energy influx which is the universe, and it does so only minimally. Sorcerers maintain that the majority of our perceptual activity is interpretation ; they maintain that human beings are the kind of organisms that need a minimal input of sheer perception in order to create their world or, that they perceive only enough to serve their interpretation system. To assert that we are perceptors is an attempt on the part of sorcerers to push us back to our origin; to push us back to what should be our original stand: perceiving.

We Are Perceptors. Perceptors was used in place of perceivers. This was not an error, but the desire to extend the use of the Spanish language term perceptor which is very active, in order to connote in English the urgency of being a perceiver. In this journal of applied hermeneutics, the problem of enhancing the meaning of a term by propping it with a foreign cognate is going to arise quite often ; sometimes even to the point of forcing the creation of a new term ; not as a show of snobbery, but because of the inherent need to describe some sensation or experience or perception that has either never been described before, or if it has, it has escaped our knowledge. The implication is that our knowledge, no matter how adequate it might be, is limited.

The second premise of the warriors' way is called WE ARE WHAT OUR INCEPTION IS.

The first time don Juan Matus began to explain this premise, I thought he was joking, or that he was merely trying to shock me. He was teasing me at the time about my stated concern with finding love in life. He had asked me once what were my aims in life. Since I couldn't come up with any intelligible answer, I replied to him half jokingly that I wanted to find love.

"I recommend that you change venues," he said, and abstain totally from continuing your search. It will lead you nowhere at best ; at worst, it will lead you to your downfall."

"But why don Juan, why must I give up sex?" I asked in a plaintive voice.

"One of the most serious things warriors do," don Juan explained, "is to search, confirm, and realize the nature of their inception. Warriors must know as accurately as they can whether their parents were sexually excited when they conceived them, or whethertheywere merely fulfilling a conjugal function. Civilized lovemaking is very, very boring to the participants... If there is no excitation at the moment of conception, the child that comes out of such a union will be intrinsically, sorcerers say, just as he was conceived. Since there is no real excitation between the spouses, but perhaps merely mental desire, the child must bear the consequences of their act. Sorcerers assert that such children are needy, weak, unstable, dependent. Those, they say, are the children that never, ever leave home ; they stay put for life. The advantage of such beings is that they are extremely consistent in the midst of their weakness. They could do the same job for a lifetime without ever feeling the urge to change. If they happen to have a good, sturdy model as children, they grow to be very efficient, but if they fail to have a good pattern, there is no end to their anguish, turmoil and instability. Sorcerers say with great sadness that the enormous bulk of humanity was conceived like that. This is the reason we hear endlessly about the urge to find something that we don't have."

"In the warriors' path," he said, "nothing is finished. Nothing is forever. If your parents didn't make you as they should have, remake yourself."

He explained that the first maneuver of the sorcerers' kit is to become a miser of energy. Don Juan recommended that I abstain from engaging in patterns of behavior that demanded energy I did not have. Abstinence was the answer, not because this was morally correct or desirable, but because it was energetically the only way for me to store enough energy to be on par with those who were conceived under conditions of tremendous excitation.

The patterns of behavior he was talking about included everything that I did, from the way I tied my shoes, or ate, to the way I worried about my selfpresentation, or the way I pursued my daily activity, especially when it referred to courtship. Don Juan insisted that I abstain from sexual intercourse, because I had no energy for it.

The third premise of the warriors' way is: PERCEPTION MUST BE INTENDED IN ITS COMPLETENESS. Don Juan said that perception is perception, and that it is void of goodness or evil. He presented this premise as one of the most important components of the warriors' way, the essential arrangement that all sorcerers have to yield to. He argued that since the basic premise of the warriors' way is that we are perceivers, whatever we perceive has to be catalogued as perception per se, without inflicting any value on it, positive or negative.

Don Juan then outlined a complete sorcery scheme, even though I didn't understand a word of it. It took me a lifetime to come around to handling what he said to me at that time :

"When one is free from the mind," he said - something that was more than incomprehensible to me - "the interpretation of sensory data is no longer an affair taken for granted. One's total body contributes to it ; the body as a conglomerate of energy fields. The most important part of this interpretation is the contribution of the energy body, the body's twin in terms of energy ; an energy configuration that is the mirror image of the body as a luminous sphere. The interplay between the two bodies results in interpretation which cannot be good or bad, right or wrong, but an indivisible unit that has value only for those who journey into infinity."

"Why couldn't it have value in our daily life, don Juan ?" I asked.

"Because when the two sides of man, his body and his energy body, are joined together, the miracle of freedom happens. Sorcerers say that at that moment, we realize that for reasons extraneous to us, we have been detained in our journey of awareness. This interrupted journey begins again at that moment of joining.

"An essential premise of the warriors' way is, therefore, that perception ought to be intended in its completeness ; that is to say, the reinterpretation of direct energy as it flows in the universe must be made by man in possession of his two essential parts : body and energy body. This reinterpretation, for sorcerers, is completeness and, as you will understand someday, it must be intended."

The fourth unit of the warriors' way is THE ENERGY BODY. Don Juan Matus explained that, since time immemorial, sorcerers have given the name of energy body to a special configuration of energy which belongs to each human being individually. He also called this configuration the dreaming body, or the double or the other. His preference, in accordance with a sorcerers' agreement to emphasize abstract concepts, was to call it the energy body. But he also told me about a secret fun name for the energy body, which was used as a euphemism, a nickname, a term of endearment, a friendly reference to something incomprehensible and veiled : que ni te jodan -- which in English means, "they shouldn't bother you, energy body, or else."

Don Juan formally explained the energy body as a conglomerate of energy fields which are the mirror image of the energy fields that make up the human body when it is seen directly as energy. Don Juan said that for sorcerers, the physical body and the energy body are one single unit. He further explained that sorcerers believe that the physical body involves both the body and the mind as we know them, and that the physical body and the energy body are the only counterbalanced energy configurations in our human realm. Since there is no such thing as a dualism between body and mind, the only possible dualism that exists is between the physical body and the energy body.

The contention of sorcerers is that perceiving is a process of interpreting sensory data, but that every human being has the capacity to perceive energy directly, that is to say, without processing it through an interpretation system. As it has already been stated, when human beings are perceived in this fashion, they have the appearance of a sphere of luminosity. Sorcerers affirm that this sphere of luminosity is a conglomerate of energy fields held together by a mysterious binding force.

"What do you mean by a conglomerate of energy fields?" I asked don Juan when he first told me about this.

"Energy fields compressed together by some strange agglutinating force," he replied. "One of the arts of sorcerers is to beckon the energy body, which is ordinarily very far away from its counterpart, the physical body, and bring it closer so it can begin to preside energetically over everything the physical body does."

"if you want to be very exact," don Juan went on, "you can say that when the energy body is very close to the physical body, a sorcerer sees two luminous spheres, almost superimposed on each other. To have our energy twin close by would be our natural state, were it not for the fact that something pushes our energy body away from our physical body, starting at the very moment of our birth."

The sorcerers of don Juan's lineage put an enormous emphasis on the discipline required to bring the energy body closer to the physical body. Don Juan explained that once the energy body is within a certain energetic range, which varies for each individual, its proximity allows sorcerers the opportunity of forging the energy body into the other or the double : another being, solid and three-dimensional, exactly like themselves.

Following the same practices, sorcerers can change their solid, three-dimensional physical bodies into a perfect replica of the energy body ; that is to say, a conglomerate of pure energy fields which are invisible to the normal eye, as all energy is; an ethereal charge of energy capable of going, for example, through a wall.

"Through what processes," I said, "can sorcerers transform their ethereal energy bodies into solid, three-dimensional bodies, and their physical bodies into ethereal energy, capable of going through a wall?"

Don Juan, adopting a professorial seriousness, raised his finger and said : "Through the volitional -- although not always conscious -- yet quite within our capabilities, but not altogether within our immediate ability -- use of the binding force that ties the physical and the energy bodies together, as two conglomerates of energy fields." Sorcerers maintain that the link between the physical body and the energy body is a mysterious agglutinating force which we use incessantly without ever being aware of it.

It has been stated that when sorcerers perceive the body as a conglomerate of luminous energy fields, they perceive a sphere the size of both arms extended laterally and the height of the arms extended upwardly. They also perceive that in this sphere exists something they call the assemblage point ; a spot of even more intense luminosity, the size of a tennis ball, located towards the back, at the height of the shoulder blades, at an arm's length away from them.

Sorcerers consider the assemblage point to be the place where the flow of direct energy is turned into sensory data and interpreted as the world of everyday life. Don Juan said that the assemblage point, aside from doing all this, also has a most important secondary function: it is the linking connection between the physical body and the assemblage point of the energy body. He described such a connection as being analogous to two magnetized circles, each the size of a tennis ball, coming together, attracted by forces of intent.

He also said that when the physical body and the energy body are not joined, the connection between them is an ethereal line, which sometimes is so tenuous that it seems not to exist. Don Juan was certain that the energy body is pushed farther and farther away as one grows older, and that death comes as the result of the severance of that tenuous connection.