The Arts of Stalking and Dreaming

[For a brief biography, see: Glossary entry here ]


Sorcerers are divided into two groups: one group is dreamers; the other is stalkers. The dreamers are those who have a great facility for displacing the assemblage point. The stalkers are those who have a great facility for maintaining the assemblage point fixed on that new position. Dreamers and stalkers complement each other, and work in pairs, affecting one another with their given proclivities.


The displacement of the assemblage point

    The art of sorcery is to manipulate the assemblage point and make it change positions at will on the luminous spheres that human beings are. The result of this manipulation is a shift in the point of contact with the dark sea of awareness, which brings as its concomitant a different bundle of zillions of energy fields in the form of luminous filaments that converge on the assemblage point. The consequence of new energy fields converging on the assemblage point is that awareness of a different sort than that which is necessary for perceiving the world of everyday life enters into action, turning the new energy fields into sensory data, sensory data that is interpreted and perceived as a different world because the energy fields that engender it are different from the habitual ones.

    An accurate definition of sorcery as a practice would be to say that sorcery is the manipulation of the assemblage point for purposes of changing its focal point of contact with the dark sea of awareness, thus making it possible to perceive other worlds.

    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. Don Juan then made a meaningful distinction - which had eluded me all these years - between a movement and a shift of the assemblage point. A movement, he said, was a profound change of position, so extreme that the assemblage point might even reach other bands of energy within our total luminous mass of energy fields. Each band of energy represented a completely different universe to be perceived. A shift, however, was a small movement within the band of energy fields we perceived as the world of everyday life. He went on to say that sorcerers saw unbending intent as the catalyst to trigger their unchangeable decisions, or as the converse: their unchangeable decisions were the catalyst that propelled their assemblage points to new positions, positions which in turn generated unbending intent.

    No one could have had stronger convictions than the old seers, and yet they were weak to the core. Internal strength meant a sense of equanimity, almost of indifference, a feeling of being at ease, but, above all, it meant a natural and profound bent for examination, for understanding. The new seers called all these traits of character sobriety. "The conviction that the new seers have," he continued, "is that a life of impeccability by itself leads unavoidably to a sense of sobriety, and this in turn leads to the movement of the assemblage point.

    "I've told you the nagual is the conduit of the spirit," he [Don Juan] went on. "Since he spends a lifetime impeccably redefining his connecting link with intent, and since he has more energy than the average man, he can let the spirit express itself through him. So, the first thing the sorcerer apprentice experiences is a shift in his level of awareness, a shift brought about simply by the presence of the nagual. And what I want you to know is that there really is no procedure involved in making the assemblage point move. The spirit touches the apprentice and his assemblage point moves. It is as simple as that."

    "For a sorcerer, the spirit is an abstract simply because he knows it without words or even thoughts. It's an abstract because he can't conceive what the spirit is. Yet without the slightest chance or desire to understand it, a sorcerer handles the spirit. He recognizes it, beckons it, entices it, becomes familiar with it, and expresses it with his acts."

    The displacement and the fixation of the assemblage point can be realized at will by means of the sorcerers' iron-handed discipline. The sorcerers of our lineage believed that there were at least six hundred points within the luminous sphere that we are, that when reached at will by the assemblage point, can each give us a totally inclusive world; meaning that, if our assemblage point is displaced to any of those points and remains fixed on it, we will perceive a world as inclusive and total as the world of everyday life, but a different world nevertheless.

    The universe has no limits, and the possibilities at play in the universe at large are indeed incommensurable. So don't fall prey to the axiom, "I believe only what I see," because it is the dumbest stand one can possibly take.

    You must deliberately journey through the dark sea of awareness but you'll never know how this is done. Let's say that inner silence does it, following inexplicable ways, ways that cannot be understood, but only practiced.

    What we can do from inner silence is very similar to what is done in dreaming when one is asleep. However, when journeying through the dark sea of awareness, there is no interruption of any sort caused by going to sleep, nor is there any attempt whatsoever at controlling one's attention while having a dream. The journey through the dark sea of awareness entails an immediate response. There is an overpowering sensation of the here and now. Some idiotic sorcerers gave the name dreaming-awake to the act of reaching the dark sea of awareness directly, making the term dreaming even more ridiculous.

    When one thinks that they have had the [vivid] dream-fantasy of going to a town of their choice, they have actually placed their assemblage point directly on a specific position on the dark sea of awareness that allows the journey. Then the dark sea of awareness supplies them with whatever is necessary to carry on that journey. There's no way whatsoever to choose that place at will. Sorcerers say that inner silence selects it unerringly.

    Choice, for warrior-travelers, is not really the act of choosing, but rather the act of acquiescing elegantly to the solicitations of infinity.

    Infinity chooses. The art of the warrior-traveler is to have the ability to move with the slightest insinuation, the art of acquiescing to every command of infinity. For this, a warrior-traveler needs prowess, strength, and above everything else, sobriety. All those three put together give, as a result, elegance!



    I was having one of those extraordinary moments in which everything about the sorcerers' world was crystal clear. I understood everything. "Once our chains are cut," don Juan continued, "we are no longer bound by the concerns of the daily world. We are still in the daily world, but we don't belong there anymore. In order to belong we must share the concerns of people, and without chains we can't." Don Juan said that the nagual Elias had explained to him that what distinguishes normal people is that we share a metaphorical dagger: the concerns of our self-reflection. With this dagger, we cut ourselves and bleed; and the job of our chains of self-reflection is to give us the feeling that we are bleeding together, that we are sharing something wonderful: our humanity. But if we were to examine it, we would discover that we are bleeding alone; that we are not sharing anything; that all we are doing is toying with our manageable, unreal, man-made reflection. "Sorcerers are no longer in the world of daily affairs," don Juan went on, "because they are no longer prey to their self-reflection."

    It was therefore safe to say that any movement of the assemblage point away from its customary position resulted in a movement away from man's self-reflection and its concomitant: self-importance. He explained that sorcerers had unmasked self-importance and found that it is self-pity masquerading as something else.

    "I've taught you all kinds of things in order to trap your attention," he said. "You'll swear, though, that that teaching has been the important part. It hasn't. There is very little value in instruction. Sorcerers maintain that moving the assemblage point is all that matters. And that movement, as you well know, depends on increased energy and not on instruction." He explained that the specific sequence he had in mind called for being aware that self- importance is the force which keeps the assemblage point fixed. When self-importance is curtailed, the energy it requires is no longer expended. That increased energy then serves as the springboard that launches the assemblage point, automatically and without premeditation, into an inconceivable journey. Once the assemblage point has moved, the movement itself entails moving from self- reflection, and this, in turn, assures a clear connecting link with the spirit. He commented that, after all, it was self-reflection that had disconnected man from the spirit in the first place.

    He stated that what seemed a contradiction was really the two sides of the same coin. The nagual entices the assemblage point into moving by helping to destroy the mirror of self- reflection. But that is all the nagual can do. The actual mover is the spirit, the abstract; something that cannot be seen or felt; something that does not seem to exist, and yet does. For this reason, sorcerers report that the assemblage point moves all by itself. Or they say that the nagual moves it. The nagual, being the conduit of the abstract, is allowed to express it through his actions…. The nagual moves the assemblage point, and yet it is not he himself who does the actual moving," don Juan said. "Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that the spirit expresses itself in accordance with the nagual's impeccability. The spirit can move the assemblage point with the mere presence of an impeccable nagual."

    He reminded me that he had described to me in the past the concept of stopping the world. He had said that stopping the world was as necessary for sorcerers as reading and writing was for me. It consisted of introducing a dissonant element into the fabric of everyday behavior for purposes of halting the otherwise smooth flow of ordinary events - events which were catalogued in our minds by our reason. … "Sorcerers know that when an average person's inventory fails, the person either enlarges his inventory or his world of self-reflection collapses. The average person is willing to incorporate new items into his inventory if they don't contradict the inventory's underlying order. But if the items contradict that order, the person's mind collapses. The inventory is the mind. Sorcerers count on this when they attempt to break the mirror of self-reflection."

    The first way to destroy self-importance is to sever each head one at a time; the second was to reach that mysterious state of being called the place of no pity, which destroyed self-importance by slowly starving it; and the third was to pay for the instantaneous annihilation of the three-thousand-headed monster with one's symbolic death.



    "My benefactor told me then that a sorcerer's ticket to freedom was his death," don Juan went on. "He said that he himself had paid with his life for that ticket to freedom, as had everyone else in his household. And that now we were equals in our condition of being dead." "Am I dead too, don Juan?" I asked. "You are dead," he said. "The sorcerers' grand trick, however, is to be aware that they are dead. Their ticket to impeccability must be wrapped in awareness. In that wrapping, sorcerers say, their ticket is kept in mint condition.

    “Without a clear view of death, there is no order, no sobriety, no beauty. Sorcerers struggle to gain this crucial insight in order to help them realize at the deepest possible level that they have no assurance whatsoever their lives will continue beyond the moment. That realization gives sorcerers the courage to be patient and yet take action, courage to be acquiescent without being stupid."   

   "Would you say, don Juan, that death is the only real enemy we have?" I asked him a moment later. "No," he said with conviction. "Death is not an enemy, although it appears to be. Death is not our destroyer, although we think it is." "What is it, then, if not our destroyer?" I asked. "Sorcerers say death is the only worthy opponent we have," he replied. "Death is our challenger. We are born to take that challenge, average men or sorcerers. Sorcerers know about it; average men do not." "I personally would say, don Juan, life, not death, is the challenge." "Life is the process by means of which death challenges us," he said. "Death is the active force. Life is the arena. And in that arena there are only two contenders at any time: oneself and death." "I would think, don Juan, that we human beings are the challengers," I said. "Not at all," he retorted. "We are passive. Think about it. If we move, it's only when we feel the pressure of death. Death sets the pace for our actions and feelings and pushes us relentlessly until it breaks us and wins the bout, or else we rise above all possibilities and defeat death. "Sorcerers defeat death and death acknowledges the defeat by letting the sorcerers go free, never to be challenged again." "Does that mean that sorcerers become immortal?"  "No. It doesn't mean that," he replied. "Death stops challenging them, that's all."
"But what does that mean, don Juan?" I asked.
"It means thought has taken a somersault into the inconceivable," he said.

    "A somersault of thought into the inconceivable," he explained with an air of resignation, "is the descent of the spirit; the act of breaking our perceptual barriers. It is the moment in which man's perception reaches its limits. Sorcerers practice the art of sending scouts, advance runners, to probe our perceptual limits. This is another reason I like poems. I take them as advance runners. But, as I've said to you before, poets don't know as exactly as sorcerers what those advance runners can accomplish."


    "Here is where the average man's stupidity is most dangerous," he continued. "He is afraid of sorcery. He trembles at the possibility of freedom. And freedom is at his fingertips. And it can be reached as easily as the assemblage point can be made to move. The third point of reference is freedom of perception; it is intent; it is the spirit; the somersault of thought into the miraculous; the act of reaching beyond our boundaries and touching the inconceivable."


 The art of Stalking

    The art of the stalkers enters into play after the assemblage point has been displaced. Maintaining the assemblage point fixed in its new position assures sorcerers that they will perceive whatever new world they enter in its absolute completeness, exactly as we do in the world of ordinary affairs. For the sorcerers of our lineage, the world of everyday life is but one fold of a total world consisting of at least six hundred folds.

    It started from an observation the new seers made that when warriors steadily behave in ways not customary for them, the unused emanations inside their cocoons begin to glow. And their assemblage points shift in a mild, harmonious, barely noticeable fashion.

    "The very first principle of stalking is that a warrior stalks himself," he said. "He stalks himself ruthlessly, cunningly, patiently, and sweetly."…"The real challenge for those sorcerer seers," don Juan went on, "was finding a system of behavior that was neither petty nor capricious, but that combined the morality and the sense of beauty which differentiates sorcerer seers from plain witches."

    "You must recollect the first time your eyes shone," he said, "because that was the first time your assemblage point reached the place of no pity. Ruthlessness possessed you then. Ruthlessness makes sorcerers' eyes shine, and that shine beckons intent. Each spot to which their assemblage points move is indicated by a specific shine of their eyes. Since their eyes have their own memory, they can call up the recollection of any spot by calling up the specific shine associated with that spot." "But, for sorcerers to use the shine of their eyes to move their own or anyone else's assemblage point," he continued, "they have to be ruthless. That is, they have to be familiar with that specific position of the assemblage point called the place of no pity. This is especially true for the naguals."



    They [old sorcerers] also saw that it is the Eagle that devours this same enriched awareness after making sentient beings relinquishes it at the moment of death. For him, it would be more accurate to say that there is a force that attracts our consciousness, much as a magnet attracts iron shavings. At the moment of dying, all of our being disintegrates under the attraction of that immense force. For the old seers to say that the reason for existence is to enhance awareness is not a matter of faith or deduction. They saw it.

    The old sorcerers saw that at the moment of death, the dark sea of awareness sucked in, so to speak, through the assemblage point, the awareness of living creatures. They also saw that the dark sea of awareness had a moment's, let's say, hesitation when it was faced with sorcerers who had done a recounting of their lives. Unbeknownst to them, some had done it so thoroughly that the dark sea of awareness took their awareness in the form of their life experiences, but didn't touch their life force. Sorcerers had found out a gigantic truth about the forces of the universe:the dark sea of awareness wants only our life experiences, not our life force.

    “[T]he only way to think clearly is to not think at all. I was convinced you understood this sorcerers' contradiction." In a loud voice I protested the obscurity of his statements. He laughed and made fun of my compulsion to defend myself. Then he explained again that for a sorcerer there were two types of thinking. One was average day-today thinking, which was ruled by the normal position of his assemblage point. It was muddled thinking that did not really answer his needs and left great murkiness in his head. The other was precise thinking. It was functional, economical, and left very few things unexplained. Don Juan remarked that for this type of thinking to prevail the assemblage point had to move. Or at least the day-to-day type thinking had to stop to allow the assemblage point to shift. Thus the apparent contradiction, which was really no contradiction at all. "Recollecting is not the same as remembering," he continued. "Remembering is dictated by the day-to-day type of thinking, while recollecting is dictated by the movement of the assemblage point. A recapitulation of their lives, which sorcerers do, is the key to moving their assemblage points. Sorcerers start their recapitulation by thinking, by remembering the most important acts of their lives. From merely thinking about them they then move on to actually being at the site of the event. When they can do that - be at the site of the event - they have successfully shifted their assemblage point to the precise spot it was when the event took place. Bringing back the total event by means of shifting the assemblage point is known as sorcerers' recollection."

    The total goal of the shamanistic knowledge that we are handling is the preparation for facing the definitive journey: the journey that every human being has to take at the end of his life. Through their discipline and resolve, shamans are capable of retaining their individual awareness and purpose after death. For them, the vague, idealistic state that modern man calls "life after death" is a concrete region filled to capacity with practical affairs of a different order than the practical affairs of daily life, yet bearing a similar functional practicality. To collect the memorable events in their lives is, for shamans, the preparation for their entrance into that concrete region which they call the active side of infinity.

    Every warrior, as a matter of duty, collects an album that reveals the warrior's personality, an album that attests to the circumstances of his life. Above all, it is like an album of pictures made out of memories, the recollection of memorable events -- memorable because they have a special significance in one's life. Put in it the complete account of various events that have had profound significance for you. Not every event has a profound significance for you. There are a few, however, that I would consider likely to have changed things for you, to have illuminated your path. Ordinarily, events that change our path are impersonal affairs, and yet are extremely personal. Don't think about this album in terms of banalities, or in terms of a trivial rehashing of your life experiences.

    In my time, not only did I not know what to choose, I thought I had no experiences to choose from. It seemed that nothing had ever happened to me. Of course, everything had happened to me, but in my effort to defend the idea of myself, I had no time or inclination to notice anything. The stories of a warrior's album are not personal, not assertions about you as the center of everything. You feel, you don't feel; you realize, you don't realize. All of that type of story is just you. The memorable events we are after have the dark touch of the impersonal. That touch permeates them. I don't know how else to explain this.


The art of dreaming

     Don Juan explained that dreaming, like stalking, began with a simple observation. The old seers became aware that in dreams the assemblage point shifts slightly to the left side in a most natural manner. That point indeed relaxes when man sleeps and all kinds of unused emanations begin to glow.

    "Wherever the assemblage point moves in dreams is called the dreaming position,"' he went on. "The old seers became so expert at keeping their dreaming position that they were even able to wake up while their assemblage points were anchored there. "The old seers called that state the dreaming body, because they controlled it to the extreme of creating a temporary new body every time they woke up at a new dreaming position.

    He said that at first the new seers were hesitant to use dreaming. It was their belief that dreaming, instead of fortifying, made warriors weak, compulsive, capricious. The old seers were all like that. In order to offset the nefarious effect of dreaming, since they had no other option but to use it, the new seers developed a complex and rich system of behavior called the warriors' way, or the warriors' path.

    Don Juan then outlined the procedure for getting to the dreaming body. All that is required is impeccability, energy, and that begins with a single act that has to be deliberate, precise, and sustained. If that act is repeated long enough, one acquires a sense of unbending intent, which can be applied to anything else. If that is accomplished the road is clear. One thing will lead to another until the warrior realizes his full potential. Unbending intent leads to internal silence, and internal silence to the inner strength needed to make the assemblage point shift in dreams to suitable positions.

    We can speak a little more clearly now about inner silence. Dreaming is the act of changing the point of attachment with the dark sea of awareness. If you view it in this fashion, it's a very simple concept, and a very simple maneuver. It takes all you have to realize it, but it's not impossibility, nor is it something surrounded with mystical clouds.

    Dreaming is a term that weakens a very powerful act. It makes it sound arbitrary; it gives it a sense of being a fantasy, and this in the only thing it is not. I tried to change the term myself, but it's too ingrained. Maybe someday you could change it yourself, although, as with everything else in sorcery, I am afraid that by the time you could actually do it, you won't give a damn about it because it won't make any difference what it is called anymore.

    Dreaming is an art, discovered by the sorcerers of ancient Mexico, by means of which ordinary dreams are transformed into bona-fide entrances to other worlds of perceptionDreaming attention is the capacity to pay a special kind of attention, or to place a special kind of awareness on the elements of an ordinary dream. Don't set out deliberately to have a desired dream, but fix your attention on the component elements of whatever dream presents itself. The assemblage point is displaced very naturally during sleep.

    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 perception. 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.

    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,"

    "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.

    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.

    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.

    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 sphere."

     "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."

    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 ridiculous.

    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.

    "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."

    "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 most vital piece of information for me was that the dreaming attention comes from behind the roof of the mouth.

    "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,"

    "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.

    "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."

    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 body.

    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.

    "The energy necessary to move the assemblage points of sorcerers comes from the realm of inorganic beings,"

    "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."

    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.

    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.

    To a seer, the shiniest part of the assemblage point faces outward, in the case of females and inward, in the case of males.