Taisha Abelar In Conversation with Alexander Blair-Ewart, Part 1.
In the long years when Carlos Castaneda first informed the world of the wonders of American aboriginal spirit knowledge, many recognized that a tradition of great significance had begun to reveal itself to the world. Over the years Castaneda has progressively shown the all-engulfing world view of the Toltecs in its reformed state as a work of spiritual art, shaped by the new seers, who have survived the devastating encounter with European colonial civilization.
Taisha Abelar, author of the new book The Sorcerer's Crossing (Viking Arkana) is one of the new seers whose designation "stalker" balances the world of the "dreamer" [see Dimensions Feb '92 interview with the "dreamer" Florinda Donner]. It is with true delight that we witness the emergence into the world of a new and genuine way of the spirit.
Alexander Blair-Ewart: One meets people who have abandoned reason and logic, and the natural functions of the mind, and who end up in a kind of twilight zone of not really being able to derive any clarity about anything.
Taisha Abelar: Yes, and that was one of the major pitfalls of the old sorcerers, who emphasized dreaming techniques to shift the assemblage point, but they did not have the stalker's technique to balance that out. It's a question of balance, because unless you have the sobriety and the control, what's the point of moving the assemblage point? You move it and you get lost in those realms and you're never able to return to this level, which is what we're doing at this point. We're moving into other realms, but we're also returning to this reality, shifting back and forth. And we have that control.
Abe: So you also call that the 'day' and 'night' sides of consciousness. Is that correct?
Taisha: Yes, you can think of it like that. although, when you are in the night side, you are absolutely in the night side, and that becomes your day. But it's true. You want to be able to maintain an order, because what stalking does is that it has to fixate the assemblage point to a new position, wherever that is.
It could be out in a totally different reality. but you still want, within that, to maintain the sobriety and your consciousness, your awareness, that has to remain intact. And that's where your stalker's techniques come in, because if you lose that, either through fright or indulgence or just sheer ignorance, then you lose everything. It's like you say, you end up in this twilight zone, and you've lost the game, in other words. You want to be able to maintain the order, and in stalking you create the reality wherever you are by creating structure, by imputing order, be reasoning. You can reason even if you're in a totally different realm. You still maintain your awareness. You try to bring order to the inconceivable perceptions, the chaos that is the universe. And so wherever you move the assemblage point, the energy for maintaining your awareness intact has to also be there. So that's the prerequisite for shifting into different realities.
Abe: So your essential being hood, your essential humanity survives this transition into worlds of alternative reality?
Taisha: I wouldn't say your humanity, but...
Abe: ...I said your "essential" humanity...
Taisha: ...your luminous "double".
Taisha: Your luminosity and your awareness, which is the assemblage point, stays intact elsewhere. But it's not human. It doesn't have to be human, and there's the error that we don't want to make. No, you leave everything that's human behind.
Abe: Now, most people would not really want to do that.
Taisha: Exactly, no, they don't. And there's a lot of interest in our work, and in Carlos Castaneda, and in don Juan. But they don't really want it. What they like is an intellectual curiosity, the possibility that there's something else out there, because we all have that as human beings.
Abe: So, in that sense, there's all of the work that Castaneda has published, and Florinda Donner. And now there's this book from you. And I have a hunch that there are going to be other books from other previously unheard of members of that spiritual school or tradition. And yet the books are going out there; literally millions of people, as you know, have read the books; hundreds of thousands of people have tried to do what is in them. And yet we're acknowledging here that this work, this sorcerer's path is really only for the few. Very very few people will actually walk this path. Why did you publish the book?
Taisha: Good question. There's a double answer here. First of all, one reason is that Carlos Castaneda and Florinda Donner, myself and Carol Tiggs, we're the last of don Juan's line; he's the last of that lineage, the end of the line. They didn't know at the time that they were training us--and I came into don Juan's world very young, when I first became an adult. I'd been with don Juan and then with Carlos Castaneda all my adult life--and they didn't know that Carlos Castaneda was going to be the next Nagual, and that he would have his structure of people according to the rule, which is very specific, and sets up the dreamers and stalkers, and it has a certain numerical configuration.
But they trained us in dreaming and stalking and many of the techniques that they use, they handed down to us. but then it turned out Carlos Castaneda is not at all a four-sided Nagual.
A Nagual is one that has four energetic compartments, and this is really a question of the energetic makeup of luminous beings. He's a three-sided Nagual, meaning his mission is different, and one of the major differences is that the Nagual woman who usually goes with the previous Nagual's group, in this case Carol Tiggs, she went with don Juan, but one day she came back. The Nagual Carlos' intent, or Florinda Donner's and mine, we literally hold her back into this reality. In other words, her assemblage point shifted back, so that she is now with us. Now that's absolutely unheard of in all the generations of Naguals and seers in don Juan's lineage. So, because she came back, she gave us that energy of actually writing about our experiences.
Abe: Carol Tiggs came back, and the idea was that she was going to go with don Juan Matus. Taisha: And she did. When they left they took her.
Abe: And Carlos was supposed to find the next Nagual and the next Nagual woman. Then, when he would have taken her and the cycle would have continued. But now this unprecedented thing has occurred. What does it mean?
Taisha: The designs of the Spirit are absolutely different from what they were for don Juan. His group followed the rules, they had a certain training procedure. Although they were abstract, they were in a sense very concrete. They were practitioners of the things that were handed down to them by the previous group. And they handed these things down to us. But the things that we actually only really keep are the most abstract things, like the recapitulation, the idea of impeccability, the things that we do or are not doing, which is the total negation of practices or procedures, and I am going to talk about those. but your question is why is it coming out now, and why are we writing. The Nagual woman gave us this extra energy to bring these things out into the ordinary reality.
Otherwise, unless there's the energy, they would forever remain ideas. Although, we practice them; we are the ideas. There's no difference between what we say and what we do, and that's why we are able to move our assemblage points, because they're not only abstractions, but our bodies actually embody these things. So therefore our assemblage point moves. But unless the energy is there, one is not able to bring it out into this reality for other people to see. So a lot of these things, we've had, we've written down, we've had these things, we were taught them many many years ago.
The things that I write about happened many years ago. But there wasn't that energy to put it out, to give it a concrete form, in other words. The second reason is that, since there are no apprentices, so to speak, the design of the Spirit, and I repeat that, I keep saying that, because it's nothing that we decide...There's no way I can say, oh, I'm going to write this and do this, because I have no volition in that sense. The design of the Spirit decides that this should be coming out now, and so it is, and because, I would say, there is no next generation, in the traditional sense. So it has to be put out to whoever is out there.
And like you say, yes, there are thousands, maybe millions of people that are reading these things. And one of them could practice them and succeed in finding the way. And the reason I say that is because you don't need a teacher. Being abstract, the way all of us are in this last generation, we can see that all you need is like a minimal chance, and idea. Given the word, the possibility that this is what you can do, the recapitulation is like this, and then if somebody does it, they can move their assemblage point, and something will happen and the Spirit or the Intent itself will guide them and teach them. And that's already built into the recapitulation, into the not-doing exercises, into the books themselves. The intent is already there. Okay, so we said that most people won't want to leave the pack. They'll feel that this is not for them. That's the way it is, yes. But, there's some people out there that this will affect, and those are the people for whom the books are written, and who knows what will happen?
Abe: Can you talk in a more specific way about the 'recapitulation'?
Taisha: Okay. What it is is really a very very ancient technique handed down by the old sorcerer's in don Juan's lineage. But it was sort of forgotten by them, because they were more interested in power and having power over others, dominating people, that kind of thing. The furthest thing form their mind was the idea of losing self importance. But the technique was there, and the new sorcerers revived it, so to speak, and it was handed down, and it came to the Nagual Carlos and us. And we now consider it really the fundamental technique in sorcery of all the techniques we learned for moving the assemblage point.
The recapitulation is really the best one for modern man, and the reason we put so much emphasis on it--don Juan put the emphasis on it, too--is because anyone can do it. You don't have to be a "sorcerer's apprentice" or anything like that. Just any individual with minimal interest--they don't even have to be absolutely devoted or anything, but have some curiosity--can start this. It is a technique for erasing the idea of the self, or what the self is, in terms of all the memories and associations with people that one had during one's lifetime. And it's not just an idea. I mean, I say idea, but it's an energetic idea, because when one interacts with persons, energy is exchanged, of course.
Al lot of it is lost or left in things. Through concerns or deep emotions, it's left in the world and in people. And the strategy--because it is a sorcerer's strategy--is to regain that, to bring it back, so you can have it all with you now, in the present. Why leave it floating around in some mysterious past that kind of holds you fixed in the place where you are? So what you do is you sit, you find a place where you have some quiet and solitude, preferably a closet or big box or even a shower, because you want an enclosed space--the sorcerers used to have their recapitulation boxes, where they would bury themselves, or be in a cave. I started mine in a small cave. Something that encloses the energetic body, so that there's some pressure put on the luminous self. Before you sit, you make out your list.
You have a list of everyone that you've every met, encountered, had anything to do with throughout your life. So this takes some doing, and some remembering. This remembering, in itself, sort of loosens the assemblage point. So it's kind of like a preliminary exercise. By going back in your mind and remembering everybody that you've every known, you work from the present backwards, and you write down all the people that you've worked with, your family, your associates, everybody that you've had anything to do with. Actually you make two lists. First of all your sexual experiences.
Anyone that you've had any sexual dealings with. And sorcerers always say you start there, because that's the fundamental energy that's lost out there, and if you retrieve that, then that will give you the boost to do your other people. So you have your two lists, and then you sit in your recapitulation box, cave or closet, and you start the breathing.
The third element besides the lists and the box or the place is the breath. And the breath is very important, because the breathing is what disentangles the energy. And this is already set up by Intent. Our interaction with others is done with our energetic body, and the breath moves the luminous fibers. You start on your right shoulder, where you put your hand--actually I describe this in my book pretty well--but you start on your right shoulder, and when you have set up the scene of people and places in your mind, you've situated everything and you've visualized it to perfection in all its detail, then you have your chin on your right shoulder and you breath in, turning your head to your left shoulder, and then you exhale moving your head back to your right shoulder, and then bring you head to the centre. You sweep it; it's like a sweeping of the scene.
You just sweep the whole room or person or place, whatever. And you pull back whatever of that other person's energy was left in you. You exhale it and give it back. In a sense you detach yourself from that particular encounter. And you do this with everything.
FORMLESS AND PATTERNLESS:
After you've done it with your whole life, you detach pretty much from your remembered past. This is not an analysis, by the way. It's not meant to be like a real self analysis, but you can't help seeing in the way you act and behave and what is expected of you, a pattern forming, and absolute pattern emerging. And with the breath, you break that pattern. So what you essentially want to do is move into formless, patternless behavior, which is the way a sorcerer acts. He's absolutely fluid. And that brings us back to stalking.
A stalker is someone who makes himself unobtrusive, the art of being unobtrusive. He had no self, no pattern, nothing to assert, no point to make, no demands, no desires. And all this will be eliminated through the recapitulation. And then there's some other things that really need to be done with that, and that's quieting the internal dialogue.
So that when you're now here it this today, you have all your energy with you so that you don't persist in repeating that same patterns of behavior. And the way these patterns are ingrained in us is through that internal dialogue, in which we keep repeating certain things to ourselves, like "Oh, I'm no good" or "They don't like me" or "I have to be like this, prove myself here". Whatever goes through one's mind, which is a constant flow of thoughts or reaffirmations, really, of the self. And so, the sorcerers say that you really need to put a stop to that continual reinforcement of the self, which is that position of the assemblage point.
Now when you do the breathing with the recapitulation, by moving back into the past, moving forward into now, and that intense concentration that is needed to sit there and visualize these things, that shifts your assemblage point minutely. And whoever does the recapitulation will see that.
They'll see that oh, god, I'm doing this again, and ten years later doing it again. The same kind of relationships, again, the same type of man, the same type of woman. We know somebody who says he always picks difficult women. (laughter) I don't know what that means, but it's true. It's like this person is doomed to have difficult relationships. So patterns get repeated, no matter what they are, and whoever recapitulates will see that. So the seer within us gets to break out. And then, as you do this and you go back into your regular day to day life, you become more quiet, and then you do these techniques once a week to quiet the internal dialogue, and some of them are described in my book.
There's lots of things like this in Carlos Castaneda's books on gazing, certain gazing techniques. Or you can do a match gazing technique. You just hold up the flame for a moment, and then you douse the tip of it, and then you turn it upside down, after you've kind of cooled off the tip while it's still burning, turn it upside down and hold it in your left hand and look at the flame as it burns the bottom of the match in front of your eyes, and that quiets the mind.
You can use any minor meditation techniques. I wouldn't say go heavily into Oriental meditation techniques, because you're already doing recapitulation and you don't want to get fixed into any form. All we're doing now as abstract sorcerers is a minimal of technique so that we can get away from the self. We don't want to get heavier in the area of ego and ego enforcement, and "now we're meditators", or "now we're..."
Abe: So you don't want to build up an image of yourself, even as a spiritual person.
Taisha: No, you don't. You don't want to add to that. And when you look at how much you have to get rid of you'll be kind of careful not to add more. (laughter) And you don't want to add more in terms of becoming more important in other areas, just because you're getting rid of some of these old things. But you're putting that energy into fighting with your husband or wife. And that's where impeccability comes in. You want to maintain your daily behavior on an impeccable level, and that means you just do your best, your humble best. We're no longer interested in reasserting the ego or the self, or defending the self.
The brunt of energy really goes into defense of the self, because if it's attacked left and right...I mean, you can't go out of your house...even in your house, there's always something that is threatening, or your boss says something somebody looks at you the wrong way, and they gip you, this or that. Right away you have to go back and build up "I'm not that bad. They don't understand me." The mind rallies like lightning trying to patch up these things. No, you don't let it go.
You're not interesting in defense of the self anymore. You're interested in getting rid of the self, in culminating the self. And don Juan had a good adage. He said, "Eliminate the self and fear nothing." So, if you don't have a self there's absolutely nothing to fear, because all the fears, the disappointments, everything comes from the idea of the self, or certain expectations that aren't met. Not just negative things, but if good things happen, then you feel good, you know. So it goes both ways. Stalkers, then are really indifferent, they're detached, and that gets us back to how we started this conversation.
What stalkers really want to do is detach themselves from the self, which is saying that they want to detach the awareness from that position of the assemblage point where society, our parents, the sheer fact that we were born into a certain family, have certain relationships, has put us, has forced us, has imprisoned us, really.
So when we recapitulate and detach ourselves from everything that's every happened, we're floating. The assemblage point becomes free. It can move, and very harmoniously. It can move without the aid of drugs, without the aid of some external person or Nagual. Because any time you have something external, you're not free, you're dependent on that thing.
So the only thing that the modern sorcerer, or the stalker is really dependent on is something so abstract that he calls it the Spirit, the Unknown. By getting rid of the self, they give the self to the Eagle as a token. They give themselves in a symbolic death. And in that sense the Eagle, they say, allows the impeccable warrior to escape. And what that's metaphorically saying is that a person who has recapitulated and disentangled his energy from the expectations of the everyday world is able to move elsewhere.
He's able to do dreaming with control, because even in dreaming he has no self. And this differentiates, again, the old sorcerers from the modern ones. When the old sorcerers did dreaming, they had very heavy ego and then of course they got lost and trapped in different levels of dreaming. They weren't able to move out again, because they were too heavy. But they had their ideas of power and they became obsessive. The stalker is absolutely not obsessed with anything. He treats the whole world as 'controlled folly'.
What that means is that everything is there to be used. There's order; there's a structure. But it's not to be taken seriously, because there are other orders, other structures, an infinite number of layers to this onion of reality, and he can go elsewhere. But wherever he is, he creates his order and his structure, and when the Spirit moves him, something moves the assemblage point, and he moves elsewhere. And he's impeccable in his dreams, he's impeccable in this everyday reality, if and when he's here.
But a stalker begins here in the everyday world, and that's why this recapitulation is really for everyone. They begin here, right wherever anyone is. That's where they start. And they start with their list and their place, they sweep the past, then they make themselves quiet internally, so that they don't accumulate more of the debris, using certain gazing methods--and I don't mean acrobatics or anything like that-- but there's some sorcery passes that have been handed down.
Or just sitting quietly--you don't even have to call it meditating--just shut off the internal dialogue. And you elongate these moments of silence. And then you have the power that comes from sheer silence. That in itself will allow the assemblage point to move from your everyday state into heightened awareness. Then, that's when the practitioner--you don't even have to call them sorcerers-- that's when they enter heightened awareness. It's when they have that ability to have the silence extend itself into whatever they're doing.
And they're active. If you've working, if you're driving, do whatever, but do it silently, because you don't have the idea of the self impinging. And them, of course, you use the petty tyrants of the world, because okay, so you've recapitulated... and I have to mention here that there's not just one recapitulation...it's really an ongoing process, because after you're finished all the sexual encounters, then you do everybody whom you've encountered in your life.
Then you can go back to certain themes. Like you notice that there are still things like when you're working, or something happens during the day, you notice oh boy, that gave me a jolt, that really bothered me. Then you can see why did it bother you, and you can use certain themes. Like wanting to be liked seems to be so common. Everybody seems to want somebody to like them, support them, approve of them. That has to go, but that's a very strong driving force that keeps us in line, because as long as you still have that, it's just like the carrot being dangled in front of your nose. Whatever it is that somebody dangles out there that your body naturally would react to...
Abe: Would you say it's a major accomplishment, then, on that part of the would be seer when they reach a point where they are no longer concerned with whether or not they're liked?
Taisha: Yes, that's a major accomplishment. Absolutely. That is, for someone who is very concerned with that. Now, maybe there are the rare few that maybe just don't care, honestly. They have enough energy. And you know what that hinges on, really? Being liked, wanting to be liked? The sorcerers have a theory about the idea of the energy you were given at your conception. If your parents liked each other, and I mean sexually, if they had a very grand time, a great, great sexual experience, both of them, mother and father, when that child is conceived that child will have this great burst of energy.
And he may not care whether people really like him or not because he has this intrinsic sense of energetic well-being. but, if one of the parents are bored--the sorcerer don Juan always called them 'bored conceptions'--or if they were made out of a very boring experience, with not much flash. Or maybe the partners didn't even like each other, they just went through the motions of having sex because they were married and it was the thing to do Friday night, then that child will come out into the world with really a disadvantage.
And he will always feel that something is missing, and he wants to be liked. He wants his peers to like him, he wants his mama to like him, and she may not even like him at all. But that is not just theory, but it's something that sorcerers have arrived at through their seeing. They actually see how energetic a luminous being is. They can see how the energy moves. In some people it's very sluggish, stagnant, and of course that expresses itself in a very meek or low level zest for life. they sort of just barely get through the day. That kind of feeling. But others have a lot of energy. They meet everything as a challenge. Everything to them is an adventure.
They dominate people naturally. They have this charisma, sort of a mesmeric effect on others, and on things around them. And they may not have this need, they're not as needy as other people they want to be liked and are needy.
Abe: Of course, then that person who has all that energy, will attract all kinds of needy people who want to suck on it. (laughter)
Taisha: Exactly. And you attract those people. The sorcerers say that the self is really a metaphorical dagger that we stab ourselves with. but, it's alright as long as we bleed in company.
As long as there are others bleeding with us, we're okay. (laughter) As long as somebody else feels worse, we're happy. But the recapitulation will give those needy people...and I have to include myself in that category, because absolutely I was not a product of a zestful union...so those are demons and you will see them in the recapitulation. And that's why I say that the recapitulation is never done, because even when I was with don Juan and his people...okay with the, they had enough energy to cover up, let's say for my deficiency. Their energy would elevate me to this heightened level.
But the minute they were gone or even left the room, I would slump back to my own natural level, and then I would want attention. And all the apprentices were like that. And of course they would test us by ignoring us, or not speaking to us, or doing things with others when we wanted to be included. So when I say recapitulation, it has to be tried and tested in the everyday world. You can't just escape into the desert and do it, and then feel good and that's the end of it.
You have to get back with your mother, with your father. What do they do to you for you to react like the little girl, the little boy that wants mommy to do his laundry, to take care of his tummy? We still have those feelings. So, just recapitulation by itself is not enough. Stalkers stalk the self, and so when they're with people in the world, they're constantly stalking themselves and seeing what's happening.
Ancient Chinese Ginkgo Tree Covers Buddhist Temple With Ocean Of Golden Leaves
Thousands of people from all over China have been flocking to the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in the Zhongnan Mountains to witness a huge, 1,400 year old Ginkgo tree beside the temple walls as it sheds its golden leaves for the arrival of autumn. The leaves began falling in mid November, creating a thick ocean of gold that washes over the temple's ground.
Ginkgo trees are commonly referred to as "living fossils" as they have remained unchanged for more than 200 million years despite all of the drastic climate changes the region has faced. They stand as tall today as they did when dinosaurs walked the Earth.