Seite auswählen

Forum Home

Der dreizackige Nagual (Materialsammlung)  

  RSS

(@w-himmelbauer)
Mitglied Admin
Beigetreten: vor 14 Jahren
Beiträge: 272
04/01/2012 5:47 pm  

Héctor Loayza

Mexico, le 16 juillet 1982

En ce matin couvert, après un séjour de quelques jours à Oaxaca, je commençais ma journée par la lecture de plusieurs journaux à la recherche d’un flash pour le reportage que j’étais en train de faire pour l’hebdomadaire Paris-Match. C’était la veille de mon départ du Mexique. Je trouvais un compte rendu sur quatre colonnes dans une page intérieure du journal Uno más Uno au sujet de la conférence de presse que Carlos Castaneda avait donné quelques jours auparavant lors de la sortie de son livre en espagnol « Le don de l’Aigle ». Castaneda était un auteur inaccessible. Il n’avait jamais permis la publication de son portrait. A travers son œuvre, il avait essayé de brouiller les pistes sur ses origines en se disant Brésilien (1). Plusieurs journalistes de la presse et de la télé, américains, européens et sud-américains n’avaient pas pu l’interviewer. Une enquête rapide par téléphone me renseigna sur la maison d’édition qui avait publié le livre, ce que le compte rendu du journaliste avait oublié de préciser : Editorial Diana. Je réussis à parler par téléphone avec l’attachée de presse, qui m’informa qu’il se trouvait encore dans la capitale mexicaine, mais ne me donna aucune assurance pour un entretien. Beaucoup de monde avait échoué et pourquoi réussirais-je ?

Il fallait que je force les évènements et cette attitude avait sûrement plu à Castaneda, car il l’appellerait par la suite celle du « pirate ». Je ne devais pas rester dans ma chambre d’hôtel en attendant que les évènements s’arrangent pour moi. Je partis donc en taxi pour le siège de l’Editorial Diana où l’attachée de presse accepta de me recevoir. J’essayais de la convaincre que mon intérêt pour rencontrer Castaneda était non seulement journalistique mais aussi personnel. J’avais publié en France (2) le récit d’une autre initiation à la connaissance des sorciers indiens des Andes. Elle me promit de lui transmettre ma demande et nota le numéro de téléphone de mon hôtel. Je lui laissai un exemplaire de mon livre en français, mais je n’étais pas tellement convaincu qu’elle m’appelle. Je restai dans la chambre de mon hôtel à mettre de l’ordre dans les notes que j’avais déjà écrit pour mon reportage. Dehors, une tempête s’était déchaînée inondant les rues et les avenues et provoquant des bouchons dans la circulation. Vers 18 heures, à ma grande surprise, Fausto Rosales, un autre représentant de Diana, m’appela pour m’annoncer que Castaneda avait accepté l’entretien et me donnait un rendez-vous à 20 heures dans le hall de l’Hôtel Sheraton Maria Isabel où il logeait pendant son séjour à Mexico. Le Sheraton se trouvait au Paseo de la Reforma, à quatre cent mètres de mon hôtel. Comment le reconnaîtrais-je ? Fausto Rosales me dit que le disciple de don Juan était petit et serait habillé avec une veste de drap blanc, jaspé, porterait une cravate et des pantalons bleu marins. Il serait accompagné de son amie américaine qui était blonde. J’arrivai à l’heure au rendez-vous, me demandant le visage qu’il aurait. Je me rappelais le portrait que le dessinateur d’un magazine américain avait fait en 1972 et que Castaneda lui-même avait en partie effacé pour éviter qu’on ne le reconnaisse. Le dessin avait été publié dans divers journaux et des revues du vieux et du nouveau monde. Je cherchais les traits de son visage chez les gens qui attendaient, comme moi, dans le hall de l’hôtel. Je restai quelques minutes debout puis m’assis sur l’un des nombreux canapés. Soudain, un peu plus loin, un petit homme au teint brun se leva, accompagné d’une femme très jeune aux longs cheveux blonds, en répétant en haute voix : « Il n’est pas venu ! » Il était habillé tel que le représentant de Diana me l’avait décrit au téléphone. L’inconnu et sa jeune amie se dirigeaient vers la sortie de l’hôtel. Je les suivis et, tout d’un coup, il se retourna dans le couloir et marcha vers moi. Je lui donnai la main, en lui demandant : « êtes-vous Carlos ? » Avec un sourire, il me répondit qu’il avait été préoccupé de ne pas me voir et avait interrogé plusieurs personnes. Une mèche noire et crépue peignée vers l’avant cherchait à cacher sa calvitie. Deux rides horizontales et profondes traversaient son front. Ses yeux étaient également noirs, grands et pénétrants. Les paupières, épaisses et ridées, semblaient être deux petites poches. Les rides, creusées aux coins des yeux, révélaient qu’il riait beaucoup. Son visage était ovale, les pommettes n’étaient pas saillantes, le menton finissait en pointe et sur le côté droit il y avait un grain de beauté. La barbe était dense et rasée avec soin. Les deux rides qui descendaient des ailes du gros nez jusqu’aux commissures des lèvres étaient également profondes, donnant au visage une impression de masque inca. La grosseur du nez et la grandeur des oreilles accentuaient l’aspect amusant du personnage. L’ensemble du visage était fascinant, en particulier son regard. Il me semblait l’avoir déjà connu quelque part, (c’est le type de personne qu’on voyait souvent au Pérou ; il me rappelait un psychiatre que j’avais connu à la fin des années soixante à Lima dans mon époque de militant.)

Au bout de quelques minutes, le courant passait entre nous. On s’est tutoyé facilement —en me voyant, il oubliait ses dernières réticences, il se trouvait avec un autre Péruvien et ne pouvait plus continuer à jouer la comédie de prétendre être Brésilien ou Argentin—. Il a commencé à me parler dans un espagnol à l’accent argentin (surtout lorsqu’il prononçait les « ll »). Il était fort possible qu’on lui ait traduit la note biographique de mon livre en français où on disait qu’au début des années soixante, j’avais vécu à Buenos Aires. Plus tard, il m’avoua que c’était mon évolution personnelle qui l’avait décidé à me rencontrer : de militant d’extrême gauche dans ma jeunesse, j’avais fini dans l’ésotérisme en Europe. Il me présenta sa jeune amie de vingt et un ans et me demanda si je voulais aller ce soir-là à une invitation chez des amis mexicains. En sortant de l’hôtel, quelqu’un nous attendait au volant d’une coccinelle Volkswagen. Il s’agissait de Fausto Rosales qui devait nous conduire chez lui. Castaneda et moi étions assis sur le siège arrière, laissant son amie s’installer à côté du conducteur. Pendant que la voiture parcourait les avenues bondées de véhicules divers, Castaneda m’interrogeait sur mon séjour à Oaxaca car il croyait que j’étais allé dans cette belle ville du sud du Mexique sur les traces de don Juan.

Il me confia ensuite l’anecdote de l’invitation que lui avait faite l’Ambassadeur du Pérou de l’époque à Washington, quelques années auparavant. Le diplomate l’avait contacté par son agent littéraire et bien qu’il ait toujours refusé ce type d’invitation, il avait accepté par respect. L’entretien avait été formel, ils avaient parlé de sujets anodins. L’affaire aurait pu être oublié par Castaneda, si un autre Péruvien par la suite ne lui avait raconté le commentaire de l’Ambassadeur : « Oui » avait-il dit, « j’ai connu le célèbre Carlos Castaneda. Hélas ! Il est cholo ! » En finissant son récit, Castaneda éclata de rire. Quelque temps après, l’écrivain Mario Vargas Llosa était allé à Los Angeles avec une équipe d’une chaîne de télé de Lima (où l’écrivain animait un programme culturel) et avait également demandé à l’agent littéraire de Castaneda de lui faire un entretien. Mais il n’avait pas accepté.

Dans la salle de séjour de la demeure de sa famille, Fausto Rosales me présenta à son frère, à quelques employées de l’Editorial Diana, parmi elles l’attachée de presse et à une belle femme de trente ans qui ressemblait d’une façon étonnante à l’actrice mexicaine, Maria Félix. Puis un groupe de jeunes, amis vraisemblablement des employées de la maison d’édition, arriva à la réunion. Les garçons avaient apparemment « fumé » et bu. Je m’assis sur un canapé du salon, à côté de Castaneda qui se trouvait avec son amie américaine. Quelque temps après, Castaneda et son amie se joignirent aux autres invités qui montaient au premier étage où se trouvaient apparemment des tables pour le repas. J’ai parlé avec l’attachée de presse sur des sujets divers allant de mes impressions sur Mexico, sur Oaxaca et autres villes du sud que j’avais visitées. Voyant le salon entièrement vide, je montai au premier étage. En arrivant, j’entendis que Castaneda se moquait de moi, il me traitait de « Péruvien européanisé » et riait aux éclats. Se rendant compte de ma présence, il changea de sujet et s’adressant à l’hôtesse de la maison, la mère des Rosales, il lui raconta ses péripéties dans la recherche d’une maison qu’il voulait acheter pour héberger le clan de don Juan où ils se consacreraient à leurs expériences.

Après que les invités aient goûté aux divers plats mexicains, bu de la bière, du vin ou des boissons rafraîchissantes, l’une des personnes demanda à Castaneda qu’il fasse une causerie. Celui-ci n’avait grignoté que quelques morceaux de son assiette et bu un peu d’eau. Pour l’écouter, nous retournâmes au rez-de-chaussée. Assis autour de lui, ils étaient littéralement sous le charme de ses paroles. Son humour irrévérent et corrosif envers lui-même augmentait encore plus la sympathie de l’assemblée. Il parla comme toujours de don Juan, comment celui-ci avait disparu de notre monde pour devenir l’énergie pure. Il insista sur la notion de détachement et sur l’attitude du « guerrier » vis à vis de la vie. Quelques-uns uns lui posaient des questions auxquelles il répondait aussitôt. Mais l’un des garçons encore sous l’emprise du cannabis et de la bière, lui demanda à bout portant : « Hé ! Carlos, où as-tu mis le blé ? » Dissimulant sa contrariété, Castaneda resta silencieux. J’intervins pour corriger l’ex abrupto du jeune, en lui disant qu’on critiquait l’écrivain qui avait réussi par son talent, mais qu’on acceptait comme la chose la plus naturelle que le PDG ou le banquier amassent une fortune. Castaneda n’avait plus aucune envie de continuer sa causerie. Il était tard. Je me demandais à quel moment j’allais m’entretenir avec lui. Après les remerciements à l’hôtesse de maison et les adieux aux autres invités qui restaient encore, Fausto Rosales proposa de nous ramener au centre. Je m’installai sur le siège arrière de la voiture à côté de l’amie de Castaneda, pendant que celui-ci bavardait non loin de la voiture avec la belle mexicaine qui ressemblait à Maria Félix. Son amie me révéla qu’il se permettait de temps en temps de retourner au Pérou pour rendre visite à sa famille, puisque personne ne connaissait son apparence physique et qu’il avait signé ses livres d’un nom d’emprunt (3). A cet instant précis, il s’approcha de la Volkswagen pour demander à son amie à travers la vitre ouverte, d’un ton affable, s’il pouvait sortir le lendemain avec la belle inconnue. Son amie lui répondit qu’il n’y avait aucun problème et il repartit, tout souriant, rejoindre la belle mexicaine. Pendant le chemin de retour au centre, il me dit qu’il était fatigué et qu’on ferait l’entretien le lendemain tôt, me donnant rendez-vous au bar-cafétéria de son hôtel.
(1) Sur le mythe qu’il soit Brésilien, l’un de ses disciples, après la mort du maître, insiste sur son website sur le fait que Castaneda soit né dans un village frontalier du nord du Brésil, Iunkeiri, mais l’orthographe du village est incorrecte. En réalité, il s’agirait de Junquiri. (2) « Le chemin des sorciers des Andes », Editions Robert Laffont, Paris, 1976. Sa version espagnole, « El camino de los brujos andinos », fut publié par l’Editorial Diana, Mexico, 1998. (3) On peut considérer “Carlos Castaneda” comme un pseudonyme, puisque ses vrais prénoms et noms — que certainement figuraient sur son passeport — étaient “Carlos César Arana Castañeda”, né à la ville de Cajamarca (Pérou), le 25 décembre 1925.


"Conversación con Carlos Castaneda, explorador de lo desconocido" por Héctor Loayza

Ciudad de México, 17 de julio de 1982

A las 7 de la mañana, Carlos Castaneda, vestido de una manera diferente a la víspera, ya me estaba esperando en la cafetería del Sheraton Maria Isabel. Esta vez llevaba una camisa gris sport, con cuello abierto sobre las solapas de su saco también gris. En realidad no se podía calcular su edad: parecía ser un eterno adolescente. Pero su rostro moreno y arrugado semejaba esa mañana haberse hendido aún más, llevando los signos distintivos de los adictos al peyote. Era tal vez el cansancio, ya que él había dormido muy poco (como yo).

A mi primera pregunta, Castaneda se sintió "bloqueado", porque nunca había concedido una entrevista grabada. Me sugirió que lo escribiera, porque no podía hablar frente a la grabadora, testigo frío y mecánico. La tuve que apagar. Seguimos conversando hasta que sin que él lo notara, la encendí de nuevo. Lo que sigue es el resultado de una entrevista de dos horas.
HÉCTOR LOAIZA: ¿Cuál ha sido tu formación, qué libros leías y qué autores han influido en tu trabajo?
CARLOS CASTANEDA: Al comienzo de mi aprendizaje con don Juan, yo era un estudiante de antropología muy concienzudo: estudiaba y leía mucho. Hasta me preparaba bastante para hablar con él acerca de los usos del peyote. Una vez don Juan me hizo un chiste muy interesante, me dijo que me había preparado en vano. "Te preparas tanto” añadió, “¡entonces el conejo salta sorpresivamente en diferentes sitios!" Me advirtió que yo no contribuiría con interpretaciones basadas en mis lecturas a lo que él me estaba diciendo. Fue una decisión sabia de su parte, puesto que ya habíamos empezado grandes discusiones. Por mi lado, tenía dudas sobre él. Ese hombre era un farsante que me estaba engañando. En materia de los usos del peyote me refería a la autoridad máxima, el Dr. Weston La Barre (1) (considerar a éste como autoridad máxima era una aberración). Pero en esa época, creía en la autoridad de La Barre a las cosas que don Juan me decía. Pensaba: “Ese viejo no sabe ni pizca de los usos del peyote, no habla como La Barre. No hay nada que pueda reconocer en lo que dice este animal, con lo que ha escrito el gran profesor La Barre". Cortarme de eso fue muy sabio, no podía hacer otra cosa.
H.L.: A través de tus libros que fueron éxitos de librería en los Estados Unidos y Europa, se llega a la conclusión de que don Juan existe, es real, y ahora vive en la imaginación de tus lectores.
C.C.: No. Don Juan es como Carlos Castaneda, otro personaje. Es el Nagual, el dirigente de un ciclo mágico y como tal, don Juan Matus tiene una gran importancia. Como persona social don Juan no llamaba la atención. Además no sólo es un personaje importante en su ciclo mágico, sino que también ha testimoniado de las circunstancias que lo convirtieron en personaje.
H.L.: Carlos, desde ayer, he constatado que tu visión de los seres y las cosas es ficticia. Porque hablas del "personaje" Carlos Castaneda, del "personaje" don Juan. Para ti, la realidad no es más que una ficción y para citarte textualmente: "es sólo una descripción". C.C.: Sí, efectivamente. Pero es una descripción compartida. Los seres humanos están envueltos en un consenso que es exigente en lo cotidiano. El consenso particular de un grupo de brujos ligados al personaje don Juan Matus, el Nagual, puede extenderse y cubrir un número más largo de participantes.
H.L.: ¿Puedes explicarme un poco más el ciclo mágico de don Juan?
C.C.: Don Juan dice que según un mito tolteca se puede trascender el sentido biológico de la muerte. Un hombre puede liberarse de la compulsión de morir y puede morir de una manera diferente. Don Juan lo llama la "búsqueda de la libertad". Es un ciclo mágico que no tiene nada que ver con las unidades perceptivas de nuestro mundo cotidiano. El grupo de don Juan es cerrado, no porque en sí sea un grupo esotérico, sino simplemente no tiene interés en alcanzar a personas del exterior. Por razones ineluctables, concibió que era parte de mi ciclo de acercarme a gente extraña a él, sin que yo sea indio ni tuviera nada que ver con su tradición. Don Juan como persona social viene por supuesto de un grupo étnico. Tuve una gran dificultad en averiguar de dónde venía el Nagual, nunca me lo dijo, no porque fuera un secreto, sino que simplemente no le interesaba revelármelo. Si hay gente que busca de dónde vengo yo, no es cuestión mía. Si lo encuentran está bien y si no, ¡eso no es importante! Don Juan quería que yo borrara los rasgos de mi historia personal, ¡pero nunca me dijo cómo hacerlo! Es una categoría de índices tan vaga como por ejemplo "universidad". Nadie sabe en realidad lo que es "universidad". Todo el mundo puede tener una opinión diferente, pero usamos la palabra tan efectivamente como si compartiéramos el significado uniforme de "universidad". Don Juan quería que yo hiciera eso con un método tan vago como el de borrar mi historia personal. Entonces el "arreglo" de las contradicciones de la filosofía de don Juan, sucede cuando uno hace un "intento" artístico para llevarla a cabo y eso es importante para entender a don Juan y a su conducta.
H.L.: En uno de tus libros, relatas la manera cómo don Juan te ha hecho aproximar a su visión de la muerte. Te ha dicho que "hay que vivir con su muerte al lado".
C.C.: Por supuesto, es el mundo de referencia del guerrero al estilo de don Juan. El guerrero debe referirse constantemente a ese final inevitable. Sólo cuando uno toma —como dice don Juan— la muerte como punto de referencia, sin morbidez y sin sentirse apenado u ofendido, entonces se puede en realidad superar la mezquindad natural de la vida. Don Juan decía que nosotros vivimos como seres inmortales, sin dar cuenta de nuestros actos a nadie, como si fuéramos eternos. Nos damos el lujo de perder el tiempo y andarnos en idioteces. Estoy convencido de que don Juan tenía razón. Es una manera mucho más interesante de enfocar la vida y no como mis familiares, que viven aterrados por la muerte y sin embargo desperdician sus vidas. ¡Qué barbaridad! ¡Es una manera espantosa de no darse cuenta de lo que hacen! H.L.: Hay dos actitudes frente a la muerte, la primera es tener una idea mórbida, por ejemplo es rendir culto a la muerte. Y la otra, es la represión: no pensar más en ella. Es lo que pasa en Occidente, donde la gente trata de olvidar a toda costa que un día va a morir.
C.C.: En ese sentido don Juan, en su tradición es único al considerar que la muerte es un punto de disolución, una referencia a todo lo que hacemos. Pero, él quería trascender la muerte y cambiarla. Sabía que moriría, que se extinguiría inevitablemente. Pero adoptó la opción de cambiar la finalidad de la muerte y transformarla conscientemente en algo diferente. No quería dejar su cuerpo (ya lo dije anoche). Esto me parece una idea absurda, me es imposible concebir lógicamente como occidental que la intención de don Juan tuviera validez. No dejar el cuerpo es absurdo. Y eso era lo que él quería para él y para su grupo, que fueran capaces de trascender esa cosa inevitable que es la muerte y dejar que la fuerza viviente se escape del cuerpo. Él consideraba que la fuerza viviente tenía la suficiente capacidad como para transformar al cuerpo en energía pura, lo opuesto a lo que nos pasa a nosotros, hombres del mundo cotidiano. Dejamos que la fuerza viviente se escape del cuerpo y que éste se extinga como un organismo muerto, inerte. Para mí eso es único, no conozco a ningún autor que me haya dado una idea similar a la de don Juan en su búsqueda de la libertad y en la transformación del cuerpo en energía pura.
H.L.: Tus palabras me hacen pensar a la reencarnación, ¿qué puedes decirme sobre eso? C.C.: Don Juan consideraba que creer en la reencarnación es darnos demasiada importancia. Somos tan únicos que no vamos a volver al mundo, una y otra vez, para perfeccionar nuestro esplendor. Eso sería absurdo. Para don Juan no estamos hechos a imagen y semejanza de Dios. ¡Es inconcebible! Eso es un aspecto del enorme egoísmo judeocristiano, el de creerse seres únicos, hechos a imagen y semejanza de Dios. Don Juan solía decir que somos accidentes, seres que van a morir. ¡Eso es todo!
H.L.: En la conversación de anoche has esbozado la idea de desembarazarse del mundo afectivo, de los sentimientos. Y parece que tú lo has logrado…
C.C.: Efectivamente. Después de tantos años de prácticas, llegó un momento en que tuve una enfermedad muy grave, por lo que fui al médico. Tenía lo que se llama la “hiperventilación”, eso es lo que creía. Pero no era así. De acuerdo a la ideología de don Juan, "estaba perdiendo la forma humana". Bueno, yo nunca lo tomé en serio. Mi lógica no me permitía creer que uno pueda perder el aspecto humano, ni siquiera entendía lo que don Juan quería decir. Para él, "perder la forma humana" significaba entrar en un estado de desprendimiento. Pero no se llega a eso poco a poco, como un conocimiento o un "estar consciente" de que es importante perder ese apego. Llega de sopetón. Llega un día en que uno pierde la forma humana y al día siguiente está envuelto en un sentimiento desconocido, inexplicable. Así vivía don Juan.
H.L.: También hay esta noción que también mencionaste anoche que es el desapego, que me parece una influencia oriental.
C.C.: Llega un momento en que el aprendiz siente que no tiene más apego, que el mundo no tiene la fuerza ni el valor coercitivo que tenía el día anterior. Ese es el secreto. El mundo nos obliga a actuar de cierta manera. En ese sentido son importantes y de una sofisticación extraordinaria las conclusiones a las que han llegado los brujos o los chamanes (como queramos llamar a don Juan). Para ellos, "el mundo es una percepción" y nosotros somos los que lo perciben. Depende de nosotros que le demos significado de uno o de otro modo, no sólo cultural. Y si decimos, es cuestión de mi cultura, de mi educación, eso nos exonera de la responsabilidad de actuar. Para don Juan eso no tiene importancia. Debemos entender que el mundo es una percepción y como tal es posible entonces actuar sobre él y cambiarlo. Y tenemos que cambiar el tenor de esas percepciones. Al lograr el cambio de una manera tan sutil y al mismo tiempo tan dramática, también cambia el significado del mundo. Éste deja de ser fijo y estéril, interminable, incompleto, como lo percibimos normalmente. Don Juan abarca todo eso y lo lleva a su punto culminante.
H.L.: Cuando dijiste que el desapego no es una noción racional, intelectual, voluntaria... El hecho de que se produzca de improviso, ¿no te parece que es una especie de mutación?
C.C.: Sí, don Juan y los miembros de su clan sostienen que es un cambio morfológico el que sufre el hombre, al nivel del campo de energía y no significa simplemente una mutación espiritual.
H.L.: Se trata entonces de una mutación psico-fisio-biológica.
C.C.: Por supuesto, de la manera como nosotros podríamos entender un cambio total, pero más que eso don Juan cree que es un cambio de energía. El hombre como campo de energía se transforma. Dice el Nagual que la presión es como un sube y baja y que en ese estado el guerrero se entrena. Esa presión, a un debido momento es tan fuerte que impulsa el cambio de la biología. Entonces el cambio es total y no es que uno se esté reprimiendo. No me controlo, ni trato desesperadamente por ejemplo de no enojarme o de ser desprendido, ¡eso sería simpático! Es el no tener interés, se me extinguió el interés. ¿Cómo me relaciono con el mundo? Lo que es importante en mí, es el personaje Carlos Castaneda, ya que no tengo ningún vínculo que me ate al mundo como persona. El único modo de entablar este puente con el mundo es a través del personaje, exactamente como lo hacía don Juan. Él decía que no tenía historia. Pero yo me esforcé como un demonio siguiendo mis cánones antropológicos, para encontrar su historia, su origen, sus datos vitales. El nunca me lo impidió, ¡eso no le importaba un pepino! Pero yo siempre pensaba que don Juan era hermético, no revelaba nada, parecía como si tuviera algo que esconder. Ahora estoy en el mismo caso, no tengo nada que esconder. Sin embargo, ahora comprendo la conducta de don Juan, él era un personaje, había perdido la forma humana y sólo podía relacionarse con el mundo como el Nagual, el dirigente. No he llegado a ese estado, yo no soy dirigente ni director de nada, pero si he perdido la necesidad de percibir el mundo.
H.L.: Se dice en Europa que en tus libros hay siempre una posición crítica, muy occidental, y se supone que eso es para crear una necesidad en don Juan de explicarte. O por otro lado, te aferraste a las normas sensoriales occidentales porque tuviste mucho temor de quedarte en esa realidad no ordinaria
C.C.: Los dos puntos de vista son correctos. Al enfrentarse a la disolución perceptiva, uno es tan vulnerable y tan débil que no hay manera de describir la sensación, el afán que tiene uno de reconfortarse. Esto es importante cuando uno está en embate con lo desconocido; es un miedo telúrico, biológico, que no tiene nombre. No se trata del miedo a la muerte. El miedo a la disolución psíquica es infinitamente más importante que el de la extinción biológica. Y uno necesita hacer uso de todos los elementos, baluartes, bastiones, de todo aquello en que uno pueda apoyarse. Al mismo tiempo yo tenía un gran interés en preguntarle a don Juan qué es lo que me estaba pasando, que él me explicara. Necesitaba una elucidación más amplia. El único modo de forzar a don Juan era preguntándole. Estoy en la misma situación ahora, si tú no me preguntas yo no te puedo explicar nada. Tienes que preguntarme y de ese modo estoy compelido a explicarte. Algunos de sus aprendices nunca le preguntaron nada, no llegaron a "engancharlo" intelectualmente. Y para ellos don Juan, el Nagual, era muy diferente de lo que era para mí. Un aprendiz jamás llega a entender lo que está practicando. Por mi parte, quiero entender qué es lo que estoy haciendo, como no tengo la salvaguarda del lector, no puedo defenderme de lo que le pasa a Castaneda, diciendo: "¡Ah esos son engendros de su imaginación!" Tengo que asumir una responsabilidad mayor. Debo adelantarme al fenómeno mismo y entenderlo o ¡me llevó Mandinga! No puede haber un acomodo medio para mí. Tengo que entender lo que está pasando y de ese modo dispongo de un apoyo mínimo.
H.L.: Carlos, has dicho que no eras indio, has dicho también de que asimilaste muy bien las enseñanzas de don Juan para "borrar tu historia personal". En Francia se sorprenden por el hecho de que hayas cortado tus raíces, que no tengas nada que ver con tu pasado. Y por otro lado, ahora que te he oído reivindicarte mestizo, “cholo”, frente a los valores culturales del mundo criollo, hispánico, creo que esa es la riqueza de tu pensamiento.
C.C.: El hecho de que sea “cholo”, ¡por supuesto! Eso es lo que me da una serie de premisas que envuelven puntos contradictorios. El único modo de resolver esas contradicciones es de una manera artística. Cuando digo que no soy indio, me refiero a un sentido cultural. Lo que yo hubiera considerado coherente en don Juan hubiera sido que él tomara como aprendiz a una persona que nació y creció en una reserva para indios en los Estados Unidos. Yo vengo de afuera, fuera del contexto de don Juan, ni siquiera tenía una idea del contexto indio de don Juan.
H.L.: Gracias al hecho de que en ti confluyan dos culturas, eras la única persona que haya podido captar la atención de don Juan.
C.C.: El Nagual, como vidente, era capaz de ver los campos de energía y vio en mí la energía adecuada para emprender este aprendizaje. El hecho de que culturalmente yo estuviera asimilado al pensamiento europeo me sirvió de soporte. Pero al mismo tiempo me ha distraído y me ha frenado del "intento total". Que yo sea perfectamente consciente de mis orígenes, ¡no podría ser de otro modo! Tenía que tomar en cuenta lo que era para perseguir lo que don Juan quería. Él exigía que uno se enfrente a sí mismo sin ninguna pasión, de hecho es uno de los puntos culminantes de su ideología. Me forzó a mí a que hiciera un recuento de mi vida, y cuando te digo que no vuelvo más al lugar donde nací lo digo en un sentido de que ya hice el recuento. Don Juan insistía de que era posible darle a lo que llama el “Águila”, la fuerza final, lo que nos devora, lo que nos dio sustento y nos creó. El Águila, es la suma total de todo lo viviente, en la tierra y más allá. Uno no sabe las enormes posibilidades biológicas, orgánicas, conscientes y la suma de todo que está allí. El Águila devora la conciencia en el mito tolteca. Si uno le da el sustento al Águila, en el sentido de hacer un recuento total de los eventos de su vida, uno estará libre. Pero al hacer ese recuento uno acaba con el sentimiento, con eso que nos hace seres del mundo. Don Juan acabó con las raíces. Porque el tener raíces nos fuerza a la parcialidad y nos llena de seguridades falsas, nos da la idea de pertenecer a un grupo, a una tradición. ¡Eso en sí nos impide volar! Nos quita la idea de que podemos valernos por nosotros mismos, que podemos salir, irrumpir de esa empalizada que el mundo ha creado alrededor de nosotros. Y eso es todo lo que se me ocurre como explicación. Pero estás obligado de tener en cuenta quién eres para poder hacer esa ruptura. Eso sucede sólo cuando uno sabe quien es uno. Una de las cosas que siempre me molestó es que soy zoquete, bajito, oscuro y feíto —como decía don Juan— en un ambiente de gente alta y blanca, porque los americanos son apuestos, bien hechos. Entonces yo estaba lleno de complejos desesperantes. Don Juan creía que no había modo de salir de ese callejón sin salida. Ir al psiquiatra para que me arregle mis sensaciones, para don Juan eso tampoco era el remedio. Lo importante era cortar con todo. El Nagual decía que los que nacíamos vivos en las nubes éramos príncipes. Entonces ¡yo era un príncipe feo! Cada vez que alguien me mantenía en un globo y me sacaba el aire, yo me caía al suelo con frecuencia. Don Juan recomendó que uno andara en el suelo, por lo bajo. Eso era enfrentarse consigo mismo, sin mentiras, de una manera indestructible. Porque si no hay espejismos acerca de lo que es uno, la presentación del yo en la vida cotidiana tiene otro cariz, cobra otro significado. Ya no hay necesidad de presentarse como el príncipe o la persona de una gran importancia. Entonces esa presentación es mucho más certera, ¡uno ya no es el chico del cielo!
H.L.: Lo que más ha llamado la atención en Europa en tus libros es el aprendizaje por medio de los psicotrópicos para "destapar" los sentidos hacia esa realidad no ordinaria. Lo que te ha permitido adentrarte en la dimensión tan contradictoria y temible a la cual don Juan te condujo.
C.C.: Él estaba interesado en poner a mi alcance la idea de que el "intento" crea todo lo que yo percibo. El mundo está a mi alcance como el que percibe, a través de la magia del "intento". El único modo de darse cuenta de que el "intento" es una fuerza manejable, es a través de los psicotrópicos, especialmente para una persona como yo que en ese entonces tenía “convicciones profundas” sobre el mundo. Era un mundo equívoco y por lo tanto inmutable que trascendía en mi persona. Y don Juan cree que el mundo existe aunque yo no exista, pero no existe en el mismo sentido que yo lo percibo. El mundo no está allí con nubes, montañas y valles a menos que yo, hombre que percibe, no esté allí. Porque para don Juan no sólo soy el que percibe, hombre que funciona con una visión estereoscópica, que me permite percibir al mundo desde un punto de vista antropomórfico, sino que aprendí a manejar esta visión a través de las enseñanzas que me dio la sociedad, a canalizar la visión estereoscópica del hombre como descendiente de los monos antropoides. Estoy preparado para ver el mundo de cierto modo, por mi ideología. Y el resultado final es que percibo al mundo como ser humano, que el mundo existe aunque yo no exista. Lo importante para don Juan era entender y hacer que mi cuerpo entendiera que esa visión se puede cancelar, que simplemente era una forma de "visualizar" al mundo. Aunque yo como ser acabado, adulto, no había utilizado todavía el margen que me quedaba y bajo la influencia de un psicotrópico entraba en juego. Una vez logrado ese "intento", don Juan logró poner al alcance de mi cuerpo la idea de que tengo más margen perceptivo de lo que creo, entonces ya no es necesario el uso del psicotrópico. No puedo usarlo desmedidamente, sin propósito.
H.L.: Pero hubo una serie de abusos de la parte de los lectores, que te han tomado al pie de la letra y que han querido reproducir la atmósfera que describiste en tus libros.
C.C: No se puede reproducir el contexto de don Juan. Al comienzo de mi trabajo tomé gran cuidado en reproducir y apuntar todo lo que él hacía. Aprendí el sistema que usan en ballet, para codificar los movimientos. Entonces codificaba los gestos que don Juan hacía con los ojos, con las manos, con los pies, para llegar a reproducirlos fielmente. Cuando iba a la montaña don Juan recogía varias hojas y arbustos, los mezclaba, los machucaba y los ponía sobre mi barriga. Eso me mantenía con calor toda la noche, sin frazadas y en un frío congelante. Llegué a coleccionar siete versiones de diferentes plantas y de diferentes maneras de recogerlas, machucarlas y aplicarlas a mi cuerpo. Cuando yo traté, usando todos los recursos de los archivos, de reproducir lo que don Juan hacía nunca me dio resultado, ¡nunca! Y don Juan se reía mucho, se burlaba de mí, le fascinaba la idea de que yo me diera tanto trabajo en apuntar todos sus movimientos. Decía que tarde o temprano yo me iba a dar cuenta que todo estaba relacionado con el "intento", el poder personal. Y un día me dijo: "Mira, voy a acabar con estas manías tuyas de tomar apuntes." Después de haber buscado en el jeep lo que necesitaba, me ordenó: "¡Póngase esta tabla carcomida en la barriga!" Me la puse y tuve el mismo efecto. Durante mucho tiempo creía que era el poder de la sugestión, al final comprendí que don Juan era el maestro del "intento".
H.L.: Diría que don Juan como chamán era el escenificador, el metteur-en-scène, quien controlaba el escenario. Insisto en el hecho que en ese control sobre ti, utilizó sus poderes hipnóticos.
C.C.: Bueno, yo creía siempre que don Juan, y las otras personas allegadas a él me sugestionaban, al punto de que yo podía explicar lo que pasaba como un estado de hipnosis. Ahora he llegado a otra conclusión. Don Juan el “maestro del intento" (no sé, en español no hay una palabra adecuada, podría decir el "amo del intento"), como un mago original, no simplemente para sugerirme algo y dejarme en un espejismo, sumergido en un estado hipnótico. En cierto momento de la historia, el hombre fue capaz de manejar el "intento" y evidentemente hacer aparecer el conejo en la mano. Cuando el hombre dejó de ser amo del "intento", vino la prestidigitación, el conejo está ahora escondido en la vestimenta del mago y éste lo saca en el instante adecuado. Pero don Juan hacía aparecer conejos, no solamente para mi visión. El "intento" es lo que hace al mundo. Las enseñanzas de don Juan trascienden mi lógica y mi manera de explicar el mundo. Ser el amo del "intento" para los brujos toltecas, yaquis, mazatecos, que formaban el grupo de don Juan, significaba poder “controlar” lo que es el mundo, la creación. Por ejemplo, don Juan una vez hizo aparecer aquí, en la Alameda, en la Avenida Juárez, una ardilla en la mano, que tenía anteojos y parecía un japonés. Lo que yo no podría conseguir en este momento y no podría decirte cómo resolver el caso.
H.L.: El gran éxito que tuvieron tus libros en los países anglosajones se debe a que atrajo mucho más el mensaje que consistía en la reivindicación de la vía individual. Es también por el ejemplo, no por una ideología ni por un discurso oral, que el maestro-chamán induce al aprendiz a la comprensión de ciertos fenómenos de la realidad no ordinaria.
C.C.: Don Juan no creía que haya un cuerpo de conocimiento, a la que un aprendiz se pueda referir, sin haber interiorizado todos los preceptos de ese cuerpo. No creía que la manera de actuar de los psiquiatras sea adecuada, porque yo le contaba mis experiencias cuando trabajaba en el consultorio de un psiquiatra haciendo encuestas con gente que tenía problemas. Y don Juan estaba horrorizado por la idea de que una persona que ayuda, un psiquiatra, tenga también problemas. Yo le decía: "¡Qué quiere que sea! ¿un superhombre?" Don Juan respondía: "Por supuesto, uno tiene que exigir que el que ayude sea un superhombre, que esté libre de todas las taras y las mezquindades para interpretar y sugerir una conducta. De otro modo, lo que hace es validarse a sí mismo". Para él, eso no tenía significado y por supuesto el aprendiz era todo lo que existía. Éste, en los términos de don Juan, tenía que ser impecable si quería ser persuasivo con él. El aprendiz tenía que poner todo los componentes de su ser sobre la mesa. Si no era impecable, monolítico, en su conducta, no podía mover a nadie, no tenía poder personal. El "intento" no lo movía. Si yo dejara de ser impecable, si tuviera una doble vida, la pública y la privada, no podría ni siquiera ir a la esquina y no habría modo de hacer el "puente" que necesito en este momento para moverme. Es el "intento" que me mueve.
H.L.: En nuestra mentalidad latinoamericana nos gusta cantarnos boleros sobre nosotros mismos o nos gusta también hacernos "novelitas rosas" sobre nuestro Ego.
C.C.: Nosotros somos coloniales, tremendamente influenciados por todo lo que es Europa. En Latinoamérica vivimos con un ojo en la Embajada de los Estados Unidos y con el otro, en la de Francia, a la espera de las influencias. No es cosa que podamos evitar. Mira dónde estamos tú y yo: tú estás en Francia y yo estoy en los Estados Unidos. Y no hay otro modo.
H.L.: En una conversación que mantuve con Octavio Paz hace algunos días, hablamos del gran problema entre la América Latina y los Estados Unidos que es cultural. No llegamos a entendernos y sin embargo formamos parte de un mismo continente.
C.C.: Don Juan me dio una vez una idea muy extraña de mí, me dijo que con lo que yo tenía que lidiar con algo que él llamaba lo “Torquemada” (2). Lo que había en mi interior, no era tanto el artista europeo, el pensador, sino el inquisidor. Y eso es lo que él llamaba el aporte de Europa y las versiones totalitarias no son traídas de los cabellos, no son visiones extranjeras. ¡Somos nosotros mismos los inquisidores! El espíritu del inquisidor que lleva dentro de sí la coerción, el imponerse al otro de una manera total. Don Juan decía que su filosofía era el producto de la coerción de quinientos años de índices y de archivos así como la coerción del pensamiento. Lo más tremendo de Torquemada era que éste se creía puro y mataba en nombre de Dios, en nombre de una ideología superior, indiscutible. El Nagual decía que con esa clase de hombres no había manera de luchar, eso era imposible. Sólo el guerrero puede sustraerse a la influencia de Torquemada, el que todos nosotros cargamos encima. ¡Eso significa liberarse de uno mismo!
H.L.: En nuestro continente se pretende reemplazar una religión del libro, la católica, por otra ideología derivada de la Biblia.
C.C.: Como todo latino, como tú muy bien conoces cómo somos, cuando conocí a don Juan, estaba imbuido de ideas sobre la reforma y la injusticia social. En realidad, creía que podía ser útil política o ideológicamente desde un punto de vista clásico. El rebelde que tira bombas y que quiere la revolución. Don Juan acabó con toda esa afiliación mía. Me dijo: "Mira, si hay alguien entre los dos que debe quejarse, soy yo, soy yaqui, indio" Creía que él tendría que quejarse y no yo. Al final, los yaquis no me interesan en tanto que tales, porque interesarme por ellos significaría dejar de lado una idea más importante: la salvación del individuo. Yo, como individuo, no como elemento cultural, entendí las enseñanzas de don Juan de la mejor manera posible, en mi propio interés. Dejé de lado, todo lo que significaba una posición social. Es una de las críticas que me hicieron la noche de la conferencia de prensa. Consideraban que don Juan no era un chaman, en el sentido de que no tenía ninguna función social.
H.L.: Te referiste varias veces al hecho de que eras el "puente" entre la civilización occidental y el mundo de don Juan. ¿Podrías explicarme más esta noción de ser "puente" entre esos dos mundos?
C.C.: Sería imposible para el lector el ir y hablar con don Juan. Una de las criticas que se me ha hecho, es que no presento las fuentes de mi información. Si lo que he narrado es verídico y debe ser tomado en serio, estoy obligado a presentar las fuentes: llevar a la gente para que conozcan a don Juan, que hable de sus vivencias, que diga lo que piensa y lo que es. Don Juan nunca pudo hacer eso, ya que no tenía ningún interés en hacerlo. Además hay norteamericanos que se encontraron con don Juan, ¡cómo podían haberse encontrado conmigo! Si yo fuera él no tendría ningún interés en revelar a nadie lo que estoy haciendo, ¡sería absurdo! Sería tremendamente superfluo acercarse a mí, como si estuviera impregnado del aura de don Juan. Si fuera como él, no habría modo, de que yo dijera nada a nadie. Don Juan me usó a mí, como un "vehículo", al expresar ciertos principios que regían su vida, tuve la suficiente energía para emprender la tarea de conceptualizar, de explicar, lo que don Juan hacía en su ciclo mágico. ¿Cómo explicaría don Juan al mundo, la idea de que era uno de los personajes de un mito? Creo que sería imposible y de ahí que nadie se acercara a él. Cuando buscaban al “don Juan” de mis libros, por supuesto que nunca era el indio que estaba frente a ellos. Si alguien se encontrara con don Juan como culminación de una verdadera búsqueda, el Nagual lo aprisionará instantáneamente y esa persona estará fuera del mundo. La compulsión del guerrero que está envuelto en este ciclo mítico, es la de llevar a la libertad a cualquiera que se acerque a él. Don Juan me dio la tarea de explicar su universo, no porque eso me atañe, ni que me dé ganancias y de ningún modo me implique. ¡Es algo como un mandato que viene de afuera! Si me dejan a mí por mi cuenta, sería imposible encontrarme, que yo les hablara, ¡para qué! Pero el Nagual —desgraciada o afortunadamente— me dio la tarea de escribir los libros y de presentarlos en el mundo. Nunca tuvo que lidiar con ese fenómeno y no había modo de validar en los términos del hombre occidental su propia existencia. No porque éste se esconda y que haya abismos que nos separan. Con respecto a la pregunta original, ¿cómo me siento como "puente"? Don Juan me escogió a mí, como un vínculo entre lo hermético que representa él y la cualidad amorfa que somos nosotros, los occidentales. Él está precisamente encerrado, y nosotros estamos abiertos al punto de que no vemos nada.
H.L.: A mí me interesa el aspecto aleatorio, el azar de los encuentros más importantes que uno puede hacer en la vida. Me has dicho que don Juan te ha escogido, que tú no lo escogiste, sino que llegaste hacia él. ¿Cuál es la explicación?
C.C.: Para don Juan es la cuestión del "intento" que rige al destino del hombre, pero el "intento" no es la intención humana. Para él, es una fuerza principal que nos mueve, nos aprisiona. El "intento" es digamos la versión de lo que nosotros conoceríamos como Dios. El "intento" no es lo que don Juan llamaría el Nagual, lo inexplicable, lo que no se puede transcribir, aquello que no tiene forma, es el Todo. Mientras el Tonal es el orden, es como una isla de orden, de propósitos, de serialidades, de ecuaciones, de ciclos, de pensamientos. Todo lo que es conocido por nosotros en nuestro papel de seres relacionantes. El "intento" es una fuerza que forma parte del Nagual, que se puede describir y se puede sentir. Y lo que rige ese ciclo es cuestión del "intento" como fuerza que don Juan encontró, con lo que yo me crucé en su camino.
H.L.: Lo más admirable de tus libros, es el gran sentido del humor, es decir que no caes en lo serio ni en lo solemne... Ahora que te conozco lo comprendo, porque tienes una personalidad alegre, una visión jocosa de la vida que es verdaderamente benéfica.
C.C.: Esa, era la insistencia total de don Juan, me curó de la "cara larga y del culo de plomo”, de la pesadez extraordinaria. Yo era un hombre de gran seriedad y de tremenda pena, tenía la nostalgia de sentirme triste, la pena de mí mismo, que me perseguía día y noche. ¡Don Juan me curó y eso fue una catarsis!
H.L.: Te señalo una contradicción, ¿cómo siendo la filosofía de tu vida verdaderamente jocosa se concilia con un gusto por una poesía tan melancólica y tan trágica, como la de César Vallejo (3)?
C.C.: Como una distracción, yo les leía poemas de Vallejo a don Juan y a otras personas que no sabían nada de libros. Pasaba horas enteras hablando con ellos. A don Juan, le gustaba escoger una sola estrofa de cada poema, nunca más de una, decía que esa estrofa sintetizaba toda la visión del poeta. Más allá de una estrofa eran quejas y llantos. Para mostrarme la veracidad de sus aseveraciones, don Juan me hacía leer esos poemas y me decía: "Mira, vuelve a leer esta parte, eso es lo único que vale en este poema, más allá eso es absurdo. El poeta debía haber acortado su poema y dejarlo en cuatro o cinco líneas ". A mí, me gustaba leerle poemas muy cerebrales, afrancesados, que a don Juan no le gustaban por ser muy frívolos, eran verbosidades, idioteces. Para mí, Vallejo representaba lo extremo, lo más opuesto a la posición de don Juan. "La otra estrofa es una aberración, un esperpento" decía.
H.L.: Voy a darte mi opinión personal sobre la obra de Vallejo, ya no corresponde a la sensibilidad de nuestra época. Lo veo muy cristiano, muy doliente que asumió los cinco siglos de sufrimientos de los peruanos.
C.C.: A mí, no me gusta César Vallejo, lo siento tremendamente pueril, me molesta sobre manera la idea de la queja y del llanto personal. Cuando leo a Vallejo en su totalidad me dan nauseas, es demasiado triste. Para don Juan la idea de la concepción de un ser humano es importante, debe haber sido hecho por sus padres con una sensualidad extraordinaria para darle al hijo todas las opciones posibles. Don Juan creía que era una monstruosidad concebir niños en el hastío, en el aburrimiento, tenerlos después de años de casados, de haber adquirido ese amor filial que no tiene nada que ver con la pasión, pero sí con la civilización. Planear al niño después de años de casado, para don Juan era una monstruosidad sin nombre, tan espantosa como la de tener animales castrados en casa. Me dijo una vez que los animales se vengan de uno como seres irracionales, le comen a uno la energía directamente. Se relacionan con uno como seres energéticos y no como objetos. Una vez encontré a un gorrióncito que había caído de su nido, una rata le había comido un ala. Entonces agarré al gorrión y traté de cauterizarle la herida, para que no se desangrara. Le dije a don Juan que iba a recoger al gorrión en mi casa, saltando con dos patas sin volar. Don Juan me dijo: "Si lo tienes como monstruo, como esclavo orgánico y que depende de ti para todo. Es mejor dejarlo que se junte con el Nagual, con el infinito..." Don Juan decía que la gran tragedia de nuestro tiempo era la influencia de seres creados en el hastío, y por eso eran seres miserables que no podían moverse por sí mismos que dependían de todo el mundo, que eran cargosos, pesados, débiles... Lloran y se quejan como César Vallejo. Entonces la inteligencia, la melancolía, para mí son una aberración. ¡Una cosa espantosa! Parece que Vallejo era el quinzavo hijo de un matrimonio. ¡Uf!
H.L.: Le tocó vivir una época muy difícil, tú sabes todo lo que se cuenta sobre los prejuicios en Perú a comienzos del siglo XX contra lo indio, lo mestizo, lo cholo y esos prejuicios continúan. El hecho de que en un poema famoso se queje de ser tratado de "huaco"(4) es significativo.
C.C.: Ese es el mérito de César Vallejo. Con don Juan, llegamos a la conclusión de que en realidad le pasaron cosas tremendas. Don Juan usó el "vehículo" de César Vallejo como un elemento didáctico para mí. En lo que me atañe a mí, la idea de lo mal que me tratan, yo estoy viviendo de nuevo esa situación y estoy envuelto en otra vida vallejiana. He logrado escapar a los prejuicios que son tremendos en el lado del mundo en el que yo vivo.
H.L.: Creo que ese es el problema de ser "diferente". Toda aquella persona sensitiva, como Vallejo el poeta. Y en tu caso, con esa sensibilidad a flor de piel y teniendo conciencia de tu "diferencia", siempre tendrás problemas en cualquier país en que vivas.
C.C.: A menos que uno se comporte como guerrero. El vehículo didáctico de Vallejo, para mí tuvo una importancia sin igual: don Juan usó la vida de Vallejo y sus poemas como un ejemplo de lo que uno no debe hacer.
H.L.: He visto que no quieres revelar detalles sobre tu persona, evitas que se publique tu fotografía. Oí a menudo este comentario en Europa: ¿Qué pasa con Carlos Castaneda? ¿Está o no a la altura de lo que le pide la gente? ¿De qué manera alguien que fue iniciado a los secretos de una antigua gnosis, puede aportar a nuestra época crítica?
C.C.: Bueno, el único modo, necesito encontrar una palabra adecuada, convincente, para que yo pueda persuadirte a ti. Utilizando otra vez su ideología, don Juan insistió en que el hombre más efectivo es el "pirata". Éste no pide, ¡sino agarra lo que puede! El pirata es un solitario que se siente de lo mejor en medio de su soledad. ¡Que no grita, no se queja ni llora! Porque está dado a su "piratería" y esto le da una razón de ser. Como estamos tan lejos de donde venimos, llegamos a donde hemos llegado. Mi presunción creo que es correcta, es que tú y yo somos dos piratas. De modo que para que yo pueda convencer a otro "pirata" como yo para que pueda persuadirlo tendría que producir un resultado palpable.
H.L.: Un hecho mágico.
C.C.: Tendría que —en los términos de don Juan— "detener el mundo". Él consideró que todo es un juego de percepciones y por lo tanto es una cosa mutable. Hemos creado como seres organizados, un sistema de percepción que está constituido por unidades perceptivas. Cambiar el tenor de esas unidades de percepción, es "detener el mundo". Si pudiera, por ejemplo, hacer en este momento un "milagro de intento" entonces podría persuadirte.
H.L.: Si se tiene un átomo de sabiduría, se es consciente de lo que sucede en el mundo. Me parece que la sabiduría tendría que ser empleada para aportar con un grano de arena a que esto no termine mal. Creo que el "pirata" tiene necesidad de utilizar todos los elementos cognoscitivos para evitar lo peor.
C.C.: De acuerdo, estoy terriblemente de acuerdo. La razón por la cual te dije que mi vida era monolítica y que trataba de ser un hombre impecable, sólo a través de la impecabilidad podría llegar a persuadirte a ti o a otra persona que sea como tú. Si no pudiera realizar esa reevaluación de energías, me sería imposible aplicar las enseñanzas de don Juan. Sería una tremenda pérdida de tiempo, porque no podría llegar a esa síntesis final. Lo que tú dices es imperativo, que uno aporte con un grano de arena y yo estoy contigo en un cien por cien, quisiera aportar eso. El único modo de lograrlo para mí es mantenerme dentro de los cánones de las enseñanzas de don Juan.
H.L.: Me gustó mucho (creo que está en la traducción francesa de "Una realidad aparte") la anécdota: Cuando haces la diferencia entre el yaqui que se ha entregado completamente al alcohol que, víctima de los acontecimientos, quiere poseer objetos materiales, una moto. Y la diferencia con el yaqui como don Juan que ha conservado su yo interior y que ha sabido revelar ese diamante de sabiduría que existía en él. Me parece que en esa situación ya hay el germen de un proyecto ético.
C.C.: Precisamente lo que le da valor pragmático a la conducta de don Juan, es que lo hace desde un punto de vista de una ética de "guerrero" que trasciende totalmente la moral cristiana. No hay interrupción en su concepto ético, lo extiende de una manera total para cubrir todo. Entre nosotros, el mundo está fraccionado, tenemos una ética que se refiere a la política, a la jurisprudencia, un fraccionamiento extraordinario. No hay una ética constante que trascienda el fraccionamiento. La conducta de don Juan era la del guerrero lo que significa una constancia total. Su interés era guiar, no tenía por ejemplo interés en hacer amigos, siempre dije que no tuvo ningún interés en hacer un esclavo por su misión.
H.L.: ¿Cómo un hombre o un personaje como Carlos Castaneda que nació en un lugar recóndito de la sierra norte del Perú (Castaneda lanzó una carcajada como si le gustara mi insistencia para que él reconozca públicamente que era peruano) ha podido llegar a lo que ha llegado?
C.C.: En verdad eso es imposible explicar. Todo lo nuestro me parece cuestión de suerte. No es posible creer que nosotros los que venimos de lo que llaman el "Tercer Mundo", podamos confiar sólo en el trabajo, en el talento. Si no tenemos suerte no somos nadie. La suerte juega el papel final y es el "intento". En mi caso es un "intento" desconocido que viene de fuera que no tiene explicación. No sé como podrás explicarlo, tú, personalmente lo que pasó en tu vida. Yo lo interpreto como la suerte, como algo etéreo, como si me hubiera sonreído la Dama.
H.L.: O tener una buena estrella.
C.C.: Ese es el modo más adecuado. Una vez que llega uno a la meta, es esencial la impecabilidad que crea un vínculo con la "buena estrella". Ya no es una cosa arbitraria del azar, una cosa precipitada.
H.L.: Es tener el soplo necesario. Uno puede nacer con una "buena estrella", pero sin el impulso vital, entonces uno termina practicando una filosofía mundana, snob...
C.C.: O acaba como jugador de póquer con mucha suerte (risas), haciendo fortuna en el bacará, en la ruleta.
H.L.: Hay mucha gente que está pendiente de lo que tú digas, de lo que escribas. ¿Qué podrías decir sobre el uso de la droga?
C.C.: Don Juan me dijo: si uno pudiese verse a sí mismo de una manera brutal, sin pasiones, sin misericordia. Si uno llegara a comprender, antes que nada, esa idea de la concepción. Si uno fue concebido en el aburrimiento, es inevitable el uso de las drogas, de las supercherías, de los apoyos fáciles, como las substancias químicas, el psicoanálisis. De acuerdo a don Juan, el hombre moderno es el resultado de lo que él llama las "cogidas aburridas”. El individuo que es producto de un coito hastiado nace desesperado, sin matriz, sin dirección. Si esa persona pudiera tener una adición brutal de sí mismo, llegaría —según don Juan— a ser avaro de su energía, y a guardarlo para liberarse de las tremendas necesidades como son los cigarrillos, el alcohol... Debe ser que esa dependencia obedece simplemente a un descontento general. El uso de las drogas es simplemente una expresión. Don Juan creía que era un reflejo de la manera como fuimos concebidos.
H.L.: En la civilización posindustrializada, el padre ya no cumple su rol. En realidad, el padre es la tele. El padre no es más el educador de sus hijos. Para mí, la imagen ideal del padre sería la del maestro…
C.C.: Una de las cosas más terribles que me pasaron en mis relaciones con don Juan. Es lo que me hizo comprender sobre lo niño que somos nosotros, los varones. Si les ves con los ojos del brujo yaqui vas a notar que estamos envueltos en una serie de juegos y que las mujeres son mucho más fuertes. Parece como si fueran de otra especie, en cambio nosotros sólo somos niños. Eso es un producto de nuestra época. Ahora en los Estados Unidos se nota más que en ningún otro sitio, ves a un caballero de sesenta años que se siente chiquillo, y que arrastra a todos, hasta a las mujeres, en la búsqueda de la niñez, de la inmadurez. Pero no es la juventud lo que buscan, no quieren ser jóvenes. ¡Quieren ser niños!
H.L.: En Europa, en Francia, he oído decir a las mismas mujeres frente a la crisis de la sociedad y al pretendido fracaso del poder masculino: "La culpa es la de los hombres, son ellos los que han provocado las guerras".
C.C.: Uno de los soportes de la ideología de don Juan es la idea de que las mujeres son básicamente superiores. ¡Y no hay discusión! Como chauvinista macho que viene de Sudamérica, me costó un huevo el aceptar esta posición. Ahora no tengo ningún inconveniente en aceptarla en toda su profundidad. Sería una revolución si las mujeres no tuvieran que depender de unidades conjuntivas robadas a la masculinidad del hombre. Ellas no tienen necesidad de mostrarse como "machonas".
H.L.: Ese es el riesgo de la imitación del poder masculino.
C.C.: ¿Por qué tendrían que imitar al hombre, si éste para ellas es el usurpador? Verlas vestidas de machonas, de lesbianas con bigotes. ¡No jodas! ¡Eso es demasiado traído de los cabellos!
H.L.: ¿Y cómo ves Europa, desde aquí, desde América?
C.C.: La veo muy viejita. ¡Je, je, je! Terriblemente carcomida, intelectualmente hundida. A mí me gusta los Estados Unidos porque te digo allá no hay fronteras. Son unos salvajes, hijos de su chingada madre, como dicen ellos; ¡pero tienen la juventud y la iniciativa! En cambio Europa, envuelta en luchas tremendas de decadencia, representa lo que don Juan llama Torquemada.
(1) Weston La Barre, catedrático norteamericano de etnología, autor de “El culto del peyote”.
(2) Tomás de Torquemada (1420-1498), religioso predicador, organizó el Tribunal de la Santa Inquisición. Fue nombrado por los Reyes Católicos como inquisidor general.
(3) César Vallejo (1895-1938), poeta peruano, que vivió de 1924 a 1938 en París, donde murió. En su obra poética denuncia la injusticia, la desgracia y la fatalidad que se abate sobre el hombre, alaba el humanismo y la solidaridad. (4) Cerámica de las civilizaciones precolombinas con representaciones antropomorfas, rostros, especialmente en las culturas chimú y mochica que se desarrollaron en la costa del departamento de La Libertad donde nació Vallejo.

« De l'anthropologie à la quête initiatique, pour devenir Nagual, homme de Connaissance » par Hector Loaiza
Á trente-cinq ans, après avoir abandonné ses études de beaux-arts à Lima (1) et cherchant à se « recycler » dans la psychologie, puis dans l'anthropologie, Castaneda ne s'attendait pas à ce que la rencontre, pendant l'été 1960, d'un vieux sorcier à la peau tannée et aux cheveux blancs, dans une petite ville frontalière de l'État d'Arizona, allait changer complètement son destin. Imbu de sa rationalité universitaire, il prétendait pouvoir apprendre quelque chose au vieux sorcier indien. Après avoir lu et étudié « Le culte du Peyotl » du professeur américain, Weston La Barre, il voulait faire une étude ethnobotanique sur les plantes médicinales utilisées par les Indiens du Sud-ouest américain et du Nord du Mexique. Que s'est-il passé alors ? « Je t'ai vu juste » —lui dira don Juan, dans Histoires de Pouvoir— « avant notre première rencontre ; tu avais un bon tonal (son ego n'était pas grand). Tu étais venu à moi, emmené par un homme qui disparut, après avoir marmonné des inepties (... ). Je savais que je devais agir vite et t'accrocher (... ). Mon acte a été de te saisir avec ma volonté... » C'est ainsi qu'il est introduit dans la perception non ordinaire qu'ont les sorciers yaquis, avec l'aide des « adjuvants » (le Datura, les champignons hallucinogènes et le peyotl). L'APPRENTI, LE GUERRIER ET LE SORCIER Avec L’Herbe du diable et la petite fumée, sorte de thèse récit, il obtient le diplôme d'anthropologue. Publié par les Presses de l'Université de Californie en 1968, le livre dégage une sulfureuse altérité et on le lit avec autant de plaisir qu'un roman de science-fiction. La thèse devient un véritable best-seller en Amérique et son auteur est l'homme le plus recherché par les médias. C'est le nouveau héros, le chercheur de la vérité et le maître à penser des nouvelles générations. Ce livre s'articule autour de l'apprentissage de l'art de la sorcellerie par l’anthropologue. Le lecteur est littéralement captivé par les conversations entre le maître et le disciple et par la relation conflictuelle entre les deux.

L'objectif de la sorcellerie, selon don Juan, est de « changer la représentation du monde » de l'apprenti. Plus tard, le vieillard lui explique sa méthode d'enseignement : « Une fois que l'apprenti a été accroché, l'instruction commence.

La première tâche d'un maître est d'introduire l'idée que le monde que nous croyons voir n'est qu'une image, une description du monde... » Le monde des apparences quotidiennes n'est pas plus réel que l'autre monde —celui des pouvoirs et des énergies— parce que le premier est seulement le «mensonge» que notre conscience élabore dans un état particulier : la conscience éveillée ordinaire. Avec ses trois premiers livres, Castaneda apporte non seulement à la recherche scientifique, sinon au grand public dans la description des vestiges d'une connaissance archaïque du monde, parce qu'il est allé au-delà du rapport traditionnel entre le chercheur et l’objet de la recherche.

Il a osé faire des expériences avec les plantes psychotropes et décrire les effets de celles-ci dans sa conscience et dans son corps. « La véritable anthropologie —a-t-il déclaré dans l'une de ses premières conférences publiques à Mexico, en 1982— ne se pratique pas seulement avec l'intellect, c’est avec le corps.

Il faut donner son corps afin de pouvoir pénétrer dans la véritable connaissance... » (2) L’aspiration de l'apprenti est, après de longues épreuves, de devenir un « guerrier » impeccable. L'objectif du guerrier est de voir, ce qui signifie —dans la structure mentale du sorcier yaqui— expérimenter directement le monde, saisir son essence, sans l'interpréter. Le « guerrier » accepte son sort avec une profonde humilité.

Celle-ci n'est pas l'humilité du mendiant, mais elle l'empêchera toujours de dominer par son savoir qui que ce soit.

Un guerrier ne peut non plus se plaindre.

Sa vie est un défi perpétuel et les défis ne peuvent pas être vraiment bons ou mauvais.

Don Juan lui demande d'être préparé à mourir lorsqu'il viendra le voir, car s'il est prêt à mourir, il n'y aura ni pièges, ni surprises mal venues, ni actes inutiles. Comment faut-il faire pour devenir un homme de connaissance ?

C'est Castaneda lui-même qui a répondu à la question : « Le meilleur candidat est celui qui ne possède rien.

Il vaut mieux le chien d'un Indien qu'un milliardaire.

C'est difficile d'être Indien, mais être le chien de celui-ci est encore pire... » Selon Castaneda, il faut se traîner sur le sol, là où il n'y a aucune chute possible. Au début de son deuxième livre, Voir : l'enseignement d'un sorcier yaqui, Castaneda raconte à don Juan qu'il a observé un groupe de gamins des rues, des cireurs de chaussures qui se nourrissaient des déchets d'un restaurant de Mexico.

Sa réponse est que les seuls hommes qu'il connaisse comme ayant victorieusement parcouru le chemin de la connaissance ont commencé comme ces pathétiques gamins des rues. Dans Le Voyage à Ixtlan, Castaneda fait le récit de son apprentissage des trois autres techniques qui doivent l'aider à « effacer son histoire personnelle » : perdre la suffisance, assumer les responsabilités et prendre la mort pour conseillère. Lorsqu'il demande à don Juan, quel a été le résultat du voyage initiatique qu'ils ont été obligés de faire à la région mythique d'Ixtlan, le vieillard répond que leur voyage était une sorte de métaphore et qu'il n'aura jamais de résultat final : un homme de connaissance sera toujours en route pour l'Ixtlan. Castaneda demande encore à son maître, dans Histoires de pouvoir, pourquoi lui a-t-il fait prendre des plantes hallucinogènes et le vieux sorcier lui répond : « Parce que tu étais bouché ». Son intelligence était tellement « soudée », son orgueil scientifique si ancré en lui qu'il devait prendre des produits psychotropes pour débloquer sa raison et enfin devenir lui-même. LE TONAL, LE NAGUAL ET LE DOUBLE DU CHAMAN Á la question de savoir si les plantes psychotropiques l'ont aidé, don Juan répond : « Certainement.

Elles ont débordé d'information ton tonal (son ego, sa culture) et ont obligé le ‘dialogue intérieur’ à s’interrompre.

Les pl


AntwortZitat
(@w-himmelbauer)
Mitglied Admin
Beigetreten: vor 14 Jahren
Beiträge: 272
09/02/2012 3:38 pm  

Navegando en lo Desconocido:

Entrevista a Carlos Castaneda para la revista Uno Mismo,
Chile y Argentina, Febrero de 1997

Por Daniel Trujillo Rivas

En el número correspondiente a enero / febrero de 1998 de la revista Utne Reader, se halla el artículo "El Mundo de los Sueños Conscientes" por Michael Brennan, que contiene extractos de ésta y de otra entrevista realizada a Carlos Castaneda.
Pregunta: Señor Castaneda, durante años usted permaneció en el más absoluto anonimato. ¿Qué le ha impulsado a dejar esa condición para dedicarse hoy a difundir públicamente las enseñanzas que, junto a sus compañeras actuales, recibió del nagual Juan Matus?
Respuesta: Lo que nos obliga a difundir las ideas de don Juan Matus es la necesidad impostergable de aclarar lo que él nos enseñó. Yo y sus otras tres estudiantes hemos llegado a la unánime conclusión de que el mundo que nos presentó don Juan Matus está al alcance de los medios perceptivos de todos los seres humanos. Argüimos entre nosotros cuál sería el camino adecuado. ¿Permanecer en el anonimato como don Juan nos propuso? Esto no encontraba entre nosotros un eco placentero. El otro camino disponible era el de difundir las ideas de don Juan: un camino inmensamente más peligroso y agotador, pero el único que creemos tiene la dignidad con la que don Juan embebió sus enseñanzas.
P: Considerando que usted ha dicho que los actos de un guerrero son impredecibles, y de hecho así lo hemos comprobado durante tres décadas, ¿podemos esperar que esta etapa pública suya se prolongue en el tiempo? ¿Hasta cuándo?
R: No hay manera de establecer un criterio temporal para nosotros. Vivimos de acuerdo a las premisas propuestas por don Juan y jamás nos apartamos de ellas. Don Juan Matus nos dio el terrible ejemplo de un hombre que vivía como él lo describía. El ejemplo de un hombre monolítico que no tiene dos caras. Y digo que es un ejemplo terrible porque es lo más difícil de emular; ser monolítico y al mismo tiempo tener la flexibilidad para encarar lo que fuera; ésa era la manera de vivir de don Juan.
Dentro de estas premisas lo único que se puede ser es un conducto impecable. Uno no es el jugador de esta partida de ajedrez cósmico, uno es simplemente una ficha de ajedrez. Quien decide todo es una fuerza impersonal consciente que los brujos llaman el Intento o el Espíritu.
P: Según he podido comprobar, la Antropología ortodoxa resta credibilidad a su obra, lo mismo que los pretendidos defensores del patrimonio cultural precolombino de América. Subsiste la creencia de que su obra es puramente el fruto de su talento literario, por cierto, excepcional; mientras que otros sectores lo acusan de un doble comportamiento, porque, supuestamente, su estilo de vida y sus actividades son contrarios a lo que la mayoría espera de un chamán. ¿Cómo puede zanjar estas suspicacias?
R: El sistema cognitivo del hombre occidental nos fuerza a movernos a través de ideas preconcebidas. Basamos nuestros juicios en algo que es siempre "a priori", por ejemplo la idea de "lo ortodoxo". ¿Qué es la antropología ortodoxa? ¿La que se enseña en el aula? ¿Y, cuál es la conducta de los chamanes? ¿Ponerse plumas en la cabeza y bailar a los espíritus?
Han acusado a Carlos Castaneda durante treinta años de crear un personaje literario, simplemente porque lo que yo les decía no coincidía con el "a priori" antropológico, con las ideas establecidas en el aula o en el campo de acción antropológico. Sin embargo, lo que me presentó don Juan sólo podía caber en un campo de acción total, y bajo tales circunstancias sucede muy poco o casi nada de lo preconcebido.
Nunca he podido llegar a conclusiones acerca del chamanismo, porque para hacer esto se necesita ser un miembro activo del mundo de los chamanes. Es muy fácil para un científico social, digamos por ejemplo un sociólogo, llegar a conclusiones sociológicas acerca de cualquier tema relacionado con el mundo occidental, porque el sociólogo es un miembro activo del mundo occidental. Pero, ¿cómo puede un antropólogo que pasa a lo más dos años estudiando otras culturas, llegar a conclusiones fidedignas acerca de ellas? Para adquirir membrecía en un mundo cultural se necesita una vida entera. Yo he estado trabajando más de treinta años en el mundo cognitivo de los chamanes del México antiguo y sinceramente creo que no he llegado aún a adquirir la membrecía que me permita llegar a conclusiones, o siquiera proponerlas.
He discutido acerca de esto con personas de diferentes disciplinas y siempre parecen entender y estar de acuerdo con las premisas que estoy exponiendo. Pero luego se dan vuelta, y se olvidan de todo lo que acordaron y continúan manteniendo los principios académicos "ortodoxos" sin importarles la posibilidad de un error absurdo en sus conclusiones. Nuestro sistema cognitivo parece ser impenetrable.
P: ¿Qué finalidad tiene el hecho de que usted se niegue a ser fotografiado, a que se grabe su voz o se conozcan sus datos biográficos? ¿Podría algo de esto afectar, y de qué manera, los logros alcanzados en su trabajo espiritual? ¿No cree que sería útil para algunos sinceros buscadores de la verdad conocer quién es usted realmente, como una forma de comprobar que realmente es posible seguir el camino que pregona?
R: En cuanto a fotografías y datos personales, yo y los otros tres discípulos de don Juan Matus seguimos los dictados de éste. La idea principal detrás de abstenerse de dar datos personales es muy simple para un chamán como don Juan. Es imprescindible dejar a un lado lo que él llamaba la "historia personal". Alejarse del "yo" resulta algo bastante engorroso y difícil. Lo que buscan los chamanes como don Juan es un estado de fluidez donde el "yo" personal no cuenta. El creía que este hecho afecta indiscutiblemente a quien entra dentro de ese campo de acción, y afecta de una manera positiva aunque subliminal, ya que estamos muy acostumbrados a fotografías, grabaciones, datos biográficos, todos ellos engendrados por la idea de la importancia personal. Él decía que es mejor no saber nada de un chamán; de ese modo, en vez de una persona uno se encuentra con una idea sostenible, lo opuesto a lo que pasa en el mundo cotidiano, donde sólo encontramos personas con problemas psicológicos y sin ideas, y todos ellos repletos hasta el tope del "yo, yo, yo".
P: ¿Cómo deben entender sus seguidores la existencia de todo un mecanismo comercial y publicitario -al margen de su obra literaria- en torno al conocimiento que usted y sus compañeras difunden? ¿Qué relación tiene usted realmente con Cleargreen Incorporated y las otras empresas (Laugan Producciones, Toltec Artists)? Me refiero a vínculos comerciales.
R: A estas alturas de mi trabajo necesitaba de alguien que pudiera representarme en la difusión de las ideas de don Juan Matus. Cleargreen es una corporación que tiene una gran afinidad con nuestro trabajo, lo mismo que Laugan Productions y Toltec Artists. La idea de difundir las enseñanzas de don Juan a un mundo moderno como el nuestro implica el uso de medios comerciales y artísticos que no están al alcance de mis medios individuales. Como corporaciones afines a las ideas de don Juan, Cleargreen Incorporated, Laugan Productions y Toltec Artists son capaces de proporcionarme los medios para difundir lo que quiero difundir.
El afán de las corporaciones impersonales es siempre el de dominar y transformar todo lo que se les presenta y adoptarlo a su propia ideología. De no ser por el sincero interés de Cleargreen, Laugan Productions y Toltec Artists, todo lo que don Juan dijo habría ya sido transformado en otra cosa.
P: Existe un sinnúmero de personajes que de una u otra manera se han "colgado" de usted para adquirir notoriedad pública. ¿Qué opinión le merece el accionar de Víctor Sánchez, quien ha interpretado y reordenado sus enseñanzas para elaborar una teoría personal? ¿O las afirmaciones de Ken Eagle Feather, quien asegura que ha sido escogido como discípulo por el mismísimo don Juan, vuelto a esta dimensión sólo para ello?
R: Efectivamente hay una serie de personas que se titulan a sí mismos estudiantes míos o del mismo don Juan, a quienes yo nunca he conocido y que puedo asegurar que don Juan nunca conoció. Don Juan Matus estaba interesado exclusivamente en la perpetuación de su linaje de chamanes. Él tuvo cuatro discípulos que perduran hasta el día de hoy. Tuvo otros que partieron con él. Don Juan no estaba interesado en enseñar su conocimiento, lo hizo con sus discípulos a fin de que continuaran su linaje. Sus discípulos, como no pueden continuar el linaje de don Juan, se han visto obligados a esparcir sus ideas.
El concepto del maestro que enseña su conocimiento es parte de nuestro sistema cognitivo, pero no es parte del sistema cognitivo de los chamanes del México antiguo. Para ellos enseñar era un absurdo. Transmitir su conocimiento a quienes iban a perpetuar la vida del linaje era otro asunto.
El hecho de que haya una serie de individuos empeñados en usar mi nombre o el de don Juan es simplemente una maniobra fácil para beneficiarse sin mucho trabajo.
P: Consideremos el significado de la palabra "espiritualidad" como un estado de conciencia en que los seres humanos son plenamente capaces de controlar las potencialidades de la especie, logro que se obtiene trascendiendo la simple condición de animal, por medio de un arduo acondicionamiento psíquico, moral e intelectual. ¿Está de acuerdo con esta afirmación? ¿Cómo se integra el mundo de don Juan en este contexto?
R: Para don Juan Matus, como un chamán pragmático y lleno de cordura, "la espiritualidad" era una idealidad vacía, una aseveración sin fundamento que nos parece muy bella porque está incrustada en conceptos literarios y expresiones poéticas, pero que nunca pasa de ahí.
Los chamanes como don Juan son esencialmente prácticos. Para ellos sólo existe un universo predatorio, donde la inteligencia o la conciencia de ser son el producto de desafíos de vida o muerte. Él se consideraba un navegante del Infinito y decía que para navegar en lo desconocido, como lo hace un chamán, uno necesita pragmatismo ilimitado, cordura sin medida y "agallas de acero".
En vista de todo esto don Juan creía que "la espiritualidad" es simplemente una descripción de algo imposible de lograr bajo los patrones del mundo cotidiano, y no es un modo vivo de actuar.
P: Usted ha señalado que su actividad literaria se debe a las instrucciones de don Juan, lo mismo que la de Taisha Abelar y Florinda Donner-Grau. ¿Con qué objetivo?
R: El objetivo de escribir los libros fue dado por don Juan. Él aseveraba que si uno no es escritor, aún puede escribir, pero el escribir se transforma de una acción literaria en una acción chamanística. Quien decide el tema y el desarrollo de un libro no es la mente del escritor, sino una fuerza que los chamanes consideran como la base del universo y a la que llaman el Intento. Es el Intento quien decide la producción de un chamán, ya sea literaria o cualquier otra.
De acuerdo con don Juan, un practicante de chamanismo tiene el deber, la obligación de saturarse con toda la información disponible. El trabajo de un chamán es el de informarse de una manera plena de todo lo posible relacionado con el tópico de su interés. El acto chamanístico consiste en abandonar todo interés de dirigir el curso que tal información tome. "Quien arregla las ideas que nacen de tal fuente de información no es el chamán -decía don Juan-, sino el Intento. El chamán es simplemente un conducto impecable". El escribir era para don Juan un desafío chamanístico, no una tarea literaria.
P: Si me permite la siguiente afirmación, su obra plantea conceptos estrechamente relacionados con las doctrinas filosóficas orientales, pero resulta contradictoria con lo que se conoce comúnmente de la cultura indígena mexicana. ¿Dónde se encuentran las similitudes y diferencias entre una y otra?
R: No tengo la menor idea. No soy erudito ni en lo uno ni en lo otro. Mi trabajo consiste en una información fenomenológica del mundo cognitivo al que me introdujo don Juan Matus. Desde el punto de vista de la fenomenología como método filosófico, no es posible llegar a aseveraciones relacionadas con el fenómeno bajo escrutinio. El mundo de don Juan Matus es tan vasto, misterioso y contradictorio que no se presta a un ejercicio de exposición lineal; como mucho, se puede describir, y esto haciendo un esfuerzo supremo.
P: Asumiendo que las enseñanzas de don Juan han pasado a formar parte de la literatura ocultista, ¿qué opinión le merecen otras enseñanzas, por ejemplo, las filosofías masónica, Rosacruz, el Hermetismo, y disciplinas tales como la Cábala, el Tarot y la Astrología, comparándolas con el nagualismo? ¿Ha tenido alguna vez o mantiene contacto con alguna de estas vertientes o con sus seguidores?
R: De nuevo no tengo ni la menor idea de cuáles son las premisas, los puntos de vista, ni los temas de tales disciplinas. Don Juan nos presentó el problema de navegar en lo desconocido y esto nos toma todo el esfuerzo disponible.
P: ¿Algunos de los conceptos de su obra, como el punto de encaje, las emanaciones de energía que componen el universo, el mundo de los seres inorgánicos, el Intento, el Acecho y el Ensueño, tienen una contrapartida en el conocimiento occidental? Por ejemplo, hay quienes ven en el hombre como huevo luminoso una expresión del aura…
R: No, nada de lo que don Juan nos enseñó parece tener una contrapartida en el conocimiento occidental, que yo sepa.
Una vez, cuando don Juan aún estaba presente, pasé un año entero a la búsqueda de gurus, maestros, sabios que me dieran un indicio de lo que estaban haciendo. Quería saber si había algo en el mundo de entonces que fuera similar a lo que don Juan decía y hacía.
Mis recursos eran muy limitados y sólo me llevaron a conocer a los maestros establecidos que tenían millares de seguidores, y desgraciadamente no pude encontrar nada parecido.
P: Concentrándonos ahora específicamente en su obra, sus lectores nos encontramos a Carlos Castaneda diferentes. Primero, a un académico occidental algo inepto y permanentemente desconcertado ante el poder de ancianos indios cono don Juan y don Genaro (principalmente en Las Enseñanzas de don Juan, Una Realidad Aparte, Viaje a Ixtlán, Relatos de Poder y El Segundo Anillo de Poder); luego, con un aprendiz de chamán avezado (en El Don del Águila, El Fuego Interior, El Conocimiento Silencioso y, especialmente, en El Arte de Ensoñar). Si está de acuerdo con esta apreciación, ¿cuándo y cómo desapareció uno para dejar paso al otro?
R: No me considero ni chamán, ni maestro, ni estudiante avanzado de chamanismo, ni tampoco me considero un antropólogo o científico social del mundo occidental. Mis presentaciones han sido todas descripciones de un fenómeno imposible de discernir bajo las condiciones del conocimiento lineal del mundo occidental. Jamás pude dar a lo que me enseñaba don Juan una explicación de causa y efecto o tuve la posibilidad de predecir lo que él iba a decir o lo que iba a pasar. Bajo estas condiciones, el paso de un estado a otro es subjetivo y no algo elaborado o producto de premeditación o sabiduría.
P: En su obra es posible encontrar episodios francamente increíbles para la mentalidad occidental. ¿Cómo podría alguien no iniciado comprobar que son verdaderas esas "realidades aparte" que usted describe?
R: Se puede comprobar de una manera muy simple. Prestando el cuerpo entero en vez del intelecto. Al mundo de don Juan no se puede entrar intelectualmente como un diletante en pos de un conocimiento rápido y pasajero, ni tampoco se puede comprobar nada. Lo único que se puede hacer es llegar a un estado de conciencia acrecentada que nos permita percibir al mundo que nos rodea de una manera más amplia. En otras palabras, la meta del chamanismo de don Juan es romper los parámetros de la percepción histórica y cotidiana, y entrar a percibir lo desconocido. De ahí que él se llamara a sí mismo un navegante del Infinito. Él sostenía que mas allá de los parámetros de la percepción diaria, está el Infinito. Llegar a eso era la meta de su vida, y puesto que él era un chamán extraordinario, nos inculcó a nosotros cuatro ese deseo. Nos forzó a trascender el intelecto y a encarnar el concepto de la ruptura de los parámetros de la percepción histórica.
P: Usted sostiene que la característica básica de los seres humanos es su condición de "perceptores de energía". Señala el movimiento del punto de encaje como un imperativo para percibir energía directamente. ¿Para qué puede servir eso a un hombre del siglo XXI? ¿Cómo ayuda la consecución de esta meta a la superación espiritual, según el concepto antes definido?
R: Los chamanes como don Juan sostienen que todos los seres humanos poseemos la capacidad de percibir energía directamente a medida que fluye en el universo. Consideran que el punto de encaje, como ellos lo llaman, es un punto que existe en el campo de energía total del hombre. En otras palabras, cuando un chamán percibe a un hombre como energía que fluye en el universo, "ve" a una bola luminosa. En esa bola luminosa el chamán puede "ver" un punto de gran brillo que está situado a la altura de los omóplatos y a la distancia de más o menos un metro detrás de ellos. Los chamanes sostienen que allí es donde se realiza la percepción, que la energía que fluye en el universo se transforma allí en datos sensoriales y que esos datos sensoriales son luego interpretados para dar como resultado el mundo de la vida cotidiana. Los chamanes mantienen que se nos enseña a interpretar, por lo tanto, se nos enseña a percibir.
El valor pragmático de percibir la energía directamente a medida que fluye en el universo para el hombre del siglo XXI o del siglo I es el mismo. Le permite ampliar los límites de su percepción y utilizar dentro de sus medios ambientales tal ampliación. Don Juan decía que sería extraordinario "ver" directamente la maravilla del orden y del caos del universo.
P: Recientemente usted ha presentado una disciplina de ejercicios físicos que denomina Tensegridad. ¿Puede explicarnos de qué se trata exactamente? ¿Qué finalidad persigue? ¿Qué beneficios espirituales puede encontrar en ella quien la practique de forma individual?
R: Según lo que nos enseñó don Juan Matus, los chamanes que vivieron en México en tiempos antiquísimos descubrieron una serie de movimientos, ejecutados con el cuerpo, que los llevaron a un estado de desarrollo físico y mental de tal magnitud que decidieron llamar a tales movimientos pases mágicos.
Don Juan nos dijo que por medio de sus pases mágicos, dichos chamanes adquirieron un nivel de conciencia acrecentada que les permitió ejecutar proezas de percepción indescriptibles.
Los pases mágicos fueron enseñados a través de generaciones solamente a los practicantes de chamanismo, en medio de un tremendo secreto y de complejos rituales. Así es como se los enseñaron a don Juan Matus, y así es como él los transmitió a sus cuatro discípulos.
Nuestro esfuerzo ha consistido en extender la enseñanza de tales pases mágicos a quien quiera aprenderlos. Los hemos llamado Tensegridad y los hemos convertido, de movimientos enteramente personales y propios de cada uno de los cuatro discípulos de don Juan, en movimientos genéricos aplicables a cualquier persona.
La practica de la Tensegridad en forma individual o colectiva promueve la salud, el vigor, la juventud y el bienestar general. Don Juan decía que la práctica de los pases mágicos ayuda a acumular la energía necesaria para acrecentar la conciencia y ampliar los parámetros de la percepción.
P: Aparte de sus tres compañeras, los asistentes a sus seminarios han conocido a otro grupo de personas, como los Chacmoles, las Rastreadoras de Energía, los Elementos, el Explorador Azul… ¿Quienes son ellos? ¿Se trata de una nueva partida de videntes dirigida por usted? Si es así, ¿cómo podría alguien integrarse en este grupo de aprendices?
R: Cada una de esas personas acerca de las que usted pregunta son seres definidos que don Juan Matus como director de su linaje nos encargó esperar. Él predijo la llegada de cada uno de ellos como parte integral de una visión. Puesto que su linaje no podía continuar debido a configuraciones energéticas propias de sus cuatro estudiantes, su misión se transformó de perpetuar el linaje a cerrarlo, si fuera posible con broche de oro.
Nosotros no estamos en posición de cambiar esta directiva. No podemos buscar ni aceptar aprendices o miembros vigentes de la nueva visión de don Juan. Lo único que podemos hacer es acceder a los dictámenes del Intento.
El hecho de que se estén enseñando los pases mágicos, guardados con celo por tantas generaciones, es una muestra de que sí se puede llegar a ser parte de esta nueva visión de una manera indirecta a través de la práctica de la Tensegridad y de la observación de las premisas del camino del guerrero.
P: En Lectores del Infinito usted ha utilizado el término "navegación" para definir lo que los brujos hacen. ¿Están prontos a izar velas y levar anclas para iniciar el viaje definitivo? ¿Acabará con ustedes el linaje de guerreros toltecas depositario de este conocimiento?
R: Sí, efectivamente, el linaje de don Juan acaba con nosotros.
P: ¿Incluye el camino del guerrero el trabajo espiritual de la pareja, como se encuentra en otras propuestas?
R: El camino del guerrero incluye todo y a todos. Puede haber una familia entera de guerreros impecables. La dificultad está en el terrible hecho de que las relaciones individuales están basadas en inversiones emocionales, las cuales se desmoronan en el momento en el que el practicante realmente practica lo que aprende. Por lo regular, en el mundo diario, las inversiones emocionales nunca son examinadas y vivimos una vida entera esperando que nos correspondan. Don Juan decía que mi manera de vivir y de sentir se describía de una manera muy simple: "yo sólo doy lo que me dan", y que yo era un inversor empedernido.
P: Si alguien quisiera emprender el trabajo espiritual ajustándose al conocimiento difundido en sus libros, ¿a qué posibilidades de avance puede aspirar? ¿Qué recomendaciones formularía a quienes desean poner en práctica por propia cuenta las enseñanzas de don Juan?
R: No hay manera alguna de poner un límite a lo que uno puede lograr de un modo individual si el intento es un intento impecable. Las enseñanzas de don Juan no son espirituales, lo repito de nuevo, puesto que esta cuestión ha salido a la superficie una y otra vez. La idea de la espiritualidad no encaja con la disciplina férrea del guerrero. Lo que más cuenta para un chamán como don Juan es la idea del pragmatismo. Cuando conocí a don Juan yo me creía un hombre práctico, un científico social lleno de objetividad y pragmatismo. Él acabó con mis ínfulas y me hizo ver que como verdadero hombre occidental, yo no tenía nada de pragmático y nada de espiritual. Llegué a entender que yo simplemente repetía el vocablo "espiritualidad" para oponerlo a lo mercenario del mundo de todos los días. Quería alejarme de la manera más certera del mercantilismo de la vida diaria y a ese afán yo le llamaba espiritualidad. Cuando don Juan me exige llegar a una conclusión, a una definición de lo que yo consideraba espiritual, me di cuenta de que él estaba en lo cierto. Yo no sabía lo que decía.
Suena un poco petulante decir lo que estoy diciendo, pero no hay otra manera de decirlo. Lo que quiere un chamán como don Juan es el engrandecimiento de la conciencia de ser, esto es, poder percibir con todas las posibilidades humanas de percepción, lo que implica una labor descomunal y un propósito sin medida, cosas que no pueden ser suplidas por la espiritualidad en el mundo occidental.
P: ¿Hay algo que le gustaría explicarnos a los sudamericanos, especialmente a los chilenos? ¿Quisiera exponer otros planteamientos, además de los formulados?
R: No tengo nada más que añadir. Todos los seres humanos estamos en el mismo nivel. Al comienzo de mi aprendizaje con don Juan Matus él trató de hacerme ver lo común de la situación del hombre. Yo, como sudamericano, estaba muy involucrado intelectualmente con la idea de la reforma social. Un día le planteé la pregunta que yo creía era fatal. Le dije: ¿cómo es posible, don Juan, que usted permanezca impasible ante la situación espantosa de sus congéneres, los indios yaquis de Sonora?
Yo sabía que un porcentaje de la población yaqui sufría de tuberculosis y que no tenía remedio por su condición económica.
Sí - me dijo don Juan- es una cosa muy triste, pero figúrate que también es muy triste tu situación, y si tú crees estar en condiciones mejores que los indios yaquis, te equivocas. Es la condición del hombre en general el permanecer en un estado espeluznante de caos. Nadie está mejor que otro. Todos somos seres que vamos a morir, y a menos que tomemos en cuenta cabal esta situación, no hay remedio para nosotros.
Este es otro punto del pragmatismo de los chamanes: el darse cuenta de que somos seres que vamos a morir. Los chamanes afirman que así todo adquiere una medida y un orden trascendental.


AntwortZitat
(@Moment des Menschen)
Mitglied
Beigetreten: vor 12 Jahren
Beiträge: 112
02/04/2012 3:07 am  

Du lebst nur zweimal

Beitrag des verdienten Bruce Wagner

Mit seiner Vision einer anderen Wirklichkeit fesselt der amerikanische Anthropologe und Schriftsteller Carlos Castaneda seit den späten sechziger Jahren Generationen. In diesem raren Interview spricht der legendäre Zauberer mit Bruce Wagner über Don Juan, Freiheit, Träumen und Tod – und über die lustigen Dinge, die einem auf dem Weg zur Unendlichkeit passieren. Der Artikel erschien in der Zeitschrift DETAILS, New York, im März MCMXCIV.
________________________________________
Carlos Castaneda lebt hier nicht mehr.

Nach Jahren rigoroser Disziplin – Jahren des Kriegertums – ist er vor dem plaudernden Theater des alltäglichen Lebens geflohen. Er ist so etwas wie ein leerer Zylinder, ein Erzähler von Märchen und Berichten; überhaupt kein richtiger Mensch, sondern ein Wesen, das keine Zugehörigkeit zu der Welt, wie wir sie kennen, mehr hat. Er ist der letzte Nagual, der Stöpsel einer jahrhundertealten Linie von Zauberern, deren Triumph es war, die »Übereinkunft« mit der normalen Realität zu brechen. Mit der Herausgabe seines neunten Buches, Die Kunst des Träumens, ist er wieder aufgetaucht – für einen Moment und auf seine Art & Weise.

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Der gesunde Menschenverstand bringt uns um

Mein Name ist Carlos Castaneda.
Ich hätte gerne, daß ihr heute etwas tut. Ich möchte, daß ihr euer Urteilsvermögen einstellt. Bitte kommt mir nicht mit dem »gesunden Menschenverstand« bewaffnet. Es macht die Runde, daß ich sprechen werde, und die Leute kommen zu diesem Castaneda. Um mich zu verletzen. »Ich habe Ihre Bücher gelesen, und sie sind kindisch.« – »Alle Ihre späteren Bücher sind langweilig.« Kommt mir nicht so. Das ist zwecklos. Heute möchte ich euch für nur eine Stunde ersuchen, euch der Möglichkeit, die ich euch anbieten werde, zu öffnen. Hört mir nicht zu wie ehrbare Studenten. Ich sprach schon früher zu ehrbaren Studenten; sie sind taub und arrogant. Gesunder Menschenverstand und Ideale sind das, was uns umbringt. Wir beißen uns mit den Zähnen daran fest – das ist das »Äffische« an uns.
So hat uns Don Juan Matus genannt: Geistesgestörte Affen.
Ich stand dreißig Jahre lang nicht zur Verfügung. Ich mache mich nicht auf, um zu Leuten zu sprechen. Für einen Moment bin ich hier. Einen Monat, vielleicht zwei... Dann werde ich wieder verschwinden. Wir sind nicht auf einer Insel, nicht nur im Jetzt. Wir können so nicht sein. Wir sind die Verbindlichkeit eingegangen, denen zu bezahlen, welche die Mühe auf sich nahmen, uns gewisse Dinge zu zeigen. Wir erbten dieses Wissen; Don Juan lehrte uns, nicht zu rechtfertigen. Wir wollen, daß ihr seht, daß es übernatürliche und pragmatische Möglichkeiten gibt, die nicht außerhalb eurer Reichweite liegen. Ich empfinde exotisches Vergnügen daran, so einem Flug zu folgen. – Esoterizismus pur! Nur für meine Augen. Ich bin nicht bedürftig; ich benötige überhaupt nichts. Ich brauche euch wie ein Loch im Kopf. Aber ich bin ein Reisender. Ich navigiere – dort draußen. Ich hätte gern, daß auch andere diese Möglichkeit haben.

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Hier ist der Notausgang

Der Navigator hat vor Gruppen in San Francisco und Los Angeles gesprochen, und seine Kohorten – Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar und Carol Tiggs – haben Vorträge (»Das Träumen der Tolteken – Der Nachlaß Don Juans«) in Arizona, Maui und in Esalen gehalten. Während der letzten zwei Jahre erschienen Donner-Graus und Abelars Bücher auf dem Markt (in denen sie Castaneda und den Unterricht, den ihnen Don Juan gab, besprechen): Traumwache (Being-in-Dreaming) beziehungsweise Die Zauberin (The Sorcerer’s Crossing). Die Berichte dieser zwei Frauen sind phänomenologische Sprößlinge, ehrliche Chroniken ihres Einstands und Trainings. Sie sind auch große und unverhoffte Geschenke, da die Leser Castanedas noch nie Zugang zu solch direkter und erhellender Verstärkung seiner Erfahrung hatten. (»Die Frauen sind hierfür verantwortlich«, sagt er. »Es ist ihr Spiel. Ich bin nur der philippinische Chauffeur.«) Donner-Grau bezeichnet den insgesamten Konsensus dieser Werke als »Intersubjektivität unter Zauberern«; jedes davon sei eine höchst individuelle Straßenkarte derselben Stadt. Sie seien »energetische« Verlockungen, ein wahrnehmbarer Ruf nach Freiheit, wurzelnd in einem einzelnen atemberaubenden Vorsatz: Wir müssen für die unabstreitbare Tatsache, daß wir Wesen sind, die sterben werden, Verantwortung übernehmen! Man ist von der Stichhaltigkeit ihres Falles getroffen, und das aus gutem Grunde. Die Darsteller, allesamt Doktoren der Philosophie an der anthropologischen Fakultät der Universität von Kalifornien, sind hervorragende Methodiker, deren akademische Wissenszweige komischerweise wie geschaffen sind für die Beschreibung der magischen Welt, die sie präsentieren – eine Energieanordnung, genannt »die zweite Aufmerksamkeit«. Kein Ort für schüchterne Anhänger des New Age.

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Der Stein des Anstoßes

Ich führe kein Doppelleben. Ich lebe dieses Leben: Es gibt keine Kluft zwischen dem, was ich sage, und dem, was ich tue. Ich bin nicht dazu da, euch an die Kette zu legen oder euch zu unterhalten. Worüber ich heute zu euch sprechen werde, sind nicht meine Ansichten – es sind jene des Don Juan Matus, des mexikanischen Indianers, der mir diese andere Welt zeigte. Nehmt also daran nicht Anstoß! Juan Matus beschenkte mich mit einem funktionierenden System, das auf siebenundzwanzig Generationen von Zauberern zurückgeht. Ohne ihn wäre ich ein alter Mann mit einem Buch unter dem Arm, der mit seinen Studenten auf dem Hof der Uni im Kreise spaziert. Seht, wir verlassen immer eine Sicherheitszone; deswegen springen wir nicht. »Wenn alles andere schiefgeht, kann ich ja immer noch Anthropologie unterrichten.« Wir sind bereits Verlierer, wenn wir uns Verliererszenarien vorstellen. »Ich bin Dr. Castaneda... Und das ist mein Buch, Die Lehren des Don Juan. Wußten Sie, daß es als Paperback erschienen ist?« Ich wäre der »Ein-Buch-Mann« – der ausgebrannte Genius. »Wußten Sie, daß es sich in der zwölften Auflage befindet? Es wurde gerade auf Russisch übersetzt.«
Oder ich könnte eure Koffer tragen und Platitüden von mir geben: »Es ist zu heiß... Es ist schön, aber es ist zu heiß. Es ist zu kalt... Es ist schön, aber es ist zu kalt. Ich sollte in die Tropen ziehen...«

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Das sensationelle Zaubertheater

1960 war Castaneda graduierter Student der Anthropologie an der Universität von Kalifornien in Los Angeles. Während er in Arizona die medizinischen Eigenschaften von Pflanzen erforschte, traf er einen Yaqui-Indianer, der einwilligte zu helfen. Der junge Feldforscher bot der plastischen, wandelnden Gebrauchsanleitung namens Don Juan Matus fünf Dollar pro Stunde für die Bedienung. Der Lakai lehnte ab. Was Castaneda nicht wußte, der alte Bauer in Huarachos war ein Zauberer ohnegleichen, ein Nagual, der ihn kunstvoll als Darsteller in den Mythos der Energie (Abelar nennt es »das sensationelle Zaubertheater«) einbezog. Als Gegenleistung für seine Dienste ersuchte Don Juan um etwas anderes: Castanedas »völlige Aufmerksamkeit«.
Das erstaunliche Buch, das aus diesem Abenteuer geboren wurde, Die Lehren des Don Juan: Ein Yaqui-Weg des Wissens, wurde sofort ein Klassiker, hob die Welt der Wahrnehmung gründlich aus den Angeln und elektrisierte die Gesellschaft. Seit damals fährt er damit fort, »die Zwiebel wegzuschälen«, fügt Journale seiner Erfahrungen hinzu, autoritative Erläuterungen ungewöhnlicher Realitäten, die am Selbst nagen. Ein Gesamttitel für sein Werk könnte lauten: Das Verschwinden des Carlos Castaneda. »Wir benötigen ein neues Wort für Zauberei«, sagt er. »Es ist zu dunkel. Wir assoziieren es mit mittelalterlichen Absurditäten wie Ritualien, dem Bösen. Mir gefällt ›Kriegertum‹ oder ›Navigation‹. Das ist es, was Zauberer tun, sie navigieren.«
Er schrieb, »Energie direkt wahrnehmen« sei eine gültige Definition für Zauberei. Die Zauberer sahen, daß sich das Wesentliche des Universums aus einer mit leuchtenden Fäden aus Bewußtheit durchdrungenen Energiematrix zusammensetzt – der eigentlichen Wahrnehmung. Diese Fäden bilden »Bänder«, welche allumfassende Welten enthalten, jede genauso real wie unsere, die bloß eine unter unendlich vielen ist. Die Zauberer nennen die Welt, wie wir sie kennen, »das menschliche Band« oder »die erste Aufmerksamkeit«.
Sie sahen auch das Wesentliche der menschlichen Form. Es ist nicht nur eine affenähnliche Amalgamation aus Haut und Knochen, sondern eine eiähnliche Kugel aus einer Art Leuchtstoff, fähig, entlang dieser leuchtenden Fasern in andere Welten zu reisen. Doch was hält sie davon ab? Nach Meinung der Zauberer sind wir von gesellschaftlicher Erziehung bestattet; von der Wahrnehmung der Welt als ein Ort der festen Gegenstände und Endgültigkeiten an der Nase herumgeführt. Wir gehen zu Grabe, indem wir es ablehnen, magische Wesen zu sein; es ist unser Streben, das Ego zu bedienen anstatt den Geist. Noch bevor uns das zu Bewußtsein kommt, ist der Kampf zu Ende – wir sterben elend am Selbst gefesselt. Don Juan Matus machte einen faszinierenden Vorschlag: Was wäre, wenn Castaneda seine Truppen umgruppierte? Wenn er die Energie, die routiniert mit Hofieren und Verfilzungen beschäftigt ist, befreite? Wenn er die Wichtigkeit seiner selbst beschnitt und die »Verteidigung, Hervorhebung und Präsentation« des Ego zurückzöge – wenn er von der Sorge, ob er gemocht, bekannt oder begehrt sei, abließ? Würde er genug Energie anreichern, um in der Welt einen Riß zu sehen? Und wenn er das täte, würde er durch ihn hindurch gehen? Der alte Indianer hatte ihn mit der »Absicht« der Welt der Zauberer süchtig gemacht.
Aber was macht Carlos Castaneda tagsüber?
Er spricht zu den geistesgestörten Affen. Für das Jetzt, irgendwie – in privaten Heimen, Ballettstudios, Bücherläden. Sie unternehmen Pilgerfahrten aus aller Welt: Ikonen der vergangenen, gegenwärtigen und zukünftigen Neuen Bewußtheit, energiegeladene Groupies, Schreckhafte und Schamanen, Juristen, Dummköpfe, Austrommler, Aufdecker und erleuchtete Träumer, Gelehrte, Berühmte und Verführer, Wegbereiter, Meditierende und Moguln, sogar Geliebte und Kumpane »von vor zehntausend Jahren«. Wildgewordne Notizenmacher kommen und werdende Junior-Naguals. Einige werden Bücher über ihn schreiben; die Fauleren Kapitel. Andere werden Seminare geben – gegen Gebühr, versteht sich. »Sie kommen, um ein paar Stunden zuzuhören«, sagt er, »und am nächsten Wochenende halten sie Vorträge über Castaneda! Das ist das Äffische.« Er steht stundenlang vor ihnen und lockt und ermahnt ihren »Energiekörper«, und der Effekt ist gleichzeitig heiß und kalt wie Trockeneis. Mit großer Finesse schüttelt er Geschichten über Freiheit und Kraft aus dem Ärmel wie Tücher aus dem Zylinder – beweglich, elegant, obszön, vergnügt, haarsträubend und chirurgisch präzise. Fragt mich irgendwas! kommt die inständige Bitte. Was würdet ihr gerne wissen?
Warum machen sich Castaneda & Co. erreichbar? Warum jetzt? Was haben sie davon?

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Das riesige Tor

Es gibt eine, die in das Unbekannte geht und darauf wartet, daß wir uns zu ihr gesellen. Sie wird Carol Tiggs genannt – mein Pendant. Sie war mit uns, dann verschwand sie. Ihre Abgängigkeit dauerte zehn Jahre. Wohin sie ging, ist unbegreiflich. Es fügt sich nicht dem Verstand. Also enthaltet euch bitte des Urteils! Wir werden einen Aufkleber an die Stoßstange heften: DER GESUNDE MENSCHENVERSTAND BRINGT UNS UM!
Carol Tiggs war weggegangen. Sie lebte nicht in den Bergen von New Mexico, das versichere ich euch. Eines Tages hielt ich einen Vortrag im Bücherladen von Phoenix, und sie materialisierte sich. Mein Herz hüpfte aus meinem Hemd, poch, poch, poch. Ich sprach weiter. Ich sprach zwei Stunden, ohne zu wissen, was ich sagte. Ich nahm sie beiseite und fragte sie, wo sie gewesen sei – zehn Jahre lang! Sie gab sich zugeknöpft und begann zu schwitzen. Sie habe nur vage Erinnerungen. Sie scherzte.
Das Wiedererscheinen Carol Tiggs öffnete – energetisch – ein riesiges Tor, durch das wir kommen und gehen. Dort ist ein weiter Zugang, wo ich euch in die Absicht der Zauberei einklinken kann. Ihre Rückkunft gab uns einen neuen Ring der Kraft; sie brachte eine gewaltige Menge an Energie mit, die es uns erlaubt hervorzukommen. Das ist es, warum wir momentan zur Verfügung stehen. Jemand wurde Carol Tiggs bei einem Vortrag vorgestellt. Er sagte: »Aber Ihr Buch ist so normal.« Carol Tiggs darauf: »Was haben Sie erwartet? Blitze, die aus meinen Titten schnalzen?«

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Die Huren der Wahrnehmung

Wo befindet sich Carlos Castaneda, und welches Leben führt er?
Wir haben schon 1994: Warum rückt er damit nicht heraus?
Warum sagt er uns nicht sein Alter und läßt Richard Avedon ein Photo machen? Hat ihm keiner gesagt, daß die Privatsphäre tot ist? Daß die Enthüllungen von Details nicht weniger werden? Im Austausch für unsere vollständige Aufmerksamkeit hat er uns gefälligst zu orientieren. Es gibt Dinge, die man gerne wüßte – weltliche, persönliche Dinge, wie: wo er lebt; was er von Sinatras Duets hält. Was hat er mit den ungeheuren Einnahmen aus seinen Büchern gemacht? Fährt er einen Turbo-Bentley wie all die großen alten Päpste? War das wirklich er, der mit Michael Jordan und Edmund White gesehen wurde?
Sie hatten jahrelang versucht, ihn festzunageln.
Sie hatten sogar sein Gesicht aus Erinnerungen alter Kollegen und dubioser Bekanntschaften rekonstruiert; das absurde Resultat sieht aus wie ein Polizei-Phantombild eines gütig lächelnden Olmec-Indianers für Reader’s Digest. In den Siebzigern erschien ein Photo in einer Titelgeschichte des Time-Magazins (es waren nur die Augen sichtbar); – als das Magazin herausfand, daß es sich dabei um eine Fälschung handelte, verzieh es ihm das nie.
Um die Zeit, als Paul McCartney für tot erklärt wurde, verdichteten sich die Gerüchte. Carlos Castaneda war Margaret Mead.
Sein Agent und seine Anwälte sind rund um die Uhr beschäftigt als Verteidiger gegen Anschläge von Korrespondenten und Verrückten, spirituellen Hängegleitern, Bekehrten und Suchenden, Künstlern, die sein Werk adaptieren wollen – berühmten und unbekannten, mit oder ohne Erlaubnis – und Schwindelseminaren, bis obenhin vollgefüllt mit Personifizierungen Carlos’. Nach dreißig Jahren gibt es noch immer kein Kopfgeld auf ihn. Er ist nicht an Gurus und Gurutum interessiert; es wird keine Turbo-Bentleys geben, keine Ranch mit turbanbedeckten Verehrern, keine Extraausgabe vom Pariser Vogue. Es wird kein Castaneda-Institut geben, kein Zentrum für fortgeschrittene Zaubereistudien, keine Traumakademie – keine Informationsveranstaltungen, Pilzverkostungen oder tantrischen Sex. Es wird keine Biographien geben und keine Skandale. Wenn er zu Vorträgen eingeladen wird, erhält Castaneda keine Entschädigung und offeriert, seine Reise selbst zu bezahlen. Beim Eintritt sind nur ein paar Dollar zu bezahlen, um die Hallenmiete abzudecken. Alles, was von den Teilnehmern verlangt wird, ist ihre vollständige Aufmerksamkeit.
»Freiheit ist gratis«, sagt er. »Sie kann weder gekauft noch verstanden werden. Ich habe versucht, eine Möglichkeit zu präsentieren – daß Bewußtheit ein Medium für den Transport oder Bewegung sein kann. Ich war gar nicht so überzeugend; sie glauben, ich schreibe Romane. Wäre ich prahlerisch und bedeutend, lägen die Dinge anders – sie würden auf den Big Daddy horchen. Die Leute sagen: ›Du lügst.‹ Wie könnte ich lügen?
Du lügst nur, wenn du etwas haben willst, um zu manipulieren. Ich möchte nichts von niemandem – nur Übereinstimmung. Wir hätten gerne die Übereinstimmung, daß da Welten neben unserer eigenen sind. Bestünde die Übereinstimmung, daß uns Flügel wachsen, flögen wir. Mit der Übereinstimmung kommt die Masse; mit der Masse wird es Bewegung geben.«
Castaneda und seine Konföderierten sind die energetischen Radikalen von etwas, das die einzige bezeichnende Revolution unserer Zeit sein mag – nichts weniger als die Umformung des biologischen Gebotes in ein evolutionäres. Wenn das oberste soziale Prinzip die Fortpflanzung ist, dann ist das furchtlose Prinzip der Zauberer (energetische Piraten samt und sonders) etwas weniger... na gut, irdisch. Ihre erschreckende, heldenhafte Absicht ist, die Welt so zu verlassen, wie es Don Juan vor zwanzig Jahren tat: Als reine Energie mit intakter Wahrnehmung. Zauberer nennen diesen Salto »den abstrakten Flug«.

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Der geschniegelte Affe

Mein Idol war Alan Watts, als ich jung war. Nachdem ich »Carlos Castaneda« geworden war, hatte ich das Entrée und zog aus, um ihn zu besuchen. Er fürchtete sich vor der Öffentlichkeit, vor mir nicht. Er war keineswegs, was er vorgab zu sein – er wollte mit mir ins Bett. Ich sagte: »He, Alan, was soll das?« – »Aber Carlos«, sagte er, »siehst du nicht die Schönheit? Daß ich die Perfektion begreife, auch wenn ich meine Ideale nicht verwirklichen kann? Ich bin nicht vollkommen, aber ich umarme die Schwäche, menschlich zu sein.« Das ist Scheiße. Ich teilte ihm das mit: »Ich kenne Leute, die das Gegenteil behaupten; sie tun, was sie sagen. Und sie leben, um zu beweisen, daß wir erhaben sind.«
Es gibt eine Frau, eine große Spiritualistin. Millionen von Dollar gehen durch ihre Hände. Sie machte das zwanzig Jahre lang. Ich ging hin, um sie im Haus von irgend jemandem zu sehen, und sie trat einem Mann zwischen die Beine, genau vor mir. Tat sie das, um auf mich Eindruck zu machen? Um zu schockieren? Ich kann nicht schockiert werden. Später trieb ich sie in der Küche in die Enge. Ich sagte: »Was sagst du zu dir selbst, wenn du mitten in der Nacht alleine bist?« Don Juan pflegte, mir diese Frage zu stellen. »Was sagst du, wenn du alleine bist und in den Spiegel schaust?« – »Ah, Carlos«, sagte sie, »das ist das Geheimnis. Niemals alleine zu sein.« Ist das wirklich das Geheimnis? Niemals alleine zu sein? Wie gräßlich. Das ist ein Scheiß-Geheimnis.
Dieser Yaqui-Zauberer ersuchte mich, mein Urteilsvermögen drei Tage lang einzustellen – drei Tage lang zu glauben, daß menschlich zu sein nicht bedeute schwach zu sein, sondern erhaben. Selbst wenn einer ehrlich ist, na gut... Aber um wieviel stärker ist es, erhaben zu sein! Der Affe ist geistesgestört, aber auch geschniegelt. Don Juan war ein kalter Affe – aber er war ein makelloser Krieger. Er verließ die Welt unbeschädigt. Er wurde zu Energie; er brannte von innen.
Er pflegte zu sagen: »Ich wurde als Hund geboren... Aber ich will nicht als ein solcher sterben müssen. Möchtest du wie dein Vater leben?« Er fragte mich das. »Möchtest du wie dein Großvater sterben?« Dann kam die wirklich große Frage: »Was unternimmst du, um zu vermeiden, so zu sterben?« Ich antwortete nicht – ich mußte nicht. Die Antwort wäre gewesen: »Nichts.« Ein fürchterlicher Moment. Wie mich das verfolgte.

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Die kritische Masse

Ich traf mich mit Castaneda und den »Hexen« im Laufe einiger Wochen in Restaurants, Hotelzimmern und auf Promenaden. Sie sind attraktiv und lebhaft jugendlich. Die Frauen kleiden sich unauffällig, mit einem Hauch von beiläufigem Chic. Sie würden sie in einer Menge nicht bemerken, und das ist der springende Punkt.
Ich überflog einen New Yorker auf der Terrasse des Cafés vom Regent Beverly Wilshire. Die Anzeige von Drambuie wirkte besonders widerlich: Egal wie sehr wir uns in die eine Richtung oder in die andere bemühen – eines Tages sind wir unvermeidlich wie unsere Eltern. Wehren Sie sich nicht gegen diese Tatsache, sondern lassen Sie sich von uns einladen, das Ritual dieses Laufes der Dinge mit einem exquisiten Likör zu zelebrieren... Don Juan lachte in seinem Grab – oder woher auch immer, was mir eine Flut von Fragen zu Bewußtsein brachte: Wo war er überhaupt? Am selben Ort, von dem Carol Tiggs zurückkam? Wenn es so wäre, würde das bedeuten, der alte Nagual wäre zu einem solchen Wiederauferstehen in der Lage? In Das Feuer von innen schrieb Castaneda, Don Juan und seine Gruppe entschwanden irgendwann 1973 – vierzehn Navigatoren gingen in die »zweite Aufmerksamkeit«. Was genau war die zweite Aufmerksamkeit? Es schien alles klar gewesen zu sein, als ich die Bücher gelesen hatte. Ich suchte meine Notizen. Ich hatte »Zweite Aufmerksamkeit = erhöhte Bewußtheit« auf den Rand einer Seite gekritzelt, aber das half mir nicht weiter. Ungeduldig blätterte ich mich durch Die Kraft der Stille, Die Kunst des Pirschens, Reise nach Ixtlan. Obwohl es viel gab, das ich überhaupt nicht verstand, die Grundlagen waren durchwegs zusammenhängend beschrieben. Warum konnte ich nichts davon in meinem Kopf behalten?
Es haperte bei mir am Einmaleins der Zauberei.
Ich bestellte einen Cappuccino und wartete. Ich ließ meinen Geist treiben. Ich dachte an Donner-Grau und an die japanischen Affen. Als ich mit ihr am Telephon sprach, um ein Interview zu vereinbaren, erwähnte sie Imo. Jeder Student der Anthropologie hat von Imo, dem berühmten Makaken, gehört. Eines Tages wusch Imo spontan eine Süßkartoffel, bevor er sie aß; nach kurzer Zeit machten es ihm die Makaken der ganzen Insel nach. Anthropologen mögen das »kulturelles« Verhalten nennen, aber Donner-Grau sagte, das sei ein perfektes Beispiel für die kritische Masse – die Intersubjektivität der Affen.
Castaneda erschien. Er lächelte breit, schüttelte meine Hand und setzte sich. Ich wollte gerade die Affen ins Gespräch bringen, als er zu weinen begann. Die Stirn lag in Falten; sein ganzer Körper krümmte sich vor Jammer. Bald keuchte er wie ein Kapitän, den es von der Kommandobrücke gefegt hatte. Seine feuchte Unterlippe zuckte wie elektrisiert. Sein Arm streckte sich nach mir aus, die Hand lahmte und zitterte – dann öffnete sie sich wie eine nachtblühende Knospe aus dem Kleinen Horrorladen, als ob sie um Almosen bettelte.
»Bitte!« Er schloß einen unsicheren Waffenstillstand mit seinen Gesichtsmuskeln, um die Worte auszustoßen. Er drängte sich zu mir mit einem dringenden, inständigen Ersuchen: »Bitte mögen Sie mich!«
Castaneda schluchzte wieder, ein großer, zerbrochener, verstopfter Hydrant, er wechselte mühelos vom Erhabenen übers Lächerliche zum unanständig heulenden Monstrum. »So sind wir: Affen mit dünner Haut. So routiniert, so schwach. Masturbierend. Wir sind erhaben, aber dem geistesgestörten Affen mangelt es an Energie, um zu sehen – daher gewinnt das Hirn des Viehs die Oberhand. Wir können unser Fenster der Gelegenheiten nicht offenhalten, unseren ›Kubikzentimeter Chance‹ nicht packen. Wie könnten wir auch? Wir sind zu sehr damit beschäftigt, Mamas Händchen zu halten; daran zu denken, wie wundervoll wir sind, wie empfindsam, wie einzigartig. Wir sind nicht einzigartig! Die Drehbücher unserer Leben sind schon geschrieben«, sagte er geheimnisvoll lächelnd, »von anderen. Wir wissen... Aber wir kümmern uns nicht darum. Scheiß drauf! sagen wir. Wir sind die vollendeten Zyniker. Coño! Carajo! So leben wir: In einer Gosse warmer Scheiße! Was haben sie nur mit uns gemacht? Das ist es, was Don Juan zu sagen pflegte. Er fragte mich immer: ›Wie schmeckt dir die Karotte?‹ – ›Was meinst du?‹ – ›Die Karotte schoben sie dir in den Arsch.‹ Ich war schrecklich beleidigt; er konnte das tatsächlich mit mir machen! Das war’s. Er sagte: ›Sei dankbar, daß sie noch keinen Griff daran angebracht haben.‹«
»Aber wenn wir die Wahl haben, warum bleiben wir in der Gosse?«
»Es ist so schön warm. Wir wollen sie nicht verlassen – wir hassen es, auf Wiedersehen zu sagen. Und wir sorgen uns. Und wie wir uns sorgen! Sechsundzwanzig Stunden täglich! Und worüber, glauben Sie, machen wir uns Sorgen?« Er lächelte wieder wie ein zähes Gummibärchen. »Über mich! Was ist los mit mir? Was ist drin für mich? Was wird mir passieren? Was für eine Selbstsucht. Furchtbar. Aber faszinierend!«
Ich sagte ihm, seine Ansichten schienen ein wenig streng zu sein, und er lachte. »Ja«, sagte er im komisch näselnden und urteilenden Tonfall eines Akademikers. »Castaneda ist ein verbitterter und geisteskranker alter Mann.« Seine Karikaturen waren drollig und trafen brutal ins Schwarze. »Der gierige Affe langt durch ein Gitter nach einem Krümel und kann nicht auf die Kontrolle verzichten. Es gibt Studien; nichts wird ihn dazu bringen, diesen Krümel fallenzulassen. Die Hand wird ihn festhalten, selbst wenn Sie den Arm abhacken – wir sterben, indem wir uns an die Mierda festklammern. Aber warum? Ist das alles, was es gibt, – wie Miß Peggy Lee sagte? Das kann nicht sein; das wäre zu furchtbar. Wir müssen lernen, ihn fallenzulassen. Wir sammeln Erinnerungen und kleben sie in Bücher. Eintrittskarten einer Show am Broadway von vor zehn Jahren. Wir sterben, während wir uns an Souvenirs anklammern. Ein Zauberer zu sein bedeutet, die Energie, die Neugier und den Mumm dazu zu haben, die Krume fallenzulassen, ins Unbekannte zu springen – alles, was man braucht, ist eine Neubearbeitung, eine Neudefinition. Wir müssen uns als Wesen betrachten, die sterben werden. Wenn Sie das einmal akzeptiert haben, öffnen sich Ihnen Welten. Aber um diese Definition in Ihr Herz zu schließen, brauchen Sie ›Eier aus Stahl‹.«

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Das natürliche Erbe empfindsamer Wesen

Wenn ihr »Berg« oder »Baum« oder »Weißes Haus« sagt, beschwört ihr mit einer einzigen Äußerung ein Universum an Details; das ist magisch. Seht, wir sind visuelle Kreaturen. Ihr könntet am Weißen Haus lecken – es riechen, es berühren... Und es würde euch nichts erklären. Aber ein Blick, und ihr wißt alles, was es darüber zu wissen gibt: »Die Wiege der Demokratie«, was sonst. Ihr braucht nicht einmal richtig hinzuschauen, schon seht ihr Clinton drinnen sitzen, Nixon betend knien – was auch immer. Unsere Welt ist eine Agglutination von Details, eine Lawine von äußeren Scheinbarkeiten – wir nehmen nicht wahr, wir interpretieren bloß. Und unser Interpretationssystem macht uns faul und zynisch. Wir sagen lieber: »Castaneda ist ein Lügner«, oder: »Diese Sache mit den wahrnehmbaren Möglichkeiten ist nicht wirklich mein Bier.« Was ist euer Bier? Was ist »wirklich«? Dieses unbeugsame, beschissen bedeutungslose, tägliche Wort? Sind Verzweiflung und Senilität das, was wirklich ist? Daß die Welt »gegeben« und »endgültig« sei, ist ein trügerisches Konzept. Von Kindesbeinen an erwerben wir »Mitgliedschaft«. Eines Tages, wenn wir die Kurzschrift der Interpretation gelernt haben, sagt die Welt: »Willkommen.« Willkommen wozu? Zur Gefangenschaft. Willkommen in der Hölle. Was ist, wenn sich herausstellt, daß Castaneda nichts erfindet? Wenn das wahr ist, dann steht ihr sehr schlecht da.
Das Interpretationssystem kann unterbrochen werden; es ist nicht endgültig. Es gibt Welten innerhalb von Welten, jede so wirklich wie diese. Diese Wand dort drüben ist eine Welt, dieser Raum ist ein Universum von Details. Autisten sind gefangen, eingefroren in Details – sie fahren mit dem Finger an der Kante einer Scherbe entlang, bis er blutet. Wir sind im Raum des täglichen Lebens gefangen. Es gibt andere Möglichkeiten als diese Welt, so wirklich wie dieser Raum, Orte, an denen ihr leben oder sterben könnt. Zauberer tun das – wie aufregend! Zu denken, daß diese die einzige, allumfassende Welt sei, das ist die Essenz der Arroganz. Warum nicht die Tür zu einem anderen Raum öffnen? Das ist das natürliche Erbe empfindsamer Wesen. Es ist an der Zeit, neue Umschreibungen zu interpretieren und zu konstruieren. Geht an einen Ort, wo es noch kein a priori Wissen gibt. Werft euer altes Interpretationssystem nicht weg – verwendet es von neun bis fünf. Nach fünf? Magische Stunde.
——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Non se habla Español aqui

Aber was meint er mit »magische Stunde«?
Ihre Bücher sind äußerst gewissenhafte, detaillierte Beschwörungen des Unbekannten, wenn auch mit Resten von Ironie; es gibt kein wirkliches Lexikon für ihre Erfahrungen. Magische Stunde ist nicht wortgerecht – ihre überschüssigen Energien werden körperlich erfahren. Wann immer Castaneda Don Juan verließ, um nach Los Angeles zurückzukehren, beliebte der alte Nagual zu sagen, er wisse, was sein Schüler vorhabe. Er könne eine Liste anfertigen, sagte er. Eine womöglich lange Liste, aber immerhin eine Liste, auf der Castanedas Gedanken und Taten zwangsläufig gefunden werden könnten. Aber es war unmöglich für Castaneda, dasselbe für seinen Lehrer zu tun. Es gab keine Intersubjektivität zwischen den beiden Männern. Was immer es war, das der Indianer in der zweiten Aufmerksamkeit »tat«, es konnte nur erfahren, nie übertragen werden. Zurückgekehrt, hatte Castaneda weder die Energie noch die Vorbereitung, die es für eine solche Übereinstimmung braucht.
Aber der Affe ist von Worten und vom Syntax besessen. Er muß verstehen, koste es, was es wolle. Und es muß eine Lebensweise für sein Verständnis geben.
»Wir sind lineare Wesen: Gefährliche Kreaturen, Gewohnheits- und Wiederholungstäter. Wir benötigen folgendes Wissen: Dort gibt es Hühner! Da gibt es Schnürsenkel! Dort ist die Autowaschanlage! Wenn eines Tages etwas davon nicht mehr dort ist – schnappen wir über.« Er bestand darauf, für das Essen zu bezahlen. Als der Kellner mit der Rechnung kam, verspürte ich den Drang, die Kreditkarte zu grabschen und nachzusehen, ob sie auf seinen Namen ausgestellt war. Er erhaschte meinen Blick.
»Ein Geschäftsmann versuchte, mich dazu zu überreden, in der uralten American Express-Werbung aufzutreten: CARLOS CASTANEDA, MITGLIED SEIT 1968.« Er lachte fröhlich und kehrte zu seinem Thema zurück. »Wir sind schwere, behäbige Affen und sehr rituell. Mein Freund Ralph pflegte, seine Großmutter an den Montagabenden zu besuchen. Sie starb. Und er sagte: ›He Joe‹ – ich war damals Joe –, ›He Joe, jetzt können wir uns an den Montagabenden treffen. Bist du montags frei, Joe?‹ – ›Meinst du jeden Montag, Ralph?‹ – ›Ja, ja! Jeden Montag. Wäre das nicht toll?‹ – ›Aber jeden Montag? Für alle Zeiten?‹ – ›Ja, Joe! Du und ich an Montagen, für immer!‹«

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Das Einmaleins der Zauberei

Ich traf auf einer Party einen Wissenschaftler – einen bekannten Mann. Bedeutend. Eine Koryphäe. »Dr. X.« Er wollte mich ernsthaft kritisieren. Er sagte: »Ich las ihr erstes Buch; der Rest war langweilig. Sehen Sie, ich bin nicht an Anekdoten interessiert. Ich bin an Beweisen interessiert.« Dr. X. stellte mich zur Rede. Er muß gedacht haben, ich sei so wichtig wie er.
Ich sagte: »Wenn ich das Gesetz der Schwerkraft beweisen sollte, bräuchten Sie dann nicht ein gewisses Training, um mir folgen zu können? Sie bräuchten ›Mitgliedschaft‹ – vielleicht sogar eine Ausrüstung. Sie müßten Physik, die Kapitel 1, 2, 16, vielleicht sogar Kapitel 23 durchnehmen. Sie haben bereits gewaltige Opfer auf sich genommen, um zu lernen: Sie sind in die Schule gegangen, haben stundenlang studiert. Sie haben womöglich sogar aufgehört, die Tage zu zählen.« Ich teilte ihm mit, wenn er Beweise wolle, habe er sich das Einmaleins der Zauberei anzueignen. Aber das werde er nicht tun; das benötige Vorbereitung. Er wurde böse und verließ den Raum.
Zauberei ist ein Fließen, ein Prozeß. Genau wie in der Physik braucht ihr ein bestimmtes Wissen, um dem Fluß der Gleichungen folgen zu können. Dr. X. hätte einige sehr grundlegende Dinge durchnehmen müssen, um in der Lage zu sein und genügend Energie zu haben, das Fließen der Zauberei zu verstehen. Er hätte sein Leben »rekapitulieren« müssen. Also: Die Gelehrten wollen Beweise, aber sie wollen sich nicht vorbereiten. Das ist der Weg, auf dem wir uns befinden. Wir wollen die Arbeit nicht verrichten – wir wollen mit dem Hubschrauber zur Bewußtheit gehievt werden, damit wir uns die Schuhchen nicht schmutzig machen. Und wenn uns das nicht gefällt, was wir sehen, wollen wir mit dem Hubschrauber wieder zurückgebracht werden.

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Die Spuren der Zeit

Es ist strapaziös, mit diesem Mann zusammenzusein. Er ist übermäßig und erbarmungslos präsent – die Intensität seiner Aufmerksamkeit ist erschöpfend. Er scheint meine Anfragen mit allem, was er hat, zu beantworten; es ist eine sanft fließende, hartnäckige Nachdrücklichkeit in seiner Rede, endgültig und elegant, eloquent und elegisch. Castaneda sagt, er fühle, die Zeit sei »vorgerückt« für ihn. Du empfindest seine Schwere als etwas Fremdes, das du nicht identifizieren kannst, ätherisch, doch lässig, verdichtet träge – wie ein Pfropfen oder eine Boje; ein Korken, der schwer auf den Wellen liegt.
Wir spazieren in Boyle Heights. Er bleibt stehen, um eine kriegerische Stellung, genannt »das Pferd«, zu demonstrieren – die Beine leicht gebogen, wie im Sattel. »So standen sie in Buenos Aires – zu meiner Zeit. Alles war sehr stilisiert. Sie nahmen die Posen von Männern an, die längst gestorben waren. Mein Großvater stand auf diese Art da. Der Muskel hier unten«, er zeigt auf die Unterseite seiner Oberschenkel, »dort ist es, wo wir die Nostalgie horten. Selbstmitleid ist eine fürchterliche Angelegenheit.«
»Was meinten Sie mit ›die Zeit ist vorgerückt‹ für Sie?«
»Don Juan wußte eine Metapher. Wir stehen auf der hintersten Plattform des Zuges und beobachten, wie die Schienenstränge der Zeit hinter uns bleiben. ›Dort bin ich, als Fünfjähriger! Dort gehe ich – ‹ Wir brauchen uns nur umzudrehen und die Zeit an uns vorbeiziehen zu lassen. Auf diese Weise gibt es kein a priori. Nichts wird angenommen; nichts wird vorausgesetzt; nichts ist gefällig abgepackt.«
Wir saßen auf der Bank einer Bushaltestelle. Auf der anderen Straßenseite hielt ein Bettler eine Tafel für die Kraftfahrer hoch. Castaneda starrte auf den Horizont hinter ihm. »Ich habe keinen Hang zum Morgen – und keinen zum Gestern. Die Fakultät für Anthropologie existiert für mich nicht mehr. Don Juan sagte, der erste Teil seines Lebens sei eine Verschwendung gewesen – er sei in Gefangenschaft gewesen. Der zweite Teil seines Lebens sei in der Zukunft absorbiert worden; der dritte in der Vergangenheit, Nostalgie. Nur der letzte Teil seines Lebens sei jetzt gewesen. Dort ist, wo ich mich befinde.«
Ich beschloß, ihn etwas Persönliches zu fragen und war darauf vorbereitet, eine Abfuhr erteilt zu bekommen. Auf sie machen biographische Nachweise zweifellos den gleichen Eindruck wie ein Sprung in der Schüssel – sie lassen jeden mit blutigen Fingern zurück.
»Als Sie ein Junge waren, wer war da der wichtigste Mann in Ihrem Leben?«
»Mein Großvater – er erzog mich.« Seine Augen funkelten. »Er hatte ein Zuchtschwein namens Rudy. Es machte einen Haufen Geld. Rudy hatte ein kleines, blondes Gesicht – fabelhaft. Sie pflegten ihm einen Hut aufzusetzen und eine Weste anzuziehen. Mein Großvater baute einen Tunnel vom Schweinestall zum Schauraum. Da kam Rudy durch mit seinem winzigen Gesicht und zog seinen ausladenden Körper hinter sich her. Rudy und sein Ringelschwänzchen Pincho; wir beobachteten, wie das Schwein Geschmacklosigkeiten beging.«
»Wie war er – Ihr Großvater?«
»Ich verehrte ihn. Er war derjenige, der die Tagesordnung festsetzte; ich trug sozusagen sein Banner. Er war mein Schicksal, aber nicht mein Verderben. Mein Großvater war ein liebevoller Mann. Er schulte mich schon früh in der Verführung. Als ich zwölf war, ging ich wie er, ich sprach wie er – mit zugeschnürtem Kehlkopf. Er war derjenige, der mich lehrte zu ›fensterln‹. Er sagte, die Frauen würden davonlaufen, wenn ich mich ihnen frontal näherte – ich sei zu geradeheraus. Er ließ mich auf die kleinen Mädchen zugehen und sagen: ›Du bist so schön.‹ Dann hatte ich mich umzudrehen und wegzugehen. ›Du bist das schönste Mädchen, das ich je gesehen habe!‹ – Schnell weg. Nach drei oder vier Mal würden sie dann sagen: ›He! Wie heißt du?‹ Auf diese Weise ›fensterlte‹ ich.«
Er stand auf und ging los. Der Bettler wandte sich dem buschigen Niemandsland zu, das die Autostraße umgab. Als wir zu seinem Wagen kamen, öffnete Castaneda die Tür und hielt für einen Moment inne.
»Ein Zauberer stellte mir vor langer Zeit eine Frage: Welches Gesicht hat das Rumpelstilzchen für dich? Ich war verblüfft. Dieses Ding, dachte ich, sei schattenhaft, habe ein finstres, menschliches Gesicht – das Rumpelstilzchen hat oft das Gesicht von irgend etwas, von dem du glaubst, du liebtest es. Für mich war es mein Großvater. Mein Großvater, den ich anbetete.« Ich stieg ein, und er startete den Wagen. Der letzte Zipfel vom Bettler verschwand im schmutzigen Gestrüpp.
»Ich war mein Großvater. Gefährlich, gewinnsüchtig, stillschweigend duldend. Gemein, rachsüchtig, voller Zweifel – und unbeweglich. Don Juan wußte das.«

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Wieder einmal verliebt sein

Mit fünfundsiebzig halten wir noch immer nach »Liebe« und »Kameradschaft« Ausschau. Mein Großvater wachte gewöhnlich mitten in der Nacht auf und schrie: »Glaubst du, daß sie mich liebt?« Seine letzten Worte lauteten: »Ich komme, Baby, ich komme!« Er hatte einen großen Orgasmus und verblich. Jahrelang dachte ich, das sei ein Ding – großartig. Dann sagte Don Juan: »Dein Großvater starb wie ein Schwein. Sein Leben und Sterben hatten nichts an Bedeutung.«
Don Juan sagte, der Tod könne nicht beruhigend wirken – nur der Triumph könne das. Ich fragte ihn, was er mit Triumph meine, und er sagte Freiheit: Wenn du durch den Schleier hervortrittst und deine Lebenskraft mitnimmst. »Aber es gibt noch so viel, das ich machen möchte!« Er sagte: »Du meinst, es gibt noch so viele Frauen, mit denen du es treiben möchtest.« Er hatte recht. So primitiv sind wir.
Der Affe wird das Unbekannte erwägen, aber bevor er springt, wird er wissen wollen: Was schaut für mich dabei heraus? Wir sind Geschäftsleute, Investoren, daran gewöhnt, unsere Verluste niedrig zu halten. – Es ist eine Welt der Marktleute. Wenn wir eine »Investition« tätigen, wollen wir Garantien. Wir verlieben uns, aber nur, wenn wir auch geliebt werden. Wenn wir nicht mehr lieben, dann schneiden wir den Kopf ab und ersetzen ihn durch einen anderen. Unsere »Liebe« ist bloß Hysterie. Wir sind keine herzlichen, sondern herzlose Wesen.
Ich dachte, ich wisse, wie zu lieben sei. Don Juan sagte: »Woher solltest du das wissen? Sie haben dich nie gelehrt zu lieben. Sie lehrten dich zu verführen, zu beneiden, zu hassen. Du liebst nicht einmal dich selbst... Sonst hättest du deinen Körper nicht durch solche Barbareien gebracht. Du hast nicht die Ausdauer, wie ein Zauberer zu lieben. Könntest du für immer lieben, bis nach dem Tod? Ohne die geringste Unterstützung – ohne ein Zurück? Könntest du ohne eine Investition lieben, nur für das Schwarze unter dem Nagel? Du wirst nie wissen, wie es ist, so unbeugsam zu lieben. Willst du wirklich sterben, ohne es zu wissen?«
Nein – das wollte ich nicht. Bevor ich sterbe, muß ich wissen, wie es ist, so zu lieben. Damit hatte er mich ertappt. Als ich meine Augen öffnete, rollte ich bereits den Hügel hinab. Und ich rolle noch immer.

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Rekapituliere dein Leben!

Ich hatte zuviel Coke in mir und war paranoid.
Castaneda sagte, Zucker sei als Killer genau so gefährlich wie der gesunde Menschenverstand. »Wir sind keine ›psychologischen‹ Kreaturen. Unsere Neurosen sind Nebenerscheinungen von dem, was wir in unsere Münder stecken.« Ich war sicher, er sah, wie mein »Energiekörper« Cola ausstrahlte. Ich fühlte mich absurd, geschlagen – ich entschied, die Nacht mit Profiterolen durchzubringen. Das ist der schmackhafte schokoladenbraune Schandfleck des niedrigen Affen.
»Ich hatte eine große Liebesbeziehung zu Coke. Mein Großvater war von einer Pseudogeilheit besessen. ›Ich muß diese Muschi kriegen! Ich brauche sie! Ich brauche sie jetzt!‹ Mein Großvater glaubte, er habe das beste Ding der Stadt. Höchst extravagant. Ich hatte das gleiche an mir – alles fuhr mir sofort in die Hoden, aber es war nicht echt. Don Juan teilte mir mit: ›Du wirst von Zucker angetrieben. Du bist zu dünn, um diese Form der sexuellen Energie zu haben.‹ Zu fett, um dieses ›Wunderding‹ zu haben.«
Im Universal City Walk raucht jeder. Es ist eigenartig, mit Carlos Castaneda in dieser architektonischen Annäherung der Mittelklasse Los Angeles’ zu sitzen – dieser »Agglutination der Details«, dieser »Lawine der flüchtigen Blicke«, welche diese virtuelle Stadt ist. Es gibt keine Schwarzen und nichts, das erhöhter Bewußtheit gleicht; wir sind vom menschlichen Band zum Band der amerikanischen Mittelklasse geglitten. Wir erleben eine verdrehte, einschmeichelnde Version einer vertrauten Szene aus seinen Büchern, wo er sich selbst abrupt in einem Trugbild der alltäglichen Welt wiederfindet.
»Wenn Dr. X. ›sein Leben rekapituliert‹ hätte, sagten Sie, hätte er womöglich einiges an Energie wiedererlangt. Was meinten Sie damit?«
»Die Rekapitulation ist das wichtigste, das wir zu tun haben. Um damit zu beginnen, fertigen Sie eine Liste von allen, die Sie kennen, an. Von allen, die Sie jemals gesprochen oder mit denen Sie sich beschäftigt haben.«
»Von allen?«
»Ja. Sie haken auf der Liste chronologisch jede rekonstruierte Szene eines Gedankenaustausches ab.«
»Aber das könnte Jahre dauern.«
»Freilich. Eine gründliche Rekapitulation nimmt eine lange Zeit in Anspruch. Und dann fangen Sie nochmal von vorne an. Wir sind mit dem Rekapitulieren nie fertig – auf diese Art gibt es keine Überbleibsel. Sehen Sie, es gibt keine ›Erholung‹. Erholung ist ein Begriff der Mittelklasse – der Gedanke, wenn du hart genug arbeitest, hast du dir einen Urlaub verdient; Zeit, vierradgetrieben mit dem Range Rover zum Fischen nach Montana zu fahren. Das ist Scheiße.«
»Du rekonstruierst die Szene...«
»Fangen Sie mit sexuellen Erinnerungen an. Sie sehen das Laken, die Möbel, den Dialog. Dann gehen Sie zu der Person, zum Gefühl über. Was fühlten Sie damals? Beobachten Sie! Atmen Sie die Energie ein, die Sie bei der Begegnung aushauchten; geben Sie zurück, was nicht Ihnen gehört.«
»Das klingt fast wie eine Psychoanalyse.«
»Sie analysieren nicht, Sie beobachten. Die filigranen Dinge, die Details – Sie klinken sich selbst in die Absicht der Zauberer ein. Es ist ein Manöver, ein magischer Akt, der hunderte Jahre alt ist; der Schlüssel zum Erneuern der Energie, die Sie für andere Dinge befreien wird.«
»Du bewegst deinen Kopf und atmest –«
»Gehen Sie die Liste hinunter, bis Sie bei Mami und Papi ankommen. Denn dann werden Sie schockiert sein; Sie werden Wiederholungsmuster erkennen, von denen Ihnen schlecht wird. Wer finanziert Ihre Torheiten? Wer setzt die Tagesordnung fest? Die Rekapitulation wird Ihnen einen Moment der Stille verschaffen – sie wird Ihnen gestatten, die Voraussetzungen aus dem Weg zu räumen und für etwas anderes Platz zu schaffen. Aus der Rekapitulation kommst du mit endlosen Geschichten über das Selbst hervor, aber du blutest nicht länger.«

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Was Sie schon immer über Energie wissen wollten, ... aber nicht zu fragen wagten

Als ich zu Don Juan kam, hatte ich mich bereits zu Tode gevögelt; ich hatte mich auf diese Weise völlig erschöpft. Ich bin nicht mehr auf der Welt, nicht so; Zauberer verwenden diese Art der Energie, um abzuheben oder um sich zu verwandeln. Das Vögeln ist unser wichtigster Akt, energetisch. Seht, wir haben unsere besten Generäle fein verteilt, aber versucht nicht, sie zurückzurufen; wir verlieren durch Nichterscheinen. Deswegen ist es so wichtig, euer Leben zu rekapitulieren.
Das Rekapitulieren trennt unsere Verpflichtung zur gesellschaftlichen Ordnung von unserer Lebenskraft. Die zwei sind nicht unentwirrbar. Als ich in der Lage war, das soziale Wesen von meiner angeborenen Energie zu substrahieren, konnte ich klar sehen: Ich war gar nicht so »sexy«.
Manchmal spreche ich zu Psychiatergruppen. Sie wollen etwas über den Orgasmus wissen. Wenn ihr da draußen in der Unermeßlichkeit herumfliegt, gebt ihr einen Kehricht auf den »Großen O.«. Die meisten von uns sind nicht hingabefähig; die ganze Empfindsamkeit besteht aus mentalem Onanieren. Wir sind »gelangweilte Fickmaschinen« – keine Energie im Augenblick der Empfängnis. Entweder sind wir Erstgeborene, und die Eltern wußten nicht, wie man es macht, oder Spätgeborene, und sie waren nicht mehr bei der Sache. Wir wurden jedenfalls herbeigefickt. Wir sind bloß biologisches Fleisch mit schlechten Angewohnheiten und ohne Energie. Wir sind fade Kreaturen, aber statt etwas zu tun, sagen wir: »Mir ist so langweilig.«
Das Vögeln ist sehr viel schädlicher für Frauen – Männer sind Drohnen. Das Universum ist weiblich. Frauen haben den totalen Zugang, sie sind bereits dort. Es ist nur so, daß sie derart auf dumm sozialisiert sind. Frauen sind hervorragende Fliegerinnen; sie haben ein zweites Gehirn, ein Organ, das sie für unvorstellbare Flüge verwenden können. Sie verwenden ihre Gebärmutter zum Träumen.
Sollen wir das Vögeln bleibenlassen? Die Männer fragen das Florinda. Sie sagt: »Macht nur so weiter! Steckt eure Piephähne doch hinein, wo ihr wollt!« Oh, sie ist eine schreckliche Hexe. Mit den Frauen verfährt sie noch ärger – diese Wochenendgöttinnen, die sich ihre Lippen und Nippel nachmalen und zum Zapfenstreich blasen. Sie sagt: »Ja, hier seid ihr Göttinnen. Aber was macht ihr, wenn ihr nach Hause kommt? Ihr werdet durchgebumst wie Sklavinnen! Die Männer hinterlassen leuchtende Würmer in eurer Muschi!« Eine wahrhaft fürchterliche Hexe!

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Der Kojotenpfad

Florinda Donner-Grau nimmt keinen gefangen. Sie ist klein von Wuchs, charmant und aggressiv – wie ein nervöser Jockey.
Als Donner-Grau auf Don Juan und seinen Kreis stieß, dachte sie, es mit arbeitslosen Zirkusarbeitern, die mit gestohlenen Waren Händel trieben, zu tun zu haben. Wie sonst sollten der Baccaratkristall, die gediegene Kleidung und die antiken Juwelen erklärt werden? Sie fühlte sich abenteuerlich mit ihnen – sie war von Natur aus keck, kühn und quicklebendig. Für ein südamerikanisches Mädchen war ihr Leben geradezu hemmungslos.
»Ich dachte, ich sei das wundervollste Wesen, das es je gegeben habe – so selbstbewußt, so außergewöhnlich. Ich fuhr schnelle Autos und kleidete mich wie ein Mann. Dann sagte mir dieser alte Indianer, das einzig Außergewöhnliche an mir seien meine blonden Haare und blauen Augen in einem Land, wo solche Dinge verehrt würden. Ich wollte ihn ohrfeigen – ich glaube, ich tat es tatsächlich. Aber er hatte recht, wie Sie wissen. Dieses Zelebrieren des Selbst ist völlig irre. Die Zauberer töten das Selbst. Sie müssen in diesem Sinne sterben, um leben zu können – nicht leben, um sterben zu können.«
Don Juan ermutigte seine Schüler, eine »Romanze mit dem Wissen« zu beginnen. Er wollte ihren Geist ausreichend trainiert wissen, um die Zauberei als ein authentisches philosophisches System zu betrachten, köstlich abgewandelt als Unterscheidungsmerkmal zur Welt der Zauberer; Feldforschung, die zur Meisterschaft führt. Der Weg zur magischen Stunde war auf diese Weise lustig.
Sie erinnerte sich an das erste Mal, als Castaneda sie zu Don Juan mitnahm. »Wir fuhren entlang dieser langen, sich schlängelnden Straße, Sie wissen schon, der ›Kojotenpfad‹. Ich dachte, er nähme diese komische Route, damit wir nicht verfolgt würden, aber es war etwas anderes. Man mußte genug Energie haben, um diesen alten Indianer zu finden. Nach ich weiß nicht mehr wie langer Zeit war da jemand an der Straße, der uns Winkzeichen gab. Ich sagte zu Carlos: ›He, willst du nicht anhalten?‹ Er sagte: ›Ist nicht nötig.‹ Sehen Sie, wir hatten den Nebel durchschritten.«
Wir rasten weiter und ließen Pepperdine hinter uns. Jemand verkaufte Kristalle an der Straße. Ich wunderte mich, daß das Haus von Shirley MacLaine abgebrannt war; ich wunderte mich, daß es Dick Van Dyke wieder aufgebaut hatte. Vermutlich war Van Dyke mit Sean Penns in MacLaines gezogen.
»Was geschieht mit den Leuten, die sich für Ihre Arbeit interessieren – denjenigen, die Ihre Bücher lesen und Briefe schreiben? Helfen Sie denen?«
»Die Leute sind intellektuell neugierig, sie fühlen sich ›gefrotzelt‹ oder was auch immer. Sie bleiben, bis es zu schwierig wird. Die Rekapitulation ist sehr unangenehm; sie wollen unmittelbare Ergebnisse, sofortige Belohnung. Für viele der Angehörigen des New Age ist es das Aufrißspiel. Sie inspizieren den Raum – verstohlene, ausgedehnte Blickkontakte mit potentiellen Partnern. Oder es ist nur das Einkaufen in der Montana Avenue. Wenn die Dinge für das, was sie sich selbst zugestehen können, zu teuer werden, dann wollen sie diese Dinge nicht mehr kaufen. Sehen Sie, wir wollen kleinsten Aufwand für größtmöglichen Gegenwert. Keiner ist eigentlich daran interessiert, die Arbeit zu verrichten.«
»Aber sie wären daran interessiert, wenn es so etwas wie einen Beweis gäbe für das, was Sie sagen –«
»Carlos weiß eine großartige Geschichte. Es war einmal eine Frau, die er seit Jahren kannte. Sie rief in fürchterlicher Verfassung aus Europa an. Er sagte ihr, sie solle nach Mexiko kommen, Sie wissen schon: ›Spring in meine Welt‹. Sie zögerte. Dann sagte sie: ›Ich werde kommen – solange ich weiß, daß meine Huarachos auf der anderen Seite des Flusses warten.‹ Sie wollte Garantien, daß sie sicher auf ihren Füßen landen wird. Freilich gibt es keine Garantien. Wir sind alle so: Wir wollen alle springen, solange wir wissen, daß unsere Huarachos auf der anderen Seite auf uns warten.«
»Was ist, wenn man springt – so gut man kann –, und es stellt sich heraus, daß es nur ein Fiebertraum war?«
»Na dann – gutes Fieber!«

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Carlos Castanedas private Seiten

»Das ist kein Buch für die Leute.«
Das sagte jemand, der ihn seit Jahren kannte, über Die Kunst des Träumens. In der Tat, es ist die Krönung des Werkes Castanedas, eine Gebrauchsanleitung für ein unentdecktes Land – die Schilderung antiker Techniken, die von Zauberern angewendet werden, um in die zweite Aufmerksamkeit zu gelangen. Wie seine anderen Bücher ist es erleuchtend und zermürbend, dennoch ist da ein Gedanke, der einen dabei nicht losläßt. Es riecht so, als ob es woanders gemacht worden wäre. Ich war neugierig zu erfahren, wie alles begann.
»Ich machte mit Don Juan gewöhnlich Notizen – Tausende von Notizen. Schließlich sagte er: ›Warum schreibst du nicht ein Buch?‹ Ich sagte ihm, daß das unmöglich sei. ›Ich bin kein Schriftsteller.‹ – ›Aber irgendein Scheiß-Buch könntest du doch schreiben, nicht wahr?‹ Ich dachte bei mir: Ja! Ich könnte ein Scheiß-Buch schreiben. Don Juan stellte eine Herausforderung auf. ›Kannst du dieses Buch im Bewußtsein schreiben, daß es einen gewissen Bekanntheitsgrad einbringt? Kannst du makellos bleiben? Ob sie dich lieben oder hassen ist bedeutungslos. Kannst du dieses Buch schreiben, ohne etwas darauf zu geben, was auf dich zukommt?‹ Ich stimmte zu: ›Ja. Ich werde es tun.‹
Und schreckliche Dinge kamen auf mich zu. Aber der Schlüpfer paßte nicht.«
Ich sagte ihm, ich sei mir nicht sicher, ob ich seine letzte Bemerkung verstanden hätte, und er lachte.
»Das ist ein alter Witz. Der Wagen einer Frau hat eine Panne, und ein Mann repariert ihn. Sie hat kein Geld und bietet ihm ihre Ohrringe an. Er sagt ihr, seine Frau würde ihm nicht glauben. Sie bietet ihm ihre Uhr an, aber er sagt, Banditen würden sie stehlen. Schließlich zieht sie ihren Schlüpfer aus, um ihn zu entschädigen. ›Nein danke‹, sagt er. ›Er hat nicht meine Größe.‹«

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Die Kriterien des Todes

Ich war nie alleine, bis ich Don Juan traf. Er sagte: »Werde deine Freunde los. Sie werden dir niemals erlauben, unabhängig zu handeln – sie kennen dich zu gut. Du wirst niemals in der Lage sein, mit etwas Erschütterndem vom Tatort zurückzukehren.« Don Juan befahl mir, ein Zimmer zu mieten, je verkommener, desto besser. Etwas mit grünem Fußboden und grünen Vorhängen, die vor Urin und Zigaretten stehen. »Bleibe dort«, sagte er. »Sei alleine, bis du gestorben bist.« Ich teilte ihm mit, daß ich das nicht könne. Ich wollte meine Freunde nicht verlassen. Er sagte: »Gut, ich kann mit dir nie wieder sprechen.« Er winkte mir auf Wiedersehen und lächelte breit. Junge, war ich erleichtert. Dieser komische alte Mann – dieser Indianer – hatte mich hinausgeworfen. Das Ganze hatte sich in Wohlgefallen aufgelöst. Je näher ich nach L.A. kam, desto verzweifelter wurde ich. Ich realisierte, wohin ich da nach Hause kam – zu meinen »Freunden«. Und wofür? Um sinnlose Dialoge mit denen zu führen, die mich so gut kennen. Um auf der Couch neben dem Telephon zu sitzen und zu warten, bis mich jemand zu einer Party einlädt. Endlose Wiederholungen. Ich zog in das grüne Zimmer und rief Don Juan an: »He, nicht daß ich es vorhätte – aber sage mir, welches ist das Kriterium, um sicher zu gehen, ob man gestorben ist?« – »Wenn es dich nicht mehr kümmert, ob du in Gesellschaft bist oder ob du alleine bist. Das ist das Kriterium, an dem du erkennst, ob du gestorben bist.«
Es dauerte drei Monate, um zu sterben. Ich kroch die Wände hoch – verzweifelt nach einem Freund, der mal vorbeischaute. Aber ich blieb. Schließlich war ich meine Dünkel los; ihr werdet nicht durch das Alleinsein wahnsinnig. Ich werdet wahnsinnig durch die Art, wie ihr lebt, das ist sicher. Darauf könnt ihr euch verlassen.

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Bewußtheit zusammenfügen

Wir fuhren mit seinem Kombi in Richtung des billigen Apartmenthauses, in das Castaneda gezogen war, um zu sterben.
»Wir könnten zu Ihrem alten Zimmer gehen«, sagte ich, »und an die Tür klopfen. Einfach so.« Er sagte, das würde Dinge aufgreifen, die zu lange zurücklägen.
»›Was möchtest du außer deinem Leben?‹ Das pflegte mich Don Juan zu fragen. Meine klassische Antwort: ›Ehrlich gesagt, Don Juan, ich weiß es nicht.‹ Das war meine Pose als der ›Denker‹ – der Intellektuelle. Don Juan sagte: ›Diese Antwort würde deiner Mutter genügen, mir aber nicht.‹ Sehen Sie, ich konnte nicht denken, – ich war bankrott. Und er war ein Indianer. Carajo, coño! Gott, du weißt nicht, was das heißt! Ich war höflich, aber ich schaute auf ihn herab. Eines Tages fragte er, ob wir gleich seien. Tränen quollen mir aus den Augen, als ich meine Arme um ihn schlang: ›Na freilich sind wir gleich, Don Juan! Wie kannst du so etwas sagen!‹ Große Umarmung; ich heulte tatsächlich. ›Meinst du das wirklich so?‹ sagte er. ›Ja, bei Gott!‹ Als ich aufhörte, ihn zu umarmen, sagte er: ›Nein, wir sind nicht gleich. Ich bin ein makelloser Krieger – und du bist ein Arschloch. Ich könnte jederzeit mein ganzes Leben zusammenfassen. Du kannst nicht einmal denken.‹«
Wir fuhren heran und parkten unter ein paar Bäumen. Castaneda starrte mit Verwunderung und Enthusiasmus auf das schäbige Gebäude, schockiert, daß es noch immer da war. Er sagte, es hätte vor langer Zeit weggeschoben werden sollen – sein beharrliches Bestehen auf dieser Welt sei etwas unheimlich Magisches. Kinder spielten mit einem riesigen Plastikfeuerwehrauto. Eine heimatlose Frau strich vorbei wie eine Nachtwandlerin.
Er machte keine Anstalten auszusteigen. Er begann darüber zu reden, was das »Sterben in dem grünen Zimmer« bedeutet hatte. Zu der Zeit, als er diesen Ort verlassen hatte, war Castaneda endlich in der Lage, dem fernen Besagen des alten Indianers unvoreingenommen zu lauschen.
Don Juan erklärte ihm: Wenn die Zauberer Energie sehen, dann präsentiert sich die menschliche Form selbst als leuchtendes Ei. Hinter dem Ei – ungefähr eine Armeslänge von den Schultern entfernt – ist der »Montagepunkt«, wo die weißglühenden Fasern der Bewußtheit zusammenlaufen und befestigt sind. Die Art und Weise, wie wir die Welt wahrnehmen, ist durch die Position dieses Punktes festgelegt. Der Montagepunkt der Menschheit ist am gleichen Punkt eines jeden Eis fixiert; diese Gleichförmigkeit ist verantwortlich für unsere gemeinsamen Ansichten der alltäglichen Welt. (Die Zauberer nennen diese Arena der Bewußtheit »die erste Aufmerksamkeit«.) Wir nehmen Veränderungen durch das Versetzen des Punktes durch Beschädigung, Schock, Drogen – oder im Schlaf, wenn wir träumen, wahr. »Die Kunst des Träumens« ist, den Montagepunkt zu einer neuen Stelle zu versetzen, dort zu befestigen und damit die Wahrnehmung abwechselnder, allumfassender Welten hervorzurufen (»die zweite Aufmerksamkeit«). Kleinere »Verschiebungen« des Punktes innerhalb des Eis befinden sich noch im menschlichen Band und sind für die Halluzinationen des Deliriums – oder für die Welt, die während der Träume angetroffen wird, verantwortlich. Größere »Bewegungen« des Montagepunktes, dramatischere, ziehen den »Energiekörper« aus dem menschlichen Band zu nicht-menschlichen Bereichen. Dort ist, wohin Don Juan und seine Gruppe 1973 reisten, als sie »von innen brannten«, wo sie den undenkbaren Vorsatz seiner Vorfahren vollzogen: Den evolutionären Flug.
Castaneda erfuhr, daß ganze Zivilisationen – ein Konglomerat aus Träumerinnen und Träumern – auf die gleiche Weise verschwunden waren.
Er erzählte mir von einem Zauberer aus der Riege seiner Vorgänger, der an Tuberkulose litt – und in der Lage war, den Montagepunkt vom Tode wegzuverlagern. Dieser Zauberer hatte makellos zu bleiben; seine Krankheit hing über ihm wie ein Damoklesschwert. Er konnte sich kein Ego leisten – er wußte präzise, wo sein Tod auf der Lauer lag und auf ihn wartete.
Castaneda wandte sich mir lächelnd zu. »He...« Er hatte einen seltsam eindringlichen Blick, und ich war bereit. Drei Wochen lang war ich von seinen Büchern und deren ansteckender Darstellung von Möglichkeiten umspült worden. Vielleicht war das der Moment, an dem ich meinen Pakt mit Mescalito eingehen sollte. Oder hatten wir bereits ohne mein Wissen »den Nebel durchschritten«?
»He«, sagte er wieder mit einem treuherzigen Augenaufschlag. »Möchten Sie einen Hamburger?«

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Das Schauspiel boykottieren

»Daß der Montagepunkt der ganzen Menschheit an einer Position fixiert ist, ist ein Frevel.«
Ich saß mit Taisha Abelar auf einer Bank vor dem Kunstmuseum von Wilshire. Sie ging nicht mit der Vorstellung, die ich von ihr gehabt hatte, konform. Castaneda hatte gesagt, als ein Teil von ihrem Training habe sie verschiedene Persönlichkeiten angenommen – eine davon, die »Verrückte von Oaxaca«, ein wollüstiges, dreckverschmiertes Bettelweib – zu ihrer Zeit als widerspenstige Schauspielerin des sensationellen Zaubertheaters.
»Ich war nahe daran, mein Buch The Great Crossing zu nennen, aber ich dachte, das sei zu östlich.«
»Die buddhistische Anschauung ist ganz ähnlich.«
»Es gibt viele Parallelen. Unsere Gruppe war vor Jahren übergetreten, aber erst neulich tauschten wir Meinungen aus – weil unser Abgang nahe bevorsteht. Fünfundsiebzig Prozent unserer Energie sind dort, fünfundzwanzig Prozent hier. Deshalb müssen wir gehen.«
»Ist es dort, wo Carol Tiggs war? Dieser fünfundsiebzig-Prozent-Ort?«
»Sie meinen die Dämmerzone?«
Sie hielt einen tödlichen Augenblick inne, dann lachte sie.
»Wir spürten Carol Tiggs auf unseren Körpern, als sie weg war. Sie hatte eine gewaltige Masse. Sie war wie ein Leuchtturm, ein Leuchtsignal. Sie gab uns Hoffnung – den Anreiz, weiterzumachen. Weil wir wußten, daß sie dort war. Immer, wenn ich mich gehen lassen wollte, spürte ich sie mir auf die Schulter klopfen. Wir waren durch und durch von ihr besessen.«
»Warum ist es für den ›Affen‹ so schwer, seine Reise anzutreten?«
»Wir nehmen minimal wahr; je mehr Verwicklungen wir in dieser Welt haben, desto härter ist es, auf Wiedersehen zu sagen. Und wir alle haben sie – wir alle wollen Ruhm, wir wollen geliebt werden, gefallen. Donnerwetter, manche von uns haben Kinder. Warum sollte jemand gehen wollen? Wir tragen einen Deckmantel, der uns verhüllt... Wir haben unsere schönen Augenblicke, die uns für den Rest unseres Lebens bleiben. Ich kenne eine, die Miß Alabama war. Reicht das, um sie von der Freiheit fernzuhalten? Ja. ›Miß Alabama‹ reicht, um sie zu unterdrücken.«
Es war Zeit, eine der großen Fragen (es gab deren reichlich) zu stellen: Wenn sie vom »Übertritt« sprachen, hieß das, mit ihren physischen Körpern? Sie erwiderte, die Wandlung des Selbst heiße nicht des freud’schen Ego, sondern des tatsächlichen, konkreten Selbst – ja, des physischen Körpers. »Als Don Juan und seine Gruppe gingen«, sagte sie, »gingen sie mit der ganzen Vollständigkeit ihrer Wesen. Sie gingen und hatten ihre Schuhe dabei an.«
Sie sagte, das Träumen sei der einzige neue und authentische Bereich der philosophischen Abhandlung – Merleau-Ponty habe sich geirrt, als er gesagt habe, die Menschheit sei zur vorschnellen Aburteilung einer a priori Welt verdammt. »Es gibt einen Ort ohne a priori – die zweite Aufmerksamkeit. Don Juan sagte immer, Philosophen seien ›unvollständige Zauberer‹. Was ihnen fehle, sei die Energie, über ihre Ideale hinauszuspringen.
Wir alle haben am Gepäck zu schleppen, das wir in Richtung Freiheit tragen: Werfen Sie es ab! Wir müssen auch das Gepäck der Zauberei abwerfen.«
»Das Gepäck der Zauberei?«
»Wir zaubern nicht; wir tun nichts. Alles, was wir tun, ist, den Montagepunkt zu bewegen. Am Ende wird Sie ›ein Zauberer zu sein‹ so sicher erwischen wie Miß Alabama.«
Eine lumpige, zahnlose Frau schlurfte mit Postkarten zum Verkauf an uns vorbei – die Verrückte der Wundermeile. Ich zog eine heraus und gab ihr einen Dollar. Ich zeigte sie Abelar; es war ein Bild von Jesus, lachend.
»Ein seltener Moment«, sagte sie.

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Die Gäste erscheinen

Was gibt es in dieser Welt noch zu erforschen?
Es ist alles a priori – getan und erschöpft. Wir sind für die Senilität bereits vorgemerkt; es wartet alles auf uns wie Magina, die Flußkrankheit. Als ich ein Knabe war, hörte ich davon. Ein Leiden aus Erinnerungen und Andenken. Es befällt Leute, die an Flußufern wohnen. Ihr werdet von einer Sehnsucht befallen, die euch dazu antreibt, euch weiter und weiter zu bewegen – euch sinnlos herumzutreiben, endlos. Der Strom fließt; die Leute sagten: »Der Fluß lebt.« Wenn er seinen Lauf umdreht, wird er sich nie mehr daran erinnern, daß er einmal von Osten nach Westen floß. Der Fluß vergißt sich selbst.
Es war einmal eine Frau, die ich früher immer im Pflegeheim besuchte. Sie war fünfzehn Jahre dort. Fünfzehn Jahre lang bereitete sie sich auf eine Party vor, die sie im Hotel del Coronado schmiß. Dies war ihre Täuschung; sie richtete sich jeden Tag her, aber die Gäste erschienen nie. Schließlich starb sie. Wer weiß – vielleicht war das der Tag, an dem sie endlich erschienen.

——‹ ›——‹ o ›——‹ ›——

Das Verzeichnis der Absicht

»Wie soll ich Ihr Aussehen beschreiben?«
Seine Stimme wurde lächerlich salbungsvoll. Er war Fernando Rey, der bourgeoise Narziß – mit einem leichten Hauch von Laurence Harvey.
»Sie mögen schreiben, ich ähnele Lee Marvin.«
Es dämmerte im Roxbury Park. Es war das stete und ferne Plock! eines Tennisballes zu hören, der auf ein gegenständliches Hindernis prallte.
»Ich las einmal im Esquire einen Artikel über kalifornische Hexenkunst. Der erste Satz lautete: ›Lee Marvin in Panik.‹ Wann immer etwas nicht ganz stimmt, können Sie mich hören: Lee Marvin in Panik.«
Wir kamen überein, ich würde Castaneda als an den Rollstuhl gefesselt – also in einem bonbon-rosaroten Cadillac-Cabrio aus den Fünfzigern – beschreiben, mit schön »geschnittenen« Armen und ebensolchem Torso. Ich würde sagen, er trug den Duft von Bijan und langes Haar, das sein Antlitz so sanft wie das des jungen Foucaults umwellte.
Er fing an zu lachen. »Ich kannte diese Frau einmal, sie hält jetzt Seminare über Castaneda ab. Wenn sie Depressionen hatte, fand sie einen Trick – einen Weg, sie loszuwerden. Sie sagte zu sich selbst: ›Carlos Castaneda schaut aus wie ein mexikanischer Kellner!‹ Das war alles, was sie brauchte, um wieder hochzukommen. Carlos Castaneda schaut aus wie ein mexikanischer Kellner!... gleich wieder frisch. Faszinierend! Wie traurig. Aber auf sie wirkte es wie Prozac!«
Ich hatte wieder die Bücher durchgeblättert und wollte ihn zur »Absicht« befragen. Es war einer der abstraktesten und vorherrschendsten Begriffe ihrer Welt. Sie sprachen vom Beabsichtigen der Freiheit, vom Beabsichtigen des Energiekörpers – sie sprachen sogar vom Beabsichtigen der Absicht.
»Ich verstehe Absicht nicht.«
»Sie verstehen gar nichts.« Ich war bestürzt. »Niemand von uns tut das! Wir verstehen die Welt nicht, wir behandeln sie nur – aber wir behandeln sie wundervoll. Wenn Sie also sagen: ›Ich verstehe nicht‹, dann ist das nur ein Ausspruch. Sie haben noch nie etwas verstanden, damit fängt es sich erst einmal an.«
Ich wollte streiten. Selbst Zauberei hat eine »praktische Erklärung«. Warum konnte er nicht eine für »Absicht« geben?
»Ich kann Ihnen nicht sagen, was ›Absicht‹ ist. Ich weiß es selbst nicht. Legen Sie dafür einfach ein neues Verzeichnis an. Wir sind Schätzmeister; wie sehr wir es mögen, Verzeichnisse zu führen! Einmal fragte mich Don Juan: ›Was ist eine Universität?‹ Ich teilte ihm mit, es sei eine Schule für höhere Studien. Er sagte: ›A


AntwortZitat
(@Anonymus)
Mitglied
Beigetreten: vor 17 Jahren
Beiträge: 117
22/05/2012 4:11 pm  

Carlos Castaneda Speaks, An interview by Keith Thompson

Magazine: New Age Journal
Issue: March/April 1994
Title: Carlos Castaneda Speaks, An interview by Keith Thompson
Author: Keith Thompson

Literary agents are paid to hype their clients, but when the
agent for Carlos Castaneda claimed that he was offering me "the
interview of a lifetime," it was hard to disagree. After all,
Castaneda's nine best-selling books describing his
extraordinary apprenticeship to Yaqui Indian sorcerer don Juan
Matus had inspired countless members of my generation to
explore mysticism, psychedelic drugs, and new levels of
consciousness. Yet even as his reputation grew, the author had
remained a recluse, shrouding himself in mystery and intrigue.
Aside from a few interviews given seemingly at random over
the years, Castaneda never ventured into the public spotlight.
Few people even know what he looks like. For this interview,
his agent told me, there could be no cameras and no tape
recorders. The conversation would have to be recorded by a
stenographer, lest copies of Castaneda's taped voice fall into the
wrong hands.

The interview -- perhaps timed to coincide with the publication
of Castaneda's latest and most esoteric book, The Art of
Dreaming -- took place in the conference room of a modest
office in Los Angeles, after weeks of back-and-forth
negotiations with Castaneda's agent. The arrangements were
complicated, the agent said, by the fact that he had no way of
contacting his client and could only confirm a meeting after
speaking with him "whenever he decides to call . . . I never
know in advance when that may be."

Upon my arrival at noon, an energetic, enthusiastic, broad-
smiled man walked across the room, extended his hand, and
greeted me unassumingly: "Hello, I am Carlos Castaneda.
Welcome. We can begin our conversation when you are ready.
Would you like coffee, or perhaps a soda? Please make yourself
comfortable."

I had heard that Castaneda blends into the woodwork, or
resembles a Cuban waiter; that his features are both European
and Indian; that his skin is nut-brown or bronze; that his hair
is black, thick, and curly. So much for rumor. His mane is now
white, or largely so, short and mildly disheveled. If asked to
guide a police artist in making a sketch, I would emphasize the
eyes -- large, bright, lucid. They may have been gray.

I asked Castaneda about his schedule. "The entire afternoon is
available. I should think we'll have all the time we need. When
it's enough, we'll know." Our conversation lasted four hours,
continuing through a meal of deli sandwiches that arrived
midway.

My first exposure to Castaneda's work had been as much
initiation as introduction. It was 1968. Police officers were
clubbing demonstrators in the streets of Chicago. Assassins had
taken Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Aretha
Franklin's "Chain of Fools" topped the charts. All of this amidst
an ocean of sandals, embroidered caftans, bell-bottoms,
jangling bracelets, beads, and long hair for men and women
alike.

Into all this stepped an enigmatic writer named Carlos
Castaneda, toting a book called The Teachings of Don Juan: A
Yaqui Way of Knowledge. I remember how it transformed me.
The book I began reading was a curiosity; the book I held when
I finished had become a manifesto, the kind of delirious cause
celebre for which my psyche had been secretly training. What
Castaneda seemed to be affirming -- the possibility of
awesome personal spiritual experience -- was precisely what
the Sunday-morning-only religion of my childhood had done its
best to vaccinate me against.

Believing in Castaneda gave me faith that someday, some way,
I might meet my very own don Juan Matus (don is a Spanish
appellative denoting respect), the old Indian wise
man/sorcerer who implores his prot^Bg^B Carlos to get beyond
looking -- simply perceiving the world in its usually accepted
forms. To be a true "man of knowledge," Carlos has to learn the
art of seeing, so that for the first time he can truly perceive the
startling nature of the everyday world. "When you see," don
Juan says, "there are no longer familiar features in the world.
Everything is new. Everything has never happened before. The
world is incredible!"

But, really -- who was this Castaneda? Where did he come from
and what was he trying to prove, with his mysterious account
of a realm that seemed to be of an entirely different order of
reality?

Over the years, various answers to that question have been
offered. Take your pick: (a) dissenting anthropologist; (b)
sorcerer's apprentice; (c) psychic visionary; (d) literary genius;
(e) original philosopher; (f) master teacher. For balance, let's
not forget (g) perpetrator of one of the most spectacular hoaxes
in the history of publishing.

Castaneda has responded to the bestowal of these conflicting ID
tags with something like ironic amusement, as though he were
an audience member enjoying the spectacle of a Chekhov
comedy in which he himself may or may not be a character.
The author has consistently declined -- over a span of nearly
three decades -- to engage in the war of words about whether
his books are authentic accounts of real-world encounters, as
he maintains, or (as numerous critics have argued) fictional
allegories in the spirit of Gulliver's Travels and Alice in
Wonderland.

This strategic reticence was learned from don Juan himself. "To
slip in and out of different worlds you have to remain
inconspicuous," says Castaneda, who is rumored (his preferred
status) to divide his time nowadays between Los Angeles,
Arizona, and Mexico. "The more you are identified by people's
ideas of who you are and how you will act, the greater the
constraint on your freedom. Don Juan insisted upon the
importance of erasing personal history. If little by little you
create a fog around yourself, then you will not be taken for
granted, and you will have more room for change."

Even so, scattered clearings in the fog offer glimpses of tracks
left by the sorcerer's apprentice in the years before his life
faded to myth.

The scholarly consensus, unconfirmed by the author himself, is
that Carlos Cesar Arana Castaneda was born in Peru on
Christmas day 1925 in the historic Andean town of Cajamarca.
Upon graduating from the Colegio Nacional de Nuestra Senora
de Guadalupe, he studied briefly at the National Fine Arts
School of Peru. In 1948 his family moved to Lima and
established a jewelry store. After the death of his mother a
year later, Castaneda moved to San Francisco and soon enrolled
at Los Angeles City College, where he took two courses in
creative writing and one in journalism.

Castaneda received a B.A. in anthropology in 1962 from the
University of California at Los Angeles. In 1968, five years
before Castaneda received his Ph.D. in anthropology, the
University of California Press published The Teachings of Don
Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, which became a national best
seller following an enthusiastic notice by Roger Jellinek in the
New York Times Book Review:

"One can't exaggerate the significance of what Castaneda has
done. He is describing a shamanistic tradition, a pre-logical
cultural form that is no-one-knows how old. It has been
described often. . . . But it seems that no other outsider, and
certainly not a 'Westerner,' has ever participated in its
mysteries from within; nor has anyone described them so well."

The fuse was lit. The Teachings sold 300,000 copies in a 1969
Ballantine mass edition. A Separate Reality and Journey to
Ixtlan followed from Simon & Schuster in 1971 and 1972. The
saga continued in Tales of Power (1974), The Second Ring of
Power (1977), The Eagle's Gift (1981), The Fire from Within
(1984), The Power of Silence (1987), and The Art of Dreaming
(1993). (Bibliophiles may be interested to learn that Castaneda
says he actually wrote a book about don Juan before The
Teachings, titled The Crack Between Worlds, but lost the
manuscript in a movie theater.)

In assessing the impact of his work, Castaneda's admirers
credit him with introducing to popular culture the rich and
varied traditions of shamanism, with their emphasis on
entering nonordinary realms and confronting strange and
sometimes hostile spirit-powers, in order to restore balance
and harmony to body, soul, and society. Inspired by don Juan's
use of peyote, jimsonweed, and other power plants to teach
Castaneda the "art of dreaming," untold numbers of pioneers
extended their own inner horizons through psychedelic inquiry
-- with decidedly mixed results.

For their part, critics of Castaneda's "path of knowledge"
dismiss his work as an ongoing pseudo-anthropological
shenanigan, complete with fabricated shamans and
sensationalized Native American religious practices. The
writings, they claim, have netted an unscrupulous author
tremendous wealth at the cost of denigrating the sacred
lifeways of indigenous peoples through commercial
exploitation. Castaneda's presentation, writes Richard de Mille
in Castaneda's Journey, "appeals to the reader's hunger for
myth, magic, ancient wisdom, true reality, self-improvement,
other worlds, or imaginary playmates."

Appropriately, the Castaneda I encountered was a study in
contrasts. His presence was informal, spontaneous, warmly
animated, and at times contagiously mirthful. At the same time,
his still heavily accented (Peruvian? Chilean? Spanish?) diction
conveyed the patrician formality of an ambassador at court:
deliberate and well-composed, serious and poised, earnest and
resolute. Practiced.

The contradiction, like so much about the man, may strike
some as a bothersome inconsistency. But it shouldn't. To reread
Carlos Castaneda's books (as I did, astonishingly, all nine of
them) is to see clearly -- perhaps for the first time -- that
contradiction is the force that ties his literary Gordian knot. As
the author had told me, intently, during our lunch break: "Only
by pitting two views against each other can one weasel
between them to arrive at the real world."

I had the sense he was letting me know his fortress was well
guarded -- and daring me to storm it anyway.

Keith Thompson: As your books have made a character named
Carlos world-famous, the author called Castaneda has retreated
further and further from public view. There have been more
confirmed sightings of Elvis than of Carlos Castaneda in recent
years. Legend has you committing suicide on at least three
occasions; there's the persistent story of your death in a
Mexican bus crash two decades ago; and my search for a
confirmed photo and audio tapes was fruitless. How can I be
sure that you're truly Castaneda and not a Carlos impersonator
from Vegas? Have you got any distinguishing birthmarks?

Carlos Castaneda: None! Just my agent vouches for me. That's
his job. But you are free to ask me your questions and shine a
bright light in my eyes and keep me here all night -- like in the
old movies.

You're known for being unknown. Why have you agreed to talk
now, after declining interviews for so many years?

Because I'm at the end of the trail that started over thirty
years ago. As a young anthropologist, I went to the Southwest
to collect information, to do fieldwork on the medicinal plants
used by the Indians of the area. I intended to write an article,
go on to graduate school, become a professional in my field. I
hadn't the slightest interest in meeting a weird man like don
Juan.

How exactly did your paths cross?

I was waiting for the bus at the Greyhound station in Nogales,
Arizona, talking with an anthropologist who had been my guide
and helper in my survey. My colleague leaned over and
pointed to a white-haired old Indian across the room -- "Psst,
over there, don't let him see you looking" -- and said he was
an expert about peyote and medicinal plants. That was all I
needed to hear. I put on my best airs and sauntered over to
this man, who was known as don Juan, and told him I myself
was an authority about peyote. I said that it might be worth his
while to have lunch and talk with me -- or something
unbearably arrogant to that effect.

The old power-lunch ploy. But you weren't really much of an
authority, were you?

I knew next to nothing about peyote! But I continued rattling
on -- boasting about my knowledge, intending to impress him.
I remember that he just looked at me and nodded occasionally,
without saying a word. My pretensions melted in the heat of
that day. I was stunned at being silenced. There I stood in the
abyss, until don Juan saw that his bus had come. He said good-
bye, with the slightest wave of his hand. I felt like an arrogant
imbecile, and that was the end.

Also the beginning.

Yes, that's when everything started. I learned that don Juan
was known as a brujo, which means, in English, medicine man,
curer, sorcerer. It became my task to discover where he lived.
You know, I was very good at doing that, and I did. I found out,
and I came to see him one day. We took a liking to each other
and soon became good friends.

You felt like a moron in this man's presence, but you were
eager to seek him out?

The way don Juan had looked at me there in the bus station
was exceptional -- an unprecedented event in my life. There
was something remarkable about his eyes, which seemed to
shine with a light all their own. You see, we are --
unfortunately we don't want to accept this, but we are apes,
anthropoids, simians. There's a primary knowledge that we all
carry, directly connected with the two-million-year-old person
at the root of our brain. And we do our best to suppress it,
which makes us obese, cardiac, cancer-prone. It was on that
archaic level that I was tackled by don Juan's gaze, despite my
annoyance and irritation that he had seen through my pretense
to expertise in the bus station.

Eventually you became don Juan's apprentice, and he your
mentor. What was the transition?

A year passed before he took me into his confidence. We had
gotten to know each other quite well, when one day don Juan
turned to me and said he held a certain knowledge that he had
learned from an unnamed benefactor, who had led him through
a kind of training. He used this word "knowledge" more often
than "sorcery," but for him they were one and the same. Don
Juan said he had chosen me to serve as his apprentice, but that
I must be prepared for a long and difficult road. I had no idea
how astonishingly strange the road would be.

That's a consistent thread of your books -- your struggle to
make sense of a "separate reality" where gnats stand a
hundred feet tall, where human heads turn into crows, where
the same leaf falls four times, where sorcerers conjure cars to
disappear in broad daylight. A good stage hypnotist can
produce astonishing effects. Is it possible that's what don Juan
was up to? Did he trick you?

It's possible. What he did was teach me that there's much more
to the world than we usually acknowledge -- that our normal
expectations about reality are created by social consensus,
which is itself a trick. We're taught to see and understand the
world through a socialization process that, when working
correctly, convinces us that the interpretations we agree upon
define the limits of the real world. Don Juan interrupted this
process in my life by demonstrating that we have the capacity
to enter into other worlds that are constant and independent of
our highly conditioned awareness. Sorcery involves
reprogramming our capacities to perceive realms as real,
unique, absolute, and engulfing as our daily so-called mundane
world.

Don Juan is always trying to get you to put your explanations of
reality and your assumptions about what's possible inside
brackets, so you can see how arbitrary they are. Contemporary
philosophers would call this "deconstructing" reality.

Don Juan had a visceral understanding of the way language
works as a system unto itself -- the way it generates pictures
of reality that we believe, mistakenly, to reveal the "true"
nature of things. His teachings were like a club beating my
thick head until I saw that my precious view was actually a
construction, woven of all kinds of fixated interpretations,
which I used to defend myself against pure wondering
perception.

There's a contradiction in there, somewhere. On the one hand,
don Juan desocialized you, by teaching you to see without
preconceptions. Yet it sounds like he then resocialized you by
enrolling you in a new set of meanings, simply giving you a
different interpretation, a new spin on reality -- albeit a
"magical" one.

That's something don Juan and I argued about all the time. He
said in effect that he was despinning me and I maintained he
was respinning me. By teaching me sorcery he presented a new
lens, a new language, and a new way of seeing and being in the
world. I was caught between my previous certainty about the
world and a new description, sorcery, and forced to hold the
old and the new together. I felt completely stalled, like a car
slipping its transmission. Don Juan was delighted. He said this
meant I was slipping between descriptions of reality --
between my old and new views.

Eventually I saw that all my prior assumptions were based on
viewing the world as something from which I was essentially
alienated. That day when I encountered don Juan in the bus
station, I was the ideal academic, triumphantly estranged,
conniving to prove my nonexistent expertise concerning
psychotropic plants.

Ironically, it was don Juan who later introduced you to
"Mescalito," the green-skinned spirit of peyote.

Don Juan introduced me to psychotropic plants in the middle
period of my apprenticeship, because I was so stupid and so
cocky, which of course I considered evidence of sophistication.
I held to my conventional description of the world with
incredible vengeance, convinced it was the only truth. Peyote
served to exaggerate the subtle contradictions within my
interpretative gloss, and this helped me cut through the typical
Western stance of seeing a world out there and talking to
myself about it. But the psychotropic approach had its costs --
physical and emotional exhaustion. It took months for me to
come fully around.

If you could do it over again, would you "just say no"?

My path has been my path. Don Juan always told me, "Make a
gesture." A gesture is nothing more than a deliberate act
undertaken for the power that comes from making a decision.
Ultimately, the value of entering a nonordinary state, as you do
with peyote or other psychotropic plants, is to exact what you
need in order to embrace the stupendous character of ordinary
reality. You see, the path of the heart is not a road of incessant
introspection or mystical flight, but a way of engaging the joys
and sorrows of the world. This world, where each one of us is
related at molecular levels to every other wondrous and
dynamic manifestation of being -- this world is the warrior's
true hunting ground.

Your friend don Juan teaches what is, how to know what is, and
how to live in accord with what is -- ontology, epistemology,
and ethics. Which leads many to say he's too good to be true,
that you created him from scratch as an allegorical instrument
of wise instruction.

The notion that I concocted a person like don Juan is
preposterous. I'm a product of a European intellectual tradition
to which a character like don Juan is alien. The actual facts are
stranger: I'm a reporter. My books are accounts of an
outlandish phenomenon that forced me to make fundamental
changes in my life in order to meet the phenomenon on its own
terms.

Some of your critics grow quite livid in their contention that
Juan Matus sometimes speaks more like an Oxford don than a
don Indian. Then there's the fact that he traveled widely and
acquired his knowledge from sources not limited to his Yaqui
roots.

Permit me to make a confession: I take much delight in the
idea that don Juan may not be the "best" don Juan. It's
probably true that I'm not the best Carlos Castaneda, either.
Years ago I met the perfect Castaneda at a party in Sausalito,
quite by accident. There, in the middle of the patio, was the
most handsome man, tall, blond, blue-eyed, beautiful, barefoot.
It was the early '70s. He was signing books, and the owner of
the house said to me, "I'd like you to meet Carlos Castaneda."
He was impersonating Carlos Castaneda, with an impressive
coterie of beautiful women all around him. I said, "I am very
pleased to meet you, Mister Castaneda." He responded, "Doctor
Castaneda." He was doing a very good job. I thought, He
presents a good way to be Castaneda, the ideal Castaneda, with
all the benefits that go with the position. But time passes, and
I'm still the Castaneda that I am, not very well suited to play
the Hollywood version. Nor is don Juan.

Speaking of confessions: Did you ever contemplate downplaying
the eccentricity of your teacher and presenting him as a more
conventional character, to make him a better vehicle for his
teachings?

I never considered such an approach. Smoothing rough edges to
advance an agreeable plot is the luxury of the novelist. I'm not
unfamiliar with the spoken and unspoken canon of science: "Be
objective." Sometimes don Juan spoke in goofy slang -- the
equivalent of "By golly!" and "Don't lose your marbles!" are two
of his favorites. On other occasions he showed a superb
command of Spanish, which permitted me to obtain detailed
explanations of the intricate meanings of his system of beliefs
and its underlying logic. To deliberately alter don Juan in my
books so he would appear consistent and meet the expectations
of this or that audience would bring "subjectivity" to my work,
a demon that, according to my best critics, has no place in
ethnographic writing.

Skeptics have challenged you to exorcise that demon once and
for all, by presenting for public inspection the field notes based
on your encounters with don Juan. Wouldn't that alleviate
doubts about whether your writings are genuine ethnography
or disguised fiction?

Whose doubts?

Fellow anthropologists, for starters.

The Senate Watergate Committee. Geraldo Rivera . . .

There was a time when requests to see my field notes seemed
unencumbered by hidden ideological agendas. After The
Teachings of Don Juan appeared I received a thoughtful letter
from Gordon Wasson, the founder of the science of
ethnomycology, the study of human uses of mushrooms and
other fungi. Gordon and Valentina Wasson had discovered the
existence of still-active shamanic mushroom cults in the
mountains near Oaxaca, Mexico. Dr. Wasson asked me to clarify
certain aspects of don Juan's use of psychotropic mushrooms. I
gladly sent him several pages of field notes relevant to his area
of interest, and met with him twice. Subsequently he referred
to me as an "honest and serious young man," or words to that
effect.

Even so, some critics proceeded to assert that any field notes
produced by Castaneda must be assumed to be forgeries
created after the fact. At that point I realized there was no way
I could satisfy people whose minds were made up without
recourse to whatever documentation I might provide. Actually,
it was liberating to abandon the enterprise of public relations
-- intrinsically a violation of my nature -- and return to my
fieldwork with don Juan.

You must be familiar with the claim that your work has
fostered the trivialization of indigenous spiritual traditions. The
argument goes like this: A despicable cadre of non-Indian
wannabees, commercial profiteers, and self-styled shamans has
read your books and found them inspiring. How do you plead?

I didn't set out to write an exhaustive account of indigenous
spirituality, so it's a fallacy to judge my work by that criterion.
My books are instead a chronicle of specific experiences and
observations in a particular context, reported to the best of my
ability. But I do plead guilty to knowingly committing willful
acts of ethnography, which is none other than translating
cultural experience into writing. Ethnography is always writing.
That's what I do. What happens when spoken words become
written words, and written words become published words,
and published words get ingested through acts of reading by
persons unknown to the author? Let's agree to call it complex.
I've been extremely fortunate to have a wide and diverse
readership throughout much of the world. The entry
requirement is the same everywhere: literacy. Beyond this, I'm
responsible for the virtues and vices of my anonymous
audience in the same way that every writer of any time and
place is so responsible. The main thing is, I stand by my work.

What does don Juan think of your global notoriety?

Nada. Not a thing. I learned this definitively when I took him a
copy of The Teachings of Don Juan. I said, "It's about you, don
Juan." He surveyed the book -- up and down, back and front,
flipped through the pages like a deck of cards -- then handed
it back. I was crestfallen and told him I wanted him to have it
as a gift. Don Juan said he had better not accept it, "because you
know what we do with paper in Mexico." He added, "Tell your
publisher to print your next book on softer stock."

Earlier you mentioned that don Juan deliberately made his
teaching dramatic. Your writings reflect that. Much
anthropological writing gives the impression of striving for
dullness, as if banality were a mark of truth.

To have made my astonishing adventures with don Juan boring
would have been to lie. It has taken me many years to
appreciate the fact that don Juan is a master of using
frustration, digression, and partial disclosure as methods of
instruction. He strategically blended revelation and
concealment in the oddest combinations. It was his style to
assert that ordinary and nonordinary reality aren't separate,
but instead are encompassed in a larger circle -- and then to
reverse himself the next day by insisting that the line between
different realities must be respected at all costs. I asked him
why this must be so. He answered, "Because nothing is more
important to you than keeping your personal world intact."

He was right. That was my top priority in the early days of the
apprenticeship. Eventually I saw -- I saw -- that the path of
the heart requires a full gesture, a degree of abandon that can
be terrifying. Only then is it possible to achieve a sparkling
metamorphosis.

I also realized the extent to which the teachings of don Juan
could and would be dismissed as "mere allegory" by certain
specialists whose sacramental mission is to reinforce the limits
that culture and language place on perception.

This approaches the question of who gets to define "correct"
cultural description. Nowadays some of Margaret Mead's critics
declare she was "wrong" about Samoa. But why not say, less
dogmatically, that her writings present a partial picture based
on a unique encounter with an exotic culture? Obviously her
discoveries mirrored the concerns of her time, including her
own biases. Who has the authority to cordon off art from
science?

The assumption that art, magic, and science can't exist in the
same space at the same time is an obsolete remnant of
Aristotelian philosophical categories. We've got to get beyond
this kind of nostalgia in the social science of the twenty-first
century. Even the term ethnography is too monolithic, because
it implies that writing about other cultures is an activity
specific to anthropology, whereas in fact ethnography cuts
across various disciplines and genres. Furthermore, even the
ethnographer isn't monolithic -- he or she must be reflexive
and multifaceted, just like the cultural phenomena that are
encountered as "other."

So the observer, the observed phenomenon, and the process of
observation form an inseparable totality. From that
perspective, reality isn't simply received, it's actively captured
and rendered in different ways by different observers with
different ways of seeing.

Just so. What sorcery comes down to is the act of embodying
some specialized theoretical and practical premises about the
nature of perception in molding the universe around us. It took
me a long time to understand, intuitively, that there were three
Castanedas: one who observed don Juan, the man and teacher;
another who was the active subject of don Juan's training -- the
apprentice; and still another who chronicled the adventures.
"Three" is a metaphor to describe the sensation of endlessly
changing boundaries. Likewise, don Juan himself was
constantly shifting positions. Together we were traversing the
crack between the natural world of everyday life and an
unseen world, which don Juan called "the second attention," a
term he preferred to "supernatural."

What you're describing isn't what comes to mind for most
anthropologists when they think about their line of work, you
know.

Oh, I'm certain you're right about that! Someone recently asked
me, What does mainstream anthropology think of Carlos
Castaneda? I don't suppose most of them think about me at all.
A few may be a little bit annoyed, but they're sure that
whatever I'm doing is not scientific and they don't trouble
themselves. For most of the field, "anthropological possibility"
means that you go to an exotic land, arrive at a hotel, drink
your highball while a flock of indigenous people come and talk
to you about the culture. They tell you all kinds of things, and
you write down the various words for father and mother. More
highballs, then you go home and put it all in your computer
and tabulate for correlations and differences. That to them is
scientific anthropology. For me, that would be living hell.

How do you actually write?

My conversations with don Juan throughout the apprenticeship
were conducted primarily in Spanish. From the outset I tried to
persuade don Juan to let me use a tape recorder, but he said
relying on something mechanical only makes us more and more
sterile. "It curtails your magic," he said. "Better to learn with
your whole body so you'll remember with your whole body." I
had no idea what he meant. Consequently I began keeping
voluminous field notes of what he said. He found my
industriousness amusing. As for my books, I dream them. I
gather myself and my field notes -- usually in the afternoon
but not always -- and go through all my notes and translate
them into English. In the evening I sleep and dream what I
want to write. When I wake up, I write in the quiet hours of
the night, drawing upon what has arranged itself coherently in
my head.

Do you rewrite?

It's not my practice to do so. Regular writing is for me quite
dry and labored. Dreaming is best. Much of my training with
don Juan was in reconditioning perception to sustain dream
images long enough to look at them carefully. Don Juan was
right about the tape recorder -- and in retrospect, right about
the notes. They were my crutch, and I no longer need them. By
the end of my time with don Juan, I learned to listen and watch
and sense and recall in all the cells of my body.

Earlier you mentioned reaching the end of the road, and now
you're talking about the end of your time with don Juan. Where
is he now?

He's gone. He disappeared.

Without a clue?

Don Juan told me he was going to fulfill the sorcerer's dream of
leaving this world and entering into "unimaginable
dimensions." He displaced his assemblage point from its
fixation in the conventional human world. We would call it
combusting from the inside. It's an alternative to dying. Either
they bury you six feet deep in the poor flowers or you burn.
Don Juan chose burning.

I guess it's one way to erase personal history. Then this
conversation is don Juan's obituary notice?

He had come to the end, deliberately. By intent. He wanted to
expand, to join his physical body with his energy body. His
adventure was there, where the tiny personal tide pool joins
the great ocean. He called it the "definitive journey." Such
vastness is incomprehensible to my mind, so I can only give up
explaining. I've found that the explanatory principle will
protect you from fear of the unknown, but I prefer the
unknown.

You've traveled far and wide. Give it to me straight: Is reality
ultimately a safe place?

I once asked don Juan something quite similar. We were alone
in the desert -- nighttime, billions of stars. He laughed in a
friendly and genuine way. He said, "Sure, the universe is
benign. It may destroy you, but in the process it will teach you
something worth knowing."

What's next for Carlos Castaneda?

I'll have to let you know. Next time.

Will there be a next time?

There's always a next time.


AntwortZitat
(@w-himmelbauer)
Mitglied Admin
Beigetreten: vor 14 Jahren
Beiträge: 272
24/01/2013 5:01 pm  

Dreaming Castaneda
Images of a 20th-century sorcerer

From Los Angeles Weekly, by Celeste Fremon

"For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, atthis marvelous time. I want to convince you that you must learn to make every actcount since you are going to be here for only a short while; in fact, too short forwitnessing all the marvels of it."-- from Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda

The death of Carlos Castaneda was officially announced on the evening of June 18. According to his death certificate, the best-known proponent of "non-ordinary reality" passed out of this world nearly two months earlier, on April 27, at hishome in Westwood. According to his attorney, Deborah Drooz, Castaneda had been ill with liver cancer for some time, and it was his wish to leave his death unpublicized. The news leaked out when Adrian Vashon, the son of his former wife, received a court letter indicating he was mentioned in Castaneda's will. Vashon subsequently called the Los Angeles Times.

"Carlos Castaneda left the world the same way that his teacher, Don Juan Matus, did: with full awareness," read a prepared statement that appeared four days later on the Web site maintained by Cleargreen (www.castaneda.com), the corporation formed by Castaneda and his associates. "The cognition of our world of everyday life does not provide for a description of a phenomenon such as this. So in keeping with the terms of legalities and record-keeping that the world of everyday life requires, Carlos Castaneda was declared to have died."

I first met Carlos Castaneda in the spring of 1972. I was 24 years old and working for Seventeen magazine. Carlos was a doctoral student in the UCLA Department ofAnthropology and already famous. His first two books, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (his master's thesis) and A Separate Reality, both detailing his apprenticeship to Don Juan Matus, a Mexican Indian shaman, had sold nearly half a million copies in paperback. Journey to Ixtlan, the doctoral dissertation he was completing at the time we met, would later put him, or a drawing of him -- he would allow no recognizable photographs - on the cover of Time.

At this point, the Vietnam War was still in full swing, and Nixon was about to bere-elected. Like many young men and women of the period, I was terrified and alienated by the actions of the prevailing culture, which seemed to have gone mad; the Castaneda books were a desperately needed antidote to a world view that felt increasingly mechanistic and dispiriting.

Many of the concepts in the books - the notion of turning off one's internal
dialogue in order to apprehend an expanded reality, dispensing with one's ego in order to follow "a path with heart," having an awareness of one's death in order to live life fully - each had direct parallels in other philosophical and religious disciplines. Yet there was an aggressive emotional imperative with which Castaneda wrote that suited the tenor of the times. He painted himself in his stories as afrightened naif bumbling through a magical yet deeply ethical spiritual system that could be taught and transferred. For a generation trying to account for itsreligious feelings outside the constrictions of conventional dogma, Castaneda's work had immense appeal.

Anxious to meet him, I talked my bosses at Seventeen into letting me interview Castaneda. By then he was already refusing all interviews, yet I was naively convinced he would see me. I badgered his editor at Simon & Schuster, Michael Korda, until his secretary took pity and pointed me to Castaneda's literary agent, a man named Ned Brown, whose office was in Beverly Hills. The curmudgeonly Brown agreed to pass the message on to Castaneda only because, he said, I reminded him of his daughter, adding that there was no hope of Carlos replying. Two weeks later, however, Brown called back to say that Carlos had consented to see me. Castaneda never showed for the meeting, but a week later, he called me at the office. "My cousin used to read Seventeen!" he said brightly. "So I thought the message from you was a very good omen. When would you like to meet?"

Though he became a distinguished-looking man with age, in those days Castaneda wouldhave been hard to pick out in a crowd. He was, according to his own description, "aplain, brown man," 5-foot-5 and sturdy, with an unremarkable sort of face. His eyes- supremely watchful, intensely alive, often projecting an improbable combination of grief and amusement -- were the most remarkable thing about him.

Our initial interview - at Cafe Figaro, or was it the Source? - stretched into ayear-and-a-half-long conversation, during the course of which Castaneda became a mentor, uncle and friend. Platonic in his attentions, he was elaborately mysterious about the machinations of our meetings. I could only reach him by leaving messages at the anthropology department. He would call me back from some pay phone in order
to arrange a time. At the appointed moment, I would stand outside my West Hollywood apartment building and wait for him to drive up in his dusty tan van - inevitably at least half an hour late.

It was also typical that at some point during the afternoon or evening he would gasp with alarm, slap his palm to his forehead with sitcom-style dismay and rush to the nearest pay phone. Then he would call someone - often a university colleague - with whom he had an appointment. He was always enormously apologetic, offering an impressively dramatic excuse for the oversight. "I'm calling you from Mexico City,"he might shout into the receiver, from a gas station in Pacific Palisades. "I feel terrible! But I was unexpectedly detained by power!"

Generally, though, our outings seemed quite ordinary. We would sometimes go to the movies. Often we simply went for lunch or dinner, then for a walk. Once he took meto see a display of masks at UCLA, and afterward presented me with two Yaqui masks. But each encounter was in fact a teaching exercise. Along the bluffs above the ocean, he taught me how to run in the dark without tripping, lecturing me genially on the necessity of living my life more "impeccably." As we emerged into the
brightness of a theater lobby after seeing Auntie Mame, he turned to me and said with great poignancy: "I took you to see this movie because I wanted you to know that you must use the world. In fact, it's absolutely essential to do so! But you must remember to use it with love."

In the mouth of anyone else, these words would have sounded hopelessly sentimental. But Carlos imbued such pronouncements with a ferociously poetic force. Some of his sorcerer's tips were more practical than philosophical. When I complained to him how I'd run out of gas the night before, for example, he told me that Don Juan had told him that if he anthropomorphized his car, it would never run out of gas again. (I
took the advice to heart and chatted up my Karmann Ghia, which obliged me by running on fumes, if necessary, for the next 13 years.) Another day, he gave me a compass and told me I should turn my bed around, head to the west (or was it the east?) to increase my energy.

Other instructions were not quite so straightforward. One day, he gave me an unpolished rock the color of ochre, half the size of my hand. He said Don Juan had given it to him to give to me with explicit directions as to how I must polish it. With great seriousness, I polished the rock for hours until I passed into a sort ofwaking dream state. The long-term significance of this event, I couldn't tell you. But I still have the rock.

In addition to trying to help me "collapse the parameters of normal perception," Castaneda talked about personal concerns, such as his worry that his doctoral thesis might not be approved. He often seemed to be in a state of tremendous anguish over his apprenticeship. "Don Juan wants me to attempt to stop the world, but if I don't have the energy to do it I may die," he would say. In Don Juanian terms, "stopping the world" was letting go of the last vestiges of cultural preconceptions. "Maybe I should stay here in L.A. But how can I?"

There was a wildly funny side to Carlos as well. He was a wicked gossip and loved regaling me with tales of his encounters with other luminaries of the so-called consciousness movement. He recounted how famous gestalt therapist and "horny oldgoat" Fritz Perls had barged unwittingly into Castaneda's darkened bedroom at Big Sur's Esalen Institute, mistakenly thinking it empty, and proceeded to have a noisy, amorous tryst with a young acolyte - much to Castaneda's amusement. On another occasion, he gleefully described a dinner that he and the guru Ram Dass (former Tim Leary associate Richard Alpert) had both attended, at which Ram Dass had gotten roaring drunk and begun shouting boisterously, "That's what they call me, 'Baba ramde ass!' Get it? 'Baba ram de ass!'"

In the spring of 1973, the article appeared in Seventeen, and soon after, I left the magazine. With the publication of Journey to Ixtlan, Castaneda was swept further into the maelstrom of his fame and field work, and became much harder to reach. Eventually we lost contact.

During all the time I spent with Castaneda, it never occurred to me that he wasn't representing himself and his apprenticeship truthfully. Not that I took every wrinkle of his stories to be literal fact. A few of my friends who knew of our acquaintance asked if I thought he had really turned into a crow, as was suggested in one of the books. Such questions struck me, even at the time, as ridiculous. His work wasn't about metaphysical parlor tricks, I would reply, nor was it about psychotropic drugs. It was a system for living, a way of deconstructing consensus reality in order to conceive of a world of unimaginable possibilities.

There had been occasional mutterings in the mainstream press about Castaneda's books being metaphorical in nature, but the first serious attempt to debunk his work camein 1976, when author-psychologist Richard de Mille (son of Cecil B.) wrote a book called Castaneda's Journey: The Power and the Allegory. De Mille painstakingly combed through Castaneda's four published volumes, trolling them for inconsistencies, cross-referencing his ethnographic data with other spiritual andphilosophical disciplines from which de Mille felt Carlos had stolen. He also suggested that the standards applied by Castaneda's doctoral committee had not been sufficiently rigorous.

Castaneda fans and a majority of his colleagues at UCLA dismissed the de Mille book as ax grinding. However, by 1978 there was growing disagreement in anthropology circles. Yaqui expert Dr. Ralph Beals asked to see Castaneda's field notes and was unhappy when Carlos continually dodged the request. Dr. Jacques Maquet, then head of UCLA's Department of Anthropology, also objected to the fact that no hard evidence had ever been presented to back up Castaneda's account. "What is essential is notsimply to have the experience," says Maquet today, "but, if it is anthropology, to make it possible for other anthropologists to repeat the experience. Castaneda never did that. He never presented Don Juan. What he has done is not anthropology simply because he has kept it secret. He has created a brilliant fiction based on something real, but fiction nonetheless."

Further complicating matters, in 1982, a woman named Florinda Donner published abook called Shabono, in which she described dramatic, Castaneda-like experiences with the Yanomama Indians of Venezuela. The normally reclusive Carlos wrote aglowing blurb on the jacket cover, and soon the news circulated that Donner was claiming to also be an apprentice to Don Juan. A single academic apprenticed to an unseen sorcerer was one thing; a second began to stretch the credulity of all but
the most ardent believers.

I met Donner in 1982 when she accompanied Castaneda to a dinner party given byJacques Barzaghi, Jerry Brown's longtime adviser. Carlos, whom I hadn't seen inyears, was distant; Donner wasn't, and we chatted for much of the evening. I foundher stories of her time with the Yanomama convincing.

When I saw her a few years later at Barzhagi's wedding, she confided that all the apprentices - Castaneda, herself and several other Anglo women - were in a terrible emotional state. She described fantastic incidents - about how, for example, one of their sorcery teachers had turned old before their eyes, she said. "Like the picture of Dorian Gray. It was like something you'd imagine seeing in a science-fiction movie, but we actually saw it happen." Now Carlos was very ill and living in Arizona. "We don't know what to do," she said. "We are waiting for him to lead us.
But he doesn't know what to do either, so we just have to wait."

It was difficult to know what to make of such a story. As with Castaneda, Donner's emotional turmoil seemed intense and genuine. But these increasingly fantastic stories of multiple sorcerer's apprentices were hard to swallow whole, leading some to conclude that many of Castaneda's stories also may have been stupendous falsehoods. Even those of us who'd been believers, or nearly so, couldn't help but wonder if we hadn't, in fact, simply been audience members to a sort of Truman Show
in reverse, a troupe of actors who had infiltrated the real world, staging a magical theater that had lasted for decades.

After years of inaccessibility, Castaneda began making public appearances in what would be the last decade of his life. At first they were small interactive gatherings held without fanfare at various bookstores; later he led occasional martial-arts classes and seminars in a form of movement Castaneda called "tensegrity," billed as ancient "shamanistic" exercises designed to increase awareness. These were presented by Donner and the various other women who surrounded Castaneda. Through Cleargreen, these women have announced that they will be keeping the work going. With corporate efficiency, Tensegrity seminars are scheduled for July and August, with more seminars and videos planned for the future.

If anything, the controversies surrounding Castaneda are greater than ever. But some of those who knew him well have arrived at a provisional answer. "He had a genius for introducing people to the possibility of seeing other realities," says Gloria Garvin, a former member of Castaneda's inner circle, "but there was never a Don Juan. He knew shamans. He did a great deal of research over the years, often under
other names. And he would journey and dream, and stimulate amazing journeys and dreams in the people around him. "

"I had astonishing experiences with Carlos that are difficult to explain," says Douglass Price-Williams, professor emeritus in anthropology and psychiatry at UCLA. "You see, you can't say his work is factual, but you can't say it's false either. It's so much more complex than that. He did have profound experiences of his own. And he had a great deal of ethnographic knowledge. He also engaged in elaborate role-playing that he pushed to the point that I think he could no longer tell the difference. But the thing that set Carlos apart was his genius for taking all this
and communicating it in a way that truly moved people."

Larry Peters, an anthropologist and psychotherapist who has done extensive fieldwork with Nepalese shamans, puts it another way: "Carlos was an expert navigator of that other world. Frankly I believe Don Juan was an entity - a spirit, if you will - that Carlos encountered while dreaming. There is a deep wisdom in his texts that cannot be regarded as either fiction or knowledgeable fabrication."

The last time I saw Castaneda, in late 1993, it was at one of those bookstore events. "We are all beings who are going to die," he told an attentive invited group (which included Tom Hayden). "We must live our lives with that knowledge, with that harshness. Don Juan used to say to me, 'What have they done to you? What have theydone to you?' He meant that I was so captured by my ideologies that I could not be a
man. I could not truly live the wonder that it is to be a human being. We are travelers, as humans. We are adventurers, struggling to perpetuate, to better, to evolve our species. But unless we break free of the prison of our ideologies, we will come to the end of our lives and wonder what we have lived for."

I returned home that evening feeling awakened, as if my most essential self had been dashed with ice water. Not that I imagined I could ever wholly follow his sorceric dictums; understanding the secrets of the universe is one thing, getting one's kid to bed at the proper time is quite another. And yet, for weeks after, I was better able to address my individual days and nights with less fear, fewer preconceptions,
more clarity and compassion.

In the end, it's the work that mattered, whatever its provenance. In the end, it was the man who mattered; for those of us lucky enough to come within his range, nothing was ever the same again.

And if, in the end, Don Juan never existed?

For my own provisional answer, I think of Peter A. Bien, translator of Nikos Kazantzakis' The Last Temptation of Christ, who dealt with a similar question when asked whether he believed in all the miracles associated with Jesus. "I realize much of what we know about him is novelistic," said Bien. "But I act as if it isn't."

Copyright © 1998, Los Angeles Weekly, Inc. All rights reserved.


AntwortZitat
(@w-himmelbauer)
Mitglied Admin
Beigetreten: vor 14 Jahren
Beiträge: 272
27/01/2013 11:13 pm  

Of Sorcery and Dreams:

An Encounter With Carlos Castaneda
By Michael Brenan
Published in "The Sun"

Dreaming was once an extraordinary affair for me. When I was thirteen, I had frequent conscious dreams and out-of-body experiences. Typically, just prior to sleep, when my body was completely relaxed, I would shift without warning into a remarkable state of alertness. My physical body would feel numb and heavy, yet Iwould be entirely awake. Somehow I knew that it was then possible for me to leave mybody.
Nearly every night over the next three years, I would drift toward sleep, only to wake up and venture into dream worlds of breathtaking clarity and beauty. I was fully conscious, and tremendously curious about everything I encountered. I experimented endlessly with my senses, and with my ability to manipulate these strange environments. But I could never determine whether the worlds I entered were objectively real, or merely projections.

At age sixteen, I took part in a pioneering research study headed by Stephen LaBerge. Using laboratory equipment and a series of prearranged signals, LaBerge demonstrated that humans had the ability to be conscious within a physical state of sleep. He called the phenomenon "lucid dreaming." Yet even this scientific validation did not entirely dispel my uncertainty, because it didn't explain, for example, how I could sometimes be simultaneously aware within both my physical body and this "other" body. In the end, I decided my questions were unanswerable for themoment, and the answers didn't matter much anyway. The sense of exhilaration, freedom, and joy I encountered in those inner worlds was the true value of the experience.

Before long, that same heightened state of awareness began to carry over into my ordinary day-to-day existence, imbuing it with richness and magic. Life became awaking dream. As this sensibility grew, it came into conflict with everything I was being taught. The priests who schooled me seemed to believe that the age of miracles had ended two thousand years before. Science suggested that everything could be reduced to base mechanics. And contemporary society counseled a safe and bloodless course of birth, school, work, and death, interspersed with vapid consumerism.

By the time I was seventeen, I had begun to feel that there was something wrong with me. I was beset by the usual adolescent insecurities, but on top of that, my perception of the world did not match up with that of my peers. My fears overwhelmed the spirit of beauty that I longed to articulate. To compensate for my perceived cowardice, I embarked on a roguish course, taking up with a bad crowd and acting out
the turmoil inside me. In so doing I betrayed everything that was sacred to me, and my anguish was enormous. Over the next fifteen years, I suffered extended bouts of addiction, homelessness, and incarceration in jails and asylums. My dreams had deserted me, only to be replaced by a waking nightmare. I was committing slow-motion suicide, a process that reached its conclusion seven years ago, when I shared bloody needles with two fellow addicts in a Lower East Side tenement in New York City.

Since then, my junkie companions on that occasion have both died of AIDS. Now, sitting on the cusp of death myself, I find an empty space within me. Oddly, this emptiness carries with it a certain abandon and a delicious sense of anticipation -I have nothing to lose. My imminent mortality seems to offer a slim chance of recouping what I've lost: my experience of the world as a waking dream of great beauty and mystery.

It is in this state of mind that I receive an invitation to attend an Oakland
workshop given by associates of Carlos Castaneda, and to write about it as a journalist. The purpose of the workshop is to teach a magical discipline Castaneda purportedly learned from the Yaqui seer don Juan Matus. According to Castaneda, these seers of ancient Mexico experienced states of enhanced awareness while dreaming. They learned to recreate these states white awake using a collection of precise movements called "sorcery passes."

Shrouded in secrecy, this discipline was passed down through twenty-seven generations of sorcerers, of which don Juan Matus was the last. Now Castaneda and afew of his cohorts claim to be the contemporary stewards of this ancient sorcerers'art, which Castaneda has named "tensegrity," after an architectural term for opposing forces in balance.

Another perspective, offered by Castaneda's critics, is that he is the inventor of this discipline, and of the myth of don Juan Matus. According to them, Castaneda's myth has its origins not in the preconquest world of the Toltecs, but in the summer of 1961, when the then-thirty-seven-year-old UCLA anthropology student ventured into the Sonoran desert in search of his Ph.D. There, beneath the broiling Mexican sun, Castaneda presumably cooked up his engaging tales of sorcery.

Despite high praise for Castaneda from respectable academic, scientific, and literary quarters, skeptics remain troubled by chronological inconsistencies in his books, by his refusal to bring forth don Juan for public scrutiny, and by the author's own inaccessibility. In the end, don Juan Matus seems destined to haunt us like a phantom glimpsed at the edge of our vision, quickening our hearts with thepossibility that sorcery still exists.

Six years ago, a new dimension to the controversy arose when two women - Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar - wrote elegant, dreamlike books describing their own encounters with don Juan. Donner-Grau and Abelar revealed themselves to be colleagues of Castaneda. A third colleague, Carol Tiggs, was mentioned in
Castaneda's latest book, The Art of Dreaming, in which he described how, while"dreaming together" with him in a Mexican hotel room, Tiggs disappeared from this world, borne on the wings of "intent." The "gales of infinity" blew her back to this dimension ten years later, when Castaneda discovered her wandering in a daze in Santa Monica's Phoenix Bookstore. Her improbable return had "ripped a hole in the fabric of the universe."

Castaneda, Donner-Grau, and Abelar were thoroughly disconcerted by the implications of this event. In the end, Tiggs persuaded her fellow travelers to adopt a radical new approach to their work: for the first time, they would present the teachings of don Juan openly, offering seekers the opportunity to explore in detail the legendary seer's fantastic practices.

They arrived at this unprecedented decision, they say, because they are the last oftheir lineage and will soon "ignite the fire from within and complete the somersault into the inconceivable." More, they are opening up their discipline out of gratitude to their teachers and benefactors, so that their ancient knowledge may live on.

Like many readers, I have been greatly moved and inspired by Castaneda's books -especially (for obvious reasons) his writings about the magical possibilities of dreams. At the same time, I have maintained a journalist's skepticism about the whole affair. But now the creatures molded by the myth of don Juan Matus have emerged from the fog of their inaccessibility and rustle through my awareness like windblown leaves. I go to hear their message bearing questions, doubts,
anticipation, and a longing for magic to refute the soulless dreams of contemporary society.

The six female instructors, called "energy trackers," are standing in pairs atop three raised platforms in the Oakland Convention Center. They are dressed martialarts style, in loose-fitting pants and shirts, their hair cut short, all of them exuding an attractive strength and athleticism. They range in age from eleven to thirty-six, and come from Europe and America. Their manner is simultaneously friendly and no-nonsense. They are here to teach, and the three-hundred odd individuals surrounding them are here to learn.

Over the next two days the energy trackers demonstrate an elaborate series of movements - the "sorcery passes" Castaneda has written about. The movements have evocative names: Cracking a Nugget of Energy, Stepping over a Root of Energy, Shaking Off the Mud of Energy. I have years of hatha yoga practice, and can confirm some parallels between the two disciplines. Many movements also have a fierce, martial mood reminiscent of aikido and karate. But there are some unusual elements
to the tensegrity system that I cannot place in any familiar context.

Among participants, there is an enormous mix of occupations - physicists, teachers, engineers, artists, laborers, biologists - and nationalities: Spanish, Italian,German, Russian, American, French. I speak to a variety of people, searching for testimony to the movements' effectiveness, and what I hear slowly begins to shake my doubts.

One man, who in his youth practiced karate for six years, says he finds the tensegrity movements uniquely powerful. "The more I'm exposed to tensegrity," he tells me, "the more I think that nobody could just make these movements up. There are too many of them, they're too sophisticated and systematic, and the results are just too powerful."

Mario, a Tarahumara Indian raised in northern Mexico who now lives in Los Angeles, says he and a group of Mexican and Indian friends have long gathered informally to practice strategies gleaned from Castaneda's books. Now, due to this more formal presentation of the teachings, they have increased their efforts. When Mario describes some of his dreaming adventures, I am struck by their evident similarity to the conscious dreams of my childhood.

"Recently, I found myself awake within a dream," Mario says. "I was beneath a tree on a hilltop; I am not sure where. My brother Joss, who lives in Oaxaca, was with me. He asked me what I had learned in the workshop I had attended. I told him, andwe exchanged more information about our personal lives. I was fully conscious during the dream, but when I awoke I had forgotten something: Joss had told me something at
the very end of the dream, and I could not recollect it.

"A week later, he called me from Mexico. Before I could speak he began describing the dream to me: the same hill, the same tree, the same conversation. I felt achill, and a sense of awe. Then he asked if I remembered what he had told me at the end of our dream, Before he could say anything more, my ears began ringing loudly, and the forgotten scene replayed itself in a flash. He had thanked me for bringing him to this path."

Over the course of the weekend we hear from all three of Castaneda's fellow teachers. Speaking first, Florinda Donner-Grau looks out over the audience and smiles like a Cheshire cat. Her brush-cut blond hair and elegant cheekbones look strongly Teutonic, and she speaks with precise diction, as if each word were a delectable morsel:

"Don Juan Matus presented four faces to his four disciples. To Carlos Castaneda he was a fierce and fearsome presence of terrible import and beauty. To Taisha Abelar he was an enigmatic yet intensely familiar figure. For myself he was an abrupt intrusion into my world, at once unsettling and soothing. For Carol Tiggs he was agentle, fatherly figure capable of tremendous affection."

She goes on to tell us that, in the world of sorcerers, women are gifted creatures by virtue of their affinity with the feminine nature of the universe. Using their womb, they are able to access universal energy and accomplish stupendous feats of transformation. But at the same time, women must contend with the immensely stupefying effects of their socialization. In short, they are trained from birth tobe bimbos, and only by unyielding effort can they escape that fate.

"Don Juan asked me," Donner-Grau says, "in a very matter-of-fact tone, whether I wanted to be a stupid cunt for the rest of my life.... You must understand, I come from a very proper Spanish-German family. No one especially not a man - had ever used that word in my presence. I was horrified and insulted."

Given the delight with which she recounts the episode, I can only conclude that at some point she got over her mortification.

For me, the defining moment of her talk comes when she speaks of death:

"Death is your truest friend, and your most reliable advisor. If you have doubts about the course of your life, you have only to consult your death for the proper direction. Death will never lie to you.

Taisha Abelar is elegant yet energetic. I cannot place her accent, but her overall speech and appearance bring to mind a sixtyish Katharine Hepburn. I am intrigued by the differences between her dream experiences and mine.

"I was on the roof of a building," Abelar says,-"in the middle of a strange city. Suddenly, from above I heard a terrible racket, and I saw a black shape descending toward me out of the sky. I moved immediately, and as I did saw that the black shape was actually a helicopter, and the horrible noise was the sound of its blades slicing the air. If I had stayed another second on that roof, I would have been mincemeat."

At first I am puzzled by this, because in my conscious dreams I could manipulate the environment in extraordinary ways. I wonder why Abelar did not will the helicopter away, or make it burst into flames. Then it dawns on me: she's talking about transporting her physical body into those worlds.

For the next hour, she recounts wild tales that make me think her either insane or an accomplished liar. But everything in her manner suggests sobriety and sincerity, and I am forced to recognize a third, nearly inconceivable alternative: that she isfaithfully reporting her experiences.

For her part, Carol Tiggs describes dreaming adventures every bit as bizarre and otherworldly as Abelar's, but most of her tales involve dreaming together withCarlos Castaneda. Like Castaneda, Tiggs identifies herself as a nagual, a Toltec term meaning "teacher" or "leader." The affinity that links a nagual woman and a nagual man and allows them to dream together is described in several of Castaneda's
books. It is neither a romantic nor a sexual bond, but something much more profound.

Toward the end of her talk, Tiggs answers a question from the audience about Castaneda's health (word is that he's ill), and I sense the fierce affection between them. She grows still. Drawing a deep breath and releasing it slowly, she smiles as if through tears and says, "Our brother Carlos could not join us because he is battling an infection. We do not know the nature of his illness. A sorcerer cannot avail himself of traditional medicine; he must rely on the spirit, and on his own
resources. Before a sorcerer reaches the threshold where his body no longer functions, he will choose, if he can, to kindle the awareness of his entire being, in order to leave this world intact and whole. And our brother Carlos has made apromise to include us in that final act. But we do not know if this is the time ofhis leaving."

She pauses, and when she speaks again, her voice is hushed with wonder. "We are here together, in a bubble outside of time, dreaming the dream of the ancient Toltecs. By your efforts, you have helped us to expand and accelerate into the unknown. We thank you, " she concludes softly, spreading her arms to the audience, "and we embrace you
in the dream."

As I drive back to Portland Sunday night, I look for changes in myself and find instead that the discontent and emptiness that have plagued me for half my life have intensified tenfold. I remain outside the great mysteries, endlessly writing, endlessly doubting.

On top of this, my body erupts: my left testicle swells to twice its normal size, and chickenpox afflicts me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. I go to a traditional Chinese doctor whose wisdom is derived from a long historical lineage. He takes my pulses and examines my tongue, then sits back and nods his head repeatedly, like a thirsty crane dipping for water, all the while murmuring in Chinese. He prepares a complex concoction of herbs, which I consume, summoning what
gratitude I can for the plants that have given their lives for mine.

A few weeks pass, and I regain my equilibrium, but my doubts about Carlos Castaneda,which have never really left me, become more insistent. I vacillate between my memories of the practical results reported by the tensegrity practitioners, and knowledge of our ability to interpret myths in the fashion most befitting our needs.

Everything comes down to the authenticity of don Juan and his Toltec predecessors. Was don Juan Matus a myth invented by Carlos Castaneda, or was he a flesh-and-blood sorcerer of mythic proportion? I am aware that only one person can answer that question for me.

Then the seemingly impossible happens: my silent wish is granted, and I receive an unexpected invitation to meet with and interview Carlos Castaneda.

Given my shortcomings - I have led a life of indulgence, have written no grand epics, barely graduated high school, and know nothing of science or anthropology - I should be enormously intimidated. But instead, from the moment the invitation is extended, I experience a profound and soothing sense of surety. If Castaneda is merely an inventive rogue, then I will have lost nothing but my illusions. But if heis a bona fide heir to the legacy of Toltec seers, then I will have gained a gift of incalculable value - the possibility of restoring magic to the remainder of my life.

A lovely quietude comes over me in the wake of this realization, bringing with it a tremulous sense of anticipation and - most remarkable for me - an overwhelming ease and confidence. Everything has come full circle. There seems nothing left to do but greet the unknown.

I look up from the four single-spaced pages of questions I have prepared and glimpse a party of three weaving their way toward me through the Santa Monica restaurant. The woman who arranged the interview for me is in front. She introduces me to one of the energy trackers from the workshop, and then to the little man behind her -Carlos Castaneda. The ease of the last few days does not abandon me, and I greet Castaneda with a relaxed mixture of respect, affection, and professional skepticism.

He is gracious and unpretentious, and rolls up the sleeves of his rumpled white shirt with Old World courtliness as we settle into our seats. I fuss with my notes and study him with covert glances. From my research I know that he is Peruvian-born and at least seventy-one years old. He appears, however, to be in his early sixties. He is perhaps five-foot-two, with skin the color of burnished copper, a thatch of salt-and-pepper hair, and an elfin frame. His face is handsome and weathered, a symphony of angles and furrows that suggest classic Spanish features. His eyes are
sharp and lucid, his expression by turns thoughtful, friendly, and playful. He offers me some bottled water, and this small gesture seems to embody generosity. I feel as if I am among friends.

For the next three hours I ask sporadic questions from my lengthy list, but mostly I am absorbed in listening and taking notes.

"This discipline is an internal affair," Castaneda says at one point. "There are techniques, but they must be fortified by a decision, and by a feeling from within. You need to arrive at that decision and feeling yourself. For me, it is a matter of daily renewal."

Talk of discipline prompts me to ask about something he once said: that quitting smoking could be a revolutionary act.

"You don't smoke, do you?" he inquires, frankly curious.

"In honor of this occasion," I reply, "I have left my smokes at home."

He seems unperturbed by my admission, and by the banality of my problems.

"I started smoking when I was eight," he says. "I wanted to be like these older Argentinian guys. You should have seen them; they were the coolest guys in the world." With an absurdly suave pantomime he mimics the coolest guys in the world, squinting his left eye and tilting his head to blow an invisible cloud of smoke into the air. "One day, don Juan told me to stop smoking. I replied that I liked smoking and would stop when I was ready. Then I tried to quit and couldn't; not the first time, or the second time. Even all these years later, I still find myself patting my breast pocket for the cigarettes that are no longer there. These routines are
difficult, but not impossible, to break," he concludes. "You merely have to jump the
- "

His last word is lost to the lilt of his accent. I let it pass and listen as he
describes a woman friend of his who was dying in a hospital. (I have said nothing ofmy own illness at this point, nor does my appearance give any clue.)

"I loved this woman dearly," he says. "She was a tremendous friend. I asked don Juan what I could do for her. He described a strategy to me, and I passed it on to her. I told her she must push her illness away with her hand, with her intent, repeatedly, for as long as it took. She replied that she was too weak to lift her arm. 'Then useyour foot!' I cried. 'Use your heart; use your mind! Intend it out of you!' But she no longer had the energy to do so."

Without prompting on my part, he begins talking about his recent illness, which he describes as "a vicious viral infection." I am spooked by the parallel to my ownlife, and momentarily stop taking notes in order to observe him. He matter-of-factly describes a bout with a deadly infection, and how his discipline compelled him to refuse the conventional treatments offered by a doctor. The upshot - that his apparently life-threatening condition resolved itself - is obvious from the fact
that he now sits across from me, a bundle of energy.

"I have been reading a book by the ex-wife of Carl Sagan," he continues. "She has this theory about the viral nature of the body. She theorizes that, physically, weare simply sacks of viruses. We live in a predatory universe, and nothing is more predatory than viruses.

"We are creatures who will die," he adds, almost as a non sequitur, and it is too much for me. I have come here under the guise of a journalist, but in fact I've known all along that I am seeking a healing of the heart before I leave this earth. My time seems short, and before I can stop myself, I rudely interrupt him.

"I have a personal question," I begin.

"Please, please," he says kindly, beckoning with his hands. "Ask anything you like."

"Well," I say, "I hate melodrama. So I will just say that I have a health condition. There is a lot of leeway with it, but the conventional wisdom is that . . ." I lookaway, loath to appear manipulative or needy.

"Perhaps a few more seasons," I murmur. "A few more blows to my system, and-"

I flick my wrist as if sweeping dust from the table: poof, swish, gone.

What I have done seems terribly unprofessional to me; yet, I think childishly, he started it, with his books, with his straightforward assertions that in this day and age we are still capable of experiencing the world as magic. I feel a sense of displaced anger and longing, as well as the anguish that I have carried since I first turned my back on all that was sacred to me.

Holding my gaze intently yet dispassionately, Castaneda launches into another lengthy tale, this one about an alcoholic friend of his. He regards me from beneath slightly lowered lids, as if squinting into the sun. His eyes are keen and bright, like slivers of obsidian, yet their effect is neither hypnotic nor overpowering. Rather, they seem to hold a kind of open challenge.

"So, " he concludes, like a professor summarizing his wisdom, "I would move. I wouldjump the - ."

Again, I lose his last word, and my anxiety must be apparent, because he repeats slowly, "I would jump the groove."

He pauses to lift an invisible needle from a turntable, his eyes never leaving mine.

"I would change the groove," he says. "I would move."

My adolescent journals are full of this same metaphor. At that time, the one-track groove that the stylus followed on a record symbolized for me the habitual nature of my mind. Changing the groove meant changing those habits that robbed me of my ability to experience ordinary life as full of beauty and wonder. The three routines I most sought to change were my habit of picking my nose, my adolescent temper, and - hardest of all my endless capacity for rehashing old events in my mind instead of
simply letting go.

Now, at age thirty-six, I find it is only my temper that has mellowed. I still pick my nose, and I am still capable of endlessly justifying, defending, and excusing my past actions. To these insipid routines I have added, over the past seven years, the habitual momentum of dying. I have known from the moment I shared that needle that a part of me was conspiring in my own death. In the interim, that same part has come
to view AIDS as a fitting punishment for my sins, or perhaps as the articulation of my spiritual barrenness.

Yet, throughout it all, something resilient within me has refused to die. I prefer to call that inviolate something "spirit," and it is that same spirit that is aroused in me now as I listen to Castaneda's prescription for change. Death is the one inexorable fact in our transitory lives. Perhaps I will die a doddering oldfool; perhaps I will die before the sun sets tonight. But I will die - that much is certain. In the meantime, what remains within my control is the groove of my life, the track upon which I choose to walk between the exclamation of my coming and the ellipsis of my going. At its purest, this track is trackless, like a path covered by freshly fallen snow.

And trodding such virgin paths is the most enduring image of my adolescent dreams. By speaking directly to that memory, Castaneda has reawakened it within my heart. Given the perilously low ebb I have reached in life, I can only describe this featas a genuine act of sorcery.

Ah, but what of don Juan Matus, the mythic Yaqui seer whose bones I have come to exhume? Does he sit before me now, a trickster-teacher weaving deceptive tales of wisdom, folly, and truth? I do not know, and cannot say.

Three hours have passed, and Castaneda is gently signaling the end of our meeting by unrolling the sleeves of his weathered cotton shirt. There is still time for that final and most compelling journalistic question, but something within me lets it pass.

And then, unexpectedly, the silence is broken once more by Castaneda's lovely accent. His gaze is fixed in the distance, and he speaks softly, his words like those of a man confronting an insoluble mystery. Again, I study him for evidence of deception and come away empty-handed.

"If I could ask don Juan one final question," he begins slowly, "I would ask, How did he move me so? How did he touch my spirit so that every beat of my heart is filled with the feeling of this path?"

"Every beat of my heart," he repeats quietly, and for a brief moment his words seem to hang in the air like fog. Then his whispered phrase is touched by time, and disappears into the mystery that surrounds us.

© Copyright The Sun
Publication Date: September 1997


AntwortZitat
(@w-himmelbauer)
Mitglied Admin
Beigetreten: vor 14 Jahren
Beiträge: 272
27/03/2013 11:18 pm  

Auszug aus einem Gespräch zwischen James Boice und Bruce Wagner, 11.September 2012:

I thought your 1994 profile of Carlos Castaneda in Details was great and wonder how he has affected your fiction and general worldview. Have you read that 2007 Salon exposé about him that mentions you? It describes him as a con man and leader of a nefarious cult, and you as a high-ranking member of its inner circle active in recruiting. It says that your writing was required to be vetted by the group and even suggests that some of your literary accolades were due to conspiracy stemming from your involvement. It’s all weird enough to be right out of a Bruce Wagner book. Your religion/spiritual practices/etc. are your business, and I understand if you don’t want to answer, but do you have a response to the article?

Castaneda used to tell me stories about his own encounters with Hollywood, which were hilariously insane. Producers and even directors, more famously Fellini, tried to buy the rights to his books for years but he would never agree. Myself and two partners own those rights now. I wrote an essay a few years ago for Tricycle magazine about my years with Castaneda. One of his primary teachings was that we are beings who are going to die — famously, “Use Death as your advisor.” I wouldn’t say my association with Castaneda caused me to write in a different way; rather, he reinforced notions of the universe as being both sublime and predatory, and in the end, the indifference of motive in both extremes. Their interchangeability.

I don’t think we’re hardwired for any understanding of our deaths. I’ve heard enlightenment defined as the ability to live in the moment, with grace and humility. To not take personally the good or bad that come. If one is truly living in the moment, then one cannot be considering one’s pending death. It’s like seeing the face of God; sages tell us it can’t be done. We’re too minuscule for that, too inadequate to see our Creator. It’s like a frightened pilgrim kneeling with his forehead pressed to the ground — he doesn’t dare look up to see the cathedral. And if he did, would he even know where he was? Although I did hear something funny. A teacher asked a kindergartner what he was drawing. When he said “God,” she said, “But how can you? No one knows what God looks like.” And he said, “You’re about to.”


AntwortZitat
(@Anonymus)
Mitglied
Beigetreten: vor 17 Jahren
Beiträge: 117
14/04/2013 5:56 pm  

Los Angeles Magazine - May 1996
Authors: Wagner, Bruce

Part I of II
ON THE PLANE BACK FROM MEXICO CITY WITH CARLOS CASTANEDA. And I'm wigged, because there is no fucking peyote. None offered; none smelt or dealt -- no child's-size button or gill-thin slice in evidence. No drugs! No mescalito! Only those cloying, silvery zip-locked honey-coated peanuts and a pallid fangy stewardess with purple-glossed Anistonian pout ("It's called'Manic Panic,"' she says. "I got it on Melrose.") who, upon seeing the outre fire-engine red CAA script in my lap hovers; a warm and fizzless 7-UP away from asking "what's shooting in Mex-hee-ko?" Seems she worked the Sundance shuttle and it really gave her the show-biz; bug. I'm tempted to say Dr. Castaneda and I are teaming on a Tim Burton or, "something with Drew." Or how's about we're headed for the famed Churubusco Studios to do a rewrite on the $38 million Honey, I Shrunk the Boundaries of Normal Perception (Touchstone)? Nah, she's 23 and wouldn't know Carlos Castaneda from a hole in Werner Erhard. After all, CC's no Learning Annex cover book. Suddenly, I'm mugged by that hideous L.A. Times movie promo, the one with the sexed-up rappelling location scout. (Director: "Where's my river?") It's all over me like a cheap Joan Osborne jingle -- in my personalized version, Purple Lips is the scout, and me the hairy, arrogant genius boy: "Where's my peyote?"
Sheesh. I had hoped a workshop in Mexico with Don Carlos was going to be my sinfully mystic moment; I'd expected nothing short of flying monkeys and a brand-new brain. The idea was to frolic through the spookily high-concept, coyote-strewn chaparral of those famous book covers, time and terrain collapsing as I duked it out with 18-foot shape-shifting allies, then morphed into a crow flying over an IMAX diorama of Sonoran sky, feeling what it's like to peck the shit out of some trippy little jackrabbit. You can't always get what you want.
Even stone-cold sober, I have to say Mexico was kicky. The archbishop decried "the pseudo-religion of the New Age" (you know, the kind that promotes una falsa vision de la realidad), while the smog-socked metropolis, oblivious to His Bunuelian imprecations, descended on a private club a thousand-strong to attend Castaneda's "Tensegrity" seminar, profits of which were donated to local orphanages. How retro! On line, the curious, the faithful, the fateful and the just plain media, fingered excerpts of CC's forthcoming book, Readers of Infinity, an exeges "from the world, as interpreted by sorcerers." For those who've followed the elusive nagual and his global peregrinations, Tensegrity is the heart of the big artichoke of his teachings: a mysterious set of physical movements, "magical passes developed by Indian shamans who lived Mexico in times prior to the Spanish Conquest."
Whoa.
THE CABIN SPASMS THROUGH A tunnel of turbulence; my cue to lurch to the loo. I'm forever fleeing to the washroom when I'm with the man -- I get morose and skittish, like a fucked-up Jimmy Olson. CC once told me bathrooms are dangerous places. If one gets "silent" enough on the bowl, a crack in the world opens up. One minute you're braced against the $600 ergonomic seat of your Snyder-Diamond toilet-bidet combo; the next you're shimmying through that pesky Third Gate, the one he talks about in The Art of Dreaming, where you find yourself staring at a sleeping snorer who turns out to be ... you! With a shudder, I stare at the 37,000-foot-high black rubber hole and ruminate on Dr. Castaneda's sorceric toilet-training riff.
"We're taught very carefully how to view the world -- and how to 'handle' it," he had said a few moments earlier, as a beastly dip jostled the stewardess into the easily bruisable arms of a stunned retiree. "The social order commands us: How to blow our nose, read a map or interpret the gesture of a stranger -- 'practical actions.' We learn so well, even a psychotic uses the toilet instead of the planter in a hotel lobby." He adds coyly: "Most psychotics. You have to learn a new set of 'practical actions' if you want to see that the world is not the way your mother described it." I'd told him that in order to break those boundaries, I need drugs -- I'm not talking Prozac or Percocet Nation. None of that Brentwood caca fo me. I'm talking Datura inoxia. I'm talking Lophophora williamsii and Psilocybe mexicana. Isn't that what his books were about (the early ones anyway)? UCLA student working on thesis seeks out expert on hallucinogenic plants, unwittingly meets Yaqui Indian brujo, Don Juan Matus. Don Juan tells him we are magical beings, exquisite animals, true perceivers -- now fallen, toothless lions, caged and flea-bitten, with no awareness of the meaning or majesty of our lives or deaths. Castaneda yawns at brujo. Don Juan napalms him with psychotropics until CC sees, writes bestseller and lands on cover of Time. Becomes cultural icon and so-called godfather of the New Age. Well, I've been trying three [...?] he wants me to know drugs are unnecessary(*) --"Yes, they shift the assemblage point, but in an unstable fashion."
STRAPPED IN MY SEAT NOW, NURSING drugless wounds and sending the stewardess those righteous Don't-Ask-Me-Anything-About-the-Business vibes. As we begin our slow, drug-free descent, I think of how I came to meet CC. I was working on a script for Ixtlan (Oliver Stone's company; we're all journeymen here), when I heard OS and the legendary shaman had broken bread. How slick! Hats off to wily, clowning, dharma-bumming, decade-foraging pop ethnographer Oliver, I thought (cumbersomely). Hmmm. Too good to pass up; I should do a little weaseling myself. I'd read all CC's books, had all the big-time apprentice/accidental-tourist fantasies.
If I could just finagle a dinner, a lunch, some time under the volcano, so to speak, then get on with it: write the definitive David Foster Wallace-size bio and get Annie Leibovitz'd for the New York Times Magazine cover ("Bruce Wagner's Warrior: On Shamans, Castaneda and the Elusive Art of Biography").
I'd met Billy Wilder through Oliver easily enough. But OS was off scouting in Thailand, as is his wont -- Where's my delta? -- so someone in-house put out feelers. Nothing happened. Gelson's sushi- and caffeine-sodden days blurred into weeks blurred in months; projects kindled, flared, sizzled, flickered, smoldered and died; scripts winked like horny burn patients from the ICU of their IKEA shelves. Still, all quiet on the energetic front. Finally, a San Rafael hippie source called to say CC was to speak at the Phoenix Bookstore in Santa Monica. So there I go an there he is, and it's weird! Because he's "diminutive" and gregarious with a broad, rubbery smile, and he's talking phenomenology, intentionality, sorceric intersubjectivity; Brentano, Husserl and Heidegger -- and then he's effervescing about ... Hollywood! Castaneda, at'70s studio pitch meetings! Reminiscing about all the suits who wanted to make movies from his books! And he's flat-out, obscenely, Orson Welles ? funny -- I say that because I used to drive Welles to Ma Maison in a limo, and Welles was the same conversational way, with those unexpected scarily au courant, trenchant tummy-roiling references. (We chauffeurs kept a board in the trunk to slide the custom-shod, ascoted elephant seal in and out of the car; did that with Larry Flynt, too, when we brought him to Martin Luther King hospital for rehab.) Between yuks -- CC says his jokes are a "dissonance" to soften people up so they'll suspend judgment -- he talked the oddest shit from his books that everyone there had of course read but kind of temporarily forgot with the shock of seeing the obsessive mythic diarist before them, in the flesh. I got the feeling half the group was trying to make sure it was him -- still uncommitted, not wanting to be Don Juan Barnum'd. After all, he's never been photographed, recorded, et cetera. When the crowd warmed up enough, he said things like
(1) We've been seduced into perceiving the world as a place of hard surfaces and finalities; (2) The universe is only energy-no good and no evil, only energy; (3) Definition of a sorcerer? Someone who "sees" that energy as it flows; (4) We're electromagnetic beings: When a sorcerer "sees" a man or woman energetically, they resemble "luminous eggs;" (5) Each luminous egg has an "assemblage point." Sorcerers learn to shift that assemblage point so that - That was all I could take.
NEARLY ON THE GROUND NOW. Under the trembling, mucousy wing rivets, Hollywood Park looks like something out of Toy Story -- impossibly big, bright, fun and dumb. The lurid stewardess faces us, from the safety high chair that flaps from the wall. She's definitely turned on me. Serves me right for traveling under CAA cover.
"The sorcerer's idea," says Castaneda, "is to venture to a place where socialization and syntax no longer rule. To dream, for a sorcerer, isn't to be the hero -- that's the 'lucid dreamer,' obsessed with self to the end. To dream oneself someplace else takes tremendous discipline. One dreams when there's nothing left: no desires or debts, anger or happiness -- only silence. Then, boom! Don Genaro Flores said that was the sound of the world stopping. When you stop the system of interpretation, that's what you hear: BOOM. At that moment, all of you goes to that other place -- hair, pocket money, shoes."
For now, that other place was Customs. We're back in L.A. I can tell, because it's the only airport I know that comes with paparazzi.
A FEW MONTHS ago, I got a call from the wife of an old friend, felled by a tumor in his head. Boom. A tousle-haired jock with a weed growing in the garden of his skull for what doctors guessed was the better part of a decade. They said it sat on the brain like a skullcap, but I saw it more like a man-o'-war gently riding cerebral fluids. This was the kind of bud you'd grimly joke with if it happened to someone else. How could it be? I saw him at Cedars after surgery, and he told me about a dream. He had dreamed a passel of ghouls. The ghouls, polite ones at that, asked in best ghoulish voice if he'd be so kind as to be the "official spokesperson for the disembodied." That gave me a chill. My friend went on to say he had agreed -- in the dream, that is -- "because now I had some time on my hands."
Jesus. That was one for Oliver Sacks -- or Carlos Castaneda.
"DEATH IS TOO SHOCKING," CC says, as we scan the lobby of the Chateau Marmont. "We prefer to be King of the Hill." His manner is casual, offhand. "Ten thousand years ago" he came here to visit a writer working on a screenplay of The Teachings of Don Juan. We walk pass the front desk on the way to Sunset Boulevard. Is that Judy Davis entering the lift?
"The sperm count of man is dropping -- did you read about it? It's below the level of hamsters. They blame it on migration to the cities, but that's absurd. The bats will win -- their sonar systems have become inconceivable. While the bats hone themselves, what does man do? He eats. He fights. He fucks. He defends his ego. Man is truly an insane ape! He has his holy men -- the special chair the guru sat in is on display. 'This is where Baba sat,' they say during the tour ... They've wrapped his feces in plastic. That's the New Age. I'm the Old Age!"
CC and I stroll into Bar Marmont. The hip setting lends a hallucinatory whiff to his juxtaposition, but he seems to be enjoying himself. I point out notables: Michael Stipe, a table with Abel Ferrara and Steve Buscemi, Paul Schrader and Bridget Fonda, a UTA agent with the super-model.
I think they call Shalom (a peace in any language). All in all, the perfect moment to ask about the luminous egg.
"Okay, let's say you, uh, see Michael Stipe standing before you. I mean, energetically."
"Michael Stipe would appear as a luminous sphere."
I'm into it now; the shadow-boxing apprentice is getting his see legs. "You've said that such luminous spheres have a bright spot called the assemblage point."
"Roughly at the height of the shoulder blades," he demonstrates, "an arm's length back. That's where perception is assembled and interprete The old sorcerers saw that the assemblage point is in the same position for all men -- that's why we view the world, this world, in such uniformity. The assemblage point is displaced when we dream -- and when that happens, new worlds come together, as real as our own. The sorcerer's art is to willfully displace that assemblage point, then fix its new position. That's the art of dreaming."
My energetic Everlasts torn, I rush back to my corner for solace and stitching -- the bathroom again, to sit on my stool. I think I understand what he's saying, but it makes me fucking uneasy. I stare at myself in the mirror and try to conjure the luminous egg ... so cogent one minute, outlandish the next. The world has always been extravagantly improbable; how, then, do we go about choosing what is or isn't so, personally? Is it merely a question of context?
I splash water on my face, grounding myself in the soothing petty paranoias of Film World. Edgily, I muse: Hey. Doesn't Stipe have some kind of "overall" at Miramax? He's probably already rushed over and introduced himself to Castaneda -- handshaking a deal right now on The EagI Gift. A little feature ... something around 7 to 10 -- with Buscemi as the brujo Don Juan. Schrader's already joined them, cobbling together a second act on a napkin, while hot-and-bothered UTA shoehorns Shalom as a Species-like Sonoran ally.
Castaneda is alone when I return, nursing his hot water. He's always drinking hot water. By the time I sit down, the luminous egg and its assemblage point are absurdities again. My attention span is sucky; maybe a little Ritalin would help me crack the energy code. Disconsolately I tell him I've been mulling those tricky shamanistic concepts but can't seem to suspend judgment. My ego's in id-lock.
"You're thinking too much, that's all," he says. "We're all ponderers." A scarily obese person lumbers toward us, then floats from view like a leaky barge -- today? factotum? publicist? "That's us: dying to be fat and useless. The difficult part about Don Juan's world is that you have to experience.
If all the pondering is properly examined, it's revealed to be meaningless. Pondering -- the obsession with linear response, with cause and effect -- is fallacious. There's no way to explain anything. We've been trained to believe we're curious to know the why of things. We think we can arrive at an 'understanding'; 'noble' intellectuals, totally unaccustomed to action. We pretend to seek answers, but our desire is to debunk. We're all Grand Inquisitors-I have met Torquemadas in my time! We hunger for the Big Question and we're enthralled by the Inadequate Answer, so we can go back to Seinfeld. The truth is, we're not curious at all."

PART II of II
AS WE WALK ALONG SUNSET, WE pass an enormous mobile home; pinch-faced men and women in black scurry about with garment bags. There's some kind of Vogue shoot going on in the Chateau garden, and we take a look. Helmut Newton is straddling a supermodel, six feet of pale, thrift-store Prada. It makes CC think of Fellini, who came to see him once in L.A. Il Maestro wanted to make a movie of his books; more to the point, he wanted to crash that Third Gate, swept through on the muscular black-tie arm of mescalito.(**) What a dream-date And, oh! How I sympathized with the dead, extravagant fish-mouthed auteur!
MY MOOD SWINGS LIKE A HAMMOCK in the caressing Santa Ana. I'm melancholy and mention my friend, he of the erstwhile tumor.
"We are beings who are going to die. That's exquisite -- think what can be accomplished by a being who knows he's going to die, who's fully aware. That's not morbid, that's a triumph. But we don't believe it, that's the flaw. Your friend, is he okay?"
"Yes. He seems to be recovering."
He brightens. "Ah! It's possible to reject all kinds of things. But then we need proof and assurances -- guarantees we're in remission. The doctors want to test endlessly. We are compulsive fatalists. I have a friend whose father e-mails him writings about his prostate; Daddy got the Big C and wants to make sure the son's on schedule. 'Cancer's just around the corner -- watch out!' We've been slated for conventional defeat, conventional death; we know how the end will come. For him, the prostate; for her, the breast. We hedge our bets with investments: retirement funds, pensions, vacation plans. The 'hot' hotel in Lanai is on the horizon! We want to know -- everything. Against that immensity out there, we know nothing! How could we? We cling: If only we could really know, like Leonard Nimoy."
I do the Vulcan spit-take. "Please explain."
"An Argentinean once wrote me a letter. 'My dear Carlos,' he said. 'For whatever it's worth, you must be aware of one thing: Leonard Nimoy knows."'
THE WORLD IS MAD, OF THAT much I'm certain. But is Carlos Castaneda? He believes we're magical beings; only the worst of cynics would disagree. He asserts our electromagnetism; the scientists nod. He wishes to replace the inner dialogue with silence; Buddhists wouldn' have a problem. He desires to navigate in the unknown with something called the double, or "energy body." Oh shit.
We meet downtown at the Pantry, where he occasionally came with Don Juan. If sorcerers dream of diners, surely they dream of this one. There's a quintessence-of-eatery about the place: burnished, vaguely haunted, perfectly distilled -- the diurnal bookend to Hopper's Night Hawks.
"I wanted to ask you about the double."
"We call that the 'energy body' or'dreaming body.'
"It's different than the luminous egg?"
"Yes, the double is something else. It's a counterpart. We all have one, but we're separated from it at birth -- like Spy magazine says. What sorcerers do is call back the double. They use it to navigate ... out there."
I get that urge again and quickly scan for bathroom egress. For the hell of it, I decide to break an old pattern and stay put -- what sorcerers call a "not-doing." This, then, will be my men's room not-going. Instead, I inquire about the crux of his recent seminars, the series of strange movements taught him by the legendary brujo -- "magical passes" never mentioned in any of his books. He calls this lost art "Tensegrity" and says it is essential to gathering enough energy to "cancel out our inherited view of the world."
"The magical passes were discovered by shamans of ancient Mexico during dreaming navigations. They were intensely secretive -- I never wrote about them because they were just too personal."
"But were Don Juan's explanations enough?" My not-going has left me feeling feisty. "I would think he business about dreaming navigations was a bit on the abstract side -- this was probably early in your apprenticeship, no? Weren't you more curious about the movements' origins?"
"Certainly! I wanted to know everything, to arrive at an 'understanding.' Oh, I ached to ponder. But Don Juan discouraged that particular discussion. Just as he discouraged me looking into a mirror or videotaping myself while dreaming."
"How freakish." Though I wasn't sure what he meant, I found the prospect genuinely unsettling.
"I assure you 'Mr. Nightmare'was more inquisitive than Geraldo -- or Mike Wallace." He laughed so hard he practically coughed up his porterhouse. "That's what Don Juan called me: Mr. Nightmare."
Cleargreen -- the company that sponsors CC's worldwide Tensegrity workshops -- recently announced over the Internet that "due to circumstances related to energy flow," L.A. would now have Castaneda's special focus. When I ask him to elaborate, he suddenly seems far away. Not nostalgic, just remote. "I'll never catch up to Don Juan. How beautiful! How much more beautiful than the shitty sadness I carried around for my parents and their fate. There isn't much time; I'm the end of Don Juan's line. Being here, in Los Angeles, is very real. You know Don Juan had a place of 'predilection' -- a valley around 60 miles north of Mexico City, near the pyramid of Tula. For me, he said that place of predilection was Los Angeles."
AT THE BUFFALO CLUB (WITHOUT him). On the way, I thought I hit a bird. Which alarms me because Castaneda had told me that was a standing joke back in Don Juan's time -- "Everyone was always nervously saying, 'I think I hit a bird."' Bad omens rising.
I sit at the Buffalo bar and drink. Steve Buscemi and Steve Bochco and Frank Stallone and Michael Stipe and Cameron Diaz and Lauren Shuler-Donner and Paul Schrader and Eric Idle and Traci Lords and Spike Jones and Bob Shaye and Shalom and Michael Mann and Elisabet Shue and Helmut Newton and Abel Ferrara and Dominick Dunne. None of them were there! Must be an off night. I imagine my friend with the excised tumor sweeping in, darkly Dolce & Gabbana'd, an insectoid Foreign Legion pin on lapel denoting Official Spokesperson for the Disembodied.
Over a martini, I review my crib notes: (1) We're magical beings, not just assholes; (2) We've been taught to see the world in a certain way; (3) We can temporarily cancel out what we've been taught and experience new worlds, real as our own; (4) There are no words to describe those new worlds; (5) Those worlds can be accessed during dreams, when our ironclad perceptual grip relaxes; (6) We use our birthright -- the double, or dreaming body -- to navigate; (7) To do that takes a shitload of energy; (8) Energy is accrued by shutting up the inner dialogue and doing strange, ancient physical movements; (9) Energy is accrued by "intent"; (10) Intent is a natural force, like gravity. (Sorcerers say dinosaurs intended to fly, so grew wings. If man is to evolve, so must he intend the abstract wings of freedom.)
I see Kim Cattrall and run the 10 points past her while her boyfriend, Daniel Benzali, the Murder One guy, visits the head. I ask what she thinks, and she says I sound PMS. I tell her about my erstwhile-tumored friend, and this opens the morbid floodgates: She mentions someone who got shot and I mention Elisabeth Leustig, the casting director mortally hit-and-run in Moscow. Regrettably, my mind, always looking after its own, segues to the novel I just wrote, the galleys of which arrived this morning in a torn FedEx package, the back of each page stamped with massive tire tracks. Bad omens rising!
I walk them out. A few pasty, subdued Baader-Meinhof types push colored pens and notebooks at her -- glossies from Bonfire, Star Trek and Masquerade. Kim talks to them in fluent German, but all the starstruck autograph hounds can muster is "Zuper!" While she signs, Daniel, having overheard my energy rant, references John Cage, then asks about Castaneda's idea of "silence. " He's gracious, trodding delicately -- the way one is around the emotionally challenged.
"He says that once you shut off the inner dialogue, you become empty. And that opens you to all kinds of bizarreness."
"And what was that you said about colors, Bruce?"
"When you're empty -- I mean, this is what Castaneda says -- you see a kind of sheet on the horizon. And it's lavender! He says there's a point of color on that sheet: pomegranate. He says the pomegranate point expands, then bursts into an infinity that can be'read."'
"As in literal text?" Kim asks.
A pause. She had me there. The charitable Daniel winces a goodbye.
FOUR A.M. HUNCHED AT THE MultiSync, surfing unofficial Internet newsgroups like alt.dreams.castaneda, Spanish poems -- Gorostiza, Vallejo, Neruda -- and tango lyrics exchanged. Advice to the love- and energy-lorn. Seems to me my tumorless bud will have to unseat incumbent Bill Gates -- the real spokesperson for the disembodied (you only vote by absentee). I ask the ether if Infinity can be read as text, an someone says, Yeah, that's how CC writes his books. Upcoming workshop gossip. Speculation about possible attendance of Blue Scout, a stellar wild child introduced in 1994's The Art of Dreaming. Names of passes dropped: "Preparing to Cross Over," "Stabbing Energy in Search of a New Position of the Assemblage Point," "The Female and Male Winged Being," "The Stellar Hatch." Someone says the latter draws on "the energy of dead stars," which provokes more queries: Do trees have assemblage points? Where is L.A.'s "power spot"? (Hint: Not Drai's.) Are there worlds where hues have scents? And what is the color of discipline?
THE WORKSHOP AT UCLA. Five hundred seekers, choreographed on the shiny wood court in a shamanistic half-time show. In keeping with the weekend's theme -- " Warriors on the Run" -- the passes seem speedier, more propulsive than those in Mexico: qi-soaked eruptions that resemble kung fu; then, sudden filigreed handwork akin to tai chi. But what the hell do I know.
"Tensegrity isn't a'fighting form,"' CC tells the group. "It isn't competitive. In the world, one thought competes with 10 others. We have to try and leave the world behind." The magical passes are'maneuvers designed to isolate and enhance what sorcerers call the'energy body"' -- not necessarily the goal of your average storefront dojo for savage young white boys. Someone asks if the movements were performed en masse in the days with Don J. "Not then -- because the passes were injurious. The movements taught to myself were solely for me, to balance my energetic conifiguration and purge its obsessive nature. You see, our idea is that the men and women who discovered these movements were a little dark, a little ... ominous. Those qualities had to be removed before the passes could be shared."
I DO 20 MINUTES OF TENSEGRITY in my living room; oddly, my limbs seem to remember one of the longer sequences. I imagine my dreaming body floating toward me like a ghostly pet at chow time. Then I lie down for one of the Silence exercises: Calves dangling, I place a weight on my belly, applying pressure to the top of the rib cage with my fingertips. I shut my eyes and transcend the lids, focusing somewhere far on the dark horizon. After flirting with silence, I swig down some Kahlua and dream liqueured inanities.
Awaken at four a.m. Turn on the television. Ping-pong between Bravo, CNN, VH- 1, Cops, IFC, Court-TV. On the latter, a compendium of trials: war criminals on the stand in The Hague; in Atlanta, a divorce attorney divorces his wife, herself a former client; a woman abandons her Alzheimer's-stricken father at an Idaho dog track. (A trend. The media calls it "granny-dumping.") Press the mute and drift ... What if Castaneda's right? hums the refrain in my vaguely nauseated head. What if, in fact, this Bosnian Citywalk reality we're so cockily possessive of turn out to be some Twilight Zone joke (the one where the drunken couple awakens in what turns out to be the dollhouse of an extraterrestrial little girl). What if the whole seductive bankrupt Barneys world is one shamelessly imposed -- not merely the imposition of laws or learned social niceties but, far more insidious, the dictator of how we perceive, tyrant of the way we watch the very things in front of us (it has our eyes) ... and, uh, if it's really true we've been mugged at birth, robbed of even the shitty amount of awareness it takes to see some kind of wonder beyond its well-worn, leeching inventory -- well that's, uh, like jail. Huh? A snakepit of dysfunction and fatal surprises for most of us -- and for the rest, well, kinda cushy really: a well-kept, well-lit federal jail with Burke Williams massages, AIDS walkathons, nec plus ultra cel phones, Internet lecheries, successful surgeries, successful adoptions, successful hardworking antidepressants and Four Seasons brunches with smiley omelet chefs in big puffy hats -- like one of those Tijuana prisons I read about, where money buys you a sort of brownstone and you can have weapons and whores and heroin and the family over for BBQ. What if it's really true that ... BOOM! As they say.
THE GETTY LOOMS AS WE PULL onto the 405. A cruddy promontory for a $750 million building, what with the freeway and the circular hotel and the garbage dump nearby -- talk about Your funky feng shui. But who am I to say'? I ask about local power spots, and CC mentions somewhere in El Monte.
"Do you actually go there?"
"Visiting those places," he says, "is something one does in one's youth -- it's not for me. I'm focused on the horizon.
"Does that mean," I ask, 'with the power spots and all, that the earth is aware? If it is, then it must have an assemblage point." My chest swells. Groovily conversant, I work the wild, newfound lingua franca.
"The earth is a conscious being," he answers. "It has a very weird pull, When you get a little hysterical, lie on it with your stomach -- it'll cure you. The earth absorbs; it holds us. Then, at a certain moment, it has nothing left. It tells a warrior,"You may go."' I glance over; he shivers. "The earth as a conscious being -- a superior mother-cuts the roots to let him float. 'Go!' she tells him. How gorgeous."
We embrace at the terminal. I wonder just where the hell he's going, flightwise. It isn't Mexico -- so one of his colleagues said. I wasn't about to press. A giant cop, shooing away the naked and the double: parked, works his way toward us. I linger, repeating what I had read the night before in Journey to Ixtlan:
"Don Juan said there was no way for you to go back to Los Angeles. 'What you left there is lost forever."'
"True. Very true. But he also said the feelings in a man don't die or change. 'The sorcerer starts on his way back home knowing he'll never reach it, knowing no power on earth, not even his death, will deliver him to the place, the things, the people he loved."'
Then he's gone and the cop is here, welcoming me back to the world.
(*) I'll be glad to see the end of the'90s: Can it be that even sorcerers aren't immune to the long arm of the Twelve Steps? "I came to believe I was powerless over the Social Order ... " What have things come to?
(**) In Sorcerers Anonymous, the secret handshake query is, "Are you friends of williamsii?"
Copyright Los Angeles Magazine, Inc. May 1996


AntwortZitat
(@Moment des Menschen)
Mitglied
Beigetreten: vor 12 Jahren
Beiträge: 112
16/04/2013 5:29 pm  

Castaneda Casualties: An Interview with Amy Wallace
(Magical Blend Magazine, © MB Media 2004).

by Michael Peter Langevin

When visionary author Carlos Castaneda died, as he almost certainly did of liver cancer in 1998, several female members of his inner circle disappeared, amidst much sinister speculation. Had they all "burned from within," as Carlos described a sorcerer's departure from this earth? Or was this another outrageous hoax from a man whose credibility had come to be questioned by just about everyone other than those still held in thrall by his personal magnetism and incomparable storytelling? Taisha Abelar and Florinda Donner-Grau-- two of the three "witches" said to be master apprentices of Castaneda's Yaqui sorcerer mentor Don Juan-- were among the missing. Nury Alexander, also known as The Blue Scout and described by Castaneda as an energetic entity rescued from the realm of inorganics (and later legally adopted by him), was gone as well, along with Kylie Lundahl and Talia Bey, two more of the annointed inner circle. Their phone numbers were all disconnected on the same day. All had been regular recipients of large sums of the money generated by the royalties from Casteneda's perpetually bestselling books and his community's well-attended workshops. Was this vanishing act-- perhaps even Carlos' death itself-- the result of a suicide pact? Or was this mystery further evidence of the nonordinary reality that Castaneda wrote about, evoked incessantly, and seemed largely to live in?
If anyone would be in a position to know, it would be Amy Wallace. Having been introduced to Castaneda when she was 16 by her author father, Irving Wallace, she reunited with Carlos in the early 1990s when he called to tell her he had spoken to her dead father in the dreaming realm. They fell in love, or something like it. Amy Wallace had the king's ear, as it were, and ostensibly, his heart. But, as she tells in her new book, Sorcerer's Apprentice (North Atlantic, 2003), being at the center of the psychic storm that Castaneda alternately calmed and created was a painful, confusing place to be. Sorcerer's Apprentice is a powerful yet deeply troubling book. It reveals Castaneda as cruel and manipulative yet charismatic and childlike in his relationships, mostly with women. It's a story told by a sadder but wiser and very honest woman whose self-image is still not quite sure what hit it. She recently told us some of what she knows:
________________________________________
MB: What happened to the witches when Carlos died, and why didn't Carol Tiggs, whom some saw as the most powerful of the witches and who claimed to be The Blue Scout's mother, go with them?
There's lot I can't tell you. But I was told that when I can speak, I should call Magical Blend. It turns out that the witches, including the Blue Scout, disappeared. I was told by a very drunken Taisha Ablelar that she was going to kill herself. Then I was told by Carol Tiggs that she had just arrived at the site of a suicide attempt by the Blue Scout. I believe she didn't succeed then, but it could be possible that she has since then. And one of the things that made me break with the group was that Carol was actually moving into my house, and she was just about insane-- as anyone would be. On Tuesday she would say "They're dead! They're all dead" and then on Wednesday, she would say "They're all alive," and she'd get on the cell phone and say to someone, "Oh, I just talked to them," or "No, I haven't heard from them yet." And it was just too much for me. It was like a "suicide missing-in-action."
But then they settled on a party line, and this I can tell you: Debbie Drooz [Castaneda's lawyer and the executor of his estate-Ed.] is in charge of disbursing extremely large sums of money to these women. And she has not disbursed a single check since the day they left. And I understand that while they were making up their wills, she asked them, "Now, you're not going to do anything stupid, are you?" Now, that's a very odd question, isn't it?
MB: Yes. It also seems odd that they made out new wills days within a few days of Carlos' death. It sounds like perhaps a group suicide was planned.
Well, when Debbie Drooz asked them about it, they said, "Of course not." And she said, "Then I'll make the disbursals." But none of that happened. And some of their family members died-- like Talia's father died and Florinda-- who was in constant touch with her family-- her father died in his 90s and her brothers couldn't get in touch with her and they were all distraught because they can't reach who they were used to reaching. And, in spite of the myth that Carlos insisted on a total cut-off from family members, that's not true for everybody. In Florinda's case particularly. So it's very dark.
So we have a couple of things to look at here. Either they literally left with millions in cash and had some kind of complex Swiss bank accounts-- I don't know about those kinds of things-- or they're not here anymore. They had so much money coming to them, and all that money will go to Carol-- all of it.
MB: Why didn't she go? Was it five women who disappeared?
Well, there was Kylie and Talia, Taisha and Florinda, and then the Blue Scout separately. And it gets confusing for me in some places because I was told for several days or a week that Carlos had left with the Blue Scout. And I thought, physically that's impossible because he was in a coma last I heard, so how could he be moved? She would have to put him in the car and his bodily functions weren't working; he would have to be injected for diabetes, so I didn't see how he could take a long drive with his adopted daughter-- and lover. And of course now we know that none of that was true.
MB: Does this leave Carol Tiggs as the new leader of the community or of Cleargreen [Casteneda's business entity]?
The idea of Carol leading a group is as absurd as the idea of me redoing your plumbing. She's not a leader type. What she said to me was, "I hate what left and I hate what stayed." Now, if she stayed and the Blue Scout had stayed-- at that point, she was still here; she was seen two weeks after they supposedly left town-- who knows? They were supposed to be a loving mother and daughter but there was a lot of animosity between them, and it was quite a sight to see. At one point during that two-week period, Carol was wiggling her toes in the pool and saying, "Now I'm in charge! I get to be in charge!" I don't think she wanted to stay and have somebody like Nury still have some power over her while she was still here. And also I don't think she wants the job. She kept saying, "It's like the whole group of them are sucking on my tits like I'm a big sow or something. I just want to be left alone." It was like Greta Garbo time for her. In other words, she's used to being waited on hand and foot, and she still can be, it's just that she has to deal with all their problems.
If she had left with that group, she would be the lowest on the pecking order. She was here, and she would have been there. If she stayed, she would have basically had to have been consulting therapists because of all the people. So the last I heard was that she moved out to be near her mother. She may have left the country or she may be living in the Pacific Palisades with her mother, who takes an extraordinarily laissez-faire attitude toward what her daughter does. She thinks it's all a big lark.
MB: Do you think the other four committed suicide?
Yes. Taisha said to me, "Since I'm going to commit suicide, it doesn't matter anymore if I'm a drunk, right?" And Kylie said, "We both know what we're going to do, and there's no other way." She never used the word suicide, but I was worried. She'd gotten bottles of pills and given them to Carlos. She said if ever she couldn't make it, she would take them, and she knew what to do. She was hellbent-- she's always talked about suicide. She said, "I know that you've reached that point, too, and that you're to do it." And she was blissed out (this is not in the book; Carol said it). But Talia said "I've never seen anyone look so scared." So they may have done different things or just stuck together, but I suspect they're all gone. Talia's brother was here. Nobody knows if Talia's dead or missing, but if wherever she is is unestablished, part of his estate is part of Talia's estate and it goes to Eagle's Gift [the trust established in Castaneda's will] in her name, so his own home is in danger. So he was really freaked out and in shock. Carlos always portrayed them as rich, but they're not. They don't have the money to hire a detective, but investigations are being undertaken.
MB: How do the remaining group members feel about your book?
One of the most damning things in the entire book Carol said to me after Carlos was gone. She said, "You know, you're very dangerous to us." And I said, "How could I be?" And she said, "Because you know too much. You're a time bomb." And I thought, it's a corrupt spiritual organization when you can know too much. It should have been open, truthful, honest, loving-- these are my beliefs. I don't think there should be baroque secrets that make somebody a time bomb. So, by writing the book I let off the bomb.
MB: That's right. Are you in touch with Cleargreen? Is Tensegrity [the latest version of Castaneda's teachings] being run by Debra Drooz?
It's being run by Reni Murez; she's the person-in-chief there, but they won't answer anyone's phone calls. They might from you if they think they're gonna get a good story, but so many people have told me that they have tried to contact them, and they won't answer any calls.
MB: And yet they're still putting on Tensegrity workshops across the world?
Yes, they are. Now, they're getting smaller, of course. But what they do, is they say the witches are directing it from afar, and since there's no proof either way, yet, quite, about all of them, people choose to believe that. Also they have very little information. People ask me, "Did you ever see magic?" And the answer is no.
MB: No?
I've seen it in my life. I believe in it. I know it exists, but I didn't see it there. That really blew my mind because I'm a professional researcher and writer, and I've written about the paranormal and spontaneous human combustion. It happens, believe me. I've written 13 books. And I've seen magic. I mean, I've talked to cops who were there and witnessed it! But not from Carlos, or any of the others.
MB: Carlos's books changed the world. He was a great writer and a great performer on the world stage. Whether or not he was a sorcerer is hard to say.
I don't think he had powers or secret knowledge.
MB: Do you think the lost years between his first wife's book and your book were just spent doing the same sort of thing he did towards the end?
Yes, he was very focused on workshops during that period. He wanted to go public, and I don't know what his personal reasons were for that. He said it was some energetic need to preserve the lineage. He did try to offer the lineage to Tony Karam in Mexico, and it was very interesting to me that Tony walked away from millions of dollars and hot and cold running women. Now there's an impeccable guy.
MB: And rare.
Yes, and a wonderful person. I just think the world of him. Victor Sanchez, too. These are honorable people. I think there's got to be a lot of hard feelings among the other men in terms of competition who might have expected to be offered that. They weren't offered it.
MB: As far as you know he only offered it to Tony?
Yes, it's amazing. These are the reasons Tony gave me for not doing it. He said, "I never saw magic; it was always a dangled carrot, and I was being asked to tell lies about what places I'd been and things I'd seen. And I will not do that."
MB: Good for him. So as far as you're concerned, you're basically going on record as saying that Carlos was a good author, a good performer, a good storyteller, but not a magic worker at any point.
No. He had one of the most charismatic personalities I've ever seen in my life. I believe we're all psychic, and I believe that he could tune in, at a very high level, to your needs and the right timing. He was very astute, and although that's a form of psychism, it's not the same. He was honed in that way. For example, he once said he was going to bring a 200-pound pigeon from a different dimension. Well, that never happened. None of those things ever happened. Once a year, I would tell him a dream, and because I was so reticent, he was respectful and would answer. One time I said I had a dream in which we were levitating into another dimension while we were making love. I asked him, "So what was that?" And he said, "That's how it's going to be, chica-- that's how it's going to happen." So I think what he did was take people, and confirm their fantasies. He would say your dreams or your waking fantasies are actually dreaming awake so therefore all that stuff happened. So some people believed they were living double lives that they were only aware of in a dream context. In other words, only he could tell them, "This really happened."
MB: The ultimate cult leader, the ultimate guru.
Exactly, and the only thing they remember is working a job, or going to school, and living a bizarre but regular life. None of them performed acts of magic, although Florinda had the closest to that kind of charisma. too.
MB: Does that, then, imply that Don Juan didn't exist on any level?
No one has ever seen Don Juan or spoken to him, and there have been no reported sightings and no reported meetings, ever. Carlos used to say, "Don Juan's oldest student is a woman named Joanie Barker." I met someone during my readings who said he said he had introduced Joanie and Carlos. Joanie claims never to have met Don Juan.
MB: So is Don Juan a composite fictional figure?
That's what I believe. I believe he was a composite figure for literary reasons. And I think this is a good question, "Did other people work on those books?" The series changed dramatically-- and I recommend them as gorgeous parables of how to live-- but Carlos used to say, "People ask me why I wrote these great books? I don't know, I don't know," he'd say. Well, I got an anonymous email from Simon and Schuster saying, "I can't risk losing my job, but those books were either heavily edited or basically ghost-written, at certain points."
MB: Right, and towards the end, like you said, there was definitely a change in the predominant force, originating from either the writers or the editors.
Right, and there was another change when Tensegrity took off. There was also another publisher involved in the last book, and another editor. I've never met an editor in my life who didn't work on a book.
MB: Right, in the industry it's a given.
It's clear to me that there is not one Carlos Castaneda who wrote all of those books that way.
MB: I was in Peru not long ago, and many of the spiritual teachings are very similar to Carlos's early books.
Well, he grew up there.
MB: Yeah, and it seemed to me he took it and grafted it to Northern Mexico in many instances.
Yeah, and I also think he traveled, because he spent a lot of time in Argentina and around Mexico and studied with other shamans as well. Probably the bulk of what you're saying is true.
MB: Even though you weren't in his life at this time, do you feel a lot of his earlier studies were to feed the books rather than to build a true magic or a true repetoire of knowledge?
Well, I think he was trying to get his doctorate; I don't think he knew it would turn into a bestseller. The world of academia meant the world to him. He wanted me to go to college. For him, the biggest kind of trophy he could have was academic respect.
MB: Which he really never got.
No, although they were split. The graduate committee who gave him his doctorate was split on the issue. He never got respect from UCLA-- at least the kind of respect he wanted.
MB: You seem comfortable with the idea that there was a pre-European altered reality that he brought forward though.
Oh yes, and I think if people could take that, and use it, and refrain from dropping off cliffs into other dimensions...If people would keep their power... I'm very moved by people's reactions to my book. I've been getting letters saying they're saved.
MB: You're setting people free; what a great service.
Yeah, it's kind of hard to take in. It's like, it didn't turn into this big bestseller because I parted ways with Simon and Schuster, so it's hard to pay the mortgage, but...
MB: Yeah, writing isn't consistent; we know that. But the movie's coming out, and with interviews and stuff, it could hit. There are a lot of books that come to life late.
There are a lot of books that come to life late, and my publisher's terrific because they keep books in print. I'm better off where I am, going through the hard times. The sense of service is so deep, when I get these letters. I sometimes cry, because to have literally saved a life. That's amazing.
MB: What better purpose to live for?
I know, I mean, it's the most beautiful thing. Or to have saved a marriage, or a family...
MB: Have you come in contact, either when you were in the group or since then, with people who, like you, responded to Victor Sanchez, with people that you really feel are living a Toltec existence or a spiritual existence?
Merilyn Tunneshende, no, and at the office we get a postcard a day from her saying, "Hi Honeybuns, love you, kissy kissies." And I saw her come to the workshop, if it was her, acting really crazy. I have read her publications, and I don't believe her. I don't know much about Ken Eagle; I'm kind of a "no comment there." Victor Sanchez has my total vote of confidence; I think he's the real thing. Tony is primarily Tibetan-oriented, but is really what you would call a spiritual human being. Miguel-Ruiz-- they didn't try to sue him. He's kind of a watered-down, lightweight, but honest.
MB: Sort of a Christian, middle-American Castaneda.
Exactly. They didn't try to sue him; they left him alone. They didn't find grounds. It's incredible how litigious Carlos got.
MB: Regardless of that, his devout fans were furious at anyone that he didn't speak well of-- loyal to a T.
And you know, I don't think that will ever end.
MB: No, because the books did touch so many lives and inspire so many people that regardless of who he changed into or who he really was, it almost doesn't matter.
Yeah, at Simon and Schuster, when I tried to leave, and it turned out I was contractually bound, I couldn't leave, and finally I pissed them off by telling my truth. My editor said, "Pablo Picasso put his cigarettes out on the arms of his mistresses; that doesn't mean he was any less a great artist, or a human being." Now I thought that was a pretty weird statement, because it means he was a creepy human being.
MB: Right, but his art is separate.
Right, but Carlos did create beautiful art, and if you can take it as such and separate that, then you've got the best. But people have so much trouble making that separation, because at certain points Carlos would say, "you have to follow all my commands" and at other days, "Throw out all my books. Don't read them, burn them; they're old stuff. They don't count anymore; they're meaningless." He really was like the weather.
The video, Enigma of a Sorcerer really ends with saying he was the perfect guru because he had feet of clay at the end.
Why does that make a man perfect?
MB: It was an interesting place to go with the ending.
I thought that was such a weird ending. Why does that make you a good guru? Because you have to wake up and find your own path? I ended my book with, "Don't give your power away."
MB: Amen. As you describe him in the book, he was the archetypal cult leader.
Does this cult remind you more of one than another?
MB: I think, in general, that they tended to go that way. You have a charismatic leader, and he falls into one temptation or another, and they become very "in-crowd-out-crowd."
And you'll never get in enough within the in-crowd.
MB: Right, and that's whole goal, and that's what keeps everybody running on the merry-go-round.
Exactly. The one thing I thought was really weird for a long time was that you couldn't join with money. He would take all your personal possessions, but that was my choice, he didn't make me do it. And if I had a really expensive piece of jewelry, but he thought that it had a bad vibe, he'd say, "Try to get some money by selling it." Florinda saved a couple things, because she knew better. And I was so enamored that I was willing to do anything. She comes off badly in the book, but I really love her.
MB: No person is black and white.
No, and she had that moment where she was like, "Save this, the day will come when it's really yours and you're gonna want it and be sorry." The only thing that I found was that was different than most groups was that you couldn't just join.
MB: You had to be invited to go.
Are there other groups like that?
MB: To the inner circles, yeah. There's always the Tensegrity workshops somewhere, so you can be in the outer circle, with the hope of catching someone's attention.
I've heard people say, "He looked in my eyes, and then I had hope for the rest of my life." And then they would go on these long tangents on the internet about what it all meant. As someone who was in this for so long, I can only say I was totally brainwashed and susceptible to it. But I see people there that are....nothing could move them. I like to think it could be otherwise, but maybe I got the best of it because I was closer in.
MB: I think so. Otherwise people live on fantasies and hopes.
And stories. I've heard about the current Tensegrity workshops, and people are saying, "I went here, and I went therewith The Blue Scout," and so on, and I don't believe that.
MB: On a sexual level in the book you portray Castaneda as almost superhuman.
Well, you know-- because he had diabetes, he wasn't able to get a full erection-- that's a sign of having diabetes, and sometimes of age. But he had an ability to have frequent, very frequent, orgasms. And I thought this was impossible, but I did some research and found out it was. Because I know a friend of my father's, just turned 90 and had twins. And Norman Lear, in his 70s, has little children. So obviously they're having sexual activity with their wives. Carlos and I had great chemistry; he and I just really clicked in a lot of ways, sexually. And I think that because of that, he put more into it.
MB: And yet, in the inner circle, he had sex with 10,20, 30 women.
I found out, and it was really hard to get answers, that some women he would only have sex with once every year, or once every six months or something, whereas we were having a lot more sex than the others, like, once a week.
MB: So he wasn't quite Wilt Chamberlain.
No, the numbers may have been great, but could he do it with frequency with everybody? No. And could he do it with a genuine... I mean, Florinda and I talked about this, if you can believe it or not, about his not having a full erection and stuff like that. And that's something I didn't want to talk about in the book. I don't mind you're using it; I just don't want it to sound distasteful.
MB: Right, you know, sex sells, and yet, if you do it wrong, people get so turned off.
Exactly, but this is a critical point: He had this orgasmic capacity, but he wasn't really performing the way you would normally make love that many times in a row. So he had capacity to have repeated orgasms. But his urge to have sex with as many people as possible was so strong, it meant so much to him... I know this sounds silly, but he was so obsessed with his height, that I wouldn't be surprised if it stemmed from that.
MB: Sure. Napoleon conquered all of Europe.
There you go, and he and I were exactly the same size. When I came into the group, Florinda said, "At last someone his size" in front of all the other women, and they looked at me like they were gonna kill me. And although he was very amorous with some of the taller women, I think there were a handful of us... like his adopted daughter-- he was completely infatuated with her sexually, so I think he must have been having as much sex with her as he was with me, or more. But, with other women, it wasn't that way. I knew one woman in the book whose name I changed-- she was in the group for years before he even approached her sexually. Whereas, he approached me sexually before I was in the group. So, whether it was a judgment call of how to get someone in the group, or whether it was attraction, or whether it was because my father was famous and there was some competition there, I don't know. You know that they really, really liked each other but he also wanted to show that he could have his.... I have a friend who he wanted to have the daughter of, and... I don't know.
MB: Did he ever use herbs?
Yeah, he gave me rosemary, which he cut himself from the side of the house, and I was told this was from a cutting by don Juan. He would send them via the witches or hand them to me in big bags, and I was supposed to bathe in them, and never immerse myself in water, although I took baths anyway and no one ever knew the difference. We used to swim in my pool, the witches and I-- no one ever knew the difference. And he wanted me to fill the pool in with dirt, and I couldn't afford it, so we promised never to use it but we (Carol, Taisha, and I) used it every day. So, he couldn't see, you know, psychically that way. And the herbs were supposed to be used on a footstool with a little douche bag, and they were to take away the ugly sperm of anyone else I'd ever had sex with. I did this religiously forever, and its actually a very healthy herb for the genitals for the woman; it helps prevent against infections, and what-have-you. It wasn't really dangerous, just a general cleansing. But then Taisha said I could buy it at the store, and I told her I couldn't-- it was Don Juan's. And she went, "Oh, oops." And then she said, "You know, we cut down all the rosemary." And I asked her why, and she said, "Well, we had to change everything magically." And it was just kind of to piss everybody off. I don't think it was Don Juan's cutting, it was a beautiful plant that grows everywhere in Southern California, but they made it into something that was larger than it really was.
MB: Did the number of the inner circle change over time?
Oh God, it was constantly changing. There was a small handful that remained the same, but even people who were in the original group got kicked out. There was an Orange Scout that had the highest honors, The Blue Scout, kicked out. One had a complete nervous breakdown, and now wears a colostomy bag, but still believes in all this. It is so sad, and so heartbreaking, and Carole said such horrible things. She said, "Well, we'll throw her $10,000; that's what Carlos gives when he wants to get rid of people." This is some brutal stuff. The inner circle was constantly changing, and there was this very small, small core of about half a dozen people that remained. Some of them are now gone of course, and now I would say Tracy, and Bruce, and Deborah, but she didn't come to the classes....and I think she got herself in hot water, because she's a lawyer, and she's gonna come in for some very heavy questioning and she's in a very tight spot so she minded her p's and q's when she said, "Are you gonna do something stupid?" It's very weird for Carlos to die and within three days for these women to come in draw out their wills. That's not normal.
MB: Yeah, anymore than keeping the body for, how long before reporting it?
Well, they took it to... I don't know how many days. Richard knows all this, and he would be very willing to help, He's good with facts, about how many days before they took him to the crematorium, and the people who were going through the garbage, Rick and Gabby, they went to the crematorium, and they identified the body as appearing to them like Carlos so they took the body right away. He was cremated, and we don't know what they did with it. But they didn't keep the body, but once he died, they got rid of the body; the doctor, wrote out a false death certificate, and that's really illegal. I said, "Why did you say this? Why did you say that?" And I was worried that we might all have AIDS, because we all had sex with him. And she said, "Well, all I can tell you is that it was a noncommunicable liver disease, and someday maybe I'll be able to tell you more. And we know that it was liver cancer, as well as advanced diabetes. But Florinda said, "We think he was a death defier; we think you did it to him." I was accused of killing him on more than one occasion because I had poisoned his past or I.... The whole thing about the antidepressants was weird because I had taken them and then I flushed them all down the toilet. Well, they were like drinking, certain people, and taking Vicodin,
MB: Where do you think he went wrong? Do you think there was ever a moment he could have become something greater, something more noble?
I like to think that, because when you love someone you kind of love them forever. I still love him, and maybe there is a part of me that does believe that. I think that having all these women went to his head, and unfortunately I'm starting to learn that it started very early, before the books. He left his pregnant fiancée in Peru, and was fooling around, and he was the roommate of this guy named Alan Cummings, that had come to the readings, while he was writing the first book, and before the first book. And that's how he met Joanie and Lenore, and he was bringing women all the time. So something happened in that family-- maybe the story he told about his grandfather saying "You're short and unattractive and you have a handsome cousin, but you have to get women this other way," maybe that really happened. And maybe that scarred him so much that from the moment he could start seduction he did, and then the books helped so much, that I think that probably was an irresistible pull.
I think that, if he had realized that he was basically a sexaholic because of reasons of severe insecurity and had sought help or had done something about it, or written about that, I think he could've saved himself. But I think this all started long before he left... and what's sad, or good, is that he really did have knowledge.
One of the things I noticed is this: People said of him, "Did he ever stop acting like a guru?" And I said, "When he would fall asleep." And he stopped dreaming in some lucid dreaming, and those moments, he would just say, "Oh sweetie." He would act like an absolutely normal person in the most normal, normal, normal, sweet way that a lover could act at that moment. And then, when he would wake up, if it was a nap, and he would start telling me some bizarre tale about how he murdered people-- he was really into telling me about how me murdered people. That was one of his favorite stories.
MB: Yeah, he was working on a love story, that....
...it was called Assassins. Carol first told me it was so garbled, I guess by the medications, and it was so horrendous and so ugly that it should be burned and destroyed and no one should ever see it. And then a week later I said, "So what did you do it?" And she said, "Oh, it's a beautiful book, gorgeous; it's going to be published." So we may see a ghostwritten, posthumous, version of that.
MB: Yeah that would be weird, wouldn't that be weird. I'm sure it'll see the light of day. Or somebody will create it just to sell it.
I know. People can go on forever. There's a guy who came out with a book saying, " I was Carlos Castaneda; I'm channeling him." And he's probably selling better than I am. I'm taking people's religion away from them. And, on one hand, people are writing me these beautiful letters, but on the other hand, I'm really upsetting people.
MB: Oh, when we were printing Marilyn Tunneshende's articles, we got some of the worst hate mail; they made the Christians look loving.
But she was kind of more pro-Carlos.
MB: But in her articles she was questioning....
And they made the Christian mail look loving?
MB: Yeah because they were so devoted to Carlos and the myth that they didn't want to hear that he was human or that some of it might be fictional.
Did she say some of the things I'm saying in her own words?
MB: Yeah.
Really, well, she switches around a lot, though, because she has her own workshops... Sometimes she says, "I was a student of Don Juan." I mean, was she saying, "I was and he wasn't"?
MB: No, she's saying she was after him. Once Don Juan threw Carlos out, then Marilyn and Don Juan became lovers, according to Marilyn.
And what about her affair with Carlos, and "Honeybunny"?
MB: She tried to hide it for the longest time, and then she came up with the cover story that Don Juan had sent her as an undercover agent to find out what Carlos was doing.
So that's why she became a lover and then we got daily postcards?
MB: Well, that's where it really broke down-- at the questioning of that is when she stopped writing for us.
I see.
MB: I traveled in Peru doing research for my book, and I didn't meet one person in Cahamaca who knew that Casteneda was born there.
Well, his father was supposedly a jeweler.
MB: But its not like they have shrine there or even tourist tickets to a house that he was born in or anything at all.
Isn't that amazing? Florinda just gave me such a bad goodbye that it was horrible, but one of the last things she did was give me this really weird piece of jewelry, which was a pendant with some stones in it, and I showed it to so many jewelers and nobody had ever seen anything like it. It looked like a kind of eye-shaped thing; she said, "Don't wear it; it'll look like a cow bell. It'll make you look like a cow. Besides, Nury and Kylie will get jealous, so we can't have you wearing it. Just keep it." Well, actually, because it was from her and it was her final gift, and I love her, sometimes I do wear it, occasionally, but one jeweler I showed it to said that it was a kind of Argentinean work, and I wonder if Carlos didn't learn some trade from his father.
MB: I would bet.
And maybe he made that thing. And that was why it was really big...
MB: Yeah, that would make sense. Do you think the Tensegrity was stolen from a martial arts teacher that Carlos studied with?
I took Howard Lee's class; I took a private session, and when Howard found out that I knew Carlos and that I wasn't just coming to him for information, he was all over me with questions. Because Carlos tried to ditch him and deny him, and they were down the street from one another at one point, and there was a crowd around them, and Howard is tall, and he said, "Carlos, Carlito!" And Carlos hid and cowered, and Bruce covered him like a football player, and Howard decided he wouldn't have any of it, and he broke right into the circle and said, "Carlos, why are you doing this?" And Carlos decided the only way to play it was to break huddle and open his arms, put his arms around him and say "Howard, how are you?" So I think a great deal was taken from his many years of study with Howard. We also know the other women studied karate, but I don't know about the other martial arts. I also think Carlos probably made up some beautiful things, because some of them, I haven't seen them anywhere else. But I don't know if they're taught in the Peruvian tradition you learned about. Are they?
MB: No, well, I didn't see anything down there when I was down there.
It's amazing that no one knows the family, I don't know the real family name.
MB: It's Spiter.
And nobody knows the family?
MB: Well, I looked in the phone book, and there was nothing, and I asked around and nobody knew, so...
Now, he would be...he died X number of years ago, his parents have died, there's probably no one around. And I think he was an only child, so there probably just isn't anyone to remember him.
MB: Yeah, it's sort of ironic. He took the pre-Incan and Peruvian beliefs and brought them to world knowledge without telling the world what they really were, and yet no one in his hometown knows who he was.
It's extremely ironic. I've never talked to anyone who's been there to find out and told me. I'm actually really glad to hear that he brought that here.
MB: No, it's beautiful, because there's so much down there that stays down there, and its never exposed to the world. It's a convoluted path it took.
I believe that Carlos benefited from the martial arts, and took probably most from Howard, and maybe a lot from other people over the years. Recapitulation has done very powerful things for me; it's very powerful. I've heard other variants on ways to do it and stuff like that, but they claim it its their lineage.
MB: There was once a Nagual newsletter.
What happened to that?
MB: Well, it went away, and the fellow joined the group, but I'm not sure to what degree or what happened to him.
I know what happened. He was invited to what was called the Sunday class.
MB: Which was the forty chosen?
Which I was in charge of until Carlos got really pissed off at me, in the final months of his life, and kicked me out and put someone else in charge. But for years I was in charge of this class, and it was really sad because he would tell people there was no class, and they'd be kicked out, and I'd call, and they'd never know if I was telling them the truth. And sometimes he really was taking a break, so it was just agony for these people and every week they got more and more scared. He'd say, "Any questions?" And every time you opened your mouth, you said something wrong and you were never invited back, so there would be this terrible silence, and he said, "None of you have questions?" So that was awful. But then, the Nagual newsletter, he was really brave and eccentric, and he would ask questions, and Carlos took a liking to him, and never kicked him out. But Carlos went to Florinda and told her to "get this thing stopped." And at that time he was into it, and he stopped it at their request. He writes about that on the Sustained Action site. He's still active there.
MB: Sustained Action?
Sustainedaction.org has a huge list. I've been off the board because of computer problems for about a month, but I was answering questions, five thousand hits, four thousand hits, or something like that somebody told me the last time they checked. But there's all kinds of other stuff. Richard did a chronology of all of Carlos's students and all the history of the group, and all the people he talked to. So that would be an incredible board for some of your questions.
MB: What about your other books. How are they doing?
The Book of Lists series were #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List. The psychic healing book was a cult classic and is about to go into its 30th anniversary edition.
MB: Wow, congratulations.
Thank you, we just sold it to North Atlantic books. Carlos hated it, and told me to destroy it, and then he used to pull me aside and say, "You know, you really are psychic, and there are such things as psychics, but I can't let your ego blow up, so I have to keep blowing it apart."
MB: And its my show, not yours. [laughter]
Yeah, exactly-- don't you dare. I wrote it with a collaborator, Bill Henkin, and he wrote all the essays, which I don't necessarily go along with, but I wrote all the techniques, and the book is, I think, popular, because it tells you, for the cost of a paperback, how you can sit down and meditate on your chakras for self-healing and for reading, and you don't need a guru.
MB: That's what you should be teaching workshops on.
Exactly, and I've been giving lectures and readings and saying, "The power's in you". What I'd love to teach is accessing one's own power and ways to proceed.
MB: Having spoken to you, I would encourage you deeply. I think you have a lot to offer on that level, I really do.
Thank you.
MB: I meet a lot of people who know and don't know, over the years. You have a very clean essence; I think you could bring forth something that would really empower people.
Carlos spoke some truisms, and one of them was, "Service was very high, if not the highest, form." And that would be an act of service, and for that reason, I want to do it. It's very, very kind of you to say that.
MB: Carlos spoke of major changes and the witches spoke of major changes coming in the world.
They were never specific. Richard kept notes, and most of them are on the website. He might be able to actually say they said this. Nothing they ever predicted happened. And there was nothing even of note that I recall. But, Richard, he and I are like night and day; the difference is that because Carlos was homophobic, they wouldn't let him in. They used him kind of, you know, as a consultant, but he couldn't be in the group because he was homosexual. Maybe now he feels better off, but at the time it hurt him terribly. We're very, very close, and I feel like we're the only two that left. But on the other hand, we're in different situations, because I was the only one that left that was actually inside. Everyone else got kicked out, and I was the only one that chose to walk away. I don't want to be "victim-y," buts it's different; our experiences are different. We all have our own pain, and his pain may have been greater, because he never got in. He works on this website an hour-and-a half every night-- just on my part-- to keep people from slandering me and to keep only honest questions. He also works a million hours a day at his regular job. This is true loyalty. His therapist told him he had to let go of all this, and he said not until this book is out and we get some truth out. He's very devoted to that. He's done so much to help with the relatives, and also I've had kind of a break. I just was so....
MB: Oh God, such an experience. Most people, when they leave intense cults, go through huge trauma for a long, long time.
I became accident prone, I fell down some stairs, I started losing things. People kept saying, "I'm worried about you, I'm worried about you, I don't understand why. Wasn't it a catharsis?" I said, "Yeah, it was a catharsis, but it's not over. People's bodies are found, and there are people who want to kill me, and it's really tough. It was a lot of years, you know. I mean, it's so great to hear you understand that. I'm so tired of explaining to people why I'm not all better now.
MB: Yeah, well, anyone who's been through that at any level has some level of empathy that you can only get that way, I think.
Yeah, and it sounds like you've probably been through things in your life.
MB: I've touched a few nightmares and a few heavens.
Have you written a book?
MB: Yes.
What is it? I'd like to get it.
MB: It's the Secret of the Ancient Incas. What do you feel Carlos's most important accomplishment was?
I think the first three books.
MB: Yeah, I agree.
And after that, I think, everything was downhill.
MB: How do you think people should remember him?
I think people should remember him as a writer, a fiction writer, who compiled parables, and used some real truths of ancient practices in his work. And they should not believe in the cult's whole group myth. That's very important


AntwortZitat
Share:
  
Arbeitet

Bitte Anmelden oder Registrieren