(The Eagle’s Gift)
Don Juan began the task of ushering me into the second attention by telling me that I had already had a great deal of experience in entering into it. Silvio Manuel had taken me to the very entrance. The flaw had been that I had not been given the appropriate rationales. Male warriors must be given serious reasons before they safely venture into the unknown. Female warriors are not subject to this and can go without any hesitation, providing that they have total confidence in whoever is leading them.
He told me that I had to start by learning first the intricacies of dreaming. He then put me under Zuleica’s supervision. He admonished me to be impeccable and practice meticulously whatever I learned, and above all, to be careful and deliberate in my actions so as not to exhaust my life force in vain. He said that the prerequisite for entrance into any of the three stages of attention is the possession of life force, because without it warriors cannot have direction and purpose. He explained that upon dying our awareness also enters into the third attention; but only for an instant, as a purging action, just before the Eagle devours it.
La Gorda said that the Nagual Juan Matus made every one of the apprentices learn dreaming. She thought that all of them were given this task at the same time I was. Their instruction was also divided into right and left. She said that the Nagual and Genaro provided the instruction for the state of normal awareness. When they judged that the apprentices were ready, the Nagual made them shift into a state of heightened awareness and left them with their respective counterparts. Vicente taught Nestor, Silvio Manuel taught Benigno, Genaro taught Pablito. Lydia was taught by Hermelinda, and Rosa by Nelida. La Gorda added that Josefina and she were put under the care of Zuleica in order to learn together the finer points of dreaming, so they would be able to come to my aid someday.
Moreover, la Gorda deduced on her own that the men were also taken to Florinda to be taught stalking. The proof of this was their drastic change of behavior. She claimed that she knew, before she remembered anything, that she had been taught the principles of stalking but in a very superficial manner; she had not been made to practice, while the men were given practical knowledge and tasks. Their behavioral change was the proof. They became lighthearted and jovial. They enjoyed their lives, while she and the other women, because of their dreaming became progressively more somber and morose.
La Gorda believed that the men were unable to remember their instruction when I asked them to reveal their stalking knowledge to me, because they practiced it without knowing what they were doing. Their training was revealed, however, in their dealings with people. They were consummate artists in bending people to their wishes. Through their stalking practice the men had even learned controlled folly. For example, they carried on as if Soledad were Pablito’s mother.
To any onlooker, it would seem that they were mother and son pitted against each other, when in reality they were acting out a part. They convinced everybody. Sometimes Pablito would give such a performance that he would even convince himself.
La Gorda confessed that all of them were more than baffled by my behavior. They did not know whether I was insane or myself a master of controlled folly, I gave all the outward indications that I believed their masquerade. Soledad told them not to be fooled, because I was indeed insane. I appeared to be in control but I was so completely aberrated that I could not behave like a Nagual. She engaged every one of the women in delivering a deadly blow to me.
She told them that I had requested it myself at one time when I had been in control of my faculties.
La Gorda said that it took her several years, under Zuleica’s guidance, to learn dreaming.
When the Nagual Juan Matus had judged that she was proficient, he finally took her to her true counterpart, Nelida. It was Nelida who showed her how to behave in the world. She groomed her not only to be at ease in Western clothes, but to have good taste. Thus when she put on her city clothes in Oaxaca and amazed me with her charm and poise, she was already experienced in that transformation.
Zuleica was very effective as my guide into the second attention. She insisted that our interaction take place only at night, and in total darkness. For me, Zuleica was only a voice in the dark, a voice that started every contact we had by telling me to focus my attention on her words and nothing else. Her voice was the woman’s voice that la Gorda thought she had heard in dreaming.
Zuleica told me that if dreaming is going to be done indoors, it is best to do it in total darkness, while lying down or sitting up on a narrow bed, or better yet, while sitting inside a coffin-like crib. She thought that outdoors, dreaming should be done in the protection of a cave, in the sandy areas of water holes, or sitting against a rock in the mountains; never on the flat floor of a valley, or next to rivers, or lakes, or the sea, because flat areas as well as water were antithetical to the second attention.
Every one of my sessions with her was imbued with mysterious overtones. She explained that the surest way to make a direct hit on the second attention is through ritual acts, monotonous chanting, intricate repetitious movements.
Her teachings were not about the preliminaries of dreaming, which had already been taught to me by don Juan. Her assumption was that whoever came to her already knew how to do dreaming, so she dealt exclusively with esoteric points of the left side awareness.
Zuleica’s instructions began one day when don Juan took me to her house. We got there late in the afternoon. The place seemed to be deserted, although the front door opened as we approached. I expected Zoila or Marta to show up but no one was at the entrance. I felt that whoever had opened the door for us had also moved out of our way very quickly. Don Juan took me inside to the patio and made me sit on a crate that had a cushion and had been turned into a bench. The seat on the crate was bumpy and hard and very uncomfortable. I ran my hand underneath the thin cushion and found sharp-edged rocks. Don Juan said that my situation was unconventional because I had to learn the fine points of dreaming in a hurry. Sitting on a hard surface was a prop to keep my body from feeling it was in a normal sitting situation. Just a few minutes before arriving at the house, don Juan had made me change levels of awareness. He said that Zuleica’s instruction had to be conducted in that state in order for me to have the speed that I needed. He admonished me to abandon myself and trust Zuleica implicitly. He then commanded me to focus my gaze with all the concentration I was capable of and memorize every detail of the patio that was within my field of vision. He insisted that I had to memorize the detail as much as the feeling of sitting there. He repeated his instructions to make sure that I had understood. Then he left.
It quickly got very dark and I started to fret, sitting there. I had not had enough time to concentrate on the detail of the patio. I heard a rustling sound just behind me and then Zuleica’s voice jolted me. In a forceful whisper she told me to get up and follow her. I automatically obeyed her. I could not see her face, she was only a dark shape walking two steps ahead of me.
She led me to an alcove in the darkest hall in her house. Although my eyes were used to the darkness I was still unable to see a thing. I stumbled on something and she commanded me to sit down inside a narrow crib and support my lower back with something I thought was a hard cushion.
I next felt that she had backed up a few steps behind me, a thing which baffled me completely, for I thought that my back was only a few inches from the wall. Speaking from behind me, she ordered me in a soft voice to focus my attention on her words and let them guide me. She told me to keep my eyes open and fixed on a point right in front of me, at my eye level; and that this point was going to turn from darkness to a bright and pleasing orange-red.
Zuleica spoke very softly with an even intonation. I heard every word she said. The darkness around me seemed to have effectively cut off any distracting external stimuli. I heard Zuleica’s words in a vacuum, and then I realized that the silence in that hall was matched by the silence inside me.
Zuleica explained that a dreamer must start from a point of color; intense light or unmitigated darkness are useless to a dreamer in the initial onslaught. Colors such as purple or light green or rich yellow are, on the other hand, stupendous starting points. She preferred, however, orange-red, because through experience it had proven to be the one that gave her the greatest sensation of rest. She assured me that once I had succeeded in entering into the orange-red color I would have rallied my second attention permanently, providing that I could be aware of the sequence of physical events.
It took me several sessions with Zuleica’s voice to realize with my body what she wanted me to do. The advantage of being in a state of heightened awareness was that I could follow my transition from a state of vigil to a state of dreaming. Under normal conditions that transition is blurred, but under those special circumstances I actually felt in the course of one session how my second attention took over the controls. The first step was an unusual difficulty in breathing. It was not a difficulty in inhaling or exhaling; I was not short of breath – rather, my breathing changed rhythm all of a sudden. My diaphragm began to contract and it forced my midsection to move in and out with great speed. The result was the fastest short breaths I had ever taken. I breathed in the lower part of my lungs and felt a great pressure in my intestines. I tried unsuccessfully to break the spasms of my diaphragm. The harder I tried, the more painful it got.
Zuleica ordered me to let my body do whatever was necessary and to forget about directing or controlling it. I wanted to obey her, but I did not know how. The spasms, which must have lasted ten to fifteen minutes, subsided as suddenly as they had appeared and were followed by another strange, shocking sensation. I felt it first as a most peculiar itch, a physical feeling which was not pleasing or displeasing; it was something like a nervous tremor. It became very intense, to the point of forcing me to focus my attention on it in order to determine where in my body it was happening. I was stunned by the realization that it was not taking place anywhere in my physical body, but outside of it, and yet I still felt it.
I disregarded Zuleica’s order to enter into a patch of coloration that was forming right at my eye level, and gave myself fully to the exploration of that strange sensation outside me. Zuleica must have seen what I was going through; she suddenly began to explain that the second attention belongs to the luminous body, as the first attention belongs to the physical body. The point where, she said, the second attention assembles itself was situated right where Juan Tuma had described it the first time we met – approximately one and one-half feet in front of the midpoint between the stomach and the belly button and four inches to the right.
Zuleica ordered me to massage that place, to manipulate it by moving the fingers of both my hands right on that point as if I were playing a harp. She assured me that sooner or later I would end up feeling my fingers going through something as thick as water, and that finally I would feel my luminous shell.
As I kept on moving my fingers the air got progressively thicker until I felt a mass of sorts. An undefined physical pleasure spread all over me. I thought that I was touching a nerve in my body and felt silly at the absurdity of it. I stopped.
Zuleica warned me that if I did not move my fingers she was going to bop me on the head. The longer I kept up the wavering motion, the closer I felt the itching. It finally got as near as five or six inches from my body. It was as if something in me had shrunk. I actually thought I could feel a dent. I then had another eerie sensation. I was falling asleep and yet I was conscious.
There was a buzzing in my ears, which reminded me of the sound of a bullroarer; next I felt a force rolling me over on my left side without waking me up. I was rolled very tightly, like a cigar, and was tucked into the itching depression. My awareness remained suspended there, incapable of waking up, but so tightly rolled on itself that I could not fall asleep either.
I heard Zuleica’s voice telling me to look around. I could not open my eyes, but my tactile sense told me that I was in a ditch, lying on my back. I felt comfortable, secure. There was such a tightness to my body, such a compactness, that I did not ever want to get up. Zuleica’s voice ordered me to stand up and open my eyes. I could not do it. She said that I had to will my movements, that it was no longer a matter of contracting my muscles to get up.
I thought that she was annoyed at my slowness. I realized then that I was fully conscious, perhaps more conscious than I had ever been in my entire life. I could think rationally and yet I seemed to be sound asleep. The thought occurred to me that Zuleica had put me in a state of deep hypnosis. It bothered me for an instant, then it did not matter. I abandoned myself to the feeling of being suspended, floating free.
I could not hear anything else she said. It was either that she had stopped talking to me or that I had shut off the sound of her voice. I did not want to leave that haven. I had never been so peaceful and complete. I lay there unwilling to get up or to change anything. I could feel the rhythm of my breathing. Suddenly I woke up.
In my next session with Zuleica she told me that I had succeeded in making a dent in my luminosity all by myself, and that making a dent meant bringing a distant point in my luminous shell closer to my physical body, therefore closer to control. She asserted repeatedly that from the moment the body learns to make that dent, it is easier to enter into dreaming. I agreed with her. I had acquired a strange impulse, a sensation that my body had instantly learned to reproduce. It was a mixture of feeling at ease, secure, dormant, suspended without tactile sense and at the same time fully awake, aware of everything.
La Gorda said that the Nagual Juan Matus had struggled for years to create that dent in her, in all three little sisters, and in the Genaros as well, so as to give them the permanent ability to focus their second attention. He had told her that ordinarily the dent is created on the spur of the moment by the dreamer when it is needed, then the luminous shell changes back to its original shape. But in the apprentices’ case, because they did not have a Nagual leader, the depression was created from the outside and was a permanent feature of their luminous bodies, a great help but also a hindrance. It made all of them vulnerable and moody.
I remembered then that once I had seen and kicked a depression in the luminous shells of Lydia and Rosa. I thought that the dent was at the height of the upper portion of the outside of their right thigh, or perhaps just at the crest of their hipbone. La Gorda explained that I had kicked them in the dent of their second attention and that I had nearly killed them.
La Gorda said that she and Josefina lived in Zuleica’s house for several months. The Nagual Juan Matus had delivered them to her one day after making them shift levels of awareness. He did not tell them what they were going to do there nor what to expect, he simply left them by themselves in the hall of her house and walked away. They sat there until it got dark. Zuleica then came to them. They never saw her, they only heard her voice as if she were talking to them from a point on the wall.
Zuleica was very demanding from the moment she took over. She made them undress on the spot and ordered both of them to crawl inside thick fluffy cotton bags, some poncho-like garments that were lying on the floor. They covered them from neck to toes. She ordered them next to sit back to back on a mat in the same alcove where I myself used to sit. She told them that their task was to gaze at the darkness until it began to acquire a hue. After many sessions they indeed began to see colors in the darkness, at which time Zuleica made them sit side by side and gaze at the same spot.
La Gorda said that Josefina learned very fast, and that one night she dramatically entered into the patch of orange-red by swishing physically out of the poncho. La Gorda thought that either Josefina had reached out for the blotch of color or it had reached out for her. The result was that in one instant Josefina was gone from inside the poncho. Zuleica separated them from then on, and la Gorda started her slow, solitary learning.
La Gorda’s account made me remember that Zuleica had also made me crawl inside a fluffy garment. In fact, the commands she used to order me to crawl inside revealed to me the rationale for its use. She directed me to feel its fluffiness with my naked skin, especially with the skin of my calves. She repeated over and over that human beings have a superb center of perception on the outside of the calves, and that if the skin in that area could be made to relax or be soothed, the scope of our perception would be enhanced in ways that would be impossible to fathom rationally. The garment was very soft and warm, and it induced an extraordinary sensation of pleasurable relaxation in my legs. The nerves in my calves became highly stimulated.
La Gorda reported the same sensation of physical pleasure. She went as far as to say that it was the power of that poncho that guided her to find the patch of orange-red color. She was so impressed with the garment that she made herself one, copying the original, but its effect was not the same, although it still provided her solace and well-being. She said that she and Josefina ended up spending all of their available time inside the ponchos that she had sewn for both of them.
Lydia and Rosa had also been placed inside the garment, but they were never particularly fond of it. Neither was I.
La Gorda explained Josefina’s and her own attachment as a direct consequence of having been led to finding their dreaming color while they were inside the garment. She said that the reason for my indifference to it was the fact that I did not enter into the area of coloration at all – rather the hue had come to me. She was right. Something else besides Zuleica’s voice dictated the outcome of that preparatory phase. By all indications Zuleica was leading me through the same steps she had led la Gorda and Josefina. I had stared at the darkness throughout many sessions and was ready to visualize the spot of coloration. In fact, I witnessed its entire metamorphosis from plain darkness to a precisely outlined blotch of intense brightness, and then I was swayed by the external itch, on which I focused my attention, until I ended up entering into a state of restful vigil. It was then that I first became immersed in an orange-red coloration.
After I had learned to remain suspended between sleep and vigil, Zuleica seemed to relax her pace. I even believed that she was not in any hurry to get me out of that state. She let me stay in it without interfering, and never asked me about it, perhaps because her voice was only for commands and not for asking questions. We never really talked, at least not the way I talked with don Juan.
While I was in the state of restful vigil, I realized one time that it was useless for me to remain there, that no matter how pleasant it was, its limitations were blatant. I sensed then a tremor in my body and I opened my eyes, or rather my eyes became open by themselves. Zuleica was staring at me. I experienced a moment of bafflement. I thought I had woken up, and to be faced with Zuleica in the flesh was something I had not expected. I had gotten used to hearing only her voice. It also surprised me that it was no longer night. I looked around. We were not in Zuleica’s house. Then the realization struck me that I was dreaming and I woke up.
Zuleica started then on another facet of her teachings. She taught me how to move. She began her instruction by commanding me to place my awareness on the midpoint of my body. In my case the midpoint is below the lower edge of my belly button. She told me to sweep the floor with it, that is, make a rocking motion with my belly as if a broom were attached to it. Throughout countless sessions I attempted to accomplish what her voice was urging me to do. She did not allow me to go into a state of restful vigil. It was her intention to guide me to elicit the perception of sweeping the floor with my midsection while I remained in a waking state. She said that to be on the left side awareness was enough of an advantage to do well in the exercise.
One day, for no reason I could think of, I succeeded in having a vague feeling in the area of my stomach. It was not something defined, and when I focused my attention on it I realized that it was a prickling sensation inside the cavity of my body, not quite in my stomach area but above it.
The closer I examined it, the more details I noticed. The vagueness of the sensation soon turned into a certainty. There was a strange connection of nervousness or a prickling sensation between my solar plexus and my right calf.
As the sensation became more acute I involuntarily brought my right thigh up to my chest. Thus the two points were as close to each other as my anatomy permitted. I shivered for a moment with an unusual nervousness and then I clearly felt that I was sweeping the floor with my midsection; it was a tactile sensation that happened over and over every time I rocked my body in my sitting position.
In my next session Zuleica allowed me to enter into a state of restful vigil. But this time that state was not quite as it had been before. There seemed to be a sort of control in me that curtailed my enjoying it freely, as I had done in the past – a control that also made me focus on the steps I had taken to get into it. First I noticed the itch on the point of the second attention in my luminous shell. I massaged that point by moving my fingers on it as if I were playing a harp and the point sunk towards my stomach. I felt it almost on my skin. I experienced a prickling sensation on the outside of my right calf. It was a mixture of pleasure and pain. The sensation radiated to my whole leg and then to my lower back. I felt that my buttocks were shaking. My entire body was transfixed by a nervous ripple. I thought that my body had been caught upside down in a net. My forehead and my toes seemed to be touching. I was like a closed U-shape. Then I felt as if I were being folded in two and rolled inside a sheet. My nervous spasms were what made the sheet roll into itself, with me in the center. When the rolling ended I could not sense my body any more. I was only an amorphous awareness, a nervous spasm wrapped in itself. That awareness came to rest inside a ditch, inside a depression of itself.
I understood then the impossibility of describing what takes place in dreaming. Zuleica said that the right and left side awareness are wrapped up together. Both of them come to rest in one single bundle in the dent, the depressed center of the second attention. To do dreaming one needs to manipulate both the luminous body and the physical body. First, the center of assembling for the second attention has to be made accessible by being pushed in from the outside by someone else, or sucked in from within by the dreamer. Second, in order to dislodge the first attention, the centers of the physical body located in the midsection and the calves, especially the right one, have to be stimulated and placed as close to one another as possible until they seem to join. Then the sensation of being bundled takes place and automatically the second attention takes over.
Zuleica’s explanation, given in commands, was the most cogent way of describing what takes place, for none of the sensory experiences involved in dreaming are part of our normal inventory of sensory data. All of them were baffling to me. The sensation of an itch, a tingling outside myself, was localized and because of that the turmoil of my body upon feeling it was minimal.
The sensation of being rolled on myself, on the other hand, was by far the most disquieting. It included a range of sensations that left my body in a state of shock. I was convinced that at one point my toes were touching my forehead, which is a position I am not able to attain. And yet I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was inside a net, hanging upside down in a pear shape with my toes right against my forehead. On a physical plane I was sitting down and my thighs were against my chest.
Zuleica also said that the feeling of being rolled up like a cigar and placed inside the dent of the second attention was the result of merging my right and left awareness into one in which the order of predominance has been switched and the left has gained supremacy. She challenged me to be attentive enough to catch the reversal motion, the two attentions again becoming what they normally are with the right holding the reins.
I never caught the feelings involved, but her challenge obsessed me to the point that I became trapped in deadly vacillations in my effort to watch everything. She had to withdraw her challenge by ordering me to stop my scrutinies, for I had other things to do.
Zuleica said that first of all I had to perfect my command of moving at will. She began her instruction by directing me time and time again to open my eyes while I was in a state of restful vigil. It took a great deal of effort for me to do it. One time my eyes opened suddenly and I saw Zuleica looming over me. I was lying down but I could not determine where. The light was extremely bright, as if I were just underneath a powerful electric bulb, but the light was not shining directly on my eyes. I could see Zuleica without any effort.
She ordered me to stand up by willing my movement. She said that I had to push myself up with my midsection, that I had three thick tentacles there which I could use as crutches to lift up my whole body.
I tried every conceivable way to get up. I failed. I had a sensation of despair and physical anguish reminiscent of nightmares I used to have as a child in which I was unable to wake up and yet I was fully awake desperately trying to scream.
Zuleica finally spoke to me. She said that I had to follow a certain sequence, and that it was wasteful and downright dumb of me to fret and get agitated as if I were dealing with the world of everyday life. Fretting was proper only in the first attention; the second attention was calmness itself. She wanted me to repeat the sensation I had had of sweeping the floor with my midsection.
I thought that in order to repeat it I would have to be sitting. Without any deliberation on my part I sat up and adopted the position I had used when my body first elicited that sensation. Something in me rocked, and suddenly I was standing. I could not figure out what I had done to move. I thought that if I started all over again I could catch the sequence. As soon as I had that thought I found myself lying down again. Upon standing up once more I realized that there was no procedure involved, that in order to move I had to intend my moving at a very deep level. In other words, I had to be utterly convinced that I wanted to move, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I had to be convinced that I needed to move.
Once I had understood that principle, Zuleica made me practice every conceivable aspect of volitional movement. The more I practiced, the clearer it became for me that dreaming was in fact a rational state. Zuleica explained it. She said that in dreaming, the right side, the rational awareness, is wrapped up inside the left side awareness in order to give the dreamer a sense of sobriety and rationality; but that the influence of rationality has to be minimal and used only as an inhibiting mechanism to protect the dreamer from excesses and bizarre undertakings.
The next step was learning to direct my dreaming body. Don Juan had proposed, from the first time I met Zuleica, the task of gazing at the patio as I sat on the crate. I religiously engaged myself, sometimes for hours, in gazing at it. I was always alone in Zuleica’s house. It seemed that on the days when I went there everyone was gone or was hiding. The silence and the solitude worked in my favor and I succeeded in memorizing the details of that patio.
Zuleica presented to me, accordingly, the task of opening my eyes from a state of restful vigil to see the patio. It took many sessions to accomplish it. At first I would open my eyes and I would see her, and she, with a jerk of her body, would make me bounce back like a ball into the state of restful vigil. On one of those bounces I felt an intense tremor; something that was located in my feet rattled its way up to my chest and I coughed it up; the scene of the patio at night came out of me just as if it had emerged out of my bronchial tubes. It was something like the roar of an animal.
I heard Zuleica’s voice coming to me as a faint murmur. I could not understand what she was saying. I vaguely noticed that I was sitting on the crate. I wanted to get up but I felt that I was not solid. It was as if a wind were blowing me away. Then I heard Zuleica’s voice very clearly telling me not to move. I tried to remain motionless but some force pulled me and I woke up in the alcove in the hall. Silvio Manuel was facing me.
After every session of dreaming in Zuleica’s house, don Juan would be waiting for me in the pitch-black hall. He would take me out of the house and make me shift levels of awareness. This time Silvio Manuel was there. Without saying a word to me, he put me inside a harness and hoisted me up against the beams of the roof. He kept me there until midday, at which time don Juan came and let me down. He explained that to be kept without touching the ground for a period of time tunes the body, and that it is essential to do this before embarking on a dangerous journey such as the one I was about to undertake.
It took many more sessions of dreaming for me to learn at last to open my eyes to see either Zuleica or to see the dark patio. I realized then that she herself had been dreaming all along. She had never been in person behind me in the alcove in the hall. I had been right the first night when I thought that my back was against the wall. Zuleica was merely a voice from dreaming.
During one of the dreaming sessions, when I opened my eyes deliberately to see Zuleica, I was shocked to find la Gorda as well as Josefina looming over me together with Zuleica. The final facet of her teaching began then. Zuleica taught the three of us to journey with her. She said that our first attention was hooked to the emanations of the earth, while our second attention was hooked to the emanations of the universe. What she meant by that was that a dreamer by definition is outside the boundaries of the concerns of everyday life. As a traveler in dreaming then, Zuleica’s last task with la Gorda, Josefina, and me was to tune our second attention to follow her around in her voyages into the unknown.
In successive sessions Zuleica’s voice told me that her “obsession” was going to lead me to a rendezvous, that in matters of the second attention the dreamer’s obsession serves as guide, and that hers was focused on an actual place beyond this earth. From there she was going to call me and I had to use her voice as a line to pull myself.
Nothing happened for two sessions; Zuleica’s voice would become more and more faint as she spoke, and I worried that I was incapable of following her. She had not told me what to do. I also experienced an unusual heaviness. I could not break a binding force around me that prevented me from getting out of the state of restful vigil.
During the third session I suddenly opened my eyes without even trying to. Zuleica, la Gorda and Josefina were staring at me. I was standing with them. I immediately realized that we were in some place completely unknown to me. The most obvious feature was a brilliant indirect light.
The whole scene was inundated by a white, powerful, neonlike light. Zuleica was smiling as if inviting us to look around. La Gorda and Josefina seemed to be as cautious as I was. They gave me and Zuleica furtive glances. Zuleica signaled us to move around. We were outdoors, standing in the middle of a glaring circle. The ground seemed to be hard, dark rock, yet it reflected a great deal of the blinding white light, which came from above. The strange thing was that although I knew that the light was too intense for my eyes, I was not at all hurt when I looked up and spotted its source. It was the sun. I was staring directly at the sun, which, perhaps due to the fact that I was dreaming, was intensely white.
La Gorda and Josefina were also staring at the sun, apparently without any injurious effect.
Suddenly I felt frightened. The light was alien to me. It was a merciless light; it seemed to attack us, creating a wind that I could feel. I could not sense any heat, however. I believed it to be malignant. In unison, la Gorda, Josefina and I huddled together like frightened children around Zuleica. She held us, and then the white, glaring light began to diminish by degrees until it had completely vanished. In its place there was a mild, very soothing, yellowish light.
I became aware then that we were not in this world. The ground was the color of wet terracotta. There were no mountains, but where we were standing was not flat land either. The ground was cracked and parched. It looked like a rough dry sea of terra-cotta. I could see it all around me, just as if I were in the middle of the ocean. I looked up; the sky had lost its maddening glare.
It was dark, but not blue. A bright, incandescent star was near the horizon. It dawned on me at that instant that we were in a world with two suns, two stars. One was enormous and had gone over the horizon, the other was smaller or perhaps more distant.
I wanted to ask questions, to walk around and look for things. Zuleica signaled us to relax, to wait patiently. But something seemed to be pulling us. Suddenly la Gorda and Josefina were gone. And I woke up.
From that time on I never went back to Zuleica’s house. Don Juan would make me shift levels of awareness in his own house or wherever we were, and I would enter into dreaming. Zuleica, la Gorda and Josefina were always waiting for me. We went back to the same unearthly scene over and over, until we were thoroughly familiar with it. Whenever we could do it we would skip the time of glare, the daytime, and go there at night, just in time to witness the rise over the horizon of a colossal celestial body: something of such magnitude that when it erupted over the jagged line of the horizon it covered at least half of the one hundred and eighty degree range in front of us. The celestial body was beautiful, and its ascent over the horizon was so breathtaking that I could have stayed there for an eternity, just to witness that sight.
The celestial body took up nearly the entire firmament when it reached the zenith. Invariably we would lie on our backs in order to gaze at it. It had consistent configurations, which Zuleica taught us to recognize. I realized that it was not a star. Its light was reflected; it must have been an opaque body because the reflected light was mellow in relation to its monumental size. There were enormous, unchanging brown spots on its saffron-yellow surface.
Zuleica took us systematically on voyages that were beyond words. La Gorda said that Zuleica took Josefina even farther and deeper into the unknown, because Josefina was, just like Zuleica herself, quite a bit crazy; neither of them had that core of rationality that supplies a dreamer with sobriety – thus they had no barriers and no interest in finding out rational causes or reasons for anything.
The only thing that Zuleica told me about our journeys that sounded like an explanation was that the dreamers’ power to focus on their second attention made them into living slingshots. The stronger and the more impeccable the dreamers were, the farther they could project their second attention into the unknown and the longer their dreaming projection would last.
Don Juan said that my journeys with Zuleica were no illusion, and that everything I had done with her was a step toward the control of the second attention; in other words, Zuleica was teaching me the perceptual bias of that other realm. He could not explain, however, the exact nature of those journeys. Or perhaps he did not want to commit himself. He said that if he attempted to explain the perceptual bias of the second attention in terms of the perceptual bias of the first, he would only trap himself hopelessly in words. He wanted me to draw my own conclusion, and the more I thought about the whole matter, the clearer it became to me that his reluctance was functional.
Under Zuleica’s guidance during her instruction for the second attention, I made factual visitations to mysteries that were certainly beyond the scope of my reason, but obviously within the possibilities of my total awareness. I learned to voyage into something incomprehensible and ended up, like Emilito and Juan Tuma, having my own tales of eternity.
La Gorda and I were in total agreement that by the time Zuleica had taught us the intricacies of dreaming we had accepted the undeniable fact that the rule is a map, that there is another awareness concealed in us, and that it is possible to enter into that awareness. Don Juan had accomplished what the rule prescribed.