The Second Gate; The True Goal of Dreaming is to Perfect the Energy Body

I found out by means of my dreaming practices that a dreaming teacher must create a didactic synthesis in order to emphasize a given point. In essence, what don Juan wanted with my first task was to exercise my dreaming attention by focusing it on the items of my dreams. To this effect he used as a spearhead the idea of being aware of falling asleep. His subterfuge was to say that the only way to be aware of falling asleep is to examine the elements of one’s dreams.

I realized, almost as soon as I had begun my dreaming practices, that exercising the dreaming attention is the essential point in dreaming. To the mind, however, it seems impossible that one can train oneself to be aware at the level of dreams. Don Juan said that the active element of such training is persistence, and that the mind and all its rational defenses cannot cope with persistence. Sooner or later, he said, the mind’s barriers fall, under its impact, and the dreaming attention blooms.

As I practiced focusing and holding my dreaming attention on the items of my dreams, I began to feel a peculiar self-confidence so remarkable that I sought a comment from don Juan.

“It’s your entering into the second attention that gives you that sense of self-assurance,” he said. “This calls for even more sobriety on your part. Go slowly, but don’t stop, and above all, don’t talk about it. Just do it!”

I told him that in practice I had corroborated what he had already told me, that if one takes short glances at everything in a dream, the images do not dissolve. I commented that the difficult part is to break the initial barrier that prevents us from bringing dreams to our conscious attention.

I asked don Juan to give me his opinion on this matter, for I earnestly believed that this barrier is a psychological one created by our socialization, which puts a premium on disregarding dreams.

“The barrier is more than socialization,” he replied. “It’s the first gate of dreaming. Now that you’ve overcome it, it seems stupid to you that we can’t stop at will and pay attention to the items of our dreams. That’s a false certainty. The first gate of dreaming has to do with the flow of energy in the universe. It’s a natural obstacle.”

Don Juan made me agree then that we would talk about dreaming only in the second attention and as he saw fit. He encouraged me to practice in the meantime and promised no interference on his part.

As I gained proficiency in setting up dreaming, I repeatedly experienced sensations that I deemed of great importance, such as the feeling that I was rolling into a ditch just as I was falling asleep. Don Juan never told me that they were nonsensical sensations but let me record them in my notes. I realize now how absurd I must have appeared to him. Today, if I were teaching dreaming, I would definitely discourage such a behavior. Don Juan merely made fun of me, calling me a covert egomaniac who professed to be fighting self-importance yet kept a meticulous, super-personal diary called “My Dreams.”

Every time he had an opportunity, don Juan pointed out that the energy needed to release our dreaming attention from its socialization prison comes from redeploying our existing energy. Nothing could have been truer. The emergence of our dreaming attention is a direct corollary of revamping our lives. Since we have, as don Juan said, no way to plug into any external source for a boost of energy, we must redeploy our existing energy, by any means available.

Don Juan insisted that the sorcerers’ way is the best means to oil, so to speak, the wheels of energy redeployment, and that of all the items in the sorcerers’ way, the most effective is “losing self-importance.” He was thoroughly convinced that this is indispensable for everything sorcerers do, and for this reason he put an enormous emphasis on guiding all his students to fulfill this requirement. He was of the opinion that self-importance is not only the sorcerers’ supreme enemy but the nemesis of mankind.

Don Juan’s argument was that most of our energy goes into upholding our importance. This is most obvious in our endless worry about the presentation of the self, about whether or not we are admired or liked or acknowledged. He reasoned that if we were capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things would happen to us. One, we would free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and, two, we would provide ourselves with enough energy to enter into the second attention to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe.

It took me more than two years to be able to focus my unwavering dreaming attention on anything I wanted. And I became so proficient that I felt as if I had been doing it all my life. The eeriest part was that I could not conceive of not having had that ability. Yet I could remember how difficult it had been even to think of this as a possibility. It occurred to me that the capability of examining the contents of one’s dreams must be the product of a natural configuration of our being, similar perhaps to our capability of walking. We are physically conditioned to walk only in one manner, bi-pedally, yet it takes a monumental effort for us to learn to walk.

This new capacity of looking in glances at the items of my dreams was coupled with a most insistent nagging to remind myself to look at the elements of my dreams. I knew about my compulsive bent of character, but in my dreams my compulsiveness was vastly augmented. It became so noticeable that not only did I resent hearing my nagging at myself but I also began to question whether it was really my compulsiveness or something else. I even thought I was losing my mind.

“I talk to myself endlessly in my dreams, reminding myself to look at things,” I said to don Juan.

I had all along respected our agreement that we would talk about dreaming only when he brought up the subject. However, I thought that this was an emergency.

“Does it sound to you like it’s not you but someone else?” he asked.

“Come to think of it, yes. I don’t sound like myself at those times.”

“Then it’s not you. It’s not time yet to explain it. But let’s say that we are not alone in this world. Let’s say that there are other worlds available to dreamers, total worlds. From those other total worlds, energetic entities sometimes come to us. The next time you hear yourself nagging at yourself in your dreams, get really angry and yell a command. Say, Stop it!”

I entered into another challenging arena: to remember in my dreams to shout that command. I believe that, perhaps, out of being so tremendously annoyed at hearing myself nagging, I did remember to shout, Stop it. The nagging ceased instantly and never again was repeated.

“Does every dreamer experience this?” I asked don Juan when I saw him again.

“Some do,” he answered, uninterestedly.

I began to rant about how strange it had all been. He cut me off, saying, “You are ready now to get to the second gate of dreaming.”

I seized the opportunity to seek answers for questions I had not been able to ask him. What I had experienced the first time he made me dream had been foremost in my mind. I told don Juan that I had observed the elements of my own dreams to my heart’s content, and never had I felt anything even vaguely similar in terms of clarity and detail.

“The more I think about it,” I said, “the more intriguing it becomes. Watching those people in that dream, I experienced a fear and revulsion impossible to forget. What was that feeling, don Juan?”

“In my opinion, your energy body hooked onto the foreign energy of that place and had the time of its life. Naturally, you felt afraid and revolted; you were examining alien energy for the first time in your life.

“You have a proclivity for behaving like the sorcerers of antiquity. The moment you have the chance, you let your assemblage point go. That time your assemblage point shifted quite a distance. The result was that you, like the old sorcerers, journeyed beyond the world we know. A most real but dangerous journey.”

I bypassed the meaning of his statements in favor of my own interest and asked him, “Was that city perhaps on another planet?”

“You can’t explain dreaming by way of things you know or suspect you know,” he said. “All I can tell you is that the city you visited was not in this world.”

“Where was it, then?”

“Out of this world, of course. You’re not that stupid. That was the first thing you noticed. What got you going in circles is that you can’t imagine anything being out of this world.”

“Where is out of this world, don Juan?”

“Believe me, the most extravagant feature of sorcery is that configuration called “out of this world”. For instance, you assumed that I was seeing the same things you did. The proof is that you never asked me what I saw. You and only you saw a city and people in that city. I didn’t see anything of the sort. I saw energy. So, out of this world was, for you alone, on that occasion, a city.”

“But then, don Juan, it wasn’t a real city. It existed only for me, in my mind.”

“No. That’s not the case. Now you want to reduce something transcendental to something mundane. You can’t do that. That journey was real. You saw it as a city. I saw it as energy. Neither of us is right or wrong.”

“My confusion comes when you talk about things being real. You said before that we reached a real place. But if it was real, how can we have two versions of it?”

“Very simple. We have two versions because we had, at that time, two different rates of uniformity and cohesion. I have explained to you that those two attributes are the key to perceiving.”

“Do you think that I can go back to that particular city?”

“You got me there. I don’t know. Or perhaps I do know but can’t explain it. Or perhaps I can explain it but I don’t want to. You’ll have to wait and figure out for yourself which is the case.”

He refused any further discussion.

“Let’s get on with our business,” he said. “You reach the second gate of dreaming when you wake up from a dream into another dream. You can have as many dreams as you want or as many as you are capable of, but you must exercise adequate control and not wake up in the world we know.”

I had a jolt of panic. “Are you saying that I should never wake up in this world?” I asked.

“No, I didn’t mean that. But now that you have pointed it out, I have to tell you that it is an alternative. The sorcerers of antiquity used to do that, never wake up in the world we know. Some of the sorcerers of my line have done it too. It certainly can be done, but I don’t recommend it. What I want is for you to wake up naturally when you are through with dreaming, but while you are dreaming, I want you to dream that you wake up in another dream.”

I heard myself asking the same question I had asked the first time he told me about setting up dreaming. “But is it possible to do that?”

Don Juan obviously caught on to my mindlessness and laughingly repeated the answer he had given me before. “Of course it’s possible. This control is no different from the control we have over any situation in our daily lives.”

I quickly got over my embarrassment and was ready to ask more questions, but don Juan anticipated me and began to explain facets of the second gate of dreaming, an explanation that made me yet more uneasy.

“There’s one problem with the second gate,” he said. “It’s a problem that can be serious, depending on one’s bent of character. If our tendency is to indulge in clinging to things or situations, we are in for a sock in the jaw.”

“In what way, don Juan?”

“Think for a moment. You’ve already experienced the outlandish joy of examining your dreams’ contents. Imagine yourself going from dream to dream, watching everything, examining every detail. It’s very easy to realize that one may sink to mortal depths. Especially if one is given to indulging.”

“Wouldn’t the body or the brain naturally put a stop to it?”

“If it’s a natural sleeping situation, meaning normal, yes. But this is not a normal situation. This is dreaming. A dreamer on crossing the first gate has already reached the energy body. So what is really going through the second gate, hopping from dream to dream, is the energy body.”

“What’s the implication of all this, don Juan?”

“The implication is that on crossing the second gate you must intend a greater and more sober control over your dreaming attention: the only safety valve for dreamers.”

“What is this safety valve?”

“You will find out for yourself that the true goal of dreaming is to perfect the energy body. A perfect energy body, among other things of course, has such a control over the dreaming attention that it makes it stop when needed. This is the safety valve dreamers have. No matter how indulging they might be, at a given time, their dreaming attention must make them surface.”

I started all over again on another dreaming quest. This time the goal was more elusive and the difficulty even greater. Exactly as with my first task, I could not begin to figure out what to do. I had the discouraging suspicion that all my practice was not going to be of much help this time. After countless failures, I gave up and settled down to simply continue my practice of fixing my dreaming attention on every item of my dreams. Accepting my shortcomings seemed to give me a boost, and I became even more adept at sustaining the view of any item in my dreams.

A year went by without any change. Then one day something changed. As I was watching a window in a dream, trying to find out if I could catch a glimpse of the scenery outside the room, some wind-like force, which I felt as a buzzing in my ears, pulled me through the window to the outside. Just before that pull, my dreaming attention had been caught by a strange structure some distance away. It looked like a tractor. The next thing I knew, I was standing by it, examining it.

I was perfectly aware that I was dreaming. I looked around to find out if I could tell from what window I had been looking. The scene was that of a farm in the countryside. No buildings were in sight. I wanted to ponder this. However, the quantity of farm machinery lying around, as if abandoned, took all my attention. I examined mowing machines, tractors, grain harvesters, disk plows, thrashers. There were so many that I forgot my original dream. What I wanted then was to orient myself by watching the immediate scenery. There was something in the distance that looked like a billboard and some telephone poles around it.

The instant I focused my attention on that billboard, I was next to it. The steel structure of the billboard gave me a fright. It was menacing. On the billboard itself was a picture of a building. I read the text; it was an advertisement for a motel. I had a peculiar certainty that I was in Oregon or northern California.

I looked for other features in the environment of my dream. I saw mountains very far away and some green, round hills not too far. On those hills were clumps of what I thought were California oak trees. I wanted to be pulled by the green hills, but what pulled me were the distant mountains. I was convinced that they were the Sierras.

All my dreaming energy left me on those mountains. But before it did, I was pulled by every possible feature. My dream ceased to be a dream. As far as my capacity to perceive was concerned, I was veritably in the Sierras, zooming into ravines, boulders, trees, caves. I went from scarp faces to mountain peaks until I had no more drive and could not focus my dreaming attention on anything. I felt myself losing control. Finally, there was no more scenery, just darkness.

“You have reached the second gate of dreaming,” don Juan said when I narrated my dream to him. “What you should do next is to cross it. Crossing the second gate is a very serious affair; it requires a most disciplined effort.”

I was not sure I had fulfilled the task he outlined for me, because I had not really woken up in another dream. I asked don Juan about this irregularity.

“The mistake was mine,” he said. “I told you that one has to wake up in another dream, but what I meant is that one has to change dreams in an orderly and precise manner, the way you have done it.”

“With the first gate, you wasted a lot of time looking exclusively for your hands. This time, you went directly to the solution without bothering to follow the given command: to wake up in another dream.”

Don Juan said that there are two ways of properly crossing the second gate of dreaming. One is to wake up in another dream, that is to say, to dream that one is having a dream and then dream that one wakes up from it. The alternative is to use the items of a dream to trigger another dream, exactly as I had done.

Just as he had been doing all along, don Juan let me practice without any interference on his part. And I corroborated the two alternatives he described. Either I dreamt that I was having a dream from which I dreamt I woke up or I zoomed from a definite item accessible to my immediate dreaming attention to another one, not quite accessible. Or I entered into a slight variation of the second: I gazed at any item of a dream, maintaining the gaze until the item changed shape and, by changing shape, pulled me into another dream through a buzzing vortex.

Never was I capable, however, of deciding beforehand which of the three I would follow. My dreaming practices always ended by my running out of dreaming attention and finally waking up or by my falling into dark, deep slumber.

Everything went smoothly in my practices. The only disturbance I had was a peculiar interference, a jolt of fear or discomfort I had begun to experience with increasing frequency. My way of discarding it was to believe that it was related to my ghastly eating habits or to the fact that, in those days, don Juan was giving me a profusion of hallucinogenic plants as part of my training. Those jolts became so prominent, however, that I had to ask don Juan’s advice.

“You have entered now into the most dangerous facet of the sorcerers’ knowledge,” he began. “It is sheer dread, a veritable nightmare. I could joke with you and say that I didn’t mention this possibility to you out of regard for your cherished rationality, but I can’t. Every sorcerer has to face it. Here is where, I fear, you might very well think you’re going off the deep end.”

Don Juan very solemnly explained that life and consciousness, being exclusively a matter of energy, are not solely the property of organisms. He said that sorcerers have seen that there are two types of conscious beings roaming the earth, the organic and the inorganic, and that in comparing one with the other, they have seen that both are luminous masses crossed from every imaginable angle by millions of the universe’s energy filaments. They are different from each other in their shape and in their degree of brightness. Inorganic beings are long and candle-like but opaque, whereas organic beings are round and by far the brighter. Another noteworthy difference, which don Juan said sorcerers have seen, is that the life and consciousness of organic beings is short-lived, because they are made to hurry, whereas the life of inorganic beings is infinitely longer and their consciousness infinitely more calm and deeper.

“Sorcerers find no problem interacting with them,” don Juan went on. “Inorganic beings possess the crucial ingredient for interaction, consciousness.”

“But do these inorganic beings really exist? Like you and I exist?” I asked.

“Of course they do,” he replied. “Believe me, sorcerers are very intelligent creatures; under no condition would they toy with aberrations of the mind and then take them for real.”

“Why do you say they are alive?”

“For sorcerers, having life means having consciousness. It means having an assemblage point and its surrounding glow of awareness, a condition that points out to sorcerers that the being in front of them, organic or inorganic, is thoroughly capable of perceiving. Perceiving is understood by sorcerers as the precondition of being alive.”

“Then the inorganic beings must also die. Is that true, don Juan?”

“Naturally. They lose their awareness just like we do, except that the length of their consciousness is staggering to the mind.”

“Do these inorganic beings appear to sorcerers?”

“It’s very difficult to tell what is what with them. Let’s say that those beings are enticed by us or, better yet, compelled to interact with us.”

Don Juan peered at me most intently. “You’re not taking in any of this at all,” he said with the tone of someone who has reached a conclusion.

“It’s nearly impossible for me to think about this rationally,” I said.

“I warned you that the subject will tax your reason. The proper thing to do then is to suspend judgment and let things take their course, meaning that you let the inorganic beings come to you.”

“Are you serious, don Juan?”

“Deadly serious. The difficulty with inorganic beings is that their awareness is very slow in comparison with ours. It will take years for a sorcerer to be acknowledged by inorganic beings. So, it is advisable to have patience and wait. Sooner or later they show up. But not like you or I would show up. Theirs is a most peculiar way to make themselves known.”

“How do sorcerers entice them? Do they have a ritual?”

“Well, they certainly don’t stand in the middle of the road and call out to them with trembling voices at the stroke of midnight, if that’s what you mean.”

“What do they do then?”

“They entice them in dreaming. I said that what’s involved is more than enticing them; by the act of dreaming, sorcerers compel those beings to interact with them.”

“How do sorcerers compel them by the act of dreaming?”

Dreaming is sustaining the position where the assemblage point has shifted in dreams. This act creates a distinctive energy charge, which attracts their attention. It’s like bait to fish; they’ll go for it. Sorcerers, by reaching and crossing the first two gates of dreaming, set bait for those beings and compel them to appear.”

“By going through the two gates, you have made your bidding known to them. Now, you must wait for a sign from them.”

“What would the sign be, don Juan?”

“Possibly the appearance of one of them, although that seems too soon. I am of the opinion that their sign will be simply some interference in your dreaming. I believe that the jolts of fear you are experiencing nowadays are not indigestion but energy jolts sent to you by the inorganic beings.”

“What should I do?”

“You must gauge your expectations.”

I could not understand what he meant, and he carefully explained that our normal expectation when engaging in interaction with our fellow men or with other organic beings is to get an immediate reply to our solicitation. With inorganic beings, however, since they are separated from us by a most formidable barrier, energy that moves at a different speed, sorcerers must gauge their expectations and sustain the solicitation for as long as it takes to be acknowledged.

“Do you mean, don Juan, that the solicitation is the same as the dreaming practices?”

“Yes. But for a perfect result, you must add to your practices the intent of reaching those inorganic beings. Send a feeling of power and confidence to them, a feeling of strength, of detachment. Avoid at any cost sending a feeling of fear or morbidity. They are pretty morbid by themselves; to add your morbidity to them is unnecessary, to say the least.”

“I’m not clear, don Juan, about the way they appear to sorcerers. What is the peculiar way they make themselves known?”

“They do, at times, materialize themselves in the daily world, right in front of us. Most of the time, though, their invisible presence is marked by a bodily jolt, a shiver of sorts that comes from the marrow of the bones.”

“What about in dreaming, don Juan?”

“In dreaming we have the total opposite. At times, we feel them the way you are feeling them, as a jolt of fear. Most of the time, they materialize themselves right in front of us. Since at the beginning of dreaming we have no experience whatsoever with them, they might imbue us with fear beyond measure. That is a real danger to us. Through the channel of fear, they can follow us to the daily world, with disastrous results for us.”

“In what way, don Juan?”

“Fear can settle down in our lives, and we would have to be mavericks to deal with it. Inorganic beings can be worse than a pest. Through fear they can easily drive us raving mad.”

“What do sorcerers do with inorganic beings?”

“They mingle with them. They turn them into allies. They form associations, create extraordinary friendships. I call them vast enterprises, where perception plays the uppermost role. We are social beings. We unavoidably seek the company of consciousness.”

“With inorganic beings, the secret is not to fear them. And this must be done from the beginning. The intent one has to send out to them has to be of power and abandon. In that intent one must encode the message “I don’t fear you. Come to see me. If you do, I’ll welcome you. If you don’t want to come, I’ll miss you.” With a message like this, they’ll get so curious that they’ll come for sure.”

“Why should they come to seek me, or why on earth should I seek them?”

“Dreamers, whether they like it or not, in their dreaming seek associations with other beings. This may come to you as a shock, but dreamers automatically seek groups of beings, nexuses of inorganic beings in this case. Dreamers seek them avidly.”

“This is very strange to me, don Juan. Why would dreamers do that?”

“The novelty for us is the inorganic beings. And the novelty for them is one of our kind crossing the boundaries of their realm. The thing you must bear in mind from now on is that inorganic beings with their superb consciousness exert a tremendous pull over dreamers and can easily transport them into worlds beyond description.”

“The sorcerers of antiquity used them, and they are the ones who coined the name “allies”. Their allies taught them to move the assemblage point out of the egg’s boundaries into the nonhuman universe. So when they transport a sorcerer, they transport him to worlds beyond the human domain.”

As I heard him talk, I was plagued by strange fears and misgivings, which he promptly realized.

“You are a religious man to the end.” He laughed. “Now, you’re feeling the devil breathing down your neck. Think about dreaming in these terms: dreaming is perceiving more than what we believe it is possible to perceive.”

In my waking hours, I worried about the possibility that inorganic conscious beings really existed. When I was dreaming, however, my conscious worries did not have much effect. The jolts of physical fear continued, but whenever they happened a strange calmness always trailed behind, a calmness that took control of me and let me proceed as if I had no fear at all.

It seemed at that time that every breakthrough in dreaming happened to me suddenly, without warning. The presence of inorganic beings in my dreams was no exception. It happened while I was dreaming about a circus I knew in my childhood. The setting looked like a town in the mountains in Arizona. I began to watch people with the vague hope I always had that I would see again the people I had seen the first time don Juan made me enter into the second attention. As I watched them, I felt a sizable jolt of nervousness in the pit of my stomach; it was like a punch.

The jolt distracted me, and I lost sight of the people, the circus, and the mountain town in Arizona. In their place stood two strange-looking figures. They were thin, less than a foot wide, but long, perhaps seven feet. They were looming over me like two gigantic earthworms.

I knew that it was a dream, but I also knew that I was seeing. Don Juan had discussed seeing in my normal awareness and in the second attention as well. Although I was incapable of experiencing it myself, I thought I had understood the idea of directly perceiving energy. In that dream, looking at those two strange apparitions, I realized that I was seeing the energy essence of something unbelievable.

I remained very calm. I did not move. The most remarkable thing to me was that they didn’t dissolve or change into something else. They were cohesive beings that retained their candle-like shape. Something in them was forcing something in me to hold the view of their shape. I knew it because something was telling me that if I did not move, they would not move either.

It all came to an end, at a given moment, when I woke up with a fright. I was immediately besieged by fears. A deep preoccupation took hold of me. It was not psychological worry but rather a bodily sense of anguish, sadness with no apparent foundation.

The two strange shapes appeared to me from then on in every one of my dreaming sessions. Eventually, it was as if I dreamt only to encounter them. They never attempted to move toward me or to interfere with me in any way. They just stood there, immobile, in front of me, for as long as my dream lasted. Not only did I never make any effort to change my dreams but I even forgot the original quest of my dreaming practices.

When I finally discussed with don Juan what was happening to me, I had spent months solely viewing the two shapes.

“You are stuck at a dangerous crossroad,” don Juan said. “It isn’t right to chase these beings away, but it isn’t right either to let them stay. For the time being, their presence is a hindrance to your dreaming.”

“What can I do, don Juan?”

“Face them, right now, in the world of daily life, and tell them to come back later, when you have more dreaming power.”

“How do I face them?”

“It’s not simple, but it can be done. It requires only that you have enough guts, which of course you do.”

Without waiting for me to tell him that I had no guts at all, he took me to the hills. He lived then in northern Mexico, and he had given me the total impression he was a solitary sorcerer, an old man forgotten by everybody and completely outside the main current of human affairs. I had surmised, however, that he was intelligent beyond measure. And because of this I was willing to comply with what I half-believed were mere eccentricities.

The cunningness of sorcerers, cultivated through the ages, was don Juan’s trademark. He made sure that I understood all I could in my normal awareness and, at the same time, he made sure that I entered into the second attention, where I understood or at least passionately listened to everything he taught me. In this fashion, he divided me in two. In my normal consciousness, I could not understand why or how I was more than willing to take his eccentricities seriously. In the second attention, it all made sense to me.

His contention was that the second attention is available to all of us, but, by willfully holding on to our half-cocked rationality, some of us more fiercely than others, keep the second attention at arm’s length. His idea was that dreaming brings down the barriers that surround and insulate the second attention. The day he took me to the hills of the Sonoran desert to meet the inorganic beings, I was in my normal state of awareness. Yet somehow I knew I had to do something that was certainly going to be unbelievable.

It had rained lightly in the desert. The red dirt was still wet, and as I walked it got clumped up in the rubber soles of my shoes. I had to step on rocks to remove the heavy chunks of dirt. We walked in an easterly direction, climbing toward the hills. When we got to a narrow gully between two hills, don Juan stopped.

“This is for sure an ideal place to summon your friends,” he said.

“Why do you call them my friends?”

“They have singled you out themselves. When they do that, it means that they seek an association. I’ve mentioned to you that sorcerers form bonds of friendship with them. Your case seems to be an example. And you don’t even have to solicit them.”

“What does such a friendship consist of, don Juan?”

“It consists of a mutual exchange of energy. The inorganic beings supply their high awareness, and sorcerers supply their heightened awareness and high energy. The positive result is an even exchange. The negative one is dependency on both parties.”

“The old sorcerers used to love their allies. In fact, they loved their allies more than they loved their own kind. I can foresee terrible dangers in that.”

“What do you recommend I do, don Juan?”

“Summon them. Size them up, and then decide yourself what to do.”

“What should I do to summon them?”

“Hold your dream view of them in your mind. The reason they have saturated you with their presence in your dreams is that they want to create a memory of their shape in your mind. And this is the time to use that memory.” Don Juan forcefully ordered me to close my eyes and keep them closed. Then he guided me to sit down on some rocks. I felt the hardness and the coldness of the rocks. The rocks were slanted; it was difficult to keep my balance.

“Sit here and visualize their shape until they are just like they are in your dreams,” don Juan said in my ear. “Let me know when you have them in focus.”

It took me very little time and effort to have a complete mental picture of their shape, just like in my dreams. It did not surprise me at all that I could do it. What shocked me was that, although I tried desperately to let don Juan know I had pictured them in my mind, I could not voice my words or open my eyes. I was definitely awake. I could hear everything. I heard don Juan say, “You can open your eyes now.”

I opened them with no difficulty. I was sitting cross-legged on some rocks, which were not the same ones I had felt under me when I sat down. Don Juan was just behind me to my right. I tried to turn around to face him, but he forced my head to remain straight. And then I saw two dark figures, like two thin tree trunks, right in front of me.

I stared at them open-mouthed; they were not as tall as in my dreams. They had shrunk to half their size. Instead of being shapes of opaque luminosity, they were now two condensed, dark, almost black, menacing sticks.

“Get up and grab one of them,” don Juan ordered me, “and don’t let go, no matter how it shakes you.”

I definitely did not want to do anything of the sort, but some unknown drive made me stand up against my will. I had at that moment the clear realization that I would end up doing what he had ordered me to, although I had no conscious intention of doing so.

Mechanically, I advanced toward the two figures, my heart pounding nearly out of my chest. I grabbed the one to my right. What I felt was an electric discharge that almost made me drop the dark figure.

Don Juan’s voice came to me as if he had been yelling from a distance away. “You drop it and you’re done for,” he said.

I held on to the figure, which twirled and shook. Not like a massive animal would, but like something quite fluffy and light, although strongly electrical. We rolled and turned on the sand of the gully for quite some time. It gave me jolt after jolt of some sickening electric current. I thought it was sickening because I fancied it to be different from the energy I had always encountered in our daily world. When it hit my body, it tickled me and made me yell and growl like an animal, not in anguish but in a strange anger.

It finally became a still, almost solid form under me. It lay inert. I asked don Juan if it was dead, but I did not hear my voice.

“Not a chance,” said someone laughing, someone who was not don Juan. “You’ve just depleted its energy charge. But don’t get up yet. Lie there just a moment longer.”

I looked at don Juan with a question in my eyes. He was examining me with great curiosity. Then he helped me up. The dark figure remained on the ground. I wanted to ask don Juan if the dark figure was all right. Again, I could not voice my question. Then I did something extravagant. I took it all for real. Up to that moment something in my mind was preserving my rationality by taking what was happening as a dream, a dream induced by don Juan’s machinations.

I went to the figure on the ground and tried to lift it up. I could not put my arms around it because it had no mass. I became disoriented. The same voice, which was not don Juan’s, told me to lie down on top of the inorganic being. I did it, and both of us got up in one motion, the inorganic being like a dark shadow attached to me. It gently separated from me and disappeared, leaving me with an extremely pleasant feeling of completeness.

It took me more than twenty-four hours to regain total control of my faculties. I slept most of the time. Don Juan checked me from time to time by asking me the same question, “Was the inorganic being’s energy like fire or like water?”

My throat seemed scorched. I could not tell him that the energy jolts I had felt were like jets of electrified water. I have never felt jets of electrified water in my life. I am not sure if it is possible to produce them or to feel them, but that was the image playing in my mind every time don Juan asked his key question.

Don Juan was asleep when I finally knew I was completely recovered. Knowing that his question was of great importance, I woke him up and told him what I had felt.

“You are not going to have helping friends among the inorganic beings, but relationships of annoying dependence,” he stated. “Be extremely careful. Watery inorganic beings are more given to excesses. The old sorcerers believed that they were more loving, more capable of imitating, or perhaps even having feelings. As opposed to the fiery ones, who were thought to be more serious, more contained than the others, but also more pompous.”

“What’s the meaning of all this for me, don Juan?”

“The meaning is too vast to discuss at this time. My recommendation is that you vanquish fear from your dreams and from your life, in order to safeguard your unity. The inorganic being you depleted of energy and then recharged again was thrilled out of its candle-like shape with it. It’ll come to you for more.”

“Why didn’t you stop me, don Juan?”

“You didn’t give me time. Besides, you didn’t even hear me shouting at you to leave the inorganic being on the ground.”

“You should have lectured me, beforehand, the way you always do, about all the possibilities.”

“I didn’t know all the possibilities. In matters of the inorganic beings, I am nearly a novice. I refused that part of the sorcerers’ knowledge on the ground that it is too cumbersome and capricious. I don’t want to be at the mercy of any entity, organic or inorganic.”

That was the end of our exchange. I should have been worried because of his definitely negative reaction, but I was not. I somehow was certain that whatever I had done was all right. I continued my dreaming practices without any interference from the inorganic beings.

***