9: The Process of Retracing Steps

(The Universal Spiderweb by Armando Torres)

In a fortuitous way, don Juan taught Carlos how sorcerers obtain signs from everything that surrounds them; for example, the description that he made of the direction of the crows’ flight, or when a teapot emits its sound. Faithfully following this tradition, Carlos acted with me exclusively on the basis of signs that he received, and due to that, he eventually put me in contact with a group of healers.

I’ve already described in a previous work my encounter with these people and the effect that it had on me. With their aid, but especially that of my teacher, doña Silvia Magdalena, and of my benefactor don Melchor Ramos, I was able to shatter my limits and enter into the dream of the sorcerers.

They were, for me, the parents that I never had, and, maybe a lot more than that. The unconditional support I received from them and from the other partners helped me overcome the obstacles that were presented in my path, to transform myself from a pusillanimous being into the warrior I am now. Even nowadays I feel the effect of their presence in my life.

I remember the occasion on which don Melchor, according to the signs that he’d received, sent me on a return trip in time to untangle what he called my “fears and paranoias.” He said, “The non-digested emotions are what prevent the warrior from flying freely.”

The sorcerers called this healing work “the process of retracing steps.” It’s a type of active recapitulation, in which the person returns physically to the places and moments of his life in an attempt to repair damages and to rescue his energy.

For some, as in my case, this was an arduous process of self-discovery, since, when one denies his origins, he gets caught up in an eternal whirlwind of non-digested emotions, and becomes ungrateful toward others, toward life and toward himself; as a result, he’ll never get anywhere. For this reason, it’s essential for warriors, a matter of great urgency, to clear this aspect of their lives.

To fulfill this requirement of making my return trip, I began by investigating my origins. The retracing of my steps took me to events that happened in the years of my childhood, when I still lived with my adoptive family on the other side of the border.

I remember very vividly my escape when I was barely ten years of age. The unbearable hostility of which I was a victim while I lived with my adoptive parents led me to run away from home. One day, I simply vanished into thin air; I left with the idea of never returning, and believed it then, but as I have learned, it’s impossible to escape from oneself.

I remember that, at that time, we lived in a border town in Arizona. My stepfather was an immigration officer who was drunk most of the time. They told me that he rescued me from certain death; he said that he found me crying in my mother’s arms as she lay dead; however, during one of his bouts of drunkenness, he admitted that he himself had shot her. It was just one more case of an Indian immigrant dead in the desert.

He took me as his son, and, for as long as I can remember, all I received from them was bad treatment. They turned me into the slave of the house. My stepbrothers were especially cruel; they had me tied, sometimes for several days, without anything to eat. My stepfather not only allowed it, but he even encouraged them instead of protecting me. He sided with those who abused and mistreated me.

All those events caused me great trauma that resulted in a personal nature of fear and distrust, and even when I denied it or tried to disguise it, the pain was always there, pressing me, as if it were a bad command engraved on my soul. Some repetitive attitudes were for me like commandments carved in stone, interfering with my thoughts, my feelings, and ultimately with my decisions.

“We are what we are because of the sum of the events that make up our lives. Therefore, it’s the warrior’s obligation to act as a bricklayer of the soul, fixing cracks, healing resentments, making everything even and repairing wounds, so that in that way, he can some day find freedom.”

When I had enough maturity and wisdom, one day I returned to see my adoptive family; my stepfather had already died but my stepmother was still alive; she had been placed in a home for old people. In the beginning she didn’t recognize me, but when I told her that I was their son who had run away from home many years ago, she remembered immediately. Crying, she revealed to me that I was the only one of her children who had ever visited her. She asked me for forgiveness for how they had treated me, and she told me that one of my siblings had died – somebody shot him in a tavern brawl – and that the other one was in jail. She admitted to me that my father died with remorse for the way they had abused me.

I felt their pain; suddenly, all my bitterness disappeared, and at that moment I liberated myself. I told her that I loved them, and that I was grateful because they gave me the opportunity to live in this wonderful world. If not for my stepfather who rescued me, I surely would have died together with my mother in that desert.

I will be forever grateful to those powerful men who, following the signs, have helped me on my path, but mainly, I’m thankful for this unique opportunity to some day be able to fly free.

***

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