Tales of Power
“Sorcerers do the same thing with their will,” he said. “They say that through the will they can witness the effects of the nagual. I can add now that through reason, no matter what we do with it, or how we do it, we are merely witnessing the effects of the tonal. In both cases there is no hope, ever, to understand or to explain what it is that we are witnessing.
“Last night was the first time that you flew on the wings of your perception. You were still very timid. You ventured only on the band of human perception. A sorcerer can use those wings to touch other sensibilities, a crow’s for instance, a coyote’s, a cricket’s, or the order of other worlds in that infinite space.”
“Do you mean other planets, don Juan?”
“Certainly. The wings of perception can take us to the most recondite confines of the nagual or to inconceivable worlds of the tonal.”
“Can a sorcerer go to the moon, for instance?”
“Of course he can,” he replied. “But he wouldn’t be able to bring back a bag of rocks, though.”
We laughed and joked about it but his statement had been made in ultimate seriousness.
“We have arrived at the last part of the sorcerers’ explanation,” he said. “Last night Genaro and I showed you the last two points that make the totality of man, the nagual and the tonal. I once told you that those two points were outside of oneself and yet they were not. That is the paradox of the luminous beings. The tonal of every one of us is but a reflection of that indescribable unknown filled with order; the nagual of every one of us is but a reflection of that indescribable void that contains everything.”
“Now you should sit on Genaro’s place of predilection until twilight; by then you should have pounded the sorcerers’ explanation into place. As you sit here now, you have nothing except the force of your life that binds that cluster of feelings.”
The Fire from Within
Don Juan said that after some of these men had finally learned to see – after centuries of dealing with power plants – the most enterprising of them then began to teach other men of knowledge how to see. And that was the beginning of their end. As time passed, the number of seers increased, but their obsession with what they saw, which filled them with reverence and fear, became so intense that they ceased to be men of knowledge. They became extraordinarily proficient in seeing and could exert great control over the strange worlds they were witnessing. But it was to no avail. Seeing had undermined their strength and forced them to be obsessed with what they saw.”
“There were seers, however, who escaped that fate,” don Juan continued, “great men who, in spite of their seeing, never ceased to be men of knowledge. Some of them endeavored to use seeing positively and to teach it to their fellow men. I’m convinced that under their direction, the populations of entire cities went into other worlds and never came back.”
“But the seers who could only see were fiascoes, and when the land where they lived was invaded by a conquering people they were as defenseless as everyone else.”
“Those conquerors,” he went on, “took over the Toltec world – they appropriated everything – but they never learned to see.”‘
“Why do you think they never learned to see?” I asked.
“Because they copied the procedures of the Toltec seers without having the Toltecs’ inner knowledge. To this day there are scores of sorcerers all over Mexico, descendants of those conquerors, who follow the Toltec ways but don’t know what they’re doing, or what they’re talking about, because they’re not seers.”
“Who were those conquerors, don Juan?”
“Other Indians,” he said. “When the Spaniards came, the old seers had been gone for centuries, but there was a new breed of seers who were starting to secure their place in a new cycle.”