(Magical Passes by Carlos Castaneda)
According to don Juan Matus, one of the most specific interests of the shamans who lived in Mexico in ancient times was what they called the liberation of the womb. He explained that the liberation of the womb entailed the awakening of its secondary functions, and that since the primary function of the womb, under normal circumstances, was reproduction, those sorcerers were solely concerned with what they considered to be its secondary function: evolution.
Evolution, in the case of the womb, was, for them, the awakening and full exploitation of the womb’s capacity to process direct knowledge-that is to say, the possibility of apprehending sensory data and interpreting it directly, without the aid of the processes of interpretation with which we are familiar.
For shamans, the moment in which practitioners are transformed from beings that are socialized to reproduce into beings capable of evolving is the moment when they become conscious of seeing energy as it flows in the universe. In the opinion of shamans, females can see energy directly more readily than males because of the effect of their wombs. It is also their opinion that under normal conditions, regardless of the facility that women have, it is nearly impossible for women or for men to become deliberately conscious that they can see energy directly. The reason for this incapacity is something which shamans consider to be a travesty: the fact that there is no one to point out to human beings that it is natural for them to see energy directly.
Shamans maintain that women, because they have a womb, are so versatile, so individualistic in their ability to see energy directly that this accomplishment, which should be a triumph of the human spirit, is taken for granted. Women are never conscious of their ability. In this respect, males are more proficient. Since it is more difficult for them to see energy directly, when they do accomplish this feat, they don’t take it for granted. Therefore male sorcerers were the ones who set up the parameters of perceiving energy directly and the ones who tried to describe the phenomenon.
“The basic premise of sorcery,” don Juan said to me one day, “discovered by the shamans of my lineage who lived in Mexico in ancient times is that we are perceivers. The totality of the human body is an instrument of perception. However, the predominance of the visual in us gives to perception the overall mood of the eyes. This mood, according to the old sorcerers, is merely the heritage of a purely predatorial state.
“The effort of the old sorcerers, which has lasted to our days,” don Juan continued, “was geared toward placing themselves beyond the realm of the predator’s eye. They conceived the predator’s eye to be visual par excellence, and that the realm beyond the predator’s eye is the realm of pure perception, which is not visually oriented.”
On another occasion, he said that it was a bone of contention for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico that women, who have the organic frame, the womb, that could facilitate their entrance into the realm of pure perception, have no interest in using it. Those shamans viewed it as a woman’s paradox to have endless power at her disposal and no interest whatsoever in gaining access to it. However, don Juan had no doubt that this lack of desire to do anything wasn’t natural; it was learned.
The aim of the magical passes for the womb is to give the female practitioners of Tensegrity an inkling, which has to be more than an intellectual titillation, of the possibility of canceling out the effect of this noxious socialization that renders women indifferent. Nevertheless, a warning is in order; don Juan Matus advised his female disciples to proceed with great caution when practicing these magical passes. The magical passes for the womb are passes that foster the awakening of the secondary functions of the uterus and ovaries, and those secondary functions are the apprehension of sensory data and the interpretation of them.
Don Juan called the womb the perceiving box. He was as convinced as the other sorcerers of his lineage that the uterus and ovaries, if they are pulled out of the reproductive cycle, can become tools of perception, and become indeed the epicenter of evolution. He considered that the first step of evolution is the acceptance of the premise that human beings are perceivers. It was not redundancy on his part to insist ceaselessly that this has to be done before anything else.
“We already know that we are perceivers. What else can we be?” I would say in protest every time he insisted.
“Think about it!” he would reply every time I protested. “Perception plays only a minute role in our lives, and yet, the only thing we are for a fact is perceivers, Human beings apprehend energy at large and turn it into sensory data. Then they interpret these sensory data into the world of everyday life. This interpretation is what we call perception.
“The shamans of ancient Mexico, as you already know,” don Juan went on, “were convinced that interpretation took place on a point of intense brilliance, the assemblage point, which they found when they saw the human body as a conglomerate of energy fields that resembled a sphere of luminosity. The advantage of women is their capacity to transfer the interpretation function of the assemblage point to the womb. The result of this transfer function is something that cannot be talked about, not because it is something forbidden, but because it is something indescribable.
“The womb,” don Juan continued, “is veritably in a chaotic state of turmoil, because of this veiled capacity that exists in remission from the moment of birth until death but which is never utilized. This function of interpretation never ceases to act and yet it has never been raised to the level of full consciousness.”
Don Juan’s assurance was that the shamans of ancient Mexico, by means of their magical passes, had raised among their female practitioners the interpretive capacity of the womb to the level of consciousness, and by doing this, they had instituted an evolutionary change among them; that is to say, they had turned the womb from an organ of reproduction into the tool of evolution.
Evolution is defined in the world of modem man as the capacity of different species to modify themselves through the processes of natural selection or the transmission of traits, until they can successfully reproduce in their offspring the changes brought about in themselves.
The evolutionary theory that has lasted to our day, from the time it was formulated over a hundred years ago, says that the origin and the perpetuation of a new species of animal or plant is brought about by the process of natural selection, which favors the survival of individuals whose characteristics render them best adapted to their environment, and that evolution is brought about by the interplay of three principles: first, heredity, the conservative force that transmits similar organic forms from one generation to another; second, variation, the differences present in all forms of life; and third, the struggle for existence, which determines which variations confer advantages in a given environment. This last principle gave rise to the phrase still in current use: “the survival of the fittest.”
Evolution, as a theory, has enormous loopholes; it leaves tremendous room for doubt. It is at best an open-ended process for which scientists have created classificatory schemes; they have created taxonomies to their hearts’ content. But the fact remains that it is a theory full of holes. What we know about evolution doesn’t tell us what evolution is.
Don Juan Matus believed that evolution was the product of intending at a very profound level. In the case of sorcerers, that profound level was marked by what he had called inner silence.
“For instance,” he said, when he was explaining this phenomenon, “sorcerers are sure that dinosaurs flew because they intended flying. But what is very difficult to understand, much less accept, is that wings are only one solution to flying, in this case, the dinosaurs’ solution. Nevertheless, this solution is not the only one that is possible. It’s the only one available to us by imitation. Our airplanes are flying with wings imitating the dinosaurs, perhaps because flying has never been intended again since the dinosaurs’ time. Perhaps wings were adopted because they were the easiest solution.”
Don Juan was of the opinion that if we were to intend it now, there is no way of knowing what other options for flying would be available besides wings. He insisted that because intent is infinite, there was no logical way in which the mind, following processes of deduction or induction, could calculate or determine what these options for flying might be.