(The Plumed Serpent)
Apart from our work as apprentice healers, we were taught and trained in the way of the warrior. The healers called that path Xiuhyollotl ohtli, meaning the path of wisdom, or the path of the heart. Regardless of the terminology used, however, the goal is the same: the connection to the spirit.
The modern man has renounced the magical world in favour of reason, and in so doing “was cast out of paradise”: he has lost his connection with intent.
The first step one needs take to return to the natural state is therefore to wholeheartedly desire such a return. Then, step by step, through warrior’s training, one begins cleaning one’s connecting link with intent and bringing it back to life.
Energy is cumulative. Each act that exercises the will, every instance of choosing to behave impeccably helps the next act and makes it easier. Making the connecting link operational again is the way to achieve integration.
We learn that we create the world by attention and keep it stable by means of will. We say that things are like this or like that, we believe in this or in that and thus ensure that things are in this or that way. Sorcerers say that by doing so we decree the world, we set its parameters.
Doña Silvia clarified this point for us, saying:
“Decreeing is like sowing seeds of intent so that they germinate later.”
What she meant was that if we put our intent into a certain thing it later becomes reality, which is why we need to be careful with our thoughts and the words that come out of our mouths, because, unless we have control, the intent coming to us will be blind.
“You must be very careful when you decree, because it works in both directions. Love and hate are decreed with equal intensity, and so are forgiveness and revenge. Those who choose evil condemn themselves because we are bound to our commands, and whatever we decree comes to us later.
It’s not that there are two kinds of intent, but rather the continuity that one decrees. To decree the future deliberately is to decree what will happen next. One does it by activating intent.
For that purpose sorcerers generally use gestures and words concealed within other techniques.
What really matters here is that, having set up intent, the warrior maintains inner silence and patiently hopes. The results will happen.
By being attached to one’s habits, addictions, and emotions, one unconsciously decrees their continuity. The only way to break away from that chain is to decree the opposite.”
One of the assistants asked, “Can you give us a concrete example of a decree?”
She replied, “To decree is more than just tell yourself mechanically that something is this or that. To decree is to give yourself an order, and do everything possible and impossible to execute it. At first it may be difficult, but as you keep to your decision time and time again, there will come a moment when your command will become law.
Giving yourself an order means giving yourself a command. A command is not a promise, it isn’t trying or testing. It is an order, something that must be obeyed. It is something much deeper than mere desire.
Once the word has been spoken, once the commitment has been made, forces are unleashed that forge and mould the world, and thereby we engage our will with that of others.
Now, if for any reason we go back on our word, we weaken our will and cloud our link with intent. To walk a path, your feet must be on it. There is no substitute for that. Take yourself as an example,” doña Silvia said to the assistant who had asked her the question. “You live complaining that you can’t enter dreaming when all you need do is give yourself an order, convince yourself that you are a dreamer, that you are already there.
We are what we say we are. That works for the good things and for bad. If we want to change something in ourselves, we must begin by repeating again and again the desired change.
Even if at first the affirmations we utter aren’t entirely true, it is not a big deal, because in time they will become so. Our command will become the Eagle’s command.
We decree at every moment, and in every decision we make, whether we like it or not. A sorcerer therefore asks himself, ‘If I have to decree anyway, why not do it consciously, and select whatever suits me most?’ The sorcerers thus effectively eradicate from their vocabulary all the negative or destructive thoughts, words and ideas that delay or harm their progress along the path.
When we make a decision, however small, imponderable forces are unleashed, forces that might well lead to our death. Any and every decision counts, because in a world where death stalks, nothing is more important than anything else. Your sense of being impeccable will come from knowing what decision to make, and when to make them.”
It so happened that one of the assistants felt the need to say something to an absent colleague that evening but had no way of communicating with him. Doña Silvia said:
“Come with me for a moment.”
She went out of the house, and gave a shrill whistle. I thought she had used a device to produce the sound because of the way she had put her hands to her mouth, but then noticed that she was not holding anything. She whistled repeatedly, then went back in and said, “Now we just have to wait.”
We looked at each other questioningly, and she explained:
“Healers work their tricks at crossroads, which means that we apply our will at the very point of a decisive juncture. That is how we manage to do many things, including healing people.”
I asked, “What are you talking about?”
“To answer that, I have to explain the art of interference,” she replied and called everyone to gather around her again.
“I must warn you that what I am about to explain is of such huge importance that great responsibility comes with this knowledge. Some people feel that it ought to be kept secret, but we have learned that only those who manage to accumulate enough power are able to make use of what I’ll tell you now.
“Once we’ve understood that we are connected to everything around us, we humbly take our place within the creation. Then we observe carefully where the link between one point and another lies. Once we’ve discovered that, the rest is easy: all one has to do is apply one’s will to that spot to interfere with its operation. Some people use ritual to keep their attention focused for long periods of time, but over the time, with practice, ritual becomes unnecessary. One decrees continuity. To interfere with anything, one must decree first.”
Doña Silvia watched us for a while to see our reaction, then went on: “I will teach you a magic verse, a formula to learn and repeat every night, like ‘Hail Mary’.”
She put her hands together as if for prayer and said, “It goes like this:
“I set upon my will
An unbending intent:
That, once I make a decision,
I shall carry it out to the end
If it costs me my life.
I shall never commit to what is not my will.”
Doña Silvia finished her incantation by making the sign of the cross, then continued:
“When spoken with purpose and intent, words carry great power. The main reason why ordinary people are excluded from the world of power is because they never keep their word.
Warriors know that words are directly linked to intent and should therefore be used with purpose, which is why they carefully consider everything that comes out of their mouths.
Ordinary people speak without thinking, and in so doing they expose themselves. Using the same techniques that turn ordinary people into idiots, a warrior saves himself from that predicament. He creates his own commands and instead of unconsciously repeating set phrases, he deliberately chooses which commands he wishes to emphasize. A warrior never lends himself to harmful displays of envy, hatred, resentment, and so on. He drowns them in his silence and lets them die slowly away.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means that a warrior avoids uttering sentences with connotations contrary to his interest, like, for example, ‘I hate this or that’ or ‘I cannot stand this.’ By avoiding those and similar comments, a warrior is cleansed and cured of debilitating concepts.
Observe that the idea here is to reinforce the positive and reduce the negative. Even when saying, ‘DON’T do this or that’ one actually suggests that YES, it can be done. Such is human nature. It is therefore important to cultivate the ideas of strength and beauty in the mind, because they are the filter through which we look at the world. If we learn a word, its meaning becomes an active part of our possibilities. It is therefore wise to deliberately choose strong, commanding words that will help us build a character suitable for the hard struggle of warriors.
For that purpose, healers deliberately choose fortifying affirmations which they incorporate into their everyday vocabulary: words of good humour, happiness, health and vitality; words that make them feel good about themselves.”
Once, while doing my chores, I absentmindedly hummed a popular song. Doña Silvia drew my attention to the words of the song so that I would understand how we constantly give ourselves commands we are not even aware of.
“A word becomes spent when it acquires connotations that weaken its essence and divert its intention so that it is no longer impeccable and no longer suitable as a warrior’s affirmation. Warriors avoid speaking such words or phrases.
There are fresh and strong words and there are old and worn-out ones. When a word loses its force, it needs to be replaced. The word ‘love’, for example, has become so commercialized it has almost lost its meaning. Yet those who truly love know what is behind that word; they know it implies the abandonment of the ego. As a general rule, one must use words with great care if one wants to preserve one’s power, and must never fail intent.”
As an exercise, Doña Silvia told us to make a list of words we unconsciously repeated so that we would become aware of them. Then she instructed us to substitute positive words or reaffirm positively the negative aspects of words we dragged along, so that they would be annulled.
We first of all need to become aware of our automatic repetitions and why we are making them. We must understand what the word used without intent has turned into and what damage it can cause. When, for example, someone innocently says that something is killing him, or even that this or that makes him sick, one is self-programming the fulfilment of that statement.
The fact that I was creating my list alongside my fellow apprentices turned out to be very useful, as other people notice our repetitions more readily than we do.
Following doña Silvia’s programme, we devoted ourselves to the task of becoming aware that we did have a repetition habit. We then took every word or phrase that we were in the habit of repeating and gave it a healing treatment. By meditating on it and then repeating it many times in a sequence, sometimes even in a mocking tone, we made those words lose completely their basic meaning and with it their suggestive power. By bathing them in attention, we offloaded the burden of their subconscious meaning.
Another interesting exercise we practised, one which produced excellent results, was to assign arbitrary values to words. Yet another one was to make lists of important words that needed examining and pin them up where we could see them.
Some words, however, represent conglomerates of values deeply rooted in us and it is difficult for us to break our fixation on them. Those are best dealt with as memories of experiences to be examined during recapitulation.
There is a common saying among the healers: “Our life is the sum of our intent. It is as you decree it.”
“Words are so powerful,” doña Silvia went on, “that, all by themselves, they have the power to move the assemblage points of people. That is what happens when charismatic leaders who are gifted speakers influence crowds. It is mass hypnosis.
Being happy is the supreme accomplishment that warriors can achieve, which is why they cultivate good humour and the art of not taking themselves seriously. They learn how to apply the power of words in pursuit of happiness, laughter, and good living.
Our conversation was suddenly interrupted by the absent apprentice’s arrival. Doña Silvia commented with a huge smile:
“It never fails.”