(The Universal Spiderweb by Armando Torres)
On one occasion, we were having a snack in doña Silvia’s kitchen, seated around the rustic wooden table, enjoying a delicious nutbread that she had made according to her own recipe. I asked her if she knew how our lineage had begun. Making a polite gesture, she covered her mouth with her hand and nodded her head; she left her glass of atole on the table, and then she told a fascinating story, explaining that the event she was narrating had happened in very old times, long before the Spanish conquest.
She added that these events took place not very far from where we lived now. She said that in that village there was a young Indian named Atloc.
It happened that, on a day of intense storms, Ehecatl the god of the winds, took him up into the air with a strong gale. She said that after that, he disappeared and that nobody knew where he had fallen. They looked diligently for his body, but they couldn’t find him. Everybody in town accepted that he had died; however, after years of absence, one day the young man returned.
He was changed; he looked very strong and fearsome. According to the story, the young man related what had happened to him; he said that he felt as if the hand of Ehecatl had taken him, but that soon after that, he lost any recollection of the event.
When he woke, he realized that he was in a strange place; he was mistreated, almost dead; he said that between hallucinations, he saw how unknown people were taking care of him.
When he could speak, he wanted to know where he was and who they were. They told him plainly that he had been badly wounded and that they were curing him. When he had enough strength, he discovered that the wind had taken him very far from his home.
He said that it was the desire of destiny that he fall precisely over the shack of a nagual sorcerer who had been waiting for a successor for many years. He knew immediately that that young man had been sent to him and took him as an apprentice.
Doña Silvia told us that the nagual Atloc was the founder of our line, and that the previous ones, his teachers, were of another type of sorcerer that has very little to do with what we are.
She said that Atloc became the healer of his village. With the help of beings from the other world, he learned all about the plants and the curing of the sick. He became so different from his predecessors that, starting from then, a new beginning is marked.
I was very interested in this topic, so when I had the opportunity, I asked don Melchor about Atloc and how many more lineages existed, and if he personally knew of any.
“There are as many lineages as necessary,” he answered.
On another occasion, he explained that, in the same way that each family has its peculiarities, the same thing happened with groups of sorcerers.
I asked him for an example, but he, in his usual way, said that that I would discover it for myself. I thought he said that only to avoid answering my question; however, he was right because, only a few weeks later, we were invited to a celebration in a neighboring town.
As the activities went on, the participants consumed the delicious regional plates, and they enjoyed the song and dance performances. The children ran barefoot among people as if they were little goblins, filling the air with their screams and laughs.
Everything was going perfectly until suddenly, the sky closed with some dark large storm clouds; a strong wind lifted the canvases and pulled up the colored paper ornaments that hung in front of the church. It had already begun to rain, and everyone scurried to look for refuge; everything indicated that the celebration had finished. It was then that one of the old men took off his hat and walked to the middle of the soccer field, not very far from where we were. The wind roared strongly, whirling his hair that was grayed by the years, and soon after, he lifted his eyes to the sky and stood looking it for a moment; then he opened the arms to each side, and spoke aloud, but from where I was, I couldn’t hear what he was saying.
Then I watched as he began to blow toward the clouds, and suddenly, the sky cleared, the sun came out, and the activities continued as if nothing had happened.
I was surprised and marveled at his ability. I knew at once that he was a man of power, so I went to speak with him. He used the traditional Mexican courtesy, extending the hand to greet me as he said:
“I’m Maximino Huerta. How can I serve you?”
I spent as much time as possible by his side. We became friends; he told me that I could call him Max. I bombarded him with questions. I said that I was interested in knowing the procedure for moving the rain away; he explained that what counted when blowing the clouds was the “intention” associated with it.
I loved to chat with don Max; when we said goodbye, he invited me to visit him some day in his town.
Los abuelos (the grandparents) commented to me later that don Max belonged to the lineage of those people known as “Graniceros” (Hailstoners). They added that, that day, he had given us an extraordinary demonstration of how they are able to control the climate.
I had already heard something about the Graniceros and about their prowess; they say that they fly among the clouds, and that they ride to the lightning itself, amid the storms.
In Mexico there are many stories in which people talk about witnessing “fire balls” that float in the air, generally around mountains. People of the towns call them “witches.”
The Graniceros are those who control the winds, the rain and the hail. In fact, it is said that to belong to this fraternity, it’s essential to have been pointed out by the lightning itself. For some reason, I felt a great curiosity about them, so one day I decided to go to visit their town.
Don Max received me like a lost son. As we chatted while drinking a tea made of herbs that he had picked behind the house, I commented about how on one occasion I was struck by lightning. He laughed and told me that he knew it because he could see the mark that that event had left in my body, adding that the same thing had happened to him, and he told me the history of how the lightning touched him. He said that, that day, he went to work in the cornfield; as usual, he brought his animals with him to pasture.
He related that suddenly the weather turned and a thunderbolt fell upon them; in an instant it struck two of his sheep, and it left many others injured. He said that he himself received such a strong charge that he lost consciousness, and that when he woke up, he saw that he’d been tossed into a puddle of water, and he explained that after that day, his life changed forever.
During our chats, I asked don Max what the secret of controlling the climate was. He didn’t answer me; without further explanation, he took me to a place in the nearby mountains. We walked for almost an hour. The landscape was beautiful; we stopped in the middle of a field with an open sky.
From the traces that could be seen in the ground, it seemed that in the past, somebody had planted a corn crop there. In that place and without any other instruction, he told me that I should summon the rain. He left me alone and went to sit down on the edge of the field. I didn’t know what to do; I tried in vain; it must have been funny because he was laughing at my attempts.
Beside the fact that we were not in the rainy season, on that day in particular, it was clear and dry, without a single cloud in the sky. After a while of clumsily gesticulating, trying without success to summon the rain, I gave up. I made a gesture of impotence toward him, and don Max came to where I was standing.
To help, he taught me a kind of prayer; he explained that he had not said it before because he wanted to see how well I bonded with “mamatlali” or the spirit of nature. He urged me not to stop until the rain fell, “even if takes a hundred years.”
For a long time, I repeated the invocation again and again. I was not able to make it rain, but sure enough, in the area that we were in, clouds began to appear in the sky. I felt tired, frustrated, and in a bad mood. I grumbled to him that I couldn’t do what he requested because it was impossible.
When he heard me say this, don Max lifted his arms with great force, and immediately, a bolt of lightning illuminated the sky with its blinding light, striking scarcely twenty meters away, just in front of us; the roar was so strong that out of sheer fright I cowered in the place where I was, my bladder let loose, and I urinated in my pants. I believed that I was going to die right then and there.
Suddenly, I don’t know from where, large, dark storm clouds arose, and it began to rain. At first it was only a few drops, but then a cloudburst formed that forced us to run in search of shelter.
Because of that experience, my body has become afraid; even to this day, I’m terrified of electric storms. But I must admit that, from that time on, I’ve felt that in some way my body assimilated the teaching because just after that I developed a strange capacity of being able to predict the weather; it’s a strange sensation of being connected with the environment.
In Mexico there are a great variety of lineages of knowledge, each one with their own goals and their own peculiarities. During the years I’ve been traveling on this path, I’ve found a great diversity of tendencies; some form groups of knowledge, sharing a line, while others are totally different. Sorcery is a very dynamic matter; groups and even lineages arise, while others disappear.
A long time before having established the practices for the masses, Carlos affirmed that his energy structure didn’t allow him to form warriors’ groups. He said that he didn’t have enough energy for that. Those who had the opportunity to attend his chats can attest to this, as he openly criticized those people who pretend to organize some work together. He said that the groups only serve to exacerbate one’s personal importance.
However, at the beginning of the nineties, he began to teach the magical passes more openly, and it was then that he began to call them Tensegrity. As an explanation, he said that it was an architectural term, whose goal was to reach the balance between tension and relaxation, in which the body performs with efficiency and economy. At the present time, the practitioners of that discipline are the modern followers of that old Toltec method of knowledge.
For the Toltecs, it’s necessary to understand that they’re the practitioners of some of the arts that lead to knowledge. In general, the number of members of a group of warriors that follow some of the traditional paths is much smaller; Tensegrity, however, is a different case; currently, the organization consists of thousands of practitioners, in what has almost become a kind of religion. There are traditional sorcerers’ lineages that have endured for centuries, still completely following the ways of old, but that’s not to say that they for any reason have any advantage over the others; the playing field is level. On the other hand, there are so many new tendencies arising that they even don’t have names for yet; in the annals of the families, there have been many instances in which a group strayed so far from their original tradition that it became a new line, which is exactly what happened to Atloc. This is the way, then, that new lineages arise. This also appears to be the case with Tensegrity. Carlos said that a nagual has authority, and that it’s his obligation to find new and better ways to achieve the goal.
In this battle everything is valid; the means don’t matter; what really matters is that they succeed in activating the connection with the spirit, without which there is no method or lineage that’s worthwhile.