(The Eagle’s Gift by Carlos Castaneda)
She said that I should not allow the events of that night at the bridge to confuse me. I should not believe, as the Nagual Juan Matus had believed at one time, that there is an actual physical passageway into the other self. The slit that I had seen was simply a construct of their intent, which had been trapped by a combination of the Nagual Juan Matus’ obsession with passageways and Silvio Manuel’s bizarre sense of humor; the mixture of both had produced the cosmic vagina.
As far as she was concerned, the passage from one self to the other had no physicality. The cosmic vagina was a physical expression of the two men’s power to move the “wheel of time.”
Florinda explained that when she or her peers talked about time, they were not referring to something which is measured by the movement of a clock. Time is the essence of attention; the Eagle’s emanations are made out of time; and properly, when one enters into any aspect of the other self, one is becoming acquainted with time.
Florinda assured me that that very night, while we sat in formation, they had had their last chance to help me and the apprentices to face the wheel of time. She said that the wheel of time is like a state of heightened awareness which is part of the other self, as the left side awareness is part of the self of everyday life, and that it could physically be described as a tunnel of infinite length and width; a tunnel with reflective furrows. Every furrow is infinite, and there are infinite numbers of them. Living creatures are compulsorily made, by the force of life, to gaze into one furrow. To gaze into it means to be trapped by it, to live that furrow.
She asserted that what warriors call will belongs to the wheel of time. It is something like the runner of a vine, or an intangible tentacle which all of us possess. She said that a warrior’s final aim is to learn to focus it on the wheel of time in order to make it turn. Warriors who have succeeded in turning the wheel of time can gaze into any furrow and draw from it whatever they desire, such as the cosmic vagina. To be trapped compulsorily in one furrow of time entails seeing the images of that furrow only as they recede. To be free from the spellbinding force of those grooves means that one can look in either direction, as images recede or as they approach.
Florinda stopped talking and embraced me. She whispered in my ear that she would be back to finish her instruction someday, when I had gained the totality of myself.
(The Secret of the Plumed Serpent)
On one occasion I mentioned to Carlos that I’d been on an excursion to the area of Bolsón de Mapimi in the north of Mexico, to a place known as The Silence Zone. He told me that he had already been there and added that the reason inexplicable phenomena happened in that place was because of powerful confluences of the Eagle’s emanations. He said:
“The confluence of emanations is what causes the well-known phenomena of distortion in compasses and other electronic devices. It is also responsible for the visual and auditory hallucinations in those who visit that area.”
Our conversation moved on to a topic that interested me greatly; Carlos called it the wheel of time.
“Time is the essence of the Eagle’s emanations,” he told me. “The emanations are perceived by sentient beings as time. Time is our subjective sensation of the emanations.”
Sorcerers see time as constant flow, as if it were a giant wave with everything caught up in its crest, making it all move in unison. That effect makes the passage of time seem real and unchangeable to us. If we could perceive everything at the same time, we would not see time as something that passes but as the absolute, as an experience of eternity. The nature of our organs of perception is such that we select bundles of emanations in sequence, and that gives us the impression of the passing of time.
Sorcerers have discovered that time is not something rigid. The manner in which we perceive it depends on the way we fix the position of the assemblage point. The human beings of our time are imprisoned in a collective position that makes us oscillate around the position of reason where time is linear, a single recurrence moving ever forward in an unchanging direction.
“We all long, however, to break that linearity. That is why fiction stories are written about characters who travel through time. Deep down, we all know that the experience of time in which we are immersed is only a mirage shared by all of us who belong to this particular cluster of Eagle’s emanations. Once they have learned to fix their assemblage point in diverse positions, sorcerers experience different types of time: continuities that can flow slower or faster, or in several directions simultaneously. The sorcerers call this omnidirectional flow the supremacy of the wheel of time. Due to their experience in the labyrinth of time, the shamans of antiquity came to the conclusion that the real nature of time was cyclical, with no straight lines in the succession of events. That is why, in essence, all beings and events are cyclical, because everything recurs time and again. They saw that there were certain patterns or moulds in energy. They also saw that cycles superimposed themselves on one another, interacting in indescribable ways and mingling to form new cycles. That is why all beings are connected like the beads of the rosary and absolutely everything that exists forms part of the same weave of the eagle’s emanations. That, for sorcerers, is the essential nature of the universe.”
Although I did not fully understand what he had said, I marvelled at his explanation while the scope of his level of awareness astonished me. Just to say something, I remarked that scientists had made significant discoveries about the texture of time and space. He replied:
“Theoretical physicists are advanced explorers who use mathematical logic to investigate the universe, but even they feel it to be an ineffective and inappropriate tool. The proof is that they can’t agree even among themselves, and the unified theory is a fallacy explaining nothing. Real and tangible worlds exist where time passes in a way different from what is normal to us. I know; I have already been there. Here on Earth, sorcerers recognize anomalous points where emanations change their texture as places of power. In those places, energy behaves in ways different from the usual one. A sensitive person in the state of inner silence can extract a great deal of information about the mysteries of the universe from those sites.”
I asked him if he knew a place of power he could recommend. He replied evasively:
“The world is full of such places; particularly here, because in this area the Eagle’s emanations swirl like nowhere else I’ve seen. The difficulty lies not in finding such a place but in being able to recognize it and use it appropriately.
In fact, any place can be a place of power for the person who manages to reach silence. We are generally so confused by the hurly-burly of the world around us that it is very difficult to apprehend the tenuous oscillation that can be felt when we are silent. The vibration we perceive is the Eagle’s emanations; it is time passing by. The ancients knew that the universe could be explained in part but never in its totality, because the universe is not there to be explained. The only sensible thing to do with the Eagle’s emanations is to use them.
Shamans are very practical persons. They don’t see the secrets of the wheel of time as theoretical knowledge but as possibility of action. They have designed practices that actually make it possible for them to travel through time, although not through the linear time of our everyday experience, but through the real time of the emanations.”
“What could be the practical use of that knowledge?” I asked.
“The sorcerer who has learned to use the emanations knows it is possible to assimilate the moment, to make oneself one with it and to extend eternally in any direction of his choice. Such is the freedom of perception, our real destination as luminous beings. Sorcerers struggle to break with the human form and to divest themselves of personality; ultimately, they do it to make themselves one with the emanations of time and flow with them.
The goal is to establish a personal relationship with time, a harmonic relationship that allows them to flow with the emanations in perfect equilibrium, so that the human will and the will of the Eagle are the same.”
Paraphrasing something that he himself had written, he said:
“The knowledge of time is available only to those who investigate it deliberately.”
I wanted to know what that type of investigation consisted of. He replied:
“To flow with time, you have to learn to face it as it advances towards you, just like a bird which faces the oncoming wind in order to soar, never the receding one. By the same token, to face time, you must abandon the tendency to see yourself at the end of a line of events, as a participant in the chain of your personal and collective history. It is an illusion; the past and the future do not exist. The only thing that you really have is this moment. If you want to deal with the oncoming time, you have to dare to live the present. To flow with time is to live this moment intensely, accepting or rejecting the challenges that appear on our path, learning and experimenting with every new day of our life. To live in the present does not mean abandoning oneself to the randomness of the moment; on the contrary, it means having the speed to grasp everything the second it happens, without passing it through the filter of reason. That way the world renews itself all the time and the most exciting possibilities open themselves to us. One thus becomes aware of everything that happens around him. Living in the present does not imply disregarding past experiences; it means learning to see them as they really are: events outside time in the flow of the cosmic intent. That allows one to extract accurate lessons from them, and even gives one the capacity to modify them as required. That is what recapitulation is for; through recapitulation, you can literally intervene in the energy flow of the past. A sorcerer who has learned to manipulate the wheel of time can deliberately interfere in events as much as the power allows and alter the future in his favour. By doing that, he puts himself in the best possible position for the completion of his task. The most dramatic effect the wheel of time has on a sorcerer’s experience is the realization that he does not actually exist here or there, because time and space are not as absolute as we believe them to be.”