times I've attempted to name my knowledge for your benefit. I've said that
the most appropriate name is nagualism, but that that term is
too obscure. Calling it simply "knowledge" makes it too vague, and to call
it "witchcraft" is debasing. "The mastery of intent " is too
abstract, and "the search for total freedom" too long and metaphorical.
Finally, because I've been unable to find a more appropriate name, I've
called it "sorcery," although I admit it is not really accurate.
I've given you different definitions of sorcery, but I have
always maintained that definitions change as knowledge increases. Now you
are in a position to appreciate a clearer definition.
From where the average man stands, sorcery is
nonsense or an ominous mystery beyond his reach. And he is right--not
because this is an absolute fact, but because the average man lacks the
energy to deal with sorcery.
Human beings are born
with a finite amount of energy, an energy that is systematically deployed,
beginning at the moment of birth, in order that it may be used most
advantageously by the modality of the time.
modality of the time is the precise bundle of energy fields being
perceived. I believe man's perception has changed through the ages. The
actual time decides the mode; the time decides which precise bundle of
energy fields, out of an incalculable number, are to be used. And handling
the modality of the time--those few, selected energy fields--takes all our
available energy, leaving us nothing that would help us use any of the
other energy fields.
The average man, if he uses
only the energy he has, can't perceive the worlds sorcerers do. To
perceive them, sorcerers need to use a cluster of energy fields not
ordinarily used. Naturally, if the average man is to perceive those worlds
and understand sorcerers' perception he must use the same cluster they
have used. And this is just not possible, because all his energy is
Think of it this way. It isn't
that as time goes by you're learning sorcery; rather, what you're learning
is to save energy. And this energy will enable you to handle some of the
energy fields which are inaccessible to you now. And that is sorcery: the
ability to use energy fields that are not employed in perceiving the
ordinary world we know. Sorcery is a state of awareness. Sorcery is the
ability to perceive something which ordinary perception cannot.
Everything a teacher puts his apprentice through, each of
the things he shows him is only a device to convince him that there's more
to us than meets the eye.
We don't need anyone to
teach us sorcery, because there is really nothing to learn. What we need
is a teacher to convince us that there is incalculable power at our
fingertips. What a strange paradox! Every warrior on the path of knowledge
thinks, at one time or another, that he's learning sorcery, but all he's
doing is allowing himself to be convinced of the power hidden in his
being, and that he can reach it.
I'm trying to
convince you that you can reach that power. I went through the same thing.
And I was as hard to convince as you are. Once we have reached it, it
will, by itself, make use of energy fields which are available to us but
inaccessible. And that, as I have said, is sorcery. We begin then to
see --that is, to perceive--something else; not as
imagination, but as real and concrete. And then we begin to know without
having to use words. And what any of us does with that increased
perception, with that silent knowledge, depends on our own
Now, I'm going to give you a
different and more precise definition of sorcery.
In the universe there is an unmeasurable, indescribable force which
sorcerers call intent. Absolutely everything that exists in
the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link.
Sorcerers, warriors, are concerned with discussing, understanding, and
employing that connecting link. They are especially concerned with
cleaning it of the numbing effects brought about by the ordinary concerns
of their everyday lives. Sorcery at this level could be defined as the
procedure of cleaning one's connecting link to
The task of sorcery is to
take this seemingly incomprehensible knowledge and make it understandable
by the standards of awareness of everyday life.
The guide in the lives of sorcerers is called "the nagual." The nagual is
a man or a woman with extraordinary energy, a teacher who has sobriety,
endurance, stability; someone seers see as a luminous sphere
having four compartments, as if four luminous balls have been compressed
together. Naguals are responsible for supplying what sorcerers call "the
minimal chance": the awareness of one's connection with
Naguals school their
apprentices toward three areas of expertise: the mastery of
awareness , the art of stalking ,
and the mastery of intent . These three areas of expertise
are the three riddles sorcerers encounter in their search for
The mastery of awareness is the riddle
of the mind; the perplexity sorcerers experience when they recognize the
astounding mystery and scope of awareness and perception.
The art of stalking is the riddle of the heart; the
puzzlement sorcerers feel upon becoming aware of two things: first that
the world appears to us to be unalterably objective and factual, because
of peculiarities of our awareness and perception; second, that if
different peculiarities of perception come into play, the very things
about the world that seem so unalterably objective and factual
The mastery of intent is the
riddle of the spirit, or the paradox of the abstract--sorcerers' thoughts
and actions projected beyond our human condition.
The art of stalking and the mastery of intent
depend upon instruction on the mastery of awareness, which consists of the
following basic premises:
The universe is an infinite agglomeration of energy fields,
resembling threads of light.
These energy fields, called the Eagle's, or the
Force 's emanations, radiate from a source of inconceivable
proportions metaphorically called the Eagle--the Indescribable
Human beings are also composed of an incalculable number of the same
threadlike energy fields. These Indescribable Force 's
emanations form an encased agglomeration that manifests itself as a ball
of light the size of the person's body with the arms extended laterally,
like a giant luminous egg.
Only a very small group of the energy fields inside this luminous
ball are lit up by a point of intense brilliance located on the ball's
Perception occurs when the energy fields in that small group
immediately surrounding the point of brilliance extent their light to
illuminate identical energy fields outside the ball. Since the only
energy fields perceivable are those lit by the point of brilliance, that
point is named "the point where perception is assembled" or simply "the
The assemblage point can be moved from its usual position on the
surface of the luminous ball to another position on the surface, or into
the interior. Since the brilliance of the assemblage point can light up
whatever energy field it comes in contact with, when it moves to a new
position it immediately brightens up new energy fields, making them
perceivable. This perception is known as seeing .
When the assemblage point shifts, it makes possible the perception
of an entirely different world--as objective and factual as the one we
normally perceive. Sorcerers go into that other world to get energy,
power, solutions to general and particular problems, or to face the
Intent is the pervasive force that causes us to
perceive. We do not become aware because we perceive; rather, we
perceive as a result of the pressure and intrusion of
The aim of sorcerers is to reach a state of total awareness in order
to experience all the possibilities of perception available to man. This
state of awareness even implies an alternative way of dying.
A level of practical
knowledge is included as part of teaching the mastery of awareness. On
this practical level are taught the procedures necessary to move the
assemblage point. The two great systems devised by the sorcerer seers of
ancient times to accomplish this are dreaming , the control
and utilization of dreams; and
stalking , the control of
Moving one's assemblage point is an
essential maneuver that every sorcerer has to learn.
Sorcerers consult their past in order to obtain a point of reference.
Establishing a point of reference means getting a chance to examine
intent and nothing can give sorcerers a better view of
intent than examining stories of other sorcerers battling to
understand the same force.
In sorcery there are
abstract cores, and then, based on those abstract cores, there are scores
of sorcery stories about the naguals of our lineage battling to understand
way to know intent is to know it directly through a living
connection that exists between intent and all sentient
beings. Sorcerers call intent the indescribable, the spirit,
act performed by sorcerers, especially by the naguals, is either performed
as a way to strengthen their link with intent or as a
response triggered by the link itself. Sorcerers, and specifically the
naguals, therefore have to be actively and permanently on the lookout for
manifestations of the spirit. Such manifestations are called gestures of
the spirit or, more simply, indications or omens.
When a sorcerer interprets an omen he knows its exact meaning without
having any notion of how he knows it. This is one of the bewildering
effects of the connecting link with intent . Sorcerers have a
sense of knowing things directly. How sure they are depends on the
strength and clarity of their connecting link.
feeling everyone knows as "intuition" is the activation of our link with
intent . And since sorcerers deliberately pursue the
understanding and strengthening of that link, it could be said the they
intuit everything unerringly and accurately. Reading omens is commonplace
for sorcerers--mistakes happen only when personal feelings intervene and
cloud the sorcerers' connecting link with intent . Otherwise
their direct knowledge is totally accurate and functional.
The spirit manifests itself to a sorcery, especially to a
nagual, at every turn. However, this is not the entire truth. The entire
truth is that the spirit reveals itself to everyone with the same
intensity and consistency, but only sorcerers, and naguals in particular,
are attuned to such revelations.
decisions. With no regard for the consequences they take action or choose
not to. Imposters ponder and become paralyzed.
Sorcerers speak of sorcery as a magical,
mysterious bird which has paused in its flight for a moment in order to
give man hope and purpose. Sorcerers live under the wing of that bird,
which they call the bird of wisdom, the bird of freedom. They nourish it
with their dedication and impeccability.
of freedom can do only two things, take sorcerers along, or leave them
behind. Don't forget, even for an instant, that the bird of freedom has
very little patience with indecision, and when it flies away, it never
When you have
been afraid or upset, don't lie down to sleep, sleep sitting up on a soft
chair. To give your body healing rest take long naps, lying on your
stomach with your face turned to the left and your feet over the foot of
the bed. In order to avoid being cold, put a soft pillow over your
shoulders, away from your neck, and wear heavy socks, or just leave your
shoes on. Follow my suggestions to the letter without bothering to believe
or disbelieve me.
Intent creates edifices before us and invites us to enter
them. This is the way sorcerers understand what is happening around
I want you to understand the underlying
order of what I teach you. It means two things: both the edifice that
intent manufactures in the blink of an eye and places in
front of us to enter, and the signs it gives us so we won't get lost once
we are inside.
certain stage, an apprentice enters into heightened awareness all by
himself. Heightened awareness is a mystery only for our reason. In
practice, it's very simple. As with everything else, we complicate matters
by trying to make the immensity that surrounds us reasonable.
The Manifestations of the
Spirit is the name for the first abstract core in the sorcery stories.
Sorcerers know this as the edifice of intent , or the silent
voice of the spirit, or the ulterior arrangement of the
Ulterior means knowledge without words,
outside our immediate comprehension, not beyond our ultimate possibilities
for understanding. The ulterior arrangement of the abstract is knowledge
without words or the edifice of intent . The ulterior
arrangement of the abstract is to know the abstract directly, without the
intervention of language. The abstract is the element without which there
could be no warrior's path, nor any warriors in search of
are incapable of feeling compassion because they no longer feel sorry for
themselves. Without the driving force of self-pity, compassion is
For a warrior everything begins and
ends with himself. However, his contact with the abstract causes him to
overcome his feeling of self-importance. Then the self becomes abstract
Dreaming is a sorcerer's jet plane. They can create and
project what sorcerers know as the dreaming body
, or the Other, and be in two distant places at the same time.
The spirit makes adjustments in our capacity for awareness.
That's a statement of fact. You can say that it's an incomprehensible fact
for the moment, but the moment will change.
we dream the assemblage point moves very gently and naturally. Mental
balance is nothing but the fixing of the assemblage point on one spot
we're accustomed to. Dreams make that point move, and
dreaming is used to control that natural movement.
There are two different issues. One, the need to understand
indirectly what the spirit is, and the other, to understand the spirit
Once you understand what the spirit is,
the second issue will be resolved automatically, and vice versa. If the
spirit speaks to you, using its silent words, you will certainly know
immediately what the spirit is.
The difficulty is
our reluctance to accept the idea that knowledge can exist without words
to explain it. Accepting this proposition is not as easy as saying you
accept it. The whole of humanity has moved away from the abstract. It
takes years for an apprentice to be able to go back to the abstract, that
is, to know that knowledge and language can exist independent of each
The crux of our difficulty in going back to
the abstract is our refusal to accept that we can know without words or
even without thoughts. Knowledge and language are separate.
I told you there is no way to talk about the spirit because
the spirit can only be experienced. Sorcerers try to explain this
condition when they say that the spirit is nothing you can see or feel.
But it's there looming over us always. Sometimes it comes to some of us.
Most of the time it seems indifferent.
in many ways is a sort of wild animal. It keeps its distance from us until
a moment when something entices it forward. It is then that the spirit
For a sorcerer an abstract is
something with no parallel in the human condition. For a sorcerer, the
spirit is an abstract simply because he knows it without words or even
thoughts. It's an abstract because he can't conceive what the spirit is.
Yet without the slightest chance or desire to understand it, a sorcerer
handles the spirit. He recognizes it, beckons it, entices it, becomes
familiar with it, and expresses it with his acts.
Think about the proposition that knowledge might be independent of
language, without bothering to understand it.
Consider this. It was not the act of meeting me that mattered to you. The
day I met you, you met the abstract. But since you couldn't talk about it,
you didn't notice it. Sorcerers meet the abstract without thinking about
it or seeing it or touching it or feeling its presence.
The second abstract core of the sorcery
stories is called the Knock of the Spirit. The first core, the
Manifestations of the Spirit, is the edifice that intent
builds and places before a sorcerer, then invites him to enter. It is the
edifice of intent seen by a sorcerer. The Knock
of the Spirit is the same edifice seen by the beginner who is invited--or
rather forced--to enter.
A nagual can be a conduit
for the spirit only after the spirit has manifested its willingness to be
used--either almost imperceptibly or with outright commands.
After a lifetime of practice, sorcerers, naguals in
particular, know if the spirit is inviting them to enter the edifice being
flaunted before them. They have learned to discipline their connecting
links to intent . So they are always forewarned, always know
what the spirit has in store for them.
along the sorcerers' path is, in general, a drastic process the purpose of
which is to bring one's connecting link to order. In order to revive that
link sorcerers need a rigorous, fierce purpose--a special state of mind
called unbending intent .
apprentice is someone who is striving to clear and revive his connecting
link with the spirit. Once the link is revived, he is no longer an
apprentice, but until that time, in order to keep going he needs a fierce
purpose which, of course, he doesn't have. So he allows the nagual to
provide the purpose and to do that he has to relinquish his individuality.
That's the difficult part.
Volunteers are not
welcome in the sorcerers' world, because they already have a purpose of
their own, which makes it particularly hard for them to relinquish their
individuality. If the sorcerers' world demands ideas and actions contrary
to the volunteers' purpose, volunteers simply refuse to change.
Reviving an apprentice's link is a nagual's most challenging
and intriguing work. And one of his biggest headaches too. Depending, of
course, on the apprentice's personality, the designs of the spirit are
either sublimely simple or the most complex labyrinths.
The power of man is incalculable.
Death exists only because we have intended it since the
moment of our birth. The intent of death can be suspended by
making the assemblage point change positions.
I have given you different versions of what the
sorcery task consists. It would not be presumptuous of me to disclose
that, from the spirit's point of view, the task consists of clearing our
connecting link with it. The edifice that intent flaunts
before us is, then, a clearinghouse, within which we find not so much the
procedures to clear our connecting link as the silent knowledge that
allows the clearing process to take place. Without that silent knowledge
no process could work, and all we would have would be an indefinite sense
of needing something.
The events unleashed by
sorcerers as a result of silent knowledge are so simple and yet so
abstract that sorcerers decided long ago to speak of those events only in
symbolic terms. The manifestations and the knock of the spirit are
For instance, a description of what
takes place during the initial meeting between a nagual and a prospective
apprentice from the sorcerers' point of view, would be absolutely
incomprehensible. It would be nonsense to explain that the nagual, by
virtue of his lifelong experience, is focusing something we couldn't
imagine, his second attention--the increased awareness gained through
sorcery training--on his invisible connection with some indefinable
abstract. He is doing this to emphasize and clarify someone else's
invisible connection with that indefinable abstract.
Each of us is barred from silent knowledge by natural barriers,
specific to each individual. The most impregnable of my barriers was the
drive to disguise my complacency as independence.
We as average men do not know, nor will we ever know, that it is something
utterly real and functional--our connecting link with intent
--which gives us our hereditary preoccupation with fate. During our active
lives we never have the chance to go beyond the level of mere
preoccupation, because since time immemorial the lull of daily affairs has
made us drowsy. It is only when our lives are nearly over that our
hereditary preoccupation with fate begins to take on a different
character. It begins to make us see through the fog of daily affairs.
Unfortunately, this awakening always comes hand in hand with loss of
energy caused by aging, when we have no more strength left to turn our
preoccupation into a pragmatic and positive discovery. At this point, all
there is left is an amorphous, piercing anguish, a longing for something
indescribable, and simple anger at having missed out.
The third abstract core is called the
trickery of the spirit, or the trickery of the abstract, or
stalking oneself, or dusting the link.
Perception is the hinge for
everything man is or does, and perception is ruled by the location of the
assemblage point. Therefore, if that point changes positions, man's
perception of the world changes accordingly. The sorcerer who knows
exactly where to place his assemblage point can become anything he
The art of
stalking is learning all the quirks of your disguise. To
learn them so well no one will know you are disguised. For that you need
to be ruthless, cunning, patient, and sweet.
Stalking is an art applicable to everything. There are four
steps to learning it: ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness.
Ruthlessness should not be harshness, cunning should not be cruelty,
patience should not be negligence, and sweetness should not be
foolishness. These four steps have to be practiced and perfected until
they are so smooth they are unnoticeable.
Knowing what intent is means that
one can, at any time, explain that knowledge or use it. A nagual by the
force of his position is obliged to command his knowledge in this
needs focus. Heightened awareness is like a springboard. From it one can
jump into infinity. When the assemblage point is dislodged, it either
becomes lodged again at a position very near its customary one or
continues moving on into infinity.
People have no
idea of the strange power we carry within ourselves. At this moment, for
instance, you have the means to reach infinity.
Egomania is a real tyrant. We must work
ceaselessly to dethrone it. You can learn to be ruthless, cunning,
patient, and sweet. Ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness are the
essence of stalking . They are the basics that with all their
ramifications have to be taught in careful, meticulous steps.
Sorcerers' behavior is always
impeccable. Sorcerers, though, have an ulterior purpose for their acts,
which has nothing to do with personal gain. The fact that they enjoy their
acts does not count as gain. Rather, it is a condition of their character.
The average man acts only if there is the chance for profit. Warriors say
they act not for profit but for the spirit. We have no thought of personal
gain. Our acts are dictated by impeccability--we can't be angry or
The two masteries:
stalking and intent , are the crowning glory of
sorcerers old and new. Stalking is the beginning. Before
anything can be attempted on the warrior's path, warriors must learn to
stalk ; next they must learn to intend , and
only then can they move their assemblage point at will.
Words are tremendously powerful and
important and are the magical property of whoever has them. Sorcerers have
a rule of thumb: they say that the deeper the assemblage point moves, the
greater the feeling that one has knowledge and no words to explain it.
Sometimes the assemblage point of average persons can move without a known
cause and without their being aware of it, except that they become
tongue-tied, confused, and evasive.
The very first principle of
stalking is that a warrior stalks himself. He
stalks himself ruthlessly, cunningly, patiently, and
Stalking is the art of using
behavior in novel ways for specific purposes. Normal human behavior in the
world of everyday life is routine. Any behavior that brakes from routine
causes an unusual effect on our total being. That unusual effect is what
sorcerers seek, because it is cumulative.
sorcerer seers of ancient times, through their seeing , first
noticed that unusual behavior produced a tremor in the assemblage point.
They soon discovered that if unusual behavior was practiced systematically
and directed wisely, it eventually forced the assemblage point to
The real challenge for those sorcerer seers,
was finding a system of behavior that was neither petty nor capricious,
but that combined the morality and the sense of beauty which
differentiates sorcerer seers from plain witches.
Anyone who succeeds in moving his assemblage point to a new position is a
sorcerer. And from that new position, he can do all kinds of good and bad
things to his fellow men. Being a sorcerer, therefore, can be like being a
cobbler or a baker. The quest of sorcerer seers is to go beyond that
stand. And to do that, they need morality and beauty.
For sorcerers, stalking is the foundation on which
everything else they do is built. It is the art of controlled
that heightened awareness is the portal of intent . And they
use it as such. Think about it.
You must reach the
point where you understand what intent is. And, above all,
you must understand that that knowledge cannot be turned into words. That
knowledge is there for everyone. It is there to be felt, to be used, but
not to be explained. One can come into it by changing levels of awareness,
therefore, heightened awareness is an entrance. But even the entrance
cannot be explained. One can only make use of it.
The natural knowledge of intent is available to anyone, but
the command of it belongs to those who probe it.
Sorcerers believe that until the very moment of
the spirit's descent, any of us could walk away from the spirit; but not
The fourth abstract core is called the
descent of the spirit or being moved by intent . It is the
full brunt of the spirit's descent. The fourth abstract core is an act of
revelation. The spirit reveals itself to us. Sorcerers describe it as the
spirit lying in ambush and then descending on us, its prey. Sorcerers say
that the spirit's descent is always shrouded. It happens and yet it seems
not to have happened at all.
There is a threshold
that once crossed permits no retreat. Every sorcerer should have a clear
memory of crossing that threshold so he can remind himself of the new
state of his perceptual potential. One does not have to be an apprentice
of sorcery to reach this threshold, and the only difference between an
average man and a sorcerer, in such cases, is what each emphasizes. A
sorcerer emphasizes crossing this threshold and uses the memory of it as a
point of reference. An average man does not cross the threshold and does
his best to forget all about it.
that the fourth abstract core happens when the spirit cuts our chains of
self-reflection. Cutting our chains is marvelous, but also very
undesirable, for nobody wants to be free.
strange feeling: to realize that everything we think, everything we say
depends on the position of the assemblage point.
The secret of our chains is that they imprison us, but by keeping us
pinned down on our comfortable spot of self-reflection, they defend us
from the onslaughts of the unknown.
chains are cut, we are no longer bound by the concerns of the daily world.
We are still in the daily world, but we don't belong there anymore. In
order to belong we must share the concerns of people. And without chains
What distinguishes normal people is that
we share a metaphorical dagger: the concerns of our self-reflection. With
this dagger, we cut ourselves and bleed; and the job of our chains of
self-reflection is to give us the feeling that we are bleeding together,
that we are sharing something wonderful: our humanity. But if we were to
examine it, we would discover that we are bleeding alone; that we are not
sharing anything; that all we are doing is toying with our manageable,
unreal, man-made reflection.
Sorcerers are no
longer in the world of daily affairs because they are no longer prey to
The universe is made up of energy fields which defy description or
scrutiny. They resemble filaments of ordinary light, except that light is
lifeless compared to the Indescribable Force 's emanations,
which exude awareness.
Normal perception occurs
when intent , which is pure energy, lights up a portion of
the luminous filaments inside our cocoon, and at the same time brightens a
long extension of the same luminous filaments extending into infinity
outside our cocoon. Extraordinary perception, seeing , occurs
when by the force of intent , a different cluster of energy
fields energizes and lights up. When a crucial number of energy fields are
lit up inside the luminous cocoon, a sorcerer is able to see
the energy fields themselves.
place when the energy fields inside our luminous cocoon are
aligned with the same energy fields outside.
Only a very small portion of the total number of luminous filaments
inside the cocoon are energized while the rest remain unaltered. The
filaments do not need to be aligned to be lit up, because the
ones inside our cocoon are the same as those outside. Whatever energizes
them is definitely an independent force. We can't call it awareness
because awareness is the glow of the energy fields being lit up. The force
that lites up the fields is named will .
Will is the force that keeps the Indescribable
Force 's emanations separated and is not only responsible for our
awareness, but also for everything in the universe. This force has total
consciousness and it springs from the very fields of energy that make the
universe. Intent is a more appropriate name for it than
will . In the long run, however, the name proves disadvantageous,
because it does not describe its overwhelming importance nor the living
connection it has with everything in the universe.
Our great collective flaw is that we live our lives completely
disregarding that connection. The busyness of our lives, our relentless
interests, concerns, hopes, frustrations, and fears take precedence, and
on a day-to-day basis we are unaware of being linked to everything
Being cast out from the Garden of Eden
sounds like an allegory for losing our silent knowledge, our knowledge of
intent . Sorcery, then, is a going back to the beginning, a
return to paradise.
The spirit is the force that
sustains the universe. Intent is not something one might use
or command or move in any way--nevertheless, one could use it, command it,
or move it as one desires. This contradiction is the essence of sorcery.
To fail to understand it has brought generations of sorcerers unimaginable
pain and sorrow. Modern-day naguals, in an effort to avoid paying this
exorbitant price in pain, have developed a code of behavior called the
warrior's way, or the impeccable action, which prepares sorcerers by
enhancing their sobriety and thoughtfulness.
Sorcerers concern themselves exclusively with the capacity that their
individual connecting link with intent has to set them free
to light the fire from within.
sorcerers have to struggle fiercely to gain soundness of mind. Sorcery is
an attempt to reestablish our knowledge of intent and regain
use of it without succumbing to it. The abstract cores of the sorcerer
stories are shades of realization, degrees of our being aware of
It does not matter what our specific fate is as long as we face it
with ultimate abandon.
warrior is on permanent guard against the roughness of human behavior. A
warrior is magical and ruthless, a maverick with the most refined taste
and manners, whose worldly task is to sharpen, yet disguise, his cutting
edges so that no one would be able to suspect his ruthlessness.
Sorcerers constantly stalk themselves. The
sensation of being bottled up is experienced by every human being. It is a
reminder of our existing connection with intent . For
sorcerers this sensation is even more acute, precisely because their goal
is to sensitize their connecting link until they can make it function at
When the pressure of their connecting link
is too great, sorcerers relieve it by stalking themselves.
Stalking is a procedure, a very simple one.
Stalking is special behavior that follows certain principles.
It is secretive, furtive, deceptive behavior designed to deliver a jolt.
And, when you stalk yourself you jolt yourself, using your
own behavior in a ruthless, cunning way.
sorcerer's awareness becomes bogged down with the weight of his perceptual
input, the best, or even perhaps the only, remedy is to use the idea of
death to deliver that stalking jolt.
The idea of death therefore is of monumental importance in the life of a
sorcerer. I have shown you innumerable things about death to convince you
that the knowledge of our impending and unavoidable end is what gives us
sobriety. Our most costly mistake as average men is indulging in a sense
of immortality. It is as though we believe that if we don't think about
death we can protect ourselves from it.
thinking about death protects us from worrying about it. But that purpose
is an unworthy one for average men and a travesty for sorcerers. Without a
clear view of death, there is no order, no sobriety, no beauty. Sorcerers
struggle to gain this crucial insight in order to help them realize at the
deepest possible level that they have no assurance whatsoever their lives
will continue beyond the moment. That realization gives sorcerers the
courage to be patient and yet take action, courage to be acquiescent
without being stupid.
The idea of death is the
only thing that can give sorcerers courage. Strange, isn't it? It gives
sorcerers the courage to be cunning without being conceited, and above all
it gives them courage to be ruthless without being
themselves in order to break the power of their obsessions. There are many
ways of stalking oneself. If you don't want to use the idea
of your death, you can use poems to stalk yourself.
I stalk myself with them. I deliver a jolt to
myself with them. I listen, and shut off my internal dialogue and let my
inner silence gain momentum. Then the combination of the poem and the
silence delivers the jolt.
See if you can feel
what I'm talking about with this poem by Josť Gorostiza.
...this incessant stubborn dying,
this living death,
that slays you, oh
in your rigorous handiwork,
in the roses, in the stones,
and in the flesh that burns
like a bonfire lit by a song,
a hue that hits the
perhaps have died eternities of ages out
without us knowing about it,
we dregs, crumbs, ashes of you;
that still are present,
like a star faked by its
an empty light without star
that reaches us,
its infinite catastrophe.
As I hear the words, I feel that that man is
seeing the essence of things and I can see with
him. I care only about the feeling the poets longing brings me. I borrow
his longing, and with it I borrow the beauty. And marvel at the fact that
he, like a true warrior, lavishes it on the recipients, the beholders,
retaining for himself only his longing. This jolt, this shock of beauty,
is stalking .
Death is not an enemy,
although it appears to be. Death is not our destroyer, although we think
Sorcerers say death is the only worthy
opponent we have. Death is our challenger. We are born to take that
challenge, average men or sorcerers. Sorcerers know about it; average men
Life is the process by means of which
death challenges us. Death is the active force. Life is the arena. And in
that arena there are only two contenders at any time: oneself and
We are passive. Think about it. If we move,
it's only when we feel the pressure of death. Death sets the pace for our
actions and feelings and pushes us relentlessly until it breaks us and
wins the bout, or else we rise about all possibilities and defeat
Sorcerers defeat death and death
acknowledges the defeat by letting the sorcerers go free, never to be
challenged again. Death stops challenging them. It means thought has taken
a somersault into the inconceivable.
of thought into the inconceivable is the descent of the spirit; the act of
breaking our perceptual barriers. It is the moment in which man's
perception reaches its limits.
the art of sending scouts, advance runners, to probe our perceptual
limits. This is another reason I like poems. I take them as advance
runners. But poets don't know as exactly as sorcerers what those advance
runners can accomplish.
As the energy that is ordinarily used to maintain the fixed
position of the assemblage point becomes liberated, it focuses
automatically on that connecting link. There are no techniques or
maneuvers for a sorcerer to learn beforehand to move energy from one place
to the other. Rather it is a matter of an instantaneous shift taking place
once a certain level of proficiency has been attained.
The level of proficiency is pure understanding. In order to attain
that instantaneous shift of energy, one needs a clear connection with
intent , and to get a clear connection one needs only to
intend it through pure understanding.
Pure understanding is a sorcerer's advance runner probing that immensity
The nature of
ruthlessness is that it is the opposite of self-pity. All sorcerers are
As I have
said, the fourth abstract core of the sorcery stories is called the
descent of the spirit, or being moved by intent . In order to
let the mysteries of sorcery reveal themselves it is necessary for the
spirit to descend. The spirit chooses a moment when a man is distracted,
unguarded, and, showing no pity, the spirit lets its presence by itself
move the man's assemblage point to a specific position. This spot is known
to sorcerers as the place of no pity. Ruthlessness becomes, in this way,
the first principle of sorcery.
principle should not be confused with the first effect of sorcery
apprenticeship, which is the shift between normal and heightened
To all appearances, having the
assemblage point shift is the first thing that actually happens to a
sorcery apprentice. So, it is only natural for an apprentice to assume
that this is the first principle of sorcery. But it is not. Ruthlessness
is the first principle of sorcery.
What we need to
do to allow magic to get hold of us is to banish doubt from our minds.
Once doubts are banished, anything is possible.
Stop thinking by intending the
movement of your assemblage point. Intent is beckoned with
of no pity is the site of ruthlessness. Let's say that ruthlessness, being
a specific position of the assemblage point, is shown in the eyes of
sorcerers. It's like a shimmering film over the eyes. The eyes of
sorcerers are brilliant. The greater the shine, the more ruthless the
When the assemblage point moves to
the place of no pity, the eyes begin to shine. The firmer the grip of the
assemblage point on its new position, the more the eyes shine.
A recapitulation of their lives, which sorcerers do, is the
key to moving their assemblage points. Sorcerers start their
recapitulation by thinking, by remembering the most important acts of
their lives. From merely thinking about them they then move on to actually
being at the site of the event. When they can do that--be at the site of
the event--they have successfully shifted their assemblage point to the
precise spot it was when the event took place. Bringing back the total
event by means of shifting the assemblage point is known as sorcerers'
Recollecting is not the same as
remembering. Remembering is dictated by the day-to-day type of thinking,
while recollecting is dictated by the movement of the assemblage
Our assemblage points are constantly
shifting; imperceptible shifts. In order to make our assemblage points
shift to precise spots we must engage intent . Since there is
no way of knowing what intent is, sorcerers let their eyes
feel and interpret as longing is in fact the sudden movement of your
Ruthlessness makes sorcerers'
eyes shine, and that shine beckons intent . Each spot to
which their assemblage points move is indicated by a specific shine of
their eyes. Since their eyes have their own memory, they can call up the
recollection of any spot by calling up the specific shine associated with
The reason sorcerers put so much
emphasis on the shine of their eyes and on their gaze is because the eyes
are directly connected to intent . Contradictory as it might
sound, the truth is that the eyes are only superficially connected to the
world of everyday life. Their deeper connection is to the
Man's possibilities are so vast and
mysterious that sorcerers, rather than thinking about them, have chosen to
explore them, with no hope of ever understanding them.
The only advantages sorcerers may have over average men is that
they have stored their energy, which means a more precise, clearer
connecting link with intent . Naturally, it also means they
can recollect at will, using the shine of their eyes to move their
Be a paragon of patience and consistency by fighting for impeccability.
Transform yourself daily, restraining yourself with the most excruciating
It is a rare opportunity for a warrior to
be given a genuine chance to be impeccable in spite of his basic feelings.
The act of giving freely and impeccably rejuvenates you and renews your
The eyes of
all living beings can move someone else's assemblage point, especially if
their eyes are focused on intent . Under normal conditions,
however, peoples eyes are focused on the world, looking for food...
looking for shelter...
For sorcerers to use the
shine of their eyes to move their own or anyone else's assemblage point
they have to be ruthless. That is, they have to be familiar with that
specific position of the assemblage point called the place of no pity.
This is especially true for the naguals.
nagual develops a brand of ruthlessness specific to him alone. Naguals
mask their ruthlessness automatically, even against their will. I'm not a
rational man, I only appear to be because my mask is so effective. What
you perceive as reasonableness is my lack of pity, because that's what
ruthlessness is: a total lack of pity.
assemblage point to the precise spot where pity disappears. That spot is
known as the place of no pity. The problem that sorcerers have to solve is
that the place of no pity has to be reached with only minimal
Everything sorcerers do is done as a
consequence of a movement of their assemblage points, and such movements
are ruled by the amount of energy sorcerers have at their
Inside every human being is a gigantic,
dark lake of silent knowledge which each of us could intuit. Sorcerers are
the only beings on earth who deliberately go beyond the intuitive level by
training themselves to do two transcendental things: first, to conceive
the existence of the assemblage point, and second, to make that assemblage
The most sophisticated knowledge
sorcerers possess is of our potential as perceiving beings, and the
knowledge that the content of perception depends on the position of the
Enjoy things with no expectation.
When the assemblage point moves and reaches the place of no
pity, the position of rationality and common sense becomes weak.
Silent knowledge is something that all of us have, something
that has complete mastery, complete knowledge of everything. But it cannot
think, therefore, it cannot speak of what is know.
Sorcerers believe that when man became aware that he knew, and wanted to
be conscious of what he knew, he lost sight of what he knew. This silent
knowledge, which you cannot describe, is, of course, intent
--the spirit, the abstract. Man's error was to want to know it directly,
the way he knew everyday life. The more he wanted, the more ephemeral it
Man gave up silent knowledge for the world
of reason. The more he clings to the world of reason, the more ephemeral
The origin of the anxiety that overtakes an apprentice with
the speed of wildfire is the sudden movement of his assemblage point. Get
used to the idea of recurrent attacks of anxiety, because your assemblage
point is going to keep moving.
Any movement of the
assemblage point is like dying. Everything in us gets disconnected, then
reconnected again to a source of much greater power. That amplification of
energy is felt as a killing anxiety. When this happens, just wait. The
outburst of energy will pass. What's dangerous in not knowing what is
happening to you. Once you know, there is no real danger.
Ancient man knew, in the most direct fashion, what to do and how
best to do it. But, because he performed so well, he started to develop a
sense of selfness, which gave him the feeling that he could predict and
plan the actions he was used to performing. And thus the idea of an
individual "self" appeared; an individual self which began to dictate the
nature and scope of man's actions.
As the feeling
of the individual self became stronger, man lost his natural connection to
silent knowledge. Modern man, being heir to that development, therefore
finds himself so hopelessly removed from the source of everything that all
he can do is express his despair in violent and cynical acts of
self-destruction. The reason for man's cynicism and despair is the bit of
silent knowledge left in him, which does two things: one, it gives man an
inkling of his ancient connection to the source of everything; and two, it
makes man feel that without this connection, he has no hope of peace, of
satisfaction, of attainment.
War is the natural
state for a warrior, and peace is an anomaly. But war, for a warrior,
doesn't mean acts of individual or collective stupidity or wanton
violence. War, for a warrior, is the total struggle against that
individual self that has deprived man of his power.
Ruthlessness is the most basic premise of sorcery. Any movement of
the assemblage point means a movement away from the excessive concern with
the individual self.
Self-importance is the force
generated by man's self-image. It is that force which keeps the assemblage
point fixed where it is at present. For this reason, the thrust of the
warrior's way is to dethrone self-importance. And everything sorcerers do
is toward accomplishing this goal.
unmasked self-importance and found that it is self-pity masquerading as
something else. It doesn't sound possible, but that is what it is.
Self-pity is the real enemy and the source of man's misery. Without a
degree of pity for himself, man could not afford to be as self-importance
as he is. However, once the force of self-importance is engaged, it
develops its own momentum. And it is this seemingly independent nature of
self-importance which gives it its fake sense of worth.
Sorcerers are absolutely convinced that by moving our assemblage
points away from their customary position we achieve a state of being
which could only be called ruthlessness. Sorcerers know, by means of their
practical actions, that as soon as their assemblage points move, their
self-importance crumbles. Without the customary position of their
assemblage points, their self-image can no longer be sustained. And
without the heavy focus on that self-image, they lose their
self-compassion, and with it their self-importance. Sorcerers are right,
therefore, in saying that self-importance is merely self-pity in
in his role as leader or teacher has to behave in the most efficient, but
at the same time most impeccable, way. Since it is not possible for him to
plan the course of his actions rationally, the nagual always lets the
spirit decide his course.
The position of self-reflection forces the assemblage point to
assemble a world of sham compassion, but of very real cruelty and
self-centeredness. In that world the only real feelings are those
convenient for the one who feelings them.
sorcerer, ruthlessness is not cruelty. Ruthlessness is the opposite of
self-pity or self-importance. Ruthlessness is sobriety.
Sorcerers' increased energy, derived from
the curtailment of their self-reflection, allows their senses a greater
range of perception.
The only worthwhile course of
action, whether for sorcerers or average men, is to restrict our
involvement with our self-image. What a nagual aims at with his
apprentices is the shattering of their mirror of
Each of us has a different degree
of attachment to his self-reflection. And that attachment is felt as
It is possible for sorcerers, or average
men, to need no one, to get peace, harmony, laughter, knowledge, directly
from the spirit--to need no intermediaries. For you and for me, its
different. I'm your intermediary and my teacher was mine. Intermediaries,
besides providing a minimal chance--the awareness of intent
--help shatter peoples mirrors of self-reflection.
The only concrete help you ever get from me is that I attack your
self-reflection. If it weren't for that, you would be wasting your time.
This is the only real help you've gotten from me.
I've taught you all kinds of things in order to trap your attention.
You'll swear, though, that that teaching has been the important part. It
hasn't. There is very little value in instruction. Sorcerers maintain that
moving the assemblage point is all that matters. And that movement depends
on increased energy and not on instruction.
human being who would follow a specific and simple sequence of actions can
learn to move his assemblage point. The sequence of actions I am talking
about is one that stems from being aware. The nagual provides a minimal
chance, but that minimal chance is not instruction, like the instruction
you need to learn to operate a machine. The minimal chance consists of
being made aware of the spirit.
sequence I have in mind calls for being aware that self-importance is the
force which keeps the assemblage point fixed. When self-importance is
curtailed, the energy it requires is no longer expended. That increased
energy then serves as the springboard that launches the assemblage point,
automatically and without premeditation, into an inconceivable
Once the assemblage point has moved, the
movement itself entails moving from self-reflection, and this, in turn,
assures a clear connecting link with the spirit. After all, it is
self-reflection that has disconnected man from the spirit in the first
As I have already said to you, sorcery is a
journey of return. We return victorious to the spirit, having descended
into hell. And from hell we bring trophies. Understanding is one of our
Our difficulty with this simple
progression is that most of us are unwilling to accept that we need so
little to get on with. We are geared to expect instruction, teaching,
guides, masters. And when we are told that we need no one, we don't
believe it. We become nervous, then distrustful, and finally angry and
disappointed. If we need help, it is not in methods, but in emphasis. If
someone makes us aware that we need to curtail our self-importance, that
help is real.
Sorcerers say we should need no one
to convince us that the world is infinitely more complex than our wildest
fantasies. So, why are we dependent? Why do we crave someone to guide us
when we can do it ourselves? Big question, eh?
spirit moves the assemblage point. I have insisted to the point of
exhaustion that there are no procedures in sorcery. There are no methods,
no steps. The only thing that matters is the movement of the assemblage
point. And no procedure can cause that. It's an effect that happens all by
The nagual entices the assemblage point
into moving by helping to destroy the mirror of self-reflection. But that
is all the nagual can do. The actual mover is the spirit, the abstract;
something that cannot be seen or felt; something that does not seem to
exist, and yet does. For this reason, sorcerers report that the assemblage
point moves all by itself.
Because the spirit has
no perceivable essence, sorcerers deal rather with the specific instances
and ways in which they are able to shatter the mirror of
The world of our self-reflection
or of our mind is very flimsy and is held together by a few key ideas that
serve as its underlying order. When those ideas fail, the underlying order
ceases to function.
Continuity is the key idea.
Continuity is the idea that we are a solid block. In our minds, what
sustains our world is the certainty that we are unchangeable.
I've described to you in the
past the concept of stopping the world and that it is as
necessary for sorcerers as reading and writing are for the average man. It
consists of introducing a dissonant element into the fabric of everyday
behavior for purposes of halting the otherwise smooth flow of ordinary
events--events which are catalogued in our minds by our reason.
The dissonant element is called not-doing , or
the opposite of doing . Doing is anything that
is part of a whole for which we have a cognitive account.
Not-doing is an element that does not belong in that charted
Sorcerers, because they are
stalkers , understand human behavior to perfection. They
understand, for instance, that human beings are creatures of inventory.
Knowing the ins and outs of a particular inventory is what makes a man a
scholar or an expert in his field.
that when an average person's inventory fails, the person either enlarges
his inventory or his world of self-reflection collapses. The average
person is willing to incorporate new items into his inventory if they
don't contradict the inventory's underlying order. But if the items
contradict that order, the person's mind collapses. The inventory is the
mind. Sorcerers count on this when they attempt to break the mirror of
Intent is intended with the eyes. I know that it
is so. Yet, just like you, I can't pinpoint what it is I know. Sorcerers
resolve this particular difficulty by accepting something extremely
obvious: human beings are infinitely more complex and mysterious than our
All I can say is that the eyes
do it. I don't know how, but they do it. They summon intent
with something indefinable that they have, something in their shine.
Sorcerers say that intent is experienced with the eyes, not
with the reason.
Continuity is so important in our lives that if it breaks it's always
instantly repaired. In the case of sorcerers, however, once their
assemblage points reach the place of no pity, continuity is never the
You are dealing
with a new type of continuity. It takes time to get used to it. Warriors
spend years in limbo where they are neither average men nor sorcerers. The
difficulty is that the mirror of self-reflection is extremely powerful and
only lets its victims go after a ferocious struggle.
There is something called a silent
protector. It is a lifesaver, a surge of inexplicable energy that comes to
a warrior when nothing else works. Sorcerers' options are silent
protectors. They are positions of the assemblage point. The infinite
number of positions which the assemblage point can reach. In each and
every one of those shallow or deep shifts, a sorcerer can strengthen his
The effect of those shifts of the
assemblage point is cumulative. It weighs on you whether you understand it
for death, just wait until it comes. Don't try to imagine what it's like.
Just be there to be caught in its flow.
The sorcerers' struggle for assuredness is the
most dramatic struggle there is. It's painful and costly. Many, many times
it has actually cost sorcerers their lives.
order for any sorcerer to have complete certainty about his actions, or
about his position in the sorcerers' world, or to be capable of utilizing
intelligently his new continuity, he must invalidate the continuity of his
old life. Only then can his actions have the necessary assuredness to
fortify and balance the tenuousness and instability of his new
The sorcerer seers of modern times
call this process of invalidation the ticket to impeccability, or the
sorcerers' symbolic but final death.
Sorcerers have a peculiar bent. They live
exclusively in the twilight of a feeling best described by the words "and
yet..." When everything is crumbling down around them, sorcerers accept
that the situation is terrible, and then immediately escape to the
twilight of "and yet..."
Warriors do their utmost, and then, without any remorse or regrets,
they relax and let the spirit decide the outcome. The decision of the
spirit is another basic core. Sorcery stories are built around
ticket to freedom is his death. I myself have paid with my life for that
ticket to freedom, as has everyone else in my household. And now we are
equals in our condition of being dead.
You too are
dead. The sorcerers' grand trick, however, is to be aware that they are
dead. Their ticket to impeccability must be wrapped in awareness. In that
wrapping, sorcerers say, their ticket is kept in mint condition.
Explanations are never wasted,
because they are imprinted in us for immediate or later use or to help
prepare our way to reaching silent knowledge.
Silent knowledge is a general position of the assemblage point. Ages ago
it was man's normal position, but, for reasons which would be impossible
to determine, man's assemblage point moved away from that specific
location and adopted a new one called "reason."
The place of no pity, being another position of the assemblage point, is
the forerunner of silent knowledge, and yet another position of the
assemblage point called "the place of concern," is the forerunner of
painful only when it happens in one's bed, in sickness. In a fight for
your life, you feel no pain. If you feel anything, it's
One of the most dramatic differences
between civilized men and sorcerers is the way in which death comes to
them. Only with sorcerer-warriors is death kind and sweet. They could be
mortally wounded and yet would feel no pain. And what is even more
extraordinary is that death holds itself in abeyance for as long as the
sorcerers need it to do so. The greatest difference between an average man
and a sorcerer is that a sorcerer commands his death with his
In the world of everyday life our word or
our decisions can be reversed very easily. The only irrevocable thing in
our world is death. In the sorcerers' world, on the other hand, normal
death can be countermanded, but not the sorcerers' word. In the sorcerers'
world decisions cannot be changed or revised. Once they have been made,
they stand forever.
For a seer human beings are either oblong or spherical luminous masses of
countless, static, yet vibrant fields of energy, and only sorcerers are
capable of injecting movement into those spheres of static luminosity. In
a millisecond they can move their assemblage points to any place in their
luminous mass. That movement and the speed with which it is performed
entails an instantaneous shift into the perception of another totally
different universe. Or they can move their assemblage points, without
stopping, across their entire fields of luminous energy. The force created
by such movement is so intense that it instantly consumes their whole
Possibly every human being under normal living conditions has had at one
time or another the opportunity to break away from the bindings of
convention. I don't mean social convention, but the conventions binding
our perception. A moment of elation would suffice to move our assemblage
points and break our conventions. So, too, a moment of fright, ill health,
anger, or grief. But ordinarily, whenever we have the chance to move our
assemblage points we become frightened. Our religious, academic, social
backgrounds come into play. They assure our safe return to the flock; the
return of our assemblage points to the prescribed position of normal
All the mystics and spiritual teachers you
know of have done just that: their assemblage points moved, either through
discipline or accident, to a certain point; and then they returned to
normalcy carrying a memory that lasted them a lifetime.
The average man, incapable of finding the energy to perceive beyond
his daily limits, calls the realm of extraordinary perception sorcery,
witchcraft, or the work of the devil, and shies away from it without
examining it further.
Turn everything into what it
really is: the abstract, the spirit, the nagual . There is no
witchcraft, no evil, no devil. There is only perception.
Your assemblage point can move beyond the place of no pity into the
place of silent knowledge. To manipulate it yourself means you have enough
energy to move between reason and silent knowledge at will. If a sorcerer
has enough energy--or even if he does not have sufficient energy but needs
to shift because it is a matter of life and death--he can fluctuate
between reason and silent knowledge.
At this stage
in your development, any movement of your assemblage point will still be a
mystery. Your challenge at the beginning of your apprenticeship is
maintaining your gains, rather than reasoning them out. At some point
everything will make sense to you.
You have to be
able to explain knowledge to yourself before you can claim that it makes
sense to you. For a movement of your assemblage point to make sense, you
will need to have energy to fluctuate from the place of reason to the
place of silent knowledge.
Your assemblage point
can move by itself. You can intend the movement by
manipulating certain feelings and in so doing your assemblage point can
reach the position of silent knowledge.
One way to
talk about the perception attained in the place of silent knowledge is to
call it "here and here."
Intending the movement of the assemblage point is a
great accomplishment. But accomplishment is something personal. It's
necessary, but it's not the important part. It is not the residue
sorcerers look forward to. The idea of the abstract, the spirit, is the
only residue that is important. The idea of the personal self has no value
whatsoever. Every time I've had the chance, I have made you aware of the
need to abstract. You have always believed that I meant to think
abstractly. No. To abstract means to make yourself available to the spirit
by being aware of it.
One of the most dramatic
things about the human condition is the macabre connection between
stupidity and self-reflection.
It is stupidity
that forces us to discard anything that does not conform with our
self-reflective expectations. For example, as average men, we are blind to
the most crucial piece of knowledge available to a human being: the
existence of the assemblage point and the fact that it can move.
For a rational man it's unthinkable that there should be an
invisible point where perception is assembled.
the rational man to hold steadfastly to his self-image insures his abysmal
ignorance. He ignores, for instance, the fact that sorcery is not
incantations and hocus-pocus, but the freedom to perceive not only the
world taken for granted, but everything else that is humanly
Here is where the average man's
stupidity is most dangerous; he is afraid of sorcery. He trembles at the
possibility of freedom. And freedom is at his fingertips. It's called the
third point. And it can be reached as easily as the assemblage point can
be made to move.
This is another of the sorcerers'
contradictions: it's very difficult and yet it's the simplest thing in the
world. I've told you already that a high fever could move the assemblage
point. Hunger or fear or love or hate could do it; mysticism too, and also
unbending intent , which is the preferred method of
Unbending intent is a sort
of single-mindedness human beings exhibit; an extremely well-defined
purpose not countermanded by any conflicting interests or desires;
unbending intent is also the force engendered when the
assemblage point is maintained fixed in a position which is not the usual
The distinction between a movement and a
shift of the assemblage point is that a movement is a profound change of
position, so extreme that the assemblage point might even reach other
bands of energy within our total luminous mass of energy fields. Each band
of energy represents a completely different universe to be perceived. A
shift, however, is a small movement within the band of energy fields we
perceive as the world of everyday life.
see unbending intent as the catalyst to trigger their
unchangeable decisions, or as the converse: their unchangeable decisions
are the catalyst that propels their assemblage points to new positions,
positions which in turn generate unbending intent .
Trying to reason out the sorcerers' metaphorical
descriptions is as useless as trying to reason out silent
The world of daily life consists of two
points of reference. We have for example, here and there, in and out, up
and down, good and evil, and so on and so forth. So, properly speaking,
our perception of our lives is two-dimensional. None of what we perceive
ourselves doing has depth.
A sorcerer perceives
his actions with depth. His actions are tridimensional for him. They have
a third point of reference.
Our points of
reference are obtained primarily from our sense perception. Our senses
perceive and differentiate what is immediate to us from what is not. Using
that basic distinction we derive the rest.
order to reach the third point of reference one must perceive two places
Normal perception has an axis. "Here and
there" are the perimeters of that axis, and we are partial to the clarity
of "here." In normal perception, only "here" is perceived completely,
instantaneously, and directly. Its twin referent, "there," lacks
immediacy. It is inferred, deduced, expected, even assumed, but it is not
apprehended directly with all the senses. When we perceive two places at
once, total clarity is lost, but the immediate perception of "there" is
because he has a connecting link with intent , sees an oddity
as a vehicle to perceiving--not an oddity, but a source of awe.
Only sorcerers can turn their
feelings into intent . Intent is the spirit, so
it is the spirit which moves their assemblage points.
The misleading part of all this is that I am saying only sorcerers
know about the spirit, that intent is the exclusive domain of
sorcerers. This is not true at all, but it is the situation in the realm
of practicality. The real condition is that sorcerers are more aware of
their connection with the spirit than the average man and strive to
manipulate it. That's all. I've already told you, the connecting link with
intent is the universal feature shared by everything there
Being in two places at once is a milestone
sorcerers use to mark the moment the assemblage point reaches the place of
silent knowledge. Split perception, if accomplished by one's own means, is
called the free movement of the assemblage point.
Every apprentice must consistently do everything within his power to
encourage the free movement of his assemblage point. This all-out effort
is cryptically called "reaching out for the third point."
The third point of reference is freedom of perception; it is
intent ; it is the spirit; the somersault of thought into the
miraculous; the act of reaching beyond our boundaries and touching the
discover the possibility of being in two places at once is very exciting
to the mind. Since our minds are our rationality, and our rationality is
our self-reflection, anything beyond our self-reflection either appalls us
or attracts us, depending on what kind of persons we are.
In terms of his connection with intent , a warrior
goes through four stages. The first is when he has a rusty, untrustworthy
link with intent . The second is when he succeeds in cleaning
it. The third is when he learns to manipulate it. And the fourth is when
he learns to accept the designs of the abstract.
Your disadvantage in the sorcerers' world is your lack of familiarity with
it. In that world you have to relate yourself to everything in a new way,
which is infinitely more difficult, because it has very little to do with
your everyday life continuity.
problem of sorcerers is two-fold. One is the impossibility of restoring a
shattered continuity; the other is the impossibility of using the
continuity dictated by the new position of their assemblage points. That
new continuity is always too tenuous, too unstable, and does not offer
sorcerers the assuredness they need to function as if they were in the
world of everyday life.
Sorcerers don't resolve
this problem. The spirit either resolves it for us or it doesn't. If it
does, a sorcerer finds himself acting in the sorcerers' world, but without
knowing how. This is the reason why I have insisted from the day I found
you that impeccability is all that counts. A sorcerer lives an impeccable
life, and that seems to beckon the solution. Why? No one knows.
Impeccability, as I have told you so many times, is not morality, it
only resembles morality. Impeccability is simply the best use of our
energy level. Naturally, it calls for frugality, thoughtfulness,
simplicity, innocence; and above all, it calls for lack of
self-reflection. All this makes it sound like a manual for monastic
life, but it isn't.
Sorcerers say that in order to
command the spirit, and by that they mean to command the movement of the
assemblage point, one needs energy. The only thing that stores energy for
us is our impeccability.
We do not have to be
students of sorcery to move our assemblage point. Sometimes, due to
natural although dramatic circumstances, such as war, deprivation, stress,
fatigue, sorrow, helplessness, men's assemblage points undergo profound
movements. If the men who find themselves in such circumstances are able
to adopt a sorcerer's ideology, they would be able to maximize that
natural movement with no trouble. And they would seek and find
extraordinary things instead of doing what men do in such circumstances:
crave the return to normalcy.
When a movement of
the assemblage point is maximized, both the average man or the apprentice
in sorcery becomes a sorcerer, because by maximizing that movement,
continuity is shattered beyond repair.
maximize that movement by curtailing self-reflection. Moving the
assemblage point or breaking one's continuity is not the real difficulty.
The real difficulty is having energy. If one has energy, once the
assemblage point moves, inconceivable things are there for the
Man's predicament is that he intuits his
hidden resources, but he does not dare use them. This is why sorcerers say
that man's plight is the counterpoint between his stupidity and his
ignorance. Man needs now, more so than ever, to be taught new ideas that
have to do exclusively with his inner world--sorcerers' ideas, not social
ideas, ideas pertaining to man facing the unknown, facing his personal
death. Now, more than anything else, he needs to be taught the secrets of
the assemblage point.
The spirit is indefinable. One cannot even feel it, much less talk
about it. One can only beckon it by acknowledging its existence.
The position of silent
knowledge is called the third point because in order to get to it one has
to pass the second point, the place of no pity.
Every human being has a capacity for that fluidity. For most of us,
however, it is stored away and we never use it, except on rare occasions
which are brought about by sorcerers, or by dramatic natural
circumstances, such as a life-or-death struggle.
Only a human being who is a paragon of reason can move his assemblage
point easily and be a paragon of silent knowledge. Only those who are
squarely in either position can see the other position clearly. That was
the way the age of reason came to being. The position of reason was
clearly seen from the position of silent knowledge.
The one-way bridge from silent knowledge to reason is called
"concern." That is, the concern that true men of silent knowledge have
about the source of what they know. And the other one-way bridge, from
reason to silent knowledge, is called "pure understanding." That is, the
recognition that tells the man of reason that reason is only one island in
an endless sea of islands.
A human being who has
both one-way bridges working is a sorcerer in direct contact with the
spirit, the vital force that makes both positions possible.
The spirit only listens when
the speaker speaks in gestures. And gestures do not mean signs or body
movements, but acts of true abandon, acts of largesse, of humor. As a
gesture for the spirit, sorcerers bring out the best of themselves and
silently offer it to the abstract.
Sorcerers count their lives in hours. In one hour it is
possible for a sorcerer to live the equivalent in intensity of a normal
life. This intensity is an advantage when it comes to storing information
in the movement of the assemblage point.
assemblage point, with even the most minute shifting, creates totally
isolated islands of perception. Information, in the form of experiences in
the complexity of awareness can be stored there. But how can information
be stored in something so vague? The mind is equally vague, and still you
trust it because you are familiar with it. You don't yet have the same
familiarity with the movement of the assemblage point, but it is just
about the same.
The information is stored in the
experience itself. Later, when a sorcerer moves his assemblage point to
the exact spot where it was, he relives the total experience. This
sorcerers' recollection is the way to get back all the information stored
in the movement of the assemblage point.
is an automatic result of the movement of the assemblage point. Intensity,
being an aspect of intent , is connected naturally to the
shine of the sorcerers' eyes. In order to recall those isolated islands of
perception sorcerers need only intent the particular shine of
their eyes associated with whichever spot they want to return
Because his intensity rate is greater than
normal, in a few hours a sorcerer can live the equivalent of a normal
lifetime. His assemblage point, by shifting to an unfamiliar position,
takes in more energy than usual. That extra flow of energy is called
Beware of a reaction which typically
afflicts sorcerers--a frustrating desire to explain the sorcery experience
in cogent, well-reasoned terms.
experience is so outlandish that sorcerers consider it an intellectual
exercise, and use it to stalk themselves with. Their trump
card as stalkers , though, is that they remain keenly aware
that we are perceivers and that perception has more possibilities than the
mind can conceive.
In order to protect themselves
from that immensity, sorcerers learn to maintain a perfect blend of
ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness. These four bases are
inextricably bound together. Sorcerers cultivate them by
intending them. These bases are, naturally, positions of the
Every act performed by any
sorcerer is by definition governed by these four principles. So, properly
speaking, every sorcerer's every action is deliberate in thought and
realization, and has the specific blend of the four foundations of
Sorcerers use the four
moods of stalking as guides. These are four different frames
of mind, four different brands of intensity that sorcerers can use to
induce their assemblage points to move to specific positions.
Our tendency is to ponder, to question, to find out. And
there is no way to do that from within the discipline of sorcery. Sorcery
is the act of reaching the place of silent knowledge, and silent knowledge
can't be reasoned out. It can only be experienced.
Sorcerers, in an effort to protect themselves from the overwhelming effect
of silent knowledge, developed the art of stalking .
Stalking moves the assemblage point minutely but steadily,
thus giving sorcerers time and therefore the possibility of buttressing
Within the art of
stalking there is a technique which sorcerers use a great
deal: controlled folly. Sorcerers claim that controlled folly is the only
way they have of dealing with themselves--in their state of expanded
awareness and perception--and with everybody and everything in the world
of daily affairs.
Controlled folly is the art of
controlled deception or the art of pretending to be thoroughly immersed in
the action at hand--pretending so well no one could tell it from the real
thing. Controlled folly is not an outright deception but a sophisticated,
artistic way of being separated from everything while remaining an
integral part of everything.
Controlled folly is
an art. A very bothersome art, and a difficult one to learn. Many
sorcerers don't have the stomach for it, not because there is anything
inherently wrong with the art, but because it takes a lot of energy to
By the time we come to sorcery, our
personality is already formed and all we can do is practice controlled
folly and laugh at ourselves.
Stalkers who practice controlled folly believe
that, in matters of personality, the entire human race falls into three
categories. Sorcerers long age learned that only our personal
self-reflection falls into one of the categories.
The trouble with us is that we take ourselves seriously. Whichever
category our self-image falls into only matters because of our
self-importance. If we weren't self-important, it wouldn't matter at all
which category we fell into.
The basic cores reveal themselves extremely slowly,
erratically advancing and retreating. I can't repeat often enough that
every man whose assemblage point moves can move it further. And the only
reason we need a teacher is to spur us on mercilessly. Otherwise our
natural reaction is to stop to congratulate ourselves for having covered
so much ground.
Self-importance is a monster that has three thousand heads. And one can
face up to it and destroy it in any of three ways. The first way is to
sever each head one at a time; the second is to reach that mysterious
state of being called the place of no pity, which destroys self-importance
by slowly starving it; and the third is to pay for the instantaneous
annihilation of the three-thousand-headed monster with one's symbolic
Consider yourself fortunate if you get the
chance to choose. For it is the spirit that usually determines which way
the sorcerer is to go, and it is the duty of the sorcerer to
The place of
no pity is a position of the assemblage point, a position which renders
Appearance is the essence of controlled folly, and
stalkers create appearances by intending them.
Intending appearances is exclusively an exercise for
intent . The indispensable part of the act of calling
intent is a total concentration on what is
Man has a dark side. It's called stupidity. In the same measure
that ritual forced the average man to construct huge churches that were
monuments to self-importance, ritual also forced sorcerers to construct
edifices of morbidity and obsession. As a result, it is the duty of every
nagual to guide awareness so it will fly toward the abstract, free of
liens and mortgages.
Ritual can trap our attention
better than anything I can think of. But it also demands a very high
price. That high price is morbidity; and morbidity could have the heaviest
liens and mortgages on our awareness.
awareness is like an immense haunted house. The awareness of everyday life
is like being sealed in one room of that immense house for life. We enter
the room through a magical opening: birth. And we exit through another
such magical opening: death.
are capable of finding still another opening and can leave that sealed
room while still alive. A superb attainment. But their astounding
accomplishment is that when they escape from that sealed room they choose
freedom. They choose to leave that immense, haunted house entirely instead
of getting lost in other parts of it.
the antithesis of the surge of energy awareness needs to reach freedom.
Morbidity makes sorcerers lose their way and become trapped in the
intricate, dark byways of the unknown.
Stalkers who intend appearances are performers
who are being coached by the spirit itself. The teacher's reason for
training an apprentice as he does is freedom. He wants their freedom from
perceptual convention. And he teaches them to be artists.
Stalking is an art. For a sorcerer, since he's not a patron
or a seller of art, the only thing of importance about a work of art is
that it can be accomplished.
Think about the basic cores of the sorcery stories. Or
rather, don't think about them, but make your assemblage point move toward
the place of silent knowledge. Moving the assemblage point is everything,
but it means nothing if it's not a sober, controlled movement. So, close
the door of self-reflection. Be impeccable and you'll have the energy to
reach the place of silent knowledge.