Tag Archives: don Juan Matus

Chuck’s Place: From Rescue to Empowerment

Don Juan comments to Carlos Castaneda in The Art of Dreaming: “Your unbiased reaction is that you can’t stand chains, and you would forfeit your life to break them.”

Watch out for those spirit entities, you never know where they’ll lead you!
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Carlos had been tricked in his dreaming, as he explored a world of spirit entities. Those entities have much to teach a journeyer, but they exact a huge price for sharing their knowledge. In this case, they sought to entice Carlos to stay in their world, as his high frequency energy provided much entertainment to the more stationary beings of that realm. He survived their obvious attempts to cater to his curiosity but hadn’t bargained for their trickery, which targeted his unbiased reaction that Don Juan spoke of.

What Carlos hadn’t anticipated was an encounter these spirit entities set up for him in their world, contact with a trapped being presenting as a seven-year-old girl, with powerful blue eyes, seeking his help. Spontaneously, he shouted his intent to merge his energy with that prisoner child and set her free. With this impulsive move he became the prisoner, nothing more than a limp figure lying at the bottom of an empty pit, his vital energy completely exhausted.

Carlos was rescued by his warrior cohorts, but his journey marked a turning point for the future of his shamanic line. Carlos and his warrior party ultimately decided to end the shaman’s code of silence and anonymity, launching Tensegrity, freely giving away the technology and knowledge of the Ancient Shamans of Mexico, and formally ending their shamanic line. These actions formatted ancient knowledge to gain footing and have utility in our changing times.

Shamans have always been the spirit journeyers who healed others through soul retrievals, finding lost parts and returning them to the victim, effecting the cure of restored wholeness. Thus, those afflicted with illness depended upon the shaman to provide their cure. In our time it has become clear that healing effected by the hands of another does not hold up if the individual has not inwardly solved the challenge presented by the illness.

The evolutionary shift Carlos and his cohorts made was to offer the tools of empowerment and healing to all to heal themselves. In my psychotherapy practice the tool of recapitulation that I learned in the shaman’s world has proven most effective in the total cure of PTSD. That tool offers every individual the opportunity to completely restore their own lost wholeness as they encounter and integrate split off parts of themselves that were previously lost to traumatic experience.

Through this method, rescue is transformed into self-empowerment. The role of helper becomes one of teaching and supporting this healing practice. The role of healer is transferred to the seeker who is empowered to truly know and reconcile the whole truth of their lives. This is healing through self-empowerment versus the tentativeness and dependence upon the actions of another.

Thus, Carlos transformed his proclivity to rescue into giving away his knowledge that all who truly seek to heal be empowered to heal themselves. In this time of great instability we are empowered to find stability in the consolidation of our wholeness through our personal practice of recapitulation. Thank you, Carlos, for this evolutionary gift.

With affection,


Chuck’s Place: The Sweat Lodge of Self

It’s Tuesday morning as I write this blog. The verse my soul brings me is a line from Leonard Cohen’s march,* “Democracy is coming to the USA.” This is not the seed my ego would choose to plant in this blog, but, as Leonard also once sang, “If it be your will.” And so, I acquiesce.

Looking forward to unification of earth & state…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Equally disturbing is the ruthless perseverance of American Express, incessantly invading the landline of our sanctuary on the hill with its myriad of tricksterish schemes to hook our energy. In fact, it led to a small spat between Jan and I at breakfast as to the best strategy to swat down that mosquito pest. I got angry at her ‘foolishness,’ picking up the phone and instantly hanging up. Her energy, as I saw it, hooked by the game, totally overlooking of course how my own heated reactive anger was perhaps doubly hooked!

Of course, it’s not lost on me the synchronicity of the heated energy of Leonard’s USA march and American Express’s steamroller tactics. America is at the center of our heated-up world right now, be it socially, politically, economically, or environmentally. In fact, our entire world is now a hot cauldron, an alchemical sweat lodge portending great transformation.

In a letter dated September 25, 1946, C. G. Jung writes to a colleague in New York: “…One could say that the whole world with its turmoil and misery is in an individuation process. But people don’t know it, that’s the only difference. If they knew it, they would not be at war with each other, because whosoever has the war inside himself has no time and pleasure to fight others. Individuation is by no means a rare thing or a luxury of the few, but those who know that they are in such a process are considered to be lucky. They get something out of it, provided they are conscious enough. Of course it is a question whether you can stand such a procedure. But this is the question with life too…”**

Jung wrote this letter shortly after World War II, clearly with the hope that the world could introvert—contain and seal off its warring elements within the individual—whereby creating the sweat lodge of self to advance corporeal humans to experience and unite within living form their latent spiritual, energetic self.

This is the goal of all life—individuation—to advance into and incorporate its wholeness, most especially to find and reconnect with its energetic self that lives and reigns in the life of the physical body.

Don Juan Matus maintained that the survival of our world dream required humankind to discover and bring its energy body into life. Both Jung and don Juan passed on their individual methods, psychotherapy and shamanism respectively, to avert world destruction, but were each equally guarded in their prognoses.

And so the world heats up once again, on many levels, with the deeper intent of evolutionary advance at its center. The earth has become the sweat lodge of this deeply transformative process. But you know, we are the world.

And so, back to the sweat lodge at our Tuesday morning breakfast table. The warring elements that manifest in the opposites of man and woman, spirit and material, naturally seek to trump each other. In our case, the fiery energies were maturely contained as breakfast was consumed on the Holy Grail plates, the projections burned off within, the projected elements—the wrong/bad other—introverted, sealed off within the sweat lodge of the self.

In the process, as the emotional distortions burned off, energy body self emerged with its 360° perspective. All sides are relevant and acceptable from this all-round perspective, all fit neatly together.

American Express is merely part of the catalyst of now, challenging us to find within us the place of no pity, the place of compassionate detachment and love, and with it the energy body of our potential self.

Don’t leave home without it,


*Quote from Leonard Cohen’s song “Democracy.”

**Quote from C. G. Jung Letters Volume 1: 1906-1950, p. 442

Chuck’s Place: Hoffman, Allen, And Cracking Of The Persona

Swords in the Tarot always signify mental levels of consciousness... Our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Swords in the Tarot always signify mental levels of consciousness…
Our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Wednesday’s storm wiped out creative time to conceive a blog. Between consultations with people in faraway lands and snowplowing, I had only enough energy to take in the final episode of Downton Abby, courtesy of iTunes’ release of the full UK season.

That night I dreamt of visiting a heroin-addicted son in prison. A foul smell permeated the visiting room, fumes from a bathroom, reminiscent of the third floor of a nursing home, where those in the most disabled states reside.

The next morning I pulled the Prince of Swords from the Tarot, clearly charged with the task of cutting through limiting beliefs and thoughts that impede the intuitive exposition of where things really are.

The persona is cracking. That’s where things really are. Literally, the actors and directors who wear the personas—Philip Seymour Hoffman and Woody Allen (and don’t forget Roman Polanski!)—deemed by many to be the greatest of this generation, are revealing their shadows, the foul smelling shadows of addiction.

I refuse to enter the debate as to what Woody Allen did or did not do. That is a question that must be answered in one world, but in the scope of our multidimensional, interconnected, many-world-beingness there is meaning for all of us in the specter of addiction, be it heroin or pedophilia.

We must cut through, as the Prince of Swords suggests, the pervasive limiting stigmas and beliefs that refuse to see and accept the truths of our current consensual reality. The walls of the collective persona that uphold that consensual reality are cracking and greater truths are being revealed. The shadow of addiction is pervasive; no matter how hard we try to hide it or put blame “over there,” it is everywhere. I bear the tension too, as a father who has publicly acknowledged the impact of addiction on his own family. I carry no stigma. But what is the deeper issue here?

The shaman don Juan Matus made it very clear that for humankind to survive now, we must enlarge the confines of our consensual reality to incorporate energetic reality. He went on to suggest that the profusion of drugs in the modern world is symptomatic of the need and hunger for expansion. On one level, addiction is about refusing to grow up—choosing in heroin the embryonic return to wholeness, or the seeking of the fountain of youth, eternal life, in pedophilia. These aberrations must be outed and stopped so that a deeper, more meaningful expansion may become acceptable.

If we are to change... we must all face our shadows... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
If we are to change…
we must all face our shadows…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

And so, we must pay heed to the deeper collective bursting at the seams of our current consensual reality. Addiction is a symptom of a world drastically in need of changing its course. Yes, addicts are aberrant; they are destructive casualties of that need for change, driven without consciousness to seek a means of breakthrough to energetic reality. But it is a failed course of action.

The only viable alternative is to take hold of the wheel of change and drive onward with full consciousness. On an individual level, we must face the fallacy of the masks we wear to feel acceptable. With fortitude we must face the truths of the shadow self—all the repressed unacceptable behaviors, thoughts, desires, that lie in our darkness. We must cut through what holds us back from experiencing our own energetic reality. The process of recapitulation clears the channel for the emergence of the true spirit that heralds new energetic possibility—the much needed change that don Juan talks about.

Let the heralding of the cracking of the persona by the actors and directors of our time not go to waste, but lead us into the real life changes that will take us beyond the projective screens of Hollywood into a new energetic reality. May we all be bearers of the sword!

Cracking through,

Chuck’s Place: Sobriety & Ecstasy

Mastery of ecstasy leads to wholeness… - Photo by Chuck Ketchel
Mastery of ecstasy leads to wholeness…
– Photo by Chuck Ketchel

Addiction is a very pejorative term for behavior that seeks, at its heart, some form of ecstatic joy, comfort, and satiation in transcendental wholeness. The addict pursues bliss with dogged determination, regardless of the negative fallout generated by the object of choice.

Of necessity, we focus on the toxic fallout of the chosen object, but, in so doing, neglect the purity of the underlying need. All humans are driven to seek union with their lost wholeness—it’s the core riddle of life in the human form—the golden treasure that lies at the center of our existence.

Once the addict has glimpsed this golden treasure through the path of chosen object, that object invites the addict on a journey of compulsive desperation, as the object, unable to deliver the addict to the promised land, becomes a source of increasingly diminishing returns.

The only cure for addiction is the mastery of ecstasy.

Sobriety is really the establishment of an adult personality that can withstand the impact of our true wholeness. We must first be able to withstand the full truth of the wholeness of the life we have lived—with all its traumas, choices, disappointments, and losses—in order to clear the channel to transcendent wholeness. Short of this, the quest for wholeness is commandeered by the need to stay whole through numbness that obliterates the discomfort of life unaccepted.

We will not be able to tolerate all that we must feel and release without the sober grounding of the adult self. Don Juan Matus stated that for shamans to face infinity, they must first master life’s apprenticeship by facing the cruelest of petty tyrants without regressing into the shields of self-pity and entitlement. Such attachments, like addiction, are traps that keep our liberation bound to numbing objects, as we remain disconnected from our wholeness.

Only the maturity of our sober adult self can take the journey through life’s deepest somber truths and free the self to open to love and the ecstasy of transcendent wholeness. Only the sober adult is ready for the real deal.

The addict, meanwhile, repeatedly seeking the satiation of deepest need in the object of choice, can’t get away from its dogged pursuit. When the addict finds true sobriety, with the adult self in charge, the road is cleared to transcendent ecstasy—life’s true deepest quest.

Wishing you all mastery of ecstasy,

Chuck’s Place: Life Flows Without Judgment

Life is a flow of energy. Judgment is a freeze frame of that flow of energy—an attempt to understand and value it—but clearly, judgment is not life. Life flows; judgment is static.

Life flows... and flutters...

Don Juan Matus pointed out that human beings are perceivers, perceivers of the flow of life energy. He hypothesized that human beings went on to become judgers because it was an efficient way to manage the challenging dimension of life energy. Don Juan believed that the ability to quickly interpret and categorize energy in solid form gave our ancestors an advantage in defending themselves.

We can experience this today by simply walking in the road. We might see a flutter of movement in the distance. We then quickly judge that movement to be a skunk or possibly a rabid raccoon. With this in mind we plan our approach. Funny how many treacherous leaves and fallen pieces of bark I’ve encountered as I’ve approached these flutters in the distance—the dangerous jungle of the street I live on!

Carl Jung, like don Juan, agreed that human beings are perceivers who perceive through the functions of sensation and intuition. Don Juan would likely call these functions organs of direct knowledge—knowledge obtained independently of the mind.

For Jung, the ego, or the mind, develops the discriminatory functions of thinking and feeling to decide what things are and what value they have. These are the freeze frame functions of judgment, the solid interpretations of energy that don Juan spoke about. With judgment we create exhaustive categories of what life is, how it works, and also assign all this knowledge a place in our lives.

In the modern world, the judgment functions and their host, the mind, have become so dominant that the channels to direct knowledge are lost, devalued, and even ridiculed.

How often do we ask our bodies directly what they need using our innate sensation function? More likely we must research the latest study or be told by a professional what our bodies need. How did our ancestors ever know what to eat before we had science and Science Diet!

Intuition is vision into that which can’t be seen—a direct tapping into the flow of life energy. Intuition completely bypasses the mind. The rational, judging mind has little use for intuition, as it only deals with solid facts—the freeze frames of life’s flow of energy.

What I observe is that life continues to flow regardless of how we judge it. Life is, forever and anew, approaching us with both challenge and support. Challenge may come in the form of loss and deep trauma and support may come in the synchronicities of guidance and encouragement, presented in signs all around us.

Most of the time, life energy is moving us along in the most amazing ways. Unfortunately, because we are dominated by the judging functions of the mind, we miss the magic always active in our personal lives.

I constantly notice how bogged down we become in feeling bad about ourselves. We miss how the daily events of our lives unfold in such a meaningful and helpful way. Even more amazing is how we are continuously supported in our growth and evolution, in spite of the negative judgments we daily place upon ourselves.

Life continues to both challenge and support us regardless of how brutally we judge ourselves or how low our self-esteem. The real problem is not in our flow of energy but in our judgments. Often our judgments are so fixated that they refuse to take in the reality of the life we are actually living. Our judgments generate a negative interpretation regardless of the facts.

It seems as if we fear that if we truly accept ourselves as acceptable to life, we will invite the wrath of some higher power to level us. The fact is that bad things happen to good people and bad people alike. Life happens as it will. Energy will flow regardless of our judgments.

Judgment has no control over life. Judgment does, however, have control over what we allow ourselves to see and know about the lives we are actually living. Judgment is the ultimate spin-doctor.

If you judge yourself to be bad or a failure today, life will still bring you supportive energy tomorrow. Life is deaf to judgment. The real question is whether you will be able to be aware of the wonder of the day and the amazing gifts being offered. All that judgment does is fog the screen, but beyond the fog life continues to both challenge and embrace without judgment.

Can you suspend judgment and show up for the real show? And, even if you can’t allow yourself to get too close to the real show yet, life continues to challenge and embrace you anyway. The truth is, you are wanted by life to live and explore fully. It’s why it brought you here, as the eyes and soul of ever-evolving infinity.

Without judgment,