Some books simply are magical. Every time I pick up any book of Carlos Castaneda’s—books I have read dozens of times over the past forty years—I encounter new knowledge. These books are alive with an energy that takes me deeper in my journey of awareness. They inevitably lead me into heightened awareness where my clarity of knowing is unparalleled. I experience directly the intent of the seers of ancient Mexico. Carlos channeled that intent in those living books by completely removing his self-importance from their pages. He reserves his words for precise descriptions of his experiences in the seer’s world.
Recently, while rummaging through the books at the local recycling center, I came upon the big book, AA’s “bible.” Though I’ve read countless works on recovery, I never actually read this book. This book is also a living book, a magical book. Unpretentious, blue, with no outer appeal, in fact, rather anonymous looking, it nonetheless called out to me.
As I began to read through its pages, I recognized the evolutionary intent it channels. AA is the most successful mass movement for evolutionary change on earth. The guidelines of that intent are clearly spelled out in shamanic terms. For change to happen one must beckon a power beyond the ego. The ego must then open to a shamanic journey with that power to experience genuine transformation. In preparation for that journey the guidance requires a complete loss of self-importance, in fact, in AA everyone remains on a first name basis only. No one is more important than the other—there is no hierarchy. No profit is to be made from the program and no one is rejected; all are equal. (I think Senator McCarthy was barking up the wrong tree when he was seeking out the true communists in America in the nineteen-fifties!)
Furthermore, the growth of AA was predicated on the energetic law of attraction, clearly spelled out in the book, attraction versus promotion. The guidance also strongly recommends one’s individual encounter with the truth in the form of a moral inventory and making of amends. This is a version of recapitulation that enables the seeker to put down old burdens, erase the constraints of personal history, preparing the ground for freedom and transformation.
In describing the magical origins of AA, the book chronicles the role of C. G. Jung. After failing to cure one of AA’s founders, the dejected patient pressed Jung for any glimmer of hope for what to do next to heal. Jung, offering little hope to this advanced alcoholic patient and without any further guidance, suggested he might experience a transformation through a spiritual experience. “Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences,” Jung told him. (p. 27 in Alcoholics Anonymous Third Edition.) He did indeed go out and have a spiritual experience that channeled the path to AA, and the rest is history, as chronicled in the big book, a living viable path for transformation.
Jung himself, the son of generations of protestant ministers, was faced with the personal experience that dogma and belief could not serve the needs of his soul. As Aniela Jaffé writes in C. G. Jung Word and Image: “In his eyes, the ability to believe was a gift of grace, one which he (Jung) and many others no longer shared. That loss justified the search for new approaches to the numinous.” This was the impetus behind Jung’s suggestion to his alcoholic patient to go out and seek a spiritual experience.
Jung himself recorded his own spiritual journey in The Red Book, another magical book. In this book Jung chronicles his personal confrontation with powers greater than himself, a series of numinous experiences that ultimately paved its own path to wholeness in the form of analytical psychology. This book, like other magical books, is bereft of self-importance and hints at a means for each of us to discover our own individuation.
The common thread running through the magical books of Carlos Castaneda, AA, and C. G. Jung is that they all channel the energy of transformation and evolutionary intent, offering access to a personal spiritual transformative experience. Whether the journey happens in the shaman’s world, supported by a nagual, or in psychotherapy under the guidance of a therapist, or in “the rooms” supported by the AA community, it is only a personal experience that will lead to genuine transformation and change.
These magical books speak to our time, where the grace of dogma and belief can no longer serve the spiritual evolutionary needs of a planet in crisis, in dire need of transformation. However, to go beyond dogma and belief and truly achieve transformation each one of us must individually take the journey, and see what happens!
If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.
Until we meet again,