Carlos Castaneda said that if anyone opened to the energy of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico they would be inundated by their influence. The modern day shamans of his line acknowledge that all their knowledge comes from this ancient heritage; what has changed is their intent in how they use that knowledge.
The ancient shamans coveted power, and their ability to perform such supernatural acts as defying physical death itself, by remaining in physical form, for centuries. The modern shamans saw this intent as binding one to the physicality of the Earth rather than allowing one to move completely into the energy body and evolve into the subtler dimensions upon dying. Freedom to evolve is the intent of these modern-day shamans.
Don Juan Matus was concerned, throughout his mentorship of Carlos, that Carlos’s nature was too infused with the predilection of the ancient shamans. He foresaw that Carlos might become a Nagual partial to the sorcery ways of the ancient shamans. Those shamans trained their apprentices with the full-on ruthlessness of sorcery.
Sorcery has absolutely no morality, nor compassion, in its training manual. Jan’s Recapitulation Diaries document her, at the time, unknown early life apprenticeship with a dark sorcerer of ancient tradition. The training was brutal, yet her survival and recapitulation advanced her to a complete equanimity of consciousness.
Jan’s early life of abuse was the journey with the ancient shamans, whose throw ’em in the deep end predilection was later completed with the modern shaman’s road to freedom via recapitulation. Being shattered is forced psychic awakening; recapitulation leads to psychic wholeness and keen functionality.
Jan’s journey reflects the pervasive journey of our time: incessant trauma. Complex PTSD is the natural human response to the events, human and environmental, of current life upon the planet. Gaia is challenging us now with full-on sorcery, crushing our left brain’s fantasies of control. She expects a total recapitulation, and right action, for us to be ready to retake the helm with integrity.
Sorcery takes no prisoners. Petty tyrants are not fair. To survive, the ego must learn to be a keen observer, taking action only as absolutely necessary and appropriate. Demanding fairness and entitlement from a petty tyrant depletes energy and puts one at risk. Trauma forces entry into to the subtler dimensions, but even there one must not dally in the safety of dissociation. Mindful presence is the necessary ego state of survival.
Mindful presence must be cultivated out of defensive vigilance, which, if unrefined, depletes energy reserves and forestalls the necessary ability to go with the flow. Edy Eger in her memoir, The Choice, documents the impeccability of her mindful presence during her time in Auschwitz. Nonetheless, her journey remains a work in progress, as the full retrieval of her energy from the traumas of her life is still a work in progress.
As long as the sensational and emotional imprints of trauma remain charged in the central nervous system—in the form of triggers—present life remains partially frozen in the past. A fully clear and present life requires the complete experience of everything, and full detachment from everything, that has ever happened to us.
I experienced the modern shamanic side of Carlos Castaneda. The tools he offered are tools of freedom. Recapitulation is the tool of freedom from the trappings of trauma. I did not experience the fully ancient sorcerer side of Carlos that Amy Wallace documents in her memoir, Sorcerer’s Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castaneda.
I know too many characters from my time in that world to doubt the validity of her journey. The cognitive dissonance between her experience and mine, made me keep her book at bay for years. She documents experiences that are so anathema to everything I stand for, that if Carlos were still in this world I believe he should be imprisoned.
At the same time, the validity of the tools he passed on have cracked the nut of total healing from PTSD. Certainly, Carlos ensured, by his extreme polarized ego states, that he would not be venerated beyond this life. The value of his tools are in their utility, not in their association with him.
Buddhism has its own brand of sorcery. Chogyam Trungpa, Tibetan refugee, teacher, scholar, founder of the Shambala Training method and Naropa University, had a similar shadow life to Carlos Castaneda’s. This included sexually abusive and inappropriate behaviors.
Many in the Buddhist world have been so positively impacted by Chogyam’s teachings that they accept the cognitive dissonance of his shadow behavior as “crazy wisdom”, essentially appreciating his sorcery activity as a deeply challenging but valid form of teaching.
As with Carlos, if Chogyam were still alive in this world, he too should be prosecuted for unlawful behavior. Tricksters have their value in teaching but they are not above the laws of this world. At the same time, spiritual advancement requires that we totally accept every experience we have ever had, regardless of how beautiful or horrific it might have been.
Though we may subscribe to the highest level of morality, life itself is amoral. Though rising in the subtler dimensions requires progressively deeper refinements of love, we will not progress on that journey if we cannot accept every experience of our lives with equanimity. If we can’t find our way to love with that which is most horrific, its mastery defines our karmic destiny.
Sorcery and crazy wisdom are indeed expressions of the dark side of the force. Encounters with the dark side are required Earth School courses. Achieving wholeness—the coveted diploma from Earth School—requires that we know and accept everything we have ever done, or that was done to us, with equanimity.
With gratitude to the dark and the light—the wholeness,