Tag Archives: shamanic teaching

Chuck’s Place: A Shift of the World’s Assemblage Point

Being Intent, no matter what…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Carlos Castaneda faced the most ego-crushing fact. His role, as dictated by Spirit itself, was to end rather than continue his shamanic lineage, a lineage that had spanned twenty-seven generations.

Carlos’ dilemma mirrors the energetic configuration of our time, a time of endings.

Earth herself is in a time of major reshaping as she violently shakes free of the shackles of inertia that have bound her in place. Shamans would call the place of her frozen fixation, the world’s assemblage point, the place where the Earth’s energy is assembled into a consensus reality, the everyday world as we have known it.

The Earth abounds now with dismantling events, be they earthquakes, Senate trials, or viruses. Reality, as we have known it, is being rocked at its core. Institutions are falling like dominoes. Many dreams are vying to become the new consensus reality, the world’s new position of the assemblage point.

As I see it, the destructive phase of now will not be of short duration. The dream currently dominating is the ultimate completion of a one-sided American dream. That dream demands full expression. Perhaps that is the true contribution of our time, to not suppress and pass along that unfulfilled dream for future generations to have to complete. I believe this current dream has been long in the making. That dream spares not even a brush with apocalypse to fulfill its hunger for power and domination.

More comprehensively put, America is completing the ultimate ego over everything dream. This is actually a universal dream, not just America’s. The universality of that dream reflects a world developmental process that tests the viability of fixation at the level of total narcissism.

The current strain of the coronavirus has presented a most interesting challenge to the most populated country on Earth, China, the ancient home of the Book of Changes, the I Ching. Could an alternative dream be unfolding where China shakes off its materialistic dew and gets down to its Taoist roots, action in accordance with Inner Truth (hexagram #61)?

A totalitarian regime has chosen to lose face. No hiding its blemish; it is currently the home of a deadly virus. Superhuman efforts are being made to construct necessary hospitals, isolate large masses of people, and provide accurate safety precaution to all. Economic considerations pale next to the cooperative needs of survival.

Who knows what will happen, but at present this unfolding dream appears to attempt to stalk a position beyond the narcissism of damage control to face the actual danger, with rationality untempered by narcissism. Planet Earth is steadily insisting on a movement that assembles such a reality.

More dreams will  fill the world stage in the coming months; these are the trials of transformation. When Carlos Castaneda was confronted with deciding what to do with the hidden knowledge of his shamanic lineage, as he closed its door, he dreamed forward Tensegrity, offering anyone who wanted it the practical knowledge of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico.

Carlos, while still in this world, would marvel at Tensegrity workshops, that he was able to observe perhaps a thousand people practicing in unison the Magical Passes of his lineage. This was a sight no other Nagual—the shamanic leader of a group of no greater than 16 apprentices in each generation—had ever witnessed: the power of the mass impact of these Magical Passes performed in unison.

Carlos Castaneda believed that the time had arrived where a new power of the mass, spirit warriors from all nations and traditions, would energetically combine their forces of intent  to shift the world’s assemblage point to a new, more comprehensive position to ensure a solid foundation for survival.

The ending of Carlos’ line marked the end of the self-importance of any one tradition holding the exclusive keys to the kingdom. The mass movement of this growing collective intent is fueled by truth, love, and pragmatism. It includes movements such as minimalism, clean energy, small cooperative organic farming communities, respect for the Earth as a living planetary being, as well as the all-inclusive values and practices of all spiritual traditions, none excluded.

The traumas upon the face of the Earth now, though tragic, reflect a shaking loose of the current heavy inert fixation of the assemblage point that has long been preparing for a necessary move. Carlos demonstrated the necessity of letting go of old ways, particularly the dominance of the narcissism of self-importance, to make room for a new position grounded in the greater common good.

We are lured to give over our attention, our hopes and fears, to quick fixes or idealistic dreams that could stem the tide of this destruction. Best to do this with what shamans call controlled folly: detached passion; rather than deplete one’s energy through futility and defeat. Much more important is to place one’s intent upon joining with the Earth’s intent, as she aggressively shifts her own body to a new and necessary position of the assemblage point.

May all beings join in the intent of this new position of the assemblage point, where reason is stripped of its narcissistic veils and applies itself wholeheartedly to the pragmatism of world survival.

being INTENT,


A Day in a Life: Going Out Of My Mind & Loving It!

Once, a long time ago, when I was explaining to Chuck how I had gone out of my body, frightened that I was losing my mind, he blurted out with a big laugh: “It’s good to go out of your mind!” Anyone who works with Chuck will hear him say this at some point.

Every time he said this, it shook me. Every time I had another out-of-body, out-of-mind experience, I’d hear his voice telling me that it was good, that I should just let it happen, as often as possible. I could hear him telling me to keep training myself, in a shamanic sense: to let go of the constructs of this world by releasing my mind from attaching to them.

Like the frozen pond through the woods, our spirit lies waiting...

I knew he was right, but it took me a long time to be comfortable with letting myself go out of my mind. Now I can’t wait. Each day, as I sit and meditate, I await the moment of release from the things my mind grasps at. Sometimes I’m able to easily free myself, at other times I must sit for a long time as I work through the cogitations of my mind.

So what does that really mean, to lose the mind? In a shamanic sense, it means letting go of our judgments, our critical voices that tell us we cannot possibly be having this experience. It means shutting down our attachments to the known world and allowing ourselves to experience something outside of our body and our brain, momentarily forgetting everything our scientists, our religions, our parents, our teachers have told us is possible. It means freeing ourselves, even momentarily, from all that we perceive as real, tangible, and solid, and just letting ourselves have the experience.

Losing the mind in this way is a very sought after shamanic move, as Chuck always taught me. When Chuck suggested that I lose my mind as often as possible, he was asking me to face the dissolution of this world, this reality, and everything that I had been attached to my whole life. This went far beyond thoughts and perceptions. In fact, it extended even to letting go of the experiences themselves as anything to attach to. It took me a long time to understand this as well. Why wouldn’t I want to attach to those most amazing and transformative experiences?

Where are we caught? What are we attached to? What is attached to us?

In fact, Chuck was suggesting that, rather than seek out the experiences themselves, what I wanted was the enhanced awareness they offered. When we allow ourselves to lose our minds, we offer ourselves glimpses into infinity, glimpses of greater awareness. As we allow ourselves to have experiences that are out of the ordinary, we allow ourselves freedom from the attachments that hold us back in our daily lives too.

I had always had magical experiences in my life, but they got dismissed because of course they could not be true. They just could not happen in the world I lived in. But once I learned of the mystical experiences of the saints of my Catholic school upbringing, I had an inkling that in certain circles such phenomena were totally acceptable. But how would I ever be in a position to discuss such things? Even the Catholic Church, though it reveres such experiences, does not do so easily. It was in talking to Chuck about the shamanic view of the world that I finally found such experiences valued. What he described offered explanations for everything I had experienced, allowing me to release my lifelong fears that I was just plain crazy.

Under Chuck’s tutelage, I learned to balance the mystical experiences of my spirit while living in a world of solid objects and solid declarations of reality. In my inner world, I knew that reality did not work the way I had been taught. My spirit had always sought a far greater worldview. It had already experienced a world without boundaries, without limitations, without judgments. However, greater acceptance that such a world was actually a viable reality and fully accessible was not a process that happened overnight. It took a lot of work and incremental acceptance of a new sense of reality, based on my personal experiences.

In learning shamanic concepts, my psychic experiences, my meditation experiences, my magical, out-of-body experiences found a home, in a place of deep resonance. And that is when I learned that the experiences alone are not meant to be attached to, as Chuck had once suggested. For a time they were deeply meaningful—present and necessary to aid in growing—though eventually they wore thin. And then, the only thing that mattered was what came next to challenge me. It was in this manner that I began to understand that it was not the experiences themselves that were important in the long run, but just how open I could be to keep going, to keep changing myself, and to keep breaking through my attachments to a known world.

Grasping self pecks away, challenging us to change, to keep going...

Every day I ask the universe to lead me, to teach me, to show me something important, to challenge me to let go of my mind, my self-importance, my grasping, needy, ignorant self. I ask that I learn from my experiences, and then I ask that I be freed from those experiences so that I can be open to another, and another, and another, with the intent that I never cease growing.

What am I to learn today? What am I to be shown; what gift of experience will I be offered? And can I accept it? Can I use it to go to a new level of my life on this earth, and enhance my spiritual awareness as well?

The world is now a far larger place, extending far beyond the mind and body, beyond what is real, as I have embraced a new idea of self as energy driven by a spirit that does not want to return to slumber. Real, to me, is no longer restricted to what others have taught me is real, but is open to interpretation. Real is what I experience. And that kind of real is enough for me.

To those who seek greater awareness, I humbly pass on what I have learned, as I ask myself to constantly face my ignorance and continue on this same path of enlightenment: Be open. Let your experiences come to you and, without judgment, release yourself from the cogitations of the mind. Come back to the world you live in more firmly grounded, more balanced in spirit and body, with a greater awareness of the possibilities that exist for you.

Your experiences will be uniquely yours, as mine are mine. But remember, the possibilities in this world are endless. Seek without grasping; experience will seek you.

Offered most humbly,

A Day in a Life: The Twelfth Step—Feminine Energy

On November 4, 2009, I wrote in my journal during the night: I wake up in a dream in heightened sexual arousal, having an orgasm. Oh, yes, I am dreaming and having an orgasm in my dream, so I go with it knowing that it is my own sexual energy that is aroused and activated in orgasm.

Each night for several weeks last fall, I asked to be connected with the women seers of don Juan’s line of sorcerers and each night I was taken on an adventure or given some experience, perspective, or knowledge. It began as a process in learning how to set unbending intent, to detach from the outcome, and to be totally open to what arrived. It grew into something much more than that as the nights unfolded. In this final night of dreaming with the women seers I was able to tap into my feminine energy. On the night before, I was in a heightened state of utter calm, encased in all-knowing awareness. As I wrote about last week in this blog, I believe this step of utter calm was only achievable because I had worked through the previous ten steps and understood the meaning of doing deep inner work, such as recapitulation. With that being said, I believe this final step was also achievable only because I had been able to access that place of utter calm knowing through the process of accepting and acquiescing to the journey I had taken in the past and by remaining open to the possibilities of the journey still to come.

Preceding this dream of orgasm and feminine energy, I had been practicing what I call the feminine energy breath as taught to Taisha by Clara.* This breathing entails inhaling in through the vagina up the back of the body to a point between the shoulder blades, holding it there, then continuing to inhale up the neck and over the top of the head to the third eye, and holding it there before releasing the breath down the face, over the front of the body and drawing it back into the vagina. I had been doing this breathing pattern three or four times during my morning yoga and shamanic practice, and during the day whenever I thought about it, for several weeks. The day before this dreaming episode I had done it pretty much throughout the entire day.

It felt so appropriate that I should have this dream of tapping into sexual energy at this point. I had, as I mentioned, gone into this dreaming process with the women seers with the intent to learn something from them and I felt that I had really worked through and processed everything they taught me. I trusted, quite innocently, that by setting my intent each night my call for guidance would be answered. Apparently, I was ready for this final step: to tap into and feel not only sexual feminine energy, but what I can only describe as being an all-encompassing energy, what the yogis call kundalini, as it rode up and spread like fire throughout my entire body. I knew however that it totally belonged to and came from within me, that it had nothing to do with another person, that it was my own energy on fire, so to speak; that it was real, accessible, and totally enjoyably present inside me. I just had to access it to discover the reality of it.

When I woke up out of the dream I knew that it was not something that only women could experience, but that every one of us, men and women, have this energy inside of us waiting to be accessed and experienced in this whole body release. And yes, it is feminine. That to me is the most interesting part of this final step. I fully understood that it was feminine in nature, but not limited to women. I was aware of the underlying psychodynamic of the masculine and feminine energy balance inside each of us and that we must learn to access both aspects of this energy, that they are present for very different reasons, and if we do not allow ourselves to tap into each one of them we will not be whole, either as human beings or as energy beings.

Throughout this twelve-step dreaming process I was aware of the presence of Jeanne’s energy alongside that of the women seers. I felt her presence, hovering in the background. Perhaps she was there as a mentor or protector, I am not sure, but her energy was present and distinctly different from that of the other energy I met with. All of that energy also felt distinctly feminine. How I knew this I am at a loss to explain, I just knew it was the energy of women.

As I finish writing about this process of dreaming with the women seers I am most struck by the unfolding of it. From the moment of first setting the intent, to being completely open and allowing myself to stay present in each dreaming event, I learned that everything is possible. I learned what it means to fully trust the experiential. It was a magical process in many ways, sometimes fleeting and difficult to grasp, other times very clear and concise, but definitely, experientially, as real as it gets.

Until next week, keep breathing and dreaming. And don’t forget that setting intent really does work. If you wish, feel free to write about your own dreaming experiences in the comment section below.


* NOTE: The breathing I mention is described on pages 45-46 in The Sorcerer’s Crossing by Taisha Abelar, available in our STORE under Shamanism.

A Day in a Life: Dreaming the Eleventh Step—Inner Calm Knowing

Rely on the self
the inner knowing

The above was written in the middle of the night of November 3, 2009 when I was dreaming with the women seers of don Juan’s generation. This is what I wrote in my journal upon awakening the next morning: I was in a place of incredibly balanced calm where I totally understood, intuitively, what inner knowing meant. I was tapping into it and thoroughly enjoying the peacefulness of it. It was a struggle to write down what I was feeling, and what I should have written was lost because I took a long time to alert myself to the fact that I should write it down. Instead, I wrote the above, knowing full well that it did not capture the experience I was having nor the greater meaning of it. The feelings I was experiencing encompassed compassion, detachment, balance, utter calm and complete knowing — a total knowing with access to all knowledge, including the state I was in at the moment. I was able to stay in that state of utterness, of knowing with access to greater knowledge, simply because I could access inner calm. It is a place I want to stay in. It appears to be quite accessible, and I can get there by intent. Once there, all mysteries dissolve; everything is clearly known. (End of journal entry.)

I had channeled ten elements of a shamanic practice and when I wondered if there would be an eleventh I went into this calm inner world, which I believe was showing me what is achievable if the ten steps of shamanic awareness are practiced. I do not think I could have so easily reached this place of utter calm knowing if I had not learned and thoroughly processed the preceding ten steps. Furthermore, had I not done a pretty thorough recapitulation, I would not have been able to truly take in and assimilate those steps either because, as it turns out, they are all very pragmatic steps of the recapitulation process.

When I began my recapitulation nine years ago, I did not have any steps to follow, per se, but followed my own process as it unfolded, day by day, seeing where my body took me, what triggers arose, what synchronicities, dreams and experiences appeared to guide me, and what came to pull me back into my past. That was the process of recapitulation as I undertook it, guided by Chuck in this world and Jeanne in her world. It lasted for three full years and, in fact, to be truthful, it did not begin with the word recapitulation even being spoken, until I was deeply into the process.

The process unfolded as I learned to flow with it, and, as Chuck began to introduce me to the shamanic world, it became very clear that we were fully immersed in a recapitulation process. I say “we” because, although I alone took the journey, I was fully supported by Chuck and Jeanne, by their knowledge of the shamanic and spiritual experiences I was having. As I allowed myself to go deeper and deeper into experiences from childhood that had been completely blocked the recapitulation took on a life of its own, showing me how to gain access to all parts of myself, spiritual, physical, mental and emotional, through memories, dreams, flashbacks, visions, and experiences in this reality, in the past, and in other worlds.

A thorough recapitulation leads to wholeness, to integration of all aspects of self, and that leads to the place of utter calmness that I experienced in dreaming with the women seers that night. I longed to stay there, but eventually I woke up and had to leave it, but only for the moment. I knew I had that place of calmness inside me. I am never far from it; I just have to go there.

Next week, I will write about the twelfth and final step in developing a shamanic practice that I learning in my dreaming with the women seers.

Until then, keep dreaming, keep setting intent, and keep recapitulating!

NOTE: The day after I had this experience I posed a question to Jeanne in the channeling blog regarding it, which I link to here. She, in turn, offered the first of three steps in learning detachment, in an evolutionary sense.

A Day in a Life: Take Action

Take action knowing that it is your move.
No one else is present in your life to take action or move for you.
Everything depends on you.
Do not look to others to resolve your dilemmas.
Your life is totally up to you and your actions.
Take action.

This is the tenth step in learning a shamanic practice, a practice that is pragmatic and helpful in learning to evolve, to keep going, to grow and to change, but also to learn to live in more than just this fixed and rational reality. I wrote the above in the middle of the night of November 2, 2009, after intending again to connect and dream with the women of don Juan’s generation of seers.

A shamanic practice revolves around becoming totally responsible for the self, for the past self and the future self, as well as for the self who strives for each moment to be one of awareness. As I have been relaying these shamanic steps in my blog over the past few weeks, I have been struck each week by the relationship each step has to recapitulation, perhaps the most important step, according to the seers, in really electing to change and grow.

In doing recapitulation, in seeking to fully know the self, these steps that I learned from the women seers become more than just pointers, they become a way of life. Until one is in the process of learning about the deeper self these steps may simply come across as good ideas or thoughts that make sense in everyday life, but they blossom into true steps of growth when one begins the process of recapitulation with intent, with unbending intent. It is through experiencing each of these steps, through taking a personal journey into the darkness of the self, that these ideas ultimately make total, practical sense.

A recapitulation can take place through many means. One of them is to simply allow the self to go back into memories, to feel, see and experience them as if reliving them once again and then to go back again and again, going deeper and deeper each time. In looking from a different perspective each time, a personal experience may be revealed as it had actually happened rather than as it had been consciously remembered. When memories are revisited in a state of heightened awareness, new clarity and insight may be gained where before there may have been only vagueness or just a shadowy sense that something was not quite right, or there may have been no memory at all because it was effectively blocked by the psyche.

In memories, painful experiences may be replaced with less offensive stories. Safe or pleasant memories may be construed in order to alleviate the full force of the true and often brutal memories. In essence, selective memories can make us feel safe and okay, though they are not the whole truth. The truth often lies deeply hidden. In my own case, I was nagged by incessant feelings that something was wrong with me, but I was not able to fully access what that meant until I was ready and able to handle it.

Recapitulation, as Chuck mentioned in a recent blog, is a volitional action that happens when we are ready. Somewhere along our journeys, our psyche and our body determine that the time is now and prepares us for the moment. When we are thrown or drawn into recapitulation, some deeper part of us is ready, and it is asking us to shift.

In recapitulation, I did learn that I was totally responsible for everything about myself and that if I did not make a move to help myself then nothing would happen to change me or my life. And as I worked through what that meant, in light of where I was at the time and what I had to remember about my past, it empowered me, diminishing my reliance on others and my reliance on staying stuck in certain familiar modes, repeating the same habits and staying in a world that never changed. Although I considered that world to be rather safe, it was not until I was well into my recapitulation that I discovered that it was, in fact, a world of fear that I kept such control of by retreating, withdrawing and hiding, by making safe choices, so that I did not have to confront anything that made me afraid or uncomfortable. In spite of having lived a very full life in many ways, achieving a measure of success, I still had not resolved the inner dilemmas, of what was wrong with me, of why I felt so powerless and unsafe. What was I really afraid of?

So, I would have to say that I did not feel truly safe in this world until I had done a recapitulation of a world that lay hidden deeply inside me. It was purposely hidden so that I could grow up, maintain sanity, and mature into adulthood. I was protected from it long enough to prepare to return, when the time was right, and look with the eyes of an adult at what had happened to me in my past. In returning, I was afforded the opportunity to learn what it really means to take responsibility for the self, for the cards dealt, for the circumstances of life, and to regain the power that I had lost along the way. It took breaking many vows of silence, many pacts, and it also took facing the darkness within, the stuff that had followed me around for a long, long time, just waiting for me to return and remember what it was all about.

So, in the final lesson to “take action,” the women seers are also suggesting that it is our choice to evolve, to change, and to recapitulate too. We are all afforded many opportunities to practice such steps. We read our books and chant our mantras. We do our yoga and meditate ourselves into calmness, but until we really take action on our own behalf, and face our fears, we are just waiting for something or someone outside of us to change, when it is what is inside us that is asking for change. At least, that has been my experience.

Until next week,