Florinda Donner-Grau Chronology Part XI [July - Aug. 1997]

July 19, 1997 ¨C Greg and Gabi¡¯s videotape shows Castaneda hammering a trellis against the perimeter wall of the compound, and later, Castaneda, Florinda and Carol driving toward Westwood.

- I have dinner with Castaneda, Florinda and Carol at 6 PM at the Moustache Caf¨¦ in Westwood. The reservations are in Florinda¡¯s name. [Florinda ordered rack of lamb and mashed potatoes instead of the vegetables it came with. Carol then ordered the same thing and I followed suit. Castaneda, however, wanted the whitefish special, with a cilantro butter sauce, which he asked to be put on the side. When the waitress asked us if we wanted wine, Florinda blurted out "no," and the rest of us also indicated no. Castaneda then "explained" to the waitress that Florinda "is Mormon." Ex-Senator Alan Cranston was seated in the booth next to ours.

Among other things, Florinda and I talked about our individual experiences of visiting Europe for the workshops earlier that summer. Florinda told us she and the others "couldn¡¯t wait to get out of Berlin" and described the hotel they were staying at in East Berlin, where the surroundings were "depressing." Castaneda mentioned that Nury had seen a guy in East Berlin whose shoes were disintegrating, and that she had wanted to buy him new shoes. Florinda also mentioned walking down the ramblas during the Barcelona workshop and seeing six tall Germans, who "made her nervous," noting that there was "something very cold" about German kids. I joked that they must have been "the Boys from Brazil," to which Florinda responded, "no, they were from Germany," but Carol got the reference and explained it.

Castaneda told us he couldn¡¯t wait to get out of Rome, because it "stank." Carol or Florinda asked him if he hadn¡¯t liked it when he was going to art school there, and he admitted that he had liked Florence. He also described Spain as "smelly and decrepit."

Castaneda claimed he had once been planning to marry a Japanese woman, and had the ring for her. But she saw him with a Mexican girl sitting in his lap, and told him to stay away from her or "she would knife me." Castaneda also told a "shaggy dog story" about a tall guy he had known who owned a Volkswagen in which he used to pick up hitchhikers. The guy would ask them where they wanted to go, but regardless what they said, he would take them to a distant spot, like Agoura, and drop them off there. The guy had supposedly altered the seat of his car too, so that he looked like he was of normal height when sitting in the driver¡¯s seat.

Castaneda talked about his relationship with a famous Mexican artist, Oscar Tamayo, who lived in New York, which came up because Margarita Nieto was then cataloging for an art dealer in Palm Springs who had cornered the market on another brilliant Mexican artist. He also told us about the widow of a guy who had died after an unsuccessful bypass operation. When she was told she needed the same operation, he claimed she responded, "Fuck you." Castaneda told us that she had a lover, and that when her end came, she was taking a swim and asked her lover to fix her a margarita: "A strong one, make it so I can taste it." As she was sipping away, she remarked, "There is something about this margarita that¡¯s most unusual, like I¡¯ve never tasted before." Then she keeled over and died. They all seemed to think that was a great way to go.

Castaneda told us that he had gotten hit "by a big blast." He also mentioned that "Lorenzo" [Bruce Wagner] had been planning to go on an expenses-paid trip to Europe, and that if he had gone, they "wouldn¡¯t have been able to do Phantom Theater." Lorenzo was "just saved by the skin of his teeth," but he "didn¡¯t know it." Lorenzo didn¡¯t go, but in some way he caused Castaneda to be "hit with a blast." He didn¡¯t explain what the blast was.

At the beginning of the meal, Castaneda gave me a present wrapped in orange tissue paper with a white ribbon, which turned out to be an object he claimed had belonged to the Nagual Lujan. He explained that he "couldn¡¯t sustain the Sunday class"--that it "had become too difficult" and he couldn¡¯t keep meeting with us--but that somehow, with this gift, he wanted "to create a link." Castaneda¡¯s energy throughout the meal seemed lower than usual, and he seemed to have a hard time speaking loud enough for us to hear him without straining.]

August 2, 1997 - Zaia gives a talk at Midnight Special Bookstore on the Promenade in Santa Monica, with Florinda, Carol and others in attendance (caught on tape by Greg and Gabi).

Early August 1997 - Greg Mamishian and Gabi are caught by Nyei picking up the trash bags that had been put outside at Castaneda¡¯s compound on Pandora, where Florinda, Taisha and Joanie also lived.

August 23-27, 1997 - Intensive Workshop "The Not-Doings of the Sorcerers of Ancient Mexico," at L.A. Convention Center. The cost was $1200, or $1,000 for prior workshop attendees, with about 850 attendees. (The following quotes are adapted from notes taken by Vincent Sargenti and Randy Stark.)

Florinda, reading a statement [written by, or in conjunction with, Castaneda, as the Witches¡¯ statements at later workshops invariably were], said the old nagual, don Juan, had given them his very best. He hit them with everything he had. When he realized that Carlos didn't have the energetic configuration or temperament for anything but ending the lineage, he put Big Florinda in charge of pulling them back together and recovering after he and the rest of his party left. They weren't worth a plugged nickel, Florinda said. "You couldn't have made a whole person from the four of us put together."

Florinda joked that Carlos had "made a lot of mistakes in his life" and that, over the years, she had been witness to most of them. One of the more recent and "imbecilic" things he did was to create what came to be known as the Sunday group. She explained that Carlos worked with a group of people intensively over a period of more than a year. "Carlos's temperament is not like don Juan's," she claimed. She described Castaneda as "the ultimate hit-and-run artist." She said he had decided he would try to influence this small group of people and "attempt to mold them into serious warrior-practitioners with only the force of his charismatic personality, his ability to talk at-length about anything, and his superior energy." This was a "monumental error in judgment because all he had succeeded in doing was to make himself into their ¡®guru.¡¯ So the Sunday group was abolished."

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In her second talk, Florinda said she wanted to demonstrate to us what it "looked like" to move the attention to another position other than the "me" position between the toes. She said we could move our attention anywhere within the fringe of luminosity around our ankle level, and that this was preferable. She also made a distinction between moving the assemblage point and moving the "beam" of attention that comes from the assemblage point and fixates on a particular area or spot within the fringe of awareness. As a word of warning, before her demonstration, Florinda related how she had fallen back and banged her head in a hotel room while squatting on a bed doing this. She explained that we should be very careful when we attempt to do this, and told the story of the first time she had succeeded doing it. She had been told to sit up on her knees somewhere soft, like in her bed, so that when she fell forward she would not hurt herself. Well, when she finally moved her attention away from the "me" position between the toes she claimed she fell not directly forward or back but kind of sideways and bashed her head open on a sharp, marble-slated night stand. So she admonished us to find somewhere safe to attempt this.

She then introduced Miles, telling us he is "an actual MD." She teased him, calling out, "oh, Doctor!" as he came up on stage to "spot" her. Florinda took a second or two of quiet as she leaned her head forward and down, then she went limp and began to fall forward. Miles supported her, of course, and as she became alert once again she spoke breathily, "Oh, thank you, Doctor!" She repeated the demonstration several times facing different sides of the audience.

With regard to self-importance and the Flyers, a story was related about an elderly couple who were friends of both Taisha and Florinda [quite possibly Joanie Barker¡¯s parents]. They were both said to be presently in a nursing home. They were quite wealthy and prominent citizens of Los Angeles at one time. It was mentioned that the couple paid one million dollars a year to be attended to and to live at this facility. Despite their wealth, however, when someone wanted to give the woman a rose bush, the nursing home administrator refused to allow it. Later when a family friend put pressure on the administrator he seemingly acquiesced but still there was no rose bush. Florinda, upon hearing of this, had someone drive her up to the Santa Barbara area where she had words with the administrator. "Why don't you let her have her fucking rose bush?" she asked. "Well, you don't have to be so crude about it," the administrator replied. "And you don't have to be so fucking stupid!" Florinda shot back.

She said the administrator didn't think it mattered all that much because the woman was so elderly and not all there. Florinda claimed he was hoping the elderly woman would die before they ever got the rose bush to her. Florinda used the administrator as a metaphor, saying we are all like him to some degree. We all believe we have more time than we really do. She went on to speak about the Dark Sea of Awareness and the force of Intent, how the two comprise the entire universe as it is perceivable by man.

In the evening, Florinda talked about the different ways don Juan allegedly referred to the Flyers, depending on his mood: "Panchito" in lighter moments, "Paco" at other times, and "St. Francis" if he was feeling morbid and morose, "as only a Nagual can be," she said.

Flyers are not intelligent or superhuman, they're just there, and they're just like us. All of our me characteristics are a reflection of them. But once we throw them off, once our sheen, our "condom of awareness," rises back up to waist level, we see them for what they are. Then, because we live in a predatory universe, yet another entity enters the picture, a type of being she referred to as "Seymour."

Florinda claimed that "when Carlos is feeling morbid and morose he will sit for hours watching a line of ants on a wall." When someone would ask where he was, the joking reply would be, "Probably out gazing at ants."

During a Q&A session, Florinda responded to a written question about their going public by explaining that they "did not want to keep secrets that didn't even belong to us." Their going public had to do with "the return of Carol Tiggs." That event "had made energy available to us that would not have been otherwise." They decided, "based on seeing energy as it flows in the universe, that they would make the passes available to anyone who wanted to learn them. In order to accomplish this, they distilled the passes down into a form that made them readily useable by anyone of any body type or energetic configuration."

"Where's Carlos?" a man shouted from the back of the audience. Taisha and Florinda did not respond to his inquiry at first, so the man shouted until they answered him. Taisha and Florinda appeared unsure as to how to respond. "His energy and awareness are out there," Taisha said finally. "He is the reason why we are all here." "We're trying to pull him back," Florinda said quietly.

Another question was, "Do you have sex?" Florinda responded, "I don't know, I guess it's just the way I was raised. Two things you never ask a lady: one, never ask a lady what her age is, and two, never ask a lady if she is having sex. These are very personal issues. I will respond to this simply by saying that we use sexual energy to navigate infinity."

Florinda also claimed that the Tensegrity instructors "see energy directly as it flows in the universe." She introduced the "shamanistic unit" by name, indicating their academic credentials and professions. Miles was an M.D. Brandon had a masters degree in psychology "and is a practicing psychologist specializing in domestic violence. Gavin has two Ph.D.s--one in biology, and one in Earth sciences. Fabrizio is an investment banker/consultant. Lorenzo is a writer/producer, and Julius is a producer/director. The Alexanders are Nuri and Zaia--both currently pursuing Ph.D.s. And Reni and Nyei Murez, the cousins, are English teachers. Reni is finishing law school, Nyei is pursuing a career in editing. Talia Bey is the president of Cleargreen." The credentials or current pursuits of Kylie, Erin, Darien and Halley were not listed.

Go to Florinda Donner-Grau Chronology part XII