The Nagualist Newsletter and Open Forum / Issue 4 Dec. 1994/Jan. 1995
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 "It's wildly exciting to do something without knowing why we are doing it,"

"And it's even more exciting to set out to do something without knowing what the end result will be."

Esperanza, from Being-In-Dreaming by Florinda Donner

La Gorda, Soledad, Oliver Stone, and other controversies.

Is la Gorda dead and buried or did she merely disappear? Has Oliver Stone been working with Soledad? Is don Juan stranded?

A reader wrote in saying that he noticed a positive energy in issue #3. This was just about the time that we here at NNL were beginning to see issue #4 take shape. I personally was finding issue #4 to be quite disturbing, as if things had started to go amuck. Everything had been so tidy in the first three issues. In issue #4, we have nothing but disturbing revelations and contradictions. It reminds me of how I felt when I first read The Second Ring of Power. Remember the feeling? Soledad causing trouble, the apprentices reporting conflicting things from don Juan's group, the entire goal of the teachings in question. That's exactly what we have this issue.

There seem to be three central controversies that readers are reporting over and over again. It's impossible to get a clear view of what's being reported without collecting this information where it can be examined as a whole. Let's start with the story of la Gorda's death, which was first reported last issue in connection with Merilyn Tunneshende.

Our central lecture notes this issue agree that la Gorda is dead. According to the reader who submitted the information, Carlos' group stated that la Gorda got tired of waiting around for Carlos and tried to leap by herself. She died as a result and they buried her. Those notes also state that Florinda said she almost went with her.

This information seems to agree with the account given by Florinda in the Body Mind & Spirit interview. In that interview, Florinda says that la Gorda had "an attack of such intense self-importance in 1985 that she believed she was the only one of us who could lead us to freedom. She died in a futile attempt to reach beyond her energetic capabilities."

In the Magical Blend interview, Merilyn Tunneshende said that la Gorda is doing just fine. We have had at least 10 letters from readers who cited this as a good reason to suspect that Merilyn is not who she claims to be. I might tend to agree myself if it weren't for the fact that the members of Carlos' group have also had trouble giving a consistent story.

For example, last issue, in the headline story, we reported the comments of a reader who has had direct contact with members of Carlos' group. He reported that both Florinda and Carlos had stated that la Gorda died in 1985. According to this reader, Graciela Corvalan, who had been in contact with la Gorda as late as 1984, expressed doubts about this story, even though it agreed with the last time she had seen la Gorda. The main problem with this 1985 date is that it disagrees with the information given by Florinda in the Body Mind & Spirit interview. In that interview, Florinda tied the loss of la Gorda with the return of Carol. Our central lecture notes say Carol returned in 1983. This return date for Carol also pushes back the lecture Carlos gave at Phoenix where he found her. I had the impression it was in the 90s and got a similar notion from a manager at the bookstore.

Even if our understanding of Carol's return is misdated, there are other variations in the accounts of la Gorda's death. Another reader sent us the following information:

Several months ago we attended a lecture given by Florinda Donner. She was discussing, in great detail, how extremely difficult it is for one to move beyond the choke-hold of the human inventory. Even a powerful sorcerer like La Gorda, she continued, is subject to the ego's petty desires. In fact, she said that La Gorda, in a `fit of egomania' had literally blown herself up and was no longer in this dimension! None of the other sorcerers knew exactly where La Gorda had gone, but she had definitely disappeared in an act of, what sounded like, a form of spontaneous combustion.

According to this account, la Gorda didn't even die, at least not in the sense of leaving a body around to be buried. You can't bury someone if you don't know where they've gone. This story is corroborated by a different reader who reported that he heard that Florinda gave a lecture at Sony pictures in which she stated that La Gorda had self-combusted in a fit of indulging and is now gone from this world. It seems the controversy surrounding la Gorda will continue. What I'd like to know is, what was Florinda doing at a Japanese movie company?

Speaking of movie companies, last issue we heard from a reader that Soledad has adopted the motto, "Money for Movies". The expanded version, from the Body Mind & Spirit interview, seems to be "Dollars from any source for movies." I wish I knew what any source meant. I've been wondering if one can pluck more than pebbles or art objects from the second attention. The death defier said that there were endless treasures to be discovered in the second attention.

A reader wrote in saying that he had observed the name "Ixtlan" at the end of the latest two Oliver Stone movies "JFK" and "Natural Born Killers." He wanted to know if there was any connection between this "Ixtlan" and Carlos Castaneda.

As if everyone had discovered the same thing at the same time, another reader pointed out that Oliver Stone did one of the reviews on the back of Being-In-Dreaming, by Florinda Donner.

Another reader pointed out that in the Body Mind & Spirit interview Florinda said that Soledad was "extremely well situated" as a movie producer.

A somewhat unsatisfying answer to this puzzle was provided by a reader who sent us the following:

...There is a movie studio in Hollywood by the name of IXTLAN PRODUCTIONS!!!! I forgot to mention this previously, but the Soledad issue prompted me to remember. It was set up by Oliver Stone, according to the secretary I talked to, because of the book Journey to Ixtlan! He's a Castaneda fan! No mention was made of Soledad, perhaps she's around and about behind the scenes, or entirely uninvolved and this is just a coincidence. The studio has three or four movies to its credit now, one being Zebrahead, and another is about inner city life for poor black & hispanic folks, but the title eludes me now. I watched it and found it interesting. Oh yes, "The Joy Luck Club" was another one. All by Ixtlan Productions.

I guess this all falls into the category of pointless gossip, but it is fun to think of Soledad being behind movies that might have an affect on the course of public thought.

The most disturbing revelation in this issue surrounds the fate of don Juan's party. Our central lecture notes state that Carlos' group believes that don Juan's party may not have made it to the third attention, that they may be stranded in the second attention. Carlos' group will attempt a rescue when they leave.

As if this wasn't bad enough, we received the following information from a reader:

...I attended a gathering of the Witches (as Carlos likes to call them) at the Rim Institute in the Summer of 1993. Some of the information that was revealed then is not in any of the books. Like Florinda saying that don Juan and 27 generations of sorcerers are stuck in the outer edges of the second attention. I don't know if that story has changed or not... Also at that meeting, Carol said her new book, Tales of Energy, was to be published soon...

Since our entire goal as a community of practitioners was called into question by these accounts, we wrote to a source whom we hoped would be able to clear up this situation. This reader wrote:

...[Yes I heard the] rumor about don Juan being trapped in the second attention. The witches said this, according to a report of someone who attended the Arizona seminar. It sounded at first like they were claiming that D.J. and company were trapped by the inorganics, but later a friend of mine talked to Carlos and asked him point blank. She reported that Carlos told her that don Juan did not leave the second attention because some of his group hadn't enough energy or power to make the journey to ultimate freedom. Don Juan and some of the other members of his group did have enough energy to reach it, but they did not want to leave the rest behind. Whether Carlos and the rest of his clan are trying to help them is beyond my knowledge.

The members of don Juan's lineage have always told us to keep the intent of total freedom, but they have also confessed that no one really knows what that means. My own intent usually centers around spooky experiences, so now I have twice as much to consider.

I suppose we all ought to be bothered by this revelation, but as Carol said, "It beats dying a normal death." I'm a little surprised at my own reaction to the revelations in issue #4. Out of all of this, the thing that bothers me the most is the image of Florinda lecturing in a fancy conference room, in a high rise owned by Sony pictures.

Nagualist Newsletter and Open Forum/ Issue 4 Dec. 1994/Jan. 1995