The Nagualist Newsletter and Open Forum / Issue 4 Dec. 1994/Jan. 1995
Copyright 1995 by Nagualist Newsletter, all rights reserved. Individual submissions by readers and staff of the newsletter are also protected under copyright law. No portion may be reproduced without the written permission of the Nagualist Newsletter and of the individual who made the submission. Additional copies may be available at no charge.

Black out!

...I haven't done this [recapitulation] with any regularity or frequency. The list, still incomplete, was a pain at first, but then names started popping into my head "out of nowhere." I'm not consistent with the direction of inhale/exhale and usually wait until 11:00pm or later to start. Often - after a short while - I "black out" into a dreamless sleep and "wake up" minutes later with the original direction reversed. Sometimes I hear a loud bang like a gun-shot just before waking up. The noise has the quality of being both internal and external at the same time. I seem to know that the noise isn't gunfire - although there is a lot of that in this neighborhood...

Source: Altadena, CA

Editor: If I were you, I'd try to get that black out as often as I could. It's only obvious what's happening. I'd be willing to bet it isn't as dreamless as you think!

Recapitulating your way into the second attention.

...One thing I feel is overlooked in the newsletter so far is the fact that the recapitulation leads directly into the second attention. Everyone talks about it as a way to store energy for other things, but I find that the surest way for me to get into dreaming experiences, and other odd happenings, is by recapitulating. They happen during recapitulating, not after! How come no one else is mentioning this?...

Source: Withheld

Editor: We always reserve a lot of space in the newsletter for recapitulation experiences, and then find the input to be starved of them. I think the trouble is that a lot of our readers have just started recapitulating, and a lot more are still viewing it as too much trouble. And it wasn't mentioned in the books until The Eagle's Gift. A lot of readers have simply fixated on dreaming and the behavior aspects from Journey to Ixtlan.

And then there's another problem. People just seem reluctant to call a spade a spade. It's like the guy who's blacking out. It sounds pretty obvious that he's entering into the second attention and not remembering it. I think that people are reluctant to claim anything so vague. Carlos has emphasized that dreaming shifts the assemblage point, but recapitulation was not emphasized as a method in itself.

Impractical recapitulation.

... I have tried a few of the techniques (with little or no success), I've no clue as to how to practice within the context of everyday life. I did a recapitulation as part of an uncrossing ritual and could tell that it was an energizing practice, but sitting in a box or cave for long periods of time was too impractical and daunting...

Source: Belleville, IL

Editor: I suspect that you would be hard pressed to find someone with a lot of recapitulation experience who would describe it as impractical. It may in fact be the only thing that makes all of this possible.

But if you want some practical advice, one thing that has emerged from the newsletter is the idea that you only have to spend a little time in a quiet place, until you get some experience at recapitulating. Then you can do it while doing other things, such as washing dishes or riding in a bus. Several readers do it while driving, including myself, but I'm reluctant to recommend that too readily, because it does interfere with driving. But think of this, what if you got good enough at it to fit it into something else you already have to do everyday? Then you could learn sorcery just by doing what you already have to do. It would take up none of your time. How much more practical can you get?

Does recapitulating make you happy?

...I've almost finished my list. I'm using the outline feature of a word processing program. This way I can quickly create new categories and subcatagories and reorganize them on the fly. I'm finding that it's better to not waste time trying to create the perfect categories ahead of time, but just get the information down. There seem to be three major kinds of categories: People, Events, Places (I don't have any specific categories with those names though). Sometimes a person's name goes in all three areas. I'd probably remember if I recapitulated them, and I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to "do" someone more than once anyway; the different category presents a different context and thus opens up more possibilities of recall.

Since I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of people from my earlier years (before Jr. High School), I've asked my mother to make a similar list for herself, focusing on memories of that time at first. She's intrigued and willing and will let me use her list to trigger my own memories.

I did a little recapitulation last year with just my ex-lovers list, and found that the experience got quickly more vivid as I did it over a few days. I was intrigued that it wasn't just the person that contained all the energy, but the entire scene, and sometimes a trivial object - an ashtray perhaps or a picture on the wall - that contained the most energy. I will be starting the full task very soon now.

Some questions: For those that have recapitulated for a long time: Does it help you feel happy?? More alert and energetic? Are there benefits beyond concentration and dreaming ability?

Also, what exercises from the books have people used and what are the results?

Source: Oakland, CA

Editor: The trouble with this question is that "happiness" is a social concept. Recapitulating separates us from our social ties. There was some hugely important Greek philosopher who is often mentioned in connection with defining happiness. I think his definition had something to do with grandchildren and being so old that all you could do was reminisce. Perhaps by an average person's definition of "happiness", recapitulating makes you miserable.

I'd say that recapitulating can make you high, make you dizzy, make you think things so strange that you can't remember anything about them a second later. It makes you remember things that never happened, but it also makes you remember really wonderful things, like the feeling of having salt water soaked into your ears, the sun shining on your face, and a steady breeze blowing through you, when you were 4 years old. It also makes you colder and more indifferent to people's feelings, but able to give the appearance of being a very warm, sympathetic person. It makes shadows feel like they have secrets and the wind sends tingles through you. So, does it make you happy? Happy is too vague of a concept to apply.

Hotel Closets.

...Recapitulation in a hotel closet is an amazing experience. I was recently on business in New Jersey and had the opportunity to take the desk chair of my room and plant it in the closet. It fit with about one inch to spare on either side. Lights off in the room, and closet doors closed, a several hour recap session seemed to go by VERY quickly. Most unusual feature: unlike the normal effects of recapitulation, these nights I dreamed more. No actual dreaming, no lucidity, etc., just regular dreams, but significantly more, and more vivid. Maybe it was just something in the NJ water (sorry NJ readers!)...

Source: Wilbraham, MA

Editor: Maybe the pressure on the energy body is also a trick to make the time pass more quickly.

Another use for bushes.

I have found recapitulating to be powerful and cleansing. As you pointed out in your first two issues, the actual practice seems to be less important than the intent and consistency. I have recapitulated outside under a thicket of branches quite successfully, as well as in small rooms, mountain tops, and tipis.

As part of retrieving past energy expended, I have been using an intense vibratory approach. Once I have swept the scene fully, then I deepen my visualizing and express all the emotions and feelings present at the original moment, but had not been aware of, or had withheld. I also include anything I now feel strongly, while in the presence of the moment being recapitulated.

I have recapitulated scenes where I fully expressed the rage and hate I had held in at the time of the scene, vibrating these fully to release, and then also swept back all this energy. In my experience, bringing the voice, arms and whole body into the process intensifies both the experience and the result. I have found that often the most significant energy in a specific scene may have been totally withheld at the time and to recover this energy I have needed to express it fully in the recapitulation.

Sometimes this approach takes longer, but feels much deeper. A single scene being recapitulated can often take nearly an hour to fully complete. Scenes that were abusive or crisis-like can take hours and often multiple sessions. But by more fully entering the moment in this vibratory manner I have felt the energy recovered to be dramatic. Keeping the intent of drawing back all the energy I expended and releasing anyone else's energy, while vividly expressing through the whole moment, seems to be key.

Source: Bayfield, CO

Editor: There's been an emphasis on being creative like this in the magazine interviews. Something like "see yourself doing all kinds of things energetically", "be imaginative", etc. On the other hand, don Juan told Taisha not to talk to herself because it made proper breathing impossible. The main thing seems to be that doing the process teaches one how to do it better, and it's up to all of us to personalize it through practice.

Fluidity phase.

I've started a second recapitulation, having completed my first. My first was a list based one. I followed all of the rules, but I was so anxious to finish one that I didn't get as much detail as I could have gotten. I covered all events I could remember, but I didn't take the time to try to reconstruct small details such as what people were wearing, all of the objects in the room, etc. I completed my full list, after 2+ years, but still find things to add if I go out in the world and look for them. Your comments on the grocery store (finding items to recapitulate while shopping) are an understatement. I've found out that if you can recognize an object (and you always can) then there are memories associated with it. Because of that, the list never ends. In my case, I can't think of anything to add on my own, without hours of straining to find something new, and that isn't a very productive way to continue. So I've gone to the second recapitulation and I let the spirit go back and select topics to review. When I find old events I missed on my list, I usually recapitulate those on the spot, wherever I happen to be. Antique stores hold a wealth of this kind of memory, but it isn't wise to overlook sensory situations, such as a foggy day.

This time I've been going for as much detail as possible, trying to find all of the imagery associated with each event. I've discovered that going for more detail develops concentration. Specifically, it helps one hone in on a very specific memory. I guess that's what they've been talking about when they classified the recapitulation as a stalking exercise, one that helps us learn to hold a specific position of the assemblage point.

But the most surprising thing about this second round is the topic. A topic doesn't come to me right away. I have to hold my internal dialogue off for quite a while. The topic slowly drifts in, starting with a feeling about a particular person, on to their face and body, and then to something they said or did. When I get to that point, I can walk around and actually look for things I didn't remember in the first recapitulation. Since I start with my internal dialogue off, these recapitulation topics eventually turn into dreams and I go off into unthinkable events that could never have happened from my normal point of view. I usually can do only one topic per session because I get lost in the memory of something very detailed and strange that never happened. Recapitulation ends when I find myself waking up from a strange dream I had while not asleep.

My first recapitulation increased my dreaming frequency by at least 20 times, but since it started at once per 6 months, that wasn't good enough. I'm not satisfied to dream only once a week.

Source: Lake Elsinore, CA

Editor: It sounds like the name "Fluidity" is more than just a description of how the topics are selected.

Can't remember ANY dreams.

... I have a rather strange predicament, as I know that everybody dreams? Supposedly...

I can't remember my dreams! I don't recall images, colors, nothing!... How can I start remembering my dreams?...

Source: Biddeford, Maine

Editor: It's so tempting to turn into the advice man, I have to fight that off every time I write a response. But this is actually a common problem, so I'll give my own advice on this topic just this once, and then hopefully I won't do it again. I don't think any readers will object, since the advice is pretty straight forward. Other readers who may have been in a similar predicament and found a solution should feel free to add their own two bits.

I think that the books have answered this with a recommendation to recapitulate. But readers seem to have varying degrees of dedication and seriousness in their recapitulation. My personal advice would be to do the best possible job making the list (remember as much as you can until it hurts, expect it to take weeks). Finish the list first, then start the process. Emphasize going for as much detail during recapitulation as possible, rather than just trying to finish the thing. Going for detail increases the flexibility of your assemblage point, since you are focusing on a position you don't hold now. Plus it increases your ability to concentrate and also to hold a different position. All of these increase your ability to dream, or in your case, to remember your dreams. Don't give up if it's unpleasant to remember the detail and it feels like you aren't getting anywhere. It's like exercise, it hurts at first. Be sure to make yourself a special place to do it, whatever that means to you, as a sign of your seriousness. Might as well try to bring the spirit into it. But after you get good at it, as evidenced by remembering three things that surprise you enough to produce a tiny jolt, add doing it with your eyes open during the day, while doing something else. Also, after you finish recapitulating in your special place, stay there and practice shutting off your internal dialogue for a while. That's also unpleasant at first, but eventually it's veritable ecstasy. Also, at night sleep in different positions on the bed, wear colored socks, sleep on the couch, etc. And walk at night as much as possible, trying to develop a fondness for the shadows cast by plants and for the night wind.

Recapitulation makes optimism.

I've always thought that dreaming made me melancholy and recapitulating had the opposite effect. Sometimes I would think that this was because I felt like I'd accomplished something towards my future each time I recapitulated. Recently I had a very clear experience that this was not the case. Recapitulating does in fact make me feel optimistic. What happened to make me sure of this was that I recapitulated every other day for a spell (by accident) and noticed that on the day after recapitulating, I felt positive about things. Then one day I skipped the recapitulation, but had an extremely exciting dreaming experience that lasted for a long time. It was the best dreaming experience I had ever had. The result was that I felt dizzy, quiet, and sullen the next day. That experience, rated from the point of view of my merchant mind, was much better than my mundane recapitulation experiences. I have to conclude that recapitulating does in fact make one more happy than dreaming.

Source: Quail Valley, CA

A reader sent this picture of how the recapitulation works. I liked the image of the rope volume looping into the energy body.

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