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.

Don Juan's stranded, Florinda almost leaves, and Carol makes a child.

One sign that the newsletter staff needs to do more recapitulating is that we worry each issue that we won't have any lecture notes for the next issue. In fact, we get downright depressed. So you can imagine our mixed feelings when we got the following disturbing lecture notes:

I came across your Nagualist Newsletter notice in the Fall '94 issue of Magical Blend magazine. I think it's a great idea. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Toltec Dreaming workshop in Arizona last summer. It was a tremendous experience. I've been curious about what went on at the other workshops in Esalen and Maui, as well as at the lectures given by Carlos Castaneda, Taisha Abelar, Florinda Donner-Grau and Carol Tiggs outside of the workshops. I've also wondered about other people who attended the workshop I attended- what they are doing now, etc. Your newsletter seems to be a fantastic way to pool information from all of these events and make it available to interested parties. To this end I have composed a jumbled list of what I consider to be important bits of information which were presented to us at the Arizona workshop and which I have not seen in print elsewhere.

The Toltec Dreaming workshop in Arizona was presented by Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar and Carol Tiggs. Each of them spoke to the group for several hours and answered numerous questions. What follows is some of what they told us, as best I can remember it, along with a few personal observations.

They believe that Don Juan's party may not have made it to the third attention when they left, and that they may be stranded in the second attention. When the current group leaves they will try to "rescue" Don Juan's party and carry them into the third attention. Carol, Taisha and Florinda seemed completely unconcerned with the success or failure of Don Juan's group. Carol said something to the effect of "It beats dying a normal death".

All of them stressed that when they cross into the second attention they do it with their total being including their bodies-clothes, boots and all.

Recently, Florinda and Taisha had gone into dreaming together and had physically disappeared right in front of Carlos.

La Gorda is dead. She got tired of waiting around for Carlos and tried to leap by herself. She died as a result and they buried her. Florinda said that she almost went with her.

Carol Tiggs spent ten years in the second attention, from 1973 to 1983, at which point she found herself back in this world. Somehow her leap with Don Juan's party dovetailed with her experience with the death defier, which was reported in The Art of Dreaming, to produce this experience. She either didn't have clear memories of what happened to her during that time or she couldn't or didn't want to describe it to us. She gave a few details which I can't remember. Anyone else?

Carol Tiggs and Taisha Abelar are both writing books. Carol's will be called Tales of Energy.

Carlos Castaneda wrote The Art of Dreaming several years ago. He didn't want anything to do with it so he asked Taisha and Florinda to take it into the second attention and hide it there. So they wrapped it up in a box and took it there. Years later they returned to the second attention and retrieved it.

Carlos survived his leap into the abyss because he was no longer concerned with whether he lived or died. The bottom of the cliff was scattered with the bones of warriors that had failed to survive.

Carol Tiggs was with Carlos Castaneda when he planted the power plants given to him by Vicente (as reported in A Separate Reality) and the allies appeared and asked him for a ride, etc.

The current group is the end of Don Juan's lineage. They have not found a new Nagual. They will be leaving "soon".

Carol and Carlos made a child in the second attention. I understood this to be the "blue scout" from The Art of Dreaming. The scout is about to finish school and when she does they will all leave.

This is how they introduced themselves when they addressed the group individually. Florinda: "My name is Florinda Donner-Grau and I am dreaming myself". Taisha: "My name is Taisha Abelar and I am dreaming myself". Carol: "My name is Carol Tiggs and I am being dreamed by Carol Tiggs, the Death Defier, Don Juan Matus and Talia". (I'm not positive about the order of these names, but I'm pretty sure these are the four she gave. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.)

At one point Carol was speaking about the death defier and someone in the audience gasped out "she's here" and Carol said "yes", with no further elaboration.

Carol, Taisha and Florinda were accompanied by two younger women (30s?) who they called the Chac Mools and who had, according to Carol, succeeded in attaching themselves to Carol and Florinda. They were not apprentices, she said, but through imitation had become part of their tradition and were beginning to learn dreaming. One other member of their group was present, Tracy, their literary agent. He was clearly connected with them and was introduced as such.

They all stressed the recapitulation as the key to overcoming our self obsession and to storing energy. They also had the Chac Mools teach us a series of sorcery passes, some of which are in Taisha's book. They said they had high hopes for these exercises, that they went directly to the body. There will be a videotape forthcoming at some point demonstrating these exercises for interested persons.

A few personal observations from the workshop:

When Florinda began to speak to the group the first night she was overflowing with so much energy that she was panting. I believe the panting was a consequence of her being in heightened awareness. Did anyone else out there notice the panting or have an opinion about it?

Taisha addressed the group on the second morning. She talked about and demonstrated (with a few props-wig, clothes, etc.) some of the identities she'd assumed as a stalker. (Construction worker, stock broker, buddhist monk-she'd just returned from 2 years in tibet? where she was part of a monastery and had to pass for a man. She succeeded, even before the Dalai Lama. I was to the side of the stage and as Taisha spoke she leaned forward to the microphone stand with her feet spread slightly and her body erect. She leaned so far forward that I thought she should fall over, but she didn't. I've tried to stand like that and cannot, I fall forward. Did anyone else notice this? The other thing about Taisha was that I couldn't get a fix on her face. It seemed to change. She would look older or younger or just different somehow. Did others see this? Any comments?

All of them were incredible. Friendly, down to earth, hilariously funny, and at the same time absolutely ruthless and chillingly detached. Florinda spent a lot of time talking about how we (especially the men) are all just a bunch of poor babies who constantly make excuses, see ourselves as victims, and want to be tended to by our mommies/wives. She pushed a lot of peoples buttons. Someone asked her if she was a vegetarian and she proceeded to talk about how we have incisors and are meat eaters, and our bodies need meat, and how vegetarians sometimes look a bit unhealthy. All of this with a malicious grin on her face. In the noiseless vacuum which enveloped the tent, Carol Tiggs couldn't contain herself any longer and burst into laughter, muttering between gasps and guffaws about the total silence in the room. Carol was something else. She prowled the stage on the last night, telling little stories about their experiences. Constantly on the move, she would relate one tale, then jump to another, then another, always leaving us hanging about the exact meaning. She was funny. She laughed at the image of all of us so seriously involved in our recapitulations- she said she pitied anyone who only recapitulated- and at the same time absolutely recommended that we recapitulate. She steered us away from anything ritual. She could be spooky, like when she introduced the topic of her disappearance by talking about the inorganic beings as the "body snatchers". She said they were looking for people to accompany them when they leap-clearly she was not talking about volunteerism, but rather about ability. Carol Tiggs said they liked movement, action. At the end of the weekend she told us to intend them back again. Florinda insisted that sorcery was a solitary path and that although she and Carol and Taisha lived in proximity to one another, they really didn't see that much of each other. She also steered us away from gazing. She said it was connected to dreaming and that she didn't think we were ready to deal with entities (was she daring us to try or really warning us?) and that at this point we should concentrate on recapitulating and cleaning up our lives. Carol recommended we experiment with the not-doing exercises sprinkled throughout Carlos' books. I had a chance to ask Taisha if we didn't need a year off or so to recapitulate and she said absolutely not, just start doing it and you'll find the time. Florinda related a story of a woman who had seen her at a bookstore talk and had begun recapitulating and a couple of years later showed up at another talk. Florinda said her luminous body was very bright and stood out obviously. This gave Florinda more impetus to keep talking to people because she "knew things were happening out there".

Fourteen months have passed since the workshop. I try and recapitulate every day, even if only briefly. I usually just sit on my bed, often with my knees up and my back against a pillow. I find it difficult to perform. For me it takes a real effort and concentration, as well as letting go of expectations, to remember the feeling I had during each event I'm recalling. I often fall flat on my face, but when I don't I feel somehow energized. I'm a non-visualizer. I don't have a clue how guided visualization or shamanic drumming works. I remember Taisha saying that this is not a deterrent to recapitulating- so to any other non-visualizers out there, take heart! I also practice some of the sorcery passes we learned. Florinda said just to pick a few and do them, not to obsess on trying to do them all. So I just do some every day- not always the same ones. Like the recapitulation, I find they require a certain attitude of attention and abandon to be effective. I learn more about how to do it as I go along. Since the workshop, I haven't had any phenomenal dreaming experiences although at times I feel that the barrier to dreaming may be thinner than it was a year ago. During the workshop I had one dreaming experience. I had gone to bed after Florinda's incredible talk on the first night of the weekend. For quite a while I couldn't sleep, but eventually I drifted off into some kind of dreaming state. It felt like it went on all night (about 4 hours- until dawn woke me up) but I don't know for sure. All I remember is that I was in some place where I was seeing/feeling white filaments of energy outside of me. I felt there was a lot of movement going on. Everything felt compressed. As I was waking up I felt the whole experience condense itself into the shape of a giant box which then lowered itself onto my everyday experiential self. It was as if the box was a truncated version of what I'd experienced and was all I was capable of retrieving at that time. I felt as if some channel in me had opened up for a while. I recognized the feel of the experience. Normally, I'm not a talented dreamer. Usually I don't even remember dreams, so something like this is a big deal to me. I'm curious if anyone else at that workshop had dreaming experiences that night.

I want to thank those of you who are putting this newsletter together. I trust all of your readers saw the fantastic profile which Bruce Wagner did of Carlos Castaneda in the March '94 issue of Details magazine. If you haven't already done so, please mention it in your next issue. At the workshop I heard someone talking about a radio interview which Taisha Abelar did last year. I don't suppose anyone has heard of a tape of it floating around?...

Source: Tucson, Az

Editor: The newsletter seems to have a bit of intent of its own, because a week after receiving this reader's letter, we received a complete transcript of the interview in question. We are waiting for permission to print it (one of the staff members comes from a moderate legal background and will not allow us to print it or send copies without proper documentation).

These were great notes and point out how different each view of a given event can be. It takes different personality types to notice different things. I personally like to hear how Taisha leans over, Florinda pants, and Carol prowls. I hope that other readers who have attended this lecture series will also make a report.They are sure to have something new to tell.


A reader wrote in mentioning that Michael Harner's book, The Way of the Shaman, has a quote on its cover from Carlos. The quote reads: CARLOS CASTANEDA SAYS: "Wonderful, fascinating...Harner really knows what he is talking about."

I can't recall any other book on shamanism that sports such an endorsement. The wording is a bit odd, as if Carlos had something in mind, but nonetheless, it's a rare endorsement. While we're on the topic, who are the people who reviewed Florinda's lates book? The fact that they got advanced copies and were asked to review it says something.

I read a bit of Michael's book and found it easy to read and well written. There is a statement in the introduction which is not true, but perhaps Michael was simplifying the topic. He states that shamanic states of consciousness, being willed by the practitioner from a conscious waking state, are safer than dreaming, where one may not be able to wake up from a bad experience. Boy can I testify this to be untrue! The next time I get stuck in a state willed from waking, I just hope Michael is around to pull me out of it.

Michael is also prominent in some magazines on shamanism where one can often find a list of his lecture dates.

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