Invitation-only Sessions with Castaneda (the "Sunday sessions")
By Corey Donovan
Dance Home entrance (site of most of the "Sunday Sessions")
The so-called Sunday sessions began with a two-hour meeting with Castaneda on September 10, 1995, to which more than forty people who had attended the three-week August intensive that year received telephone invitations from Kylie Lundahl. These sessions then continued, primarily on Sundays, with a number of gaps and both major and minor changes in the invitation list (which was made up primarily, but not exclusively, of Los Angeles residents), until mid-'97.
In retrospect, there was a basic core of about two dozen people that were in this group from the beginning to the end. The sessions consisted primarily of Tensegrity instruction by Castaneda and others, but also, frequently, opening lectures by Castaneda, and a variety of stories, advice and practical actions interspersed during the course of a two-hour session. Castaneda seemed to use the sessions, in part, as an opportunity to try to elucidate various aspects of the warriors' way, so that these sessions may have served as a testing ground for material he ultimately used at the larger workshops. Castaneda also tested out the Trackers, and later the Elements, as Tensegrity instructors on us, and also had various of his cohorts demonstrate their individual long forms. There was no charge for these sessions, other than a sharing of the cost of renting the space, which was usually Dance Home in Santa Monica, between 5th and 6th on Santa Monica Blvd. The monthly charge to pay the room rent usually amounted to about $10 per person.
Castaneda had previously conducted similar but smaller weekly groups, at least since 1992, but usually for only, at most, a few months' duration. The Sunday sessions were thus, by far, the most sustained small group instruction that Castaneda conducted, outside of the several sessions per week he typically met with Cleargreen personnel. Among the audience for the Sunday sessions were people who subsequently became the Tensegrity instructors now known as Haley Alexander van Oosten, Leroy Robinson Welby and Miles Reid [and, after Castaneda's death, three more Tensegrity instructors, including Thorton, and the instructors now known as Julia and Brian]. Castaneda himself referred to these sessions in an only slightly veiled way at a few public workshops. Florinda ultimately referred to these sessions quite directly and pointedly, announcing that they were "over" and describing them as one of the Nagual's most "imbecilic" mistakes, during her first lecture at the August 1997 intensive workshop.
Castaneda often advised us not to keep secrets, explaining that our focus on keeping things hidden causes them to fester and to become "putrid" within us. He advised us to "burn" them, i.e., to let them out. He even suggested the technique of going to a confessional in another town and telling a priest there your secret as one way of getting it out. He often "burned" the secrets of members of his group during our Sunday sessions.
In the Sunday sessions, Castaneda seemed to come in with a different plan, a completely different approach for us nearly every other week. He was constantly improvising. And as far as his final plan for "leaving," at times he seemed to be seeing the possibility that a large number of us might "leave" with them. At other times, it seemed like only he and the other disciples of don Juan would be leaving. Finally, at other times, he seemed to be questioning whether he would be able to take anyone other than himself.
Building housing Dance Home (2nd floor dance studio)