Sunday, October 6, 1996, at Dance Home in Santa Monica (1 - 3 PM PDT)
by Corey Donovan
Castaneda began by asking us, "How was the [Mexico City] workshop?" We applauded. He told us that it gave us a "jolt," and admonished "you have to use this jolt." He suggested that the "stress" of the long trip "helped to move you too."
He asked if we had gone to Tula. He reminded us that the Church in Tula was where the Death Defier was, "from at least 1725 that I know of -- that don Juan could conservatively verify." The Death Defier stayed there, and when Carlos purportedly met her as a woman, she took him into a side chapel with a huge crucifix in it, on which hung a life-sized, bruised and battered Jesus. People used to leave offerings of flowers and things for this crucifix, which would molder, so there was a decaying stench in that room. The Jesus "wore a wig, a Philippine wig," of real, curly, black hair. He explained that in the Sixties, people in the Phillippines used to go into the graveyards to collect hair for wigs, so Phillippine wigs were "the real thing" before they figured out how to make nylon look like real hair. So the Death Defier used to stay in that chapel, where the smell of decay was somehow appropriate.
Back in 1725, Castaneda explained, a lot of the sextons in the Church were sorcerers. It was a safe place for them. He remarked, "What a great stalking maneuver, since the Church was the one institution that could have destroyed them -- they got inside it, and there they were safe. The Church, of course, loved having them. They seemed very pious and they were not concerned with other things. People would just love having sorcerer employees because they are just focused on the task, they just take care of things. They make great employees."
He told us that he used to walk in the nearby plaza all the time. He sketched in the air with his hands the geographical relationship between the Church, this particular interior chapel, and the plaza. He told us that don Juan’s bench was on the diagonal closest to the church from the bandstand area. Castaneda used to walk around the bandstand all the time, because it was the town in which don Juan lived. He indicated with his hands the direction in which don Juan’s house lay. [I took it that it was further down the road from where the Plaza was, while Greg thought it was in the opposite direction -- which would make more sense, since it was supposed to be "up the hill."] Castaneda told us, "One day we’ll go there, and we’ll go to don Juan’s house." He mentioned that Carol once took some of her "friends" (using the whiny intonation that he often applied to that word, harkening back to the clinging, needy way that an old woman he had known used to say it). He said that Carol told that group things about meeting the Death Defier she had never told him, "but I got reports." He told us that whenever he tried to ask her about it, she gave him "this look." He mimicked her frowning deeply, head downcast, responding, "Why do you ask that?"
An "inquiry for us is whether the wing of the Hotel Catedral where I stayed with the Death Defier was the one that had burned." He did not know when the fire was. "If it had been before I was there with the Death Defier, then the whole experience with the Death Defier was in the Death Defier’s dream. If it was afterwards, maybe it burned as a result, because the energy was just too heavy. I would like to know, but I don’t need to inquire." When Castaneda went to Tula, he sometimes stayed there. They thought they might "leave" from there.
Castaneda explained that he and Carol cannot spend the night in the same place. One time they stayed in Mexico City during a soccer match or something when there were simply no hotel rooms available. All their hotel could offer them was a single large suite. He thought, "Okay, you take the bedroom, there is a room in between us, and I’ll be on the couch." But when the two of them were together, they would allegedly start spinning "counterclockwise" -- which he explained is the same direction of movement as the energy centers at our liver, spleen and kidneys, adrenals and womb; "it is only the one on the head that goes back and forth." He continued, "So it just didn’t work." He was sitting on the couch and felt himself start to spin, so he got up and said, "We’ve got to go." Carol was already at the door, waiting for him. So they went walking in Mexico City until 7 AM. "Walking in Mexico City all night? You’ve got to be crazy! I wanted to rest on a park bench, but somehow we made it to 7."
He referred to Taisha’s talk at the workshop, and commented that "even though you can be sitting there knowing that she is going to give you a blow -- and you’re telling yourself, ‘I’m not going to fall for it again,?and start to think ‘it’s not happening?-- then she gets you."
He said that don Juan told him not to be with Taisha at dusk, because she could have a devastating impact on him at that hour. He told us he had been "over there to pick figs from her tree for Florinda." [Note: The fruit trees, supposedly planted from seedlings taken from the Witches?House in Sonora, surround the Westwood compound in which Castaneda, Florinda and Taisha lived, along with Joanie. It is therefor a little "odd" for him to describe the fig tree, which was actually nearest to his own side of the extended duplex he shared with Taisha and Florinda, as "her tree."] He claimed that he did not eat the figs himself, that he was just the "kitchen boy." Anyway, Taisha had called to him, asking, "Can I speak to you for a moment?" He told us it was "something stupid, something she had seen on TV." He went over, "and he should have known better, because it was that hour" [near dusk]. "Very soon," he said, "she had me sobbing, and I had to leave. I even forgot the figs." So she has that effect.
He asked if we had seen the four figures in the Mexico City Museum [four large statues in the Mayan Room of the National Museum of Anthropology that Castaneda had described to us at the previous session]. He thought it was "auspicious" that all four had been there together -- "that rarely happens," since the Museum is often loaning one or more of them out for exhibitions elsewhere. The fourth one "is Joanie." [Joan Barker] Castaneda explained that there had been another disciple of don Juan who was with them originally, but since La Gorda died, she had been "with us, but not with us." He told us, "She has gone her own way," and described her as "sort of lost." When La Gorda died, "another big fat one went crazy." [Cecilia Evans] They "put her in an institution." They still "visited" Joanie, and "would love to have her come to the workshops with us." He told us that don Juan always used to think Joanie was "the smartest one," and insisted to us that "she is very smart." He commented that Joanie’s "saying ‘no? to us is a sorcerer’s refusal to participate."
When he and don Juan first went to the museum together, all four of those figures were together. Don Juan described this situation as "a sorcerer’s drama," noting that since Castaneda was "three sided," one of his companions was "going to fall." It turned out to be Joanie. When Carol Tiggs left, Castaneda had "thought maybe it would be okay, that they were down to three, but it turned out to be Joanie." [I wondered to myself where La Gorda had stood in connection with that number.]
Castaneda told us that Taisha "is very good with Joanie. It doesn’t seem to bother her to see her, but it is just wrenching for Florinda every time they go to see her." [Note: This, again, is an odd (and probably intentionally misleading) description of their living arrangement, as though Taisha and Florinda had to "go somewhere" to see Joanie. In actuality, Joanie lived at the time where she had lived for many years, in the small apartment above the garage at the compound on Pandora, sharing a yard, laundry room and entrances with the other three.] The fact that she was not with them, he said "was not my fault, it’s my flaw," meaning his "three-sidedness." He told us he had encouraged Taisha and Florinda to talk about Joanie in their lectures, but "they won’t; it breaks them up too much to talk about her."
Ellis gave Castaneda the pictures that some of us had brought back with us, including some 8 x 10 prints that Francois had made of his photos of the four figures. Castaneda showed us which one was Joanie, Taisha [the most complex one, with something hanging around her neck and bulging eyes], Carol, and Florinda [the "fierce-looking" one, with a jaguar pendant]. He asked if we had also seen the "divided boy" [described in the museum literature as "the Youth," a stone sculpture from "the Early Postclassic period of the Huaxtec culture."] He told us that on the back it had "a little monkey," which was its energy body. "You could tell it was a young man with the energy body on the back, because when men’s energy bodies return and fully lock in, they have a hump," which he indicated is usually on the left side. He said that for women, their energy body rolls up "into this tube," which allows them, if they have inner silence, "to go back and forth."
He referred to the "Lord of Palenque" and the jade necklaces in the downstairs room of the Oaxacan Hall at the Anthropological Museum. He claimed that "the dangerous thing is to just have the necklaces up at that level and not have the energy body back. That makes one horrendously opinionated. It is a good thing to have the fibers of energy up around shoulder level, but it is not enough. You also have to recapitulate and be empty. The important thing is getting empty," and the key way to do that, he claimed, is to recapitulate. "It doesn’t matter if you remember everything," he said. "You have to go through and put it on the table, everything you can remember, and see the patterns -- see how you repeat, and see the foreignness, the Flyer elements in there, so you can release that" patterning.
He asked if we knew that someone at the workshop had tried to smuggle in a camera, hidden in a box of chocolates. They asked the man where he was from and he responded, "of course," France. He informed us that Sunday group member François "isn’t French; he was born in Canada and doesn’t have anything to do with France."
He told us, "You have to work for silence. The Flyer’s mind is so consistent, everywhere in the world." When you have inner silence then you can "see." You will recognize then that "you may have reached that point before, but you forgot about it. Suddenly you will be able to see everything again." This reminded him of the movie "They Lived," of which he said he was "the proud owner" of a copy. The protagonist in that film fights with another guy who refuses to put on the dark glasses that reveal the alienness of the other beings. Finally the guy puts on the glasses, and Castaneda imitated the guy’s shock at suddenly seeing all the messages that are normally subliminal. He was also reminded of the Star Trek movie in which the concluding scene shows Captain Kirk in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Kirk is being beamed up to the ship, and a woman jumps on his back in order to go with them. Castaneda said, "I just love that -- you have to be sneaky like that in order to escape."
He also commented that we are "always looking for luuuuv . . . that’s another Flyer trick." It is "just constant," we are "always driven, we always have to find love, love. And we are smarter than that, but this is another thing that the back-and-forth mind has imposed on us."
He told us he had been talking with a fundamentalist Christian recently. He informed us that, "They think everything is going to be given to them: ‘the keys to the kingdom.?quot; Catholics, on the other hand, "all secretly carry around a picture of the Pope with them. For them to get into heaven, they have to make sure they repent everything before they die. They have one more chance too, if they failed to do a last minute repentance -- they go to Purgatory." He commented, "What great taxonomists!" Sorcerers "do not expect anything is going to be handed to them. Sorcerers humbly tell Intent what to do, but not from a position of ego or pride. If you kneel before Intent, it will just step on you. So they ask with humbleness, but they make demands."
We were shown a long form of the Masculinity Series, with each movement continuing into the next, for a total of 28, as Castaneda counted them. [The 15th was the beginning of number 8, the single-fisted punch, and 19 was the beginning of "the saw."] We did this form about ten times, first following Castaneda and then with Kylie leading, to put the sequence in our "kinesthetic memories." Darien and Erin then showed us the beginning of a longer pass. These long forms were purportedly compiled by Lujan, or "Lo Pan," who, according to Castaneda, "could function beautifully in this world, as well as the Second Attention, which gave him tremendous capacity."
He reminded us that the knees were very important, and told us that we should not kick out with them. Kylie had demonstrated how to use a locked leg for the kick in the long form. He told us Reni’s knees had gotten injured, which is why she could not go to Mexico, and that this injury was a sign to him of how important it was for us to protect our knees.
He described the Argentines as "very stiff people -- very attractive, and generally very tall -- but they tend to hold themselves very stiffly." He told us about a very fat tango singer he used to know, who was a doctor during the day and a tango singer at night. "He used to sweat, and take off his coat, and worse than that, his cravatte." But he was "fat enough to be supple," so he "used to dance half the time, while the orchestra played" and when he was not singing. "Most Argentine tango singers stand very stiffly as they sing, and have much too much dignity and decorum to move around like that." Castaneda claimed that when he was "a kid in Argentina," he would go watch this guy. It was very hard to get tickets for the radio show where he performed but Carlos, being small, "was never shy." "At my size," he commented, "if I was shy I would not survive." So he got tickets. He was fascinated by the guy -- "the fact that he would take off his tie and move around was just anathema. He did not have the dignity of most Argentines. Half the people hated him; the other half thought he was great. The Argentine tango we see now is very stiff -- it does not have the fluid knees that it is supposed to have."
There is a form of tango that Castaneda particularly liked called "la meta pata," meaning, literally "to put the foot." He demonstrated how in this form the man swings to the right and puts the right leg forward, and then "insinuates" his hip. "It is a very risque sort of movement, and proper women would not let the man do la meta pata. You would have to sneak it in." He joked that at an upcoming workshop they would have Kylie dance the tango. He referred to Kylie by her "German name: Otto Krueger." She would dance the tango, along with Darien, "Todd Darienza."
He also advised us not to go running, because running is also hard on the knees. He joked that we should also not "wrathfully thrash around with our legs under the covers at night, because it wrecks the tendons." He said, "I know there are some very wrathful people, people with a lot of anger here." Ellis made a sign of the cross, and Castaneda commented, "Oh no, not Ellis." He told us that Ellis "sometimes becomes this big creature, sometimes she becomes Sylvia, her mother." He told us, "Keith knows Sylvia." She can also become very competitive, and you "just need to push it a little bit, and she will become Sylvia."
He joked that some in his group had wanted to use a picture of the "divided youth" on a T-shirt. But Florinda had objected that this kid had a "big fat wanger -- you can’t put that on a shirt." He imitated someone else in their party offering, "Well I can remove that, or cover it somehow."
He mentioned that don Juan had commented to him that you could tell that the Death Defier was a man because he had his energy body lump on the back. But Castaneda claimed he "just sort of heard this in a daze, so it took me thirty years before I realized what he was saying -- that men’s energy bodies attach to the back."
He talked about silence and the kinesthetic memory, indicating that the way the long forms draw on kinesthetic memories would help us "to lose your minds." He said that we would "be better off, more efficient" without the Flyers?mind. "You would be able to function more directly, more quickly. Tensegrity," he claimed, "would serve as a buffer" for us when we lose the Flyers?mind. He explained that Tensegrity was "toning you up and creating a space." Without that, "you might need a psychiatrist." He jokingly referred to someone [probably Bruce Wagner] commenting, "Oh don’t go to an expensive psychiatrist. Go to someone in the Valley. They charge less." Castaneda jokingly claimed he had collected a lot of cards from psychiatrists in Van Nuys, in case we needed them.
Castaneda thanked Keith for having fixed the sound at the workshop. He referred to this "lousy Mexican sound," in the huge space, but told us that Keith was able to fix it. He said that Florinda was angry, however, wondering why he had not sent Keith a day before, because the sound was not as good when she spoke the first night.
Castaneda told us that human beings "are very passionate beings when you get rid of the Flyers?mind, and get down to the real human. That is what Florinda and Taisha were talking about" at the workshop. This kind of passion "is not lust for just one thing," which, he claimed, was our notion of passion.
As an example of how our Flyers?mind gets created through language, he remembered driving with Igor [the young son of the psychiatrist he worked for, whom Castaneda sometimes took care of]. When they passed a fire engine, Igor would chant "Fire engine. Fire engine. Red fire engine." He would then ask Castaneda, "Did you see the fire engine?" Castaneda would have missed it, so Igor would grab his head and turn it in the direction of the fire engine. He told us that "the Igorian personality will do that -- it will force you to look at what it is focusing on; it will grab you. They are insistent." Igor would continue: "Engine. Red fire engine. I like fire engine. I like red fire engine." That is how we verbally build up our world, he explained.
It "blew Igor’s mind" one day when he saw a yellow fire engine. Castaneda mimicked Igor’s astonishment: "Yellow fire engine!!" Then Igor had to ask, "Do you like yellow fire engine?" Then, "Do you like yellow fire engine better than red fire engine?" It had sent Igor "into orbit."
He remarked that we needed to draw on the strength of the energy body. He mimicked the energy body "shuffling up" to us, a little closer, to give us some of its strength. That reminded him of Igor waddling like a duck, saying, "I’m a duck, I’m a duck, I’m a little duck" and how Igor used to do that even when he got to be huge. He then told us that that was not a very good image for us to use. He remembered instead how his grandfather used to advise him: "You’re not handsome like your cousin Federico, and you’re not like your other cousin either, who is not handsome but he’s good, and he’ll become a doctor. You’re a pain in the butt, so for you the doors won’t open wide like they will for your handsome cousin. When someone has a party, you’re going to have to go in through the window. And in order to stay there, you’re going to have to make demands. You’re going to have to start becoming an advisor, making demands, giving orders, being very assertive. Once you’re in control, or acting like it, then they can’t throw you out -- you’re part of it then. So," he said, "I give you that instead; that’s advice you can use. If you want to get into a party, you need to take control of it in order to be allowed to stay there. Since most people are bored fucks, they’re dying to be told what to do. They are dying to be given advice and counsel, so if you do that, then you’re in control."
Summary of passes taught:
Masculinity Long Form - initial version of 28 movements
First set of Men's passes, doing one rep of each movement (but varying from usual by starting down for #6 and ending high for easier lead in to #7, and by simplifying #9)
First portion of Erin and Darien's long form:
Turn to right, grab with left hand, right, left, and grab hold with the right from over the top of the head.
Kick with left (fused leg) and back, and punch with right as leg comes back.
Back hand punches (left first), palm forward punches, leopard claw punches.
Pivot to side with right foot and bring left foot forward to parallel right.
Parry first with left arm, right, left, right; then lead with right elbow held up, pivoting right foot 180 degrees to back and turn and shin-kick down with left foot, planting it parallel to right.
Left hand makes back fist horizontally to the left while the right makes a full arm swing down to the left side. The left, which is fully extended to the back, then makes a 90-degree arm strike back to the front.