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Los Angeles Workshop, 23-27 August 1997

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To: The Ixtlan Mailing List
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 01:25:59 -0400 (EDT)

LA WORKSHOP, August 23 to 27, 1997

by Vincent Sargenti and Randy Stark

DAY ONE (morning)

(Note: The following recollections are far from complete and certain to contain errors. We have endeavored to keep as much interpretation out of this account as possible and to stick to the facts, but can only hope for partial success. Imperfect lenses project imperfect pictures.)

Saturday . . . Florinda's Day

Saturday morning, August 23rd, the weather was picture postcard perfect in Los Angeles as roughly 850 workshop attendees and hardcore Tensegrity practitioners converged on the LA Convention Center from all over the world. The Los Angeles Convention Center loomed dissonantly against the southernmost area of the downtown skyline -- a gleaming white tubular steel and smoked-glass abstraction, a monument to the Calculus of man's technological madness as expressed in architecture. The workshop was held in this newer portion of the complex of enormous buildings. The old complex is a huge, mammoth rectangular building next to Interstate 110. Everyone who didn't already live in Los Angeles seemed to be staying in hotels on Figueroa street. The Hotel Figueroa and the Holiday Inn were both almost completely taken over by the Tensegrity Workshop crowd with their rolled up blue mats and black foam rubber Wheels of Time.

The crowd of mostly familiar faces were buzzing around the registration tables (as much as two hours before showtime) where the work-study people were seated by the dozen to have paperwork signed and hand out the transparent green ID badges that were the key to the magic kingdom. Before going through security (four large, dark-clothed men with black, metal-detecting paddles, a gauntlet of no less than 10 super-conscious guards, and 10 more inspectors at tables for searching bags.) On the other end of the gauntlet, were the most familiar and wonderful faces one can see, the two ladies who look at your badge and let you in. Once through their formidable doorway, one entered a huge rectangular room that seemed as large as a football field, and very possibly was. It had large honeycombed squares of recessed lights in the thick beamed ceiling and four gray and black-trimmed platforms, about a foot and a half high, spaced evenly down the center of a blue carpeted floor. Of the two central platforms, one, the southernmost, had a podium on it. People gathered in front of it, sitting on the floor.

Eventually, Grant walked up and welcomed everyone to Los Angeles. The room went wild with anticipation. He made a few announcements, and said that the schedule had basically been thrown out the window. He said that it was very difficult to plan months in advance for an event of this nature because the energetic configurations that the sorcerers operate within the context of make it impossible to say what's what from one day to the next. He stated emphatically that we should all try to bear with them and to make an attempt to be as patient and fluid as possible. He said that regardless of the scheduling, they had quite a treat in store for us.

Florinda Donner-Grau soon came out of a side door. She was dressed in a light blue shirt, dark blue slacks and thick-soled black rubber-looking sandals. She started by saying that 9am was way too early for her to read from the wall. It was the first time she had addressed us in the morning, and since she wasn't worth a damn in the morning she had written something to read to us.

There were translators for Italian, Russian, French, German and Spanish. (People using this service had portable earphones and were able to receive translations even while doing passes.) One benefit for the translators of her reading, she said, was that she didn't talk as fast.

The microphone kept feeding back periodically, but Florinda was in good spirits, tapping the toes of her sandals on the floor behind her as she talked. Before going to her notes she joked about something someone had said earlier as she walked into the convention center. "Oh Florinda, you look tired." But she didn't look tired in the least as she stood at the podium, short blonde hair impeccably brush cut around her flawless white skin and beaming face.

She told us the old nagual, don Juan, had given them his very best. He hit them with everything he had. When he realized that Carlos didn't have the energetic configuration or temperament for anything but ending the lineage, he put Big Florinda in charge of pulling them back together and recovering after he and the rest of his party left. They weren't worth a plugged nickel, Florinda said. You couldn't have made a whole person from the four of them put together.

She digressed into to speaking about Carlos and said that he has a particular fondness for several Hollywood filmmakers whose movies he watches over and over. She said that among them, one of his favorites is Woody Allen. She humorously said that he has poor taste in her opinion. (Florinda is quite a filmgoer herself, but she never mentioned that.) She told the story of a particular film and asked if we might remember it. It was the one where all these men are dressed in white with big white helmets and are preparing to jump out of the back of an airplane. They are supposed to be sperm and right as they are getting ready to rush out the back of the plane, the leader in front yells, "Go back, it's a blow job!"

What happened to them reminded her of that scene in the Woody Allen movie. "That's what happened to us," she said. They had been trained and were ready to jump when suddenly they were told, "Go back, it's a blowjob!" Regrouping afterwards was not easy, especially with Carol Tiggs having disappeared to god knows where.

Not long after this, Florinda talked about the sheen of awareness that has been eaten down by the Flyers, and how don Juan described it as El Condoncito, the little condom. The vulgarity of this description annoyed Florinda and she asked him if he couldn't just as well describe it more like a pillow and a pillow case. He said no, it was much tighter than that.

Florinda joked that Carlos has made a lot of mistakes in his life and that, over the years, she has been witness to most of them. One of the more recent, and according to her 'imbecilic', things he did was create what came to be known as the Sunday Group, a local LA practice group that Carlos worked with intensively over a period of more than a year. Carlos' temperament is not like don Juan's. She humorously described Carlos Castaneda as the 'ultimate hit-and-run artist'. She said that over a year ago he decided he would try to influence this small group of people and attempt to mold them into serious warrior-practitioners with the force of his charismatic personality, his ability to talk about anything, and his superior energy.

Florinda told the Los Angeles crowd that Carlos had made a monumental error in judgment because all he succeeded in doing was to make himself into their 'Guru'. So the Sunday Group was immediately abolished according to Florinda. Her statement signaled the end of the group, much to the surprise of some workshop attendees who were members of it. Later in the week, Florinda's tale of the demise of the group would spark speculation as to whether or not Carlos would be showing up for the workshop at all.

Florinda went on to talk about some of the favorite songs of Juan Tuma and Silvio Manuel. She described Silvio Manuel at length as an incredible dancer of tremendous flair and physical prowess. The other sorcerers often preferred not to look at his antics, which were in response to the Dark Sea of Awareness, because they were so outrageous -- like his ability to squeeze himself through a knothole. She said that the songs they were going to play for us were particular favorites of Silvio Manuel and Juan Tuma. She told everyone that when they were apprentices they had heard these songs over and over and over again while in the company of Silvio Manuel. Florinda stated that these same songs were going to be played for us again and again throughout the course of the workshop until we were, "Steeped in the mood of Silvio Manuel and don Juan's generation of sorcerers."

The three musical themes of the workshop were available on a CD at the Tensegrity Bookstore during breaks. All of the songs are sung in Spanish by Daniel Santos who, according to Florinda, has a unique vibration in his voice. All three are poignant and moving songs of love and longing. Florinda described how all human beings sense this immense longing for something they cannot completely define. She said that sorcerers maintain that this sense of longing for something indefinable is something that human beings mistakenly project onto other people as a longing for love and companionship, when in fact it is a longing for the boundless affection we would feel in the presence of our energy body. She said candidly that, "It is really a longing for the energy body we feel."

Florinda ended her lecture by translating the lyrics to the song she was about to play for us. She said it was one that Juan Tuma especially liked. She admiringly described him for us, her eyes filling with light as she did so. She became charged with a strange energy and awe as she described him as a handsome giant Indian man who sang and danced like thunder!

As the song began to play, she walked out of the room to a standing ovation, gesturing for us to be quiet so we could absorb the mood of the music.

NOCTURNAL

by Jose Sabre Marroquin

Through the palm trees
That sleep peacefully
The silvery moon
Cuddles with the tropical sea

And my arms
Hungrily stretch out
Searching for you

In the night
A flowery perfume
Evokes your enrapturing breath
And the sweet kisses
Of your mouth,
And my lips thirstily wait
For a kiss from you

I feel that you are next to me
But it is a lie, an illusion
Oh! I spend hours like this
And nights like this
Asking life
For the miracle of being next to you
And perhaps not even in your dreams
Do you remember me

DAY ONE (afternoon, evening)

After Florinda's first half hour lecture, the Elements came out and we began learning the new long form of the Westwood Series, a section at a time, repeating it from the beginning after each new part, until we had the whole thing as one long flowing sequence. What were previously taught as individual passes were slightly rearranged in places, and many repetitive moves reduced to three-counts. After practicing the whole thing several times, we moved on to the Masculinity Series, again learning previously individual passes as one long flowing form. We repeated the entire series several times, then broke for lunch.

In the afternoon, Florinda strolled back out in a white shirt, cream colored slacks and matching tan sandal-like heels. She said she wanted to demonstrate to us what it 'looked like' to move the attention to another position other than the ME position between the toes, yet still within the fringe of awareness that runs no more than anklebone high around the bottom of our luminosity. She said that we could move our attention anywhere within that fringe and that this was preferable as long as we were able to move it away from the ME position between the toes. She also made an important distinction between moving the assemblage point and moving the 'beam' of attention that comes from the assemblage point and fixates on a particular area or spot within the fringe of awareness.

As a word of warning, before her demonstration, Florinda related how she had fallen back and banged her head in a hotel room while squatting on a bed doing this. She explained how we should be very careful when we attempt to do this and she explained herself further by telling us the story of the first time she succeeded at doing it. She was told to sit up on her knees somewhere soft, like in her bed, so that when she fell forward she would not hurt herself. Well, when she finally moved her attention away from the ME position between the toes she fell not directly forward or back but kind of sideways and bashed her head open on a sharp marble-slated night stand. So she admonished us to find somewhere safe to attempt this.

She then introduced Miles, telling us that he is an actual MD. She flirtatiously and affectionately teased him calling out, "Oh, Doctor?" as he came up on stage to 'spot' her. Florinda took a second or two of quiet as she leaned her head forward and down, then she went limp and began to fall forward. Miles supported her, of course, and as she became alert once again she spoke with feigned, breathy, feminine passion, "Oh, THANK you, Doctor!" and smiled her classic mischievous smile.

She did the same thing again, all the while playfully having loads of fun teasing Miles. It seemed as if she were doing this maneuver for another level of the audience's awareness and not necessarily for their linear minds. There was something horribly incongruous about her demonstration that everyone in the room just allowed to hang in the air. It was obvious that this was an energetic shift of attention and intent that she was making and for now the audience would fail to apprehend anything of it but her falling forward and being caught by Miles. It was kind of like Carol's eye thing where you know something is going on but all you see is the physical first attention side of the event.

She repeated the demonstration several times facing different sides of the audience. Her point being that even though our awareness has been reduced to toe level, there are still a multitude of points to shift attention to in that area other than the one we're currently fixated on.

With regard to self-importance and the Flyers, part of a story was related about an elderly couple who were friends of both Taisha and Florinda. They are both presently in a nursing home. They were quite wealthy and prominent citizens of Los Angeles at one time. It was mentioned that the couple paid one million dollars a year to be attended to and to live at this facility. Despite their wealth, however, when someone wanted to give the woman a rose bush, the nursing home administrator refused to allow it. Later when a family friend put pressure on the administrator he seemingly acquiesced but still there was no rose bush. Florinda, upon hearing of this, aggressive and German as ever, had someone drive her up to the Santa Barbara area where she had words with the administrator.

"Why don't you let her have her fucking rose bush?" she asked.

"Well, you don't have to be so crass about it," the administrator replied.

"And you don't have to be so fucking stupid!" Florinda shot back.

She said the administrator didn't think it mattered all that much because her friend was so elderly and not all there. He was hoping Florinda's elderly friend would die before they ever got the rose bush to her. He didn't want to have to make a decision or get off his behind and do anything. He actually assumed that she would die before he had to, but she didn't, and now the rose bush issue had come back to haunt him.

She used the administrator as a metaphor saying that we are all like him to some degree. We all believe that we have more time than we really do. We are all like that administrator who doesn't want to have to make a decision one way or the other about anything.

She went on to speak about the Dark Sea of Awareness and the force of Intent, how the two comprise the entire universe as is perceivable to man. A subject that was returned to again and again in the workshop. She gave a fresh and formidable description of the assemblage point and how zillions of filaments of energy converge on that spot to give rise to our perception. She mentioned that we each have a line into the Dark Sea of Awareness through the assemblage point.

After Florinda's short lecture, the long form of the Series for Preparing Intent was taught by the Energy Trackers. After many repetitions, we broke for dinner.

In the evening, Florinda returned. She was wearing a thin white sweater this time with the same slacks and shoes as in the afternoon. She talked about the different ways don Juan referred to the Flyers, depending on his mood. 'Panchito' in lighter moments, 'Paco' at other times, and 'St. Francis' if he was feeling morbid and morose, "As only a Nagual can be," she said.

Flyers are not intelligent or superhuman, they're just there, and they're just like us. All of our ME characteristics are a reflection of them. But once we throw them off, once our sheen, our condom of awareness, rises back up to waist level we see them for what they are. Then, because we live in a predatory universe, yet another entity enters the picture, a type of being that she would only refer to as Seymour; a lean, mean, intelligent and nasty creature.

When Carlos was feeling morbid and morose he would sit for hours watching a line of ants on a wall. When someone would ask where he was, the joking reply would be, "Probably out gazing at ants."

Florinda gave graphic examples of the two ways in which human beings, children, are conceived. The great orgasmically passionate way (she imitated a woman having a monstrous orgasm), and the hyper-civilized, bored couple way. She gave a hilarious rendition of how the couple would sit in bed reading about politics, perhaps something on taxation, when suddenly the man would notice he has an erection (but only when he happened to look down). He would say, "Hmmm, what do we have here?" Then he would crawl on top and proceed to make love to his wife while she, all the while, is doing bills in her head and thinking of other things.

Sadly, most of us are conceived under similar circumstances. We are bored fucks, but the practice of Tensegrity can level the playing field.

After Florinda's lecture, the long form of the Heat Series was taught by the Energy Trackers, and day one of the workshop came to an end.
   

To: The Ixtlan Mailing List
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 1997 09:41:40 -0400 (EDT)

LA WORKSHOP, August 23 to 27, 1997

by Randy Stark and Vincent Sargenti

DAY TWO (morning, afternoon)

Sunday . . . Taisha's Day

A bright, breezy southern California day greeted workshop participants as they made their way back to the abstract edifice of the LA Convention Center. Streams of attendees flowed down Figueroa Street or emerged from various means of transport. The general mood seemed to fit the day. There was an upbeat anticipation in the air despite some sore muscles and perhaps a little uncertainty. Would they pound everyone into the ground once again, saturating participants with an internal dialogue stopping number of passes?

Would Carlos show up?

What follows covers Taisha's morning and afternoon lectures. After the morning lecture, the Energy Trackers taught the long form of the Womb Series (with lots of hissing in the wrong places at one point), and reviewed the Preparing Intent and Heat Series.

After a lunch break, the Elements reviewed the Westwood and Masculinity Series, then went through, The Series For Devices Used In Conjunction With Specific Magical Passes, which is the sixth in, THE SIX SERIES OF TENSEGRITY.

Taisha entered the room in the morning smiling very sweetly as she stepped up onto the small stage. She greeted everyone and stated her name. Florinda had done this as well before each of her lectures, jokingly saying in the afternoon that, "Yes, I am still Florinda Donner-Grau." Taisha mentioned, as had Florinda, that she wasn't quite sure who she was, but that she was still Taisha Abelar. She said that this was because of circumstances that would have to be addressed later. She told the audience that Carol would address this issue. In Pasadena they were having an energy crisis, and now in Los Angeles they were having an identity crisis. They weren't sure who they were any more, but it seemed to be due in part to the energetic mass of this workshop.

Taisha went on to talk about what her life was like as a little girl growing up in a house with two brothers. Like Florinda, she said that she too had a substantial amount of German in her background, so Florinda wasn't the only person among them to suffer from it. She said that her brothers were always allowed to play outside and do whatever they wanted to do most of the time. She said that that had made her rather envious on occasion because she wanted to play outside too. Being a girl, she said, certain things were expected of her. She explained how, from a very early age, she had been raised to conform to a life of servitude and how her brothers were not imposed upon in this way.

Her brothers were outside all the time, playing and swimming in the river. They had certain privileges she didn't have and wished she did. She wanted to be able to play outside and go swimming in the river, but she had to be inside doing housework and helping her mom. She explained how she was given the typical girls toys, toys that socialized her towards being somebody's servant. Taisha said that her brothers had bats and balls and gloves and things that looked like they'd be a lot of fun. But she was given, like all little girls, toys that were designed to make her a good little homemaker. She was given little miniature cookware sets and little kitchen utensils, little pots and pans, domestic items. She was being told, indirectly, to be a servant.

She wanted to go outside and do the types of things her brothers did but she was required to be inside helping her mother get dinner ready, helping with the laundry or sewing socks. She was brought up to believe that her life was for the sole purpose of serving the men in her family, without ever being told that directly. That's just the way it was, and hence, because she couldn't get out and about much, she ended up becoming a scrawny, weak person.

Taisha mentioned that the old nagual detested servitude. She spoke of her own adolescence and how human beings are mesmerized at this age and programmed by songs from very early on. That's one way in which Bobby drums his social patterns into us. We are caught by social themes, by social constructs that lock us into set behavioral patterns. We are given a very limited range of possibilities and never suspect that it's all set up from the beginning by our dubious friend, Bobby. We fall right into his trap without a struggle and accept, without so much as a whimper, an agreement we were not parties to.

Taisha spoke of her favorite singer when she was a young girl, of the songs that wooed her over. She said she fell hopelessly in love with this singer, who had became her idol. She would not name him for fear of dating herself (Paul Anka :-), but said she would listen to his records over and over again. Anything that had to do with him was all she wanted to talk about, all she wanted to think about. He became her whole world.

She touched on the subject of working in a little pizza parlor, or some such place, and talked about how love really does make you blind. She mentioned her pimply-faced boyfriend and how there was really nothing at all attractive about him. She said that one night in the back of the kitchen area they were talking and he said, "Oh, you like that singer? He's my favorite too." He began to sing the singer's songs to her word for word, note for note, and that was all it took. She fell head over heels in love with this guy. "So much so . . . well that's another story!" she laughed.

Taisha used that story as an onramp to discussing how we are drawn in by Bobby's social structures, how we are trapped by them. We are easy prey because we don't know any better. We can't see any other possibilities. We get caught in the social themes of our time, in the trappings of relationships and love, and never learn to look beyond them for other possibilities.

Taisha somehow worked her way onto the subject of the assemblage point. She said that through the assemblage point we have a connection, or a line, into the Dark Sea of Awareness. She explained how the Dark Sea of Awareness is an entity unto itself, that it is self-aware. She called it Spirit, saying that as we progress on the evolutionary path as energetic beings, the Dark Sea of Awareness gives us the things we need to continue evolving, and it responds to those needs based on our degree of discipline. According to our own energy, it nurtures us through that connection. She said the shallow stream of awareness around our feet is where we first begin to dip into the Dark Sea of Awareness.

Taisha indicated that it takes immense dedication and determination to have the necessary discipline that is required to be subtle enough to acquiesce to our connection with the infinite. The Not-Doing passes were the key element that finally broke her.

She returned to the subject of not feeling like herself. She said that something had happened recently that rendered all four of them unknown to themselves. She said that she wasn't the person whom she knew herself as, more and more, and that that was what most would call senility. She began to elaborate on the subject -- what it is, what it does to people -- which lead into another story about her and Florinda's affluent friend in the convalescent home. This man, by the way, had a dam named after him.

"It was a small dam," she laughed, "but still, that's something."

Taisha said the man was 84 years old, but he was no longer aware of who he was. He would just sit and stare out the window, or at TV all day. At one time he was a very successful boss. He would tell everyone what to do. He would handle all the money and tell associates and family how much to spend, and on what. He would tell them what to do, where to dine, what the best vacation spots were. He would even demand that people go to the places he recommended for dinner or vacations. She said he was the type of person who would make reservations two years in advance and keep calling back to confirm them.

So this man was senile and living in a nursing home that cost a million dollars a year for him and his wife to live in. And he was quite handful at times, apparently. A number of psychologists had been unable to work with him. But one psychologist, who thought of him as an interesting and challenging case, decided he would have a go with the old Boss. He explained to Florinda and Taisha's friend who he was, and that he wanted to study the old man. He said that other psychologists would charge $150 to $175 an hour, but since he was especially interested in this case he would only charge $90 an hour.

The old Boss became somewhat lucid at this moment and his eyes began to clear. He looked at the psychologist and said, "If you're so interested in my case, you should pay ME $90 an hour god damn it!"

Even in his terminally senile state, the old man's sense of self-importance could be aroused. Self-importance and life-long social patterns die hard.

Taisha went on to tell the audience how don Juan would sometimes imitate an old man in an utterly convincing way. She said he'd wheeze and cough and start to look really old and feeble, as if he were going to kick the bucket any minute. He enjoyed poking fun at senility and self-importance.

Don Juan and his companions were constantly revamping themselves, Taisha said. They maintained that they were on a journey to infinity, and that they had to travel light. She said that when she was younger she would always make fun of the sorcerers' journey to infinity because she never really understood what it meant to be involved in such a journey. She would jokingly say, "Well, I sure hope they pack enough underwear."

It was precisely because they were on a journey to infinity that they were constantly revamping themselves, remaking themselves, taking themselves down to their bare needs and starting over.

"They always had great stuff," Taisha said. Whenever they revamped themselves she'd pick up some of their things. She mentioned a few of the exquisite items she had picked up at their 'garage sales' -- a vase, a few other small items. Taisha and company also revamp themselves often and have 'garage sales'. It's a crucial part of staying fluid and untethered by self-reflection.

Taisha went on to talk about the nagual Lujan, who was four generations removed from don Juan -- Julian, Elias, Rosendo, Lujan -- and explained that Lujan's cultural background was Chinese. He was encountered through an accident with the nagual Santisteban. As the nagual Santisteban was walking briskly around a corner, the two collided terribly, knocking heads and both of them to the ground. Since an accident of this nature is not something that normally happens to a nagual, Santisteban took the accident as an omen and made Lujan his apprentice.

Lujan's name was not originally Lujan. It was a longer Chinese name that Santisteban and his warriors eventually rendered into Spanish as the shorter, more pronounceable name of Lujan.

Taisha continued to talk about old Lu. She said that his cultural background, being Chinese, was very influential to the way the magical passes were handed down from then on. In his culture, martial arts were a part of everyday life for everyone, no matter what age or social class. It was something they were raised with, something that was part of the daily life and culture in China. So Lujan's influence on the transmission of the magical passes was substantial.

Taisha then told a story about how, when she first came around, the witches of don Juan's party would not give her the time of day. She would try to approach them to express an interest in something, or to ask questions, and they would simply dismiss and rebuke her.

"What do you want? You look like a toothpick! Look at you! You're no good for anything except fucking! And you're not even good for that! You're too weak and frail. Go away!"

To her chagrin, when she went to don Juan seeking solace, and complaining about her dilemma, he sided with his cohorts. He told her that she needed to take a martial arts course to toughen her up.

She wound up finding a class on Judo and told the audience a humorous tale of her days practicing it. Her classmates, mostly large men, liked to use her to practice throwing an opponent to the mat because she was so light. They would fling her effortlessly through the air, often into walls. She despaired about Judo being a full-contact form of martial arts, and receiving an inordinate amount of bruising to her legs and arms.

When Taisha showed her bruises to don Juan he nearly died laughing, but was nevertheless concerned for her well-being. He told her to choose a different form of martial arts, one that was not so hard on her body.

She decided to enroll in a Karate class, then ended up having trouble with the outfit (the wide, stiff, baggy pants especially). She tried sprucing it up by wearing the belt to one side and a scarf around her neck, but there was no way for her to look good in it. No matter what she tried, it was uncomfortable, and very unflattering.

She had decided to choose a Karate class in the first place because it was supposed to be softer than Judo. She explained that the word Karate meant 'empty hand' and that her classmates considered it to be like Zen, because Zen was about being empty.

Well, Taisha related how she was caught up in internal dialogue the whole time, how she would watch these guys practicing their katas and making their high kicks, and would say to herself, "Oh, look at that guy, he thinks he knows so much."

One time her sensei (teacher) sat her down in his office and tried to explain that his dojo was different from most Karate schools because they saw Karate as a form of Zen, and that Zen was about being empty, void of the self, etc. At which point she thought, "Boy, if this guy could only meet the old nagual."

Taisha laughed at this, then went on to explain how she used to use her internal dialogue to pick other people apart. She would look at her sensei and say, "He's just so . . ." this or that. She would do it to anyone, people driving by in an old beat up car or pick-up truck. She'd observe them and think, "They aren't very nice looking," or, "They sure look strange." She would find fault with just about anyone, then pick on those faults with her internal dialogue. But she confessed that all she was really doing was trying to find ways to make herself feel superior to those people, when in fact she wasn't.

One day Taisha's sensei was having her do high kicks. When he saw that she was not doing them correctly, he came up and told her to put her leg on his shoulder. He began to work with her on the proper method of performing high kicks. As she struggled to get her leg up in the air the way he wanted her to, she noticed that his eyes were looking up her big baggy pant leg.

Needless to say, she was very disillusioned that someone she saw as being centered in Zen and integrity, this 'spiritual' guy, would be so sexually oriented, and towards a student no less. In the end it fueled her feelings of superiority to all new heights!

At the conclusion of her afternoon lecture, Taisha introduced the second musical theme of the workshop -- Thinking About You. As it began to play, she left the stage and walked to the side door Florinda had used the day before. There she stopped and stood motionless, looking out over the audience as they listened to the music.

The song eloquently evoked a powerful mood that carried with it a chilling sense of wonder and boundless affection. The image of her standing there with an incredible shine and longing in her eyes was one of the moving moments of the workshop.

THINKING ABOUT YOU

by Alfonso Torres

I thought that this new love
Could push you out of my mind
Calming my pain
But these caresses from a stranger
Are killing me
They are not your lips
They are not your kisses

Two unknown arms embrace me
And I close my eyes thinking
About you, only about you
And I feel your soul very close to mine

I live thinking about you, about you.

DAY TWO (evening)

Short half hour lectures conducted from notes, that's what workshop attendees were getting used to by now. The rest of the time was spent learning passes, lots of passes in long forms taught for the most part in total silence. Besides basic cues, there were few comments, only brief demonstrations, that was it. Just do it. True to the mood of 'less talk, more action', the sorcerers seemed intent on getting down to brass tacks. Endless questions were not encouraged.

After the dinner break, a smiling Taisha Abelar strolled in to applause, mounted the platform, signaled for quiet, stated her name, and began to talk about Bobby again (or Robert, which she used interchangeably). This time she did so in more detail. She discussed how we are a reflection of the Flyer's mentality. All our systems of socialization and conduct are examples of their influence.

"All of our attributes, all of them, every single one, come from Robert."

Taisha spoke of the big caches of energy that are like two columns on either side of us. She said that to seers, these two caches of energy have the appearance of two giant melting candles, one on either side and to the front of us. She said that if we could access that energy alone, it would be sufficient to throw off the bonds of the Flyer's socialization and move away from the position of ME.

"But the Flyers prevent us from even perceiving them, let alone getting at those caches of energy and accessing them," Taisha continued. "If we could access the two huge caches of energy that are on either side of us, we would then be capable of gaining access to all the zillions of spots that our awareness could move to within the fringe of awareness, within the shallow stream. One could choose to move the beam of attention to other positions besides the point between the toes."

Taisha went on to say that she was going to address certain points of interest, points that are repeated endlessly because that's the only way human beings are able to learn, by having things relentlessly drilled into them over and over, again and again. Which is precisely what don Juan and his party did to her and her cohorts.

She emphatically stated that, "If it's not part of our cognitive system, it's never registered. People will say, 'Oh sure, I know what you're talking about.' We use to say to say the same thing. When something comes from outside our cognitive system we THINK we can understand it, but since it's not part of our system the data is completely disregarded, it completely bypasses us."

Taisha made an over-the-head gesture with her hand. "We never apprehend it. Our cognitive system is total. It completely seals us into itself. The magical passes are not part of our cognitive system. The Dark Sea of Awareness revealed them to the ancient sorcerers who lived thousands of years ago, probably because of their immense sense of discipline and sobriety."

The task of the Tensegrity practitioner is two-fold:

1. To prepare themselves to be affected by the full force of Not-Doing through the practice of magical passes.

2. To elegantly acquiesce to the Dark Sea of Awareness, to the point of being able to use Tensegrity as a vehicle to infinity.

Taisha explained that the current instructors of Tensegrity form a 'shamanistic unit' of ten women and six men. She said that they were brought together for a specific purpose. Its primary concern currently is getting free from Bobby. Some of them were brought in by Carol Tiggs ten years ago when she returned from her absence, others were brought in as few as two years ago.

She further explained that because of the advent of numerous Tensegrity students, 'mass' had had a direct effect on all of them. She said that as result of Tensegrity students 'coming along', the newer instructors, ones who had arrived in the last two years or so, were capable of covering a tremendous amount of ground in a relatively short period of time.

Because of the energetic mass that Tensegrity student-practitioners represent, newer instructors, "Have been capable of tremendous leaps of cognition." The instructors who were around before all the mass of students came along had had to work twice as hard to cover not even half the cognitive ground.

Taisha stated that the most difficult problem is our socialization, and the most deeply ingrained and subtle social issue concerns the fact that we are brought up to be 'property'. Since man drew his model of the world from Bobby, almost everything in that world is a reflection of what she called, "Bobby's Paradigm of Ownership."

Take our predilection for pets. We love our pets to death. We go to great lengths to keep them close to us. We even mutilate them when necessary. Taisha talked about the different kinds of extravagant leashes that are being made these days. She told the audience about a particular leash she saw where the owner carried a little box in his pocket that had control buttons on it and a cable attached. If the owner wanted to give his pet a little more length he would push one button, and if he wanted to reel the pet in he would push another. The thing would actually drag an 80 pound dog across the street.

Taisha said that Bobby has us on a similar system, "Where do you think we got the idea?"

From here Taisha moved into less comfortable territory saying that, "Our parents own us." This leaves us with the problem of what to do with our 'owners'. She said that parental influences are devastating to those who are attempting to break free of social boundaries.

Warrior-travelers, however, demand elegance in dealing with such issues. She used Florinda as her example of someone who has a supreme sense of elegance. "She's one of the most elegant beings alive," Taisha said. She runs circles around her parents. They actually fight over her -- over who gets the most attention from her. If one doesn't get equal time on the phone when she calls, the other one has a fit. So Florinda will play one against the other, and say she has to run before the other has had equal time. It drives them crazy, yet Florinda just tiptoes around them, never allowing either to have control over her. In this way she sidesteps Bobby's Paradigm of Ownership, and does so with the flair and elegance of a true warrior.

Taisha, on the other hand, humorously admitted that she is the poorest example of elegance in this regard. In order to be free of her 'owners', she bluntly confronted them and fearlessly beat them both -- actually stood on a chair to beat her father. She asked the audience to imagine this giant German man being attacked and beaten by his skinny-as-a-rail daughter. Her mother couldn't believe it was happening and was so offended that, in the end, Taisha was disinherited.

"That's not a good example of what to do," Taisha laughed, "but it worked!"

She had become free of her owners.

"Still, it's better to elegantly slip away."

Returning to the 'shamanistic unit', Taisha said they were currently under siege. Their owners do not want to let them go, so they have to devise methods to be free of them. Owners will never let their property go, they will try to possess it beyond this world. They will enlist the rest of the family in group humiliation and guilt. They will recruit relatives and friends to feel sorry for them in their failure as parents. They will go to the ends of the Earth to bring their 'property' back into the fold.

Taisha spoke again of how she was raised from a very young age to be a servant. She related several examples of how parental influence holds one inside the parameters of socialization, the predetermined agreement to conform with patterns of social behavior. These patterns of behavior imprison us, hold us down energetically, and blind us to other possibilities. We are trapped in a scenario that holds our cognitive system forever in place. We can't be free of it without terrible repercussions. Those familiar with us would rather see us dead than let us go.

A favorite device of parents is to ask, "What's the matter with you? Why are you doing this to us? Why are you running around with that cult? They're brainwashing you!"

"It's not a cult."

"Oh yes it is, dear. It most certainly is a cult. Next thing you know we'll find you dancing at the airport, or even worse, dead in some mansion beneath a purple shroud."

"You know, whatever," Taisha said, waving her hand in the air in mock despair.

"Why don't you take your rightful place in this family? Look at your brother," Taisha paused, ". . . Robert! At least HE'S married and has a family."

Even though Robert is a hopeless alcoholic who beats his wife, he conforms to his owner's basic wishes.

"He's okay, we know where he is and who he is. Sure, he's drunk out of his mind most of the time and can't hold a job, but at least we know he's our Robert."

That's the insanity of our socialization.

The old nagual was dismayed that there was no way to be free -- to break Bobby's Paradigm of Ownership. Only extremely exigent discipline could give one the possibility of having 'a square centimeter chance'.

Taisha concluded her short lecture and left the hall to warm, if somewhat stunned, applause.

The Energy Trackers came out after a short break and the long forms of the Womb Series and Right/Left body passes (from the Heat Series) were reviewed till 10:00pm.

If participants had any doubts, they were dispelled as day two came to a close. The sorcerers intended to pound workshop attendees into the ground with magical passes. The first two days combined were grueling yet strangely invigorating. There was an abundance of energy oozing through the LA Convention Center as people made their way out. Participants, sobered by the immensities being offered and the effort involved to cover such a huge mass of new material, had a certain silent quality about them.

As work-study and Cleargreen folks closed up shop for the night, attendees dispersed like lines of ants into a calm and pleasantly warm LA night.

2

To: The Ixtlan Mailing List
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 17:26:54 -0400 (EDT)

LA WORKSHOP, August 23 to 27, 1997

by Vincent Sargenti and Randy Stark

DAY THREE (morning)

Monday . . . Carol's First Day

Walking into the large football field size room on Monday morning, attendees entered a space whose mood had been transformed. Most of the floor was marked off with gray tape into roughly 3' by 7' rectangles. Suspended from the ceiling above the middle platform not used for lectures was a video camera pointing straight down. Six huge, slightly concave, projection screens -- one at each end of the hall and two on the longer walls -- had now come to life. The almost floor to ceiling screens (the ceiling being about fifteen to twenty feet high) had been in the room all along, flush against the walls. Seeing them now, all displaying the view from the ceiling mounted video camera, was a little disorienting -- like seeing scenes from space.

As participants rolled out their pastel blue mats, or whatever they had brought with them, and put down their small pillows, a buzz of anticipation could be felt rising in the room. At one point, attendees were asked to move their mats away from the area to each side and in front of the platform used for lectures. People started settling in on the floor around the platform, waiting for the day's speaker to arrive. No one knew from one lecture to the next who might be speaking. The video camera was eventually shut off and the six huge screens returned to their previous anonymous white.

After everyone had settle down on the floor, Carol Tiggs came strolling briskly out from the side door, smiling broadly and waving at the crowd, most of whom jumped to their feet and started applauding. Carol (short black hair, fair skin, looks like she's in her thirties) arranged her notes, stated her name, made a few light comments, then opened all three of the water bottles on the podium. The following notes may not convey it, but Carol, like Florinda and Taisha (who, by the way, is the tall one of the group, with short reddish brown hair), has a unique ability to go from being very funny and intimate to serious and direct in a heartbeat.

She began by saying that she was there to tell us about the real thing: Not-doing. She said you have to prepare for Not-doing because it packs a serious punch -- cognitive dissonance. She explained that by laying on a mat being supported from behind, our musculature is used in ways we're not accustomed to. She introduced the existence of what she called 'the lull'. There was a point when practicing the passes for Not-Doing when we would pause between passes and allow room for that 'lull' to transpire. She explained to the audience that they needn't be aware that the 'lull' had taken place, only that they had allowed a space for it to be present.

Carol explained that our cognitive system is fooled by being horizontal and that there is the possibility that a split second can contain a lull, a moment that lends itself to a cognitive pause. That moment, that fraction of a second, can give one an opportunity to cultivate a cognitive opening. However . . .

"When you're messing with energy fields," Carol admonished the audience, "you must go slowly, you must approach them with infinite care. It can take years for a practitioner to be capable of handling them. You must learn to utilize that fraction of a second."

In relation to Bobby, Carol spoke about a movie she had seen called, 'They Live'. Here's a synopsis of the movie by a workshop participant:

"In the movie 'They Live,' a blue collar man attempts to wrench control of his own perception away from an ultra-advanced race of interloping aliens that have enslaved the entire human race by masking their existence from our sight. These aliens have been conspiring over time so as to occupy all the choice positions of steerage in our society -- reducing humanity to thralls, and stripping the Earth of it's natural resources in the process. The hero contrives a daring scheme to infiltrate the main control facility, and sabotage the system in order to expose the aliens hidden among us."

Carol told the audience that the old nagual lent his personal touch to everything he did. Don Juan had a predilection for traumatizing his apprentices whenever possible, and the instance of teaching them the passes for Not-Doing was no different. He brought all four of them together and told them that to learn the passes for Not-Doing they had to be naked.

They disrobed and he had them lie down on mats. They were a bunch of STIFF-Os, according to Carol. To make matters worse the old nagual could not just allow them to concentrate on the matter at hand, he had to bring up the issue of natural body odors. Don Juan told Carlos that when he was going to be practicing the Not-Doing passes on a mat he should try to do something about his dirty butt. On hearing this the audience was sent into gales of laughter, but it must have been an embarrassing moment for Carlos.

Carol made several humorous comments at this point about female vulnerabilities with regard to their bodies and social situations, then went on to say that, "Men are forever secure behind closed buttocks."

Don Juan literally demolished the three women with Not-Doing. Carol said that she was so traumatized by the way the passes for Not-Doing were taught to them that she was still in denial about it. She explained how Florinda never had a problem with her body in this regard or with nudity. "Flo was wild, Taisha was tight," Carol said, "and I was fat." She made feigned gestures of deep humiliation. She continued to explain that it took a lifetime to comprehend what the Not-Doings really are. She said that it is an untouchable subject. The real meaning of Not-Doing will appear when the debris of our lives is gone.

Women are blessed with the natural ability to do whatever they need to do. They have a direct connection to the Dark Sea of Awareness.

"However, it is precisely because of this that they don't give a damn," Carol said.

Women need to rely occasionally on the inherent sobriety of their male counterparts. Men, on the other hand, because they don't have this inherent connection to the Dark Sea of Awareness need to talk endlessly about all the minute facets of the warrior's way so they can be absolutely clear -- then they will act.

Eventually men overcome themselves and go beyond their sexual identity to become warrior-navigators.

"Something happened recently," Carol said, "that had a profound impact on the four of us. Something that changed everything and rendered us unknown to ourselves."

She continued by explaining the idea of the 100th Monkey. There are all these monkeys on an island, and one monkey figures out that if he keeps knocking a coconut over a rock he can break it open. At that same moment, other monkeys on completely different islands hundreds of miles away start pounding coconuts and breaking them over rocks.

According to Carol, something similar has occurred with them. She explained it by saying that Carlos punched a hole in an energetic ceiling and they all wound up in a different 'room' together. Suddenly they were being attacked by realizations.

The most obvious difference about this 'room' was something that she would only describe as the presence of a higher vibration. "Vibration is key," she said, but did not go into much depth on the subject.

"Who are we? We don't know."

The result of Carlos punching a hole in an energetic ceiling was their simultaneous eruption into a new vibratory level. Because of this they weren't sure where, in the vastness of infinity, Carlos was at the moment.

Carol then began further clarifying the subject of Not-Doing. The old nagual described Not-Doing as, "An interruption in the flow of the cognitive system."

"Not-Doing delivers a deliberate blow," she said, "that holds us in a lull. The whole works come to a halt in an instant."

"Not-Doings have to be performed," she continued, saying that the passes we were about to learn had to be performed with precision and exactitude. She said this was a requisite for practicing the passes. The other passes you could learn and do as best you could, but these passes needed to be very precisely 'performed'.

Carol talked about how things get when one is dealing with the interruption of the cognitive system. She said that sometimes when she was learning how to operate within the old nagual's world, things would become weird and the inconceivable would confront her from every side. She explained that when she found herself in this position there was a tremendous danger that her thoughts, or the thoughts of anyone in this position, would become unstable.

"When thought becomes unstable," she said, "go for inner silence. Not-Doing is introducing a dissonant element to interrupt the flow of ordinary events. Doing, on the other hand, is the established order of cognition."

Carol made a few comments on the Vatican's stand against cloning. It had issued a statement saying that cloning was bad because the clone would not have a soul. The very issue of cloning, in other words, had created a form of cognitive dissonance in the social order.

Not-Doing to don Juan meant introducing an element that did not belong in the network. Shamans undo. Carol spoke of how we're always trying to talk over each other in conversation. Shamans 'undo' this.

"The world is a horribly charted network of doings," Carol explained. "We are creatures of habit, creatures of inventories."

She said that it took many years for an individual to acquire membership to any given set of inventories, and that the audience should examine their inventories then discard them, not be slaves to them. The difference between scholars and beggars is that scholars know the ins and outs of elaborate inventories. Shamans on the other hand know that, when confronted with a barrage of data from outside the inventory, the average man's cognitive system collapses.

"The inventory itself collapses. The inventory is the mind," she said.

Carol went on to talk about all sorts of other things. One in particular was that Carlos had several female friends he had wanted to help. One of these ladies in particular was a woman with really 'serious hair'.

She told Carlos she would do, "ANYTHING, anything in the world to help him."

Carlos, knowing the one thing she would not do, said, "Well, you COULD cut your hair."

To which she replied, "Oh Carlos, you're such a kidder."

Carlos, ever tactful, laughed along with her, learning on the fly that there were people he would never be able to reach out to.

Shamans break the binding that holds the world together, the binding agreement that blinds one to other possibilities. Carol said that the act of performing the magical passes for Not-Doing creates a forced dissonance. What horizontality does to vertical beings is devastating to the bindings of their cognitive system.

"Urban beings tend to sit alot. Some muscles that you have never used before will be awakened today. These movements tap the central force that binds together our being."

Carol concluded her morning lecture with, "Let's DO IT!"

After she left, workshop participants spread out across the room. Imagine 850 people lying on mats; six monstrous screens, at least one or two of which can be seen from anywhere in the room, are projecting the image of two Elements lying head to toe on a platform. The lights are dimmed to a diffuse orangish glow in the center of the room. The two Elements begin to demonstrate the first series of passes, The Running Man. Elements on the other platforms provide contrast to the straight-down view on the screens.

But the view on the screens is riveting. There's a weightless quality to the image, as if the two Elements are in outer space. Scenes broadcast from the Space Shuttle come to mind. After having stood up for two days doing passes, 'time' itself took on a whole new quality as participants lay on their mats in the dimly lit room and began the first series of Not-Doing passes.

(It's time once again to point out that this account is by no means complete. In fact, as someone pointed out recently, it doesn't capture much of Florinda, Taisha and Carol's humor at all, darn it! So, corrections and additions are welcome. :-)

DAY THREE (afternoon, evening)

Standing up after a morning of doing the Running Man series, some participants commented on feeling a bit untethered. There was also mention of popping off into dreams and blank spaces experienced in the sequence of time during 'lulls'.

Carol's afternoon lecture was the last one of the day. At its conclusion, the Energy Trackers came out and taught the next series, On the Run . When participants returned from a dinner break, the Elements taught Unbending Purpose, the third series of Not-Doing passes, to end the day.

After the lunch break, Carol strolled back in wearing a black dress with what looked like white pictographs of some sort on it. She mounted the platform and walked around the podium smiling as she greeted participants and stated her name. Back behind the podium, she took out her notes, opened her water bottles, and launched off into her lecture.

She began with a few words about her identity and the 'identity crisis' her and her cohorts were experiencing. The issue was one that they had all brought up at the beginning of each lecture. They were becoming unknown to themselves.

Carol went on to talk about our being members of western civilization. She said that because we have been brought up and socialized as members of western civilization we always place the blame for things on somebody else. We do not take responsibility for our actions. She said that this is the price tag of being at the mercy of energy and awareness other than our own. All of our social molds have been taken from Bobby, and as a result we have become just like him; petty, sluggish, lazy and unwilling to take responsibility.

She talked again about Carlos' recent breakthrough to a new vibratory level and what it meant for them. She said the implications were staggering and that they may not be able to formulate what exactly it means for some time, if ever. She said again that vibration is key to everything, and that they were learning new things about it and its relationship to everything they knew about energy and awareness.

Carol then related something that Carlos said to her recently that was the most exquisite thing she had ever heard. He had grabbed her by the arm and said very movingly, "I never thought I'd live forever . . . let's do it!"

It has since become an axiom which guides them.

After a short hush and light applause, Carol returned to the subject of the Not-Doing passes.

"The Running man must be known perfectly," she said. "The energetic fact of the Running Man is that one is dipping into the fringe, or into the stream, of awareness. The old nagual said that the fringe of awareness is attached to the bottom of the luminous cocoon."

It is an ankle-high area around the feet, like a skirt, through which we can dip into the Dark Sea of Awareness.

"We have no inventory for energy fields," she went on to say. "They are not part of our socialized cognitive system."

You cannot say that you know what it's like to see energy because the possibility does not exist within our cognition. It is outside the uninterrupted flow of our cognitive experience.

Carol said that scientists and physicists were creating all these very complex mathematical equations to represent something that could not, under any circumstances, be understood through socialized cognitive effort. She said that what they were trying to understand existed beneath and behind, between the 'fractions' of, their equations.

When, through the practice of not-doing, one experiences a 'lull', the whole works stop. There is an energetic halt. Carol explained that the sorcerers of ancient Mexico were experts at making practical use of this 'lull'. She said that it made them move faster. They were able to bring about the halt . . . and then run . . . halt . . . run . . . in a place that existed only between the 'fractions'.

The ancient shamans understood the impetus of people's actions. They knew the Not-Doing of things, how to be calm and listen to whatever is said. To take ordinary daily life situations and turn them around, transforming them into something extraordinary.

Returning to the subject of the Running Man series, Carol said the old nagual maintained that one had to be able to perform it to perfection. He said that in teaching them to perform the passes for Not-Doing he was showing them how to begin stirring the shallow stream of awareness in order to start a new generation of the glow of awareness.

The passes for Not-Doing actually stir the shallow stream of awareness, our only avenue to the Dark Sea. She explained, like a medical professor, that in performing the Running Man and On the Run series we were bringing energy and awareness up, splashing it onto our legs and intentionally bringing it even further up the body to our vital centers (the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, V-spot, and womb for women). She stressed that this progressive movement of energy and awareness upward had to be accompanied by a sense of increased discipline and behavioral change.

Carol went on to discuss what it had been like for her to 'have all this new energy' from practicing the magical passes, too much energy, and how she had not been able to use it to go in the direction she wanted to, that she hadn't known how to harness it. She told the audience that she stayed awake far too much, which seemed to her like a terrible waste of all this good energy because she wanted to be able to use it for dreaming and other sorceric activities. The old nagual said it was the plight of the western mind to be overly absorbed in a sense of unyielding self-concern. He told her that we've all been reared to only search through a small range of possibilities. Having an unusual amount of energy and knowing how to utilize it was not one of them.

Don Juan told her how stimulants create an acidic condition in the body. He said that this condition was not conducive to harnessing the unusual amount of energy that comes from practicing the magical passes. Don Juan said that acidity -- caused by using too many stimulants; sugar, coffee, etc. -- keeps us awake.

"Do the Running Man instead," Carol admonished audience.

She went on to talk about the On the Run series, and how its original Spanish name meant 'fugitive'. She said that the practice of the On the Run passes create a strange heat or agitation.

Carol said the old sorcerers were obsessed with controlling the 'lull' and the strange force that it is. Her and her cohorts drove themselves bonkers trying to figure out a way to handle it and never did.

"We have to break free," she said, "to go on this journey of awareness."

She emphasized the way the movements are to be performed, saying that, "The jolting style of the arm is the essence."

She described how tendon energy is what actually shakes loose encrusted energy on the outside of the luminous sphere. She told the audience that they need to use intent to focus tendon energy on various areas of the encrusted shell to aid in redistribution of energy to the vital centers. This use of tendon energy is how we can tap the central binding force that holds our entire being together.

Carol continued talking about the Running Man movements and how pass #3 is an example of bringing energy up from around the feet to the vital centers. She said that verticality creates an energy spill on the ground around us. Horizontality, combined with the passes for Not-Doing, helps repool this energy spill and redistribute it to places where it will do some good -- our vital energy centers.

Carol said that warriors weren't built in a day.

(One note of caution in doing the passes, she said, is that the jerk is preferred when it comes to tendon energy.)

Carol stressed the practical functionality Tensegrity practice had for the sorcerers of don Juan's lineage.

"I am here to close the topic of Not-Doing," she continued. "The policy of Tensegrity is saturation. After a while, warriors realize that they don't need anyone to help them. All that is needed is time and determination, and the Dark Sea of Awareness will determine what is what."

Carol told a story of how don Juan gave Carlos something to try. He told him that man is a being deeply connected to the ground. He said there were a multitude of strange energies that ran only along the ground. He told Carlos to find the tallest building he could find and experiment. He said to go up in the building and find a particular floor where these energies ceased to have as deep a hold and then work his way down one story at a time until he noticed a distinct difference.

Carol said Carlos asked her if she wanted to go somewhere with him, but wouldn't tell her where. He took her up into a large building. When they exited the elevator on the 12th floor of this high-rise, Carlos lay down on the floor. He explained to Carol that the ground has unusual energies, energies capable of tapping the binding force. She went into a demonstration of what she felt like and how awkward it was for her to be there with him laying down on the floor in the middle of this office building. She was so afraid that someone was going to come along and see him there.

Carol's demonstration of the anxiety she felt was hair raising. 'What's going to happen to me?' was the theme of it. She was so filled with concern for herself and what others would think that she was beside herself. She was not yet capable at that age of breaking free to see the wonder in what the new nagual was trying to achieve.

"But now," she said with fierce determination in her voice, "after a lifetime of remaking ourselves, we are capable of that and much more. And if we are capable of it, anyone is. Thus we gather behind an axiom of deadly use: I never thought I'd live forever . . . let’s do it!"

Carol then introduced the third and final musical theme of the workshop. It was a bit more up tempo and lighter than the previous two. It's mood seemed to evoke a sense of hope, yet despair. It was more of a dance number that took the rich, heart-rending moods of the previous days and turned them upward and outward, aiming everyone's attention towards infinity.

USELESS HOPE

by Pedro Flores

Useless hope
Flower of sorrow
Why do you persecute me
In my loneliness?
Why don't you let me
Drown my yearnings
In the bitter cup
Of reality?

Why don't you kill me
By opening my eyes?
Why don't you wound me
With unrequited love?

Useless hope
If you see that I'm fooling myself
Why don't you die?
Why don't you die
In my heart?

Useless hope,
Flower of my sorrow,
Why don't you die
In my heart?

To: The Ixtlan Mailing List
Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997 01:10:05 -0400 (EDT)

LA WORKSHOP, August 23 to 27, 1997

by Randy Stark and Vincent Sargenti

DAY FOUR (morning, afternoon, evening)

Tuesday . . . Carol's Second Day

For the first time, a day began without the usual lecture. There was no podium set up, so participants spread out their mats and waited. De-emphasizing talk and emphasizing action was the mood being conveyed, which was just as well. As Carol had said, the Not-Doing passes pack a punch. The Elements arrived and immediately began teaching the fourth series entitled: The Legs Rule Vitality.

On this, the fourth day of the workshop, silence, concentration and focus prevailed. The number of repetitions for some of the passes was grueling. When certain Elements joked about doing them hundreds of times, a more or less unspoken groan went up. Few doubted that if left to themselves, that's exactly what the Elements would do -- put 850 people in the hospital!

But they didn't, of course, and their care and sensitivity, like that of the Energy Trackers, in pushing us only so far, was impeccable and finely tuned. There was no pressure to 'keep up'. As a matter of fact, the Energy Trackers and Elements often gave advice on how to deal with pressure on the back, and advised taking things at one's own pace.

After a lunch break, and Carol's only lecture for the day, the Energy Trackers taught the fifth and final series of Not-Doing passes entitled, The Wheel of Time. Towards the end of this series the black, inch thick, 15.75 inch diameter rubber-like foam circles were employed.

Before the dinner break, attendees stood up and learned the first half of the Juan Tuma and Silvio Manuel dance/passes, which made for a good transition from horizontality to verticality. After dinner, the Elements returned and began a review of the Not-Doing passes with, The Running Man. This session ended the day at 10pm.

After lunch, Taisha walked in with Carol and sat in the front row on the floor (participants would not see chairs until the last day). Carol greeted attendees, stated her name, opened her water bottles and began.

"The idea of the worshipper is antithetical to the mood of the universe," she said at one point. "The Dark Sea will fulfill the needs of warriors based on their degree of hard discipline," which she further described as, "The ability to focus all of your available energy on the journey to infinity -- to be free to change, to mutate into another more intelligent aspect."

Carol mentioned briefly the third type of being they had discovered (the first two being organic and inorganic), which Taisha had described in an earlier lecture as an amorphous awareness, one without a form or 'container'.

She spoke of needing to have a deep sense of 'excruciating discipline', that that is what the Dark Sea of Awareness responds to.

She then talked about two common themes she hears all the time from practitioners.

1) "You had the old nagual to tell you what to do. We don't have anyone."

Her reply to this was that human beings don't need anyone, they only need to be pointed in the right direction. She talked about being sluggish and how it feels when you are sluggish, what your life is really like. You just kind of lumber around all day and never seem to have enough energy, you're always tired and want to sit down. She said that it's not easy to overcome being sluggish. Like everything on a warrior's path, it takes discipline. You must have a strong desire to be free from Robert . . . which led to the next theme.

Carol, with a hilariously feigned look on her face, said in an annoyingly complaining voice:

2) "If I could see Robert, I would work a lot harder."

Her reply was, "The day you see Robert is the day you will be free of him." She paused for a moment to let her words sink in. "He's not intelligent. He's not that bright. He is slow and egotistical."

And once you finally manage to get Robert to leave you alone, you will have other predators to deal with. Robert is associated with toe-level awareness. Seymour is associated with waist-level and above.

"Seymour is very bright. He is agile and slim. He will shake you from your foundations."

After Carlos pushed through an energetic ceiling, they found the new predator, Seymour. What the universe expects is an impersonal response. Beings are tested incessantly. But there's an important distinction between being detached and being indifferent, she said. The impersonal response expected by the universe is not one of indifference.

Carol again mentioned the third type of awareness, the boundary-less, amorphous beings, perhaps in the context that one must be detached, but not indifferent, when engaging with them. She said that we have to be seriously fine-tuned in order to face the other predators of the universe after we've thrown off Bobby.

"Personal history leaves energetic residue in us that pins us down," she said. "Sorcerers have no hooks in the past. Recapitulation is the process by which they free themselves of any hooks they once had."

Carol told the story of a young man Carlos knew who was abused by his step-mother. She said Carlos' friend had been in psychoanalysis for years, and that in the end he still felt he had trouble dealing with mental anguish over the fact that his step-mother had sexually abused him.

When Carlos finally asked his friend how old he was at the time of the alleged abuse, he had to drag the answer out of him. His friend finally confessed that the alleged abuse took place from the time he was 17 until he was 21.

When Carol finished the story, which she had painted in great humorous strokes, she said, "To the shaman, everything is challenge. Warriors tighten their belts and face whatever comes their way. The Dark Sea supports their complex needs."

She mentioned the previous descriptions of Silvio Manuel and described him to the audience once again, adding yet another dimension to his already deeply disturbing character. She summarized her statements by saying that, "The Dark Sea of Awareness does the mutation in the shaman itself."

Carol and her cohorts had a list of the old nagual's antics. They would rate items on the list in categories, but don Juan was continually shuffling them around. The old nagual traumatized. That was the traditional way of training initiates for continuing the lineage.

"Not-Doing is not overt. It is the interruption of the flow of our natural energy," she explained. "The old nagual did weird things with that interruption."

Carol had her own way of categorizing his antics. Some were funny, others were stupid, gross, intelligent, etc.

One of the more daring people in don Juan's party was Juan Tuma.

"Florinda had her Juan Tuma," she said, apparently meaning they were very close. "He did the most disgusting, ugly thing once," she confided, humorously cringing. "He called it, the not-doing of prudence."

Juan Tuma had made Carol look at his scrotum. She said that because of his massive size, when he showed it to her it was about eye level and hung down quite far. She said if he had shown her his penis it wouldn't have been nearly so shocking, but the fact that it was his scrotum was devastating to her.

"Not-Doing," Carol told the audience, "is the introduction of cognitive dissonance. It interrupts a vibratory force that holds together our cohesive fields of energy. The passes for Not-Doing are practiced until the bonds of our socialization are broken, then they are forgotten. That's the way it's done, don't ask me why."

She said they were now dusting off their knowledge of the passes in order to show us Not-Doing.

To: The Ixtlan Mailing List
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 1997 12:13:23 -0400 (EDT)

LA WORKSHOP, August 23 to 27, 1997

by Vincent Sargenti and Randy Stark

DAY Five (morning)

Wednesday . . . Everyone's Day

Florinda and Taisha walked out to enthusiastic applause on the morning of the fifth and final day. They told attendees that they were there to answer questions. Two chairs had been placed on either side of the podium. Taisha sat in the one stage right as Florinda stood behind the podium and fielded the first question.

"Is the glow of awareness on the inside or the outside of the cocoon?"

Florinda became animated and began to speak very rapidly, driving the translators crazy. She repeated how don Juan called the glow of awareness El Condoncito and described it as a tight covering over the luminous cocoon.

She made a few more comments, then said, "Let me answer the question with another question. Do you guys wear your condoms on the inside or the outside of your penis?"

"What is the difference between energy and awareness?"

"Awareness is conscious of itself," Florinda explained. "Energy is simply present everywhere and is not necessarily conscious. Sorcerers do not want to get involved in taxonomizing. They work their tails off to be free of the forces that draw us into categorizing and taxonomizing everything in the first place. When you can enter into silent knowledge your questions will answer themselves."

"What made it possible for you to go public?"

Florinda responded that they did not want to keep secrets that didn't even belong to them. Their going public had to do with the return of Carol Tiggs. That event had made energy available to them that would not have been otherwise. They decided, based on seeing energy as it flows in the universe, that they would make the passes available to anyone who wanted to learn them. In order to accomplish this, they distilled the passes down into a form that made them readily useable by anyone of any body type or energetic configuration.

"How should we do the passes; how much and when?"

"You don't want to go from one obsession in daily life to another obsession," Florinda replied. "You don't want to replace your usual set of obsessive behaviors by obsessively practicing Tensegrity. That would run counter to the purpose of Tensegrity. The passes interrupt the flow of the ME."

"Could you define the difference between the Dark Sea of Awareness and Intent?"

Taisha described both as 'energetic facts' that were discovered by the ancient seers. The Dark Sea of Awareness is something that we are connected to, something that surrounds us and affects us. It is something that everything we see emerges out of, and at the same time we are a part of. She also called it 'spirit'. She said that intent is more abstract, but that it is present in everything. It is something that directs the flow of events and works on us in inconceivable ways. It is the inconceivable force that guides our lives, yet to a certain degree we can learn to direct or beckon it.

"The humanero," Taisha said, "is the wall of socialization. When we lose the human form, it is the same as breaking the bonds of socialization."

Florinda continued on the subject by talking about the manner in which babies learn. Babies mold themselves energetically to their models. She referred again to the cloning of sheep discussion in her previous lecture, then went into an uncanny explanation of how socialization is initialized in infants. She explained it from the ground up, saying that infants learn by mimicking their energetic models.

"Okay, now where is that assemblage point?" they ask. Then, "Okay, there it is," and try to imitate it from shortly after birth until the time they are completely socialized.

"But you don't have to stay there," she went on. "We weren't there when that agreement was made. [The agreement that this one assemblage point position has to be the dominating position of our lives.] So, we don't have to adhere to it."

"From the assemblage point," Florinda said later, "there is a beam that goes straight down to the place between the toes. We are trying to move that beam. What not-doing gives is a choice not to go into our social patterns."

There was another question or two, then Taisha came back to the subject of childhood socialization.

"It takes us six years, basically, as children to become socialized," she said. "Kindergarten kids are still fairly uninhibited and free. Bobby has not really gotten a hold of them," Taisha said, smiling (her smile gave the feel of a light, open, childlike mood). "Their socialization has not really taken hold."

She described the process from the first and second grades, and how children are still fairly free of socialization. She said they start to show a thin veil of adult-like concerns, but not a lot.

"It's a thin veil," she smiled. "But by the third and fourth grades they are little adults, and you can see the shift. They have adult concerns for the self, having succumbed by that age to socialization."

"Nowadays it seems," Taisha noted in a serious tone, "they are succumbing earlier and earlier. Second graders are now getting the mask of socialization, and by the time they are in the third and fourth grades, whew boy, they are completely caught up in it."

There was a question concerning the passes for Not-Doing.

Florinda responded that one should keep practice on a not-doing level. Incorporate the passes into one's inventory very carefully, realizing that there is something outside of our cognitive system at work.

She commented on the fact that women have an innate link to the Dark Sea of Awareness, but because of their inherent lack of sobriety they don't give a damn. She said the nagual, because he is male, and because of his discipline, has the sobriety and energy to deal with not-doing and to enter the Dark Sea of Awareness. His sobriety helps to keep them focused.

"Where's Carlos?" a man shouted from the back of the audience.

Taisha and Florinda did not respond to his inquiry at first, but it was a burning question for many attendees. The man shouted the question till they answered him. Taisha and Florinda appeared to be baffled and unsure of how to respond. The question had been voiced very aggressively.

"His energy and awareness are out there," Taisha said. "He is the reason why we are all here."

"We're trying to pull him back," Florinda said quietly.

Taisha began to talk about grasping knowledge directly. She was speaking in reference to bringing the energy body back. She said that there must be a line of intent that goes from us to our energy body.

"Discipline brings the energy body closer," she stated. "Discipline and intent are what attract the energy body back to us. Calling the energy body back can only be accomplished by intending it through discipline. If we want our energy body to come back, we must call it. And the only way we can call it is through discipline."

Questions were coming in like a flood on little white pieces of paper that were handed forward till they reached the stage. Florinda and Taisha would open the papers and decide which ones they wanted to address.

"Do you have sex?" was one.

Florinda seemed slightly perturbed by the sheer audacity of it. "I don't know, I guess it's just the way I was raised," she said sternly. "Two things you never ask a lady. One, never ask a lady what her age is, and two, never ask a lady if she is having sex. These are very personal issues. I will respond to this simply by saying that we use sexual energy to navigate infinity."

Eventually they returned to the subject of child rearing.

"Children learn from our actions," Florinda said, "whatever we do they imitate. We have to teach them by example or they will be just like us regardless. So example is the only way to teach them. We teach them by example whether we like it or not. We can tell them things until we are blue in the face but all we will do is set up a conflict between our words and our actions, and in the end set ourselves up for a loss of respect. Children don't really listen to what we say to them as much as they model themselves after us energetically. So the only way we guide them is by our example, be that good or bad."

"How do we change?"

"Choose not to go into your usual patterns of behavior," Florinda replied.

"Can the magical passes cure disease?"

"Yes," Taisha said, "the passes remove encrusted energy and redistribute it back to the vital centers. The encrustation is like a bark on the outer portion of the inside of our luminous cocoon. The passes bring oxygen and blood flow to the vital organs and energetic centers. That actually helps to regenerate the vital organs and bring vitality and vigor to the body. This in itself is enough to help dispel disease. Do the passes everyday," she said. "ME is a set of concerns that gives us an overabundance of worry, tension and concern. All of this combines, and with the years sets us up to fall prey to disease."

(She stressed 'disease' as two words: dis-ease.)

Florinda at one point, talking about her father the General and about her German heritage, joked that if she were taller and had balls she'd have a whip right now and would be a commander. But since she was a 'mushroom' she'd ended up on the sorcerers' path, which in the end was very fortunate for her.

Florinda introduced some of the sixteen people who formed the 'shamanistic unit', primarily the Elements since they were the ones in the audience at the time. As she introduced each by name and they stood up, she made reference to their academic credentials and respective professional fields. It seemed that she did this in order to evoke a sense that within the social order these people were tremendously accomplished and disciplined individuals. She apparently wanted us to know that we were not dealing with a bunch of high school kids.

The six Elements: Miles is an MD. Brandon has a masters degree in psychology and is a practicing psychologist specializing in domestic violence. Gavin has two Ph.D.s -- one in biology, and one in the Earth sciences. Fabrizio is an investment banker/consultant. Lorenzo is a writer/producer, and Julius is a producer/director.

The ten Energy Trackers: The Alexanders are Nuri (Blue Scout), Zaia (photographer) -- both currently pursuing Ph.D.s -- and Nyei. Reni and Nyei Murez, the cousins, are English teachers. Reni is finishing law school, Nyei is pursuing a career in editing. Talia Bey is the president of Cleargreen. And last but not least, the current pursuits of Kylie, Erin, Darien and the newest Energy Tracker, Haley, were not mentioned.

(Some of the above information may not be entirely accurate. Not all of it was derived from Florinda's comments.)

After Florinda and Taisha's Q/A period, and a short break, the Elements quickly reviewed the Unbending Purpose and The Legs Rule Vitality series. The Energy Trackers then came out and quickly reviewed, On the Run and The Wheel of Time.

DAY Five (afternoon, evening)

After the review session ended at noon there was a ten minute break in which nothing much seemed to be happening. Participants had been asked to stay half an hour later for a special session to 'arm' the passes of Silvio Manuel and Juan Tuma. Suddenly it became apparent that everyone was gathering around the stage, but in an unusual way. There was a large area left clear in front of the stage that was perhaps the size of a dance floor. Taisha, Florinda and Carol entered the room with a group of Energy Trackers and Elements.

Florinda took the stage with a beaming smile, as if she had a cat in a bag. She laughed and asked the group to quiet their wild, energetic applause. She said they had a special treat for everyone and that they had a special guest with them who was going to introduce us to the idea of the shamanistic theater as well as demonstrate not-doing for us.

Among Silvio Manuel's many talents, Florinda said, perhaps the most breathtaking was his unbelievable agility as a dancer.

"There has never been anyone before or since who could dance with such flair, such passion, who could move with such speed and such unbelievable grace," Florinda said admiringly, her smile bright as the sun.

"The others have told you their stories about how Silvio Manuel affected them, what he was like for them. To them he was an awesome, terrible figure who struck fear and terror into them. He was a sorcerer of inconceivable power and mystery, someone who, for them the mere mention of his name brought about the quintessence of fear. For me, he was not like that at all. I loved Silvio Manuel. To me, he was like a rich uncle who doted on his niece with tremendous affection. I shared a special affinity with and had immense affection for Silvio Manuel. He was someone I grew to adore. Nobody could dance like Silvio Manuel. Nobody."

Florinda spoke as if she were truly and utterly enamored of the man.

"He used to entertain don Juan and his cohorts, and of course us, to no end with his incredible ability to move and to dance. These songs that we have played here for you were the songs that Silvio Manuel himself used to play over and over again. They were particular favorites of his. The reason we play them over and over for you is that we want you to have a taste of what it was like to have been around him. This is a taste of the mood of Silvio Manuel. This is the music he would fill the air with for entire afternoons, and there would be dancing and much laughter. We want to steep you in the mood of Silvio Manuel.

"The useless hope is something that a warrior feels in his heart. He dances his movements of impeccability in the presence of infinity and his dance is his expression to the infinite, his display of his impeccability. His dance is a show of his gratitude to the infinite for his having had the opportunity to live. He dances his dance with all the flair and passion and precision that he can muster. He knows his dance is a dance of useless hope . . . but he has no other way, no other course for his expression. So he dances his expression to the infinite. He knows that he is up against inconceivable odds and realizes that he may never be able to find his freedom. So he dances before infinity to this useless hope."

At this point, Florinda introduced the only person she had ever met in her lifetime who captured the power, flair and passion with which Silvio Manuel had once danced.

She said, "Ladies and gentleman, it is my tremendous pleasure to introduce to you, Maricio Caballero. The quintessential ballroom dancer. Beware, he is a terrible womanizer and he is extremely seductive."

At this point, one of the Energy Trackers emerged from the side of the room. But wait, it wasn't one of the Trackers, it was indeed Maricio Caballero. He was sporting greased back, jet-black hair and a leisure suit. Carrying his sport coat over his shoulder, he swaggered in with a handful of long-stemmed cornflowers, throwing them and kisses to all the ladies. He was the epitome of machismo and male seductiveness. At the same time he was imbued with an utter sense of confidence and skill.

As the music began, the audience was given a taste of something that defies description, something that stirred the very depths of the heart and displayed the essence of the Warrior's Way. A dance of incalculable power and beauty followed, one that took the audience completely by surprise and utterly by storm. The movements were ones we had been learning, yet suddenly they were displayed before us with all the spirit and flair and infinite heart that you could ever imagine being in the path of don Juan's lineage of sorcerers. A great number of the participants were moved to tears, others to laughter, some to dismay.

One of the high points of the workshop came when, as the song 'Useless Hope' played, all the participants were invited to join in the dance and share in the mood of Silvio Manuel and Juan Tuma. Taisha, Florinda and Carol jumped to their feet and joined in the dance as Maricio Caballero took a woman at random from the audience and began to show her how to Lambada. Then, in an instant, every participant was on their feet and moving freely around the room, dancing the passes with the sorcerers as the music of 'Useless Hope' played on.

When the music stopped, attendees filed out of the LA Convention Center into a bright, warm southern California afternoon for a long lunch break. At 4pm, when they returned, everything had changed. The entrance had shifted to the left, to another area of the hall. Walking in now through security was more like entering a theater. Chairs and a larger, higher stage had been set up. Adjacent to the stage was a room-like area enclosed with thin black, semi-see-through material. Two rooms had been unfolded with moveable conference center walls on either side of the entrance. The black enclosed space by the stage adjoined one of these rooms.

When attendees had settled into their chairs, Carol walked up steps to the stage from the black enclosed space. She was now Prunella Fitz-Moritz. Dressed in black and wearing a black wig with a reddish outer sheen to it, she told the audience that the Theater of Infinity was not about 'acting' but about veritable change. What participants were about to see this afternoon and this evening were the result of actual transformations. She was no longer Carol, but Prunella (which was the name of some mountain fungus or other). Prunella Fitz-Moritz was a wild but very precisely spoken lady, and she would be one of the Emcees for the afternoon and evening's events.

What took place that afternoon was just a glimpse of what was to come in the evening after the dinner break -- a magnificent series of performances, dances and passes by the Energy Trackers, Elements and Carol. We are not going to even attempt to describe these events. Suffice it to say that it was with The Theater of Infinity that the workshop was brought to a close. What follows is a reprint of the evening's program.

Thank you, and good night . . .

3

THE THEATER OF INFINITY

August 27, 1997

1. Alien Invocation, or Ode to Air with the three Energy Trackers of the Light of the Stars

2. The Girl is Mine with She-La, the two Brothers Gibraltar and Sudan Johnson, and Jack Abilene, the Cowboy from Texas

3. The Burden of Decision-Making with Trini and Kiki

4. Farleys' Day with Bob Farley and Robert Farley, Senior

5. Nosferatu, Mon Amour with Lunitica Nosferatu and Morbidita Nosferatu

6. The Hunter and the Hunted with Manny, Mo, and Bobby

7. The Marionettes with Death from Above and Death from Below

8. Love Among Insects with Two Entomologists, E1 and E2

9. A Lesson for the Unenlightened Ones with Damian Choo, the Master and Johnny Lee, the Chela

10. Space Pyrates with don Pedro Sadista, Pieter van der Queer, Sebastian St. Savage

11. The Orchard with The Draggers, and Those Who are Dragged

12. The Cogitations of Dr. Gerhard Blumenfinkle

13. The Arab Dancer, Yamida Fazin

The Emcees of Infinity: Prunella Fitz-Moritz; Cleopatra; Seymour; Lorenzo Drake, directly from the Palladium of London, on his way to Budapest; Sebastian St. Savage.

To: The Ixtlan Mailing List
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 00:04:46 -0400 (EDT)

LA TENSEGRITY WORKSHOP AUGUST 23-27

These workshop impressions have a large subjective element in order to attempt to impart more of the *mood* of a workshop. I'm afraid I failed in this attempt, as there is no substitute for immersing oneself in a workshop. I also tried to cover material that was new to me, that I had not encountered in any previous workshop or writing.

The Setting

The workshop was held at the Concourse Hall inside the LA Convention Center. The site was on the Southwestern fringe of the Downtown area. Although I lived in the LA metro area for 17 years, I never paid any attention to this area, but it has an energy of its own, as I discovered. The old was mixed with some very large modern skyscrapers. I stayed in the Figueroa Hotel, which had a marvelous lobby, restaurants, and outside bar on the first floor. The Spanish decor was absolutely enthralling, and very conducive to the mood of the workshop. I encountered many workshop-attendees carrying their blue mats in this hotel and the one adjoining it. The feeling of comradery was palpable.

On the short walk to the LA Convention Center from the Figueroa Hotel I could read the sign on the Holiday Inn every morning. It read in large letters, "WELCOME TENSEGRITY WORKSHOP". I guess Castaneda's ideas have finally hit the mainstream of commerce.

In most of my previous 3 workshops, I kept mostly to myself, practiced the movements, and contemplated the lecture material in silence. On this occasion I was adopted by two female warriors: one from the South (where I currently reside), and the other from Germany. I guess they thought I looked like I needed a mommy. (They were probably right.) We often walked to and from the workshop together, and had meals together. Their hotel was next to mine. Their companionship and wisdom brought a whole new dimension to the workshop experience for me. Thanks ladies, for your blank check of support.

Overview

This workshop gave saturation new meaning as they spent the weekend giving us the usual intensive treatment that other recent workshops have seen. After saturating us with 6 long forms, we were finally ready for the five series of not-doing passes which began on Monday. As we have seen in other recent workshops, the lectures were short and focused. Taisha, Florinda, and Carol actually read from prepared notes!

Identity Crisis with the Sorcerers

Florinda began a common theme in this workshop regarding their identities. After the obligatory stating of their names, they would say "I think", or "I'm still ..." They implied that they didn't know how much longer Florinda Donner-Grau or Taisha Abelar or Carol Tiggs would continue to exist. The condition was compared to senility - the disappearance of familiar signposts. I didn't kow how to take these statements. Did they mean that they didn't feel like themselves today? Did they mean that they might have to abandon their personas that allow them to appear in workshops and adopt new ones that would drive them underground once again? Did they mean that they might literally forget who they were?

Bobby and Seymour

In this workshop, the Flyers were simply referred to as the predators, or as Bobby. The latter was a more psychological designation. They described Bobby as simply being like we are: chubby, lazy, a little dumb. We are Bobby. But they also claimed that one never rids themselves of predators completely. There is a predator for every man, woman, child, and sorcerer. For example, although Bobby no longer bothers the witches, they now have Seymour with whom to contend. Bobby likes the awareness covering the lower half of our luminous eggs, but Seymour (see-more ?) feasts on the upper half of the cocoon. Seymour is lean, mean, clever, and evil.

The witches were philosophical about the ubiquitous predatorial nature of the universe. Predators force us to perform at our very best, to evolve, to mutate. Without predators, the universe stagnates. The universe itself endows entities with awareness and sends them out as probes. The probes are what permit the universe to become conscious of itself.

Bobby's Ownership Paradigm

Florinda said that the benevolent interpretation of the way sorcerers handle the world is through elegant acquiescence. We must acquiesce to forces greater than ourselves, but we have the choice sometimes to do so with elegance and beauty, and this is the predilection of the warrior. One big issue that needs to be handled with elegance, according to Taisha, is how we ultimately deal with our owners. The sorcerers choose their words very carefully, and they selected the word *owner* to refer to our parents. Our parents *own* us, because they forever try to bring us back into the fold by stressing our obligations to marry, raise a family, go to church, be a responsible member of the extended family and community, etc. They often compare us unfavorably with one of our siblings if we attempt to stray. It doesn't matter that the sibling is an alcoholic, depressed, wife-beater. At least he's married.

Bobby's ownership paradigm is indeed a paradox for sorcerers, for it seems there is no satisfactory solution. Taisha dealt with her owners by standing on a chair and battering her extra-sized father. After that humiliation, her father forbade the family from having any more to do with her. Taisha stressed that this was a totally unsorceric way of coming up with an elegant solution.

Useless Hope

Three musical themes were introduced especially for this workshop. They were 1. Nocturnal, 2. Sin Ti (Without You), and 3. Esperanza Inutil (Useless Hope). Each is a romantic love song. They were chosen because the sorcerers believed that the longing experienced by the lover for another was a very apt expression of the longing of the sorcerer to join the energy body. In fact, they would say that the longing of the average man is for the energy body, but that it is just projected onto another person. Of course, the energy body is shooed away by the predator shortly after birth, because it knows that together with the energy body, we would be an unbeatable combination. The situation is nearly hopeless, but we still dare to hope...

Useless hope
Flower of sorrow
Who do you persecute me
In my loneliness?
Why don't you let me
Drown my yearnings
In the bitter cup
Of reality?

I was touched by the observations of the sorcerers on this issue, and found them more poignant than previous mockeries of "luuuuuuuuuuuv" heard in other workshops. Of course the kind of self-love we call love deserves nothing but scorn, but it isn't our fault really (another workshop theme).

New Conception of Not-Doing

Just 9 months ago the sorcerers were voicing a different definition of sorcery, and recommending dissonant behaviors like moving around in a swivel chair on our bellies. Now, Carol Tiggs defined not-doing as an "interruption in the natural flow of energy." Anything that obstructs our usual behavior patterns, even for an instant, is a not-doing. The interruption itself is not-doing. The unusual behaviors that entertain or shock us are only the result or byproduct of a not-doing. They believed that they had wrongly focused for years on the outlandish behaviors, and had missed out on the essence or kernel of not-doing. Now the new not-doing passes focus exclusively on encouraging this subtle interruption.

This is an example of something I really like about the sorcerers. They don't claim to know it all. Their understanding evolves and changes with the times in a very hermeneutical fashion. They don't fall back onto dogma and the literal truth. Nothing is sacred, everything is open to pragmatic interpretation. As warriors, they keep on their toes, and are running all the time, like fugitives from the predators.

The Not-Doing Passes

The clan has had many names for the ineffable, including *Spirit* or *It*. The current favorite seems to be the Dark Sea of Awareness. I very much like this impersonal but beautiful/terrible image-provoking term. The strategy behind many of the not-doing series is to exploit the only awareness left to us humans: the narrow fringe on the bottom of the luminous cocoon. Many passes involve splashing or dipping into the stream of awareness that runs through the bottom fringe. They say that the bottom fringe is connected directly to the Dark Sea of Awareness. I feel refreshed as my toes dip into the stream of awareness while performing these passes, and then smear the awareness onto other parts of the body.

The not-doing passes were performed lying down on mats. We were able to see the instructors on several projection screens that were distributed around the periphery of the Hall.

The not-doing passes are clearly aiming at a deeper level than the previously taught series. Even the mood and tempo were shifted. The not-doing passes are performed very slowly, both between reps and between passes in a series. The instructors often waited for more than 2 minutes between passes while the whole room was poised in silence. The reason for the slowed tempo is so that the practitioner can avail herself of the highly sought-after lull.

The Lull

The Lull or pause is the pearl sought by the practitioner of the not-doing passes. It is a moment, or even just an instant, the length of time doesn't matter, wherein the mind ceases and you go away to somewhere else.

Most of us experienced the Lull during the practice. I spent much time staring at the ceiling of the Hall. The ceiling described an interesting pattern. It was a grid with slanted recessed squares. A light was in the center of each square among translucent tiles. My eyes became lost in the details of the ceiling. For a while I mused that the pattern was the surface of a Star Wars type spaceship. Sometimes I found myself walking on the surface of the spaceship. The people lying on their mats were like insects hanging from the ceiling.

One Lull produced a fantastic vision and a bona fide journey to *somewhere else*. I was watching the ceiling as usual. Suddenly, the space opened up and I saw a Mezzanine level in the Hall. The sorcerers were peering down at all of us over a rail on the Mezzanine. Then all the sorcerers were doing something together in a room, and I watched them from a distance. This memory of this Dreaming returned to me at later times during the workshop when Florinda mentioned that she couldn't make fun of Taisha because certain people were present in the Hall, and when the announcement was made that Carlos was *here* in some mysterious sense. Were the sorcerers actually among us in the Hall, observing the effects of mass as we practiced the movements? Were they Dreaming the workshop?

Where's Carlos?

That brings us to the question so rudely posed by a gentleman during the Q/A session given by Taisha and Florinda. Where was Carlos? I had been to 3 previous workshops, and had seen Carlos at each one of them, so it was not a big issue for me. For the many first-timers, it was an issue. I had thought that Carlos would not be able to stay away from an intensive LA workshop, but the energetic tides were just not right. Someone suggested maybe he had a cold. How mundane.

Theatre of Infinity

Wow! Wow! Did you think that these people take themselves ever so seriously all the time? The Theatre of Infinity will blast that conception. Prunella Fitz-Moritz, the alluring red-headed transformation of Carol Tiggs and hostess for the theatre, assured us that this was not acting, but actual transformations of persona. For in the world of sorcery, all acts are final. Some skits were extremely funny, as in "This Girl is Mine" starring Tiggs as another bombshell, "Farleys' Day", "The Hunter and the Hunted", and "A Lesson for the Unenlightened Ones". "The Marionettes", which traced a love affair between a robot-like man and woman, hit extremely close to home. The best one-liner came from the lips of host Lorenzo Drake, who knelt down at the edge of the stage to say to a woman in the audience "I saw you on the mat earlier." Lorenzo asked us all if we were feeling empty; why not watch the 24-hour sorcery channel on cable in our hotel? Indeed.

Sorcery paradigms: Cynicism vs. Suspension of Judgment

Everyone seems to eventually view these workshops with one of two perspectives. The cynic sees the cost as too high, the bookstore as too commercial, the profusion of movements as a gimmick to induce the unwary consumer to keep returning for more. The practitioner simply suspends judgment, and goes along for the ride. The movements are performed to perfection in the way they are taught, and the answers are sought from the end results of practice and experience. I do not judge either the cynic or practitioner, although the practitioner is closer to my heart. As the sorcerers say, "I never thought I'd live forever, so let's do it."

Postscript: Santa Monica Practice Group

On the evening following the workshop I attended a practice group in a dance studio on Santa Monica Blvd. From 35-40 people were in attendance, a figure that was probably inflated by the recent workshop. This workshop was no nonsense practice - not much socializing here. We practiced the 6 long forms many many times to exhaustion. This practice really helped to cement my kinesthetic memory of the long forms, most of which would have faded without the practice group.

I heartily recommend these practice groups to those who can't afford to attend a lot of workshops. They really help!

Hail to you all: the elegant artisans of freedom.

-jack

To: The Ixtlan Mailing List
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 15:21:12 +6

This workshop truly brought together so many of the elements of the  last 5 attended. It was like the fog lifted in areas that were so simple and yet had evaded comprehension. The Dark Sea of Awareness- it was if a giant reservoir of something opened and has made itself  available. The memory of Miles voice entoning "fifTEEN, six TEEN, sevenTEEN" as our feet moved silently from side to side. Over the next few days mere moving my feet from side to side brought that feeling of awareness back into my being. The non doing passes are beyond my expectations. They already have brought so much into  reality.

During the workshop several synchronistic events led to a  "dreaming/seeing" experience. During the not doing passes, I went into a state where I realized I was in another reality, "stuck" there  and extremely angry and frustrated. Merely becoming aware of this was  a release through out my body and by stating my intent to clear and be released, I found myself getting out of that field or band of  energy. A certain level of anxiety that had been present on a low level began to dissipate and a feeling of well being began to emerge. This has continued.

Upon returning home, it seemed as if the force of the workshop demanded that I "clean up" areas of my life and I spent the first few days, tearing apart things and getting rid of the unneccessary. Whew!  I wanted to do the passes 2 hours a day and still do. I did 2 physical activities and found that in order for the feeling from the workshops to continue I had to bring the same attention to them as  doing the long passes. After both experiences, I felt "blasted" with  energy. ANother practioner came over so we could clarify some of the sketchiness of our memory and we were in shock that 2, not one hour had passed. A sleeping problem that has been persistent for a year and a half (especially during the workshop) was resolved by moving the ME point to the right while reclining. WOW! An awareness for cultivating silence has grown and the ME ME ME behavior is being  noticed (yikes) and shited. Chaos has erupted in a most beautiful way that is a new teaching.

In addition, a passion for "sacred " or "shamanistic" theater, which  I have pursued for years, has been pointed in a direction. The maneuver of Weds night was impecable, intense, aligned and beyond the entertainment value that was easily experienced. I am curious if there are others who share this inclination.

Finally as an antidote, an offering from the energy of not doings

While performing the not doing passes on Sunday I was vaguely aware  of neighbors having conversation, but was not registering what they  were saying. I was drifting in between passes, my internal dialogue  going over the days events to come. All of a sudden, the husband said two words very clearly and distinctly: "Not Doing", which reminded me to court inner silence.

In all of this, I have become aware of the meticulous path that we have been lead on, especially over the last year and a half. I for one am grateful and applaude the 210% that is exercised by the witches, the Energy Trackers, the Elements, Cleargreen and the volunteers. Oh yes and did I mention the attendees who inspired me  with their attention, silence and lack of personal agenda. My being is full. Thank you all.

valerie

To: The Ixtlan Mailing List
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 1997 01:00:11 +6

Los Angeles workshop 'notes'....

The description is; exhausting, exhilirating, demanding, intense, unpredictable, direct, detailed, surprising, and very much mind altering.

Saturday and Sunday both were devoted to the condensation of the Six Series of passes into long forms. The long forms mirrored the separate movements from the 'purple book' with a few variations. The  initial schedule was scrapped right from the start. We were led over  and over through these long forms often to the point where we were  all sweating profusely.

On Monday we began the Not-Doing passes. They are all performed from a supine positon. The leg and foot movements are innocuous enough. To  anyone walking through the room it must have looked liked a huge  group doing some sensless, benign exercises.

Florinda spoke to the group four times during the day on Saturday  about flyers, the point of self reflection between our toes, alternative points of focus on the small fringe of awareness around  our toes remaning to us, and all sorts of other points.

Taisha spoke to the group several times on Sunday about much the same  thing. She focused on "the dark sea of awareness" likening it to the spirt and intent. I can't now recaall whether it was Taisha or  Florinda that said the dark sea of awareness emanates from one of the great bands of energy in the universe and that organic forms that have awarenss are represented by another band.

Early Monday Carol Tiggs spoke. She repeatedly said that the Not-Doing passes "are to be performed". She advised us to be alert to  the "lull" that may come as one pauses between passes. This lull will be characterized affectively as and "exquisite sadness." The goal is to interrupt the "natural cognitive flow" even if for only a  "millisecond". The advice was to perfrom the Not-Doing Passes slowly  and "perfectly" especially those of the first and second series. She  went on to talk about the odd behaviors of sorcerers chronicled in Castaneda's books. She said that these behaviors were what these indiviuals chose to do with what they gleaned from the "lull" of the Not-Doing passess. The point of Not-Doings is to create a break in the narural, usual flow of awareness. The behavior is a result of  this break. Up until then I had assumed that the behaviors  themselves caused the interruption but Carol Tiggs said this is not the case. (I think I heard right???) Carol said that the frst series  of Not-Doings creates an energetic increase and the second set balances the first. Some new force enters and the continuity of our  lives is broken. Effort and endless discipline yields from the spirit the needs of the practicitioner no matter how complex those needs may  be. Not-Doing passes are to be performed until we lose the human  form. Both Don Juan, his cohorts, Carlos and his cohorts have had to "dust off" the Not-Doing passes to present them. Carlos' and Taisha's books have nothing to do with what they are doing now. The universe  is an endless challenge. The sorcerers of antiquity recognized this and "tightened their belts".

Florinda added that the material that comes up in the lull between the Not-Doing passes "...is not a dream. It is someting else."

The Energy Trackes and the Elements (10 women and 6 men) have been formed as a new cohort group. Florinda said that the Tensegrity Instructors do see energy directly as it flows in the universe. She  went on to introduce them and their occupational/academic undertakings.

On Monday and Tuesday we practiced the 86 Not-Doing passess and the  14 breathing passes. On Wednesday we reviewed all the passess before noon.

At four p.m. on Wednesday some of the Energy Trackers and Elements performed some long forms for the group. We were to meet back at the center at 8 p.m. for the Theater of Infinity. This was an absolute  scream. With Carol Tiggs, Lorenzo Drake, the Blue Scout and Cleopatra (who was she???) acting as M.C.'s the Elements and Energy Trackers  treated us to 13 skits. I won't even try to detail to antics and poignant moments. This is a must see if they ever do this again.

The cumulative impact of all this was profound. I saw numerous people  walking out of the center looking stunned after the first practice of  the Wheel of Time passes on Tuesday afternoon. Near the end of the set in the middle of the use of the wheel of time I felt a squeezing pressure on some undefined part of my body. It was more difficult to breath. It was not a feeling of being overwhelmed or anxious, just an  intense, strange pressure. I sat up and looked straight down toward the floor with my eyes closed. I perceived an upwelling of some inner  darkness and was held for a few moments in its influence. I then fell back onto my back on the mat. My mouth fell open and I was indeed  stunned. I couldn't move for a few moments and then began to recover  my faculties.

This created a state of inner silence, detachment and a break with my  unending concern with myself . The overall feeling continues to the  preseent. My guess is that this will fade in time and I am curious if  I can delve deeper into this realm on my own while doing the  Not-Doing passes.

While I had some idea of some effects of the magical passes prior to this workshop, this was magnitudes beyond anything I have experienced  before.

'hope this may be in some ways confirming and accurate too......

Tom Hiken

To: The Ixtlan Mailing List
Date: Sun, 09 Nov 1997 21:40:20 -0500

[ I found this today while trying to free up some much needed disk space. I had completely forgotten I even wrote it until reading it again. It was written during the LA workshop last August for someone who wasn't at the workshop (and apparently never got it from me either!). I'm sharing it in the hope that others may post their own workshop experiences here too. ]

Its Monday morning. I've finally discovered what the Sorcerer's mean by enhancing awareness. I wake up with an enhanced awareness of every muscle in my body. For the last 2 days I've kiddingly been telling everyone who asked that this has been a piece of cake. Easy even. Just for fun I then say, "so when does this stuff get difficult?" They look at me as if I'm insane and usually mumble something about having to go find someone else. The truth is that I'm nearly at the point of exhaustion. Last night at dinner after the sadist posing as Miles had beat the masculinity series into us "until our tongues hang out" I had serious concerns about rotator cuff injury. I was exhausted. I was sore, I was tired. I had only gotten about 5 hours sleep the night before. Maybe it was due to a new boost of energy from Saturday's session, but whatever the reason, I was beat. Tired, totally saturated. I turned to my 2 dinner compainions and said "this is it, I really wanted to give this workshop a shot, but I just can't go on. I don't think I can do tonight's session, I'm not even sure I can continue with the rest of the workshop. No really, I'm serious".

Back at the seminar after dinner, I sit on the floor listening to Taisha speak about our owners and some hilarious stories of how she beat up her "six foot seven inch" father. My mood lightens, but I still hurt. I'm still tired. As I slowly get up and take my positon for another 1 1/2 hours of grueling punishment I'm totally resigned. I've lost all sense of caring anymore what happens to me.

I stand in one of the back rows in front of Kylie as she teachs the Prediliction of the Left and Right Bodies. As I begin to move my arm, I start feeling something extrodinary. "Hey, this feels good!" Its not as aerobic as the afternoon's masculinity series so I have enough energy left to do it and for some reason I was concentrating keenly. After the right body we move immediately to the left body. This pass is a bit more complicated, but it too feels really good. My shoulders are tingling, the palms of my hands are warm. I start noticing that I've had my internal dialog shut off most of the time. After we had been shown all the elements of the left body, Kylie asks us to practice it following her, over and over again in silence. The hall becomes hushed. Nothing but movement. Smooth flowing hand and arm movements, over and over and over. I have long periods of inner silence punctuated only after a mistake in the pass by a silent "doh" or an "oh shoot". But for 15 or 20 minutes I am able to be mostly quiet, no internal dialog. Kylie says "please remain silent, good night". I put my arm down and begin to walk back to join my companions and I notice the most extrodinary thing, yes, I'm tired, yes, I'm sore and yes, I'd love nothing more than a hot tub and 12 hours sleep, but I feel great. Physically I would have gladly lied down right then and there and slept until morning, but mentally, I was alert, ready and raring to go.

To: The Ixtlan Mailing List
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 22:33:01 +6

In the course of the past 30 years, nothing has exalted my spirit  (alas, just a plain old book-loving spirit, not an impeccable warrior  sorcerer spirit) like the appearance of a new Carlos Castaneda work.  In order to accurately convey the deep and profound impact Sr.  Castaneda's work has had upon my reflective life I would probably have to do my entire recapitulation in this e-mail and I doubt Tango  would pass it along. Suffice it to say that the last three decades of my life have been inestimably enriched by the awareness of the 'something greater' at whose portal the nagual Don Juan Matus will  forever remain demonstrating power, perception and the value of laughter to Carlos Castaneda.

It was a deeply profound thrill to pick up an Arizona newspaper some weeks back and encounter an interview with this deeply cherished  author. And, even more amazingly, to learn that he and his associates were teaching something "magical" (passes to the masses). I attended the Phoenix Tensegrity workshop, found it immensely interesting and  will be forever hold it dear as still another expression of a life (i. e. Castaneda's) seeking a purpose that matters in the context of an infinite predatorial universe (from one of the early books, I recall  Don Juan and Don Genaro advising Carlos that the art of living is acknowledging that nothing matters but acting as if something does).

As I read the reports of the extracalifragilisiticsupercaliexpedotius  (sp?) LA Tensegrity workshop...and thank you all who are taking the  time to share your impressions...I simply find myself filled with relevant echoes of the books. Why should anyone be surprised, brave  brave John Garvey, that a financier has achieved the rank of Element when Don Juan himself, in a metropolitan setting and dressed in an impeccable light-colored summer business suit if I remember the passage correctly, once announced to a stunned Carlos that he, Don Juan, earned money as "an investor." That same passage, incidentally  came to mind during the Phoenix workshop when I noticed the nation's leading astrological stock timer in the crowd.

On a different note, I can't help but swallow hard when I read that  Carol Tiggs, I think this is to whom Tom Hiken is attributing the  reference, is somehow dismissing the practices in the books as something that Carlos and Taisha are no longer involved with. So what? So what? So what? Not everyone can be a sorcerer and these books are TREASURES because they help us to more profoundly appreciate and even lend some hope to our tenous situation in a hostile universe. Frankly, for the past four years I've very honestly been worrying about Carol  Tiggs because I thought she had disappeared from the world on the  wings of intent in The Art of Dreaming ...how do I, as a slave to the  story, begin to express the turmoil into which my soul was sunk as I  learned she was now teaching seminars (it's not the sort of thing you  yell out in a crowd)?

I suppose all I'm trying to say is that this Tensegrity thing may  prove itself the greatest gift of all. But the books, thirty years of what may well be the most impeccably recorded spiritual journey in the history of literature, are also worth cherishing. Without them,  it all seems like just so much yoga.

In gratitude,
Steve Weiss


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