Sun 9.29.19


      Breaking through other levels of being, of seeing, I was about to add, of reality, to my list but that’s the question isn’t it; what is real?  What is dream?  The anthropologist Carlos Castaneda’s sorcerer, Don Juan describes it in this manner: there are two levels of awareness, which he calls the tonal (toh-nahl) or what we call reality.  Then there is the nagual, (nah-wahl.)  The tonal is a guardian that helps individuals make sense of the world.  Some have personified it as a protective animal or some other type of being.  The guardian unfortunately all too quickly becomes the guard that narrows one’s life into a safe little island, familiar, snug, narcotic.  The tonal makes the world; it does so, not by creating it, but by witnessing, assessing according to the rules of the tonal.  It is everything we know of the world, everything we’ve thought, created, god, the soul; it’s all part of the tonal.

      The nagual is the unknown, unknowable part of self.  It is outside our island of tonal. It is possible to witness the nagual, but it cannot be talked about.  Because doing so is an attempt to bring it into the island of the tonal.  All attempts at description are the property of the tonal.  nagual is mystery, it is power, it is our unacknowledged twin, the one that completes us, is at the warrior’s service. 

      I have flirted with the nagual and been in fear of it all of my life. The fear because I have worked in the mental health field and I have seen people who have travelled to the nagual and are trapped there. To enter into that realm demands incredible fortitude and dedication.  If you read the essay on my vision quest, {} or listen to its podcasts you can see the process by which a person is gradually stripped of everything known, supportive, comforting before that door is wrenched open.  Beyond that door is certainty.  One knows, not in the tonal way of knowing a thing, as separate from self, but as part of self.  The separation and longing one has experienced throughout life has lifted.  One is whole, certain.  Psychoactive plants and drugs can help explore this aspect of being.  I have used Salvia Divinorum and within seconds departed the island of tonal. I would also be interested in injesting psilocybin mushrooms, but not LSD or other chemical compounds.  Plants appeal to me because they are a natural growing part of the earth, the other is synthetic.

      As long as the island of tonal nourishes and challenges, one has no desire to explore other possibilities, and no need.  Yet, one is curious, senses something, and there are revelations that shock and confuse.  Did that really happen?  Am I making this up?

The favorite essay this month has been, The Queen of Hearts