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Nagualism (pronounced nah-wa'hl ism) [1] Nagualism is a philosophical "pathway" that utilizes a disciplined set of techniques to achieve the attainment of a transcendent reality. Nagual refers to three subset definitions within the 12 books by Carlos Castaneda The first, Nagual as source of the universe. The second being, Nagual as the spiritual realm outside known reality and third Nagual as spiritual leader of a group of apprentice warriors. The first, refers to a fundamental yet inconceivable dimension of reality that may be harnessed by a 'Man of Knowledge' or 'Sorcerer' (Spanish: Brujo). According to the philosophy of Nagualism some individuals store "energy" to make use of such "Powers" [2]. Such a person (who is referred to as a Nagual - cf. nagual) is able to lead apprentices of the "Warriors Path" and other receptive persons to dimensions of higher consciousness. . Thus Carlos Castaneda's spirit guide, Nagual Don Juan Matus, often referred to himself as the Nagual for his "party of warriors" - warrior here referring to ones who walk the "Warriors Path" to become 'Men of Knowledge'. (It should be noted here that woman also play an equal role within Nagualism.The wording could be "Women of Knowledge" and imply equal status within the group.) To understand the nagual one is instructed to: "... Turn everything into what it really is, the abstract, the spirit, the Nagual."[citation needed] this is the final definition of Nagual given in the body of work by Carlos Castaneda. The ultimate power of the universe is also referred to as the "Eagle".

In the worldview of Don Juan Matus's, reality is seen as multi-dimensional, multi-faceted reality that under ordinary circumstances human beings only perceive in part; the known part of reality with which humans are familiar is called the Tonal. The spiritual Nagual is that dimension of reality for which we are not conscious but is in fact constitutes the greater part of reality. Here the Nagual bears some resemblance to the psychoanalytic concept of the unconscious. It has also been said that the Nagual is all that is, and that it condenses to form the Tonal. The Nagual and the Tonal as dual aspects of reality and being such are perceived either through the First Attention, where we experience the Tonal, or the Second Attention where we experience the Nagual. To Don Juan the Tonal is often associated with the masculine aspect of the universe and the Nagual to the feminine. The Tonal can roughly be linked to the concept of Ego or conscious mind. Three states are described in the text by Castaneda, the known, the unknown and the unknowable.

A Nagual leader is the "Benefactor" of an apprentice in the Nagualist philosophy. The "Benefactor" is a direct link or intermediary to the "Nagual" and guides an apprentice to obtain what has been called "Total Freedom" that is analogous to religious concepts of liberation. The Second Attention or 'Nagual Awareness' is a goal of warriors and their apprentices. In some Mesoamerican traditions psychotropic plants, or as Naguals called them "power plants", were utilized to experience the Nagual, as well as other states of awareness. Three plants were mentioned in the text, Datura wrightii (See "Toxicity" on link Datura) , Lophophora williamsii and Psilocybe mexicana. All are hallucinogenic and nonnarcotic. It should be mentioned that no references were made in the text regarding Cannabis Sativa or coca derivatives. It was also stated by Don Juan Matus that "plants" were not absolutely needed to acquire "Knowledge" ("Power plants are only an aid") but were used as an aid in achieving it [3] . Warriors might also use the four winds. [4]. When one is able to perceive the Second Attention they are considered a "Seer".

The source of Nagualism is unknown. Don Juan Matus referred to himself as a Shaman and as a Toltec. The Toltec's predated the Aztec Empire in Mexico, covering most of its present day location. The Toltec's were an advanced civilization, at this time New World civilizations may predate Old World developments in human culture (See, Caral). Shamanism is more representative of a hunting and gathering society. Also was mentioned by Don Juan Matus that his cultural heritage was, "Yoeme" or Yaqui, Native Americans from the Sonora Desert region of North America.

Controversy surrounds Nagualism. Needless to say, using words and phrases like Sorcerer, Witch, Shape Shifter and numerous unorthodox methods to understand and in some instance advocate the use of spiritual knowledge will strike deep chords of objection among many. The use of illegal drugs has caused untold damage to society and left much human wreckage in its wake. Nagualism has its detractors, if not its enemies. Some critics believe Nagualism to be a complete hoax and has no merit what-so-ever. In the final analysis the readers of Carlos Castaneda's books on Nagualism must decide.


Nagualistic Techniques

Also called, "The Warriors Path" is composed of numerous techniques to create a break between ordinary consciousness there by connect to the Nagual or spiritual, they are numerous and can be found throughout the text by Carlos Castaneda. In addition to Castaneda's books, the books of Víctor Sánchez, Don Miguel Ruiz, Theun Mares, Merilyn Tunneshende, Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar and others have detailed techniques to use to experience the Second Attention. Individually or collectively they maybe employed to transform a "Warrior" into a "Man of Knowledge". Major ones are presented here.


In time, the warrior apprentice might achieve a state known as 'Seeing' [5] (second sight or "foresight" (Second Sight, implying visions. Foresight, inferring the ability to see the future before it happens. Though neither definition is completely accurate.)). 'Seeing' is the ability to see past the ordinary affairs of the world, to intuit (intuition, see "Intuition and spirituality") the core of life's realities and its unknown realities as well. Three cognitive states are recognized by Nagualists, the known, those things that we have learned or experienced, the unknown those things within the grasp of human understanding and the unknowable, those things that come from outside human understanding, the Nagual. "Seers" can perceive all three states. The highest order of 'Seeing" is the ability to 'See' the Eagle (the Nagual), followed by the luminous lines of force and luminous beings. It is also possible for "Seers" to perceive inorganic beings called 'entities'.


Dreaming, a technique employed by Warriors to achieve a "dreaming body" or "Double". The technique requires the apprentice to see his hands in sleep dreaming. Once the hands are envisioned the dreaming process has begun. The "Double" or dreaming body is a metaphysical manifestation of the self that can be employed by the dreamer to do any number of tasks. Individuals within the realm of the Tonal (day-to-day conscience) would see the "Other" (also known as the "Double") as ordinary persons or as other metaphysical (see philosophy) beings. Seers, would see them as very bright luminous beings, brighter then their human luminous counterparts. As such the dreamer and the dreamed become one but not in the same place or time. Dreaming might be compared with experiences such as lucid dreaming. Through the art of "Dreaming" Naguals theoretically can shape shift into numerous forms including but not exclusively the following: coyotes, crows, and non animals.


The literal translation, perfect execution of a task or tasks. Impeccable, flawless.

Death as an Advisor

The apprentice is encouraged to take on his death as an advisor. When considering any decision the apprentices Death should be consulted. Death the ever present watcher is never far from us, always at arms length, ready to take the individual at any moment. This reality should be a conscious functioning aspect of the Warriors reality at all times. This realization stifles the natural human inclination to be petty.[6]

Not Doing

'Inner silence" or "stopping the internal dialogue" (Introspection ) or the internal conversation we maintain within ourselves throughout normal human awareness and cognition. Not unlike Buddhist meditation or Yoga meditation but without the requirement of a particular sitting position. To smash, to break the grip of the known reality is a difficult task, numerous methods within Nagualism are undertaken to bring about this result, referred to as 'stopping the world' [7] . "Not doing" [8] is one of them. "Not doing" consists of stopping the internal dialogue, changing one routines and habits [9] , at time in seemingly bizarre and extreme ways. 'Erasing personal history" [10] , includes creating a vail of secrecy around one's self and can extend to removing one's self from one's family and all current conditions, if practised to its extremes. "Losing self-importance" [11] promotes the lose of ones ego in an attempt to become "formless" and including the use of two techniques called the 'petty tyrant' and the "worthy opponent" [12] .


Stalking is utilized in three ways. To stalk "Power" through the acquisition of spiritual knowledge. The second, stalking one's self to eliminate one's weaknesses and third to stalk individuals, usually to acquire apprentices. [It should be made clear at this point that Nagualism, though not entirely devoid or ethical or moral concerns in a philosophical context, neither does it advocate moral or ethical practises as a rule, yet the individual moral character of its practitioners does play a major role in the utilization of this technique and the others mentioned here. The Nagual has been described as an Impersonal, personal source of the center of spirituality. In short, it interacts in human existence but the Nagual does not have human emotional qualities of compassion, love or empathy, In short the Nagual does not "care" for humans individually.] Stalkers begin as "Hunters" [13] which might literally meaning hunting game animals or becoming a plant hunters or using methods used by either. 'Reaffirmation from the world" [14] around us are used by both Hunters and Stalkers."Erasing personal history" is also used in conjunction with "Stalking"'. Becoming "accessible" [15] and "inaccessible" [16] to power are also utilized within the confines of the teachings.

Luminous Beings

In the writings of Carlos Castaneda, Don Juan Matus explained several energetic facts perceived by directly seeing energy in the universe. He explained that seers perceive a conglomerate of luminous fibers enclosed in a luminous egg, which in this reality would be a human being. This said, these luminous fibers are conscious of themselves and never touch each other when they are not encased in luminous eggs. There are an incalculable number of fibers in the void. There is a spot in the luminous egg that in a human body is at arms length in the direction towards the back of the left shoulder blade. It is at the "Assemblage point" where reality is constructed. The conglomerate of luminous fibers match the fibers outside of it a new reality comes into existence. Don Juan instructed Carlos that there are millions of realities around us all we needed to do was to move our assemblage point to perceive them. It is through the manipulation of this assemblage point that Naguals might do extraordinary feats.

Books by Carlos Castaneda

  • The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968) ISBN 0-520-21757-8
  • A Separate Reality: Further Conversations with Don Juan (1971) ISBN 0-671-73249-8
  • Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan (1972) ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  • Tales of Power (1974) ISBN 0-671-73252-8
  • The Second Ring of Power (1977) ISBN 0-671-73247-1
  • The Eagle's Gift (1981) ISBN 0-671-73251-X
  • The Fire from Within (1984) ISBN 0-671-73250-1
  • The Power of Silence: Further Lessons of Don Juan (1987) ISBN 0-671-73248-X
  • The Art of Dreaming (1993) ISBN 0-06-092554-X
  • Magical Passes : The Practical Wisdom of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico (1999) ISBN 0-06-092882-4
  • The Active side of Infinity (2000) ISBN 0-06-092960-X
  • The Wheel of Time (2001) ISBN 0-14-019604-8.

Books Forwarded by Carlos Castaneda

  • The Sorcerer's Crossing: A Woman's Journey Forward by Carlos Castaneda (1993) ISBN 9780140193664
  • The Witch's Dream (1997) Forward by Carlos Castaneda ISBN 9780140195316
  • Spanish language versions are available

See also

Out-of-body experience, Astral projection, Subtle body, Astral body , Out-of-body experience, Apparitional experience, Reality tunnel, Hallucinations in the sane, Entheogen, Transcendence (philosophy), Normative ethics, Folk religion, Shamanism, Totem, Esotericism, Toltec, Tula, Hidalgo, Caral,


  1. ^ Carlos Castaneda, The Power of Silence, Introduction. page IX, Washington Square Press, 1991, ISBN 978-0-671-73248-6.
  2. ^ Carlos Castaneda, The Power of Silence, Introduction. pages X and XI, Washington Square Press, 1991, ISBN 978-0-671-73248-6.
  3. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 18: The Sorcerer's Ring of Power, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  4. ^ The Second Ring of Power, The Transformation of Dona Soledad, 1977, ISBN 0-671-73247-1
  5. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 18: The Sorcerer's Ring of Power, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  6. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 4: Death as an Adviser, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  7. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 19: Stopping the World, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  8. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 15: Not-Doing, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  9. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 8: Disrupting the Routines of Life, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  10. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 2: Erasing Personal History, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  11. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 3: Losing Self-Importance, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  12. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 17: A Worthy Opponent, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  13. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 6: Becoming a Hunter, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  14. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 1: Reaffirmations from the World Around Us, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  15. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 10: Becoming Accessible to Power, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3
  16. ^ Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan -- The Lessons of Don Juan, Chapter 7: Being Inaccessible, 1972, ISBN 0-671-73246-3

Wikipedia links

  • [1] Carlos_Castaneda
  • [2] Carlos_Castaneda_bibliography
  • [3] Cleargreen
  • [4] Tensagrity
  • [5] Recapitulation

Related Resources

External links


  • [19] My Lunch with Carlos Castaneda, Psychology Today
  • Nagualism Collection of information, interviews and forum discussion on Nagualism, Carlos Castaneda, and Shamanism
  • [20] Cleargreen
  • Carlos Castaneda's Tensegrity site maintained by ClearGreen Inc., the direct apprentices of Carlos Castaneda, who also inherited his estate and currently conduct Tensegrity seminars and classes
  • The Toltec Nagual The Toltec Nagual site run by author Kristopher Raphael

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