The Dilemma of the Rule of the Nagual

Birth of an Idea

Birth of an Idea

“Being involved with the rule may be described as living a myth. Don Juan lived a myth, a myth that caught him and made him the Nagual.” – The Eagle’s Gift

Probably the most cryptic and difficult descriptions which modern seers of freedom have to contend with in our day is Carlos Casteneda’s revelation of the Rule of the Nagual. The text is at best cryptic, meaning each element is so brief as to be almost useless, yet mysterious enough to coax a shift our assemblage points into participating with some esoteric information and path.  The text is a hook to one’s attention and keeps us searching for freedom.  In other words, it works to increase our commitment to freedom as warriors.  Bravo Carlos!

But the darker side of the common response to this portion of the text in the Eagle’s Gift is the distraction it creates. There is an overwhelming desire it releases from unprocessed warriors to want to know who or what they are within the context of this mythological structure. (Recall that “myth” does not mean lie rather it means to reveal some deeper truth about the mysteries).  In other words The Rule becomes food for our self-importance, self-reflection and self-absorption.  It can be boldly misinterpreted as a cultic necessity to create this type of warrior’s group to leap to freedom.  And when warriors of freedom realize the difficulty of following such a rule into cult, they often become extremely disenchanted with the whole path and leave it completely. Again Bravo Casteneda!

In one swoop of the pen, Carlos has created words that are like the eye of the needle, the hairs breath chance to understand something while eliminating the faint of heart who are not disciplined enough to truly look into this myth for what it is… a myth.

The Rule of the Nagual if we choose to truly understand it requires study, recapitulation and eventually it requires us to walk away from it so we can move towards freedom. Earlier in that chapter on the Rule Don Juan states that his life began when he became a warrior and anything prior to that was inconsequential.  His life became one of living a myth, a very powerful myth which began with a near death experience.  Even the basic structure of that story has its roots in classical mythology, religion and lore.  We are entranced by the story of death, resurrection and rebirth which leads our hero to understand the gods and then turn around and help his fellows towards freedom and understanding the mysteries. We are wrestling with God here… At which point we bow to the myth and follow in search of salvation!!!  No, wait, just a minute… that was too far.

Salvationism is the realm of the predator. The predator recycles all myths back into the consumptive process so it can feed itself on the awareness which the supplicant to the myth has spent a lifetime achieving.  Ops, there it is, the Rule can be liberation or it can easily be a trap.

For those of us who have spent hours pondering and recapitulating the Rule, we have discovered a few clues to the dilemma of the Rule. The few humble reflections which follow are keys to this myth, but it is in no means the only clues we can wrestle from the Rule.

Not a soul alive with awareness does not want to have an understanding of their selves(self). The first battle, and really all of them, starts within ourselves.  Self-knowing is the first step to recapitulating that very self and move towards freedom.  The Rule offers a mandala, a structure, a system of defining differing personas within a larger context of a warrior’s group.  Each one has a talent, which if walked with discipline, can help the whole leap to freedom.  So the rule is like a psychological map to conscious awareness and skills.  Like a Myers Briggs test, we come to understand our default mode.  Stalker, Dreamer, Intent, Nagual, Courier, Winds, Mountains, etc… great images for to distract us from the essential purpose of these terms for us to come to know ourselves and through acceptance of the self we can liberate the self.  Or as one dreaming seer I know said, “you can’t get rid of your ego if you don’t know what your ego is.”

With humility the Rule also offers us a way to come into balance, integration with our opposite. If we look closely, every type has an opposite which then through dynamic tension can help the other know balance and sobriety.  The partners and pairs are part of an evolutionary matrix we find throughout all myths.  If we want to come to know ourselves, we need to know our shadow.  Often our shadow can most easily be seen in relationship to or with someone who is our opposite.  Again, with recapitulation, this offers the warrior of freedom a deeper chance to release and know the mysteries of the human matrix of conscious awareness.

The structure itself is also all too curious. There is implied sacred geometry within its dynamic structure.  4 Female Stalkers, 4 Female Dreamers, 4 Male Warriors, 4 Couriers make 4 houses, 2 Double Beings and another catch, one extra to drive the structure forward and link it back to the past.  When I see this geometrically it is an octahedron, or two pyramids – one above and one below ground.  Each triangular face being the female warriors, the males and couriers being the linkage between the faces internally, the double beings reflected above and below.  When we do a bit of sleuthing, we see this form throughout the world, but specifically in the Mayan temple structures.  There is a revelation of a deeper mystery to which the ancient Mayans and others celebrated… a deal with death… A deal with life… and a method of survival.

As my benefactor taught me, in each generation spirit took care of the tribe by bringing forth (birthing) the medicines necessary for the tribe to survive as a whole. No one person had all the medicines for this would be overwhelming for one person to hold, but rather the tribe survived as a whole with the combination of all the medicines together.  As an elder passed, he passed along his/her medicine and that part of the lineage of the tribe through generations out lasted a single person.  We live, as he noted, as temporary keepers of mystery and lineal holders of survival and freedom.  Thus the tribe is greater than any individual alone.  And in tribal societies, they knew that a single individual cannot survive alone.

Thus the Rule is a system for the tribe to survive and work together and pass along its knowledge and understanding down generations. It was a practical solution to a much deeper problem… no one is ever alone.  (The real predator attempts to isolate us, increase our fear of being alone and then devour us when we are weak.)  In the historical course the ancient tribal structure became overwhelmed by human development and complex social drama. First they were conquered by the old seers and their morbid need to dominate simple tribal structures with complex systems, cities, states and thus religions.  These ancient sacred structures of awareness became first, religious symbols and then second, went underground and was shared among the few as a mystery, a mystical tradition.  This is how the Rule survived through those times.  The new seers of Don Juan’s lineage then turned the Rule into a method of passing along mysteries, techniques of awareness and knowledge to the next generation but not through familial or tribal lines, now through allowing omens to indicate who in the next generation was worthy … in other words, secret societies.  Nice eh!  Carlos blew the socks off that one too just by publishing his books.

The Rule has another element which is critical to understand and is often missed now that it is out there in fixed verbal form… The Rule was an oral tradition, not a written one. It was passed as it says, to and from Naguals… not to the whole warriors group.  It was passed as a guideline to assist the Naguals in leading a band of highly trained and skilled humble warriors of freedom through life to celebrate freedom, while passing their knowledge along to the next generation.  The myth is a practical way for the Naguals to assault their highly developed self-importance, defeat it through recapitulation, and recognize that they can’t do it all alone or by themselves.  Naguals can become rather nasty beasts of control, petty tyranny and cultic leaders… Beware!  The Rule notes, warriors of freedom are nothing if we think we can do it all alone.

The beauty of the new seers imbedded in the mythology of the Rule was they had a guideline through the tough times to pass along and share knowledge, freedom and awareness down generations. Fantastical enough to entice one forward, and cryptic enough to continue to hone our relationship to it, it reveals many other fundamentals about the world in which the seers across time lived.

The Eagle, whatever that is, is an abstract force that both creates us and destroys us for its own pleasure and need. If we look with clarity on the vision of the eagle, it is the ultimate predator and speaks to the predatory process that humans find themselves right now.  We have become beings of who consume beyond our means and recycle our energy back into the shit pile to consume again.  We are doing this to our planet right now.  So we are the eagle’s creation exactly as well as the eagle’s food.  And the Rule says, there is a way out of this.

The universe is fundamentally a place grounded in energetic awareness. And that awareness, the raw information of it, the emergent structure of it, is conserved and eternal.  If this sounds like quantum physics on steroids with a great dose of eastern mysticism, it is.  What the modern seer and warrior of awareness has come to understand is, these ancient myths and structures of warrior’s groups throughout the world where never meant to be static religious dogmas as they became but rather dynamic structures which adapt to each generation’s growing information, awareness and knowledge.  The key is in the changes across time.  And this is the fundamental reason that Carlos revealed the Rule in written form.  To destroy the old myth and challenge us to pull our boot straps up and get down to the real work, creating a new mythology in our times that no longer relies on secrets, the old Rules and the dominion of the Nagual over a party of warriors whose self-seclusion could be interpreted as rather masturbatory in long term affect.

Modern seers we are here to question everything. Even the very lineages we have inherited.  We are here to defeat a predator whose lines and links are so imbedded in our genetic code that we have lost sight of the potential for real freedom in our times.  The Rule is a great starting ground.  It is a magnificent myth well worth living in, but more importantly beyond.  And it offers us a foundation to what is so much more.  When each warrior of freedom comes to know, within themselves, just exactly who they are, and then recapitulates that very thing, then every warrior is connected to the nagual, to intent, to the mystery and lives a life of awe and wonder free from the assumptions and restrictions that these very words can also create.

We are born to freedom. We are programmed with so much stuff.  We must recapitulate the assumptions and programs… more deeply we must even recapitulate the path to freedom.  And then… who knows?  …. Bravo Carlos!  You succeeded in leaving us the keys, we must pick them up and open the doors ourselves.


3 thoughts on “The Dilemma of the Rule of the Nagual

  1. We live, as he noted, as temporary keepers of mystery and lineal holders of survival and freedom.

    I liked that.

    As for the myth, I liked it too. Pass and gone.

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