The Nagual Man
In correlation with the previous post on the nagual and tonal, one of my favorite quotes comes from the Heart Sutra. “Form is emptiness; emptiness is form.” Emptiness does not mean nothing, it means absence of structure and solidity. We need this to create that (form)… And vice versa. There is no actual duality in the totality of the universe. It is a constantly changing, constant pattern making system. Order emerges (form) and it becomes self-regulating through a constant link with the nagual. This is probably one of my favorite ways to speak of the relationship between the nagual and the tonal.
But there is a distinct confusion that arises in the works of Casteneda with respect to the Nagual. In this instance, Don Juan uses the term for an individual who, having connected totally with more than just the tonal and can shift their assemblage points, they reach a point where they can shift other assemblage points as well. They are in essence constantly connected to the nagual. Therefore the term, Nagual in honor of a person thus evolved.
The word is probably the most confusing one in the works of Carlos Casteneda. In some areas it is used in reference to Don Juan, his teacher. His teacher uses it in terms of the unknown or unknowable. There are roots which refer to shape shifting, there are links to teachers, and there are lines to a double.
The strange part about this word, is that it is all of these. In its ancient roots, Nagi, is a spirit or another form that the shaman/seers took when traveling in the “other world”. Thus a nagual as inherited by the nahuatl language became originally connected to a shape shifter or the animal spirits that surround our world – aka out there in the jungle. The shaman could through dreaming venture out into that world for information about plants, animals, hunting and suspecting danger. We see on the temples of Mexico me with jaguar heads or eagles or other numinous spirit forms. These are naguals.
The universe, and for that matter all universes, is filled with unfathomable mystery. We are bound by the perceptions and conditions we choose every day, often unconsciously. This Gordion knot of being is something we have tried for years, centuries, to unravel only to discover there is more to unravel. It is the warrior’s mission, duty, and delight to unravel those mysteries. We value freedom as a central core but cannot define nor even grasp what freedom is. That is the greatest paradox. To seek freedom, to desire it in all its manifest forms is to watch it constantly slip through our fingers. For it is grasping and clawing and fighting for freedom that inevitably become the net we get tangled in every day. We are just free.
“Before all things choose a path with heart.”
Stalker, dreamer, man of action, man of knowledge, assistant, one behind the scenes, northern woman, southern woman, eastern woman, western woman, double, nagual, courier, seer…. The terms we find in the Eagle’s Gift are as cryptic as they can be confusing. The rule of the nagual is a map and a distraction. When Carlos Casteneda wrote this chapter whose roots are in the very genetic core of human awareness, it was surely the most difficult thing to lose upon the world. The warrior of freedom accepts the rule completely because it is a map to freedom and a massive road block to that very walk.
Some warriors of freedom simply reject the very words written there so as not to get trapped by them. This is a wise move and one directly related to the corruptive workings of the predatory mind. Like an introduction to the Myers Briggs system or the Enneagram the first stage the initiate falls into is self-reflection. “Oh, oh, oh, what am I?” The experience is like a child bouncing on one foot in search of approval. “Did I get it right, am I being the right thing?” But we forget, Carlos was introduced to the Rule in a heightened state of awareness where his assemblage point was shifted outside the normal band of awareness. He saw the rule with detachment and wisdom of a greater perception. The rule was not and is not a mirror to envision our deepest cravings. It is knowledge seen by the seer linking him to avenues of freedom.