Exercises in Nagualism
Meeting Notes for
22nd May 1999 Exercises in Nagualism
The techniques outlined here are largely from exercises which feature in The Teachings of DonCarlos by Victor Sanchez (Bear & Company Publishing, Sante Fe, New Mexico). In addition, where noted, there are additional techniques mentioned which are featured in the internal martial arts of Ba Gua, Hsing-I, and to a lesser extent, Tai Chi. These all have to do with energy conservation, production and perception.
Before I am accused of mixing traditions here (who, me?) this is something that is done by Taisha Abelars group of brujas, because they detail several oriental techniques while they are training her, and credit their origins. In terms of energetic traditions, and their development, those of the Far East, and China more than anywhere else, are the most publicly demonstrable. The energy traditions of Tibet, of nagualism, of Japan, and other places, all lead to other goals in some cases, but are not as demonstrable, because of the lack of publically accessible masters.
However the more amazing results of eastern practices are not attainable until having done standing exercises, as an example, for at least 3 years for healing purposes. For martial arts, more like 5-10 years, because the energy required is greater. These figures may not be applicable to those who already have some experience from a magickal standpoint. These lengths then, or may not, be substantially reduced. This is something I am currently exploring.
What is the relationship between the generation of chi in the internal martial arts and our perception and development within our own magickal endeavours? In China, there is a direct relationship between Taoist meditation and the generation of chi - in fact, the greatest masters of chi manipulation are not those who are following external martial arts and figuratively or literally punching the daylights out of people, but the quiet ones who are following Taoist meditation and internal alchemy. These are the ones who, when they need or want to, can affect their environment the most - internally, externally, physically, psychically. But our object, or should I say my object in our context that we study, is in our own expression of magick. Magick that can be used for change or perception of our environment, and for our development, in all ways, as sentient beings, as spiritual entities. I think there can be a direct relationship, but it is something that is not immediately evident. But to think of it, what are we doing when we attempt to change our state of consciousness through a technique or ritual? What are we doing when we cast a circle? What are we doing when we attempt to change or enhance a part of ourselves through technique or ritual? Or when we attempt to perceive or contact what is not usually perceived or contacted by humans? Some of these seem to me to have a direct relationship with the quality and amount of chi we develop or utilise internally and externally. Reflections, please.
On to the exercises:
1. Doing an energy inventory This involves looking at where you currently, and perhaps in the past, are expending your energy. Rather than only paying attention to the worst parts of a day, it is something where you take an audit of yourself, at preset intervals. No matter what you are doing, say every 15 or 30 minutes, or every hour, record in a notebook what you were doing at that time. Ask 3 questions for each record:
1, What was I thinking? 2. What was I doing? 3. Is this what I want to do?
Before retiring at the end of the day, go over what you have recorded, and see the following:
Where my thoughts varied or repetitive? What were the most often recurring elements in my thoughts? Were my actions varied or repetitive? Which ones were the most repetitive? Was there a relationship between my thoughts and actions? What percentage of my actions had anything to do with what I really wanted to do?
Do this for a month. At the end of that, look at activities, routines, habits and addictions, and internal experiences. This is your inventory. Then, do the following analysis:
Note what was indispensable to sustain life. Note what was not indispensable to sustain life. Take these and divide these into those that make you feel well, or those that are in your best interest. And those that are not. For those that are not, decide which of those are possible to eliminate, and those that arent. For those that are possible, for a set period of time, and as an experiment, stop doing them. Just stop. See what you can do with the resulting energy saved. And then decide if you want to prolong the exercise indefinitely, or suspend it.
2. Determining the energetic quality of your acts Analyse your actions, either through the above inventory, or just when you want to. Then determine if they were energy consuming, largely neutral, or energy consuming. What can you then do about each of these?
3. Determining your energy level at birth Analyse your energy level when you were a young child, as you can remember. Were you full of activity, or were you shy and withdrawn?
In nagualism, at least as most writers put it, it is believed that we are born with a certain amount of energy, which we use up through our existence. That is why it is so important to conserve it, and reclaim it back, because we cannot generate it. This view is not held in the eastern arts. In these traditions, specifically in ba gua, there is pre-birth ba gua, which is most important, but can be developed through Circle Walking. Post- birth ba gua, or post-birth chi, is the chi that is obtained through eating, sleeping, breathing and exercising; but this is again something that can be obtained. It is not as if there is only a predetermined amount, which gets used up.
4. Stopping emotions and debilitating thoughts - the search for inner silence. Examples here are thinking backward, making a song of your thoughts, making them into a rhyme.
5. To save energy... Dont criticise. Dont condemn. Dont complain. Stop having opinions on everything. Do not form a judgement on everything you see. Talk as little as possible.
6. Capturing energy at twilight or dawn This involves facing the setting or rising sun. Stand, and bring your arms over your head. Then, begin running in place, bringing your knees up high. Keep increasing your pace until you reach a maximum speed, and continue doing this until you are exhausted, or you have some other feeling that you are finished. Then remain standing until your respiration and heartbeat return to normal.
7. The recapitulation See the notes for this from any of the later works on nagualism, or from our own publication on Taisha Abalars work.
8. Awakening the awareness of the skeleton This is to make us more aware of our bodies, and thorough this more aware of our death. Most of this is done by very slow movements, which gradually pick up in speed, until you reach a catharsis. Then start slowing down. While you are doing this, become more and more aware of your skeleton.
9. Stalking and Not doing, and Dreaming These two concepts dovetail. The nagual technique of stalking is one which broadly can be seen as stopping routines, and stopping all manner of behaviours to see if we can advance or utilise the energy differently. It is being conscious as much as possible. There are many permutations of this.
The other nagual technique which is discussed is dreaming, which basically seems to be lucid dreaming. Through this lucid dreaming, a consciousness is developed which entails a different level of consciousness, or perhaps a different dimension, in which what we call our reality or wakening consciousness is only one part of our existence. That which is dreamt need not then only be an internal, subjective experience, but a whole different reality.
The Taoist technique of not doing is in some ways similar to stalking, but different. This goes further than our behaviour - it includes meditation, and seeing the origin of all activity, and analysing whether the achievement of what we need to do is really necessary, or whether other means can be utilised which are congruent with the flow of Tao through the Universe - to go with the flow, in a nutshell. Much more can be done if Tao is paid attention to, rather than only our own subjective goals.
10. The Walk of Attention This involves turning walking into a meditation. By varying the speed, we can profoundly change the perception of our surroundings. Because the changing of the habitual nature of walking can suspend and activate all kinds of energies and mechanisms which can change our energetic flows, and the quality of our chi.
11. Ba Gua Circle Walking In ba gua, Circle-walking is one of the main exercises used to develop our pre-natal chi. This entails walking in a 6 to 12 circle, both deosil and counter-clockwise, holding our hand statically or in different combinations. Also, the stepping can be changed, by pointing our feet in different directions while the circle walking is continued.
12. The Walk of Shadows This simply involves varying the speed of our walking, behaving as if we were a shadow, and being as silent as possible. Like the walk of attention, this can do wonders with perception and energy. Don Juans variation on this was to adopt an unaccustomed posture with the hands while walking, and then making a 180 degree field of awareness around you while looking straight ahead during this.
13. The Gait of Power To quote Sanchez: ...the gait of power consists of moving at great speed, utilising an unusual energy, without depending on the five senses in the ordinary way and without acquiring prior knowledge of the terrain, even in complete darkness. It is best done on uneven surfaces. It utilises a peculiar, ancient and perhaps pre-human energy which is buried in our bodies memory, even if we are not consciously aware of it. It is a knowledge of the body, which in itself is a change of perception and our energy.
14. Listening to Nature without Sight; Listening to Silences By stopping our main sense of vision, our other senses reach out, and this constitutes a change of perception and the flow of energy which we normally deal with.
15. Seeing with an Unfocussed View Looking at things without focussing can allow the development of etheric and auric vision; this could be developed into an exercise of second sight.
16. Ba Gua Gazing Gaze forward, with your arm held ahead of you and pointing to a spot some distance away. Focus your chi on this point, trying to project it. This will do a number of things. Continued exercise of this technique will develop your peripheral vision, until you have 180 degrees of perception.
17. Observing Shadows Rather than look at objects directly, look at their shadows. Again, a consciousness altering and perception technique, simple but effective in what it can change.
18. Walking backwards This, like the other walking techniques, can totally change your perception. For me, this is the quickest acting of the walking meditations.
19. Walking with a mirrored hat A variation of walking backwards, where you make a hat which has small mirrors, and only use these for walking backwards. Liminal vision can result - you will probably start seeing things in the mirrors as you walk backwards which are not a part of normal vision; this could be a variation of the Rosicrucian technique.
20. Walking blindfolded Another walking meditation, best done with someone else present.