"What is a
curiosa?" I asked. She regarded me cheerfully and
explained that curiosas were witches who were no longer concerned with the
obvious aspects of sorcery: symbolic paraphenalia, rituals, and incantations.
"Curiosas," she whispered, "are beings preoccupied with things of
the eternal. They are like spiders, spinning fine, invisible threads between the
known and the unknown.
The Witch's Dream
How does one
explain the journey of a lifetime in a few short pages, particularly when that
journey is neither traditional nor acceptable in the eyes of the vast
majority of people living inside their comfortable Western society? To say this is a journey I have been on all
my life would be a foolish understatement, for that’s true of all of us. To call myself a shaman would be to invite
misunderstanding, though shamanism in its purest form comes closest
to explaining the nature of this quest than almost any other word.
It is a journey of the heart, involving all
aspects of the Self – the intellect, the body and the spirit. Several years ago, Orlando called me a
“medicine witch”, and I’ve found this to be the best job description for
myself, if one must accept roles or titles at all. The medicine witch is part magickal practitioner, part
healer, part visionary madwoman. The
medicine witch is part heretic, part quantum thinker, part dancer on the
tightrope between two worlds.
witch is the enlightened crone of the future whispering into the ear of her own bumbling
fool as that fool stumbles through the linear now.
I could attempt
to tell you about myself, but that would only paint a picture of my past – the
self of the known world, the self who has gone here or there, who has
accomplished this or that, who is really only the mechanism and not the ghost
inside the machine.
I could tell you, for example, that I grew up in
central Florida with a strict, abusive father and a loving but often absent
mother, but that would only give rise to speculation that this
account is nothing more than the delusions of an abused child. Or I could tell you that I overcame my
tumultuous childhood through an intense involvement in martial arts, the
philosophies of the 60s, and an even deeper preoccupation with the underground
community associated with the original Star
Trek, and that it was through that part of my past that I came to write my
first published novel, Killing Time.
I could even venture to tell you that I was never
satisfied being "just" the writer, and that I would often tell Wendy, "I don't want to be the writer, I want to be the character in the
book, living the grand adventure instead of only writing about
it." Ah, be careful what you wish for! But to tell you that would be to color your
opinions in another direction, perhaps, causing you to see me as a science
fiction writer. Therefore, you might
conclude, this is only another work of fiction,
perhaps cleverly disguised as truth, but fiction nonetheless.
Many people would feel better if that
were so. And so that conclusion will
become their perception, their reality.
Whitley Strieber’s experiences
related in his book, Communion (and
many subsequent works) were widely dismissed because he was also a horror
writer, or In Pursuit of Valis (aka The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick) is widely considered to be nothing more than
story ideas – fiction disguised as fact – so it may be with this undertaking
well. Just as many so-called scholars
would dismiss the phenomenally insightful works of
Carlos Castaneda because of their
admitted use of hallucinogens, so will people always struggle to preserve and protect the status quo of what they
consider to be Reality.
In reality, of
course, there’s no such thing as Reality.
There are only our separate realities – our personal notions of what’s right and wrong, our personal interpretations of religion and
politics, for example – yet wars are
fought in the name of ideology and heads severed from necks in the name of God
in an attempt to protect these status quo beliefs which have little if anything
to do with real Truth.
Barring cosmic catastrophe or
destruction of the planet, Man will
evolve – and the beginning of that evolution within an intelligent species will
be a thought, a concept, the idea
that we can change through the
application of our will.
And yet, what each of us must
understand is that our individual evolution is entirely our own
responsibility. No one is going to save us. No one can do it for
us. So when psychics or mystics or religious teachers try to tell us our
salvation or our evolution is "automatic", we need
to seriously call into question the belief systems that would propagate such
Unpopular as it is to say so, we aren't necessarily born with an immortal soul
just by virtue of being human. Instead, through the process of living,
through the application of unbending intent toward our own individual
evolution, we develop the spirit - the anima - which could be defined as
the ghost inside the machine, or in shamanic terms, the
Double. The other
self whispered of in mysticism for centuries. The self in eternity.
It isn't our automatic birthright, but it is within our ability.
We are born with the spark, but without
genuine effort on our own part, there will never be an eternal flame. That
flame is the personal cohesion of identity developed to a point at which it is
no longer merely individual molecules of energy attached to our organic
form. It is the I-Am, the Self made whole.
Through gathering our cohesion, through
learning the answer to the first question - Who Are You? - a Whole Self is
gradually carved apart from the abyss, an island in the stream that can
stand alone as a sentient point of view throughout eternity. None of us
can remember where we came from before we entered this life. But if we are
impeccable, we can choose where we go, and we can retain the self-identity
rather than merely discorporating into stray fragments of molecular energy.
is the nature of evolution.
Our minds are
vast, untapped sources of information
and power – and if we are fulfilling our potential as humans, surely we are striving to become more than human. We are no longer at the mercy of
random biological anomalies to force our evolution. We can force it for ourselves.
We can choose it. And it begins
with a thought.
These are the
types of messages being presented by Terence McKenna, Jacques Vallee, Robert
Anton Wilson, and scores of others like them.
They are the same types of messages once touted by great forward
thinkers of the past such as Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare and Ouspensky.
Yet it’s clear to see how
history has painted Crowley, and even easier to speculate how it might paint
Sadly, it’s human nature to discredit
the messenger instead of trying to understand the message. Philip Klass of the UFO community made a
second career of it. Richard de Mille, the
most persistent detractor of Carlos Castaneda, at one time appeared to be almost
obsessed with uncovering the truth about Castaneda rather than looking at
the truths of Castaneda. Now a new group, Sustained Action, has
taken up the torch in an attempt to discredit and symbolically crucify the
messenger instead of looking for even a moment at the veracity of the message.
Any messenger is only
human and can always be discredited
if it is your intention to do it. If it
makes you sleep better at night to think Strieber’s works are only fiction,
you’ll find a way to believe it. If it
shores up the foundation of your personal belief system to call Carlos Castaneda a
crackpot, that’s what you’ll do. We are
lazy, static creatures by nature. We
don’t want to give that up. We’ll kill
to protect it. And in some cases, we’ll
even kill the messenger so we don’t have to hear the message, so we don’t have
to see what is uncomfortable or inconvenient for us to see.
Galileo and Copernicus were persecuted
for going against the consensus reality of their day. Marco Polo was persecuted by the church to renounce what he had
seen in China, forced essentially to recreate his own personal
experience to be
more in keeping with the consensual reality of his Catholic peers.
These men were tortured because they were right,
not because they were wrong. When anything threatens our concept of
reality, we will fight it tooth and nail out of habit and programming rather than even considering that perhaps it
is our own definition of reality that could stand some redefining. Easier to say Joan of Arc was a witch than
to wonder what great source of
Knowledge she had tied into. Easier
to stomach the milk-toast explanations for life and death with which we’ve all been inundated than to go on that
great inward spirit quest to determine that we’re living on the flat earth of
our own perceptual limitations.
his book The Shaman's Body, Arnold Mindell offers one of the greatest insights into the nature of a
shamanic personality I have ever encountered:
it your fault if you remind others of dreams they do not want? And who can
blame the group, either for resistance to you or for the life-and-death struggle
that ensues? These people are fighting for their lives, equilibrium, homeostasis
- indeed, for the perpetuation of history. "Do not disturb us more
than we can take," they say.
a global viewpoint, you disturb your organizational system, and history must
fight for continuity. In this universal and fated interaction, the
warrior's friends become the voices of the web. Their warmth turns to
ice. They accuse you of unjustifiable behavior, egotism, and criminality
as they become possessed by their lawmaker role in this eternal drama of human
collective you live in must pursue you for what it experiences as criminal acts
and bring you to trial, just as you have challenged other rule breakers in the
past. Now it is you who enters into a life-and-death struggle with the
Arnold Mindell - The
Such is the nature of the shaman - to
be at odds with a world which insists on maintaining its status quo at all
costs. So rather than trying to lead the
reader to believe I am a monk-like scholar of mysticism, I will say up front
that I am nothing of the sort. I’ve
lived as weird a life as anyone ever has.
If you dig into my past, you can easily find fodder to discredit me a
hundred times over. If it would make
you sleep better, that's what you'll do.
In the beginning of this journey, I desperately wanted to sleep better. I didn’t want to believe what Orlando was
showing me, so I went through a period of trying to invalidate his teachings by
attempting to invalidate
tried to convince myself it was all some sort of hoax, that he knew these
things about my innermost thoughts because someone somewhere had told him, or
that it was only my imagination, some dark delusion. In the end (though this journey is far from over and, if I am
successful, will never end), I had to
make a decision of the heart and soul:
did I want to learn from this man or did I only want to learn about the
man himself? Did I want to put aside my
preconceived notions about the nature of reality and try to see what might lie
beyond, or did I want to cling tenaciously to The Real World because it enabled me
to sleep better?
Did I want to go on
believing the world was flat or did I have the courage and flexibility to try
to wrap my mind around a globe?
Each of you has
to answer those questions for yourself.
You can go back to sleep or you can strip away the blinders we’re all
born with as a mere result of being human, and stare into the face of your
own potential evolution. If you take
the journey for yourself – in whatever manner it comes to you – it’s the
scariest thing you’ll ever do, because you will come to truly
see that the
world we live in is truly a lie. And
once the blinders are gone, there’s no putting them back on, so I will give
you the same warning I was given in the beginning:
Be very sure
this is where you want to go, because there is no going back once the quest
Ultimately, I can only tell you about the
journey itself and how it has affected me, how it has taught me to see the
world, ourselves, life and death. I can
tell you what I have seen but only you can learn to see it if you find it
worthy of exploration. One of the best places to start would be with The
READING list, for it was through many of these books that my own struggle
for evolution and enlightenment initially began.
If I have any
regrets on this journey, the main one would be that I did not begin
keeping a journal until 1995. And as I
have proven to myself , the things we forget far outnumber the things we
I could legitimately say I have been involved in this journey most of my adult
life, this intensive phase of quantum discovery
me in November of 1994, yet the only notes I kept until December of 1995 were in
the form of a dream journal. It figures
that when the impetus was at its strongest, many of the ideas that were flying
wildly between those of us who had become wrapped up in this thing have been
lost in the void of time. During that first year, we barely slept we were so taken by this
is this thing? Ah, that’s the question.
What is the nature of this journey? The best I
can say is that it is a quest for an evolution of consciousness – not only
spiritual enlightenment, but a genuine evolution
of consciousness that would make us “other than human”. Maybe it will give us the ability to
transcend the threshold of death with our consciousness intact, creating a
continuity of Self into whatever might naturally come next. And if nothing
comes next, perhaps it will enable us to create
an afterlife, whether corporeal or non-corporeal remains to be seen.
That’s one possibility,
and though it might sound far-fetched and even impossible to you now, I ask
only that you keep an open mind.
Remember: there was one moment in all of ancient history when one single
ape looked beyond the trees and realized he could be more than what nature had
dealt him. Perhaps it was a need for warmth that caused him to take up
tools and build shelter. Perhaps it was hunger that taught him to hunt,
gather and, eventually, to farm. Whatever it was, it began with a thought
and with a need.
That one ape embraced evolution and fathered the human race. Those who
chose to remain behind are still in the trees. And now it's time to look
beyond the trees again.
It's time for the next evolution.
Magic, Sorcery & Quantum Shamans
FORWARD to The Flat