Quantum Shaman: Castaneda, Shamanism. The Quest for Immortality Begins Here!
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The Message...
     and the Messenger


"When the student is ready,
the teacher will appear."

-old proverb


March, 2000


Through my involvement in the works of Carlos Castaneda, I have encountered a lot of people who seem far more interested in the “truth” of don Juan himself than in the truths he taught to Carlos and/or through Carlos, which probably explains why Castaneda himself became reclusive and touted the advantages of "being unknown".


At times, when I’ve mentioned an interest in Castaneda, I’ve been met with a smug snicker, and something along the lines of, “Oh, but don’t you know he’s been discredited?  Don’t you know that he was really in Los Angeles when he was claiming to be in Mexico?  Oh, my, I read all his books back in the 60s and 70s, but when I heard that, well, harrumph (puffing out chest), I just forgot about all that stuff entirely!”


How unfortunate.  By obsessing on one detail of a small truth, people blind themselves to any larger truths contained in the man's works.  (But that's what makes sheeple sleep better.)


Based on a lifetime of being on this journey and more than 12 years of intense involvement in this quest for an evolution of consciousness, I can state with unshakable certainty that the message given by Castaneda is entirely true, regardless of whether don Juan ever existed in the flesh or not.  You don’t have to take my word for it.  I didn’t have to take Carlos’s word for it.  I had to Do it and keep on doing it – and through my own journey, I have come to see that other shamans or mystics such as Castaneda have stumbled on a Truth so all-encompassing that words alone will never be sufficient to explain it, and words alone will never be sufficient to discredit it.


Through actually learning to stop the internal dialogue, through learning to see what Orlando calls the overlay, through encounters with allies which became possible only after I stopped clinging so tenaciously to the consensual reality, I have come to see that the message is altogether true.  The sorcerer’s world not only exists, but it is all around us – and it isn’t another world at all.  It’s this world, but seen through the eyes of freedom from the programs we’ve all been equipped with since the moment we were born.




And it’s because of those programs that shamans and mystics have traditionally brought their message into this world through allegory and archetypal personas.  Was don Juan real?  Of course!  He was, in the end, perhaps more real than Castaneda himself, for it is The Teachings of don Juan that have inspired so many and which serve as validation for a portion of our own individual journeys.  In a very short time, the world will not remember much about Carlos Castaneda, yet don Juan will live forever through his teachings.  Carlos was "just" the guy asking the questions. And yet, without the question, the answer has little meaning, and so ultimately each person’s journey is a yin/yang interaction between oneself and one’s teachers, whether those teachers are old Yaqui Indian sorcerers, or the inner wisdom available to all true seekers through the gnosis of meditation-with-intent.


Sadly, it is human nature to not only rebel against ideas that are in direct contradiction to our status quo reality, but to actively discredit the messenger in any way possible.  If you choose to believe Orlando or don Juan are fictional characters, then you will undoubtedly see all of this as just another work of fiction, and you will miss out on the message.  But... then again... you'll sleep better.


        "As the shaman, it is your nature to hold out a common apple and casually suggest to an apprentice that it is the forbidden fruit of all Knowledge. But more than that, it is within the shaman's ability to engender that belief within others, and through their belief, the apple becomes the fruit of all Knowledge, and once ingested the ecstasy of creation is passed on to another human being who might otherwise never have found it.  That it started out as nothing more than a grocery store apple is beside the point. This is the shaman's gift, the sorcerer's trick.  This is the creation of a new reality." 


If Castaneda intuitively sensed that no one would be interested in hearing the truth from a mere anthropologist, the shaman inside might have seen that the only way to impart the truth would be to put the words of the shaman in the mouth of a mystic – don Juan himself.  Was don Juan, then, only the alter-ego of Carlos Castaneda?  This has been the raging debate for decades.  But – ultimately – it doesn’t matter/


Oh, I’m sure plenty of folks would say that if Carlos lied about this or that, he’s probably lying about everything else.  And yet, I cannot stress this strongly enough: to anyone who has made any serious attempt at the journey, whether don Juan was really an old Yaqui Indian brujo in Mexico, or the shaman inside the skin of Carlos is irrelevant. The truths imparted through the collected works of Castaneda and other Toltec writers remain unshakable, regardless of the source.  So, perhaps Carlos wasn’t a very good anthropologist if his works are based on distortions of the truth, but he was undeniably a master shaman.  And, in the long run, the world has plenty of good anthropologists.  What we are lacking are visionaries with the ability not only to impart wisdom and truth to their fellow human beings, but also the means whereby to bring those truths into action.


And, of course, if one really thinks about it, the world we live in is largely built on illusions and misconceptions, right down to its core level.  Just to take one example with which all Westerners are intimately familiar, what is money?  Allegedly it represents a certain amount of gold in Fort Knox, but as we all fully well know, there isn't nearly enough gold in Fort Knox to back up all that green paper we're all scrambling and slaving our lives away to get, so... what is money? 


It's a symbol.  It's a tool, but is it real, or do we all simply agree to say that it has meaning and so it does?  We fight for it.  We'll lie, cheat and steal for it.  We'll even betray those we love for it.  And yet, in the final analysis, it's just one more illusion, one more agreed-upon icon that has no meaning beyond what we attribute to it.  In the same way, at some point in time, we all agreed to agree that gold has greater value than the petals of a wild rose.  It's arbitrary and it is a leg trap when the illusions take on greater significance than than the ghost inside the machine, the human spirit, the Self.


As Orlando has stressed:  reality is only what we agree it is.  The things we hold true are often only programs, so deeply imbedded in our human mainframe that we don't even recognize them until someone points them out.  Why is gold more valuable than silver?  Because it is more scarce?  Because someone in some past society thought it was prettier?  There is no logical reason for any of it, just as there is no logical reason for many of the things we take for granted - but as long as we are passive participants within the agreement, we are not free to experience the voice of the double, and mystery of the nagual, and the higher reality that lies beyond the programs themselves.


Quantum Shaman's Blog


An excerpt from my journal:


 We live in a made-up world where the reflections on the nuthouse walls have been mistaken for reality, yet we’ve been doing it so long that we think it is real.  The society we live in, the rules we live by, the morals and standards of the world are 100%, absolutely, completely, irrevocably, undeniably nuts!  And what’s even more nuts is that people refuse to see it, as if by their group denial, they can somehow believe that the white picket fence and the Norman Rockwell paintings represent “reality”.  Personally, I think it’s far  more likely that faeries, wizards and elves are real than the wholesome Americana we’ve all been programmed to believe in.


Sometimes I still hear my mother’s voice:  “Now Della, do you really think everybody else is crazy and you’re the only one who’s sane?”  Well, in a word – YES!  I really have come to see that 99.9% of the people in the world (or at least in this Western culture) are living in some kind of grand illusion.  They go to work to pay for the car to drive to work in.  They work to pay for basic human rights – food, shelter, heat – and the primary result of being magnanimously granted these basic human rights is that then they must work harder to pay for them. (At which point they are no longer "rights" but only commodities to be purchased for a price, and the value of human life has lost all meaning).


They buy “insurance” (if they have enough green slips of paper) to pay the medicine man for his pills (which are mostly placeboes anyway) and the reason they’re so sick in the first place is because they’ve worked themselves into all kinds of stress-related illnesses trying to gather enough green slips of paper with which to pay for the insurance to cover their stress-related illnesses.  Then one day when they're 65, they wake up and wonder where their lives went - but by then it's too late.  They've sold their souls for the house they live in, the car they drive, the watch on their wrist, the virtual money in their virtual bank account... and they don't have a single clue as to who they are.  Their life is over while they've been trapped in the prison of paying for the privilege of living.  And most of them have never really lived at all because the illusion is designed in such a fashion to insure that most of us never have enough of that illusory green paper to escape the prison until it is too late. 


Who’s more crazy?  The lunatics in the asylum or the lunatics running the asylum?  Yes, Mom, the world really is a nut-house and I’m ass-deep in cashews!




Only when we see the illusions do we have any possibility of stepping outside of them in order to embrace real change - not changing the external world, but changing how we see it and how we live within it once we recognize the multi-layered program for what it truly is.  When we do see the illusions for the first time, it's shocking, depressing, and downright scary (which is why most people choose to pretend they never saw it in the first place, and go right on living in it... but that's another story).  But to even see the overlay at all usually requires someone with their eyes already wide open to point it out to us - a teacher, a guide, a more spiritually evolved being.


Orlando teaches primarily through letters and gnosis (the art of silent knowing).  We've met him in person only a few times, yet those few meetings now many years in the past were destined to change our lives forever. To say Orlando is physically beautiful is to do him an injustice.  Admittedly, I was first drawn to him because of his attractiveness, and though I had never approached a stranger in such a blatant fashion, I found myself talking to him before I realized I had spoken.  Only in hindsight could I see that I was constrained to speak to him because he was my teacher.  I was physically and emotionally compelled  to approach this man – this “man” who stands 6’5, appears to be somewhere around 30 years old, has dark hair that brushes his collar, a light 5 o’clock shadow, and eyes that are contradictorily light in color, pale brown with brilliant flecks of green.


He has taught me more than anyone ever has, for he has taught me how to see the world both for the illusion it is and for the raw material of creation it can be when a person is willing to do the journey in earnest, willing to do the work it requires to strip away our automatic human programming in order to discover the truly magickal beings we are inside.


In essence, as Orlando first said to me in the beginning of our relationship, this is not a journey for someone with only a passing interest in a potential evolution of consciousness.  It is not a journey for someone who wants to believe they can be “saved” through belief, faith or divine intervention.  It is, instead, a journey of self-empowerment and self-Realization that can take the traveler as far as s/he cares to go.  So, in that regard, it is a journey that can serve the traveler in whatever manner s/he chooses.  It can be about an evolution of the spirit designed to insure a continuity of consciousness beyond the threshold of physical death, or it can even be a journey to seek immortality itself.


The only limits are those we place on ourselves through our limited perceptions, and through believing we already know what those limits are.  For me personally?  This journey began as a quest for immortality for the simple reason that the mere idea of death - oblivion, loss of identity, the Nothing at the bottom of the abyss - was altogether too horrific to bear.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  We are more than that.  We are better than that, or at least we have the potential to be better than that.  I wanted more of it.  I wanted to live forever.  More than even that, I wanted Wendy to live forever, for I could not bear the idea of a world without her.  So to save her, some form of immortality must exist.  And if it did not exist already, I would simply have to create it.  No other alternative is possible nor acceptable.  (Such is the nature of Intent).


 "Love is the reason, love is the motivation," Orlando has said many times.  Love of life.  Love of one another.  Love of Self in all its manifestations.  And yet, this isn't some hokey new-age message that will try to tell you love is all you need.  It's the motivator.  It's the reason.  But you are the little engine who has to climb the hill and build the immortal Self, gathering cohesion of  identity which can only be called "I Am."


At the bottom line, this need for continuity or eternal life is the basis of most of the world’s religions – yet this journey is not a religion.  It is a way of life, what don Juan and Orlando would call a way of Knowledge, a path of the heart.  If anyone offers to save you, run the other way.  If anyone tells you they can give you eternal life, run faster.  A truly evolved and enlightened teacher can perhaps instruct you in how to achieve this evolution for yourself, but no one - neither church nor man - can give it to you or do it for you.  You're on your own.


If Jesus ever existed, he was an evolved teacher, a master shaman who had figured it out for himself and who was trying to teach others how to achieve the same evolution.  But as already discussed in this chapter, humanity has a nasty habit of killing the messenger when they don't like the message.  Clearly, what Jesus and other mystics meant was that they could show us the way to self-salvation (continuity into eternity); but instead of allying ourselves to the Knowledge offered, we killed the messenger and rewrote the message to say, "I can give you eternal life."   (And so we sleep better, thinking our salvation is automatic merely by virtue of "believing" something).


What we believe won't save us.  Only what we Do will serve to define our identity sufficiently to withstand the maelstrom of eternity. The primary reason men and women ally themselves with any religion or spiritual belief is because – when all is said and done – they are seeking to be redeemed from the abyss of death. Whether the Christian seeks this salvation in the concept of entering heaven through the grace of God, or the Buddhist seeks it through reincarnation, or the alchemist through metamagickal transformation of the body, we are all seeking the same thing.


Regardless of the well-rehearsed lines we speak when we tell one another we are not afraid of death, we would much rather go right on living.  Or at least have some real assurance that the Self one recognizes in the private silence of one's own inner reality will continue beyond the barrier of mortal death.


Other than a devout atheist – if there are truly any devout atheists on their deathbeds – every living thing on Earth seeks its own individual continuity – one more day of living, one more hour, one more breath.  We seek our immortality in the continuity of consciousness beyond the threshold of “death”.


Unfortunately, through eons of programming and blind acceptance of reality as it is presented to us from the moment we are born, many of us have lost sight of the fact that the earth really wasn’t flat in the first place.  So when someone says, “Why, it’s a fact that all things die,” remember that it is only a fact insofar as perception, science and technology available to us right now are able to discern.  And, for that matter, who’s to say that there aren’t immortals alive on the planet right here and now, evolved beings who have overcome the “fact” that “all things die”?


Any “fact” is only true until it is proven false – and the “facts” of science are the most fleeting of all.  It was once a fact of science that Man could never fly.  Man could not go to the moon.  The flat earth was the center of the universe.  Science can only prove what it is capable of proving or disproving at any given moment in time.


As humans, we tend to think of ourselves as the most enlightened beings on the planet.  And yet, we perceive only what our 5 senses enable us to perceive.  As quantum science has indicated, there are other space/time continuums, other realities – not existing apart from us or on distant, far-flung planets, but all around us.  Right here.  Right now.  Just because we cannot perceive them with the physical senses doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  We can’t directly perceive a virus or atoms, yet these things exist.  Before science began to understand viruses, though, they were perceived as manifestations of demons or possession by spirits – and the consensual reality of the day treated them accordingly, often maiming or killing the patient in their attempts to cure him.  


It’s no different today, at least with regards to how we are killing ourselves with the limits of our own perceptions.  By automatically assuming that we will die, do we condemn ourselves automatically to death?  If we are programmed cell-deep, based on a consensual agreement stretching back millions of years, that we will die, do we have any reason to go on a quest for immortality?  It’s much easier to look at history and make the observation that “all things die” than it is to look beyond our present ability to perceive and ask if death is perhaps only one more virus we do not perceive accurately yet, and therefore do not begin to understand.  Not a virus that can be seen under a microscope, perhaps, but one which invades the human programming itself – right down to the level of DNA, to the level of consciousness itself.  Is death only another program, something we believe because we have not yet come to see and know other possibilities existing beyond our present perceptions?


"Consider this:  it will always be easier to take the road already built by those who have gone before, for the journey is well-mapped and the conveniences along the way even make the trip easy.  Ah, but what if that road you're on truly was first forged by a suicidal blind madman running headlong through the jungle with a sword, hacking out the path to his own death so he might find it waiting at the end of the way, and what if all of humanity timidly followed that demented fool just to see where he was going, but now they've been on that same fatal road ever since, never stopping to consider that there are many paths to the river, and not all of them need end with mortal death?" 

Is it possible that we die not because we must but because we believe we must?  In the same way that thinking we already know something will prevent us from learning anything more about it, does the consensual human belief – 6 billion strong – that we will all one day die create the reality wherein we do die?  Not because it is necessarily inevitable, but because we must fulfill the programming, even if it is we ourselves who are responsible for the program in the first place?  In short, we base our idea of reality on what we perceive instead of attempting to alter our perceptions to the point that a new reality becomes possible.


Quantum science has now confirmed that the very basic components of "reality" alter in response to the presence of an observer. In other words, "reality" knows we're here.  It knows we're watching.  And it appears to change because we're watching.  What does this tell us about ourselves and our programming?  Are we really only the passive, impotent handful of chemicals we've been taught to believe, or are we the gods themselves - co-creators of reality at a quantum level?  And if we are, can we not then change our nature through the process of creation?

"You cannot see a mortal breath, yet you can witness its effects on dandelions scattered on the wind of a wish, and so it is with the will, the invisible but tangible breath of your desire acting upon the physical world.  Ah, but the trick is this:  you have to believe it in order to see it and before you can believe it you need a reason.  Think on this, for it is the cornerstone of your new foundation, yes"


As long as the medical community as a whole accepted that certain illnesses such as epilepsy were the result of possession by demons, the patient was treated accordingly.  To the reality of the day, to the science of the times, this was just the way things were.  It no more occurred to them to question the diagnosis (demons) than it occurs to us to hold our hand in flame to determine whether or not it is hot.  It was simply an accepted part of reality – yet just as science and perception have evolved to demonstrate that demons are not at the root of epilepsy, the perceptions of a few have also evolved to enable firewalking and other so-called miracles (which could just as easily be called magick) which would be considered impossible by current, common standards of reality.


Reality is perception.  That’s what Orlando has spent the past ten years teaching us.  I often wonder if perhaps I have felt his influence in my life even prior to that time, since I have questioned if he is a being constrained by the linear flow of time at all.  He is an inhabitant of what I have come to call the seventh sense – though it could as easily be called the sorcerer's world, the third attention, or a level of evolved awareness existing both as part of this world and as part of whatever lies beyond the normal realm of our perceptions.  And it is from the seventh sense that all our grandest ideas and art come, and all our greatest teachers.  It is a world assembled not only with our five physical senses, but also with the addition of the sixth sense (telepathy, clairvoyance, pure perception, non-local awareness), and the result of that “assemblage point” is “the seventh sense".


In the seventh sense we might find a lot of strange goings-on – things that go bump in the night, faeries, wizards, time travelers, immortals of many different kinds.  In the seventh sense, we might also find ourselves – for it is not a land with which humans are unfamiliar, nor even a land we are forbidden to travel.  Indeed, it is a land that has been whispered of in myth and legend for as far back as time can measure. Human encounters with "the little people" of Ireland.  Strange but undeniable accounts of men and women vanishing into "otherworlds" for years, often for decades, yet when they return they haven't aged even a day.

In his book DIMENSIONS, Jacques Vallee deals with this subject in a most brilliant and astounding manner, likening these old legends to modern-day legends of human encounters with alien beings.  It is only our automatic programming that causes us to initially scoff and close our minds when we hear such tales, but if we're willing to even consider some new possibilities,  we can open ourselves to a vast world of incredible potential.


Unfortunately, these "otherworlds" known to the shamans and mystics are lands we have slowly but surely placed outside our normal human perceptions simply by refusing to perceive them – perhaps a milieu once as commonplace to us as cyberspace is in the early 21st century – but a milieu still accessible to us if we choose to see it, if we choose to seek it.  Instead of being accessed with the tools of mouse and keyboard, however, the tools used to access this otherworld of experience are the tools of perception – intent, will, and a force we can only call magick because it is a science not yet understood.


We can understand it.  And through understanding, we can even visit these otherworlds.  One day, through the completion of our individual evolution, perhaps we will even master the ability to stay, to live there as immortal citizens.  Perhaps on that day we will become the teachers and facilitators for other humans struggling to see beyond the limits of their five common senses. 


   "What exists is only perception and will and energy.  When that energy is at rest it tends to create the world of men and matter.  When the energy is in motion it tends to create all possibilities, governed only by perception."





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