American Indian shamans create a new reality through sorcery. Changing perceptions is sorcery.
For this article I ask you to bear with vague terminology to be read intuitively rather than analytically. I draw heavily on analogy out of the Don Juan series of books written by Carlos Castaneda as well as the commentary on them, ‘Border Crossings’ written by Donald Lee Williams.
Don Juan explains sorcery like this: Perception happens through our assemblage point, situated in the energy field around our bodies, our coccon. This assemblage point selects internal and external emanations for alignment. The particular alignment of emanations that we perceive as the world is the result of where in our cocoon our assemblage point is currently located. The location of the assemblage point is determined by the human inventory (our personal reality) upheld by internal dialogue (our self-talk), resulting in habitual action, which keeps our personal reality in place.
The first step as aspiring sorcerers is to move the assemblage point to a different spot in our cocoon. To do this, we practice becoming more aware of our thoughts. Over time, this slowly dismantles our human inventory and without it, the assemblage point becomes free to move. The world as we know it, our personal reality, then loses in rigidity which is the crux of sorcery. Stopping the internal dialogue and practicing not-doing (the state of the observer) is the only way to accomplish that. We also practice non-attachment to counteract the tendency of fixation (forcing things to work out in a specific way). This tendency of fixation is important to bring under control because it becomes stronger as we grow in personal power.
Personal power is the product of clear perception. We use it to move the assemblage point to ever-new levels of awareness. This new state, the loosening and shifting of the assemblage point is initially riddled with uncertainty. The new position takes time to get used to. Some warriors spend years in limbo where they are neither average men nor sorcerers. The solution to this uncertainty, according to Don Juan, is living an impeccable life.
Impeccability is not morality, but simply the best use of our energy. We practice frugality, thoughtfulness, simplicity, innocence and lack of ego-feeding. Eventually, warriors become aware of what they already are: sorcerers. The difficulty is that the ego is extremely powerful. It only lets its victims go after a ferocious struggle.
Once the assemblage point has shifted from its habitual position, the shifts continue to ever new positions as awareness expands. The sorcerer can thus accept any kind of discontinuity at face value. As a result, sorcerers live in the twilight zone of “and yet”: When everything is crumbling around them, sorcerers accept that the situation is terrible. Then they immediately escape to “and yet…”. In practice, this means that warriors do their utmost and then, without any remorse or regrets, they relax and let spirit decide the outcome.
When the average man has the opportunity to move his assemblage point, he becomes frightened. His religious, academic and social background comes into play. They put pressure on him to return to the safety of the fold, to re-anchor his assemblage point in the prescribed position of normal living. Sorcery is freedom to perceive not only the everyday world, but everything else that is humanly possible.
The average man is afraid of sorcery, of freedom at his fingertips. He lacks the necessary energy to deal with sorcery because all his energy is already deployed dealing with his everyday world.
Men occasionally stumble on the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened – Winston Churchill
We cannot learn sorcery. Through impeccability we free up energy which enables us to handle some of the emanations which are inaccessible to us now.
Once the assemblage point moves beyond a certain point, it can assemble worlds entirely different from the world we know. Changing our perceptions is sorcery.
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