Beginning “Tales of power”

The two biggest themes so far in the book seem to be:


The physical and magical feats of adepts/sorcerers, like moving great distances at will, making objects appear, moving very quickly




The nagual/tonal


Tonal and nagual:


So far these correspond somewhat to the idea of ego and subconscious, but not exactly. Tonal is the ordinary consciousness that also somehow contains everything. In this regard, it’s similar to Trungpa Rinpoche‘s idea of ego (esp in that it contains things we’re not totally conscious of). At the same time, the idea of presence and lungta figure in- the tonal can be damaged or strong, intact or not. People with a damaged or messed up tonal (in the book, two old women who seem frail and timid, and an alcoholic vagrant) are contrasted with people who have a good “vibe” as it were (Indians who seem childlike and kind, and pleasant, and a woman who seems very attractive and together).


This ties into the other big idea so far, power. In fact, it’s pretty easy to, skeptically, make an argument that Castaneda is obsessed with power. The word comes up it seems at least once a page. This is very appealing and intriguing in its own way, but also a warning sign, I think. People reading spiritual books with a lust for power, or “siddhi” are probably prone to certain issues. Not that everyone isn’t, just that there are particular issues at play there.

So the nagual is somehow beyond even the most buried and hidden parts of the nagual. It’s the realm of power. Power “hovers” there. While tonal needs to be maintained, and reflects one’s lifestyle and state of mind, and also effects those, the nagual is more mysterious. It cannot be used consciously, as far as I can tell. It is infinite. At the same time, Don Juan talks about “his nagual” acting on Carlos.