...this is not a work of fiction. What I am describing is alien to us; therefore, it seems unreal.
(From The Eagle's Gift; prologue)
Nothing in the world is a gift. Whatever there is to learn has to be learned the hard way.
Turn my concepts into a viable way of life by a process of repetition. Everything new in our lives, such as the sorcerers' concepts I am teaching you, must be repeated to us to the point of exhaustion before we open ourselves to it.
(taken from introduction in Journey To Ixtlan, and, as I explain in the foreword , done in the style I've used throughout this compilation: put into the form of being as though it were delivered from don Juan to each of us.)
The basic premise of sorcery for a sorcerer is that the world of everyday life is not real, or out there, as we believe it is. For a sorcerer, reality, or the world we all know, is only a description.
For the sake of validating this premise I will concentrate the best of my efforts into leading you into a genuine conviction that what you hold in mind as the world at hand is merely a description of the world; a description that has been pounded into you from the moment you were born.
Everyone who comes into contact with a child is a teacher who incessantly describes the world to him, until the moment when the child is capable of perceiving the world as it is described. We have no memory of that portentous moment, simply because none of us could possibly have had any point of reference to compare it to anything else. From that moment on, however, the child is a member . He knows the description of the world; and his membership becomes full-fledged, perhaps, when he is capable of making all the proper perceptual interpretations which, by conforming to that description, validate it.
The reality of our day-to-day life, then, consists of an endless flow of perceptual interpretations which we, the individuals who share a specific membership, have learned to make in common.
The idea that the perceptual interpretations that make up the world have a flow is congruous with the fact that they run uninterruptedly and are rarely, if ever, open to question. In fact the reality of the world we know is so taken for granted that the basic premise of sorcery, that our reality is merely one of many descriptions, can hardly be taken as a serious proposition.
Fortunately for you, I'm not concerned at all with whether or not you can take my proposition seriously, and thus I will proceed to elucidate my points, in spite of your opposition, your disbelief, and your inability to understand what I am saying. Thus, as a teacher of sorcery, my endeavor is to describe the world to you. Your difficulty in grasping my concepts and methods will stem from the fact that the units of my description are alien and incompatible with those of your own.
I am teaching you how to see as opposed to merely looking , and stopping the world is the first step to seeing .
Stopping the world is not a cryptic metaphor that really doesn't mean anything. And its scope and importance as one of the main propositions of my knowledge should not be misjudged.
I am teaching you how to stop the world . Nothing will work, however, if you are very stubborn. Be less stubborn, and you will probably stop the world with any of the techniques I teach you. Everything I will tell you to do is a technique for stopping the world .
The sorcerer's description of the world is perceivable. But our insistence on holding on to our standard version of reality renders us almost deaf and blind to it. I'm going to give you what I call "techniques for stopping the world."
When you begin this teaching, there is another reality, that is to say, there is a sorcery description of the world, which you do not know. As a sorcerer and a teacher, I am teaching you that description. What I am doing with you consists, therefore, in setting up that unknown reality by unfolding its description, adding increasingly more complex parts as you go along.
In order to arrive at seeing one first has to stop the world . Stopping the world is indeed an appropriate rendition of certain states of awareness in which the reality of everyday life is altered because the flow of interpretation, which ordinarily runs uninterruptedly, has been stopped by a set of circumstances alien to that flow. In this case the set of circumstances alien to our normal flow of interpretations is the sorcery description of the world. The precondition for stopping the world is that one has to be convinced; in other words, one has to learn the new description in a total sense, for the purpose of pitting it against the old one, and in that way break the dogmatic certainty, which we all share, that the validity of our perceptions, or our reality of the world, is not to be questioned.
After stopping the world the next step is seeing . By that I mean what could be categorized as responding to the perceptual solicitations of a world outside the description we have learned to call reality.
All these steps can only be understood in terms of the description to which they belong; a description that I'm endeavoring to give you. Let, then, this teaching be the source of entrance into that description.
The rest of the book is reached through the links here and at the end of each section.
1. The Teachings of don Juan
2. A Separate Reality
3. Journey to Ixtlan
4. Tales Of Power
5. The Second Ring of Power
6. The Eagle's Gift
7. The Fire From Within
8. The Power of Silence
9. The Art of Dreaming
12. The Active Side of Infinity
13. Appendix A thru E