I did see some strange fleeting black shadow projected on the
foliage of the trees.
It was either a shadow going back and forth or
various fleeting shadows moving side-to-side or straight up in the
air. They looked lie fat black fish to me, enormous fish. It was as
if gigantic swordfish were flying in the air. I was engrossed in the
Then, finally, it scared me. It became to dark to see the
foliage, yet I could still see the fleeting black shadows.
"What is it, don Juan?" I asked.
"[Long ago, the native sorcerer/shamans of Mexico] discovered that
we have a companion for life," he said, as clearly as he could.
have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos, and took
over the rule of our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The
predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile; helpless.
If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act
independently, it demands that we don't do so."
It was very dark around us, and that seemed to curtail any
expression on my part. If it had been daylight, I would have laughed
my head off.
In the dark, I felt quite inhibited.
"It's pitch black around us," don Juan said, "but if you look out of
the corner of your eye, you will still see fleeting shadows jumping
all around you."
He was right.
I could still see them. Their movement made me dizzy.
Don Juan turned on the light, and that seemed to dissipate
everything. Don Juan said,
"You have arrived, by your effort alone,
to what the shamans of ancient Mexico called the topic of topics. I
have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you
that something is holding us prisoner.
Indeed we are held prisoner!
This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico."
"Why has this predator taken over in the fashion that you're
describing, don Juan?" I asked.
"There must be a logical explanation."
"There is an explanation," don Juan replied, "which is the simplest
explanation in the world. They took over because we are food for
them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their
sustenance. Just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, gallineros,
the predators rear us in human coops, humaneros.
food is always available to them."
I felt that my head was shaking violently from side to side.
not express my profound sense of unease and discontentment, but my
body moved to bring it to the surface. I shook from head to toe
without any volition on my part.
I heard myself saying,
"No, no, no,
no. This is absurd, don Juan. What you're saying is something
monstrous. It simply can't be true, for sorcerers, or for average
men, or for anyone."
"Why not?" don Juan asked calmly. "Why not? Because it infuriates
"Yes, it infuriates me," I retorted. "Those claims are monstrous!"
"Well," he said, "you haven't heard all the claims yet. Wait a bit
longer and see how you feel.
"I'm going to subject you to a blitz.
That is, I'm going to subject your mind to tremendous onslaughts;
and you cannot get up and leave because you're caught. Not because
I'm holding you prisoner, but because something in you will prevent
you from leaving while another part of you is going to go truthfully
So brace yourself!"
There was something in me which I felt was a 'glutton for punishment'.
He was right. I wouldn't have left the house for the world; and yet
I didn't like one bit the inanities he was spouting.
Don Juan said,
"I want to appeal to your analytical mind.
Think for a moment, and
tell me how you would explain the contradiction between the
intelligence of man the engineer, and the stupidity of his systems
of beliefs; or the stupidity of his contradictory behavior.
Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of
beliefs; our ideas of good and evil; our social mores.
are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations, and dreams of
success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and
cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary,
"But how can they do this, don Juan?" I asked, somehow angered
further by what he was saying.
"Do they whisper all that in our ears
while we are asleep?"
"No, they don't do it that way. That's idiotic!" don Juan said,
"They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that.
In order to keep us obedient, meek and weak, the predators engaged
themselves in a stupendous maneuver - stupendous, of course, from the
point of view of a fighting strategist; a horrendous maneuver from
the point of view of those who suffer it.
They gave us their mind!
Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind which becomes our
The predators' mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, and
filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now.
"I know that even though you have never suffered hunger," he went on,
"you have food anxiety which is none other than the anxiety of the
predator who fears that any moment now its maneuver is going to be
uncovered, and its food is going to be denied.
Through the mind,
which after all is their mind, the predators inject into the lives
of human beings whatever is convenient for them. The predators
ensure in this manner a degree of security to act as a buffer
against their fear."
"It's not that I can't accept all this at face value, don Juan," I
said. "I could, but there's something so odious about it that it
actually repels me. It forces me to take a contradictory stand."
it's true that they eat us, how do they do it?"
Don Juan had a broad smile on his face.
He was as pleased as punch.
He explained that sorcerers see infant human beings as strange,
luminous balls of energy covered from the top to the bottom with a
glowing coat something like a plastic cover that is adjusted tightly
over their cocoon of energy.
He said that that glowing coat of
awareness was what the predators consumed, and that when a human
being reached adulthood, all that was left of that glowing coat of
awareness was a narrow fringe that went from the ground to the top
of the toes.
That fringe permitted mankind to continue living, but
only barely. As if I were in a dream, I heard don Juan explaining
that, to his knowledge, man was the only species that had the
glowing coat of awareness outside that luminous cocoon.
he became easy prey for an awareness of a different order; such as
the heavy awareness of the predator.
He then made the most damaging statement he had made so far. He said
that this narrow fringe of awareness was the epicenter of self-reflection
where man was irremediably caught. By playing on our self-reflection,
which is the only point of awareness left to us, the predators
create flares of awareness that they proceed to consume in a
ruthless, predatory fashion.
They give us inane problems that force
those flares of awareness to rise, and in this manner they keep us
alive in order for them to be fed with the energetic flare of our
There must have been something in what don Juan was
saying which was so devastating to me that at that point I actually
got sick to my stomach.
After a moment's pause long enough for me to recover, I asked don
"But why is it that the sorcerers of ancient Mexico and all
sorcerers today, although they see the predators, don't do anything
"There's nothing that you and I can do about it," don Juan said in a
grave, sad voice.
"All we can do is discipline ourselves to the
point where they will not touch us.
"How can you ask your fellow men to go through those rigors of
discipline? They'll laugh and make fun of you; and the more
aggressive ones will beat the shit out of you... and not so much
because they don't believe it.
Down in the depths of every human
being, there is an ancestral, visceral knowledge about the predators'
My analytical mind swung back and forth like a yo-yo.
It left me and
came back, and left me and came back again. Whatever don Juan was
proposing was preposterous, incredible. At the same time, it was a
most reasonable thing; so simple. It explained every kind of human
contradiction I could think of.
But how could one have taken all
Don Juan was pushing me into the path of an avalanche that would
take me down forever. I felt another wave of a threatening sensation.
The wave didn't stem from me, yet it was attached to me.
was doing something to me, mysteriously positive and terribly
negative at the same time. I sensed it as an attempt to cut a thin
film that seemed to be glued to me.
His eyes were fixed on mine in
an unblinking stare.
He moved his eyes away, and began to talk
without looking at me anymore.
"Whenever doubts plague you to a dangerous point," he said, "do
something pragmatic about it. Turn off the light. Pierce the
darkness; find out what you can see."
He got up to turn off the
lights. I stopped him.
"No, no, don Juan," I said, "don't turn off
the lights. I'm doing okay."
What I felt then was a most unusual, for me, fear of the darkness.
The mere thought of it made me pant. I definitely knew something
viscerally, but I wouldn't dare touch it, or bring it to the surface,
not in a million years!
"You saw the fleeting shadows against the trees," don Juan said,
sitting back against his chair.
"That's pretty good. I'd like you to
see them inside this room. You're not seeing anything. You're just
merely catching fleeting images. You have enough energy for that."
I feared that don Juan would get up anyway and turn off the lights,
which he did. Two seconds later, I was screaming my head off. Not
only did I catch a glimpse of those fleeting images, I heard them
buzzing by my ears.
Don Juan doubled up with laughter as he turned
on the lights.
"What a temperamental fellow!" he said.
"A total disbeliever, on the
one hand; and a total pragmatist on the other. You must arrange this
internal fight, otherwise you're going to swell up like a big toad
Don Juan kept on pushing his barb deeper and deeper into me.
sorcerers of ancient Mexico," he said, "saw the predator. They
called it the flyer because it leaps through the air. It is not a
pretty sight. It is a big shadow, impenetrably dark, a black shadow
that jumps through the air.
Then, it lands flat on the ground."
"The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the
idea of when it made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man
must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous
insights and feats of awareness that are mythological legends
And then everything seems to disappear, and we have now a
I wanted to get angry and call him a paranoiac, but somehow the
righteousness that was usually just underneath the surface of my
being wasn't there.
Something in me was beyond the point of asking
myself my favorite question: What if all that he said is true?
the moment he was talking to me that night, in my heart of hearts, I
felt that all of what he was saying was true, but at the same time
and with equal force, I felt that all that he was saying was
"What are you saying, don Juan?" I asked feebly.
My throat was
constricted. I could hardly breathe.
"What I'm saying is that what we have against us is not a simple
predator. It is very smart and organized. It follows a methodical
system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is
destined to be, is no longer magical. He's an average piece of meat.
There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is
being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional,
Don Juan's words were eliciting a strange, bodily reaction in me
comparable to the sensation of nausea.
It was as if I were going to
get sick to my stomach again. But the nausea was coming from the
bottom of my being, from the marrow of my bones. I convulsed
Don Juan shook me by the shoulders forcefully. I felt
my neck wobbling back and forth under the impact of his grip. The
maneuver calmed me down at once.
I felt more in control.
"This predator," don Juan said, "which, of course, is an inorganic
being, is not altogether invisible to us as other inorganic beings
are. I think as children we do see it, but we decide it's so
horrific that we don't want to think about it.
Children, of course,
could insist on focusing on the sight, but everybody else around
them dissuades them from doing so. The only alternative left for
mankind is discipline.
Discipline is the only deterrent. But by
discipline I don't mean harsh routines. I don't mean waking up every
morning at five-thirty and throwing cold water on yourself until
Sorcerers understand discipline as the capacity to face
with serenity odds that are not included in our expectations.
sorcerers, discipline is an art; the art of facing infinity without
flinching; not because they are strong and tough, but because they
are filled with awe."
"In what way would the sorcerers' discipline be a deterrent to the
flyers?" I asked.
Don Juan scrutinized my face as if to discover any signs of my
"Sorcerers say that discipline makes the glowing
coat of awareness unpalatable to the flyer.
The result is that the
predators become bewildered. An inedible glowing coat of awareness
is not part of their cognition, I suppose. After being bewildered,
they don't have any recourse other than refraining from continuing
their nefarious task.
If the predators don't eat our glowing coat of
awareness for a while, it will keep on growing.
"Simplifying this matter to the extreme, I can say that sorcerers,
by means of their discipline, push the predators away long enough to
allow their glowing coat of awareness to grow beyond the level of
the toes. Once it goes beyond the level of the toes, it grows back
to its natural size.
The sorcerers of ancient Mexico used to say
that the glowing coat of awareness is like a tree.
If it is not
pruned, it grows to its natural size and volume. As awareness
reaches levels higher than the toes, tremendous maneuvers of
perception become a matter of course.
"The grand trick of those sorcerers of ancient times was to burden
the flyers' mind with discipline. Sorcerers found out that if they
taxed the flyers' mind with inner silence, the foreign installation
would flee, and give any one of the practitioners involved in this
maneuver the total certainty of the mind's foreign origin.
mind control of these creatures] comes back, I assure you, but not
as strong; and a process begins in which the fleeing of the flyers'
mind becomes routine until one day it flees permanently.
"That's the day when you have to rely on your own devices which are
nearly zero. A sad day indeed!
There's no one to tell you what to
do. There's no mind of foreign origin to dictate the imbecilities
you're accustomed to. My teacher,
the nagual Julian, used to warn
all his disciples that this was the toughest day in a sorcerer's
life for the real mind that belongs to us.
The sum total of our
experience after a lifetime of domination has been rendered shy,
insecure, and shifty. Personally, I would say that the real battle
of sorcerers begins at that moment.
The rest is merely preparation."
I became genuinely agitated.
I wanted to know more, and yet a
strange feeling in me clamored for me to stop. It alluded to dark
results and punishment, something like the wrath of God descending
on me for tampering with something veiled by God himself. I made a
supreme effort to allow my curiosity to win.
I heard myself say,
do you mean, by taxing the flyers' mind?"
"Discipline taxes the foreign mind no end," he replied. "So, through
their discipline, sorcerers vanquish the foreign installation."
I was overwhelmed by his statements.
I believed that don Juan was
either certifiably insane or that he was telling me something so
awesome that it froze everything in me. I noticed, however how
quickly I rallied my energy to deny everything he had said. After an
instant of panic, I began to laugh, as if don Juan had told me a
I even heard myself saying,
"Don Juan, don Juan, you're
Don Juan seemed to understand everything I was experiencing. He
shook his head from side to side, and raised his eyes to the heavens
in a gesture of mock despair.
"I am so incorrigible, that I
am going to give the flyers' mind which you carry inside you one
more jolt. I am going to reveal to you one of the most extraordinary
secrets of sorcery. I am going to describe to you a finding that
took sorcerers thousands of years to verify and consolidate."
He looked at me, smiled maliciously, and said,
"The flyers' mind
flees forever when a sorcerer succeeds in grabbing on to the
vibrating force that holds us together as a conglomerate of energy
If a sorcerer maintains that pressure long enough, the
flyers' mind flees in defeat. And that's exactly what you are going
to do; hold on to the energy that binds you together."
I had the most inexplicable reaction I could have imagined.
Something in me actually shook, as if it had received a jolt. I
entered into a state of unwarranted fear, which I immediately
associated with my religious background.
Don Juan looked at me from head to toe.
"You are fearing the wrath
of God, aren't you?" he said. "Rest assured, that's not your fear.
It's the flyers' fear, because it knows that you will do exactly as
I'm telling you."
His words did not calm me at all.
I felt worse. I was actually
convulsing involuntarily, and I had no means to stop it.
"Don't worry," don Juan said calmly. "I know for a fact that those
attacks wear off very quickly. The flyer's mind has no concentration
After a moment, everything stopped as don Juan had predicted.
again that I was bewildered is a euphemism. This was the first time
in my life ever, with don Juan or alone, that I didn't know whether
I was coming or going. I wanted to get out of the chair and walk
around, but I was deathly afraid. I was filled with rational
assertions, and at the same time I was filled with an infantile fear.
I began to breathe deeply as a cold perspiration covered my entire
body. I had somehow unleashed on myself a most godawful sight: black,
fleeting shadows jumping all around me wherever I turned.
my eyes and rested my head on the arm of the stuffed chair.
"I don't know which way to turn, don Juan," I said.
"Tonight, you have really succeeded in getting me lost." Don Juan
"You're being torn by an internal struggle. Down in the depths
of you, you know that you are incapable of refusing the agreement
that an indispensable part of you, your glowing coat of awareness,
is going to serve as an incomprehensible source of nourishment to,
naturally, incomprehensible entities.
"And another part of you will stand against this situation with all
its might. The sorcerers' revolution is that they refuse to honor
agreements in which they did not participate. Nobody ever asked me
if I would consent to being eaten by beings of a different kind of
My parents just brought me into this world to be food,
like themselves, and that's the end of the story."
Don Juan stood up from his chair and stretched his arms and legs.
"We have been sitting here for hours. It's time to go into the
house. I'm going to eat. Do you want to eat with me?"
I declined. My stomach was in an uproar.
"I think you'd better go to sleep," he said. "The blitz has
I didn't need any further coaxing. I collapsed onto my bed, and fell
asleep like the dead.
[When I arrived] home, as time went by, the idea of the flyers
became one of the main fixations of my life. I got to the point
where I felt that don Juan was absolutely right about them. No
matter how hard I tried, I couldn't discard his logic.
The more I
thought about it, and the more I talked to and observed myself, and
my fellow men, the more intense the conviction that something was
rendering us incapable of any activity or any interaction or any
thought that didn't have the self as its focal point.
My concern, as well as the concern of everyone I knew or talked to,
was the self.
Since I couldn't find any explanation for such
universal homogeneity, I believed that don Juan's line of thought
was the most appropriate way of elucidating the phenomenon. I went
as deeply as I could into readings about myths and legends.
reading, I experienced something I had never felt before: Each of
the books I read was an interpretation of myths and legends. In each
one of those books, a homogeneous mind was palpable. The styles
differed, but the drive behind the words was homogeneously the same:
Even though the theme was something as abstract as myths and
legends, the authors always managed to insert statements about
The homogeneous drive behind every one of those books was not the
stated theme of the book. Instead, it was self-service. I had never
felt this before.
I attributed my reaction to don Juan's influence.
The unavoidable question that I posed to myself was: Is he
influencing me to see this, or is there really a foreign mind
dictating everything we do?
I lapsed, perforce, into denial again,
and I went insanely from denial to acceptance to denial. Something
in me knew that whatever don Juan was driving at was an energetic
fact; but something equally important in me knew that all of that
The end result of my internal struggle was a sense of foreboding;
the sense of something imminently dangerous coming at me. I made
extensive anthropological inquiries into the subject of the flyers
in other cultures, but I couldn't find any references to them
anywhere. Don Juan seemed to be the only source of information about
The next time I saw him, I instantly jumped to talk about the
"I have tried my best to be rational about this
subject matter, but I can't. There are moments when I fully agree
with you about the predators."
"Focus your attention on the fleeting shadows that you actually
see," don Juan said with a smile.
I told don Juan that those
fleeting shadows were going to be the end of my rational life.
them everywhere. Since I had left his house, I was incapable of
going to sleep in the dark. To sleep with the lights on did not
bother me at all. The moment I turned the lights off, however,
everything around me began to jump.
I never saw complete figures or
All I saw were fleeting black shadows.
"The flyers' mind has not left you," don Juan said.
"It has been
seriously injured. It's trying its best to rearrange its
relationship with you. But something in you is severed forever. The
flyer knows that. The real danger is that the flyers' mind may win
by getting you tired and forcing you to quit by playing the
contradiction between what it says and what I say.
"You see, the flyers' mind has no competitors. When it proposes
something, it agrees with its own proposition, and it makes you
believe that you've done something of worth.
The flyers' mind will
say to you that whatever Juan Matus is telling you is pure nonsense,
and then the same mind will agree with its own proposition, 'Yes, of
course, it is nonsense,' you will say. That's the way they overcome
"The flyers are an essential part of the universe, and they must be
taken as what they really are; awesome, monstrous. They are the
means by which the universe tests us. We are energetic probes
created by the universe," he continued as if he were oblivious to my
presence, "and it's because we are possessors of energy that has
awareness that we are the means by which the universe becomes aware
"The flyers are the implacable challengers. They cannot be taken as
anything else. If we succeed in doing that, the universe allows us