Part 1: The Art of Dreaming – Carlos Castaneda

El solsticio de invierno y los misterios de Navidad
Part 2: The Art of Dreaming – Carlos Castaneda

Sorcery is the act of embodying some specialized theoretical and practical premises about the nature and role of perception in molding the universe around us.

Our world is only one in a cluster of consecutive worlds, arranged like the layers of an onion. Even though we have been energetically conditioned to perceive solely our world, we still have the capability of entering into those other realms, which are as real, unique, absolute, and engulfing as our own world is.

For us to perceive those other realms, not only do we have to covet them but we need to have sufficient energy to seize them. Their existence is constant and independent of our awareness, but their inaccessibility is entirely a consequence of our energetic conditioning. In other words, simply and solely because of that conditioning, we are compelled to assume that the world of daily life is the one and only possible world.

Believing that our energetic conditioning is correctable, sorcerers of ancient times developed a set of practices designed to recondition our energetic capabilities to perceive. They called this set of practices the art of dreaming . It’s the gateway to infinity.

Through dreaming we can perceive other worlds, which we can certainly describe, but we can’t describe what makes us perceive them. Yet we can feel how dreaming opens up those other realms. Dreaming seems to be a sensation–a process in our bodies, an awareness in our minds.

Dreaming instruction is divided into two parts. One is about dreaming procedures, the other about the purely abstract explanations of these procedures: an interplay between enticing one’s intellectual curiosity with the abstract principles of dreaming and guiding one to seek an outlet in its practices.

The human psyche is infinitely more complex than our mundane or academic reasoning has led us to believe.

The second attention is an energetic configuration of awareness.

In order to appreciate the position of dreamers and dreaming , one has to understand the struggle of modern-day sorcerers to steer sorcery away from concreteness toward the abstract.

Concreteness is the practical part of sorcery. The obsessive fixation of the mind on practices and techniques. And the unwarranted influence over people.

The abstract is the search for freedom, freedom to perceive, without obsessions, all that’s humanly possible. Present-day sorcerers seek the abstract because they seek freedom; they have no interest in concrete gains.

After lifelong discipline and training, sorcerers acquire the capacity to perceive the essence of things, a capacity they call seeing .

To perceive the energetic essence of things means that you perceive energy directly. By separating the social part of perception, you’ll perceive the essence of everything. Whatever we are perceiving is energy, but since we can’t directly perceive energy, we process our perception to fit a mold. This mold is the social part of perception, which you have to separate.

You have to separate it because it deliberately reduces the scope of what can be perceived and makes us believe that the mold into which we fit our perception is all that exists. For man to survive now, his perception must change at its social base.

This social base of perception is the physical certainty that the world is made of concrete objects. I call this a social base because a serious and fierce effort is put out by everybody to guide us to perceive the world the way we do.

Everything is energy. The whole universe is energy. The social base of our perception should be the physical certainty that energy is all there is. A mighty effort should be made to guide us to perceive energy as energy. Then we would have both alternatives at our fingertips.

To train people in such a fashion is possible and this is precisely what I am doing with you. I am teaching you a new way of perceiving, first, by making you realize we process our perception to fit a mold and, second, by fiercely guiding you to perceive energy directly. This method is very much like the one used to teach us to perceive the world of daily affairs.

Our entrapment in processing our perception to fit a social mold loses its power when we realize we have accepted this mold, as an inheritance from our ancestors, without bothering to examine it.

To perceive a world of hard objects that had either a positive or a negative value must have been utterly necessary for our ancestors’ survival. After ages of perceiving in such a manner, we are now forced to believe that the world is made up of objects.

It is unquestionably a world of objects. To prove it, all we have to do is bump into them. We are not arguing that. I am saying that this is first a world of energy; then it’s a world of objects. If we don’t start with the premise that it is a world of energy, we’ll never be able to perceive energy directly. We’ll always be stopped by the physical certainty of the hardness of objects.

Our way of perceiving is a predator’s way. There is another mode, the one I am familiarizing you with: the act of perceiving the essence of everything, energy itself, directly.

To perceive the essence of everything will make us understand, classify, and describe the world in entirely new, more exciting, more sophisticated terms. Terms that correspond to sorcery truths, which have no rational foundation and no relation whatsoever to the facts of our daily world but which are self-evident truths for the sorcerers who perceive energy directly and see the essence of everything.

For such sorcerers, the most significant act of sorcery is to see the essence of the universe. The essence of the universe resembles incandescent threads stretched into infinity in every conceivable direction, luminous filaments that are conscious of themselves in ways impossible for the human mind to comprehend.

From seeing the essence of the universe, sorcerers go on to see the energy essence of human beings and depict human beings as bright shapes that resemble giant eggs and call them luminous eggs.

When sorcerers see a human being they see a giant, luminous shape that floats, making, as it moves, a deep furrow in the energy of the earth, just as if the luminous shape had a taproot that was dragging.

The decisive finding of the sorcerers of antiquity and the crucial feature of human beings as luminous balls, is a round spot of intense brilliance, the size of a tennis ball, permanently lodged inside the luminous ball, flush with its surface, about two feet back from the crest of a person’s right shoulder blade.

The luminous ball is much larger than the human body. The spot of intense brilliance is part of this ball of energy, and it is located on a place at the height of the shoulder blades, an arm’s length from a person’s back. The old sorcerers named it the assemblage point after seeing what it does. It makes us perceive. In human beings, perception is assembled there, on that point. Seeing that all living beings have such a point of brilliance, the old sorcerers surmised that perception in general must take place on that spot, in whatever pertinent manner.

What they saw that made them conclude that perception takes place on the assemblage point was first, that out of the millions of the universe’s luminous energy filaments passing through the entire luminous ball, only a small number pass directly through the assemblage point, as should be expected since it is small in comparison with the whole.
Next, they saw that a spherical extra glow, slightly bigger than the assemblage point, always surrounds it, greatly intensifying the luminosity of the filaments passing directly through that glow.

Finally, they saw two things. One, that the assemblage points of human beings can dislodge themselves from the spot where they are usually located. And, two, that when the assemblage point is on its habitual position, perception and awareness seem to be normal, judging by the normal behavior of the subjects being observed. But when their assemblage points and surrounding glowing spheres are on a different position than the habitual one, their unusual behavior seems to be the proof that their awareness is different, that they are perceiving in an unfamiliar manner.
The conclusion the old sorcerers drew from all this was that the greater the displacement of the assemblage point from its customary position, the more unusual the consequent behavior and, evidently, the consequent awareness and perception.

Notice that when I talk about seeing , I always say “having the appearance of” or “seemed like.” Everything one sees is so unique that there is no way to talk about it except by comparing it to something known to us.

The most adequate example of this difficulty is the way sorcerers talk about the assemblage point and the glow that surrounds it. They describe them as brightness, yet it cannot be brightness, because seers see them without their eyes. They have to fill out the difference, however, and say that the assemblage point is a spot of light and that around it there is a halo, a glow. We are so visual, so ruled by our predator’s perception, that everything we see must be rendered in terms of what the predator’s eye normally sees.

After seeing what the assemblage point and its surrounding glow seemed to be doing, the old sorcerers advanced an explanation. They proposed that in human beings the assemblage point, by focusing its glowing sphere on the universe’s filaments of energy that pass directly through it, automatically and without premeditation assembles those filaments into a steady perception of the world.

How those filaments are assembled into a steady perception of the world, no one can possibly know. Sorcerers see the movement of energy, but just seeing the movement of energy cannot tell them how or why energy moves.

Seeing that millions of conscious energy filaments pass through the assemblage point, the old sorcerers postulated that in passing through it they come together, amassed by the glow that surrounds it. After seeing that the glow is extremely dim in people who have been rendered unconscious or are about to die, and that it is totally absent from corpses, they were convinced that this glow is awareness.

The assemblage point and its surrounding glow are the mark of life and consciousness. The inescapable conclusion of the sorcerers of antiquity was that awareness and perception go together and are tied to the assemblage point and the glow that surrounds it.

I can’t explain to you why, but there is no way sorcerers can be mistaken about their seeing . Now the conclusions they arrive at from their seeing might be wrong, but that would be because they are naive, uncultivated. In order to avoid this disaster, sorcerers have to cultivate their minds, in whatever form they can.

It certainly would be infinitely safer for sorcerers to remain solely at the level of describing what they see , but the temptation to conclude and explain, even if only to oneself, is far too great to resist.

When the assemblage point is displaced to another position, a new conglomerate of millions of luminous energy filaments come together on that point. The sorcerers of antiquity saw this and concluded that since the glow of awareness is always present wherever the assemblage point is, perception is automatically assembled there. Because of the different position of the assemblage point, the resulting world, however, cannot be our world of daily affairs.

The old sorcerers were capable of distinguishing two types of assemblage point displacement. One was a displacement to any position on the surface or in the interior of the luminous ball; this displacement they called a shift of the assemblage point. The other was a displacement to a position outside the luminous ball; they called this displacement a movement of the assemblage point. They found out that the difference between a shift and a movement was the nature of the perception each allows.

Since the shifts of the assemblage point are displacements within the luminous ball, the worlds engendered by them, no matter how bizarre or wondrous or unbelievable they might be, are still worlds within the human domain. The human domain is the energy filaments that pass through the entire luminous ball. By contrast, movements of the assemblage point, since they are displacements to positions outside the luminous ball, engage filaments of energy that are beyond the human realm. Perceiving such filaments engenders worlds that are beyond comprehension, inconceivable worlds with no trace of human antecedents in them.

This business of the assemblage point is an idea so farfetched, so inadmissible that there is only one thing for you to do. See the assemblage point! It isn’t that difficult to see . The difficulty is in breaking the retaining wall we all have in our minds that holds us in place. To break it, all we need is energy. Once we have energy, seeing happens to us by itself. The trick is in abandoning our fort of self-complacency and false security.

It is just a matter of having energy. The hard part is convincing yourself that it can be done. For this, you need to trust the nagual. The marvel of sorcery is that every sorcerer has to prove everything with his own experience. I am telling you about the principles of sorcery not with the hope that you will memorize them but with the hope that you will practice them.

Our link is with the spirit itself and only incidentally with the man who brings us its message.

The assemblage point has nothing to do with what we normally perceive as the body. It’s part of the luminous egg, which is our energy self.

It is displaced through energy currents. Jolts of energy, originating outside or inside our energy shape. These are usually unpredictable currents that happen randomly, but with sorcerers they are very predictable currents that obey the sorcerer’s intent .


Every sorcerer feels them. Every human being does, for that matter, but average human beings are too busy with their own pursuits to pay any attention to feelings like that.

When the assemblage point moves outside the energy shape it pushes the contours of the energy shape out, without breaking its energy boundaries.

The end result of a movement of the assemblage point is a total change in the energy shape of a human being. Instead of a ball or an egg, he becomes something resembling a smoking pipe. The tip of the stem is the assemblage point, and the bowl of the pipe is what remains of the luminous ball. If the assemblage point keeps on moving, a moment comes when the luminous ball becomes a thin line of energy. What makes mankind homogeneous is the fact that we are all luminous balls.

Another topic of our explanations is the indispensability of energetic uniformity and cohesion for the purpose of perceiving. Mankind perceives the world we know, in the terms we do, only because we share energetic uniformity and cohesion. We automatically attain these two conditions of energy in the course of our rearing. They are so taken for granted we do not realize their vital importance until we are faced with the possibility of perceiving worlds other than the world we know. At those moments, it becomes evident that we need a new appropriate energetic uniformity and cohesion to perceive coherently and totally.

Man’s energetic shape has uniformity in the sense that every human being on earth has the form of a ball or an egg. And the fact that man’s energy holds itself together as a ball or an egg proves it has cohesion. An example of a new uniformity and cohesion is the old sorcerers’ energetic shape when it became a line: every one of them uniformly became a line and cohesively remained a line. Uniformity and cohesion at a line level permitted those old sorcerers to perceive a homogeneous new world.

The key to acquiring uniformity and cohesion is the position of the assemblage point, or rather the fixation of the assemblage point.

Those old sorcerers could have reverted to being egglike but they did not. And then the line cohesion set in and made it impossible for them to go back. What really crystallized that line cohesion and prevented them but making the journey back was a matter of choice and greed. The scope of what those sorcerers were able to perceive and do as lines of energy was astronomically greater than what an average man or any average sorcerer can do or perceive.

The human domain when one is an energy ball is whatever energy filaments pass through the space within the ball’s boundaries. Normally, we perceive not all the human domain but perhaps only one thousandth of it. If we take this into consideration, the enormity of what the old sorcerers did becomes apparent; they extended themselves into a line a thousand times the size of a man as an energy ball and perceived all the energy filaments that passed through that line.
Make a giant effort to understand the new model of energy configuration I am outlining for you.

To understand all this certainly isn’t an exercise for your reason. I have no way of explaining what sorcerers mean by filaments inside and outside the human shape. When seers see the human energy shape, they see one single ball of energy. If there is another ball next to it, the other ball is seen again as a single ball of energy. The idea of a multitude of luminous balls comes from our knowledge of human crowds. In the universe of energy, there are only single individuals, alone, surrounded by the boundless. You must see that for yourself.

To rearrange uniformity and cohesion means to enter into the second attention by retaining the assemblage point on its new position and keeping it from sliding back to its original spot.

The old sorcerers called the result of fixing the assemblage point on new positions the second attention. And they treated the second attention as an area of all-inclusive activity, just as the attention of the daily world is. Sorcerers really have two complete areas for their endeavors: a small one, called the first attention or the awareness of our daily world or the fixation of the assemblage point on its habitual position; and a much larger area, the second attention or the awareness of other worlds or the fixation of the assemblage point on each of an enormous number of new positions.

Every time anyone enters into the second attention, the assemblage point is on a different position. To remember that experience, then, means to relocate the assemblage point on the exact position it occupied at the time those entrances into the second attention occurred. Not only do sorcerers have total and absolute recall but they relive every experience they had in the second attention by this act of returning their assemblage point to each of those specific positions.

Sorcerers dedicate a lifetime to fulfilling this task of remembering.

Learning something in the second attention is just like learning when we were children. What we learn remains with us for live.

Entering into the second attention forces you to sustain, for long periods of time, new positions of your assemblage point and to perceive coherently in them, that is to say, it forces you to rearrange your uniformity and cohesion.

The assemblage point becomes very easily displaced during sleep. Dreams are totally associated with that displacement. The greater the displacement, the more unusual the dream or vice versa: the more unusual the dream, the greater the displacement.

Sorcerers view dreaming as an extremely sophisticated art; the art of displacing the assemblage point at will from its habitual position in order to enhance and enlarge the scope of what can be perceived.

The art of dreaming is anchored on five conditions in the energy flow of human beings.

. Only the energy filaments that pass directly through the assemblage point can be assembled into coherent perception.

If the assemblage point is displaced to another position, no matter how minute the displacement, different and unaccustomed energy filaments begin to pass through it, engaging awareness and forcing the assembling of these unaccustomed energy fields into a steady, coherent perception.

In the course of ordinary dreams, the assemblage point becomes easily displaced by itself to another position on the surface or in the interior of the luminous egg.

The assemblage point can be made to move to positions outside the luminous egg, into the energy filaments of the universe at large.

Through discipline it is possible to cultivate and perform, in the course of sleep and ordinary dreams, a systematic displacement of the assemblage point.

As a preamble to the first lesson in dreaming , I will talk about the second attention as a progression: beginning as an idea that comes to us more like a curiosity than an actual possibility; turning into something that can only be felt, as a sensation is felt; and finally evolving into a state of being, or a realm of practicalities, or a preeminent force that opens for us worlds beyond our wildest fantasies.

Being a by-product of a displacement of the assemblage point, the second attention does not happen naturally but must be intended, beginning with intending it as an idea and ending up with intending it as a steady and controlled awareness of the assemblage points displacement.

The first step to power is to set up dreaming . To set up dreaming means to have a precise and practical command over the general situation of a dream.

This control is no different from the control we have over any situation in our daily lives. Sorcerers are used to it and get it every time they want or need to. In order for you to get used to it yourself I taught you to look at your hands while dreaming .

Explanations always call for deep thought. But when you actually dream, be as light as a feather. Dreaming has to be performed with integrity and seriousness, but in the midst of laughter and with the confidence of someone who doesn’t have a worry in the world. Only under these conditions can our dreams actually be turned into dreaming .

I selected your hands as something to look for in your dreams because they will always be there. Looking for anything else is just as valid provided that you pick one thing in advance and stay with it night after night until you succeed in finding it. The goal of the exercise is not finding a specific thing but engaging your dreaming attention.

The dreaming attention is the control one acquires over one’s dreams upon fixating the assemblage point on any new position to which it has been displaced during dreams. The dreaming attention is an incomprehensible facet of awareness that exists by itself, waiting for a moment when we would entice it, a moment when we would give it purpose; it is a veiled faculty that every one of us has in reserve but never has the opportunity to use in everyday life.

There are seven gates and dreamers have to open all seven of them, one at a time. There are entrances and exits in the energy flow of the universe. In the specific case of dreaming , there are seven entrances, experienced as obstacles, which sorcerers call the seven gates of dreaming .

The first gate is a threshold we must cross by becoming aware of a particular sensation before deep sleep. A sensation which is like a pleasant heaviness that doesn’t let us open our eyes. We reach that gate the instant we become aware that we’re falling asleep, suspended in darkness and heaviness. There are no steps to follow. One just intends to become aware of falling asleep.

Intent or intending is something very difficult to talk about. I or anyone else would sound idiotic trying to explain it. Bear that in mind when you hear what I have to say next: sorcerers intend anything they set themselves to intend , simply by intending it.

For sorcerers, because the statement I made pertains to intent and intending , understanding it pertains to the realm of energy. Sorcerers believe that if one would intend that statement for the energy body, the energy body would understand it in terms entirely different from those of the mind. The trick is to reach the energy body. For that you need energy.

The energy body would understand that statement in terms of a bodily feeling, which is hard to describe. You’ll have to experience it to know what I mean.

Intending is a subject not for your reason but for your energy body. At this point, you can’t yet comprehend the import of all this, not only because you don’t have sufficient energy but because you’re not intending anything. If you were, your energy body would comprehend immediately that the only way to intend is by focusing your intent on whatever you want to intend .

The goal of dreaming is to intend the energy body. In this particular instance, since we’re talking about the first gate of dreaming , the goal of dreaming is to intend that your energy body becomes aware that you are falling asleep. Don’t try to force yourself to be aware of falling asleep. Let your energy body do it. To intend is to wish without wishing, to do without doing.

Accept the challenge of intending . Put your silent determination, without a single thought, into convincing yourself that you have reached your energy body and that you are a dreamer . Doing this will automatically put you in the position to be aware that you are falling asleep.

When you hear that you have to convince yourself, you automatically become more rational. How can you convince yourself you are a dreamer when you know you are not? Intending is both: the act of convincing yourself you are indeed a dreamer , although you have never dreamt before, and the act of being convinced.

I don’t mean you have to tell yourself you are a dreamer and try your best to believe it. It isn’t that.

Intending is much simpler and, at the same time, infinitely more complex than that. It requires imagination, discipline, and purpose. In this case, to intend means that you get an unquestionable bodily knowledge that you are a dreamer .

You feel you are a dreamer with all the cells of your body.

You must reach your energy body on your own. Intending the first gate of dreaming is one of the means discovered by the sorcerers of antiquity for reaching the second attention and the energy body.

To ask a dreamer to find a determined item in his dreams is a subterfuge. The real issue is to become aware that one is falling asleep. And, strange as it may seem, that doesn’t happen by commanding oneself to be aware that one is falling asleep but by sustaining the sight of whatever one is looking at in a dream.

Dreamers take quick, deliberate glances at everything present in a dream. If they focus their dreaming attention on something specific, it is only as a point of departure. From there, dreamers move on to look at other items in the dream’s content, returning to the point of departure as many times as possible.

All that is required is your awareness of falling asleep. Dreaming has to be a very sober affair. No false movement can be afforded. Dreaming is a process of awakening, of gaining control. Our dreaming attention must be systematically exercised, for it is the door to the second attention.

The difference between the dreaming attention and the second attention is that the second attention is like an ocean, and the dreaming attention is like a river feeding into it. The second attention is the condition of being aware of total worlds, total like our world is total, while the dreaming attention is the condition of being aware of the items of our dreams.

The dreaming attention is the key to every movement in the sorcerers’ world. Among the multitude of items in our dreams, there exist real energetic interferences, things that have been put in our dreams extraneously, by an alien force. To be able to find them and follow them is sorcery.

Dreams are, if not a door, a hatch into other worlds. As such, dreams are a two-way street. Our awareness goes through that hatch into other realms, and those other realms send scouts into our dreams.

Those scouts are energy charges that get mixed with the items of our normal dreams. They are bursts of foreign energy that come into our dreams, and we interpret them as items familiar or unfamiliar to us.

Dreams are a hatch into other realms of perception. Through that hatch, currents of unfamiliar energy seep in. Then the mind or the brain or whatever takes those currents of energy and turns them into parts of our dreams.

Sorcerers are aware of those currents of foreign energy. They notice them and strive to isolate them from the normal items of their dreams.

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  1. Silvina dice:

    Hola Psiconautas
    Me gustaría recibir sus artículos.

  2. Juan Pablo dice:

    Por qué lo compartieron en Inglés y no en español…

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