Carlos Castaneda What Is A Nagual

By Ina Woolcott

The term Nagual has several definitions – one who is good in talking, shape shifter, witch and animal co-essence. Co-essence is the name of a being, which has its origins in ancient and widely accepted Mesoamerican beliefs that one part of our soul (or figures baring resemblance to humans i.e. gods) uncovers itself as a kind of animal, or a remarkable occurrence such as a loud clap of thunder or a strong gust of wind, of a spiritual nature. This belief is still current today in a lot of parts of Mesoamerica.

Shape-shifting can be perceived as a change in the physical form or shape of a person or animal. Sometimes this is referred to as metamorphosis, morphing, transformation, transmogrification, Therianthropy, mimic or by other terms.

Witches allegedly have supernatural or magical powers. They are of either sex and practise witchcraft. Male witches are generally called sorcerer, wizard, warlock or most commonly magician.

Carlos Castaneda used the term Nagual in his books to depict a person who has the skills to guide people to new areas of awareness and alternate realities just as valid as ours. Don Juan Matus, the shaman teacher of Carlos Castaneda often called himself the Nagual of his apprentices. Don Juan, describes the Nagual in one of Castaneda’s books to “… Turn everything into what it really is: the abstract, the spirit, the Nagual.” The Nagual is something hard to define or even name. It cant be known through words alone, it must be experienced to understand the true essence of what Nagual is.

The Nagual is also a state of awareness, where an alternate dimension of everyday reality is experienced. Some say Nagual is All That Is, and that it is concentrated into a shape known as the Tonal. The Nagual and Tonal being dual expressions of reality and existence, are seen either in the First Attention, where we experience the Tonal, or the Second Attention where we experience the Nagual.

Nagual’s in Carlos Castaneda’s system are a direct line to All That Is, and pass their knowledge on to their apprentices helping them obtain what some call ‘total freedom’. The apprentices goal is the Second Attention or Nagual awareness. In some traditions psychoactive plants are used to induce this state, and other states, of awareness. When able to perceive the Second Attention, one is regarded as a ‘seer’.

Modern beliefs based on Castaneda’s work see reality as multi-dimensional. It can be said that people only see a limited view of the multi dimensional reality for the duration of any given experience.

My People The Sioux Luther Standing Bear

When it was first published in 1928, Luther Standing Bear’s autobiographical account of his tribe and tribesmen was hailed by Van Wyck Brooks as “one of the most engaging and veracious we have ever had.” It remains a landmark in Indian literature, among the 1st books about Indians written from the Indian’s point of view by an Indian. Born in the 1860’s, to a Lakota chief, Standing Bear was in the first class at Carlisle Indian School, he witnessed the Ghost Dance uprising from the Pine Ridge Reservation, he toured Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, and devoted his later years to the Indian rights movement of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The introduction is written by the Winner of the National Humanities Medal, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Lakota Sioux), who is the author of 20 books, including “Completing the Circle” and “The Trickster and the Troll”, both available in Bison Books editions.

The Wind Is My Mother Bear Heart Molly Larkin

I love this book, I have read it many times and recommend it to anyone, whether interested in Native American Culture or not. This is a book about life. Easy to read, but jam packed with wisdom and direction.

What people have said:

“Every time I read a book where a native american speak I am in tears, the beautifulness and simplicity of their speech, and at the same time the deep meaing of their words and they connection with the Earth and all life is so natural for them…”

“Bear Heart has shown in simple words what honesty, courage, spirituality and beauty can really mean and how it can work to develop the reader and stir the soul. He says ‘find your own path’, at the same time I would suggest that him writing about his, will give a searcher a helping hand. The humour in the book is wonderful and the insight into the many levels that we can exist on can lead to a greater awareness of the universe we dwell in. I am left with respect for the immense humility he has displayed writing in this style. To be clear though, this book is not about being flowery or fanciful, Bear Heart’s story is about a tough journey as well as a wonder-full one and all who go down the spirit road will know what I mean by that. Thank you.”

The Wind Is My Mother, is a truly amazing book, by an even more amazing man. Grandfather Bear Heart tells us his story, from a child, up to the present time. It tells of his quest for knowledge about the ways of the Shaman, and his teachers along the way. Any time that I’m feeling depressed, I reread this book. It is a very uplifting work, and demonstrates that while the man is one of great Shamanic skills, he also is very humble, and humorous. Grandfather Bear Heart is a man of immense passion for Mother Earth and all her children. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Native American Spirituality, or just in becoming a better person. After reading it, try to attend one of the Bear Tribe’s Medicine Wheel Gatherings, where he frequently gives seminars. It, and he, will truly change your life, as it did mine.”