A warrior treats his tonal in a very special manner. Life can be merciless with you if you are careless with your tonal. To see a man as a tonal entails that one cease judging him in a moral sense, or excusing him on the grounds that he is like a leaf at the mercy of the wind. In other words, it entails seeing a man without thinking that he is hopeless or helpless. You know exactly what I am talking about. One can assess people without condemning or forgiving them.

Youth is in no way a barrier against the deterioration of the tonal. You say you think there might be a great many reasons for one’s condition. I find that there is only one, our tonal. It is not that our tonal is weak because, for example, we drink; it is the other way around, one drinks because one’s tonal is weak. That weakness forces one to be what he is. This happens to all of us, in one form or another.

But aren’t I also justifying our behaviour by saying that it’s our tonal? No, I’m giving you an explanation that you have never encountered before. It is not a justification or a condemnation, though. Our tonals are weak and timid. All of us are more or less in the same boat.

There is no need to treat the body in an awful manner, but the fact is that all of us have learned to perfection how to make our tonal weak. I have called that indulging. Only a warrior has a proper tonal. The average man, at best, can have a right tonal.

A proper tonal is a tonal that is just right, balanced and harmonious. There are, roughly speaking, two sides to every tonal. One is the outer tonal, the fringe, the surface of the island. That’s the part related to action and acting, the rugged side. The other part is the decision and judgment, the inner tonal, softer, more delicate and more complex. The proper tonal is a tonal where the two levels are in perfect harmony and balance.

For a proper tonal everything on the island of the tonal is a challenge. Another way of saying it is that for a warrior everything in this world is a challenge. The greatest challenge of all, of course, is his bid for power. But power comes from the nagual, and when a warrior finds himself at the edge of the day it means that the hour of the nagual is approaching, the warrior’s hour of power.

One bids for power and that bidding is irreversible. I wouldn’t say that at the time power comes, that one is about to fulfill his destiny, because there is no destiny. The only thing that can be said then is that, at that point, one is about to fulfill his power.

A rule of thumb for a warrior is that he makes his decisions so carefully that nothing that may happen as a result of them can surprise him, much less drain his power. To be a warrior means to be humble and alert. When you come to see me you should come prepared to die. If you come here ready to die, there shouldn’t be any pitfalls, or any unwelcome surprises, or any unnecessary acts. Everything should gently fall into place because you’re expecting nothing.

It’s not that you have to live with all this. You are all this. A warrior doesn’t ever leave the island of the tonal. He uses it. This is your world. You can’t renounce it. It is useless to get angry and feel disappointed with oneself. All that that proves is that one’s tonal is involved in an internal battle; a battle within one’s tonal is one of the most inane contests I can think of. The tight life of a warrior is designed to end that struggle. From the beginning I have taught you to avoid wear and tear. The warrior’s way is harmony – the harmony between actions and decisions, at first, and then the harmony between tonal and nagual.

It is the tonal that has to relinquish control. The tonal is made to give up unnecessary things like self-importance and indulging, which only plunge it into boredom. The whole trouble is that the tonal clings to those things when it should be glad to rid itself of that crap. The task then is to convince the tonal to become free and fluid. That’s what a sorcerer needs before anything else, a strong, free tonal. The stronger it gets the less it clings to its doings, and the easier it is to shrink it.

The tonal shrinks at given times, especially when it is embarrassed. Once the tonal has shrunk, the nagual, if it is already in motion, no matter how small that motion is, will take over and achieve extraordinary deeds. The affairs of the nagual can be witnessed only with the body, not the reason. We are fluid, luminous beings made out of fibers. The agreement that we are solid objects is the tonal’s doings. When the tonal shrinks, extraordinary things are possible. But they are only extraordinary for the tonal.

The nagual, once it learns to surface, may cause great damage to the tonal by coming out without any control. Your tonal has to be convinced about all of this with reasons, your nagual with actions, until one props the other. As I have told you, the tonal rules, and yet it is very vulnerable. The nagual, on the other hand, never, or almost never, acts out; but when it does, it terrifies the tonal.

The tonal must be protected at any cost. The crown has to be taken away from it, but it must remain as the protected overseer. Any threat to the tonal always results in its death. And if the tonal dies, so does the whole man. Because of its inherent weakness the tonal is easily destroyed, and thus one of the balancing arts of the warrior is to make the nagual emerge in order to prop up the tonal. I say it is an art, because sorcerers know that only by boosting the tonal can the nagual emerge. That boosting is called personal power.

My advantage over you at this moment is that I know how to get to the nagual, and you don’t. But once I have gotten there I have no more advantage and no more knowledge than you. The nagual is only for witnessing. When one is dealing with the nagual, one should never look into it directly. The only way to look at the nagual is as if it were a common affair. One must blink in order to break the fixation. Our eyes are the eyes of the tonal, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that our eyes have been trained by the tonal, therefore the tonal claims them. One of the sources of an apprentice’s bafflement and discomfort is that his tonal doesn’t let go of his eyes. The day it does, his nagual will have won a great battle. Your obsession or, better yet, everyone’s obsession is to arrange the world according to the tonal’s rules; so every time we are confronted with the nagual, we go out of our way to make our eyes stiff and intransigent. I must appeal to the part of your tonal which understands this dilemma and you must make an effort to free your eyes. The point is to convince the tonal that there are worlds that can pass in front of the same windows. Let your eyes be free; let them be true windows. The eyes can be the windows to peer into boredom or to peek into that infinity.

All you have to do is to set up your intent as a customs house. Whenever you are in the world of the tonal, you should be an impeccable tonal; no time for irrational crap. But whenever you are in the world of the nagual, you should also be impeccable; no time for rational crap. For the warrior, intent is the gate in between. It closes completely behind him when he goes either way.

Another thing one should do when facing the nagual is to shift the line of the eyes from time to time, in order to break the spell of the nagual. Changing the position of the eyes always eases the burden of the tonal. This shifting should be done only as a relief, though, not as another way of palisading yourself to safeguard the order to the tonal.

If there are too many unnecessary items on your island you won’t be able to sustain the encounter with the nagual. No one is capable of surviving a deliberate encounter with the nagual without a long training. It takes years to prepare the tonal for such an encounter. Ordinarily, if an average man comes face to face with the nagual the shock would be so great that he would die. The goal of the warrior’s training then is not to teach him to hex or to charm, but to prepare his tonal not to crap out. A most difficult accomplishment. A warrior must be taught to be impeccable and thoroughly empty before he could even conceive witnessing the nagual.

The island of the tonal has to be swept clean and maintained clean. That’s the only alternative that a warrior has. A clean island offers no resistance; it is as if there were nothing there. Nothing that we may have gained in the course of our lives can reveal to us the designs of power. A warrior must struggle like a demon to shrink his tonal; and yet at the very moment the tonal shrinks, the warrior must reverse all that struggle to immediately halt that shrinking.

After the tonal shrinks, the warrior is closing the gate from the other side. As long as his tonal is unchallenged and his eyes are tuned only for the tonal’s world, the warrior is on the safe side of the fence. He’s on familiar ground and knows all the rules. But when his tonal shrinks, he is on the windy side, and that opening must be shut tight immediately, or he would be swept away.

As a rule the tonal must defend itself, at any cost, every time it is threatened; so it is of no real consequence how the tonal reacts in order to accomplish its defense. The only important matter is that the tonal of a warrior must become acquainted with other alternatives. What a teacher aims for, in this case, is the total weight of those possibilities. It is the weight of those new possibilities which helps to shrink the tonal. By the same token, it is the same weight which helps stop the tonal from shrinking out of the picture.

The nagual can perform extraordinary things, things that do not seem possible, things that are unthinkable for the tonal. But the extraordinary thing is that the performer has no way of knowing how those things happen. The secret of the sorcerer is that he knows how to get to the nagual, but once he gets there, your guess is as good as his as to what takes place.

Let’s say that the warrior learns to tune his will, to direct it to a pinpoint, to focus it wherever he wants. It is as if his will, which comes from the midsection of his body, is one single luminous fiber, a fiber that he can direct at any conceivable place. That fiber is the road to the nagual. Or I could also say that the warrior sinks into the nagual through that single fiber. Once he has sunk, the expression of the nagual is a matter of his personal temperament.

One of the aims of the warrior’s training is to cut the bewilderment of the tonal, until the warrior is so fluid that he can admit everything without admitting anything. The only way to fend off the nagual is to remain unaltered. The nagual is only for witnessing. So, we can talk about what we witness and about how we witness it. You want to take on the explanation of how it is all possible, though, and that is an abomination. You want to explain the nagual with the tonal. That is stupid. We make sense in talking only because we stay within certain boundaries, and those boundaries are not applicable to the nagual. To be a perfect tonal means to be aware of everything that takes place on the island of the tonal. It takes a gigantic struggle to clean the island of the tonal.

We interpret any unknown expression of the nagual as something we know. The nagual might be interpreted as a breeze shaking the leaves, or even as some strange light, perhaps a lightning bug of unusual size. If a man who doesn’t see is pressed, he would say that he thought he saw something but could not remember what. This is only natural. The man would be talking sense. After all, his eyes would have judged nothing extraordinary; being the eyes of the tonal they have to be limited to the tonal’s world, and in that world there is nothing staggeringly new, nothing which the eyes cannot apprehend and the tonal cannot explain.

In order to be an average tonal a man must have unity. His whole being must belong to the island of the tonal. Without that unity the man would go berserk; a sorcerer, however, has to break that unity, but without endangering his being. A sorcerer’s goal is to last; that is, he doesn’t take unnecessary risks, therefore he spends years sweeping his island until a moment when he could, in a manner of speaking, sneak off it.

The whispering of the nagual will come at times and then vanish. Don’t be afraid of it, or of any unusual sensation that you may have from now on. But above all, don’t indulge and become obsessed with those sensations.


Prev: The NagualTable of ContentsNext: Cleaning the Tonal

Leave a Reply