What, then, is the nagual? The nagual is the part of us which we do not deal with at all. The nagual is the part of us for which there is no description – no words, no names, no feelings, no knowledge. The nagual is not experience or intuition or consciousness. Those terms and everything else you may care to say are only items on the island of the tonal. The nagual, on the other hand, is only effect. The tonal begins at birth and ends at death, but the nagual never ends. The nagual has no limit. I’ve said that the nagual is where power hovers; that was only a way of alluding to it. By reasons of its effect, perhaps the nagual can be best understood in terms of power.

It is not mind, it is not soul, it is not the thoughts of men, it is not a state of grace or Heaven or pure intellect, or psyche, or energy, or vital force, or immortality, or life principle, or the Supreme Being, the Almighty, God – all of these are items on the island of the tonal. The tonal is, as I’ve already said, everything we think the world is composed of, including God, of course. In that sense, what we think of as God has no more importance other than being a part of the tonal of our time.

The nagual is at the service of the warrior. It can be witnessed, but it cannot be talked about. The nagual is there, surrounding the island of the tonal. There, where power hovers. We sense, from the moment we are born, that there are two parts to us. At the time of birth, and for a while after, we are all nagual. We sense, then, that in order to function we need a counterpart to what we have. The tonal is missing and that gives us, from the very beginning, a feeling of incompleteness. Then the tonal starts to develop and it becomes utterly important to our functioning, so important that it opaques the shine of the nagual, it overwhelms it. From the moment we become all tonal we do nothing else but to increment that old feeling of incompleteness which accompanies us from the moment of our birth, and which tells us constantly that there is another part to give us completeness.

From the moment we become all tonal we begin making pairs. We sense our two sides, but we always represent them with items of the tonal. We say that the two parts of us are the soul and the body. Or mind and matter. Or good and evil. God and Satan. We never realize, however, that we are merely paring things on the island, very much like paring coffee and tea, or bread and tortillas, or chilli and mustard. I tell you, we are weird animals. We get carried away and in our madness we believe ourselves to be making perfect sense.

What can one specifically find in that area beyond the island? There is no way of answering that. If I would say, Nothing, I would only make the nagual part of the tonal. All I can say is that there, beyond the island, one finds the nagual. But then you say, when I call it the nagual, aren’t I also placing it on the island? No. I named it only because I wanted to make you aware of it. I have named the tonal and the nagual as a true pair. That is all I have done.

We sense that there is another side to us. But when we try to pin down that other side the tonal gets hold of the baton, and as a director it is quite petty and jealous. It dazzles us with its cunningness and forces us to obliterate the slightest inkling of the other part of the true pair, the nagual. The nagual has consciousness. It is aware of everything. In order to talk about it we must borrow from the island of the tonal, therefore it is more convenient not to explain it but to simply recount its effects.

Are the nagual and the tonal within ourselves? you ask. You yourself would say that they are within ourselves. I myself would say that they are not, but neither of us would be right. The tonal of your time calls for you to maintain that everything dealing with your feelings and thoughts takes place within yourself. The sorcerers’ tonal says the opposite, everything is outside. Who’s right? No one. Inside, outside, it doesn’t really matter.

To explain all this is not that simple. No matter how clever the checkpoints of the tonal are the fact of the matter is that the nagual surfaces. Its coming to the surface is always inadvertent, though. The tonal’s great art is to suppress any manifestation of the nagual in such a manner that even if its presence should be the most obvious thing in the world, it is unnoticeable.

Let’s say that the tonal, since it is keenly aware of how taxing it is to speak of itself, has created the terms “I”, “myself”, and so forth as a balance and thanks to them it can talk with other tonals, or with itself, about itself.      Now when I say that the tonal forces us to do something, I don’t mean that there is a third party there. Obviously it forces itself to follow its own judgments. On certain occasions, however, or under certain special circumstances, something in the tonal itself becomes aware that there is more to us. It is like a voice that comes from the depths, the voice of the nagual. You see, the totality of ourselves is a natural condition which the tonal cannot obliterate altogether, and there are moments, especially in the life of a warrior, when the totality becomes apparent. At those moments one can surmise and assess what we really are.

When we die, we die with the totality of ourselves. A sorcerer asks the question: “If we’re going to die with the totality of ourselves, why not, then, live with that totality?”

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