Of Life of Our
Donner Grau - "BEING-IN-DREAMING"
Доннер-Грау - "Будучи в Полёте" - РУССКИЙ ПЕРЕВОД ЭТОЙ КНИГИ МОЖНО
not our Physical Body; We are Not the Physical Matter: We are
material inc. pictures and videos can be
taken from this website!
Флоринда Доннер-Грау - "Будучи в Полёте" - РУССКИЙ ПЕРЕВОД ЭТОЙ КНИГИ
МОЖНО НАЙТИ НИЖЕ, перевела с английского я.
Женщины - Dreamers, правда некоторые - более одарённые, чем другие !
Dreamer - это человек, который умеет себя гипнотизировать и поднимать
себя на более высокую вибрацию, зная или не зная этого. Обычно среди
мужчин это : Колдуны, первопроходцы Роберта Монро, маги, индийские
гуру, некоторые монахи и т.д. У всех Женщин этот дар есть из-за того,
что у них есть Матка (если она не вырезана), но этот дар иеется у очень
малого количества мужчин и этот дар ещё должен быть развит огромным
трудом. Dreaming-Awake - означает быть в самогипнозе, т.е. сознательно
или бессознательно поднимать себя выше, на более высокую вибрацию, не
теряя контроль над собой и исполняя поставленные задачи !
Women are Dreamers, though among them there are more gifted, then
others. Dreamer is a person, who can hypnotize herself and lift herself
up, to a faster and higher vibrational level. All Women are Dreamers,
but Dreamers among Men are usually: Sorcerers, Robert Monroe' s
Institute explorers, some magicians, indian gurus, some buddists, some
priests/cledgy and so on. All Women, because of their Womb (if it's
still inside), have this gift, but Men have to work a great deal to
develop this ability ! Dreaming-Awake is self-hypnosis, means
consciously or subconsciously raise herself to a higher consciousness
level (vibration), without loosing control and to perform certain
thousands of years most Women of Earth have been
living under unbearable conditions in order to make them to fly without
physical bodies to the New Universe and create new worlds there (esp.
new worlds of New Earth).
must rally around
them (men), lest (for fear) they want to lead themselves." Florinda Donner
"BEING-IN-DREAMING", p. 12.
Теперь поговорим о Времени
на 5м Уровне Сознания не существует, так как Энергия Времени слишком
низкой вибрации для 5го Уровня. А для Коммунизма - наоборот: Коммунизм
может только существовать на 5м Уровне Сознания и выше, но не на 3м
Уровне Сознания низкой и медленной вибрации. На 5м Уровне Сознания и
выше Время заменяется на 'Совершенно
Новую, Незнакомую Структуру'. Эта
Структура не что иное, как ИНТЕНСИВНОСТЬ СОЛНЕЧНОГО СВЕЧЕНИЯ, то есть
нужды во времени нет вообще, всё упирается в интенсивность свечения
Солнца (в волну его вибрации). Чем скорость вибрации Солнца быстрее
(волна короче), тем Солнце более зрелое, его интенсивность выше и оно
ближе к Источнику Всех Солнц. Это касается не только отдельного Солнца,
но всей Вселенной. Мы тоже иногда ломаем течение Времени, растягиваем
или сжимаем энергию Времени во время Планетарной Игры, но делаем это
неосознанно, не зная об этом. Тогда как Колдуны манипулируют Временем
для своих целей, прекрасно зная что и как это делать.
Ниже отрывок о природе Времени из книги "Находясь в
Полёте" - Флоринда Доннер, стр. 242 :
ломают течение Времени," ответила Флоринда на мои мысли. "Время, как мы
измеряем его, не существует, когда мы летаем, как летают Колдуны. Колдуны
растягивают или сжимают Время по желанию. Для Колдунов, Время - это не
минуты, часы или дни, а совершенно другая вещь.
Когда находишься в (Dreaming-Awake) в Осознанном Полёте на 5м Уровне
наша способность восприятия - повышена," продолжала она терпеливым,
неторопливым тоном. "Однако, когда дело доходит до восприятия там
Времени, происходит что-то совершенно другое. Восприятие Времени
вибрационно не доходит до 5го Уровня Сознания, а полностью аннулируется."
Она добавила, что Время всегда фактор Сознания, что осознавать время -
психологическое состояние, которое мы автоматически
трансформируем в физические измерения. Это настолько
вбито в нас силой, что мы можем подсознательно слышать, как часы
тикают внутри нас, которые подсознательно сохраняют Линию Времени. На
более высоком, 5м Уровне Сознания (Dreaming-Awake) эта способность отсуствует (там вибрация слишком высокая для
низкой вибрации энергии Времени! ЛМ),"
"Совершенно Новая, Незнакомая Структура
там Время и её не нужно стараться понимать или обсуждать, как мы
делаем это здесь со Временем. Колдуны не тратят Время на его измерение,
они заняты его использованием: растягиванием или сжатием Времени по
"Тогда всё, что я когда-либо буду знать о Dreaming-Awake это то, что
Время или растянули, или сжали," сказала
я, стараясь привыкнуть к её
сказала, что она и её товарищи постоянно
находятся на более высоком 5м Уровне Сознания
(Dreaming-Awake), хотя они никогда не
следят за этим, что это как раз было
их общее усилие, которое втянуло
меня в Dreaming-Awake.
"Ты что, намекаешь, что я тоже могу находиться в данный момент в
состоянии Dreaming-Awake?" спросила я, зная ответ, до того как она
"Если так, то что я сделала, чтобы достигнуть этого Уровня? Какие шаги
"Самый простой шаг, какой только можно вообразить," сказала Флоринда.
"Ты не разрешила себе быть такой, какая ты обычно. Это - Ключ, который
открывает все двери. Мы много раз тебе говорили разными путями, что
Колдовство - это совсем не то, что ты думаешь. Сказать это, чтобы
остановить себя от возврата к своей обычной персоне, и есть самый
сложный секрет Колдовства, звучит как идиотизм, но это не так. Это -
Ключ к Могуществу, поэтому является самой трудной вещью достичь для
Колдуна. И в то же время, это не что-то сложное или невозможное, чтобы
понять. Это не изумляет Разум и, как раз по этой самой причине, никто
подозревает об её Важности или не относится к этому серьёзно."
does not exist on the 5th Level of Consciousness, because the energy of
TIME has very low and slow vibration for the 5th Level. Vibrationally,
TIME suits only the 3d and the 4th Levels of Consciousness. For
COMMUNISM it is the opposite: COMMUNISM can only exist on the 5th and
higher Levels of Consciousness, but not on the 3d Level of low and slow
vibration. On the 5th Level and higher TIME is exchanged for a 'New,
Unfamiliar Structure'. This Structure is nothing, but INTENSITY OF
SUNLIGHT, it means, there is no need in TIME anymore, that everything
is dictated by INTENSITY OF SUNLIGHT (a wavelength of vibration of
Sun). The faster the speed of vibration of Sun (its wave is
shorter), the riper is that Sun, the higher its INTENSITY and the
closer that Sun is to the SOURCE OF ALL SUNS ! And that applies not
just to a separete Sun, but to the whole Universe. We also sometimes
can break Time's Flux, stretch and compress the energy of Time during
our Planetary Game. But we do it without knowing it, Sorcerers
manipulate Time's Flux, knowing, what they are doing.
Below is an extract
about Time from "Being in Dreaming" by Florinda Donner-Grau, p. 242:
break Time's Flux (Flow)," Florinda answered my thoughts. "Time, in the
fashion we measure it, doesn't exist, when one Dreams, the way
Sorcerers Dream. Sorcerers stretch or compress Time at will. For
Sorcerers, Time is not a matter of minutes or hours or days, but an
altogether different matter. When Dreaming-Awake, our perceptual
faculties are heightened," she proceeded in a patient, measured tone:
"However, when it comes to perceiving Time, something altogether
different happens. The perception of Time does not become heightened,
but is canceled out completely." She added, that Time is always a
factor of Consciousness; that is, to be aware of Time is a
psychological state, that we automatically transform into physical
measurements. It is so ingrained in us, that we can hear it, even when
we are not consciously aware of it, a clock ticking inside us,
subliminally keeping track of Time. In Dreaming-Awake, that capacity is
she emphasized. "A thoroughly New, Unfamiliar
somehow is not to be understood or interpreted, as we normally do with
Time, takes over."
"Then all I will ever consciously know about Dreaming-Awake is, that
Time has either been stretched or compressed," I said, trying to come
to grips with her elucidation (explanation).
will understand a
great deal more, than that," she assured me emphatically: "Once you become adept
(proficient, highly skilled, expert) at entering Heightened Awareness,
as Mariano Aureliano calls it, you'll be aware then of
whatever you wish, because Sorcerers are not involved in measuring Time. They are
involved in using it; in stretching or compressing it at will..."
said, that she and her companions were perennially (all the time) in a
state of Dreaming-Awake (not
visible to ordinary eyes, LM), that it was precisely
their joint effort, that pulled me into Dreaming-Awake, but that they never kept track of it.
you implying (hint), that I might be Dreaming-Awake now?" I asked,
knowing the answer before
she responded. "If I
am, what did I do to reach this state? What steps did I take?"
simplest step imaginable," Florinda said. "You didn't let yourself be
your Usual Self.
That is the Key, that opens doors. We have told you many
times and in many ways, that Sorcery is not at all, what you think it is. To say, that to stop
yourself from being your Usual Self, is Sorcery's most Complex Secret, sounds like idiocy, but
it isn't. It is the Key to Power, therefore the most difficult thing a Sorcerer does. And yet, it isn't
something complex or impossible to understand. It doesn't boggle
(baffle, elude) the Mind,
and for that reason
noone can even suspect its Importance or take it seriously.
Judging by the result of your latest Dreaming-Awake,
I can say, that
you have accumulated enough Energy, through preventing yourself from
being your Usual Self."
Dreaming: An Initiation into the Sorcerers' World” - by
Florinda Donner, 1991
version of “Being in Dreaming: An Initiation into the
- by Florinda Donner, 1991 is below russian version.
"The secret of a
Woman's strength is her Womb" - these words you will read in this book
My first contact with the sorcerers' world was not something I planned
or sought out. It was rather a fortuitous (unplanned) event. I met a
group of people in northern Mexico, in July of 1970, and they turned
out to be the strict followers of a sorcerers' tradition, belonging to
the Indians of pre-Columbian Mexico. That first meeting had a
long-range, overpowering effect on me. It introduced me to another
world, that coexists with ours. I have spent twenty years of my life
committed to that world. This is the account of how my involvement
began, and how it was spurred (stimulate) and directed by the
sorcerers, who were responsible for my being there. The most prominent
of them was a Woman, named Florinda Matus. She was my mentor and guide.
She was also the one, who gave me her name, Florinda, as a gift of Love
To call them
sorcerers is not my choice. Brujo or bruja, which mean sorcerer or
witch, are the Spanish terms they themselves use to denote (mark,
reveal, indicate) a male or a female practitioner. I have always
resented the negative connotation of those words, but the sorcerers
themselves put me at ease, once and for all by explaining that what is
meant by sorcery is something quite abstract; the ability, which some
people develop, to expand the limits of normal perception. The abstract
quality of sorcery voids (nullify, take out) automatically, then, any
positive or negative connotation (logic) of terms used to describe its
practitioners. Expanding the limits of normal perception is a concept,
that stems from the sorcerers' belief, that our choices in life are
limited, due to the fact, that they are defined by the Social Order.
Sorcerers believe, that the social order sets up our lists of options,
but we do the rest. By accepting only these choices, we set a limit to
our nearly limitless possibilities. This limitation, they say,
fortunately applies only to our social side and not to the other side
of us; a practically inaccessible side, which is not in the realm of
ordinary awareness. Their main endeavor, therefore, is to uncover that
side. They do this by breaking the frail, yet resilient, shield of
human assumptions about what we are and what we are capable of being.
Sorcerers acknowledge that in our world of daily affairs there are
people who probe into the unknown in pursuit of alternative views of
reality. The sorcerers contend that the ideal consequences of such
probings should be the capacity to draw from our findings the necessary
energy to change, and to detach ourselves from our definition of
argue that unfortunately such probings are essentially mental
endeavors. New thoughts and new ideas hardly ever change us. One of the
things I learned in the sorcerers' world was that without retreating
from the world, and without injuring themselves in the process,
sorcerers do accomplish the magnificent task of breaking the agreement
that has defined reality.
On an impulse, after attending the baptism of a friend's child in the
city of Nogales, Arizona, I
decided to cross the border into Mexico. As I was
leaving my friend's house, one of her guests, a Woman named Delia
asked me for
a ride to Hermosillo. She was a
dark-complexioned Woman, perhaps in her mid-forties, of medium height
stout (strong in body, sturdy, bold, brave) build. She was
powerfully big, with straight black hair, arranged into a thick braid. Her dark,
shiny eyes highlighted a shrewd, yet slightly girlish, round face. Certain,
that she was a Mexican, born in Arizona, I asked her, if she needed a
should I need a tourist card to enter my own country?" she retorted,
mannerism and speech inflection (alteration in pitch/tone of the voice)
made me think, you were from Arizona," I said.
parents were Indians from Oaxaca," she explained, "but I am a
are sharp Indians, who grow up in the city," she elucidated (explain,
clarify). There was an odd excitement
in her voice.
I was at a
loss to understand, as she added, "They take up the ways of the white
they are so
good at it, that they can fake their way into anything."
nothing to be proud of," I said judgingly. "It's certainly not too
complimentary to you, Mrs.
contrite (remorseful, penitent) expression on her face gave way to a
to a real Indian or to a real white man," she said cheekily, "but I am perfectly
satisfied with it myself." She leaned
toward me, and added, "Do call me Delia. I've the feeling, we're going
to be great
what to say,
I concentrated on the road. We drove in
silence to the check point. The guard
asked for my tourist card, but didn't ask for Delia's. He didn't seem
her - no
words or glances were exchanged between them. When I tried
to talk to Delia, she forcefully stopped me with an imperious
(domineering, dictatorial) movement of her hand. Then the
guard looked at me questioningly. Since I didn't say anything, he
and waved me on.
come the guard didn't ask for your papers?" I asked, when we were some
he knows me," she lied, and knowing, that I knew, she was lying, she
burst into a
think, I frightened him, and he didn't dare to talk to me," she lied
I decided to
change the subject, if only to save her from escalating her lies. I began to
talk about topics of current interest in the news; but mostly we drove
an uncomfortable or strained silence. It was like the desert around us;
(bare), and oddly reassuring.
shall I drop you?" I asked, as we drove into Hermosillo.
she said. "I always stay in the same hotel, when I'm in the city. I know the
owners well, and I'm sure I can arrange for you, to get the same rate I
gratefully accepted her offer. The hotel
was old and run down. The room I
was given, opened to a dusty courtyard. A double,
four-poster bed and a massive, old-fashioned dresser shrunk the room to
claustrophobic dimensions. A small
bathroom had been added, but a chamber pot was still under the bed: It
porcelain washing set on the dresser. The first
night was awful. I slept
fitfully (periodic), and in my dreams I was conscious of whispers and
things, and monstrous animals rose from behind the furniture. People
materialized from the corners; pale, ghostlike.
next day I drove around the city and its surroundings; and that night,
although I was exhausted, I
finally fell asleep into a hideous nightmare, I saw a dark,
amoeba-shaped creature stalking
(follow) me at the foot of the bed. Iridescent
(display of rainbow colors) tentacles hung from its cavernous crevices
(narrow crack/opening, cleft). As the
creature leaned over me, it breathed, making short, raspy sounds, that
died out into
(hoarse whistling sound).
My screams were smothered (suffocate, deprive) by its iridescent ropes,
tightening around my neck. Then all
went black, as the creature, which somehow
I knew to be female, crushed me by lying on top
of me. That
timeless moment between sleep and wakefulness was finally broken by the
my door, and the concerned voices of the hotel 'guests' (from Don Juan's group, LM)
out in the hall. I turned on
the light, and mumbled some apologies and explanations through the door. With the
nightmare, still sticking to my skin like sweat, I went into the
(hold back, cut off, suffocate) a scream, as I looked into the mirror.
The red lines across my throat and the evenly
spaced red dots, running down my chest, looked like an unfinished
I packed my bags. It was three o'clock in the morning, when I walked
lobby to pay my bill. "Where are
you going at this hour?" Delia Flores asked, emerging from the door
about your nightmare. You had the whole hotel worried." I was so
glad to see her, I put my arms around her, and began to sob.
there," she murmured soothingly, stroking my hair: "If you want
to, you can come and sleep in my room. I'll watch over you."
in this world will make me stay in this hotel," I said. "I'm returning
you often have nightmares?" she casually asked, leading me toward the
creaky (lapidated, unreliable) old couch in the
and on," I said. "I've suffered from nightmares all my life. I've
gotten sort of used to them. But tonight
it was different. It was the most real, the worst nightmare,
I've ever had." She gave me
an appraising, long look and then, slowly dragging her words, said,
get rid of your nightmares?"
she spoke, she gave a half glance over her shoulder toward the door, as
if afraid, that someone
might be listening there. "I know someone, who could truly help you."
would like that very much," I whispered, untying the scarf around my
neck to show her the red
the explicit details of my nightmare. I asked,
"Have you ever seen anything like this?"
pretty serious," she pronounced, carefully examining the lines across
shouldn't leave, before seeing the healer I have in mind.
She lives about a hundred miles south of here; about a two-hour ride." The
possibility of seeing a healer was most welcome to me. I had been
exposed to them since birth
was sick, my parents called a doctor, and as soon, as he left, our
would bundle me up and take me to a healer. As I grew
older and no longer wanted to be treated by a witchdoctor - none of my
were - she
(the housekeeper) convinced me, that it couldn't possibly do any harm
to be twice protected. The habit
was so ingrained in me that, when I moved to Los Angeles, I made sure
to see a
well, as a healer, whenever I was ill.
you think she will see me today?" I asked. Seeing her
uncomprehending expression, I reminded her, that it was already Sunday.
see you any day," Delia assured me. "Why don't you just wait for me
here, and I'll take you to
her. It won't take me but a minute to get my belongings together."
would you go out of your way to help me?" I asked, suddenly
disconcerted (upset, ruffle, perturb) by her offer.
"After all, I'm a perfect stranger to you."
she exclaimed, rising from the couch. She gazed
down at me indulgently (thoughtfully), as though she could sense the
nagging doubts, rising within me.
better reason could there be?" she asked rhetorically (showy,
perfect stranger is an act of folly (foolishness) or one of great
control. Mine is one
of great control." At a loss
for words, all I could do was to stare into her eyes, which seemed to
wonder and curiosity. There was
something strangely reassuring about her. It was not
only, that I trusted her, but I felt, as if I had known her all my
life. I sensed a link between
us; a closeness. And yet, as
I watched her disappear behind the door, to get her belongings, I
bags and bolting (run away, make off suddenly) for the car.
I didn't want to end up in a predicament (embarrassing situation,
dilemma, plight) by being daring, as I had so many times before. But some
inexplicable curiosity held me back, despite the familiar nagging
for nearly twenty minutes when a Woman, wearing a red pantsuit and platform
shoes, stepped out of the door behind the clerk's desk. She paused
underneath the light. With a
studied (carefully calculated) gesture, she threw her head back, so
that the curls of her blond wig shimmered in
the light. "You
recognize me, did you?" she laughed gleefully.
really you, Delia," I exclaimed, staring at her, open-mouthed.
do you think?" Still cackling (shrill brittle laughter, sound like
hen), she stepped out with me onto the sidewalk toward my car,
parked in front of the hotel.
She flung (hurl, throw carelessly) her basket and duffel bag (canvass
soldier bag) in the back seat of my small convertible, then sat beside me. Delia said:
"The healer, I'm taking you to see, says, that only the young and the
to look outrageous." Before I had
a chance to remind her, that she was neither, she confided, that she
she appeared to be. Her face was
radiant, as she turned toward me and exclaimed, "I wear this outfit,
like to dazzle my friends!" Whether she
meant me or the healer, she didn't say: I certainly was dazzled. It wasn't
only her clothes, that were different. Her whole demeanor (manner,
bearing) had changed.
There wasn't a trace of the aloof, circumspect (prudent, taking into
account all circumstances) Woman, who had traveled with me from Nogales to
a most enchanting trip," she pronounced, "especially, if we put the top down." Her voice
was happy and dreamy.
"I adore traveling at night with the top down." I readily
obliged (perform a courtesy, force) her. It was
almost four o'clock in the morning by the time we left Hermosillo
soft and black and speckled with stars, seemed higher, than any other
sky I had
drove fast, yet it seemed we were not moving. The gnarled
(misshapen) silhouettes of cactus and mesquite trees appeared and
disappeared endlessly under the
headlights. They seemed to be all the same shape; all the same size. "I packed us
some sweet rolls and a full thermos of champurrado (hot chocolate),"
Delia said, reaching for her
basket in the back seat. "It'll be morning, before we get to the
healer's house." She poured
me half a cup of the thick hot chocolate made with cornmeal, and fed
me, bite by
sort of Danish roll. "We're
driving through a magical land," she said, as she sipped the delicious
land populated by warring people."
warring people are they?" I asked, trying not to sound patronizing.
Yaqui people of Sonora," she said and kept quiet, perhaps measuring my
the Yaqui Indians, because they have been in constant war,"
she continued: "The
Spaniards first; and then the Mexicans- as recently, as 1934- have felt
the savagery (cruel, barbarous action), cunning, and
relentlessness of the Yaqui warriors."
don't admire war or warlike people," I said. Then, by way
of apologizing for my belligerent (state of being at war) tone, I
explained, that I came from a German
family, that had been torn apart by the war.
case is different," she maintained. "You don't have the Ideals of
a minute!" I protested. "It is precisely, because I espouse (adopt,
support) the Ideals of Freedom, that I find war
so abhorrent (disgusting, repellent)."
are talking about two different kinds of war," she insisted.
is war," I interjected.
kind of war," she went on, ignoring my interruption, "is between two
rulers and are fighting for supremacy." She leaned
toward me, and in an urgent whisper added, "The kind of war, I'm talking about, is
between a slave and the master, who thinks, that he owns people. Do you
I don't," I insisted stubbornly, and repeated, that war is war, no
matter what the reason.
can't agree with you," she said, and sighing loudly leaned back in her
reason for our philosophical disagreement," she continued, "is that
different social realities." Astonished
by her choice of words, I automatically slowed the car.
I didn't mean to be rude, but to hear her spout (gush in a rapid
stream) academic concepts, was so incongruous (unbelievable) and unexpected,
that I couldn't help, but laugh. Delia didn't
She watched me, smiling, thoroughly pleased with herself, and said, "When
you get to know my point of view, you may change your mind." She said
this so seriously and yet so kindly, that I felt ashamed of myself for
even apologize for laughing at me," she added, as if she had read my
apologize, Delia," I said and truly meant it. "I'm terribly sorry for
I was so
surprised by your statements, that I didn't know, what to do." I
glanced at her briefly, and
added contritely (remorseful, penitent), "So I laughed."
don't mean social apologies for your conduct," she said, shaking her
disappointment. "I mean apologies for not understanding the plight
(dilemma) of man."
don't know, what you're talking about," I said uneasily. I could feel
her eyes boring through me.
"As a Woman, you should
understand that plight very well," she said. "You have been a slave all
talking about, Delia?" I asked, irritated by her impertinence
(irrelevance). Then I immediately calmed down, certain, that the poor
Indian had no doubt an insufferable (not indurable; intolerable),
me, Delia, I'm quite free. I do as I please."
might do as
you please, but you're not free," she persisted: "You are a Woman, and
that automatically means, that you're at the mercy of men."
not at the
mercy of anybody!" I yelled. I couldn't tell, whether it was my
assertion (declaring without support) or my tone of voice, that made
Delia burst into loud guffaws (hearty burst of laughter). She laughed
at me as hard, as I had laughed at her before. "You seem to
be enjoying your revenge," I said, peeved (annoyed). "It's your turn to
laugh now, isn't it?" Suddenly
serious, she said:
not the same at all. You laughed at me, because you felt superior. A
slave, that talks like a master, always delights the master for a
interrupt her and tell her, that it hadn't even crossed my mind, to
think of her as a slave, or of me as a master, but she ignored my
In the same solemn tone she said, that the reason, she had laughed at
me, was because I had been rendered (caused to become) stupid and blind
to my own Womanhood.
with you, Delia?" I asked, puzzled. "You're deliberately insulting me."
readily agreed and giggled, completely indifferent to my rising anger.
She slapped my knee with a resounding (loud, long, reveberating) whack
concerns me," she went on, "is, that you don't even know, that by the
mere fact, that you're a Woman, you're a slave."
(summon, assemble, collect, gather) up all the patience, I was capable
of, I told Delia, that she was wrong: "No one is a slave nowadays."
slaves," Delia insisted. "Men enslave Women. Men befog (make foggy,
cause confusion, muddle) Women. Men's desire to brand Women, as their
property, befogs us," she declared: "That fog hangs around our necks,
like a yoke."
look made her smile. She lay back on the seat, clasping her hands on
her chest. "Sex
befogs Women," she added softly, yet emphatically: "Women are so
throughly befogged, that they can't consider the possibility, that
their low status in life is the direct end result of what is done to
ridiculous thing, I've ever heard," I pronounced.
Then, rather ponderously (consider carefully), I went into a long
diatribe (bitter, abusive criticism) about the social, economic, and
political reasons for Women's low status. At great length I talked
about the changes, that have taken place in the last decades; how Women
have been quite successful in their fight against male supremacy.
Peeved (annoyed) by her mocking
(ridicule, mimic, imitate, delude, counterfeit, disappoint) expression,
I couldn't refrain (curb, restrain or hold oneself back) from
remarking, that she was no doubt prejudiced by her own experiences; by
her own perspective in time. Delia's whole body shook with suppressed
mirth. She made an effort to contain (confine, restrain, keep within
limits) herself and said:
"Nothing has really changed. Women are slaves. We've been reared to be
slaves. The slaves, who are educated are now busy, addressing the
social and political abuses, committed against Women. None of the
slaves, though, can focus on the root of their slavery- the Sexual Act
- unless it involves rape or is related to some other form of physical
A little smile parted her lips, as she said, that religious men,
philosophers, and men of science have for centuries maintained, and of
course still do, that men and women must
follow a biological, 'God-given' imperative (extremely important,
essential, obligatory) having to do directly with their sexual
reproductive capabilities. "We have been
conditioned to believe, that sex is good for us," she stressed:
"This inherent belief and acceptance has incapacitated (deprive of
strength or ability, disqualify) us to ask the right question."
is that?" I asked, trying hard not to laugh at her utterly erroneous
convictions. Delia didn't seem to have heard me. She was silent for so
I thought she had dozed off. I was startled, when she said :
"The question, that noone dares ask, is, what does it do to us, Women,
to get laid (to have sexual intercourse with a man)?"
Delia," I chided
(scold, reprimand) in mock (ridicule, mimicing) consternation (sudden
confusion, amazement, frustration).
is so total, we will focus on every other issue of our inferiority,
except the one, that is the cause of it all," she maintained.
Delia, we can't do without sex," I laughed. "What would happen to the
human race if we don't..."
checked my question and my laughter with an imperative (extremely
important) gesture of her hand. "Nowadays,
Women like yourself,
in their zeal (passion, enthusiastic devotion, extreme commitment) for
equality, imitate men," she said: "Women imitate men to such an absurd
degree, that the sex, they are interested in, has nothing to do with
reproduction. They equate Freedom with sex, without ever considering,
what sex does to their physical and emotional well-being. We have been
so thoroughly indoctrinated, we firmly believe, that sex is good for
She nudged (push gently) me with her elbow, and then, as if she were
reciting a chant, she added in a sing-song tone, "Sex is good for us.
It's pleasurable. It's necessary. It alleviates depression, repression,
and frustration. It cures headaches, low and high blood pressure. It
makes pimples disappear. It makes your tits and ass grow. It regulates
your menstrual cycle. In short, it's fantastic! It's good for Women.
Everyone says so. Everyone recommends it." She paused
for an instant, and then pronounced with dramatic finality, "A fuck a
day keeps the doctor away."
statements terribly funny, but then I sobered (make more
thoughtful) abruptly, as I remembered, how my family and friends,
including our family doctor, had suggested - not so crudely (not
carefully, skillfully) to be sure - sex, as a cure for all the
adolescent ailments, I had had growing up in a strictly
had said, that once I was married, I would have regular menstrual
cycles. I would gain weight. I would sleep better. I would be sweet
anything wrong with wanting sex and love," I said defensively:
"Whatever I've experienced of it, I have liked very much. And noone
befogs me. I'm free ! I choose, whom I want and when I want it." There was a
spark of glee in Delia's dark eyes when she said:
"Choosing your partner does in no way alter the fact, that you're being
with a smile,
as if to
mitigate (relieve, alliviate, moderate in force and intensity) the
harshness of her tone, she added, "To equate Freedom with sex is the
ultimate irony. Men's befogging is so complete, so total, it has zapped
us of the needed Energy and imagination to focus on the real cause of
want a man sexually or to fall in love with one romantically are the
only two choices given to the slaves. And all the things, we have been
told about these two choices, are nothing, but excuses, that pull us
into complicity (complex) and ignorance."
I was indignant (outraged) with her. I couldn't help, but think, that
she was some kind of repressed, man-hating shrew (woman of violent,
"Why do you
dislike men so much, Delia?" I asked in my most cynical tone.
don't dislike them," she assured me: "What I passionately object to is
our reluctance to examine, how thoroughly indoctrinated we are. The
pressure, put upon us, is so fierce and self-righteous, that we have
become willing accomplices (partners).
Whoever dares to differ is dismissed (discharge, reject, rid one's mind
of, dispel) and mocked, as a man-hater or as a freak (capricious,
abnormal)." Blushing, I
glanced at her surreptitiously (secretly). I decided, that she could
talk so disparagingly
(reduce in esteem, discredit, decry) about sex and love, because she
was, after all, old. Physical desires were all behind her. Chuckling
(laugh quietly or to oneself) softly, Delia put her hands behind her
head : "My
physical desires are not behind me, because I'm old," she confided,
because I've been given a chance to use my energy and imagination to
become something different, than the slave, I was raised to be." I felt
thoroughly insulted rather, than surprised, that she had read my
defend myself, but my words only triggered more laughter. As soon, as
she stopped, she turned toward me. Her face was
as stern and serious, as that of a teacher, about to scold (reprimand
harshly/noisily) a pupil.
you are not a slave, how come they reared you to be a Hausfrau
asked. "And how come all you think about is to
heiraten (marry), and about your future Herr Gemahl (husband), who will
Dich mitnehmen (give you his name)?" I laughed so
hard at her use of German, I had to stop the car, lest we have an
interested in finding out where she had learned German so well, I
forgot to defend myself from
her unflattering remarks, that all I wanted in life was to find a
of how hard I pleaded, however, she disdainfully (despise, consider
unworthy) ignored my interest in her German. "You and I
will have plenty of time to talk about my German later," she assured me. She regarded
me mockingly and added, "Or about your being a slave."
I had a chance to retort (reply, answer), she suggested, that we talk
about something impersonal.
what?" I asked, starting the car again. Adjusting
the seat in an almost reclining position, Delia closed her eyes.
me tell you something about the four most famous leaders of the
Yaquis," she said softly: "I'm
interested in leaders; in their successes or their failures."
I had a chance to grumble, that I really wasn't that interested in war
stories, Delia said, that
Calixto Muni was the first Yaqui leader, who had attracted her
She wasn't a
gifted storyteller. Her account was straightforward, almost academic,
yet I was
on her every word. Calixto Muni
had been an Indian, who had sailed for years under the pirates' flag in
return to his native Sonora, he led a military uprising against the
Spaniards in the 1730s.
Betrayed, he was captured and executed by the Spaniards. Then Delia
gave me a long and sophisticated elucidation (explain, clarify) of how
during the 1820s, after the Mexican
independence was achieved and the Mexican government attempted to parcel out
the Yaqui lands, a resistance movement turned into a widespread
It was Juan
Bandera, she said, who, guided by the spirit itself, organized military
only with bows and arrows, Bandera's warriors fought the Mexican troops for nearly
ten years. In 1832, Juan Bandera was defeated and executed. Delia said,
that the next leader of renown was Jose Maria Leyva, better known as
was a Yaqui from Hermosillo. He was educated, and had acquired vast
military skills fighting in
the Mexican army. Thanks to
those skills, he unified all the Yaqui towns. From his first uprising
Cajeme kept his army in an active state of revolt. He was
defeated by the Mexican army in 1887 in Buatachive; a fortified mountain stronghold.
Although Cajeme managed to escape and hide in Guay-mas, he was eventually
betrayed and executed. The last of
the great Yaqui heroes was Juan Maldonado, also known as Tetabiate -
reorganized the remnants of the Yaqui forces in the Bacatete Mountains,
ferocious and desperate guerrilla warfare against Mexican troops for
the turn of the century," Delia wrapped up her stories, "the dictator
Porfirio Diaz had inaugurated
(begin as a president/prime-minister, start officially) a campaign of
Yaqui extermination. Indians were
shot down as they worked in the fields. Thousands
were rounded up and shipped to Yucatan to work in the henequen (plant
for making ropes) plantations,
and to Oaxaca to work in the sugar cane fields."
was impressed by her knowledge, but I still couldn't figure out why she
had told me all this. I said
admiringly, "You sound like a scholar; a historian in the Yaqui way of
an instant she seemed to be taken aback by my question, which was
purely rhetorical (showy, insincere), then she
quickly recovered and said, "I've told you who I am. I just
happen to know a great deal about the Yaquis. I live around them, you
silent for a moment, then nodded, as if she had reached some conclusion
added, "The reason, I've told you about the Yaqui leaders, is, because it is up to
to know the strength and the weakness of the leader."
I asked, puzzled. "Who cares about leaders? They are all nincompoops
(fools, blockheads) as far, as I'm
scratched her head under the wig, then sneezed repeatedly and said with
Women must rally (gather) around men, lest (unless) Women want to lead
are they going to lead?" I asked sarcastically. She looked
at me, astonished, then rubbed her upper arm; the gesture, like her
quite difficult to explain," she murmured. A peculiar softness had
entered her voice; part
tenderness, part indecision, part lack of interest:
"I'd better not. I might lose you completely. All I can
say, for the time being, is, that I'm neither a scholar, nor a
historian. I'm a storyteller,
and I haven't told you the most important part of my tale yet."
what might that be?" I asked, intrigued by her desire to change the
I've given you so far, is factual information," she said. "What I
haven't mentioned is the World of
Magic, from which those Yaqui leaders operated. To them, the
actions of wind and shadows, and of animals and plants were as
part, that interests me the most."
actions of wind and shadows, and of animals and plants?" I repeated
(not disturbed) by my tone, Delia nodded. She pushed
herself up in the seat, pulled off the blond curly wig and let the wind
through her straight black hair.
are the Bacatete Mountains," she said, pointing to the mountains to the
left of us,
outlined against the semidarkness of the dawn sky.
that, where we are going?" I asked.
this time," she said, sliding down into her seat again. A cryptic
(mysterious) smile played around her lips, as she half turned toward me. "Perhaps one
day you'll have a chance to visit those mountains," she mused (ponder,
wonder), closing her eyes. "The
Bacatetes are inhabited by creatures of another World; of another Time."
of another World, of another Time?" I echoed her in mock seriousness.
or what are they?"
she said vaguely (indefinite, uncertain, ambiguous). "Creatures, that
don't belong to our Time, to our World."
now, Delia. Are you trying to scare me?" I couldn't help laughing, as I
Even in the dark, her face shone. She looked extraordinarily young, the
wrinkles over curving cheeks, chin, and nose.
I'm not trying to scare you," she said matter-of-factly, tucking (put
something into place) a strand of hair behind her
ear. "I'm simply telling you what is common knowledge around here."
And what kind of Creatures are they?" I inquired, biting my lip to
"And have you seen them?"
course I've seen them," she said indulgently (thoughtfully). "I
wouldn't be talking about them, if I hadn't." She smiled
sweetly, without a trace of resentment.
Beings, that populated the
Earth at another Time and now have retreated to isolated spots." At
first I couldn't help laughing out loud at her gullibility.
And then, seeing how serious and how convinced she was, that these
Creatures indeed existed, I
decided, that rather than make fun of her, I should accept her
- tendency to believe too readily and therefore to be easily
deceived]. After all,
she was taking me to a healer, and I didn't want to antagonize her with
rational (logical basis) probes (test, investigate).
those Creatures the ghosts of the Yaqui warriors, who lost their lives
in battle?" I
her head negatively, then, as if afraid someone might overhear, she
whispered in my ear:
a well-known fact, that those mountains are inhabited
by enchanted (bewitch, charm) Creatures: birds, that speak, bushes,
that sing, stones, that dance. Creatures, that can take any form at
sat back and regarded (observe closely) me expectantly. "The Yaquis
call these Beings Surem. They
believe, that the Surem are ancient Yaquis, who refused to be baptized
by the first
came to Christianize the Indians." She patted
my arm affectionately. "Watch out. They say, that the Surem like blond Women." She cackled
(shrill brittle laughter, sounds like hen) with delight. "Maybe that's,
what your nightmare was all about. A Surem trying to
don't really believe, what you're saying, do you?" I asked derisively
(mocking, scoffing), unable to keep my annoyance
I've just made up, that the Surem like blonds," she said soothingly.
"They don't like blonds at
didn't turn to glance at her, I could feel her smile and the humorous
It irked (irritate, annoy) me to no end. I thought her to be either
very candid (open, without pretence, straight forward, fair, frank,
impartial), very coy (shy, demure, retiring), or, even worse, very mad.
don't believe, that Creatures from another World really exist, do you?"
I snapped ill-humoredly. Then, afraid
I had offended her, I glanced at her with a word of half-anxious apology ready. But before I
could say anything, she answered in the same loud, ill-tempered tone of voice, I had
course I believe they exist. Why shouldn't they exist?"
just don't!" I snapped sharply and authoritatively, then quickly
I told her
about my pragmatic (dealing with facts) upbringing and how my father
had guided me to realize, that the
monsters in my dreams, and the playmates, I had as a child - invisible
but me, of
course - were nothing, but the product of an overactive imagination. "From an
early age I was reared to be objective and to qualify everything," I
there are only facts."
the problem with people," Delia remarked. "They are so reasonable, that
hearing about it lowers my vitality."
my world," I continued, ignoring her comment, "there are no facts
anywhere about Creatures
from another World, but only speculations and wishful thinking, and," I emphasized,
"fantasies of disturbed minds."
"You can't be that dense!"
she cried out delightedly in between fits of laughter, as if my explanation
had surpassed all her expectations.
it be proven, that those Creatures exist?" I challenged.
would the proof consist of?" she inquired with an air of obvious false
lack of self-confidence].
someone else can see them, that would be a proof," I said.
mean, that if, for instance, you can see them, that'll be proof of
their existence?" she inquired,
bringing her head close to mine. "We can
certainly begin there."
Delia leaned her head against the backrest of her seat and closed her
silent for such a long time, I was certain she had fallen asleep, and
I was thus
when she sat up abruptly and urged me to pull over to the side of the
relieve herself, she said. To take
advantage of our stop,
I, too, went into the bushes. As I was
about to pull up my jeans, I heard a loud male voice say, "How
delicious!" and sigh just
jeans, still unzipped, I dashed (move with haste, rush, race) to where
Delia was. "We'd
get out of here fast!" I cried out. "There is a man, hiding in the
she brushed my words aside. "The only thing behind the bushes is a donkey."
sigh like lecherous (interested in improper matters esp. sex) men," I
pointed out, then I repeated, what I had heard the man say. Delia
collapsed into helpless laughter, then seeing how distressed I was, she
held up her
hand in a
conciliatory (pacify, reconcile) gesture. "Did you actually see the
didn't have to," I retorted (reply). "It was enough to hear him." She lingered
(stay) for a moment longer, then headed toward the car. Right before
we climbed up the embankment (retaining wall) to the road, she stopped
toward me, whispered:
"Something quite mysterious has happened. I must make you aware of
She led me by the hand back to the spot, where I had squatted, and
right there, behind the bushes, I
saw a donkey.
wasn't there before," I insisted. Delia
regarded me with apparent pleasure, then shrugged her shoulders and
turned to the
donkey," she cooed in a baby voice, "did you look at her butt?" She's a
ventriloquist (performer speaking from the belly), I thought. She's
going to make the beast talk. However,
all, the donkey did, was to bray (utter harsh cry of a donkey) loudly
get out of here," I pleaded, tugging at her sleeve. "It must have been
the owner, who's
(sneak, slink, exist unobserved) in the bushes."
this little darling has no owner," she cooed (sound of a dove/pigeon)
in that same silly baby voice, and scratched
the animal's soft, long ears.
certainly has an owner," I snapped. "Can't you see how well fed and
groomed it is?" In a voice,
that was getting hoarse with nervousness and impatience,
I stressed again, how dangerous it
was for two Women to be out alone on a deserted road in Sonora. Delia
regarded me silently, seemingly preoccupied. Then
she nodded, as if in agreement and motioned me to follow her. The donkey
walked close behind me, nudging (pushing) my buttocks repeatedly with
its muzzle (projecting part of head). Mumbling an
imprecation (curse), I turned around, but the donkey was gone. "Delia!" I
cried out in sudden fright. "What happened to the donkey?" Startled by
my cry, a flock of birds rose in raucous (harsh) flight. The birds
circled around us, then flew east toward that fragile crack in the sky,
marked the end of the night and the start of the day.
is the donkey?" I asked again in a barely audible whisper.
here in front of you," she said softly, pointing to a gnarled
(misshapen), leafless tree.
can't see it."
is nothing wrong with my eyes," I said tartly (sharp, bitter, cutting).
"I can even see the lovely flowers on the tree." Astonished
at the beauty of the glowing, snow-white morning glory-shaped blossoms,
moved closer. "What kind of a tree is it?"
bewildering second I thought, that the donkey, which was emerging from
(fabric with glossy face and dull back), silver-gray trunk, had spoken. I turned to
look at Delia.
Santo!" she laughed. Then the
thought crossed my mind, that Delia was playing a joke on me. The donkey probably
belonged to the healer, who, no doubt, lived nearby.
so funny?" Delia asked, catching the all-knowing smirk (self-satisfied)
on my face.
"I've got a most horrible cramp," I lied. Holding my
hands against my stomach, I squatted, and said, "Please wait for me in
instant she turned to go, I took off my scarf and tied it around the
donkey's neck. I enjoyed
anticipating Delia's surprise upon discovering, once we were at the
I had known about her joke all along. However, any
hope of seeing the donkey or my scarf again were soon dashed (smashed).
It took us
more hours to reach the healer's house.
It was around eight o'clock in the morning, when we arrived at the
healer's house in the outskirts of
Ciudad Obregon. It was a
massive old house with whitewashed walls and a tile roof, gray with
age. It had
windows and an arched doorway. The heavy
door to the street was wide open. With the
confidence of someone, familiar with her surroundings, Delia Flores led
across the dark hall, down a long corridor, toward the back, to a
sparsely furnished room with a
narrow bed, a table, and several chairs. What was
most unusual about the room was, that it had a door in each of the four
Delia ordered me, and, pointing with her chin toward the bed, she said,
nap, while I get the healer. It might take me some time," she added,
I waited for her footsteps to fade down the corridor, before I
inspected the most unlikely healing
room, I had ever seen. The
whitewashed walls were bare. The light brown tiles of the floor shone
like a mirror. There was no
altar, no images or figurines of saints, the Virgin, or Jesus, which I
always assumed were customary in healing rooms. I poked my
head through all four doors. Two opened into dark corridors. The other
led to a yard, enclosed by a high fence.
As I was tiptoeing down a dark corridor, toward another room, I heard a
(vicious growls) behind me. Slowly, I
Barely two feet away there stood an enormous, ferocious-looking black
It didn't attack me, but stood its ground growling, showing its fangs. Without
directly meeting the animal's eyes, yet not letting it out of my sight,
the healing room. The dog
followed me all the way to the door. I closed the
door softly, right on the beast's nose, and leaned against the wall,
was back to normal.
Then I lay down on the bed, and after a few moments - without the
slightest intention of doing so - I
fell into a deep sleep. I was roused
(awaken, provoke) by a soft touch on my shoulder. I opened my
eyes and looked up into an old Woman's wrinkled pink face. "You're
dreaming," she said. "And I'm part of your dream."
I nodded in agreement. However, I wasn't convinced, that I was dreaming. The Woman
was extraordinarily small. She wasn't a midget (extremely small person)
or a dwarf. Rather, she was the size of
a child, with skinny arms and narrow, fragile-looking shoulders.
you the healer?" I asked.
Esperanza," she said. "I'm the one, who brings dreams." Her voice
was smooth and unusually low. It had a curious, exotic quality, as
which she spoke fluently - was a language, to which the muscles of her
the sound of her voice rose, until it became a disembodied force,
sound made me think of running water in the depths of a cave.
not a Woman," I mumbled to myself. "She's the sound of darkness."
remove the cause of your nightmares now," she said, fixing me with an
imperious (domineering, dictatorial) gaze, as her
fingers closed lightly around my neck: "I'll get
them out, one by one," she promised. Her hands
moved across my chest like a soft wave. She smiled
triumphantly, then motioned me to examine her opened palms. "See? They came out so
gazing at me with an expression of such accomplishment and wonder, I
to tell her, that I didn't see anything in her hands. Certain,
that the healing session was over, I thanked her and sat up. She shook
her head in a gesture of reproach (accuse) and gently pushed me back on
asleep," she reminded me. "I'm the one, who brings dreams, remember?" I would have
loved to insist, that I was wide awake, but all, I managed to do, was
as sleep pulled me into a comforting slumber. Laughter and
whispers crowded around me like shadows. I fought to
wake myself. It took a great effort to open my eyes and sit up, and
look at the
gathered around the table. The peculiar
dimness in the room made it difficult to see them clearly. Delia was
among them. I was about
to call out her name, when an insistent scratching sound behind me made
precariously (lacking in stability) squatting on a high stool, was
noisily shelling peanuts. At first
sight he seemed to be a young man, but somehow I knew him to be old. He
slight of body, with a smooth, beardless face. His smile was a mixture
of cunning and innocence.
some?" he asked. Before I
could so much as nod, my mouth dropped open. All, I could
do, was stare at him, as he shifted his weight to one hand and
effortlessly lifted his small,
wiry body into a handstand. From that
position he threw a peanut at me, and it went straight into my gaping
I choked on
A sharp tap between my shoulder blades immediately restored my
turned, wondering, who among the people, who were all standing by me
had reacted so swiftly (fast, fleet). "I'm Mariano
Aureliano," said the Man, who had tapped my back. He shook my
tone and the charming formality of his gesture mitigated (moderate in
force and intensity) the fierce expression
in his eyes and the severity (stern, strict) of his aquiline (hooked
nose) features. The upward slant (sloping, incline direction)
look like a bird of prey. His white
hair and his weathered, copperish face bespoke
(indicated) age, but his muscular body exuded
(emitting, make felt) the vitality of youth. There were
six Women in the group, including Delia. All of them
shook my hand in that same eloquent (persuasive, graceful) formality. They didn't
tell me their names. They simply said, that they were glad to meet me. Physically,
they didn't resemble each other, and yet there was a striking alikeness
contradictory blend of youth and age, a blend of strength and delicacy,
baffling to me, accustomed, as I was, to the roughness and directness
of my male-oriented, patriarchal,
German family. Just as with
Mariano Aureliano and the acrobat on the stool, I could not tell the
could have been as much in their forties, as in their sixties. I
experienced a fleeting anxiety, as the Women kept staring at me. I had the
distinct impression, they could see inside me and were reflecting on,
contemplative (consider thoroughly) smiles on their faces did little to
break that disturbing silence in any way I could, I turned away from
Man on the stool. I asked him, if he was an acrobat. "I'm Mr.
he said. He did a back flip (throw, flick, toss, turn over
effortlessly) from the stool and landed in a cross-legged position on
"I'm not an
acrobat," he pronounced. "I'm a wizard." There was a
smile of unmistakable glee on his face, as he reached into his pocket
pulled out my silk scarf; the one, I had tied around the donkey's neck.
know, who you are. You're her husband!" I exclaimed, pointing an
accusing finger at Delia. "You
two sure played a clever trick on me."
Flores didn't say a word. He simply gazed at me in polite silence. "I'm
finally pronounced, then cartwheeled out of the room through one of the doors, that
led to the yard. On an
impulse, I jumped off the bed and went after him. Blinded
momentarily by the brightness outside, I stood for a few seconds dazed
crossed the yard and ran down the side of a dirt road into a recently
partitioned off by tall eucalyptus trees. It was hot.
The Sun bore down like flames. The furrows shimmered in the heat like effervescent
(bubbly) giant snakes.
Flores," I called out. There was no answer. Certain, that he was hiding
behind one of
the trees, I
crossed the field in a run.
those bare feet!" warned a voice coming from above me. Startled, I
looked up, straight into Mr. Flores' upside-down face. He was hanging
dangling from his legs.
dangerous and utterly foolish to run about without shoes," he
admonished (caution, warn) sternly, swinging
back and forth like a trapeze artist: "This place
is infested with rattlesnakes. You'd better join me up here. It's safe
that the branches were far too high to reach, I nonetheless held up my
with childish trust. Before I
realized, what he intended to do, Mr. Flores had grabbed my wrists and
the tree with no more effort, than if I had been a rag doll. Dazzled, I
sat beside him, staring at the rustling leaves. They glimmered in the
slivers (sharp, slender piece) of gold. "Do you hear,
what the wind is telling you?" Mr. Flores asked after a long silence. He moved his
head this way and that, so I could fully appreciate the astounding
which he wiggled his ears. "Zamurito!"
I exclaimed in a whisper, as memories flooded my mind. 'Zamurito',
little buzzard (american vulture), was the nickname of a childhood
friend from Venezuela. Mr. Flores had
the same delicate, birdlike features, jet-black hair, and
mustard-colored eyes. And most
astounding, he, like Zamurito, could wiggle his ears one at a time or
Flores about my friend, whom I had known since kindergarten. In the
second grade, we had shared a desk. During the
long midday recess (temporary cessation of activities), instead of
eating our lunch at the school grounds, we used to sneak
outside and climb to the top of a nearby hill to eat in the shade of,
was, the largest mango tree in the World. Its lowest branches
touched the ground. Its highest swept the clouds.
In the fruit season, we used to
gorge ourselves on mangoes. The hilltop
was our favorite place, until the day we found the body of the school
janitor (caretaker, doorman), hanging from
a high branch. We didn't
dare to move or to cry. Neither of us wanted to lose face in front of
climb up the branches that day, but tried to eat our lunch on the
under the dead man, wondering, which of us would break down first. It was I,
asked me in a whisper, "Have you ever thought of dying?"
I had looked
up at the hanged man. At that same instant the wind had rustled through
branches with an unfamiliar insistence. In the rustle
I had distinctly heard the dead man, whispering to me, that death was soothing.
It was so uncanny (weird, strange, unexpected, exciting wonder and
fear), that I got up and ran away screaming, indifferent to what
thought of me. "The wind
made those branches and leaves speak to you," Mr. Flores said, as I
was soft and low. His golden eyes shone with a feverish light, as he
went on to
that at the moment of his death, in one instantaneous flash, the old
feelings, and emotions were released and absorbed by the mango tree.
wind made those branches and leaves speak to you," Mr. Flores repeated.
"For the wind is yours by right." Dreamily, he
glanced through the leaves, his eyes, searching beyond the field,
away in the
Sun. "Being a Woman
enables you to command the wind," he went on. "Women don't know it, but
they can have a dialogue with the wind any time."
shook my head uncomprehendingly. "I really don't know, what you're
talking about," I said, my
tone, betraying my mounting unease: "This is
like a dream. If it wouldn't be, that it goes on and on, I'd swear, it
was one of my
prolonged silence annoyed me. I could feel
my face flush with irritation. What am
I doing here, sitting in a tree with a crazy old
man? I pondered. And at the
same time I was apprehensive, that I may have offended him. I opted for
apologizing for my bluntness.
realize, that my words don't make much sense to you," he admitted.
"That's because there is too much crust on you. It prevents you from
hearing, what the wind has to say."
much crust?" I asked, puzzled and suspicious. "Do you mean, that I'm
too," he said, and made me blush. He smiled and repeated, that I was
enveloped by too thick a crust and that this crust couldn't be washed
away with soap and water, regardless of how many baths I took. "You
are filled with judgments," he explained. "They prevent you from
understanding, what I'm telling you and, that the wind is yours to
me with narrowed, critical eyes. "Well?" he
The longer I watched them, the more concerned I became. It
was all so strange to me. I could
easily explain, why I had accepted Delia's invitation to see a healer,
but I couldn't understand
at all my subsequent actions.
It was, as if someone else had taken over my rational faculties
(skill), making me stay there, react
and say things, I didn't mean to. And now they
were going to have a celebration in my honor. It was disconcerting
(upset, ruffle, perturb) to say the least. No matter
I thought about it, I couldn't figure out, what I was doing there. "I certainly
haven't merited (earn, deserve, warrant) any of this," I mumbled, my
Germanic upbringing, getting the better of
me. "People don't just do things for others for the hell of it."
Only upon hearing
Mariano Aureliano's exuberant (abandonedly joyous, lavish, effusive,
luxuriant, overflowing) laughter did I realize, that all of them were staring
at me. "There's
reason to ponder (consider carefully) so heavily, what's happening to
you today," he said, tapping me softly on
the shoulder. "We're having a picnic, because we like to do things on
spur of the moment. And, since
you have been healed by Esperanza today, my friends here like to say the picnic is in
casually, almost indifferently, as if he were talking of some trifling
(trivial, insignificant) matter. But his eyes
said something else: they were hard and serious, as though it were
him carefully. "It's a joy
for my friends to say, that the picnic is in your honor," he continued.
just as they
say it, in simplicity and without premeditation (arranging, plotting in
became soft, as he gazed at the Women, then he turned to me and added,
picnic is not in your honor at all, I assure you. And yet," he
mused (wonder), "it is in your honor. It's a
contradiction, that will take you quite some time to understand."
anyone to do anything for me," I said sullenly (gloomy, bad-tempered,
morose). I had become inordinately (excessive) ponderous
(massive, huge, graceless, dull), the way I always have been, when
brought me here, and I am thankful." I felt then compelled (force,
constrain) to add,
"And I would
like to pay
for any services, rendered (given in return) to me." I was
certain, I had offended them, and I knew, that any minute now I would
be asked to
Other, than hurting my ego, it wouldn't have bothered me much. I was
and I had
had enough of them. To my
surprise and annoyance, they didn't take me seriously. They laughed
at me, and the angrier I became, the greater their mirth. Their shiny,
laughing eyes were fixed on me, as if I were an unknown organism. Wrath made
me forget my fear. I lashed out at them, accusing them of taking me for
that Delia and her husband - I didn't know, why
I insisted on, pairing them together -
had played a disgusting joke on me. "You brought
me here," I said, turning to Delia, "so you and your friends can use
me, as your
ranted (speak in violent manner), the more they laughed. I was about
to weep with self-pity, anger, and frustration, when Mariano Aureliano
to stand beside me. He began to
talk to me, as if I were a child. I wanted to
tell him, that I could take care of myself, that I didn't need his
I was going home, when something in his tone and in his eyes appeased
(soothe) me so thoroughly,
that I was certain, he had hypnotized me. And yet, I knew,
What was so
unknown and disturbing to me, was the suddenness and completeness of my change. What would
have ordinarily taken days, had happened in an instant: all my life I
indulged in brooding (moodiness) over every indignity (offence to
dignity) or affront - real or imagined - I had suffered. With
systematic thoroughness, I would mull (consider a problem deeply) them
over, until every detail was explained to my
As I looked at Mariano Aureliano, I felt like laughing at my earlier
hardly remember, what it was, that had infuriated me to the point of
Delia pulled me by the arm and asked me to help the other Women unpack
crystal goblets, and ornate silverware from the various baskets,
they had brought. The Women
didn't talk to me or to each other. Only little
sighs of pleasure escaped their lips, as Mariano Aureliano opened the
dishes. There were tamales, enchiladas, a hot chili stew, and
hand-made tortillas - not flour
tortillas, as was customary in northern Mexico and which I didn't much
care for, but
me a plate with a little bit of everything on it. I ate so
greedily, I was finished before anyone else. "This is the most
delicious food I've ever
tasted," I gushed (excessive, usually insincere display of emotions),
hoping for seconds. Noone
offered them. To hide my disappointment, I commented on the beauty of
antique lace trim around the canvas cloth, we were sitting on.
did that," the Woman sitting on Mariano Aureliano's left said. She was
old-looking, with disheveled (unkept, untidy) gray hair, that hid her
face. In spite of the heat, she wore a long
skirt, a blouse, and a sweater. "It's
authentic Belgian lace," she explained to me in a gentle, dreamy voice.
hands, glinting with exquisite jeweled rings, lingered (stay) lovingly
on the broad trim. In great
detail, she told me about her handiwork, showing me the kinds of
she had used to sew on the trim.
Occasionally, I caught a fleeting glimpse of her face through all that
mass of hair, but I couldn't
tell, what she looked like.
"It's authentic Belgian lace," she repeated. "It's part of my trousseau
(special wardrobe for bride)." She picked
up a crystal goblet, took a sip of water and added, "These, too, are
part of my
they're Baccarat." I didn't
doubt, that they were. The lovely
plates - each one was different - were of the finest porcelain. I was
wondering, whether a discreet (modest) peek (glance quickly) under mine
would pass unnoticed, when the Woman
sitting to Mariano Aureliano's right encouraged me to do so: "Don't be
shy. Take a look," she urged me. "You're among friends."
Grinning, she lifted her own plate. "Limoges (fine porcelain made in
France, Limoges ware)," she pronounced, then lifted mine briefly and noted,
that it was a Rosenthal. The Woman had
childlike, delicate features. She was small, with round, thickly lashed black eyes.
Her hair was black, except for the crown of her head, which had turned
combed back into a tight little chignon. There was a
force, an edge to her, that was quite chilling, as she besieged
(harass) me with direct, personal
mind her inquisitor's tone. I was accustomed to being bombarded with
by my father
and brothers, when I went on a date or embarked (enlist a person,
commence) on any kind of activity on my own.
I had resented it, but it was the normal interaction at home. Thus, I
never learned how to converse.
Conversation for me was parrying (exchange) verbal attacks, and
defending myself at any cost. I was
surprised, when this Woman's coercive (forceful) interrogation
(questioning) didn't immediately make me feel like
you married?" the Woman asked.
I said softly, but firmly, wishing, that she would change the subject.
you have a man?" she insisted.
I don't," I retorted, beginning to feel the stirring of my old
there a type of man, you're partial to?" she went on. "Are there any
personality traits, you prefer
in a man?"
instant I wondered, whether she was making fun of me, but she seemed to
genuinely interested, as did her companions. Their curious,
anticipating faces put me at ease. Forgetting
my belligerent (warlike) nature and that these Women might be old
enough to be my
grandmothers, I spoke to them, as if they were friends my age and we
were discussing men.
has to be tall and handsome," I began. "He has to have a sense of
humor. He has to be sensitive
without being wishy-washy (weak, feeble). He has to be intelligent
without being an
intellectual." I lowered my
voice and in a confidential tone added: "My father used to say, that intellectual
men are weak to the core, and traitors - all of them. I think, I agree
all you want in a man?" the Woman inquired.
I hastened to say. "Above all, the man of my dreams has to be athletic."
your father," one of the Women interjected (throw between).
I said defensively. "My father was a great athlete; a fabulous skier and swimmer."
you get along with him?" she asked.
I enthused (show enthusiasm). "I adore him. Just the thought of him
brings tears to my eyes."
aren't you with him?"
too much like him," I explained. "There is something in me, that I
or control, that pulls me away."
about your mother?"
mother." I sighed and paused for a moment to find the best words to
strong. She's the sober part in me. The part, that is silent and
you very close to your parents?"
spirit, I am," I said softly. "In practice, I am a loner. I don't have
many attachments." Then, as if
something inside me was pushing to come out, I revealed a personality
in my most introspective (self-examination) moments would I have
admitted to myself: "I use
people rather, than nourish or cherish them," I said, then immediately
made amends (correct, rectify), saying,
"But I'm quite capable of feeling affection." I gazed from
one to the other with a mixture of relief and disappointment. None of
seemed to attach any importance to my confession. The Women
went on to ask, if I would describe myself, as a courageous being or as
confirmed coward," I stated. "But unfortunately, my cowardice never
you from what?" the Woman, who had been questioning me, inquired. Her
serious, and the wide span of her brows, like a line, drawn with a
was concentrated in a frown.
doing dangerous things," I said. Pleased to
notice, that they seemed to be hanging on my every word, I explained,
another one of my serious flaws was my great facility (ease) to get
trouble have you gotten into, that you can tell us about?" she asked.
been grave (extremely serious, important) all this time, broke into a
brilliant, almost malicious smile.
about the trouble I'm in now?" I said half in jest, yet fearing, that
they might take my comment
the wrong way. To my
surprise and relief, they all laughed and yelled, the way rural people
are wont (accustomed, used to) to do, when
something strikes them, as daring or funny.
did you end up in the United States?" the Woman asked, when they had
not really knowing, what to say.
"I wanted to go to school," I finally mumbled. "I
was in England first, but I didn't do much, except have a good time. I really
don't know, what I want to study. I think, I'm in search of something,
brings us back to my first question," the Woman said. Her thin,
pert (vivacious) face and her dark eyes were animated and peering like
an animal's. "Are you in
search of a man?"
suppose, I am," I admitted, then added impatiently, "What woman isn't? And why do
you ask me so insistently about it? Do you have someone in mind? Is this some kind of
do have someone in mind," Delia Flores interjected. "But he's not a
man." She and
laughed and shrieked (high pitched scream) with such abandon,
I could not help, but giggle, too.
is definitely a test," the inquisitive Woman assured me as soon, as
silent for a moment, her eyes watchful and considering.
"From what you told me, I can
conclude, that you are thoroughly middle class," she went on. She flung
(hurl) her arms wide in a gesture of forced acceptance.
"But then, what else can a German
Woman, born in the New World, be?" She saw the
anger in my face and, with a barely suppressed grin on her lips, added:
"Middle-class people have middle-class dreams." Seeing, that
I was about to explode, Mariano Aureliano explained, that she was
questions, because they were simply curious about me. Only seldom did
hardly ever any young ones.
doesn't mean, that I have to be insulted," I complained. As though I
hadn't said anything, Mariano Aureliano continued to make excuses for
tone and his reassuring pat on my back melted my anger, just as it had
His smile was so touchingly angelic, I didn't for a moment doubt his
sincerity, when he began to
flatter me. He said, that I was one of the most extraordinary, one of
persons, they had ever met. I was so
moved, that I encouraged him to ask anything, he wanted to know about
you feel important?" he inquired. I nodded.
"All of us are very important to ourselves," I stated. "Yes, I think I
important, not in a general sense, but specifically, just to myself."
great length I talked about a positive self-image, self-worth, and how
vital it was to reinforce
our importance, in order to be psychically healthy individuals.
what do you think about Women?" he asked. "Do you think they are more
quite obvious, that men are more important," I said. "Women don't have
They have to
be less important, in order for family life to roll on smooth wheels,
is it right?" Mariano Aureliano insisted.
of course, it's right," I declared. "Men are inherently superior.
That's why, they run the World. I've been
brought up by an authoritarian father, who, although
he raised me as freely, as my brothers,
nevertheless let me know, that certain things are not so important for a Woman. That's why,
I don't know, what I'm doing in school or what I want in life." I
Aureliano, then in a helpless, defeated tone added, "I suppose, I'm
looking for a
man, who is
as sure of himself, as my father."
a simpleton!" one of the Women interjected.
no, she isn't," Mariano Aureliano assured everyone. "She's just
confused, and as opinionated,
as her father."
father," Mr. Flores corrected him emphatically (bold, definite in
action/expression), stressing the word German. He had
descended from the tree like a leaf, softly and without a sound. He
served himself an
immoderate (extreme, excessive) amount of food.
right you are," Mariano Aureliano agreed and grinned. "Being as
opinionated, as her German
father, she's simply repeating, what she has heard all her life."
anger, which rose and fell like some mysterious fever, was not only due
to what they
about me, but also because they were talking about me, as if
I were not
unredeemable (not capable of being saved)," another Woman said.
fine for the purpose at hand," Mariano Aureliano defended me with
backed Mariano Aureliano. And the only Woman, who had not spoken so
deep, husky (strong) voice, that she agreed with the Men; that I was
fine for the purposes at hand.
She was tall and slender. Her pale-
complexioned face, gaunt (thin,
angular) and severe (stern, strict, inflexible), was crowned by braided
white hair and high-lighted by large, luminous eyes.
In spite of her worn, drab clothes, there was something innately
(inborn, inbred, inherent, possessed at birth) elegant about her.
are you all doing to me?" I shouted, unable to contain myself any
longer. "Don't you realize,
how horrible it is for me to hear, you talk about me, as if I were not
Aureliano fixed his fierce eyes on me.
"You are not here," he said in a tone, that was devoid
of all feeling. "At least not yet. And most
important, you don't count. Not now or ever."
almost fainted with wrath. Noone had ever spoken to me so harshly and
to my feelings. "I puke (vomit), piss and shit on all of you, goddamned, cocksucking
farts!" I yelled.
God! A German hick (bumpkin, gullible, provincial person) !" Mariano
Aureliano exclaimed, and they all laughed. I was about
to jump up and stomp away, when Mariano Aureliano tapped me repeatedly on my back.
there," he murmured, as if burping a baby. And, as
before, instead of resenting, being treated like a child, my anger
vanished. I felt light and
head uncomprehendingly, I looked at them and giggled.
"I learned to speak
Spanish," I said, "in the streets of Caracas with the riff-raff
(worthless, uncultured, disreputable person). I can cuss (curse)
you just love the sweet tamales?" Delia asked, closing her eyes in
seemed to be a password: the interrogation ended.
course she did!" Mr. Flores responded for me. "She only wishes, she had
has an insatiable appetite." He came to
sit beside me.
"Mariano Aureliano outdid himself and cooked a delight."
mean he cooked the food?" I asked in disbelief. "He has all these
Women, and he
(scared) by how my words might be interpreted, I hastened to apologize.
I explained, that it
surprised me to no end, that a Mexican male would cook at home, when
laughter made me realize, that
I hadn't meant to say that either.
if the Women are his Women. Isn't that what you meant?" Mr. Flores
interspersed (scatter) by everybody's laughter. "You're quite
right," he continued. "They are Mariano's Women. Or to be more precise, Mariano
belongs to them." He slapped
his knee gleefully, then turned to the tallest of the Women - the one,
once - and said, "Why don't you tell her about us."
Mr. Aureliano doesn't have that many wives," I began, still mortified
(scared) by my gaffe
(clumsy social error).
not?" the Woman retorted, and everyone laughed again. It was a joyful,
yet it didn't put me at ease. "All of us
here are bound together by our struggle, by our deep affection for one
and by the
realization, that without one another, nothing is possible," she said.
aren't part of a religious group, are you?" I asked in a voice, that
apprehension. "You don't belong to some kind of a commune, do you?"
belong to Power," the Woman replied. "My companions and I are the
inheritors of an ancient
tradition. We are part of a myth." I didn't
understand, what she was saying. I glanced
uneasily at the others. Their eyes were fixed on me. They were watching
with a mixture of expectation and amusement. I shifted my
attention back to the tall Woman. She, too, was observing me with that
bemused (bewildered) expression. Her eyes were so shiny, they sparkled. She leaned
over her crystal goblet and daintily (deliciously, pleasantly) sipped
her water. "We are
essentially Dreamers," she explained softly. "We are all Dreaming now,
and, by the
that you were brought to us, you are also Dreaming with us." She said
this so smoothly, that I really didn't realize, what she had said.
mean I am sleeping and having a dream with you?" I asked in mock
incredulity. I bit my lip
to suppress the laughter, bubbling up within me.
not exactly, what you're doing, but it's close enough," she admitted. Unperturbed
(not disturbed) by my nervous giggles, she went on to explain, that
what was happening to me was more
like an extraordinary Dream, where all of them were helping me by Dreaming my
that's idio--," I started to say, but she silenced me with a wave of
are all Dreaming the same Dream," she assured me. She seemed
to be transported by a joy, I was at a loss to understand.
about the delicious food I just ate?" I asked, looking for the chili
sauce, that had dribbled on
I showed her
the spots. "That can't be a Dream. I ate that food!" I insisted in a
tone. "I did! I ate it myself."
regarded me with a cool composure, as though she had been expecting
just such an
outburst. She asked equably (just the same, uniformly, unvaryingly):
"But what about Mr. Flores, lifting you up to the top of the eucalyptus
was on the
verge of telling her, that he hadn't lifted me to the top of the tree,
but only to a
she whispered, "Have you thought about that?"
I haven't," I said snappishly.
course, you haven't," she agreed, nodding her head knowingly, as if she
were aware, that
that instant remembered, that even the lowest branch of any of the
impossible to reach from the ground. She said
then, that the reason, I hadn't thought about it, was because in Dreams
we are not
"In Dreams we can only act," she stressed.
a minute," I interrupted her. "I may be a little dizzy, I admit. After
all, you and
are the strangest people, I have ever met. But I am as
awake, as I can be." Seeing, that she was laughing at me, I yelled,
"This is not
an imperceptible nod of her head she motioned to Mr. Flores, who in one
reached for my hand and propelled himself, with me in tow, to a branch
eucalyptus tree. We sat there
for an instant, and, before I could say anything, he pulled me back to
ground, to the same spot, where we had been sitting.
you see, what I mean?" the tall Woman asked.
I don't," I screamed, knowing, that I had had a hallucination. My fear
turned to rage, and I let out a stream of the foulest (revolting,
smelly) imprecations (curse).
My rage spent, I was engulfed by a wave of self-pity, and I began to
weep. "What have you people
done to me?" I asked in between sobs. "Have you put something in the
have done nothing of the sort," the tall Woman said kindly. "You don't
barely hear her. My tears were like some dark, gauzy
fabric): they blurred her face and also her
"Hold on," I
heard her say, although I could no longer see her or her companions.
wake up yet."
something so compelling (forceful) about her tone, I knew, that my very
life depended on seeing her
unknown and totally unexpected force, I broke through the veil of my
soft clapping sound, and then I saw them. They were smiling, and their
shone so intensely, their pupils seemed to be lit by some inner fire. I apologized
first to the Women and then to the two Men for my silly outburst; but
wouldn't hear of it. They said,
that I had performed exceptionally well.
are the living parts of a myth," Mariano Aureliano said. He puckered
his lips, and blew into the air. "I will blow you to the
person, who now holds the
myth in his hands. He will help you clarify all this."
who might he be?" I asked flippantly (disrespectfully). I was going
to ask, whether he would be as opinionated, as my father, but I was
He was still
blowing into the air. His white hair stood on end. His cheeks were red
distended (dilated, expanded, extended, stretched out). As if in
answer to his effort, a soft breeze began to rustle through the
eucalyptus trees. He nodded,
apparently aware of my unspoken thought and confusion. Gently,
he turned me, until I faced the Bacatete Mountains. The breeze
turned into a wind; a wind so harsh and cold, it hurt to breathe. With a
seemingly boneless, uncoiling movement, the tall Woman rose, grabbed my
me with her across the ploughed furrows. We came to a
sudden halt in the middle of the field. I could have
sworn, that with her outstretched arms, she was luring the spiral of
spinning in the distance.
Dreams, everything is possible," she whispered. Laughing, I
opened my arms to beckon (signal
or summon by waving) the wind. Dust and
leaves danced around us with such force, that everything blurred before
Woman was suddenly far away. Her body seemed to be dissolving in a
it completely vanished from my field of vision. And then
blackness filled my head.
It was impossible for me to determine at that time, whether the picnic
had been a Dream or had
actually taken place. I was
incapable of remembering in a sequential order all the events, I had
participated in, from the
moment I fell asleep on the bed in the healing room. My next
clear recollection was, that I found myself talking with Delia at the
table, in that same room. Familiar
with such lapses of memory, which used to occur in my childhood, I
didn't at first
make much of this discrepancy (inconsistency, disagreement,
difference). As a child, eager to play, I would often get out of my bed half
asleep and sneak out of my house through the window grill (metal
screen). Many times, I did indeed
wake up in the plaza, playing with other children, who weren't put to
early, as I
There was no doubt in my mind, that the picnic had been real, although
place it in a time sequence. I tried to
think, to reconstruct the events, but it frightened me to bring forth
the idea of my childhood
memory lapses. Somehow, I
was reluctant to ask Delia about her friends, and she didn't volunteer
information either. However, I
did ask about the healing session, which I knew had been a Dream. "I had such
an elaborate Dream about a healer," I began cautiously. "Not only did
she tell me
but she also assured me, that she had made all my nightmares vanish."
"It wasn't a Dream," Delia stated, her tone clearly revealing her
at me with an intensity, that made me want to fidget (constantly moving
nervously hands/feet), to move away. "The healer did
tell you her name," she went on. "And she certainly did cure you from
it was a Dream," I insisted. "In my Dream, the healer was the size of a
have been real." Delia
reached for the glass of water on the table, but she didn't drink. She
and on, without spilling a drop. Then she
looked at me with glittering eyes.
"The healer gave you the impression of being little,
that's all," she said, nodding to herself, as though the words had just
occurred to her, and she had
found them satisfactory. She sipped
her water with slow, slurping noises, and her eyes grew soft and
"She had to
be little, in order to cure you."
had to be little? You mean, I only saw her, as being little?" Delia nodded
repeatedly, then, leaning toward me, whispered:
"You see, you were Dreaming.
Yet it wasn't a Dream. The healer
really came to you and cured you, but you were not in the place, in
on, Delia," I objected. "What are you talking about? I know, it was a
Dream. I am
totally aware, that I am Dreaming, even though the Dreams are
completely real to me. That's
my malady, remember?"
now, that she has cured you, it's no longer your malady, but your
talent," Delia proposed,
smiling. "But going back to your question, the healer had to be small,
because you were quite young, when your nightmares first began." Her
statement was so outlandish (bizarre, absurd), I couldn't even laugh.
"And now I am cured?" I asked facetiously
are," she assured me. "In
Dreaming, cures are accomplished with great ease, almost effortlessly.
What's difficult is to make people Dream."
I asked, my voice harsher, than I had intended. "Everybody has Dreams.
all have to sleep, don't we?"
rolled her eyes derisively (mocking, scoffing, absurd) to the ceiling,
then gazed at me and said: "Those are not
the Dreams I am talking about.
Those are ordinary dreams. Dreaming has purpose. Ordinary
dreams don't have any."
"They certainly do!" I emphatically disagreed with her, then went into
a lengthy diatribe (bitter, abusive criticism) about the
psychological importance of dreams.
I cited works on psychology, philosophy and art. Delia wasn't
in the least impressed with my knowledge. She agreed
with me, that ordinary dreams must indeed help maintain the mental
but insisted, that she wasn't concerned with that.
has a purpose. Ordinary dreams don't," she reiterated.
purpose, Delia?" I said condescendingly (superiority, patronising
behaviour/manner). She turned
her head sideways, as if she wanted to hide her face from me. An instant
later she looked back at me. Something cold and detached showed itself
the change of expression was altogether so ruthless, that
I was frightened.
always has a practical purpose," she declared. "It serves the Dreamer
in simple or intricate ways. It has served you to get rid of your
served the witches at the picnic to know your essence. It served me to
screen myself out of the awareness of the immigration guard patrol,
asking to see your tourist card."
trying to understand, what you are saying, Delia," I mumbled. Then I
asked forcefully, "Do you mean, that you people can hypnotize others
against their wills?"
it that, if you wish," she said. On her face was a look of calm
indifference, that bore little sympathy. "What you can't see yet is
that you, yourself, can enter quite effortlessly into, what you would
call, a hypnotic state. We call it Dreaming; a Dream, that's not a
dream; a Dream, where we can do nearly anything our hearts desire."
almost made sense to me, but I had no words, with which to express my
I stared at
remembered an event from my adolescence. When I was
finally allowed driving lessons in my father's jeep, I surprised my
them, that I already knew how to shift. I had been doing it for years
assurance, that was even baffling to me, on my first venture I took the
jeep on the
from Caracas to La Guayra, the port by the sea. I
deliberated (hesitated), whether I should tell Delia about this
episode, but instead, asked her about the healer's
is not a tall Woman, but neither is she as small, as you saw her. In her
healing Dream, she projected her smallness for your benefit, and in
doing so, she
nature of magic. You have to be, what you want to give the impression
she a magician?" I asked expectantly. The thought,
that they all worked in a circus; that they were part of some magic
mind at various times. It would explain so many things about them, I
She's not a magician," Delia said. "She's a Sorceress."
Delia gazed at me so scornfully (treat as unworthy, despicable,
inferiour, with contempt or disdain) I was ashamed of my question.
"Magicians are in a show," she
explained, gazing at me pointedly (sharply): "Sorcerers are in the World, without
being part of the World."
She was silent for a long time, then a sigh escaped her lips. "Would
you like to see Esperanza
now?" she asked.
I said eagerly. "I would like that very much." The
possibility, that the healer had been real and not a Dream, made my
quite believe Delia, and yet I wanted to believe her in the worst way.
realized, that I hadn't mentioned to Delia, that the healer of my Dream
had told me
was Esperanza. I was so
absorbed in my thoughts, I failed to notice, that Delia was speaking. "I'm sorry,
what did you say?"
only way, you can make sense of all this, is to call back Dreaming,"
she maintained. Laughing
softly, she waved her hand, as she were signaling someone to come. Her words
were of no importance to me. I was already pondering another train of thought. Esperanza
was real, and I was certain, she was going to clarify everything for me. Besides, she
had not been at the picnic. She had not treated me as abominably
(thoroughly unpleasant, detestable), as all the other Women
harbored the vague hope, that Esperanza had liked me, and this thought
To disguise my feelings from Delia, I told her, that I was anxious to
see the healer. "I would like
to thank her, and of course, pay her for all, she did for me."
already paid," Delia stated. The mocking glint in her eyes early
revealed, that she was privy
(aware) to my thoughts.
do you mean, it's already paid?" I asked in an involuntarily
high-pitched voice. "Who paid
hard to explain," Delia began with a distant kindness, that put me
momentarily at ease: "It all
began at your friend's party in Nogales. I noticed you instantly."
did?" I asked expectantly, eager to hear some compliment on my tasteful
carefully chosen wardrobe. There was an
uncomfortable silence. I couldn't see Delia's eyes, veiled under her
something quiet, yet oddly disturbing about her voice, as she said,
that what she
about me was, that every time I had to talk to my friend's grandmother,
seemed to be absent-minded, as if I were asleep.
is putting it mildly," I said. "You have no idea, what I went through;
I had to do to convince that old lady, that I wasn't the devil
seemed not to have heard me. "I knew in a flash, that you had great
followed you around through the house and saw you in action. You were not
fully aware of, what you were doing or saying. And yet you were doing fine;
talking and laughing, and lying your head off to be liked."
you calling me a liar?" I asked in jest, but betraying my hurt. I felt an
impulse to get angry. I stared at
the pitcher of water on the table, until the threatening feeling had
wouldn't dare call you a liar," Delia pronounced rather pompously. "I'd
call you a
There was a
solemnity (seriousness) in her voice, but her eyes sparkled with mirth,
with genial (pleasant, friendly disposition) malice
(desire to harm others), as she said : "The Sorcerers, who reared me,
told me, that it doesn't matter,
may say, as
long, as one has the Power to say it." Her voice
conveyed such enthusiasm and approval, that I was sure, someone was
doors, listening to us. "And the way
to get that Power," she said, "is from Dreaming.
You don't know this, because you do it naturally, when you are in a
pinch (painful, difficult, straitened circumstance), your mind goes
instantly into Dreaming."
order to change the subject, I asked, "Were you reared by Sorcerers,
course I was," she declared, as if it were the most natural thing in
your parents Sorcerers?"
no," she said and chuckled: "The
Sorcerers found me one day and reared me from then on."
old were you? Were you a child?" Delia
laughed, as if with my question I had reached the height of humor.
"No, I wasn't a child," she said. "I was perhaps, your age, when they
found me and began to rear me."
do you mean, they began to rear you?" Delia gazed
at me, but without focusing her eyes on me. For a moment I thought she hadn't heard
me or, if she had, she wasn't going to answer me. I repeated
"They reared me, as one rears a child," she finally said. "It doesn't
matter, how old you are. In their World, you are a child."
afraid, we might be overheard, I glanced over my shoulder, and
these Sorcerers, Delia?"
a very tough question," she mused. "At the moment, I can't even begin
it. All, I
tell you about them, is, that they are the ones, who said to me, that
never lie to
should one lie then?" I asked.
the sheer pleasure of it," Delia promptly retorted. She then
rose from the chair, and walked toward the door, that led to the yard. Before
she turned and with a grin on her face asked, "Do you know the saying: 'If
you are not lying to be believed, you can say anything, you want,
thinks of you.'"
never heard such a saying." I suspected,
she had made it up: it had her stamp. "Besides, I
don't understand, what you're trying to say," I added primly
sure, you do," she said, looking sidelong at me through the strands of
her black hair. Gesturing
with her chin, she motioned me to follow her. "Let's go and see
jumped up and dashed after her, only to come to an abrupt halt by the
blinded by the brightness outside, I stood there, wondering, what had happened. It seemed,
that no time had elapsed, since I had run after Mr. Flores across the
Sun, as it
had been then, was still at the zenith.
caught a glimpse of Delia's red skirt, as she turned a corner. I rushed
after her across a stone archway, that led to a most enchanting patio. At first I
saw nothing; so strong was the contrast between the dazzling sunlight
shadows of the patio.
Breathlessly, I simply stood there, perfectly still, inhaling the humid
It was fragrant with the
scent of orange blossoms, honeysuckle, and sweet peas. Climbing up
strings, that seemed to be suspended from the sky, the sweet peas hung
colored tapestry amidst the foliage of trees, shrubs, and ferns. The healer,
I had seen before in my Dream, was sitting on a rocking chair in the
She was much
older, than Delia and the Women at the picnic; though how I knew this, I couldn't say. She was
rocking to and fro with an air of dreamy abandon. I felt an
anguishing pain, that gripped my whole being, for I had the irrational
rocking movement was taking her farther and farther away from me. A wave of
agony, an indescribable loneliness engulfed me, as I kept staring at
I wanted to cross the patio and hold her, but something about the
patio's dark tiles, laid out in a
most intricate pattern, held my feet in place. "Esperanza,"
I finally managed to whisper in a voice so feeble, it was barely
her eyes and smiled quite without surprise; as if she had been
She rose and
walked toward me.
She was not the size of a child, but about my height; five feet and two
and fragile-looking, yet exuded (emitting, make felt) a vitality, that
made me feel puny (weak, feeble) and shrunken. "How happy I
am to see you again." Her voice sounded sincere. She motioned
me to grab one of the rush chairs and sit beside her. As I looked
around me, I discovered the other Women, including Delia. They were
sitting on rush chairs, half hidden by shrubs and trees. They, too, were watching me
Some of them
smiled, while the others kept on eating tamales from the plates on their laps. In the
shady, green light of the patio - in spite of the mundane (trivial)
task of eating - the Women appeared
insubstantial (not firm, lacking substance), imaginary. Each one of
them was unnaturally vivid without being distinct. They seemed
to have absorbed the patio's greenish light, which had settled all
transparent fog. The
fleeting, but awesome idea, that
I was in a house populated by ghosts, crossed my mind. "Would you
like to eat something?" Esperanza asked me. "Delia has made the most delicious
food, you can imagine."
thank you," I murmured in a voice, that didn't sound like my own. Seeing her
questioning expression, I added feebly (weak), "I'm not
nervous and agitated, that even, if I had been starving, I wouldn't
have been able to swallow a
must have sensed my fear.
She leaned toward me and patted my arm
reassuringly. "What is it, that you want to know?"
thought, I had seen you in a Dream," I blurted out, then, noticing the
laughter in her eyes, added, "Am I Dreaming now?"
are, but you are not asleep," she replied, enunciating her words slowly
can I be Dreaming and not be asleep?"
Women can do that with great ease," she maintained. "They can be
Dreaming and not be asleep. You are one of those Women. Others have to
work a lifetime to accomplish that." I
sensed a tinge of admiration in her voice, yet I wasn't in the least
flattered. On the contrary: I was more worried, than ever.
"But how is
it possible to Dream without sleeping?" I insisted.
I explain to you, how it is possible, you won't understand it," she
pronounced. "Take my word for this: it's much better to postpone the
explanations for the time being." Again she patted my arm and a gentle
smile lit up her face. "For the moment it's enough for you to
know that, for you, I am the one, who brings Dreams."
didn't think, it was enough, but I didn't dare to tell her so. Instead,
I asked her, "Was I awake, when you cured me of my nightmares? And
Dreaming, when I sat outside in the field with Delia and all the
regarded me for a long moment, then nodded sagely (wisely), as if she
had decided to reveal some monumental truth. "You're too dumb to see
the mystery of what we do." She
said this so matter-of-factly; so nonjudgmentally, that it didn't occur
to me to take offense, or to attempt any kind of rebuttal (disprove,
prove to be fault).
"But you could make me see it, couldn't you?" I pleaded eagerly.
other Women giggled: it wasn't a mocking sound, but a murmuring, that
echoed all around me like a muffled chorus. The sound didn't seem to
come from the Women, but from the shadows of the patio. Rather than a
giggle, it was a whisper; a delicate warning, that not only made me
lose my thrust (driving force), but erased my troubling doubts; my
desire to know. And then I knew,
without a shadow of doubt, that I had been Awake and Dreaming both
times. It was a
knowledge, that I couldn't explain, however. It was
something beyond words. Yet, after a
few moments, I felt compelled (forced) to dissect my realization, to
put it all into some kind of
logical framework. Esperanza
regarded me with apparent pleasure. Then she
said: "I'm going to explain to you, who we are and what we do." She prefaced
(provided) her elucidation (explanation) with an admonition (caution,
warn). She warned me, that whatever she had to tell me,
wasn't easy to believe. Therefore, I had to suspend judgment and hear
interruptions; without questions: "Can you do
I shot back.
silent for a moment, her eyes appraising me thoughtfully. She must
have sensed my uncertainty and the question, that was about to burst
isn't, that I don't want to answer your questions," she maintained.
"It's rather, that at this time it will
be impossible for you to understand the answers."
nodded, not in agreement, but afraid, that if so much as a peep (weak
sound/utterance) came out of me, she would stop
talking altogether. In a voice,
that was, but a soft murmur, she told me something, that was both
incredible and fascinating. She said,
that she was the spiritual descendant of Sorcerers, who lived in the
Oaxaca millennia before the Spanish Conquest. Esperanza was silent
for a long time.
Her eyes, fixed on the bright, multicolored, sweet peas, seemed to
reach nostalgically into the past. Esperanza
continued, "As it is for me, the part of those Sorcerers' activities,
pertinent (relevant) to you, is
called Dreaming. Those
Sorcerers were Men and Women, who possessed extraordinary Dreaming
performed acts, that defied the imagination." Hugging my
knees, I listened to her. Esperanza
was a brilliant raconteuse (skilled, witty storyteller) and a most
gifted mimic. Her face changed with each turn of
her explanation. It was at
times the face of a young Woman, at other times an old Woman's; or it
face of a
man, or that of an innocent and impish (playful, mischievous) child.
She said, that millennia ago,
Women were the possessors of a Knowledge, that
allowed them to slip in and out of our normal World. And thus they divided
their lives into two areas: the day and the night. During the day they
conducted their activities like everyone else. They engaged in normal, expected, everyday
During the night, however, they became Dreamers. They systematically
Dreamed Dreams, that broke the boundaries of, what we consider to be reality.
Again she paused, as though giving me time to let her words sink in.
"Using the Darkness, as a cloak (cover), they
accomplished an inconceivable thing. They were able to Dream, while
that to be Dreaming, while they were Awake meant, that they could
immerse themselves in a Dream, that gave them the Energy, necessary to
perform feats, that stagger (overwhelm) the mind, while they were
perfectly conscious and awake.
of the aggressive mode of interaction at home, I never developed the
ability to listen for
very long. If I couldn't meddle (interfere) with direct, belligerent
(state of being at war) questions, any verbal exchange, no
matter how interesting, was meaningless to me. Now, unable
to argue, I became restless. I was dying to interrupt Esperanza.
stared at me for an instant and then signaled me to speak. Or I
thought she had given me such a command. I opened my
mouth to say- as usual- anything, that came to my mind, even if it
wasn't related to
the subject. But I couldn't say a word. I struggled
to speak and made gargling sounds (sound of rinsing throat) to the
delight of the Women in the background. Esperanza
resumed talking, as if she hadn't noticed my futile (useless) efforts.
me to no end, that she had my undivided attention.
She said, that the origins of the Sorcerers' Knowledge could be
understood only in terms of a legend. A
superior Being commiserating (express sorrow, sympathise) with the
terrible plight (situation, dilemma) of human - to be driven, as an
animal, by food and
reproduction - gave human the Power to Dream and taught him how to use
Dreams. "Legends, of
course, tell the truth in a concealed fashion," she elucidated: "The
legends' success in concealing the truth rests on human's conviction,
that they are simply
stories. Legends of
human, changing into birds or angels, are accounts of a concealed
appears to be the fantasizing, or simply the delusions (deception,
mistaken belief/idea) of primitive or deranged (disturbed) minds. So
the task of Sorcerers for thousands of years to make new legends, and
to discover the
concealed truth of old ones. This is
where Dreamers come into the picture. Women
are best at Dreaming. They have the facility to abandon themselves; the
facility to let go. The Woman, who taught me to Dream, could maintain
two hundred Dreams." Esperanza
regarded me intently, as if she were appraising my reaction, which was
stupefaction (great astonishment), for I had no idea, what she meant. She explained, that to
maintain a Dream meant, that one could Dream something specific
about oneself and could enter into that Dream at will. Her teacher, she
said, could enter at will into two hundred specific Dreams about
herself. "Women are
peerless (unmatched, unequal) Dreamers," Esperanza assured me: "Women
are extremely practical. In order to sustain a Dream, one must be
practical, because the Dream must pertain (relate) to practical aspects
of oneself. My teacher's favorite Dream was to Dream of herself, as a
hawk. Another was to Dream of herself as an owl. So, depending on the
time of the day, she could Dream about being either one, and since she
was Dreaming, while she was awake, she was really and absolutely a hawk
or an owl."
such sincerity and conviction in her tone and in her eyes, I was
entirely under her spell. Not for a
moment did I doubt her. Nothing, she
could have said, would have seemed outlandish (bizarre, absurd) to me
at that moment. She further
explained, that in
order to accomplish a Dream of that nature, Women need to have an iron
discipline. She leaned toward me and
in a confidential whisper, as though she didn't want the others to overhear
her, said, "By iron
discipline I don't
mean any kind of strenuous routine, but rather, that
Women have to break the routine of what is expected of them. And they have
it in their youth. And most important, with their
strength intact. Often, when Women are old enough to be done with the
business of being Women, they decide it's time to concern themselves
with nonworldly or other-worldly thoughts and activities. Little do they know or want to believe,
that hardly ever do such Women succeed."
slapped my stomach, as if she were playing on a drum. The secret of a Woman's strength is
her WOMB." Esperanza
nodded emphatically, as if she had actually heard the silly question,
popped into my mind: "Her womb?"
she continued, "must begin by burning their Matrix. They cannot be the
fertile ground, that has to be seeded by men, following the command of
'God himself'." Still
watching me closely, she smiled and asked, "Are you religious by any
chance?" I shook my
head (No). I couldn't
speak. My throat was so constricted,
I could scarcely breathe. I was
dumbstruck (unable to speak through shock/surprise) with fear and
amazement, not so much by, what she was saying, but by her change. If
asked, I wouldn't have been able to
tell, when she changed, but all of a sudden her face was
young and radiant. Inner life seemed to have been fired up in her.
good!" Esperanza exclaimed. "This way you don't have to struggle
against beliefs," she pointed out. "They are very hard to overcome. I
was reared a devout Catholic. I nearly died, when I had to examine my
attitude toward religion."
She sighed. Her voice,
turning wistful, became soft, as she added, "But that was nothing,
the battle I had to wage (engage in, carry on), before I became a bona
fide (real) Dreamer."
expectantly, hardly breathing, while a quite pleasurable sensation
spread like a mild
electrical current through my entire body.
anticipated a tale of a gruesome (frightful, shocking, ghastly) battle
between herself and terrifying creatures. I could
barely disguise my disappointment, when
she revealed, that she had to battle
order to be a Dreamer, I had to vanquish (defeat, subjugate) the Self,"
Esperanza explained. "Nothing, but nothing, is as hard, as
We, Women are the most wretched (miserable, mean, despicable) prisoners
of the Self. The Self is our Cage. Our Cage is made out of
commands and expectations, poured on us from the moment we are born. You know how it is. If the
first born child is a boy, there is a celebration. If it's a girl, there is a shrug of the
shoulders and the statement, 'It's all right. I still will love her and do anything for her."
respect for the old Woman, I didn't laugh out loud.
Never in my life had I heard statements of that sort. I considered
myself an independent woman, but obviously, in light of what Esperanza
was saying, I was no better off, than any other woman. And contrary to
the manner, in which I would have normally reacted to such an idea, I
agreed with her.
I had always been made aware, that the precondition (prerequisite,
condition, train, accustom in advance) of my being a woman, was to be
dependent. I was taught, that a Woman was indeed fortunate, if she
could be desirable, so men would do things for her. I was told, that it
was demeaning (degrading) to my womanhood to endeavor (conscientious
effort) to do anything myself, if that thing could be given to me. It
was drilled into me, that a woman's place is in the home with her
husband and her children.
"Like you, I
reared by an authoritarian, yet lenient (gentle, forgiving,
understanding, merciful, liberal, generous) father," Esperanza went on.
"I thought, like yourself, that I was
free. For me to understand the Sorcerers' Way, that
Freedom didn't mean to be myself, nearly killed me. To be myself was to
assert (express positevely, affirm) my womanhood. And to do that, took
all my time, effort, and Energy. The Sorcerers, on the contrary,
understand Freedom, as the capacity to do the Impossible, the
Unexpected - to Dream a Dream, that has no basis, no reality in
Everyday Life." Her voice again became but a whisper, as she added,
Knowledge of Sorcerers is, what is exciting and new. A Woman needs to
change the Self, become a Dreamer."
if she had not succeeded in vanquishing (defeating, subjugating) the
Self, she would have only led a Woman's normal life; the life her
parents had designed for her. A life of defeat and humiliation. A life
devoid (completely lacking, empty) of all mystery. A life, that had
been programmed by custom
and tradition." Esperanza
pinched my arm. I cried out in pain. "You'd better pay attention," she
am," I mumbled defensively, rubbing my arm: I had been certain, that no
one would notice my waning (declining) interest.
tricked or enticed (lure, attract) into the Sorcerer's World," she
warned me. "You have to choose, knowing, what awaits you." The
of my mood were astonishing to me, because they were quite irrational.
I should have been afraid. Yet I was calm, as if my being there was
the most natural thing in the World.
"The secret of a
Woman's strength is her Womb," Esperanza said and slapped my stomach
once more. She said, that Women Dream with their Wombs, or rather, from
their Wombs. The fact, that they have Wombs, makes them perfect
Dreamers." Before I had even
finished the thought "why is the womb so important?" Esperanza answered me. "The
Center of Our Creative Energy," she explained, "to the point that, if
there would be no more males in the World, Women could continue to
reproduce. And the World would then be populated by the Female of the
Human species only." She added, that Women reproducing unilaterally
(one sided, one parent without a man)
could only reproduce clones of themselves.
means, that women can give birth without men only to female-babies. But
to give birth to male-babies, women need a man. In this case energy for
a male-baby is taken from both: a man and a woman parents. LM.)
genuinely surprised at this specific piece of Knowledge. I couldn't
help interrupting Esperanza to tell her, that I had read about
parthenogenetic and asexual
reproduction in a biology class. She shrugged
her shoulders and went on with her explanation.
"Women, having then the
the organs for reproducing life, have also the ability to produce
Dreams with those same organs," she
said. Seeing the
doubt in my eyes, she warned me, "Don't
wondering how it is
done. The explanation is very simple, and because it's simple, it's the
most difficult thing to understand. I still have trouble myself. So
in a true Woman's fashion, I act: I
Dream and leave the explanations to Men."
claimed, that, originally, the Sorcerers, she had told me about, used
pass their Knowledge on to their biological descendants or to people of
their private choice, but the results had been catastrophic.
Instead of enhancing this Knowledge, these new Sorcerers, who had been
arbitrary (random, determined by chance/caprice, dictatorial)
favoritism, confabulated (plainly speaking) to enhance themselves. They
were finally destroyed, and their destruction nearly obliterated (wipe
out) their Knowledge. The few Sorcerers, who were left then, decided,
that their Knowledge should never again be passed on to their
descendants or to people of their choice, but to those, selected by an Impersonal Power, which they
called the Spirit. "And
now, all this brings us to you," Esperanza pronounced. "The Sorcerers
of Ancient Times decided, that only the ones, who were pinpointed,
would qualify. You
were pointed out to us. And here you are! You are a natural Dreamer.
It's up to the Forces, that rule us, where
you go from here. It's not
up to you. Nor to us, of course. You can only acquiesce (accept without
protest) or refuse."
urgency in her voice, and the compelling (forceful) light in her eyes,
it was obvious, that she had
given this explanation in complete seriousness. It was this
earnestness, that stopped me from laughing out loud. Also, I was too exhausted. The mental
concentration, I had needed to follow her, was too intense. I wanted to
insisted, I stretch my legs, lie down, and relax. I did it so
thoroughly, that I dozed off. When I
opened my eyes, I had no idea, how long I had slept. I sought the
reassuring presence of Esperanza or the other Women. There was
noone with me on the patio.
But I didn't feel alone. Somehow their presence lingered
(stayed) amidst the green all around me, and I felt protected. A breeze
rustled the leaves. I felt it on my eyelids, warm and soft. It blew
over me, the same way it was passing over the desert, quickly and soundlessly. With my
gaze, fixed on the tiles, I walked around the patio trying to figure
out its intricate design. To
my delight, the lines led me from one rush chair to the other. I tried
to recall, who
in which chair, but hard as I tried, I couldn't remember. I was
distracted by a delicious scent of food, spiced with onions and garlic. Guided by
that smell, I found my way to the kitchen, a large rectangular room. It was as
deserted, as the patio. And the bright tile designs, adorning
(decorating) the walls, reminded me of the
patterns in the patio.
I didn't pursue (follow) the similarities, for I had discovered the
food left on the sturdy wooden table,
standing in the middle of the room. Assuming,
that it was for me,
I sat down and ate it all. It was the same spicy
stew, I had
eaten at the
picnic. Warmed over, it was even tastier. As I
gathered the dishes to take them to the sink,
I discovered a note and a drawn map under my
It was from
Delia. She suggested I return to Los Angeles by way of Tucson, where she would meet
me at a certain coffee shop specified on the map. Only there,
she wrote, would she tell me more about herself and her friends.
Eager to hear what Delia had to tell me about her friends, I went to
Tucson on my way to Los Angeles. In Tucson I
arrived at the coffee shop in the late afternoon.
An old man directed me to an empty space in the parking lot. Only when he
opened my door did I realize, who it was.
Aureliano!" I exclaimed. "What a surprise. I'm so glad to see you. What
you doing here?"
was waiting for you," he said. "So my friend and I saved this space for
glimpse of a burly (heavy, strong, muscular) Indian, driving an old red
pickup truck. He had pulled out of the parking
space, as I drove into the lot. "I'm afraid
Delia couldn't make it," Mariano Aureliano said apologetically. "She
Oaxaca unexpectedly." He smiled
broadly and added, "I'm here on her behalf. I hope, I fit the bill."
no idea, how delighted I am to see you," I said truthfully. I was
convinced, that he, better than Delia, would help me make sense of all,
me during the past few days. "Esperanza
explained to me, that I was in some sort of a trance, when I met all of
she say that?" he asked almost absent-mindedly. His voice,
his attitude, and his whole demeanor was so different from, what I remembered,
that I kept staring at him, hoping to discover, what had changed. His fiercely
chiseled face had lost all its fierceness. I was busy
with my own turmoil, however, and didn't give his change any more
"Esperanza left me alone in the house," I went on: "She and all
the Women went away without even saying good-bye to me. But I wasn't
disturbed," I hastened to point out: "Although
I'm usually very put out, when people are not courteous."
really!" he exclaimed, as if I had said something extremely meaningful. Afraid, that
he might take offense, at what I was saying about his companions,
immediately started to explain, that I hadn't really meant to say, that
Esperanza and the others had
been unfriendly. "Quite the contrary, they were most gracious and
I was about
to reveal, what Esperanza had told me, but his steady gaze stopped me. It wasn't an
angry stare or a threatening one. It was a piercing look, that cut
I had the
certainty, he was seeing right into the mess, that my mind was. I glanced
away to hide my nervousness, then told him in a light, almost joking
tone, that it
really mattered to me, that I had been left alone in the house. "I was
intrigued, that I knew every
corner of that place," I confided, then paused for a moment, wondering
impact my words were having on him. But he kept
staring at me. "I went to
the bathroom, and
I realized, that I had been in that bathroom before," I continued: "There were
no mirrors in it. I remembered that detail, before I actually entered
I remembered, that there were no mirrors in the whole house. So I went
through every room, and sure enough, I couldn't find any." Noticing,
that I was still getting no reaction from him, I went on to say, that I
listening to the radio on my way to Tucson, that it was one day later,
"I must have
slept a whole day," I finished in a strained tone.
didn't quite sleep a whole day," Mariano Aureliano pointed out
indifferently: "You walked
through the house and talked to us a great deal, before falling asleep
like a log." I started
laughing. My laughter was very near to hysteria, but he didn't seem to
notice this. He laughed
too, and I relaxed.
"I don't sleep like a log, ever," I felt compelled (forced) to explain.
"I'm an extremely light sleeper." He was
silent, and when he finally spoke, his voice was serious: "Don't you
remember being curious about, how the Women dressed and did their hair without
glancing into mirrors?" I could
think of no reply, and he went on to say: "Don't you remember how odd
found it, that there were no pictures on the walls, and that there was
have no recollection of having talked to anyone," I cut him off in
glanced at him guardedly, thinking, that perhaps, just in order to
mystify me, he was saying,
I had interacted with everybody in that house, when in reality nothing
no recollection of it, doesn't mean it didn't take place," he said
curtly (rudely brief or abrupt, gruff). My stomach
fluttered (vibrate/beat erratically) involuntarily: it wasn't his tone
of voice, I took exception to, but rather the
fact, that he had answered my unspoken thoughts. Certain,
that if I kept on talking, something would dispel (rid by scattering)
my mounting apprehension, I went into a
long and muddled (mix up the mind, confuse) recitation (act of
reciting) of how
I felt. I
(narrate the facts/details, enumerate), what had happened. There were
gaps in the order of events, as I tried to reconstruct
all, that had taken place between the healing session and my drive to
which I knew, that I had lost a whole day.
"You people are doing something to me; something strange and
threatening," I finished, feeling
you're being silly," Mariano Aureliano pronounced and he smiled for the
something is strange and threatening, it is only, because you're new at
You're a tough Woman. It'll make sense to you sooner or later." I was
annoyed at the sound of his word 'Woman'. I would have
preferred, if he had said girl. Accustomed, as I was, to
being asked for my papers to
prove, that I was over sixteen, I suddenly felt old. "Youth must
be only in the eyes of the beholder (seer),"
he said, as if he were again reading my thoughts: "Whoever
looks at you must see your youth, your vigor; but for you to feel,
you're a kid, is wrong. You must be
innocent without being immature." For some
inexplicable reason, his words were more, than I could bear. I wanted
not out of
hurt, but out of despondency (despair, dejection). At a loss
for what to do, I suggested we have something to eat. "I'm famished," I
you're not," he said with authority. "You're just trying to change the
his tone and his words, I looked at him, appalled (frightened).
My surprise swiftly turned to anger. Not only was I hungry, but I was
also exhausted and stiff from
the long drive. I wanted to
yell and vent (discharge, relieve through emotions) on him all my wrath
and frustration, but his eyes didn't let me move.
There was something reptilian about those unblinking, burning eyes: for
he might swallow
me up, as a snake swallows a mesmerized, defenseless bird. The mixture
of fear and anger escalated to such heights, I felt blood rushing to my
face. And I
by the slight curious lift of his brows, that my face had turned purple. Since very
early childhood, I had indulged in horrid attacks of temper. Other than
trying to soothe me, noone had ever stopped me from indulging in these attacks, and
I had indulged in them, until I had refined them into king-sized temper tantrums. These
tantrums were never caused by being denied, what I wanted to have or
wanted to do,
indignities (offence to dignity) real or imagined, inflicted on my
circumstances of that moment, however, made me feel ashamed of my habit. I made a
conscious effort to control myself, which nearly consumed all my
strength, but I calmed down.
were a whole day with us, a day, which you can't remember now," Mariano Aureliano
proceeded, seemingly unconcerned by my fluctuating mood. "During that
very communicative and responsive; a thing, which was extremely
Dreaming, you are a much better Being, more appealing, more resourceful. You allowed
us to know you in great depth."
words threw me into a turmoil. Growing up asserting myself, the way I
did, I had
adept (proficient, highly skilled, expert) at detecting
meaning, hidden behind words. 'To know me
in great depth' bothered me to no end, especially 'great depth.' It
thing, I thought, and immediately discarded it, as being preposterous
became so absorbed in my own calculations, that I no longer paid any
attention, to what he was
explaining about the day, I had lost, but I only caught bits and
pieces. I must have been
staring at him blankly, for all of a sudden he stopped talking. "You're not
listening," he reprimanded me sternly.
"What did you do to me, when I was in a trance?" I shot back at him.
More than a
was an accusation. I was
startled by my own words, for it was not a thought-out statement: the
escaped me of their own accord. Mariano
Aureliano was even more surprised. He almost choked on the burst of
followed his wide-eyed expression of shock.
don't go around, taking advantage of little girls," he assured me. Not
only did he
sincere, but he seemed to be offended by my accusation: "Esperanza
told you, who we are. We are very serious people," he stressed, then in
mocking tone added, "And we mean business."
kind of business?" I demanded belligerently (warlikely, bellicose,
forcefuly). "Esperanza didn't tell me, what you want from
certainly did," he retorted with such assurance, I wondered for an
instant, if he hadn't been
concealed, listening to our conversation in the patio. I wouldn't have
put it past him. "Esperanza
told you, that you have been pointed out to us," he went on. "And now
we are as driven by that, as you are driven by fear."
not driven by anything or anybody," I shouted, quite forgetting, that
he hadn't told me, what it was, they wanted from me. Without being in
least affected by my anger, he said, that Esperanza had made it very
clear to me, that they were committed to rear me from now on. "Rear
me!" I yelled. "You're crazy. I've had all the rearing, I need!"
Ignoring my outburst, he went on to explain, that their commitment was
total; and whether or not I understood this, was of no importance to
I stared at him, unable to hide my dread. Never before had I heard,
someone express himself with such compelling (force, constrain)
indifference and such concern at the same time. In an effort to conceal
my alarm, I tried to imbue (saturate) my voice with a spunkiness
(spirited), I was far from feeling, when I asked, "What do you imply
(hint, suggest, entail), when you say you are going to rear me?"
what you hear," he answered. "We're committed to guide you."
why?" I asked, frightened and curious at the same time. "Can't you see,
that I don't need any guidance, that I don't want any..." My
words were drowned by Mariano Aureliano's joyful laughter.
certainly need guidance. "Esperanza already showed you, how meaningless
your life is." Anticipating my next question, he motioned me to be
"As to why you and not someone else, she explained to you, that we let
the Spirit tell us, who we should guide. The Spirit showed us, that you
were the one."
a minute, Mr. Aureliano," I protested. "I really don't want to be rude
or ungrateful, but you must understand, that I'm not seeking help. I
don't want anybody to guide me, even though I probably need guidance.
The mere thought is abhorrent (disgusting, repellent) to me. Do you
what I mean? Do I make myself clear?"
do, and I do see, what you mean," he echoed, moving back a step away
from my pointed finger. "But precisely, because you don't need
anything, you are a most adequate candidate."
I yelled, fed up with his insistence. I looked around me, wondering, if
I had been overheard by the people, going in and out of the coffee
is this?" I went on yelling. "You and your companions are all a bunch
of nuts. You leave me alone, you hear? I don't need you or anyone." To
my surprise and morbid (gruesome) delight, Mariano Aureliano finally
lost his temper and began to berate (scold harshly) me like my father
and brothers used to. In a tightly controlled voice, that never
rose to be heard beyond us, he insulted me. He called me stupid and
spoiled. And then, as if insulting me had given him impetus (stimulus,
impulse, impelling force), he said something unforgivable.
He shouted, that the only
asset I ever had, was to be born blond and
blue-eyed in a land, where blond hair and blue eyes were coveted
(desirable, craved for) and revered (feeling of profound awe, respect).
never had to struggle for anything," he asserted. "The colonial
mentality of the cholos (people) of your country made them regard you,
as if you really deserved special treatment. Privilege, based merely on
having blond hair and blue eyes, is the dumbest privilege there is."
was livid (ashen, pallid, extremely angry, furious). I've never been
one to take insults sitting down. My years of training at shouting
matches at home and the extraordinarily descriptive vulgarities I
learned - and never forgot - in the streets of Caracas in my childhood,
paid off that afternoon. I said things to Mariano Aureliano, that
embarrass me to this day. I was so worked up, I didn't notice, that the
burly (heavy, strong, muscular) Indian, who was driving the pick-up
truck, had joined us. I only realized, he was there, when I heard
his loud laughter. He and Mariano Aureliano were practically on the
ground, clasping their stomachs, shrieking (high pitched screams) with
delight. "What's so funny?" I yelled, turning to the burly Indian. I
insulted him, too.
a foul-mouthed Woman," he said in perfect English. "If I were your
daddy, I would wash your mouth with soap."
asked you to
butt in (interfere, meddle, intrude on a talk), you fat turd (poos,
piece of excrement)?" In blind fury, I kicked him in the shinbone (bone
from knee to ankle). He yelled out in pain, and cursed me. I was about
to reach for his arm, and bite him, when Mariano Aureliano grabbed me
from behind and tossed me in the air. Time stopped. My descent (fall)
was so slow, so imperceptible, it seemed to me, that I was suspended in
the air forever. I didn't land on the ground with my bones broken, as I
expected, but in the arms of the burly Indian. He didn't even stagger
(hesitate, sway), but held me, as if I weighed no more, than a pillow,
ninety-five pound pillow. Catching the wicked glint in his eyes, I was
certain, he was going to toss me again. He must have sensed my fear,
he smiled and gently put me down. My wrath and strength spent, I leaned
against my car and sobbed. Mariano Aureliano put his arm around me and
stroked my hair and shoulders, the way
my father used to do, when I was a child. In a soothing
murmur, he assured me, that he wasn't in the least upset at the
barbarities (harsh/cruel conduct), I had yelled
self-pity only made me weep harder.
He shook his head in a sign of resignation (unresisting acceptance,
passive submission, patience), although his eyes shone with mirth. Then in an
obvious effort to make me laugh too, he confessed, that he still
would know, let alone use, such foul language. "Well, I suppose
there to be
used," he mused, "and foul language should be used, when the
amused. And once the attack of self-pity had passed, I began, in my
mull over (consider a problem deeply) his assertion, that all, I had
going for me, was blond hair and blue eyes. I must have
cued Mariano Aureliano about my feelings, for he assured me, that he had said, that
only to upset me and that there wasn't a shred (pinch) of truth in it. I knew, he
was lying. For an instant I felt doubly insulted, and then I was
that my defenses were shattered. I agreed
with him. He had been right on target about everything, he had said. With a
single stroke, he had unmasked me; cut through my shield, so to speak. Noone, not
even my worst enemy, could have hit me with such an accurately
whatever I might have thought about Mariano Aureliano, I knew, he
dizzy with my realization. It was, as
if an unseen force were crushing something within me; the idea of
that had given me strength, was now depleting me. Mariano
Aureliano took me by the arm, and walked me toward the coffee shop.
(peace agreement)," he said jovially. "I need you to do me a favor."
need only to ask," I responded, trying to match his tone.
you got here, I went into this coffee shop to have a sandwich, and they practically
refused to serve me. When I
complained, the cook threw me out." Mariano Aureliano looked at me dejectedly
(desperately), and added, "That happens, when one is an Indian."
that cook to the manager," I cried out in righteous indignation
(anger); my own turmoil totally and
most mysteriously forgotten.
wouldn't help me in the least," Mariano Aureliano confided.
The only way, I could help him, he assured me, was to go into the
coffee shop by myself, sit at the
counter, order an elaborate meal, and drop a dead fly in my food."
"And blame the cook," I finished for him. The whole scheme sounded so
preposterous (absurd), it made me
caught sight of his genuine expectation, I promised to do, what he
here," Mariano Aureliano said, then together with the burly Indian -
who had yet to be
introduced to me - headed toward the old red pickup truck, parked in
the street. They returned
within moments. "By the way,"
Mariano Aureliano said, "this man here is John. He's a Yuma Indian from Arizona." I wanted to
ask him, if
he also was a Sorcerer, but Mariano Aureliano beat me to the punch. "He
is the youngest member of our group," he confided.
nervously, I extended my hand and said, "I'm glad to meet you."
John responded in a deep, resonant voice, and clasped my hand warmly in his. "I hope
you and I never come to blows again," he grinned. Although
he wasn't very tall, he exuded (emitting, make felt) the vitality and
strength of a giant. Even his big, white teeth
seemed indestructible. In a joking
manner, John felt my biceps. "I'd bet, you can knock a fellow out cold
one punch," he said.
Before I had a chance to apologize to him for my kicks and insults,
Mariano Aureliano pressed a
small box into my hand. "The fly," he
whispered. "John here suggests, that you wear this," he added,
wig from a bag. "Don't worry, it's brand new," he assured me, as he
wig over my
holding me at arm's length, he regarded me critically. "Not bad," he
long, blond braid was tucked in properly. "I don't want anyone to
no need to disguise myself," I asserted. "Take my word for it, I don't
anyone in Tucson." I turned the
side mirror of my car and looked at myself.
"I can't go in looking like this," I protested.
"I look like a poodle." Mariano
Aureliano gazed at me with an exasperating (provoking) air of
amusement, as he arranged some stray
curls. "Now, don't you forget, that you have to sit at the counter and
bloody murder, when you discover the fly in your food."
"Why?" He regarded
me, as if I were dim-witted (mentally slow, stupid).
"You have to attract attention and humiliate the cook," he
shop was packed with the early dinner crowd. However, it wasn't long,
at the counter and was waited on by a harrassed-looking, but friendly
behind the order rack was the cook. Like his two helpers,
he appeared to be Mexican or
Mexican-American. He went
about his job so cheerfully, I was quite certain, he was harmless;
thought of the old Indian, waiting for me in the parking lot, I felt no
as I emptied the little matchbox- with such stealth (acting covertly)
and speed, not even the men on
either side of me noticed it- over the perfectly cooked hamburger steak
revulsion was genuine upon seeing a large, dead cockroach on my food.
is it, dear?" the waitress asked concernedly.
does the cook expect me to eat this?" I complained. I didn't
have to pretend anger. I was indignant (outraged); not at the cook, but
at Mariano Aureliano.
can he do this to me?" I asked in a loud voice.
all some dreadful accident," the waitress explained to the two curious
either side of me. She showed
the plate to the cook.
the cook said, his voice loud and clear. Rubbing his
chin thoughtfully, he studied the food. He wasn't in the least upset. I had the
he was laughing at me. "This cockroach must have either fallen from the
ceiling," he deliberated, gazing at my head in fascinated interest, "or
I could retort indignantly (reply angrily) and put the cook in his
place, he offered me anything, that was on
the menu. "It'll be on the house," he promised.
I asked for a steak and a baked potato, which was almost immediately
brought to me.
I was pouring some salad dressing over my lettuce, which I always ate
last, I discovered a good-sized
spider crawling from under a lettuce leaf. I was so
taken aback by this obvious provocation (trick), I couldn't even shriek. I looked up.
Waving from behind the order rack was the cook (Carlos Castaneda), a
dazzling smile on his face.
Mariano Aureliano was waiting for me impatiently. "What happned?" he
and your disgusting cockroach!" I spat out, then added resentfully,
didn't get upset. He enjoyed himself immensely, at my cost, of course.
only one, who got upset, was me." At his
urging, I gave Mariano Aureliano a detailed account of what took place.
The more I
the more pleased he was. Disconcerted
by his reaction, I glowered (ruddy flushed) at him. "What's so funny?"
He tried to
keep a serious face, but his lips twitched. His soft
chuckle exploded into a loud, delighted laughter. "You can't take
he chided (scold, reprimand). "You're an excellent Dreamer, but you're
certainly no actress."
not acting now. And I certainly wasn't acting in there either," I said
defensively in a high, shrill
meant, that I was counting on your ability to be convincing," he said.
"You had to make the cook
believe something, that wasn't true. I really thought you could."
dare you criticize me!" I shouted. "I made a fool of myself on your
behalf, and all you can say
is, that I don't know how to act!" I pulled off
the wig and threw it at him. "I'm sure, I've got lice now." Ignoring my
outburst, Mariano Aureliano went on to say, that Florinda had already
him, that I was incapable of pretending.
"We had to know it for sure,
in order to put you in your proper slot," he added equably (just the
same). Sorcerers are either Dreamers or Stalkers. Some are
are you talking about? What's this nonsense of Dreamers and Stalkers?"
deal with Dreams," he explained softly. "They get their Power; their
Wisdom from Dreams. Stalkers, on the other hand, deal with people; with
the Everyday World.
They get their Wisdom, their Power, from interacting with their fellow
obviously don't know me at all," I said derisively (mockingly). "I
interact very well with people."
you don't," he contradicted me. "You, yourself, said, that you don't
know how to
good liar, but you lie only to get, what you want. Your lies
are too specific, too personal. And do you know why?" He paused
for a moment, as if to give me time to respond. But before I could even
he added, "Because for you, things are either black or white with no
And I don't
mean it in terms of morality, but in terms of convenience. Your convenience,
that is. A true authoritarian." Mariano
Aureliano and John exchanged glances, then both squared (forming right
angle) their shoulders, clicked
their heels and did something unforgivable to me. They raised
their arms in a fascist salute and said, "Mein Fuehrer!" The more
they laughed, the greater was my rage. I felt my
blood ringing in my ears, rushing to my face. And this time, I did
I kicked my
car and banged my arms against the roof. The two Men,
instead of trying to soothe me - as my parents or my friends definitely would have
done - stood there and laughed, as I were providing them with the
indifference, their complete lack of concern for me was so shocking,
that my wrath
of its own accord. Never had I
been so completely disregarded. I was lost. I realized
then, that I had no more maneuvers left. I had never
known, until that day, that if the witnesses to my tantrums didn't show
concern, I didn't know, what to do next. "I think,
she's confused now," Mariano Aureliano said to John. "She doesn't know,
what to do."
He put his arm around the burly indian's shoulders and added softly,
yet still loud enough for me to
hear, "Now she is going to cry, and when she does, she's going to cry
we console her. Nothing is as tiresome, as a spoiled cunt."
did it for me. Like an injured bull, I lowered my head and charged
startled by my vicious, sudden attack, he almost lost his balance. It
to sink my teeth in the fleshy part of his stomach. He let out a
yell, a mixture of pain and laughter. John grabbed
me by the waist and pulled me away. I didn't let go of my bite, until my partial
bridge came off. I had knocked two of my upper front teeth out, when I
thirteen, in a fight between the Venezuelan and the German students at
the German high school in
howled with laughter. John bent over the trunk of my Volkswagen,
banging my car. "She's got a hole in her teeth, like a football
cried out in
between shrieks. My
embarrassment was beyond words. I was so vexed (annoyed), that my knees
gave in on me and I slid to the
paved ground, like a rag doll, and actually passed out. When I came
to my senses,
I was sitting inside the pickup truck. Mariano
Aureliano was pressing my back. Smiling, he stroked my head repeatedly
then embraced me. I was
surprised by my absence of emotion: I was neither embarrassed, nor
relaxed; at ease. It was a tranquility; a serenity I had never known
first time in my life, I realized, that I had never been at peace with
myself or with others. "We like you
immensely," Mariano Aureliano said. "But you have to cure yourself of your temper
tantrums. If you don't, they will kill you. This time it
was my fault. I must apologize to you. I did deliberately provoke you." I was too
calm to say anything. I got out of the truck to stretch my arms and
legs. I had
cramps in my calves. After a few
moments of silence, I apologized to the two men. I told them, that my
worse, since I had started drinking colas compulsively (irresistible
drinking them," Mariano Aureliano suggested. Then he
completely changed the subject and went on talking, as if nothing had
that he was extremely pleased, that I had joined them.
are?" I asked uncomprehendingly. "Did I join you?"
did!" he emphasized. "One day it will all make sense to you." He pointed
to a flock of crows cawing above us. "The crows are a good Omen. See how
marvelous they look. They are like a painting in the sky. To see them
now is a
that we will see each other again." I gazed at
the birds, until they flew out of sight. When I
turned to look at Mariano Aureliano, he was no longer there. The pickup
had rolled away without a sound.
Disregarding the scratchy bushes, I dashed after the dog, who was
scurrying (light running steps, hurry) through the sagebrush
with reckless speed. I soon lost
sight of its golden fur, shimmering amidst the fragrant wild shrubs and followed the
sound of its barks, growing fainter and fainter in the distance. Uneasily, I
glanced at the THICK FOG, advancing on me. It closed in
around the spot, where I stood and within moments there was no sight of
sky. The late afternoon Sun, like a subdued ball of fire, was scarcely
discernible. And the magnificent
view of the Santa Monica Bay, now more imagined, than seen from the
Mountains, had disappeared with incredible speed. I wasn't
worried about the dog, getting lost. I, however,
had no idea, where to find the secluded spot, my friends had chosen for
picnic. Or where the hiking path was, that I had taken to chase after
the dog. I
took a few
hesitant steps in the same general direction the dog had followed, when something
made me stop.
from above, through some crack in the fog, I saw a tiny point of light, descending
toward me. Another one followed, then another, like little flames tied
trembled and vibrated in the air, then, just before they reached me,
vanished, as though the fog around me had swallowed them up. Since they
had disappeared only a few feet in front of me, I moved on, closer to
examine that extraordinary sight.
I peered intently into the fog, I saw dark, human shapes glide through
the air, two or three feet
off the ground, moving, as though they were tiptoeing on
the other, the human shapes squatted, forming a circle. I took a few
more vacillating (hesitating) steps, then stopped, as the fog thickened
and absorbed them. I remained
still, not knowing what to do. I felt a
most unusual fright. Not the fright I am familiar with, but one in my
body, in my
kind of fright animals must have. I don't
know, how long I stood there. When the fog
cleared enough for me to see, I saw to my left, about fifty feet away,
Men sitting cross-legged on the ground. They were
whispering to each other, and the sound of their voices seemed to be all around me,
captured in small patches of fog, that were like tufts (dense clump) of
understand, what they were saying, but I felt reassured, as I caught a
word here and
were speaking in Spanish.
lost!" I shouted in Spanish. Both Men
slowly turned around, hesitant, disbelieving, as though they were
around, wondering, if there was someone behind me, that was causing
reaction; but there was noone. Grinning,
one of the Men rose, stretched his limbs, until his joints cracked,
between us in quick strides (walk with long steps). He was
young, short, and powerfully built, with massive shoulders and a big
dark eyes radiated amusement and curiosity. I told him,
that I had been hiking with friends and had gotten lost, chasing after
no idea how to get back to them," I finished.
can't go any further this way," the man warned me. "We are standing on
He took me
confidently by the arm and led me to the very edge of the precipice
(extremely steep mass of rock), no more, than ten
feet away, from where I had been standing. "This friend
of mine," he said, pointing to the other Man, who had remained seated, staring at
me, "had just finished telling me, that there is an ancient Indian
when you showed up and nearly scared us to death." He studied
my face, my long blond braid, and asked, "Are you Swedish?"
bewildered, by what the young man had said about the burial ground, I
stared into the fog. Under normal
circumstances, as a student of anthropology, I would have been thrilled
find out about an ancient Indian burial ground. At the
moment, however, I couldn't care less, if there was indeed one in that
All I could
think of was, that if I hadn't been distracted by those lights, I might
you Swedish?" the young man asked again.
am," I lied and immediately regretted it. I couldn't think of any way
to correct it, though,
without losing face.
speak Spanish perfectly," the man commented. "Swedish people have a
felt terribly guilty, I couldn't help adding, that more, than a gift,
it was a
for Scandinavians to learn various languages, if they wanted to
rest of the World.
"Besides," I confessed, "I grew up in South America." For some
strange reason this piece of information seemed to baffle the young man. He shook his
head, as if in disbelief, and then remained silent for a long while,
Then, as if
he had arrived at some kind of a decision, he took me briskly by the
to where the other man was sitting. I had no
intention of socializing: I wanted to get back to my friends as soon,
young man made me feel so at ease, that instead of asking them, to lead
me back to
path, I gave them a detailed account of the lights and human shapes, I
strange, that the Spirit would spare (save) her," the seated Man
muttered, as if to himself, his dark
brows, drawn together in a frown. But
obviously, he was talking to his companion, who mumbled something in
return, that I didn't catch. They
exchanged conspiratorial glances, intensifying my feelings of unease.
beg your pardon?" I said, turning to the man, who was sitting. "I
didn't get, what you were saying." He stared at
me aggressively and morosely.
"You were warned of the danger," he stated in a voice, that was deep
and resonant. "The emissaries
of death came to your help."
"The who?" I felt compelled (forced) to ask, even though I had
understood him perfectly well. I examined
him closely. For an instant, I had the certainty, I knew him, but as I
staring at him, I realized, I had never seen him before. Yet I couldn't
completely discard the feeling
of knowing him. He was not
as young, as the other man, but he wasn't old either. He was
definitely an Indian. His skin was dark brown. His hair was blue-black,
as a brush.
wasn't only his outward appearance, that was almost familiar to me. He
morose, as only I could be morose. Seemingly
uncomfortable under my scrutiny, he rose abruptly.
"I'll take you to your friends," he
and don't you dare fall down. You'll fall on top of me and kill us
added in a
Before I had
the opportunity to say, that I wasn't a clumsy oaf (stupid person), he
led the way down a very steep side
of a mountain in the opposite direction of the cliff.
you know, where you are going?" I shouted after him, my voice sharp with nervousness. I couldn't
orient myself - not that I am normally good at it - but I had not been
a hill, as I chased the dog. The man
turned around. An amused
little grin quickly lit his face, though his eyes did not smile. He looked at
me with a black, stony look. "I'm going to take you to your friends,"
was all he
like him, yet I believed him. He wasn't
too tall- about five feet ten- and
he was small boned, yet his body projected the massiveness
and compactness of a stocky person. He moved in
the fog with extraordinary confidence, stepping with ease and grace
thought was a vertical drop. The younger
Man climbed down behind me, helping me every time I got stuck. He had the
solicitous (thoughtful, concerned) manner of an old-fashioned gentleman. His hands
were strong and beautiful, and incredibly soft to the touch. His
lifted me up and over his head several times; perhaps not an
extraordinary feat, considering
my puny (small) weight, but quite impressive, taking into account, that
shale (sedimentary rock) ledges, and was no more, than two or three
inches taller, than I.
have to thank the emissaries of death," the man, who had led the way,
soon, as we
had reached level ground.
do?" I asked mockingly. The thought
of saying thank you to the 'emissaries of death' seemed ridiculous to
have to get down on my knees?" I asked in between a fit of giggles. The Man
didn't think, I was being funny. He rested
his hands on his hips and looked me full in the eye, his narrow, gaunt
(bony, angular) face unsmiling. There was
something menacing about his stance (sportsmen's position); about his
slanted dark eyes under the bristly
(short, coarse) eyebrows, running together over the bridge of his
Abruptly, he turned his back to me, and moved away to sit on a nearby
leave this spot, until you thank the emissaries of death," he
the realization, that I was alone in a godforsaken place, hit me. I was fogged
in (envelop with fog, bewilder) with two strange men; one of them
I knew, he wouldn't budge (alter position/attitude) from the spot,
I fullfilled his ludicrous (foolish, laughable, hilarious) request. To my
amazement, instead of feeling frightened, I felt like laughing. The
all-knowing smile on the younger man's face clearly revealed, that he
knew, how I
felt, and he
was quite delighted by it.
don't have to go as far, as kneeling," he told me, and then, no longer
able to hold
mirth, he began to laugh. It was a
bright, raspy sound; it rolled like pebbles all around me. His teeth
were snowwhite and
perfectly even, like a child's. His face had
a look at once mischievous and gentle. "It's enough
to say thank you," he prompted (quick to respond) me. "Say it. What do
you have to lose?"
feel stupid," I confided, deliberately trying to win him over. I won't
he asked in a nonjudgmental tone. "It'll only take a second, and," he
won't hurt a bit." In spite of
myself, I had to giggle.
but I can't do it," I repeated: "I'm like
that. The moment, someone insists, that I do something, I don't want to
do, I get
on the ground, his chin resting on his knuckles, the young Man nodded
After a long
pause he said, "It's a fact, that something prevented you from getting
killed. Something inexplicable (unexplainable)." I agreed
with him. I even admitted, that it was all very baffling to me. I tried to
make a point about phenomena, happening coincidentally at the right
time; in the
all very appropriate," he said. Then he
grinned and daringly nudged me on the chin. "But it doesn't explain your particular
case," he said: "You have
been the recipient of a gift. Call the
giver coincidence, circumstances, chain of events, or whatever. The fact remains,
that you were spared pain; injury."
you're right," I conceded (admit, acknowledge). "I should be more
more grateful. More pliable, more fluid," he said and laughed. Seeing, that
I was getting angry, he opened his arms wide, as if to encompass the sagebrush
believes, that what you saw, has to do with the Indian burial ground,
be right here."
don't see a burial ground," I said defensively.
hard to recognize it," he explained, squinting at me, as if he had
trouble with his eyes. "And it
isn't the fog, that prevents one from seeing it. Even on a sunny day,
a patch of sagebrush." He went down
on his knees and, grinning, looked up at me. "However, for the knowing eye, it's an
unusually shaped patch of sagebrush." He lay flat on the ground, on his stomach, his
head tilted to the left, and motioned me to do the same. "This is the
only way to see it clearly," he explained, as I lay down beside him on
ground. "I wouldn't have known this, but for my friend here, who knows
all kinds of
and exciting things." At first I
saw nothing, then one by one I discovered the rocks in the thick
Dark and shiny, as though they had been washed by the mist, they sat
hunched (draw themselves up closely into a crouched, or cramped
posture) in a circle, more like
creatures, than stones. I stifled
(hold back) a scream, as I realized, that the circle of rocks
was exactly like the circle of human figures, I
had seen earlier in the fog.
I am truly frightened," I mumbled, shifting uncomfortably. "I told you,
that I saw
figures, sitting in a circle." I looked at
him to see, if his face betrayed any disapproval or mockery before I
preposterous (absurd), but I could almost swear those rocks were the
people, I saw."
know," he whispered, so softly I had to move closer to him. "It's all
very mysterious," he went on: "My friend,
who you must have noticed, is an Indian, says, that certain Indian
such as this one, have a row or a circle of boulders. The boulders
are the emissaries of death." He looked at
me closely, and then, as if he wanted to make sure, he had my full
"They are the emissaries, mind you, and not the representation of the emissaries." I kept
staring at the man, not only because I didn't know, what to make of his
his face kept changing, as he talked and smiled. It wasn't, that his
his face was at moments, that of a six-year-old child, a
seventeen-year-old boy, and
that of an old man, too. "These are
strange beliefs," he continued, seemingly oblivious to my scrutiny: "I didn't
put too much stock in them, until the moment, you came out of the blue,
telling me about the emissaries of death, and then you told us, that
you had just
If I were
given to distrust," he went on, his tone suddenly menacing, "I would
he are in cahoots."
don't know him!" I defended myself, indignant (angry) at the mere
suggestion, then whispered softly, so
only he could hear, "To be quite frank, your friend gives me the
were given to distrust," the young man repeated, ignoring my
interruption, "I would believe,
that you two are actually trying to scare me. But I'm not distrustful. So the only
thing, I can do, is suspend judgment and wonder about you."
don't wonder about me," I said irritably. "And I don't know, what the
about anyway." I glared at
him angrily. I had no sympathy for his dilemma. He too was giving me the creeps.
talking about thanking the emissaries of death," the older man said. He had
walked, to where I was lying, and was peering down at me in a most
Eager to get
away from that place and those two crazy people, I stood up and shouted
echoed, as if the under-brush had turned into rocks. I listened,
until the sound died away. Then, as if
possessed, and quite against my better judgment, I cried out my thanks
again and again.
emissaries are more, than satisfied," the younger man said, nudging my
calf. Laughing, he rolled on his back. There was a wonderful strength
in his eyes, in the delighted Power of his laugh. I didn't
an instant, despite the levity (inconstancy, frivolity, changeableness,
buoyancy, lightness), that indeed
I had thanked the emissaries of death. And most oddly, I felt myself
protected by them.
are you two?" I directed my question at the younger man. In one agile
(fast, light), smooth motion he sprang to his feet.
"I'm Jose Luis
Cortez; my friends call me Joe," he said, holding out his hand to clasp
mine. "And this here is my friend Gumersindo Evans-Pritchard."
laugh out loud at the name, I bit my lip and bent to scratch an
imaginary bite on my knee. "A flea, I think," I said, gazing from one
man to the other. Both stared back at me, defying
(challenging) me to
make fun of the name. There was such a serious expression on their
faces, that my laughter vanished. Gumersindo Evans-Pritchard
for my hand - hanging limply at my side - and shook it vigorously.
"I'm delighted to make your acquaintance," he said in perfect English
with an upper-class British accent. "For a moment I thought you were
one of those stuck-up cunts."
eyes widened and my mouth opened. Although something in me registered,
that his words were meant, as a compliment, rather than an insult, my
shock was nevertheless so intense, that I just stood there, as if
prudish (morally excessive) - under the proper circumstances I could
outswear anyone - but to me
there was something so appallingly (causing dismay, frightful,
horrifying, very bad, terrible) offensive about the sound of the word
to become) me speechless. Joe came to my rescue. He apologized for his
friend, explaining, that Gumersindo was an extreme social iconoclast
(destroyer of sacred images, popular ideas, institutions). Before I had
a chance to say, that Gumersindo had definitely shattered my sense of
propriety (etiquette appropriateness), Joe added, that Gumersindo's
compulsion (irresistible impulse, coercion, forcing) to be an
iconoclast had to do with the fact, that his last name was
Evans-Pritchard. "It shouldn't surprise anyone," Joe noted.
"His father is an Englishman, who abandoned his mother, an Indian Woman
from Jalisco, before Gumersindo was born."
I repeated guardedly, then turned to Gumersindo and asked him, if it
all right for Joe to reveal to a stranger his family's skeletons in the
aren't skeletons in the closet," Joe answered for his friend. "And do
you know why?" He fixed me
his shiny, dark eyes, that were neither brown, nor black, but the color
of ripe cherries. Helplessly, I shook my head to say no, my attention
held by his compelling (force, constrain) gaze. His one eye seemed to
be laughing at me. The other one was dead serious, ominous and
call skeletons in the closet, are Gumersindo's source of strength,"
went on. "Do you know, that his father is now a famous English
anthropologist? Gumersindo hates his guts." Gumersindo
his head almost imperceptibly, as if he were proud of his hatred. I
could hardly believe my good fortune. They were referring to none
other, than E. E. Evans-Pritchard, one of the most important social
anthropologists of the twentieth century. And it was precisely during
this term at UCLA, that I was researching a paper on the history of
social anthropology and the most eminent proponents (advocate, one who
supports something) in the field.
What a scoop (utensil, ladle, portion of something, sudden profit,
sensational story)! I had to restrain myself from shouting out loud,
jumping up and down with excitement. To be able to come with some awful
secret like that. A great anthropologist seducing and abandoning an
Indian Woman. I was not in the least concerned, that Evans-Pritchard
hadn't done any fieldwork in Mexico - he was mainly known for his
research in Africa - for I was certain, I would discover, that during
one of his visits to the United States he had gone into Mexico. I had
the very proof, standing before me. Smiling sweetly, I gazed at
Gumersindo and made the silent promise that, of course, I wouldn't
reveal anything without his permission. Well, perhaps I would just say something to
one of my professors, I thought. After all, one didn't come across this
kind of information every day.
My mind was spinning with possibilities. Perhaps a small lecture with
only a few selected students at the home of one of my professors. In my
mind, I had already selected the professor. I didn't partcularly like
him, but I appreciated the rather childish manner, in which he tried to
impress his students. Periodically, we met at his home. Every time I
had been there, I had discovered on his desk a note, left there, as if
by mistake, written to him by a famous anthropologist, Claude
didn't tell us your name," Joe said politely, gently pulling me by my
I said without hesitation, giving the name of one of my childhood
friends. To ease my discomfort and guilt, at having lied again with
facility (ease in doing, acting, moving, fluency, aptitude), I asked
Joe, if he was from Argentina. Seeing his puzzled frown, I hastened to
add, that his inflection (accent) was definitely Argentinian. "Even
though you don't look like an Argentinian," I noted.
Mexican," he said. "And judging by your accent, you grew up either in
Cuba or in Venezuela." I didn't
continue on that line of conversation and swiftly changed the subject.
"Do you know how to get back to the hiking path?" I asked, suddenly
concerned, that my friends might be worried by now.
I don't," Joe confessed with childish candor (boldness,
straightforwardness). "But Gumersindo Evans-Pritchard does." Gumersindo
way across the chaparral, up a narrow trail on the other side of the
mountain. It wasn't long before we heard my friends' voices and the
barking of their dog. I felt intense relief, and at the same time I was
disappointed and puzzled, that neither man tried to find out how to get
in touch with me. "I'm sure
meet again," Joe said perfunctorily (act mechanically, routinely, no
care) by way of farewell. Gumersindo Evans-Pritchard surprised me by
gallantly kissing my hand. He did this so naturally and gracefully,
that it didn't occur to me to laugh at him.
genes," Joe explained. "Even though he's only half English, his
refinement is beyond reproach. He's totally gallant (amorous, stately,
brave, courteous, daring, dashing, showy in appearance)!"
Without another word or backward glance, both of them disappeared in
the mist. I doubted very much, that I would ever see them again.
Overcome with guilt for having lied about my name, I was on the verge
of running after them, when my friends' dog almost knocked me to the
ground, as it jumped on me and tried to lick my face.
Dumbfounded (surprised), I stared at the guest speaker. In
his three-piece suit, short, curly hair, and clean-shaven
face, Joe Cortez looked like someone from another time amidst the
beaded (covered with beads, shrewd, piercing), casually dressed
students in one of the large lecture auditoriums
at the University of California in Los Angeles. Hastily, I
slipped into the empty seat in the back row of the packed auditorium, a
saved for me by the same friend, I had gone hiking with in the Santa
"Who is he?" I asked her. Shaking her
head in disbelief, she regarded me impatiently, then scribbled Carlos Castaneda on
a piece of paper.
in the dickens is Carlos Castaneda?" I asked and giggled involuntarily.
gave you his book," she hissed, then added, that he was a well-known
anthropologist, who had done
extensive fieldwork in Mexico. I was about
to confide to my friend, that the guest speaker was the same man, I had
met in the
mountains, the day I had gotten lost. However, for
some very good reason, I didn't say anything. That man was
responsible for almost destroying our friendship, which I treasured immensely.
My friend had been adamant (inflexible, resilience, exceptional
hardness) in her opinion, that the story about Evans-Pritchard's son was hogwash. I had
insisted, that the two men had nothing to gain, by telling me a tall
I just knew, that they had
candidly (open, without pretence, straight forward, fair, frank,
impartial) spoken the truth. My friend,
mad at me for believing them, had called me a gullible fool.
Since neither of us had been willing to yield (provide, give in return,
surrender, relinquish), our argument had become quite heated. Her husband,
hoping to bring us out of our frenzy (mania, craze), had suggested,
that perhaps I had been told the
(irritate, annoy) by his lack of solidarity with her, my friend had
yelled at him to shut up. We had
driven home in a morose state, our friendship strained. It took a
couple of weeks to wash away the bad feeling.
In the meantime, I had tried my information on Evans-Pritchard's son on
several people more versed
in anthropological matters and in anthropologists, than I or my friend. Needless to
say, I was made to feel like an idiot. Out of
stubbornness, I held on to my blind belief, that I alone knew the truth. I had been
reared to be practical;
if one lies, it has to be to gain something, that can't be gained
otherwise. And I was at a loss to figure out, what those men could have
had to gain. I paid
little attention to Carlos Castaneda's lecture. I was too absorbed with
reason for lying to me about his name. Given, as I was, to deducing
motives from a simple statement or an observation, I had a field day,
search for a
clue to his. But then I remembered, that I, too, had given him a false
name. And I
couldn't determine, why I had done so. After long
mental deliberation (thoughtful, lengthy consideration), I decided,
that I had lied, because automatically I hadn't trusted him.
He was too self-confident, too cocky to inspire my trust. My mother had reared me to
distrust Latin men, especially, if they were not somewhat subservient.
used to say, that Latin machos were like bantam cocks, interested only
in fighting, eating, and having
sex, in that order. And
I suppose, I had believed her without even thinking about it. I finally
looked at Carlos Castaneda. I couldn't make heads or tails, of what he
I became fascinated by his movements. He seemed to
speak with his whole body, and his words, rather, than emerging from his mouth,
seemed to flow from his hands, which he moved with the gracefulness and
walked up to him after the lecture. He was
surrounded by students. He was so solicitous (thoughtful, concerned,
anxious) and engaging with the Women, that I
automatically despised him.
"You've lied to me about your name, Joe Cortez," I said in Spanish,
pointing an accusing finger at
Holding his hand over his stomach, as if he had received a blow, he
gazed at me with that same
hesitant, disbelieving expression, he had had, when he first
saw me in the mountains. "It is also a
lie, that your friend Gumersindo is the son of Evans-Pritchard," I
from his surprise at seeing me. "Isn't it?" He made a
pleading gesture for me not to say any more. He didn't
seem to be in the least embarrassed. There was
such plain and simple wonder in his eyes, that my righteous wrath was
he held me by the wrist, as if afraid I would leave. After he
finished talking with the students, he silently led me to a secluded
gigantic pine tree, in the north campus.
this is so strange, that I am truthfully speechless," he said in
English, as we sat down. He gazed at
me, as if he still couldn't believe, I was sitting beside him.
never thought, I would find you again," he mused: "After we
left, my friend - his name, by the way, is Nestor - and I discussed you
concluded, that you were a semiapparition." He abruptly
changed to Spanish and said, that they even went back to the place,
left me in the hope of finding me.
did you want to find me?" I asked in English; confident, that he would
that he went there, because he liked me. In Spanish,
there is no way to say, that one just likes someone else. The response
has to be
(rosy colored, ornate) and at the same time more precise. In Spanish,
one can either happen to evoke
(summon, call forth, reawaken, inspire) a good feeling - me caes bien -
or arouse total passion - me gustos.
My candid (open, without pretence, straight forward, fair, frank,
impartial) question plunged him into a long silence. He seemed to be
fighting, whether he ought to
speak or not.
At last, he
said, that finding me in the fog that afternoon, had caused him a
His face was
enraptured (enchanted, delight completely), as he revealed all this,
and his voice betrayed the deepest awe, as he added,
that finding me in the lecture room, had been nearly the end of him.
I asked, my vanity (false pride, vain, worthless, conceit) pricked
(puncture, pierce, sting). I instantly
regretted it, because I was convinced, he was going to tell me, he was
love with me, and that
would have been too disturbing. I wouldn't
"It's a very
long story," he said, still in a pensive (deeply thoughtful) mood. He puckered
his lips, as if he were talking to himself, rehearsing, what he was
say next. I
signs of a man, who is preparing to make his pitch (assault). "I
haven't read your work," I said, in
order to head him off in a different direction. "What is it
written a couple of books about Sorcery," he replied.
kind of Sorcery? Voodoo, spiritualism, or what?"
you know anything about Sorcery?" he asked with a note expectation in
course I do. I grew up with it. I've spent a
great deal of time in the coastal region of Venezuela. It's an area,
its Sorcerers. Most summers
of my childhood were spent with a family of witches."
I said, pleased with his reaction. "I had a nanny, who is a witch. She was a
black woman from Puerto Cabello. She took care of me, until I was an
adolescent. Both my parents worked, and when I was a child,
they were quite happy to leave me in
handle me much better, than either of my parents.
She would let me do, as I pleased. My parents,
of course, let her take me everywhere. During the school holidays she would take
me with her to visit her family.
was not her biological family, but her witch family. Although I wasn't
in any of their rituals and trance sessions, I did manage to see a
He regarded me curiously, as if he didn't believe me. Then he
asked with a bemused (confused, engrossed, bewildered) smile, "What
made her a witch?"
sorts of things. She killed chickens and offered them to the Gods in
and her fellow witches - men and women- would dance, until they would go into a
trance. She recited secret incantations, that had the power to heal her
enemies. Her specialty was love potions. She prepared them with
all sorts of bodily refuse, such as menstrual blood, nail clippings,
pubic hair. She made amulets for good luck in gambling or in matters of
your parents allowed all this?" he asked in disbelief.
home, noone knew about it, except myself and my nanny's clients, of
"She made house calls, as any doctor would. All, she ever
did at home, was to burn candles behind the toilet bowl, whenever I had nightmares.
Since it seemed to help me and there was no danger of anything catching
amidst the tiles, my mother openly allowed her to do this." He suddenly
stood up and began to laugh. "What's so
funny?" I asked, wondering, whether he thought, I had made it all up.
assert something to yourself, and as far, as you are concerned, once
you make the
it turns into the truth," he said with a serious face.
I told you the truth," I insisted, certain, that he was referring to my
can see through people," he said calmly. "For instance, I see, you're
convinced, that I am going to
make a pass at you. You've convinced yourself about it and now, it is
I am talking about." I tried to
say something, but indignation (anger) took my breath away. I would
have liked to run away. But
that would have been too humiliating. He frowned
slightly, and I had the unpleasant impression, that he knew, what I was feeling. My face got
red. I trembled with suppressed anger. Nonetheless,
within moments I felt extraordinarily calm. It wasn't due to any
effort on my
part; yet I had the distinct sensation, that something in me had
vague recollection, that I had gone through a similar experience
before, but my memory faded
away as fast, as it came.
are you doing to me?" I muttered (speak in low indistinct
just happen to see through people," he said in a contrite (remorseful,
penitent) tone. "Not all the time and certainly
not with everybody, but only with the people,
I am intimately associated with. I don't
know, why I can see through you." His
sincerity was apparent. He seemed much more baffled, than I was. He sat down
again and moved closer to me on the bench. We remained
in total silence for a while.
It was a most pleasant experience to be able to drop all
effort, at making conversation and not feel, that I was being stupid. I looked up
at the sky. It was cloudless and transparent like blue glass. A soft
breeze blew through the pine branches, and the needles fell on us like
a gentle rain. Then the
breeze turned into a wind, and the dry, yellow, fallen leaves of the
blew toward us. They swirled
around us with a soft, rhythmic sound. In one abrupt swoop, the wind carried the
leaves high up into the air. "That was a
fine display of the Spirit," he murmured. "And it was for you; the
spinning in the air in front of us. The
Sorcerer, I work with, would say, that that was an Omen. Something
pointed you out to me, at
the precise moment I was thinking, that I'd better leave. I cannot
only about his last statement, I felt inexplicably happy. It wasn't a
the kind of glee one feels, when getting one's way. It was rather a
well-being, that didn't last long. My ponderous
(consider carefully) self took over suddenly and demanded, that I be
rid of those thoughts and feelings. I
had no business being there. I had cut a class, missed lunch with my
friends, missed my daily laps at the pool in the women's gym.
it'll be better, if I leave," I said. I intended it as a statement of
relief, but when I said it, it
sounded, as if I were feeling sorry for myself, which somehow
I was. But
of leaving, I asked him, as casually, as I could, whether he had always
able to see through people.
not always." His kind tone clearly betrayed, that he was conscious of
"The old Sorcerer, I work with, has recently taught me how."
you think, that he could teach me, too?"
I think, he would." He seemed amazed at his own statement. "If he feels
the way I
do, he'll certainly try to."
you know about Sorcery before?" I asked timidly, slowly coming out of my agitation.
Latin America everybody thinks, that they know, and I believed, I did. In that
sense, you remind me of myself. Like you, I was convinced, that I knew,
when I really encountered it, it wasn't like, I thought, it was."
"How was it?"
So simple, that it's scary," he confided: "We think,
that Sorcery is scary, because of its malignancy. The Sorcery,
I encountered, is not malignant at all, and because of that, it's the
I interrupted him and commented, that he must be referring to white, as
opposed to black Sorcery. "Don't talk
nonsense, damn it!" he impatiently snapped at me. The shock,
of hearing him speak to me in that manner, was so great, that I gasped
breath. I was instantly thrown back into turmoil. He turned
his face to avoid my gaze. He had dared
to yell at me. I became so angry, I thought, I was going to have a fit.
buzzing. I saw dark spots in front of my eyes. I would have
hit him, if he hadn't jumped out of my reach so swiftly. "You're very
undisciplined," he said and sat down again. "And quite violent. Your nanny
must have indulged your every whim (caprice) and treated you, as if you
scowling (anger, disapproval) frown, he went on to say, that he hadn't
really yelled at me out of impatience
or anger. "It doesn't matter
to me personally, whether you listen or not," he
explained. "But it matters to someone else, on whose behalf, I shouted
at you. Someone, who is watching us." I was
perplexed (confuse, puzzle, bewilder) at first, then uneasy. I looked
all around me, wondering whether his Sorcerer
teacher might be watching us. He ignored
me and went on to say, "My father never mentioned to me, that
we have a constant witness. And he never
mentioned it, because he didn't know it. Just like you, yourself, don't
kind of nonsense are you talking about?" My raspy, angry voice
yelled at me, he had insulted me. I resented, that he was talking his
head off, as if nothing had
happened. If he believed, that I was going to overlook his actions, he
was in for
surprise. "You won't get away with it,"
I thought, smiling at him maliciously. "Not with me,
talking about a Force, an Entity, a Presence, which is neither a force,
nor an entity, nor a presence,"
he explained with an angelic smile. He seemed totally oblivious to my
belligerent (state of being at war) mood. Sounds like gibberish, but it
isn't. I am referring to
something, that only Sorcerers know about.
call it - the Spirit. Our personal Watcher, our perennial Witness." I
don't know exactly how or what precise word triggered it, but suddenly
he had my full attention. He went on talking about this Force, which he
said wasn't God or anything to do with religion or morality, but an
impersonal Force, a Power, that was there for us to use, if we only
learned to reduce ourselves to nothing. He even held
my hand, and I didn't mind it. In fact, I liked the feel of his strong,
touch. I became morbidly (gruesome, grisly, melancholic) fascinated
with the strange Power, he had over me. I was aghast
(shocked), that I longed
to sit with him on that bench indefinitely with my hand in his. He went on
talking. And I went on listening to every word, he said. But at the
same time I
(contrary, perverted) wondered, when he was going to grab my leg, for I
knew, that he wasn't going to have
enough with my hand, and I couldn't do anything to stop him. Or was it,
to do anything to stop him? He
explained, that he had been as careless and undisciplined, as one could
be, but that he never knew
the difference, because he was imprisoned by the mood of the time.
the mood of the time?" I asked in a rough, unfriendly voice, lest he
think, I was
being with him.
call it the modality of the time," he said. "In our day, it's the
concern of the middle
class. I am a middle-class man, just like you're a middle-class woman--"
of that nature don't hold any validity," I interrupted him rudely,
suddenly, jerk) my hand out of his. "They are simply generalizations."
scowled (disapproval) at him suspiciously. There was something
startlingly familiar about his words, but I
couldn't think, where I had heard them before or what significance I
was attaching to them. Yet, I was
sure: those words had a very vital significance for me, if I could only
knew about them.
give me this social scientist gaff (cheap music hall)," he said
jovially (merry). "I'm, as aware of it, as you are."
in to a wave of total frustration, I took his hand and bit it. "I'm truly
sorry about that," I instantly mumbled, before he recovered from his
know, why I did it. I haven't bitten anyone, since I was a child." I sidled
a nervous, furtive manner, sideways) to the far edge of the bench, in
readiness for his retaliation (evil for evil, tat for tat). It didn't
absolutely primitive" was all he said, rubbing his hand in a dazed sort
of way. I
let out a
deep sigh of relief. His Power
over me was shattered. And
I remembered, that I had an old score to settle with him. He had
turned me into the laughing-stock of my anthropology student friends.
back to our
original problem," I said, trying to arouse my anger. "Why did you tell
me all that
nonsense about Evans-Pritchard's son? You must have realized, that I
was going to
make a fool
him carefully, certain, that confronting him like this after the bite,
self-control or at least rattle (disconcert, unnerve) him. I expected
him to yell, to lose his confidence and
remained unperturbed (not greatly disturbed).
He took a deep breath and adopted a serious expression. "I know, that
it looks like a simple case of people, telling tall tales for their
he began in
a light, casual tone. "But it's more complex, than that." He chuckled
softly, then reminded me, that he hadn't known at that time, that I was
student of anthropology and that I would make a fool of myself. He paused
for a moment, as if searching for the proper words, then he shrugged helplessly
and added, "I really can't explain to you now, why I introduced my
Evans-Pritchard's son, unless I tell you much more about myself and my
the more you know about me, the more entangled you'll become." He regarded
me thoughtfully, and I could see in his eyes, that he was sincere.
"And I don't
mental entanglement (compromising relationship). I mean, you'll become
personally entangled with me." This was
blatant (obvious, offensively conspicuous) display of gall (bitteness,
impudence, temerity), that I regained all my confidence.
I fell back on my well-tried sarcastic laughter and said in a cutting
tone: "You are perfectly
disgusting. I know your kind. You are the typical example of the
high an opinion about oneself, vain, fanciful) Latin macho, I have
battled with, all my life." Seeing the
expression of surprise on his face, I pressed on in my most haughty
(annoyed) tone: "How dare
you to think, that I'll be entangled with you?"
didn't become red in the face, as I expected. He slapped his knee and
uproariously, as if that was the funniest thing, he had ever heard. And
to my utter dismay (dread, apprehension, discourage, disappoinment), he began to
tickle me in the ribs, as if I were a child.
Afraid to laugh - I was ticklish - I screeched (high-pitched, harsh,
piecing cry, shriek) with indignation (anger). "How dare you to touch me!" I stood
up to leave. I was shaking. And then I
shocked myself even further, by sitting down again. Seeing, that
he was about to tickle me again, I curled my hands into fists and held
before me. "I'll smash your nose, if you touch me again," I warned him. Thoroughly
unconcerned by my threat, he reclined his head against the back of the
He laughed gaily, a deep chortling (joyful chucle) laugh, that made him
shiver all over. "You're a typical German girl,
who grew up, surrounded by brown people,"
he said, turning sideways toward me.
do you know, I am German? I never told you that," I said in a faltering
(hesitating, stammer) voice, I intended to
be softly menacing.
knew, that you were German, when I first met you," he said. "You
confirmed it, the moment you
lied, that you were Swedish. Only Germans, born in the New World after
Second World War, lie like that. That is, of course, if they live in
the United States." Although I
wasn't going to admit this to him, he was right. I often felt
people's hostility as soon, as they learned, that my parents were
it automatically made us Nazis. It didn't
make any difference, when I told them, that my parents were idealists. Of course, I
had to admit to myself that, like good Germans, they believed, that
inherently better; but basically they were gentle souls, who had been
apolitical all lives.
I did was to agree with you," I pointed out acidly. "You saw blond
hair, blue eyes, high
cheekbones, and all, you could think of, was a Swede. You are not very
are you?" I
advantage. "You had no business lying yourself, unless you're a fucking
by nature," I went on, my voice rising against my will. Tapping his
chest with my index finger, I
added derisively (mocking), "Joe Cortez, eh?"
your name really Cristina Gebauer?" he shot back, imitating my odious
(hateful), loud voice.
"Carmen Gebauer!" I shouted, offended, that he hadn't remembered the
name correctly. Then,
suddenly, ashamed of my outburst, I went into a chaotic defense of
After a few
moments, realizing, that I didn't know, what I was saying, I abruptly
confessed, that I was indeed German, and that Carmen Gebauer was the
name of a
like that," he said softly, a barely suppressed grin on his lips.
Whether he was referring to my lying
or to my confession, I couldn't tell. His eyes
were brimming with kindness and with amusement. In a tender, wistful
tell me the story of his childhood girlfriend, Fabiola Kunze. Confused by
I turned away and gazed at the nearby sycamore and the pine trees beyond. Then, eager
to hide my interest in his story, I began to play with my fingernails.
the cuticles (epidermis, piece of hardened skin) and peeled off the
nail polish, methodically and thoughtfully. The story of
Fabiola Kunze resembled my own life so closely, that after a few
about my pretense at indifference and listened to him attentively. I suspected,
that he was fabricating the story, and yet, I had to give him credit
details, that only a daughter of a German family in the New World would
Fabiola allegedly (merely supposed, claimed to exist without proof) was
mortally afraid of dark Latin boys, but she was equally afraid of the Germans.
The Latins scared her, because of their irresponsibility; the Germans, because they
were so predictable. I had to
restrain myself from laughing out loud, when he described scenes of
home on a
Sunday afternoon, when two dozen Germans would sit around a beautifully
table- with the best china, silver, and crystal- and she would have to
listen to two dozen monologues,
that passed for conversation. As he went
on, giving specific details of those Sunday afternoons, I began to feel
and more uncomfortable: there was Fabiola's father, prohibiting
political debates in his house, but
compulsively aiming at, starting one, seeking devious ways to tell
Catholic priests. Or her
mother's mortal dread: her fine china was in the hands of these clumsy
oafs (stupid person).
words were cues, to which I unconsciously responded. I began to see
scenes of my
afternoons like pictures, flashed on the wall for my observation.
I was a veritable bundle of nerves. I wanted to stomp and
carry on, as only I knew how. I wanted to
hate this man, but I couldn't. I wanted vindication, apologies, but
I couldn't get any from
him. I wanted to dominate him. I wanted him to fall in love with me, so
my immature feelings, I made a great effort to pull myself together. Pretending
to be bored, I leaned toward him and asked, "Why did you lie about your name?"
didn't lie," he pronounced. "That's my name. I have several names.
Sorcerers have different
names for different occasions."
convenient!" I exclaimed sarcastically.
convenient," he echoed and gave a slight wink, which infuriated me
And then he
did something completely outlandish and unexpected.
He put his arms around me. There was no
sexual overtone in his embrace. It was the spontaneous, sweet, and
gesture of a
child, who wants to comfort a friend. His touch soothed me instantly
that I began to sob uncontrollably.
such a shit," I confessed. "I want to beat you, and look at me. I am in
your arms." I
was about to
add, that I was enjoying it, when a surge of Energy rushed through me. As if I had
awakened from a dream, I pushed him away.
"Let go of me," I hissed and stomped away. I heard him
choking with laughter. I wasn't in the least concerned about his
dissipated instantly. I stood
rooted to the spot, trembling all over, unable to walk away. And then,
as if I had a
band attached to me, I returned to the bench.
feel bad," he said kindly. He seemed to
know exactly, what it was, that was pulling me back to the bench. He
one does a baby's after a meal. "It isn't,
what you or I do," he continued. "It's something outside the two of us,
It's been acting upon me for a long time. Now I am accustomed to it. But I can't
understand, why it acts upon you. Don't ask
me, what it is," he said, anticipating my question. "I can't yet
explain it to you." I wasn't
going to ask him anything anyway. My mind had stopped functioning. I felt
exactly, as if I were asleep, dreaming, that I was talking. Moments
later, my numbness passed. I felt more animated, yet not quite like my
"What's happening to me?" I asked.
are being focused and pushed by something, that doesn't come from you,"
is pushing you, using me, as a tool. Something is superimposing another criterion on
your middle-class convictions."
start on that middle-class idiocy," I said feebly (weakly). It was more
like I was pleading with him. I smiled
helplessly, thinking, that I had lost my usual gall (impudence).
by the way, are not my own opinions or ideas," he said: "I'm like
you, strictly a product of middle-class ideology. Imagine my
horror, when I came face to face with a different and more prevailing ideology. It
ripped me apart."
ideology is that?" I asked meekly, my voice so low, as barely audible.
man brought that ideology to me," he explained. "Or rather, the Spirit spoke and acted
on me through him. That man is a Sorcerer. I've written about him. His
name is Juan Matus. He's the one, who made me face my middle-class
mentality. Juan Matus once asked me a grand question: 'What do you
think university is?'
of course, answered him like a social scientist: 'A center of higher
learning.' He corrected me and declared, that a uniersity should be
called a 'Middle-Class Institute', because it is the institution we
attend to further perfect our middle-class values.
We attend the institute to become professionists, he said. The ideology
of our social class tells us, that we must prepare ourselves for
occupying managerial positions. Juan Matus said, that men go to the
middle-class institute to become engineers, lawyers, doctors, etc., and
women go there to get a suitable husband, provider, and father of their
children. Suitable is naturally defined by middle-class values."
wanted to contradict him. I wanted to shout at him, that I knew people,
interested in a career or looking for a spouse; that I knew people, who
interested in ideas, in learning for its own sake. But I didn't
know such people. I felt a
terrible pressure in my chest and had an attack of dry coughing.
It wasn't the cough or the physical discomfort, that made me wriggle in
my seat and
from arguing with him. It was the certainty, that he was speaking about
I was going to a university precisely to find a suitable man. Again I
stood up, ready to leave. I had even extended my hand to shake his in
I felt a powerful tug on my back. It was so
strong, I had to sit down, lest I fall. I knew, he hadn't touched me: I
him all the time. Thoughts of
people, I didn't quite remember; of dreams, I hadn't quite forgotten,
crowding into my mind, forming an intricate pattern, from which I
couldn't extricate myself. Unknown
faces, half-heard sentences, dark images of places, and blurred images
people threw me momentarily into some kind of limbo. I was close
to remembering something about all this kaleidoscope of visualizations
sounds; but the knowledge flittered away, and a feeling of calm and
ease overtook me;
tranquility so deep, that it screened out all my desire to assert
my legs in front of me, as if I didn't have a care in the world - and
I didn't - and began to talk. I couldn't
remember ever, talking about myself so frankly before, and I couldn't
suddenly so unguarded with him. I told him
about Venezuela, my parents, my childhood, my restlessness, my
of things, I wouldn't even admit to myself. "I've been
studying anthropology since last year. And I really don't know why," I
said. I was
beginning to feel slightly uncomfortable by my own revelations. I shifted
restlessly on the bench, but I couldn't stop myself from adding : "Two
interest me more are Spanish and German literature. To be in the
defies (resist, challenge, stand up to, withstand) all I know about
"That detail intrigues me to no end," he said. "I can't get into it
now, but it seems, as if I had been
placed here for you to find me, or vice versa."
does all this mean?" I asked, then blushed, realizing, that I was
interpreting and centering
everything on my womanhood. He seemed to
be thoroughly aware of my state of mind. He reached
for my hand and pressed it against his heart.
"Me gustas, nibelunga," he exclaimed
dramatically, and for good measure he translated the words into
attracted to you, Nibelung."
looked at me with the eyes of a Latin lover and then burst into
raucous laughter. "You're
convinced I have to say this to you sooner or later, so it might as
well be now."
getting angry at being teased, I laughed. His humor gave me great
Nibelungen I knew were from my father's German mythology books.
Nibelungen. As far, as I could remember, they were magical, underground,
you calling me a dwarf?" I asked in jest.
forbid!" he protested. "I'm calling you a German mythical Being." Shortly
afterwards, as if it were the only thing we could have done, we drove
to the Santa
Mountains, to the place we had met. Neither of
us said a single word, as we sat on the cliff, overlooking
the Indian burial ground. Moved by a
pure impulse of companionship, we sat there in silence, oblivious to the afternoon
turning into night.
Joe Cortez parked his van at the bottom of a hill. He came
around to open my door and with a gallant flair helped me alight
(dismount, come down) from the car. I felt
relieved, that we had finally stopped, although I couldn't imagine why.
We were in
We had been
driving since early morning. The day's
heat, the flat desert, the merciless sun, and the dust of the road
were, but a
memory, as I breathed in the cold, heavy night air. Agitated by
the wind, the air swirled about us like something palpable, something
There was no
moon. And the stars, incredible in number and brilliance, only seemed to intensify
our isolation. Under that uneasy splendor, the hills and the desert
nearly invisible, full of shadows and murmuring
(low/indistinct/continuous sound) sounds. I tried to
orient myself by looking at the sky, but I didn't know how to identify
facing east," Joe Cortez whispered, as if I had spoken out loud; then
teach me the major constellations in the summer sky. I could only
remember the star Vega, because the name reminded me of a seventeenth
writer, Lope de Vega. While we sat
in silence on the top of his van looking at the sky, my mind wandered through the
events of our journey.
Less, than twenty-four hours ago, while we were eating in a Japanese
Angeles, he had asked me, out of the blue, if I would accompany him to Sonora for a
would love to go," I said impulsively. "The school term is over. I'm
free. When do you plan to
he said. "In fact, right after we finish our meal." I laughed,
certain that his invitation had been a joke. "I can't leave on such
short notice," I pointed out.
"What about tomorrow?"
he insisted softly, then held out his hand to clasp mine in a formal
Only when I
saw the delight and mischief in his eyes, did I realize, that
he wasn't saying good-bye,
but sealing an agreement. "When
decisions are made, they have to be acted upon immediately," he
words, hanging in midair in front of me. Both of us stared at them, as
indeed see their size and shape. I nodded,
hardly aware of having made the decision. The chance had been there,
ready, inevitable. I didn't have to do anything to bring it about. Suddenly,
with shattering vividness, I remembered my other trip to Sonora a year
stiffened with fear and shock, as images - disconnected in their
sequence- stirred deep within
The events of that odd trip had faded from my conscious mind so totally
and absolutely, that, only
until a moment before, it was, as if they had never taken place. But
as clear in my mind, as they were the day, they happened. Shivering
not with cold, but with an undefinable dread, I turned to face Joe
to tell him
about that trip. He was
staring at me with an odd intensity. His eyes were like tunnels, deep
They absorbed my dismay (dread, apprehension, discourage,
disappoinment). But they also made the images of that trip recede (move
the images had lost their impulse (effect), all that was left in my
mind was a trite (overused, common place, lacking originality), empty thought. I believed
at that instant, in my usual assertive (affirm, express positevely)
manner, that I couldn't tell anything to Joe Cortez,
because a true adventure always dictates its own course and the most
events in my life had always been those, whose course I had not
"What do you want me to call you? Joe Cortez or Carlos Castaneda?" I
feminine joviality (merry). His
copper-colored face crinkled up in a smile. "I'm your childhood
companion. Give me a name. I
call you nibelunga."
couldn't come up with a suitable name. I asked him, "Is there any order
to your names?"
he mused, "Joe Cortez is a cook, a gardener, a handy-man; a solicitous
(thoughtful, concerned) and thoughtful
man. Carlos Castaneda is a man from the academic world, but I don't
He looked at
me fixedly and smiled. There was something childlike and intensely
call him Joe Cortez. We spent the
night- in separate rooms- in a motel in Yuma, Arizona. After
leaving Los Angeles, all through the long drive I had worried myself
sick about the sleeping
I had at
moments feared, he would pounce on me, before we got to the motel. After all,
he was a strong young man, too self-confident and aggressive. I
worried, if he had been American or European. But because he was Latin,
simply knew, what his assumptions (logic) were. Accepting his
invitation to spend a few days with him
meant, that I was willing to share his bed. His
thoughtfulness and considerate behavior toward me throughout the long
drive was a
fit perfectly, with what I thought and expected of him. He
was preparing the ground. It was late,
when we got to the motel. He went to the manager's office to see about
the car, imagining scenario upon lurid (ghastly, vivid, glaring,
causing shock or horror) scenario. I had been
so absorbed with my fantasies, I failed to notice his return from the
dangle a set of keys before me,
I jumped in my seat and dropped the brown paper sack,
I had been holding, unconsciously clutched against my breast. It
toiletries, which we had bought on the way. "I got you a
room at the back of the motel," he said. "It's away from the highway." He pointed
to the door a few steps away from us and added, "I'll sleep in this
one, close to
I'm used to sleeping through any kind of noise." He chuckled (laugh
quietly) to himself. "These were
the only two rooms, they had left."
Disappointed, I took the key from his hand. All my
scenarios fell apart. I wasn't going to have the opportunity to refuse
him. Not that
wanted to do so. Yet my very soul clamored (demanded) for a victory, no
matter how small.
don't see, why we have to rent two rooms," I said with studied
My hand was
shaking, as I retrieved the toiletries on the floor and stuffed them
What I had
said next sounded incredible to me, yet I couldn't stop myself. "The
you rest, and you need your sleep as much, as I do."
didn't for a moment believe, that anyone could sleep through the noise,
coming from the highway. Without
looking at him, I got out of the car, and then I heard myself propose,
sleep in the
same room - in two beds, that is." I stood
there for a moment, numbed and appalled. Never before had I done such a
had such a schizoid reaction. I was saying
things, that I didn't mean. Or did I mean them, but didn't know, what I
an end to my confusion. He laughed so hard, people turned on the light
one of the rooms and yelled at us to shut up.
in the same room and have you take advantage of me in the middle of the
between waves of hilarity (fun). "Right after my shower. No way!"
blushed so intensely, my ears were burning. I wanted to die of shame. This was not
one of my scenarios. I went back
inside the car and slammed the door.
"Take me to the Greyhound bus," I hissed at
him with suppressed wrath. "Why in the hell did I come with you? I
Still laughing, he opened the door and gently pulled me out. "Let's
sleep not only in the same room,
but in the same bed." He looked at
me sheepishly. "Please, let me make love to you!" he pleaded, as if he
Aghast (shocked), I tore myself loose from his hold and yelled, "Not in
your fucking life!"
he said. "This is such a fierce refusal, that I dare not insist." He reached
for my hand and kissed it. "You have refused me and put me in my place.
more problems. You're vindicated (clear of blame)." I turned
away from him, ready to weep. My chagrin
(annoyance, embarrassment) was not due to his unwillingness to spend
the night with me - had he expected to do so, I
truly wouldn't have known what to do- but to the fact, that he knew me
better, than I knew myself. I had
refused to give credence, to what I thought was his way of flattering
himself. He was able to see
through me. Suddenly, it frightened me. He moved
closer and hugged me. It was a sweet, simple embrace. As had
happened before, my turmoil vanished completely, as though it had never
I hugged him back and said yet the most incredible thing: "This is the
my life." I
immediately wanted to retract (take back) my statement. The
words, that had escaped, were not mine. I didn't
even know, what I meant. This was not the most exciting adventure of my
life. I had
many exciting trips.
I had been around the World. My
irritation reached its peak, when he kissed me goodnight, swiftly and
softly, as one kisses a
child, and I liked it against my will. I had no will. He pushed me
down the corridor toward my room. Cursing
myself, I sat down on my bed and wept in frustration, in anger and
Since as far
back in life, as I could remember, I had always had my way. I was accustomed
to it. To be confused and not know, what I wanted, was a brand-new
for me and a
most unwelcome one. I slept
restlessly with my clothes on, until he banged on the door, early in
the morning, to wake me up.
We drove all
day, meandering (wander) along out-of-the-way roads. As he had
told me, Joe Cortez was indeed a solicitous man. Throughout the long
kindest, the most considerate and entertaining companion one could wish
with food, songs and stories. He had an astonishingly deep, yet clear baritone
all my favorite songs. Corny (sentimental) love songs from every South
their national anthems, old ballads, and even nursery rhymes. His stories
made me laugh, until my abdominal muscles hurt. As a storyteller, he
(enchanted, delight completely) with every turn of his tale. He was a
born mimic. His uncanny imitation of every conceivable South American
accent - including the distinctive Portuguese of Brazil - was more,
than mimicry (imitation), it was
climb down from the car's roof." Joe Cortez's voice broke into my
cold at night in the desert."
a tough environment," I said, wishing we would get back into the van
and drive off. Ill at ease,
I watched him retrieve some bags from the car. He had bought all kinds
presents for the people, we were going to visit.
did you park here in the middle of nowhere?"
ask the dumbest questions, nibelunga," he replied. "I parked here,
because it is here, where our
car journey ends."
we arrived at our mysterious destination, that you can't talk about?" I
asked in a
thing, that had marred the enchanting drive, had been his refusal to
tell me, where exactly we
In a matter
of milliseconds, I became so angry with him, that I was ready to punch
him in the
that my sudden irritability, was simply the result of a long,
exhausting day, brought me a
needed sense of relief. "I'm getting
nasty now, but I don't mean to," I said in a jovial tone, that sounded
to me. My
so strained, it revealed just, how much it cost me to hold back my
that I could get mad at him so easily and so quickly.
really don't know how to converse," he said with a big smile. "You only
know how to
I see, Joe Cortez has left. Are you going to start insulting me again,
He chortled (joyful chucle) gaily at my remark, which wasn't meant to
be funny. "This place is not in the
middle of nowhere," he said. The city of Arizpe is nearby."
"And the U.S. border is to the north," I recited (repeat aloud). "And
Chihuahua to the east. And Los Angeles is
somewhere northwest of here."
head disparagingly (speak dismissively) and took the lead. Silently, we
walked through the chaparral, which I could feel more, than see, along a winding
The path grew wider, as we approached a vast clearing, fenced in by
short mesquite trees. The
silhouettes of two houses could be discerned in the darkness. The
bigger of the two had lights
inside. The small dark house stood some distance away. We walked up
to the large house. Pale moths fluttered in the light, slanting through
windowpanes. "I have to
warn you, that the people you're going to meet, are a bit strange," he
said in a
"Don't say anything.
Let me do the talking."
always say whatever I please," I asserted. "And I don't like to be told
how to behave. I'm not a
child. Besides, my social manners are impeccable. I can assure you,
that I won't
off your high horse, goddamn it!" he hissed in a tightly controlled
treat me like I am your wife, Carlos Castaneda," I yelled at the top of
my voice, pronouncing his last name the way I felt it ought to be
pronounced: with a tilde (mark nasal n) on the n, which I knew, he much
disliked. But he didn't get angry. It made him laugh, as he so often
did, when I expected him to explode with wrath.
He never does, I
thought, and sighed despondently (dejected, dishearted, despair). He
had the most extraordinary equanimity (even tempered, composure).
ever seemed to ruffle him or cause him to lose his temper. Even when he
shouted, it somehow always sounded phony. Just as he was about to
knock, the door opened. A
thin man formed a black shadow in the rectangle of light. With an
impatient gesture of his arm, he
bade (direct, command) us in. We entered
a plant-filled vestibule. Swiftly, as though
afraid to show
his face, the man moved ahead
of us and, without a word of greeting, opened an inner door with rattly
(unkempt, dirty, shabby, dilapidated) glass panes
(window/door panels). We followed
him along a dark corridor and across an inside patio, where a young man, sitting on a
rush chair, was playing a guitar and singing in a soft, grief-stricken
the instant, he noticed us. He didn't return my greeting and resumed
turned a corner and went down another equally dark corridor.
is everyone so impolite?" I whispered into Joe Cortez's ear. "Are you
sure this is
chuckled softly. "I've told you, they are eccentric," he nurmured.
you sure, you know these people?" I insisted.
kind of a question is that?" he snapped in a quiet, yet menacing tone.
"Of course I
reached a lighted doorway. His pupils gleamed.
"Are we going to stay here overnight?"
I asked uneasily.
no idea," he whispered in my ear and then kissed my cheek. "And please,
questions. I'm trying my best to accomplish a nearly impossible
maneuver is that?" I whispered back. A sudden
realization made me feel anxious and uncomfortable, but also excited.
been the clue. Seemingly
aware of my innermost feelings, he shifted the bags, he was carrying,
gently took my hand and kissed it - his touch sent pleasurable shivers
my body -
and led me across the threshold. We entered a
large, dimly lit, sparsely furnished living room. It was not,
what I expected a provincial Mexican living room to look like. The
ceiling were immaculately white. There wasn't a picture or a wall
wall, opposite the door stood a large couch. On it sat
three elderly, elegantly dressed Women. I couldn't quite see their
faces, but in the dim light
they looked peculiarly alike - without actually resembling one another
baffled by this, I barely noticed the two people sitting on the
spacious armchairs nearby. In my
eagerness to reach the three Women, I took an involuntary giant leap. I
that the room had a split-level brick floor.
As I steadied myself, I noticed the beautiful
oriental rug and the Woman, sitting in one of the armchairs.
Flores!" I exclaimed. "My God! I can't believe this!" I touched
her, for I needed to make sure, she was not a figment of my imagination. "What is
I asked, instead of greeting her. At that same
instant I realized, that the Women on the couch were the same Women, I
met the previous year at the healer's house.
I stood gaping, frozen, my mind dazed with shock. A quick,
faint smile twitched the corners of their mouths, as they turned toward
the whitehaired old man,
sitting in the other armchair. "Mariano
Aureliano." My voice was, but a soft, shaky whisper. All the
energy was gone from me. I turned to
face Joe Cortez and in that same feeble voice accused him of tricking
I wanted to scream at him, insult him, do him bodily harm, but I had no
strength left in me, not even
to lift my arm. I barely
realized that, like me, he stood rooted to the floor, his face ashen
(pale) with shock and bewilderment.
Mariano Aureliano rose from his chair and moved toward me, arms
extended to embrace me. "How
happy I am to see you again." His voice
was soft and his eyes shone brightly with excitement and joy. He lifted me
off the ground in a bear's hug. My body was
limp (weak). I had no strength - or desire - to reciprocate (give/take
mutually) his warm embrace. I could not say a
down, and went over to greet Joe Cortez with that same effusive
Delia Flores and her friends came over, to where I stood. One by one
they embraced me and whispered something in my ear. I felt
comforted by their affectionate touches and by their soft voices, but I
thing, they said. My mind wasn't there with me. I could feel
and hear, but I couldn't make sense, of what
I felt and heard. Mariano
Aureliano gazed at me and said in a clear voice, that pierced the fog
of my mind: "You
been tricked. I told you from the beginning, that I would blow you to
you're..." I shook my head, unable to finish my sentence, as it finally
dawned on me, that Mariano
Aureliano was the man, Joe Cortez had told me so much about: Juan Matus, the
Sorcerer, who had changed the course of his life. I opened my
mouth to say something, but shut it again. I had the
sensation of being cut loose from my own body. My mind
couldn't accommodate any further astonishment; and then I saw Mr. Flores emerge from
the shadows. Upon realizing, that
he was the man, who had let us in, I simply passed out. When I
regained consciousness, I was lying on the couch. I felt
extraordinarily well rested and free of anxiety. Wondering how long I
had been out,
I sat up and
lifted my arm to look at my wristwatch.
have been out for exactly two minutes and twenty seconds," Mr. Flores
(Don Genaro) announced, studying his
watchless wrist. He was
sitting on a leather ottoman near the couch. In a sitting position he
than he did, standing up, for his legs were short and his torso long. "How terribly
dramatic to swoon away (faint)," he said, coming to sit beside me on
sorry, we have frightened you." His
yellow-amber eyes, shiny with laughter, belied (disguise) the genuinely
concerned tone of his voice. "And
I do apologize, for not greeting you at the door." His face
reflected a bemusement (bewilderement) bordering on fascination, as he
pulled my braid. "With your hair,
hidden under the hat, and with that heavy leather jacket I thought, you
were a boy." I stood up
and had to hold on to the couch. I was still
a bit dizzy. Uncertainly, I looked around me. The Women
were no longer in the room, and neither was Joe Cortez.
Mariano Aureliano was sitting in one of the armchairs, staring fixedly
ahead of him.
was asleep with his eyes open. "When I first
saw the two of you, holding hands," Mr. Flores went on, "I was afraid,
Charlie Spider had turned queer (strange)." He said the
whole sentence in English. He pronounced his words beautifully and precisely
and with genuine relish (take pleasure, enjoy).
Spider?" I laughed at the name and at his formal English pronunciation.
"Who is he?"
you know?" he asked, his eyes wide with genuine puzzlement.
I don't. Should I know?" He scratched
his head, perplexed by my denial, then asked, "With whom have you been holding
held my hand, as we stepped into this room."
you are," Mr. Flores said, gazing at me with rapt (transported with
powerful emotion) approval, as if I had resolved a particularly
difficult riddle. Then seeing
my still-mystified expression he added, "Carlos Castaneda is not only
Cortez, but he's also Charlie Spider."
"Charlie Spider," I mumbled softly. "That's a very catchy name." Of all the
three names, it was the one I liked best, no doubt, because I was
spiders. They didn't frighten me in the least, not even big, tropical
my apartment were always spotted with spider webs. Whenever I cleaned, I could not
bring myself to destroy those gauzy (transparent fabric) webs. "Why does he
call himself Charlie Spider?" I asked curiously.
names for different situations." Mr. Flores recited the answer, as if
it were a
(catch frase). The one, who should explain all this to you, is Mariano
Mr. Aureliano's name also Juan Matus?" Mr. Flores
nodded emphatically (intimate understanding without words).
"It most certainly is," he said, with a broad, gleeful smile. "He
also has different names for different situations."
about yourself, Mr. Flores? Do you also have different names?"
is my only name. Genaro Flores." His tone was flirtatious. He leaned
toward me and in an insinuating (gradual introduction, suggestion)
whisper proposed, "You can call me Genarito." I shook my
head involuntarily. There was
something about him, that scared me more, than Mariano Aureliano did. On a
I couldn't decide what it was, that made me feel this way. Outwardly,
Mr. Flores seemed much more approachable, than the other man. He was childlike,
playful, and easy-going. And yet, I didn't feel at ease with him. "The reason I
only have one name," Mr. Flores broke into my reveries, "is that I am
what is a Nagual?"
that's a terribly difficult thing to explain." He smiled disarmingly.
Isidore Baltazar can explain that."
is Isidore Baltazar?"
Baltazar is the new Nagual."
tell me any more, please," I said fretfully (agitate). Holding my
hand to my forehead, I sat down again on the couch. "You're confusing
Mr. Flores, and I'm still kind of weak." I looked at
him pleadingly and asked, "Where
"Charlie Spider is spinning some spiderish dream." Mr. Flores said the
whole sentence in his extravagantly pronounced English, then chuckled
contentedly, as though he were savoring (taste, aroma, smell) a
particularly clever joke. He glanced gleefully at Mariano Aureliano -
still staring fixedly at the wall - then back at me and back
at his friend. He must have
sensed my growing apprehension, for he shrugged helplessly, held up his hands in a
resigned gesture, and said, "Carlos, also known as Isidore Baltazar,
left?" My shriek made Mariano Aureliano turn to look at me. I was more
distraught (extremely agitated, crazed, mad) at being left alone with
the two old Men, than I was about learning, that Carlos
Castaneda was known by yet another name, and that he was the new Nagual, whatever
Aureliano rose from his chair, bowed deeply, and, holding out his hand
to help me
"What could possibly be more delightful and rewarding for two old Men,
to guard you, until you awoke from your dreams?" His engaging
(pleasing, attracting) smile and his old-fashioned courtesy were
"I can't think of anything more delightful," I cheerfully agreed and let him lead me
to a brightly lit dining room across the corridor, to an oval-shaped
table at the
far end of the room. Gallantly,
he held out a chair for me, waited until I was comfortably seated, then
it was not
too late for supper and that he would go himself to the kitchen and
delicious to eat. My offer to
help him was graciously rejected. Mr. Flores,
instead of walking to the table, cart-
wheeled across the room, calculating the distance
with such precision, he landed a few inches away from the table. Grinning, he
sat beside me. His face showed no trace of exertion (effort). He wasn't
even out of
your denial, that you aren't an acrobat, I believe, that you and your
part of some
magic show," I said. Mr. Flores
sprang from his chair, his face crinkling (wrinkling) with mischief.
"You're absolutely right. We
are part of some magic show!" he exclaimed, reaching for one of the two earthenware
jugs standing on the long sideboard. He poured me
a cup of hot chocolate. "I make a meal of it, by eating a piece of
cut me a slice of Manchego cheese. Together
they were superb.
I wanted seconds, but he didn't offer me any. I thought,
that a cup - and it had only been half full - was not enough. I had
chocolate and could eat inordinate amounts of it without ill effects. I was
certain, that if I concentrated on my desire to have more of it, he
would be obliged to pour me
another cup, without my having to ask. I was able to do this
as a child, when I wanted
something badly enough. Greedily, I
watched him remove two extra cups and two saucers from the tall china closet. I noticed,
that between the crystal, the china, and the silverware on the shelves
assortment of prehispanic clay figurines and plastic prehistoric
witches' house," Mr. Flores said in a conspiratorial tone, as if to
(unbelievable) of the decor in the china closet.
Aureliano's wives?" I asked daringly. He didn't
answer, but gestured for me to turn around. Mariano Aureliano was
same ones," Mariano Aureliano said cheerfully, placing a porcelain
tureen (deep dish with lid for soups) on the table. "The
same witches, who made this delicious oxtail soup." With a
silver ladle he served me a plateful and urged me to add to it a wedge
of lime and
a slice of
then devoured it all in a few gulps. I ate
several platefuls, until I felt physically satisfied, almost stuffed. We sat
around the table for a long time. The oxail soup had the most soothing
me. I was
ease. Something, that was usually very nasty in me, had been
Being, body and spirit, was thankful, that I didn't have to use up
head, as though silently confirming each of my thoughts, Mariano
with keen, amused eyes. I was about
to address him as Juan Matus, when he anticipated my intent and said,
Juan Matus for Isidore Baltazar. For you, I
am the nagual Mariano Aureliano." Smiling,
he leaned closer and whispered in a confidential tone, "The Man, who
here, is the
new Nagual, the Nagual Isidore Baltazar. That's the name you should
you talk to
him or about him. You're not
quite asleep, but not quite awake either," Mariano Aureliano went on explaining,
"so you'll be able to understand and remember everything, we say to
I was about to interrupt him, he added sternly, "And tonight, you're
wasn't so much his tone, but a force, an edge to him, that was
chilling. It paralyzed my tongue; my
head, however, of its own accord, made a nodding gesture of
have to test her," Mr. Flores reminded his friend. A definite
wicked gleam appeared in Mr. Flores' eyes, as he added, "Or better yet,
let me test
Aureliano paused, a long, deliberate moment charged with ominous
possibilities, and regarded me critically, as if my features would give
him a clue to some important
by his keen, piercing eyes, I didn't so much, as blink. He nodded
thoughtfully, and Mr. Flores asked me in a deep, grave tone:
"Are you in love with Isidore
And I'll be
damned, if I didn't say yes in a mechanical, unanimated voice. Mr. Flores
moved closer, until our heads almost touched, and in a whisper, that
suppressed laughter, asked, "Are you really madly, madly in love with
again, and both men burst into loud, elated guffaws (hearty burst of
The sound of
their laughter, bouncing around the room like ping-pong balls, finally
I hooked onto the sound and pulled myself out of the spell. "What, in the
name of hell, is this," I shouted at the top of my voice. Startled,
both men jumped out of their chairs. They looked
at me, then at each other, and burst out laughing again with ecstatic abandon.
The more eloquent (persuasive, fluent, graceful in speech/writing) my
insults, the greater their mirth. There was something so infectious about their
laughter, I couldn't help, but giggle, too. As soon, as
we had all calmed down, Mariano Aureliano and Mr. Flores bombarded me with
questions. They were
particularly interested in, how and when I first met Isidore Baltazar.
Every absurd little detail overjoyed them. By the time
I had gone over the events for the fourth and fifth time, I had either
my story with each telling, or I had remembered details, I wouldn't have dreamed, I
"Isidore Baltazar saw through
you and through the whole thing," Mariano Aureliano
judged, when I finally finished with my various accounts. "But he
doesn't see well enough yet. He couldn't even conceive (imagine), that
I had sent you to him." He regarded me wickedly and corrected himself.
"It wasn't really I, who sent you to him. It was the Spirit. The Spirit
chose me to do its bidding, though, and I blew you to him, when you
were most powerful, in the midst of your Dreaming-Awake."
spoke lightly, almost listlessly (lack of Energy, indifferent). Only
his eyes conveyed the urgency of his knowledge. "Perhaps
your Dreaming-Awake Power was the reason Isidore Baltazar didn't
realize, who you were, even though he was Seeing; even though
Spirit let him know, the very first time he set eyes on you.
Display of Lights in the Fog is the Ultimate Giveaway. How stupid of
Isidore Baltazar not to see the obvious." He chuckled softly, and I
nodded in agreement, without knowing, what I was agreeing to. "That'll
show you, that to be a Sorcerer is no big deal," he continued. "Isidore
Baltazar is a Sorcerer. To be a Man of Knowledge is something else. For
that, Sorcerers have to wait sometimes a lifetime."
the difference?" I asked.
or Woman of
Knowledge is a Leader," he explained, his voice low, subtly mysterious: "Sorcerers need Leaders to
lead us into and through the Unknown.
A Leader is revealed through his/her actions. Leaders have no price tag
on their heads, meaning, that there is no way to buy them or bribe them or cajole
(persuade by means of flattery, coax) them or mystify them." He settled more comfortably
in his chair and went on to say, that all the people in his
group had made it a point
to study Leaders throughout the ages, in order to see, if any of them fulfilled the
"Have you found
admitted. "Those, we have found, could have been Naguals." He pressed
finger against my lips and added, "Naguals are, then, natural Leaders;
Men (and Women) of tremendous Energy, who become Sorcerers by adding
one more track to their repertoire: the Unknown. If those Sorcerers
succeed in becoming Men/Women of Knowledge, then there is practically
no limit, to what they can do."
Women--", he didn't
let me finish.
"Women, as you will learn someday, can do infinitely more complex
things, than that," he affirmed.
"Did Isidore Baltazar remind you of someone, you met before?" Mr.
I began expansively, "I felt thoroughly at ease with him. "I felt, as
if I had known him all my life. He reminded me of someone, perhaps in my childhood;
a forgotten childhood friend."
you really don't remember, meeting him before?" Mr. Flores interjected.
mean at Esperanza's house?" I asked, wondering, whether I had seen him
place and didn't recall it. He shook his
head disappointedly. Then,
apparently no longer interested in my response, he went on to ask, if I
waving at us on our way to the house.
I said. "I didn't seen anyone, waving at us."
hard," he insisted. I told the
two men, that after Yuma, instead of going east to Nogales on Highway 8
- the most
route - Isidore Baltazar headed south into Mexico, then east through
then north again into the United States through Sonoyta, to Ajo,
Mexico to Caborca, where we had a most delicious lunch of beef tongue
green chili sauce.
getting into the car with a full stomach, I hardly paid any attention
to the road," I admitted. "I
know we passed through Santa Ana, and then we headed north again to Cananea, and
then south again. A veritable (real, actual) mess, if you ask me."
you remember, seeing anyone on the road?" Mr. Flores insisted. "Anyone
eyes tightly in an effort to visualize anyone, waving at us, but my
the trip was
one of stories and songs, and of physical exhaustion. And then, as
I was about to open my eyes, the image of a man flashed before me. I told them,
that I vaguely recalled, there had been a young man in the outskirts of
who, I thought, was trying to catch a ride.
"He might have waved at us," I said. "But I'm not sure." Both Men
chuckled like children trying hard not to give away a secret.
Baltazar wasn't too sure of finding us," Mariano Aureliano remarked
gleefully. "That's why he followed this outlandish (bizarre, absurd)
route. He followed the Sorcerers' path; the coyote trail."
wouldn't he be sure of finding you?" I interrupted.
didn't know whether he would find us, until he saw the young Man waving
at him," Mariano Aureliano explained. "That young Man is a sentry
(guard, usually a soldier, watch) from the Other World. His waving was
a sign, it was all right to continue. Isidore Baltazar should have
then, who you really were, but he is very much like you; extremely
cautious. And when he's not cautious, he's extremely reckless
(careless, wild, uncontrolled)." He
paused for a moment to let the words sink in, then added meaningfully,
"Moving between those two points is the surest way to miss the boat.
Cautiousness blinds as surely, as recklessness."
can't understand the logic of all this," I murmured wearily (exhausted,
Mariano Aureliano elucidated (clarify):
"Whenever Isidore Baltazar
brings a guest, he has to heed (pay attention, listen, consider) the
sentry's signal, before he can continue on his journey."
"Once he brought a girl, he was in love with." Mr. Flores chuckled,
closing his eyes, as if transported by his own memory of the girl: "A
tall, dark-haired girl. Strong girl. Big feet. Nice face. He drove all
over Baja California, and the sentry never let him through."
you mean, he brings his girlfriends?" I asked with morbid (gruesome)
curiosity. "How many has he brought?"
a few," Mr. Flores said candidly (without pretence): "He did that, of
course, entirely on his own. Your case is different," he pointed out.
"You're not his girlfriend. You were just coming back. Isidore Baltazar
nearly croaked (die), when he found out, he was so stupid to miss all
the indications of the Spirit. He was merely your chauffeur. We were
waiting for you."
would have happened, if the sentry hadn't been there?"
always occurs, when Isidore Baltazar comes accompanied," Mariano
Aureliano replied: "He wouldn't have found us, because it's not up to
him to choose, whom to bring into the Sorcerers' World."
voice was enticingly (lure, attractive) soft, as he added, "Only those,
the Spirit has pointed out, may knock on our door, after
they have been ushered (lead) into it by one of us."
was about to interrupt, then remembering his admonition (caution,
warn), that I wasn't to ask stupid questions, I quickly pressed my hand
against my mouth. Grinning appreciatively, Mariano Aureliano went on to
say, that in my case Delia had brought me into their World. "She's one
of the two columns, so to speak, that make the door of our door. The
other one is Clara. You'll meet her soon." There
was genuine admiration in his eyes and in his voice, as he went on to
"Delia crossed the border just to bring you home. The border is an
actual fact, but Sorcerers use it symbolically. You were on the other
side and had to be brought here, to this side. Over on the other side
is the Daily World, here on this side is the World of Sorcerers. Delia
ushered (lead) you in smoothly; a real professional job. It was in
impeccable (faultless, not to be doubted) maneuver, that you will
appreciate more and more, as time passes."
Aureliano half-rose from his chair and reached for the porcelain
compote (fruit, cooked in syrup) on the sideboard. He placed it
in front of me. "Help yourself. They're delicious." Enraptured,
I gazed at the pulpy (soft, moist mass) dry apricots on the
hand-painted dish, then tried one. They were
more, than wonderful.
I put three in my mouth. Mr. Flores
winked at me. "Go ahead," he urged me. "Put all of them in your mouth,
and tried to apologize with a mouth full of apricots.
apologize!" Mariano Aureliano exclaimed. "Be yourself, but be yourself
to finish the apricots, then finish them, and that should be all there
is to it.
should never do is finish them, and then feel sorry, you did."
I'll finish them," I said. And that made them laugh.
you know, that you met Isidore Baltazar last year?" Mr. Flores said. He was
balancing so precariously (lacking in stability) on his tilted chair, I
feared, he would fall backwards and crash into
the china closet. A wicked
glint (glance, flash, sparkle) of delight dawned (emerge) in Mr.
Flores' eyes, as he began to hum a well-
ranchero (rancher) song. Instead of the words, that went with it, he
made up a little ditty (simple song, composition), that told the story of
Isidore Baltazar, a famous cook in Tucson.
A cook, who never lost his cool, not even when he
was accused of putting dead cockroaches in the food.
I exclaimed. "The cook! The cook in the coffee shop was Isidore
Baltazar! But that can't be
true," I mumbled. "I don't think, he would..." I stopped myself in
staring at Mariano Aureliano, hoping to discover something in his face,
nose, in those piercing eyes. I shook
as if I were suddenly chilled. There was something savage in his cold eyes.
he prompted (quick to
respond) me. "You
don't think, he would...?" he urged me with a movement of his head to
finish my sentence. I was going
to say, inanely (foolishly), that I didn't think Isidore Baltazar could
lie to me so
(mean, vile). I couldn't quite bring myself to say it, though. Mariano
Aureliano's eyes became even harder, but I was too upset; too sorry for
I was tricked after all," I finally blurted out, glowering (ruddy
flushed) at him. "Isidore Baltazar knew all
along, who I was. It's all a game."
all a game," Mariano Aureliano readily agreed. "A marvelous game,
worth playing." He paused,
as if to give me time to complain some more. But before I
had a chance to do so, he reminded me of the wig, he had pulled over my hair. "If you
didn't recognize Isidore Baltazar - who wasn't disguised - what makes
recognized you in your poodle outfit?" Mariano
Aureliano kept watching me. His eyes had lost their hardness. Now they
sad, weary (tired). "You weren't
tricked. You weren't even enticed (lure, attract). Not that I wouldn't
do so, if I deemed (judge, consider, think) it necessary,"
he noted in a light, soft tone: "I told you,
what was what, from the beginning. You have
witnessed stupendous events; still you haven't noticed them. As most
you associate sorcery with bizarre behavior, rituals, drugs,
incantations." He leaned
closer and lowered his voice to a mere whisper, then added, that true
subtle and exquisite manipulation of perception.
sorcery," Mr. Flores interjected, "does not allow for human
"But Mr. Aureliano claims, that he blew me to Isidore Baltazar," I
pointed out with immature
impertinence (irrelevance). "Isn't that interfering?"
a Nagual," Mariano Aureliano said simply. "I'm the Nagual Mariano
Aureliano, and the fact,
that I am the Nagual, enables me to manipulate perception."
paid close attention to his words, but I didn't have the vaguest idea,
what he meant
Manipulating Perception. Out of sheer nervousness, I reached for the
last dry apricot on the
to get sick," Mr. Flores said. "You're so tiny, and you're such a super
in the... eye."
Aureliano came to stand behind me, then pressed my back in such a way:
it made me
the last apricot, I had had in my mouth.
At this point, the sequence of events, as I remember it, becomes
blurry. I don't know, what happened
next. Perhaps, I fell asleep and wasn't aware of it, or perhaps, the
Aureliano exerted (exercised) on my back was so great, that I passed
When I came to my senses again, I was lying on a mat on the floor.
I opened my eyes and instantly became conscious of the intense
brightness around me. There seemed
to be sunlight in the room. I blinked
repeatedly, wondering whether there was something wrong with my eyes. I couldn't
focus them. "Mr.
Aureliano," I called out. "There seems to be something wrong with my
tried to sit up, but couldn't. It wasn't
Mr. Aureliano or Mr. Flores, who was standing by my side. A Woman was
leaning over me blotting (cancel) out the brightness, so to speak. Her black
hair hung loosely down her sides and shoulders. She had a round face
tried to sit up.
She didn't touch me, yet I knew, that somehow she was holding me down.
call him Mr. Aureliano," she said. "Or Mariano either. That's very
disrespectful of you: "Call him
Nagual, and when you talk about him, call him the Nagual Mariano
He likes his
full name." Her voice was melodious. I liked her. I felt
feisty (touchy, spirited). I wanted to ask her, why all the nonsense
about being disrespectful. I had
heard Delia and all the other Women call him the most ridiculous pet
names and fuss over him, as if he were their favorite doll. He
certainly had enjoyed every minute of it. But I couldn't remember, when
and where I had witnessed that. "Do
you understand?" the Woman asked. I wanted to say yes, but I didn't
have a voice. I tried, to no avail, to open my mouth and say something.
When she insisted on knowing, if I had understood, all I could do was
nod. She offered me her hand to help me up. Before she touched me, I
was up, as if my desire to rise had superseded the actual contact with
her hand and had pulled me into a sitting position, before she did.
Astonished by this occurrence, I wanted to ask her about it, but I
could barely keep myself upright. And, as for talking, words simply
refused to come out of my mouth. She stroked my hair repeatedly.
Obviously, she was thoroughly aware of my plight (situation, dilemma).
She smiled kindly and said: "You're Dreaming." I
didn't hear her say that, but I knew, that her words had moved directly
from her mind into mine. She nodded and told me, that, indeed, I could
hear her thoughts and that she could hear mine. She assured me, that
she was like a figment (something imaginary, fabrication) of my
imagination, yet she could act with me or upon me. "Pay
attention!" she commanded me. "I'm not moving my lips, and yet I am
talking to you. Do the same." Her
mouth didn't move at all. Wondering, whether I could feel a movement in
her lips, when she silently enunciated her words, I wanted to
press my fingers against her mouth. She was, actually, very
good-looking, but menacing. She reached for my hand and pressed it
against her smiling lips. I didn't feel a thing.
can I talk without my
lips?" I thought.
"You have a hole
between your legs," she said directly into my mind. "Focus your attention on it. The pussy
talks." That remark
hit a funny chord in me. I laughed so hard, I lost my breath and
shook me awake. I was still
on the same mat on the floor, but I was propped up with a thick cushion
and shuddered (tremble, shake), then drew a long breath and looked at
her. She was sitting on the floor
not given to fainting," I said and surprised myself by being able to
utter the words. The sound of
my own voice was so reassuring, that I laughed out loud and repeated the same
sentence several times.
know, I know," she appeased (soothe) me. "Don't worry, you're not quite
awake anyway. I am Clara. We
have already met at Esperanza's." I should
have protested or asked her, what she meant. Instead, without doubting
accepted, that I was still asleep and that we had met at Esperanza's. Memories,
foggy thoughts, visions of people, of places, began to emerge slowly. A clear
thought popped into my mind: I had dreamt once, that I met her. It was
never had thought about it in terms of real events. The moment, I
hooked onto that realization,
I remembered Clara.
course, we've met," I said triumphantly. "But we met in a dream, so you
are not real.
I must be
Dreaming now, therefore I can remember you."
sighed, content, that it could all be explained so easily, and relaxed
against the thick pillow. Another
clear memory of a dream popped into my mind. I couldn't recall exactly,
when I had
this dream, but I remembered it as clearly, as if the event had
actually taken place. In
it, Delia had introduced me to Clara. Delia had
described Clara, as the most gregarious (sociable) of the
who adore her," Delia had confided in me. The Clara of
that dream was quite tall, strong, and rotund (rounded, plump, fat). She had
observed me insistently, as one observes a member of an unknown
and nervous smiles. And yet, in
spite of her demanding scrutiny,
I had liked her immensely. Her eyes were speculating
(engage in risk), smiling and green. What I remembered best, about her
watchfulness, was, that
she had looked at me with the unblinking stare of a cat.
know, this is just a Dream, Clara," I repeated, as if I needed to
This is not just a Dream, it's a special Dream," Clara contradicted me
wrong to entertain such
thoughts. Thoughts have Power. Be watchful of them."
not real, Clara," I insisted, in a strained, high-pitched voice.
"You're a dream. That's why I
can't remember you, when I am awake."
stubborn persistence made Clara chuckle (laugh quietly). "You have
never tried to remember me," she finally
explained. "There was no point in it, no reason for it. "We, Women, are excruciatingly
practical. Our great flaw or our great asset."
I was about to ask her, what the practical aspect of remembering her
now was, when she anticipated
"Since I am
in front of you, you need to remember me. And you do." She bent lower
fixing me with her catlike stare, added, "And you won't forget me
anymore. "The Sorcerers, who reared
me, told me, that Women need two of anything, in order to solidify it. Two sights of
something, two readings, two frights, etc. You and I have now met
twice. Now I am solid and real."
prove how real she was, she pushed up the sleeves of her blouse and
"Touch them," she urged me. Giggling, I
did. She indeed had hard, powerfully defined muscles. They felt as
She also made me touch the muscles of her thigh and calf.
this is a special Dream," I said cautiously, what do I do in this
your heart desires," she said. "You're doing fine so far. I cannot
guide you, though, for I am not your Dreaming Teacher. I am simply a
who actually takes care of the other witches. It was my
partner, Delia, who delivered you into the Sorcerers' World, just like
a midwife. But she was not the one,
who first found you. Florinda did."
is Florinda?" I giggled uncontrollably. "And when did she find me?"
is another witch," Clara said matter-of-factly, then began to giggle
too. "You met her. She's the one, who took you into her Dream in
Do you remember the picnic?"
I sighed appreciatively. "You mean the tall Woman with the husky
voice?" A radiance filled me. I had always admired tall Women.
"The tall Woman with the husky voice," Clara confirmed: "She found you
a couple of years ago at a party, you attended with your boyfriend; a
plush (luxurious) dinner in Houston, Texas, at the house of an oilman."
would a witch be doing at a party in an oilman's house?" I asked. Then
the full impact of her claim hit me. I was dumbstruck (unable to speak
through shock). Although I didn't remember seeing Florinda, I certainly
did recall the party. I had gone with a friend, who flew in his private
jet from Los Angeles, just to attend that party and flew back the next
day. I was his translator. There had been several Mexican businessmen
at that party, who didn't speak English. "Jesus!" I exclaimed under
my breath. "What a weird turn of events!" In
great detail I described the party to Clara. It was the first time I
had been to Texas. Like some star-struck movie fan, I ogled (gaze,
stare at) the men, not because they were handsome, but because they
looked so outlandish (bizarre) to me in their Stetson hats,
pastel-colored suits, and cowboy boots. The oilman had hired
entertainers. They had staged a variety show,
worthy of Las Vegas, in a nightclub grotto, built especially for the
occasion. It throbbed (vibrate, pulsate, pound, beat violently) with
loud music and strobe lights. And the food had been superb. "But why would Florinda
attend such a party?" I asked.
World of Sorcerers is the strangest thing there is," Clara said by way
of an answer. She jumped up, like an acrobat, from a sitting position
to a standing one, without using her arms. She paced about
room, back and forth in front of my mat. She looked formidable
(awe-inspiring, awesome, admirable) in her full, dark skirt, her cowboy
denim (jeans fabric) jacket - colorfully embroidered in the back - and
her sturdy (strong, durable) cowboy boots. An Australian hat, pulled
low over her brow, as if to protect her from the noon-day sun, added
last touch to her eccentric, outlandish appearance. "How do you like my
outfit?" she asked, pausing in front of me. Her face was radiant.
"It's great," I
gushed. She certainly had the flair, the confidence to carry off any
kind of outfit. "It's really cool."
kneeled beside me on the mat and in a confidential whisper said, "Delia
is green with envy. We are always in competition to see, who comes up
with the nuttiest getup (outfit, costume). It has to be crazy without being
was silent for a moment, and her eyes watched me, considering. "You're
welcome to compete," she offered. "Do you want to join us in our game?" I nodded
emphatically, and she spelled out the rules for me. "Originality, practicality, low price,
and no self-importance," she rattled off (perform/utter
effortlessly). Then she
rose again and twirled (circled) a few more times around the room. Laughing,
she collapsed beside me and said, "Florinda thinks, I should encourage
She says, that in that party, she found out, that you had a touch for
barely finish the sentence. She was overcome by a great burst of
Florinda talk to me there?" I asked and gazed at her slyly, wondering,
me, what I had omitted from my account; information, that I wasn't
her head, then gave me a distracted smile, meant to deflect further
Delia happen to be at the baptism in Nogales, Arizona?" I asked,
to the events of the other party.
sent her there," Clara admitted, tucking all her loose hair into her
crashed the party by telling everyone, that she had come with you."
a minute!" I interrupted her. "This is no Dream. What are you trying to
do to me?"
trying to instruct you," Clara insisted, without altering her air of
Her tone was
even, almost casual. She didn't seem to be interested in the effect,
on me. Yet she watched me carefully, as she added, "This is a Dream,
and we are
certainly talking in your Dream, because I am also Dreaming your Dream." That her
outlandish (bizarre) statements were enough to appease (soothe) me was
proof, that I was Dreaming. My mind
became calm, sleepy, and capable of accepting the situation. I heard
myself speak, a voice detached from my volition.
"There is no way Florinda could have known
about my driving to Nogales," I said. "My girlfriend's invitation was accepted on
the spur of the moment."
knew, that this would be incomprehensible to you," Clara sighed. Then,
looking into my eyes and weighing her words carefully, she declared, "Florinda is your mother
more, than any mother you ever had." I found her statement
preposterous, but I couldn't say a word. "Florinda
feels you," Clara continued. She had a devilish glint in her eyes, as
she added, "There is a homing device she uses. She knows, wherever you
homing device?" I asked, my mind suddenly completely in control. The
thought, that someone might know at all times, what I was up to, filled
me with dread.
feelings for you are a homing device," Clara said with beautiful
simplicity and in a tone so soft and harmonious, that it made my
feelings for me, Clara?"
"Who knows, child?" she said
wistfully. She drew her legs up, wrapped her arms around them, and
rested her chin on her knees. "I've never had a daughter like this." My mood
changed abruptly from amusement back to apprehension. In the rational, thought-out
manner, that was my style, I began to worry about the subtle
implications of Clara's
And it was
precisely my rational deliberations (thoughtful, lengthy
consideration), that again turned on my doubts. This
couldn't possibly be a Dream. I was awake. My concentration
was too keen for me to be otherwise. Sliding down
the cushion, propped against my back, I half closed my eyes. I kept
watching Clara through my lashes, wondering, whether she would slowly
away, as people and scenes fade away in dreams. She didn't.
I felt momentarily reassured, that I was awake and so was Clara. "No, we're
not awake," she contradicted me, again intruding into my thoughts.
can speak," I said by way of validating my state of total
deal!" she cackled. "Now I am going to do something, that will wake you
up, so that
continue the conversation, while you are really awake."
She enunciated the last word with
great care, drawing it out in an exaggerated fashion. "Wait. Wait,
Clara," I pleaded. "Give me time to adjust to all his." I preferred my uncertainty,
to what she might do to me. Impervious
(not affected, not influenced) to my pleading, Clara rose and reached
for the pitcher of water, standing on a low table
giggling, she hovered over me, holding the pitcher over my head. I tried to
roll to the side, but I was not able to do so. My body wouldn't obey
seemed to be
glued to the mat. Before she
actually poured the water over me, I felt a cold, soft sprinkle on my
coldness, rather than the wetness, produced a most peculiar sensation.
It first blurred Clara's
face, looming over me, the way ripples distort the surface of water. Then the
coldness centered itself on my stomach and pulled me inward, like a
pulled inside out. My last
thought was, that I was going to drown in a pitcher of water. Bubbles
bubbles of darkness spun me around, until everything went black. When I came
to myself again, I was no longer lying on the mat on the floor, but on
couch in the living room. Two Women
were standing at the foot of the couch, staring at me with wide,
the tall, white-haired Woman with the husky voice, was sitting beside
humming an old lullaby - or so it seemed to me - and caressing my hair,
my face, my arms, with great
and the sound of her voice held me down. I just lay
there, my unblinking eyes fixed on hers, certain I was having one of my
which always began as Dreams and ended up as nightmares. Florinda was
speaking to me. She was telling me to look into her eyes. Her words
moved soundlessly, like the wings of butterflies. But
I saw in her eyes, filled me with a familiar feeling - the irrational,
abject (mean, miserable, wretched) terror, I
experienced in my nightmares. I jumped up
and bolted straight for the door. It was the automatic, animal's
reaction, I had always had
in a nightmare.
be frightened, my darling," the tall Woman said, coming after me.
"Relax. We are all here to help you. There is no need to be so upset.
You'll hurt your little body, by subjecting it to unnecessary fright."
stopped by the door,
not because she had persuaded me to stay,
but because I couldn't open the damn thing. Frantically (wildly,
uncontrolled, mad), I pulled and pushed the door. It didn't budge
(alter position/attitude). The tall Woman was just behind me. My
trembling increased. I shook so hard, that my body ached, and my heart
beat so loudly and erratically (wandering, straying, lacking
regularity), I knew it would burst through my chest. "Nagual!"
the tall Woman called out, turning her head over her shoulder. "You'd
better do something. She's going to die of fright." I
didn't see, to whom she was talking, but in my wild search for an
I saw a second door at the other end of the room. I was certain,
I had enough energy, left in me, to make a dash for it, but my legs
in on me. As if life had already abandoned my body. I sank to the
floor. My last
breath escaped from
The Woman's long arms swooped down on me like a great eagle's wings.
She held me,
put her mouth to mine, and breathed air into me. Slowly, my body relaxed.
My heartbeat returned to normal. I was filled with a
strange peace, that quickly turned into a wild excitement. It wasn't fear, that
filled me with wildness, but her breath. It was hot. It scorched me, my throat, my lungs, my
stomach, my groin; moving all the way to my hands and my feet. In a flash, I
knew, that the Woman was exactly like me, only taller, as
tall, as I would have liked
to be. I felt such love
did something outlandish. I kissed her passionately. I felt
lips widen into a smile. Then she threw her head back and laughed. "This
little rat kissed
she said, turning to the others.
Dreaming!" I exclaimed, and they all laughed with childlike abandon. At first I
couldn't help, but laugh, too. Within moments, however, I was my usual
after one of
my impulsive acts, and angry at having been caught. The tall Woman embraced me.
"I'm Florinda," she said, she
lifted me up and cradled
me in her arms, as if I were a baby: "You and I are the same," she went
on. "You're as petite, as I would have liked to be. It's a great disadvantage to be tall. Noone
can ever cradle you. I'm five ten."
five two," I confessed, and we both laughed, because we understood each
I was short on the second inch, but always rounded it up. I was certain Florinda was
closer to five eleven, but rounded it down to ten. I kissed her
cheeks and her eyes. I loved her with a love, that was incomprehensible
It was a feeling, untainted by doubt, dread or expectation. It was the
love one feels in Dreams. Seemingly,
in complete agreement with me, Florinda chuckled softly. The elusive
light in her eyes, the ghostly whiteness of her hair, was like some
if I had known her from the day, I was born. It occurred
to me, that children, who liked their mothers, must be lost children.
Filial (parental) love, coupled
with admiration for the mother's physical being, must result in a sense
the love I felt for this tall, mysterious Woman. She put me
"This is Carmela," she said, turning me toward a beautiful, dark-eyed, dark-haired
Woman. Her features delicate, and her skin was flawless. She had the
pallor (unnatural paleness) of someone, who stays much indoors.
only take moon baths," she whispered in my ear, as she embraced me.
"You ought to do the same.
You're too fair to be out in the Sun. You're ruining your skin."
was her voice, more, than anything else, that I recognized. She was the
same Woman, who
me all those direct, personal questions at the picnic.
I remembered her in a sitting position: she had seemed small and frail.
To my surprise, she was
three or four inches taller, than I. Her powerful, muscular body made
insignificant in comparison. With her arm
draped around my shoulder, Florinda guided me toward the second Woman, who had been
standing beside the couch, when I awoke. She was
muscular and tall, but not as tall, as Florinda. She wasn't
conventionally beautiful: her features
were too strong for that, yet there was something striking, thoroughly attractive
about her, including the faint shadow of fine hair on her upper lip,
didn't bother to wax or bleach.
I sensed a tremendous force in her, an agitation, that was
completely under control, yet still there.
is Zoila," Florinda said to me. Zoila made
no motion to either shake my hand or to embrace me. Carmela
laughed and spoke for Zoila:
"I'm very happy to see you again." Zoila's
mouth curved in the loveliest of smiles, showing white, large, even
teeth. As her
slender hand, glinting with jeweled rings, brushed my cheek, I
realized, she was the one, whose
face had been hidden under a mass of scraggly (ragged, unkept) hair.
She was the one, who had sewn the
Belgian lace around the canvas cloth, we had sat on during the picnic. The three
Women surrounded me and made me sit on the couch.
first time we met you, you were Dreaming," Florinda said. "So we really
however, you're awake, so tell us about yourself." I was about
to interrupt her and say, that this was a dream and, that during the
asleep or awake, I had told them everything, worth knowing about
You're wrong," Florinda said, as if I had spoken my thoughts out loud.
And what we
want to know is, what you've done since our last meeting. Tell us specifically
about Isidore Baltazar."
mean, this is not a dream?" I asked timidly.
This is not a dream," she assured me. "You were Dreaming a few minutes
don't see the difference."
because you're a good Dreamer," she explained. "Your nightmares are
body tensed up; and then, as though it knew, that it couldn't withstand
fright, it gave up. My body abandoned itself to the moment. I repeated
to them, what I had already told and retold Mariano Aureliano and Mr.
Flores earlier. This time, however, I remembered details, I had
altogether overlooked before, such as the
two sides of Isidore Baltazar's face; the two simultaneous moods he
showed, that were plainly revealed in his eyes. The left one was
sinister, menacing. The right one was friendly, open. "He's a dangerous Man," I
maintained, carried away by my observations. "He has a
peculiar Power to move events, in whatever direction he pleases, while
he remains outside, watching you quirk (twist)." The
Women were enthralled (captivated,
by what I was saying. Florinda signaled me to continue. "What makes
people so vulnerable to his charm is, that he is a generous Man," I
on. "And generosity is perhaps the only virtue, that none of us (Women)
can resist, because we are dispossessed (physically or spiritually
homeless or deprived of security), regardless of our background." Realizing,
what I had said, I stopped abruptly and gazed at them, aghast
know, what has come upon me," I muttered in an attempt to apologize. "I
why I said that, when I haven't thought about Isidore Baltazar in those
It's not me
talking. I'm not even capable of, making those kinds of judgments."
said, "Never mind, child, where you get these thoughts. Obviously you're plugging into The Source
itself (The Source
of All Suns! LM).
Everybody does that: plugs
into The Source itself, but it takes a Sorcerer to be aware of it." I didn't
understand, what she was trying to tell me. I restated, that I had no
(discharge, go off) my big mouth. Florinda
giggled and regarded me for a few moments thoughtfully. "Act, as if you
were in a
and don't apologize," she said. I felt
stupid, incapable of analyzing, what I felt. Florinda
nodded, as if in agreement, then turned to her companions and said,
cleared her throat and, without looking at me, said: "The three of us
and Delia make a unit. We deal with the Daily World." I hung on her
every word, but
didn't understand her at all. "We're the unit of Sorceresses, who deal
with people," Carmela clarified: "There is another unit of four Women,
who don't deal with people at all." She took my hand in hers and
examined my palm - as if she were to read my fortune - then closed it
gently into a fist and added:
"You're just like us in general. That is, you can deal with people. And
you're like Florinda, in particular." Again she paused, and, with a
dreamy look on her face,
she repeated, what Clara had already told me. "It was Florinda, who
found you," she said. "Therefore, while you remain
in the World of Sorcerers, you belong to her. She'll guide you and look
after you." Her tone carried such a great certainty, that it threw me
into genuine worry.
don't belong to anyone," I said. "And I don't need anyone to look after
me." My voice was strained, unnatural, uncertain. Silently, the Women
watched me, bemused smiles on their faces. "Do you think I need
guidance?" I asked defiantly, gazing from one to the other. Their eyes
were half closed, their lips parted in those same contemplative
(consider thoroughly) smiles. The imperceptible nods of their chins
clearly indicated, that they were waiting for me to finish, what I had
to say. "I think, I do very well in life on my own," I finished lamely
you remember, what you did at the party, where I found you?" Florinda
asked me. As I stared at her in amazement, Carmela whispered in my ear:
"Don't worry, you can always find a way to explain anything." Florinda
waved a finger at me, not in the slightest disturbed. Panic crept over
me at the thought, that they might know, that I had walked naked in
that party in front of dozens of people. Until that moment, I had been,
if not proud of my outlandish (bizarre) behavior, at least acceptant of
it. To my way of thinking, what I did at that party, was a
manifestation of my spontaneous personality. First, I had taken a long
horseback ride with the host, in my evening gown without a saddle, to
show him - after he dared me and bet, I couldn't do it - that I was as
good on horseback, as any cowboy. I had an uncle in Venezuela, who had
a stud farm, and I had been on a horse, since I was a toddler. Upon
winning the bet, dizzy from the exertion (effort) and alcohol, I took a
plunge in his giant pool - in the nude.
was there by the pool, when you went in naked," Florinda said,
obviously privy to (concealed, secret) my recollection (memory). "You
brushed me with your naked buttocks. You shocked everyone, including
me. I liked your daring. Above all, I liked, that you walked naked all
the way from the other side of the pool just to brush against me. I
took that, as an indication, that the Spirit was pointing you out to
"It can't be true," I mumbled. "If you had been at that party, I would
have remembered you. You're too tall and striking-looking, to be
overlooked." It wasn't meant, as a compliment: I wanted to convince
myself, that I was being tricked, manipulated.
liked the fact, that you were killing yourself, just to show off,"
Florinda went on: "You were a clown, eager to draw attention to
yourself at any cost, especially, when you jumped on a table
for a moment, shaking your buttocks shamelessly, while the host yelled
his head off." Instead of
embarrassing me, her remarks filled me with an incredible sense of ease
liberated. The secret was out, the secret I had never dared to admit,
that I was a
who would do anything to get attention. A new mood
overtook me, definitely more humble, less defensive. I feared,
however, that such a mood wouldn't last. I knew, that any insights and realizations
I had arrived at in dreams, had never survived. But perhaps
Florinda was right and this was no dream, and my new frame of mind would endure
(bear, remain, last, undergo, put up with). Seemingly
cognizant of my thoughts, the three Women nodded emphatically. Instead of
feeling encouraged by their agreement, it only revived my uncertainties. As I had
feared, my insightful mood was short-lived. Within moments I was
I wanted a respite (postponement, relief).
is Delia?" I asked.
in Oaxaca," Florinda said, then added pointedly, "She was here just to
thought, that if I changed the subject, I would get a respite and have
a chance to
Now I was
facing something, I had no resources to deal with. I couldn't
accuse Florinda outright - as I would normally have done with anybody -
telling lies, in order to manipulate me. I couldn't
tell her, that I suspected, they had made me groggy (unsteady, dazed,
weak) and had taken me from room to room,
while I was unconscious.
you say is
really preposterous (contrary to common sense), Florinda," I chided
(scold, reprimand). "I can't believe, that you expect me to take
the inside of my lip, I stared at her long and hard. "I know, that
Delia is hiding in one of the
eyes seemed to tell me, she understood my quandary (dilemma,
predicament, state of uncertainty/perplexity).
have no other option, except to take me seriously," she said. Though
her tone was
mild, it was
the other two Women, hoping for some kind of an answer, anything, that
someone else guides you, it's actually very easy to Dream," Carmela
confided: "The only drawback is, that that someone else has to be a
been hearing all along about a Nagual," I said. "What is a Nagual?
Nagual is a Sorcerer of Great Power, who can lead other Sorcerers
through and out of the darkness. But the Nagual himself told you all
that a while ago. Don't you remember?" Carmela
interceded (act as a mediator in dispute), as my body contorted
(twisted, strained out of shape, bent upon itself) in an effort to
we live in
everyday life, are easy to recall. We have plenty of practice in doing
that. But events, lived in Dreams, are another story. We have to
struggle very hard to bring them back, simply because the body stores
them in different places. With Women, who don't have your somnambulist
(sleep-walking) brain," she pointed out, "Dreaming instructions begin
by making them draw a map of their bodies: a painstaking job, that
reveals, where the visions of Dreams are stored in their bodies."
do you draw this map, Florinda?" I asked, genuinely intrigued.
every inch of your body," she said: "But I can't tell you
more. I'm your mother, not your Dreaming teacher. Now, she recommends a small wooden
mallet (short-handled hammer with a wooden head) for the actual
tapping. And she also recommends to tap only the legs and
hips. Very rarely, the body stores those memories in the chest or belly. What's stored in
the chest, back, and belly are the memories of everyday life. But that's another matter. All that concerns you now
is, that remembering Dreams has to do with physical pressure on the Specific Spot,
where that vision is stored. For instance, if you push
your vagina by putting pressure on your clitoris, you'll remember, what
Mariano Aureliano told you," she finished
with a kind of simple cheerfulness.
stared at her aghast shocked, then burst into nervous, fitful
giggles. I wasn't going to push anything. Florinda laughed, too,
gleefully, seemingly enjoying my embarrassment.
"If you won't do it," she threatened, "then I will simply have Carmela
do it for you."
I turned to Carmela. With a half smile about to break into a laugh, she
assured me, that indeed she would push my vagina for me.
is no need to!" I cried out in dismay (discourage, disappoinment). "I
remember everything!" And indeed I did. And not only what Mariano
Aureliano had said, but also other events. "Is Mr. Aureliano..."
told you to call him the Nagual Mariano Aureliano," Carmela cut me off
are doors into the Unknown," Florinda said, stroking my head: "Naguals
lead by means of Dreams. And the Act of Dreaming with purpose is the
Art of Sorcerers. The Nagual Mariano Aureliano has helped you to get
into Dreams, that all of us Dreamed."
blinked repeatedly. I shook my head, then fell back against the
cushions of the couch, shocked by
the absurdity of all, I was remembering.
I remembered, that I had dreamed of them a year ago in Sonora, a Dream,
that had lasted, I thought, forever. In that Dream, I met Clara,
Nelida, and Hermelinda; the other team, the Dreamers. They told me,
that the leader of that team was Zuleica, but that I couldn't Dream of
her yet. As the memory of that Dream became clear in my mind, it also
became clear, that among
those Women noone was more, and noone was less, than the other. That
one Woman in each group was the leader, was in no way a matter of
Power, of prestige, or of accomplishment; but simply a matter of
efficiency. I didn't know why, but I was convinced, that all, that
mattered to them, was the deep affection they had for each
In that Dream everyone had said to me, that Zuleica was my Dreaming
teacher. That was all I could remember. Just as Clara had told me, I
needed to see them or Dream of them one more time, in order to solidify my knowledge of them.
As it was, they were, but disembodied memories.
vaguely heard Florinda say, that after a few more tries, I would fare
(get along) much better in shifting
from my memory of Dreams, to the Dream I was Dreaming, and then to the
Florinda giggle, but I was no longer in the room (Dreaming). I was
outside, walking across the chaparral. I
walked slowly along an invisible path, a
little uneasy, for there was no light, no moon, no stars in the sky.
Pulled by some invisible force, I stepped into a large room. It
was dark inside, except for the lines of light, criss-crossing from
to wall over the faces of the people, sitting in two circles: an inner
and an outer circle. The light got bright and then became dim, as if
someone in the circle were playing with the electric switch, turning it
on and off. I recognized Mariano Aureliano and Isidore
sitting, back to back, in the middle of the inner circle. It wasn't so
much, that I recognized their faces, but rather their Energy. It
wasn't, that their Energy was brighter, than or different from anyone
else's. There was simply more of it. It was massive. It was one
splendid, great lump of Inexhaustible Brilliance. The room shone WHITE.
There was a vividness to things, a hardness to
every edge and corner. There was such a clarity in that room, that
everything stood out separately, by itself, especially those Lines of
Light, that were tied to the people, sitting in the circle, or that
emanated from them. The people were all connected by Lines of Light,
and they looked, as if they were the suspension points of a giant
web. They all communicated wordlessly, through the Light. I was pulled
to that silent, electric tension, until I too was a point in that Web
of Luminosity. - I was
stretched out on the couch; my head resting in Florinda's lap. "What's
asked, looking up at her. She didn't
answer; neither did Carmela or Zoila, who were sitting by her with
my question several times, but all I heard was the gentle breathing of
certain they were asleep, yet I felt their quiet, keen eyes on me. The darkness
and the silence moved about the house like something alive, bringing
them an icy wind and the scent of the desert.
Shivering with cold, I wrapped the blanket tightly around me and sat up. I was in a
strange bed, in a strange room, furnished only with the bed and a night
everything around me exuded (emitting, make felt) familiarity. However,
I couldn't decide, why it was all so well
known to me.
Perhaps I am
still asleep, I thought.
How do I know, this isn't a dream? I sank back
into my pillows. I lay there with my arms behind my head and let the
had witnessed and lived, half dream, half memory, run through my mind. It had all
begun, of course, the year before, when I drove with Delia Flores to
claimed, that the picnic I had had with everyone there, had been a
Dream. I had
her, and discarded her statements, as preposterous (contrary to common
She had been right, though. I knew now,
that the picnic had been a Dream. Not my
Dream, but a Dream, Dreamt by others and, to which I had been invited;
I was a
all along had been trying doggedly (deceitfully, dangerous) to deny it;
to discard it, as a fake, without knowing,
what I meant by fake.
All, I succeeded in doing, was to block that event from my mind so
completely, that I was never aware
of it. What
I needed to do was to accept, that we have a Track for Dreams; a
groove, where only Dreams run. Had I set up
myself to remember the Dream, I had had in Sonora, as nothing else, but
dream, I would have succeeded, in retaining the wonder, of what had
occurred, while the Dream was
The more I speculated about it, and about all the things, that were
happening to me now, the greater
was my discomfort. But what
surprised me the most was, that
I wasn't really scared of all these people, who, although
supportive, were a scary bunch by any count. And it
suddenly dawned on me, that the reason, why I wasn't scared, was, that
I knew them
The proof to me was, that they themselves had voiced the strange, yet comforting
feeling I had had: that I was coming home. I discarded
all these thoughts as soon, as I had formulated them, and honestly
perhaps, I was mentally unbalanced and they had found a way to focus on
it and thus
In a serious, systematic fashion I reviewed the history of my family in
an effort to recall everything,
I might have heard about mental illness. There was a
story of a maternal great-uncle who, Bible in hand, would preach at
Then both my great-grandfather and my grandfather, at the onset
(beginning/start) of the First and the Second
World Wars, respectively, committed suicide upon realizing, that
was lost to
them. One of my grandmothers blew her brains out, when she realized,
had lost her
beauty and sex appeal. I liked to
believe, that I had inherited my feeling of detachment from being the
granddaughter of all those nuts. I had always believed, that this
Feeling of Detachment gave me my
daring (brave, reckless, fearless,
bold, adventurous). Those morbid
(gruesome, grisly, melancholic) thoughts caused me such anxiety, that I
jumped out of bed. With
nervous, jerky movements I pulled my body out of the blanket. To my utter
bafflement I found myself bundled in a heavy flannel nightshirt. I had
thick, knee-length wool socks, mittens, and a cardigan sweater. "I must be
ill," I mumbled to myself in dismay. "Why else would I be cold with all
Normally, I slept in the nude, regardless of the climate. Only then
did I notice the sunlight in the room. It came through the thick,
certain, that the light, shining in my eyes, had awakened me.
And I really needed to find the bathroom. Worried,
that the house didn't have inside plumbing, I stepped toward the
sliding door at the other
end of the room, which was open, and sure enough, it was a
water closet with a lidded
chamber pot in it. "Damn it! I
can't go to the bathroom in a water closet!" I yelled.
The door opened and Florinda walked in. "It's all right," she said,
embracing me. "There's an outhouse.
The water closet is a relic from the past."
fortunate, it's already morning," I laughed. "Noone will ever know,
that I'm too
faint-hearted (coward) to go to the outhouse in the dark."
gave me a strange look, then turned her gaze away, and at last said in
you think it's morning?"
Sun woke me up a little while ago," I said, moving toward the window.
Uncomprehendingly, I stared at the darkness outside. Florinda's
She seemed to control herself, but then her shoulders shook with
laughter, as she pointed to the light bulb in the lamp, standing behind
the bed. I had mistaken the
bright bulb for the sunlight. "What makes
you so sure, you're awake?" she asked.
I turned to look at her and said: "My unbearable urge to go to the
She took me by the arm and said: "Let me take you to the outhouse,
before you disgrace yourself."
not going anywhere, until you tell me, whether I'm awake or Dreaming,"
a temper!" Florinda exclaimed, lowering her head, until her forehead
were wide. "You're Dreaming-Awake," she added, enunciating each word carefully. In spite of
my growing apprehension, I began to laugh. The sound of
my laughter, which reverberated around the room like a distant echo, dispelled my
moment I was no longer concerned about, whether I was Awake or
was focused on reaching the toilet.
is the outhouse?" I growled (speak in a angry/surly manner).
know, where it is," Florinda said, folding her arms over her chest.
"And you'll never reach it in time, unless you will yourself be there.
But don't bring the outhouse to your bed.
That's called lazy Dreaming; the surest way to soil your bed. Go to the
outhouse yourself in a flick of an eyelid."
utter horror, I couldn't reach the door, when I tried to. My feet
to walk. Slowly and uncertainly, as if they were unable to decide,
to go, they
moved, one foot ahead of the other. Resisting to
accept, that my feet were no longer under my command, I tried to speed
my movements by lifting, with my hands, one foot after the other. Florinda
didn't seem to care, what was happening to me. Tears of
frustration and self-pity welled up in my eyes, as
I stood rooted to the spot. My lips shaped
the word help, but no sound came out of my mouth. What's the
matter?" she asked, as she took hold of one of my arms and gently
down to the
my heavy wollen socks and examined my feet. She now seemed genuinely concerned. I wanted to
explain, that my inability to move, was due to my being emotionally exhausted.
But hard as I tried, I couldn't formulate my thoughts into words. As I
struggled to utter a sound, I noticed, that something was wrong with my
eyes were no
longer able to focus. Florinda's
face remained blurry and fuzzy, no matter how hard
I squeezed my eyes; regardless
of how close I moved my face to hers. "I know,
what's the matter with you," Florinda whispered in my ear. "You have to go to the outhouse.
Do it! Will yourself there!" I nodded
emphatically. I knew, that I was indeed Dreaming-Awake, or rather, that
another reality, that didn't yet fully belong to me, but to which I had
Then I felt inexplicably at ease; and
suddenly I was in the outhouse, not in a dreamed
outhouse, but in a real one. It took me a long time to test my
surroundings, to make sure this was the real thing. It was. Then I was
back in the room, but I didn't know how. Florinda
said something flattering about my Dreaming capacity. I paid
little attention to her remarks, for I was distracted by the pile of
blankets against the wall.
I hadn't noticed them upon awakening, yet I was certain, I had seen
of ease vanished quickly, as I tried to recall, where I had seen those
grew. I didn't know any longer, whether I was still in the same house,
earlier in the evening with Isidore Baltazar, or whether
I was someplace else. "Whose room
is this?" I asked. "And who bundled me up with all these clothes?" It terrified
me to hear my own voice. Florinda
stroked my hair and in a kind, soft voice said, that for the time being
this was my
that she had bundled me up, so I wouldn't get cold. She
explained, that the desert is deceiving; especially at night. She regarded
me with an enigmatic expression, as though she was hinting at something else. It disturbed
me, because her words gave me no clues, about what she might be
reeled aimlessly. The key word, I decided, was desert. I hadn't
known the witches' place was in the desert. We had arrived at it in
way, I had failed to ascertain (discover, find out), where exactly the
house was located. "Whose house
is this, Florinda?" I asked. She seemed
to be wrestling with some deep problem, her expression changing from thoughtful
to worried several times.
"You're home," she finally said, her voice deep with emotion. Before I
could remind her, that she hadn't answered my question, she gestured
for me to
and pointed a finger at the door. Something
whispered in the darkness outside. It could have been the wind and the
it was neither. It was a
soothing, familiar sound. It brought back to me the memory of the
it brought back Mariano Aureliano's words: "I will blow you, as I blew
others, to the one person, who now holds the myth in his hands." The words
rang in my ears: I turned to look, wondering, if Mariano Aureliano had,
the room and was repeating them out loud this very instant. Florinda
nodded. She had read my mind. And her eyes, fixed on mine, were forcing
my understanding of his claim. At the
picnic I hadn't given much thought to his statement. It had simply been
preposterous (hard to believe, contrary to common sense). Now I was so
curious to find out, who "the others" really were, that I couldn't
afford to let
the topic of
the conversation slip by.
"Isidore Baltazar talked about some people, who work with him," I began
that they had been entrusted to him and that it was his sacred duty to
Are they the
ones, who... blew to him?" I asked hesitantly. Florinda
nodded her head affirmatively, a faint smile curling her lips, as if
she found my
to mention the word blew, amusing.
"Those are the ones the old Nagual blew to the new
Nagual. They are Women, and they are like you."
me?" I asked uncertainly. I wished, I
hadn't been so absorbed with my own puzzling changes of moods and
Isidore Baltazar during the trip, and had paid closer attention to all,
about his World. "In what way
are those Women like me?" I asked and then added, "Do you know them?"
seen them," she said noncommittally (revealing no preference/purpose).
many Women have been blown to Isidore Baltazar?" I asked with
yet the mere thought of them was both exciting and alarming. Florinda was
positively gleeful at my reaction. "A few. And they
don't resemble you physically, yet they are like you. What I mean
is, that they resemble one another, the way my fellow Sorceresses and I resemble one
another," Florinda explained: "Weren't
you, yourself, surprised at how much alike we looked, when you first
Acknowledging my nod, she went on to say, that what made her and her
cohorts (team) so alike, in spite of the
obvious physical differences, was their unbiased commitment to the Sorcerers'
together by an affection, that is, as yet incomprehensible to you," she
bet it is," I stated as cynically, as I could. Then
my curiosity and
excitement about the Women, who had been blown to Isidore Baltazar (Carlos
Castaneda) got the better of me. "When will I meet them?"
"When you find
them," Florinda said. Her voice, though low, had an extraordinary force, that all, but silenced me
for a moment.
"How can I find
them, if I don't know them? It's impossible."
for a witch," she remarked casually: "As I already said, you
don't resemble them physically, but the Glow, inside you, is as bright, as the Glow inside
You will recognize them by that Glow." Her eyes were fixed on me
intently, as if she could indeed see the Glow inside me. Her face was grave and her
voice unusually low, as she said, "It's the Glow of Sorcerers." I wanted to make some
impudent remark, but something in her manner alarmed me.
see that Glow?" I asked.
need the Nagual for that," Florinda said
and pointed to the
Aureliano, who was standing in the shadowy corner of the room. I hadn't noticed him at
all, but I didn't find his sudden appearance in any way alarming. Florinda told him, what I
He motioned me to follow him to the middle of the room.
"I'll show you that Glow," he said, then squatted and,
holding up both hands, gestured for me to get on his back. I
"We are going for a
I made no effort to conceal my disappointment. "Aren't you going to
show me the Glow
Although I clearly remembered his words, that true Sorcery was not
rituals, drugs, or incantations, I nevertheless expected a show; some
demonstration of his
Power, such as mixing
spells and simples (composed of one thing, easy, trivial) over the fire. Ignoring my
disillusionment, Mariano Aureliano urged me to put my arms around his neck, lightly so, as not
to choke him. "Don't
you think, I am a little too old to be carried around?" I cautioned him. Mariano Aureliano's
laughter gurgled up inside him, exploding with outrageous delight. In one swift motion he
sprang to his feet. Tucking his arms behind my knees, he shifted me into a comfortable
position and stepped out into the hall, but my head didn't hit the door frame. He walked so fast and
effortlessly, I had the distinct sensation of floating down the long dark corridor. Curious, I glanced all
around me. However, we moved too fast to catch any, but brief glimpses of the house. A soft, yet persistent,
scent permeated everything: a fragrance of orange blossoms and the freshness of cold air.
Outside the yard was blurred by mist. All I was able to see was a
uniform mass of dark
silhouettes. Swirls of
fog, transformed every space, revealing and then blotting out strange shapes of trees and stones. We were not at the
witches' house. I was sure of that. I heard nothing, except a
rhythmical breathing. I couldn't tell,
if it was the Nagual Mariano Aureliano's breathing or
The sound spread all over the yard. It made the leaves tremble, as if a
wind were rustling
through the branches. The trembling seeped into my body with every
breath I took.
It made me so dizzy, I wrapped my arms tightly around his shoulders,
lest I lose
consciousness. Before I had a chance to tell him, what I was
experiencing, the fog closed in around me, and I felt
myself dissolve into nothingness.
"Rest your chin on
the top of my head." The Nagual Mariano Aureliano's voice came, as if from a great distance. The words jolted me, for I
had quite forgotten, that
I was riding on his back. "Whatever
you do, don't let
go of me," he added with great urgency, as he pushed me up on his back, so my head
was above his.
possibly happen, if I let go?" I asked in a tone, that betrayed my
apprehension. "I would just fall onto the ground, wouldn't I?" My voice
Mariano Aureliano laughed softly, but didn't answer. Leisurely, he walked up
and down the extensive yard with light, soft steps, almost in a kind of dance. And then, for an instant,
I had the distinct impression, that we rose in the air. We became weightless. I felt, that we actually
traveled through the darkness for a fleeting moment, then I felt the solid ground through
Mariano Aureliano's body.
Whether the fog had lifted
or whether we were in a different yard,
I couldn't determine, but
something had changed.
Perhaps it was only the
air. It was heavier, harder to breathe. There was no moon, and the
stars were faint, yet the sky shone, as if it were lit from some faraway spot. Slowly, as
if someone were outlining them in the air, the contours of trees became clear.
About five feet away, in front of a particularly tall and bushy zapote
Aureliano came to an abrupt halt. At the foot of that tree
stood a group of people, perhaps twelve or fourteen. The long leaves, weighed
down by the mist, shadowed their faces. A
strange green light,
emanating from the tree, made each person unnaturally vivid. Their eyes, their noses, their
lips, all of their features gleamed in that green light, yet I could make out nothing of their
I didn't recognize any of them. I couldn't even determine, whether they
were males or
females; they were simply people.
"What are they
doing?" I whispered into Mariano Aureliano's ear. "Who are they?"
"Keep your chin on
the top of my head," he hissed. I pressed my chin firmly
against his head, fearing, that if I pushed too hard, my whole face would sink into his skull. Hoping to recognize
someone by his or her voice, I said good evening to them. Fleeting smiles parted
their lips. Instead of returning my greeting, they averted (turn away)
An odd sound came from amidst them; a sound, that energized them, for
they, too, like the tree,
began to glow. Not a
green light, but a golden brilliance, that coalesced (fuse, mix) and shimmered, until they all
fused into one big Golden Ball, that just hovered there under the tree. Then the Golden Ball
dissolved into patches of Luminosity. Like giant glowworms they appeared and disappeared
among the trees, sowing light and shadow in their passing.
Glow," Mariano Aureliano murmured. His voice echoed in my head. "It's the Glow... of the surem
A sudden gust of wind scattered his words. The wind was alive; it
glowed against the darkness of the sky. It blew with great violence, with a strange
Then the wind turned against me; I was certain it meant to annihilate
me. I cried out in
pain, as a particulariy icy gust seared (burning, scorching) my lungs.
A coldness spread through my body, until
I felt myself grow stiff.
Whether it was Mariano
Aureliano, who had spoken or the wind self, I couldn't tell. The wind roared in my ears,
blotting out everything around me. Then it was inside my lungs. It wriggled like a living
thing, eager to devour every cell in my body. I could feel myself
collapse, and I knew, I was going to die.
But the roaring stopped. The silence was so sudden, I heard it. I
laughed out loud, thankful, that I was still alive.
bed was big and comfortably soft. A golden radiance filled the room. Hoping to
prolong this moment of well-being a bit longer, I closed my eyes and
sleepy bliss amidst fragrant linen sheets and subtly scented lavender
every muscle and every bone in my body tense, as
I remembered the night's events;
disconnected fragments of some awful dream. There was no
continuity, no linear sequence to all I had experienced during those interminable
(continual, endless) hours. I had awoken
twice during the night, in different beds, in different rooms, even in a different
had a life of their own, these disconnected images piled up and
expanded, all at once, into a
labyrinth, that somehow I was able to comprehend all at once. That is, I
perceived every event simultaneously. The
sensation of those images, growing out of my skull into an enormous,
was so real, I jumped out of bed and dashed across the room to the
three-paneled mirror was covered with rice paper. I tried to peel off a
corner, but the paper clung
to the glass like a skin. The sight of
the silver-backed hairbrush with its matching comb, the bottles of
and the jars
of cosmetics on the dresser had a soothing effect on me:
I, too, would
arranged the bottles and jars by size, in a row, like tools. Somehow I
knew, that I was in Florinda's room, in the witches' house. This
knowledge restored my sense of equilibrium. Florinda's
room was enormous. The bed and the dresser were the only pieces of
in it. They
stood in opposite corners, away from the walls and at an angle, leaving
triangular space behind them. I pondered
the arrangement of the bed and the dresser for quite some time, but
whether it followed some kind of esoteric pattern, the significance of
eluded (avoid, escape from) me, or whether it was merely the result of
Florinda's aesthetic (show a well developed sense of beauty) whim
(capricious idea, passing fancy). Curious, as
to where the three doors in the room led,
I tried them all. The first
one was locked from the outside. The second
one opened to a small, rectangular-shaped walled-in patio. Puzzled, I
until it finally dawned on me, that it was not morning, as I had
but late afternoon. I wasn't
disturbed, that I had slept the whole day. On the contrary, I was
elated. Convinced, that
I am an insomniac (chronic inability to sleep), I am always overjoyed
by my oversleeping spells (short period of time, word/formula for
magic, fascination). The third
door opened into the corridor. Anxious to
find Isidore Baltazar, I made my way to the living room. It was empty. There was
something forbidding about the neat and straight manner, in which the furniture
revealed, that anyone had sat on the couch and the armchairs
the night before. Even the
cushions stood stiffly, as if at attention. The dining
room across the corridor looked equally forsaken, equally austere
(strict, sombre, grave). Not a chair
was out of place. Not a crumb; not a stain in the polished surface of
mahogany table; nothing betrayed, that I had sat there last night with
the Nagual Mariano Aureliano
and Mr. Flores, and eaten dinner. In the
kitchen, separated from the dining room by an arched vestibule and a
narrow hall, I found a jug,
half filled with champurrado, and a covered plate with some sweet
hungry to bother with heating them. I poured myself a mugful of the
and ate the three corn cakes directly from their corn-husk wrappings.
of pineapple, raisins, and slivered almonds, they were delicious. It was
inconceivable to me, that I had been left alone in the house, yet I
couldn't ignore the stillness
It wasn't the comforting peace, one is conscious of, when people are
purposely being quiet, but rather
it was the overwhelming soundlessness of a deserted place. The
possibility that, indeed, I had been abandoned there, made me choke on
a piece of
back to Florinda's room, I paused in front of every door
I passed. "Anybody
home?" I called out, as I knocked repeatedly. There was no
to step outside, when I distinctly heard someone ask,
"Who is calling?" The voice
was deep and raspy, but I couldn't tell, whether it was a man or a
determine from which direction, let alone from which room, the voice had come. I retraced
my steps and called out again at the top of my voice, whether anybody
reaching the far end of the corridor, I hesitated for a moment in front
of a closed
doorknob, then quietly opened it a crack and sidled (move in a nervous,
furtive manner, sideways) in. With my eyes
tightly shut, I reclined against the wall and waited for my heartbeat to normalize. Suppose
someone caught me in here, I thought guiltily, but my curiosity
outweighed any sense of
wrong-doing, as I breathed in the air of mystery, of enchantment, that
dark curtains were drawn, and the only light came from a tall reading
Its huge shade, fringed with tassels (ornament of loose threads), cast
a circle of yellow light on the chaise lounge (long reclining chair
with room for feet) by the window. At the very
center of the room stood a four-poster bed. Canopied and curtained, it dominated
the space, as if it were a throne. The bronze
and wood-carved oriental figurines, ensconced (settle comfortably) on
the four round tables in each corner,
appeared to stand guard over the room like some celestial deities. Books,
papers, and magazines were piled on the drop-front French desk and on
There was no
mirror on the kidney-shaped dresser, and instead of a comb and brush, or bottles of
perfume and cosmetics, a set of fragile-looking demitasses (demitasse-
for serving black coffee) stood on the glass-topped surface. Strands of
pearls, gold chains, rings, and brooches spilled from the delicate gold-
some abandoned treasure. I recognized
two of the rings: I had seen them on Zoila's hand. The
inspection of the bed I reserved for last. Almost
reverentially (awe, respect), as if indeed it were a throne, I pulled
back the curtain and gasped with
delight. The brightly colored pillows on the silky green spread made me
in a meadow.
And yet an
involuntary shiver shook my body, as I stood in the middle of the room. I couldn't
help, but feel, that the warmth, the mystery, and the enchantment this
exuded (emitting, make felt), were but an illusion. The
sensation, of having stepped into some kind of a mirage, was even more
in the third
seemed warm and friendly at first. The very air was tender and loving.
seemed to bounce off the walls. However,
this atmosphere of warmth was only a tenuous (weak, flimsy), fleeting
impression, like the fading
sunlight streaking through the glassless, gauze-curtained windows. As in the
other room, the bed dominated the space. It too was canopied and
brightly colored pillows, that had been tossed about with absentminded
wall stood a sewing machine. It was an old one; a hand-painted treadle (pedal
operated by foot) machine. Next to it
was a tall bookcase. Instead of books, the shelves were stacked with
bolts (rolls) of the finest
cottons, silks, and wool gabardine cloth, all neatly arranged by color
different colored wigs, all stretched over staked gourds (pointed
bottles), were dislayed on a low table under the
was the blond one I had seen Delia Flores wear, and the dark, curly one Mariano
Aureliano had pulled over my head outside the coffee shop in Tucson. The fourth
room was a bit further down from the others and across the hall. The last
afternoon Sun rays, filtering through a latticed wall, lay on the floor
like a carpet
of light and
shadows, a wavering square of rectangular patterns. Compared to
the other two rooms, it gave the impression of being empty. The few
pieces of furniture were so artfully placed it made the space seem
larger, than it actually was. Low
bookshelves with glass doors lined the walls. At the far
end, in an alcove (arched niche, a part of the room), stood a narrow
bed. The white-and-grey-checkered blanket hung low,
and matched the shadows on the floor.
(delicious, choice, fastidious, fussy) rosewood secretaire with its
delicate chair of ebonized (black tropical tree) rosewood with ormolu
(decorative imitation of gold) didn't detract from the overall sense of
starkness (bare, bluntness) of the room, but rather enhanced it. I knew, that
it was Carmela's room. I would have
liked to check the titles of the books behind the glass panels, but my
someone were chasing me, I dashed out into the corridor and down to the
sat on one
of the rush chairs.
I was trembling and perspiring, yet my hands were icy cold. It wasn't
guilt, that had me shaking - I
wouldn't have minded getting caught snooping around - but the alien,
these beautifully furnished rooms exuded (emitted). The
stillness, that clung about the walls, was an unnatural stillness. It
had nothing to do with the
absence of its inhabitants, but with the absence of feelings and
emotions, that usually
permeate lived-in spaces. Every time
someone had referred to the Women, as Sorceresses and witches, I had inwardly
laughed. They neither acted, nor looked, as I had expected witches to
flamboyantly (richly colored, vivid, showy) dramatic and sinister. But now I
knew for certain, that they were indeed different from other Human
frightened me, that they were different in ways, I couldn't understand;
in ways I couldn't even
conceive (imagine). A soft,
rasping sound put an end to my disturbing thoughts. Following
the distinctly eerie noise, I tiptoed down the corridor, away from the bedrooms,
toward the other end of the house. The rasping
sound came from a room at the back of the kitchen. I crept up softly,
sound die down, the instant I pressed my ear against the door. It resumed
as soon, as I moved away. Puzzled, I
once more pressed my ear to the door, and the rasping sound promptly
and forth several times, and, as if the rasping sound were dependent on
doings, it either started or stopped. Determined
to find out, who was hiding - or worse, who was purposely trying to
reached for the doorknob. Unable to
open the door, I fumbled (touch/handle nervously) for several minutes,
before I realized, that it was locked and
that the key had been left in the lock. That someone
dangerous might have been confined in that room, for a very good reason, only came to
me once I was inside. An oppressive
semidarkness clung (sticking, adhere to something) about the heavy
drawn curtains, like something alive, that was
luring the shadows of the entire house to this enormous room. The light
grew dimmer. The shadows thickened around, what appeared to be discarded pieces of
furniture; peculiar-looking small and enormous figures, made out of wood and metal. The same
rasping sound, that had drawn me to this room, broke the silence. Like
felines, the shadows prowled about the room, as if searching for prey. In frozen
horror, I watched the curtain. It pulsated and breathed like a monster
All of a
sudden, the sound and the movement ceased. The motionless silence was
more frightening. I turned to
leave, and the pulsating, rasping sound began again. Resolutely (determined, firmly), I
crossed the room and pulled back the curtain. I laughed
out loud upon discovering the broken glass pane in the French door. The
had been alternately sucking and blowing the curtain through the jagged
gap (broken hole). The fading
afternoon light streaming through the half-opened curtain, rearranged
shadows in the room and revealed an oval-shaped mirror on the wall,
half hidden by one of the
odd-looking metal figures. I squeezed
myself between the sculpture and the wall and gazed rapturously
(ecstatically, with delight) into the old Venetian
glass. It was blurry and misty with age, and it distorted my image so grotesquely
I ran out of the room. I went
outside the house, through the back door. The wide
clearing behind the house was deserted. The sky was
still bright, but the tall fruit trees, circling the grounds, had
already turned the color of
crows passed overhead. Their black flapping wings extinguished the brightness
in the sky, and night swiftly descended into the yard. With a
feeling of utter dejection (depression) and despair, I sat on the
ground and wept. The harder I cried, the
more pleasure I felt from lamenting (expression of sorrow, grief,
pathetic) at the top of my voice. The sound of
a rake jolted me out of my self-pity. I looked up
and saw a slight person, raking leaves toward a small fire in the back
I cried out, rushing toward her, only to stop abruptly upon realizing,
but a man.
I mumbled apologetically. "I mistook you for someone else."
held out my hand and introduced myself. I tried not
to stare at him, but I couldn't help it: I wasn't quite sure, that he
disguised as a man. He put his
hand in mine, pressing it softly, and said, "I'm the caretaker." He
didn't tell me his name. His hand
felt as brittle, as a bird's wing in mine. He was a
looking man. His face was birdlike, too, aquiline and keen-eyed. His white
hair was tufted (dense clump) and feathery. It wasn't
only his slight frame and birdlike appearance, that reminded me of
but also the
wrinkled, expressionless face and the eyes, shiny and limpid (clear,
serene, untroubled, calm) as those of a child, and
the teeth, small and square and very white.
"Do you know where Florinda is?" I asked. He shook his
head and I added, "Do you know where any of the others are?"
He was silent for a long moment, and then, as though I hadn't asked him
that he was the caretaker. "I take care of everything."
do?" I asked, eyeing him suspiciously. He was so
frail and puny (weak, feeble) - looking, that he didn't seem to be
capable of taking care of anything, including
take care of everything," he repeated, smiling sweetly, as if thus he
could erase my doubts. He was about
to say something else, but instead he chewed his lower lip thoughtfully
a moment, then turned around, and went on raking the leaves into a
little pile with neat, deft
(skillfully), quick movements.
is everyone?" I asked. Resting his
chin on his hand, cupped over the end of the rake handle, he glanced at
grinning inanely (foolishly),
he looked all around him, as though at any moment someone might
materialize from behind one of the fruit trees. Sighing
loudly and impatiently, I turned to leave.
He cleared his throat, and in a voice, that was wavering and hoarse
with old age said, "The old Nagual
took Isidore Baltazar to the mountains." He didn't
look at me: his eyes were focused somewhere in the distance. "They'll
be back in
I screeched indignantly (outraged). "Are you sure, you heard them
(disappointed), that my worst fear had come true, I could only mumble,
"How could he have left me here
all by myself?"
left last night," the old man said, pulling back a leaf, that the wind
had blown away from the
pile in front of him.
impossible," I contradicted him forcefully. "We only got here last
night. Late last night," I
to my assertively rude tone and to my presence, the old man set fire to
little pile of leaves in front of him. "Didn't
Isidore Baltazar leave a message for me?" I asked, squatting beside
he leave me a note or something?" I felt an
impulse to shout, but for some reason I didn't dare. Some
mystifying aspect of the old man's appearance disconcerted (upset,
ruffle, perturb) me. The thought, that he was
Esperanza in disguise still nagged me. "Did
Esperanza go with them to the mountains?" I asked. My voice
trembled, because suddenly I was seized by a desperate desire to laugh.
his pants and showing me his genitals, there was nothing, he could do to convince me,
that he was indeed a man.
"Esperanza is in the house," he murmured, his attention fixed on the
little pile of burning leaves.
"She's in the house with the others."
be ridiculous: She's not in the house," I contradicted him rudely.
"Noone is in the house. I've
been searching for them the whole afternoon. I checked every room."
in the little house," the old man repeated obstinately (contrary,
inflexibly), watching me as intently, as he had watched
the burning leaves. The glint of mischief in his eyes made me want to
little..." My voice faded, as I remembered the other house, the one I
had seen upon
It actually caused me an intense physical pain to think of that place. "You could
have told me right away, that Esperanza is in the little house," I said peevishly
(discontented, fretful, ill-tempted).
I glanced all around me, but I couldn't see the place. The tall trees
hid it from view. "I'm going to
see, if Esperanza is indeed there, as you claim," I said, rising. The old man
rose, too, and turning toward the nearest tree, he reached for an oil
lamp and a
sack, hanging from a low branch.
"I'm afraid I can't let you go there by yourself," he said.
don't see why not," I countered, piqued (wounded pride/vanity
resentment). "Perhaps you're not aware of it, but I'm Florinda's
to the little house last night." I paused for a moment, then added for
measure, "I was there for sure." He listened
carefully, but his face looked doubtful.
"It's tricky to get there," he warned me at last. "I have to prepare
the path for you. I have to..." He seemed to
catch himself in the middle of a thought, he didn't want to express. He shrugged,
then repeated, that he had to prepare the path for me.
there to prepare?" I asked irritably. "Do you have to cut through the
the caretaker. I prepare the path," he repeated obstinately (inflexibly) and sat on
the ground to
instant it guttered (flickered) in the air, then burned strongly. His
features appeared almost fleshless,
unwrinkled, as if the light had smoothed away the mark of time. "As
with burning these leaves, I'll take you there myself."
help you," I offered. Clearly, the man was senile and needed to be
him around the clearing and helped him gather the leaves into little
promptly burned. As soon, as
the ashes had cooled, he swept them into the burlap sack. The sack was
particular detail - the plastic lining - that brought back a
the heaps of ashes into the sack, I told him, that as a small child,
living in a
near Caracas, I was often awakened by the sound of a rake. I used to
sneak out of bed and, cat-footed, creep down the corridor, past my
rooms into the parlor, which faced the plaza. Heedful
(mindful, paying close attention) of the creaking hinges, I used to
open the wooden panels, covering the windows, and squeeze
through the wrought iron bars. The old man,
in charge of keeping the plaza clean, was always there to greet me with
toothless smile, and together we used to rake into little piles the
leaves, that had fallen during the
night - any other kind of refuse was put into trash cans. We burned
these piles, and as soon, as the ashes had cooled, we swept them into a
He claimed, that the water fairies, dwelling in a sacred stream in the nearby
mountains, turned the ashes into gold dust. "Do you also
know of fairies, who change ashes into gold dust?" I asked, seeing how delighted
the caretaker was with my story.
He didn't answer, but giggled with such pleasure and abandon, I
couldn't help, but laugh, too. Before I
knew it, we had reached the last little pile of ashes next to a
recessed, arched doorway,
built into the wall. The narrow wooden gate stood wide open. Across the
chaparral was the other house almost hidden in shadows.
No light shone through the windows, and it appeared to be shifting away
whether the house was, but a figment of my imagination; a place
in a dream,
I blinked repeatedly and rubbed my eyes. Something
was wrong, I decided, as I recalled walking up to the witches' house
Isidore Baltazar. The smaller
house had stood to the right of the larger one. How then, I asked
could I now
see the place from the witches' backyard?
In an effort to orient myself, I moved this way and that, but I
couldn't get my bearings. I bumped into
the old man, who was squatting before the pile of ashes, and fell over
With astounding agility he rose and helped me up. "You're full of
ashes," he said, wiping my face with
the folded cuff of his khaki shirt. "There it
is!" I cried out. Sharply focused, silhouetted against the sky, the
be only a few steps away: "There it
is," I repeated, jumping up and down, as if by doing so, I could hold
the house in
detain it in time. "That's the
true house of the witches," I added, standing still in front of the old
man, so he
proceed with wiping the ashes off my face. "The big house is but a
house of the witches," the old man said slowly, savoring his words.
seemingly amused. He swept the
last of the ashes into his burlap sack, then motioned me to follow him through the
trees grew on the other side of the gate, away from the wall. A cool
breeze rustled through the blooming branches, but the flowers didn't
didn't fall to the ground. Against the
dark foliage, the blossoms looked carved, as though they had been made
sentinels (guard), the two trees stood guard over the narrow path. The path was
white and very straight, like a line, that had been drawn on the
with a ruler.
The old man
handed me the oil lamp, then scooped out a handful of ashes from his
poured them from one hand to the other - as though he were weighing
he sprinkled them onto the ground. "Don't ask
any questions and do, as I say," he said, his voice no longer hoarse.
It had an
quality. It sounded energetic and convincing. He bent
slightly, and walking backwards, he let the rest of the ashes trickle
sack onto the narrow trail. "Keep your
feet on the line of ashes," he admonished (caution, warn). "If you
don't, you'll never reach the house." I
coughed to hide my nervous laughter. Holding out
my arms, I balanced on the narrow line of ashes, as if it were a
Each time we
stopped for the old man to catch his breath, I turned to look at the
be receding into the distance; and the one in front of us didn't seem
to get any
convince myself, that it was merely an optical illusion, yet I had the
that I would never make it on my own to either house. As if
sensing my discomfort, the old man patted my arm reassuringly. "That's
into his burlap sack and added, "It won't be long now, before we'll get
remember to keep your feet on the line of ashes.
If you do, you'll be able to move back and
forth safely, anytime." My mind told
me, that the man was a lunatic. My body,
however, knew, that I was lost without him and his ashes. I was so
feet on the faint line, it took me by surprise, when we finally stood
in front of
The old man
took the oil lamp from my hand, cleared his throat, then rapped
(knocked) lightly on the carved
panel with his knuckles. He didn't
wait for an answer, but pushed the door open and went inside.
go so fast!" I cried out, afraid to be left behind. I followed
him into a narrow vestibule. He left the oil lamp on a low table. Then without
a word or a backward glance, he opened a door at the far end and disappeared
into the darkness. Guided by
some vague memory, I stepped into, the dimly lit, rooom and went
the mat on
There was no
doubt in my mind now, that I had been there the night before, that I had slept on
that very mat. What I
wasn't so sure of was, how
I got to that room in the first place. That Mariano
Aureliano had carried me on his back across the chaparral was vivid in my mind.
I also was certain, that I had woken up in that room - before being
over by the
old Nagual - with Clara sitting beside me on the mat. Confident,
that within moments all would be explained to me,
I sat on the mat. The light in
the oil lamp flickered and then went out. I sensed,
rather than saw, things and people moving around me. I heard a murmur of voices,
intangible sounds coming from every corner. Out of all these noises, I
rustling of skirts and a soft giggle. "Esperanza?"
I whispered, "God! I am so glad to see you!" Although it was her I expected to
see, I was nevertheless stunned, when she sat beside me on the mat.
me," she assured me. Only after
hearing her voice was I convinced, that it was indeed Esperanza and not
caretaker, who had exchanged his khaki pants and shirt for the rustling
petticoats and the white dress.
And once I felt the soothing touch of her hand on my face, all thoughts
"How did I get here?" I asked.
caretaker brought you here," she laughed. "Don't you remember?" She turned
toward the low table and relit the oil lamp.
talking about last night," I clarified. "I know, I was here. I woke up
on this mat. Clara was here
with me. And then Florinda was here, and the other Women..."
voice trailed off (lagged behind), as I remembered, that I had awoken
afterward in the living room of the other
house and then again on a bed. I shook my
head, as if I could thus bring some order to my memories.
Forlornly (desparately), I gazed at Esperanza, hoping she would fill in
the gaps. I told her of the
difficulties, I was having, remembering the night's events in
shouldn't have any problems," she said. "Get in the track of Dreams.
mean, that I am asleep now, this very instant?" I asked mockingly. I
asked, "Are you asleep, too?"
are not asleep," she repeated, enunciating her words carefully. "You
and I are
Dreaming-Awake." She held up
her hands in a helpless gesture. "I told you what to do last year.
thought suddenly occurred to me, as if someone had just whispered it in
ear: 'When in doubt, one must separate the two tracks; the track for
ordinary affairs and the track
for Dreams, since each has a different State of Awareness.' I felt
elated, for I knew, that the first track, one should test, is the track
of Dreams. If the situation at
hand doesn't fit that track, then one is not Dreaming. My elation
quickly vanished, when I tried to test the track for Dreams. I had no
inkling (vague idea) of how to go about it or of what the track for
Dreams was, for that matter; and worse, I
couldn't remember, who had told me about it. "I did," Esperanza said just behind me:
"You have moved a great deal in the Realm of Dreams. You nearly
remembered, what I told you last year, the day after the picnic. I
said to you then that, when in doubt about, whether you are in a Dream
or whether you are awake, you should test the track, where Dreams run
on - meaning the Awareness, we have in Dreams, is by feeling the thing,
you are in contact with. If you are Dreaming, your feeling comes back
to you, as an echo. If it doesn't come back, then you are not Dreaming."
Smiling, she pinched my thigh and said, "Try it on this mat, you're
lying on. Feel it with your buttocks. If the feeling returns, then
you're Dreaming." There was no feeling returning to my numbed buttocks.
In fact, I was so numb, that I didn't feel the mat. It seemed to me, I
was lying on the rough tiles of the floor. I had a strong urge to point
out to her, that it should be the opposite - if the feeling returns,
then one is awake - but I controlled myself in time. I knew without any
doubt, that what she meant by 'the feeling returning to us' had nothing
to do with our known, agreed-upon knowledge of what feeling is. The
distinction between being awake and Dreaming-Awake still eluded (escape
from) me, yet I was certain, that its meaning had nothing to do with
our ordinary way of understanding Awareness. Right then, however, words
came out of my mouth without any control on my part. I said, "I know,
that I am Dreaming-Awake, and that's that." (DREAMING-AWAKE MEANS:
TAKING YOUR PHYSICAL BODY WITH AWARENESS TO A HIGHER VIBRATION ! LM).
I sensed, that I was near a new, deeper level of understanding, and yet
I could not quite grasp it. I asked,
"What I would like to know is, when did I fall asleep?"
already told you, you're not asleep. You are Dreaming-Awake."
began to laugh involuntarily, in a quiet, utterly nervous manner. She didn't
seem to notice or to care. "When did the
transition occur?" I asked.
the caretaker was making you cross the chaparral and you had to
concentrate, on keeping your
feet on the ashes."
must have hypnotized me!" I exclaimed, in a not altogether pleasant
talk incoherently, entangling myself in words, without quite succeeding
making sense, until finally I was weeping and denouncing (accuse
formally) them all. Esperanza
watched me silently, her eyebrows lifted, her eyes wide open with
immediately ashamed of my outburst; but at the same time I was glad, I
had spoken, because a
momentary relief, the kind, that comes after a confrontation, washed
confusion," she continued, "originates with your facility to move from
one State of Awareness into the other with great ease. If you had
struggled, like everybody else does to attain smooth transitions, then
you would know, that Dreaming-Awake is not just hypnosis." She paused
for an instant, then finished softly, "Dreaming-Awake is the most
sophisticated State humans can attain." She stared
off into the room, as if a clearer explanation might suddenly be
brought to her by someone,
hiding in the shadows. Then she
turned to me and asked, "Did you eat your little food?"
Her change of
subject took me by surprise, and I began to stammer. Once I
recovered, I told her, that I had indeed eaten the sweet tamales. "I
was so hungry, I didn't
bother to heat them up. They were delicious." Idly (lazy)
playing with her shawl, Esperanza asked me to give her an account, of
what I had
I awoke in Florinda's room. As if I had
been given a truth-telling potion, I blurted out more, than I intended
Esperanza didn't seem to mind my snooping around the Women's rooms. She wasn't
impressed with my knowing, to whom each room belonged. What
interested her to no end, however, was my encounter with the caretaker. With a smile
of unmistakable glee on her face, she listened, as I told my tale of
the Man with
When I mentioned, that at one point
I considered asking him to pull down his pants, so I could check
his genitals, she doubled up on the mat, shrieking with laughter.
She leaned against me and whispered suggestively in my ear, "I'll put
you at ease." There was a wicked
gleam in her eyes, as she added, "I'll show you mine."
is no need to, Esperanza," I tried to ward her off. "I don't doubt,
that you are a Woman."
can never be too sure, what one is," she casually dismissed my words. Oblivious to
my embarrassment, caused not so much by her imminent nudity, but by the thought,
that I had to look at her old, wrinkled body - she lay down on the mat
finesse (delicacy of performance) slowly lifted her skirts.
My curiosity won out over my embarrassment. I stared at
her, open-mouthed. She had no panties on. She had no pubic hair. Her
was incredibly young, the flesh strong and firm, the muscles delicately
She was all
one color; an even, copperish pink. There were no stretch marks on her
veins. Nothing marred the smoothness of her stomach and legs. I reached
out to touch her, as if needing to reassure myself, that her silky,
smooth-looking skin was
real, and she opened the lips of her vagina with her fingers. I
averted (turn away) my face, not so much from embarrassment,
as from my conflicting emotions. Nudity,
whether male or female, wasn't the issue. I had grown
up quite freely at home. Noone was particularly careful to avoid being
school in England, I had been invited one summer to spend a couple of weeks in
Sweden at a friend's house by the sea. The whole family belonged to a
they all worshiped the Sun with every bit of their naked skin.
Seeing Esperanza naked before me was different. I was
aroused in a most peculiar manner. I had never really focused on a
Woman's sexual organs. Of course, I
had examined myself thoroughly in the mirror, and from every possible angle. I had also
seen pornographic movies, which I had not only disliked, but had found offensive as
Esperanza so intimately, was a shattering experience, for I had always
responses for granted. I had
thought, that as a Woman, I could only get aroused with a male. My
overwhelming desire, to jump on top of her, took me completely by
surprise and was
counterbalanced by the fact, that I didn't have a penis. When
Esperanza suddenly rose from the mat and took off her blouse I gasped
at the floor, until the feverish, tingling sensation in my face and
neck subsided. "Look at me!"
Esperanza demanded impatiently. Her eyes
were bright. Her cheeks were flushed. She was
completely naked. Her body was
slight, yet bigger and stronger looking, than when dressed. Her breasts
full and pointed. "Touch them!"
she commanded in a soft, alluring tone. Her words
echoed around the room like a disembodied sound, a mesmerizing rhythm,
swelled into a throb in the air, a pulse of sound felt rather, than
heard, which little by little tightened
and quickened, until it beat fast and hard, like the rhythm of my own
heard and felt was Esperanza's laughter.
the caretaker hiding in here, by any chance?" I asked, when I could
talk. I was
suspicious and guilty about my daring.
hope not!" she cried out with such an air of dismay (disappoinment),
that it made me laugh.
is he?" I asked. Her eyes
opened wide, then she grinned, as though she were going to laugh. But she
wiped the mirth from her face, and in a serious tone said, that the
the grounds, and that he took care of both houses, but he didn't go
he really the caretaker?" I asked, trying to sound skeptical. "I don't
want to malign (slander,
speak evil of) him, but he really doesn't look capable of taking care
giggled, then said, that his frailness was deceptive. "He is very
"You have to
be careful with him. He likes young girls, especially blond ones." She leaned
closer and, as if afraid we might be overheard, whispered in my ear,
make a pass
no!" I defended him. "He was exquisitely polite and helpful. It's just
that..." My voice trailed off into a whisper, and my attention began to
an odd sort
of way to the furniture in the room, which I couldn't see, because the
cast more shadows, than light on my surroundings. When I
finally managed to focus my attention back on her, I was no longer
All I could
think of, with a persistence I couldn't shake off, was why Isidore
left for the
mountains without letting me know, without leaving me a note. "Why would he
leave me like that?" I asked, turning to Esperanza. "He must have told someone,
when he'll return." Seeing her
all-knowing smirk, I added belligerently (state of being at war), "I'm
sure, you know, what's going on."
don't," she insisted, quite incapable of understanding my plight
(situation, dilemma). "I don't concern myself with
should you. Isidore Baltazar is gone, and that's that. He'll be
back in a couple of days, in a couple of weeks. Who knows? It all
in the mountains."
all depends?" I shrieked. I found her
lack of sympathy and understanding abominable (thoroughly unpleasant).
"What about me?" I demanded. "I
can't stay here for weeks."
not?" Esperanza inquired innocently. I regarded
her, as if she were demented, then blurted out, that I had nothing to
nothing for me to do here. My list of
complaints was endless. They came pouring out, until I was exhausted.
simply have to go home; be in my normal milieu (environment,
surroundings)," I finished. I felt the inevitable tears, and did my
best to suppress them.
Esperanza repeated the word slowly, as though she were tasting it. "You
leave any time, you wish. Noone is
holding you back. It can easily be arranged to get you to the border,
can catch a
Greyhound bus, bound for Los Angeles." I nodded,
not trusting myself to speak. I didn't
want that either.
I didn't know, what I wanted, but the thought of leaving was
unbearable. I somehow knew, that if I
left, I would never find these people again, not even Isidore Baltazar
weep uncontrollably. I wouldn't have been able to put it into words,
(barren, cold, harsh, gloomy, sombre) of a life, of a future without
them, was unbearable to me. I didn't
notice Esperanza leaving the room, and I didn't notice her coming back.
wouldn't have noticed anything, if it wasn't for the delicious aroma of
(floating gently) under my nose. "You'll feel
better after eating," she assured me, placing a tray in my lap. Smiling
slowly and affectionately, she sat beside me and confided, that there
chocolate, to take away one's sadness. I couldn't
agree with her more.
I took a few hesitant sips and ate several of the buttered, rolled
I told her,
that although I didn't really know her or any of her friends, I
couldn't conceive (imagine) of
not ever seeing them again. I confessed,
that I felt a freedom and an ease with her and her group, that I had
anywhere else before.
It was a strange feeling, I explained, part physical, part
psychological, and wholly defiant
(challenging) of analysis. I could
describe it only as a sense of well-being or a certainty, that I had
finally found a place, where
knew exactly, what it was, I was trying to express. She said,
that having been part of the Sorcerers' World, even for a short time,
was addictive. It wasn't
the amount of time, she stressed, but the intensity of the encounters,
"And your encounters have been very intense," she said.
have?" I asked. Esperanza
lifted her eyebrows with sincere surprise, then rubbed her chin in an exaggerated
attitude, as though she were deliberating on a problem, that had no
After a long
silence, she finally pronounced:
"You will walk lighter, after you fully realize, that there
is no going back to your old life." Her voice,
though low, had an extraordinary force.
Her eyes held mine for a moment, and I knew that
instant, what her words meant. "Nothing
will ever be the same for me again," I said softly.
"You'll return to the World, but not to your World or to your old life," she said,
rising from the mat. She rushed
toward the door, only to come to a sudden halt.
"It's wildly exciting to do something,
without knowing, why we are doing it," she said, turning to look at me: "And it's
even more exciting to set out to do something, without knowing, what
be." I couldn't
disagree with her more, and declared:
need to know, what I'm doing. I need to know, what
I'm getting into." She sighed
and held up her hands in comical deprecation (disapproval).
is terribly frightening," she spoke harshly and, before I had a chance
respond, she added gently, "Freedom requires spontaneous acts. You have
no idea, what it is to abandon yourself spontaneously..."
I do is spontaneous," I interjected. "Why do you think, I am here? Do
think I deliberated much, whether I should come or not?"
returned to the mat and stood, looking down at me for a long moment
before she said, "Of course
you didn't deliberate about it. But
your acts of spontaneity are due to a lack of
thought, rather than to an act of abandon." She
stomped her foot to prevent me from interrupting her again. "A real
spontaneous act is an act, in which you abandon yourself completely,
but only after profound deliberation," she went on: "An act, where all
the pros and cons have been taken into consideration and duly
discarded. You expect nothing, and you regret nothing. With
of that nature, Sorcerers beckon (signal or summon by waving) freedom."
not a Sorcerer," I mumbled under my breath, pulling at the hem of her
from leaving, but she made it clear, that she had no interest in
continuing our conversation. I followed
her outside, across the clearing, to the path, that led to the other
caretaker had done earlier, she too urged me to keep feet on the line
of ashes. "If
she admonished, "you'll fall into the abyss."
"Abyss?" I repeated uncertainly, glancing all around me at the mass of
dark chaparral, extending
on either side of us. A light
breeze sprung up. Voices and whispers rose from a dark mass of shadows.
Instinctively, I held on to Esperanza's skirt.
you hear them?" she asked, turning to face me.
am I supposed to hear?" I murmured hoarsely. Esperanza moved closer,
then, as if afraid we might be overheard, she whispered in my ear,
"Surems (entities) of another time. They use the wind to wander across
the desert, forever awake."
are no ghosts," she said with finality, and started walking again. I made sure,
that my feet stayed on the line of ashes, and I didn't let go of her
she came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the patio of the big house. For an
instant she hesitated, as though she couldn't decide, to which part of
ought to take me. Then she
went up and down the various corridors and turned corners, until
an immense room, that had escaped my earlier exploration of the house. The walls
were lined to the ceiling with books. At one end of the room stood a
table. At the other end hung a white, flouncy (strip of pleated
fabric), hand-woven hammock.
a magnificent room!" I exclaimed. "Whose is it?"
Esperanza offered graciously. She went to
the wooden chest, standing by the door, and opened it. "The nights are
handing me three thick woolen blankets.
mean I can sleep in here?" I asked excitedly. My whole
body shivered with pleasure, as I matted the hammock with the blankets
lowered myself into it.
As a child, I had often slept in one. Sighing with
contentment, I rocked myself back and forth, then pulled in my legs and stretched
"Knowing how to sleep in a hammock is like knowing how to ride a
bicycle. One never forgets how," I said to her. But there
was noone to hear me. She had left, without my noticing it.
I turned off the light and lay very still in my hammock, lulled (soothe,
noises of the house, strange
creaking sounds and the trickling of water from an earthenware filter,
sat up, as the unmistakable sound of footsteps echoed along the
could it be at this hour?" I thought. I tiptoed
across the room and pressed my ear against the door. The
footsteps were heavy. My heart beat fast and loud, as the steps came
front of my door. The knock
was urgent, and although I was expecting it, it nonetheless startled
knocking over a chair. "Did you have
a nightmare?" Florinda asked, stepping into the room. She left the door half open,
and the light from the corridor shone inside. "I thought,
you would be happy to hear the sound of my steps," she said mockingly, smiling at
me. "I didn't want to sneak up on you." She
straightened up the chair, and draped a pair of khaki pants and a shirt
of the caretaker. He says, you can keep them."
them?" I repeated, eyeing the garments suspiciously. They looked clean
ironed. "What's wrong with my jeans?"
be more comfortable in these pants during the long drive to Los
"But I don't want to leave!" I cried out in alarm. "I'm staying here,
until Isidore Baltazar returns."
laughed, then seeing, that I was about to weep, she said, "Isidore
you're welcome to stay longer, if you wish."
no, I don't," I blurted out. The anxiety,
I had felt for the past two days, was all, but forgotten. So were all
questions I had wanted to ask Florinda. All I could
think of was, that Isidore Baltazar was back. "Can I see him now?" I
afraid you can't." Florinda stopped me from leaving the room. For a moment
her statement didn't register. I stared at her uncomprehendingly, and
repeated, that it wasn't possible to see the new Nagual tonight.
not?" I asked, bewildered. "I'm sure, he would want to see me."
sure, he would," she readily agreed. "But he is sound asleep, and you
can't wake him up." It was such
a fierce refusal, that all, I could do, was stare at her, speechless. Florinda
looked at the floor for a long time, then gazed up at me. Her
expression was sad. For an instant I believed, she would relent (become
softened, yield) and take me to see Isidore
repeated with sharp finality, "I'm afraid you can't see him tonight." Hastily, as
if afraid she might still change her mind, she embraced and kissed me,
then left the room. She switched
off the light outside, then turned from the shadows of the corridor to
look at me
"Go to sleep now." Tossing and
turning, I lay awake for hours. Close to
dawn I finally got up and put on the clothes Florinda had brought me. They fit me
well, except for the pants, which I had to cinch in (tighten) at the
waist with a piece of string, I
had no belt with me. Shoes in
hand, I stroll down the corridor past the caretaker's room to the back
the creaking hinges, I opened the door carefully and only a crack. It was still
dark outside, yet a soft, radiant blue was spreading across the eastern
I ran to the arched doorway, built into the wall, stopping momentarily
by the two trees outside it,
that guarded the path.
The air was heavy with the fragrance of orange blossoms. Whatever
lingering (stay, delay, procrastinate) doubts I might have had, about
crossing the chaparral, were dispelled, as I
dicovered, that fresh ashes had been strewn on the ground. Without
another thought I dashed to the other house. The door was
ajar (partially open),
but I didn't go in right away. I crouched
(bend low) beneath the window and waited for some kind of a sound. I didn't
have to wait long, before I heard a loud snoring.
I listened for a while and went inside. Guided by that distinct snoring
sound, I went
the room at the back of the house. In the
darkness I could hardly make out the sleeping form on the straw mat,
yet I had no
it was Isidore Baltazar.
Fearing, that he might be startled, if I were to wake him too
I returned to the front room
and sat on the couch. I was so
excited, I could not sit still. I was beside myself with joy, thinking,
he would wake up. Twice I
tiptoed back into the room and looked at him. He had turned in his
sleep and was
dozed off on the couch. I sensed through my fitful (periodic) sleep,
that someone stood in the room. I half
roused (awaken, provoke) to murmur, "I'm waiting for Isidore Baltazar
to wake up," but I knew, I had made no
conscious effort to sit up. I swayed
dizzily, before I could focus my eyes on the man, standing beside me.
Isidore Baltazar still asleep?" I asked him. The old
Nagual gazed at me for a long time.
Wondering whether I was Dreaming, I boldly reached for his hand, only
to drop it abruptly. It
burnt, as if it were on fire. He raised
his brows, seemingly surprised by my actions. "You won't be
able to see Isidore Baltazar, until the morning," he spoke slowly, as
if it cost
great effort to enunciate the words. Before I had
a chance to say, that it was almost morning; that I would wait for
the couch, I felt Mariano
Aureliano's burning hand on my back, pushing me across the
"Go back to
your hammock." There was a
sudden rush of wind. I turned
around to protest, but Mariano Aureliano was no longer there. The wind
reverberated in my head like a deep gong. The sound grew softer and
until it was
but a bare vibration. I opened my
mouth to prolong (make it longer) the last faint echoes.
It was midmorning, when I awoke in my hammock, wearing the clothes,
Automatically, almost without thought, I went outside and across the
clearing to the little house. The door was
repeatedly and I called out, but there was no answer. I tried to
force the windows open, but they too were locked. I was so
shaken, I was on the verge of tears. I ran down
the hill to the small clearing beside the road, the only spot, where a
Isidore Baltazar's van was not there. I walked
along the dirt road for quite some time, looking for fresh tire tracks.
confused, than ever, I returned to the house. Knowing,
that it would be useless to look for the Women in their rooms, I stood
the inside patio and yelled for Florinda at the top of my voice. There was no
sound, except for the echo of my own voice settling around me. No matter
how many times I reviewed, what Florinda had said, I couldn't come up
thing, I could be sure of, was, that Florinda had come to my room in
the middle of
the night to
bring me the clothes, I was wearing. Her visit and her statement, that
back, must have triggered a vivid dream in me. To stop
myself from speculating (thinking, engage in risk), why I was alone in
the house - not even the caretaker seemed to be
about - I began to mop the floors. Cleaning
always had a soothing effect on me. I was done with all the rooms,
when I heard the distinct sound of a Volkswagen engine. I ran down
the hill and flung (throw carelessly) myself at Isidore Baltazar, even
before he got out of the van, almost
jerking him to the ground.
still can't get over it," he laughed, putting his arms around me in a
tight embrace. "You were the
one, the Nagual told me so much about. Do you know, that I nearly
they greeted you?"
He didn't wait for my comment, but hugged me again, and laughing,
lifted me off the ground. Then, as if
some restraint had broken free within him, he began to talk nonstop. He said,
that he had known about me for a year. The Nagual had told him, that he
entrusting a weird girl to him. The Nagual
had described that girl metaphorically as 'twelve o'clock in the
morning of a
which is neither windy, nor calm, neither cold, nor hot, but alternates
driving one nuts.' Isidore
Baltazar confessed, that being the pompous ass, that he was, he knew
instantaneously, that the Nagual was referring to his girlfriend.
is your girlfriend?" I cut him short. He made a
sharp movement with his hand, positively displeased by my words.
is not a story of facts," he snapped. "This is a story of ideas; so you
would see, how idiotic I
His annoyance quickly gave way to a brilliant smile.
"I actually believed I could find out for myself,
who that girl was." He paused for an instant, then added softly, "I've
involved a married Woman with children in my search." He heaved
(breathe) a deep sigh, then grinned and said, "The moral of my story
is, that in the Sorcerers'
World one has to cancel out the ego or it is curtains for us; for in
there is no
way for average persons, like ourselves, to predict anything." Then,
seeing, that I was weeping, he held me off at arm's length and gazed at
anxiously. "What is the matter, nibelunga?"
really," I laughed in between my sobs, drying my tears. "I don't have
that can worry about the world of abstract stories," I added cynically. In as hard a
tone, as I could muster, I added, "I worry about the here and now.
what I've been through in this house."
course, I have a very good idea," he retorted with deliberate
harshness. "I've been at it for
me with an inquisitor's eye and asked,
"What I want to know is, why didn't you tell me,
you had been with them already?"
was about to, but I didn't feel, it was important," I mumbled in
voice acquired a firm and steady ring, as words poured involuntarily
out of me.
"It turns out, that meeting them, was the only important thing I have
To hide my
surprise, I immediately began to complain, that I had been left in the
didn't have a chance to let you know, that I was off to the mountains
with the Nagual," he whispered
with a sudden irrepressible smile.
forgot all about that," I assured him. "I'm talking about today. This
morning, when I awoke, I expected you to be here. I was certain, you
had spent the
night in the
little house, sleeping on a straw mat. When I couldn't find you, I
puzzled face, I told him of Florinda's midnight visit, of my subsequent
finding myself alone in the house upon awakening this morning. I
sounded incoherent. My thoughts and words were all mixed up. However, I
many things, I cannot accept," I said, finally putting an end to my
diatribe (bitter/abusive criticism). "Yet I
cannot refute (prove to be wrong) them either." Isidore
Baltazar didn't say a word. He kept staring at me, as if expecting me
raised in an inquiring, mocking arch. His face was
thin and drawn (looking tired) and the color of smoke. His skin exuded
a strange coolness and a faint
scent of Earth, as if he had spent his days underground in a cave. All
thought of my turmoil vanished, as I gazed into his ominous (menacing,
threatening) left eye, with its terrible, merciless gaze. At that
moment it no longer mattered, what was the authentic truth and
the illusion - the dream within a dream. I laughed out loud, feeling as
light, as the wind. I could feel an unbearable weight being lifted off
my shoulders, as I kept staring into his Wizard's Eye. I recognized it.
Florinda, Mariano Aureliano, Esperanza, and the caretaker all had such
an eye. Preordained (appoint, decree) for all time to be
feeling; without emotion, that Eye mirrors emptiness. Then, as if it
had revealed enough, an inside lid - as in a lizard's eye - shut over
left pupil. Before
I had a chance to comment on his Wizard's Eye, Isidore Baltazar closed
opened them again, they were exactly alike, dark and shiny with
became an illusion. He put one
arm around my shoulders and walked with me up the hill.
"Get your things," he said just before reaching the house. "I'll wait
for you in the car."
thought it odd, that he wouldn't come in with me, but at the time I
didn't think of asking him why. Only as I
was gathering my few belongings, did it occur to me, that perhaps he
of the Women.
possibility then made me laugh out loud; for I suddenly knew with a
certainty, that astonished
me, that the only thing, Baltazar was not afraid of, was
laughing, when I reached the van at the bottom of the hill. I opened my
mouth to explain to Isidore Baltazar the cause of my mirth, when a
emotion flooded me; a stab so strong, I couldn't speak. What I felt
wasn't sexual passion. Neither was it platonic affection.
It wasn't the feeling, I felt for my
parents or brothers or friends. I simply
loved Isidore Baltazar with a love, that was untainted by any
expectation, doubts, or
As if I had
spoken out loud, Isidore Baltazar embraced me so fiercely, I could
I craned my
neck out the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of the caretaker amidst
fruit trees. "It feels odd
to leave like this," I mused, slumping (sink, plump, collapse) back in
my seat. "In a way Florinda said goodbye
to me last night. But I wish, I could have thanked Esperanza and the caretaker." The dirt
road wound around the hill, and, as we reached a sharp bend, the back
of the little
Baltazar stopped the car and turned off the engine. He pointed to the
frail old man
sitting on a
crate in front of the house. I wanted to
get out of the car and run up the hill, but he held me back.
"Just wave at him," he whispered. The
caretaker rose from the crate. The wind made his loose jacket and pants
as if they were wings.
He laughed out loud, then bent backwards, and seemingly with the wind's
For a moment
he appeared to be suspended high in the air. He never
landed on the ground, but vanished, as if the wind had sucked him away.
did he go?" I whispered in awe.
the other side," Isidore Baltazar giggled with childlike delight. "That
was his way of saying
good-bye to you." He set the
car in motion again. As if he
were baiting me, he glanced at me mockingly from time to time. "What is
that's troubling you, nibelunga?" he finally asked.
know, who he is, don't you?" I said accusingly. "He isn't the
caretaker, is he?" Isidore
Baltazar frowned slightly, then, after a long silence, he reminded me,
that, for me,
Juan Matus was Mariano Aureliano. He assured
me, that there must be a good reason, that I knew him under that name.
sure, there is an equally sound justification for the old man, not to
reveal his name to you." I argued,
that, since I knew, who Mariano Aureliano was, I didn't see the purpose
of the old
"And," I stressed smugly (self-satisfied), "I do know, who the
caretaker is." I glanced
sideways to see Isidore Baltazar's reaction. His face revealed nothing.
all the people in the Sorcerers' World, the caretaker is a Sorcerer,"
he said. "But you don't know,
who he is."
He turned to
me briefly, then fixed his attention again on the road. "After all
know, who, any of them, really is, including the Nagual Juan Matus. As long, as
I am with him, I think, I know, who
he is. The moment his back is turned, however, I
am at a loss." Almost
dreamily, Isidore Baltazar went on to say, that in the World of
Everyday Life, our subjective
states are shared by all our fellow men. For this
reason, we know at all times, what our fellow men would do under given
wrong, you're deadly wrong," I shouted. "Not to know, what our fellow
would do under given circumstances, is what's exciting about life. That's one
of the few exciting things left. Don't tell me you want to do away with
don't know, what our fellow men would exactly do," he explained
patiently, "but we could write
down a list of possibilities, which would hold true; a very long list,
proven, acknowledge, permit) you, yet a finite list. In order to
write down this list, we don't have to ask our fellow men for their
preferences. All we have to do is place ourselves in their
position and write down the
possibilities pertinent (relevant) to us. They'll be true to everybody,
because we share them. Our subjective
states are shared by all of us." He said,
that our subjective knowledge of the World is known to us, as common
It might be slightly different from group to group, from culture to
culture, yet, in spite of all these
differences, common sense is sufficiently homogeneous to warrant the
Everyday World is an intersubjective (taking place within individual's
mind, personal experience) World. "With
Sorcerers, however, the common sense, we are accustomed to, is no
he stressed. "They have another kind of common sense, because they have other kinds
of subjective states."
mean, that they are like Beings from another Planet?" I asked. Isidore
Baltazar laughed. "Yes. They are like Beings from another Planet."
that why they are so secretive?"
don't think secretive is the right term," he remarked thoughtfully: "They deal
differently with the Everyday World. Their behavior appears secretive
to us, because
don't share the same meaning. And since we
don't have any standards to measure, what is common sense to them, we opt (make
choice, decision, preference) for believing, that their behavior is
do, whatever we do: they sleep, they cook their meals, they read," I
"Yet I could
never catch them in the act. Believe me, they are secretive."
he shook his head. "You saw, what they wished you to see," he insisted.
yet they weren't hiding anything from you. You couldn't See. That's all."
about to contradict him, but I didn't want him to dislike me. It wasn't so
much, that he was right, for I didn't really understand, what he was
I felt, that all my snooping around had not given me a clue, as to who
or what they did. Sighing, I closed my eyes and leaned my head against
As we drove,
I told him again of my dream; how real it was to have seen him asleep, snoring on
the straw mat. I told him of my conversation with Mariano Aureliano;
the heat on
The more I
spoke, the more I was convinced, that it hadn't been a dream at all. I
such a state of agitation, I ended up weeping. "I don't
know, what they did to me," I said. "I'm not quite sure, whether I'm
even now. "Florinda
kept telling me, that I was Dreaming-Awake."
Isidore Baltazar nodded, then said softly:
"The Nagual Juan Matus refers to it, as Heightened
Awareness," I repeated. The words
rolled easily off my tongue, even though they sounded exactly the
Dreaming-Awake. I vaguely
remembered hearing them before. Either Florinda or Esperanza had used
term, but I couldn't recall, in what connection. The words
were on the verge of suggesting some meaning, albeit (although) vague,
but my brain
too dulled by my unsuccessful attempts to recount my daily activities
of how hard I tried, there were certain episodes I could not recall. I fumbled
(proceed awkwardly) for words, that somehow paled and died away in
front on my very eyes, like a vision half
seen and half remembered. It wasn't,
that I had forgotten anything, but rather, images came to me
fragmented, like pieces in a
puzzle, that didn't quite fit. This
forgetfulness was a physical sensation, as if a fog had settled over
certain parts of my brain.
Dreaming-Awake and Heightened Awareness are the same?"
More than a question, it was a
statement, whose meaning escaped me. I shifted in
my seat and, pulling my legs under me, sat facing Isidoro Baltazar. The sun
outlined his profile. The black curly hair, falling over his high
cheekbones, the strong nose and chin, and finely chiseled lips gave him
still in Heightened Awareness," I said, "I never noticed you before."
car swayed on the road, as he threw his head back and laughed. "You are
Dreaming-Awake," he stated, slapping his thigh. "Don't you remember,
that I'm short, brown, and
homely looking?" I giggled.
Not because I agreed with his description, but because it was the only
him saying in the lecture, he gave the day, I formally met him. My merriment
was quickly replaced by an odd anxiety.
It seemed, that months had passed,
instead of only two days, since we came to the house of the witches. "Time passes
differently in the Sorcerers' World," Isidore Baltazar said, as if I
"And one experiences it differently." He went on
to say, that one, of the most difficult aspects of his apprenticeship,
was to deal
sequences of events in terms of time. Often they were all mixed up in
images, that sank deeper, whenever he tried to focus on them. "Only now,
with the Nagual's help, do I remember aspects and events of his
teachings, that took place
years ago," he said.
does he help you?" I asked. "Does he hypnotize you?"
makes me shift Levels of Awareness (Vibrations. LM),"
he said. "And when he does, it is not only, that I remember
past events, but I relive them."
does he do that?" I insisted. "I mean, make you shift."
"Until recently I believed,
that it was accomplished by a sharp pat on my back, between the shoulder blades," he
"But now I'm quite certain, that his mere presence makes me shift
Levels of Awareness."
he does hypnotize you," I insisted. He shook his
head and said:
are experts at shifting Levels of Awareness. Some are so adept
(proficient, highly skilled, expert), they can shift the Level of
Awareness of others."
nodded. I had numerous questions, but he gestured for patience. "Sorcerers,"
he went on, "make one See,
that the whole nature of reality is different, from what we believe it
to be; that is, from what we have been taught it to be.
Intellectually, we are willing to tease ourselves with the idea, that
culture predetermines: who
we are, how we behave, what we are willing to know, or what we are able
But we are
not willing to embody this idea; to accept it, as a concrete, practical proposition. And the
reason for that is, that we
are not willing to accept, that culture also
predetermines, what we are able to perceive. Sorcery makes us aware of
different realities; different possibilities, not only about the World,
but also about ourselves, to the extent, that we no longer are able to
believe in even
the most solid assumptions about ourselves and our surroundings." I
was surprised, that I could absorb his words so easily, when I didn't
really understand them.
"A Sorcerer is not only
aware of different realities," he went on, "but he uses that knowledge in
Sorcerers know- not only intellectually, but also practically- that
Reality, or the World, as
we know it, consists only
of an Agreement, extracted out of every one of us. That Agreement could be
made to collapse, since it's only a Social Phenomenon. And when Agreement collapses,
the whole World collapses with it." Seeing,
couldn't follow his argument, he tried to present it from another angle. He said, that the Social World defines (state precise
meaning, explain) perception to us in proportion to its usefulness, in
guiding us through the complexity of experience in everyday life. The
Social World sets limits to, what we perceive; sets limits
to, what we
are capable of perceiving. To a Sorcerer, perception can go
these agreed-upon parameters," he stressed. "These parameters are
constructed and buttressed (support, reinforce) by words, by language,
by thoughts. That is, by Agreement."
Sorcerers don't agree?" I asked tentatively (hesitantly), in an effort
to understand his premise (logic).
do agree," he said, beaming at me, "but their Agreement is different.
Sorcerers break the normal Agreement, not only intellectually, but also
physically or practically or whatever one wants to call it. Sorcerers
collapse the parameters of socially determined perception; and to
understand, what Sorcerers mean by that, one has to become a
practitioner. That is, one has to be committed. One has to lend
(contribute, loan) the mind as well, as the body. It has to be a
conscious, fearless surrender."
body?" I asked suspiciously, immediately wondering, what kind of ritual
"What do they want with my body?"
nibelunga," he laughed. Then, in a
serious, yet kind tone, he added, that neither my body, nor my mind was
yet in any
condition to follow the arduous (difficult) path of the Sorcerer. Seeing, that
I was about to protest, he quickly allowed, that there was nothing
mind or my body.
a minute now!" I interjected forcefully.
Isidore Baltazar ignored my interruption and went on to say, that the World of Sorcerers is
a sophisticated World; that it wasn't enough to understand its
principles intuitively. One also needed to assimilate them
intellectually. Contrary to what people believe," he explained,
"Sorcerers are not practitioners of obscure esoteric rituals, but stand
ahead of our times. And the mode (way) of our time is Reason. We are
reasonable men as a whole.
Sorcerers, however, are men of reason,
a different matter altogether. Sorcerers have a romance with ideas.They have cultivated reason
to its limits, for they believe, that only by fully understanding the intellect, can they
embody the principles of Sorcery without losing sight of their own sobriety and integrity
This is where Sorcerers differ drastically from us. We have very little
sobriety and even
less integrity." He
glanced at me briefly and smiled. I had the
unpleasant impression, that he knew exactly, what I was thinking, or
rather, that I couldn't
think at all.
understood his words, but their meaning had eluded (escape from) me. I didn't
know, what to say. I didn't even know, what to ask. For the
first time in my life, I felt utterly stupid. It didn't
make me feel inadequate, though, for I realized, that he was right. My
matters had always been shallow and superficial (trivial,
insignificant, not thorough). To have a romance with ideas was a
totally alien concept to me. We were at
the U.S. border in Arizona in a few hours, yet the drive was
I wanted to
talk, but I didn't know, what to say, or rather, I couldn't find the
somehow intimidated (frightened, threatened) by all, that had happened.
It was a new feeling for me. Sensing my
uncertainty and discomfort, Isidoro Baltazar began to talk.
In a candid (open, without pretence, straight forward, fair, frank,
impartial) manner, he admitted to being baffled by the Sorcerers' World
even to this day; even after
so many years of studying and interacting with them. "And when I
say studying, I really mean studying." He laughed and slapped his thigh
emphasize his statement. "Only this
morning I was clobbered (defeat completely) by the Sorcerers' World in
ways, impossible to describe." He spoke in
a tone, that was half assertion (declaring without support), half
complaint, yet there was such a delighted power in his
voice; some wonderful inner strength in him, that I felt uplifted. He gave me
the impression, that he could do anything, endure anything, and allow
will in him; an ability to overcome all obstacles. "Imagine, I
really thought, I was gone with the Nagual for only two days."
turned to me
and shook me with his free hand. I had been
so absorbed by the sound, the vitality of his voice, that I failed to
what he was
talking about. I asked him
to repeat, what he had said. He did, and I still missed, what he meant.
don't get, what's exciting you so much," I finally said, suddenly
irritated by my inability to grasp,
what he was trying to tell me. "You were gone for two days. What of it?"
His loud exclamation made me jump in my seat and bang my head on the roof of the
He peered straight into my eyes, but didn't say a word. I knew,
he was not accusing me of anything, yet I felt, that he was making fun
(gloomy, ill-humoured), my changing moods, or my lack of attention.
He parked the car on the side of the road, turned off the engine, then
shifted in his seat to face me. "And now I
want you to tell me all, you've experienced." There was a nervous
voice, a restlessness, a vitality. He assured
me, that the sequential order of events didn't mean a thing. His
compelling (force, constrain), engaging smile was so reassuring, I told
him at length all, I remembered. He listened
attentively, chuckling (laugh quietly or to oneself) from time to time,
urging me with a movement of his chin, every
time I faltered (stumble, stagger, hesitate).
all this has happened to you in..." He paused, gazing at me with
shining eyes, then casually
added, "two days?"
I said firmly. He crossed
his arms over his chest in an expansive gesture.
I have news for you," he said. The merry look in his eyes belied
(misrepresent, disguise, defame) the seriousness of his tone,
the set expression of his straight lips. "I've been gone for twelve
days. But I
was only two.
you were going to appreciate the irony of it, because you had kept a
time. You didn't, though. You're just like me. We've lost ten days."
days," I mumbled, bewildered, then turned to look out the window. I didn't say
a word for the rest of the trip. It wasn't, that I didn't believe him.
It wasn't, that
I didn't want to talk. There was
nothing for me to say, even after I bought the L.A. Times in the first newsstand,
that carried it and corroborated (confirm) that, indeed,
I had lost ten days. But were
they really lost? I asked
myself that question, yet I didn't wish a reply.
Baltazar's office-studio consisted of one rectangular room overlooking
lot, a small
kitchen, and a pink-tiled bathroom. He took me there the night,
Too exhausted to notice anything, I followed him up the two flights of stairs,
along a darkly carpeted corridor to apartment number 8.
The instant my head hit the pillow,
I was asleep and dreamt, that we were still on the road. We had driven
from Sonora, alternating with each other at the wheel and pausing only
to eat or
the gas tank.
apartment was sparsely furnished. Beside the twin bed, he had a long,
picnic table, that served as his desk, a folding chair, and two metal
filing cabinets, in which he
kept his field notes. Several suits and half a dozen shirts hung in the
the hall. The rest of the space was taken up by books. They were
stacked up in
were no bookcases. The books appeared to have never been touched, let alone read.
The cupboards in the kitchen were also crammed with books, except for
shelf, which had been set aside for a plate, a mug, a knife, a fork,
and a spoon. On the gas stove stood
a kettle and a saucepan. Within three
weeks I found myself a new apartment, about a mile down the street from the UCLA
campus, right around the corner from his office-studio. Yet I continued
spend most of my time at his place. He had set up a second twin bed for
me, a card table, and a
folding chair- identical to his- at the other end of the room.
the six months, that followed, Sonora became a mythological place for
me. Having no
desire to block away my experiences, I juxtaposed (place close
together) the memories of the two times, I had
been there. But hard, as I tried, I couldn't remember a thing about the
lost: one during the first trip, ten during the second. Isidoro
Baltazar plainly refused even to mention the idea of having lost those
times, I was
in total agreement with him. The absurdity of considering those days
simply because I couldn't remember them, became so plain to me, that I
was filled with gratitude
toward him for attaching no importance to the matter. It was clear,
that he was
me. At other times, however, for no reason at all, I nursed a deep
It was his
duty to help me, to clarify the mystery for me, I repeated to myself,
until I was
he was purposely hiding things from me. "You'll drive
yourself nuts, if you keep harping (dwell upon, talk about to tedious
degree) on it," he finally said one day. "And all your turmoil
will be for nothing, because it will resolve nothing."
He hesitated for a moment, as
if reluctant to voice, what he was about to say next, then shrugged and
added in a
challenging tone, "Why don't you use the same energy in a more
practical manner, like lining
up and examining your bad habits." Instead of
admitting to such a notion, I immediately counter-attacked with the
that had been brewing inside me. I still hadn't met the other young
entrusted to him by the old Nagual. He had told
me so much about them, that I felt, I already knew them. Whenever I had asked him
about them, he had answered my questions at great length. He spoke rapturously (with delight,
ecstatically) about them. With profound and obviously sincere
admiration, he had said, that an outsider
would describe them as attractive, intelligent, accomplished - they all possessed
advanced university degrees - self-assured, and fiercely independent. To him,
however, they were much more, than that.
They were Magical Beings, who shared his destiny. They were
linked to him by ties of affection and commitment, that had nothing to
do with the
They shared in common their search for Freedom, he had said. Once, I even
gave him an ultimatum.
to take me to them, or else." Isidoro
Baltazar laughed gaily, a deep, chuckling laugh.
"All I can tell you is, that nothing is, as you
imagine," he said. "And there is no way to tell when you will finally
have to wait."
waited long enough!" I shouted. Seeing no reaction on his face, I added
derisively (mocking, scoffing, absurd), "You're
deluding yourself, if you believe, that
I will find a bunch of Women in Los Angeles. I
don't even know, where to start looking."
find them, the way you found me," he stated, "the way you found Mariano Aureliano." I regarded
I couldn't help, but suspect, that there was a sort of secret malice about
him. "I wasn't looking for you," I pointed out peevishly (fretful,
ill-tempted). "Nor did I look for Mariano
Aureliano. Believe me, meeting you and him was purely accidental."
are no accidental meetings in the Sorcerers' World," he noted casually.
I was on the
telling him, that I didn't need this kind of advice, when he added in a
"You'll meet them, when the time is right. You don't have to go,
looking for them." Facing the
wall, I counted to ten, then turned toward him saying "The problem with
you is, that you're a typical Latin. Tomorrow is always good enough for you. You've
no concept of getting things done." I raised my voice to prevent him
interrupting me. "My insistence, on meeting your friends, is to speed
speed things up?" he repeated uncomprehendingly. "What's there to speed
have been telling me almost daily, that there is so little time left,"
I reminded him. "You, yourself,
are always talking about how important it is for me to meet them, and
act, as if
you had an eternity before you."
tell you this constantly, because I want you to hurry and clean your
Inner Being, not because I
want meaningless acts, done as fast, as you can," he said impatient-
"It isn't up
to me to
introduce them to you. If it were up to me, I wouldn't be sitting here,
inanities (absurd act or remark)."
He closed his eyes and sighed exaggeratedly in mock resignation. He smiled, then
mumbled softly, "You're too dumb, to see what's happening."
is happening," I retorted, stung by his insult. "I'm not as stupid, as
I've noticed this air of ambivalence (simultaneous existence of
mutually conflicting feelings/thoughts) about your reactions toward me.
Sometimes I have the distinct
impression, that you don't know, what to do with me."
know exactly, what to do," he contradicted me.
why do you always appear undecided, when I propose something?" The
as if of their own accord. Isidore
Baltazar looked sharply at me. For a moment I expected, that he would
quick, harsh words he could use, demolish me with some sharp criticism.
his voice was surprisingly gentle, when he said, that I was quite right
in my assessment.
always wait, till events make a choice for me," he affirmed. "And then
I move with
vigor. I will leave you behind, if you don't watch out."
already far behind," I said in a self-pitying tone. "Since you won't
help me find these Women, I'm
doomed to remain behind."
this is not the real pressing problem," he said. "You haven't yet made
your decision, that's the
trouble." He lifted his brows expectantly, as if waiting for my
don't know, what you mean. What is it, I have to decide?"
haven't decided to join the Sorcerers' World. You're standing at the
waiting to see, what's going to happen. You're waiting for something
make it worth your while." Words of
protest rose in my throat. But before I could give vent to my profound indignation
(anger), he said, that I had the mistaken idea, that moving into a new
old life-style behind, was a change.
is it then?" I asked sarcastically.
haven't left anything behind, except your belongings," he said,
ignoring my tone. For some
people that is a gigantic step. For you, though, it's nothing.
You don't care about
"No, I don't," I agreed, then insisted, that regardless of, what he
believed, I had made my decision to
join the Sorcerers' World a long time ago. "Why do you think, I'm
sitting here, if I haven't
have certainly joined it in body," he stated, "but not in Spirit. Now
you are waiting for some
kind of map, some comforting blueprint, before you make your final
you'll go on humoring them. The main problem with you is, that you want
be convinced, that the Sorcerers' World has something to offer."
it?" I blurted out. Isidoro
Baltazar turned to me, his face crinkling with delight.
"Yes, it has something very special to
offer. It's called freedom. However, there's no guarantee, that you'll
it; that any of us, for that matter, will succeed." I nodded
thoughtfully, then asked him, what I had to do to convince him, that I
don't have to convince me. You have to convince the Spirit. You have to
one, you still keep open. The door, that will permit you to escape, if
things are not to your liking
or don't fit your expectations."
you saying, that I will leave?"
regarded me with an enigmatic expression, then shrugged his shoulders
and in a voice, that was but
a mere murmur said, "That's between you and the Spirit."
if you, yourself, believe that--"
don't believe anything," he cut me short. "You came into this World,
the way everybody else did. It
was none of anybody's doing. And it will be none of anybody's doing, if
decides to leave."
gazed at him in confusion. "But surely you'll try to convince... if
I..." I stammered. He shook his
head, before I finished speaking.
"I will not convince you or anyone else. There will
be no power in your decision, if you need to be propped up, every time
falter (hesitate) or doubt."
who will help me?" I asked, stricken.
will. I'm your servant." He smiled, not cynically, but shyly and
I serve the Spirit first. A Warrior is not a slave, but a
servant of the Spirit. Slaves have no choice; servants do. Warriors'
choice is to serve impeccably. My help is exempt (excuse, release) from
calculation," he continued. "I cannot invest in you, and neither,
World. Nothing is done in it, that might be construed (assumed), as
useful; only strategic acts are permitted. This is what the Nagual Juan
Matus taught me and the way I live. A Sorcerer practices, what he or
preaches. And yet nothing is done for practical reasons. When you get
to understand and practice this,
you will have
closed the door behind
long, breathless silence settled between us. I changed positions on the
bed, where I was sitting.
Thoughts swarmed into my head. Perhaps none of the Sorcerers would
but I had
certainly changed, a change, that had been almost imperceptible at
because it had to do with the most difficult thing some of us, Women,
encounter: jealousy and the need to know. My fits of
jealously were a pretense, not necessarily a conscious one, but
something of a posturing about them. Something in me demanded, that I be jealous of
all the other Women in Isidore Baltazar's life. But then something in
aware, that the new Nagual's life wasn't the life of an ordinary man,
not even one,
have many wives. Our relation, if it could be called that, did not fit
habitual, known mold, no matter how I tried to make it fit into that
mold. In order for jealousy
and possessiveness to have a grasp, it needs a mirror; not only one's
partner's as well. And Isidore Baltazar no longer mirrored the drives,
and emotions of a man. My need to
know about Isidore Baltazar's life was an overpowering need. It simply consumed me,
that he never allowed me a real entry into his private world. And yet I
nothing about it. It would have been quite simple to follow him or to
snoop through his papers and
find out once and for all, who he really was, I often reminded myself.
it. Something in me knew, that I could not proceed with him, as I
done. What stopped me more, than any sense of propriety
(etiquette appropriateness), was the trust he had bestowed
(present as a gift of honour) on me. He had given me complete access to
his belongings, and that made him, not
only in practice, but even in my thoughts, inviolable (safe/secured
from violation). I laughed
out loud. I did understand, what a Warrior's strategic act was. Isidore
He was taking my lifelong habit of moodiness and Germanic finickiness
(fussy, hard to please), as lack of
commitment. It didn't matter. I knew, that I had at least begun to
understand and practice the
Warrior's strategy, at least when he was present - not necessarily
present in the studio, but
present in Los Angeles. In his absence, however, I often began to
falter (hesitate), and when I did,
I usually went to sleep in his studio. One night,
as I was inserting my key in the lock, I felt an arm reach out and pull
me in. I
in terror. "What... what...," I stammered, as the hand, that was
holding my arm, let go of me. Trying to
regain my balance, I leaned against the wall. My heart thumped (pound,
throb audibly) wildly. "Florinda!" I
stared at her, bewildered. She had on a long robe, gathered at the
loose down the sides and back. I wondered, whether she was real or
apparition, rimmed by the faint light behind her shoulders. I moved
surreptitiously touched her sleeve.
that you, Florinda? Or am I Dreaming?"
the real thing, dear. The real me."
did you get here? Are you all by yourself?" I was well aware of the
futility (useless) of asking her
that you would come, I would have started earlier with my cleaning," I said, trying
to smile. My lips stuck to my teeth. "I love to clean Isidore
Baltazar's studio at night. I
always clean at night."
of making any remark, Florinda turned sideways, so the light hit her
smile of delight dawned in her eyes. "I told you never to follow any
one of us
uninvited. You're lucky," she said. "You're lucky, it wasn't someone
in here tonight."
else could have pulled me in?" I asked with a bravado, I was far from
gazed at me for a moment longer, then turned around and said over her
who wouldn't have cared, if you had died of fright."
She moved her head slightly, so her profile was outlined by the faint
light. She laughed softly, and,
waving her hand in the air, as if to brush away the words,
she traveled the length of
the room to the small kitchen. She seemed not to walk, but to glide in
a sort of
dance. It made her long white hair, hanging unbraided down her back, shimmer like
a silvery curtain in the uncertain light. Trying to
imitate her graceful walk, I followed behind her.
"I do have a key, you know," I said. "I've
been coming here every day, at any hour, since we returned from Sonora.
fact, I practically live here."
Isidore Baltazar tell you not to come here, while he's in Mexico?"
Florinda's tone was even,
almost casual. She was not accusing me, yet I felt she was.
might have mentioned something," I remarked with studied indifference.
I felt compelled (force, constrain) to defend myself. I told her, that
I was often there by myself and that I
didn't think it would make any difference, whether Isidore Baltazar was
miles or five hundred miles away. Emboldened (encouraged) by her
repeated nods, I confided, that besides
doing my schoolwork there, I spent hours rearranging the books in the
restacking them by author and subject matter. "Some of the books are so
the pages are still uncut," I explained. "I've been separating them. In
fact, that's, what I came here to
three in the morning?" she exclaimed. Blushing, I
are plenty of pages still to cut. It takes forever in that, one has to be very
careful not to damage the pages. It's soothing work, though. It helps
Florinda said softly. Encouraged
by her obvious approval, I went on talking.
"I'm sure, you can understand, what, being
here, does to me," I said. "In this apartment, I feel detached from my
everything and everyone, but Isidore Baltazar and his Magical World.
The very air
with a sense of utter remoteness." I sighed,
long and loudly. "Here I never feel alone, even though most of the time
I'm here by
Something about the atmosphere of this apartment reminds me of the
same coldness and lack of feeling, which at first I had found so
the walls. And it's precisely this lack of warmth, this remoteness,
that I seek
night. I find it oddly reassuring. It gives me strength."
"Incredible," Florinda whispered, as if in disbelief and took the
kettle to the sink. She said
something, which I didn't hear above the splash of water, then put the
the stove. "I'm
happy, that you feel so at home here," she said, sighing dramatically.
security, you must feel in such a little nest, knowing you have a
companion." She added in a most
facetious (disrespectful, insensitive) tone, that I should do
everything, I could, to make Isidore Baltazar happy and that
included sexual practices, which she described with horrendous
directness. Stupefied to hear such
things, I stared at her open-mouthed. With the assuredness and efficiency
of someone, familiar with the peculiar setup of the kitchen, she
two mugs, my
special teapot, and the bag of chocolate chip cookies, I kept hidden in
cupboards behind the thick German and French Cassels' dictionaries. Smiling,
Florinda turned to me and asked abruptly, "Whom did you expect to find
you!" I blurted out, realizing too late, that my answer had given me
away. I went
lengthy and elaborate elucidation of, why I believed, I might find
if not all of
at least one of the other young Women.
will cross your path, when the time is right," Florinda said. "It isn't
up to you to
encounter with them." Before I
knew, what I was saying, I found myself blaming her, as well, as Mariano Aureliano
and Isidore Baltazar, for my sneakiness. I told her, that it was
impractical (not to mention
impossible) for them to expect me to wait, until some unknown Women crossed my
path and to believe, that I would actually recognize them by something
inconceivable, as their Inner Glow. As usual, the more I complained,
the better I felt. Florinda
ignored me. "One, two spoonfuls, and one for the pot," she chanted in an exaggerated
British accent, as she measured out the tea.
Then in a most casual manner she remarked, that the only capricious and
impractical thing was for me:
to think of and treat Isidore Baltazar as a man.
don't know, what you mean," I said defensively. She gazed at
me intently, until I blushed.
"You know exactly, what I mean," she stated, then poured
the tea into the mugs. With a quick
gesture of her chin she indicated, which of the two I should take. With
bag of cookies in her hand she sat on Isidore Baltazar's bed, the one
nearest to the kitchen.
Slowly, she sipped her tea. I sat beside her and did the same.
haven't changed at all," she said all of a sudden.
pretty much, what Isidore Baltazar said to me some days ago," I
retorted. "I know, however,
that I've changed a great deal." I told her,
that my world had been turned upside down, since my return from Sonora.
great length I explained about finding a new apartment, about moving
I owned, behind. She did not
so much as nod, but sat there silent and stiff like a stone. "Actually, I
can't take much credit for disrupting routines or becoming
conceded, laughing nervously and faltering on through her silence: "Anyone in
close contact with Isidore Baltazar will forget, that there are
night and day, between weekdays and holidays." I glanced at
her sideways, pleased with my words. "Time just flows by and gives way
some..." but I couldn't finish the sentence: I had been hit by a
strange thought. Nobody, in
my memory, had ever told me about disrupting routines or becoming inaccessible. I regarded
Florinda intently, then my glance wavered involuntarily. Was it her
myself. Where did I get these ideas? And what was even more baffling, I
exactly, what these ideas meant.
should be a warning, that something is just about to pop out of you,"
Florinda said, as if she
had followed my train of thoughts. She went on
to say, that whatever I had done so far in dreams, hadn't imbued
(permeate, saturate, inspire) my waking hours with
the necessary hardness, the necessary self-discipline needed to fare
(travel) in the Sorcerers'
never done anything like this in my life," I said. "Give me a break. I
am new at it."
course," she readily agreed. She reclined
her head against the pillows and closed her eyes. She was
silent for so long, I thought she had fallen asleep, and thus
I was startled, when she said, "A
real change is not a change of mood or attitude or outlook. A real
total transformation of the self." Seeing, that
I was about to interrupt her, she pressed her finders against my lips
added, "The kind of change, I'm talking about, cannot be accomplished
in three months or in a year or
in ten. It will take a lifetime." She said,
that it was extraordinarily difficult to become something different,
than what one was raised to be. "The
World of Sorcerers is a Dream; a myth: yet it is as real, as the
Everyday World," Florinda proceeded: "In order to perceive and to
function in the Sorcerers' World, we have to take off the everyday
mask, that has been strapped to our faces, since the day we were born,
and put on the second mask; the mask, that enables us to see ourselves
and our surroundings, for what they really are: breathtaking events,
that bloom into transitory existence once, and are never to be repeated
again. You'll have to make that mask
yourself." She settled more comfortably on the bed and, cupping her
hands around the mug, which I had refilled, took noisy little sips.
do I make this mask?" I asked.
Dreaming your Other Self," she murmured: "Certainly not by just having
a new address, new clothes, new books." She glanced at me sideways and
grinned mockingly. "And certainly not by believing you have a new Man."
I could deny her brutal accusation, she said, that outwardly I was a
moving at great speed. But inside I was rigid and stiff. As Isidore
Baltazar had remarked already, she, too, maintained, that it was
fallacious for me to
believe, that moving into a new apartment and compulsively giving away
possessed, was a change. I bowed my
head, accepting her criticism. I had always had an urge to get rid of
And, as she
had pointed out, it was basically a compulsion.
To my parents' chagrin (embarrassment, humiliation, annoyance), I had periodically
disposed of my clothes and toys since early childhood. My joy at seeing
room and closets neatly arranged and nearly empty, surpassed the joy of
having things. Sometimes my
compulsion was so overpowering, that I thinned out my parents' and brothers'
closets as well. Hardly ever were these items missed, for I always made
sure to get
clothes, I hadn't seen anyone wear for a while. Quite a few times,
household would explode in sudden and total confusion, as my father went from room to
room, opening wardrobes and yelling, searching for a specific shirt or
a pair of
laughed, then got to her feet and moved to the window overlooking the
at the black-out curtain, as though she could see through it. Glancing
backward over her shoulder, she said, that for
a Woman it is a great deal easier, than
for a Man, to break ties with family and past. "Women," she maintained,
"are not accountable. This lack of accountability gives Women a great deal of fluidity. Unfortunately, Women
rarely, if ever, make use of this advantage." She
moved about the room, her hand trailing over the large metal filing
cabinet and over the folding
card table. "The
hardest thing to grasp about the Sorcerers' World is, that it offers
total Freedom. But Freedom is
not free. What does Freedom cost? Freedom will cost you the
mask you have on; the mask, that feels so comfortable and is so hard to
shed off, not because it fits so well, but because you have been
wearing it for so long. Do you know what Freedom is? Freedom is
the total absence of
concern about yourself," she said, sitting beside me on the bed. "And the best way to
quit being concerned with yourself is to be concerned about others."
am," I assured her. "I constantly think of Isidore Baltazar and his
sure you do," Florinda readily agreed. She shook
her head and yawned. "It's
time for you to begin to shape your new mask; the mask, that cannot
have anyone's imprint, but your own. It has to be carved in solitude.
Otherwise it won't fit properly. Otherwise there will always be times, when the mask will
feel too tight, too loose, too hot, too cold ..." Her
voice trailed off (lagged behind), as she went on enumerating the most
outlandish discomforts. A long silence ensued (followed), and then in
that same sleepy voice she said, "To choose the Sorcerers' World is not
just a matter of saying, you have. You have to act in that World. In
your case, you have to Dream. Have you Dreamt-Awake since your return?" In a
thoroughly morose (gloomy) mood, I admitted, that I hadn't.
you haven't made your decision yet," she observed severely. "You are
not carving your new mask. You are not Dreaming your Other Self.
Sorcerers are bound to their World solely through their impeccability."
A definite gleam appeared
in her eyes, as she added, "Sorcerers have no interest to convert anyone to their
There are no gurus or wise men among Sorcerers, only Naguals. They are the Leaders, not
because they know more or because they are in any way better Sorcerers, but simply
because they have more Energy. I'm not necessarily
referring to physical strength," she qualified, "but to a certain configuration of their
Being, that permits them to help anyone break the parameters of perception."
"If Sorcerers are not interested in converting anyone to
their views, why then is Isidore Baltazar the
old Nagual's apprentice?" I interrupted her.
Baltazar appeared in the Sorcerers' World the same way, you did," she
was, that brought him, could not be ignored by Mariano Aureliano.
It was his
teach Isidore Baltazar all, he knew about the Sorcerers' World." She
explained, that noone had been looking for Isidore Baltazar or for me.
into their World had nothing to do with anyone's doing or volition. "There is
nothing anyone of us would do to keep you against your will in this
said, smiling: "And yet we
would do any imaginable or unimaginable thing to help you stay in it." Florinda
turned sideways, as if she wanted to hide her face from me. An instant
later she looked back over her shoulder. Something cold and detached
and the change of expression was altogether so remarkable, that I was frightened. Instinctively,
I moved away from her.
only thing I cannot and will not do, and neither will Isidore Baltazar,
for that matter,
is to help you be your old ugly, greedy, indulgent self. That would be
a travesty (exaggerated imitation intended to ridicule)." As if to
soften the insult, she put her arm around my shoulders and hugged me. "I'll tell
you, what you need," she whispered; but then was silent for so long, I
forgotten, what she was going to say. "You need a
good night's sleep," she finally murmured.
not in the least tired," I retorted. My response
was automatic, and I realized, that most of my responses were
contradictions, of what was
being said. For me,
it was a matter of principle to be right. Florinda
laughed softly, then embraced me again. "Don't be so Germanic," she murmured.
"And don't expect everything to be spelled out clearly and precisely to
that nothing in the Sorcerers' World was clear and precise. Instead,
slowly and vaguely. "Isidore
Baltazar will help you," she assured me. "However, do remember, that he
the way, you expect to be helped."
do you mean?" I asked, disentangling myself from her arms, so I could
look at her. "He
will not tell you, what you want to hear. He will not tell you how to
behave, for, as you already know, there are neither rules, nor
regulations in the Sorcerers' World." She giggled gleefully, seemingly
enjoying my growing frustration. "Always remember, there are only
improvisations," she added, then, yawning widely, she stretched
out fully on the bed and reached for one of the neatly folded blankets
covered herself, she rose up on her elbow and looked at me closely.
hypnotic about her sleepy voice, as she told me, that I should always
mind, that I
traveled on the same Warrior's Path, as Isidore Baltazar. She closed
her eyes, and in a voice, that was almost too faint to be heard, said, "Never lose sight of him.
His actions will guide you in so artful a manner, that you won't even
notice it. He's an impeccable
and peerless Warrior." I urgently
shook her arm. I was afraid, she would fall asleep, before she finished
opening her eyes, Florinda said:
you watch him carefully, you'll see, that
Isidore Baltazar doesn't seek love or approval. You'll see, that he
remains impassive under any conditions. He doesn't demand anything, yet
he is willing to give anything of himself. He avidly seeks a signal
from the Spirit in the form of a kind word; an appropriate gesture...
and when he gets it, he expresses his thanks by redoubling his efforts.
Isidore Baltazar doesn't judge. He fiercely reduces himself to nothing,
in order to listen, to watch, so that he can conquer and be humbled by
his conquest; or be defeated and enhanced by his defeat. If you watch
carefully, you'll see, that Isidore Baltazar doesn't surrender. He may
be vanquished (defeated, subjugated), but he'll never surrender. And
above all, Isidore Baltazar is free."
dying to interrupt her, to cry out, that she had already told me all
that, but before I could ask
her anything else, Florinda was sound asleep. Afraid, I
might miss her in the morning, if I returned to my apartment, I sat
down on the
Strange thoughts rushed into my awareness. I relaxed. I let myself go
realized, that they were disconnected from the rest of my normal
thoughts. I saw them like Beams of Light, Flashes of Intuition.
Following one of those Flashes of Intuition, I decided to
feel with my
seat the bed, I was sitting on. And to my dumbfounded surprise, my
buttocks felt, as if they had sunk into the bed itself. For an instant,
I was the bed, and the bed was reaching out to touch my buttocks. I
relished (take pleasure, enjoy) this sensation for quite some time. I
knew then, that I was Dreaming, and I understood with complete clarity,
that I had just felt, what Esperanza had described, as 'my feeling
thrown back at me.' And then my whole being melted, or better yet, it
exploded. I wanted to laugh
out loud for the sheer joy of it, but I didn't want to wake Florinda.
it all !
Now I had no difficulty whatsoever in recalling, what I had done in the
witches' house in those ten
lost days. I had Dreamt ! Under
Esperanza's watchful eye, I had Dreamt on and on of waking up in the
house or in
Esperanza's place or sometimes in other places, I couldn't quite see at
insisted, that before any particular thing, I saw in dreams,
could be fixed permanently in my memory, I need to see it twice. I had
seen all the Women more, than twice; they
were permanently etched (cut, engrave) in my memory. As
I sat there on the bed watching Florinda sleep, I remembered the other
Women of the
party, with whom I had interacted in a dreamlike state during those
days. I saw
clearly, as if they had conjured (summoned, called upon) themselves up
before me; or rather, as if I had been
transported, bodily, back to those events. The most
striking to me was Nelida, who looked so much like Florinda, that at
believed she was her twin. Not only was she as tall and thin, as
Florinda, but she had the same color
eyes, hair, and complexion. Even their expressions were the same.
Temperamentally, they were alike, too, except, that Nelida came across
as more subdued, less
forceful. She seemed to lack Florinda's wisdom and energetic force. And
patient, silent strength to Nelida, that was very reassuring. Hermelinda
could have easily passed as Carmela's younger sister. Her thin,
five-foot two inch body was
delicately rounded and so were her exquisite manners. She appeared to be less
self-assured, than Carmela. She was soft-spoken and moved in quick
meshed into gracefulness. Her companions told me, that her shyness and quietness
brought out the best in others and, that
she could not handle a group or even two people at
the same time. Clara and
Delia made a stupendous team of pranksters. They weren't really as big,
appeared. It was their robustness, their vigor and energy, that made
one think, they were large,
indestructible Women. And they did play the most delightful competitive games. They
paraded their, outlandishly eccentric, outfits at the slightest
opportunity. Both played the
guitar very well and had beautiful voices to match. They sang, one
other, not only in Spanish, but in English, German, French, and Italian
repertoire included ballads, folk songs, every conceivable popular
song, including the latest
pop songs. I only had to hum or recite the first line of a song and
either Clara or Delia would
immediately finish the whole song for me. And then they had their poem writing
contests, writing verse (line of poetry) to the occasion. They had
written poems to me and slipped them under my door, unsigned. I had to
written the poem. Each claimed, that if I truly loved her, as she loved
me, I would
intuitively know the author. What made
their competitiveness, delightfully appealing, was the fact, that there
was no edge
It was meant to entertain, not to put each other down. Needless to say,
had as much fun, as their audience. If they took
a liking to someone, as they seemed to have done with me, there was no
affection and loyalty. Both of them defended me with an astonishing
perseverance, even when I was in the wrong. In their eyes, I was
perfect and could do no wrong. From
I learned, that it was a dual responsibility to uphold that trust. It
afraid of disappointing them and tried to live up to their
expectations, but rather,
it was the most natural thing for me to believe, that I was perfect and
with them in
an impeccable manner. The
strangest among all the Women Sorcerers was my Dreaming teacher,
me anything. She didn't even speak to me or perhaps hadn't noticed,
just like Florinda, very beautiful; perhaps not as striking, but
beautiful in a more
ethereal way. She was petite. Her dark eyes with the winged eyebrows
perfect nose and mouth were framed by wavy dark hair, that was turning
her aura of Other-Worldliness.
Hers was not an average beauty, but a sublime (grand, majestic) one,
tempered (moderate, adjust, tune) by her relentless (persistent,
steady, pitiless) self-control. She was
keenly aware of the comic element of being beautiful and appealing in the eyes of
She had learned to recognize it and used it, as if it were a prize she
had won. She was, therefore,
totally indifferent to anything or anyone. Zuleica had
learned to be a ventriloquist and had turned it into a superior art.
to her, words, voiced by moving the lips, become more confusing, than
they really are. I was delighted by Zuleica's habit of talking, as a
ventriloquist, to walls, tables, china, or any other object in front of
her, and so I kept on following her around, whenever she made an
appearance. She walked through the house without seeming to touch the
ground, without seeming to stir the air. When I asked the other
Sorcerers, whether this was an illusion, they explained, that Zuleica
abhorred (regard with horror, reject vehemently) leaving footprints.
After I had met and interacted with all the Women,
explained to me the difference between the Dreamers and the Stalkers.
They called it the two Planets. Florinda, Carmela, Zoila, and Delia
were Stalkers: forceful Beings with a great deal of physical energy;
go-getters; inexhaustible workers; specialists on that extravagant
State of Awareness, they called Dreaming-Awake. The other
the Dreamers- was composed of the other four Women: Zuleica, Nelida,
Hermelinda, and Clara. They had a more ethereal quality. It was not,
that they were less forceful or less energetic. It was rather, that
their Energy was simply less apparent. They projected a sense of
Other-Worldliness, even when engaged in the most mundane activities.
They were the specialists on another peculiar State of Awareness, they
called 'Dreaming in Worlds other, than this World.'
was told, that this was the most complex State of Awareness Women could
reach. When the Dreamers and the Stalkers worked together, the Stalkers
were like a protective, hard, outer layer, that hid a deep Core. The
Dreamers were that deep Core. They were like a soft Matrix, that
cushioned the hard, outer layer.
During those days in the witches' house, I was taken care of, as if I
were their most precious
concern. They cossetted (pamper, spoil) and fussed over me, as if
I were a baby. They cooked me my
favorite foods. They made me the most elegant and well-fitting clothes,
I had ever
showered me with presents, outright silly things and valuable jewels,
away, waiting for the day, I would wake up, they said. There were
two more Women in the Sorcerers' World. They were both Stalkers: two fat girls,
Martha and Teresa. Both were lovely to look at and had glorious
appetites to match. Not that
they fooled anyone, but they kept a cache of cookies, chocolates, and
hidden in a secret compartment in the pantry. To my great delight, they
(concealed, open secret) from the very beginning to their secret cache
and encouraged me to dip freely into it, which,
of course, I did. Martha was
the older of the two. She was in her mid-twenties, an exotic blend of
blood. Her color, if not altogether white, was pale. Her luxurious
was soft and
wavy and framed a high-
cheeked, broad face. Her slanted eyes were a brilliant
green-blue, and her ears were small and delicate, like a cat's, soft
given to long, sorrowful sighs - Germanic, she claimed - and to moody silences, a
heritage of her Indian soul. She had recently begun to take lessons on
violin, which she would practice at any hour of the day. Instead of
anyone criticizing her or getting
angry, they unanimously (being in complete harmony) agreed, that Martha
had a great ear for music. Teresa was
barely five feet tall, but her bulk made her seem much taller. Rather,
looking Mexican, she looked like an Indian from India. Her flawless
skin was a rich, creamy light
brown. Her almond-shaped eyes, liquid and dark, were framed by long, curly
lashes, so heavy they kept her lids low, giving her a dreamy, far-away
gentleness and sweet disposition made one want to protect her. Teresa was
artistic, too. She painted watercolors late in the afternoon. With her
easel (frame with tripod) before her,
her brushes and tray with paint and water at the ready, she would sit
in the yard,
waiting for the light and shadows to be just right. Then, with Zen-like
fluidity, she would dash across the page with her paint-dipped brushes.
The bulk of my hidden memories had surfaced. I was exhausted. The
faint snoring, rising and falling across the room like a distant echo,
opened my eyes, the first thing I did, was to call out her name. She
didn't answer. The bed was
empty. The yellow sheet, tucked tightly under the mattress, showed no evidence,
that anyone had sat, let alone slept, there. The two pillows were back
position - plopped against the wall - and the blanket, she had used,
was stacked with the others
on the floor.
searched the apartment for a clue, some indication, that she had indeed
I found nothing, not even a long grey hair in the bathroom.
I was fully awake, I didn't quite remember about those lost days,
except, that I knew, with
absolute certainty, that they were not lost. Something had happened to
during that time; something with an inward meaning, that escaped me. I didn't
make a conscious effort to recapture all those vague memories.
I simply knew,
there half-hidden, like people, one knows slightly, but whose names one
been a good sleeper, but from that night on - since Florinda's
Baltazar's studio - I went to sleep at all hours, just to Dream. I simply
passed out, every time I lay down, and slept for inordinately
(excessive) long stretches of time. I even
put on weight, which unfortunately didn't go to the right places. Yet I never
Dreamt with the Sorcerers. One
afternoon I awoke abruptly to a loud clatter (loud rattling sound,
commotion). Isidore Baltazar had dropped the kettle in the sink.
My head hurt, my eyes were blurred. I had the immediate memory of a terrible
Dream, that just as quickly escaped recall. I was sweating heavily. "It's all
your fault," I yelled at him. "If you would only help me, I wouldn't be
away." I wanted to rant (speak in violent manner), to give in to my
frustration and impatience. But it suddenly
flashed through my mind, that I couldn't do that, because I could no
complaining, as I used to.
His face was radiant with pleasure, as though I had spoken my thoughts
out loud. He
chair, sat astride (with legs wide apart) it, and said, "You know, that
I cannot help you. Women have a different
Dreaming avenue. I can't even conceive (form in mind), what Women do to
ought to know, with so many Women in your World," I retorted churlishly
Nothing seemed to alter his good spirits.
can't even begin to conceive what Women do to Dream," he went on:
"Males have to struggle incessantly to arrange their Attention in
Dreams. Women don't struggle, but they do have to acquire inner
smile was brilliant, as he added, "There is one thing, that might help
Dreaming in your usual compulsive manner. Let it come to you." I opened and
closed my mouth, then quickly my astonishment turned to rage. My former insight
forgotten, I put on my shoes and stomped out in a huff (arrogantly),
making sure to bang the door behind
me. His laughter followed me all the way to my car in the parking lot
feeling utterly unloved, alone, and above all, sorry for myself, I
drove to the
was deserted. It was raining at the beach. There was no wind, and the
very straight. There was
something peaceful about the hushed sound of the lapping waves and the
hitting the water. I took off my shoes, tucked up my pants, and walked,
until I was washed clean of my
indulgent moods. I knew, that
I was rid of them, because I heard from the whispering, lapping waves Florinda's
words, "It's a solitary fight." I wasn't
threatened. I simply accepted, that I was indeed alone; and it was this acquiescence
(accept without protest), that brought me the conviction, of what I had
to do. And since I am not one to wait, I
acted immediately. After
leaving a note under Isidore Baltazar's door - I didn't want him to
talk me out of it - I set out for
the witches' house. I drove all night, all the way to Tucson. I checked
in at a
most of the day, then late in the afternoon set out again, taking the
Baltazar had followed on our return trip. My sense of
direction is poor, yet that route is imprinted deep within me. With a
knew exactly what roads to take; where to turn. I reached the witches'
house in no
at all. I didn't bother to check my watch, for
I didn't want to lose the feeling, that no time
had elapsed between the time, I got into my car in Tucson, and my
was noone at the house didn't bother me in the least. I was aware, that
direct, formal invitation had been extended to me; but I remembered
clearly, that Nelida had told me,
as she hid in a drawer a small basket with the gifts, they had all
should come back any time, I wished. Nelida's
words rang in my ears: "Day or night, this basket will pull you safely
With an assurance, that ordinarily only comes from practice, I went
directly to the room, Esperanza
had given me. The white, flouncy hammock was ready, as if waiting for
A vague uneasiness finally took hold of me, but I wasn't nearly as
scared, as I should have been. Not
quite relaxed, I lowered myself in the hammock, one leg outside to rock
my fears," I cried out, pulled my leg in and stretched out luxuriously like a cat,
until all my joints cracked.
you've made it back safely," a voice said to me from the corridor. I didn't see
her and I didn't necessarily recognize her voice, yet I knew, it was
expectantly for her to come in, but she didn't. "Your food is
in the kitchen," I heard her say. Her steps moved away from my door, down the
and dashed after her. "Wait, wait, Nelida!" I shouted. There was
noone in the hall or in the rooms, I passed on my way to the kitchen.
the whole house, for that matter. Yet, I was sure, they were there. I
voices, their laughter, the clatter of dishes, of pots and pans. I spent the
next few days in a perpetual state of anticipation, waiting for
to occur. I
imagine, what was supposed to happen, but I knew, that it had to be
For some unfathomable reason, the Women didn't want to be seen. Their
(sectret) behavior kept me in the corridors all hours, prowling
noiselessly, like a shadow. Regardless
of the ingeniously sneaky schemes I devised to surprise the Women, I
much, as a glimpse of them.
They glided in and out of their rooms, in and out of the house,
as if in between Worlds, leaving in their wake (becoming awake) the
sound of their voices and laughter. Sometimes I
wondered, whether the Women were indeed there; whether the sounds of footsteps,
of murmurs and giggles, were but figments of my imagination. Whenever I
was about to believe, it was my imagination, I would hear one of them tinkering
(clumsily fiddle with something, interfere) on the patio., Then, seized
by renewed fervor (passion, intense heat), expectation, and excitement,
would run to the back of the house, only to discover, that once again I
had been outwitted. At those
times I was convinced, that the Women, being real witches, had some
kind of a
internal echo location system, that alerted them to my sounds. My
disappointment, at not being able to catch them in front of the stove,
always vanished at the sight
of the exotic little meals they left behind for me. The
deliciousness of the dishes amply
(largely, liberally, sufficiently) compensated for the meagerness of
the portions. With great gusto I ate their wonderful
food. Yet I was still hungry. One day,
just before twilight, I heard a Man's voice softly calling my name from
the back of
house. I jumped out of my hammock and ran down the corridor. I was so
glad to see
caretaker, I nearly jumped on him like a dog does. Unable to contain my
on the cheeks. "Watch out,
nibelunga." He said this in the same voice and manner of Isidore
my eyes wide with surprise. He winked at me and added, "Don't get
because the next thing you know, you'll be taking advantage of me." For an
instant I didn't know, what to make of his words. But then he laughed,
reassuringly. I completely relaxed. "It's good
to see you," he said softly.
wonderful to see you!" I giggled self-consciously, then asked him,
where everybody else was.
they are around," he said vaguely. "At the moment they are mysteriously
inaccessible, but ever present." Seeing my disappointment he added,
know they are around," I murmured. "They leave
food for me." I glanced over my
shoulder to ham (overact) it up and confided, "But I'm still hungry.
The portions are too little." According to the caretaker, this was the
natural condition of Power Food. One could never get enough
of it. He said, that he cooked his own food- rice and
beans with either chunks of pork,
beef, or chicken- and ate only once a day, but never at the same hour. He took me
then to his quarters. He lived in the large, cluttered room behind the
odd wood and iron sculptures, where the air, thick with the scents of
eucalyptus, hung heavy and motionless around the drawn curtains. He
slept on a cot, which he
kept folded in the armoire (protective covering), when it was not in
use, and ate his meal at a small chippendale
(elegant 18 century furniture) table with spindly (long, thin) legs. He confided,
that he, like the mysterious Women, disliked routines. Day or night,
or afternoon, was all the same to him. He swept the
patios and raked the leaves outside the clearing, whenever he felt like
there were blossoms or leaves on the ground was immaterial. In the days,
that followed, I had a hellish time, trying to adjust to this seemingly unstructured
way of life. Out of compulsion, rather than out of any desire to be
caretaker with his chores. Also, I invariably (constant) accepted his
invitations to share his meals.
His food was as delicious, as his company. Convinced,
that he was more, than the caretaker, I did my best to get him
off-guard with my devious
questions; a useless technique, for I never got any satisfactory
come from?" I bluntly asked him one day, while we were eating. He looked up
from his plate, and as if he had been expecting an outright
interrogation, he dutifully
pointed to the mountains toward the east, framed by the open window
Bacatete Mountains?" My voice betrayed my disbelief. "But you're not an
disconcertedly (upset, perturb, ruffle). "The way I see it, only the
Nagual Mariano Aureliano, Delia Flores, and
Genaro Flores are Indians." Emboldened
(encouraged) by the surprised, expectant look on his face, I added
that, in my opinion,
Esperanza transcended (pass beyond the limit, that humans can grasp)
racial categories. I leaned across the table and in a secretive tone confided to
him, what I had already told Florinda. "Esperanza wasn't born like a
was established by an act of witchcraft. She is the very devil."
back in his chair, the caretaker shrieked with joy. "And what do you
have to say
Florinda? Did you know she's French? Or rather, her parents were
the families, that came to Mexico with Maximilian and Carlota."
very beautiful," I murmured, trying to remember when, exactly, in the
Austrian prince was sent by Napoleon to Mexico.
haven't seen her, when she's all dolled up (dressed up)," the caretaker
gushed. "She's something else. Age
means nothing to her."
told me, that I am like Florinda," I said in a fit of vanity (false
pride) and wishful thinking. Propelled by
the laughter, bubbling up inside him, the caretaker sprang up from his
be the day." He said the words with no particular feeling, as though he
least, how they would be received. Irritated by
his remark; his lack of feeling, I glared at him with ill-concealed
animosity (active hostility). Then, eager
to change the subject, I asked him about the Nagual Mariano Aureliano.
exactly does he come from?"
knows, where Naguals come from?" he muttered (speak in low indistinct
tones), moving toward the window. For a long
while he gazed at the distant mountains, then he turned toward me once
say, that Naguals come from hell itself. I believe it. Some people say, that
Naguals are not even Human." Again he paused, and I
wondered, if the long silence was
to be repeated. As if
sensing my impatience, he came to sit beside me and added:
you ask me, I'd say, that Naguals are Superhuman. That's the reason,
they know everything about human nature. You can't lie to a Nagual.
They see through you. They see through anything. They even see through
Space to other Worlds in this World, and to other Worlds out of this
moved uneasily in my chair, wishing he would stop talking. I regretted,
engaging him in this
conversation. There was no doubt in my mind, that the Man was insane.
I'm not insane," he assured me, and I let out a loud shriek. "I'm saying
things, that you've never heard before, that's all."
Feeling oddly on the defensive, I blinked repeatedly. But my uneasiness
gave me a surge of courage,
and I asked him point blank: "Why are they hiding from me?"
obvious," he shot back, then seeing, that it wasn't at all obvious to
me, he added,
know it. You and your kind are the crew, not me. I'm not one of them.
merely the caretaker. I oil the machine."
getting me more confused, than I was," I muttered, irritated. Then a
insight hit me. "Who are the crew you are referring to?"
the Women you met, the last time you were here. The Dreamers and the
Stalkers. They told me,
that the Stalkers are your kind, and you are one of them."
poured himself a glass of water and went with it to the window. He took
a few sips,
informed me, that the Nagual Mariano Aureliano had tried out my
stalking abilities in Tucson,
Arizona, when he sent me into the coffee shop to put a cockroach in my
caretaker turned his back to the window, looked straight into my face,
don't want to hear about that nonsense," I cut him short. I had no
desire to hear the rest of the story. His face
"But then, after your failure, you exonerated (free from
a burden, responsibility; declare blameless, exempt) yourself by kicking and
yelling at the Nagual Mariano Aureliano without shame or regard.
"are people, who have a knack for dealing with people." I opened my
mouth to say, that I didn't understand a word, he was saying, but
it again. "What
been baffling," he went on, "is, that you are a great Dreamer. If it
you'd be like Florinda - less the height and the looks, of course." Smiling
venomously, I cursed the old creep silently.
"Do you remember, how many Women were there at the picnic?" he asked
all of a sudden. I closed my
eyes to better visualize the picnic. I clearly saw six Women, sitting
cloth, spread out under the eucalyptus trees. Esperanza wasn't there,
Delia, and Florinda were.
"Who were the other two?" I asked, more mystified, than ever. "Ah," he
murmured appreciatively, a brilliant smile creasing his face.
"Those two were
Dreamers from another World. You saw them clearly, but then they
disappeared, and your mind didn't acknowledge their vanishing, because
it was simply too outlandish (bizarre, absurd)." I
nodded absentmindedly, unable to conceive, that I had actually seen
only four Women, when I knew,
that there had been six. The thought
must have seeped through to him, for he said, that it was only natural
the four. "The other
two are your source of
They are incorporeal (lacking material form, spiritual)
and not from this World." Lost and
bewildered, all, I could do, was stare at him: I had no more questions
you are not in the Planet of the Dreamers," he clarified, "your Dreams
are nightmares, and your transitions between Dreams and Reality are
very unstable and dangerous to you and to the other Dreamers. So
Florinda has taken it upon herself to buffer and protect you." I
rose with such impetus (stimulus, impulse, impelling force), my chair
turned over. "I don't want to know anything else!" I cried out.
Just in time, I stopped myself from blurting out, that I was better
about their mad ways and rationales (logical basis). The
caretaker took me by the hand and walked with me outside, across the
chaparral to the back of the small house. "I need you
to help me with the generator," he said. "It needs fixing." I laughed
out loud and told him, that I didn't know anything about generators.
the trap door of a concrete encasement, did I realize, that the
electric current for the lights
in the house was generated there. I had completely taken for granted,
lights and appliances of rural Mexico were like those, I was familiar
I tried not to ask him too many questions. I felt, that I was not
answers. Our meetings acquired the nature of a ritual, in which I did
my best to
old Man's exquisite (delightful beauty) usage of the Spanish language.
I spent hours pouring over the various
dictionaries in my room, searching for new and often archaic words, with which to
afternoon, as I was waiting for the caretaker to bring in the food - it
was the first time, since I
discovered his room, that I was alone in it - I remembered the old,
strange mirror. I carefully
examined its spotty, misty surface. "You'll get
trapped in the mirror, if you look at yourself too much," a voice
see the caretaker, I turned around, but there was noone in the room. In my
eagerness to reach the door,
I almost knocked over the wood and iron sculpture behind me.
Automatically, I reached out to steady it, but before I so much, as
touched it, the figure seemed to
spin away from me in an odd circular motion, then came to its original
astonishingly human sigh. "What's the
matter?" the caretaker asked, stepping into the room. He placed a large
on the rickety table and, looking up into my ashen face, asked once
more, what was wrong with me.
I've the feeling, that these monstrosities are alive, watching me," I
with my chin toward the nearby sculpture. Noticing his
grave, unsmiling face, I hastened to reassure him, that I didn't mean monstrous in
terms of ugliness, but rather in terms of being big. I took
several deep, shuddering breaths and repeated, that his sculptures gave
of being alive. Glancing
furtively (sectretly) around himself and lowering his voice to a barely
audible whisper, he said, "They
I felt so
uncomfortable, that I began to babble about the afternoon, I first
discovered his room; how I
had been lured to it by an eerie-sounding murmur, that turned out to be
wind, pushing the curtain through a broken window.
at the time I believed it to be a monster," I confided, giggling
nervously. "An alien presence,
feeding on the twilight shadows."
his lower lip, the caretaker regarded me with keen eyes. Then his gaze
around the room. "We better sit down to eat," he finally said.
"We don't want to let our
food get cold." He held out
the chair for me, and as soon, as I was comfortably seated, he added in
vibrant tone, "You're quite right to call them presences, for they are
not sculptures. They are
(entrust) in a conspiratorial tone:"They were conceived from patterns
glimpsed at in another
World, by a great Nagual."
Mariano Aureliano?" I asked.
He shook his head and said, "By a much older Nagual, named Elias."
are these inventions in your room?" I asked. "Did this great Nagual
make them for
he said. "I only take care of them." Rising, he
reached into his pocket and pulled out a neatly folded white
handkerchief and proceeded to
dust the nearby invention with it. "Since I'm
the caretaker, it falls upon me to take care of them. One day, with the
help of all
Sorcerers, you've already met, I will deliver these inventions, where
where is that?"
the Cosmos, the Vacuum."
do you propose to take them there?"
the same Power, that got them here in the first place: the Power of
you Dream, like these Sorcerers Dream," I began cautiously, trying hard
to conceal the triumph in
my voice, "then you must also be a Sorcerer yourself."
am, but I am not like them."
candid (open, without pretence, straight forward) admission confused
me. "What's the difference?"
he exclaimed knowingly. "All the difference in the World. But I can't
now. If I
do, you'd get even more morose and angry. Someday, though, you'll know
about it by yourself, without anyone having to tell you." I could feel
the wheels churning (stir, agitate) in my head, as I desperately tried
to come up with something
else to say; another question to ask.
you tell me how the Nagual Elias came to have the inventions?"
saw them in his Dreaming and captured them," the caretaker confided. "Some of
them are copies, done by him, of inventions, he couldn't cart away. Others are
the real thing; inventions, transported by that great Nagual all the
way to here."
didn't believe a word he said, yet I couldn't help, but add, "Why did
the Nagual Elias bring them?"
the inventions themselves asked him to."
caretaker dismissed my probings with a wave of his hand and urged me to
eat my food. His
unwillingness to satisfy my curiosity only piqued my interest.
I couldn't imagine, why
he didn't want to talk about the contraptions (device, machine), when
he was so good at evasive (intentionally vague, foggy) answers.
could have told me anything. The instant
we finished our meal, he asked me to retrieve his cot from the armoire. Knowing his
preference, I unfolded it for him in front of the curtained French door. Sighing
contentedly, he lay down, resting his head on the rectangular little
to one end of the cot. It was filled with dried beans and maize kernels. According to
him, the pillow ensured sweet dreams. "I'm ready
for my nap now," he said, loosening the belt on his pants.
It was his polite way of
dismissing me. Peeved
(annoyed) by his refusal to talk about the inventions, I piled our
plates on the tray and stormed out
of the room. His snores followed me all the way to the kitchen. That night I
awoke to the strumming (play) of a guitar. Automatically, I reached for
flashlight, I kept beside my low-hanging hammock, and checked my watch.
It was a bit
midnight. I wrapped my blanket tightly around me and tiptoed out into
that led to
the inside patio. On the
patio, sitting on a rush chair, was a man, playing a guitar. I couldn't
see his face,
but I knew,
it was the same man Isidororo Baltazar and I had seen and heard the
I was there.
As he had
done then, the Man stopped playing, the moment he saw me. He got up
went inside the hous
As soon, as I was back in my room, his plucking resumed. I was about to
doze off, when I heard him
sing in a clear, strong voice. He sang to the wind, beckoning (signal
or summon by waving) it to come
across miles of silence and emptiness. As if
responding to his haunting invocation (summon, appeal, call upon), the
wind gathered force. It whistled through the
chaparral. It tore the withered (dried up) leaves from the trees and
swept them into rustling heaps
against the walls of the house. On an
impulse, I opened the door to the patio. The wind filled the room with
unspeakable sadness, not the sadness of tears, but the melancholic
solitariness of the desert, of
dust and ancient shadows. The wind circled around the room like smoke. I inhaled it
with every breath. It sat heavy in my lungs, yet the deeper I breathed,
lighter I felt. I went
outside and, squeezing between the tall bushes, made my way to the back
white-washed walls caught the moonlight and reflected it brightly onto
windswept ground of the wide clearing. Afraid, I
might be seen, I darted from fruit tree to fruit tree, hiding in the
cast by the
moonlight, until I reached the two blooming orange trees outside the
guarding the path to the little house. The wind
brought the sound of giggles and dim murmurings from across the
dashed along the path, only to lose my nerve, once I reached the front
door of the
(tremble, vibrate) with excitement, I inched my way to an open window.
(This is a funny page)
voices, but the window was too high for me to see, what the Women were doing. I listened,
expecting to hear something profound; to be transported by some
that would help me resolve, what I had come there for - my inability to Dream. But I only
heard gossip. I became so engrossed in their malicious insinuations
(suggestion), that I laughed out
loud several times, forgetting, that I was eaves-dropping. At first
I thought, they were gossiping about outsiders, but then I realized,
about the Women Dreamers, and their most insidious (treacherous)
remarks were directed against
Nelida. They said, that she had so
far been unable, after so many years, to break away from the grip of the
World. Not only was she vain (fruitless, unsuccessful) - they claimed,
she spent all day in front of the mirror - but
she was lusty as well. She did everything in her power to be a sexually desirable
Woman, in order to entice (lure, attract) the Nagual Mariano Aureliano.
Someone pointed out, cattily (?),
that, after all, she was the only one, who could accommodate his
(stimulating, exciting) organ (penis). Then they
talked about Clara. They called her a pompous elephant, who believed,
that it was
to bestow (present, as a gift of honour) blessings on everyone. The
recipient of her attention was, at the moment, the
Nagual Isidore Baltazar, and the treat was her naked body. He wasn't to
it, only to see it. Once in the morning and again once at night she
would regale (delight, entertain) him with the sight of
her nakedness. She was convinced, that by doing this, she would ensure
young Nagual's sexual prowess (outstanding courage, skill, daring,
Woman, they talked about, was Zuleica. They said, that she had
saint and the Virgin Mary. Her, so-called, spirituality was nothing,
but craziness. Periodically
she would lose her marbles; and whenever she had one of her fits of
clean the house from top to bottom, even the rocks in the patio or
was Hermelinda. She was described, as being very sober, very proper, the paragon
(model of excellence, peerless example) of middle-class values. As
Nelida, she was incapable, after so many years, of stopping
herself from seeking to be the perfect Woman, the perfect homemaker.
cook or sew or embroider or play the piano to entertain her guests, Hermelinda
wanted to be known, they said in between fits of giggles, as the
femininity, just as Nelida wanted to be known as the paragon of naughty
If the two
of them would only combine their talents, one voice remarked, then they
perfect Woman to please the master; perfect in the kitchen and in the
wearing an apron or an evening dress, and perfect in bed with her legs
whenever the master wanted it. When they
grew silent, I ran back to the house, to my room and into my hammock,
hard as I tried, I could no longer go back to sleep.
felt, that some kind of a protective bubble had burst around me,
obliterating (destroy, wipe out) my sense of delight; of
enchantment at being at the witches' house. All, I could think of, was
that, by my
doings this time, I was stuck there in Sonora with a bunch of crazy old
nothing else, but gossip, when
I could have been in Los Angeles, having fun. I had come
looking for advice. Instead, I was ignored; reduced to the company of a
I believed to be a Woman. By the time
I sat down to eat with the caretaker in the morning, I had driven
such a state
of righteous indignation (anger), that I couldn't swallow a
matter?" the old man asked, gazing at me intently. Normally, he avoided direct eye
contact. "Aren't you hungry?"
glared back at him. Giving up any attempt at self-control, I unburdened
all my pent-up (repressed,
not given expression) anger and frustration. As I went
on complaining, I had a flash of sobriety: I told myself,
that I shouldn't blame the old Man,
that I should be grateful, for he had shown me nothing, but kindness. But
it was too late to stop myself. My petty grievances (injustice) had
acquired a life of their own. My voice
became shriller (insistently nagging, sharp in tone) still, as
I magnified and deformed the events of the past few days. With
malicious satisfaction, I told him, that I had eavesdropped on the
to help me in the least," I asserted (affirm, express positevely) with
resonant (resound) authority. "All they do is gossip.
They said horrible things about the Women Dreamers."
did you hear them say?" With great
relish I told him everything. I surprised myself with my extraordinary
every detail of the Women's wicked remarks. "Obviously,
they were talking about you," he declared, the moment I finished my
symbolic fashion, of course." He waited for the words to sink in, and
before I could protest, he
asked innocently, "Aren't you quite a bit like all this?"
hell I am!" I exploded. "And don't give me any psychological shit. I
won't take this kind of
crap; not even from an educated Man, much the less from you, you
fucking peon (unskilled labourer, farm worker)." The
caretaker's eyes opened wide in bewilderment and his frail shoulders
sagged. I felt no sympathy for
him, only pity for myself. I had wasted my time, telling him, what I had heard. I was about
to say, what a mistake it had been for me to make that long, arduous
and all for
nothing, when the caretaker looked at me with such contempt (open
disrespect), that I felt ashamed of
you hold your temper, you'll understand, that nothing, these Sorcerers
do, is just to entertain
themselves, or to impress someone; or to give way to their
compulsiveness," he said with
great equanimity (even tempered, composure). "Everything they do or say
has a reason - a purpose." He stared at
me with an intensity, that made me want to move away, but I couldn't.
thinking, that you're here on a vacation," he stressed. "For the
Sorcerers, you've fallen prey
to, there are no holidays."
are you trying to tell me?" I demanded angrily. "Don't beat around the
can anyone be more clear?" His voice was deceptively mellow and loaded
more meaning, than I could fathom. "The witches already told you last
night, what you are. They used
the four Women of the Dreamers' Planet, as a false front, to describe
to you, the
eaves-dropper, what you really are: a slut, with delusions of grandeur." So great was
my shock, I was momentarily stunned. Then anger, hot as lava, shot
"You miserable, insignificant piece of shit," I yelled and kicked him
in the groin. Before my kick had
landed, I already had a flash image of the little old bastard on the
with pain, except that my kick never landed anywhere, but in the air.
speed of a
prize fighter he had jumped out of the way.
He smiled with his mouth, but his eyes were flat and cold, as he
watched me puffing and groaning.
"You are playing on the Nagual Isidore Baltazar all those tricks, the
about. You were trained for it. Think about it. Don't just get angry." I opened my
mouth to say something, but no sound emerged. It wasn't so much his
left me speechless, as his devastatingly indifferent, icy tone.
I would have
had yelled at me, for then I would have known how to react: I would have yelled
There was no
point in fighting him. He wasn't right,
I assured myself. He was simply a senile Man
with a bitter tongue. No, I wasn't going to get mad at him, but I
to take him
seriously either. "I hope
you're not going to weep," he warned me, before I recovered from my
determination not to get mad at the senile bastard, my face grew red
anger. "Of course, I'm not," I snapped. Before I
tried another kick, I yelled at him, that since he was only a
chicken-shit servant, he
deserved to be beaten for his impudence
(impertinence, rudeness), but
the hard, relentless (persistent, steady, pitiless) expression in his eyes made me
lose my momentum. Without the
faintest change in his courteous, yet inexpressive tone, somehow he
me, that I should apologize to him. "I'm sorry,"
I finally said, and truly meant it. "My bad temper and bad manners
always get the best of me."
know it. They all warned me about you," he said seriously, then added,
smiling, "Eat your food."
ill at ease
all through the meal. Chewing slowly, I watched him surreptitiously.
Although he didn't make the slightest effort to be friendly, I knew,
that he wasn't angry with me. I tried to comfort myself with that
thought, but I didn't find it very comforting. I sensed, that his lack
of concern wasn't deliberate or studied. He wasn't punishing me.
Nothing, of what I had said or done, would have had any effect on him.
swallowed the last bite and said the first thing, that entered into my
head with an assurance, that astonished me, "You're not the caretaker." He looked at
"And who do you think I am?" His face relaxed into an amused
grin. His smile made me lose all caution. A tremendous recklessness
came over me. I blurted out - and naturally as an insult - that he was
Woman, that he was Esperanza. Relieved, that I had finally gotten it
off my chest, I sighed loudly
and added, "That's why you're the only one, who has a mirror: You need
to look convincing, as either a Man or a Woman."
must have affected you," he mused. "It's a known fact, that the thin
desert air affects people in the most peculiar manner." He reached
wrist and held it in a tight grip, as he added, "Or it is perhaps your
nature to be mean and onerous (troublesome, burdensome, oppressive) and
blurt out, with an air of absolute authority, anything, that enters
the caretaker leaned closer toward me, and suggested, that I take a nap
him. "It'll do us a lot of good. We're both onerous," he said.
that's it!" I exclaimed, uncertain whether I should take offense or
laugh at his
"You want me to sleep with you, eh?" I added, that Esperanza had already warned me
do you object to, taking a nap with me, if you believe me to be
Esperanza?" he asked,
rubbing the nape (back of the neck) of my neck.
His hand was warm and soothing. "I don't
object," I defended myself feebly. "I simply hate naps. I never take a
nap. I was
even as a baby I hated naps."
spoke rapidly and nervously, tripping over my words, repeating myself.
I wanted to get up and
leave, but the slight pressure of his hand on my neck kept me pinned
down to the
you're Esperanza," I insisted rashly. "I recognize her touch. It has
effect, as yours." I could feel
my head sway, and my eyes closed against my will.
it has," he agreed gently. "It'll do you good to lie down, even if only
for a moment." Taking my
silence for acquiescence (accept without protest), he went to the
armoire and pulled out his cot and two
blankets. He gave me one. It was a
time of endless surprises for me. Without knowing why, I lay down
half-closed lids, I watched him stretch, until all his joints cracked. He shook off
his boots, unfastened his belt, then lowered himself on the cot next to
cover of his thin cotton blanket, he wiggled out of his pants, casually
them on the
floor, next to his boots.
He lifted his blanket and showed himself to me. Blushing, I
stared at him with wild curiosity and wonder. His naked
body, like Esperanza's, was the antithesis (direct contrast, exact
opposite) of what I had taken it to be. His body was supple
(flexible), hairless, and smooth. He was thin, as a reed and yet
muscular. And he was definitely a
male and young ! I didn't
even pause to think, but holding my breath, I gingerly (timidly,
carefully) lifted my blanket. The sound of
a Woman's faint giggle made me close my eyes and pretend I was asleep. But knowing,
that she wasn't going to come into the room, I relaxed. Putting my
arms behind my head, I became absorbed in an uncanny (weird, strange)
sense, that the caretaker
and the faint giggles, coming from the corridor, had restored a
magic bubble all around me. What exactly
I meant by this, I didn't know, except, that the more my body relaxed,
closer I was getting to an answer.
my return from the witches' house, I never needed any more coaxing
(urge, persuade, plead) or
encouragement. The Women
Sorcerers had succeeded in giving me a strange coherence; a sort of emotional
stability, I never had before. It wasn't,
that I was suddenly a changed person, but rather there was a clear
purpose to my
My fate was delineated (depict, sketch out) for me. I had to
struggle to free my energy. And that was
that. Simplicity itself.
But I didn't remember, clearly or even vaguely, all that had transpired
(become known, perspire, come to light, turn out) in the three months I spent at
The task, of
remembering it, took me years; a task, into which I plunged with all my
determination. The Nagual
Isidore Baltazar, nevertheless, warned me about the fallaciousness of
emotionally charged realizations. He said,
that they were worthless, because the real arena of a Sorcerer is the
day-to-day life and in this
arena superficial (trivial, insignificant, not thorough) rationales
(logical basis) do not withstand pressure. The Women
Sorcerers had said more or less the same, but in a more harmonious way.
They explained, that since Women
are used to being manipulated,
they agreed easily. But a Woman's agreements are simply empty
adaptations to pressure. But if it is possible to convince, that Women
of the need to change her ways, then half the battle is won. Even if
they don't intellectually agree, their emotional realization is
infinitely more durable, than that of Men.
I had the two opinions to weigh. I thought, that both were right. From
time to time, all my Sorcery
under the pressures of the Everyday World, but my original commitment
to the Sorcerers' World was never in need of revision (corrected new
little I began to acquire enough Energy to Dream. This meant,
that I finally understood, what the Women had told me: Isidore Baltazar
the new Nagual; and he was no longer a Man. This
realization also gave me enough energy to return periodically to the
witches' house. That place,
known as the witches' house, belonged to all the Sorcerers of the Nagual Mariano
Aureliano's group. A big and massive house from the outside, it was
indistinguishable from other houses in the area; hardly noticeable, in
spite of the
exuberantly (abandonedly joyous, lavish, effusive, luxuriant,
overflowing) blooming bougainvillea, hanging over the wall, that
encircled the grounds.
What made people pass the house, without noticing it, the Sorcerers
said, was the tenuous (weak, flimsy) fog, that
covered it, thin as a veil, visible to the eye, but unnoticeable to the
the house, however, one was acutely and inescapably aware of having stepped into
another World. The three patios, shaded by fruit trees, gave a
dreamlike light to the dark
corridors and the many rooms, that opened on these corridors. What was
arresting (seize, hold, capture) about the house were the brick and
tile floors, which were laid out in the most intricate
(complex arrangement, convoluted) designs. The witches'
house was not a warm place, yet it was friendly. It was not a home by
stretch of the imagination, for there was something crushing about its
relentless (persistent, steady, pitiless) austerity (severely simple
conditions). It was the place, where the old Nagual Mariano Aureliano
conceived (form in mind) their Dreams and realized their purpose. Since the
concern of those Sorcerers had nothing to do with the Daily World,
their otherworldly preoccupations. Their house was the true gauge of
individuality; not as persons, but as Sorcerers. At the
witches' house, I interacted with all the Sorcerers of the Nagual
teach me Sorcery or even Dreaming. According to them, there was nothing
that my task was to remember everything, that had transpired (come to
light, turn out) between all of them and me
during those initial times, that we were together.
In particular, I was to remember
everything, that Zuleica and Florinda did or said to me - but Zuleica
talked to me.
tried to ask any of them for help, they outright refused to have
anything to do with me.
They all argued that, without the necessary energy on my part, all,
they would do, would be to
repeat themselves; and that they didn't have time for that. At first, I
found their refusal ungenerous and unfair. After a while, however, I
attempt to probe them, and I simply enjoyed their presence and their
that they were, of course, totally right in refusing to play our
game; that of pretending to be interested, by asking, so-called,
which usually have no meaning to us whatsoever. And the
reason, they have no meaning to us, is, that we don't have the energy
about the answer, we might hear, except to agree or disagree with it. Via our
daily interaction, however, I realized scores of things about their
Dreamers and Stalkers embodied two modes of behavior among Women, as different,
they could be. Initially, I
wondered whether the group, that was described to me, as the Dreamers-
and Clara- were the actual Stalkers. For as far, as I could ascertain,
interaction with them was on a strictly everyday, worldly level. Only later
did I fully realize, that their mere presence elicited (bring out,
evoke) - without even any hint of it - a new modality
of behavior on my part. That is, I felt no need to reassert (express
positevely, affirm) myself with them. There
were no doubts, there were no questions on my part, whenever I was with them. They had the
singular ability to make me See - without ever having to state it
verbally - the absurdity of
my existence. And yet I felt no need to defend myself. Perhaps it
was this lack of forcefulness, of directness, that made me acquiesce
(accept without protest), accept them without
any resistance. It wasn't
long before I realized, that the Women-Dreamers, by interacting with me
worldly level, were giving me the necessary model to rechannel my
me to change the manner, in which I focused on mundane matters such as cooking,
cleaning, laundering, staying in school, or earning a living.
Universal Dictionary - by Reader's Digest: Auspice
(protection, support, patronage,
augury-divination-portent-sign-indication-omen, especially when
observed in the actions of birds); Portent (an omen, indication of
something calamitous about to occur; prophetic or threatening
214-215 (about Silvio Manuel)
were to be done, they told me, under different auspices
(omen). They were
not to be
chores, but artful endeavors (conscientious efforts); one as important,
as the other.
it was their interaction with each other and with the Women-Stalkers,
me aware of
how special they were. In their
humanness; their ordinariness (proper,
devoid (completely lacking) of ordinary human failings. Their Total
Awareness coexisted easily with their individual characteristics; be it
short-temperedness (short temper), moodiness,
rude forcefulness, madness, or cloying (supply too much of something)
In the presence and company of any of those Sorceresses, I experienced
the most peculiar feeling,
that I was on a perpetual holiday. But that was, but a mirage.
They were on a perpetual warpath, and the enemy was the idea of the
witches' house, I also met Vicente and Silvio Manuel, the other two
Nagual Mariano Aureliano's group. Vicente was
obviously of Spanish descent. I learned, that his parents had come from Catalonia.
He was a lean, aristocratic-
looking man with deceptively frail-looking hands and feet. He
shuffled around in slippers and preferred pajama tops, which hung open
his khaki pants, to shires (?). His cheeks were rosy, but otherwise he
was pale. His
cared for goatee (small chin beard) added a touch of distinction to his
otherwise absent-minded demeanor. Not only did
he look like a scholar, but he was one. The books in the room, I slept
rather, it was he, who collected them, who read them, who cared for
erudition (erudition- profound scholarly knowledge) so appealing -
didn't know about - was, that he conducted himself, as though he was
felt sure, that this could seldom be the case, for it was obvious, that
It was his generous spirit, that made him give his knowledge away with
and without ever shaming anyone for knowing less. Then there
was Silvio Manuel. He was of medium height, corpulent (fat, obese),
beardless, and brown
skinned. A mysterious, sinister-looking Indian, he was the perfect
image, of what I expected an
evil-looking brujo to look like. His apparent moodiness frightened me,
his sparse (meagre, distributed at widely spaced intervals) answers
revealed, what I believed to be a violent nature. Only upon
knowing him, did I realize, how much he enjoyed cultivating this image.
was the most open, and for me, delightful, of all the Sorcerers. Secrets and
gossip were his passion. Whether they were truths or falsehoods didn't
was his recounting of them, that was priceless to me, and to everyone
He also had
an inexhaustible supply of jokes, most of them downright dirty. He was
only one, who enjoyed watching TV and thus was always up to date on
world news. He would report
it to the others with gross exaggerations, salting it with a great deal
Manuel was a magnificent dancer. His expertise in the various
indigenous, sacred dances was
legendary. He moved with rapturous (ecstatically, with delight) abandon
and would often ask me to dance with
him. Whether it was a Venezuelan joropo, a cumbia, a samba, a tango, the twist, rock
and roll, or a cheek-to-cheek bolero, he knew them all. I also
interacted with John, the Indian, I had been introduced to, by the
Nagual Mariano Aureliano in
Tucson, Arizona. His round, easygoing, jovial appearance was, but a
most unapproachable of all the Sorcerers. He drove around in his pickup
for everyone else. He also fixed whatever needed to be mended in and
house. If I
bother him with questions or comments and kept silent, he would take me
him on his errands and show me how things were fixed. From him I
learned how to change
washers and adjust a leaking faucet or toilet tank; how to fix an iron,
to change the oil and spark plugs in my car. Under his guidance, the
hammer, a screwdriver, a saw, and an electric drill became quite
natural to me. The only
thing, none of them did for me, was answer my questions and probes
Whenever I tried to engage them, they referred me to the Nagual Isidore
standard rebuff (refuse abruptly) was to say, "He's the new Nagual.
It's his duty to deal with you. We are merely
your aunties and uncles."
At the beginning, the
Nagual Isidore Baltazar was more, than a mystery to me. Where he actually lived was not
clear to me. Oblivious to schedules and routines, he appeared at and disappeared from
the studio at all hours. Day and night were all the same to him. He
slept, when he was tired - hardly ever - and ate when he was hungry-
almost always. Between his frantic comings and goings, he worked with a
concentration, that was astounding. His capacity to stretch or compress
Time (energy) was incomprehensible to me. I was certain, that I spent
hours, even entire days, with him, when in reality it could have been
only moments, snatched here and there either during the day or the
night from something else, he did - whatever it might have been. I
had always considered myself an energetic person. However, I could not
keep up with him. He was always in motion - or so it appeared; agile
and active; ever ready to undertake some project. His vigor was simply
incredible. It was much later, that I fully understood, that the source
of Isidore Baltazar's boundless Energy was his lack of concern with
himself. It was his unwavering support; his imperceptible, yet
masterful machinations (act of plotting, conspiracy), that helped me
stay on the right track. There was a lightheartedness in him, a pure
delight in his subtle, yet forceful influence, that made me change
without my noticing, that I was being led along a new path; a path, on
which I no longer had to play games or needed to pretend or use my
womanly wiles (deceitful trick, artifice) to get my way.
What made his guidance, so tremendously compelling (forceful), was,
he had no ulterior (lying beoynd, that is evident) motive. He wasn't in
the least possessive, and his guidance wasn't adulterated (make impure,
corrupt) with promises or
sentimentality. He didn't
push me in any particular direction. That is, he didn't advise me on,
courses I should take or what books I should read. That was left
entirely up to me. There was
only one condition he insisted upon: I was to work on no particular
goal other, than
edifying (enlighten) and pleasurable process of thinking. A startling
proposition! I had never considered
thinking in those terms or in any others. Although I didn't dislike
had certainly never thought of schoolwork as particularly pleasurable.
I had to do, usually in a hurry and with the least possible effort. I couldn't
help, but agree with what Florinda and her cohorts had so bluntly
pointed out to me the first
time, I met them: I went to school not to pursue knowledge, but to have
time. That I
had good grades was more a matter of luck and loquaciousness
studiousness. I had a fairly good memory, I knew how to talk, and I
knew how to
Once I got
past my initial embarrassment over having to admit and to accept the
my intellectual pretensions were a sham (empty pretence, imitation, an
imposter, fake) and, that I didn't know how to think, except in the most shallow
manner, I felt relieved. I was ready to put myself under the Sorcerers' tutelage,
and to follow Isidore Baltazar's study plan. To my great
disappointment, he didn't have one.
All, he did, was insist, that I stop studying and reading outdoors. He believed, that the Thinking Process
was a private, almost secret rite (formal practice,
ceremonial act) and could not possibly occur outdoors in public view.
He compared the process of
thinking with leavened
(fermented with yeast, an element to enliven the whole) dough. It can
only rise inside a room. "The
best way to understand anything, of course, is in bed," he said to me
once. He stretched out on his bed, propped his head against several
pillows, and crossed the right leg over the left, resting the ankle on
the raised knee of the left leg. I didn't think much of this absurd
reading position, yet I practiced it, whenever I was by myself. With a
book propped on my chest, I would fall into the most profound sleep.
Keenly sensitive to my insomniac tendencies, I was more pleased with
sleep, than with knowledge. Sometimes, however, just prior to that
moment of losing consciousness, I would feel, as if hands were coiling
around my head, pressing ever so lightly against my temples. My eyes
would automatically scan the open page, before I was even conscious of
it and lift entire paragraphs off the paper. The words would dance
before my eyes, until clusters of meaning exploded in my brain like
Eager to uncover this new possibility, opening up before me, I pushed
on, as if driven by some
relentless taskmaster. There were
times, however, when this cultivation of reason and method exhausted me, physically
as well, as mentally. At those times, I asked Isidore Baltazar about
about that sudden flash of insight, of understanding, that Sorcerers are supposed to
cultivate above all else.
He always said to me at those times, that to know something only
intuitively is meaningless.
Flashes of insight need to be translated into some coherent thought, otherwise
they are purposeless. He compared flashes of insight to sightings of inexplicable
phenomena. Both wane (decline) as swiftly, as they come. If they are
not constantly reinforced,
doubt and forgetfulness will ensue (follow), for the mind has been
conditioned to be practical
and accept only that, which is verifiable and quantifiable.
He explained, that Sorcerers are Men of Knowledge rather, than Men of
Reason. As such,
they are a step ahead of Western intellectual men, who assume
(undertake responsibility, appropriate, usurp, adopt, affect), that
reality, which is often equated with truth, is knowable through reason.
A Sorcerer claims, that all, that is knowable through reason, is our
thought processes. But, that it is only by understanding our Total
Being, at its most sophisticated and intricate level,
we eventually erase the boundaries, with which reason defines (state
precise meaning, explain) reality. Isidore Baltazar explained to me,
that Sorcerers cultivate the Totality of their Being. That is,
Sorcerers don't necessarily make a distinction between our rational and
our intuitive sides. They use both to reach the Realm of Awareness,
call Silent Knowledge, which lies beyond language, beyond thought.
Again and again, Isidore Baltazar stressed, that for one to silence
one's rational side, one first has to understand his or her thought
process at its most sophisticated and intricate level.
He believed, that philosophy, beginning with classical Greek thought,
best way of
illuminating this thought process. He never tired of repeating that,
scholars or laymen, we are nonetheless members and inheritors of our
tradition. And that means, that regardless of our level of education and
sophistication, we are captives of that intellectual tradition and the
way it interprets, what reality is. Only
superficially (shallow, trivial, insignificant), Isidore Baltazar
claimed, are we willing to accept, that what we call reality, is
a culturally determined construct. And what we
need is to accept, at the deepest level possible, that culture is the
product of a
cooperative, highly selective, highly developed, and last, but not
force, which dominate, enforce, restrain) process,
that culminates in an agreement, that shields us from other
actively strive to unmask the fact, that reality is dictated and upheld
ideas and thoughts, stemming from reason, become regimes of knowledge,
ordain (decree-order, as a part of nature or Universe; predestine,
prearrange unalterably) how we see and act in the World.
pressure is put on all of us to
make certain ideologies acceptable to ourselves.
He stressed, that Sorcerers are interested in perceiving the World in
ways, outside of what is culturally determined. What is culturally
determined is, that our personal experiences, plus a shared social
agreement on what our senses are capable of perceiving, dictate what we
perceive. Anything out of this sensorially agreed-upon perceptual Realm
is automatically encapsulated (summarise) and disregarded by the
rational mind. In this manner, the frail blanket of human assumptions
is never damaged. Sorcerers
teach, that perception takes place in a place outside the sensorial
Realm. Sorcerers know, that something more vast exists, than what we
have agreed our senses can perceive. Perception takes place at a point
outside the body, outside the senses, they say. But it isn't enough for
one merely to believe this premise (proposition, logic). It is not
simply a matter of reading or hearing about it from someone else. In
order for one to embody it, one has to experience it.
Isidore Baltazar said, that
Sorcerers continually and actively strive to break that frail
blanket of human assumptions. However, Sorcerers don't plunge into the
darkness blindly. They are prepared. They know, that whenever they leap
into the Unknown, they need to have a well-developed rational side.
Only then will they be able to explain and make sense of whatever they
might bring forth from their journeys into the Unknown.
He added, that I wasn't to understand Sorcery through reading the works
of philosophers. Rather, I
was to see, that both philosophy and Sorcery are highly sophisticated
Knowledge. Both for Sorcerer and philosopher, the truth of our
Being-in-the World does not
remain unthought. A Sorcerer, however, goes a step further. He acts upon his
findings, which are, already by definition, outside our culturally
accepted possibilities. Isidore
Baltazar believed, that philosophers are intellectual Sorcerers.
However, their probings and
their pursuits always remain mental endeavors.
Philosophers cannot act upon the
World, they understand and explain so well, except in the culturally
Philosophers add to an already existing body of Knowledge. They
existing philosophical texts. New thoughts and ideas, resulting from
intense studying, don't change them, except perhaps in a psychological
sense. They might become
kinder, more understanding people or, perhaps, the opposite. However,
nothing, of what philosophers do philosophically, will change their
of the World, for they work from within the Social Order. Philosophers
uphold (support, stand by, raise) the Social Order, even if
intellectually they don't agree with it. Philosophers
are Sorcerers manque (manque - unfulfilled or frustrated in realizing an ambition).
also build upon an existing body of Knowledge. However, they don't
build upon this Knowledge by accepting, what has already been
established and proven by other Sorcerers. Sorcerers have to prove to
themselves anew, that that, which already stands as accepted, does
indeed exist, does indeed yield (provide) to perceiving. To accomplish this monumental task, Sorcerers need an
extraordinary amount of Energy, which
they obtain by detaching themselves from the Social Order, without
retreating from the World. Sorcerers break the agreement, that has
defined Reality, without breaking up in the process themselves.
took hold of me shortly after we crossed the border into Mexico at
justification for going to Mexico with Isidore Baltazar, which had
seemed so brilliant to me
before, now seemed only a shady excuse for forcing him to take me along. I doubted
now, that I would be able to read sociological theory at the witches'
house, as I
I would do there exactly, what I did on all previous occcasions: sleep
weird dreams, and try desperately to figure out, what the people in the Sorcerers'
World wanted me to do.
regrets?" Isidore Baltazar's voice made me jump. He was loooking at me
probably been watching me for a while.
course not," I hastened to assure him, wondering whether he was
referring to my general
feeling or to my quietness. I stammered
some inanities (remark) about the heat, then turned to look out the
speak anymore, mainly because I was scared and morose. I could feel
my skin like a swarm of ants. Isidore
Baltazar, on the other hand, warmed up to his ebullient (boiling with
excitement, enthusiasm) best. He was elated. He sang and
told me inane (foolish) jokes. He recited poetry in English, Spanish,
and Portuguese. Even tidbits
of spicy gossip, about people we both knew at UCLA, failed to dispel my gloom. That
I wasn't a responsive audience didn't mean a thing to him.
Even my yelling at him, to leave me alone, didn't dampen his high
were watching us, they would believe, that we've been married for
commented in between fits of laughter. If Sorcerers
were watching us, I thought dejectedly (despair, depression), they
would know, that something is wrong. They
would know, that Isidore Baltazar and I are not equals. I am factual
and final about my actions and decisions.
For him actions and decisions are fluid, whatever their outcome, and
their finality is measured in that, he assumes, full responsibility for
them, regardless of how trivial or how significant they are.
We drove, straight south. We didn't meander (wander), as we usually
did, in order to get to the witches'
house. When we left Guaymas - never before had we been that far south
on our way
witches' house - I asked him: "Where are you taking me?" He casually
"We are taking the long way. Don't worry." That was the
same answer he gave me, when I asked again during our dinner in Navojoa. We left
Navojoa behind and drove south, heading toward Mazatlan. I was beside
midnight, Isidore Baltazar veered off the main highway and turned into
The van swayed and rattled, as he drove over potholes and stones.
Behind us the
was visible only for an instant in the scant flicker of the
tail-lights, then it disappeared
altogether, swallowed by the bushes, that fringed the road. After an
excruciatingly long ride, we came to an abrupt halt, and
he switched off the headlights.
are we?" I asked, looking all around me. For a moment
I saw nothing. Then, as my eyes got accustomed to the darkness, I saw
white specks not too far ahead of us. Tiny stars, that appeared to have
fallen from the sky. The
exuberant fragrance of the jasmine bushes, climbing up the roof and
ramada, had been so entirely blocked out of my mind, that, when I
it, I felt, as though I had inhaled that perfumed air before only in a
began to giggle. It all gave me an almost childlike sense of wonder and
Esperanza's house. "It was here,
I first came with Delia Flores,"
I mumbled to myself. Then in one
instant I was nearly choking with anxiety, reached for Isidore
asked, "But how can this be possible?"
he asked in a bewildered tone. He was
agitated and ruffled. His hand, which usually was always warm, was icy
house was in the outskirts of Ciudad Obregon, more than a hundred miles
drove here myself. And I never left the paved road."
I looked all around me in the darkness, and I recalled, that I had also
driven from that house to
Tucson, and I had never been in or near Navojoa in my life. Isidore
Baltazar was silent for a few minutes. He seemed preoccupied; searching
in his mind
was none, that would have pleased me. Shrugging,
he turned to face me. There was a
force, an edge to him, much like there was to the Nagual Mariano
that to him there was no doubt, that I had been Dreaming-Awake, when,
I left Hermosillo for the healer's house. "I suggest, that you let it
go at that," he admonished
"I know from personal experience, how the mind can go in circles,
trying to arrange the
unarrangeable." I was about
to protest, when he cut me off and pointed to the light, moving toward
anticipation, as though he knew exactly, to whom that enormous, swaying shadow, on
the ground, belonged.
the caretaker," I murmured in astonishment, as he came to stand in
front of us.
I put my arms around his neck and kissed him on both cheeks.
see you here," I muttered. He smiled
sheepishly, but didn't talk to me. He embraced
Isidore Baltazar, patting him repeatedly on the back the way Latin men
wont (accustomed, used to) to do, when greeting each other, then
mumbled something to him. Hard, as I
tried to listen, I couldn't understand a single word. The
caretaker led us to the house. There was
something forbidding about the massive front door. It was closed. So were the
barred windows. No light, no sound escaped the thick walls. We circled
the house to the backyard, enclosed by a high fence; to the door, that
directly to a square room.
I felt reassured, upon recognizing the four doors. It was the same
room, I had been taken to by Delia
sparsely furnished, as I remembered it: a narrow bed, a table, and
several chairs. The
caretaker placed the oil lamp on the table and then urged me to sit
Isidore Baltazar, he draped an arm around his shoulders and walked with
out into the dark corridor. The
suddenness of their departure left me stunned. Before I
fully recovered from my surprise and my indecision, as to whether I
the caretaker reappeared. He handed me
a blanket, a pillow, a flashlight, and a chamber pot. "I would
rather use the outhouse," I said primly (excessively formal). The caretaker
shrugged his shoulders, then pushed the chamber pot under the bed.
"Just in case you have to go in the middle of the night." His eyes
glinted with emphatic glee, as he told me, that Esperanza kept a big,
"He doesn't take kindly to strangers, wandering across the yard at night." As if on
cue, I heard a loud barking.
not a stranger," I said casually, trying to ignore the ominous note in
"I've been here before. I know the dog."
caretaker lifted his brows in surprise, then asked, "Does the dog know
He sighed, and reaching for the oil lamp on the table, he turned toward
take away the light," I said, stepping quickly in front of him, to
block his way. I tried to
smile, but my lips stuck to my teeth. "Where is
everybody?" I finally managed to ask. "Where are Esperanza and
the moment, I'm the only person, who's here," he said.
is Isidore Baltazar?" I asked, panic-stricken. "He promised to take me
house. I've to work on my paper." My thoughts;
my words were all jumbled and confused, as I talked about my reasons for accompanying
Isidore Baltazar to Mexico. I was close
to tears, as I told the caretaker, how important it was for me to
finish my work. He patted my
back most reassuringly and made soothing noises, as if he were talking
Baltazar is asleep. You know how he is. The instant his head hits the
gone out of
faintly and added, "I'll leave my door open, in case you need me. Just
call me, if
you have a
nightmare or something, and I'll come right away." Before I had
a chance to tell him, that I hadn't had one, since the last time I was
caretaker disappeared down the dark corridor.
The oil lamp on the table began to sputter, and moments later it went
It was pitch dark. I lay down
fully clothed and closed my eyes. All was
silent except for a soft, raspy breathing coming from far away.
Conscious of that breathing
sound, of the hardness and narrowness of my bed, I soon gave up the
in hand, I crept down the corridor on noiseless feet, hoping to find
the caretaker. Softly, I
rapped on door after door. Noone
answered. No sound came from any of the rooms. An odd, almost oppressive silence had
settled over the house. Even the rustlings and chirpings outside had
As I suspected, I had been left alone in the house. Rather than
worry about it, I decided to look into the rooms. They were
bedrooms; eight of them of the same size and disposition; rather small, perfectly
square, and furnished only with a bed and a night table. The walls
and the two windows in all of them were painted white, and the tile
intricate design. I opened the
sliding doors of the closets, by gently pushing their bottom left
my foot. I
knew, without knowing how I knew, that a tap or gentle kick on that spot released a
mechanism, that opened the doors. I moved the
folded blankets, stacked up on the floor, in one of the closets and got
small secret door. I released the concealed dead bolt, disguised as a
wall light socket. Since I was
beyond being surprised, I accepted my knowledge of the trap doors; a knowledge
that was, of course, inadmissible (not allowed) to my conscious mind. I opened the
small, secret door, crawled through the tiny opening, and found myself
the closet of the next room. With no great astonishment- since I
already knew it- I discovered,
that by squatting through these secret openings, I could go from one to
I swore under my breath, as my flashlight went out. Hoping to
revive the batteries, I took them out and screwed them back in again. It was no
use: they were dead. The darkness
was so intense in these rooms, that I couldn't see my own hands. Afraid
hitting myself against a door or a wall, I slowly felt my way into the
was so great, that I was gasping and shaking, as I pulled myself
against the wall. I stood in
the corridor for a long time, wondering, in which direction to go to
find my own
distance came fragments of voices. I couldn't
tell, whether the sound came from inside the house or from the outside. I followed
the sound. It led me to the patio. I vividly
recalled that green, almost tropical patio past the stone archway, with
foliage, its fragrance of orange blossoms, and honeysuckle vines.
hadn't taken, but a few steps, when I saw the enormous silhouette of a
against the wall. The beast growled. Its blazing eyes sent a chill
running up my spine. Instead of giving in to my fear, or perhaps
because of it, I felt the strangest thing happen. It was, as if I had
always been folded like a Japanese fan or like a folded cutout
figurine. Suddenly, I unfolded. The physical sensation was almost
painful. The dog watched me, confused. It began to whine like a puppy.
It flapped its ears and coiled on the ground. I stood there glued to
the spot. I wasn't afraid: I simply couldn't move. Then, as if it were
the most natural thing in the world, I folded back, turned around, and
left. This time I had no trouble, finding my room.
I awoke with a headache and that illusion of not having slept at all,
which, as an
knew so well.
of my body were disconnected. I groaned
out loud, as I heard a door open and light fell over my face. Feebly
(lacking strength, weak), I tried to turn on my other side, without
falling off the narrow bed.
"Good morning!" Esperanza exclaimed, stepping into the room in a sweep
of skirts and
"Actually, good afternoon," she corrected herself, pointing at the sun
wonderful gaiety in her, a delightful power in her voice, when she told
me, that it
who had thought of retrieving my books and papers from the van, before Isidoro
Baltazar left with the old Nagual. Abruptly, I
sat up. I was fully awake.
didn't the Nagual Mariano Aureliano come to say hello to me? Why didn't
tell me, he was leaving?" I blurted out. I mentioned
to her, that now
I would never be able to finish my paper and enter graduate school. Esperanza
regarded me with a curious expression, and said, that if writing my
mercenary (greedy, motivated for material gain) act, I would never be
able to bring it through. Before I had
a chance to tell her, that personally I didn't care, if never entered
added, "You don't do your paper to get into graduate school. You do it,
because you love doing it; because there's nothing else, at the moment,
would rather do."
is plenty I would rather do."
what?" she challenged me. I thought
for a moment, but couldn't come up with anything specific. I had to
admit, if only to myself, that I had never enjoyed working on a paper
as much, as
I did on
For once, I
had started with the reading and research at the beginning of the term
as I usually did, until a few days before the paper was due. It was the
knowledge, that it was my ticket into graduate school, that had spoiled
as if again privy to my thoughts, said, that I should forget about
only think of writing a good paper. "Once you're
part of the Sorcerers' World and begin to grasp the nature of Dreams,
you are on
to understanding, what Sorcery is all about; and that understanding
frees you." I looked at
I couldn't figure out, what she was trying to tell me. "It frees you
from wanting anything." Esperanza enunciated the sentence very
as if I were
She regarded me thoughtfully, then added, "Greed is your middle name,
and yet you don't need or want
Her voice trailed off, as she began to arrange my books, papers, and
stacks of index cards on the table. Her face was
radiant, as she turned to look at me. In her
hands, she held several pencils. "I sharpened them for you with a razor
sharpen them for you, whenever they get dull." She placed
the pencils beside my legal-sized writing pad and then flung her arms
wide, as if
encompass the whole room. "This is a wonderful place for you to work.
sure of that," I said. Seeing, that she was about to leave, I asked
her, where Isidore Baltazar had
slept last night.
his straw mat. Where else?" Giggling softly, she gathered up her skirts
and petticoats, and stepped
out into the yard. I watched her, until she disappeared behind the
hurt, dazzled from staring into the light. Moments
later, there was a loud knock on one of the doors, that opened into the
you decent?" the caretaker asked, pushing the door open, before I had a
say, that I
was. "Nourishment for your brain," he said, placing a bamboo tray on
He poured me
a bowl of clear broth, then urged me to eat the machaca Sonorense. "I made it
myself," he informed me. The mixture
of scrambled eggs, shredded meat, onions and hot chilies was delicious.
you finish, I'll take you to the movies," he said.
I finish eating?" I asked excitedly, stuffing a whole tortilla in my
you finish with your paper," he clarified. As soon, as
I was done with the meal, he said, that I had to get acquainted with
you won't be able to go outside. Not even to the outhouse." I was about
to tell him, that I had actually met the dog and had gone to the
with a swift gesture of his chin he motioned me to follow him into the
black dog lay, curled up in the shade of the high fence of plaited
(length of interwoven strands, interweave) cane. The caretaker
squatted beside the animal and scratched it behind the ears. Bending
lower, he whispered something in the animal's ear. Abruptly,
the caretaker rose. Startled, I stepped backward, falling on my seat.
the caretaker, with one incredible leap, cleared the high fence.
I scrambled to my feet and
was about to run out of there fast, when the dog stretched its forepaws
placed them on my feet. I could feel the pressure of the paws through
my shoes. The dog looked up at
me and opened its muzzle in a wide, drawn-out yawn. Its tongue and gums were
sign of the finest pedigree (recorded ancestry, lineage)." I was so
startled to hear the caretaker behind me, that I wheeled around. I lost
fell over the dog. I didn't dare move at first, then slowly I eased my
head to the
dog's amber-colored eyes were fixed on me. The dog bared its teeth, not
growl, but in a most friendly, doggish smile. "Now you're
friends," the caretaker pronounced, helping me up. "And it's time for
next three days were dominated entirely by my desire to finish my task.
I worked for
stretches, but somehow didn't feel the passing of time. It wasn't,
I was so engrossed in my work, that I lost track of the hours. Rather,
seemed to have transformed itself into a matter of space. That is, I
began to count time, as
interludes (short musical piece inserted between the parts of a longer
composition); interludes between my sightings of Esperanza. Every day
around midmorning, when I was eating my breakfast - whatever she had
for me in the kitchen - she would suddenly appear. Soundlessly, she
seemed to materialize out of the
perpetual bluish smoke, that hung about the kitchen like a cloud. Invariably,
she combed my hair with a coarse wooden comb, but never said a word. Neither did
I would see her again in the afternoons. As soundlessly, as she
appeared in the kitchen, she would
abruptly materialize in the yard, and sit in her custom-made rocking
stone archway. For hours,
she would stare into space, as if she could see beyond the limits of
a brief nod or a quick smile, there was no interaction between us at
yet I knew,
that I was protected in her silence. The dog, as
if it had been directed by the caretaker, never left my side. It
and night, even to the outhouse.
I particularly looked forward to our late afternoon outings, when the
dog and I would race across the
fields toward the row of trees, that divided the plots of
would sit in the shade, staring into space like Esperanza. It sometimes
seemed to me, that I could reach out and touch the distant mountains. I would
listen to the breeze, rustling through the branches, and wait, until
the yellow light of the
setting Sun turned the leaves into golden chimes (set of bells, tuned
to a scale).
I waited, until the leaves turned blue and
finally black. Then the dog
and I would race back to the house, to escape the faint voice of the
about the loneliness of that arid (very dry, lifeless, dull, lacking
fourth day I awoke, startled. From beyond
the door, that opened to the yard, a voice called out, "Time to get up,
bones." The caretaker's voice was drowsily indifferent.
don't you come in?" I asked. "Where were you all these days?" There was no
wrapped in my blanket, waiting for him to appear, too tense and sleepy
to go out and
myself, why he was hiding. After a
while I roused myself and went outside. The yard was
In an effort
to chase my sleepiness away, I drew bucket after bucket of cold water
my head. My
was different that morning: Esperanza didn't show up. It was only
after I settled down to work, that I realized, that the dog had also
I thumbed through my books. I had very little energy and even less
work. I just
sat at my table for hours, gazing at the distant mountains through my
opened door. The
transparent silence of the afternoon was broken now and then by the
faint clucking of hens
scratching the ground for seeds and by the penetrating cry of the
cicadas, vibrating in the blue,
cloudless light, as if it were still noon. I was about
to doze off, when I heard some noise in the yard. I looked up
caretaker and the dog lay side by side on a straw mat in the shade of
There was something odd about the way they lay, sprawled (spread out in
a straggling/disordered position) out on the straw mat. They were so
still, they appeared dead. With a
mixture of concern and curiosity, I tiptoed toward them. The
caretaker noticed my presence, before the dog did.
He opened his eyes wide in an exaggerated
fashion, then in one swift motion sat up crosslegged and asked, "Did you miss me?"
did!" I exclaimed, then laughed nervously. It seemed an
odd question for him to ask. "Why didn't you come into my room this morning?" Seeing his
blank expression I added, "Where have you been for the past three days?" Instead of
answering, he asked in a harsh tone.
"How is your work coming along?" I was so
taken aback by his brusqueness (abrupt, blunt, gruff, fierce), I didn't
know, what to say. I didn't
know, whether I should tell him, that my paper was none of his business
whether I should confess, that I was stuck. "Don't upset
yourself, trying to think up an explanation," he said.
"Just tell me the truth. Tell me,
that you need my expert opinion on your term paper." Afraid I
would burst out laughing, I squatted beside the dog and scratched its
caretaker demanded. "Can't you admit, that without me you're lost?" Uncertain
about the state of his mind, I decided, it was better to humor him,
I said that, indeed, I hadn't written a single line the whole day; and
that I had been waiting for
him; knowing, that only he could rescue me.
I assured him, that it wasn't really up to my professors at school, but
up to him to decide my fate, as
a graduate student.
The caretaker beamed at me, then asked, that I bring him my paper. He
wanted to have a look at it. "It's in
English," I said pointedly. "You won't be able to read it." My impulse,
to add, that even, if it were in Spanish, he wouldn't be able to
understand it, was checked
by the certainty, that I wasn't that ill mannered after all. He insisted,
I bring him the paper. I did. He spread
out the pages all around him, some on the mat, others on the dusty
retrieved from his shirt pocket a pair of metal-rimmed glasses and put
important to look like an educated man," he whispered, leaning toward
pricked up one ear, then made a soft growling sound, as if to agree
shifted positions, and the caretaker motioned me to sit between him and
like an owl: erudite and austere (strict, sombre, grave), as he pored
over the loose sheets on the ground. He made
disapproving, clucking sounds with his tongue, scratched his head, shuffled and
reshuffled the sheets, as if trying to find some order, that eluded
(avoid, escape from) him. The muscles
in my neck and shoulders ached from sitting in that position. Sighing with
impatience, I reclined against the fence and closed my eyes. In spite of
my growing irritation, I must have dozed off, for I was suddenly
startled by a
insistent buzz. I opened my
eyes. Sitting nearby, facing me, sat a gorgeously dressed,
beautiful-looking Woman. She
said something to me, but I couldn't hear, what it was. The buzzing in
leaned forward, toward me, and in a loud, clear voice asked, "Aren't you going to say
hello to me?"
"Nelida! When did you get here? I was trying to shake off the buzzing in
my ears," I explained. She nodded,
then drew up her long, shapely legs under the skirt,
she was wearing, and wrapped her
arms around them.
good to see you," she said dreamily. With
frowning brows, the caretaker mumbled to himself, as he studied the
scribbles are not only hard to read," he pronounced after a while, "but
stared at me with narrow, critical eyes, as if daring me to contradict
I fidgeted (constantly moving nervously hands/feet), eager to get away,
to escape the scrutiny of her unnerving gaze. She leaned
forward and grabbed my arm in a firm grip. The
caretaker began to read from the pages with an exasperating (made
irritated, provoke) slowness. What he read
sounded familiar, but whether he actually followed the text, I couldn't
because I couldn't concentrate. I was too irritated by the capricious
manner, in which he cut the
sentences, the phrases, and sometimes even the words. "All in all,"
he stated upon finishing with the last page, "it's a badly written
the loose sheets in a pile, then leaned against the fence. Very
deliberately he bent his knees up in the same position, Isidore
Baltazar had taught me (the
right leg crossed over with the ankle resting on the left thigh) and
closed his eyes. He was
silent for so long, I thought, he had fallen asleep, and was thus
startled, when, in a slow,
measured voice, he began to talk about anthropology, history and
seemed to come into being, while he was talking, and words flowed out of him clearly
and precisely, with a simplicity, that was easy to follow, easy to
to him attentively. Yet at the same time I couldn't help thinking:
"How could he
know so much about Western intellectual trends? How educated was he? Who was he
repeat everything again?" I asked, the instant he finished speaking.
"I'd like to
I said, is all in your paper," the caretaker assured me. "It is buried
footnotes, quotes, and undeveloped ideas." He leaned
closer, until his head almost touched mine.
"It's not enough to cite works in an effort to supply your paper with
the veracity (accuracy, precision, honesty, truth) it lacks."
I could only stare at him. "Will you
help me write my paper?" I asked.
I can't do that," he said with a grave look in his eyes. "That's
something, you must do on your own."
I can't," I protested. "You just pointed out, how badly written my
paper is. Believe me, that's
my best shot."
not!" He contradicted me forcefully, then gazed at me with an air of
astonishment, that was
mingled with a friendly warmth: "I'm sure
your professors will accept the paper, once it's neatly typed."
I wouldn't. There is nothing original about it." I was too
stunned to be upset.
only paraphrasing, what you have read," the caretaker continued. "I
more on your own opinions, even if they contradict, what is expected of
"It's only a
term paper," I said defensively. "I know, it needs more work, but I
also need to
professors. Whether I
agree with the expressed views is beside the point. I need to get
school, and that entails, in part, pleasing my professors."
you want to draw strength from the Sorcerers' World," he said, "you can
no longer work under such premises (logic). Ulterior (lying beoynd,
that is evident) motives are not acceptable in this Magical World of
ours. If you want be a graduate student, then you have to behave like a
Warrior, not like a Woman, who has been trained to please. You know,
even when you are beastially nasty, you strive (exert/spend much
effort/energy) to please. But from now, whenever you write, since you
were not trained to do writing, you can certainly adopt a new mood: the
do you mean by the Warriors' Mood?" I asked. "Do I have to fight my
professors," he said. "You have to fight yourself; every inch of the
And you have to do it so artfully and so cleverly, that noone will
notice your struggle." I wasn't quite
sure, what he meant, and I didn't want to know, either. Before he could say
anything else, I asked him, how he knew so much about anthropology, history, and
Smiling, he shook his head. "Didn't you notice,
how I did it?" he asked, then proceeded to answer his own question.
"I picked the thoughts out of thin air. I simply stretched my Energy Fibers and hooked
those thoughts, as one hooks fish with a fishing line, from the immeasurable ocean of
Thoughts and Ideas, that is out there."
made a wide gesture with his arms, as though to encompass the very air
around him. I argued, "To pick up thoughts, Isidore Baltazar told me,
one must know, which are the ones, that might be useful. So you must
have studied history, philosophy, and anthropology."
I did at one time," he said undecidedly, scratching his head in
perplexity (bewilderment, puzzlement). "I must have."
had to!" I stated sententiously (given to pompous moralising), as if I
had made a great discovery.
Sighing loudly, he leaned against the fence and closed his eyes. Nelida
asked, "Why do you insist on always being right?" Startled to
hear her speak, I stared at her open-mouthed. The corners
of her lips curled up into a mischievous, secret smile. Then she
to close my
had been so
engrossed in listening, to what the caretaker had to say about my
paper, I had
all about her, even though she had been sitting right in front of me. Or had she?
The thought, that she might have gone and returned without me noticing
filled me with anxiety. "Don't let
that bother you," Nelida said softly, as if I had voiced my fears out
are in the
habit of coming and going, without anyone ever noticing us." Her tone
canceled the chilling effect of her statement. Gazing from
one to the other,
I wondered, whether they would actually vanish, unperceived,
before my very eyes. I tried to
make sure, they wouldn't. Stretching
like a cat, I lay flat on the straw mat and inched my foot toward the
dress, which trailed on the ground; my hand went to the caretaker's
noticed the tug on his sleeve, for he sat up abruptly and stared at me. I closed my
eyes, but kept watching them through my lashes. They didn't
move. Their straight postures betrayed no trace of fatigue, whereas I
keep my eyes open. A cool
breeze, fragrant with the scent of eucalyptus, sprang up. Streaks of
colored clouds trailed
across the sky, and the deep, transparent blue grew slowly more
diffused. It melted away so
languidly (tenderly), it was impossible to distinguish, what was cloud
and what was sky, what was day
and what was night. With my foot
on the hem of Nelida's dress and clutching onto the caretaker's jacket,
as if my
depended on it, I fell asleep. It seemed,
that only moments had passed, when I was awakened by a hand, touching my face.
I whispered, knowing instinctively, that the Woman, sitting beside me,
someone else. She was murmuring something. I had the
feeling, she had been murmuring for a long time and I had just awakened
I wanted to
sit up, but the Woman prevented me from doing so with a gentle, but firm touch on my
flame flickered somewhere unsteadily in the darkness. It shed a
gentle, wavering pallor (unnatural paleness) upon her face.
It made her look ghostlike. She seemed
to grow, as she moved closer. Her eyes, too, grew larger, as they
The arch of her brows, like a curve drawn with a black marker, was concentrated
in a frown.
"Nelida!" I sighed with relief. Smiling
faintly, she nodded. I wanted to
ask her about the caretaker and about my term paper, but she pressed her fingers
against my lips and continued with her murmurings. The sound
grew fainter and fainter. It seemed to come from a great distance, and
faded away all together. Nelida rose
and motioned me to do the same. I did so and
noticed, that we were not outside in the yard, but in one of the empty bedrooms
along the corridor.
is my term paper?" I asked, alarmed at the possibility, that the wind
the pages. The idea, that I might have to begin my work from scratch,
an imperious (domineering, dictatorial) gesture with her chin,
motioning me to follow her. She was much
taller, than I, and looked exactly like Florinda. Had it not
been, that she was so delicate, I wouldn't have been able to tell them
moment, she appeared, as an infinished version of Florinda, as Florinda
she was younger. There was
something so ethereal about Nelida, so frail, and yet so appealing. I
Isidore Baltazar, that if I were a man, I would go for her. He had
retorted (I had hoped in jest), that that was perhaps the reason, why
to me. We
toward my room. I heard
steps all around me. It couldn't
be Nelida, I decided, for she walked so quietly, she seemed not to
absurd notion, that I was hearing my own steps, made me tiptoe as
a cat, yet I
still kept hearing the steps. Someone's
feet moved, like mine did; the same rhythm, echoing slightly on the
backward several times, but there was, of course, noone behind me.
(dispense with, rid by scattering) my fear, I giggled out loud. Nelida
turned around abruptly. I thought, she was going to reprimand me, but
arm around my shoulders. Her touch wasn't particularly warm or tender. I didn't
care. I liked her, and her touch was very reassuring to me. Still
giggling, and with the sound of footsteps, all around us, we entered my
brilliance hung about the walls, as if a fog had seeped through the
four doors in
which at that moment I could not see. The fog had
changed the shape of the room, giving it strange contours, almost
of how much I blinked and squinted, all, I could see, was the table, I
for the past three days. I stepped closer. To my
relief, I saw my paper arranged in a neat pile. Next to it were all my
cried out excitedly, wheeling around. I could no longer see her. The fog was
denser now. It closed around me with every breath, I drew. It seeped
me with a deep, excited feeling of lightness and lucidity (shining). Guided by
some invisible source, I sat at the table and spread out the pages all
around me. Right under
my watchful eyes the entire structure of my paper emerged, superimposing itself on my
original draft, like a double exposure on a frame of film. I lost
myself in admiration of the skilled development of the themes. As if
maneuvered by some invisible hand, that thought and wrote, the
themselves, imposinging a new order. It was all so gorgeously clear and simple, that
I laughed out of joy. "Write it
echoed softly in the room. Curious, I glanced all around me, but I saw
that whatever, I was experiencing, was definitely more, than a dream, I
notepad and a pencil, and began to write with a furious speed. Ideas came
to me with an incredible clarity and ease.
They pulsated in my head and in my body like
sound waves. I simultaneously heard and saw the words. Yet it
wasn't my eyes or my ears, that perceived, what was there before me.
Rather, it was some
filaments within me, that were chink out (strike) and, like some
noiseless vacuum cleaner, sucking up
the words, shining before me, like dust particles. After a
while, the order, superimposed on my paper, began to blur. One by one
I tried to hold on to this splendid structure, knowing, that it would
trace. Only the memory of my awareness, of that magnificent lucidity,
that, too, was extinguished, as if a candle had been blown out.
A curl of fog, as fine, as a thread, lingered (stay) in the room. Then
it withdrew in little ripples, and an
oppressive darkness closed in around me. I was so drained,
I knew, I was going to faint. "Lie down!" I didn't
even bother to look up, knowing, that I wouldn't be able to see anyone.
rose from my chair and staggered (move/stand unsteadily) to my bed.
a moment, I just lay on my bed, vaguely aware of my amazing,
astonishing Dream, so unlike any
other Dream. For the first time ever, I was conscious of all, I had
whispered, as a soft, raspy, murmuring, coming from the other end of the room,
intruded on my reveries. I sat up only to lie back quickly, as the room
began to spin
I waited for
a few moments, then tried again. I stood and took a few hesitant steps.
collapsed on the floor and hit my head against the wall. "Shit!" I
cried out, when the room kept spinning around me. I'm fainting.
be so dramatic," Florinda said, then giggled, as she saw my bewildered
first my forehead, then my neck, as if she were afraid, I might be
aren't fainting," she pronounced. "You need to replenish your Energy."
you happy to see me?" She took my arm and helped me back to the bed.
not." I contradicted her, more out of habit, than conviction. Although
I didn't feel
was certain, my dizziness was caused by a lack of food. Except for
at all during the day.
wondered, why you didn't," Florinda said, responding to my thoughts.
delicious stew for you."
did you get here?" I asked. "I have been silently calling you for days." Closing her
eyes, Florinda made a humming sound, as if the noise would help her remember.
"We have been here for several days, I think," she finally said.
think!" I was completely taken aback, my temper getting the better of
me. I quickly
"Why didn't you let me know, that you were here?" More, than
hurt, I was puzzled, that I had failed to notice their presence. "How
have been so
unaware?" I mumbled, more to myself, than to her. Florinda
regarded me with a curious expression in her eyes. She seemed surprised
we had let you know, that we were here, you wouldn't have been able to
concentrate on your work," she remarked sagaciously (shrewd). "As you
well know, instead of writing your paper, you would have been pending
(awaiting) on our comings and goings. All your energy would have been
spent, in trying to find out, what we do, wouldn't it?" Her voice was
and raspy, and a strange, excited light made her eyes even more shiny,
than usual. "It was a deliberate act on our part, that you
work without distractions," she assured me. Then she went on to
explain, that the caretaker had helped me with my paper, only after he
was satisfied, with what I had done so far. She claimed, that in
Dreaming he found the inherent order of my notes.
too, saw the inherent order of my notes," I said smugly
(self-satisfied). "I, too, saw it in a Dream."
course you did," Florinda readily agreed. "We pulled you into Dreaming,
so you could work on your paper."
pulled me into Dreaming?" I repeated. There was something startlingly
normal about her statement. Yet at the same time it made me feel
apprehensive. I had an uncanny sense, that I was finally close to
understanding, what Dreaming-Awake was, but somehow I couldn't quite
grasp it. In an effort to make sense, I told Florinda all,
had happened from the moment I saw the caretaker and the dog in the
yard. It was difficult to make it sound coherent, for I couldn't decide
myself, when I had been
awake and when I had been Dreaming. To my utter bewilderment, I could
recall the exact outline of my paper, as I had seen it, superimposed on
my original draft. "My concentration was far too keen for me to have
been Dreaming," I pointed out.
precisely, what Dreaming-Awake is," Florinda interrupted me. "That's
why, you remember it so well." Her
tone was, that of an impatient teacher, explaining a simple, but
fundamental point to a backward child. "I've already told you, that
Dreaming-Awake has nothing to do with falling asleep and having a
took notes," I said, as if that would invalidate her statement. Seeing
her nod, I asked her, if I would find, whatever I saw in
jotted (write briefly and hastily) down in my own handwriting on my
she assured me. "But before you do, you'll have to eat
holding out her hand, helped me to my feet. To put a semblance of order
my appearance, she tucked my shirt into my jeans and brushed off the
pieces of straw, sticking to
She held me
at arm's length and regarded me critically. Not satisfied with the
fuss with my hair, tweaking (pinch/pluck/twist sharply) the unruly
strands this way and that. "You
look quite frightful with your hair sticking out all over the place,"
used to taking a hot shower upon awakening," I said, and followed her
out into the
she was heading toward the kitchen, I told her, that I had to go to the
walk with you." Noticing my displeased face, she added, that she only
make sure, I
didn't get dizzy and fall into the shit hole. Actually, I
was glad to hold on to her arm, as we made our way to the yard. I almost
fell, as we stepped outside, not so much from weakness, as from the
late in the day it was. "What's the
matter?" Florinda asked. "Do you feel faint?" I pointed up
at the sky. A faint gleam was all, that remained of the Sun's light.
have lost a day," I said. My voice had all, but vanished, even before I
I struggled to assimilate the idea, that indeed a whole night and the
whole day had passed, but my mind would not accept it. Not
being able to account for time, measured in the usual
break Time's Flux (Flow)," Florinda answered my thoughts. "Time, in the
fashion we measure it, doesn't exist, when one Dreams, the way
Sorcerers Dream. Sorcerers stretch or compress Time at will. For
Sorcerers, Time is not a matter of minutes or hours or days, but an
altogether different matter. When Dreaming-Awake, our perceptual
faculties are heightened," she proceeded in a patient, measured tone:
"However, when it comes to perceiving Time, something altogether
different happens. The perception of Time does not become heightened,
but is canceled out completely." She added, that Time is always a
factor of Consciousness; that is, to be aware of Time is a
psychological state, that we automatically transform into physical
measurements. It is so ingrained in us, that we can hear it, even when
we are not consciously aware of it, a clock ticking inside us,
subliminally keeping track of Time. In Dreaming-Awake, that capacity is
absent," she emphasized. "A thoroughly new, unfamiliar structure, which
somehow is not to be understood or interpreted, as we normally do with
Time, takes over."
"Then all I will ever consciously know about Dreaming-Awake is, that
Time has either been stretched or compressed," I said, trying to come
to grips with her elucidation (explanation).
"You will understand a
great deal more, than that," she assured me emphatically: "Once you become adept
(proficient, highly skilled, expert) at entering Heightened Awareness,
as Mariano Aureliano calls it, you'll be aware then of
whatever you wish, because Sorcerers are not involved in measuring Time. They are
involved in using it; in stretching or compressing it at will."
earlier, that you all helped me into Dreaming," I said. "Then some of
must know how long, that state lasted."
said, that she and her companions were perennially (all the time) in a
state of Dreaming-Awake (not
visible to ordinary eyes, LM), that it was precisely
their joint effort, that pulled me into Dreaming-Awake, but that they never kept track of it.
you implying (hint), that I might be Dreaming-Awake now?" I asked,
knowing the answer before she responded. "If I
am, what did I do to reach this state? What steps did I take?"
simplest step imaginable," Florinda said. "You didn't let yourself be
your Usual Self.
That is the Key, that opens doors. We have told you many
times and in many ways, that Sorcery is not at all, what you think it is. To say, that to stop
yourself from being your Usual Self, is Sorcery's most Complex Secret, sounds like idiocy, but
it isn't. It is the Key to Power, therefore the most difficult thing a Sorcerer does. And yet, it isn't
something complex or impossible to understand. It doesn't boggle
(baffle, elude) the Mind,
and for that reason
noone can even suspect its Importance or take it seriously.
Judging by the result of your latest Dreaming-Awake,
I can say, that
you have accumulated enough Energy, through preventing yourself from
being your Usual Self."
patted my shoulder and turned away. "I'll see you in the kitchen," she
door was ajar (open), but no sound came from the inside.
"Florinda?" I whispered. A soft
laughter answered my call, but I couldn't see anyone. As soon, as
my eyes became accustomed to the penumbra (partly darkened fringe
around sunspot), I saw Florinda and Nelida sitting
around the table. Their faces were unnaturally vivid in that tenuous
(weak, flimsy) light. Their same hair,
their same eyes, their same noses and mouths, gleamed, as if lit by an
was the most eerie thing to see two Beings so totally alike.
two are so beautiful, that you're scary," I said and stepped closer. The two
Women gazed at each other, as if to validate my statement, then burst
into a most
laughter. I felt a curious prickle running down my spine. Before I had
a chance to
on their odd sounding laughter, they stopped. Nelida
beckoned me to sit on the empty chair beside her. I took a
deep breath. I had to stay calm, I told myself, as I sat down. There was a
tenseness and a crispness about Nelida, that unnerved me. She served me
plateful of a thick soup from the tureen (deep dish with lid for soups)
standing in the middle of the table.
want you to eat everything," she said, pushing the butter and a basket
I was famished. I attacked my food, as if I had not eaten for days. It
tasted wonderful. I ate all there
was in the tureen and washed down the buttered tortillas with three
slumped back in my chair. The door to the yard was wide open and a cool breeze
rearranged the shadows in room. Twilight
seemed to be lasting forever. The sky was still streaked with heavy
vermilion (reddish-orange), deep blue, violet, and gold. The air had
that transparent quality, that brought
close the distant hills. As if
propelled by some inner force, the night seemed to shoot out of the
movements of the fruit trees in the wind, rhythmic and graceful, swept
darkness up into the sky. Esperanza
burst then into the room and placed a lit oil lamp on the table. She
unblinking eyes, as if she had difficulty in focusing. She gave the
impression, that she was still concerned with some otherworldly
wasn't yet quite there. Then slowly her eyes thawed, and she smiled, as
if she knew
that she had returned from a great distance.
paper!" I cried out upon discovering the loose sheets and my notepad
under her arm. Grinning broadly, Esperanza handed me my notes. Eagerly,
I examined the sheets and laughed out loud upon seeing the pages on the
pad, filled with precise and detailed instructions (written half in
Spanish, half in English) on how to proceed with my term paper. The
handwriting was unmistakably mine. "It's
all there," I said excitedly. "That's, how I saw it in my Dream."
The thought, that I might be able to zoom through graduate, without
having to work so hard, made me forget all my former anxiety.
are no shortcuts to writing good term papers," Esperanzaa said. "Not
even with the aid of Sorcery. You should know, that without the
preliminary reading, the note taking, and the writing and rewriting,
you would never have been able to recognize the structure and order of
your term paper in Dreaming."
I nodded wordlessly. She had spoken with such an incontestable
(unquestionable) authority, that I didn't know what
about the caretaker?" I finally managed to ask. "Was he a professor in
his youth?" Nelida and Florinda turned to Esperanza, as if it were up
to her to answer.
wouldn't know that," Esperanza said evasively (intentionally vague).
"Didn't he tell you, that he's a Sorcerer in love with ideas?" She was
silent for a moment, then added softly, "When he is not taking care of
our World, as befits (appropriate for) a caretaker, he reads."
reading books," Nelida elucidated, "he reads a most extraordinary
number of scholarly journals. He speaks several languages, so he's
quite up to date with the latest of everything. Delia and Clara are his
assistants. He taught them to speak English and German."
the library in your house his?" I asked.
belongs to all of us," Nelida said. "However, I'm sure, he's the only
one, beside Vicente, who has read every book on the shelves."
my incredulous expression, she advised me, that I shouldn't be fooled
by appearances, regarding the people in the Sorcerers' World. "To reach
a degree of Knowledge, Sorcerers work twice as hard, as normal people,"
she assured me. "Sorcerers have to make sense of the Everyday World as
well, as the Magical World.
To accomplish that, they have to be highly skilled and sophisticated,
mentally as well, as physically." She
regarded me with narrowed, critical eyes, then chuckled softly. "For
three days, you worked on your paper," she explained. "You worked very
hard, didn't you?" She waited for my assent (expess agreement), then
added that, while Dreaming-Awake, I worked on my term paper even
harder, than I did while awake.
at all," I hastened to contradict her. "It was all quite simple and
effortless." I explained, that all, I did, was see a new version of my
paper, superimposed on my old draft, and then I copied, what I saw.
do that, took all the strength you had," Nelida maintained. "While
Dreaming-Awake, you channeled all your Energy into a single purpose.
All your concern and effort went into finishing your paper. Nothing
else mattered to you at the moment. You had no other thoughts to
interfere with your endeavor."
"Was the caretaker Dreaming-Awake, when he looked at my paper?" I
asked. "Did I see, what he saw?" Nelida
rose and walked slowly to the door. For a long moment she peered out
into the darkness, then returned to the table. She whispered something
to Esperanza, which I didn't hear, and then sat down again. Esperanza
chuckled softly, then said, that what, the caretaker saw in my paper,
different from what, I saw and wrote down.
"Quite naturally so, for his
knowledge is by far more vast, than yours." Esperanza
stared at me with her quick, dark eyes, that somehow made the rest of
her face seem lifeless.
"Guided by his suggestions, and according to
your own capabilities, you saw, what your paper ought to read like.
That's, what you wrote down. While Dreaming-Awake, we have access to
hidden resources, which we never use ordinarily," Nelida said, going on
to explain that, the instant I saw my paper,
I remembered the clues, the
caretaker had given me. Noticing my incredulous expression, she
reminded me, what the caretaker had said about my paper:
footnotes, too many notes and sloppily developed ideas." Her
eyes radiated sympathy and amusement, as she went on to say, that since
I was Dreaming and I am not as stupid, as I pretended to be, I
immediately saw all kinds of links and connections, that I hadn't
noticed before within my material. Nelida
leaned toward me, a half-smile playing over her lips, as she waited for