The Magic of Shamanism

In late summer of 2012, I visited the nagual Lujan Matus to learn the Quetzalcoatl Winged Serpent movement series. Two other students also attended for the same week. On one hand, the presence of others makes being in the nagual’s presence easier because one can relax and witness the interactions between others. Yet on the other hand, it makes it even more difficult when the nagual discovers hidden routines within one’s personality because others are a witness to that interaction. It’s a learning process on a level at which I’ve not had the pleasure of experiencing. A level of trust exists between the nagual and his students that is very difficult to find anywhere else.

Without the nagual and/or other students of the nagual, the process of witnessing and being witnessed would warp itself into strengthening the dysfunctional behaviors molded by our current social structure. In the nagual’s presence, though, it becomes a battle to free oneself from the slave-driven shadow attention.

The nagual always warns us of the danger that the internal dialogue can produce after we leave his presence. The shadow is a slave owner and internal dialogue is its chains. When it sees that its slave is being freed, the internal dialogue will cause one to lash out at the one who is freeing the slave. It can cause a student to try to retaliate against the teacher. One must be very careful to realize who is doing the whispering and why. The shadow creates an endless version of illusion. This can occur — and has occurred — even after years of learning.

Lujan explains that the Quetzalcoatl series should be practiced indoors, away from the prying eyes of people who do not understand or have interest in the teachings. Their projections, conscious or not, will interfere with the body’s knowledge of what to do. The series is a very personal affair. Lujan explained the cultivation of this kind of bodily knowledge as the basis of the meaning of personal power. One is strengthening one’s energy field. In alignment with bodily knowledge is the presentation Lujan offers of diet and healing. At the time of my visit, the nagual is on a fruit-only diet and one can see evidence of this on his kitchen counter. There is enough fruit there to open a small shop. By the end of the week, it is all consumed. He encourages his students to eat healthy foods.

One of Lujan’s longtime students brings a gift of a painting for the nagual. Lujan repeatedly exclaims, “Estaban, I love those colors!” I’m a bit perplexed because I’ve never heard the nagual speak of a love of the desert and its faded, sun-bleached colors. The painting is truly beautiful. It carries a quiet power that captures one’s attention and silences the mind. A bird is dancing a jig while symbols of abstract meaning appear in the air around it. Lujan places the painting in a place where we can all see it during the visit. I will steal glimpses of it as the lessons progress, looking for the brilliant colors.

We learn the first part of Quetzalcoatl and return home. Back in the hotel room, I play a guided mediation CD and lay down to rest. It’s a chakra exercise. I discover a faulty connection between the first chakra of safety and the next chakra of passion. This disconnection will show itself many times by the time the week is over. That evening, I have a fully-memorable dream.

We continue learning the series and I’m happy there are other students also learning. I like standing a bit behind them so I can see what is the next movement. Both the other students are more learned than I. Estaban has been learning from the nagual for a long time. He is making three-dimensional drawings of the stances. Endreus is a very dedicated student and learns the series very quickly. He practices for hours on his own. On a subliminal level, I begin using this to my advantage. The nagual, however, has already perceived it, yet he won’t mention it until it becomes more obvious.

After practicing the Quetzalcoatl Winged Serpent series for only two days, I again have a vivid dream early in the morning. I awake from the dream and roll to my right side to get out of bed. When I get to the edge of the bed, I stomp my foot on the ground in an attempt to stop myself from continuing to roll right on out the large window next to the bed. I am dumbfounded, wondering what would produce that sensation. I stand and walk to the bathroom. I become aware of two large areas of very heavy energy on each side of me that extend from the ground level to about the height of my ribs. It is actually tangible; I can feel it around my arms. It is so heavy that I walk to the bathroom slumped over from the lower back, like someone who has a serious back injury and cannot stand straight. When I reach the bathroom, I’m again dumbfounded as to why I am walking bent over this way. I don’t have pain. I stand up straight and am profoundly conscious of being in an upstairs room, high above the ground.

The nagual explains how this series brings heavy energy into our awareness and serves us as a method to allow it to rise. This is like the heavy energy from Earth. It can be most easily felt behind one’s legs. The Quetzalcoatl series beckons this energy to come forward and rise, expanding to the universe at large.

Being around the nagual’s energy always causes many so-called coincidents to occur. On this day, one of the other students experiences a catharsis of realization. He discovers where he is blocking his own energy from his heart to his loved ones. He appears down and sad on this day, and the nagual discusses his situation with him. He has been on a restricted diet for almost two weeks and is now craving more familiar food. Lujan suggests that he indulge this desire in order to quell the cravings. That evening, the student walks to an outdoor restaurant near the hotel. It’s a lovely place, set on the beach, itself, with tables and chairs anchored in the sand. All the beach activities are going on around you as you eat.

They serve many healthy dishes there. I had enjoyed their fruit smoothies. On this night, though, when Endreus goes there to indulge a bad habit, the weather lets loose its energy that had been building since we were at Lujan’s place earlier that day. Within minutes of being served his meal, a tornado releases its downfall of rain. The wind is ripping through the trees which are heavy with their tropical fruits. Large seed pods, even ripe coconuts are being thrown against the roof and sides of the building. Thunder is booming in the air. It’s quite scary to be outside now, and Endreus has to run from the restaurant to the hotel. When he arrives, I greet him and we have a good laugh about how exciting it all is when the world mirrors our inner turmoil.

The next day, Lujan is smiling broadly as he observes us. He says that there is a lovely energy between the two of us. He tells us how this kind of energy can been perceived by seers and how we can learn to see it, too. We tell him of the adventure of the previous evening. Lujan tells us of how this energy is a very good energy and lifts one’s spirits. He then mentions that with time, however, if one has not dissolved one’s imprints, it could become dangerous because one could begin to use it to block and hide oneself. He speaks of problems of trusting authority, trusting loved ones, trusting dedicated teachers.

He identifies an imprint within me. He cites each and every instance from the past week when I strategically placed others while we were learning the series so I could not be easily focused upon by the nagual. As he speaks of how open I am with a friend, yet somewhat closed and hiding from him, I feel a strange sensation begin to burn in my lower abdomen. Lujan is talking about how he knows that I trust him implicitly, how I have only recently met the new friend, yet Lujan is the one whom I am blocking. Lujan says, “You don’t like being told what to do,” but I can barely hear his voice at this point. The burning sensation in my body has grown to cover me from hip to hip in the lower abdomen and has captured almost all of my conscious energy.

Lujan had earlier spoken of how people in Bali would sweep their doorsteps every morning, moving the dust away, out to the sidewalks or street near their home. This sweeping action is like hunting the energy of the coming day. The sweeper is gently touching the dust of the night, looking for the path. It’s a meditative practice. One hunts for the path of a clear and sincere heart. I’m recalling this conversation as I come back into full awareness of the room.

That evening, I’m exhausted and troubled on a level I’ve never felt before. Troubled and feeling alone in the world, I am supremely thankful for the presence of Lujan’s other student. I seek his company and he graciously allows me to sit with him. We speak of our lives and the lives of some we have known. It was a very sobering lesson, one that I have yet to fully comprehend how to correct. In the presence of so many dedicated and clear people, I did not want the nagual to see my failures. For some tangled, deeply-held reason, I did not want the very person who could have helped me succeed to see where I was failing.

Near the end of the week, I notice how beautiful Lujan’s new painting is and look for a well-placed light that has possibly enhanced its colors. I did not see one. I said, “That painting is magical. It’s getting brighter.” I was shocked to hear everyone saying that it had not changed. I examined the painting. It truly does have many colors within it. Even the color of the bird in its center was different. It was not a black bird; it was blue.

That evening, we plan to perform the Winged Serpent series on the beach. It’s the night of the full moon. This is the only time when the series should be performed outdoors. I feel a very calm sense of confidence in knowing the movements now. Nevertheless, I ask the other student to stand just in front of me in case I forget them. This time, however, I feel no sense of being weaker. I want to make sure I make the most of the little time left in the beautiful environment. The clouds have been present all week long, but as we begin the series on the beach, they part, revealing bright, soft moonlight. The people on the beach remain at a distance. We have enough time to do the whole series twice.

Since learning the Quetzalcoatl Winged Serpent and practicing it daily, I have noticed a strong return of dream recall. I am experiencing a different kind of clarity in these dreams. I am more aware of the contradictions within the dream scenes and less prone to believe false pictures. As I practice these movements, I can often feel a heavy energy behind me or at the sides. It is increasing my sensitivity to the thoughts of others so much so that I can often actually hear them in my head. I recall a pearl of wisdom from Lujan. He said, “Whisper your truth to the forest so that it doesn’t reflect back at you during sleep.”

I will always recommend to anyone to visit the nagual Lujan Matus. It brings all of his teachings into much sharper focus. The experience of being with the nagual puts realizations into the sphere of active interaction.

Much love and deep thanks!

Sugrue 
Sugrue23 @ gmail.com

Photo courtesy of H.KoppDelaney

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