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Before entering this chapter of book we discuss some issues on the terms tonal and nagual. It was our intention to find connections between the concepts that Castaneda describes about the knowledge that Don Juan called "Toltecáyotl" and that he asserts these being very remote "Toltec" practices. This is also stated by some academic history and anthropology texts.

This form of knowledge that could not be called "philosophy" because the knowledge is not learned by reason- is, we believe, the conducting wire or Anahuac cultural "philosophical" matrix. But it is prudent to point out that the coincidences between this knowledge and some academic studies is richer in traditions, customs, practices and oral tradition of the indigenous peoples, that without rational processes, follow many of the Toltecáyotl techniques naturally, through "of the usual", as they have done for hundreds of years.

Currently it is immensely more difficult living as indigenous, than to live as a beggar or underemployed in the cities misery belts. That internal strength shown by indigenous peoples over the last 500 years of oppression feel that it has been possible, in large part, because they have fed from "non-rationalized" knowledge that underlies in their traditions and customs, in their culture.

This same knowledge also manifests itself, one way or another, in the variety of popular cultures that make up the current face of our country. The concepts of tonal and nagual aren't strange to any Mexican. There are many nahuatl words we use daily in our urban Spanish. For example, Tonatiuh is the Sun; Tonantzin is our dear mother or the Virgin of Guadalupe. Alfredo López Austin, in his Human body and ideology, the conceptions of the ancient nahuas, in 223 page asserts: "... The noun TONALLI, derived from the verb TONA, "radiate" ("to make heat or Sun," according to Molina), has the following major meanings: 1. irradiation; 2. solar heat; 3. summer; 4 day; 5. sign of day; 6. the person destiny according to the day was born; 7. "the soul and spirit" (Molina: Totonal); "8 something intended for or owned by a particular person (Molina: tetonal)."

And on page 418, López Austin, speaking of nagualismo descriptions, returns a Fray Bernardino de Sahagún text: "the nahual is the wise, holder of speeches, owner of the reservoir, superhuman, respected, grave, serious, not deceived, not exceeded. The good nahualli is depositary, there is something in his interior, guardian, observer. See, conserves, helps; hurts no one."

Returning to the Castaneda book, Don Juan uses the term tonal to talk about the known world -right side- or reason, and the term nagual, with two meanings, one that refers to the left side -"of another reality", of perception, the counterpart of the tonal - and of another which refers to the name given to the man of knowledge, the leader of a group of warriors called "nagual", as Don Juan was to his group, or Elias and the very Castaneda.

For Don Juan the tonal is born with man and dies with him. the nagual is the other part of the human being that is always there, before, during and after. Tonal is the world that reason weaves; the nagual is the world of power, where all man can do is to "testify".

Castaneda receives knowledge through practical techniques to "sweep" or clean the tonal island, because the path of the warrior is nothing more than training to save energy from reducing the personal importance, to enter the world of the nagual. Don Juan tells Castaneda that a warrior cannot walk moaning and complaining, because his life is a never-ending challenge, and there are ways to make the challenges beautiful or ugly, good or bad. The challenges are simply that, challenges. There lies the difference between the common men and warriors. While for the first the world is full of blessings or curses, for the latter it is a never-ending challenge where he tests his impeccability and his "controlled folly".

“Only as a warrior one can support the knowledge path” -he said. A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is a never-ending challenge, and there is no way that the challenges are good or bad. The challenges are simply challenges...

The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, continued, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse...

Then he asked me for a detailed explanation of how had I carried out the recommendations that don Genaro and himself made about my everyday world and my relationships with people...

When a warrior is forced to believe, he does it because he chooses, as an expression of his innermost predilection... A warrior does not believe; a warrior must believe." ...

"So, if it was not because we are aware of the presence of our death, there would not power, or mystery." ...

You have to believe that the world is mysterious and unfathomable, was the expression of intimate predilection of a warrior. Without it, the Warrior had nothing... Don Juan.

Taken from the book: "to read Carlos Castaneda"

Guillermo Marín.

Complete book in books section.