Carlos Casteneda introduced the world to the philosophy and practices of the Toltec Sorcerer Don Juan and sent a generation of spiritual and other seekers into the deserts of America and Mexico in search of the illusive band of nagual adventures. Many dismissed the books as fantasy, writing scathing critiques and finding a multitude of flaws and weakness within them and demonstrating the impossibility of their propositions.
But there was something intriguing and compelling about Carlos's teachers and their descriptions of reality and the nature of the human spirit and I for one was never put off by the soulless criticism of the academics. The truth was that Castaneda's approach to indigenous peoples turned the anthropological world upside down and challenged the validity of the dispassionate objective and culturally biased approach.
My Medicine Teachers always claimed a connection to the source of Castaneda's inspiration the Toltec's, a linage of hidden individuals who had survived the excesses of the Catholic Church in Central America and still practiced this form of pragmatic shamanism. They spoke of the Medicine Wheel and shared origins with the Toltec linage and the Eagle Knight Warriors of pre-columbian Mexico.
Times have changed and modern Toltec teachers such as Don Miguel Ruiz have appeared with new and strikingly clear expositions of the Toltec masteries which have been simplified and placed firmly within the cultural context of the modern world by their apprentices and a growing number of books. Today one can read 'The Complete Idiots Guide To Toltec Wisdom" and other titles. These I would suggest prove beyond doubt the existence and importance of the Toltec heritage and give us all a clear path to awareness, freedom, personal power and a life of joyful existence.
The Toltec's were not a tribe or cultural grouping but rather a secret society formed after the conquest of Teotihuacan Mexico, in around 700 AD. They were dedicated to the practice and preservation of ancient knowledge that originated on Islands in the Pacific Ocean around the same time as the Island cultures associated with Atlantis in the Atlantic Ocean. The Mayan's who's ancestors colonized parts of Central America, claimed a direct decent from these peoples and this knowledge.
The Toltec's used this knowledge to inform and sustain their art, spiritual science, mathematics and culture leading to a golden age of peace and prosperity among the Maya, with Teotihuacan being known as 'the place where men become Gods'.
The basis of Toltec knowledge was an understanding of the illusory nature of reality and how humans through their minds become trapped in this illusion. They developed practical techniques to escape the corrosive power of this illusion and developed ways of living in joy and freedom where the limitations of the 'normal mind' did not apply. They saw life as limitless with no separation between spirit and matter. This allowed them to achieve what ordinary people, trapped within the illusion of the mind, perceived as impossible or magical. Thus they developed a mythical reputation as wizards and sorcerers.
Toltec knowledge managed to survive and prosper through the invasions of new cultural groups, but had to go under ground with the coming of the Europeans and the excesses of the Catholic Church. This knowledge, along with the Medicine Wheel teachings which were also part of the Mayan heritage and shared the same ancient origins, was taken into North America during several waves of migrations and was dispersed among the various tribes by travelling holy people, healers and teachers such as the Zero Chiefs and the Twisted Hairs.
It is clear that through their knowledge of the cycles of time, known today as the Mayan Calendar, they were aware of the coming repression and cultural destruction that the European invaders would bring. As a result they disappeared, keeping their knowledge secret and passing it down the generations, waiting for this time when it would be again safe to reappear and offer their knowledge as a solution to the contemporary problems of the human condition.
Toltec knowledge is part of a way of being that offers those who practice it a way of living in the complete freedom of the authentic self, a way of life free from the restricting limitations of the normal human condition. This knowledge being as relevant today as it was to the ancient ones who discovered it. Our online course"The Cartography Of The Invisible" re-weaves these teachings with those of the Medicine Wheel and other shamanic perspectives into and exciting system of self development and self knowledge.
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