Tales of Power

Tales of Power is yet another of the books written by Carlos Castaneda, and the first to totally dissect the teachings of Juan Matus. It starts off simply enough with Castaneda’s return to Central Mexico. He questions Juan as to why the use of psychotropics was such a heavily used component in his teachings after it was discovered that the actual teachings were not at all in the use of psychotropics.

“Because you’re dumb,” Juan counters.

I’ve stated before that this is the case, and though it is imperative-or maybe not- that the books are read in some kind of cohesive order, the true teachings are revealed in this exciting novel.

From the book:

He said that in line with the rationale he had rallied my interest around the idea of “seeing”, which properly understood, was the act of dealing directly with the “nagual,” an act that was the unavoidable result of but an unattainable task as a task per se.

“What was the point of tricking me that way,” I asked.

“Sorcerers are convinced that all of us are a bunch of nincompoops,” he said. “We can never relinquish our control voluntarily, thus we have to be tricked.”

…he had tricked me into considering the real issues of his teachings as inconsequential affairs. Erasing personal history and “dreaming” were never as important to me as “seeing”.

You see, the entirety of all those acts, which everyone dismissed from the first or even first three novels, were tricks employed by a most rational individual; Juan Matus. It was because “power” had provided him an apprentice that he did whatever farcical thing necessary to elicit the proper response from his apprentice. Castaneda was a dunce, which he openly admits, and as such, Juan had to use whatever Pan-Indianism was at his disposal.

Again from the book:

It had indeed taken me years to realize the importance of those suggestions made by Don Juan.

…it was only in the later years of my apprenticeship that I realized the meaningful transformations and findings of sorcerers were always done in states of sober consciousness.

It’s too bad that by this time Castaneda had practically vanished from the world. The only real avenue of him left was his later novels, and his Magical Passes; something I’ll eventually touch on.

I have been asked why I cling so desperately to these teachings. I don’t…that’s my answer; I simply really enjoy the novels, and have to-like a warrior-believe because I have to. There is no point in living in a world explicable by man’s designs. How awful a state of affairs to think that entire complexity of the universe, of perception, can be explained to man’s standards. I choose to believe that there is more to us than our reason, and yet I obviously function quite well in the world of mundane affairs.

Unlike most of those, who read and dismiss, I set out to actually employ some of the “techniques” or “suggestions” brought to light in these novels. Frankly, I don’t care who believes what, I know that I can control my dreaming to perfection. I know I have been able to shut off my internal dialogue for a period of time and experienced things indescribable. I know that I have learned to “know” things, which by reason’s design I should not be able to know…my only wish is that everyone around me had the indifference to try and experience the world beyond the description created by the ever fallible man, and instead suspend judgment for only a moment…

We have all had a friend on our mind in such a forceful manner that when he/she calls we simply knew it was only a matter of time. Parents often “know” their children are in distress even though they live miles away. We often “know” we should not take a certain route to work, and yet we dismiss these things…these things we call a “gut feeling”. We have our own term for it, and yet we still dismiss it. Castaneda tells us why we do that.

Many of us trust in a higher power. Many of us meditate or pray. We trust in Astrology, or animal totems, or the teachings of God, and there is nothing wrong with that. We, all of us, instinctively know that there is some unseen reality out there just waiting to be experienced.

Some of us have even experienced lucid dreaming or astral projection, out of body experiences, and still-STILL-we dismiss these acts because they are foreign to us, but what if this stuff was taught to us on a regular basis from a young age? What a world we might live in!

So far as I can tell, everything that can be experienced can be-at least loosely-explained in reference to the teachings of Juan; ghosts, aliens, strange dreams, premonitions, many of them in the realm of what Juan calls the “knowable”, which is what man acts with directly, and other things belong to the “unknown”, something still in the reach of man, but unfamiliar, and then there is the “unknowable”, and it is a dangerous affair, but that is a discussion for a review of a later book.

I think Tales of Power is pretty good. It is not my favorite in the teachings, and probably not as entertaining as Journey to Ixtlan nor as spellbinding as The Power of Silence, but a solid novel deserving of 5 stars. Seriously, do yourself a favor and involve yourself with these novels, if only as a means of entertainment.

Thank you.

 

 

 

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The Art of Process Improvement

The Art of Process Improvement

The Art of Process Improvement

The Art of Process Improvement by Abdul A. Jaludi

The Art of Process Improvement is a high level strategic book aimed at leaders looking to cut expenses, improve employee morale and maximize profits. This book focuses on managing the process and creating a culture where quality, change, and innovation are encouraged and rewarded.

From the book:
Rather than bleeding a company quickly as in the first approach or slowly as in the second, companies which employ a process improvement philosophy stand out above the rest, are usually well known within the industry as leaders and endure for generations. Some of these are McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Honda, Nestlé and a host of many others.

These companies don’t have to make any changes, as they are already efficient, well managed and continually adjust to market conditions as a normal business practice. These companies have a clear goal, which every employee understands and strives for as well as a process in place to continually adapt to changing conditions. In other words these companies practice and have become adept at it.

Sound like the kind of info you need for your business to flourish?

Buy The Art of Process Improvement on Smashwords

Spots of a Leopard

This is the cover for Spots of a Leopard

Cover for Spots of Leopard

Spots of a Leopard – a journalist grows up
by Aernout Zevenbergen

This ebook is available on Smashwords

“Spots Of A Leopard – a journalist grows up” is a quest to discover the meaning of modern-day manhood. When internationally acclaimed journalist Aernout Zevenbergen moved to Kenya in 1997, he had no idea how deeply his encounters with joy and sorrow in Africa would effect him. Writing about the most inspiring as well as the most disconcerting facets of life, Zevenbergen learns how to grow up.

Paragraph from Spots of a Leopard :

Estimates of the prevalence of hiv amongst the largely unprotected and ill-informed sexually active population of Kenya reaches as high as 15 per cent. It is reported that seven hundred people die daily of aids–related diseases, with the City of Nairobi itself losing up to twenty experienced and educated staff per week. Confronted by these figures, and after pressure from civil society and international donors, Moi agrees to import three hundred million condoms that year to be distributed freely. But the myths around condoms have by then already grown roots. It is those myths that Ochieng has to fight.

This appears to be a very candid look into the author’s life. I don’t know for certain how much is real and how much is entertainment, but you can decide for yourself.

LoR is a baby’s lullaby

An excerpt from a novel I’m working on

From Blood

Leaving piles of undead corpses, or ashes, behind them, in the forest, both men reached the river with relative ease. Freezing water, carrying chunks of ice from the high mountaintops, thrashed over sharp rocks. The river was wide, and in the dark, neither of them saw the opposing bank. They took a momentary pause. Furious water whirled before them, fed further by the incessant rain.

“Now we travel north along this path,” Talbot said, raising his voice.

Dysart looked in his direction. It took a second before he was able to see his companion, an effect of the stealth rune. A high cliff sat at their rear. He squinted at it. Why does it call me? He wondered. With a headshake, he turned to face the path along the river, a rocky mess.

“We must tread carefully, here. Lest we fall into this river, and be swept away towards the cliff behind us,” Dysart advised.

“Agreed. After such bounding from your magic, I welcome a more…human pace,” Talbot asserted.

An hour of treading ground, cautiously, yielded no trouble, and other than the constant rain, which grew more potent with every step, it was uneventful. Too quiet. A flash of lightning popped in the distance. The mountains, a glittering, white, work of art shone for that second.

“Hold,” Talbot whispered.

He reached for Dysart’s arm, but unable to see it, he dropped his hand to his side, and peered into the darkness at his left. The ground leading from the riverbank had turned rocky. Though few hills were visible, there was a steady incline. Both men abandoned their eyes for their ears. The sound of clanking armor was audible, though far off.

“We should move,” Dysart whispered forcefully.

“Someone’s following us,” Talbot replied.

“Perhaps, we may yet leave them behind,” Dysart stated.

“Mmm,” Talbot agreed.

They continued along the river, veering only slightly away. The melody of crashing water over rocks, excessively loud, and aided by the now pounding rain, made it impossible to hear who, or what, was giving chase. Bolts of lightning spider webbed, tearing through the veil of dark skies, and oppressing clouds. Glinting steel drew their attention.

“Come forth, my servants,” a voice uttered, the unmistakable growl of Tygron.

White flames sparked from the ground. They grew several feet tall, and wide. Within the luminosity was a dark oval. Unlike the previous summoning spell, the gate, a unique ritual, held the portal to the Daemon world open for an extended period. All manner of craven beasts poured onto Volgunther.

“There is no time for this!” Talbot shrieked. “We must turn back.”

He turned to run when another crash of lightning erupted, showing a band of armored men, the Ordo et Crucis, led by Colville, a bloodied mess. Dysart snatched Talbot by the shoulder, and pulled him to the riverbank.

Members of the Ordo wasted no time, and clashed with the called Daemons. Screams of battle erupted. Sloshing further into the river, Talbot nocked an arrow. First he aimed at a Daemon, a four-legged, scuted figure with a horned head, and enormous mouth. Then, he pointed to Colville, who was steadily approaching with hands wrapped around a drawn sword, a magnificent, glowing, claymore.

“Sanctus Petri bless me, for I will deliver us from this ordeal,” Colville prayed.

“Stop it,” Dysart yelled, wondering how he was spotted. “We must bring down Tygron to shut his gate.”

“Sancuts Petri guide my hand, and my blade, so I may bring down this treacherous blasphemer,” Colville begged.

Dysart drew his blade as well. Cursing, he ran to the Ordo’s leader, while the skulking Daemon bounded at Talbot. He let loose his arrow, striking it in the face. It rose onto its rear legs, thrashing about then continued the charge. Talbot drew his knife then attacked.

“Come, Dysart, I know all too well who you are. The cleric told me as much, and bade me take you down myself,” Colville proclaimed.

“Then you are a fool,” Dysart rebutted.

Having closed the distance, he brought his sword overhead. A mighty slash downwards was easily parried. With a spin, Colville moved behind Dysart, and he hacked at the man’s knee. Buckling from the pain of the enchanted weapon, Dysart rolled away, into the river. Immediately, he lunged forward. Again, Colville deflected the blow.

“Sanctus Petri has bestowed his will unto me, you foul beast,” Colville snarled.

Next to them, Talbot waded in backwards. He fired three more arrows into the wounded Daemon. It collapsed with a wail of demise, one that made the soul shudder.

“Why do you try to prevent me from killing the Daemon?” Dysart asked.

“There is no Daemon!” Colville bellowed.

“Treachery! You are being lied to by this cleric,” Dysart shouted.

“She is pure,” Colville said, sloshing into the river.

“If she is telling the truth, that there is no Daemon, why then, did she tell me where to get the esper oil?” Dysart accused.

“I…I don’t answer to your kind,” Colville argued.

They clashed blades. Halted by Colville’s superior swordsmanship, Dysart smashed his head into the old man. Blood erupted from his nose. Falling backwards into the river, he gasped.

“I don’t want to kill you, old man,” Dysart said.

Colville slashed from his back. Stepping away from the long blade, Dysart smacked his lips in disgust. Then, he spun his sword to face down, and drove it at Colville. Deftly, he rolled away. Coming forth from the river, he spun round to build momentum, and brought the claymore across Dysart’s chest.

The sword’s glow flashed brightly, cutting through the leather, and leaving a modest wound, thanks only to the Cayneian’s brands.

“Fall, you blaspheming brute,” Colville accosted.

“Go to Hell, Colville,” Dysart replied, thrusting again.

Colville blocked with the wide guard of his sword. He immediately brought the hilt up with both hands, smashing it into Dysart’s chin. He stumbled back, and tripping over rocks, crashed into the river. The mighty current pushed him downstream a short way. Scrambling at the stones, he recovered. Colville, sloshing through knee-high water, continued the attack.

He swung downwards, but Dysart side-stepped. Being left handed provided an easy opening, so he stabbed, sinking the spatha, deep into the old man’s flank. He gasped before falling over. For a second, his heavy armor caught on the rocks, he lied face down in the river. Why does he not turn to ash?

A groan came from the Ordo leader. Slowly, he pushed himself over. Dysart shrugged, exhaled in pity, and drove his sword into Colville’s chest. To his dismay, the old man gripped it, and pulled himself up, water spilling from his armor.

They fought to hold their footing. Colville, inexplicably undaunted by such grievous wounds, smashed the hilt of his sword across Dysart’s face. Having no alternative, Dysart locked forearms around Colville’s massive neck, and pinching his elbows together, cut the flow of air. The warrior twitched. He tried to pull from the Cayneian. Unable to fight him off, he dropped his sword to claw at Dysart’s face.

When that failed to halt Dysart, he drove his thumbs into the Cayneian’s eyes. Screaming, he ripped away, dropping Colville, who snatched his sword from the rocks. The old man spat crimson while coming up from his knees.

Dysart capitalized. Gripping Colville’s thick hair, he drove a knee into the man’s face. The potent blow destroyed his jaw. He careened back into the water following the impact. Quickly, Dysart stomped through the river. With strong fingers, he seized Colville’s throat, and held him under the raging waters.

“Salamandrus!” Dysart bellowed. “Salamandrus! You have turned this man against me. You are scared, and you are weak.”

Colville’s hands fluttered about for seconds. Then, they fell limp. The strength of the old warrior passed. Dysart let go. Thundering currents swallowed the Ordo leader.

A hurried glance at the unfolding situation revealed much. Daemons tore at fallen members of the Ordo. Some ate their hearts, or intestines, slowly removing bleeding organs by way of gruesome claws. Other Daemons, like the voluptuous, half-woman serpent, lifted the barely living off the ground with her barbed tail. After crushing a solider into the ground, she spat a blotch of acid at another, melting his face.

In confusion, Dysart scanned for Talbot. A moment passed then he noticed him, perched on a tall rock, protruding from the river. His quiver devoid of arrows, he clutched his knife, but was safe. So Dysart scurried about the water to recover his spatha, and Colville’s claymore.

In a flash, Tygron manifested from the darkness, behind Talbot. He threw his cloak over the shocked individual then lifted his scythe. With a war cry, Dysart flung the spatha. It halted in the air. Tyrgon barely turned to him, a grin from his ogre-like mouth.

Dysart leapt several yards, only crashing through falling rain. When he landed, at Talbot’s position, Tygron was unseen.

“Ugh,” Talbot spewed.

He cradled the large rock to hold himself upright. Dysart glanced at him for wounds. Talbot removed a red hand from his flank. A smile flickered then he snatched the spatha, which fell after Tygron’s disappearance, and ran into the fray.

Slicing one way then other, he cut through several Daemons. Most of them went up in smoke. A member of the Ordo pointed a crossbow at him. Upon firing, the bolt flew over Talbot, and struck the serpent-woman. She hissed, clutching the bolt protruding from her waist. Dysart ran by, and with Colville’s blade pointing forward, ran her through from behind, lifted her off the ground, then smashed her back down.

“Tygron,” he yelled out, the rain pouring over his face. “Tygron!”

The gate yet allowed more Daemons to crawl onto the island.

“Damn him to Hell! Talbot,” Dysart called. “Talbot! I’ve no way to close this gate without slaying Tygron.”

As he spoke, a mammoth of a gray man with four arms crawled from the gaping hole inside the white flame.

“Breh ko tesh,” it thundered while reaching for Dysart.

He swung high, cutting the hand off. Bleeding, and screaming, the giant stomped around. Dysart kept a vigilant eye, searching for Talbot.

“Here, I’m here,” he moaned.

He held the head of a dying Ordo member. Her face was red with blood. Dysart bolted over to them. Darting eyes accepted the grim circumstance.

“No time,” Dysart said, and stabbed her.

“Why?!” Talbot cried out.

“She’s already dead. I spared her suffering. Come, can you run?” he asked.

“Aye,” he answered.

So they fled from battle. On the winds, as they raced along the riverbank, a guttural laugh droned on.

“Hah, hah, hah, haah. Run, Dysart,” Tygron scoffed.

Behind them was a pile of corpses. Before them was the base of the mountain range, where rain turned to freezing sleet.

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