In Castaneda‘s books, the term warrior is used for a seeker of esoteric knowledge who works on himself in order to be free. The term sorcerer is sometimes used in a similar meaning but there the emphasis is not so much on freedom as on power over others. The warrior concept is at the core of Castaneda‘s books, most things are seen through their relation to the path of a warrior as explicated by Don Juan.
The warrior’s journey is above all a journey of self-perfection. The warrior works to acquire and manifest specific qualities and virtues. The warrior is not a fighting man in the ordinary sense. The warrior’s journey is not motivated by power, glory, serving God, country or tribe or any such thing. The journey is rather an end in itself, its own destination and reward. The journey may involve battles, internal as well as external, but the warrior chooses them in accordance with the journey’s principle. The warrior is not a mercenary who fights for opportunistic gain or as a way of life. The warrior is rather a representative and seeker of a higher world. The power obtained by the warrior changes him and uses him, but he also uses the power. The power is an impersonal force of a spiritual, supersensible nature, the warrior is in a sense its representative on Earth.
The virtues of the warrior are control, discipline, forebearance, timing and will. These relate to proper use of attention and energy. The discipline is not mechanically following any fixed routine, it is the presence of mind needed to face impossible odds, that which is out of the ordinary. Forebearance is the capacity to wait, not to be overrun by emotion or be worn out by stress or fatigue. Timing is the recognition of the opportunity, the ‘cubic centimeter of chance,’ as Castaneda puts it. Control is the capacity not to react mechanically, to observe the self under the most demanding circumstances, without fear or resentment and with presence of mind.
These virtues are forged and tested in the encounter with the ‘petty tyrant’. (See the article of this name for more.) Overcoming the petty tyrant is not the goal of warriorship but it is a step on the way, a test. The warrior does not fight to claim the petty tyrant’s position for himself but for self-perfection and freedom seen as abstract goals separate from any specific self-interest. If the warrior by defeating a petty tyrant may bring freedom to others, this is a windfall benefit, engaging every petty tyrant for the purpose of making a better world is not the warrior’s goal, the warrior has greater adversaries.
The ultimate adversary of the warrior is the ‘predator’ which gave man the ‘predator’s mind’. This adversary is both internal and external. The external projection of the predator is found in the petty tyrant in all its forms. Beyond this, we may see the hyperdimensional forces controlling the planet as the adversary to overcome. Castaneda‘s term for this ‘flyer’ or ‘predator.’ This corresponds to 4th density STS in QFS parlance.
There exist multiple internal adversaries which seek to hinder the journey’s progress at all stages and finally will bring the warrior’s life to an end. The first ones have to do with self-importance. Energy is wasted in being offended, in internal considering, as Gurdjieff would say. Together with this go complacency, cowardice, laziness, lack of self-control, miscellaneous pusillanimity and other common psychological traits. Only after having brought these under control can the apprentice be called a warrior.
But the path of the warrior is beset by other challenges before he can claim to have become a man of knowledge. The temptations of power over others and of seeing the supersensible worlds come next. One may become tyrannical, whimsical or lost in other worlds. Finally, old age will overcome the warrior. Death following a life well lived, dedicated to the path which is its own reward is the warrior’s ultimate accomplishment and final battle. In a sense, all the virtues thus far cultivated are brought to bear in the final contest, the crowning act of the warrior. In a sense this represents the understanding that only impeccability, the correct usage of energy counts. Again this represents the understanding that the warrior in the end may only use power over himself. This impeccability does not mean indifference to the world, it means finding one’s specific nature and qualities and manifesting these as well as possible. The warrior makes his life a gift to a principle of excellence, so to speak.
The warrior’s courage is not based on being mighty or powerful before the still more powerful infinite. The virtue is not conquer, it is to dare face that which is outside of normal parameters with humility and awe, yet maintaining oneself as a distinct being.
The warrior’s virtues have to do with becoming a streamlined, elegant vessel that can perceive and access the higher worlds. These worlds are filled with various entities, sometimes well disposed, but often inimical. Castaneda paints no cosmic struggle between good and evil. The warrior Is a traveler on a path and may do work that is of benefit to others or may fall and become a petty tyrant, having lost the spirit of adventure and having become obsessed by controlling the known instead of seeking the unknown.
The warrior is a seer, in Castaneda‘s world one who interacts with the supersensible worlds. These worlds are divided into the unknown, which may eventually become known, and the unknowable, which is by nature beyond human grasp and generally dangerous. Not all seers are warriors: Some may use the spiritual world for controlling others, some may have no goal or consistency and care nothing about any practical application. A seer must be a paragon of sobriety and self-control in order not to be swept away, must realize his place and confront the unknown with the correct attitude.
The warrior is essentially a loner, one who lives in the world but is not of the world. Becoming a warrior entails a certain distancing from the world, not in the sense of becoming a hermit or monk but in the sense of clearing one’s debts and attachments. As with Gurdjieff, the concept of ‘paying for one’s arising’ is important. Recapitulation of one’s history is intended to clear the body of past energy residues. Giving thanks and gifts where due is a form of purification and claiming one’s freedom from past obligation.
Castaneda places little emphasis on the notion of network, although there are schools and lineages in Don Juan‘s world. The bulk of the literary work relates to Castaneda personally with only few mentions of other students.
The relationship of the warrior to society or tribe is not much emphasized. The warrior may live an everyday life but does not play any specific social role. The contract between the shaman and the tribe or that of the feudal lord with the people is not significant in Castaneda‘s writings. If such has been customary before, its time is past. The warrior is a being of few fixed allegiances. There can be schools and fellow travelers, if also rivals. Still, warriorship is by and large a matter of individual journey.
The classical hero goes into the unknown to retrieve a treasure, to achieve a quest and return something to the ordinary world. The shamanic ascent is similar. Castaneda‘s warrior is more on a one way journey, Don Genaro forever on the way to Ixtlan. This is not to say that the warrior would not render a service to the world, but this service is not simple nor does it correspond to the world’s expectations or commands.
The term warrior is applied to a man. For women on a similar journey, the term is sorceress or witch. Castaneda writes little about women. They are either accessories to his love life which he paints in an intentionally farcical light or they are dangerous sorceresses intending him harm. Feminine versions of Castaneda‘s descriptions of his travels have since been published, see Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar and Carol Tiggs for example. Castaneda does not have any concept of the knight and lady or of courtly love or polar opposites, as developed by Mourravieff.
Sorting out the authenticity of the claims of Castaneda or Carol Tiggs to having been personally directed by Don Juan is problematical. From the QFS’s standpoint, Don Juan is probably a composite of different real characters. Just as with Gurdjieff‘s sources, Steiner’s mysterious teacher, the identity of Fulcanelli and other such questions, we note that it is best that the writings and teaching stand on their own merit. Literal biographical exactitude is not to be expected. The worth of the concepts and models is found in their application, not in their pedigree.