When I read “The Art of Stalking Parallel Perception” I realized immediately something transformative was occurring in my awareness.

I had read Castaneda’s books and, like everyone else, felt the pang of disappointment when he died and the accusations of fictionalization began surfacing. Yet I reread them because something in them resonated with what I knew deep inside to be an essential truth. Call it an internal sensitivity: I know it’s there when I read or write it.

“Just what is a Nagual?” Is it a unique energy body configuration, as Castaneda implied? Or is it a title, like “Teacher” passed down through tradition, as others claimed? I concluded that the title of Nagual had to be bestowed directly by energy, the spirit itself. My reasoning was that, genuine or fraud, it would take an enormous amount of self-awareness just to sustain such an appellation; which meant there was the possibility I could learn something from Lujan either way.

What did I have to lose, I reasoned? My own personal life was in turmoil. I decided I had to find out for myself.

My first impression of Lujan Matus was his laughter. The freedom it conveyed brought a sense of hope to me. And his first question, “How can we help each other?” made me realize that I wasn’t going to be spoon-fed answers in response to my childish wants. Not that I didn’t try. I whined and cried, he yelled and mocked me, we laughed and laughed. Over a period of time I came to love him as a man who walks his talk. The message I took with me is that it is possible to live within one’s truth, continuously.

One thing that struck me was his directness. I am still digesting some of his written works. Our conversations, on the other hand, were immediate and to-the-point. Sometimes I questioned how the man I was talking to could possibly be the same one who authored such a powerful book. It felt more like I was confiding in my best friend; sharing viewpoints that were often humorous, sometimes sympathetic, always frank. It wasn’t that he was mirroring me; it was simply a facility for creating a bridge between our mutual understandings of what constitutes communication.

His advice (when I took it) was usually quite insightful. Once I accused him of studying psychotherapy: he just laughed and thanked me. But sometimes he was like that. He would lead me through my line of reasoning until I myself uncovered the inconsistencies. Then he’d confide that he knew he’d gotten through to me because he felt goosebumps and his gecko was agreeing with him. Then upon the insights spoken I myself heard the gecko’s agreement. That’s when I realized I was dealing with a powerful shaman, not a mere counselor.

I cannot separate the elements of my growth as coming from either Lujan’s or my own efforts. But a definite realignment has occurred that is still in the process of becoming real, I can say I do feel more confident and less attached to my old dramas of identity. And I find myself more giving than before… not out of expectation, but out of love. I like to believe Lujan played a part in this realignment, and hope that he gained something from knowing me as well.

Virgina, USA