Analysis of The Teachings of a Toltec Survivor by Paul Joseph Rovelli:
“Moving onto the next three chapters of this book, Chapter 7, titled: Pinche Aguila and Pinche Koyote, is full of short stories; some funny and some pedagogical. But the keynote story is about Koyote’s meeting with his benefactor and how he was given the name, Koyote. The story is presented in two parts; one being a vision in a cave from the fever of tuberculosis, and later the fulfillment of that vision. The chapter overall, seems a development of the Preface; where in this review, we submitted that the author presented his credentials.
Chapter 8: You Have Not Been Properly Cooked Yet, presents the notion that there are three types of attention. But it is difficult to glean what exactly these are, as they are not clearly presented. The difficulty comes with the idea of three brains; coupled with the idea of the attentions. Yet, the brains themselves are not clearly delineated, with the same really going for the attentions. The first attention is initially associated with the robot or the automatic consciousness of the body/mind complex. And the second attention is immediately connected with the frontal brain, while we are told that most people are only capable of having two attentions. The Koyote next tells us that we have two animal brains that are mechanical; the mammalian and the older reptile brain, with all these brains being “under law”—having instinctual tendencies. But we are left to infer a third attention with the assertion that “[a] third brain was added at some crucial point in our evolution.” This third brain gives us the ability to create imaginary worlds, archetypes, relationship, memes and signifiers, as well as “simulations of reality in our head.” And it is here that the third brain seems to be connected to the frontal cortex that also drives the second attention.
The frontal cortex may or may not be what the Koyote goes on to call the forebrain with the “tail brain” possibly being both the mammalian and reptile brains. And the problem for most is that the function of the front and tail brains is reversed from what could be said to be by suggestion, their intended purpose. Later, the forebrain is said to be used by the first attention, as it develops the ego and maps the world; the Tonal. The second attention then is said to be the “master of the carriage,” as aptly described at the beginning of the book; driving the human machine, and associated with the instinctive center with several archetypes related to it. It is these archetypes that “the magician and sorcerer learn to use consciously,” which is a very accurate portrayal of my own claim that magick is all about a controlled psychosis.
For me personally, the Koyote, despite his confusion of brains and attentions, really hits home with the following:
“What we ordinarily call emotions are reactive and involuntary. All these reactions are triggered by external events, or by memories and thoughts. We respond with these emotions, and the force of the emotional response direct the actions of the body. These emotions are fueled by repulsion and attraction—the twin horses pulling the carriage. The true emotional centrum, however is proactive and voluntary, conscious.”
The work of the Philosophus of the A.’.A.’. is to gain control of the attractions and repulsions, which can then be clearly measured by one’s ability to produce “proactive and voluntary,” indeed, “conscious” emotions. Repeatedly through the book, so far, I have seen the Koyote state the ideas of Castaneda an Crowley in a more articulate manner than either of these writers have ever done. So I’m more than willing to forgive the Koyote the confusion he generates in this chapter for the gems he simultaneously gives to us. Indeed, the blind and reactive emotions he describes as being “a reverberation from an external impression upon the observer”—which suggests the work of the Neophyte of the A.’.A.’. being sworn to examine all experience as having an affect upon his or her pantacle. Indeed, any “impression hits the moving centrum and creates a reverberation”—an unconscious, automatic response.
And I have to say, as it’s been nagging at me since I wrote my review of the previous three chapters, and as it now pertains to the next chapter that I am about to discuss, the Koyote once again gives us a teaching of Castaneda in a more articulate manner than Castaneda could have hoped. And I quote:
“What are the consequences of liberation? You are free from the support of the Great Magician as well, so when you free yourself, you find yourself in the jungle, and there are other dangers out there. Therefore, you have to become a warrior, and you have to become a hunter of power, and you have to know that death can come at any moment.”
Chapter 9: Never Eat Steak in the Afterlife! Deals with generalities. An idea that I very much like and have often spoken about, deals with the danger of leaving the safety of the fold of the Great Magician; an analogy for the safety of the church in Christian culture. And for the Koyote, the safety of living in the Tonal; that one might become “ambushed” in one’s wandering in the jungles outside. This requires a directing of the intent in a way that I have often spoken about myself, but is more clearly presented by the Koyote than I have been able to do, thus far. And I will take from this; moving on into the future. Indeed, by reading poetry or listening to music; viewing art, et al, one is actually recreating that art and thereby creating other worlds outside the Tonal in which to sojourn.
With this, the work of the spiritual teacher is discussed; making the teacher to be the one that provides the discomfort necessary for breaking out of the Tonal. Here we get some recursive reiterations of assertions made at the beginning of the book, but now, we are armed with a better tool for understanding. And with that, the Koyote shows us just how the book works at creating change in the reader; confirming a bold assertion made at the beginning of the book. As we come to see this, we learn the value of reading and especially of writing (Thoth/Mercury, the god of writing) in Magick.”