An anthropology student who wrote books describing sorcery and witchcraft in Mexico and Central America.

While writers of esoteric subject matter are by no means unique, Florinda Donner stands out in the field for three significant reasons. . .

1) She is apparently the second individual to publish works about direct experiences in dealing with the Yaqui Indian self-described sorcerer, Don Juan Matus, made famous by Carlos Castaneda

2) The way women approach sorcery is revealed to be extremely different from the way males do. Her descriptions offer a unique alternative view of the same world.

3) Her third book, "Being In Dreaming" is fascinating in that she describes Carlos Castaneda himself from her own perspective, (a literary first), having worked closely with him during her own introduction into the sorcerer's world. The difference between how he describes himself and the way Florinda does is notable.

--Castaneda writes of his actions and thought processes in a manner which makes it very difficult to respect his character; he displays endless uncertainties, cowardice, and a variety of social flaws which even the unflappable Don Juan described as making their relationship a difficult exercise in patience. By the time Florinda met Carlos, however, two decades had gone by since his first book was published. It is fascinating to see that she describes him as being a character nearly as powerful, ebullient and unfathomable as Don Juan himself.

One fascinating aspect of this look at the world of sorcery is that at one point in their work together, Florinda found herself falling in love with Carlos. Interestingly, one of the fairly unique aspects of the Toltec approach to sorcery is that sex and love are considered to be among the worst possible drains upon a person's energy, and as such are strictly forbidden.

Toltec Sorcery is described by its practitioners as the most simple and yet difficult thing imaginable. --Simple, in that there are no complicated secret rituals or chants or incense burning involved. The secret to becoming accomplished in sorcery boils down to two basic ideas:

1) The conservation of one's ‘energy' by living what is describe as an ‘impeccable' existence. --Which involves more than simply avoiding sex and romantic entanglement. The end result of living the rigorous life of a ‘warrior' is that one becomes amazingly healthy both physically, mentally and intellectually. Social hang-ups and phobias and social bad habits are eliminated. The learning and perfecting of high degrees of knowledge and skill in all areas of life, while not often discussed, seem either to be requirements of are simply the end results of a warrior's training. Accomplished warriors are always described as having enough personal charisma and power to make a room full of normal people seem pale in every mode of comparison.

2) Learning to accept an entirely different explanation for the mechanics of awareness; the principal element of which is that awareness does not take place within the brain, but ‘happens' rather at a location about two feet away from the head at a point referred to as the ‘Assemblage Point'. (It is interesting that this same ‘point' has been a long standing feature, agreed upon by numerous major occult groups including those from the pre-Columbian Toltec groups upon which Carlos' writing is based, to Chinese Martial Arts practitioners with lineages stretching back through three millennia.)

The prime difference described as existing between men and woman on this same path, is that men must proceed towards a link with the spirit through reason. (Personal note: The Spirit, also described as the ‘Dark Pool of Knowledge,' seems to be a sort of universal awareness all living things can tap into. --Think, ‘The Force', but bigger, deeper, more powerful. . .) Women, however, are described as starting at birth with a direct link to the spirit, and must proceed in reverse to find the reason through which the sorcerer's world is realized. Once enough power is accumulated through unbinding oneself from the shackles of the world of normal reality, (job, homemaking, dreary life, dull work, petty obsession & the endless internal dialogue), the shift into sorcery is said to be nearly automatic for women.

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