The Fifth Series:
The Masculinity Series

Masculinity was the name given to a specific group of magical passes by the shamans who first discovered and used them. Don Juan thought that perhaps it was the oldest name given to any such group of magical passes. This group was practiced originally for generations only by male shaman practitioners, and this discrimination in favour of male shamans was done not out of necessity, but rather for reasons of ritual and to satisfy an original drive for male supremacy. Nevertheless, this drive was soon terminated under the impact of enhanced perception.

The well-established tradition of this group of magical passes being practiced only by men persisted in a pseudo-official way for generations while it was being practiced on the sly by female practitioners as well. The old sorcerers' rationale for including females was that for reasons of strife and social disorder around them, the women needed extra strength and vitality, which they believed was found only in males who practiced this group of magical passes. Therefore, women were allowed to execute the movements as a token of solidarity. In don Juan's time, the division lines between males and females became even more diffused. The secrecy and exclusivity of the old sorcerers was completely shattered, and even the old rationale for allowing women to practice these specific magical passes could not be upheld. Female practitioners performed these magical passes openly.

The value of this group of magical passes the oldest named group in existence - is its continuity. All of its magical passes were generic from the beginning, and this condition provided the only instance in don Juan's lineage of sorcerers in which a whole party of shaman practitioners, whatever their number may have been, were allowed to move in unison. The number of participants in any party of sorcerers, through out the ages, could never have been more than sixteen. Therefore, none of those sorcerers were ever in the position to witness the stupendous energetic contribution of human mass. For them, there existed only the specialized consensus of a few initiates, a consensus which brought in the possibility of idiosyncratic preferences and more isolationism.

The fact that the movements of Tensegrity are practiced in seminars and workshops by hundreds of participants at the same time has given rise, as stated before, to the possibility of experiencing the energetic effects of human mass. Such an energetic effect is twofold: not only are the participants of Tensegrity performing an activity that unites them energetically, but they are also involved in a quest delineated in states of enhanced awareness by the shamans of ancient Mexico: the redeployment Of energy. Performing these magical passes in the setting of seminars on Tensegrity is a unique experience. It permits the participants to arrive, pushed or pulled by the magical passes themselves and by the human mass, at energetic conclusions never even alluded to in don Juan's teachings.

The reason for calling this set of movements Masculinity is its aggressive quality, and because its magical passes are very brisk and forcefully executed, characteristics easily identified with maleness. Don Juan stated that their practice fostered not only a sensation of well-being, but a special sensorial quality, which, if not examined, could easily be confused with strife and aggressiveness. However, if it is carefully scrutinized, it is immediately apparent that it is, rather, an unmistakable sensation of readiness that places the practitioners at a level from which they could strike toward the unknown.

Another reason that the shamans of ancient Mexico called this group of magical passes Masculinity was because the males who practiced it became a special type of practitioner who didn't need to be taken by the hand. They became men who benefited indirectly from everything they did. Ideally, the energy generated by this group of magical passes goes to the centers of vitality themselves, as if every center made an automatic bidding for energy, which goes first to the center that needs it the most.

For don Juan Matus's disciples, this set of magical passes became the most crucial element in their training. Don Juan himself introduced it to them as a common denominator, meaning that he urged them to practice the set unaltered. What he wanted was to prepare his disciples to withstand the rigors of journeying in the unknown.

In Tensegrity, the word Series has been added to the name Masculinity to put it on a par with the other series of Tensegrity. The Masculinity Series is divided into three groups, each consisting of ten magical passes, The goal of the first and second groups of the Masculinity Series is the tuning of tendon energy. Each of these twenty magical passes is short, but extremely focused. Tensegrity practitioners are seriously encouraged, as the shamanistic practitioners of ancient times were, to get the maximum effect from the short movements by aiming to release a jolt of tendon energy every time they execute them.

"But don't you think, don Juan, that every time I release this jolt of energy, I'm actually wasting my tendon energy, and draining it out of me?" I asked him on one occasion.

"You can't drain any energy out of yourself," he said. "The energy that you are seemingly wasting by delivering a jolt to the air is not really being wasted, because it never leaves your boundaries, wherever those boundaries may be. So what you're really doing is delivering a jolt of energy to what the sorcerers of ancient Mexico called our 'crust,' our 'bark.' Those sorcerers stated that energetically, human beings are like luminous balls that have a thick peel around them, like an orange; some of them have something even harder and thicker, like the bark of an old tree."

Don Juan explained carefully that this simile of human beings being like an orange was somehow misleading because the peel or the bark that we have is located inside our boundaries, just as if an orange had its peel inside the orange itself. He said that this bark or peel was the crusted. down energy that had been discarded throughout our lifetime from our vital centers of energy, because of the wear and tear of daily life.

"Is it beneficial to hit this bark, don Juan?" I asked.

"Most beneficial," he said. "Especially if the practitioners aim all their intent at reaching that bark with their blows. If they intend to shatter portions of this crusted-down energy by means of the magical passes, that shattered energy could be absorbed by the vital centers of energy.

The magical passes of the third group of the Masculinity Series are broader, more extensive. What practitioners need in order to execute the ten magical passes of the third group is steadiness of the hands, the legs, and the rest of the body. The aim of this third series, for the shamans of ancient Mexico, was the building of endurance, of stability.

Those shamans believed that holding the body steadily in position while executing those long movements gives the practitioners a foothold from which they can stand on their own.

What modem practitioners of Tensegrity have found out through their practice is that the Masculinity Series can be executed only in moderation, in order to avoid overtiring the tendons of the arms and the muscles of the back.