In The Eagle’s Gift, Carlos Castaneda wrote, “When faced with odds that cannot be dealt with, warriors retreat for a moment. They let their minds meander. They occupy their time with something else. Anything would do. That is the fifth principle of the art of stalking.”
So often, in my posts about the warrior’s path, I write about being strong and empowering ourselves. But there is another side to things. There are times when I warrior feels overwhelmed and defeat… exhausted…. hopeless.
In times like these, we may want to give up and sink into despair and depression, or lash out in anger, or run away. We need to give ourselves time to retreat, time to rest, time to recover. This is why the fifth principle of stalking, also known as “controlled folly,” allows for the warrior to retreat. It is better to retreat when circumstances are beyond our ability to respond than to respond in haste and do harm.
Or perhaps we’re just exhausted and need time to rest and recover. We are, after all, human.
That’s the way I feel today: exhausted.
I like to compare this kind of alchemical transformational process to a snake shedding its skin. How would you feel if you had to pull off the top layer of your skin? Ugh.
We can also compare it to being burned alive. The closest I’ve ever come to that was a bad sunburn when I was young and that was enough to make me sick.
In the picture, you see Persephone. She is naked, buried, and burning alive. But she’s already breaking the surface, ready to be reborn. In her new incarnation, she is a sovereign… empowered.