SUZANNE SNIDER

MAGICAL PASSES

MILLIONS KNOW CARLOS CASTANEDA AS THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF NONFICTION CHRONICLES OF HIS PEYOTE-FUELED JOURNEYS THROUGH THE DESERTS OF MEXICO WITH THE BYRONIC SHAMAN DON JUAN MATUS. AN INVESTIGATION INTO HIS LIFE AS A NEW-AGE CULT LEADER, HOWEVER, SHOWS THAT HIS BOOKS, PHILOSOPHY, AND EVEN HIS PERSONAL LIFE WOULD BE MUCH BETTER DESCRIBED AS SEVERAL THOUSAND PAGES OF REALLY GOOD FICTION.

DISCUSSED: Magical Passes, Magic Parts, Golden Piss, The Metaphysical Travelogue Tradition, Various Supernatural Powers, Returning to This World, The Path to Enlightenment, The Nagual of Freedom,The Luminous Egg of Man, Magic Bathtubs, Buckminster Fuller, Black Mountain College, Assemblage, Pixie Haircuts, Falun Gong

INJURIOUS ENERGY FROM THE OVARIES

On a Sunday night in late November, an exuberant and sweaty crowd left the White Street Center for Movement and Bodywork’s Tribeca studio after a two-hour kung fu workout, while a smaller, more subdued group of four students took its place. By 7:35 p.m., the evening quartet had begun a sequence of movements resembling the wayward love-child of tai chi and charades. The sequence, or “magical passes,” included gestures ranging from the balletic tendues and ronds de jambe a terre, to the less virtuosic and more maddening effort of pulling one’s own hand with one’s other hand to extract the “magic parts” contained in the shallow webs between the fingers. Movements ranged from athletic to gestural/absurd. I was one of the four (and most likely only) people in New York City practicing the allegedly sacred art of Tensegrity on this particular Sunday night in November. To prepare, I changed into clothes befitting a modern dance class—track pants and a tank top. When the other three participants arrived wearing loose-fitting clothes, I quickly gleaned that Tensegrity is not something for which you merely get dressed and undressed. For these people, Tensegrity is a way of thinking and moving, and possibly a way of life.

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Suzanne Snider is a Brooklyn-based writer and performer. She is currently at work on a nonfiction book about a communal society in Michigan.

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