Knowledge is a moth.
The creation of my wearable totemic sculpture, White Moths Gold Scarab, was informed by writings of Castaneda, below.
* * * * *
Moth excerpts from Tales of Power (1974)
By Carlos Castaneda (1925-1998)
* * * * *
“What happened out there, don Juan?” I finally asked.
“You had an appointment with knowledge,” he said, pointing with a movement of his chin to the dark edge of the desert chaparral. “I took you there because I caught a glimpse of knowledge prowling around the house earlier. You might say that knowledge knew that you were coming and was waiting for you. Rather than meeting it here I felt it was proper to meet it on a power spot. Then I set up a test to see if you had enough personal power to isolate it from the rest of the things around us. You did fine.”
“Wait a minute!” I protested. “I saw the silhouette of a man hiding behind a bush and then I saw a huge bird.”
“You didn’t see a man!” he said emphatically. “Neither did you see a bird. The silhouette in the bushes and what flew to us was a moth. If you want to be accurate in sorcerer’s terms, but very ridiculous in your own terms, you could say that tonight you had an appointment with a moth. Knowledge is a moth.”
(Castaneda, page 17)
* * * * *
“Out there, there is only knowledge,” he said in a factual tone. “Knowledge is frightening, true; but if a warrior accepts the frightening nature of knowledge he cancels out its awesomeness.”
The strange sputtering noise happened again. It seemed closer and louder, I listened carefully. The more attention I paid to it the more difficult it was to determine its nature. It did not seem to be the call of a bird or the cry of a land animal. The tone of each sputter was rich and deep; some were produced in a low key, others in a high one. They had a rhythm and a specific duration; some were long, I heard them like a single unit of sound; others were short and happened in a cluster, like the staccato sound of a machine gun.
“The moths are the heralds or, better yet, the guardians of eternity,” don Juan said after the sound had stopped. “For some reason, or for no reason at all, they are the depositories of the gold dust of eternity.”
The metaphor was foreign to me. I asked him to explain it.
“The moths carry a dust on their wings,” he said. “A dark gold dust. That dust is the dust of knowledge.”
His explanation had made the metaphor even more obscure. I vacillated for a moment trying to find the best way of wording my question. But he began to talk again.
“Knowledge is a most peculiar affair,” he said, “especially for a warrior. Knowledge for a warrior is something that comes at once, engulfs him, and passes on.”
“What does knowledge have to do with the dust on the wings of moths?” I asked after a long pause.
“Knowledge comes floating like specks of gold dust, the same dust that covers the wings of moths. So, for a warrior, knowledge is like taking a shower, or being rained on by specks of dark gold dust.”
In the most polite manner I was capable of, I mentioned that his explanations had confused me even more. He laughed and assured me that he was making perfect sense, except that my reason would not allow me to be at ease.
“The moths have been the intimate friends and helpers of sorcerers from time immemorial,” he said. “I had not touched upon this subject before, because of your lack of preparation.”
“But how can the dust on their wings be knowledge?”
(Castaneda, pages 27-29)
* * * * *
I then heard the mysterious sound again. It came to me, as don Juan had suggested, in the form of a rain of golden specks. I did not feel that they were flat specks or flakes, as he had described them, but rather spherical bubbles. They floated towards me. One of them burst open and revealed a scene to me. It was as if it had stopped in front of my eyes and opened up, disclosing a strange object. It looked like a mushroom. I was definitely looking at it, and what I was experiencing was not a dream. The mushroomlike object remained unchanged within my field of “vision” and then it popped, as though the light that was shining on it had been turned off. An interminable darkness followed it.
(Castaneda, page 31)
* * * * *
He said that the mushroomlike formation was the essential shape of human beings when a sorcerer was seeing them from far away, but when a sorcerer was directly facing the person he was seeing, the human quality was shown as an egglike cluster of luminous fibers.
“You were not facing your friend,” he said. “Therefore, he appeared like a mushroom.”
“Why is that so, don Juan?”
“No one knows. That simply is the way men appear in this specific type of seeing.”
He added that every feature of the mushroomlike formation had a special significance, but that it was impossible for a beginner to accurately interpret that significance.
(Castaneda, page 32)