Early Enneagram History: Naranjo, Ichazo, and the School |

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March 24 by The Running Son

Naranjo, Ichazo, and the School

from ocean-moonshine.net

NOTE to readers: I tried to obtain information on the author of this article. The site that originally posted it, http://www.ocean-moonshine.net, has been down for some time. The article was obtained by imaged cache using the ‘WayBack Machine’:

If anyone has authorship details please let me know. –RFB Editor

Naranjo, Ichazo, and the School


Chilean-born psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo was living and working in the U.S. in the late 1960s when he first heard of Oscar Ichazo. Several of his former patients from Chile wrote to him to tell of the impressive experiences they were having with this new teacher.

Several years before, back in Chile, Naranjo had developed an “extended family” of his private psychiatric patients, bringing them together in a group that became interested in spiritual questions as well as ordinary psychological ones.

The techniques that Naranjo was using with this group of about 60 people included meditation, Gestalt therapy, various readings, and “psychedelic” sessions.

At the time in Chile, it was not a legal problem for Naranjo to be using psychedelics as part of his official activities. Besides the therapeutic use of psychedelics, he also produced some scientific studies of these substances. For instance, his study of the nature and content of the experiences produced by Ayahuasca– a hallucinogenic concoction used by South American shamans– can be found in Hallucinogens and Shamanism, ed. by Michael Harner (1974).

Under the influence of these psychedelics, several of Naranjo’s patients– many of them very educated, intelligent and talented people– reported intense, life-changing experiences of “complete integration” and “total centeredness”, experiences which they were never able to recapture– until some years later, that is, when they met Ichazo.

It is interesting to note here that some of Oscar Ichazo’s earliest mystical experiences also reportedly came from using Ayahuasca (a.k.a. Yage) with the shamans of South America when he was a teenager.

When Naranjo left to work in the U.S., these former patients somehow made contact with the Bolivian-born Ichazo who was teaching in places like Santiago and Arica, Chile. They reported to Naranjo that, after just a few days and weeks of working with Ichazo, they were having drug-free experiences of the same nature and intensity as their former psychedelic experiences. They were having these experiences more often and with even more intensity. One man reported that his life-long feelings of anxiety had disappeared and he was– purely incidentally and without any intention on his part– having telepathic experiences as well.

According to Naranjo, Ichazo was described to him by the students as a Sufi teacher. At the time, Naranjo was involved with another Sufi group, one under the direction of Idries Shah, and he was very interested in the possible Sufi connection with the Sarmoun, the secret society which was reputed to be the source of Gurdjieff’s teaching.

Naranjo first made contact with Ichazo by letter. In the letters he received, Naranjo noticed an authoritarian streak he did not like.

Strange events surrounded Naranjo’s early contacts with Ichazo. He has told the following story: In June of 1969, Naranjo was giving a series of lectures at the University of Miami. After the lectures were over, he was supposed to return home, but instead stayed in Miami for a few more days, something he wasn’t planning on doing. The hotel he was staying at was too expensive, so he asked the first person he met if there was a cheaper hotel, and checked in to the cheaper one. No one knew he was there.

On the day he checked in to the new hotel, he called home to let his wife know he was still in Miami. She said there was a wire from Ichazo, telling Naranjo to contact such-and-such a person at the Mcalister hotel on that same exact day. This was the precise hotel at which Naranjo had just arrived.

Instead of calling the person immediately, Naranjo had a shower and a nap, then woke up and did a little writing. Finally, he picked up the phone to call the person, and just then the other person had picked up the phone at the same time, and they were immediately connected.

Naranjo asked Ichazo about this and was told, “These things happen when you are on the path.”

Naranjo knew these coincidences as a well-known occurence in Sufism. The teacher gives the student “tadjalli”, which is sometimes expressed in terms of coincidences. Students are often asked to keep a journal of these coincidences. Naranjo didn’t know what these coincidences meant, but just took them as one more hint that “something is going on.”

Naranjo’s doubts about Ichazo increased even more after they first met in 1969. He describes Ichazo in this first meeting as being overly-polite, diplomatic, and engaged in many formalities, all of which made Naranjo very suspicious. Overall, Naranjo reacted negatively to Ichazo as a person, considering him manipulative and unimpressive, seemingly without much talent and not even particularly intelligent. This negatvie impression was also shared by some others who had accompanied Naranjo.

However, Naranjo went through some experiences with Ichazo that he considered surprising and convincing, of a different nature than the ordinary.

Some of these experiences were through direct contact with Ichazo; for instance, through a technique called “direct transmission of consciousness”, which Ichazo calls by the Spanish phrase “traspaso.” This technique involves two people sitting in front of each other staring directly into each other’s eyes and, through certain meditative and ritual processes, they can achieve a shared consciousness. Interestingly, Naranjo later began using this technique under the name “meditation in relation”. When Ichazo learned of this, he issued a scathing denunciation of what he considered Naranjo’s distorted imitation. (see Ichazo’s Letters to the School, 1988)

At the time, Naranjo connected the Traspaso technique with the Sufi concept of “baraka”. Naranjo describes baraka as a subtle but palpable energy which can be passed on. In the area of spiritual development, Naranjo says, nothing can be done without baraka; anything effective is more than technique– it’s technique plus a person that has baraka. This subtle quality can be transmitted through direct contact with a person, place or object which carries the energy.

Ichazo equated baraka with “the holy spirit” and said that he was capable of elevating others through the stength of his own baraka. He spoke more about baraka in a discussion of the Two Ways: the Way of Grace and the Way of the Law.

The Way of the Law is the Way of the Prophets; it is a long and hard Way.

But what Ichazo claimed to be offering was a Way of Grace, investing a tremendous energy of baraka. Baraka is something which is usually given only in proportion to effort. However, in these circumstances, it would be given freely in large amounts to make things easier. Ichazo said: “Our work is exceptional in that I am trained and entitled to do much work for others…” Nothing is done without work, and Ichazo implied that he could put in his energy somehow to facilitate this process. In Naranjo’s opinion, this method did seem to work experientially, although he did not know how it was done.

Sometimes Naranjo went into unusual ecstatic states. Other times he experienced what Ichazo calls “satori” states. This “satori” is not necessarily the same as the “satori” described by some Eastern traditions. According to Naranjo, in Ichazo’s system, “satori” is a very intensified experience of the here and now– a crystal clear state where thought dies down. This idea of satori caused some confusion later on when the Arica school advertised that, by using Ichazo’s methods, people could attain satori in a few weeks.

Naranjo was familiar with some of the states he was experiencing, but had many more of them while working with Ichazo. Some states came from certain excercises.

Naranjo was left with the impression that Ichazo’s background was enormous, his “bag of tricks” incredible. He had apparently received training in every esoteric system imaginable. His knowledge of chakra yoga, for instance, impressed Naranjo.

Chakra yoga is not part of the program, but Ichazo would use it with people with whom he felt it could be useful. Naranjo had some background in chakra yoga, but didn’t tell Ichazo this. However, Ichazo immediately detected that Naranjo had done work on chakras, saying Naranjo’s higher chakras were well-developed, but his lower ones needed a lot of work. He said that Naranjo had a “piece of cork” in his solar plexus…

Ichazo proposed to do chakra yoga with Naranjo. Naranjo told him he thought they were going to learn Sufism, not Chakra Yoga. Ichazo said that it was true, that in most cases the imagery of chakra yoga is more geared towards the Eastern mind and is obsolete to the West, not what the West needs. This conversation once again indicates that Naranjo believed that Ichazo was teaching Sufism and Ichazo did not contradict him.

They discussed yoga work and Naranjo had an impression of Ichazo’s tremendous knowledge.

On the third day of yoga work, Naranjo went into one of the most impressive explosions he’s ever experienced. He describes this as streams of electricity running through him, with cosmic visions producing tears and laughter.. After 10 minutes of this, he wanted to stop because he couldn’t handle it…

But the next day Ichazo began putting him off. Ichazo never again talked of chakras until a few days later when Naranjo finally confronted him. Ichazo excused himself and they began doing some chakra work again.

Ichazo gave Naranjo an exercise of listening to Sufi music with certain chakras, but then stopped him because he said Naranjo was in too analytical a state and it was useless. They tried again and failed again… and that was the last time they ever worked with the chakras. But Naranjo was very convinced by his experiences, although Ichazo didn’t give them much importance.

Ichazo taught Naranjo breathing exercises which were similar to Pranayama, but had some differences. Naranjo also learned some movements, which didn’t cause far-out states, but which were impressive. It is very likely that these movements are, in essence, those presented in Ichazo’s book Master Level Exercises and known in Arica as Psychocalisthenics. These exercises are a combination of breathing techniques, visualizations and some physical movements drawn from Yoga, airforce exercises and ballet. In addition, Naranjo may be referring to consciousness-raising techniques Ichazo developed, like Kinerhythm, which Ichazo claims is a synthesis of some techniques he learned from his time with Sufis in the Pamir, north of Afghanistan in Central Asia.

Naranjo heard 40 lectures by Ichazo, and these convinced Naranjo that Ichazo was trained in the same school as Gurdjieff, i.e., by the Sarmoun. Naranjo said Ichazo was the first person he had heard who was giving further info along the same lines as G.

In Ichazo’s system, the concepts of Essence and Personality central to what Gurdieff conveyed had been worked out in a great amount of detail. The working of personality is broken down into 5 lower Centers (which Naranjo explicitly states is related to the chakras) and each is understood in terms of working on an Enneagram. Ichazo’s use of the Enneagram further convinced Naranjo that he was connected with Gurdjieff and the Sarmoun.

Apparently, Ichazo was primarily teaching the psychological level of Protoanalysis at that time. According to Naranjo, Ichazo would diagnose a person in about 1 hour, giving a chart of the personality structure: a general map of the workings of the Centers, involving about 45 psychological entities, like the workings of Fear and Pride and Appetite, desire for Union, Self-preservation, etc. The way these entities interlocked with each other was different from individual to individual, and there are practically countless possibilites, permutations, relationships between all these. Each person has a certain flow of energy, flow of events; one psychological entity leads to another and another, etc, and this is the way our personal machine works.

Ichazo would give a map of this and certain ways of working with it to “clean” this lower level.

He did this with Naranjo. In basically 8 hours of talking, Ichazo told Naranjo almost everything about Naranjo’s personality without asking any questions or knowing anything about Naranjo. They had previously interacted, but Naranjo says he had been mostly passive: not talking about himself, not behaving with much response, mostly just attending to Ichazo (although he did meditate in his presence). It apparently did not occur to Naranjo that by acting in the way he mentions, he was revealing his personality (Naranjo is known to be an Enneatype 5).

Naranjo was not sure of the extent of Ichazo’s telepathic abilities, but noticed that Ichazo did seem very effective in finding out a person’s inner state, in “tuning-in” to people.

Ichazo accurately mentioned almost all the things Naranjo had seen about himself in the past in various therapies and episodes of self-analysis. Ichazo summarized these aspects, presenting them panoramically and integrating one with another, showing how they fit together.

According to Naranjo, it all gave the impression of a very coherent science. In fact, he once heard Ichazo mention that what had impressed him (Ichazo) about this teaching when he first encountered it was its scientific quality, its technical quality; there was not much left to intuition or improvisation.

Phrased in this way, it seems clear that Ichazo was implying that he had received this teaching and did not develop it himself. However, the implication is not so clear, since Ichazo has asserted that, after years of both exoteric and esoteric study, he received this wisdom through using techniques for attaining higher consciousness; in such a state he was able to discover the “science” of the 108 enneagons which constitute the Arica theory.

It should be noted that, in the early 1970’s, John Lilly was already reporting that Ichazo claimed to have received his knowledge from the Archangel Metatron and the Green Qutb. These are technical terms which require some background in esoteric doctrine and which can easily lead to bizarre interpretations.

Briefly, Ichazo describes “Archangel Metatron” as a faculty of the Higher Mind which allows a person to have special knowledge of a Divine nature. It is an archetypal figure representing “the Presence of God”, a state of consciousness in which the Unity of God is remembered without interruption. The Arica system was produced under this state of consciousness.

In connection with this, it should be mentioned that Metatron is traditionally associated with the highest levels of the Kabbalah, and in fact is said to be the bridge by which the knowledge of the Kabbalah was transmitted to Abraham. Among Kabbalists, Metatron is known as “the Angel of the Presence”, and associated with the Crown Sephirah, which is sometimes designated as “the Vast Countenance.” Interestingly, the Sufi Enneagram, according to Laleh Bakhtiar, is traditionally known as the Sign of the Presence of God (or the Divine Presence) and is also known as the symbol of the Face of God.

The Green Qutb is a phrase Ichazo derived from Sufi doctine. Among the Sufis, Qutb means “center”, and is used to designate the Axis or Magnetic Pole around which the entire Sufi enterprise revolves, often represented as a living person who is considered the Chief of the Sufis. The color green is associated with the legendary Khidr, or Elias, a spiritual force which manifests in the material world in different forms and is responsible for aiding humanity wherever there is a true need. Green is also the color which most powerfully stimulates the Lataif, faculties of higher consciousness similar to the Hindu chakras.

In Ichazo’s explanation, contact with the Green Qutb implies connection with higher forces on a more subtle plane which are responsible for the evolutionary development of humanity to a higher spiritual level. Through the stabilizing of an ego-less state, an individual or group is able to surrender their personal will to the Divine Will and work for the Divine Plan. The Archetypal figure for this aspect of the Higher Mind is the Archangel Gabriel, the angel who appeared to Muhammed.

Ichazo also connects this aspect with the Green Maitreya Buddha, the Bodhisattva who will bring the science of Enlightenment of the next 2,500 years. Some implication has been made that Ichazo may be this Bodhisattva.

Naranjo also once heard Ichazo speak briefly about the I Ching. Ichazo said it was a book of “the School”, but they use it not with hexagrams, but with Enneagrams. Trigrams are for the individual level, for “types”. Hexagrams deal with humanity’s social predicament. But for our cosmic predicament, Enneagrams are used. Ichazo offered that this would be one side of their studies. The study also would include such things as Kabbalah and examination of consciousness.

Naranjo was impressed by the ideas and awed by the completeness of the theoretical picture Ichazo presented, as well as the completeness of techniques, which included zen practices, vatrayana meditation, sufi dancing, breathing, working with ideas, insistence on the “here and now” through verbal and non-verbal means, etc. Even the symbolical language had aspects of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc. Ichazo seemed to have been exposed to much, but Naranjo’s impression was not that he put them together, but that it’s one integral tradition.

Ichazo, however, claims that he synthesized his own system based on what he learned in his experience with the various traditional Ways.

Naranjo, Ichazo, and the School


Naranjo believed that the teaching situation in Arica beginning in 1970 would be extremely intense. Ichazo told him that he was using a Sufi method called “the Rapidness”.

The Rapidness, also known as the Shattari method, was used in India in the fifteenth century by the Sufi Sheikh Abdullah Shattar. It is said to be a secret technique for rapid development which is preserved by the Naqshbandi Order.

As Naranjo states, this method is not normally used in the Sufi orders. It is a highly-reserved method which is preserved for historical emergencies. Although by using this technique people can be very quickly prepared for playing a part in an important operation, there is also an increased danger of wrong development. The Sufis usually use ways that blend into ordinary life, so that development happens gradually.

Using this “Rapid” method, students would be expected to be involved in developmental work for at least 12 hours a day. A high-protein diet would be used to give high energy. An account of the techniques used by Ichazo as part of his program at that time can be found in John Lilly’s “Center of the Cylone”.

According to Naranjo, Ichazo guaranteed a permanent awakened condition: “If you work and you let me work, I can do that.”

Ichazo told Naranjo that it was “lawful” for him to use this method at this time– speaking in terms of a Higher Law. He said this could be done in some world cycles, and that this was a moment in history (c. 1970) that had not happened in 2000 years, where one culture dies and another one is born. Consequently, there was a need for “seed” people. Comparing humanity to a tree, a “seed” person contains a whole spirit of a culture and can regenerate a whole culture, generating a new tree. Ichazo said this was a plantation moment, a “seeding” moment.

Interestingly, an analysis of these world cycles and the way a new culture springs from certain people at certain moments was a major part of the work of Rodney Collin, a student of P.D. Ouspensky who began teaching in South America in 1949 (see Collin’s Theory of Celestial Influence, 1954.)

These moments of “plantation” are said to happen only once in a very long time. The type of work Ichazo was doing was supposedly related to these cycles, and would last for 20 years. However, Naranjo didn’t think that Ichazo would be doing this for 20 years; he believed Ichazo would withdraw to one of the secret schools known as “Power houses”.

In fact, by 1980, Ichazo had withdrawn to Hawaii, to work on various “trainings” and “letters” which he would then send to the Arica Institute Headquarters in New York. The members of Arica who had reached the highest levels through their early work directly with Ichazo would then be responsible for implementing these ideas in Arica Centers around the world.

Ichazo conveyed to Naranjo that this (c. 1970) was an important moment. Ichazo later began predicting that a major cataclysm would take place in the next ten years if humanity did not change its ways, and that Arica was going to be an extremely important factor in this global change. This prediction was made in the early 1970’s.

Ichazo is Bolivian, from South America, and he made statements to the effect that the person who’s mission it would be to do this work would have had to be Bolivian. Naranjo noticed how some statements like the above displayed Ichazo’s almost messianic sense of mission, although “nothing about his demeanor is messianic.” For instance, speaking intimately, Ichazo said that he was the Alpha and the Omega, a seemingly biblical reference to the Book of Revelations.

Some events in Ichazo’s life made him think he was chosen, and chosen early in life. Naranjo wondered why “they” chose Ichazo and not someone more gifted!

Ichazo told Naranjo he was contacted early in life, and his way was very difficult and strenuous, taking many years. He didn’t have a natural group, so an artificial one was created for him.

The question arises, who chose Ichazo and what School was created for him? The following is a summmary of what allegedly took place:

When Ichazo was 19, he was discovered by a 60-year-old European businessman in La Paz, Bolivia, c.1950. They discussed the work of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, as well as various European occultist groups which were prominent at the end of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. This man, whose identity has remained anonymous, invited Ichazo to participate in a study group of high-ranking European and Oriental mystics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, composed of Martinists, Theosophists, Rosicrucians and Anthroposophists. Ichazo served them coffee, and they taught him Kabbalah, Sufism, Yoga, Zen and techniques from the Gurdjieff work. They used him as a kind of “guinea pig” on which to try out different techniques. They were attempting to synthesize all mysticism and present the synthesis as a new Way.

Eventually they decided to teach Ichazo in earnest, and he passed through an initiation in which he had to sit in a lotus position on a post for three days until the teachers returned. When they returned, Ichazo’s body was so rigid he had to be lifted off the post. Back in his hut, Ichazo’s personality structure broke down completely, after which he was transformed. When he went to the apartment where his teachers were, he found the men waiting for him. Now, they said, he could join the group.

This group worked with Ichazo for two more years and then opened doors for him to study in the Orient. Before travelling, however, he remained at home in Chile for a few years.

He studied mythological aeneids, the theories of numbers of Pythagoras and Euclid, the non-Eucldian geometry of Bolyai and Lobachevsky, the Atomic Models of Bohr, the work of Mendeleyev, and the biological cycles of paleontology. He noted the resemblances of these things to systems of divination like the Kabbalah, the I Ching, astrology and numerology. By 1954, through the studies and practices he was engaged in, he had synthesized his theory of the 108 enneagons.

In 1956, he began to travel and study in the East. He studied Sufism in Afghansitan and the Pamir, studied Tantra in the Kashmir in 1958, and the martial arts in Hong Kong in 1960. He learned all of the higher yogas, studied Buddhism and Confucianism, alchemy, and the wisdom of the I Ching.

During this time, when he was back in Chile, he would teach a study group which focused on the wisdom of Pythagoras, Plato, the Stoics, Sceptics, Epicureans and Cynics, and based on that, he synthesized a set of exercises called the Pampas. (He was using the Pampas exercises as a major part of his teaching in 1970; see Lilly’s The Center of the Cyclone for a description).

By 1960 he had synthesized his Theory of Trialectics, a new logic based on cycles.

In 1964, in La Paz, while living with his father and digesting his learnings, Ichazo went into a “divine coma” for seven days. According to Ichazo, “When I came out of it I knew that I should teach; it was impossible that all my good luck should be only for myself. But it took me two years to act on this decision. Then I went to Santiago and started lecturing in the Institute for Applied Psychology. Things got so busy and crowded there that I decided to move to the remote little town of Arica and filter out all except the really committed persons who would follow me there….”

The above implies that he was acting on his own initiative, but according to Claudio Naranjo and John Lilly, he was still acting under the direction of his own teachers.

For instance, according to Naranjo, Ichazo was given given the “order” by his teachers to go to Arica, Chile, to teach there. Naranjo also believed that Ichazo seemed to be in contact with his own teachers, but they weren’t in Chile. According to Naranjo, “They direct…”

A story also circulated that, after one of his original teachers had died, Ichazo had taken his position as one of the heads of the School and began his teaching mission.

Who, exactly, these teachers were, has never been disclosed. The only name Ichazo has ever mentioned publicly is Leo Costet de Mascheville, a Martinist teacher from a French family living in South America in the early 20th century. The Maschevilles were known to be in contact with the head of the Martinist organization at that time, the French occultist known as Papus.


Leo Costet de Mascheville, the only one of his teachers Ichazo has ever mentioned by name.

According to Naranjo, Ichazo said specifically that he was handed the whole of the Tradition that is spread in many branches around the world in various cultures. He was given “the whole works” and the mission of translating it into Western terms. A new culture would be born from his efforts, and those people who will be the “seed people” would be the seed of a very important development– the creation of new cultural reforms which would embody the Truth.

Ichazo explained the reason behind South America being the center of this new cultural movement. Europe had had its time, and now it would be the Americas’ time, especially South America, because the European influence was not as strong there and Christianity could fade away. So South America would be the source from which the new movement would begin.

Naranjo had no doubts that Ichazo had been taught by Sufis, based on things he said and terms he used. Naranjo had been in contact with another Sufi school and said there were certain things that the Sufis knew but which were not in the Sufi books– at least not the Sufi books which were part of Naranjo’s large collection. So Naranjo had no doubt that someone “handed over the Tradition” to Ichazo, but Ichazo wouldn’t mention what school it was.

According to Naranjo, however, Ichazo did speak slightly disdainfully of the traditional Sufi orders, saying that there was not time to waste on discussing them.

Judeo-Christian sources were also present in his terminology; for instance, he said that Jesus is the School’s greatest saint.

Ichazo also spoke disdainfully about current Mahayana Buddhism, saying that it had been great at one time, when it originated, but was no longer viable. He put down the schools of contemporary India in general, saying they had become very “byzantine”, making unnecessary and misleading elaborations in their system, becoming an expression of the worst of the Hindu spirit. As for “enlightened” Hindus of recent time, Ichazo said, “That is not our way…” because although they have attained Union with God, they don’t have “the key”, they can’t pass it down. “Our tradition is highly technical” he said, comparing it to a science. “You must have the key… you must be able to go in and out of the world.”

Ichazo told Naranjo that the Way of Buddha is easier because he’s rejected the world. Ichazo said, “Our way is the way of the Juggler… In a world that’s asleep, you play…”

Ichazo would say, “I’m always awake behind my veil but you can’t see me.”

Naranjo asked Ichazo about Castaneda’s Don Juan, and Ichazo seemed to have a high regard for Don Juan. However, in later interviews, Ichazo declared Don Juan a fake and the whole thing a hoax.

Naranjo noticed that Ichazo’s communication style would change significantly from one person to another. He could be emotional and poetic with one person, dry with another.

Naranjo opened up to Ichazo about his feelings of distrust for him. Ichazo said it was “ok”, as long as the work continued. He said “You never know till you have proof… we need questioning minds.”

He recommended to Naranjo that he should work at least 2 hours a day, giving him certain meditations.

Naranjo said Ichazo knew some very sophisticated meditations, very physical ones. There was one that took an hour and a half, with mantras, breathing techniques, movements, stretching, all done together in a certain way.

In connection with the 10-month training he was offering, Ichazo talked of “higher bodies”: The Astral body, the Mental body, and the Divine body, ideas found in most traditional esoteric schools, including that of Gurdjieff. The “permanent awakened condition” (which he guaranteed could be produced in the 10-month training) corresponded to the development of the Astral body, which is the body of true feelings, the body of Virtues.

According to Naranjo, Virtues are the true feelings, as opposed to habitual feelings, which are false, substitute feelings. These lower feelings are called “Passions”. They need to be replaced by higher feelings.

After the development of the Astral body, there are two more stages: the Mental body and the Divine body. Ichazo said that some people would feel satisfied stopping after the first stage, but others would feel called to continue. These later stages would not necessitate the same kind of intense training period, but could be a more gradual development as part of ordinary life.

According to Naranjo, when one is “awakened”, one is open to impressions all the time, whether one strives for it or not. One cannot help but grow. A person then has Astral contact which can give assistance and guidance, and would also have telepathic contact with Ichazo and other members of the School.

Ichazo told Naranjo that there was no commitment to continue with him after the 10 month training. He imagined that some would want to stay in a group, continuing along those lines. Others might do some teaching.

Ichazo also mentioned that he wanted to show both the traditional ways and the “experimental” way that he himself had created. This latter is a Westernization. He said “I want people with research-oriented minds… people who want to compare, who want to interrelate things…”

In fact, before they had formally met, Naranjo had sent Ichazo some of his writings on the commonalities of the traditional ways of growth, both spiritual and therapeutic. Ichazo seemed impressed by these. Naranjo got the impression that there would be innovation and experimentalism in the School, not exclusivism, until the School was complete.

Naranjo asked Ichazo about what came next after the establishment of the Arica school. Ichazo spoke of School “games”, and in connection with this, the Tarot was very important. Ichazo would take on a different tone when discussing the Tarot: more respectful, ceremonious, with a serious aspect and attitude. He would say, “Forget anything any book says about the Tarot.. It’s God’s game… I am here because of the outcome of a Tarot game.” (Naranjo was under the impression that after such a Tarot game, Ichazo’s teacher had told him to go to Arica and be there at a certain date and hour and just wait.)

Ichazo also spoke of possibly travelling in connection with other stages of the work.

Naranjo found it all to be a very integral and integrated tradition. But he was not impressed in the least by Ichazo the person, and could not emphasize that enough. He was very distrustful of Ichazo.

When he returned to California after spending those first few weeks with Ichazo, people asked Naranjo if he recommended Ichazo. His response: “I don’t feel like recommending him… I don’t dare recommend him… but I wouldn’t want to miss it… ”

Naranjo decided to take the risk for himself because he felt he had enough hints that there was something real there. This was unusual, for him because he bypassed his “heart”. He usually went by “smell”, and Ichazo didn’t “smell” holy or wise or even intelligent, but Naranjo couldn’t deny that he’d been effective. If nothing else, he had gotten Naranjo more irritated than he had been in years, so Naranjo thought it might be intentional and part of the teaching.

Naranjo had gotten to Arica feeling very detached, feeling he had nothing to lose, not expecting anything. But after a while he was finding he was investing a lot of energy trying to decide if he approved or not, and he was fighting his own paranoia. He felt something was going on; he had been touched somehow.

However, Naranjo was skeptical of the ecstatic states he had experienced with Ichazo. He was doubtful of their impact and asked himself if he felt like a better person because of them, if he was more enlightened and closer to his ultimate goals after those first 2 months. He didn’t feel that he was. Then again, he had not worked in the real sense of the intensive 10-month program. The work he did was fragmentary.

Naranjo decided to take these experiences as indications that something was really happening, indirect evidence that Ichazo had a power and/or technique that worked.

So in 1970, Naranjo began the intensive 10-month program… However, he never finished the program and had to leave Arica prematurely. The details of what took place are unclear:

Naranjo’s version can be found at http://www.intuition.org/txt/naranjo.htm

While Ichazo’s version can be found in his “Letter to the Transpersonal Community” at http://www.arica.org/articles/trletter.cfm

RetreatArica Nine Ways of Zhikr Hawaii


Naranjo, Claudio. Report from Chile: Oscar Ichazo and the School. Big Sur Tapes (1970).

Naranjo, Claudio. Character and Neurosis (1994).

Harner, Michael, ed. Hallucinogens and Shamanism (1974).

Bleibtreu, John. Interviews with Oscar Ichazo (1982).

Ichazo, Oscar. Letters to the School (1988).

Ichazo, Oscar. Master Level Exercises: Psychoalchemy (1986).

Ichazo, Oscar. “Letter to the Transpersonal Community” in The Arican Journal, Autumn 1991.

Tart, Charles, ed. Transpersonal Psychologies (1975). (See “The Arica Training” by J. Lilly and J. Hart)

Bakhtiar, Laleh. God’s Will Be Done, Vol 1-3 (1993-94).

Fortune, Dion. The Mystical Qabalah (1935).

Shah, Idries. The Sufis (1964).

Shah, Idries. A Perfumed Scorpion (1979).

Scott, Ernest. The People of the Secret (1984).

Lilly, John. The Center of the Cyclone (1971).

Lilly, John and Antoinetta. The Dyadic Cylcone (1974).

Patterson, William P. Taking with the Left Hand (1998).

Collin, Rodney. Theory of Celestial Influence (1954).

For more on Ichazo’s reputed South American teachers, see: http://korc.wisdomtraditions.org/




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RFB editor Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013

RunningSon aka Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013 | This site is dedicated with the deepest gratitude to Dr. Cláudio Naranjo, whose writings gave me life.

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