The Dreaming Circus

Special Ops, LSD, and My Unlikely Path to Toltec Wisdom

A Green Beret’s profound spiritual transformation from PTSD to awakening and from military warrior to spiritual warrior

  • Explains how the author became a student of Toltec spiritual teacher don Miguel Ruiz and how he traveled the world, as well as the astral realms, undergoing a deep spiritual journey of change
  • Details how the author discovered LSD after the Vietnam War and even tripped while skydiving
  • Recounts his time as a civil rights advocate and war correspondent, and how Toltec shamanism helped prepare him to ease his wife’s long end-of-life journey

During his third tour of duty in Vietnam where he served as a Green Beret, Jim Morris was wounded badly enough to be retired from the army. He came home bitter, angry that his career had been ended. After reading The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, he realized that many members of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters had also been combat officers. Following this spiritual “hint,” he spent the next couple of years as an acid head, even skydiving on LSD. Awakened by his LSD experiences, Morris immersed himself in the books of Carlos Castaneda, as well as in Kriya Yoga, Charismatic Christianity, and A Course in Miracles. From these experiences he was led to Toltec spiritual teacher don Miguel Ruiz and began a deep spiritual journey of change.

Sharing his journey from PTSD to spiritual awakening, along with insights about what drives a person on the spiritual path, Morris details his profound transformation from military warrior to spiritual warrior. He recounts his time as a civil rights advocate for the Montagnard people in Vietnam and his years as a war correspondent at the same time he was following Castaneda’s Warrior’s Way. He describes his momentous meeting with don Miguel Ruiz as well as his travels around the world and in the astral realms. Sharing how his wife developed dementia and later became paralyzed, Morris explains how it required all his Toltec training, all his military training, everything he had to share her final years in a meaningful and fulfilling way.

Written from a deep understanding of Toltec techniques this book shows in a heartfelt and resonant way what a spiritual path can give you, especially those whose lives have been derailed by trauma and those whose lives have been continuously unsatisfying and confusing, as well as revealing the essentially magic nature of reality.

Retired U.S. Army Special Forces Major Jim Morris served three tours with the Green Berets in Vietnam. He has worked as a civil rights advocate for the mountain peoples with whom he fought, the Montagnard, and his Vietnam memoir, War Story, won the first Bernal Diaz Award for military non-fiction. He has covered wars for Rolling Stone, Soldier of Fortune, Esquire, and the Saturday Evening Post. For decades he has immersed himself in a deep study of Toltec shamanism. He lives in Bell Canyon, California.


Jim Morris is one of my favorite people. His humor, honesty, and healing are brought together exquisitely in his latest book, The Dreaming Circus. As a Vietnam veteran, a war correspondent, a writer, and a spiritual seeker, Morris embodies the spirit and essence of true warrior of the heart. His journey to integrate the wounds and scars of life into art and beauty is an inspiration to all warriors learning to turn trauma into triumph and inner turmoil into transformed peace. Highly recommended.

Heather Ash Amara
The Warrior Goddess Way

The phrase “Spiritual Warrior” gets a lot of use, but one would be hard pressed to find someone for whom the phrase is more applicable. Jim Morris is a spiritual warrior in the truest sense of the phrase. Unlike most modern spiritual seekers, he comes from the actual world of the Warrior, having served several tours in Vietnam. After a good deal of floundering and suffering – all of which makes great reading — he enters the spiritual path, which, he pursues with the same intensity and commitment that he brought to his service in … well, in every aspect of his life! 

Morris’ story makes a fantastic read – wild and fun and full of, “No, he didn’t!” moments early on, given depth by the unflinching and honest undercurrent of pain, confusion, and heartache – both dished out and received – that goads him to search for something more – something that explains and guides and has the power to transform.

What he finds – his teacher and his community, his path – is full of heart and does transform him – in ways that are just as wondrous and wild as anything experienced in his certifiably crazy youth. You expect the story of someone’s spiritual journey to be inspiring. You don’t necessarily expect it to be entertaining – and Morris’s story is both engaging and entertaining. It is joyfully hopeful as well.

He writes that he hopes some vet, crashing through the forest of his own attempts to come to terms with life and war, and life after war, might, in reading this book, take heart and begin the journey himself, thinking, “If someone like him can do it … then maybe I can too.”

It’s not just Vietnam vets who can use that message!

Melissa Townsend
Astrologer, Psychic, Artist

Translator and Illustrator of the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali

To be a great storyteller you must have lived some great stories. Jim Morris knows both and The Dreaming Circus is both, the tale told and the adventure behind it. You see, Jim takes the reader into a mysterious, beautiful, ruthless, dream that he lived as the prerequisite to casting the inviting spell that’s become the Dreaming Circus invitation.

To join Jim and his cast of characters, compadres, challengers, and shapeshifters into the oh so elusive reality of our minds landscapes is a true adventure. We are worthy of great adventures and Jim has opened the door to one that you’ll be fortunate to say yes too. I should know, I was there. 

Lee McCormick
Spiritual Teacher
Co-author of The Spiritual Recovery Medicine Bag

As a new generation returns from war, they are already struggling to process what they saw, what they did, and what it means. Jim Morris is a bit of a shaman when it comes to this topic, and has the wisdom to pass on that can make this transition less difficult. Dreaming Circus is his finest work yet, detailing his experiences in Vietnam and the journey back home. Filled with introspection and parallels to contemporary conflicts, it is part memoir, part instructional guide and a book that I will be recommending to friends, peers, and former teammates.

Jack Murphy
Murphy’s Law
The Team House Podcast

The Dream Circus is a trip!  Jim Morris is a visceral writer, and the level of adrenaline, of “coming on” is so real that you’ll have to remind yourself:  this is a “book!”  Stories of the Viet Nam era, of coming alive in our world – right to this present moment – convey the stress, the mess, the passion, and the strange synchronicities of a life lived to the limit  – experienced by this shaman who didn’t know he was a shaman.  Until he found out.  His journey into Light, into reconciliation with the chaos and catastrophe that are rings in the Dreaming Circus, is honest and pure.  This book will touch you with its honesty – and ultimately, as a story of healing, it will inspire you!

Francis Rico
The Shaman’s Guide to Deep Beauty

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