Carlos Castaneda: reviews of works, books, creativity

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Carlos Castaneda: reviews of works, books, creativity
Carlos Castaneda: reviews of works, books, creativity

Video: Carlos Castaneda: reviews of works, books, creativity

Video: Carlos Castaneda: reviews of works, books, creativity
Video: 1987 Carlos Castaneda - The Power of Silence 2023, October

Carlos Castaneda was an American author with a PhD in anthropology. Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan, in 1968, the writer created a series of books that taught shamanism. Many reviews of Carlos Castaneda point out that the books, told in the first person, are about experiences led by a "man of knowledge" named don Matus. The circulation of his 12 books, which were sold, amounted to 28 million copies in 17 languages. Critics have suggested that they are works of art. But proponents argue that the books appear to be either outstanding or at least valuable philosophical works.

Castaneda lived in a large house in Westwood, California from 1973 until his death in 1998 with three colleagues he described as fellow travelers of awareness. The author founded Cleargreen, an organization that promotes "Tensegrity", which the author dubbeda modern version of the "magic passes" of the shamans of ancient Mexico.

Early life

carlos castaneda don juan's teachings reviews
carlos castaneda don juan's teachings reviews

Castaneda moved to the United States in the early 1950s and became a citizen on June 21, 1957. He was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles. Castaneda married Margaret Runyan in Mexico in 1960.

The author is listed on Runyan's son's birth certificate as his father, although he was biologically a different person. It is not clear if Carlos and Margaret have been divorced since 1960 or not, and his death certificate even stated that he never married.


The first two books are Don Juan's Teachings: The Way of Yaka Knowledge and A Separate Reality. The third work, judging by the reviews of Carlos Castaneda - "Journey to Ixtlan" made a splash. These books were written while the author was still an anthropology student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He wrote them as a research journal describing his apprenticeship with a traditional "Man of Knowledge" identified as don Juan Matus, presumably a Yaqui Indian from northern Mexico. The author received his bachelor's and doctoral degrees based on the work described in these works. This is what the list of the first books of Carlos Castaneda looks like in order.

In 1974, his fourth work, "Tales of Power", was published, which tells about the end of his studies under the tutelage of Matus. Castaneda continued to be popular with the reading public with subsequent editions that revealedfurther aspects of his life with don Juan.

History of activity

castaneda teachings of don juan reviews
castaneda teachings of don juan reviews

Juan Carlos Castaneda wrote that the don recognized him as the new hidden or leader of the group of seers of his lineage. Matus also used the term nagual to refer to that part of perception that is in the realm of the unknown, but still accessible to man. Implying that for his own group of seers, Matus was connected to this unknown. Castaneda often referred to this unfamiliar realm as "extraordinary reality."

The term nagual has been used by anthropologists to refer to a shaman or sorcerer who claims to be able to transform into animal form or metaphorically "transform" into another configuration through magical rituals, shamanism and experience with psychoactive drugs (e.g. peyote and jimson).

Although Castaneda was a well-known cultural figure, he rarely appeared on public forums. He was the subject of an accompanying article in the March 5, 1973 issue, which described him as "an enigma wrapped in a mystery and then a tortilla." There was controversy when it was revealed that Castaneda may have used a surrogate for his cover portrait. When the author confronted correspondent Sandra Burton about discrepancies in his personal history, he replied, "Asking me to validate my life by giving you my statistics is like using science to test witchcraft." After this interview, the writer completely retired from the public.

Carlos Castaneda: “TeachingJuana"

carlos castaneda books reviews
carlos castaneda books reviews

This work was subjected to public discussion. Many people have wondered, “Was Castaneda really a student of the alleged sorcerer Yaqui don Juan Matus, or did he make it all up? The books to date are classified as non-fiction, although they have been criticized as fictional. In two works, judging by the reviews of Carlos Castaneda: Journey to Ixtlan and Don Juan's Documents, it is shown that the hero is quite imaginary, although critics have questioned this. W alter Shelburne argues that "Don Juan's chronicle cannot be literally a true story." Other critics remain agnostic, arguing that there is no evidence for either side of the issue.


Carlos Castaneda reviews of psychologists
Carlos Castaneda reviews of psychologists

In the 1990s, Castaneda again began to appear in public to promote his work, which was described in promotional materials as a modernized version of certain movements called magical passes developed by Indian shamans who lived in Mexico in pre-Spanish times. conquest.

Castaneda, along with Carol Tiggs, Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar, created Cleargreen Incorporated in 1995. The organization's stated purpose is "to carry out instructions and publish Tensegrity". Seminars, books and other merchandise were sold through Cleargreen.

Many reviews of Carlos Castaneda's "Don Juan's Teachings: The Way of Yaqui Knowledge" said that although the work was publishedby the University of California Press in 1968 as a work of anthropology, it is most likely fiction. The book was presented as a master's thesis at the School of Anthropology. The work is intended to document the events that took place during the training of the self-proclaimed Indian Yaqui sorcerer, don Juan Matus of Sonora, between 1960 and 1965.

The book consists of two sections. The main one is a first-person narrative that documents the initial interaction with don Juan. The author speaks of his encounters with Mescalito (the teaching of Carlos Castaneda on the spirits that inhabit all peyote plants), divination with lizards flying with the help of Yerba del Diablo and turning into thrushes with the help of Humito (lit. "a little smoke", smoked powder). The second, Structural Analysis, is an attempt to reveal the inner cohesion and persuasiveness of don Juan's teachings.

New theses

The 30th Anniversary Edition, published by the University Press of California in 1998, contains reviews by Carlos Castane not found in the original edition. He writes about the general disappointment of the project by his professors (apart from Clement Meighan, who supported him at the beginning of the concept). He proposes a new thesis about the state of mind, which he calls "complete freedom", and claims that he used the teachings of his shaman Yaka as a springboard to new horizons of knowledge. In addition, the work contains a foreword by anthropologist W alter Goldschmidt, who was a professor at UCLA.

The teachings are referenced in the 2013 movie Incident of You, in which the protagonist reads a book to impress the girl of his dreams.

Separate Events: Further conversations with the author led to additional reviews by Carlos Castaneda on Anthropology, published in 1971. They tell about the events that took place during his training with the Indian sorcerer Yaqui - don Juan Matus, between 1960 and 1965.

In the book, Castaneda continues to describe his life under the care of the don. As in the previous work, the author describes the experiences that he experiences with the hero, being under the influence of psychotropic plants, peyote and smoking mixture. By the way, Castaneda preferred dried Psilocybe mushrooms among other plants.

The main attention, judging by the reviews, Carlos Castaneda focused on don Juan's attempts to make the author see, to see clearly. And this practice, in the writer's own words, is best described as directly perceiving the energy that flows through the universe.

Also, judging by the reviews, "The Art of Dreaming" by Carlos Castaneda has an ambiguous semantic load. At the same time, readers love the book. It contains an introduction, an epilogue and two separate parts. The first part, "Introduction to the Vision", describes his re-initiation into an apprenticeship, from which he withdrew at the end of 1965. And also talks about his acquaintance with another brujo (sorcerer) named don Genaro. The second part - "The Task of Vision", describes in detail the mental processes associated with this phenomenon. Allstarts with Castaneda realizing that plants are a necessary tool to achieve dreams.


don carlos castaneda
don carlos castaneda

Castaneda died on April 27, 1998 in Los Angeles due to complications from hepatocellular cancer. According to the last will, the author was cremated and the ashes sent to Mexico. His death was unknown to the outside world until almost two months later, on June 19, 1998, an obituary titled "A Hidden Death for a Mystery Writer" by staff journalist J. R. Mehringer appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Four months after Castaneda's death, his son, also known as Adrien Vachon, challenged the will in probate court. CJ tried to disprove its authenticity. The task was ultimately unsuccessful. The death certificate of Carlos indicated metabolic encephalopathy (72 hours before his death), however, the will was allegedly signed 48 hours before the tragic minute, which, of course, cannot be.

The surprising fact is that reviews of Carlos Castaneda's books have been positive since 1998.


don juan's teachings reviews
don juan's teachings reviews

After Castaneda retired from public life in 1973, he bought a large apartment property in Los Angeles, which he shared with some of his followers. Among those who lived with him were Taisha Abelar (the former Marianne Simko) and Florinda Donner-Grau (Regine Tal). All three were anthropology students at the University of California atLos Angeles. Each went on to write books that explored the experience of following the teachings of Carlos Castaneda from a feminist perspective. Psychologists' comments on such works also turned out to be mixed, but almost every one of them assures that they should be read.

About the time Castaneda died in April 1998, his companions Donner-Grau, Abelard and Patricia Partin informed friends that they were leaving on a long journey. Amalia Marquez (known as Thalia Bey) and Tensegrity instructor Kylie Lundahl also left Los Angeles. A few weeks later, Partin's red Ford Escort was found abandoned in Death Valley.

Luis Marquez, Thalia Bey's brother, went to the police in 1999 because of his sister's disappearance, but failed to convince them it was worth investigating.

21st century

In 2006, Partin's sunburnt skeleton was discovered by a couple of hikers in the Panamint Dunes area of Death Valley. He was identified through DNA analysis. The investigating authorities considered Partin's death to be indeterminate.

After his death, Carol Tiggs, a colleague of Castaneda, has spoken at seminars around the world, including Ontario (California) in 1998, Sochi (Russia) in 2015 and Merida (Yucatan) in 2016. Tiggs had the longest relationship with Castaneda. That is why she represented his work. Today she works as a consultant for Cleargreen.

Acceptance of works by the public

carlos castaneda trip to ixtlan reviews
carlos castaneda trip to ixtlan reviews

Although Castaneda's stories about don Juan's teachings were originallywere well received as non-fiction works of ethnography, the books are now widely regarded as fiction.

First with the support of academic qualifications and the Anthropology Department at UCLA, Carlos's work was largely judged by peer reviewers. And, for example, Edmund Leach praised the book. The anthropologist E. H. Spicer offered a somewhat mixed view of don Juan's teachings, emphasizing Castaneda's expressive prose and his vivid description of the relationship with the hero. However, the critic noted that the events in the book did not match other ethnographic accounts of Yaqui cultural traditions. He concluded that it was unlikely that don Juan had ever participated in the life of this group.

In a series of articles, R. Gordon Wasson, the ethnobotanist who made psychoactive mushrooms famous, also praised Castaneda's work, while expressing doubts about the accuracy of some of the claims. An early unpublished review by anthropologist Weston was more critical. La Barre questioned the book's accuracy, calling it pseudo-profoundly vulgar pseudo-ethnography. The review, originally commissioned by The New York Times Review of Books, was rejected and replaced by a more positive review by another anthropologist.

Later reviews were critical, as some claimed the books were fabricated. Beginning in 1976, Richard deMille published a series of remarks that revealed inconsistencies in Castaneda's field notes, as well as several examples of outright plagiarism.

Later, anthropologists specializing in Indian Yaqui culture suchlike Jane Holden Kelly, questioned the accuracy of the books. Other criticisms of Castaneda's work include a complete lack of Yaqui vocabulary or terms for any of his experiences, and his refusal to defend himself against the accusation that he received his PhD from the University of California as a result of a hoax.

Stephen C. Thomas noted that Muriel Thayer Painter, in his book With a Good Heart: Yaqui Beliefs and Rituals in the Village of Pascua, gives examples of vocabulary related to spirituality: "Morea" is the equivalent of the Spanish brujo, "saurino" - used to describe people with the gift of divination, and "sitaka" or spiritual power. Carlos Castaneda did not include such examples. Thomas also states that it is hard to believe that the author's benefactor, a self-proclaimed yaki, would not have been able to use these natural expressions throughout the training. By excluding such inherently terms from ethnography, Castaneda critically undermines his portrait as a conscientious sorcerer.

John Dedrick, a Protestant missionary who lived among the Wiqama Indians from 1940 to 1979, stated in his review of The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda that he had only read this book, and before he began reading the third part, knew that the author and hero was not on the Rio Yaqui. And also that the language of the people does not have the terminology for any of the instructions and explanations that don Juan gave them.

Clement Meighan and Stephen Thomas point out that the books, for the most part, do not describe the culture at all, with its emphasis on Catholic upbringing and conflict with the Federative State of Mexico. They arepoint to the international movements and life of don Juan, who is shown in the books as traveling and having many connections and residences in the southwestern United States (Arizona), northern Mexico and Oaxaca. The hero has been described in the books as a shaman, steeped in mostly lost Toltec philosophy, and clearly anti-Catholic.

An article by Sandra Burton, published March 5, 1973, made a more mundane statement about the importance of Castaneda's books. It says that it is impossible to understand that they are anthropology, a specific and truthful account of an aspect of Mexican Indian culture, as evidenced by the words and actions of one person - a shaman named Juan Matus, it is impossible. This proof depends on the authority of the hero as a being, and the teachings of Don Carlos Castaneda as the lessons of the witness. However, apart from the scriptures, there is no evidence that Huang actually did everything the reader knows.

David Silverman has also written reviews of Carlos Castaneda's books. The critic sees value in the works, even considering them fictional. In Reading Castaneda, he describes seeming deception as a critique of anthropological fieldwork in general, a field that relies heavily on personal experience and necessarily views other cultures through a prism. According to Silverman, not only the descriptions of peyote trips, but also the fictional character are meant to cast doubt on other works of anthropology.

Donald Viv quotes a writer to explain the insider vs. outsider issue as they are related to mystical experiences, recognizingwhile the fictional nature of all the books of Carlos Castaneda in order.