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InvisibleCosmic_Monkey
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Loc: Somewhere between inner-s...
Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone?
    #972461 - 10/18/02 02:08 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

I'm just curious if anyone on here has read much of his work and what thoughts you have about it.  I read a good few of his books years ago and thought it was pretty far-out shit.  I don't know if there's any truth to it but I found it to be a good fantasy anyway. 
I remember in one he was talking about being by a stream "smoking mushrooms" :smirk: and he said that the particals of water in the mist grew and grew until he climbed inside one and floated off downstream.  He also said that if Don Jaun hadn't revived him from that it could have been fatal.  I have to admit I was a little dissapointed when I tried muhsrooms and that didn't happen. 
Not to long ago I was talking to someone and they told me that he never even went to Mexico and that he made it all up sitting in his house in New York.... 

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Anonymous

Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #972469 - 10/18/02 02:10 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

I have read all of his books and own all but a few.

Basically he was a fraud.

Cheers,

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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #972511 - 10/18/02 02:25 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

I learned from a very reputable person back in 1974, who met with Casteneda, that there never was a Don Juan Matus. Fantasy with various occult sources ingeniously fitted together. A master story-teller.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself

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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #972590 - 10/18/02 03:01 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

And people tell me I should take McKenna seriously...


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Note: In desperate need of a cure...

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InvisibleRevelation

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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #972688 - 10/18/02 03:44 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

I read the first book and enjoyed it...then I came here and found out he basically made it up...kind of lost the incentive to read the rest of the series.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #972731 - 10/18/02 04:03 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Castenada's books are fascinating. His description of the worldview described by "Nagualism" is internally consistent, though not readily verifiable.

Virtually all the charges of "fraudulence" relate to Castaneda's original representation of this belief system as belonging to the Yaqui Indians, rather than to a line of sorcerers of no specific heritage. In other words, the beef of the critics is not that what Carlos is presenting is a load of crap, but that it is not the official religion of the Yaqui Indians or any other tribe. His later books make it clear that "Nagualism" was never the exclusive property of any given tribe, nor is it even known to all the members of any given tribe. It is instead a description of the universe passed from Nagual ("man of knowledge", "Brujo", "curandero", "shaman", "sorcerer"... whatever you feel most comfortable with) to Nagual, originating some time before the Spanish Conquest when the Toltec culture still existed.

Writers other than Castaneda have described parts of the same belief system. What's the name of that short book that was so popular last year? "The Four Affirmations", or "The Four Commitments" or "The Four something or other"? At any rate, that book is a subset of Castaneda's version of "Nagualism". There have been others who have written on nagualism as well... Florinda Donner-Grau is the only one I can think of offhand, but I know there are more.

One thing is clear after reading all the books through several times -- either the description of the world as laid out by Castaneda is accurate, or Castaneda is quite literally the most accomplished writer of fiction the world has ever seen, by a very wide margin.

Even if one dismisses his representation of the universe as false, the books themselves are of enormous value in the practical lessons they teach. His lessons on how to live life as a hunter, or as a warrior; the almost casual throwaway of countless gems of wisdom; the little vignettes of his past life and the past lives of others in his sorcerer's lineage, are well worth the read.

Though I have a very hard time accepting that the universe really is as Castaneda describes it, I cannot readily dismiss his books as pure fantasy. This is odd, because I am an Aristotelian who thinks Kant was the biggest loony of them all. Let me put it this way... Nagualism to me is a more likely scenario than that described by any other religious texts I have read so far.

I am conflicted, but the books are so incredibly beautifully written that every few years I dig them out and read them cover to cover in the order they were published. If Castaneda's description of the universe is true, they are the most important books ever written. If it is all just the outpouring of a fevered mind, then I stand in awe of his creative genius.

Either way, anyone with the slightest interest in spirituality and/or philosophy is doing themselves a huge disservice by not reading them.

pinky







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OfflineNeonBlack
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #972805 - 10/18/02 04:43 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

I haven't read any of his books as of yet. After reading what others have had to say about his work, I think I may pick one up in the near future. Didn't Castaneda die as a result of playing with datura?

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InvisibleFick_Duck
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #972953 - 10/18/02 06:01 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

i am a huge fan. this series of books shaped how i view the world sober and especially shrooming. when i was a young stoner and my mom showed me the first book (Teachings of Don Juan) i thought it was gold. i agree that he is a genious if it were all made up and if it were it would truly break me as for many years ive taken the whole story to be quite true. i too bust these out about once a year and have told alot of people it is a must read.


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"To know life you must fuck it in the liver." -Dr. Frankenstein, Andy Warhols Frankenstein

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InvisibleBirdseye
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Fick_Duck]
    #973023 - 10/18/02 06:30 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

The book is a fraud. It's a joke about anthropology.

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OfflinePhred
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Birdseye]
    #973145 - 10/18/02 07:19 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

There were several books, not just one. Ten or eleven in all, I think

As far as the books being a verifiable work of ANTHROPOLOGY, I will not try to refute the criticisms various anthropologists have aimed at them, since I lack the necessary background to be able to tell if their charges are accurate -- I just presume the criticisms are in fact justified.

But I repeat that the criticisms are levelled against the ANTHROPOLOGICAL aspects of Castaneda's account, not the METAPHYSICS of the worldview which he reports. Castaneda writes that Juan Matus maintained from the beginning that even though he was a Yaqui Indian, the knowledge he imparted to Castaneda neither originated with the Yaquis nor was it confined to Yaquis. From Juan Matus's perspective, the ethnic background of the practitioner had no relevance whatsoever. In his own "sorcerer's lineage" there were many non-Yaqui and even non-native American practitioners.

pinky


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OfflineTraveller
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #973359 - 10/18/02 09:07 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

read all of them except one called "the wheel of time". i too ended up buying them all to read and reread. definately everyone on this forum who hasn't read them should!! you'll love the read for sure.

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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #973401 - 10/18/02 09:34 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Personally, I enjoyed each book and looked forward to the next one with the same excitement I had with the next nearest Grateful Dead tour. However, the writings spanned a pretty long period, during which time I made some real discoveries of my own. In the Light of Unmitigated Reality, it became clear that it was deception, occult shape-shifting and essentially just genius-level literary skill.

One can find the' luminous egg' phenomenology in C. W. Leadbeater's 'The Astral Plane,' which was turn-of-the-century, and not well known til the occult revival of the 70's. The appearance of an 'ally', by 'seeing,' as a pointed witche's hat, hanging in the air is described in the 18 volume set of 'Man, Myth and Magic;' the 'gap', and it's attending sensations in the solar plexus, along with the emphasis on the meta-motive of 'power,' is none other than the Manipura Chakra of Hindu Yoga. Jimson weed for flight harkens back to the flying ointment of medieval witches; and the recovery of 'sparks' of awareness, to be devoured by 'The Eagle' [god] and restored to their rightful place - the result of being a 'man of knowledge,' which is to be read 'gnosis,' is pure Gnosticism, from any school. The 'sparks' of pure being returning to the Fullness could only be accomplished by the true Gnostic, or 'knowing one' or 'man of knowledge.'

If I thought about it, I would find more and more derivatives. There is even a Kabbalistic-like map of 'centers' and 'pathways' in one of the books (excuse my lack of specificity, I'm an intuitive who remembers ideas, not a 'historian' of details).
The person who told me in '74 that "there is no Don Juan,' is Dr. Robert Brier, philosophy chairperson at C.W. Post campus of Long Island University. He is a well known Egyptologist, often seen on TLC, and a co-publisher with J.B. Rhine - Father of Parapsychology. Bob was my professor in the 70's, and he used to meet with other well-known occultists and parapsychologists at the grave of Harry Houdini on Halloween. Casteneda was at the '74 gathering, and Bob reported this back to me.We corresponded recently, and I always held him in high regard, as he was perhaps my most influential teacher.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself

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Invisiblemr crisper
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #973512 - 10/18/02 10:36 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

excuse my lack of specificity, I'm an intuitive who remembers ideas, not a 'historian' of details




i like that, mind if i borrow it sometimes?

ive read up to and including the eagles gift, tried to read the newer ones but couldn't get into them. enjoyed the earlier books very much at the time. they introduced me to whole new sphere of thought.
as for their authenticity....i'm not too concerned, it can go 2 ways - many people view the bible as the word of god, others see it as a compilation of writings from hebrew and christian scholars, story-tellers and priests. whoever wrote it is unimportant, it still contains a lot of information that is of value to many people.
i don't try to put castaneda's works on the same podium as the bible,  the line -as above, so below..., would suffice.
the other way, i like to think that everyone has a message for others, a lesson to teach if you like. it maybe something simple like - 'don't drink and drive or you will fuck yourself up' or don't consume strange pills or don't drink a bottle of spirits in one gulp (saw a guy do that in high school, he was dead in 20 minutes).
so judging by the fact his books have touched so many minds, they are his lesson, but what is the lesson?
probably it is your own individual interpretation that is the only one with any real relevance............for me,  :confused:how about - don't trust spaced out hippy books from the 60's and 70's?  :grin: 

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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #973651 - 10/18/02 11:44 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

I remember in one he was talking about being by a stream "smoking mushrooms"

This came about because he didn't know anything about mushrooms and just assumed that you would smoke them like marijuana. Someone told him you couldn't smoke mushrooms after he'd published Teachings of Don Juan so in the second book he changed it to eating them.


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Don't worry, B. Caapi

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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #973656 - 10/18/02 11:46 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Virtually all the charges of "fraudulence" relate to Castaneda's original representation of this belief system as belonging to the Yaqui Indians, rather than to a line of sorcerers of no specific heritage. In other words, the beef of the critics is not that what Carlos is presenting is a load of crap

The problem isn't that he made it all up, it's that he lied through his teeth for years insisting that Don Juan existed and it was all real. That's the thing that irritates the critics.


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Don't worry, B. Caapi

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OfflinePhred
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #974333 - 10/19/02 07:50 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

One can find the' luminous egg' phenomenology in C. W. Leadbeater's 'The Astral Plane,' which was turn-of-the-century, and not well known til the occult revival of the 70's. The appearance of an 'ally', by 'seeing,' as a pointed witche's hat, hanging in the air is described in the 18 volume set of 'Man, Myth and Magic;' the 'gap', and it's attending sensations in the solar plexus, along with the emphasis on the meta-motive of 'power,' is none other than the Manipura Chakra of Hindu Yoga. Jimson weed for flight harkens back to the flying ointment of medieval witches; and the recovery of 'sparks' of awareness, to be devoured by 'The Eagle' [god] and restored to their rightful place - the result of being a 'man of knowledge,' which is to be read 'gnosis,' is pure Gnosticism, from any school. The 'sparks' of pure being returning to the Fullness could only be accomplished by the true Gnostic, or 'knowing one' or 'man of knowledge.'

I don't dispute any of what you say. Those seeking to validate Nagualism as a factual worldview claim that each of these examples represents independent corroboration of that worldview. Those who seek to discredit Castaneda claim that he stole the ideas from those who previously reported them. Those who are skeptics of anything supernatural claim that ALL of it is bullshit, whether described by Castaneda or Leadbeater or the Hindu Yogas.

Casteneda was at the '74 gathering, and Bob reported this back to me.

Let me make sure I understand this -- Dr. Brier told you Castaneda informed him (and presumably others at the same gathering?) that Juan Matus was a fictional character? Did Dr. Brier report this widely, or merely mention it in passing to close associates?

An apologist of Nagualism would counter that if Castaneda did in fact repudiate Don Juan, he did so in order to stop wannabes from tailing him and trying to pester his "guru". It is a matter of public record that for years people tried to follow Castaneda on his journeys in the hopes of meeting Don Juan. Hordes of seekers descended on sections of Mexico, virtually wiping out the population of peyote cactus in many areas. There are more people who claim to have met Juan Matus and other members of Castaneda's sorcerer's party than claim to have heard Castaneda deny Juan Matus's existence.

I repeat that I am not personally convinced Castaneda was always factual in his reportage. I am also far from convinced that any of Castaneda's critics have proven his worldview to be invalid. As in all things involving supernatural phenomena, his reports can be neither proven nor disproven. There is literally no way to prove "Juan Matus" (and the name itself is most likely an alias), as described by Castaneda, was a fictional character.

Those who haven't seen this webpage before -- http://www.castaneda.org/english/interviews/index.htm -- may find it interesting. If you haven't read most of his books, some of the concepts he discusses will be meaningless, but I found it to be an interesting interview, as is the interview with Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar, and Carol Tiggs.

pinky


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Offlinecomario2
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #974342 - 10/19/02 08:02 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

pinky, i very much agree with your views on castaneda


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comario


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #974394 - 10/19/02 08:44 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Obviously, this communication was not one to be publicized, and it is unlikely that Casteneda would ever have stated explicitly that Don Juan was fictional, but this was the implication that Bob passed to me with his statement.

As to Nagualism, like other non-written and uncodified 'religions' such as Voudun and Santeria (and, BTW, I have been to Yoruba Land in Nigeria, near Efe - the Yoruba 'world axis'); or like the forms of the Old Religion in Europe; it seems to be more clearly defined in the writings of Casteneda, with far greater precision of occult theory, than one might expect from an orally transmitted Toltec 'system' in modern times. It is 'as if' our favorite 'man of knowledge' embodied an encyclopedic amount of doctrinal material, with systematic and clearly identified 'initiations' that led the two of them to the chaparral on so many occasions. This always struck me with incredulity. It is an archetype - the unassuming little old crotchety Yaqui, like Yoda of Starwars, who is a being of great knowledge, skill and power. We who are sekers all desire to meet such a mentor. Archetypes do not manifest in the outer world with such clarity. We must embody aspects of an archetype without having it take over our consciousness, inflate us, and crash us in psychic flames.

I believe that many young seekers, including myself, believed that we could learn enough from these books to pursue a Path With Heart, become Men of Knowledge in some ancient Toltec tradition, or Sorcerers from reading and tripping. My first mushroom experience - shipped up to Long Island in a glass half gallon jug of tropicana Orange Juice from Florida - had me exclaiming that I understood Carlos' experiences of not being able to move, or of shrinking (as when he encountered a giant drooling mosquito). 'Quick, throw me in an irrigation ditch!' These readings expanded our powers of imagination, and left us with hope - perhaps for the first time in our lives - that there was meaning, and direction and metaphysical/spiritual reality to explore. THIS was the value for me. I took those things and ran with them through my own Path into academia where I could learn more, and take that Knowledge into life in order to keep the Mystery alive - just as Don Juan would have it.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself

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OfflinePhred
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Xlea321]
    #974397 - 10/19/02 08:51 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Alex123 writes:

This came about because he didn't know anything about mushrooms and just assumed that you would smoke them like marijuana.

Actually, Don Juan's smoking mixture was composed of various dried and shredded flowers and herbs as well as dried and finely powdered mushrooms. Mushrooms were just one of several ingredients.

Someone told him you couldn't smoke mushrooms after he'd published Teachings of Don Juan so in the second book he changed it to eating them.

I have seen on this board many people deriding Castaneda for reporting that mushrooms are psychoactive when smoked. Obviously these people haven't read what Castaneda actually wrote. This passage (from the FIRST book, Alex, not the second) indicates that the procedure wasn't precisely "smoking" --

"It required quite an effort to suck through the mixture; it seemed to be very compact. After the first try it seemed I had sucked the fine powder into my mouth. It numbed my mouth immediately. I saw the glow in the bowl, but I never felt the smoke as the smoke of a cigarette is felt."

and:

"During this attempt another fact became obvious to me: my entire body had become numb soon after I began to swallow the fine powder, which got into my mouth every time I sucked the pipe. Thus I not only inhaled the smoke, but also ingested the mixture."

...he changed it to eating them.

Castaneda NEVER described EATING mushrooms in the sense of popping them directly into his mouth. The mixture was ALWAYS smoked/ingested with the use of a pipe, rather than "eaten".

The problem isn't that he made it all up, it's that he lied through his teeth for years insisting that Don Juan existed and it was all real. That's the thing that irritates the critics.

Then the critics must be truly irritated with Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar, and Carol Tiggs, all of whom maintain that Don Juan was a real individual and their instructor, and that Castaneda's description of the world is real.

I state once again that I would feel a LOT more comfortable if someone could provide me with convincing evidence that the books were nothing more than an example of staggering literary genius, since the worldview presented in them bears little relationship to my own. But I must report that for almost thirty years I have been reading everything I can get my hands on that will debunk Castaneda's claims, and have yet to come across anything even halfway convincing. At the same time, my own experiences with various psychoactive substances (mostly BEFORE I discovered Castaneda's books) bear some pretty startling resemblances to Castaneda's reports.

I admit that despite thinking of myself as an individual willing to change his beliefs if convincing enough evidence is presented, I really WANT to believe that Castaneda's works were sheer fiction, because if they are not, I have a lot of philosophical re-arranging to do.

pinky


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #974456 - 10/19/02 09:30 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

MarkostheGnostic writes:

It is an archetype - the unassuming little old crotchety Yaqui, like Yoda of Starwars, who is a being of great knowledge, skill and power.

I get your point, but have you never met someone who was both extremely knowledgeable AND truly exceptional at explaining things? Doctor Brier, perhaps? I had the great good fortune of having two teachers who were amazingly articulate and exceptionally astute at knowing precisely how best to impart their knowledge to a wide variety of students -- one was a physics teacher, the other a history teacher. Both were head and shoulders above the crowd. Neither were fictional movie characters.

I had less resistance than you to accepting that practitioners proficient in Nagualism could exist and that such practitioners could be articulate and interested in passing their knowledge on to others as their own lives drew to a close.

Here's something to chew on -- if there never was a Don Juan, if all of this is really directly from Castaneda rather than from Juan Matus, all it does is present you with the same "archetype" problem one step removed. Carlos himself then becomes the "unassuming little old crotchety Yaqui" to whom you refer.

By the way, I often wondered if Lucas used Don Juan as a template for Yoda.

I took those things and ran with them through my own Path into academia where I could learn more, and take that Knowledge into life in order to keep the Mystery alive - just as Don Juan would have it.

My own experience was similar. Even though I can't quite bring myself to accept Nagualism at face value, several of Don Juan's lessons to Carlos have stuck with me. The concepts of "reckless abandon", "controlled folly", "choosing to believe", "erasing personal history", "using death as an advisor", "being impeccable", and several others all have value in everyday life.

I find those who dismiss Castaneda's books with an offhand comment such as "It was all a fraud," do an enormous disservice by dissuading others from reading what is in my opinion the most fascinating, beautifully written and compelling series of books in the field of spirituality that I have ever come across. Even a completely hardened skeptic who is determined not to admit the slightest possibility of Castaneda's report being anything other than a sort of science fiction novel will still be blown away by the amazing lyricism and incredible beauty of the narrative. I say again that the worldview of Nagualism is diametrically opposed to my own, yet I cannot shake it. It haunts me. If the books have such an effect on a hardened realist such as myself, how much more enjoyable would they be for the more mystically inclined contributors to this forum?

I have read literally thousands of books in my half century on this wonderful planet of ours, but Castaneda's works are in a class of their own. Nothing -- I repeat, NOTHING -- I have come across so far even comes close to their power. Anyone who deprives himself of the experience of reading them because some doofus on an internet board (usually one who has never even read the books) claims they are "fraudulent" because "Carlos says you can get high by smoking mushrooms" is missing one of the most extraordinary reading experiences available.

Bottom line -- READ THE BOOKS!

pinky



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Edited by pinksharkmark (10/19/02 09:43 AM)

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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #974468 - 10/19/02 09:35 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

I remember reading Florinda Donner's book when it came out. I must tell you that as an INTP, my first strongest function is thinking, which I introvert to the inner world of ideas, and my auxillary function is intuition - which is the function with which I primarily perceive the world. This means, that my sensing function is inferior to my intuitive function, and why I stopped training to be an empirical scientist.

So, as an intuitive, I 'got the impression,' that Casteneda and Donner knew each other in some capacity, and that with all of Casteneda's success, he 'permitted' Donner to come out with a female's parallel story line, which intersected at points sufficiently to give the impression of the same tradition - different practitioners. Perhaps, Carlos got a piece of the action by such an arrangement. Of course, I have no empirical evidence, but this theory about which level of reality these stories were on was an immediate intuitive perception. Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps in addition to the rigorous creative lifestyle of a novelist; its attending meetings with publishers, editors, advertisers, etc., Casteneda was being initiated into the rigorous lifestyle of a shaman. In certain cultures, this is rife with psychological and physical dangers - real dangers. Could such a 'self-important' wimpdog as he portrayed himself handle the kind of restructuring required? On a more personal note, are you willing to believe that 'slapping' an assemblage point on a luminous egg is gonna transport you to a distant city in the physical body? Personally, I have a difficult enough time learning how, and on what level to understand the mysterious appearances and dissapearances of Jesus of Nazareth who DOES have my faith! Does one then have to break down these writings into literal, allegorical, symbolic and mystical levels like Jewish Bible scholars do with their teachings?

It's been 30 years since I picked up 'A Separate Reality' for the first time. I have become something of a 'man of knowledge,' but it certainly has not been through Carlos Casteneda. God has scripted a story for each of us. Discover yours.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself

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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #974519 - 10/19/02 10:15 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Actually, Don Juan's smoking mixture was composed of various dried and shredded flowers and herbs as well as dried and finely powdered mushrooms. Mushrooms were just one of several ingredients.

Don Juan didn't exist, but regardless of that, are you trying to suggest the mushrooms weren't the active ingredient and that it was one of the other "herbs"? Mjshroomer posted an exchange on this in the general questions board where RG Wasson - a man who had studied the indian use of mushrooms for decades - wrote to Castenada and said he'd NEVER encountered any reports of mushrooms being smoked in Mexico.

I state once again that I would feel a LOT more comfortable if someone could provide me with convincing evidence that the books were nothing more than an example of staggering literary genius,

Well there's the one about "mescalito" and the myth that indians referred to the spirit of peyote by this name. This is complete fantasy.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi

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OfflinePhred
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Xlea321]
    #974588 - 10/19/02 11:12 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Alex123 writes:

are you trying to suggest the mushrooms weren't the active ingredient and that it was one of the other "herbs"?

Carlos reports the mixture as being four parts dried and finely powdered mushrooms to one part dried and shredded leaves and flowers, so it is logical to presume that the mushrooms are probably the principal active component, but since neither the mushrooms nor the other ingredients are identified by Carlos, it is incorrect to assume that ONLY the mushrooms are psychoactive. Doesn't Salvia divinorum grow in Mexico? Is it not possible that the mixture contains Salvia leaves as well as psilocybes?

RG Wasson - a man who had studied the indian use of mushrooms for decades - wrote to Castenada and said he'd NEVER encountered any reports of mushrooms being smoked in Mexico.

Castaneda never claimed that the smoking/ingestion method used by Don Juan was anything other than Don Juan's own preferred method. Once again, the criticism from the anthropologists is that Don Juan doesn't behave as they expect a Yaqui Indian to behave, therefore he must be a made-up character. They ignore the fact that the other Yaqui Indians in Castaneda's narrative ALSO find Don Juan's behavior bizarre and inexplicable.

Juan Matus does what he does not because he is a Yaqui or a Mazatec or whatever, but because he is a sorcerer. He would act as he does whether he were Chinese or German. Note that not even all the other sorcerers in the narrative follow Don Juan's methods. La Catalina, for example, is a practitioner of a different kind than Don Juan, yet both are native-born Mexican "Indios". As Carlos writes at the beginning of the first book:

"Thus, as Don Juan had travelled a great deal, his knowledge may have been the product of many influences. And although he regarded himself as an Indian from Sonora, I was not sure whether to place the context of his knowledge totally in the culture of the Sonoran Indians. But it is not my intention here to determine his precise cultural milieu."

Well there's the one about "mescalito" and the myth that indians referred to the spirit of peyote by this name. This is complete fantasy.

Either you have never read the books or you have forgotten what they say. Castaneda never claimed that the Indians of that area (or any other area) referred to peyote as "Mescalito". Carlos himself asks Don Juan why he insists on calling peyote "Mescalito" when none of the other Yaquis (including Don Juan's own grandson) do so. Don Juan replies that it is not a Yaqui name, but his own. In Castaneda's reports of the mitotes, the only ones who ever refer to peyote as "Mescalito" are Don Juan and his initiates.

pinky




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OfflineLittleBen
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #974805 - 10/19/02 12:54 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

First of all, Pinky you are amazingly articulate and expressed my believes is Castaneda better than I ever could, but I have a few more tidbits that can attribute to the defense of Castaneda. Nagualism is also expressed in eastern cultures as well, ideas of meeting or experiencing a Shiva is very much like what is described in Casteneda?s books. A relation of mine told me this experience of his late teenage years. He said that a friend of his who practiced shamanism in the late sixties had asked him to try an experiment. He talked to him about many different subjects and the things he said ?shook his shook his believes.? When he had finished disrupting him (his tonal) he asked him to look into his eye. When he did, he witnessed the most frightening monster he had ever seen. He could not describe the beast very easily but when he told his friend what he had seen he said you witnessed Shiva the Destroyer. This experience is very much like ones described in Casteneda?s books, especially his encounter with the gnat. As for Don Juan?s ?Yodaism? and fraudulence in general, who he actually met and where he learned what he did is trivial. His teachings are unbelievably usefull all the time, what the critics thought or think does not matter. What does matter is what the reader takes away from the books. Everyone who I have recommended the books to has had the same appreciation for the knowledge they got from the teachings that I do.


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Gaia, as you awaken, I heal myself. As I awaken, you are healed.

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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #974936 - 10/19/02 02:19 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

This thread follows the form of another "did this person exist?" argument....

Very amusing.


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...

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InvisibleBirdseye
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Sclorch]
    #975013 - 10/19/02 03:21 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

In response to those that are frustrated with the terming of it being a fraud, let me just say this-

Even if a story may not be true, it may have truth. If you benefited from the book, great!

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OfflinePhred
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Sclorch]
    #975032 - 10/19/02 03:37 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

This thread follows the form of another "did this person exist?" argument....
Very amusing.


Yes, I am not unaware of the irony. This is one of the reasons I would LOVE to dismiss the tales as just another legend and get on with my life.

There are both parallels and differences between Juan Matus and Jesus of Nazareth. It is pretty generally accepted that Jesus did in fact exist as a historical figure. Whether he was who he and his followers claim him to be is still under debate. On the other hand, we have no hard evidence of the existence of Juan Matus; only the word of his apprentices.

One major difference lies in the fact that Juan Matus's apprentices wrote extensively about his teachings while he was still alive, and those writings are available to us in their original form rather than as translations of translations with unknown quantities of re-interpretations added. As well, at least three of his apprentices are themselves still alive and available for questioning. The three women are much less secretive (and, from what I have read, they are also much more straightforward) than Castaneda was, appearing quite regularly in public.

I would like to meet these women one day, but I think it unlikely they will ever make an appearance in the Dominican Republic. Such is life.

pinky


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Anonymous

Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #975054 - 10/19/02 03:47 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

May I redeem myself if I say that my statement was metaphorical?

Congratulations. The dialogue between you and Markos was very entertaining and informative. You seem to be open-minded.

Personally? I think the books are great. They are well-written and very entertaining. But as I am of the opinion that we are what we read I am doubtful if I would recommend them as suitable reading material for the seeker of Truth. Some paths are best left untraveled.

Cheers,

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OfflinePhred
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: ]
    #975073 - 10/19/02 04:02 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

But as I am of the opinion that we are what we read I am doubtful if I would recommend them as suitable reading material for the seeker of Truth. Some paths are best left untraveled.

Uh oh! You're treading on dangerous ground, my friend. Your comment could be interpreted by some as being perilously close to and odd combination of intellectual elitism -- "I am smart enough not to get sucked into following a false path, but you aren't" -- and intellectual censorship -- "T'were better the words were never read, lest the credulous be led astray."

pinky


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Anonymous

Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #975093 - 10/19/02 04:15 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

I know I know.  Seems like we are always in danger of something or other.  What with intellectual landmines, false alarms, and presuppositional legerdemain, it's a wonder we ever make it through.

I also don't recommend high intakes of unnecessary refined sugars to diabetics.  But hey, that's just me. :smile:

Cheers, 

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OfflineLOPHO.MP
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #975203 - 10/19/02 05:42 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)


I'd say in less words; I agree with pinkfartmark. I don't care if he made the stuff up or not, the books are a great read. At least for entertainment and contemplation. It will give you some shit to think about.

Read the first four at least! Real good stuff to read the day before trippin!!!! You might shit your pants!


--------------------
---Still Searching---

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OfflineTraveller
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #975330 - 10/19/02 07:01 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

when i first read "the teachings of don juan" i was astounded to read about and old mexican who seemed to me to be constantly talking about buddhist enlightenment without ever having heard of the buddha or his teachings. some of his techniques were very similar to my tai chi practice: holding the arms in a certain posture while focusing on a point above the horizon - "looking far" in tai chi talk - in order to observe everything within the field of vision simultaneously. his talk of stopping the internal dialogue as the most fundamental step on the path to knowledge - using his "will" to stop carlos in mid-sentence, carlos feeling this as a strange uncomfortable sensation in his lower abdomen - another skill that was apparently common in china once upon a time. all of these things and more had me convinced that this was genuine, and also "confirmed" to me the saying "there is one Dharma, not many" - that all the genuine spiritual, meditative, shamanistic traditions around the world are essentially talking about the same things.

One of the most ingenious things about castaneda's storytelling is the way he portays himself as a total fool. how could such a fool have made all this up?

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InvisibleCosmic_Monkey
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #975871 - 10/19/02 11:35 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Wow, I expected this thread to go unnoticed into the abyss.
I think, like others, Castaneda's books are a large part of what began my journey into the spiritual and I really enjoyed them for that. I should say that he did get me thinking about a lot of things I probably would never have realised on my own. But, the bad part is that they left me dreaming about things that would never be and it took me a long time to realise that doing spiritual work on myself wasn't going to be nearly as exciting most of the time as his take on it all.
I still have to wonder though, have any of you ever seen people as pure energy?

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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #976053 - 10/20/02 01:19 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Doesn't Salvia divinorum grow in Mexico? Is it not possible that the mixture contains Salvia leaves as well as psilocybes?

There's no native history of indians smoking salvia either.

Castaneda never claimed that the smoking/ingestion method used by Don Juan was anything other than Don Juan's own preferred method. Once again, the criticism from the anthropologists is that Don Juan doesn't behave as they expect a Yaqui Indian to behave, therefore he must be a made-up character.

Could be, maybe Carlos stumbled across the one mexican who does things completely different to every other mexican in recorded history. I just think it's more likely he made it all up.

As Carlos writes at the beginning of the first book:

You usually make a big fuss about "sources" in most of your posts. Do you have any sources that prove Carlos isn't lying, or do you simply take his word on it because you like him?


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi

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OfflinePhred
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Xlea321]
    #976650 - 10/20/02 09:33 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Alex123 writes:

There's no native history of indians smoking salvia either.

I find it hard to believe that some shaman at some point in time never thought of experimenting with smoking salvia rather than eating it. Maybe your average everyday Mexican doesn't smoke it, but that is not proof that Don Juan never existed, it merely shows that he was not a hidebound traditionalist. Besides, it is entirely possible that there is no salvia in the smoking mixture, and that the only psychoactive component really is the mushrooms. My point is that we have no way of KNOWING whether any of the herbs and flowers in the mixture are psychoactive. I am unfamiliar with salvia. I don't even know if it is psychoactive when smoked.

maybe Carlos stumbled across the one mexican who does things completely different to every other mexican in recorded history.

Not even an anthropologist would claim that all Mexicans in recorded history acted the same. Mexicans are individuals, and while many of them follow shared traditions, many don't. They don't all wear sombreros and huaraches and listen to mariachi music.

Do you have any sources that prove Carlos isn't lying, or do you simply take his word on it because you like him?

The only sources supporting the existence of Juan Matus of which I am aware are his fellow apprentices (the three women I have mentioned already). There are several more sources supporting Nagualism as a worldview, though -- the author of that book "The Four Agreements" is one, and there are at least three others who have written books on Nagualism that agree with Castaneda's depiction. Of course, it is possible that all these people are simply trying to jump on the Castaneda bandwagon, as all of their books were published after Castaneda's first book.

As for "liking" him, I admit I love the books. But I honestly do want to be convinced that it was all a fantasy, so I can be secure again in my own empirically verifiable worldview. This is why I have gone to the trouble of actively seeking out every published "refutation" I can find. The problem is that none of them are convincing. None of their criticisms hold up, and some are so shockingly sloppy that it is immediately apparent that the critic has never even read the books.

pinky


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: ]
    #977979 - 10/20/02 08:20 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Very nicely put. There has always been more than a grain of truth to the saying that 'you are what you eat,' and perhaps moreso on the 'psychic' level than the 'somatic' level. In fact, now that I think of it, it works on the 'spiritual' level as well.

Did you ever see the movie 'Zardoz' with Sean Connery? A far-future civilization with people flying around in giant stone heads - and all based on this deity Zardoz, until Connery literally stumbles upon an ancient 'document' - The wiZARD of OZ! He freaks out! His whole reality is based on a child's story from the ancient past!! AH-H-H-H-H-H-h-h-h-h-h!!!...................


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself

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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #978490 - 10/20/02 11:38 PM (21 years, 6 months ago)

The problem is that none of them are convincing

Not to you maybe but the evidence is quite irrefutable.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi

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OfflinePhred
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Xlea321]
    #979214 - 10/21/02 06:49 AM (21 years, 6 months ago)

Alex123 writes:

Not to you maybe but the evidence is quite irrefutable.

But evidence of WHAT?

The only evidence I have seen published so far is that Don Juan didn't behave as anthropologists believe other Yaqui Indians to behave.

In my opinion, there are two reasons the anthropologists attacked Castaneda with such vehemence:

1) He chose an unfortunate subtitle for the first book -- "The teachings of Don Juan; a Yaqui Way of Knowledge". If he had left out the word "Yaqui", it would have caused scarcely a ripple in the academic community. Notice how books by Eastern "gurus" and the disciples thereof go completely unchallenged by anthropologists. When's the last time you saw a bunch of anthropologists trying to discredit books describing the teachings of the Dalai Lama or Shao Lin monks or some Indian guru (Babba Ram Dass ring a bell for anyone?) or whoever?

2) Many are outraged that Castaneda submitted his third book, "Journey to Ixtlan", as his doctoral thesis, and it was accepted as a valid thesis. For what it's worth, I agree with them, but the fact that California universities are a bit loopy in some of their requirements is not germane to the issue at hand, and they should be directing their outrage to the doctoral committee at the university, not at Castaneda.

What all of the anthropologists deliberately ignore are Castaneda's repeated disclaimers in the books themselves that he does not consider his narratives to be anthropological treatises, and that he does not present them as such. He presents them as a log of his personal experiences, nothing more.

You are correct that I don't find the refutations convincing, but to say there is "irrefutable" evidence that they were fictional is incorrect. There are at least three individuals still around who DO refute the "evidence" -- I have mentioned them in previous posts.

As is so often the case with mystical matters, it all boils down to which "experts" one chooses to believe. Since neither Castaneda nor Don Juan are still around for questioning, I fear the issue will never be resolved.

By the way, I am still interested in reading any works by critics of Castaneda. I believe I have read them all, but it is possible I have missed a few. Which ones have you read? Are they available online? I'd appreciate any recommendations you can provide.

pinky



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OfflineWar Pig
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #9699092 - 01/29/09 09:31 AM (15 years, 2 months ago)

Apparently, 'Don Juan's real name was Melesis A. Casas and the following link supposedly contains the only known photograph of Juan Matus.

http://www.rwilliams.us/archives/confessions.htm

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OfflineDiaboleros
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: War Pig]
    #9699408 - 01/29/09 10:53 AM (15 years, 2 months ago)

Cool article, I thought he didn't exist :eek:

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OfflineC.M. Mann
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #9705572 - 01/30/09 12:55 PM (15 years, 2 months ago)

In the 60s I was a student at UCLA. At the time it was chic to go to Mexico to look for the Don. On one of my trips I ran into Carlos, and talked to him several times over the course of three days. I am fairly certain that he never admitted that Don was not real. My experiences in Mexico has led me to believe this;  That the Don was real, but Carlos never met him.  Out of everyone who went to Mexico, Carlos was the only one who was accepted into the inner circles.  Carlos opened up a new world, and the 60s pop culture quickly closed the door. When Leary led the hoards of stoned self-centered opportunists, they destroyed any chance of finding the real Don. Everyone started attacking Carlos, and no real research was ever started. I hounded Carlos to the point where he finally gave me directions to a Mexican village in the mountains.  During that visit I had experiences that convinced me that Carlos had indeed found something. -------------Everyone is so certain that Carlos was a fake, and that we already know everything about psychedelics. No real research has been done since!  I don't know how much of his books were just imagination, but I do know that at least part of it is true.  It's weird hearing people still talking about Don, I didn't know there was still an interest in the subject. Most people here would not agree, but I still think that this is an important question that needs to be answered.

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Offlineandrewss
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: C.M. Mann]
    #9705733 - 01/30/09 01:32 PM (15 years, 2 months ago)

So what is the best book(s) to someone sort of interested in his writings, but has no idea about it really. Recommend :laugh:


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Jesus loves you.

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OfflineC.M. Mann
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: andrewss]
    #9706214 - 01/30/09 03:03 PM (15 years, 2 months ago)

I am not an expert, but everyone should read at least the first two books. ( The Teachings of Don Jaun, and A Separate Reality ). Then if you are still interested, ( Journey to Ixtlan ).  After that there are five more! They are not big books, and shouldn't take that long to read. The main thing that interested me is what I think is Carlos's main theme.  That you can produce states of nonordinary reality by ingesting psychotropic plants.

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InvisibleLakefingers

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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #9710207 - 01/31/09 05:36 AM (15 years, 2 months ago)

Thanks Markus. Anyone with experience analyzing and writing texts, sees that Don Juan is a fiction.

That's not to say that people can't pull mystical insight out of him. They do that when they read the Book of Mormon, or when they stare at cockroaches when they're stoned.

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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Cosmic_Monkey]
    #9710266 - 01/31/09 06:31 AM (15 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Cosmic_Monkey said:
I'm just curious if anyone on here has read much of his work and what thoughts you have about it.  I read a good few of his books years ago and thought it was pretty far-out shit.  I don't know if there's any truth to it but I found it to be a good fantasy anyway. 
I remember in one he was talking about being by a stream "smoking mushrooms" :smirk: and he said that the particals of water in the mist grew and grew until he climbed inside one and floated off downstream.  He also said that if Don Jaun hadn't revived him from that it could have been fatal.  I have to admit I was a little dissapointed when I tried muhsrooms and that didn't happen. 
Not to long ago I was talking to someone and they told me that he never even went to Mexico and that he made it all up sitting in his house in New York.... 




If you look beyond the wild drug tales and examine the practical information it is very usable stuff. Read Journey to Ixtlan and try to practically apply the information presented to your life in a holistic fashion. If you do this you will have many keys to personal transformation at your disposal.


--------------------
"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda

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Offlinepeace23
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: Phred]
    #12916010 - 07/18/10 04:09 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Then the critics must be truly irritated with Florinda Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar, and Carol Tiggs, all of whom maintain that Don Juan was a real individual and their instructor, and that Castaneda's description of the world is real.




Well, for one thing, all three of those women happened to be UCLA students of anthropology at the same time as Castaneda. Wouldn't it be strange that Don Juan also took these foreigners under his wing, when he stated that the only reason he taught Castaneda was because Mescalito specifically designated him in a very unusual way. What are the chances that Mescalito would also designate these women also in a very special and unusual way (making it not that unusual at all), and further that these women just so happened to (probably) know Castaneda personally before all this happened as anthro students at UCLA?

I loved his writing as much as you did, and think that there is definite wisdom in the practice of Nagualism, but I just can't accept the above as coincidence :sad: Still, I highly recommend!

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Offlinepeace23
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: peace23]
    #12916051 - 07/18/10 04:19 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Also, he sued Victor Sanchez for copyright infringement over similar imagery on their book covers. Really? Come on, I feel like if Carlos really lived like a "warrior" of Don Juan's teachings, there's no way he'd give half a rat's ass about similar imagery on some dude's book cover, much less desire monetary compensation. The thought is laughable!

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InvisibleOrgoneConclusion
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Re: Carlos Castaneda, thoughts anyone? [Re: peace23]
    #12916058 - 07/18/10 04:21 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

What I learned was how to smoke mushroom powder.


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