1. Carlos Castaneda Bibliography v1.3.3
2. Carlos Castaneda Speaks, An interview
by Keith Thompson.
3. CASTANEDA'S CLAN (An interview with
Florinda, Donner-Grau, Taisha Abelar,
and Carol Tiggs by Keith Nichols.)
Magical Blend Magazine (c) 1994
4. Carlos Castaneda Overview (v0.4uc)
5. Notes on a talk by Taisha Abelar '92.
6. Notes on a talk by Taisha Abelar '94.
Карлос Кастанеда. Разрозненые материалы за 1994 год
Last-Updated: Wed Jul 6 14:09:51 CDT 1994
The many contributors have my sincerest thanks.
Items marked with | are new or updated since version 1.2.
Abelar, Taisha , "Sorcerer's Crossing". 1992.
Castaneda, Carlos, "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui
Way of Knowledge". 1968.
Castaneda, Carlos, "A Separate Reality: Further
Conversations with Don Juan". 1971.
Castaneda, Carlos, "Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of
Don Juan". 1972.
Castaneda, Carlos, "Tales of Power". 1974.
Castaneda, Carlos, "The Second Ring of Power". 1977.
Castaneda, Carlos, "The Eagle's Gift". 1981.
Castaneda, Carlos, "The Fire from Within". 1984.
Castaneda, Carlos, "The Power of Silence". 1987.
Castaneda, Carlos, "The Art of Dreaming". 1993.
Castaneda, Carlos, Psychology Today, Dez. 1977, "The Art
of Dreaming". (That's not the book, it's an article from
C.C.; mostly adapted from "Second Ring". but the
introduction is new and contains new information.)
Castaneda, Carlos, "Seis propositiones explicatorias".
Mexico 1985. (In the Mexican version of "Eagle's Gift" -
"El don del Aguila" - there is an appendix, 25 pages
long with a structural analysis by C.C. himself. There
he talks about secrets of the assembledge point and
about how stopping the dialog is connected to the rings
of power. Things that are missing in the rest of his
Castaneda, Carlos, "Preface to the Mexican edition of
Donner's _Being-in-Dreaming_". (Short but interesting)
Donner, Florinda, "Shabono". 1982.
Donner, Florinda, "The Witch's Dream". 1985.
Donner, Florinda, "Being-in-Dreaming". 1991.
?, Magical Blend #14, "A conversation with the elusive
?, Magical Blend #15, "Carlos Castaneda, part II".
?, Magical Blend #35, "Interview with Florinda Donner".
| Blair-Ewart, Alexander, DIMENSIONS, Vol. VII No. 9, 1992
| "The Art of Stalking True Freedom - Taisha Abelar in
| Conversation with Alexander Blair-Ewart".
| This is a pretty good interview with TA. Discussions
| about why all the books are being published, the
| "new configuration", the recapitulation, energy,
| Carol Tiggs' return, etc. More hard information than
| usually appears in interviews.
| Blair-Ewart, Alexander, DIMENSIONS, 1992?
| "The Sorcerer's Crossing - Taisha Abelar in
| Conversation with Alexander Blair-Ewart (Part II)"
| Blair-Ewart, Alexander, DIMENSIONS, February, 1992
| "Being-In-Dreaming - Florinda Donner in Conversation
with Alexander Blair-Ewart"
| Burton, Sandra, Time Magazine, "Magic and Reality".
1973. Interview with C.C. (A horrible thing - quite
awful and really boring...)
| Corvalan, Graciela, "Der Weg der Tolteken - Ein Gesprdch
| mit Carlos Castaneda", Fischer, 1987, ca. 100p., ISBN
| An interview with Carlos Castaneda dating from
| 1979/80 in the form of a book; most interesting. The
| original is in Spanish and has been translated into
| German by Joachim A Frank.
Eagle Feather, Ken / Kramer, Carol, Body, Mind & Spirit
"Being-in-Dreaming". An Interview with Florinda
Donner. (Reveals what happened to La Gorda, the
Genaros and the Little Sisters, Soledad, et.al.)
Fort, Carmina, "Conversationes con Carlos Castaneda".
Madrid (Spain), 1991.
Carmina, Carlos, and Florinda Donner met several
times in 1988.
Carmina wrote this book about the events,
conversations and revelations. Quite good. (about
Keen, Sam, Psychology Today, "Sorcerer's Apprentice".
An interview with C.C. (Of some size and quite
interesting. Timeframe: Shortly before nagual Juan
Matus' departure = 1973, perhaps February)
Leviton, Richard, Yoga Journal, March/April 1994 #115,
"The Art of Dreaming". Part book review, part
inquiry on dreaming.
Nichols, Keith, Magical Blend #40, Oct 1993, "Taisha
Abelar on Sorcery: Sorcery and reality in the Castaneda
clan". Interview. A good introduction to sorcery,
recapitulation, dreaming, the Assemblage Point, and the
Nichols, Keith, Magical Blend #42, April 1994,
Interviews with Taisha Abelar, Florinda Donner-Grau,
and Carol Tiggs. gopher://cscns.com/00/
Thompson, Keith, New Age Journal, March/April 1994,
"Carlos Castaneda Speaks: Portrait of a Sorcerer".
Wagner, Bruce, Details, March 1994, "The Secret Life of
Carlos Castaneda: You Only Live Twice". A most
Cox, Murray, "Notes from the New Land: Join the
expedition at the Monroe Institute where researchers use
the science of sound to explore altered states of
consciousness". Omni, Oct 1993.
Magical Blend #5, "A comparison of Aleister Crowley and
Magical Blend #40, Oct 1993, "Carlos Castaneda on don
This is from a transcript by way of David Christie,
not an interview.
Gnosis #2, Spring/Summer 1986, "Magical
The New Thunderbird Chronicle vol 1, no 3, Oct 1989,
"Taking the Fifth" et passim. The threshold of the
Eagle's spiritual Aerie. Drawing of Carlos on the cover
(with sombrero covering head).
de Mille, Richard, "Castaneda's Journey: The Power and
the Allegory". 1976.
de Mille, Richard, "The Don Juan Papers". 1980.
| Fikes, Jay Courtney, "Carlos Castaneda: Academic
| Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties", Millenia
| Press, 1993, ISBN 0-9696960-0-0. The gist of this one is
| that CC's works are fabrications, although the DJ
| character is based on a real-life sorcerer. Much info
| about the Huichol Indians.
Noel, Daniel C., "Seeing Castaneda". 1976, ISBN
* Carlos Castaneda Bibliography v1.3.3 *
| Williams, Donald Lee, "Border Crossings: A Psychological
| Perspective on Carlos Castaneda's Path of Knowledge",
| Toronto: Inner City Books, 1981, ISBN 0-919123-07-04. A
| Jungian interpretation of Castaneda's books up to The
| Second Ring of Power. Dry and scholarly.
?, "Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree
of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and
Human Evolution". 1992, ISBN 0-553-37130-4. Chapter 1
("Shamanism: Setting the Stage").
Blackmore, Susan J., "Beyond the Body: An Investigation
of Out-of-the-Body Experiences". 1992, ISBN
0-89733-344-6. Published on behalf of The Society for
Psychical Research. Chapter 12 ("The Physiology of the
OBE"), et passim.
Capra, Fritjof, "The Turning Point: Science, Society,
and the Rising Culture". 1982, ISBN 0-553-01480-3.
Chapter 11 ("Journeys Beyond Space and Time").
Classen, Norbert, "Das Wissen der Tolteken". Berlin
1992, ISBN 3-9802912-1-9. (My poor little book... about
the Toltec knowledge. A practical and philosophical
guide. It includes a German version of C.C.'s
``propositiones explicatorias'', only published in
Coerper, Hellmut, "Der Zugang zum Wissen". Fellbach
1981. ISBN 3-87089-310-9. (C.G. Jung, Psychology and
C.C. Intellectual, but interesting...)
| Corvalan, Graciela N.V., "Conversation de fond avec
| Carlos Castaneda", traduit de l'espagnol et annote par
| Eva Martini, Paris: Editions du cerf, 1992, 128p.
Drury, Nevill, "Don Juan, Mescalito and Modern Magic".
London & New York 1978, ISBN 1-85063-015-1 (Arkana).
(Old, but interesting, too...)
Dubant, Bernard & Marguerie, Michel, "Castaneda - le
saut dans l'inconnu". Paris 1982, ISBN 0-85-707-085-3.
(They wrote further books on C.C.. Something for the
French fans and readers...)
Eagle Feather, Ken, "Traveling with Power". 1992, ISBN
1-878901-28-1. Apprentice to Don Juan talks about
Fikes, Jay Courtney, "Carlos Castaneda, Academic
Opportunism, and the Psychedelic Sixties". 1992, ISBN
0-8191-8585-X. (The title disqualifies itsself. Somekind
of a weird book in the tradition of de Mille...)
Fox, Oliver, "Astral Projection: A Record of
Out-of-the-Body Experiences". 1962, 1990, ISBN
0-8065-0463-3. Expanded from original articles published
in the "Occult Review" in 1920. Chronologically ordered
accounts of his experiences.
Hutchison, Michael, "Mega Brain: New Tools and
Techniques for Brain Growth and Mind Expansion". 1986,
ISBN 0-345-34175-9. Chapter 12 ("Tuning the Brain with
Sound Waves: Hemi-Sync"), et passim.
Leary, Timothy, "Flashbacks: A Personal and Cultural
History of an Era". 1990, ISBN 0-87477-497-7. Chapter
20, short "Biography" of Castaneda, Leary's stay at 'La
Catalina' hotel and run-in with a would-be sorcerer.
L|tge, Lothar R|diger, "C.C. und die Lehren des Don
Juan". Freiburg 1983. (A practical guide. Frugal...)
Monroe, Robert A., "Journeys Out of the Body". 1971,
1977, ISBN 0-385-00861-9. First book: initial
Monroe, Robert A., "Far Journeys". 1985, ISBN
0-385-23181-4. Majority of the book is a "tale" of the
OBE journeys of ``AA'', and what he learns.
Monroe, Robert A., "Ultimate Journey". Doubleday, ISBN
M|ller, Burkhard, "Castaneda's Erben. Eurasburg 1991".
ISBN 3-9802912-0-0. (A book about experiences with C.C.
and the Toltec knowledge.)
Pearce, Joseph Chilton, "The Crack in the Cosmic Egg:
Challenging Constructs of Mind and Reality". 1971, 1988,
ISBN 0-517-56661-3. Chapter 9 ("Don Juan and Jesus") et
Pearce, Joseph Chilton, "Exploring the Crack in the
Cosmic Egg: Split Minds and Meta-realities". 1974, ISBN
0-671-80638-6. Chapters 15 ("Reversibility Thinking") &
16 et passim.
Pearce, Joseph Chilton, "Magical Child Matures". 1985,
ISBN0-553-25881-8. Chapter 18 ("Not Doing") passim.
Rogo, D. Scott, "Leaving the Body: A Complete Guide to
Astral Projection: A step-by-step presentation of eight
different systems of out-of-body travel". 1983, ISBN
0-13-528026-5. Chapter 6 ("The Monroe Techniques"), et
Rucker, Rudolf, "Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth
Dimension". 1977, ISBN 0-486-23400-2. Chapter 4 ("Time
as a Higher Dimension"), Annotated Bibliography
discussion of "A Separate Reality".
Sanchez, Victor, "Las Ensenenzas de Don Carlos. Mexico
1991". ISBN 968-6565-09-4. (Practical guide. Very good,
but in Spanish. Victor is working on a second book at
the moment. It seems to be very interesting. By the way,
he knows C.C. and studied with him.)
Smith, Adam, "Powers of Mind". 1975, ISBN
Timm, Dennis, "Nagual Junior". Anthologie, 1982, ISBN
3-9800414-2-5. (Anthology with some dubious interviews
Timm, Dennis, "Die Wirklichkeit und der Wissende".
Frankfurt 1989, ISBN 3-596-24290-8. (Philosophical
study, but including some interesting texts from
American anthropologists who studied with C.C. and
comment on his work... mostly positiv!)
Ulrich, Hans E., "Von Meister Eckhard bis C.C.".
Frankfurt 1986, ISBN 3-596-26541-X. (Esoterical
Watson, Lyall, "Beyond Supernature: A New Natural
History of the Supernatural". 1988, ISBN 0-553-34456-0.
Chapter 8 ("Description: Paranthropology").
Wittman, Ulla, "Leben wie ein Krieger". Interlaken 1988,
ISBN 3-7157-0120-0. (Practical intentions... but
sometimes boring, repeating, repeating, repeating...)
MT (Michael Topper) Initiates' Class Tapes:
#56 (8/10/91) Assemblage Point,
#90 (4/18/92) Shaman's Path.
NovaDreamer -- Tools For Exploration, (415) 499-9050,
(800) 456-9887. signals when you are dreaming to help
induce lucid dreaming. -- $245
Details ISSN 0740-4921 USPS 001707
Boulder, CO 80322 USA
[They claim to be international]
Magical Blend ISSN 1040-4287 USPS 002-677
Business Offices (916) 893-9037
PO Box 600
Chico, CA 94927-0600 USA
[Back issues must be paid in advance, call for pricing]
| [may be defunct--ed]
| DIMENSIONS (Canada's New Age Monthly) ISSN 0836 5059
| Voice (416) 928-6730
| Fax (416) 928-1446,
| 3 Charles St. W., Ste 300
| Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1R4
| You can write to Castaneda and the rest of his clan c/o:
| Toltec Artists
| 183 N. Martel
| Hollywood, CA 90036
| (213) 938-9500 (Tracy Kramer--agent)
| Nagualist Newsletter
| 1057 E. Imperial Hwy., Suite #117
| Placentia, CA 92670
| [A high quality work published by people who prefer
| to remain anonymous.]
| Nagualist Network in LA.
| John O'Neill <74631.1463@CompuServe.COM>
| (213) 463-9062
Collection of critical reviews, large bibliography.
Author: Keith Thompson
Literary agents are paid to hype their clients, but
when the agent for Carlos Castaneda claimed that he was
offering me "the interview of a lifetime," it was hard to
disagree. After all, Castaneda's nine best-selling books
describing his extraordinary apprenticeship to Yaqui Indian
sorcerer don Juan Matus had inspired countless members of my
generation to explore mysticism, psychedelic drugs, and new
levels of consciousness. Yet even as his reputation grew,
the author had remained a recluse, shrouding himself in
mystery and intrigue. Aside from a few interviews given
seemingly at random over the years, Castaneda never ventured
into the public spotlight. Few people even know what he
looks like. For this interview, his agent told me, there
could be no cameras and no tape recorders. The conversation
would have to be recorded by a stenographer, lest copies of
Castaneda's taped voice fall into the wrong hands.
The interview -- perhaps timed to coincide with the
publication of Castaneda's latest and most esoteric book,
The Art of Dreaming -- took place in the conference room of
a modest office in Los Angeles, after weeks of
back-and-forth negotiations with Castaneda's agent. The
arrangements were complicated, the agent said, by the fact
that he had no way of contacting his client and could only
confirm a meeting after speaking with him "whenever he
decides to call . . . I never know in advance when that may
Upon my arrival at noon, an energetic, enthusiastic, broad-
smiled man walked across the room, extended his hand, and
greeted me unassumingly: "Hello, I am Carlos Castaneda.
Welcome. We can begin our conversation when you are ready.
Would you like coffee, or perhaps a soda? Please make
I had heard that Castaneda blends into the woodwork, or
resembles a Cuban waiter; that his features are both
European and Indian; that his skin is nut-brown or bronze;
that his hair is black, thick, and curly. So much for rumor.
His mane is now white, or largely so, short and mildly
disheveled. If asked to guide a police artist in making a
sketch, I would emphasize the eyes -- large, bright, lucid.
They may have been gray.
I asked Castaneda about his schedule. "The entire afternoon
is available. I should think we'll have all the time we
need. When it's enough, we'll know." Our conversation lasted
four hours, continuing through a meal of deli sandwiches
that arrived midway.
My first exposure to Castaneda's work had been as much
initiation as introduction. It was 1968. Police officers
were clubbing demonstrators in the streets of Chicago.
Assassins had taken Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert
Kennedy. Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools" topped the
charts. All of this amidst an ocean of sandals, embroidered
caftans, bell-bottoms, jangling bracelets, beads, and long
hair for men and women alike.
Into all this stepped an enigmatic writer named Carlos
Castaneda, toting a book called The Teachings of Don Juan: A
Yaqui Way of Knowledge. I remember how it transformed me.
The book I began reading was a curiosity; the book I held
when I finished had become a manifesto, the kind of
delirious cause celebre for which my psyche had been
secretly training. What Castaneda seemed to be affirming --
the possibility of awesome personal spiritual experience --
was precisely what the Sunday-morning-only religion of my
childhood had done its best to vaccinate me against.
Believing in Castaneda gave me faith that someday, some way,
I might meet my very own don Juan Matus (don is a Spanish
appellative denoting respect), the old Indian wise
man/sorcerer who implores his protg Carlos to get beyond
looking -- simply perceiving the world in its usually
accepted forms. To be a true "man of knowledge," Carlos has
to learn the art of seeing, so that for the first time he
can truly perceive the startling nature of the everyday
world. "When you see," don Juan says, "there are no longer
familiar features in the world. Everything is new.
Everything has never happened before. The world is
But, really -- who was this Castaneda? Where did he come
from and what was he trying to prove, with his mysterious
account of a realm that seemed to be of an entirely
different order of reality?
Over the years, various answers to that question have been
offered. Take your pick: (a) dissenting anthropologist; (b)
sorcerer's apprentice; (c) psychic visionary; (d) literary
genius; (e) original philosopher; (f) master teacher. For
balance, let's not forget (g) perpetrator of one of the most
spectacular hoaxes in the history of publishing.
Castaneda has responded to the bestowal of these conflicting
ID tags with something like ironic amusement, as though he
were an audience member enjoying the spectacle of a Chekhov
comedy in which he himself may or may not be a character.
The author has consistently declined -- over a span of
nearly three decades -- to engage in the war of words about
whether his books are authentic accounts of real-world
encounters, as he maintains, or (as numerous critics have
argued) fictional allegories in the spirit of Gulliver's
Travels and Alice in Wonderland.
This strategic reticence was learned from don Juan himself.
"To slip in and out of different worlds you have to remain
inconspicuous," says Castaneda, who is rumored (his
preferred status) to divide his time nowadays between Los
Angeles, Arizona, and Mexico. "The more you are identified
by people's ideas of who you are and how you will act, the
greater the constraint on your freedom. Don Juan insisted
upon the importance of erasing personal history. If little
by little you create a fog around yourself, then you will
not be taken for granted, and you will have more room for
Even so, scattered clearings in the fog offer glimpses of
tracks left by the sorcerer's apprentice in the years before
his life faded to myth.
The scholarly consensus, unconfirmed by the author himself,
is that Carlos Cesar Arana Castaneda was born in Peru on
Christmas day 1925 in the historic Andean town of Cajamarca.
Upon graduating from the Colegio Nacional de Nuestra Senora
de Guadalupe, he studied briefly at the National Fine Arts
School of Peru. In 1948 his family moved to Lima and
established a jewelry store. After the death of his mother a
year later, Castaneda moved to San Francisco and soon
enrolled at Los Angeles City College, where he took two
courses in creative writing and one in journalism.
Castaneda received a B.A. in anthropology in 1962 from the
University of California at Los Angeles. In 1968, five years
before Castaneda received his Ph.D. in anthropology, the
University of California Press published The Teachings of
Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, which became a national
best seller following an enthusiastic notice by Roger
Jellinek in the New York Times Book Review:
"One can't exaggerate the significance of what Castaneda has
done. He is describing a shamanistic tradition, a
pre-logical cultural form that is no-one-knows how old. It
has been described often. . . . But it seems that no other
outsider, and certainly not a 'Westerner,' has ever
participated in its mysteries from within; nor has anyone
described them so well."
The fuse was lit. The Teachings sold 300,000 copies in a
1969 Ballantine mass edition. A Separate Reality and Journey
to Ixtlan followed from Simon & Schuster in 1971 and 1972.
The saga continued in Tales of Power (1974), The Second Ring
of Power (1977), The Eagle's Gift (1981), The Fire from
Within (1984), The Power of Silence (1987), and The Art of
Dreaming (1993). (Bibliophiles may be interested to learn
that Castaneda says he actually wrote a book about don Juan
before The Teachings, titled The Crack Between Worlds, but
lost the manuscript in a movie theater.)
In assessing the impact of his work, Castaneda's admirers
credit him with introducing to popular culture the rich and
varied traditions of shamanism, with their emphasis on
entering nonordinary realms and confronting strange and
sometimes hostile spirit-powers, in order to restore balance
and harmony to body, soul, and society. Inspired by don
Juan's use of peyote, jimsonweed, and other power plants to
teach Castaneda the "art of dreaming," untold numbers of
pioneers extended their own inner horizons through
psychedelic inquiry -- with decidedly mixed results.
For their part, critics of Castaneda's "path of knowledge"
dismiss his work as an ongoing pseudo-anthropological
shenanigan, complete with fabricated shamans and
sensationalized Native American religious practices. The
writings, they claim, have netted an unscrupulous author
tremendous wealth at the cost of denigrating the sacred
lifeways of indigenous peoples through commercial
exploitation. Castaneda's presentation, writes Richard de
Mille in Castaneda's Journey, "appeals to the reader's
hunger for myth, magic, ancient wisdom, true reality,
self-improvement, other worlds, or imaginary playmates."
Appropriately, the Castaneda I encountered was a study in
contrasts. His presence was informal, spontaneous, warmly
animated, and at times contagiously mirthful. At the same
time, his still heavily accented (Peruvian? Chilean?
Spanish?) diction conveyed the patrician formality of an
ambassador at court: deliberate and well-composed, serious
and poised, earnest and resolute. Practiced.
The contradiction, like so much about the man, may strike
some as a bothersome inconsistency. But it shouldn't. To
reread Carlos Castaneda's books (as I did, astonishingly,
all nine of them) is to see clearly -- perhaps for the first
time -- that contradiction is the force that ties his
literary Gordian knot. As the author had told me, intently,
during our lunch break: "Only by pitting two views against
each other can one weasel between them to arrive at the real
I had the sense he was letting me know his fortress was well
guarded -- and daring me to storm it anyway.
Keith Thompson: As your books have made a character named
Carlos world-famous, the author called Castaneda has
retreated further and further from public view. There have
been more confirmed sightings of Elvis than of Carlos
Castaneda in recent years. Legend has you committing suicide
on at least three occasions; there's the persistent story of
your death in a Mexican bus crash two decades ago; and my
search for a confirmed photo and audio tapes was fruitless.
How can I be sure that you're truly Castaneda and not a
Carlos impersonator from Vegas? Have you got any
Carlos Castaneda: None! Just my agent vouches for me. That's
his job. But you are free to ask me your questions and shine
a bright light in my eyes and keep me here all night -- like
in the old movies.
You're known for being unknown. Why have you agreed to talk
now, after declining interviews for so many years?
Because I'm at the end of the trail that started over thirty
years ago. As a young anthropologist, I went to the
Southwest to collect information, to do fieldwork on the
medicinal plants used by the Indians of the area. I intended
to write an article, go on to graduate school, become a
professional in my field. I hadn't the slightest interest in
meeting a weird man like don Juan.
How exactly did your paths cross?
I was waiting for the bus at the Greyhound station in
Nogales, Arizona, talking with an anthropologist who had
been my guide and helper in my survey. My colleague leaned
over and pointed to a white-haired old Indian across the
room -- "Psst, over there, don't let him see you looking" --
and said he was an expert about peyote and medicinal plants.
That was all I needed to hear. I put on my best airs and
sauntered over to this man, who was known as don Juan, and
told him I myself was an authority about peyote. I said that
it might be worth his while to have lunch and talk with me
-- or something unbearably arrogant to that effect.
The old power-lunch ploy. But you weren't really much of an
authority, were you?
I knew next to nothing about peyote! But I continued
rattling on -- boasting about my knowledge, intending to
impress him. I remember that he just looked at me and nodded
occasionally, without saying a word. My pretensions melted
in the heat of that day. I was stunned at being silenced.
There I stood in the abyss, until don Juan saw that his bus
had come. He said good- bye, with the slightest wave of his
hand. I felt like an arrogant imbecile, and that was the
Also the beginning.
Yes, that's when everything started. I learned that don Juan
was known as a brujo, which means, in English, medicine man,
curer, sorcerer. It became my task to discover where he
lived. You know, I was very good at doing that, and I did. I
found out, and I came to see him one day. We took a liking
to each other and soon became good friends.
You felt like a moron in this man's presence, but you were
eager to seek him out?
The way don Juan had looked at me there in the bus station
was exceptional -- an unprecedented event in my life. There
was something remarkable about his eyes, which seemed to
shine with a light all their own. You see, we are --
unfortunately we don't want to accept this, but we are apes,
anthropoids, simians. There's a primary knowledge that we
all carry, directly connected with the two-million-year-old
person at the root of our brain. And we do our best to
suppress it, which makes us obese, cardiac, cancer-prone. It
was on that archaic level that I was tackled by don Juan's
gaze, despite my annoyance and irritation that he had seen
through my pretense to expertise in the bus station.
Eventually you became don Juan's apprentice, and he your
mentor. What was the transition?
A year passed before he took me into his confidence. We had
gotten to know each other quite well, when one day don Juan
turned to me and said he held a certain knowledge that he
had learned from an unnamed benefactor, who had led him
through a kind of training. He used this word "knowledge"
more often than "sorcery," but for him they were one and the
same. Don Juan said he had chosen me to serve as his
apprentice, but that I must be prepared for a long and
difficult road. I had no idea how astonishingly strange the
road would be.
That's a consistent thread of your books -- your struggle to
make sense of a "separate reality" where gnats stand a
hundred feet tall, where human heads turn into crows, where
the same leaf falls four times, where sorcerers conjure cars
to disappear in broad daylight. A good stage hypnotist can
produce astonishing effects. Is it possible that's what don
Juan was up to? Did he trick you?
It's possible. What he did was teach me that there's much
more to the world than we usually acknowledge -- that our
normal expectations about reality are created by social
consensus, which is itself a trick. We're taught to see and
understand the world through a socialization process that,
when working correctly, convinces us that the
interpretations we agree upon define the limits of the real
world. Don Juan interrupted this process in my life by
demonstrating that we have the capacity to enter into other
worlds that are constant and independent of our highly
conditioned awareness. Sorcery involves reprogramming our
capacities to perceive realms as real, unique, absolute, and
engulfing as our daily so-called mundane world.
Don Juan is always trying to get you to put your
explanations of reality and your assumptions about what's
possible inside brackets, so you can see how arbitrary they
are. Contemporary philosophers would call this
Don Juan had a visceral understanding of the way language
works as a system unto itself -- the way it generates
pictures of reality that we believe, mistakenly, to reveal
the "true" nature of things. His teachings were like a club
beating my thick head until I saw that my precious view was
actually a construction, woven of all kinds of fixated
interpretations, which I used to defend myself against pure
There's a contradiction in there, somewhere. On the one
hand, don Juan desocialized you, by teaching you to see
without preconceptions. Yet it sounds like he then
resocialized you by enrolling you in a new set of meanings,
simply giving you a different interpretation, a new spin on
reality -- albeit a "magical" one.
That's something don Juan and I argued about all the time.
He said in effect that he was despinning me and I maintained
he was respinning me. By teaching me sorcery he presented a
new lens, a new language, and a new way of seeing and being
in the world. I was caught between my previous certainty
about the world and a new description, sorcery, and forced
to hold the old and the new together. I felt completely
stalled, like a car slipping its transmission. Don Juan was
delighted. He said this meant I was slipping between
descriptions of reality -- between my old and new views.
Eventually I saw that all my prior assumptions were based on
viewing the world as something from which I was essentially
alienated. That day when I encountered don Juan in the bus
station, I was the ideal academic, triumphantly estranged,
conniving to prove my nonexistent expertise concerning
Ironically, it was don Juan who later introduced you to
"Mescalito," the green-skinned spirit of peyote.
Don Juan introduced me to psychotropic plants in the middle
period of my apprenticeship, because I was so stupid and so
cocky, which of course I considered evidence of
sophistication. I held to my conventional description of the
world with incredible vengeance, convinced it was the only
truth. Peyote served to exaggerate the subtle contradictions
within my interpretative gloss, and this helped me cut
through the typical Western stance of seeing a world out
there and talking to myself about it. But the psychotropic
approach had its costs -- physical and emotional exhaustion.
It took months for me to come fully around.
If you could do it over again, would you "just say no"?
My path has been my path. Don Juan always told me, "Make a
gesture." A gesture is nothing more than a deliberate act
undertaken for the power that comes from making a decision.
Ultimately, the value of entering a nonordinary state, as
you do with peyote or other psychotropic plants, is to exact
what you need in order to embrace the stupendous character
of ordinary reality. You see, the path of the heart is not a
road of incessant introspection or mystical flight, but a
way of engaging the joys and sorrows of the world. This
world, where each one of us is related at molecular levels
to every other wondrous and dynamic manifestation of being
-- this world is the warrior's true hunting ground.
Your friend don Juan teaches what is, how to know what is,
and how to live in accord with what is -- ontology,
epistemology, and ethics. Which leads many to say he's too
good to be true, that you created him from scratch as an
allegorical instrument of wise instruction.
The notion that I concocted a person like don Juan is
preposterous. I'm a product of a European intellectual
tradition to which a character like don Juan is alien. The
actual facts are stranger: I'm a reporter. My books are
accounts of an outlandish phenomenon that forced me to make
fundamental changes in my life in order to meet the
phenomenon on its own terms.
Some of your critics grow quite livid in their contention
that Juan Matus sometimes speaks more like an Oxford don
than a don Indian. Then there's the fact that he traveled
widely and acquired his knowledge from sources not limited
to his Yaqui roots.
Permit me to make a confession: I take much delight in the
idea that don Juan may not be the "best" don Juan. It's
probably true that I'm not the best Carlos Castaneda,
either. Years ago I met the perfect Castaneda at a party in
Sausalito, quite by accident. There, in the middle of the
patio, was the most handsome man, tall, blond, blue-eyed,
beautiful, barefoot. It was the early '70s. He was signing
books, and the owner of the house said to me, "I'd like you
to meet Carlos Castaneda." He was impersonating Carlos
Castaneda, with an impressive coterie of beautiful women all
around him. I said, "I am very pleased to meet you, Mister
Castaneda." He responded, "Doctor Castaneda." He was doing a
very good job. I thought, He presents a good way to be
Castaneda, the ideal Castaneda, with all the benefits that
go with the position. But time passes, and I'm still the
Castaneda that I am, not very well suited to play the
Hollywood version. Nor is don Juan.
Speaking of confessions: Did you ever contemplate
downplaying the eccentricity of your teacher and presenting
him as a more conventional character, to make him a better
vehicle for his teachings?
I never considered such an approach. Smoothing rough edges
to advance an agreeable plot is the luxury of the novelist.
I'm not unfamiliar with the spoken and unspoken canon of
science: "Be objective." Sometimes don Juan spoke in goofy
slang -- the equivalent of "By golly!" and "Don't lose your
marbles!" are two of his favorites. On other occasions he
showed a superb command of Spanish, which permitted me to
obtain detailed explanations of the intricate meanings of
his system of beliefs and its underlying logic. To
deliberately alter don Juan in my books so he would appear
consistent and meet the expectations of this or that
audience would bring "subjectivity" to my work, a demon
that, according to my best critics, has no place in
Skeptics have challenged you to exorcise that demon once and
for all, by presenting for public inspection the field notes
based on your encounters with don Juan. Wouldn't that
alleviate doubts about whether your writings are genuine
ethnography or disguised fiction?
Fellow anthropologists, for starters.
The Senate Watergate Committee. Geraldo Rivera . . .
There was a time when requests to see my field notes seemed
unencumbered by hidden ideological agendas. After The
Teachings of Don Juan appeared I received a thoughtful
letter from Gordon Wasson, the founder of the science of
ethnomycology, the study of human uses of mushrooms and
other fungi. Gordon and Valentina Wasson had discovered the
existence of still-active shamanic mushroom cults in the
mountains near Oaxaca, Mexico. Dr. Wasson asked me to
clarify certain aspects of don Juan's use of psychotropic
mushrooms. I gladly sent him several pages of field notes
relevant to his area of interest, and met with him twice.
Subsequently he referred to me as an "honest and serious
young man," or words to that effect.
Even so, some critics proceeded to assert that any field
notes produced by Castaneda must be assumed to be forgeries
created after the fact. At that point I realized there was
no way I could satisfy people whose minds were made up
without recourse to whatever documentation I might provide.
Actually, it was liberating to abandon the enterprise of
public relations -- intrinsically a violation of my nature
-- and return to my fieldwork with don Juan.
You must be familiar with the claim that your work has
fostered the trivialization of indigenous spiritual
traditions. The argument goes like this: A despicable cadre
of non-Indian wannabees, commercial profiteers, and
self-styled shamans has read your books and found them
inspiring. How do you plead?
I didn't set out to write an exhaustive account of
indigenous spirituality, so it's a fallacy to judge my work
by that criterion. My books are instead a chronicle of
specific experiences and observations in a particular
context, reported to the best of my ability. But I do plead
guilty to knowingly committing willful acts of ethnography,
which is none other than translating cultural experience
into writing. Ethnography is always writing. That's what I
do. What happens when spoken words become written words, and
written words become published words, and published words
get ingested through acts of reading by persons unknown to
the author? Let's agree to call it complex. I've been
extremely fortunate to have a wide and diverse readership
throughout much of the world. The entry requirement is the
same everywhere: literacy. Beyond this, I'm responsible for
the virtues and vices of my anonymous audience in the same
way that every writer of any time and place is so
responsible. The main thing is, I stand by my work.
What does don Juan think of your global notoriety?
Nada. Not a thing. I learned this definitively when I took
him a copy of The Teachings of Don Juan. I said, "It's about
you, don Juan." He surveyed the book -- up and down, back
and front, flipped through the pages like a deck of cards --
then handed it back. I was crestfallen and told him I wanted
him to have it as a gift. Don Juan said he had better not
accept it, "because you know what we do with paper in
Mexico." He added, "Tell your publisher to print your next
book on softer stock."
Earlier you mentioned that don Juan deliberately made his
teaching dramatic. Your writings reflect that. Much
anthropological writing gives the impression of striving for
dullness, as if banality were a mark of truth.
To have made my astonishing adventures with don Juan boring
would have been to lie. It has taken me many years to
appreciate the fact that don Juan is a master of using
frustration, digression, and partial disclosure as methods
of instruction. He strategically blended revelation and
concealment in the oddest combinations. It was his style to
assert that ordinary and nonordinary reality aren't
separate, but instead are encompassed in a larger circle --
and then to reverse himself the next day by insisting that
the line between different realities must be respected at
all costs. I asked him why this must be so. He answered,
"Because nothing is more important to you than keeping your
personal world intact."
He was right. That was my top priority in the early days of
the apprenticeship. Eventually I saw -- I saw -- that the
path of the heart requires a full gesture, a degree of
abandon that can be terrifying. Only then is it possible to
achieve a sparkling metamorphosis.
I also realized the extent to which the teachings of don
Juan could and would be dismissed as "mere allegory" by
certain specialists whose sacramental mission is to
reinforce the limits that culture and language place on
This approaches the question of who gets to define "correct"
cultural description. Nowadays some of Margaret Mead's
critics declare she was "wrong" about Samoa. But why not
say, less dogmatically, that her writings present a partial
picture based on a unique encounter with an exotic culture?
Obviously her discoveries mirrored the concerns of her time,
including her own biases. Who has the authority to cordon
off art from science?
The assumption that art, magic, and science can't exist in
the same space at the same time is an obsolete remnant of
Aristotelian philosophical categories. We've got to get
beyond this kind of nostalgia in the social science of the
twenty-first century. Even the term ethnography is too
monolithic, because it implies that writing about other
cultures is an activity specific to anthropology, whereas in
fact ethnography cuts across various disciplines and genres.
Furthermore, even the ethnographer isn't monolithic -- he or
she must be reflexive and multifaceted, just like the
cultural phenomena that are encountered as "other."
So the observer, the observed phenomenon, and the process of
observation form an inseparable totality. From that
perspective, reality isn't simply received, it's actively
captured and rendered in different ways by different
observers with different ways of seeing.
Just so. What sorcery comes down to is the act of embodying
some specialized theoretical and practical premises about
the nature of perception in molding the universe around us.
It took me a long time to understand, intuitively, that
there were three Castanedas: one who observed don Juan, the
man and teacher; another who was the active subject of don
Juan's training -- the apprentice; and still another who
chronicled the adventures. "Three" is a metaphor to describe
the sensation of endlessly changing boundaries. Likewise,
don Juan himself was constantly shifting positions. Together
we were traversing the crack between the natural world of
everyday life and an unseen world, which don Juan called
"the second attention," a term he preferred to
What you're describing isn't what comes to mind for most
anthropologists when they think about their line of work,
Oh, I'm certain you're right about that! Someone recently
asked me, What does mainstream anthropology think of Carlos
Castaneda? I don't suppose most of them think about me at
all. A few may be a little bit annoyed, but they're sure
that whatever I'm doing is not scientific and they don't
trouble themselves. For most of the field, "anthropological
possibility" means that you go to an exotic land, arrive at
a hotel, drink your highball while a flock of indigenous
people come and talk to you about the culture. They tell you
all kinds of things, and you write down the various words
for father and mother. More highballs, then you go home and
put it all in your computer and tabulate for correlations
and differences. That to them is scientific anthropology.
For me, that would be living hell.
How do you actually write?
My conversations with don Juan throughout the apprenticeship
were conducted primarily in Spanish. From the outset I tried
to persuade don Juan to let me use a tape recorder, but he
said relying on something mechanical only makes us more and
more sterile. "It curtails your magic," he said. "Better to
learn with your whole body so you'll remember with your
whole body." I had no idea what he meant. Consequently I
began keeping voluminous field notes of what he said. He
found my industriousness amusing. As for my books, I dream
them. I gather myself and my field notes -- usually in the
afternoon but not always -- and go through all my notes and
translate them into English. In the evening I sleep and
dream what I want to write. When I wake up, I write in the
quiet hours of the night, drawing upon what has arranged
itself coherently in my head.
Do you rewrite?
It's not my practice to do so. Regular writing is for me
quite dry and labored. Dreaming is best. Much of my training
with don Juan was in reconditioning perception to sustain
dream images long enough to look at them carefully. Don Juan
was right about the tape recorder -- and in retrospect,
right about the notes. They were my crutch, and I no longer
need them. By the end of my time with don Juan, I learned to
listen and watch and sense and recall in all the cells of my
Earlier you mentioned reaching the end of the road, and now
you're talking about the end of your time with don Juan.
Where is he now?
He's gone. He disappeared.
Without a clue?
Don Juan told me he was going to fulfill the sorcerer's
dream of leaving this world and entering into "unimaginable
dimensions." He displaced his assemblage point from its
fixation in the conventional human world. We would call it
combusting from the inside. It's an alternative to dying.
Either they bury you six feet deep in the poor flowers or
you burn. Don Juan chose burning.
I guess it's one way to erase personal history. Then this
conversation is don Juan's obituary notice?
He had come to the end, deliberately. By intent. He wanted
to expand, to join his physical body with his energy body.
His adventure was there, where the tiny personal tide pool
joins the great ocean. He called it the "definitive
journey." Such vastness is incomprehensible to my mind, so I
can only give up explaining. I've found that the explanatory
principle will protect you from fear of the unknown, but I
prefer the unknown.
You've traveled far and wide. Give it to me straight: Is
reality ultimately a safe place?
I once asked don Juan something quite similar. We were alone
in the desert -- nighttime, billions of stars. He laughed in
a friendly and genuine way. He said, "Sure, the universe is
benign. It may destroy you, but in the process it will teach
you something worth knowing."
What's next for Carlos Castaneda?
I'll have to let you know. Next time.
Will there be a next time?
There's always a next time.
* Carlos Castaneda Speaks, An interview by Keith Thompson *
An exclusive interview with three if the female warriors of
Carlos Castaneda's sorcery lineage Florinda, Donner-Grau,
Taisha Abelar, and Carol Tiggs interview by Keith Nichols.
It's been over twenty years since Carlos Castaneda
began igniting his readers' imaginations about the
possibility of viewing reality differently. Today, American
seekers are involved in a magical blend of religious
practices aimed at the same thing from Zen Buddhism to Yoga
to herbal remedies and even Wicca and spiritualism. Yet
questions still remain from the intensive searching of the
last several decades, such as when are we going to get free,
anyway? And how do we explain the inexplicable?
These were the questions on my mind when I found myself
journeying down the coast toward Los Angeles for an
encounter with three women of Castaneda's sorcery lineage:
Florinda Donner Grau, Taisha Abelar, and Carol Tiggs.
When Florinda Donner-Grau and I first met, she told me
about an encounter that serves well to explain the threshold
that many people have already encountered. As she walked
down the streets in downtown Los Angeles, she saw a floating
blob of energy. As she watched it bounce up and down the
street, she was a little unsure about her senses. She tugged
on the shoulder of a man standing nearby whose mouth was
open wide in a state of disbelief--or maybe bewilderment.
She saw that he too was looking at the blob.
As a sorcerer, Donner-Grau is aware that reality is
largely perception and that what we choose to perceive and
not to perceive is based on our training. So perhaps the man
in L.A. represents a sort of graduation in the school of
larger possibilities, a generation prepared by Castaneda and
others to perceive subtler energies.
With the recent publication of Castaneda's ninth book,
as well as books by Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar,
Carlos Castaneda's sorcerers party has evolved into seems to
beckon forth that this reality is not the only one; others
do exist into which we can transcend.
Why are the women of this lineage just beginning to come out
and speak about their practices?
Florinda Donner-Grau: Well, there is a fundamental
difference in the way males and females perceive and respond
to reality. Females, such as Taisha, Carol, and I, didn't
write about anything for twenty years. This is the
fundamental difference: females need to embody a system of
belief before they can write about it. While males build
their bridges of understanding with words, women build their
understanding with their life. Both are equally valid ways
of understanding, yet they are very different ways of
In terms of energy the male cones toward knowledge; he
builds step by step. In physics, this stepping can be
described like a cone, where males are always moving toward
a source but never reaching it. With females, it is
different because that cone is reversed. Because of the
womb, females have the capacity to perceive knowledge
directly. There is no reason for her to explain because she
already knows. And it is this knowingness, this experience
of being connected with the source-what we call Intent-that
sorcerers want to get back to. Females have an inherent
advantage in that they know Intent directly, while the male
is always approaching it.
What is the purpose of being connected with this source,
Florinda Donner-Grau: Well, I'll tell you a story. I love
books; I'm an avid reader. Now Carlos hasn't read a book in
over twenty years. I know that because he gave all his books
to me. Now I'm very interested in phenomenology because as
an intellectual pursuit, it is the only one that comes close
to sorcery. Well, I'll be reading something and then I'll
ask Carlos a question. He'll be quiet for about ten minutes
and then he'll give me an explanation of exactly what I have
been reading. At that point, I know that he's been out there
grabbing that knowledge from elsewhere. And this ability has
no limitation; I can ask him something about physics and he
immediately gives me a bonafide answer.
How would you describe what he is doing?
Carol Tiggs: I would say that he is practicing dreaming,
which is a way of describing that he is using his energetic
body to grab hold of a line of energy and access information
directly from the source of the universe.
Florinda Donner-Grau: And Carlos knows exactly what line to
grab. Seers see that it is all out there anyway. But what
makes a capable sorcerer is the ability to access these
lines of information with control and at will. Recently,
Carlos took a group of twenty people to a small church in
Mexico (written about in several of his books). While in the
church, he took the whole group into a state of dreaming and
journeyed into another world.
How does one learn how to do this?
Florinda Donner-Grau: It's all a matter of having enough
energy to be able to see. We're all so consumed by the
everydayness of life that we simply don't have any energy
left over to see.
How do people use daily life to begin to find where they are
draining themselves energetically?
Carol Tiggs: When you look back over your workday, one of
the clues to where you lost your energy is where you began
to feel tired and not energetically yourself. Those places
are where you'll find your answers and start to develop some
perspective-and you'll be able to begin to pull back your
energy from these events and begin to start examining the
patterns that keep you stuck within the ego game of hero and
Is this process different for the males and the females?
Florinda Donner-Grau: The process isn't any different. When
you recapitulate, you take yourself back and recreate every
event as it happened. Once you have the energy, this happens
automatically and you don't have to reach it through any
shamanistic means, such as fasting and so on. You can begin
any day and start from that day and move backwards. I've
done four recapitulations of my entire life to date and I
find something new each time. And what I find is that not
directly but indirectly we always try to be the hero
At some of the lectures we have given, people are
always taking notes and I find myself saying to them, "No,
don't take notes, because those things are meaningless. Just
listen." All of their energy is gong into taking notes and
they're missing half of what is really going on.
Taisha Abelar: We constantly hear people say, If only I was
a part of your group, then I could do this or that. But what
they don't understand is that wherever you are, that is
where you start.
Carol Tiggs: Sorcery is really just perception. There are no
rituals, no dancing, no nothing. Just perception and some
techniques to enhance perception through gathering up of
oneself energetically. There are aids, such as not-doing
Taisha Abelar: Or just watching your thoughts and hearing
what you are really thinking. You can learn a lot by doing
Carol Tiggs: What I've found is that people generally fall
into one of two categories: either they have to be in
control or they are being controlled by something else. When
you come from these two scenarios, you generally aren't
perceiving your life clearly. By recapitulating you light up
in your awareness exactly the energies (or reality) that was
constructed so that you can begin to perceive the patterns
and programming that control you.
Taisha Abelar: When you begin to clearly see the social
patterns that control you, you start to move into stalking
yourself. This is where you can become an active participant
in life. Suddenly your boss is no longer that evil, horrible
controller that he once was. Instead he becomes a mirror by
which you start to see where you are trapped into the games
of this reality. These games are what consume or tie up
people's energy and keep them from perceiving the true
energetic nature of this reality.
When you move away from the consensus of everyday life,
you can allow the Intent or the dream that has been set up
by Intent to become the moving force, the guide.
Florinda Donner-Grau: To do this you have to relinquish this
feeling of having to be the one in control. But believe me,
even after you have recapitulated, you still have that
feeling that you have this one little area over here and
that once you get to it, then you will be the one who is in
Let's get back to the ways in which males and females
perceive. If females perceive directly, then why aren't most
females walking around steeped in understanding or
knowingness of Intent?
Florinda Donner-Grau: Males have an energetic advantage in
the physical world. Though the male cone shape configuration
of energy makes perceiving the source of Intent more
difficult, it is ideal for being able to work stronger in
the physical world . There is no way for females to compete
against that energetic advantage as long as they are
imitating roles that males have created. Instead we as
females have to find our own resources and break this cycle
of imitation so that we can truly begin to evolve into
What is that evolvement?
Carol Tiggs: To tell you the truth, I really don't know.
What is our Intent as we evolve and what does this
evolvement entail? For female sorcerers, part of this comes
into enhancing the secondary functions of our wombs, which
are the dreaming organs in the female body. And we do this
by recapitulating, breaking old patterns, gathering up our
energy, so that we can begin to dream a new dream.
Taisha Abelar: Whatever has happened to us-and something has
happened-we hope to convey to younger people that change is
possible. But there has to be some kind of critical mass to
make this change possible.
Florinda Donner-Grau: When you go against the enormous
consensus that constitutes everyday reality, you are
pounding against a stone wall. When sorcerers enter into
dreaming, the first thing they will usually encounter is a
bank of fog. When you see this fog you are pulling at
something else energetically.
ln a way, sorcery is like Chinese Medicine in that it
treats the body as if it were a field of energy. Western
Medicine treats the body as if it were an object so it
doesn't take advantage of the more powerful energetic
reality. Consequently you have doctors cutting out matter
instead of using energy to change it. Medicine, like modem
man, would change dramatically if it took advantage of these
energetic principles to aid in a metamorphis of current
limitations and illnesses.
Carol Tiggs: What a sorcerer searches for is that evolvement
within his awareness or energetic field; that moment or
possibility of change into a state of being that has more
Florinda Donner-Grau: Currently there is so much invested in
institutions like the A.M.A. that there is no way that they
are going to change things like that. But what they are
doing to the body is horrendous. They teach us that medicine
has advanced, but that simply isn't true. Now we have Aids
and cancer and we really don't know what the hell we are
I had a young female friend who died of intestinal
cancer a couple of months ago. On the outside she was living
the perfect life but on the inside she was being eaten
alive. You see, her husband was a president of one of those
huge corporations and you wouldn't believe the pains she
went through to impress people. She was killing herself to
impress other people. I asked her, "If things are so bad,
why didn't you seek some help?" But she said that she was
worried about what people would think. I answered back,
"What will they think when you are dead?" Now, she is dead,
and they don't think a thing. If that is the price you are
going to pay, then take off.
But that's what we do. You see, in a way, we're still
monkeys. Don Juan used to tease us and say that we are like
a monkey who has reached into a gourd to grab some seeds.
The monkey can't get his hand out as long as he holds on to
those seeds. Humans are very much the same way. Our social
expectations are the seeds which consume our awareness. All
the monkey would have to do to become free is to just let go
of those damn seeds, but he won't. We won't let go of the
seeds to get ourselves out of a trapped situation. We just
can't let go.
Gary Larson drew a cartoon showing an ape who had
fallen out of a tree and was laying flat on the ground.
Under the drawing was the transcription: The dawn of man.
The only thing he forgot to add was that the monkey had
fallen onto a patch of seeds. You see, he had grabbed for
the seeds; that was the real fall of man.
Magical Blend Magazine (c) 1994
* CASTANEDA'S CLAN. Interview with three female warriors *
Version: 0.4 (under construction)
Last-Updated: Tue May 17 12:54:52 CDT 1994
* Carlos Castaneda Overview (v0.4uc) *
Summerized from Tales of Power, Washington Square Press.
The secret of the luminous beings is that we are perceivers,
we are an awareness without solidity or bounds. The world we
think we see is only a description of world told to us by
our internal dialog, a description that has been taught to
us by others. We are trapped inside that bubble of
perception and what we witness on its walls is a reflection
of our world view, our description.
As luminous beings, our perception is controlled by the
position of our Assemblage Point (the point where our
luminous being focuses its awareness on the energy fibers of
the universe). There are infinite worlds outside our daily
perceptions. By stopping the internal dialog you break
through this barrier to the totality of oneself.
To this end sorcerers use "the right way of walking" as a
practical task; it saturates the tonal and without the
one-to-one relation with the elements of its description the
tonal becomes silent. Also used are acting without believing
or expecting rewards; erasing personal history; and
"dreaming". To help erase personal history the techniques of
losing self-importance, assuming responsibility, and using
death as an adviser are applied. To aide in "dreaming" the
three techniques of disrupting the routines of life, the
gait of power, and not-doing are used. These techniques are
bound together by living like a warrior, to give temperance
and strength to withstand the path of knowledge.
The nagual is the unspeakable. All the possible feelings and
beings and selves float in it like barges, peaceful,
unaltered, forever. Then the glue of life binds some of them
together and a being is created. That being loses the sense
of its true nature and becomes blinded by the glare and
clamor of the tonal, where all unified organizations exist.
That cluster is the bubble of perception. The secret of the
double is in the bubble of perception. In the nagual, the
cluster of feelings can be rearranged to any form and made
to assemble instantly anywhere. In other words, one can
perceive the here and the there at once. The nagual is
witnessed by "will", and the tonal by "reason".
The tonal is but a reflection of that indescribable unknown
filled with order; the nagual is but a reflection of that
indescribable void that contains everything.
The Sorcerers' Explanation
Summerized from _The Art of Dreaming_.
You reach the first gate when you become aware you are
falling asleep or have a gigantically real dream (perhaps
what some would call a lucid dream). You cross the first
gate when you are able to sustain the sight of any item in
In order to offset the evanescent quality of dreams,
sorcerers have devised the use of the starting point item.
Ever time you isolate it and look at it, you get a surge
You cross the second gate when you are able to change from
dream to dream. For example, you wake up from a dream in
another dream or use an item of your dream to trigger
You reach the third gate when you dream yourself asleep.
You cross the third gate by moving your engery body after
having done so. At the third gate you begin to merge your
dreaming reality with the reality of the daily world.
At the fourth gate, the energy body travels to specific,
concrete places either in this world, out of this world,
or places that exist only in the intent of others.
Go to sleep in a certain position, then in dreaming, dream
that you lie down in the same position and fall asleep
again. This is called the twin positions and it solidifies
your dreaming attention. The second dream is intending in
the second attention: the only way to cross the fourth
gate of dreaming.
The Seven Gates of Dreaming
Exceprts from _The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of
Knowledge_; pages 82-87.
A man of knowledge is one who has followed truthfully the
hardships of learning. A man who has, without rushing or
without faltering, gone as far as he can in unraveling the
secrets of power and knowledge. To become a man of
knowledge one must challenge and defeat the four natural
The first enemy of a man of knowledge is Fear. A terrible
enemy--treacherous, and difficult to overcome. It remains
concealed at every turn of the way, prowling, waiting. And
if the man, terrified in its presence, runs away, his
enemy will have put an end to his quest. Once a man has
vanquished fear, he is free from it for the rest of his
life because, instead of fear, he has acquired clarity of
mind which erases fear.
And thus he has encountered his second enemy; Clarity.
That clarity of mind, which is so hard to obtain, dispels
fear, but also blinds. If the man yields to this
make-believe power, he has succumbed to his second enemy
and will be patient when he should rush. And he will
fumble with learning until he winds up incapable of
learing anything more.
He must defy his clarity and use it only to see, and wait
patiently and measure carefully before taking new steps;
he must think, above all, that his clarity is almost a
mistake. And a moment will come when he will understand
that his clarity was only a point before his eyes. And
thus he will have overcome his second enemy, and will
arrive at a position where nothing can harm him anymore.
It will be true power; the third enemy of a man of
A man at this stage hardly notices his third enemy closing
in on him. And suddenly, without knowing, he will
certainly have lost the battle. His enemy will have turned
him into a cruel, capricious man. The man must defy his
power, deliberately. He has to come to realize the power
he has seemingly conquered is in reality never his. He
will reach a point where everything is held in check. He
will know then when and how to use his power. And thus he
will have defeated his third enemy.
The man will be, by then, at the end of his journey of
learning, and almost without warning he will come upon the
last of his enemies: Old age. This enemy is the cruelest
of all, the one he won't be able to defeat completely, but
only fight away. His desire to retreat will overrule all
his clarity, his power, and his knowledge. But if the man
sloughs off his tiredness, and lives his fate through, he
can then be called a man of knowledge, if only for the
brief moment when he succeeds in fighting off his last,
invincible enemy. That moment of clarity, power, and
knowledge is enough.
Teachings: Jun 23 1961 - Sep 30 1965
Separate Reality: Apr 2 1968 - Oct 18 1970
Journey to Ixtlan: Dec 17 1960 - May 1971
[I would like short reviews of each book, if you do it
just email it to firstname.lastname@example.org]
The Eight Points
Nagual Will-----Feeling-----Talking---Reason Tonal
Stopping the Internal Dialog
Stopping our description of the world; breaking the
barrier of perception. Stopping the internal dialog is
the key to the sorcerers' world. The rest of the
activities are only props to accelerate the effect.
The Right Way of Walking
Tales of Power, WSP Paperback edition, page 236, don
Juan says: The warrior, first by curling his fingers,
drew attention to the arms; and then by looking, without
focusing his eyses, at any point directly in front of
him on the arc that started at the tip of his feet and
ended above the horizon, he literally flooded his
"tonal" with information. The "tonal", without its
one-to-one relationship with the elements of its
description, was incapable of talking to itself, and
thus one became silent.
Acting Without Believing
Acting just for the hell of it, without expecting
Erasing Personal History
Removing cues of oneself from the world at large, making
oneself unavailable. This frees you from the trap of
others attention. This also helps to remove Self-Pity
from your world.
Another aide in removing Self-Pity.
Assume responsibility for your actions and being in this
Using Death as an Advisor
Take every act as your last battle on earth. It doesn't
matter if you win or lose a battle but never abandon
yourself, even to your death. You should replace
Self-Pity as your advisor and use death instead. Actions
taken with death as an advisor have power.
Disrupting the Routines of Life
Our routines are what allows death to stalk us. A hunter
learns the routines of its pray and uses them to kill
Gait of Power
Running with abandon, but without abandoning oneself.
Imagine yourself being chased in the dark by a ferocious
animal, if you get away, this is how you will have run.
Focusing your attention on features of the world that
are ordinarily overlooked, such as the shadows of
Using the natural shift of the Assemblage Point while
Together, disrupting routines, the gate of power, and
not-doing are avenues for learning new ways of
perceiving the world, and they give a warrior an inkling
of incredible possibilities of action. These lead to the
knowledge of a separate and pragmatic world of
Fixing the Assemblage Point in position to give your
perception coherence. Used in the daily world it's a way
of behaving towards our fellow men.
Used to free energy trapped in the world. Performed by
visualizing past events (to shift your Assemblage Point
to that point) and reclaiming any energy you left behind
and returning energy that isn't yours.
Mood of a Warrior
A mood in which to approch the world, acting with
abandon but without abandoning oneself. Using death as
an advisor, each act is your last battle on earth.
Since a man of knowledge "sees" and he knows that
nothing is more important than anything else then
nothing matters to him, he has only his controlled
folly, acting as if it mattered even though he knows it
A sourcerery technique of looking without staring at
something. The "not-doing" of looking at something.
An opponent to spur you on the path of knowledge.
Having to Believe
Having no choice, the situation inspired by the worth
Man of Knowledge
A warrior who has become a sorcerer and who "sees" and
knows. The ultimate state of being, in total control
over your being.
The point at which your awarness is focused on your
luminous being causing the energy fibers at large to
align with the energy fibers inside your cocoon.
Glow of Awarness
The glowing point at which the Assemblage Point is
focused, indicating that the being is alive. This glow
lights the fibers and makes the luminous being percieve
The attention of the tonal. Used to assemble our daily
The attention of the nagual.
The attention after burning with the fire from within.
The attention used while dreaming to exercise the energy
body, it's a gateway to the second attention.
First Ring of Power
Also the first attention
Second Ring of Power
Also the second attention
Gates of Dreaming
The seven gates of dreaming are energy obstacles that
must be overcome.
Energy beings from other realms in your dreams. By
isolating then and indending to follow them they can
transport your awareness to inconceivable realms.
This state results from moving the Assemblage Point
during normal awareness.
The Tonal and the Nagual
The tonal is but a reflection of that indescribable
unknown filled with order; the nagual is but a
reflection of that indescribable void that contains
The Dreamer and the Dreamed
The secret of the dreamer and the dreamed is that the
dreamed dreams the dreamer, just as the dreamer dreams
The Secret of the Luminous Beings
The secret of the luminous beings is that we are
perceivers, we are an awareness without solidity or
bounds. The world we think we see is only a description
of world told to us by our internal dialog, a
description that has been taught to us by others. We are
trapped inside that bubble of perception and what we
witness on its walls is a reflection of our world view,
Bubble of Perception
The bubble of perception is the cluster of feelings that
have been assembled in the nagual and bound together by
the force of life.
The Path of a Man of Knowledge
The following are notes I took at a talk by Taisha Abelar
10 October 1992 at the Alexandria II bookstore in
These are somewhat cryptic but may be of interest to some
on the list.
((my comments if any are in double parentheses))
The Activity of sorcerers is that of Dreaming yourself.
Society is oriented toward a "poor baby" syndrome (society
and the individual are at effect).
Drills to resolve this :
Write your internal dialogue down for 3 days, wait three
days and read it
Mark up the newspaper wherever the poor baby concept is
We presently have a mating/courtship compulsion
the self is presented as a "poor baby" to the world
Stalking the self - see how you are living.
The reason for all this is that mankind's assemblage point
is in a certain position.
You can move the assemblage point to another place.
That's what sorcerers do - move it away from the poor baby
The assembalge point is a place of luminosity on the
it lights the filiaments. When the filiaments of the
energetic body match those of the universe perception
How do you move the assemblage point?
You need energy - this may be obtained from not doing the
presentation of the self in everyday life and stopping
After you've increased your energy THEN practice sorceric
1. The recapitulation (see Sorcerer's crossing)
2. Quiet the internal dialogue (Meditation and breathing
techniques are good for this)
((Taisha told a rather amusing story of going to a guru in
India who had a $900 breathing technique))
The $900 dollar breath: 3 exhalations, 1 inhalation
(Use) any technique that works - sorcery passes, gazing
Practice impeccability, you'll know impeccability when you
have no self interest.
Act without expecting rewards or returns.
Act impeccably and the assemblage point moves to the"
place of no pity "
When the assemblage point moves far enough you'll see
You'll know when you are there - (you'll be) very quiet,
unknown to yourself, you'll feel solitude but not
Energy comes to you and will guide you, energy of the
double, the ethereal body. " Poor Baby" ravages energy.
That's the beginning, heightened awareness is the door to
NOW you can use dreaming and stalking.
Dreaming, use dreams to enhance awareness of being, wake
up the energetic body. The art of dreaming - move the
assemblage point systematically (find your hands, etc.)
Art of stalking - when assemblage point moves you have to
fix it at new position - give it reality - explore, get
find out the ramifications of the new position from a
bodily energy viewpoint. Then develop the energetic body.
Use it (while awake).
Solidify it and act from it.
Where Taisha Abelar is is a poistion of the assemblage
Moving assemblage point to where their's (other sorcerers)
The earth too has an assemblage point ((cf. Ley lines
embarrassment disrupts the assemblage point.
There are other worlds than this consensual world.
Nagual - pronounced " NO - ALL"
You can move the assemblage point in dreaming.
(( Taisha Abelar made a loud scream at this point in the
Shriek - makes the assemblage point shift and solidify the
For a normal human the assemblage point is behind the left
shoulder at the back.
Perception is encoded in the body (cf. Husserl,
Perception - a facet of corporeality.
The only way to change the energy body is to move the
assemblage point, lighting up different filiaments.
Memories can reengage, restimulate different energetic
Dream yourself, its up to you
A man waits for death and while he waits he surrounds
himself with beauty and with strength " The Death Defier"
The change comes from within, to change the world, the
environment, the universe.
You must move the assemblage point
Recapitulation - make list of everyone you've known begin
with the latest person and work backwards
Breath in over right shoulder to left then exhale back
(rotating the head back) - visualize and breath you can do
it in the world.
Don't poor baby yourself.
Use devices to jolt yourself you can move the assemblage
point up and down.
(( She talks about her experiences in the other world with
(described in Sorcerer's Crossing)))
Competition among the roots of trees (not recommended to
move the Assemblage point down)
The greatest challenge - practice controlled folly, you
see the situation and you don't do anything about it - you
don't judge - judging is death.
Inorganic entities, they permeate this other realm of the
Don Juan's/Carlo's new book The Seven Gates of Dreaming
The second gate is these guys - Gargoyles/vampires/shadows
they inhabit a close realm and feed off our energy.
Don Juan's allys.
Seers can see this energy. Build integrity - internal
Gazing at gravel/leaves/moon/clouds
But if you don't have the sobriety of recapitulation then
there are hazards.
The Inorganic Entities come thru tunnels, ignore them.
The Inorganic Entities obey your commands.
You can recapitualte your dreams or recapitulate in your
If awake Normal recapitulation start at right inhale to
left, exhale to center.
In dreams inhale Clockwise, exhale counterclockwise in
There are layers of recapitulation.
Best place for assemblage point - an infinite number of
The spirit, intent, will let it move , Best intermediate
place - "The place of no pity"
Do the newspaper exercise (looking for "poor baby")
Take a pen and paper to your internal dialogue.
Scratch the surface, stalk yourself.
Taisha Abelar and her fellow sorcerers are now moving
assemblage points elsewhere and using energetic bodies to
establish realities there.
Proper use of sexual energy. if you've got energy to spare
- ((sex is)) OK if you've recapitualted.
If you want to move the assemblage point to other areas
use sexual energy to do dreaming.
The second gate is the graveyard of failed sorcerers.
Control, the stalker's sobriety.
level 1 energy body
level 2 energy and physical body (this needs lots more
((the above is describing 'going places' via dreaming as
an energy body or taking the physical body too))
After recapitulating there is only NOW.
This permits discrepancies - coming and going from the
When moving the assemblage point either:
1. Get rid of friends
2. Use them as controlled folly.
The world has multitudes of realities
The real challenge is in the world - can you get off the
assemblage point position?
Stalking - move assemblage point, give the energy body a
((an example of a stalking exercise follows))
Tie up the dominant hand and use the other.
Not doing exercises
Walk on all fours with kneepads
any trigger - sound/time/smell causes the body to remember
cover up mirrors - (they reinforce agreements and put
attention on the self)
look at the world
Dream and find your hands in your dream
and do exercise to wake up the energetic body (physical
* Subject: Notes on a talk by Taisha Abelar 92 *
These are the of notes of the Abelar public talk in Menlo
Park, California held January 7, 1994. These notes are not
in the public domain; they may be distributed to friends
interested in Abelar, CC and Donner, but please do not
repost them on other bulletin boards and they may not be
published in any magazine etc. Please respect the style of
teaching of Abelar, Castaneda etc. which seems to be based
on limited public display.
"Tonight's talk with be on Stopping. To Stop you must only
do one thing. Decide to be a warrior or not.
"The assemblage point fluctuates naturally in sleep. It will
also move under the influence of drugs, deep meditation,
starvation, sensory deprivation.
"The assemblage point is located behind you at the level of
your shoulder blades.
"Sorcerers use Discipline to move their assemblage points.
"Everyone of us can 'see' energy - even now - but you are no
longer aware of it. Infants on the other hand perceive
energy directly. However, as they get older the 'Usher'
introduces them to the world of ordinary reality. Instead of
seeing amorphous energy, the infant one day will assemble
the energy configuration into...a table. A toy. A dog. A
tree. Each time the transformation comes from the Usher.
"First and foremost we live in a world of energy. Only
secondarily do we live in a world of objects. The position
of the assemblage point determines the reality that we
assemble of the energy.
"The sorcerer [presumably unlike the hunger artists and
sensory deprivers] seeks to FIX the assembly point at a new
location [not just move it]. To agglutinate energy again
into new sets of 'objects' and hence into a new 'reality.'
"This world is not as important as we make it out to be. Our
language is biased; we call it 'reality' when it is really
only one of many modes of the assemblage point. For
convenience though let us refer to it as 'ordinary' reality.
"Ordinarily once the Ushers do their work of helping us
perceive the various energy configurations as 'objects,' the
assemblage point is fixed once and for all and the
assemblage point does not move thereafter.
"We are forced to maintain a world of everyday life until we
"By the way death, from a sorcerer's standpoint, is not the
fast process that it appears to be. The glow of the
assemblage point fades quickly, but all the other energy
strands that make up the energy egg of the human being can
take a long long time to disperse. This process can also be
slowed down, for example if you were buried in a lead coffin
right after death.
"The alternative to being stuck all your life on one
assemblage point is to move it by the practice of
Discipline, and then to fix it at a new location while
"A firm foundation in the warrior's way is required for
heavy duty stopping and dreaming."
"Discipline is not the same thing as practiced by Catholic
girls in a convent. Nor the same thing as what USED to be
practiced by the nuns themselves. It is not getting up early
to do aerobics before going to work, or eating sensibly.
These are just routines, habits. Not a warrior's Discipline.
"From the point of view of a warrior, stalker or dreamer,
Discipline is abstract - an unbending hooking to a purpose -
so that the actual implementation of the Discipline is
actually very flexible and fluid. It takes courage of steel,
there is no room for doubt or hesitation which will
otherwise rise up to pull you back to the everyday world of
tantrums and self indulgence.
"Discipline leads to harmony, well being and balance.
Everyday life, on the other hand, is indulgence.
"Unbending unyielding purpose is what is requird for
Discipline in our quest for freedom.
"At the Phoenix Bookstore [ed. note - Santa Monica, CA I
think] talks recently - some of you were there - Carlos
Castaneda gave a talk of the 'warrior's way.'
"You can't 'learn' to be a warrior! It is just a decision
you have to make one day for yourself on your own. Asking
someone to teach you to be a warrior is the wrong approach,
it is the 'poor baby me' approach to warriorship.
"Carlos Castaneda said that first and foremost the
transfiguring event in a warrior's life, what is at the
bedrock of becoming a warrior, is accepting responsibility
for your own death. This is the bottom line. Don't assume
you are immortal.
"Face infinity and death in the mirror at night.
"Just by doing this, taking death as an advisor this way,
lots of things will fall off, fall away from you.
"Assume responsibility for your perception of the world. Not
just the single perception you were born into. Instead
intend the movement of your assemlage point to other areas
of the luminous egg. If you tighten your belt, curtail the
other things in your life the pont will JUST MOVE ON ITS OWN
without any exercises or routines on your part. The lamp of
awareness, strong now that you have cut the excess baggage
out of your life, will shine on all the other possible
positions of your assemblage point.
"The next rule of being a warrior is to pay your debts. A
warrior is very generous. He or she does not look at the
world in terms of what other people owe him or her. The
warrior looks at the world in terms of opportunities to
discharge his or her debts to other people so he or she will
not be tied up forever.
"This paying of debts leads to an unbiased affection for all
things. Most of what we consider to be affection is the
trading of favors with other people. The warrior, on the
other hand, gives affection with no expectation of return.
It is not that the warrior is trying to eliminate affection,
be an unfeeling person. The warrior's affection is just so
unbiased it unravels everyday connections. The warrior's
affection is so unbiased that if the warrior goes into
another reality completely different from this one the
warrior's affection will extend to all the other new beings
that exist in that other reality.
"If someone has really INJURED you this also needs to be
paid back. The concept of paying debts is not a sentimental
concept limited to returning the good connections. The point
is to loosen all connections. If you are connected to
someone who injured you, you may need to sever that
connection by paying back the injury. So it is not a moral
issue; it goes two ways."
"The warrior's path is an escape hatch, somewhere to go
after you have finished dismantling everyday life. There is
no room for crapping out, for fear, for indulgence, for
regrets or for nostalgia when going into the unknown.
"Unbending determination is the only choice you can make or
terrible things will happen to you once you have accumulated
enough energy [by using death as an advisor to cut loose the
"You CANNOT be half assed, half willing or, with your
partial energy, even worse things will happen to you [than
if you had never taken this path].
"Take back the energy used to support the everyday world [by
using death as an advisor and paying back debts]. The
everyday world is a gigantic edifice but it rest on just
"(1) how we present ourselves in the world, how we fit into
the social structure. The recapitulation lets you think
about all this, how you fit in, it is a looking glass of how
others see you in your hopes and fears. All this takes
energy. The warrior looks instead at what he or she is doing
the face of death and what conduct, what intensity is really
appropriate in that light.
"(2) the second cornerstone is our biological need to mate
and to reproduce. We are social animals. Sorcerers say - let
the others do it. Sorcerers need the energy that goes into
the social dance and biological need to get their freedom.
We refuse to be the flower that blooms -and dies - to
propagate the species. Security of the family is one of the
strongest attractions to the social order. There is a
tremendous fear of being alone, of dying alone. Sorcerers
have to learn to be ALONE for long stretches, which is why
Don Juan and the others would test us by keeping us alone,
on our own, to see how we handled solitude. Why are you so
afraid to have no moives, no friends. It is also important
to learn to keep mental silence, mental solitude, for long
periods. The world will then collapse on its own without the
inner talk! Dreaming is also very alone, facing the dangers
in the dreaming world alone.
"We are talking about STOPPING tonight and have to get used
to solitude. As women we just don't want to be an old maid,
a bitter old maid with a mole and whiskers on her cheek as
was held up to me. We learn these things, the need to be
beautiful to ctch a good mate and we fund the entire
cosmetics industry with our fears and worries. In
recapitulation we have a chance to see this and to look for
"The warrior's way [is not to get trapped in the biological
imperative to mate and the social dance motivated by
loneliness it] is to give unbounded affection instead, not
to count the number of affairs we have or be in a
relationship and daydream about alternatives that would be
even better for us. A warrior's affection so transcends the
social order that the warrior can move to any other position
of the assemblage point, even an unknown universe and still
be full of affection. So don't be afraid to chip away at
this second cornerstone of everday reality, that if you do
so you won't have any affections or feelings left.
"The third cornerstone of ordinary reality is very sublte;
it is self importance. We joked about putting out a bumper
sticker 'Self-importance kills' because a false sense of
self importance, when undercut, is a great source of suicide
and illness not to mention taking away from a zest for
living. Everyone manifests self importance one way or
another, either by wanting to be best in something or by
wanting to play the martyr and be the worst - the use my
bones as stepping stones to your own glory syndrome. Don't
substitute false humility or false modesty for pride about
your self importance. The important thing to realize is that
you are no MORE and no LESS important than any other living
thing. To think otherwise is like one ant in a heap carrying
an especially big load and thinking it is the most
important, the best ant when in a moment I will step on that
ant and all his companions and they will be equal in their
death. Something will 'step' on all of us someday, just like
one of us might step on an ant hill. We are all equal and
self importance is nothing but a reward from the social
order of everyday reality, like the drip of a drug into your
brain to keep you hooked on the social order. It is better
to save your energy and take your freedom instead.
"The 'Selector.' A very simple mechanical model of a needle
pointing in a certain direction and we get our engergy
configuration lined up at a new assemblage point. The
Selector does it all for you if you have enough energy it
pulls certain things in the universe down to you. Once you
have restored your energy by the recapitulation there is no
need for chanting or special rituals to move your assemblage
point. Where why how the Selector moves the assemblage point
we don't know all we can do is acquiesce in the movement,
act implacably under the terrible pressure of the Selector.
"Stalking. I - stalkers in general - use behavior to move
the assemblage point to create maximum cognitive
dissonance." "You cannot choose where to move your
assemblage point when you are living as a stalker because if
you choose you will not have enough cognitive dissonance
between the old point and the new point to work with. This
is why warriors are under tremendous pressure, because the
Selector - or spirit - chooses difficult new positions that
are so scary or different that sometimes the assemblage
point of the warrior, when subjected to the pressure to
move, starts vibrating in place, you can see this
energetically. If the warrior lapses into an internal dialog
about what is going on, then the point will not relocate it
will snap back to its normal position which for you is
"It takes tremendous pressure to move the point and what you
need to do is to keep the pressure up but it should be
harmonious pressure or you culd actually go crazy. Once you
have energy and unbending intent the point will move very
easily with no problems and after you do the recapitulation
it will move sometimes and you won't even be aware of it.
"I had certain tasks chosen for me by the Selector. I had to
completely live as different people, this was not just
acting during the day or being aware you are acting it was
complete immersion in a new self. 24 hours a day. You ARE
that new person. Let me be Sheila Waters for you. [Puts on
wig and eyeglasses.] I have to wear eyeglasses when I am
"Sheila Waters was pointed out to me by the Selector (spirit
or whatever you want to call it) I had to become a business
woman, get an MBA, real estate license, paralegal, invest in
commodities, keep business relationships with attorneys and
accountants and all the other people in the business world.
I got things done and made and lost fortunes. Because when
you are in that assemblage position there is a natural
desire to succeed, not fail, so naturally the tendency is to
try to make lots of money, not just stand still or lose
money. If you are not impeccable it is easy to lose money by
not listening to your own inner voice. I decided that I had
to have some really great timber land in the north and it
was really great land perfect in every way; except that it
was near Mt. St. Helena and when the volcano blew up it was
ruined. I used to read the Wall Street Journal and watch
"Other personas. [Takes off glasses and wig.] In Mexico I
was under Emilito's supervision he was more of a guardian or
spectator than a teacher, would not interfere with the roles
the Selector chose for me. I was Ricky, the first position
chosen for me, an American gringo male trying to pass
himself off as a Mexican. I dressed in mans clothing, passed
for a man, romanced a lady and even used the urinals. Don't
ask me to tell you what I had to do to use the urinals, I
will put it in my new book Stalking the Double.
"The second assemblage point chosen for me was a young
ingenue from Texas, niece of some women in Mexico who were
of course really the women sorcerers from Don Juan's party.
I had blonde hair by choice and would parade in the square
waiting to attract men to this virginal thing, because of
course I had to be a virgin, and the blonde hair was very
startling and attractive.
"It is essential to be absolutely fluid. That is the point
of all the not-doing exercises, so that you can be
absolutely fluid and when the Selector moves your assemblage
point you will have the Discipline to be able to fix it at
its new location.
"You cannot view yourself as just a cynical manipulator of
behavior, acting out one role then another. It must be real
to you, absolutely real.
"Next I was a crazy beggar. Sat on the church steps bitten
by fleas and mosquitos all day but although I am allergic to
bites in my role as a crazy beggar woman I did not care, did
not mind them at all. I was a crazy female outcast beggar so
I had 4 strikes against me and all the time in the world to
just sit there and watch the world go by because no one
noticed me or cared."
"To conclude. Nothing is real, just a manipulation of
behaviour, just a result of the accidental fixation of our
assemblage point at birth. That is what the stalker learns
from being so many different people. Each position is
equally real and hence equally phantoms. We cherish our
present positions, but even the closest, most real ones are
just phantoms when you move to another postion.
"It took years of recapitulation to undermine the sense of
reality . At the same time I had to replace reality with the
warrior's way to avoid the trap of cynicism. Turn my
response to the world into controlled folly, the warrior's
"If ou have the energy all the things it [Selector, spirit]
puts around you become things of beauty and strength, in the
highest sense your life becomes surrounded by a display of
"Remember that you are already dead, already a phantom like
everything else, and lose your sense of self importance.
"Know beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing is real."
[Questions & answers; questions inaudible in the garden.]
"After the recapitulation and not doing, then you can see.
"Moving into another complete band of the luminous egg is
like dying, because the glow of your awareness in the
everyday world has gone out. Awareness is still with you but
you are perceiving a different reality. To the ordinary
reality world you are gone, dead.
"There are similarities between Chinese acupuncture theory
and the sorcerer's description of the luminous body. If you
draw the main body meridians they form an egg like the
sorcerers describe. Also Chinese theory is that you are born
with a limited supply of intrinsic energy, same view as
sorcerers. We think that the assemblage point in the embryo
is in the embryo and only relocates outside the embryo when
the Ushers bring in the ordinary reality. Also some people
are born more energetically powerful than others. For
example if both parents are energetic and the baby is raised
on the mother's milk. But don't worry if you were not born
with a special abundance of energy, you have all you need if
you will be careful with it. Also you will get extra jolts
when your assemblage point moves. We just need to be more
disciplined to guard our energy. It really does not take
much energy anyway to move the point.
"Nietsche said whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger.
That is how sorcerers think. But otherwise be careful of
philosophers because they are famous crazy self indulgers.
"Recapitulation. There is no method. There is a method but
it is not important whether you move your head from right to
left or from left to right or set aside a regular time or a
lot of time. What is important is the unbending intent to
recapitulate. Then spirit will guide you into the right form
and time and amount of practice. With intent, time will set
itself. When you make the right intent, you will have 27
generations of sorcerers behind you. They did not all
practice the recapitulation the same way, but their intent
will hook you support you and guide you. The intent out
there to recapitulate is constant but the method varies.
"1. Intend it.
"2. Have an integrity about it - don't brag or compete
(competition is the worst thing in the world, it is a
primary support for the third cornerstone of everyday
reality, the sense of self importance).
"3. Discipline order harmoney. Don't be random unless you
intend it. Most people make a list and work backwards.
"4. Breath. Direction not important. What is important is
using the breath to pull the energy back.
"Letter came to Carlos Castaneda - 'I recapitulated last
night. Can I join your party now?' Recapitulation takes a
lifetime, not a night."
[end of transcription. By Swedenborg@aol.com]
LK> I got a disarming book recently called "The Don Juan Papers". It is a
LK> supposed expose of the entire series by Carlos Castenada.
LK> Anyone else read and follows these works? There's some amazing and
LK> probing ideas there.
All I know about this case is what I've read in Cornerstone
magazine (Vol. 19 Issue 93, p.24), in part 3 or a series by Bob
Passantino, called "Fantasies, Legends, Heroes: a discussion of
popular 'legends' and how they arise." I'll quote the relevant
Christians aren't the only ones who accept legends substituted
for real research. Those of you who are around my age and who
remember (or were even part of) the 1960s age of "drug
enlightenment" probably remember Carlos Castaneda as the
anthropologist who discovered that hallucinatory drugs supposedly
bring spiritual enlightenment.
He didn't do it the way many of my generation did, by dropping
acid, staring into a flower, and suddenly realizing that
everything is "God."
He did it by allegedly spending portions of several years in the
American Southwest and Mexican deserts as an apprentice to an
UCLA awarded Castaneda a Ph.D. in anthropology in 1973 for his
fieldwork and ethnography dissertation on Native American
shamanism. "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yacqui Way of Knowledge"
represents that work and is known worldwide for its vivid
portrayal of Castneda's apprenticehip to the shaman, Don Juan.
However, practically nothing about Castaneda, including his name,
birth date, and original nationality, is what it appears to be.
In fact, careful investigation and analysis shows that his books
represent more of the Castaneda his college friend described as
"witty, imaginative, cheerful--a big liar and a real friend"*1
than they do Castaneda as the serious anthropologist and reporter
who sacrifices himself for scientific ethnographic research.
Like most legends, the Castaneda legend is missing dates, times,
people, places, and documents. Careful research and investigation
uncovered gaping holes, inconsistencies, and outright
fabrications in the convoluted stories Castaneda told in his four
But the reason I mention the Castaneda legend particularly is
that I would never have expected the professional reaction to the
expose. Rather than relegating his books to the legend shelf,
some professionals STILL depend on them for ethnographic
information, and still herald him as the father of the
ethnographic "revolution" in anthropology!
What is most interesting is the response that has greeted
the revelation that Castaneda's works are fictional.
First, there has been no real attempt to revoke his
Ph.D., based as it is on fraudulent "research."
Secondly, as de Mille ... documents, the response among
many anthropologists and others who share the Don Juan
type of philosophical outlook has been neutral.
In other words, it doesn't matter if the works are
fictional because the underlying philosophy is, in some
vague sense, true.
An excellent example of this approach is Shelburne's
(1987) article titled "Carlos Castaneda: If It Didn't
Happen, What Does It Matter?"
Shelburne argues that "the issue of whether it
[Castaneda's experience] literally happened or not makes
no fundamental difference to the truth of the account"
(p. 217). Such excuses are little more than intellectual
used-car salesmanship. *3
Let's relate this back to our legend/research paradigm. Castaneda
BASED his "revolutionary" cultural anthropological ideas on
That's like building a house on sinking sand instead of solid
rock. Now Shelburne and other professional like him say it
doesn't matter, because the "truth" is the same. That's like
saying your sinking house is fine where it is--the house itself
is well built. But no matter how well built the house is, it will
fall apart since it's built on sand instead of solid ground.
You need BOTH as well-built house AND solid ground if you expect
to live in the house.
*1 Richard de Mille, "Castaneda's Journey" (Santa Barbara, CA:
Capra Press, 1976), 26.
*2 The most comprehensive investigation was done by Richard de
Mille and is contained in "Castaneda's Journey (see above
note) and the book de Mille later edited, "The Don Juan
Papers: Further Castaneda Controversies (Santa Barbara, CA:
Ross-Erickson Publishers, 1980).
*3 Terence-Hines, "Pseudoscience and the Paranormal" (Buffalo,
NY: Prometheus Press, 1988), 278.
*4 If there is any truth to Castaneda's anthropological theories,
it would be in spite of his fantasies, not because of them.
* Subject: Notes on a talk by Taisha Abelar 94 *
Last-modified: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 06:07:01 GMT