Carlos Castaneda

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Carlos Cesar Arana Castaneda (December 25, 1925 - April 27, 1998)


Artist Illustration of Carlos Castaneda

Taking Castaneda Seriously[edit]

Carlos Cesar Arana Castaneda, according to scholar Benjamin Epstein in his 1996 Psychology Today journal interview, was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Christmas Day in 1931. However immigration records show an earlier date of December 25, 1925 in Cajamarca, Peru.[1] Castaneda earned his B.A. in 1962 and Ph.D. in 1970 from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Anthropologist Carlos Castaneda was a controversial author of a series of books that recounted his training in traditional Native American Shamanism. The Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, founded in 1984 by Joseph Long, states: "Castaneda, acquiring fame from his publications with the academically respectable publishers Simon and Shuster, arguably, with the exception of Margaret Mead, was the only junior scholar whose name was know to the general public." [2] This reflected a disagreement fueled by envy and quite possibly contempt that is still present today; that of the mystical Toltec teachings of Yaquai Shaman don Juan Matus, which "exposed a world view of an aspect of human consciousness independent of time and space and susceptible to control." [3] The teachings of Matus expounded on the "interconnection between all life forms, and to be properly understood, the human connection and spirituality, it must mature." [4]

Please listen to and view a rare radio interview taken in 1968, as Carlos Castaneda explains his experiences with a "non-ordinary reality" giving validity to divination and the teachings of Don Juan. Discussion

The Yaqui Indian Culture
The American Indians of the Sonora desert of Arizona, the Yaqui people, honor and celebrate the Laws of Nature, these laws are: 1.) The Magic of the Children of the earth, 2.) Women in the global community led and guide the family with their language and Spiritual power, 3.) Family of life, a reference to animism or the belief that a spirit lives in everything, and 4.) The Guardians of the family or protectors of life. In 1978, the Yaqui Tribe was federally recognized as the Pueblo of the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation where Indian identity and sovereignty could be maintained. Sonne Reyna, a Yaqui Sundance Peace Chief, speaks regarding Yaqui culture. Please view a video Chief video

Journey to Ixtlan: the Lessons of Don Juan
Author and scholar Timothy Freke explains the idea of Shamanism:

"Shamanism is the primal ground from which all spiritual traditions have emerged. It is the ancient religion of our ancestors, who took nature as their spiritual teacher. It has no sacred scriptures or dogma. It is living wisdom rediscovered by countless generations of nameless adventurers who have explored the hidden terrains of consciousness and glimpsed the vastness of reality"[5]

Carlos Castaneda in his book writes and expresses Shaman don Juans philosophy:

"For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, and unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous time. I wanted to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while; in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it" [6]

Scholar Mirces Eliade states in his chapter "Antiquity of Shamanism in the Two Americas" from his book Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy:

The difficulty of the “origin” of Shamanism in the two Americas is still far from solved. With the passage of time, a certain number of “magio-religious" practices were added to the beliefs of their earliest inhabitants. If the Fuegians (of Terra del Fuego) are taken to be descended from one of the first waves of immigrants to enter the Americas, we are justified in supposing that their religion represented the survival of an archaic ideology, which, from the point of view that concerned Castaneda, including belief in a celestial God, shamanic initiation by vocation or voluntary quest, relations with the souls of dead shamans and with familiar spirits (relations that sometimes reached the point of “possession”) the conception of illness as the intrusion of a magical object or as soul loss, and the shaman’s characteristics are also found not only in the regions where shamanism dominates the religious life of the community (North America, Eskimo, Siberians) but also in regions where it is but one of the constituent phenomena of magio-religious life (Australia, Oceania, Southeast Asia). Hence, we may assume that a certain form of shamanism spread through the two American continents with the first waves of immigrants, whatever their 'original home' may have been.”

[7]

This could imply that, since traditional historic thinking believes the first waves came across the bearing straight land bridge from Europe via East Asia, it begs the question just how far back in our ancestry in Europe does the practice of Shamanism go? Does it have a European origin? Or does it go even further back in time to the Levant and the first cradle of human pre-civilization in the Crescent river valley of the Near East? North American Shamanism according to Professor Mirces Eliade represents as he states:

“Among many North American tribes shamanism dominates religious life, or at least is its most important aspect. But nowhere does the shaman monopolize all religious experience. Besides him, there are other technicians of the sacred—the priest, the sorcerer (black magician); in addition, as we have seen, every individual seeks to obtain, for his own personal advantage, a number of magical-religious “powers," usually identified with certain tutelary or helping “spirits." [8]

The North American Shaman, for the tribe, is the ultimate “go between” of the present world, and the ethereal world, though every Indian possesses some ability to transverse with the ethereal, but not on the scale of the shaman. This brings us full circle back to the different views held of nature by native aboriginal peoples and those of modern day European descent. Europeans see the world through the eyes of utilitarianism (what can I get out of nature; how can I shape nature to my desired environment), while the native Indian or Aboriginal peoples have a symbiotic relationship with nature, living within it and internalizing the experience, whence the European sees nature as an external event or thing. Sayings such as “battling the elements” even conjure up a European mindset of nature as an adversary, versus that of the Indian seeing nature as ally. Carlos Castaneda reflects on the shamans teaching:

“Don Juan stated that in order to arrive at “seeing” one first had to “stop the world” was indeed an appropriate rendition of certain states of awareness in which the reality of everyday life is altered because the flow of interpretation, which ordinarily runs uninterruptedly, has been stopped by a set of circumstances alien to that flow. In my case the set of circumstances alien to my normal flow of interpretations was the sorcery description of the world. Don Juan’s precondition for “stopping the world” was that one had to be convinced; in other words, one had to learn the new description in a total sense, for the purpose of pitting it against the old one, and in that way break the dogmatic certainty, which we all share, that the validity of our perceptions, our reality of the world, is not to be questioned. After “stopping the world” the next step was “seeing”. By that don Juan meant what I would like to categorize as “responding to the perceptual solicitations of a world outside the description we have learned to call reality.” [9]

==Criticisms== Reviews

  • Paul Riesman on October 22, 1972, wrote a review of the book that appeared in the New York Times, he stated: "We are incredibly fortunate to have Carlos Castaneda's books. Taken together, they form a work which is among the best that the science of anthropology has produced. The story they tell is so good, and the description so vivid, that I was utterly fascinated as I read." [10]
  • Saturday Review: "If anything, it is more provocative than his first two books. It is truly another world, foreign enough to make us suspend judgment, and Castaneda’s achievement is that he makes it tangible for us." [11]

Major Works[edit]

Brief Description of Books

  • The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968)
  • A Separate Reality (1971)
    The first two compositions are of a structured quality and reflect Castaneda’s journey to the "way of knowledge" or the Yaqui "way of knowledge" that required the use of native plants.

  • Journey to Ixtlan (1972)

  • Tales of Power (1974)
    This narrative marked a period of time, from a graduation of student to Don Juan, to a man of knowledge. This book ends with Castaneda leaping off a cliff as if he "flew."

  • The Second Ring of Power (1977)
    This narrative focuses on women warriors of the Nagual (The word Nagual means among the Mexican and Central American Native Peoples, a guardian spirit that is believed to reside in animals)Dictionary

  • The Eagle's Gift (1981)
    The book describes the rule of the Nagual, an eagle as a symbol of power and a way towards freedom.

  • The Fire From Within (1984)
    This composition alludes to a fire or energy within each of us. This is a form of knowledge.

  • The Power of Silence (1984)
    This book contains stories about mastering the various intentions of a sorcerer.

  • The Art of Dreaming (1994)
    The narrative represents teachings regarding the realization of dreams in the waking state.

  • Magical Passes (1998)
    The book introduces Tensegrity or the practice of body movements that increase focus and physical well being.

  • The Active Side of Infinity (1998)
    This piece emphasis the practice of journaling whereby increasing ones knowledge of the soul.

  • The Wheel of Time (2001)
    This book is a retelling of the other works and includes quotable material from the collection.

Websites and Bibliography[edit]

  • (5, 7, 8) Castaneda, Carlos. Journey to Ixtlan: the Lessons of Don Juan. New York: Washington Square Press, 1972. Print.
  • Eliade, Mirces. Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Trans. by Willard R. Trask. New York: Bollingen Foundation, 1964. Print.
  • Epstein, Benjamin. "My Lunch with Carlos Castaneda."Psychology Today. 29.2 (1996); 30-4. Print.
  • Freke, Timothy. Shamanic Wisdomkeepers: Shamanism in the Modern World. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. 1999. Print.
  • Gardener, Martin. "Carlos Castaneda and New Age Anthropology." Skeptical Inquirer. 23.5 (1999); 13-6. Print.
  • Jellinek, Roger. "A Sorcerer's Success." New York Times (1857-Current File); October 14, 1972; Proquest Historical Newspapers New York Times (1851-2005). 31.
  • Kliever, Lonnie D. "Fictive Religion: Rhetoric at Play." The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, XLIX. 49.4 (1981); 657-69. Print.
  • Lev, Yossi. "Journey Into Nothingness: Structure of the Mental Entity-Shiomo Giora Shoham's Personality Theory." International Journal of Comparative Sociology. 44.4 (2003): 344-72. Print.
  • (6) MindliftTV. Kleurnet TV in Amsterdam. Accessed 4 June 2009.
  • Reisman, Paul. "Journey to Ixtlan: the Lessons of Don Juan." New York Times (1857-Current File); October 14, 1972; Proquest Historical Newspapers New York Times (1851-2005). BR 7.
  • (2, 3, 4) Swartz, Stephen A. "Boulders in the Stream: The Lineage and Founding for the Society of Anthropology Consciousness." Accessed 4 June 2009.

References[edit]

  1. Epstein, Benjamin. "My Lunch with Carlos Castaneda :( Author of Teachings of Don Juan and other books)." Psychology Today. 29.2 (1996): 30-4. Print.
  2. http://www.sacaaa.org/Boulders_in_the_Stream.pdf
  3. http://www.sacaaa.org/Boulders_in_the_Stream.pdf
  4. http://www.sacaaa.org/Boulders_in_the_Stream.pdf
  5. Shamanic Wisdomkeepers: Shamanism in the Modern World. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. 1999. 6. Print.
  6. Castaneda, Carlos. Journey to Ixtlan: the Lessons of Don Juan. New York: Washington Square Press, 1972. Print.
  7. Eliade, Mirces. Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Trans. by Willard R. Trask. New York: Bollingen Foundation, 1964. 333. Print.
  8. Eliade, Mirces. Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Trans. by Willard R. Trask. New York: Bollingen Foundation, 1964. 298-99. Print.
  9. Castaneda, Carlos. Journey to Ixtlan: the Lessons of Don Juan. New York: Washington Square Press, 1972. xiv, introduction. Print.
  10. Castaneda, Carlos. Journey to Ixtlan: the Lessons of Don Juan. New York: Washington Square Press, 1972. Print.
  11. Castaneda, Carlos. Journey to Ixtlan: the Lessons of Don Juan. New York: Washington Square Press, 1972. Print.

See also[edit]

  • Sustained Action, a website devoted to learning and exploring both the controversy surrounding Castaneda's work and in support of his anthropological journeys. SA
  • ClearGreen Inc., or Carlos Castaneda's Magical Passes. This site focuses on the use of Transegrity, a type of bodily relaxation technique or art. CG
  • Carlos Castaneda il Nagual, Carlos Castaneda's and don Juan's Vision (italian language)
  • Slide Show tribute to Carlos. [1]


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````--Candyangel43 14:31, 4 June 2009 (UTC)Candyce