For over 40 years, Carlos Castaneda’s The Teachings of Don Juan has inspired audiences to expand their world view beyond traditional Western forms. Originally published as Castaneda’s master’s thesis in anthropology, Teachings documents Castaneda’s supposed apprenticeship with a Yaqui Indian sorcerer, don Juan Matus. Dividing the work into two sections, Castaneda begins by describing don Juan’s philosophies, then continues with his own reflections.
©1969; 1996 Regents of the University of California; Carlos Castaneda (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
"It's impossible to view the world in quite the same way after reading him.... If Castaneda is correct, there is another world, a sometimes beautiful and sometimes frightening world, right before our eyes at this moment - if only we could see." (Chicago Tribune)
I might try one more only because of recommendation from a friend
I wouldn't recommend this book since one cannot replicate any of the experiences.
flat and boring
Although I first read this book many years ago and had fond memories of it I found with this listen that the characters generally were were annoying and pointless, particulalry the central character. I was unable to finish it as I got bored.
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
THIS BOOK IS A TERRIBLE LISTEN! Save your credit unless you are intensely interested in this stuff! I will quote a critic of Castenada from the Wikipedia article:
In The Power and the Allegory, De Mille compared The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge with Castaneda's library stack requests at the University of California. The stack requests documented that he was sitting in the library when allegedly his journal said he was squatting in Don Juan's hut. One discovery that de Mille alleges to have made in his examination of the stack requests was that when Castaneda was alleged to have said that he was participating in the traditional peyote ceremony – (the least fantastic of many episodes of drug use that Castaneda described in his books) – he was sitting in the UCLA library and he was reading someone else's description of their experience of the peyote ceremony. Other criticisms of Castaneda's work include the total lack of Yaqui vocabulary or terms for any of his experiences.
[This is the third New Age author I have read that I now believe to be completely phoney. The others are Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, an alleged Tibrtan monk who was actually an old Englishman; and Lyn V. Andrews who thinks you can sweep a cabin floor and create a beautiful and powerful medicine bag from the beads and trinkets in the sweepings! Alas, I bit and read all their books!]
In the first two-thirds of this book, a young man spends time with an old shaman who guides him through elaborate ceremonies to prepare and use peyote and then jimson weed to achieve other realities. In this part of the book, Casteneda removes all his clothes, plays with a dog while high, rubs substances on himself, travels, flies and does terrible things to lizards.
In the last one-third of the book, Castaneda categorizes and generalizes and philosophizes about the hallucinogenic experiences with his teacher. He uses big words and high-flown concepts to dignify it in such a way that his professors were impressed . . . for a few years, at least. THIS BOOK IS THE AUTHOR'S SCHOLARLY THESIS! It was never intended to be popular reading. Get it, folks, this is graduate-level crapola! On the other hand, this may be a valuable anthropological record of shamanic practice and philosophy. But there are many more helpful books today telling how to meditate, how to travel and see things without ingesting hallucinogens, and how to get answers for living. Try Sondra Ray, Louise Hay or my favorite, Stuart Wilde.
Castaneda was very bright and a good writer. I have no respect for his truthfulness nor his spiritual attainments. He died at 72 of cancer. In his later years, he surrounded himself with women. Some of them wrote books. Some of them disappeared soon after he died. The old guy must've been magnetically charming. Total ego trip!
THIS WAS A TOUR DE FORCE FOR THE NARRATOR, LUIS MORENO. Obviously both he and the author are completely bilingual. Luis moves into lovely Spanish when called for. In the complex and boring last third, he slows down to make clear the stacked clauses and complex sentence structure. This material might as well have been the Martinez listings of the San Francisco phone book! Bravo, Luis!
The special afterword written in 1998 on the 30th anniversary of this book is interesting. If you spend your credit on this and get bored, skip to the last 45 minutes.
I'm curious & creative and I love new ideas about life!
Crazy people who like hallucinogenic drugs!
I kept waiting for something to happen or to get some kind of understanding from this book, but it just kept going on an on about these hallucinogenic trips. It was actually very dull & pointless. Of all the books that I've ordered, this was the only one that I couldn't bear to finish!
"a brilliant story with many lessons"
have not read the book
being on a spiritual / shamanic path I have come across this book several times in the past and have considered reading it but have been put off by the bad reviews. I decided that alot of books especially on these type of topics have some bad reviews. These bad reviews are normally from academics or people from a religious back ground who are ignorant to the topic that they are criticising. Sometimes the bad reviews are from people who are not happy about outsiders wrting about a topic that they were not born into. I do not know if the story in this book is real or fictional. I do however know that I learned alot from the book and have come away with a much better understanding of the world of a Yaqui shaman. This book is great for someone who is on a shamanic path and wants to understand the heart and discipline that is required to be a true shaman. Most of us in the west may become shamanic practitioners but this is on a whole other level.
The second part of the book is more for a student of anthropolgy or someone who wants to know the ins and outs of the plants used in the book. There will not be many readers in that category who have the patience or understanding for this. This does not mean I will review this part of the book badly. I am glad I have finally bought this book and will definitely buy the other books from this author
"Altered States and Strange Encounters in a Shamans World"
I really like books that show the world from an unusual perspective. This is the (allegedly) true account of the apprenticeship of Carlos Castaneda, an anthropology student, to a Yaqui Shaman named Don Juan. It is well read and enjoyable.
What I liked best was the contrast of cultures. So, after Castaneda is scared witless by an encounter with the peyote god "Mescalito" who "teaches a man how to live", the following day he keeps asking "does Mescalito really exist?".
For Don Juan this question is totally missing the point "did you not see Mescalito?" His concern is on what Mescalito communicated and the significance of the encounter for a "man of knowledge". It is the clash of modern rational science with aboriginal religion, in a still enchanted world. In the end it becomes too much for the young student and, fearing he is going mad, he terminates his apprenticeship.
This is a book of its time, written in the early 1960s when people were experimenting with altered states and strange religions. It does give a glimpse of an aboriginal worldview populated by spirits and "powers" who can be called on for help as allies or must be confronted and overcome as adversaries.
I very much enjoyed the narrative section of the book, which raised many questions for me about religion, science and reality - and purpose in life. Sadly the "analysis" section at the end of the book avoids these ontological questions, attributing Casteneda's experiences to "suggestion" combined with the effect of powerful psychoactive plants, and thus is much less interesting, though luckily short.
I will be getting the next in the series, when he returns to his apprenticeship, but not for a while. Overall it is a thought provoking book, very well narrated, but a little strange.
the first part was most interesting and enjoyable however the 2nd part I found difficulties to follow and to fishish and had to relisten to some parts.
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