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Publisher's Summary

In 1968 Carlos Castaneda burst onto the scene with his blockbuster story about his apprenticeship with an awesome, authentic Mexican sorcerer, don Juan.

Roaming the deserts of Mexico, he participated in the cultivation and use of "power plants", psychedelic drugs he felt were making him lose his mind. As an apprentice of sorcery practiced for thousands of years, he survived a leap from a cliff and watched a sorcerer dance across a waterfall. Along the way, he shared with us long-lost secrets about death, dreaming, our other self, and the vast and inexplicable forces of the universe.

Or did Castaneda deceive us all?

With 12 books written over 30 years, this bestselling American author, philosopher, and anthropologist opened a window into another world and era. Writing detailed depictions of practices and beliefs of an ancient civilization, he revealed unexpected, exciting, and frightening events with compelling believability. Revered by followers and reviled by critics, Castaneda, the author and character, and all his works are given a new, comprehensive interpretation in Getting Castaneda.

©2017 Peter M Luce (P)2019 Peter M Luce

What listeners say about Getting Castaneda

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Excellent overview of Castaneda’s works

If you are a fan of the texts of Carlos Castaneda, you will certainly appreciate this text and audio rendition. Peter Luce summarizes the teaching of Don Juan that Castaneda elucidates is his stories. Luce adds depth and clarity to the large body of work by demonstrating how the time line of the narrative changes with each book based on Castaneda’s expanding awareness and remembering of his time in the second attention. For me this clarified my understanding of the basic tenants and definitions presented in the teaching.

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A Reference for the Coming Toltec Age

It puzzles me that the first time I read this book, over a year ago, I enjoyed it, thought it a good read but did not truly grasp its depth or power. After listening to it for the second trip, my opinion has shifted towards amazement at the vast organizational effort which Peter Luce has carried out here, and how well it works. Despite all the obstacles, from the profundity of Castaneda's stories to the controversy which swirls around Carlos' personal life and throws his opus into doubt, Luce has created a deeply believable framework for the sheer logical power of the work in question. Without 'throwing shade' on anyone on either side of the question, he pulls us deeper into the mysteries with gentle and relentless force. As the first effort of its type and for all the help it lends to understanding the scope of Toltec ideas, I suggest that this will be the key reference book for these works which have resisted all efforts to dismiss them, for those who have already grappled with them and for the new readers who will surely fall under their spell.

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Good story about other worlds, spiritually.

Was the first book I read about this author. This made me look into other books from him chronologically. I'm going to read his first book next.

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  • Scott
  • 11-01-19

An Approach to Castaneda

Peter Luce's Getting Castaneda is great for understanding the tonal side of shamanic practice, and becoming aware of the myth of Carlos Castaneda/Don Juan Matus. He provides structure, summary, context and themes. Notably, he states the key overarching theme of memory.

Clay Lomakayu's narration is not only spot-on, but also provides an excellent juxtaposition with Luis Moreno's.

"Getting Castaneda" brings up numerous points I need to revisit in certain Castaneda books, as well as which audiobooks I want to listen to in their entirety. By contrast, Getting Castaneda helps me conclude which books I don't need to revisit.

Next, one needs the nagual side, to develop the second attention. Castaneda's last 4 books are by far his most significant work, as they focus on the other overarching theme, that of perceiving energy directly as it flows in the universe, along with adding the human magic of awareness and intent. These capabilities are blocked by the rational mind, the left brain, the tonal when it is left to dominate human awareness, cognition, decision making and action.

If you want to get Castaneda, I recommend immediately listening to and practicing the Magical Passes, beginning with the first series; listening to The Wheel of Time to get Castaneda's overview; and listening to Peter Luce's Getting Castaneda audio. The first will get your body into the shamanic mood, and the latter 2 will help you see which of the first 8 books you need. Then listen to the audiobooks that intuition indicates, as well as The Art of Dreaming and The Active Side of Infinity. The reading will help you understand the theory, and you can simultaneously get moving on the practice in Magical Passes -- aka "the gait of power"; Dreaming; and the Recapitulation. Don't think about it too much... just get started!

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  • Mr. R. Coldman
  • 10-08-19

An investigation of the Don Juan story


Getting Castaneda is a remarkable piece of literary detective work. Perhaps not everyone will draw the same conclusions from the detailed analysis that the author presents in his easy, well-paced style, read with warmth and authority by Clay Lomakayu.
But surely, few would persist in examining so closely a single writer's work over a 30 year period. This is how long Peter Luce pursued the increasingly complex narratives and timelines in Carlos Castaneda's books, along with the later associated narratives penned by Taisha Abela and Florinda Donner-Grau. It's to be appreciated that he has restricted his detective work exclusively to the contents of the books themselves without reference to commentaries, anecdotes, debunking attempts and gossip from other sources. 

Luce captures much of the excitement and mystery of the books with a compelling combination of choice quotes, cliff-hangers and condensations of events, drawing out key points and always emphasizing the richness of the reading experience.

Like any good detective, he also digs deep into the correlations and the anomalies of the various timelines that weave their way through the multiple narrative strands of Castaneda's opus, raising pertinent questions and offering thought-provoking theories.

The Getting Castaneda audiobook is a must-listen for anyone, adherent or skeptic, who was ever captivated by the non-ordinary world of Don Juan, the Yaqui sorcerer.

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  • Jason Jeannette
  • 10-10-19

The most important book about Castaneda that wasn’t written by the man himself.

I’ve been studying Castaneda thoroughly for 25 years of my life and this is easily the most important breakdown of his work that I’ve ever read. I could replace an entire shelf of my library with his 170 pages. I devoured the book when it was released a year ago and now the audio will be in heavy rotation for years to come. It’s difficult to get across what we owe Peter Luce for his perspective on a most profound mystery.

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  • Billy
  • 02-12-21

Loved it

Has lifted my understanding of Castaneda in ways I could never have imagined
Really valuable