Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Deception of Carlos Castaneda

Carlos Castaneda (December 25, 1925 – April 27, 1998) was a Peruvian-born American author. Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan in 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his purported training in traditional Mesoamerican shamanism. His 12 books have sold more than 8 million copies in 17 languages. The books and Castaneda, who rarely spoke in public about his work, have been controversial for many years. Supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy and descriptions of practices which enable an increased awareness. Academic critics claim the books are works of fiction, citing the books' internal contradictions, discrepancies between the books and anthropological data, alternate sources for Castaneda's detailed knowledge of shamanic practices and lack of corroborating evidence.

In his books, Carlos Castaneda narrates in first person what he claims were his experiences under the tutelage of a Yaqui shaman named don Juan Matus whom he met in 1960. Castaneda reports that he was identified by don Juan Matus as having the energetic configuration of a "nagual", who, if the spirit chose, could become a leader of a party of seers.

He also used the term "nagual" to signify that part of perception which is in the realm of the unknown yet still reachable by man, implying that, for his party of seers, don Juan was a connection in some way to that unknown. Carlos Castaneda often referred to this unknown realm as nonordinary reality, which indicated that this realm was indeed a reality, but radically different from the ordinary reality experienced by human beings who are well engaged in everyday activities as part of their social conditioning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is this video not available? It does not load in my browser.