General => Frauds => Topic started by: custodian on April 09, 2007, 04:03:16 am

Title: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: custodian on April 09, 2007, 04:03:16 am

I would like to examine whatever data, evidence and opinions that might exist here among the NAFPS patrons and records regarding the writings of Carlos Castaneda and the teachings of Juan Matus.

If there is exsiting materials, please direct me to it.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: debbieredbear on April 09, 2007, 04:43:05 am
You can tryn the search feature and come up with some stuff that people have posted on Castaneda. As for me, I read his first book and gagged. I thought it ws the phoniest thing I ever read. Apparently UCLA agreed with me since they yanked his PHD because they belive it was all a fabrication.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: custodian on April 09, 2007, 03:17:40 pm
You can tryn the search feature and come up with some stuff that people have posted on Castaneda. As for me, I read his first book and gagged. I thought it ws the phoniest thing I ever read. Apparently UCLA agreed with me since they yanked his PHD because they belive it was all a fabrication.

Thank you for your reply Debbie Red Bear.

I am unaware the authorities at UCLA decided the writings of Carlos Castaneda were fabrications.

I am also unaware they reclaimed or revoked the PHD they previously granted to Castaneda.

For the sake of integrity and honesty, please offer up whatever supporting materials you have regarding these claims by you.

In the mean time, I will be contacting the authorities at UCLA to have them either confirm or clarify your claims here.

I will publish the response from UCLA here when I get it.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: debbieredbear on April 09, 2007, 04:30:52 pm

"He wrote that he was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Christmas Day in 1931, but immigration records show that he was born 6 years earlier in Cajamarca, Peru. He moved to the United States in the early 1950s and became a naturalized citizen in 1957. He was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (B.A. 1962; Ph.D. 1970). Castaneda was later stripped of the Ph.D. on the grounds that he presented fiction in the place of proper ethnographic research."

If you want more, I suggest you do the research yourself.  I have many other things to do at this time then to try and prove to you that castaneda wasn't full of crap. I have never met any Indian people who believed his bs, either. I am sure there are some. I just never met them.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: custodian on April 09, 2007, 04:39:33 pm

"He wrote that he was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Christmas Day in 1931, but immigration records show that he was born 6 years earlier in Cajamarca, Peru. He moved to the United States in the early 1950s and became a naturalized citizen in 1957. He was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (B.A. 1962; Ph.D. 1970). Castaneda was later stripped of the Ph.D. on the grounds that he presented fiction in the place of proper ethnographic research."

If you want more, I suggest you do the research yourself.  I have many other things to do at this time then to try and prove to you that castaneda wasn't full of crap. I have never met any Indian people who believed his bs, either. I am sure there are some. I just never met them.

How interesting. No doubt I will have little trouble getting confirmation of this from UCLA. Thank you for your precious time Debbie. I guess I should feel honoured?
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: debbieredbear on April 09, 2007, 04:41:51 pm
Oh, so now with the snide remarks? When YOU could easily go to google and finds this stuff on your own? 
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: custodian on April 09, 2007, 05:12:31 pm
Oh, so now with the snide remarks? When YOU could easily go to google and finds this stuff on your own? 
No Debbie, I am actively researching these claims by you as we just responded faster than I expected.  :-* far I have partially scanned the Wikipedia website and found all of what you quoted EXCEPT any commentary about  UCLA revoking the PHD granted to Castaneda. Next step is UCLA.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: debbieredbear on April 09, 2007, 05:17:16 pm
You do resalize that wikipedia isn't the most reliable source don't you? Even THEY will tell you that. It's a good source, but sometimes the info is slanted deopending on who wrote the entry.

Now I am off to live in the real world.;)
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: custodian on April 09, 2007, 05:44:07 pm
You do resalize that wikipedia isn't the most reliable source don't you? Even THEY will tell you that. It's a good source, but sometimes the info is slanted deopending on who wrote the entry.

Now I am off to live in the real world.;)

Debbie, I am aware that Wiki is the product of its readers and ful of biases and opinions.

This I found at this Russian website.  ( newwindow) It appears to be a portion of a larger comment by one of Castaneda's many critics. What is odd about it is that the word "revelation" is used in substitute for "opnion"...

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.

Nonetheless it does appear to confirm that UCLA never yeilded to the efforts by DeMille to have Castaneda's works reclassified as being fiction and then have his PHD revoked.

I will visit UCLA next.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: custodian on April 09, 2007, 06:34:19 pm

It is interesting that just as my research was revealing that the commentary by Debbie Red Bear was not accurate and that UCLA never did declare the writings of Carlos Castaneda as being fictional and that UCLA never did revoke the PHD granted to Castaneda, someone name 'educatedindian' moved this entire thread into the "frauds" catagory either by accident or as an intentional attempt to side-step all intelligent investigation of this matter?

Why would any educated being, indian or otherwise, try to prejudice a discussion like this right in the middle of a sincere investigation?
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: debbieredbear on April 09, 2007, 06:50:53 pm
He owns this website and he has more research on the subject then I do.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: educatedindian on April 09, 2007, 06:58:36 pm
Calm down C, sheesh, such paranoia and hysteria.

I moved the thread into Fraud because that's what Castaneda clearly was, what he was proved to be repeatedly, and even what he repeatedly (and even cheerfully) admitted to being many times.

If you're too lazy to have not noticed what most people knew thirty-forty years ago, don't go blaming us. The information is all over the place. You could've simply hit the search button on this site, or used google.

This is precisely what Debbie, Moma P, myself, and many other NDNs have pointed out before, that Nuagers get mad at NDNs for not living up to exploiters' falsehoods rather than getting mad at the frauds who fooled them.

UCLA did not revoke his PhD, and it's considered something of an embarassment to them and the anthropology profession. But I know that today most anthropology courses only use his works as negative examples, of what not to do, fabricate falsehoods, fantasies, and exploit or lie about Native peoples.

Sheehs, for someone who devotes so much effort to the guy, how could you fail to overlook literally hundreds of sources like these? And why the hysteria when a Native dares question him?

Or DeMille's work. Or the revelations of a member of his inner circle, that he kept a harem around him that likely all comitted suicide after his death. (Article is in our site.)

Or the most obvious facts of all (ones that even many anthros overlooked) that nothing in his falsehoods had the slightest resemblance to Yaqui, Mayan, or Toltec beliefs, or any Native beliefs, for that matter. They were all obvious ripoffs of Tai Chi passed off as Native.

My favorite debunking is still Deloria's, that his books (and the phony "Don Juan") obviously all came out of a hit of acid.

To me, all his works prove is how elaborate the fantasies are that some whites make up about Natives, and just how desperate and spiritually barren they must be to believe them.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: frederica on April 09, 2007, 07:21:33 pm
There was a movement to take away his PhD in 1972, by some at the University. It was pretty well stopped because of the fact that the University of California Press was publishing his books and making millions. So the general attitude was if people want to "visit the Land of Oz by way of his books, let them". It was a fact that it was not Anthropology, but fantasy, and well known. frederica
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: educatedindian on April 09, 2007, 07:38:26 pm
Custodian, kindly quit spamming the thread with posts that only show you haven't bothered to actually read what we say, look at the links or other evidence we give you, or do any actual research. 
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: custodian on April 09, 2007, 07:44:07 pm
Custodian, kindly quit spamming the thread with posts that only show you haven't bothered to actually read what we say, look at the links or other evidence we give you, or do any actual research. 
I am working as quickly as I can to investigate the links you have provided.

Your impatience with me is unbecoming.

Your description of my input as being spam is derrogatory.

Ps, why did you feel it was unjust of me to ask frederica for whatever evidence she has to support her purported facts? How was that out of line?
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: frederica on April 09, 2007, 07:51:18 pm
Al, already put one site up that give the PhD info.  Another site just for history is:  frederica
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Moma_porcupine on April 10, 2007, 01:30:11 am
Re: Sustained Reaction
« Reply #10 on
Though Sustain Action still claims to be about the Legacy of Castaneda, it is now a website run by exclusively by small minded rednecks dedicated to advancing the idea that the human spirit is a myth and the spiritual ideals of mankind are all false in nature and that nothing mystical exists outside of the tiny phyisical reality of everyday life.
You know custodian , it can be really hard to prove something doesn't exist , beyond all doubt. How do you know you aren't a sheep sleeping in a pasture somewhere , dreaming you are human ? Can you prove it ? I bet you can't . Maybe theres an invisble planet right beside the earth . Can you prove it isn't there ? Bet you can't .

But there is a point when trying to rationalize repeated abusive behavior and contradictions becomes dangerous, and is  really a sign of mental illness . It looks to me there is more than enough evidence Castenada was a fraud for people who are mentally healthy to read the writing on the wall .

I mean , if you are a woman on a dark night , and a stranger grabs you and starts pawing you and smells like booze , maybe they were just out of mouth wash and gargled with whisky , and maybe there was a spider on your chest they are squashing it before it bites you . Maybe they want you to get in their car because they are trying to teach you to disassemble your negative expectations about drunk men ... But anyone who makes major life descions , by believing what they want to believe, and explaining away obvious warning signs, is going to be in trouble .

Often people who have been abused as children learn to use denial and magical thinking as a coping stratagy , and they repeat the pattern of accepting abuse long after they could make choices to prevent being hurt again . instead these people continue to use denial and magical thinking to try and make whats wrong , right. The more denial is used the more problems people have in their lives , and the more problems the more pain ,and the more pain the more denial.

Cult leaders know how to play on this dynamic .

I'm not at all saying there is no Sacredness and deep Mysteries within our ordinary lives , and most of us have had things happen in our lives that give us a deep feeling of wonder and reverence that there is something bigger going on , than our little personal fragile melodramas .

The thing that is most disgusting about cult leaders , is they are all to happy to take credit for peoples *gifts* that were given by something much more Sacred and profound then THEM , and they exploit and take over peoples experince of touching the Sacred and use it to make themselves important .
When people get mixed up with a Spiritual exploiter , after a while these prescious magical parts of our lives can be really hard to separate from these con artists egotisical and abusive garbage . A lot of people can't figure out how to do it , and it really hurts . Who wants to throw the baby out with the bath water ? So they cope by going deeper and deeper into denial and magical thinking .

As a general rule of thumb if someone is gaining attention and money by making claims that can't be proven to be true , AND there is contradicitons in what they are claiming AND you are attached to believing what that person is saying is true , you probably have a problem , and are vulnerable to being exploited by a cult leader.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: frederica on April 10, 2007, 01:57:00 am
You have that right MP.  frederica
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Laurel on April 10, 2007, 10:59:37 am
Castaneda again?  He was already an embarrassment when I was taking cultural anthro courses 20 years ago--or, rather, the one prof in the department who believed his stuff was.  "I KNOW Carlos."  Kinda like Bush looking into Putin's soul or whatever, she just KNEW that man would not lie about his head turning into a crow.  Sheeeeeeesh. 
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: custodian on April 10, 2007, 04:57:35 pm
Castaneda again?  He was already an embarrassment when I was taking cultural anthro courses 20 years ago--or, rather, the one prof in the department who believed his stuff was.  "I KNOW Carlos."  Kinda like Bush looking into Putin's soul or whatever, she just KNEW that man would not lie about his head turning into a crow.  Sheeeeeeesh. 

Amazing Laurel.

I need to ask you though, twenty year ago when you fiirst 'decided' that Carlos Castaneda was a fraud, outside of potentially succumbing to some growing general consensus at that time, did you have any actual evidence available to you then to draw such a conclusion?

Title: Re: Sustained Reaction
Post by: custodian on April 10, 2007, 05:17:36 pm
I basicly agree with you , and i trust the power of simply telling the truth . However , this forum has to contend with a constant influx of new posters who have absolutely no intrest in telling the truth or in having the truth told about them .

Thank you for the response, Moma P.

I believe that when we think we know 'the truth' we must then abide it and speak it clearly.

I also believe that most 'truths' need to be discovered first before they can be spoken.

Lastly I believe that anyone who is always busy 'speaking the truth' will likely be too busy to actually discover 'the truth'.

In regards to Carlos Castaneda, I have been actively seeking to discover the truth of the matter for decades now.

I came here just yesterday and invited any interested parties to paricpate in my Castaneda research.

The first party to respond aggressively expressed their personal opinion that Castaneda was a fraud.

This person then tried to support that opinion with what proved out to be false statements that UCLA agreed with her and revoked the PHD granted to Castaneda.

Just as I was trying to bring this to the attention of the first poster, other posters intervened into the Castaneda inquiry and arbitrarily declared that regardless of the previous false statements about UCLA, Castaneda was nonetheless a known fraud  and that there must be something wrong with me for failing to agree with that opinion.

What is up here Moma P? Are some types of inquiry forbiden here at this website?

Are some types of truth unwelcome here? ???

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: debbieredbear on April 10, 2007, 05:17:57 pm

You want us to prove he was a fraud. How about you coming up with absolute, incontrovertable proof that he wasn't? I am not talking about links on the net etc. YOU come up with absolute proof that there was a Don Juan Matus. Birth certificates, pictures etc. Then you prove that he actually taught Castaneda. And that proof would need to be eye witnesses NOT enamored of Castaneda with "no dog in the fight". Meaning they are totally impartial. Prove that, and some of us might listen.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: custodian on April 10, 2007, 05:25:04 pm
You want us to prove he was a fraud. How about you coming up with absolute, incontrovertable proof that he wasn't?

Though I do seek evidence either proving Castaneda to be a fraud or a sincere teacher, in the interrim I refuse to adopt either position and close my mind to either possibility.

I strongly advise anyone lacking actual evidence of any particuar thing being true or false to maintain an open mind about that thing and believe nothing.

If I gain evidence regarding Castaneda, I will share it, of course.
Title: Re: Sustained Reaction
Post by: debbieredbear on April 10, 2007, 05:25:34 pm

You are not being honest here. You ask our opinion. My opinion is and always has been that Castaneda is as phoney as it gets. You did not ask people to join in research. You asked what we thought. Further more, you have little interest in finding out that he is a fraud, you want to prove that he wasn't. I doubt few on this board want to join you in proving castaneda was real. As I told you in the other thread: Prove Don Juan was real. Use birth certificates, baptismal records etc. Prove that he taught Castenada using impartial eye witnesses. And stop trying to force your belief that he was real and not a fraud on those of us who aren't going but it.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Laurel on April 10, 2007, 05:49:50 pm
"[...]did you have any actual evidence available to you then to draw such a conclusion?"

Not hard evidence as in a signed statement saying 'I made it up,' no.  The opinion of the vast majority of those in the field he got his doctorate in and some reading I did helped me decide.  Later, after I got on the internet I did some reading on-line and in academic databases that confirmed that for me.     

Twenty years ago I really wanted to believe in that stuff BTW. 
Title: Re: Sustained Reaction
Post by: Moma_porcupine on April 10, 2007, 07:01:40 pm
Educated Indian    
Re: Carlos Castaneda
« Reply #11
Or the most obvious facts of all (ones that even many anthros overlooked) that nothing in his falsehoods had the slightest resemblance to Yaqui, Mayan, or Toltec beliefs, or any Native beliefs, for that matter.

Ghost Dog
"some feel you're a tad presumptuous to be judging anybody as a fraud..."

Educated Indian
That's amusing, coming from people who actually thought "recapitulation" and "Tensegrity" actually had anything to do with any Native beliefs.
What is up here Moma P? Are some types of inquiry forbiden here at this website?

Are some types of truth unwelcome here?

Repeated stupid inquiries that refuse to accept the obvious aren't welcome here . All the evidence is Castenada was a fraud . If you can show some proof he wasn't , fine , but endless arguing the finer points and remote possibilities , while ignoring the basic facts which clearly discredit him , is just a waste of everyones time . If you need to believe a fantasy for some reason , that is your problem . Don't expect people here to support it .
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: educatedindian on April 10, 2007, 09:40:10 pm
C, you must be either kidding (perhaps even kidding yourself). Anyone can see you are a devoted Castaneda follower, even to the point of deliberately choosing to not see or deal with piles of evidence right in front of you.

You tell me which is more likely:

That millions of Mayans and Yaquis actually know their own culture, and so do Natives and academics and historians and the thousands of written sources besides the GWL on these cultures...

...Or that a guy tripping on psychedelics whose been debunked endlessly for forty years somehow is still right and everybody else is wrong?

Again, even HE admitted he was a fraud by the late 70s, and gleefully mocked his own followers who continued to believe in him no matter much he lied or treated them with obvious contempt.

When you're ready to show us you have an inquiring mind that actually looks at the facts, rather than just fanatical devotion to Castaneda's racist fantasies, let us know. 
Title: Re: Sustained Reaction
Post by: educatedindian on April 10, 2007, 09:53:18 pm
C, you continue to harp on Debbie's very minor mistake as if it somehow proves anything about your Great Wise Leader.

All that it proves is that one particular white anthropologist who wrote the intro for a Castaneda book is lacking in ethics, and that the UCLA Anthro Dept decided to cover their own behinds rather than admit being wrong.

And what you hear is not "aggression." It's frustration at having to repeat ourselves, just because you won't listen.

Can't you see youre practicing a double standard? You're not applying any rigor to your GWL, but you are to a ludicrous extent to eveything else.

You know, most people don't give drug users' hallucinations much credence. Why should this one be any different?

And now, because you're hijacking this thread about SR and making it all about the GWL, I'm moving all these posts over to the Castaneda thread where they belong. Let's try to stay on topic.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: weheli on April 11, 2007, 06:01:34 pm
 I have been reading these threads as well as SR threads ,as I read that NAFPS was being discussed there. I have not commented as this topic has been discussed on this forum before. I couldn't help but notice a poster on Sr going by the name of Medicine Man. He is quite opinionated about NAFPS on that site and has even been told by other posters there to post here, but I have noticed he is "not up to it".
Medicine Man why do you hide like a child behind thier mommas skirt? You will not be chased away with a broomstick or thumped on the head. Just speak the truth of it all. I would like a chat with you.
                                                                       Wado Weheli
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: ra6as on April 11, 2007, 07:37:13 pm
Hello weheli, I would be glad to converse here,

I have one request: if what I say is unacceptable, please do not delete just part of my message ~ please delete the whole message, and either leave it to me to figure out how I transgressed, or, if appropriate, leave a short note in its place explaining in general terms what you feel I ought to know.

If there is anything I've said (here or at SR) about NAFPS which you object to, please say so and if appropriate I will either defend or retract.

Just so you know where I stand: I am an Asian European, I never met Castaneda nor (as far as I know) any of his students;  I am interested in him because I enjoyed his books greatly, because they resonate deeply, and because I can't account for the intensity of the emotional antagonism against him at SR.

As you have quite a focussed mission here, you might well not be interested in talking about all that, in which case we could just talk about the criticisms of NAFPS at SR.

[Barnaby's note] ra6as is known as b2bhutan on the Sustained Reaction forum, and is not one of the handful acting like kids who've had their toys taken away over there.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: weheli on April 11, 2007, 10:07:09 pm
 With all do respect I am not sure who is posting at this point as on the SR site you are known as medicine man/Kaioateyo1 and this is what you posted there:
Just had a peek at the NAFPS site through the link kindly provided by ra6as.

My word, what a bunch of angry paranoiacs and self-congratulatory holier-than-thous.

Nothing sadder than an Indian blaming the white man for his alcoholism, promiscuity and inability to get a proper education. And the NAFPS 'Indians' seem to be led by a Brit guy and a German woman.


seriously, if this is not pathetic, i don't know what is. Posted there on 4/5/07, post # 2582. So is this you that posted this?

I do not have the authority to delete, that is not up to me. For myself I would rather see you post with the name you use on SR as it does become confusing otherwise eh? Wado for your response, also to let you know I am an Eastern Cherokee woman/Grandma. I may be Elderly but do not consider myself an Elder.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Barnaby_McEwan on April 12, 2007, 09:37:32 am
Weheli, it was definitely 'kaioatey01' the racist who posted that. His response to your invitation to appear here was, 'No, I'm not coming over there. You come over here! But I won't be here, because I'm going to a pow-wow!'. Pathetic. Actually I wonder if any of the folks there will be Indian, if the pow-wow really exists. I'm sure there was a time when David Yeagley used to pretend he went to pow-wows too.

We're never going to get any sense out of idiots like that and I don't want to encourage them over here, any more than I'd encourage them to give people the benefit of their views on Indian 'victimhood' at a pow-wow. Come to think of it that might be funny.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: ra6as on April 12, 2007, 11:10:31 am

Hello again Weheli,

If kaioatey is the one you wish to talk to, then you've almost got me wishing I *was* kaioatey ~

at SR I am b2bhutan and car4cas but most people there still call me ra6as.

I note that kaioatey is inviting you over to SR, and it would truly be an honour if you would visit,

but I have to say that in view of everything that's been said there and here, it is really inappropriate of him to ignore your invitation that he come here and talk,

I will say this to him on his return ~ he says he'll be away for a few days.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: educatedindian on April 12, 2007, 03:09:46 pm
Is this the same Kaioatey? His/Her/? name is listed as Allen Phemister, N Lee, and Mrs Kate Glenn at other sites, with homes variously listed at Gonaives Haiti and Walpi Arizona.

If so, it's sad to see what's happened to him/her/transgendered/etc. What was once a thoughtful person has now become another lost racist using blame-the--victim-but-romanticize-him strategies.
Power and Place: Indian Education in America
 good July 24, 2003
Reviewer: kaioatey
That Native Americans are often treated as second class citizens is often due to the fact that they do not possess adequate educational, political and financial resources. Deloria and Wildcat analyze, in this eminently practical and thoughtful book, the causes and conditions that led to this state of affairs. They identify the European dialectic method as one of the key factors that alienate Native Americans. The problem, as they see it, is far from benign - dialectics as practiced in the academia not only champions a simplistic cause-and-effect reasoning which is far removed from the Indian tendency to view the world in a holistic, pan-theistic manner... it also produces isolated, self-absorbed individuals separated from their own bodies and their own society. Such separation is incomprehensible to the Indians, who view themselves primarily as members of a community and for whom individual achievements are largely meaningless without the context of the community support.

Another significant difference between the Native and Western educational approaches, say VD and DW, are that while the former stress personal growth from the early childhood on, the latter concentrate on factual learning during which the harmonious development of the personality takes the second seat to professional development. This produces what to the Indian seem deviant and psychopathic characters completely out of touch with their community and nature, focused as they are on making money and selfish personal advancement."

His later reviews show a person lost in drugs, psychobabble, and bouncing from belief system to belief system. I'm always interested to know how people wind up scapegoating Natives for failing to live up to his romanticed fantasies.

If he's at a powwow, traditional politeness will shield him from NDNs wanting to slap him if he voices his racist harangues. People will just stay away from him.

Who knows? Perhaps he might actually learn something.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Moma_porcupine on April 13, 2007, 10:38:28 pm
There was a 4 page article on Casteneda with a lot of detailed information, in the link below, but now  you have to click on some sponsors logo to get it . (

It looks like I am wrong in thinking suceptibility to cult leaders , might be connected to some sort of childhood abuse . Just from personal experince ,the people I know that accept abusive relationships as adults , usually learned this was normal as children , but it looks like the research doesn't show this as a general pattern for people who get involved in cults. (

"For the most part, normal, average people join cults--people like you and me."
"there appears to be no reliable personality factor that predicts cult membership. However, certain situational  elements make people more vulnerable to cult recruitment, and they include: loneliness (as experienced by someone who has recently moved to a new location); depression (as we feel after a failed relationship); and uncertainty about how to proceed (as I felt when I first went to college). These situations create the desire for quick, simple solutions. Cults provide a myriad of "solutions," which are more importantly accompanied by structure, authority, and close social contacts--elements that people want, need, and which most of us take for granted in the course of our everyday lives." (
"A person with low self-esteem will be more persuadable than a person with high self-esteem when the advocated message is weak. Notice the important qualifier: "...when the advocated message is weak." There's no simple linear relationship between self-esteem and persuasion."

"when the message that's being advocated is weak and without merit or reason, the message will be rejected by both high- and moderate-self-esteemers. Thus, with an inherently unpersuasive message--such as the fantastic and bizarre inventions of cult leaders-- members who regularly have their self-esteem deflated will remain convinced." (
"Cults operate on a fascinating psychological principle. You may not realize it, but our view of reality is defined by certain  "anchors" that we then use as points of reference in "mapping out" our individual model of reality. Cult leaders are experts at removing these anchors, leaving a person in a state of confusion and distress. They then "insert" new anchors to which the person clings in order to reestablish their sense of reality orientation. They now need the tenets of the cult to feel safe, and even "sane"."
So apparently people who become cult leaders, are capable of undermining peoples confidence in their own perceptions, and pushing people to rely on excessive magical thinking , and unlikely leaps of faith , even if the people they hook , are fairly normal to begin with  .

It's hard to understand .
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: frederica on April 14, 2007, 02:07:21 pm
They are not always religious, but some seem to be based on economics, after a point. If you look at Jim Jones and Father Divine that was in Philadelphia. frederica
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: cleardreamer on April 17, 2007, 05:07:18 am
I once tried to read a book by Castaneda. I don't think I got past the first chapter before I decided it was not worth getting into any further.

There are a couple of other resources that the original poster might be interested in examining. The film Carlos Castaneda: Enigma of a Sorcerer features documentary style commentary from people who were allegedly close to Castaneda at the height of his career as a "spiritual teacher" (it also features an awful lot of horrible, CGI type movie effects that are hard on the eyes). The general consensus seems to be that he was a manipulative (yet somehow seductive) jerk, particularly where women were concerned. Also, a book by one of the women featured in this film, Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castaneda by Amy Wallace might be worth checking out.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Barnaby_McEwan on April 17, 2007, 05:02:24 pm
I stopped watching once Robert Moss ( came on.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: cleardreamer on May 31, 2007, 07:29:33 pm
> I stopped watching once Robert Moss came on.

I would have, too, had I known better at the time. Thankfully, I was taught a damn valuable lesson in discernment through my experiences with RM, however difficult it was to learn.
Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: A.H. on April 18, 2008, 05:35:51 pm
I realized that Castaneda's books are fake long ago, but just for a little balance - I read those books when I was 16 and I actually didn't connect those people to any real culture there is - as I understood them it was supposed to be something "underground", not part of mainstream culture. His mixture of several religious and spiritual traditions' ideas, quasi mesoamerican traditions, european occultist ideas and 60's enchantment with psychedelics, etc. actually showed me at that time that something else IS there... at least there were those ideas.

I am not defending Castaneda here - but it is a strange fact that those books saved my life back then. I suffered from heavy depression and loss of will to live because I had no religion and as a rebellion teenager would not want to have any of those mainstream ones that seemed obviously fraudulent and political to me.
I also went to the classical high-school where we had latin and all that snobbish bull-shit and where we were told they educate us to become future elite and they were trying to get us in some sort of competitive mood.
I was utterly confused - is this all? Is this what life is meant to be? Going to school, compete, then go to work and gain, gain, gain, gain and serve, serve, serve, serve... Where is the point? Why are we doing this? Where is the reason? What is all this crazy dance of pointless activity?
And a part of story remains untold... but it was extreme and dark.

...and then Castaneda saved my life, hehehe. Don Juan was immensly funny. His humor was what delighted me the most. Like telling me - you're just an ignorant kid - get real and look around. Universe is endlessly mysterious and you think you've seen it all?
Well, I was 16. Around the age when most of the teenage suiciders commit their act as I learned from the statistics. I escaped that statistics.

Sorry to hijack your introduction - just to show that in some very negative things some good can be found..

The initial fraud and even more what they did later and still today cannot be justified. Commercial fake...

Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: garners on April 19, 2008, 04:28:42 pm
I do not think Castaneda saved your life. You saved your own life A.H.
And if you fell for Castanedas phoney Indian stories that is your fault but certainly no reason to pat Castaneda on the back as you say for "balance".
Maybe you could further explain why you feel your defense of Castaneda provides balance? do you think he was right to make up phoney indian stories becuse they inspired you?
Castaneda was one of the largest populizers of using and abusing the Indian arcxhetype for New Age personal gain.
This has now blossomed into a huge problem and it is in part because new agers  have seen by Castaneda's original deceit how successful a scam it can be.
 If people did not support the scammers and fall for their dishonesty then pretending to be an Indiun would not be such a lucrative business for New Agers.
So in my opinion posting that you have been saved by one of the original abusers is not a very wise thing to do. I find you laughing at it ("and then Castaneda saved my life, hehehe. Don Juan was immensly funny. His humor was what delighted me the most".) and still acting like don juan was a real person that delighted you and not an abusive dishonest rip off of Indians disturbing.
 I am sure there are a lot of people that claim that they were helped by a number of the frauds catelogued on the NAFPS site but I hardly think that if they are intelligently sensitive to the situation they would be laughing about it and praising them here for "balance".
Cleargreen does indeed continue with claiming that all they teach comes from a lineage of Ancient Indians and it is shameful that Buddhists have now fallen for it. and support it.
I urge everyone to post to the Shambala Mountain center and complain that by supporting Cleargreen they support Castaneda's New Age Indian abuse and continue giving their support to the original dishonesty.
I hope that Ari or someone will place Cleargreen in the frauds section where they belong for their claim that thy are teaching ancient mystical Indian shamanic movements  seems to be entirely unfactual.
Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: Ari on April 19, 2008, 05:06:44 pm
Hello A.H.,

Well, Castaneda claiming that knowledge he presenting in his books, coming from Indian informant and originating from ancient Indian esoteric tradition.
I don't have much knowledge about religious and cultural traditions and ideas, neither about Indian spirituality and culture, so I, as mass of people from all around the world, was tricked to believe that what Castaneda talking about in his books really coming from Indian source. UCLA's endorsement of his works as non-fiction and Castaneda's endorsement of himself as scientist-anthropologist greatly contributed to this confusion of course.
Yes, he talking about something so high, desirable and exciting - Spirit, Freedom, death defying... Who would not be touched by this ideas... People were discarding and excusing so much of obvious bs which came out of Castanedian unhealthy fantasy and validated as a   wisdom and knowledge of Indian tradition.
Not many people besides real Indians were aware that Castaneda is fake.
I'm Russian. So, when  i'm watching Hollywood movie with some action in Russia or presenting Hollywoodian idea about Russians, i can see clearly that creators of the movie have absolutely no knowledge about reality of Russian life. It is obvious for me. But Americans who watching this obvious misrepresentation, believing it to be true.
Castaneda was well aware that for most people in the world Indian culture is unknown mystery and Indians are too suppressed socially to practically protest and he used it and played with it, giving more validity to his stories.
Then all the world started passionately play Indians... lol! Well...this is not really laughable if to  to contemplate upon...
It came to the point that most of writers, who were intending to reveal their own often insane ideas to the world, could not find nothing better to do than claim to originate from Indian tradition or at least to have at least some kind of relation to Indian people. Because this is what sells...
I feel sad that people tending to ignore feelings of others for the sake of some thrill and pleasures of themselves and even when they know that this thrill and pleasures based on abuse  and dishonesty.   

Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: A.H. on April 20, 2008, 11:09:45 am
Ari & garners,

I haven't expected any less stern answer on this forum. Good.

I could be too eager to join in criticizing Castaneda and especially the strange activities that came later - like Cleargreen inc.
But I had to admit before that, that his first books contributed something meaningful at a certain stage of my life.

Like - some Nazi helped you in some way, so you didn't die during the war - and later he is confronted in the court... it is fair to let the court know that he helped you, isn't it? If I would remain silent I would be unfair. 

Yes - Don Juan is "real" to me as a well developed fiction caracter with great sense of humor - a model how to think - playful, observing, paying attention to little details in nature, feeling awe confronted with the objective mystery of the Universe, etc. He is "real" as Raskolnikov or Josef K to me.

Castaneda was so succesful also because he could write good and entertaining fiction, not because he was the first exploiter (he wasn't first). There are many other authors of shinny new-age trash that will never achieve such status - because they just can't write...

Interesting - already back then I "hated" the first twinkies and "shiny happy people" that fed on new-age books and appeared after the great political and social changes in the world and my country (I am from ex east-block, too, and a door-step to Balkan with all its 90's wars). So the atmosphere was very suitable for new-age to flourish in the time of uncertainty and redefinition of values and new aggressive materialism arriving.

I couldn't connect Castaneda's first books to the rest of new-age. They seemded too dangerous, playful and dark for them.

I was really surprised when later books came and where sort of manuals and with the dawn of internet I discovered the Cleargreen inc. I was appalled. It seemed like some new-agers exploiting Castaneda himself, hehehe. But he was involved in all this. So the whole fraudulent nature of this enterprise of his became crystal clear to me..
And already before that I started to regard his books as entertaining fiction, because I already discovered some of the original ideas he used in buddhist and taoist books.

Ok, I maybe gave too much "subconscious" defending of this man's work. And "balance" was not a good choice of words before.

Yes, just fight those new-age "sorcerers" and their funny "gymnastics". They look too idiotic and vain to me to even bother and still can't quite connect this activity with the first four books of Castaneda that helped me as a teenager.

Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: educatedindian on April 20, 2008, 01:34:37 pm
A couple points:

Castaneda appealed to some people, and may even have helped some people, in part because he ripped off other traditions besides Native ones. Most of what he passes off as NDN, Yaqui, Toltec, is actually Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist, or other eastern beliefs. The Tensegrity nonsense, for example, is Tai Chi with pseudo Indian names slapped on it. He even lost a lawsuit that came from his own Tai Chi master for ripping off his system.

Part of his appeal was also that he made racism against NDNs (the romanticized image of the Noble Savage in particular) sound appealing to the counterculture. I don't know of that's what appealed to either of you, but that's undeniable part of him. And we can easily find plenty of examples of his followers who love him to death, but explode with racism against NDNs once they hear an NDN criticize him.

As for being a good writer, I think he's one of the worst examples of overwriting I've ever seen. Bloated, incoherent, pompous, sometimes just plain gibberish. Often part of his appeal from his supporters come from those who think being dense and hard to understand equals being "profound," esp those who are easily impressed by a big vocabulary. The clearest evidence of him being a bad writer is the decline in readers in each successive book. Looking at online discussions of his books, one can see plenty members of his own cult who admit they can't even understand much of what they read, and didn't even finish the first book.

Can't say I blame them. It's like water torture for me to wade through anything of his since I teach my students to write clearly and say what they mean, straight out.

Cleargreen is mentioned in several threads in here, but we don't have a thread specific to it. Since they're an abusive cult who continue to harm many people, a thread is badly needed.
Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: Moma_porcupine on April 20, 2008, 03:51:36 pm
I also have seen situations where something that in most situations has harmful consquences has been helpful in some way, and i've thought about this as it seems a bit paradoxical , that something which is usually harmful can sometimes have beneifical effects.

One underlying dynamic I can identify seems to be that when people are facing a overwhelming problem they don't see a way to solve, anything that gives some hope or some sense of community and being connected to something, can sometimes provide a sort of life saver to hang onto till they get through the crisis. This is often the reason people abuse drugs and alcohol, and I think it is often a factor in why people get attached to cults, or hang on to an abusive relationship or even a completely unrealistic plan to make a million bucks. None of these things are healthy choices, they are all a waste of time , and often create so many other problems no one would ever think to recommend this to someone. But for someone who is teetering on the brink of suicide, or about to engage in some other highly  destructive behavior , these things can serve as a temporary distraction and help numb the pain till the crisis passes and a person is in a situation where they are better able to cope. But that still doesn't mean any of these things are a good or safe way to cope with problems.   
Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: A.H. on April 21, 2008, 07:49:56 am
A couple points:

Part of his appeal was also that he made racism against NDNs (the romanticized image of the Noble Savage in particular) sound appealing to the counterculture.


Cleargreen is mentioned in several threads in here, but we don't have a thread specific to it. Since they're an abusive cult who continue to harm many people, a thread is badly needed.

Yours and moma porcupine points are very good...

I could only not agree about the "noble savage" notion - Don Juan was presented as a very modern "NDN", actually a philosopher, as someone who has seen through our contemporary society with the gaze of "The Other". (at least I understood it like that). This is not "noble savage" imidge. Such people (philosophically - not as sorcerers or shape-shifters or whatever) do exist. Also inside "western" culture.  But the origins of their knowledge is more reliable and real. Or at least attributed to the right sources, not fake ones.

But exactly this modern, "see-through" style is probably why it appealed so much to the "counter-culture" and that is also why this enterprise lost its appeal with later published books that became more and more new-age and poorer in construction and definitely lost any of its appeal to "counter-culture" with the Cleargreen Inc. which can only appeal to nuage-heads...

I agree - there is a need for a clean and sharp thread about Cleargreen Inc. on this forum. 


ed.ind. - you asked what appealed to us - this thread stirred my old interest and I went searching the net and found a collection of well-known quotes of Don Juan. Now thinking aside of fraud and fakeness of some of their origin - but those ideas are very reasonable to me and still valid as such - not attributed to the specific person, origin,... :

"A petty tyrant is a tormentor.......Someone who either holds the power of life and death over warriors or simply annoys them to distraction."--Don Juan

(petty tyrant and how to deal with them was one of my favourite ideas from C. books - I met quite many in my life and those books helped with dealing with them)

I am not bothered by the word "warrior" - it can be exchangead by something appropriate. "I Ching" talks about "great man", Nietzsche talks about "super-man" - all that can sound pompous but it really means (simply put) just someone that sees (or tries to) beyond the utilitarian, materialistic mode and seeks answers and the right/real conduct in/of life

Some quotes good for self-criticism and introspection:

"The characteristic of miserable seers is that they are willing to forget the wonder of the world. They become overwhelmed by the fact that they see and believe that it's their genius that counts." ----Don Juan p58

"Self-importance is man's greatest enemy. What weakens him is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of his fellow men. Self-importance requires that one spend most of one's life offended by something or someone."--Don Juan

(Zen, Tao, Buddhist thought in general?, maybe even traces of NDN philosophy?)

Some more very likeable Don Juan's thoughts ("real" as a caracter, people!):

"The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or as a curse."--Don Juan

(we could attribute this to I Ching, Taoism or even Nietzsche)

"What a strange paradox! Every warrior on the path of knowledge thinks, at one time or another, that he's learning sorcery, but all he's doing is allowing himself to be convinced of the power hidden in his being, and that he can reach it."

----Don Juan Matus, The Power of Silence

(Buddhism and any other "enlightenment" path philosophy)

And Castaneda "outs" himself, hehe:

"It's better to get something worthwhile done using deception than to fail to get something worthwhile done using truth."---Don Juan (Carlos Castaneda)

And the core of Don Juan philosophy that showed me "sense" as a teenager:

"For the average man, the world is weird because if he's not
bored with it, he's at odds with it. For a warrior, the world is
weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable.
A warrior must assume responsibility for being here, in this
marvelous world, in this marvelous time."

(Average man and warrior concepts are the same concepts as in I Ching - describing a man that does not think about his actions and the other one that feels a need to do so... Nothing pompous - just two different ways of percieving the world.)

So, what could not be likeable about so much new wisdom for a young man?  (but I wouldn't recommend his work nowadays - I would point people to other, more valid sources)

It can be too misleading or even dangerous if you don't discover that it comes from other sources and just fall for his deception.

In his books he never claimed to be "good" or "nice".
 I think compassion was described in a Nietzschejan way as weakness and fake. I conclude that they both (Castaneda and N.)  understood compassion more in a contemporary Christian way not in a Buddhist way.

Actually Castaneda was openly a deceiver - he even described it as a technique of "stalking".  That does not make him right, but anyone who fails to see through it even Don Juan hasn't teached a thing, hehe..

Sorry, if all this seems too much. Had to spit it out.

Understanding comes from confrontation of opinions and you are very good and sharp debaters.

P.P.S. I am really not defending Castaneda as person... Just saying that his first books were helpful to me at some stage, but I still recognize them as fake now and know the real origins of those ideas. And also that some ideas are valid as such and should not be mudded just because he used them.

This article says probably most of what needs to be said about this con:

Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: Ingeborg on April 21, 2008, 12:41:37 pm
I could only not agree about the "noble savage" notion - Don Juan was presented as a very modern "NDN", actually a philosopher, as someone who has seen through our contemporary society with the gaze of "The Other". (at least I understood it like that). This is not "noble savage" imidge. Such people (philosophically - not as sorcerers or shape-shifters or whatever) do exist. Also inside "western" culture.  But the origins of their knowledge is more reliable and real. Or at least attributed to the right sources, not fake ones.

The stereotype of the noble savage is one of the stereotypes applied in Castanedas books.
It is also to be kept in mind that Castaneda's books were written in the 60ies and 70ies, so the mindset of white mainstream society was different from what it is now. As one example: 'green' aspects were not represented in mainstream politics until much later.

Castaneda's description of Don Juan may have a few 'modern' aspects (like e.g. he met him at a bus station), but there are more sides to this coin: Don Juan's place of residence is in a remote place difficult to travel to. To start with, this places Don Juan right outside the 'modern' world, 'our' world, and also puts him - as an ndn - in 'his place' metaphorically.

Don Juan does in fact view contemporary 60ies/70ies society with the gaze of 'the other' - and once again, this puts him outside of 'our' world which he is not really part of: he lives in a safe distance from our world, he is not part of it physcially and mentally; although he does visit our world from time to time and makes use of our amenities, he does not belong. So it is necessarily an outsider's perspective which Don Juan takes, and the entire setting employed by Castaneda bases upon this.

Don Juan himself, according to Castaneda, uses terms like 'sorcery' for what he does. In the time these books were written, white mainstream society had in fact not given up to view progress with and by any means as a positive asset. Things like sorcery therefore had to be seen in deep and sharp contrast of this modern (= 'our') society, it was mostly believed to be 'old wive's tales', superstition without a real base, even less in 'our age'. Don Juan thus is rather portrayed as a relic from former times, earlier stages of development of humankind.

Perhaps Don Juan would have to be seen as a philosopher in 'our' world - it is however a revealing fact that Castaneda calls him a brujo (and makes Don Juan call himself one), thus creating a sharp dichotomy between 'our' modern white world and 'theirs' which gets defined as backwards, an anti-thesis of progress, and not to forget: 'their' world is definitely not white.

Castaneda makes quite a tiring use of the element of depicting himself as largely unable to understand Don Juan's so-called teachings. While one aspect of this certainly is to show clearly to his readers that this inability is brought about by the estrangement of 'modern' humans, another aspect is that a modern human is simply unable to understand 'pre-modern' humans. By repeating this ad nauseam, Castaneda's books simply hammer this home. Ndn cultures get described as if they belonged to peoples not at a homo sapiens sapiens level, hence 'savages'. Castaneda on the other hand is well versed in how to live in a modern world, well enough to get through university and therefore belongs to the elite of this society. Don Juan is the anti-thesis of all Castaneda stands for and comes from, and as long as Castaneda is part of civilzation, what does this make Don Juan?

For today's readers, the savage aspect of Don Juan's culture is even increased: while stalking has come to be a criminal offence in many 'Western' countries ('our' world), it is promoted as a technique in Castaneda's books. Of course Castaneda was in no position to preview this, but it reinforces the picture of Don Juan as a savage not really being part of our civilized world today.
Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: A.H. on April 21, 2008, 01:53:56 pm
Nice explanation.

I would just comment on the usage of "sorcery" - it is explained that it was not meant to be some "primitive" superstition in those books. While Don Juan is an antithesis to "civilized" Castaneda, this does not make him "savage" by default. You're dead on that Don Juan doesn't "belong" - but he doesn't belong to any larger community in the story. He is sort of solitary stranger. I still can't see a typical "noble savage" in him..
Also about "stalking" - I think Castaneda's term has somewhat different meaning than the usual act of stalking. His term means more "con" or playing false roles with great conviction not "stalking somebody" - it surely also is illegal in its extreme forms...
But that doesn't make Don Juan an even more obvious "noble savage" in our times. 

In this meaning all his books and also Cleargreen Inc. could be seen as one big stalking enterprise.

Actually Don Juan said his books could be good only to wipe his ass with them if I am not mistaken, hehe.. So if someone writes this in his own book it surely has some underlying meaning...

Ok - enough from me on this topic - he is a deceiver (obviously) and you can oppose Cleargreen Inc. - but you should have a smart tactic. To laugh at them and not taking them seriously - any other way that would take them more serious would just empower them I guess.

Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: garners on April 21, 2008, 04:27:29 pm
A.H. you seem to be hooked on Castaneda and willing intellectually to admit it was all a fraud but emotionally unable to accept that it was a rolemodel for abusing  and stereotyping Indians and Indian spirituality and therefore was unconscionable and ethically unsupportable.
Calling Castaneda's hoax  a work of "stalking" shows that you have fallen prey to the misdirection and fraud of the books even though you give lip service to their faults.

Cleargreen makes the direct claim that it's Magical Passes come from a secret Indian shamanic lineage. In this they exploit and make money from the same hoax and abuse of Indians that Castaneda popularized.
Castaneda was called the grandfather of the New Age and he got that way by showing a way to make tons of money and garner lots of compliant followers by exploiting stereotypes of Indians in what was to become  the New Age fashion.

Instead of coming from any Indian source the magical passes of Tensegrity seem to have been influenced by Howard Lee a new age kung fu light channeler and workshop teacher himself.

I am unaware that Lee ever sued Castaneda I do not think that is so.
The rumor is that Castaneda paid Howard Lee a large sum and gave him the dried sexual part of a male Puma in exchange for Howard not ever speaking of the issue openly.
Howard has denied this. But also has not spoken about the issue publicly except to say that yes Castaneda studied with him for almost 15 years and dedicated his Book the Fire From Within  to him.

Castaneda sued Victor Sanchez who copied Castaneda's tehnique of exploiting and commercializing Indians. Sanchez claimed the Huichol (Wixáritari) were Toltecs and that he received his Toltec teachings from living with them. Now days there are hundreds of people using the Toltec scam to make a buck. I think this is because there are no real Toltec Indians to complain. Therefore it is a way to gain entry into exploiting and misusing the stereotyped  Indian mystique that New Agers are so vulnerable to. Doing this, they hope to and often succeed in making a lot of money from it ..without much direct challenge.

Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: A.H. on April 21, 2008, 04:49:06 pm
A.H. you seem to be hooked on Castaneda and willing intellectually to admit it was all a fraud but emotionally unable to accept that it was a rolemodel for abusing  and stereotyping Indians and Indian spirituality and therefore was unconscionable and ethically unsupportable.
Calling Castaneda's hoax  a work of "stalking" shows that you have fallen prey to the misdirection and fraud of the books even though you give lip service to their faults.

Possible (first part). But closer to reality is that as a teenager I understood it as some sort of "underground knowledge" that later appeared to be plain mixture of mostly Buddhist and other asian systems of belief that I am still "hooked to" in an intellectual way.

I didn't call it stalking as I mean it is really that - I said that in the meaning of his use of term stalking you could understand his hoax as stalking... And maybe they do understand it as such...

Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: Defend the Sacred on April 22, 2008, 05:23:03 am
Castaneda also provided the template and formula for many exploiters to follow in his footsteps. He was so successful in selling his "I met the ancient Medicine wo/man, who entrusted me with the secret knowledge," formula, that frauds like Lynn V. Andrews are rumoured to have said they "wanted to be the next Castaneda."

I've also met lots of drug-damage cases who, inspired by the books, took all sorts of stupid drugs and toxic herbs in their efforts to have visions or power. Now some of these people have children, and it's not pretty.

The guy has a lot to answer for.
Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: A.H. on April 22, 2008, 07:23:25 am
No more defending Castaneda (even subconsciously)! I guess like garners said (my interpretation) - I am willing to kill Castaneda, but not Don Juan. He worded some of the most meaningful ideas when I needed them - and they are still valid in their original form.

I guess that is why his appeal has this "magical" spell that even people criticizing him still find some attraction - like that devoted site Sustained Reaction that the first poster mentioned. People have sharp criticism, but still delve in this "castanedish" space.  It is probably wise to let it go completely if you were once interested. The most philosophically advanced buddhist traditions as Yogacara, Chan/Zen substitute ALL of Don Juan's wise words and ofcourse contain no SF and egoistic nietzschejan power-gaining bull-shit and romanticized NDN stuff..

Kathryn - yes about he having a lot to answer to...  Only - Lynn V.Andrews?? And talking about rumours. Not some argument... I mean - even the biggest idiot can be inspired or claim a wish to be the next Einstein or Nikola Tesla (not that I associate Castaneda with those minds) That woman is really easily seen through superficial, utterly moronic new-ager...

Just an afterthought - about those inspired to use drugs and have children at the same time (as you mentioned Kathryn) or that guy - Ari fallen for Cleargreen Inc. scam - we should be responsible for our own stupidity... and realize what is Pied Piper's direct fault and influence and what is a product of our own delusions. We should be responsible ourselves for "drying a cat in a microwave oven".
Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: garners on April 22, 2008, 02:40:37 pm
 Lynn Andrews and all those people that cash in by making up fantasies about Indian Shamans as a way to sell their own New Age bunk (And the list is now in the thousands) were inspired by don Juan and Castaneda spin offs. Inspired to use the same model to make money and gain followers.

While Cleargreen claims to come directly from the same lineage of Indians as Castaneda's phoney lineage countless other authors and workshop teachers have followed Castaneda's example dreaming up their own phoney Indian teachers and scenarios.

This includes every single person claiming Toltec knowledge. People such as  Miguel Ruiz (the Four Agreements) and the hundreds of people he has given a degree in pretending to be Toltec to such as
 Brandt Morgan
 Victoria Miller
 Gary van Warmerdam

 Leo van Warmerdam

 Niki Orietas
 Sheri Rosenthal
 Barbara Simon
 Ray Dodd

 Ed Fox

 Heather Ash

 Allan Hardman

 Gloria Jean
 Robin Nicolaus
 Rita Rivera
 Laura Paxton

And this is just some of the people of one organization of people "graduating" with diplomas as so called teachers of ancient Indian lore.

And according to Ari (who I think is a female) the Buddhists of Sakyong Mipham at Shambala Mountain center are supporting the same rip off of Indians by sponsoring Cleargreen Workshops and furthering the false claim that the content comes from Ancient Indian Shamans.

You know AH ...different delusions for different confusions.
 There are surely people out there that think that Lynn Andrews saved their life.
And that her writings came to them just hen they needed it. Just like you express about Castaneda's don juan.
After all Andrews is the spokesperson of a secret Native American organization, the Sisterhood of the Shields isn't she?

 And look at some of the people that have graduated from her Shamanic degree programs through the Lynn Andrews Center for Sacred Arts Training.

Maybe they should come here and point out how they have been helped by Lynn's wonderful 19 books. and talk about how inspiring the Indian Characters like Agnes Whistling Elk of "Medicine Woman" were to them.  lol.
They should probably support them like you support don juan  if they were so inspired right?

 Never mind how many others are following in Castaneda's and Andrews footsteps.
it was still inspiring material to you and others.

 Seems that this woman's life was also saved by a Medicine Man ...a lot like you AH.
.....and you can pay her to lecture on it!!!

Marsha Scarbrough
One-Woman Show:
• In her one-woman show Medicine Dance, Marsha Scarbrough explores shamanism from an experiential perspective by dramatizing her training with Native American medicine man Beautiful Painted Arrow/Joseph Rael. She follows in the footsteps of Carlos Castaneda and Lynn Andrews to confront life-threatening illness with shamanic healing. Her deeply personal (and often humorous) performance is based on her book Medicine Dance: One woman’s healing journey into the world of Native American sweatlodges, drumming meditations and dance fasts.
Marsha is available for:

• The Miracle of the Hummingbird
• Prayers, Sweat and Tears
• Drum Dance

• The Lessons of Medicine Dance
• Sacred Sweat
• Ancient Healing Vibes
• The Medicine Man who Saved My Life

• Medicine Dancing
• Ancient Vibrations
• Drum Journey
So when you praise don Juan and Castaneda books while laughing at Lynn Andrews and Agnes Whistling Elk..  you are supporting something insidious and harmful by falling for it..  and well.... I don't see how you can expect to grant validity to one and not the other.
"He worded some of the most meaningful ideas when I needed them - and they are still valid in their original form"  -AH

Maybe you should think of what you speak in support for don Juan a bit deeper. People feel the same about Lynn Andrews and her Indian shamanic tales....

"I have most if not all of lynn's books and they are the most informative and interesting books I have ever had the Honor of reading" -MV

"Crystal Woman" truly moved me - and I've been into New Age studies since for the past twenty years!" -MG

Does that make Andrew's pretend Indian characters "valid"?
Or morally defensible?

Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: A.H. on April 22, 2008, 05:22:49 pm
Wov, what a lineage.. you are right garners, but you also misunderstood some things I wrote.

I wrote too long posts already to try to define what was (to me) and can be appealing (in general) and why in Castaneda's hoax.

Somer frauds are more intelligent than other and some at least steal really meaningful ideas and present them in an interesting and intelligent way... Why else would Castaneda fool so many people for so long and have some appeal even for his critics...? (I don't count the later books and Cleargreen - that is obvious bull-shit / I was talking from the beginning about his first three or four books that I read through and even about them I clearly said that they are fraudulent and I don't support them now...)

I think I expressed my view quite clearly and there is no need to waste time with further misunderstandings... (ad hominem)

About the validity of ideas - I said they are valid in their original form - that means their ORIGINAL form - ideas originating in several different Buddhist schools..  not their form inside Castaneda's books.

I wrote too long posts in trying to catch the subtleties, but obviously I am not really successful at this if you can still make such black&white statements about supporting, etc.

(garners) If you feel the need to persuade or educate me  - continue in PM for all others sake if you think it is neccesary... But I don't support Castaneda now, so what's the point?

I made my opinion clear and provoked some responses that would otherwise not be told and it is good that they were in my opinion.



Title: Re: Hello from Ari
Post by: Ari on April 22, 2008, 08:12:51 pm
A.H. wrote:  "ed.ind. - you asked what appealed to us - this thread stirred my old interest and I went searching the net and found a collection of well-known quotes of Don Juan. Now thinking aside of fraud and fakeness of some of their origin - but those ideas are very reasonable to me and still valid as such - not attributed to the specific person, origin,... :

"A petty tyrant is a tormentor.......Someone who either holds the power of life and death over warriors or simply annoys them to distraction."--Don Juan"

A. H., i see this example of "Don Juan" as a clear illustration of psychologically harmful and spiritually degrading idea, sold by CC as wisdom of Native America.

People invited to treat their fellows as tyrants and take relationships as battle ground. As we know from the stories about Don Juan, the battle could and as imposed should go as far as to actual murder and this kind of behavior should be practiced if person is aiming to reach spiritual merits. 

If to look closer at almost every proposition of so called warriors way, we'll find it far from been healthy and recommendable. For millions of readers of Castaneda this perverted ideas were presented as associated with Indian Way of Knowledge.

People were enticed into big confusion. I would never think that taking drugs can be good if it would not be for trust to old wise Indian don Juan dedicating pages to drug use promotion. lol!
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: garners on April 22, 2008, 11:09:24 pm
Well AH .  I do not know you. I am just speaking to the issue of supporting pretend Indian story authors and their creations .. no matter what comes from their imaginary characters mouths.
 If they garner support with their fraud then they are worse frauds .. more harmful..
not better.

yes that is a long list of Shamanic practitioners. and it is only a drop in the bucket.
The lists of people graduating as Shamanic teachers of supposed magical Indian wisdom is so long now that ten posts like that would not be near enough to name them all. And much of this scam coming in large part because Castaneda's successful fraud of don Juan supposedly spoke words of wisdom that impressed people.

Anyway I realize that this is not a place to keep discussing the same fraud again and again.
I appreciate that NAFPS identifies the frauds and moves on.

That is part of what makes NAFPS a useful place for people to come and receive information on Indian culture theives and abusers... and their deceits.

Thankyou NAFPS.

Title: Re: A clarification on the spawn of Castaneda
Post by: Defend the Sacred on April 23, 2008, 12:00:23 am
Only - Lynn V.Andrews?? And talking about rumours. Not some argument... I mean - even the biggest idiot can be inspired or claim a wish to be the next Einstein or Nikola Tesla (not that I associate Castaneda with those minds) That woman is really easily seen through superficial, utterly moronic new-ager...

I only called it a rumour because I can't remember the exact quote, and can't find it online to cite it. IIRC, David Carson, in an interview in a New England Nuage tabloid, in the late 1980s, said that Andrews had approached him to ghostwrite or co-write the Medicine Woman books. He said they plotted how they would market her as "the female Castaneda," and tap into the Women's Spirituality market.

IIRC, Carson said he couldn't go into much detail, as he took a hefty cash settlement in the lawsuit. IIRC, he said he sued her because their deal was he wouldn't be credited for his input - the better to market it as her personal experience - but he did expect to be paid. He says she did not pay him, and then tried to claim he hadn't helped her. IIRC, he said that when he won the settlement, part of the terms were that he couldn't discuss it in public anymore.

I remember in this interview he used her exploitation of Indigenous cultures as one of the reasons he'd gone public about it. But of course, by his own admission, he'd agreed to the scam in the first place. And then he proceeded to write a bunch of shameon books himself.

So, I only called it "rumours" as I don't know that he's the most credible source, and I don't have the quotes at hand. I did find his story of the collaboration with Andrews believable - it held together and made sense. And, IIRC, I think there was confirmation that he got a sizable amount of hush money, which, if it's true, also gives weight to his claims. Having read her books, I also believe that the first ones were written by someone different from the later ones. Whether this means she wrote the later ones herself, or has a new ghostwriter, I don't know.

Sorry to take this off-topic from Castaneda. I don't think it takes anything but skimming their books to see Andrews is a Castaneda clone. But I also think it's relevant and credible that following in Castaneda's footsteps was her conscious plan from the very beginning. Her plan, and thousands more.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: A.H. on April 23, 2008, 10:24:52 am
This part of debate came to fine closure.

I already voiced too much tribute to the man as a collateral damage of presenting my views. I am guilty of being idiot enough to repeat that.

I speak again to this topic (I wish to close with it too) only because of Ari's last (and initial) post. Maybe this could be PM, but maybe it is also useful to any other recovering "wannabe-warrior".

Ari, I don't know your current position - world view and motives that attracted you before to Castaneda's hoax.

The following words are not intended to offend you but maybe suggest something useful if my observation is right.

As I read from your posts you seem being cheated by Castaneda's organization and now became disenchanted with all the ideas and "warrior path", etc. And went on a vengeance mission.

You seem to read his works very literally and took active part in mimicking the form of "wannabe-warriors" as a part  of Cleargreen workshops.

"Petty tyrant" (forget the origin for a second) can be very useful if you take its essence... You have probably dealt with some buerocrats in your life. Maybe you experienced military service and its petty tyrants, you might have experienced a petty tyrant boss, you could have bad luck with some unfulfilled professors that think their mission in school is to torment children not to teach...

I had experienced some of those and it was a relief to be able not to take their anger and violence on me, but keep smiling inside and thinking how dumb they were in their petty violence and I fought back with being even a better student, supplying all the paperwork needed or whatever was the "petty tyrant" idea of brigning me down - and just ignoring their violent approach - this why "bother with idiot?" approach is an essence of "petty tyrant" to me.

You don't go into direct confrontation that will cause you much energy - you just play his game back to him. Ignoring his violence.
But if you apply this on good people not on real "petty tyrants" - this is than manipulation...

You don't need to kill the annoying buerocrat that deliberately makes your life worse because he has some little power over you, but if you would be in a concentration camp or similar - the final act of freedom might also include killing the tormentor.

But let's stay where we are - so "petty tyrant" idea is not harmful - it is very reasonable not to accept their violence and be psychologically harmed by the people that accidentally appear in a position where they can abuse their power over you...

Not to speak about another idea that you might understand as psychologically harmful - having death as an ally.
You can understand that literally and mimick some dark and deranged "warrior path" or you can understand that as a very good idea that really frees you psychologically: the ultimate thing that can happen to you is death (if you don't believe in any other superstitions ofcourse).
When you really understand (feel) this reality of being confronted with your ultimate annihilation your life choices are freed from many petty concerns. I know I did many big decicions towards less financially rewarding and more daring life-style because I knew the worst thing that can happen is to die and that I certainly will someday. So why not do something meaningful in the meantime? Why worry about unimportant things if I can die in the next moment. This idea is psychologically very powerful - this is actually a positive application. This idea originates from some of existentialist philosophy and literature (esp. Camus, Sartre) where it is mostly applied in a nihilist version which can be more psychologically harmful. 

So, why I wrote this reply to you Ari - I suggest to you to stop delving in that space (Sustained Reaction) devoted to Castaneda (even though it is supposedly "negative" devotion) - you still debate his work, criticize his work and denounce some ideas that have their valid existance elsewhere where you could research and study them seriously. Why bother with Castaneda if you can move forward?

Many ideas that Don Juan worded are not some vain new-age gibberish but stolen treasures from other cultures - mostly Buddhism - they are not even too distorted in some places in the books - some essence of the ideas remained but was presented in a distorted setting (as old Native American knowledge). As I said before - that is a part of the appeal - because some of that knowledge is real in its essence, but it is presented in a false and fraudulent way.

And the most harmful effect is that when you realise that and denounce Castaneda you also denounce those ideas that are valid - in their ORIGINAL form in other cultures.

Castaneda was a liar who spoke some truth and many lies - that is a problem I guess...

So yes - forget the path of a warrior - but there is still the path of freedom. I was delighted ("saved") by discovery of this path. But if you were attracted to the power-gaining aspect of Castaneda's books you might not find any satisfaction in those other books and traditions I will suggest to you now.

If you are still interested in the "path of freedom and liberation" and you want to know more about the nature of reality apart from "common-sense" everyday whereabouts this might be a good starting point:

Read the good translations with valid commentaries (if any) of I CHING & Taoist masters (try not to join any sect claiming their origin in ancient chinese traditions afterwards, hehe) (i don't know which are good books in English - but we have some very good scholars and philosophers whose translations I read in my own language) Always keep in mind that you are already confronted with some interpretation - but you can sense the core ideas after reading much literature on the same topic.

Read valid Zen books (stay away from Zen new-age and sects! - even the old monastic ones, hehe) - especially some Japanese zen & western philosophy scholars found many connections between western existentialism, phenomenology & Zen. So you can also check some of the european authors - I wouldn't suggest Heidegger so much than I would Karl Jaspers and some Husserl. There are also many others... if you will go into this you will discover yourself..

Still remember that knowledge is dispersed and especially in philosphy - ideas evolve and are constantly rethought - there is no final truth or occult wisdom to cling onto - not one person has all the answers and you will synthesize your own personal view in any case...

A very helpful site is Karl Jaspers forum where they continue in his spirit - not directly about him or his writings - but they (pre)publish articles that are mostly dealing with the conception of reality, perception, etc.

Again - be selective - truth doesn't come on golden plate. (read their statement of purpose and you will understand better what they are all about)

I would also deeply suggest works of Shinichi Hisamatsu. Especially about the Zen Nothingness.

There is also a website that continues his message:

An if you haven't - you can discover many origins of Castaneda ideas in Richard De Mille criticial books.

This is only start - I am really interested what the original NDN "philosophical" legacy and its contemporary interprets (scholars with indigenous origins and insider gaze) have to say - I just ordered a couple of "valid" books.

There is still much life to waste, hehe.

But don't waste your time just critically debating Castaneda's legacy on some sites devoted to him - use his sources instead. 

If this suggestions are of no use to you and I judged your position wrong - just forget and ignore it.

I wish to end writing about Castaneda here.

best to all

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: garners on April 23, 2008, 09:42:23 pm
For someone claiming not to defend Castaneda AH and saying
"Ok - enough from me on this topic -"
You sure keep going and going.

I think you are totally off base with your advice to Ari and she probably should ignore your invite to play new age intellectual and get hooked on the ideas you claim to still be hooked on.

To begin with Castaneda ideas and Buddhism are polar opposites and your defense of Castaneda by claiming it has a Buddhist source or an Asian source is without any real correlation ...unless you are speaking New Age Buddhism or other New Age treatments of Asian Philosophies such as Taoism.

Also your advice that Ari should apply don juan  principles and not confront abuse directly seems very misguided to me.
If Indians and their supporters were to just wait for the abusers and frauds to defeat themselves by humoring them they would not get very far.
 It is the confrontational activist position that is finally making headway against the frauds by forcing people to think clearer about the deceits and making business as usual for frauds and wannabes much more difficult for them.

I encourage Ari to act directly and strongly against what she protests.

And besides ...advising "stalking the "petty tyrant is just giving Castaneda lip service again. I will remind you that in the books the main example of stalking the petty tyrant was a premeditated act that ended up with a killing.
 And all this murderous retribution and deception was of course perpetrated by an Indian.
All the twisted absurd game playing behaviors in Castaneda books is supposed to be Magical wise old Indian lore.

 Buddhism springs from compassion and disipating suffering. Nothing in Castaneda's fiction has this as an objective..

Now you rationalize that Castaneda's  ideas are valid because they have older unclaimed non Indian correlations.. but you have not and never could prove this. It is only intellectual speculation at best.

Castaneda is not defensible. Sure maybe his books are defensible for you
You have made that clear AH. Why I am not sure... seems you are maybe a bit of a don Juan roleplayer
..quoting don Juan and suggesting to use his techniques.

 I think that claiming that Castaneda's ideas are sourced from valid sources and therefor good and helpful .. is no different that posting here  that things any other frauds say and sing in pseudo sweatlodges or in paid for blessings, prayers, books and talks are from genuine sources so they are good and have helped you. 
What good is this doing the cause of NAFPS?

 It seems to me that this website is about stopping fraud not rationalizing it.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Ari on April 24, 2008, 04:54:28 am
A. H., Juanism expressing extremely selfish, egocentric and hostile stance a person can take in relation to the world. Exactly what unhappy rebellious teenager mentality could appropriate very well.

Philosophy of juanistic warriors way is fraudulent in it's nature and it gave life to fraudulent New Age worldwide action. Validated as initiation into mysterious Indigenous way of knowledge. Non fiction.

Yes, personally i was affected badly by my involvement into believing this confusion to be highly meaningful system of esoteric knowledge and it hurts even more to see it was composed  exploiting fraudulently the whole cultural group of people.       

A. H., I was witnessing plenty of cases of believers playing Juanistic warriors game to see that you seems to be deliberately stalking the tyrants here... patiently, cunning, sweet, ruthless... Well, congrats! You got us.


Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: A.H. on April 24, 2008, 07:48:59 am
(to Ari and garners)

Ok. I am sorry I could not be of any help to you.

Understanding fraud and its methodology and psychology and seeking valid ways of knowledge and trying to show that to others is one of the ways of fighting fraud and decreasing the number of followers. Frauds are few - followers are many...


Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: garners on April 24, 2008, 09:36:56 am
I do not know why you say you cannot be of any help to us AH.
Seems as usual ...if you want to help.... take action.

Please consider writing to Shambhala Mountain Center and politely informing them that by supporting and promoting Castaneda group of Cleargreen they are continuing with an abuse of Native American's culture.
I do not think they realize that Cleargreen is based on dishonest claim that it all comes from wise old Indian don Juan and his 27 generation lineage of magical Mexica shamans..

Tibetan Buddhists should know better than to support cultural appropriation of Indians when they themselves are looking for any help they can get to preserve their own culture and spirituality. Including sharing discussions with genuine Indians.

I wholly encourage writing to Shambhala Mountain Cenrter and politely setting them straight and ask them to stop the support of phoney Indian claimants before it brings more embarrassment and shame to Tibetan Buddhism.

Shambhala Mountain Center:

I would also suggest writing to the Dalai lama. And asking that the issue of Indian Tibetan support of each other's cultures be given greater attention and encourage him to look into the matter of Shambhala Mountain Center supporting  cultural fraud.
 He is a very polite person and could be a powerful ally of Indian activist's if he was more aware of the issues involved. 
He or at least his representatives are almost certain to write back promptly..

His Holiness the Dalai Lama contact:

91 1892 221343       
91 1892 221879
91 1892 221813

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Kevin on April 24, 2008, 02:36:21 pm
I will email too and if a bunch of us do, it will have its intended affect. That's top-notch advice, Garners.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: outershell on April 24, 2008, 11:44:37 pm
one thing i hear in defense of Carlos Casteneda/ Don Juan is something like: "Even if it is a lie it helps you realize the truth" or some crap like that. that line of reasoning has never made any sense to me.
 I don't have the words to explain it, but a lie is a lie and the truth is the truth. how can you believe in something you know is a lie?

its sad but ppl still follow the book and pay through the nose:
(notice that tuition starts at $150.00)
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: frederica on April 25, 2008, 12:28:20 am
It's escapist literature, came out of the psychedilic 60's. He was a con man, pretty skilled one at that, died of hepatic cancer. I could never figure if he actually used Datura or Peyote, but he didn't seen to know the difference, or he just make it up as he went along. I think it still holds up as pure escapist literature, nothing more, nothing less. Strictly non-fiction. I would take it as nothing more than reading a novel.  It's like people paying money to be around Suraj Holzwarth. What is that about? I don't know what they are looking for or rather lacking in their lives that they have to do that.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: A.H. on April 25, 2008, 09:23:15 am
I am very interested in what will they reply... Because the "leader" of the Shambala center himself has graced Cleargreen in participating personally as a part of their workshop. And he is befriended with them... And it is really hard to convince a person who has a good personal connection with someone with ANY hard fact from outside.

I think you will protesting about one fraud to another fraud...

You should also understand that Tibetan Buddhism as such is primarily a monastic and very hierarchic (guru/lama system) one, so it is very culturally bound and if spread outside its culture can easily become sectarian (if it is not already in its original form).

In its "reatreat" and workshop form it is also watered down - "westernized" and just another new-age means to make people feel better... That is not so bad, because at least it is done by the carriers of the tradition, but still pretty meaningless for anyone seriously interested in "liberation" as hinted in Castaneda (liar's truth) and more thoroughly explained and thought through in many other "valid" philosophical/spiritual traditions - most profoundly in Taoism (that "garners" percieves totally ingorantly as a new-age rendition of Asian philosophies - where could you get such idea?) and Chan/Zen Buddhism which do exist also as purely "philosophical schools" that can be shared or taught to the World because they transcend simple form and superstitions and social hierarchical structures as leaders, gurus, monasteries, rituals, etc.

So - I am really interested what will they answer - and maybe it is time to acknowledge also Shambala center as "fraud" or at least as "new age something", hehe. 

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: garners on April 25, 2008, 02:44:32 pm
Well AH if you are interested in what they will reply.. have you written?

Or is it easier for you to just express how much you think you know and others do not.

I never stated Taoism is New Age I clearly said "New age treatments of Asian philosophies"
But I am aware that people playing Taoist games are the last to realize that they are just roleplaying at authenticity with another wise old appropriaton.

 The point is that anything  added or compared to  Castaneda is New Ageified.

I do not get your drift about Shambhala besides just chiming in again as a contrarian. "For balance" I assume.

 Of course they are sponsoring New Age. And certainly they are decadent.
That is why to write them and to have many people do so.
To express with many voices that in supporting pretend Indians they are not doing right behavior and instead are adding to fraud and spiritual materialism.

This is how it works when elevating peoples awareness about their support of frauds.

Even Sakyong Mipham is not stupid and without seeds of compassion.

And if Tibetan Buddhism openly condems appropriation of Indian culture he would have a hard time justifying supporting it.
This is why an activist dialogue with the dalai Lama should be pursued.
It could have good consequence for both parties.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: A.H. on May 01, 2008, 12:30:49 pm
garners - good luck with the fight. I am glad there is a fresh Cleargreen thread open.

But I still think you personally waste too much time with Castaneda and because of being a victim of his fraudulent organisation you started to see only fraud around instead of searching for authentic sources that are available and willing to be shared and that you can read and contemplate without embarresment or danger of being physically or financially abused or that your actions would do that to others... 

Reading and contemplating Lao Tse, Shinichi Hisamatsu, D.T.Suzuki, Vine Deloria Jr. (wov, what a man - I am just discovering his work right now), Dan Lusthaus, Karl Jaspers, etc. would certainly keep you away from any "new-age"...

Actually I posted this reply primarily because I just found this opinion (in my view one of the most clear and unbiased ones I read till now - but I could be wrong and I haven't checked the validity/authenticity of that blogger):

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Ari on May 01, 2008, 03:19:10 pm
A. H.,

This is site dedicated to publishing info on New Age fraud and related discussions. You circling around the topic with insistent advises to get away from any new age, drop it and forget it all.

I don't see logic in your performance...

I think your assumption that garners needs your advise on what to read is a bit arrogant. Also your assumption that garners is blinded by victimhood to appreciate merits of Castanedian teaching seems to be absurd.

Let me point it out to you: authentic sources don't make big deal about making people believe that to be a victim of a fraud is embarrasing. To incode in people's minds the idea that to be a victim is shameful is favorite New Age trick to escape responsibility.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: A.H. on May 01, 2008, 05:03:17 pm
I don't see logic in your performance...

I think your assumption that garners needs your advise on what to read is a bit arrogant.

Yes, you are right, it is arrogant, even if it was not meant to be. Sorry.

About logic - explaining it all again would go too off topic..

... but my assumption was/is that you can get blinded by the victimhood to start only seeing fraud everywhere - I didn't say that you became blinded to not being able to appreciate C. teaching... You twist and misinterpret what I say all the time. But I am idiot enough to really had this strange urge to offer a helping advice... that's also my arrogance I guess.

"Have fun" with debunking Castaneda, I should now really quit this topic - it is not healthy to spent so much time on it...


Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: garners on May 01, 2008, 10:53:07 pm
The  pretend Indian Don Juan is obviously a weak spot for you AH.. keep putting your foot in mouth and then swearing not to do it again.

"Ok - enough from me on this topic" -AH -4/21

"I wish to end writing about Castaneda here"   - AH -4/23

"I should now really quit this topic" -AH -5/01

Now you are posting as further balancing defense of Castaneda a  pretend "medicine elder" and supposed new age practitioner's blog

You link to it saying it is  "clear and unbiased"
But it  surely is not.

It is written by:

The "Indigenous American medicine elder Tacalihua "Indioheathen" Zecope PsyD NA"


This person  "Indioheathen" shows he knows nothing of what is factual about Toltecs.
Although he is certainly lost in the Castaneda fabrications of them.
Here are some of the lies that this self appointed elder supports:

"Don Juan's shamanic teacher was from an ancient lineage of shamans known as Nagual, which originated with the ancient Toltecs, but over time became a shamanic lineage made up of Mexican Indians from various tribes."-Indioheathen

"in ancient Toltec terminology, nagual also refers to a higher state of being and awareness beyond ordinary human mortal status. Ordinary human mortal status and awareness is referred to as the tonal." -Indioheathen

(this is entirely Castaneda fantasy there is no Toltec lore stating this)

"a lot of the terms, experiences, and people recorded in Castaneda's writings are authentic."  -Indioheathen

 He should at least provide a few actual examples. He does not for a reason- there is a total lack of authenticity in Castaneda.

"Don Juan, using Castenada-recorded Nagual lineage terminology, departed for "The Third Attention" (an afterlife) via "the fire from within" (a form of spontaneous combustion) back in the early 1900's." -Indioheathen

This guy is so deluded he actually tries to claim there was a real don Juan BUT much earlier and that this don Juan also went into Castaneda's third attention dimension by burning from the fire within half a century before Castaneda's books.... lol.. 

"one of the reasons why Castaneda was so elusive with the public most of his career as an author was because he had diseminated secret, sacred knowledge to the world that had never been revealed before, even to anthropologists. He was given permission to do so with restrictions from his "Don Juan" teacher, and that Don Juan himself ended up an outcast by indigenous elders in Sonora for sharing the sacred knowledge to an outsider that publicized it." -Indioheathen

What were you saying about this person's opinion of Castaneda being "one of the most clear and unbiased ones you have read till now", AH?

"Don Juan himself ended up an outcast by indigenous elders in Sonora" ??

Being an "Elder" himself I guess Ricardo Indioheathen Tacalihua  Zecope knows this first hand?

Probably how he knows this too:

"In his book Magical Passes, the movements illustrated are authentic in the way of being actual, ancient Mesoamerican techniques for protection and manipulating energy" -Indioheathen

Indioheathen is such a phoney. Obviously he is playing a game of pretending to be knowlegeable of this stuff but he is lost.

He even claims Castaneda wrote Being in Dreaming while in a schizophrenic state.. which he claims all Indigenous people  realize is a real other other reality.

"This was especially true in Being in Dreaming, where he was in an uncontrolled schizophrenic state most of the time." -Indioheathen

Being in Dreaming was written by Florinda Donner... one of Castaneda's missing followers... whose earlier book "Shobono" was exposed as a plagiarism of Ettore Biocca's book entitled "Yanoáma: The Story of Helena Valero, a Girl Kidnapped by Amazonian Indians"   

Nothing in this blog post by Indioheathen was unbiased or clear.
 Clearly Indioheathen is a phoney roleplayer and not a medicine elder.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: A.H. on May 04, 2008, 12:04:23 pm
You are probably right about that blogger, garners.  I liked that his writing seemed devoid of emotional charge... that made me percieve it as unbiased...

You are also right about me and Don Juan (I could fall under the Vine Deloria's opinion on Don Juan and western psychopathology connected with the need for such caracters) - but that is off topic..

My opinion on Castaneda is not relevant. I am crazy anyway. Hehehe..

But I am not in favour of simplistic condemnations. I want to understand motivations and ideas behind things. Just pointing finger and shouting fraud in this specific case is not helpful on that way.

It is obvious today that it is fraud - but emotional and ideological impact remains and it is wise to look for reasons why and how. I posted everything I think about that already. I have no special wish (anymore?) to impose my understanding about that on you or anybody. I offered opinion that ideas he used can be found in more authentic form elsewhere - that is true - others confirmed it also. And many of them come from various Asian philosophies. You can read those philosophies without connecting yourself to new age or Castaneda - that was my point.

Anyway - I already posted a useful link to the lenghty article in Salon:

It covers much that it needs be covered.

And there is another interesting (historical - from the 70's) article that tries to understand the phenomena not just condemn it simplistically:,9171,903890-1,00.html

Now I will really quit this topic, heheh. Or maybe I won't. ;)

Good luck and best

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Ari on May 04, 2008, 04:01:47 pm

There is no mystifying complexity in castanedaism. It is fraud in the core, rotten seed.

I think studies of complexities of born out of fraud psychological entanglements would cover issues of complexities of castanedaism much better than entertaining interested public cheesy articles about celebrities.

Anyhow, A. H.... if you would be sincere in giving advises to get over it, unlikely you would insist on pointing out complexities and supposed goodness.   
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: garners on May 04, 2008, 05:38:53 pm
AH is sincere.... in flaunting his roleplaying .
I think he has just found what he thinks are better more intellectual roles to play
and it seems he is caught in a loop of validating and authenticating himself.

 The  dated Time magazine article is filled with culty come ons. Ari is right to classify it as she does as cheesy celebrity nonsense.
And the Salon article is good but really did not investigate into the missing people nor the misrepresentations of Cleargreen.

These are the legacy of Castaneda now.

How much of a suicide cult did Castaneda spawn and why does Cleargreen ..while saying they are "The modern-day practice of personal accountability." ... perpetuate a lie that what they teach comes from generations of Ancient Lofty Indians?

well we know why .. for giving it validation to new Agers that drink that  stuff up like kool aid.
Not realizing that it is a Jim Jones style brew.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Thinker on May 09, 2008, 01:06:20 am
Castaneda wasn't just an innocent fake who became cult leader by writing some books which are fictional stories containing wisdom stolen from other traditions. That would be too easy, and couldn't explain the influence he had on his victims.

The truth is, as far as I have discovered by now, that he's an evil sorcerer who attempted to create his own "religion", and that he's not alone. They are four or five men, whom he provided with fictional characters as described in his stories, and they work together in this project. (Or should I say "worked"?)

I have met them, and I had quite some interactions with them, in the real world as well as in the vision world. (I could call it "separate reality", but I don't want to use his terminology, and I don't know which word you use for this place which is where you meet telepathically, be it in visions of different appearance and intensity, or be it just energetic interactions.)

These men are: Castaneda himself, then a person who uses the Don Genaro identity as well as the Nagual Julian identity, then someone who appears as Don Juan and who appeared to me also as Caesar, then the Silvio Manuel man, and then someone who frequently appears to me as Miraculix (from Asterix & Obelix, if you know that), and who has to do with Vicente and Warrior Seer. (They all have internet identities, most easily found on SR, but it's quite hard to discern them as all of them use quite a couple of names.)

Also it has to be noted that Castaneda is not dead, that they faked his death because his ugly being became all too apparent for his followers, and that then the Genaro/Julian guy took over and lead them until it also became all too apparent that he's a criminal, too.

These seem to be the main culprits, there are some others who are of less importance, and maybe would be okay people if they hadn't been mislead, so maybe there's some sort of forgiving for the minor guys.

In the moment there's the punishment and getting rid of these bastards going on, process is slow, but fast and secure since I have some big helpers "on the other side" (people who lived long ago and still exist somewhere), and they see it as some sort of revenge since these criminals have no respect whatsoever and even tried to steal their energy, not only that, they wanted to do away with them and devour them.

Well, now it's the other way round. I'm sure some of them read this, and they will feel freaky if all their spiritual energies will be gone and they'll be left as ordinary men without any supernatural powers at all.

I need to end this with a funny statement I read somewhere: A medicine man from the (fill in yours) tribe was asked: "Do you have supernatural powers?" He responded: "I only have natural powers. But they are super."
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: garners on May 09, 2008, 08:01:54 am
"I have met them, and I had quite some interactions with them, in the real world as well as in the vision world." 

"Thinker" is not a sane person but is a good example of what drugs and Castaneda type thought can bring a person to.
Seems Castaneda draws this variety of nut case roleplayers  like rainstorms draw toads in the spring..   

"Posting crazy"  and  "soapboxing" (roleplaying as if on a stage")  are just  trolling techniques used  to disrupt threads that otherwise intelligently point out Fraud. 


Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Thinker on May 09, 2008, 11:27:50 pm
Well, man, the validity of your statement depends on your definition of sanity, and I'm sure we have quite a different one.

But honestly, I don't understand how you can draw this conclusion, no matter how wicked your definition of sanity is, from this quote of mine. So let me ask you a few questions:

1. Do you think it's insane if I say that I met Carlos Castaneda, Florinda Donner, Taisha Abelar, Carol Tiggs, and a couple of others from these people in the real world?

2. Do you think the vision world exists and one can have interactions with people there?

If you answer no to the first question, you're a fool, since there are lots of people who have met these people.

If you answer no to the second question, you're a fool, but I certainly wouldn't take the effort to convince you of that.

So, yes, feel free to believe I'm not sane, and let me believe whatever I might wish about your own sanity and those of all the people who deny the experiences of others in the vision world they don't know anything about.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: E.P. Grondine on May 09, 2008, 11:37:26 pm
Hi -

There was a book published years ago (Cut Stones and Crossroads) which pretty much detailed Castaneda's fraud, exactly who, how, and when. That the information in it was widely ignored speaks volumes about the strength of some peoples' desire to be deceived, and of others' greed.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: garners on May 09, 2008, 11:53:34 pm
This is not about you "thinker". I certainly hope administration has the forsight to delete your account sooner than later.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Thinker on May 10, 2008, 12:01:38 am
This is not about you "thinker". I certainly hope administration has the forsight to delete your account sooner than later.

Well, your obvious attack of hatred against me makes me wonder whether you're not one of those SR trolls who tries to have any mention of this subject be hidden from the public.

If you're not, please explain:

If this is not about me "thinker" then about whom is it?

And if it's not about me "thinker" then why should administration delete my account?

Is it about you "garners" maybe???
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Thinker on May 10, 2008, 12:08:06 am
Oh, sorry, maybe I understand. Is it the quote from the end of my first post? It was taken from the book of a famous German anthropologist (I don't know the name in the moment, but may look it up if you want to) about shamanism. The attitude of the author towards "supernatural" things is not as naive as it might look from this quote, it's critical but also positive, tries to understand instead of judging (or prejudging).
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: E.P. Grondine on May 12, 2008, 12:47:55 am

If a legitimate spiritual guide had agreed to provide you with guidance, there would be no issue, and no one here would be trying to warn you off this.

Please, please, read the account of Castenada in "Cut Stones and Crossroads", and then judge for yourself.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Thinker on May 12, 2008, 09:55:23 pm
Well, who is the authority to say whether a spiritual guide is legitimate or not?

The book you mentioned seems to be the wrong one, it's a travel guide about Peru:

review (http://review)
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Barnaby_McEwan on May 12, 2008, 10:07:20 pm
This topic is about Castaneda, not your personal worldview. Please use the private message facility to continue your discussion.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Ari on May 20, 2008, 04:07:06 pm
Interesting discussion about true origins of Castanedian "teaching" was started at Sustained Reaction board:
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: E.P. Grondine on May 21, 2008, 02:41:21 am
Once again, please, oh please read the account of Castenada in "Cut Stones and Crossroads"
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: koyoteh on July 09, 2008, 08:06:33 pm
when I read Don Juan when I was younger , I didn't see him as presenting himself as anyone but a victim of a medicine mans practical joke.

His book never presented himself as a leader of anything.  It was reading audience that followed that turned him into the icon. ANd then I think that he decided to go with it ,take advantage of it , and profit from it .

In the book all I could see was that the "shaman" Don Juan was constantly playing jokes on him, making fun of him, making him do ridiculous things . And so Castaneda being young and eager and anxious did whatever he was told no matter how stupid it was. Most of the time it seemed that the "shaman" was very annoyed with castaneda as Castaneda was constantly hounding him and wouldn't leave him alone.

I think we all have met people like that.
I think even that the book says one more thing that people don't see upfront which is Don't Be a Fool Like Castenadas Character in the book. I have seen medicine men play mean well deserved practical jokes on people who make themselves vulnerable. I see them do this and then talk about it later to everyone else making fun of their victims. Medicine men or not, they are human who also like to laugh and play. But also to protect the people from newage hippies like Castanedas character in the book.

I also met a man who runs medicine ceremonies . An old guy, who is said to be the basis for the Don Juan character. And this old man is a trickster.

So I feel that the general public has misread this book to be about finding knowledge and spirituality, when in reality its about telling us not to behave like a fool.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: MatoSiWin on July 22, 2008, 06:37:11 pm
WOW, I haven't hear that name in a LONG time.   I remember when I was a young teen, my mother had gone back to college (on one of her unsuccessful attempts to straighten out) and as part of her philosophy class they were reading Castaneda's writing (drivel).  She was so "into" it for a while there, and went on and on about it, so I decided to read some of it for myself.  Even as a very young girl I was able to recognize it for what it was... pure imagination, like something out of the Willy Wonka movie... "Come with me, and you'll see, there's a world of pure imagination..."

hmmm, I wonder if he ever met any oompa loompas along the way. ::)
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: deafskeptic on July 22, 2008, 11:38:19 pm
I remember trying to read it years ago and I never finished it. It seems to appeal mostly to the Baby boom generation.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: manny on August 25, 2008, 12:10:05 am
I have never talked in public about what I'm about to share.  I attended the University of California at Irvine between 1968 and 1972.  Carlos Castaneda was teaching during the summer of '69 and "71 (as memory serves me). I took his classes since I was smitten by his books.  He had a office for student consultations in the Humanities building. The second time he was teaching at UCI I made and appointment to see him.  The appointment was made on a thursday about 1pm.  I arrived at my appointment on time and Carlos was not there.  I waited for a while before sitting on the ground in front of the elevator. It seemed like a long time and the halls were empty of anyone.  Finally, two
young men emerged from the elevator and I noticed that they where hispanics who appeared to be out of place at the university due to their dress and manner. They greeted me with hardly and utterance then turn to my left and proceeded to enter the
balcony which housed classrooms.  I assumed they were workers employed by the university.  Still, I was bothered by their uncharacteristic manner.  Then, like a flash, I remembered some of the young characters that Castaneda described in his book.
No more than 45 seconds had elapsed when I rose and started for the door that led to the balcony. I opened the door and they could not be seen.  I walked in search of them.
All the classrooms were closed, locked and dark. You could clearly see the enterior of each classroom through large windows. No one was in them. The only access was the balcony walkway. There were no other exits. It was too high for them to jump to the ground without major injury or death.  I must have gone over this ground a least a 100 times.  To this day I cannot account for it.
Before you dismiss this account as either error or psychosis.  Keep in mind that I believe that Castaneda is a fraud! But for entirely different reasons.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Kevin on August 25, 2008, 03:10:29 pm
Manny, that sort of reminds me of the time back when I was a hippy -  a bunch of us would gather by a certain garden of a certain person out in the country, eat morning glory flower seeds, jump and holler and take a trip to the moon and never leave the garden. Myself, I skin change into a dog when the bill collectors come around my place. They never think to ask the mutt lying by the door for a payment.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: manny on August 25, 2008, 03:53:10 pm
Actually, Castaneda discouraged use of psychotropic drugs.  He found that most of the interest in his early work was centered around drugs.  Castaneda required sobriety. He openly considered these people unfit and would not engage them.  As for my experience, assume what you will. I experienced it in lucid sobriety.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on October 14, 2009, 10:36:38 pm
I have not read this entire 7 pages of posts.  But I want to say of my experiences of the late Castaneda.  I don't believe him.  First, my brother created a website for the discussion on Castaneda.  When he died, it landed in my lap.  I left it be as it was.. but it was putrid so I killed the forum and gave away the archives of the forums.  The people who took it also took my brother's name and have a new site and have my brother's death information on there, also, stating his (my brother's) intent to create an 'energetic wave' as though that belonged to their site and their intentions.  I hate it.  I want it taken off, but to no avail. 

Anyway..  I left some quotes up on the original site and tried to steer it to a newer direction.  I don't believe Castaneda.  I attended a couple of his workshops.  Even after he died, the group he left behind told people he didn't die.  I just couldn't believe this. 

Well, in my struggles to bring my feelings to light I stumbled across this interview of Tibetan Buddhism.  At the time I found this, it was rare and difficult to find anything on the Dzogchen on the internet.  Now it's all over the place.  But, anyone into Castaneda, I don't see how they can read this interview and still claim Castaneda to have lay claim to his words as 'his' knowledge.  I believe he learned something of Dzogchen, which, up until recent as I stated, was always only taught face to face and was mostly secret at that.. not a public knowledge.  I believe he took from this and expanded, added, created and then called it his own.  Here is interview and the link... I include even the very end where there are the movements that Castaneda tried to call his own, as "Tensegrity".   The similarities are too coincidental.  And although this is not 'proof positive'..  I just believe he stole from it.  Thank you.

Dzogchen long-dé
Primal Energy Exercises of Tibetan Dzogchen
Interview with Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen
"Dzogchen presents every human as being animated by moving patterns of energy – rich, vivid, and powerful. We can discover these subtle landscapes of energy within ourselves. We can experience their depth, and resonate with their vibrant harmonies. Awareness of the space of this resonance enables us to encounter dimensions of vitality that are extraordinary. Although these landscapes of internal energy were familiar territory to Dzogchen practitioners, they are not beyond our scope. Anyone who is seriously interested, and committed to an hour of daily physical exercise and meditation, can discover glimpses of the vast horizon of brilliance and presence that Dzogchen affords."

from a book on Dzogchen sKu-mNyé by Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen, currently in preparation

Dzogchen means ‘utter totality’, and refers to the natural liberated condition of the individual. This state of innate enlightenment is always there, in its utter totality – simply waiting to be uncovered.

Dzogchen is the innermost of the three inner Tantras, and differs significantly from the ritualistic, liturgical form of the other Tantras. Some methods taught by Lamas who specialise in Dzogchen have much in common with Hatha Yoga, but there are also physical exercises which bear no similarity to any Eastern or Western exercise.

One such cycle of Dzogchen psycho-physical exercises is sKu-mNyé (pronounced koo mnyay). sKu-mNyé means ‘massage of the energy body’. The ‘energy body’ is called the rTsa rLung system. rTsa rLung is a system unique to the Vajrayana tradition of Tibet. The rTsa rLung system is made up of ‘nerves’, called rTsa, and the currents of energy they carry, called rLung.

There are several systems of sKu-mNyé in the Tibetan Buddhist schools, but the sKu-mNyé of Aro Lingma is the only one connected with Dzogchen. Khyungchen Aro Lingma (1886-1923) was a female Lama of the Nyingma tradition. She was a gTértön, a visionary Lama who received her revelations directly from Yeshé Tsogyel as a child. Yeshé Tsogyel is the female Buddha whose emanations have appeared in Tibet from the 9th century down to the present day. One of the visionary revelations of Aro Lingma is the sKu-mNyé system currently taught by Ngak’chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen – a married teaching couple of the Nyingma Tradition of Vajrayana who live in the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales.

Question Is the sKu-mNyé of Aro Lingma similar to the sKu-mNyé that has become known through Tarthang Tulku’s books Kum Nye Relaxation?

Khandro Déchen No, it’s really quite different. That may sound a little surprising, but there are various systems of sKu-mNyé. For example Ngak’chang Rinpoche knows of one that exists in the Gélug School of Tibetan Buddhism, which is quite like a combination of Hatha Yoga and pranayama. This is also very different from the system taught by Tarthang Tulku. It is likely that all the schools have forms of sKu-mNyé.

Q But they all have the same principle.

Ngak’chang Rinpoche You would think so, but no. The word sKu-mNyé is actually both a highly precise term, and a term which covers a whole range of bio-energetic work. It is like the word rigpa. Rigpa can simply mean knowledge or intelligence – as in zo-rigpa, which means the knowledge associated with art – or in terms of Dzogchen it means presence of awareness in the continuity of Mind – through the arising and dissolution of that which arises in Mind. This is the definition of rigpa according to Dzogchen. Tarthang Tulku’s Kum-nye is based in the medical Tantras, whereas the sKu-mNyé of Aro Lingma is based in Dzogchen long-dé. The principles are thus fundamentally different. The principle of Dzogchen is self-liberation and the principle of Tantra is transformation.

KD so when we use the word sKu-mNyé, it’s like using the word ‘exercise’. If someone says they perform physical exercises, you cannot really be sure what kind of exercises they intend. It could be ærobic dance, gymnastics, weight-lifting, or whatever. sKu-mNyé, as the word is used in the Aro gTér, refers to the Dzogchen principle of generating profound experiences of the essence of the elements. To describe the principle and function of this within Dzogchen long-dé would become enormously technical for our present discussion, but I would say that the other forms of sKu-mNyé are connected more with breath regulation as a means of stabilising the conceptual mind. These are practices connected with Tantra. The sKu-mNyé of Aro Lingma is part of the Dzogchen long-dé cycle, and completely bypasses the functioning of the conceptual mind.

Q Could you give some sense of what sKu-mNyé is like?

KD It’s remarkably varied. It contains some exercises which are physically very gentle, and some which are so extraordinarily ærobic that they would tax someone who was quite athletic. For some exercises, you require considerable strength and agility, but for most, average fitness is sufficient. There are even some that are so undemanding that almost anyone could practise them without undue strain. Some sKu-mNyé are simple seated postures in which the movements are very slow and even. Others require surprising co-ordination, and quite an advanced sense of balance. Some are really so unusual that it would be quite hard to describe them. I would say that there are sKu-mNyé exercises suited to an extraordinarily broad range of body types and levels of suppleness. This makes them highly versatile, in terms of one being able to continue in the exercises throughout one’s life. They are certainly quite different from other physical exercises. The best way of introducing you to them is perhaps to demonstrate them. (See exercises and illustrations.)

Q It’s hard to imagine something that could be so different from other forms of physical movement. Is there anything that is even remotely similar? Would the question of balance make it anything like Ta’i Chi?

NR No, it is not like Ta’i Chi. We have taught people with experience of Ta’i Chi, and have discovered that sKu-mNyé requires a different sense of balance.

Q You’re saying that the sense of balance that is required for different disciplines is not the same?

NR Yes. Well, at least in terms of sKu-mNyé and Ta’i Chi.

Q Would you also say that of sKu-mNyé and Hatha Yoga?

NR I do not know. We have never taught people with much experience of Hatha Yoga. I do not know what accounts for this difference, because I have never practised Ta’i Chi, but I would say that it might lie in the fact that sKu-mNyé generates physical disorientation, whereas that does not seem to be present in Ta’i Chi. However. someone told me that aspects of sKu-mNyé were like Chi-gung with regard to physical co-ordination. But, from what I have seen of Chi-gung, I would say that concepts of similarity are largely unhelpful. I think that it is better to keep these different systems as discrete areas. Finding similarities between different systems can actually distort understanding – especially if the understanding is immature. In sKu-mNyé there is great emphasis on the eyes. This is the case with many practices of Dzogchen. The eyes are kept wide open and unmoving whilst engaged in the exercise, and in the meditation that follows. Sweeping movements of the torso, arms, and legs are quite characteristic; but the most unusual aspect is ‘circling’ the head.

Q I believe there’s head rotation in Hatha Yoga?

KD Yes, but the head circling in sKu-mNyé is kept extremely small. If you imagine tracing a circle with your nose – the circumference should not be more than an inch (2.54cm). It’s difficult to keep it that small, because the tendency is to make larger circles. Unmoving eyes in conjunction with circling takes time to perfect, but it’s made easier by the ability to focus in space. Focusing in space needs to be explained. It does not mean going ‘out of focus’. Focusing in space means you are in focus, but that there is no tangible object or surface to act as a reference point upon which your focus rests.

Q That sounds really quite difficult. I imagine that you would have to spend a long time in training to be able to do that. What purpose does circling have in sKu-mNyé?

KD There are two active principles involved with circling. Firstly there is the Dzogchen gaze. The method of Dzogchen gazing disorientates the conceptual mind. Secondly, there’s circling. Circling massages the rTsa, the spatial nerves, but it does so through movement rather than through control of the breath. When conceptual mind is disorientated, we become open to perceiving extraordinary experiences, which are released through massaging the rTsa. There are numerous rTsa in the neck that connect with the eyes – so circling activates the rTsa and opens up a subtle dimension of visionary experience at the same time.

Q So you might start to see in an unusual way?

KD Possibly, but in terms of Dzogchen the word ‘vision’ applies to all the senses. Initially there would be tactile visions. Then the other sense fields would gradually follow until visual experiences began to occur. It might sound difficult, but anyone can experience their rTsa rLung energy if they have enthusiasm and application. You do have to push through sensations of dizziness and vertigo – but these sensations tend only to arise when you’re not focused in space. Learning to focus in space is crucial to sKu-mNyé, so it’s very important to practise the gaze first. You have to do that in order to keep your eyes from seeking forms upon which they tend to settle.

Q This must be a valuable aspect of Dzogchen.

KD Yes. This is something which is central to Dzogchen long-dé. The eyes are important in all the Dzogchen systems. The eyes always relate to what is happening at the level of mind and the nature of Mind. You see, it’s not really the eyes that seek out forms – it’s the conceptual mind that seeks them out. In fact, the conceptual mind seeks out forms through all the senses.

Q ‘Mind’ and ‘nature of mind’? Could you explain that? What is the difference?

KD In terms of Dzogchen, mind, or little-‘m’ mind, is the level of conceptuality – that is the ‘mind’ we know – the thoughts and patterns, the collections of habit patterns. All that is sem or little-‘m’ mind. Big-‘M’ Mind, sem-nyid, or ‘the nature of Mind’, is the beginningless, endless, unbounded space of Mind. Mind, or sem, is actually no different in its nature from the nature of Mind or sem-nyid – it is merely a smaller space within a vast space. Enlightenment is when the two come to have the same taste. That is the essential purpose of Aro gTér sKu-mNyé.

Q Do you have to let go of thought?

KD Yes. That is one aspect of practice. It would certainly be useful in the practice of sKu-mNyé if you could allow thoughts to settle out, but that tends to happen anyway. With sKu-mNyé, ‘thoughts’ aren’t really an issue. The exercises tend to blast conceptuality out of existence anyway.

NR In terms of Dzogchen, we train through the senses and the sense-fields rather than through trying to let go of thought. We learn to fix the senses. We keep the senses unmoving in relation to the external world. We employ the natural phenomena around us to become part of the process that leads to the dissolution of reference points. We accomplish this through the Dzogchen practices of integration with the moving elements: water, fire, and air.

KD This is because we are always attaching to reference points. We grasp at reference points in order to feel real; but this actually saps the vitality of our being and obscures the vividness of our perception.

Q So how would I practise this integration with the moving elements, say, with the water element?

KD You would sit by the sea. Or you would sit by a river. You would focus on the surface detail of the water, so that you saw it very clearly and crisply. You would then fix your gaze. You would achieve that by keeping your eyes from moving. The eye muscles habitually track movements by flicking backwards and forwards along the line of movement. This is what stops everything from becoming a blur when you look out of the side window of a car.

Q Yes! I’ve seen that! When you look at someone who’s looking out of the window of a car, their eyes dart rhythmically. They seem to hop forward in the direction the car is taking, and then flash back again. And that’s obviously completely unconscious, isn’t it?

KD Yes. But with sKu-mNyé that habit is brought into consciousness. You become aware of that darting movement, and you continually attempt to freeze it – to fix your gaze. You know when your gaze is fixed because the water blurs – the scenery from the car window blurs.

Q So you could practise this on the way to work every day.

KD Quite.

NR But it is especially important to remember that the blur is a speed blur and not an ‘out of focus blur’. So, in terms to gazing into the water, the water would blur because your eyes were fixed.

KD This wouldn’t be because you weren’t focussing on the surface of the water. It would happen because your eyes were not moving. This is a specific of many Dzogchen practices.

NR The impression you would receive would be like a photograph taken at a slow shutter speed. This is one of the best ways to train in fixing the gaze.

KD The way to train in focusing in space, in terms of Dzogchen, is to learn to feel comfortable when your eyes have no object of focus. This seems challenging at first, but it is by no means difficult. It is, in fact, easier than learning how to fix the gaze. There is a fairly simple method. You stretch out your arm and focus on your index finger. Then, when you have settled your focus, you lower your arm and maintain the gaze. Every time you find your eyes settling on distant objects, simply raise your arm again and re-focus on your finger. You just keep repeating this process until focusing in space becomes a simple muscular reflex.

Q Could that ever be bad for the eyes?

KD [laughs] No, it is actually very good exercise for the eye muscles.

NR Especially when you develop the ability to fix the gaze and focus in space. In sKu-mNyé you do both at once, so it is good to practise both before attempting circling.

Q It sounds as if it could be quite disturbing for some people to do these exercises.

KD Yes. It could be, but only to someone who persisted in the exercises without instruction from a teacher. This is even important at a purely physical level.

NR I remember when Khandro Déchen and I once taught sKu-mNyé in Ohio. There was one lady, a dance teacher, who had trained in ballet and contemporary dance. She had also trained in Hatha Yoga, Ta’i Chi, and Chi-gung. She had practised Western ærobics, athletics, and ‘Callanetics’ – she was muscular, supple, and extremely fit. She was excited to learn a new physical system, especially as it originated in Dzogchen long-dé, and attended a retreat. She learnt sKu-mNyé quickly and easily. At the end of the retreat she was enthusiastic to practise, but she became carried away by her enthusiasm. She came to see us a few days later with aches and pains. We had told her that she would really have to proceed cautiously with the sKu-mNyé, because it would work muscles that she had never worked before. She was really quite surprised by that. She had imagined that she was so fit and supple, that she could push the exercises beyond the limits we had advised.

Q So you really do have to be very careful with them indeed.

KD Yes. And you have to have some awareness – but that is always central with Dzogchen. You need to treat the exercises with respect. There is nothing to be gained by assuming that if you are fit and supple that you can advance very quickly. Naturally, if you are in good shape, it helps – but anyone can practise them as long as they are relatively gentle with themselves. The lady in question assumed that she would have no problem with sKu-mNyé exercises because of the variety of body work that she had done. I think that is something worth remembering, whatever new physical system you take up.

NR Yes. I would imagine it would be the same for a sKu-mNyé practitioner taking up Hatha Yoga as a new discipline. You have to proceed with awareness, and with the guidance of a teacher – this is true of any practice within Dzogchen or Tantra. We cannot stress that too much, especially as far as sKu-mNyé is concerned. It is also important to incorporate the period of meditation that follows each exercise. The period of lying down in the meditation posture should last three times as long as the period of sKu-mNyé movements.

Q Does sKu-mNyé have a structure that you could describe in simple terms?

KD There are 111 exercises in all. They are divided into animal categories, and the animals relate with the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. The exercises are not particularly imitative of animal movements, although occasionally the similarity is apparent. They’re divided into five sets of 21 – 21 for each of the five animals. The animals are not all animals with which Tibetans would be familiar; and three are definitely visionary animals. The lion series are connected with the earth element; vulture with water; tiger with fire; eagle with air; and khyung with space.

Q Khyung?

KD Khyung is one of the visionary animals. People are maybe more familiar with the Sanskrit term ‘garuda’. It’s actually relatively well-known as the symbol of Indonesian Airways. The khyung is the space-eagle – it’s a multicoloured bird which has horns and arms. The lion is the visionary snow-lion – a white creature with a flowing green mane. The eagle, also, is a visionary animal. It should really be called khalding, which means prana-eagle.

NR Prana, or rLung in Tibetan, is the subtle breath or ‘spatial wind’ that flows in the ‘spatial nerves’ of the subtle energetic body. These ‘spatial nerves’ or rTsa form a pattern that spreads throughout the body.

KD There are rTsa all over the body: in the armpits; the ‘elbow pits’; the inside of the wrists; the palms of the hands; between the fingers; the soles of the feet; behind the knees; the inner thighs; the stomach; the neck; and in general, in all the areas described as erogenous zones.

Q Are rTsa like acupuncture meridians?

KD Yes, in some ways, but the pattern is sometimes very different from that of the acupuncture meridians, and functions in different ways. sKu-mNyé stimulates the rTsa and causes stagnant rLung to move. When rLung begins to move, people tend to come alive or wake up in surprising ways. To use the analogy of acupuncture meridians, you could say that sKu-mNyé was like a system of acupressure. Rhythmic physical movements affect the meridians, rather than pressure.

Q Khandro Déchen, you said that there were 111 exercises…

KD Yes, and you can only count 105 from five sets of 21?

Q Yes. So there are others?

KD Yes. The hidden exercises… the six dragons.

Q Why are the dragons called hidden exercises?

KD The dragon exercises are only ever taught to students who have learnt the other 105 exercises. The dragons combine all the elements according to configurations that mirror the relationship styles of the six Tantras.

Q What are they?

KD Krya-tantra, Upa-tantra, Yoga-tantra, Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga or Dzogchen. The dragon exercises are hidden until students have taken the other 105 to a point where their energy systems have been experienced with some accuracy. This is actually very useful as a safeguard, because only those who reach the stage of learning the dragon exercises are given authority to teach. We do not intend to allow anyone to teach these exercises unless they really understand the full spectrum of what can manifest with sKu-mNyé.

Q Is there anything general you can say about the dragons that would give an indication of how they might differ from the other sKu-mNyé exercises?

NR Yes, the dragons are practised by male / female couples who are experienced in the sKu-mNyé practices. They are not sexual in the usual sense of the word, but they do operate at a level where male and female energies sparkle with each other.
Five sKu-mNyé animal exercises

waking lion

lie on your back / legs splayed as far apart as comfortable / arms 90 degrees to your body / palms upwards / eyes closed / simultaneously (with a quick movement) raise your torso and legs (legs straight and locked at the knee) / simultaneously clap feet together and hands together (arms are straight and locked at the elbow) / in the moment of clapping, open eyes wide and shout Ra! (roll the ‘R’ to enunciate fiercely) / when clapping feet and hands, eyes, hands, and feet should be at the same height – feet and hands meet at the same level as your eyes; and at this point your bottom is all that is touching the floor / it is important that the back is kept absolutely straight / try to achieve an angle of 45 degrees to the floor, but NOT by bending your back – bending the back will result in injury! / relax back into the starting position and repeat

vulture hanging on the wind

stand comfortably / knees slightly flexed / feet shoulder’s width apart /weight on the balls of your feet / breathe softly and evenly / eyes wide open / focussed in space / to position arms correctly, imagine a broomstick across the back of your neck – hook your wrists over it, allowing your hands and elbows to hang down / gently shake fingers / then allow movement into your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders / shaking is rhythmic and vigorous, coming from the shoulders / make shoulders move to such an extent that it affects the whole body / shake fingers and hands fast enough to hear their movement / begin to move head from side to side – slowly and evenly – move head as far towards each shoulder as comfortable / count one each time your head reaches the right shoulder / after 7 sweeps of the head, allow it (in mid-sweep) to sink toward the chest – raising it to meet each shoulder (a rolling movement) / after 7 sweeps, lie down in the meditation position

stalking tiger

feet and hands on the floor / hands take the weight of your upper body / arms and legs locked at the knees and elbows / spine is also locked (hips higher than shoulders) / eyes focussed in space / downward gaze / rotate hips in horizontal circles / simultaneously trace 1 inch (2.45cm) circles with your nose, in a horizontal plane, but in the opposite direction (if hips are rotating clockwise then your nose should trace counter clockwise) / whilst rotating hips, keep arms, legs, and spine locked / whilst making these movements, repeat the sounds ‘Ra Sa Ra’ continuously as a ‘harsh whisper’

eagle taking to the air

eyes focused in space / standing position / one foot placed at the distance of one comfortable pace (directly in front of the other foot) / right foot is leading / right palm touches behind right thigh / left palm touches top of left thigh / whichever foot is leading, the hand on that side should be placed behind the thigh / both legs locked at the knee / put weight fully onto leading leg and take a ‘bird pace’ forward (the ‘bird pace’ is accomplished by circling the leg as high as possible) / to commence the ‘bird-step’, swing it backwards a little in order to obtain the highest possible arc / toes pointed in ‘ballet fashion’ (pointing the toes is important when contacting the ground with the foot because you can’t move forward if you land on your heel) / as each pace is taken, hands reverse position / this means that the new leading leg becomes the one with the hand behind it (back of the thigh) / both arms trace wide arcs, alternately reaching perpendicular points above each shoulder /

balance is facilitated by performing this exercise quickly, making arcs of both arms and legs as wide as possible, leaning forward when walking backward, leaning backward when walking forward / a count of one is reached when you have taken three paces forward and three paces backward

crouching garuda

crouching position / place hands on thighs / fingers face backwards (towards stomach) / upper arms parallel to thighs / gaze straight ahead / eyes focussed in space / rise from crouching position by 12 inches (30cm) / circle right foot clockwise / replace right foot on the floor and return to the crouching position / rise again, circling left foot counter-clockwise / as feet alternately circle, the nose alternately circles in the same direction as the feet, but in the vertical plane / to maintain balance, rhythm and sufficient speed are essential / one circle with each foot counts as one repetition of the exercise

Each exercise is repeated 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 21, 27, 49, 54 or 111 times, depending on fitness and experience with sKu-mNyé.

sKu-mNyé should be practised without clothing to allow sensations beyond the surface of the skin to be fully experienced. Clothing particularly inhibits sensitivity to the energetic atmosphere around the body. But if you are practising sKu-mNyé simply to improve posture, suppleness or fitness, clothing suitable for rigorous exercise (without constricting waistbands) can be worn. Repeat each exercise in sets of three, then lie down and experience the sensations that arise, trying to avoid mental comments on them.

After each exercise assume the meditation posture:

Lie on your back / legs just far enough apart for your inner thighs not to be touching / arms outward with the hands slightly higher than the shoulders / palms upwards / fingers splayed open / eyes focussed in space / tongue suspended (not touching upper or lower palate)
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: goozih on October 15, 2009, 03:52:08 pm
When I read these posts I remembered a magazine article I read years ago about Maria Sabina, a Mazatec healer or curandera. She healed people with the help of mushrooms. In 1955  ethnomycologist  Gordon Wasson participated in her healing ceremony and later published an article about it in Life Magazine, May 1957. This sparked a stream of people to her, including many thrillseekers . Real or rumoured encounters included Timothy Leary, Carlos Castaneda, John Lennon and Bob Dylan. She said   "Before Wasson, nobody took the children simply to find God. They were always taken to cure the sick", and   "From the moment the foreigners arrived, the 'holy children' lost their purity. They lost their force, they ruined them. Henceforth they will no longer work. There is no remedy for it". This loss left her bitter .
Sabina's story is a perfect example of how traditional spirituality is clearcut or stripmined.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: uktena on October 20, 2009, 04:20:02 pm
"Before Wasson, nobody took the children simply to find God. They were always taken to cure the sick", and   "From the moment the foreigners arrived, the 'holy children' lost their purity. They lost their force, they ruined them. Henceforth they will no longer work. There is no remedy for it". This loss left her bitter .
Sabina's story is a perfect example of how traditional spirituality is clearcut or stripmined.

The beauty of reading a forum like this is how someone will express something in plain black and white that someone else might have in the back of his mind, but not quite be able to articulate.  Goozih's comment here did exactly that for something that's always bothered me about the Newagers' approach to indigenous elements, such as the mushrooms mentioned here. 

Maria Sabina calls these mushrooms "the holy children", implying a relationship; a typical Newager would more likely to talk about the mushrooms' "energy", implying something that can be harnassed and exploited.  This attitude is pervasive in their thinking:  they clear their space of "negative energy" and draw "positive energy" into it,  rather than banishing and invoking spirits; they see reality as "everything is energy" rather than that everything has some kind of consciousness; even in human relationships, another person's "energy" seems more important to them that his actual personality.  Talk about spirits and relationships of this sort will get you laughed at for being old fashioned and trapped in outdated paradigms, or whatever. (Even the Wannabe Tribe's constant cry of "All My Relations", the focus always seems to be on the second word instead of the third one.)   

Faced with this kind of attitude, no wonder the holy children and others like them don't want anything to do with us anymore.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on October 20, 2009, 04:57:37 pm
Faced with this kind of attitude, no wonder the holy children and others like them don't want anything to do with us anymore.

That is very sad, and difficult to read.

yes, everything is energy, yes, but..  as you stated, there is also consciousness.  A piece of trash is energy ..  and so is a tree, but one has consciousness.  They do tend to treat everything on this level of 'energy' and seem to miss the boat with respect to the conscious being and relationship.

I would like to think the holy children and others like them can discern..   I know what it's like to live in a vacuum of that sort.  I also know that it's possible to just keep living and moving forward while within that vacuum ..  if nothing else, with only the hope that one day it will change. I would not like to see the cultures of this world enter such a vacuum.  It is why I wanted to know if the sweat lodge was OK...  
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Honoring Boundaries on October 30, 2009, 01:19:22 pm
A Good Book for Researchers: Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties

(quote)An Interview with Jay Courtney Fikes-Part One
By Sandy McIntosh

Interview Part Two

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Honoring Boundaries on October 30, 2009, 01:49:41 pm
Another most interesting discussion.

In David Mamet's film House of Games (1987), Mike explains to Margaret that a con artist's goal is not to gain the confidence of his mark, but to give his own confidence to the mark.

another discussant replied,

Yes, I think this is part of why people become enmeshed with narcissists, it may feel like confidence/glamour/power by proxy.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: flyingdust on January 31, 2010, 09:10:31 am
Carlos Castaneda's books have had a huge impact on the western cultural psyche, like new-agers and alternative therapists. Seems to me that every known tom, dick, and harry self-help guru and plastic shaman have lifted Carlos Castaneda's notions, like "intent", and inrcorporated them into their own money-making schemes. I read all of his books, but like any book, i don't buy into anything written or told to me hook line and sinker.  The only knowledge I rely on as truth is what I personally experience.  This is a basic premise of our Indigenous American traditions of learning.   ;)
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on January 31, 2010, 05:02:54 pm
When I read Castaneda's books, there were only 4 of them.  I was 13 or 14 and the affect they had was that I wasn't crazy, and there was more to life than what I saw presented around me.  I was suicidal.  The first 4 books had a positive impact on me. They spoke of things I was experiencing, which is why I continued to read.  It was actually during the 1st 2 that I started to also read other books, and at that time was told not to.  To just pick one if I really felt I needed to.  I chose Castaneda because as I said, it was telling of things I'd experienced as a younger child.  It was the only book that did so.  It was the only source of information in my life, that spoke of things I'd experienced.  The 5th book, came out years later, and I wasn't very thrilled by it.  It annoyed me that one piece in the book was the _exact_ nearly word for word description of something I'd read in a Ruth Montgomery book years ago.  I didn't like it.  It didn't make much sense to me, and I just didn't like it.  Again years later, the 2nd set of books came out.  I read them, I didn't like it.  It seemed complete opposite of the 1st 4.  It didn't jive with the first 4. 

There is some good to those first 4 books.  I think the best about them is the long work of self importance, and of recognizing the doings of other people as theirs.  Those two points kept me alive during a very hard childhood.  I recognized within the books certain tactics that were used solely for the individual of Castaneda.  I also recognized areas he did not expound on, that I wanted to know about. But he always stuck to some things and I'd find myself scanning some of it because it was evident to me. 

I don't believe the original author wrote the last of the 4th book. I believe someone finished that book based on his notes, and then years later, picked it up and wrote more. It is a pity because as much as I would love to recommend the 3rd book of his series, I cannot.  Because if I did, and the person liked it, there's a great chance they'd continue to read more and I would not recommend those later books in any way shape or form.  So, I don't recommend the books at all because of that.  It's a shame, there is some good solid work in those prior books that can be beneficial to people.  The work I speak of is of course, the work on the self. 

Years later, when he gave workshops, I wanted to go and see this person.  I have to say, meeting the participants was crazy.  I'd never met such a bunch of egocentric selfish people in all my life.  Ok, not all of them.  But MANY.  I had to wonder, did they not read the same books I read?  When I spoke of the first books and the techniques within them, they would look at me and say 'what techniques?'  Hello?  I didn't care for the Castaneda people running the show either.  Well, I sort of take that back, I liked a couple of them, they seemed OK. There was one woman who my feeling didn't like at all. Full of self importance to the point of being rather dark.  Which, imo, is what dark is. 

Anyway, the first workshop I went to I saw something..  that remains personal to me today.  But it told me they were false. I went to 3 more, being curious and waiting for the shoe to drop.  It was just more bizarre each time.  I would sit there and hear them saying this or that and just smile at it, at the preposterous notions and the way they evaded when someone asked a real question of them.  I then went to the workshop after Castaneda died.  And I busted out laughing when they stood on stage and tried to claim he didn't die. 

Flyingdust said: The only knowledge I rely on as truth is what I personally experience.

Yes.  That is what I do too.  When I was 14 and read those 1st four books, I did not just believe hook line and sinker.  In fact, I didn't believe them at the get go, it wasn't until after I'd managed to become silent, and then when I'd read of a few things I'd already experienced that I put stock into them. 

In the years that followed I spent most of my time inside of my own self.  Meditation is what most call it. But I had ground rules.  And, it has always been my number one rule, to not believe anything unless I personally experienced it.  However, there is also the opposite, to not disbelief anything just because I haven't experienced it.  Although, there is more in the 2nd category for me, than in the first.  There are some things I just do not believe, even though I have never experienced it.

My older brother when internet first started in the early 90's created a forum for people into Castaneda.  Later he created a website. It is not and has never been associated with Castaneda himself, or his Tensgrity.  When he died, I inherited the site. I dismantled it from what it was.  It is no longer about Castaneda. But I keep it because I know what will become of it if the domains are let go. 

I plan on reworking it again.  The domains and will be something altogether different from what it is now.  I don't even know what the term 'nagual' means.  But I do know that if let go, they'll be picked up and will only be used to propagate Castaneda.  I figure, I can rework the site, and leave the nagual domain name as something remnant of something unknown. 

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on January 31, 2010, 05:11:36 pm
Carlos Castaneda's books have had a huge impact on the western cultural psyche, like new-agers and alternative therapists. Seems to me that every known tom, dick, and harry self-help guru and plastic shaman have lifted Carlos Castaneda's notions, like "intent", and inrcorporated them into their own money-making schemes.

And yes, this is very true.  And it continues on from them to the next..  I mean, how many new books/workshops now use the word 'secret' ?  Whatever made someone money it is taken and incorporated by the next wannabe guru.

An example of a good thing in the first 4 Castaneda books is the statement that people don't need such 'gurus'.  I guess they forget about that when they were busy making money ... 
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: flyingdust on February 02, 2010, 01:29:24 am
I read Carlos Castaneda books back in the day for the same reasons: to find truth and reason to support my existence.  In fact I still read non-fiction and fiction books today in hopes of finding some gems of truth in them (besides for general fulfillment and entertainment).  Critter, it’s honorable to express acknowledgement that these books helped you through a very tough time in your life.  Some of the tenets presented in these books also helped me in my life’s journey.  These books (the earlier ones only) can certainly be read as works of philosophy about awareness.   

In this sense I agree the first 4 books were good to read.  Castaneda told his story in a real down-to-earth, compelling and convincing way I could personally relate to at the time.  But his later books started to change in tone and language.  I even drew the same conclusions as Critter, suspecting that they were not being written by Castaneda anymore.  I began to see that the books written from the fifth one on were attempts to exploit and elaborate on elements from the earlier ones, perhaps for no other reason than to make more money.  The Wheel of Time through to the Magical Passes books were so contrived and shallow I swear they were written by his phony and flakey new age followers.  When it got to that tensegrity stuff and they started using words like “shaman”; that just killed it for me.  I was left with feelings of disappointment that it turned out this way, like meat gone bad, and angered by the outright expropriation and exploitation of it all.  But still, I was not disillusioned by the earlier books premises.  So, here’s a great example the separation between a book’s ideals and the author’s actual behavior, talking the talk but not walking the walk.

You also see the Indian characters in the earlier four books disappear in the later books. By the time you get to the last three books, the disconnection of Indian people and their cultural heritage is complete, a classic example of the appropriation of Native American knowledge and tradition.  I think Castaneda was even quoted as saying in one of his rare interviews that his new party (consisting only of white newagers) was cut off from the Indigenous lineage of Mesoamerican seers because it no longer existed and now they were left with total freedom to be the sole keepers and disseminators of this knowledge (probably the only freedom they’ll ever see).

I believe Carlos Castaneda started off with good intentions, but the incredible success in the sales of 8 million books and the huge attention he got from it corrupted him to the core.  He drew new age opportunists and exploiters to himself like flies to jam and then he succumbed totally to his personal weaknesses.  He became an opportunist and an exploiter himself, surrounding himself with new age women for his self-serving pleasures and indulged to no end.  Ironically but predictably he was totally defeated by the 3rd enemy he talked about in his first book – power (and money). 

Tensegrity is Castaneda’s legacy, a dishonorable new age movement that continues to fraudulently violate, desecrate, distort, and exploit Mesoamerican cultural and spiritual heritage (not to mention the other venerable traditions of sKu-mNyé in Buddhism, Ta’i Chi, and what have you mixed in there). It’s sad.   :(   
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on February 02, 2010, 02:35:14 am
It is sad.  However, for whatever reasons, I still believe the latter books were not written by the same person. I'm not sure, maybe that person really was the person I met at workshops, but it just didn't seem so. For now, I believe the original author died before his 4th book was completed.  (however, not from jumping into an abyss).  And that someone near to him completed it for whatever reasons, and then continued on in his name.  Even illustrating his hunt for his deceased friend in the 2nd Ring of Power.

The Castaneda of the latter books boo hoo'd the new age thing, but, what he did do was take terms commonly known and change them into a new term and tried to say it was different.  He dissed past lives, but in one of his books and was it the character Carol Tiggs? Witnessed one of her past lives, only, of course they called it something else.  I got tired of the term changing.  Just call it what everyone knows it by and stop confusing people with all these term change abouts. 

When they gave the story of how la Gorda died, and the former 'nagual woman' came forward and dissed them for what they did, for how they just stood by and watched her die and did nothing, well, that just seemed like something really wrong.  No one would stand up on a stage and talk about that like its a glowing part of your history.  But, if you had to make up stories as to what happened with the former characters....... 

My brother once stated that no more books should have ever come out.  I agree.  It would have been better to have left it as is, with the final sentence being "everything i told you was a lie'. 

Leave it to the practioner/seeker to figure out for their own self what is valid. 

I don't know about the whole lot of these people though.  Back in the late 70's I was taught some things, that they later wrote about.  But I don't know where or what tradition it comes from, also, what I was taught did not include all the fancy mumbo jumbo's they added to it. Specifically, it was the life review that I was told to do.  No special breaths or sending or taking back this or that energy.  That's all bunk as far as I'm concerned.  But for me, the act of remembering every moment I could remember and settling it, for lack of better term, helped me immensely.  I was only 17, but I did it every night as prescribed until I had recalled my entire life as far back as I could go.

Also, in the late 70's I dreamt with a particular character they later described to a tee in one of their books.  I have no answer for that.  I only know that I dreamt him, and that I have always believed him to be a real entity. I even called him the same name they called him.  The caretaker.  How I dreamt him in the late 70's and then later read about him in one of their books, I'll never know... I can only speculate that some entities do exist, and that some of us meet them.

I think what I despised the most about the books is how they got so many people thinking they're 'stalking' or that they should be..  it was wrong. On that old forum of my brothers, holy cow, what a friggin nightmare.  All it was was people pretending to be someone else by using a diff username and acting like someone else.  It was so stupid. And attacking each other constantly in the name of 'fighting self importance' and 'stalking'.  What BS.  They clung to those books like a bible and could never see past it.. or even see how they were clinging to it.  And the few who did have some understanding of astralling or whatever, would use it to abuse others.  I called it attacking others.  It was the most sick place, with ego centric people all thinking they were the 'nagual' and had the right to go and mess with someone either psychologically or via energetic means.  Talk about a crap load of karma.   It was a nightmare and I closed the thing down.

Truthfully, before my brother died, he had been talking to me about shutting it down himself.  But he died before he did, and out of respect for the people there, and what that place meant to them, I let it be for a while.  They didn't believe for one sec that my brother had intention of closing it.  Oh well, enough was enough and I shut it off.  Let them find some where else for their sick games and pretending.  It just irks me that one of them, who I gave all the articles to, in hindsight I know I should have just dumped it and not given it to anyone, well, they took advantaged and copied the website outright. What freaks, I closed their site and they reopened with just enough changes to pass as not 'copying' but put my brothers memorial on it that states he created the site.  He did not create their site. It bothers me to no end, but, I guess no one lives forever and eventually the owner of said site will pass, and it'll be gone..

So, what I despise about the books, especially the latter ones, is how it turned people into these selfish vultures who do anything to anyone because they believe they are 'helping' them lose their self importance.. yet never look in the mirror ..

The books, the latter books, created sociopaths.  The first four were about stepping aside the self, the last were about only the self and what matters to the self.  It's crap.

People who boo hoo humanity and the purpose of serving.  They have lost the Spirit as far as I'm concerned, and perhaps never had it to begin with.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Defend the Sacred on February 03, 2010, 02:00:45 am
Never liked the books at all... Not even as fiction. All the hippies I knew read them. Just seemed to give them an excuse to do more drugs. All those sad people who though getting wasted made them spiritual.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on February 03, 2010, 02:29:08 am
Many people I met also seemed to think drugs was part of this..  and I also know it spawned a big interest in the peyote. 

It is sad that so many people got deep into the drug culture in the 60's/70's..  and even now.   But I never read in the books telling people to take drugs.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: flyingdust on February 03, 2010, 07:50:33 am
Yeah, fortunately back in the day (the early 70s) when I read that first books (the only one in which peyote and other plants were ingested) I was already close to my cultural traditions and teachings of respect.  I didn't dare fool around with drugs in ceremonial settings.  I was aware back then, too, that there were traditional peyote ceremonies being held in some of the local reserves.  I entertained thoughts of attending, but didn't because my elders always cautioned me not to attend any old ceremonies just out of curiosity.  Only attend a ceremony out of sincere need and with a right frame of mind, I was told.  If I did otherwise, there's a chance I could be a detriment to the success of that ceremony.  This is common knowledge in Indian country.  Here's just one example of which the new agers just don't have a clue about, those age-old teachings that go along with ceremonies.   ;)
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on February 03, 2010, 06:55:18 pm
Only attend a ceremony out of sincere need and with a right frame of mind, I was told.  If I did otherwise, there's a chance I could be a detriment to the success of that ceremony.  This is common knowledge in Indian country.  Here's just one example of which the new agers just don't have a clue about, those age-old teachings that go along with ceremonies.   ;)

Yes, well, the big missing picture for majority if not all of the new agers and people in general, is "I could be a detriment to the success of that ceremony."

People in general, in this "american" culture (if not the world at large), rarely if ever think outside the box of their self.  It would never dawn on them to think of the other people and the ceremony itself *FIRST* and then think of their self..

Whatever guided me in those days of my youth, guided me right.  I was always told to think of those around me first.. and to always step aside my own wants first, before stepping aside another's.  It does no harm to put my own desires or wants aside for the needs of another.  To me, it's common courtesy. And yet, I never see it in this world I live in.. or rarely.. hardly ever.. if at all.

In the book that I wrote I tried to outline these points.  I called them the 7 aspects of love.  With Respect being the first.  No one respects anyone in this world.  Just rumble on up and over whoever to get what ya want.. and oh well to the other guy.  It becomes very depressing at times.  No one really cares about anyone else. 

Them new agers, think they gonna ever consider that they could be a detriment to the others or to the ceremony itself?   Nope. It won't occur to them.  They are the centers of their own private universes and everything else is here to serve them and their purposes.. divine purposes mind you.. divine.  Nothing is greater than their own purpose..  their self adulated divine purpose.  Not any indigenous cultures or ways or spirituality's or ceremonies.. none of any traditions..  all of those things are only here to serve in their divine purpose.   8)  :o  >:(  :'(

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Ahriman on February 13, 2010, 08:11:08 pm
Well, CC seems to be a very controversial subject...
Still I dare to put my first post on this. ;)

There are a number of issues about this guy. But too me it's not all black and white. Writing is what he did, so let's judge him by his books. That means, let's leave Castaneda's last years aside, when he came up with a brand name and was giving seminars for outrageous fees (which certainly fits the cateory "fraud"). But let's talk not about that, let's talk about the writer Castaneda.

I completely agree with Canadian novelist Joyce Carol Oates, who said, she cannot understand all the fuss, because it is just dead obvious that C's writings are fiction, and Don Juan is an invented character.

However, Oates said this to defend him, and I agree, his first books are not bad. The later ones, well... nothing left to say really, and badly writen. 

In any case, in his early books HE is the idiot, while his Indian teachers not only are able to establish contacts with the supernatural, they are also witted and articulate, and never stop to expose the pretentiousness of their disciple and indeed Western civilisation. Thus, Castaneda inverts the values that were dominant in his times: The white anthropologist was supposed to teach the Indian a lesson, not the other way around. Therefore I think, Castaneda was not such a bad guy to start with - what became of him with success and "stardom" is another thing.

Still another pair of shoes is the reception of Castaneda. The hippies were not a well read crowd, and the little they managed to read they usually got wrong. Castaneda just did not write, go in the woods and get completely wasted on hallucinogens. However, a lot of people think that's what he wrote.

However, one thing in Castaneda's writings contrasts very much everything I know about Native American spirituality (which might not be a lot): There is no, or very little, responsibility or accountability by Castaneda's teachers to a community. The primary end of all Don Juan and Don Genaro do and try to teach is the acquisition of "power". Thus they are truely "brujos", it's about witchcraft, not healing or conflict-solving for a community (what medicine men/women do). Here, I do see a parallel to the new age movement, which also seems to be focused very much on personal change, but at minimal costs and with "no strings attached" in terms of obligations to the poor and needful.

This was also the primary reason why Castaneda's books finally left me cold: If all he has experienced is only for the very very few, very very exceptional ... why should I read it and why should Castaneda even bother to write books for an audience of normal folks whose business is anything but what is described in the books? Somebody told me in volume whatever it turns out that the purpose of all those years of apprenticeship is to fly past a giant soul-eating eagle that guards the afterworld. Well, excuse me, but isn't that really a daft answer to the question of the meaning of life?
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on February 13, 2010, 09:41:22 pm
LOL about the giant soul-eating eagle.  Yeah, that was the later books. 

I find your perspective interesting, I didn't come away from those first books thinking it was about the acquisition of power, but that it was about finding the whole total sum of your being. I also came away with the impression the witchcraft and sorcery were actions of selfishness, and that don Juan was more about moving beyond self and selfish intentions, to not place ones self above all others. That there is no need to bend others to ones own will or desires. 

I also liked how he loved Earth, and that love was expressed in those first books often.  The latter books were cold of that, no heart, no love.  Also, in the first books, I always thought he did have 'friends' of some sort, whether it was community, I didn't read it as him living within a community, but known to the community.. although outside of it. The latter books were all about self, and who cares about anyone else. They breed sociopaths, imo, because they instruct a person to try and live from a point of being where there is no empathy. The first books were not so. They were about the heart, and of living life with heart, if there was no heart then it was the 'wrong' path.

Anyway, I just think it's sad so many people believe they can defy death. They'll spend a lifetime, seriously spending their entire life and life's energy and life's time..  working to avoid something that cannot be avoided.

Death is. As is birth. If you are born, then you will die.  You cannot have one without the other. It just is.  These people are freaking loons to believe that somehow, they will not die.

To me, I believe whoever wrote the last books became obsessed with death in a most unhealthy way.  I know within the first set don Juan tries to make Carlos realize the impermanence of life. By trying to force him to realize death. Personally, my own beliefs are that of reincarnation, but I still understood what was being stated in the statement 'you are going to die' that was dictated to Carlos often in those early books to mean literally, that you are going to die.  Regardless of incarnation, we still have death.  And I, personally, see the value in realizing this, and not living as though you have forever. But this person, became so obsessed with fear of death, that he had to create some whole perverted fantastical way of escaping it. 

It's sad. And I wish those latter books had never been writ.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Ahriman on February 14, 2010, 12:07:48 am
Like you, I read Castaneda when I was a teenager, and it somehow supported me surviving my severely dysfunctional family.

However, today my view on the books is a bit more prosaic. They revolve around the fantasy of meeting the exotic savant-savage, which has been an obsession of the West since Helena Blavatsky. It goes together with the claim of the author of not being an average human, but having a bit of a Ubermensch vocation. Castaneda is reminded all the time that he has to radically change his ways. As he has started to go the path of the brujo/savant, he has to stop doing stuff ordinary folks do.

In anthropology, Castaneda's writings are today considered forgeries. It remains the possibility, that he has had some contacts with medicine men, which was then inspiring his writings. However, it is impossible to decide this.

In his books, a dominant idea is to find in the Native American some type of "Great Other" who has all the big answers. However, it is easy to see that Don Juan as the "Great Other" is a projection, wishful thinking.

Another motive in Castaneda is the reality of the supernatural. Which to me is more interesting. Because the insistence that a direct contact to the divine is possible is brought forward again and again by Native Americans, as well as other traditional people. However, the West has no concept for this except for the dysfunctional. That means, in the West whoever makes such claims is either stupid (superstitious) or mad (psychotic) or delusional (on drugs).

Here, Vine Deloria takes a very interesting position by saying, the problem is not nature versus the supernatural, but that the West mistakes its intellectual, abstract conceptualisations for nature. Thus, an observation contradicting my intellectual conceptualisation cannot be reality. Plato as the archvillain, regarding ideas truer than evidence.

Another interesting writer is Ziauddin Sardar (actually I discovered Vine Deloria because Sardar refernced him). What he writes about the systematic dismissal of (subcontinental) Indian traditional medicine, including the ban for traditional doctors to practition, and the closure of Islamic medicine colleges during British colonialism, parallels the dismissal of systems of traditional knowledge of Native Americans.

Regarding Castaneda, I think he contributed to a paradigm shift regarding the superiority of the west, but I find the esoteric spin makes it less pertinent. I mean, it is so easy to ridicule somebody like Castaneda as just the product of indulgent fantasies of the psychedelic era.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on February 14, 2010, 01:16:45 am
I don't know.  I tend to see a lot of Tibetan Buddhism as well, which was at that time not accessible to people as it is today. Even 5 years ago trying to find anything on the Dzogchen on the net was daunting, now it's everywhere.

Supernatural, I believe is becoming less 'super' and more 'natural'.  When I was a teen the idea of 'ghosts' was ludicrous, now it's more mainstream and accepted that sometimes, the unexplainable does occur. It's not written off so quickly as being stupid, mad, or delusional. 

As far as direct connection to the divine, I know many Christians who will differ with your view, and state they have direct connection. Which I disagree with.  I personally believe the Christian Bible is far away from Divine. Once they realized all that killing and hatred and intolerance, and mass genocide of indigenous peoples was perhaps not right, they rewrote the book and called it the New Testament.   ::)

Well, in my experience, there are things in the natural world that are beyond the reasoning mind, and people call it 'supernatural'. And when met with something of that sort, the mind plays tricks to protect the psyche of a person. Amnesia, or even reforming the event in a way acceptable to their minds.  People's psyches are fragile to some extent. And some people can be severely damaged psychologically by such events. However, I also perceive that as people expand their ways of thinking and can accept more, the supernatural begins to be less 'super'.  To me, this is akin to the unknown becoming known. The world was flat, sailing too far you'll drop off the edge of the world.. but as thinking and mind evolved, it became more evident that the world was not flat.  Our minds and our thinking does evolve, and opens us to perhaps a larger view.

As far as intellectual conceptualisation, I don't know, if you know that it's just your thoughts and point of view that makes something invalid or not real, then seems to me that would automatically break down that same intellectual conceptualism. I mean, why hold all that in place if you know it's just intellectual conceptualism? 

I'm not very good at all this intellectual volly-ing. It may seem I am, but I really am not. I try to keep things simple and not over intellectualize to the point of losing the entire topic inside some vast mental hallway..   ;D  Not saying that's what you are doing, but reading the points from those authors, I'd never make it through the book..  LOL 

Thing is, whatever Carlos was trying to do with those first books, there is some valid points within the work. I just know that I read at 14 things I'd started experiencing seriously at 9 and never had answers for.  I still don't have answers, but it was nice to read of it, nice to not think I was insane.  I used to be terrified that someone would find my journals and commit me to an asylum.  LOL  ;D 

Then 10 years later and all this New Age stuff started coming about. How anyone could relate that to Castaneda I don't know. It's all about fluff..  many just swapped out margarine (christianity) for butter (something a tad better but still not healthy).  But I think it's all just in perspective, for me, what I read in those first books had nothing to do with new age gizmos.  It had to do with inner work, of self awareness, not self propaganda and walking around on clouds with oh.. what did someone here call it.. bliss monkey?

But that's what I got out of those books.  That it is a life long study and practice that takes a commitment and a perseverance.  Also, the fact that that connection to the divine was not needed by any 'great other'.  That was clear to me in what I read. No one needs that great other, or 'guru' .. all one really needs is the commitment to being aware of their self (mind, action/reaction) through self observation. That's what I got out of it.  So it's hard for me to see the leap from that to these new age expos and workshops and whatnots with self proclaimed teachers and ascended masters and shamans and whatever the heck they wanna call themself.. 

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: debbieredbear on February 14, 2010, 01:21:16 am
In any case, in his early books HE is the idiot, while his Indian teachers not only are able to establish contacts with the supernatural, they are also witted and articulate, and never stop to expose the pretentiousness of their disciple and indeed Western civilisation.

This is acutally a theme that runs through the white shaman literature. If you read Lynn Andrewes  or Heather Hughes Cordero, you will see exactly that same approach. The problem with this is that people then go to frauds and expect this kind of treatment and end up abused and taken advantage of. Then they are angry with Indians over the whole thing.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on February 14, 2010, 05:28:32 am
I actually know someone who visited Carlos when he was dying.  He told them that he made the whole thing up.  So, for anyone who is searching around out there, and who still is undecided even after having read all this, believe me, he made it up.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Ahriman on February 15, 2010, 01:23:37 am
@debbie red bear
not quite sure what you mean.

My point was that Castaneda, despite all problems, made a point valueing Native American traditional knowledge system.

I know, you will say, great, appreciation of Native knowledge through a fraudster. And I take that point, Castaneda might very well have delivered a hell of a disservice.

I am not quite sure whether you are saying, Native America has no message to deliver.

The problem with Castaneda and also the New Age movement is that they over emphasise esoterical knowledge. We do not need spirituality, Native American or otherwise, to see that we are presently destroying the planet. However, the low valueing of traditional knowledge systems might politically well go hand in hand with New Age and Castaneda, because these distorted representations of spirituality can be easily dismissed as ludicrous BS by the radical materialism in power. (I mean nothing against materialism, if it only was dialectic;-)
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: debbieredbear on February 16, 2010, 01:57:18 am
I am not quite sure whether you are saying, Native America has no message to deliver.

?? Where did you get THIS? I was commenting on the fact that he writes about how he was an idiot and his "teachers" were widse and witty etc  and how then many many newagers think they can get a teacher just like that, who maybe is a bit abusive. And how then the neagers find a teacher who is a fraud and abuses them or takes advantage of them and gets angry with Native people because their fantasy was not fulfilled.  Met losts of them. All castaneda did was sell a FANTASY. And by the way, by what right do these people have that makes them so special that they come along and demand that Native people teach them something? That is arrogance, pure and simple. And when someone DOES try, many have no ears to listen as their heads are stuffed with pre-concieved ideas. And self importance.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on February 16, 2010, 03:34:55 am
You're absolutely right about that debbieredbear.  I have met enough 'Castaneda' followers and they all have this preconceived notion of what/how a teacher is supposed to be and you nail it right, they have no ears to hear when/IF someone they met/might meet actually is a teacher.  They're lost in a mind tunnel.  If it don't match up like in the book, then it isn't 'real' and they dismiss it outright.  Without ever listening.  And I agree too that the books clearly set a stage wherein these people act like the Native people's are to somehow automatically teach them, as if it is owed. 

So then they went and made themselves teachers to teach others the nothing they learned.  Do you know how many 'naguals' I have met?  It's blooming ridiculous.  And then the new age people did the same, it's like a branch sect that didn't quite like Castaneda, so they made their own again, with their own teachers the 'ascended masters' and the like. All because they have a belief of what a teacher is supposed to be.  Couldn't find 'em, so made their own. 

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: flyingdust on February 16, 2010, 09:54:50 am
In more traditional Indian society or circles you will quickly get knocked down a few notches in a very humorous way for acting too self important or like a not-it-all.  This is done almost always in a humorous way so as to only attack the ego and not the person as a whole. Humbleness is the way to go when learning the Indian way. In other words it's inappropriate to openly proclaim to know something more than the next person or to insult someone's intelligence with what you claim to know.  That's considered mental abuse and is unacceptable behaviour.  A new ager would certainly be the butt of jokes and laughter in any traditional circle. 

I think Carlos picked up on this traditional norm and ran with it brilliantly in his earlier books.  Because of the widespread appeal of his books, new age authors who came along afterwards, like Lynn Andrews and Redfield's Celestine Prophecy, copied Castaneda's style but they come off as cheap and obvious imitations his works.  In fact, Castaneda continues to have a deep and lasting impact on the American psyche.  His compelling concepts are being lifted and proclaimed by a steady stream of new age authors and self-help gurus like Miguel Ruiz (Four Agreements) and James Arthur Ray (Stop The World...[what a killer]). 

In all cases, these books blatantly violate Indigenous American ways of learning right off the jump with the authors' claim to know something the rest of us don't yet know.   Where's the power in that?  I hate to say anything bad about Carlos because he's dead, but I think he got us in the mess we’re in today with this new age problem.   :D
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on February 16, 2010, 03:21:48 pm
Oh, I don't think he's the father of the new age thing. His books are not new age, not like Ruth Montgomery or even Edgar Cayce, who many new agers follow more so than Castaneda.  Heh, but Cayce refused to ever charge any money..  they seemed to have over looked that. 

There is a large difference in what Carlos had in his early books (and even the latter ones) and the new age stuff.  You cannot be a 'Castanedian' AND a New Ager..  the people into Castaneda would never accept you and you'd either have to change what you think, or leave.  I'd seen it numerous times, anyone coming into the Castaneda forums talking of new age concepts or anything even remotely sounding new age-ish were attacked, and left.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: flyingdust on February 16, 2010, 09:12:02 pm
My knowledge of the new age scene is limited other than what is readily apparent to me and I respect your understanding and first hand experiences with Castaneda's books and legacy group.

In my observation, Castaneda's followers may claim to not be associated with anything new age, but are in fact a denominational aspect of the new age movement. The Tensegrity group exhibits all the same characteristics of any new age group being exposed in this forum.  This group is appropriating and exploiting Indigenous American knowledge and culture, mixing and matching it with other old world knowledge traditions, and making money selling books and charging for workshops.  A lot of people are being hurt and deluded by this group and even some from within the group have committed suicide soon after Castaneda's death, I've heard.  And Castaneda's influence is spreading regardless of what tensegrity wants; his concepts are appearing in the writings and messages of many new age authors and self help gurus.  They are fixated with and fascinated by his influential and financial success and wanting some of that for themselves.  He's unacknowledged fodder for these new age writers and gurus.

It's all a big scam and thievery of gigantic proportions and this activity is spreading all over, being done even by some of our own people.  The protocols and ethics that go hand in hand with the acquisition and use of Indigenous knowledge and culture are being forgotten and ignored.  In traditional Indigenous society, anyone who takes ceremonies, songs, or stories from another individual or family without their expressed permission and blessings is considered a thief.   :(

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on February 16, 2010, 09:23:28 pm

In my observation, Castaneda's followers may claim to not be associated with anything new age, but are in fact a denominational aspect of the new age movement. The Tensegrity group exhibits all the same characteristics of any new age group being exposed in this forum.  This group is appropriating and exploiting Indigenous American knowledge and culture, mixing and matching it with other old world knowledge traditions, and making money selling books and charging for workshops. 

You're right.  In this context I can agree it is 'new age'.  My previous postings I was thinking more in terms of what they 'believe'.  What their doing is the same principal. Steal and sell. In that regard, it's 'new age'.

Sometimes, I do have to have the picture drawn out for me to 'get' what is being said.  I tend to have a literal sense that can get in my way.. so I appreciate the time and patience it may take some to 'educate' me on the view they are providing. 
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: flyingdust on February 16, 2010, 10:59:56 pm
Yes, I too am still fascinated by the ideas Castenada presented in his earlier books.  But the way these ideas or concepts are being used for destructive, selfish, corrupt purposes is beyond me.  I found your personal accounts about reading the books, about your brother's experience, your involvement in some of the workshops and meeting "those people" all fascinating. 

I wish things could have been different, though, and the books were sanctioned by the tribal community from which it's knowledge is claimed to originate. I'm disappointed and saddened that the concepts presented in his earlier books - concepts that were meant to guide humanity and the world towards survival, harmony, and freedom - would not have been so tarnished and dishonoured.  Ah, but what you expect.  As you know it's only through direct personal experience with the Spirit can we attain these things.  8)
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: apukjij on February 17, 2010, 04:09:18 am
i read those books when i was a teenager, i loved them, i considered them fantasy, like star wars; not to be taken seriously, it boggles my mind what became of them, comparing them to the Spirituality of the Huichol, is like comparing sabrina the teenage witch with traditional keltic wicca, and i blame him for the current state of wannabeeism. and whats this about the tribe sanctioning him? The Huichol Grandmothers have come here to Eskasoni to do Ceremonies, never in my life have i ever heard of them sanctioning this fraud. in fact i think i remember reading somewhere that the said they never heard of him or don juan.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: flyingdust on February 17, 2010, 09:05:50 am
you're right.  I was just doing some fanciful thinking.  Peoples like the Huichol likely live a very traditional lifestyle and, like most traditional peoples, they would never sanction any book about their culture that's written by any outsider.  Like most traditional Indigenous peoples, they prefer that their knowledge remain in the oral traditon and in their own language, spoken only by respected community ceremonial leaders and storytellers.  By the way, how do you see the Huichol being connected to Castaneda's writings?   :-[
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: apukjij on February 17, 2010, 01:52:39 pm
hi, ya he mentions them in one of his books; the area of the Sonoran Desert where the books take place is Huichol Territory. at least thats what i can remember its been at least 30 years since i thought of those books!
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: E.P. Grondine on March 10, 2010, 03:44:23 am
For detailed information on Carlos Castaneda's frauds, read "Cut Stones and Crossroads", wherein the author sets them out. It will clear it all up for you.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on March 10, 2010, 04:24:56 am
Thanks, but for myself, I'm pretty cleared up on it.. :D
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: flyingdust on March 10, 2010, 06:37:21 am
I'm clear about it, too. Anymore books read on this topic can only obscure my clarity.  8)
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: apukjij on September 27, 2010, 07:39:18 pm

The dark legacy of Carlos Castaneda
The godfather of the New Age led a secretive group of devoted followers in the last decade of his life. His closest "witches" remain missing, and former insiders, offering new details, believe the women took their own lives.
By Robert Marshall

For fans of the literary con, it's been a great few years. Currently, we have Richard Gere starring as Clifford Irving in "The Hoax," a film about the '70s novelist who penned a faux autobiography of Howard Hughes. We've had the unmasking of James Frey, JT LeRoy/Laura Albert and Harvard's Kaavya Viswanathan, who plagiarized large chunks of her debut novel, forcing her publisher, Little, Brown and Co., to recall the book. Much has been written about the slippery boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, the publishing industry's responsibility for distinguishing between the two, and the potential damage to readers. There's been, however, hardly a mention of the 20th century's most successful literary trickster: Carlos Castaneda.

If this name draws a blank for readers under 30, all they have to do is ask their parents. Deemed by Time magazine the "Godfather of the New Age," Castaneda was the literary embodiment of the Woodstock era. His 12 books, supposedly based on meetings with a mysterious Indian shaman, don Juan, made the author, a graduate student in anthropology, a worldwide celebrity. Admirers included John Lennon, William Burroughs, Federico Fellini and Jim Morrison.

Under don Juan's tutelage, Castaneda took peyote, talked to coyotes, turned into a crow, and learned how to fly. All this took place in what don Juan called "a separate reality." Castaneda, who died in 1998, was, from 1971 to 1982, one of the best-selling nonfiction authors in the country. During his lifetime, his books sold at least 10 million copies.

Castaneda was viewed by many as a compelling writer, and his early books received overwhelmingly positive reviews. Time called them "beautifully lucid" and remarked on a "narrative power unmatched in other anthropological studies." They were widely accepted as factual, and this contributed to their success. Richard Jennings, an attorney who became closely involved with Castaneda in the '90s, was studying at Stanford in the early '70s when he read the first two don Juan books. "I was a searcher," he recently told Salon. "I was looking for a real path to other worlds. I wasn't looking for metaphors."

The books' status as serious anthropology went almost unchallenged for five years. Skepticism increased in 1972 after Joyce Carol Oates, in a letter to the New York Times, expressed bewilderment that a reviewer had accepted Castaneda's books as nonfiction. The next year, Time published a cover story revealing that Castaneda had lied extensively about his past. Over the next decade, several researchers, most prominently Richard de Mille, son of the legendary director, worked tirelessly to demonstrate that Castaneda's work was a hoax.

In spite of this exhaustive debunking, the don Juan books still sell well. The University of California Press, which published Castaneda's first book, "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge," in 1968, steadily sells 7,500 copies a year. BookScan, a Nielsen company that tracks book sales, reports that three of Castaneda's most popular titles, "A Separate Reality," "Journey to Ixtlan" and "Tales of Power," sold a total of 10,000 copies in 2006. None of Castaneda's titles have ever gone out of print -- an impressive achievement for any author.

Today, Simon and Schuster, Castaneda's main publisher, still classifies his books as nonfiction. It could be argued that this label doesn't matter since everyone now knows don Juan was a fictional creation. But everyone doesn't, and the trust that some readers have invested in these books leads to a darker story that has received almost no coverage in the mainstream press.

Castaneda, who disappeared from the public view in 1973, began in the last decade of his life to organize a secretive group of devoted followers. His tools were his books and Tensegrity, a movement technique he claimed had been passed down by 25 generations of Toltec shamans. A corporation, Cleargreen, was set up to promote Tensegrity; it held workshops attended by thousands. Novelist and director Bruce Wagner, a member of Castaneda's inner circle, helped produce a series of instructional videos. Cleargreen continues to operate to this day, promoting Tensegrity and Castaneda's teachings through workshops in Southern California, Europe and Latin America.

At the heart of Castaneda's movement was a group of intensely devoted women, all of whom were or had been his lovers. They were known as the witches, and two of them, Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar, vanished the day after Castaneda's death, along with Cleargreen president Amalia Marquez and Tensegrity instructor Kylie Lundahl. A few weeks later, Patricia Partin, Castaneda's adopted daughter as well as his lover, also disappeared. In February 2006, a skeleton found in Death Valley, Calif., was identified through DNA analysis as Partin's.

Some former Castaneda associates suspect the missing women committed suicide. They cite remarks the women made shortly before vanishing, and point to Castaneda's frequent discussion of suicide in private group meetings. Achieving transcendence through a death nobly chosen, they maintain, had long been central to his teachings.

Castaneda was born in 1925 and came to the United States in 1951 from Peru. He'd studied sculpture at the School of Fine Arts in Lima and hoped to make it as an artist in the United States. He worked a series of odd jobs and took classes at Los Angeles Community College in philosophy, literature and creative writing. Most who knew him then recall a brilliant, hilarious storyteller with mesmerizing brown eyes. He was short (some say 5-foot-2; others 5-foot-5) and self-conscious about having his picture taken. Along with his then wife Margaret Runyan (whose memoir, "A Magical Journey With Carlos Castaneda," he would later try to suppress) he became fascinated by the occult.

According to Runyan, she and Castaneda would hold long bull sessions, drinking wine with other students. One night a friend remarked that neither the Buddha nor Jesus ever wrote anything down. Their teachings had been recorded by disciples, who could have changed things or made them up. "Carlos nodded, as if thinking carefully," wrote Runyan. Together, she and Castaneda conducted unsuccessful ESP experiments. Runyan worked for the phone company, and Castaneda's first attempt at a book was an uncompleted nonfiction manuscript titled "Dial Operator."

In 1959, Castaneda enrolled at UCLA, where he signed up for California ethnography with archaeology professor Clement Meighan. One of the assignments was to interview an Indian. He got an "A" for his paper, in which he spoke to an unnamed Native American about the ceremonial use of jimson weed. But Castaneda was broke and soon dropped out. He worked in a liquor store and drove a taxi. He began to disappear for days at a time, telling Runyan he was going to the desert. The couple separated, but soon afterward Castaneda adopted C.J., the son Runyan had had with another man. And, for seven years, he worked on the manuscript that was to become "The Teachings of Don Juan."

"The Teachings" begins with a young man named Carlos being introduced at an Arizona bus stop to don Juan, an old Yaqui Indian whom he's told "is very learned about plants." Carlos tries to persuade the reluctant don Juan to teach him about peyote. Eventually he relents, allowing Carlos to ingest the sacred cactus buds. Carlos sees a transparent black dog, which, don Juan later tells him, is Mescalito, a powerful supernatural being. His appearance is a sign that Carlos is "the chosen one" who's been picked to receive "the teachings."

"The Teachings" is largely a dialogue between don Juan, the master, and Carlos, the student, punctuated by the ingestion of carefully prepared mixtures of herbs and mushrooms. Carlos has strange experiences that, in spite of don Juan's admonitions, he continues to think of as hallucinations. In one instance, Carlos turns into a crow and flies. Afterward, an argument ensues: Is there such a thing as objective reality? Or is reality just perceptions and different, equally valid ways of describing them? Toward the book's end, Carlos again encounters Mescalito, whom he now accepts as real, not a hallucination.

In "The Teachings," Castaneda tried to follow the conventions of anthropology by appending a 50-page "structural analysis." According to Runyan, his goal was to become a psychedelic scholar along the lines of Aldous Huxley. He'd become disillusioned with another hero, Timothy Leary, who supposedly mocked Castaneda when they met at a party, earning his lifelong enmity. In 1967, he took his manuscript to professor Meighan. Castaneda was disappointed when Meighan told him it would work better as a trade book than as a scholarly monograph. But following Meighan's instructions, Castaneda took his manuscript to the University of California Press' office in Powell Library, where he showed it to Jim Quebec. The editor was impressed but had doubts about its authenticity. Inundated by good reports from the UCLA anthropology department, according to Runyan, Quebec was convinced and "The Teachings" was published in the spring of 1968.

Runyan wrote that "the University of California Press, fully cognizant that a nation of drug-infatuated students was out there, moved it into California bookstores with a vengeance." Sales exceeded all expectations, and Quebec soon introduced Castaneda to Ned Brown, an agent whose clients included Jackie Collins. Brown then put Castaneda in touch with Michael Korda, Simon and Schuster's new editor in chief.

In his memoir, "Another Life," Korda recounts their first meeting. Korda was told to wait in a hotel parking lot. "A neat Volvo pulled up in front of me, and the driver waved me in," Korda writes. "He was a robust, broad-chested, muscular man, with a swarthy complexion, dark eyes, black curly hair cut short, and a grin as merry as Friar Tuck's ... I had seldom, if ever, liked anybody so much so quickly ... It wasn't so much what Castaneda had to say as his presence -- a kind of charm that was partly subtle intelligence, partly a real affection for people, and partly a kind of innocence, not of the naive kind but of the kind one likes to suppose saints, holy men, prophets and gurus have." The next morning, Korda set about buying the rights to "The Teachings." Under his new editor's guidance, Castaneda published his next three books in quick succession. In "A Separate Reality," published in 1971, Carlos returns to Mexico to give don Juan a copy of his new book. Don Juan declines the gift, suggesting he'd use it as toilet paper. A new cycle of apprenticeship begins, in which don Juan tries to teach Carlos how to "see."

New characters appear, most importantly don Juan's friend and fellow sorcerer don Genaro. In "A Separate Reality" and the two books that follow, "Journey to Ixtlan" and "Tales of Power," numerous new concepts are introduced, including "becoming inaccessible," "erasing personal history" and "stopping the world."

There are also displays of magic. Don Genaro is at one moment standing next to Carlos; at the next, he's on top of a mountain. Don Juan uses unseen powers to help Carlos start his stalled car. And he tries to show him how to be a warrior -- a being who, like an enlightened Buddhist, has eliminated the ego, but who, in a more Nietzschean vein, knows he's superior to regular humans, who lead wasted, pointless lives. Don Juan also tries to teach Carlos how to enter the world of dreams, the "separate reality," also referred to as the "nagual," a Spanish word taken from the Aztecs. (Later, Castaneda would shift the word's meaning, making it stand not only for the separate reality but also for a shaman, like don Juan and, eventually, Castaneda himself.)

In "Journey to Ixtlan," Carlos starts a new round of apprenticeship. Don Juan tells him they'll no longer use drugs. These were only necessary when Carlos was a beginner. Many consider "Ixtlan," which served as Castaneda's Ph.D. thesis at UCLA, his most beautiful book. It also made him a millionaire. At the book's conclusion, Carlos talks to a luminous coyote. But he isn't yet ready to enter the nagual. Finally, at the end of "Tales of Power," don Juan and don Genaro take Carlos to the edge of a cliff. If he has the courage to leap, he'll at last be a full-fledged sorcerer. This time Carlos doesn't turn back. He jumps into the abyss.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

All four books were lavishly praised. Michael Murphy, a founder of Esalen, remarked that the "essential lessons don Juan has to teach are the timeless ones that have been taught by the great sages of India." There were raves in the New York Times, Harper's and the Saturday Review. "Castaneda's meeting with Don Juan," wrote Time's Robert Hughes, "now seems one of the most fortunate literary encounters since Boswell was introduced to Dr. Johnson."

In 1972, anthropologist Paul Riesman reviewed Castaneda's first three books in the New York Times Book Review, writing that "Castaneda makes it clear that the teachings of don Juan do tell us something of how the world really is." Riesman's article ran in place of a review the Times had initially commissioned from Weston La Barre, one of the foremost authorities on Native American peyote ceremonies. In his unpublished article, La Barre denounced Castaneda's writing as "pseudo-profound deeply vulgar pseudo-ethnography."

Contacted recently, Roger Jellinek, the editor who commissioned both reviews, explained his decision. "The Weston La Barre review, as I recall, was not so much a review as a furious ad hominem diatribe intended to suppress, not debate, the book," he wrote via e-mail. "By then I knew enough about Castaneda, from discussions with Edmund Carpenter, the anthropologist who first put me on to Castaneda, and from my reading of renowned shamanism scholar Mircea Eliade in support of my own review of Castaneda in the daily New York Times, to feel strongly that 'The Teachings of Don Juan' deserved more than a personal put-down. Hence the second commission to Paul Riesman, son of Harvard sociologist David Riesman, and a brilliant rising anthropologist. Incidentally, in all my eight years at the NYTBR, that's the only occasion I can recall of a review being commissioned twice."

Riesman's glowing review was soon followed by Oates' letter to the editor, in which she argued that the books were obvious works of fiction. Then, in 1973, Time correspondent Sandra Burton found that Castaneda had lied about his military service, his father's occupation, his age and his nation of birth (Peru not Brazil).

No one contributed more to Castaneda's debunking than Richard de Mille. De Mille, who held a Ph.D. in psychology from USC, was something of a freelance intellectual. In a recent interview, he remarked that because he wasn't associated with a university, he could tell the story straight. "People in the academy wouldn't do it," he remarked. "They'd be embarrassing the establishment." Specifically the UCLA professors who, according to de Mille, knew it was a hoax from the start. But a hoax that, he said, supported their theories, which de Mille summed up succinctly: "Reality doesn't exist. It's all what people say to each other."

In de Mille's first exposé, "Castaneda's Journey," which appeared in 1976, he pointed to numerous internal contradictions in Castaneda's field reports and the absence of convincing details. "During nine years of collecting plants and hunting animals with don Juan, Carlos learns not one Indian name for any plant or animal," De Mille wrote. The books were also filled with implausible details. For example, while "incessantly sauntering across the sands in seasons when ... harsh conditions keep prudent persons away, Carlos and don Juan go quite unmolested by pests that normally torment desert hikers."

De Mille also uncovered numerous instances of plagiarism. "When don Juan opens his mouth," he wrote, "the words of particular writers come out." His 1980 compilation, "The Don Juan Papers," includes a 47-page glossary of quotations from don Juan and their sources, ranging from Wittgenstein and C.S. Lewis to papers in obscure anthropology journals.

In one example, de Mille first quotes a passage by a mystic, Yogi Ramacharaka: "The Human Aura is seen by the psychic observer as a luminous cloud, egg-shaped, streaked by fine lines like stiff bristles standing out in all directions." In "A Separate Reality," a "man looks like a human egg of circulating fibers. And his arms and legs are like luminous bristles bursting out in all directions." The accumulation of such instances leads de Mille to conclude that "Carlos's adventures originated not in the Sonoran desert but in the library at UCLA." De Mille convinced many previously sympathetic readers that don Juan did not exist. Perhaps the most glaring evidence was that the Yaqui don't use peyote, and don Juan was supposedly a Yaqui shaman teaching a "Yaqui way of knowledge." Even the New York Times came around, declaring that de Mille's research "should satisfy anyone still in doubt."

Some anthropologists have disagreed with de Mille on certain points. J.T. Fikes, author of "Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties," believes Castaneda did have some contact with Native Americans. But he's an even fiercer critic than de Mille, condemning Castaneda for the effect his stories have had on Native peoples. Following the publication of "The Teachings," thousands of pilgrims descended on Yaqui territory. When they discovered that the Yaqui don't use peyote, but that the Huichol people do, they headed to the Huichol homeland in Southern Mexico, where, according to Fikes, they caused serious disruption. Fikes recounts with outrage the story of one Huichol elder being murdered by a stoned gringo.

Among anthropologists, there's no longer a debate. Professor William W. Kelly, chairman of Yale's anthropology department, told me, "I doubt you'll find an anthropologist of my generation who regards Castaneda as anything but a clever con man. It was a hoax, and surely don Juan never existed as anything like the figure of his books. Perhaps to many it is an amusing footnote to the gullibility of naive scholars, although to me it remains a disturbing and unforgivable breach of ethics."

After 1973, the year of the Time exposé, Castaneda never again responded publicly to criticism. Instead, he went into seclusion, at least as far as the press was concerned (he still went to Hollywood parties). Claiming he was complying with don Juan's instruction to become "inaccessible," he no longer allowed himself to be photographed, and (in the same year the existence of the Nixon tapes was made public) he decided that recordings of any sort were forbidden. He also severed ties to his past; after attending C.J.'s junior high graduation and promising to take him to Europe, he soon banished his ex-wife and son.

And he made don Juan disappear. When "The Second Ring of Power" was published in 1977, readers learned that sometime between the leap into the abyss at the end of "Tales of Power" and the start of the new book, don Juan had vanished, evanescing into a ball of light and entering the nagual. His seclusion also helped Castaneda, now in his late 40s, conceal the alternative family he was starting to form. The key members were three young women: Regine Thal, Maryann Simko and Kathleen "Chickie" Pohlman, whom Castaneda had met while he was still active at UCLA. Simko was pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology and was known around campus as Castaneda's girlfriend. Through her, Castaneda met Thal, another anthropology Ph.D. candidate and Simko's friend from karate class. How Pohlman entered the picture remains unclear.

In 1973, Castaneda purchased a compound on the aptly named Pandora Avenue in Westwood. The women, soon to be known both in his group and in his books as "the witches," moved in. They eventually came to sport identical short, dyed blond haircuts similar to those later worn by the Heaven's Gate cult. They also said they'd studied with don Juan.

In keeping with the philosophy of "erasing personal history," they changed their names: Simko became Taisha Abelar; Thal, Florinda Donner-Grau. Donner-Grau is remembered by many as Castaneda's equal in intelligence and charisma. Nicknamed "the hummingbird" because of her ceaseless energy, she was born in Venezuela to German parents and claimed to have done research on the Yanomami Indians. Pohlman was given a somewhat less glamorous alias: Carol Tiggs. Donner-Grau and Abelar eventually published their own books on sorcery.

The witches, along with Castaneda, maintained a tight veil of secrecy. They used numerous aliases and didn't allow themselves to be photographed. Followers were told constantly changing stories about their backgrounds. Only after Castaneda's death did the real facts about their lives begin to emerge. This is largely due to the work of three of his ex-followers.

In the early '90s, Richard Jennings, a Columbia Law graduate, was living in Los Angeles. He was the executive director of Hollywood Supports, a nonprofit group organized to fight discrimination against people with HIV. He'd previously been the executive director of GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. After reading an article in Details magazine by Bruce Wagner about a meeting with Castaneda, he became intrigued. By looking on the Internet, he found his way to one of the semi-secret workshops being held around Los Angeles. He was soon invited to participate in Castaneda's Sunday sessions, exclusive classes for select followers, where Jennings kept copious notes. From 1995 to 1998 he was deeply involved in the group, sometimes advising on legal matters. After Castaneda's death, he started a Web site, Sustained Action, for which he compiled meticulously researched chronologies, dating from 1947 to 1999, of the lives of Patricia Partin and the witches.
Title: PT 2 Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: apukjij on September 27, 2010, 07:39:45 pm

Another former insider is Amy Wallace, author of 13 books of fiction and nonfiction, including the best-selling "Book of Lists," which she co-authored with her brother David Wallechinksy and their father, novelist Irving Wallace, also a client of Korda's. (Amy Wallace has contributed to Salon.) She first met Castaneda in 1973, while she was still in high school. Her parents took her to a dinner party held by agent Ned Brown. Castaneda was there with Abelar, who then went under the name Anna-Marie Carter. They talked with Wallace about her boarding school. Many years later, Wallace became one of Castaneda's numerous lovers, an experience recounted in her memoir, "Sorcerer's Apprentice." Wallace now lives in East Los Angeles, where she's working on a novel about punk rock.

Gaby Geuter, an author and former travel agent, had been a workshop attendee who hoped to join the inner circle. In 1996 she realized she was being shut out. In an effort to find out the truth about the guru who'd rejected her, she, along with her husband, Greg Mamishian, began to shadow Castaneda. In her book "Filming Castaneda," she recounts how, from a car parked near his compound, they secretly videotaped the group's comings and goings. Were it not for Geuter there'd be no post-1973 photographic record of Castaneda, who, as he aged, seemed to have retained his impish charm as well as a full head of silver hair. They also went through his trash, discovering a treasure-trove of documents, including marriage certificates, letters and credit card receipts that would later provide clues to the group's history and its behavior during Castaneda's final days.

During the late '70s and early '80s, Jennings believes the group probably numbered no more than two dozen. Members, mostly women, came and went. At the time, a pivotal event was the defection of Carol Tiggs, who was, according to Wallace, always the most ambivalent witch. Soon after joining, she tried to break away. She attended California Acupuncture College, married a fellow student and lived in Pacific Palisades. Eventually, Wallace says, Castaneda lured her back.

Castaneda had a different version. In his 1981 bestseller, "The Eagle's Gift," he described how Tiggs vanished into the "second attention," one of his terms for infinity. Eventually she reappeared through a space time portal in New Mexico. She then made her way to L.A., where they were joyously reunited when he found her on Santa Monica Boulevard. In homage to her 10 years in another dimension, she was now known as the "nagual woman."

Wallace believes this was an incentive to get Tiggs to rejoin. According to Wallace and Jennings, one of the witches' tasks was to recruit new members. Melissa Ward, a Los Angeles area caterer, was involved in the group from 1993 to 1994. "Frequently they recruited at lectures," she told me. Among the goals, she said, was to find "women with a combination of brains and beauty and vulnerability." Initiation into the inner family often involved sleeping with Castaneda, who, the witches claimed in public appearances, was celibate.

In "Sorcerer's Apprentice," Wallace provides a detailed picture of her own seduction. Because of her father's friendship with Castaneda, her case was unusual. Over the years, he'd stop by the Wallace home. When Irving died in 1990, Amy was living in Berkeley, Calif. Soon after, Castaneda called and told her that her father had appeared to him in a dream and said he was trapped in the Wallace's house, and needed Amy and Carlos to free him.

Wallace, suitably skeptical, came down to L.A. and the seduction began in earnest. She recounts how she soon found herself in bed with Castaneda. He told her he hadn't had sex for 20 years. When Wallace later worried she might have gotten pregnant (they'd used no birth control), Castaneda leapt from the bed, shouting, "Me make you pregnant? Impossible! The nagual's sperm isn't human ... Don't let any of the nagual's sperm out, nena. It will burn away your humanness." He didn't mention the vasectomy he'd had years before.

The courtship continued for several weeks. Castaneda told her they were "energetically married." One afternoon, he took her to the sorcerer's compound. As they were leaving, Wallace looked at a street sign so she could remember the location. Castaneda furiously berated her: A warrior wouldn't have looked. He ordered her to return to Berkeley. She did. When she called, he refused to speak to her.

The witches, however, did, instructing Wallace on the sorceric steps necessary to return. She had to let go of her attachments. Wallace got rid of her cats. This didn't cut it. Castaneda, she wrote, got on the phone and called her an egotistical, spoiled Jew. He ordered her to get a job at McDonald's. Instead, Wallace waitressed at a bed and breakfast. Six months later she was allowed back.

Aspiring warriors, say Jennings, Wallace and Ward, were urged to cut off all contact with their past lives, as don Juan had instructed Carlos to do, and as Castaneda had done by cutting off his wife and adopted son. "He was telling us how to get out of family obligations," Jennings told me. "Being in one-on-one relationships would hold you back from the path. Castaneda was telling us how to get out of commitments with family, down to small points like how to avoid hugging your parents directly." Jennings estimates that during his four years with the group, between 75 and 100 people were told to cut off their families. He doesn't know how many did.

For some initiates, the separation was brutal and final. According to Wallace, acolytes were told to tell their families, "I send you to hell." Both Wallace and Jennings tell of one young woman who, in the group's early years, had been ordered by Castaneda to hit her mother, a Holocaust survivor. Many years later, Wallace told me, the woman "cried about it. She'd done it because she thought he was so psychic he could tell if she didn't." Wallace also describes how, when one young man's parents died soon after being cut off, Castaneda singled him out for praise, remarking, "When you really do it, don Juan told me, they die instantly, as if you were squashing a flea -- and that's all they are, fleas."

Before entering the innermost circle, at least some followers were led into a position of emotional and financial dependence. Ward remembers a woman named Peggy who was instructed to quit her job. She was told she'd then be given cash to get a phone-less apartment, where she would wait to hear from Castaneda or the witches. Peggy fled before this happened. But Ward said this was a common practice with women about to be brought into the family's core.

Valerie Kadium, a librarian, who from 1995 to 1996 took part in the Sunday sessions, recalls one participant who, after several meetings, decided to commit himself fully to the group. He went to Vermont to shut down his business, but on returning to L.A., he was told he could no longer participate; he was "too late." He'd failed to grasp the "cubic centimeter of chance" that, said Kadium, Castaneda often spoke of. Jennings had to quit his job with Hollywood Supports; his work required him to interact with the media, but this was impossible: Sorcerers couldn't have their pictures taken.

But there were rewards. "I was totally affected by these people," Jennings told me. "I felt like I'd found a family. I felt like I'd found a path." Kadium recalls the first time she saw Tensegrity instructor Kylie Lundahl onstage -- she saw an aura around her, an apricot glow. Remembering her early days with the group, she remarked, "There was such a sweetness about it. I had such high hopes. I wanted to feel the world more deeply -- and I did."

Although she was later devastated when Castaneda banished her from the Sunday sessions, telling her "the spirits spit you out," she eventually recovered, and now remembers this as the most exciting time of her life. According to all who knew him, Castaneda wasn't only mesmerizing, he also had a great sense of humor. "One of the reasons I was involved was the idea that I was in this fascinating, on the edge, avant garde, extraordinary group of beings," Wallace said. "Life was always exciting. We were free from the tedium of the world."

And because, as Jennings puts it, Castaneda was a "control freak," followers were often freed from the anxiety of decision-making. Some had more independence, but even Wallace and Bruce Wagner, both of whom were given a certain leeway, were sometimes, according to Wallace, required to have their writing vetted by Donner-Grau. Jennings and Wallace also report that Castaneda directed the inner circle's sex lives in great detail.

The most difficult part, Wallace believes, was that you never knew where you stood. "He'd pick someone, crown them, and was as capable of kicking them out in 48 hours as keeping them 10 years. You never knew. So there was always trepidation, a lot of jealousy." Sometimes initiates were banished for obscure spiritual offenses, such as drinking cappuccino (which Castaneda himself guzzled in great quantities). They'd no longer be invited to the compound. Phone calls wouldn't be returned. Having been allowed for a time into a secret, magical family, they'd be abruptly cut off. For some, Wallace believes, this pattern was highly traumatic. "In a weird way," she said, "the worst thing that can happen is when you're loved and loved and then abused and abused, and there are no rules, and the rules keep changing, and you can never do right, but then all of a sudden they're kissing you. That's the most crazy-making behavioral modification there is. And that's what Carlos specialized in; he was not stupid."

Whether disciples were allowed to stay or forced to leave seems often to have depended on the whims of a woman known as the Blue Scout. Trying to describe her power, Ward recalled a "Twilight Zone" episode in which a little boy could look at people and make them die. "So everyone treated him with kid gloves," she said, "and that's how it was with the Blue Scout." She was born Patricia Partin and grew up in LaVerne, Calif., where, according to Jennings, her father had been in an accident that left him with permanent brain damage. Partin dropped out of Bonita High her junior year. She became a waitress, and, at 19, married an aspiring filmmaker, Mark Silliphant, who introduced her to Castaneda in 1978. Within weeks of their marriage she left Silliphant and went to live with Castaneda. She paid one last visit to her mother; in keeping with the nagual's instructions, she refused to be in a family photograph. For the rest of her life, she never spoke to her mother again.

Castaneda renamed Partin Nury Alexander. She was also "Claude" as well as the Blue Scout. She soon emerged as one of his favorites (Castaneda officially adopted her in 1995). Followers were told he'd conceived her with Tiggs in the nagual. He said she had a very rare energy; she was "barely human" -- high praise from Castaneda. Partin, a perpetual student at UCLA and an inveterate shopper at Neiman Marcus, was infantilized. In later years, new followers would be assigned the task of playing dolls with her.

In the late '80s, perhaps because book sales had slowed, or perhaps because he no longer feared media scrutiny, Castaneda sought to expand. Jennings believes he may have been driven by a desire to please Partin. Geuter confirms that Castaneda told followers that the Blue Scout had talked him into starting Cleargreen. But she also suggests another motivation. "He was thinking about what he wanted for the rest of his life," Geuter told me. "He always talked about 'going for the golden clasp.' He wanted to finish with something spectacular."

Castaneda investigated the possibility of incorporating as a religion, as L. Ron Hubbard had done with Scientology. Instead, he chose to develop Tensegrity, which, Jennings believes, was to be the means through which the new faith would spread. Tensegrity is a movement technique that seems to combine elements of a rigid version of tai chi and modern dance. In all likelihood the inspiration came from karate devotees Donner-Grau and Abelar, and from his years of lessons with martial arts instructor Howard Lee. Documents found by Geuter show him discussing a project called "Kung Fu Sorcery" with Lee as early as 1988. The more elegant "Tensegrity" was lifted from Buckminster Fuller, for whom it referred to a structural synergy between tension and compression. Castaneda seems to have just liked the sound of it.

A major player in promoting Tensegrity was Wagner, whose fifth novel, "The Chrysanthemum Palace," was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner prize (his sixth, "Memorial," was recently released by Simon and Schuster). Wagner hadn't yet published his first novel when he approached Castaneda in 1988 with the hope of filming the don Juan books. Within a few years, according to Jennings and Wallace, he became part of the inner circle. He was given the sorceric name Lorenzo Drake -- Enzo for short. As the group began to emerge from the shadows, holding seminars in high school auditoriums and on college campuses, Wagner, tall, bald and usually dressed in black, would, according to Geuter and Wallace, act as a sort of bouncer, removing those who asked unwanted questions. (Wagner declined requests for an interview.) In 1995 Wagner, who'd previously been wed to Rebecca De Mornay, married Tiggs. That same year his novel "I'm Losing You" was chosen by the New York Times as a notable book of the year. John Updike, in the New Yorker, proclaimed that Wagner "writes like a wizard."

In the early '90s, to promote Tensegrity, Castaneda set up Cleargreen, which operated out of the offices of "Rugrats" producer and Castaneda agent (and part-time sorcerer) Tracy Kramer, a friend of Wagner's from Beverly Hills High. Although Castaneda wasn't a shareholder, according to Geuter, "he determined every detail of the operation." Jennings and Wallace confirm that Castaneda had complete control of Cleargreen. (Cleargreen did not respond to numerous inquiries from Salon.) The company's official president was Amalia Marquez (sorceric name Talia Bey), a young businesswoman who, after reading Castaneda's books, had moved from Puerto Rico to Los Angeles in order to follow him.

At Tensegrity seminars, women dressed in black, the "chacmools," demonstrated moves for the audience. Castaneda and the witches would speak and answer questions. Seminars cost up to $1,200, and as many as 800 would attend. Participants could buy T-shirts that read "Self Importance Kills -- Do Tensegrity." The movements were meant to promote health as well as help practitioners progress as warriors. Illness was seen as a sign of weakness. Wallace recalls the case of Tycho, the Orange Scout (supposedly the Blue Scout's sister). "She had ulcerative colitis," Wallace told me. "She was trying to keep it a secret because if Carlos knew you were sick he'd punish you. If you went for medical care, he'd kick you out." Once Tycho's illness was discovered, Wallace said, Tycho was expelled from the group.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

If Castaneda's early books drew on Buddhism and phenomenology, his later work seemed more indebted to science fiction. But throughout, there was a preoccupation with meeting death like a warrior. In the '90s, Castaneda told his followers that, like don Juan, he wouldn't die -- he'd burn from within, turn into a ball of light, and ascend to the heavens.

In the summer of 1997, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. Because sorcerers weren't supposed to get sick, his illness remained a tightly guarded secret. While the witches desperately pursued traditional and alternative treatments, the workshops continued as if nothing was wrong (although Castaneda often wasn't there). One of the witches, Abelar, flew to Florida to inspect yachts. Geuter, in notes taken at the time, wondered, "Why are they buying a boat? ... Maybe Carlos wants to leave with his group, and disappear unnoticed in the wide-open oceans."

No boats were purchased. Castaneda continued to decline. He became increasingly frail, his eyes yellow and jaundiced. He rarely left the compound. According to Wallace, Tiggs told her the witches had purchased guns. While the nagual lay bedridden with a morphine drip, watching war videos, the inner circle burned his papers. A grieving Abelar had begun to drink. "I'm not in any danger of becoming an alcoholic now," she told Wallace. "Because I'm leaving, so -- it's too late." Wallace writes: "She was telling me, in her way, that she planned to die."

Wallace also recalls a conversation with Lundahl, the star of the Tensegrity videos and one of the women who disappeared: "If I don't go with him, I'll do what I have to do," Wallace says Lundahl told her. "It's too late for you and me to remain in the world -- I think you know exactly what I mean."

In April 1998, Geuter filmed the inner circle packing up the house. The next week, at age 72, Castaneda died. He was cremated at the Culver City mortuary. No one knows what became of his ashes. Within days, Donner-Grau, Abelar, Partin, Lundahl and Marquez had their phones disconnected and vanished. A few weeks later, Partin's red Ford Escort was found abandoned in Death Valley's Panamint Dunes.

Even within the inner circle, few knew that Castaneda was dead. Rumors spread. Many were in despair: The nagual hadn't "burned from within." Jennings didn't learn until two weeks later, when Tiggs called to tell him Castaneda was "gone." The witches, she said, were "elsewhere."

In a proposal for a biography of Castaneda, a project Jennings eventually chose not to pursue, he writes that Tiggs "also told me she was supposed to have 'gone with them,' but 'a non-decision decision' kept me here." Meanwhile, the workshops continued. "Carol also banned mourning within Cleargreen," Jennings writes, "so its members hid their grief, often drowning it in alcohol or drugs." Wallace, too, recalls a lot of drug use: "I don't know if they tried to OD so much as to 'get there.' Get to Carlos." Jennings himself drove to the desert and thought about committing suicide.

The media didn't learn of Castaneda's death for two months. When the news became public, Cleargreen members stopped answering their phones. They soon placed a statement, which Jennings says was written by Wagner, on their Web site: "For don Juan, the warrior was a being ... who embarks, when the time comes, on a definitive journey of awareness, 'crossing over to total freedom' ... warriors can keep their awareness, which is ordinarily relinquished, at the moment of dying. At the moment of crossing, the body in its entirety is kindled with knowledge ... Carlos Castaneda left the world the same way that his teacher, don Juan Matus did: with full awareness."

Many obituaries had a curious tone; the writers seemed uncertain whether to call Castaneda a fraud. Some expressed a kind of nostalgia for an author whose work had meant so much to so many in their youth. Korda refused comment. De Mille, in an interview with filmmaker Ralph Torjan, expressed a certain admiration. "He was the perfect hoaxer," he told Torjan, "because he never admitted anything."

Jennings, Wallace and Geuter believe the missing women likely committed suicide. Wallace told me about a phone call to Donner-Grau's parents not long after the women disappeared. Donner-Grau had been one of the few allowed to maintain contact with her family. "They were weeping," Wallace said, "because there was no goodbye. They didn't know what had happened. This was after decades of being in touch with them."

Castaneda's will, executed three days before his death, leaves everything to an entity known as the Eagle's Trust. According to Jennings, who obtained a copy of the trust agreement, the missing women have a considerable amount of money due to them. Deborah Drooz, the executor of Castaneda's estate, said she has had no contact with the women. She added that she believes they are still alive.

Jennings believes Castaneda knew they were planning to kill themselves. "He used to talk about suicide all the time, even for minor things," Jennings told me. He added that Partin was once sent to identify abandoned mines in the desert, which could be used as potential suicide sites. (There's an abandoned mine not far from where her remains were found.) "He regularly told us he was our only hope," Jennings said. "We were all supposed to go together, 'make the leap,' whatever that meant." What did Jennings think it meant? "I didn't know fully," he said. "He'd describe it in different ways. So would the witches. It seemed to be what they were living for, something we were being promised."

The promise may have been based on the final scene in "Tales of Power," in which Carlos leaps from a cliff into the nagual. The scene is later retold in varying versions. In his 1984 book, "The Fire From Within," Castaneda wrote: "I didn't die at the bottom of that gorge -- and neither did the other apprentices who had jumped at an earlier time -- because we never reached it; all of us, under the impact of such a tremendous and incomprehensible act as jumping to our deaths, moved our assemblage points and assembled other worlds."

Did Castaneda really believe this? Wallace thinks so. "He became more and more hypnotized by his own reveries," she told me. "I firmly believe Carlos brainwashed himself." Did the witches? Geuter put it this way: "Florinda, Taisha and the Blue Scout knew it was a fantasy structure. But when you have thousands of eyes looking back at you, you begin to believe in the fantasy. These women never had to answer to the real world. Carlos had snatched them when they were very young."

Wallace isn't sure what the women believed. Because open discussion of Castaneda's teachings was forbidden, it was impossible to know what anyone really thought. However, she told me, after living so long with Castaneda, the women may have felt they had no choice. "You've cut off all your ties," she said. "Now you're going to go back after all these decades? Who are you going to go be with? And you feel that you're not one of the common herd anymore. That's why they killed themselves."

On its Web site, Cleargreen maintains that the women didn't "depart." However, "for the moment they are not going to appear personally at the workshops because they want this dream to take wings."

Remarkably, there seems to have been no investigation into at least three of the disappearances. Except for Donner-Grau, they'd all been estranged from their families for years. For months after they vanished, none of the other families knew what had happened. And so, according to Geuter, no one reported them missing. Salon attempted to locate the three missing women, relying on public records and phone calls to their previous residences, but discovered no current trace of them. The Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI confirm that there's been no official inquiry into the disappearances of Donner-Grau, Abelar and Lundahl.

There is, however, a file open in the Marquez case. This is due to the tireless efforts of Luis Marquez, who told Salon that he first tried to report his sister missing in 1999. But the LAPD, he said, repeatedly ignored him. A year later, he and his sister Carmen wrote a letter to the missing-persons unit; again, no response. According to Marquez, it wasn't until Partin's remains were identified that the LAPD opened a file on Amalia. "To this day," he told me, "they still refuse to ask any questions or visit Cleargreen." His own attempts to get information from Cleargreen have been fruitless. According to Marquez, all he's been told is that the women are "traveling." Detective Lydia Dillard, assigned to the Marquez case, said that because this is an open investigation, she couldn't confirm whether anyone from Cleargreen had been interviewed.

In 2002, a Taos, N.M., woman, Janice Emery, a Castaneda follower and workshop attendee, jumped to her death in the Rio Grande gorge. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Emery had a head injury brought on by cancer. One of Emery's friends told the newspaper that Emery "wanted to be with Castaneda's people." Said another: "I think she was really thinking she could fly off." A year later, a skeleton was discovered near the site of Partin's abandoned Ford. The Inyo County sheriff's department suspected it was hers. But, due to its desiccated condition, a positive identification couldn't be made until February 2006, when new DNA technology became available.

Wallace recalls how Castaneda had told Partin that "if you ever need to rise to infinity, take your little red car and drive it as fast as you can into the desert and you will ascend." And, Wallace believes, "that's exactly what she did: She took her little red car, drove it into the desert, didn't ascend, got out, wandered around and fainted from dehydration."

Partin's death and the disappearance of the other women aren't Castaneda's entire legacy. He's been acknowledged as an important influence by figures ranging from Deepak Chopra to George Lucas. Without a doubt, Castaneda opened the doors of perception for numerous readers, and many workshop attendees found the experience deeply meaningful. There are those who testify to the benefits of Tensegrity. And even some of those who are critical of Castaneda find his teachings useful. "He was a conduit. I wanted answers to the big questions. He helped me," Geuter said. But for five of his closest companions, his teachings -- and his insistence on their literal truth -- may have cost them their lives.

Long after Castaneda had been discredited in academia, Korda continued to insist on his authenticity. In 2000, he wrote: "I have never doubted for a moment the truth of his stories about don Juan." Castaneda's books have been profitable for Simon and Schuster, and according to Korda, were for many years one of the props on which the publisher rested. Castaneda might have achieved some level of success if his books had been presented, as James Redfield's "Celestine Prophecy" is, as allegorical fiction. But Castaneda always insisted he'd made nothing up. "If he hadn't presented his stories as fact," Wallace told me, "it's unlikely the cult would exist. As nonfiction, it became impossibly more dangerous."

To this day, Simon and Schuster stands by Korda's position. When asked whether, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the publisher still regarded Castaneda's books as nonfiction, Adam Rothenberg, the vice president for corporate communication, replied that Simon and Schuster "will continue to publish Castaneda as we always have." Tensegrity classes are still held around the world. Workshops were recently conducted in Mexico City and Hanover, Germany. Wagner's videos are still available from Cleargreen. According to the terms of Castaneda's will, book royalties still help support a core group of acolytes. On Simon and Schuster's Web site, Castaneda is still described as an anthropologist. No mention is made of his fiction.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on September 27, 2010, 09:23:37 pm
Geez.. he really went over the edge. I know the first 4 books, suicide was no option. 

I also know Florinda suicided after he died, apparently he told her he made it all up. I didn't know
of the other's though.  I know someone personally who visited Carlos on his death bed, and he was
told the same thing, that he made it all up.

Curious, I attended the first workshop after his passing. Carol Tiggs and unless my memory is failing me, but
I think Abelar was there as well.. but I know for fact Tiggs was because she stood on the stage and told
everyone that he didn't die.  Which I knew was a lie.. as I said, I was curious this time, not attending out
of belief, I wanted to see and hear what they were going to say..

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: karen mica on September 28, 2010, 01:48:06 pm
From what I understand Castaneda may have gotten his inspiration.. from the teachings of the Russian
Gurdjieff. Who of course got his own inspirations from several ancient teachings, including those of the Siberians. 
Castaneda himself however, never did learn the lessons he attempted to teach.

He made up his own version and his own story, in order to parallel Gurdjieff's teachings but he failed miserably. It is a mistake to throw the baby out with the bathwater though and to think that because this particular teacher was corrupt and corrupted the teaching, that there is nothing to learn.
All of the ancient knowledge that mankind has retained is dispersed through out the "fourth way" teachings, but little to none of it, is understandable without guidance, much like early alchemy, most of the teaching is disguised and "intended" to confuse the uninitiated.

There have always been those who pop up to distort, corrupt and compromise the ancient knowledge and most have succeeded in this venture. For instance so called "secret societies" via the Templar's, Masons what have you, are simply the "cover story" for the real secret societies we will never hear about..but don`t be fooled..the teachings are valid you just have to sort through the junk and understand what the real message actually is.

I believe that "some" of the Tribes still retained a good portion of the knowledge before contact, but then most of it was lost to the forcing of Church-ianity and accepting the belief that the indians were just ignorant in their "religion".


Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on September 28, 2010, 02:45:01 pm
Well, I read "The Fourth Way" by Gurdjieff many many years ago. Although the "stalking" Castaneda espoused
was similar in some respects to Gurdjieff, I didn't really find Gurdjieff and Castaneda to be all that similar. But
I could be wrong as I only read that one book, and honestly, I'm not even sure I finished it. I'm not big on
books about stuff like this.. and, Gurdjieff never went into dreaming in what I read of it. Later in life I was
told by someone to be wary of Gurdjieff as it was rather 'new' but not sure why or what that warning was

I still tend to lean to believing he (Castaneda) took much of it from Tibetan Buddhism.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: karen mica on September 28, 2010, 04:07:14 pm
 Gurdjieff was all about one thing..the transformation of the "inner" man into a being that is recognizable by the (Universe ) as a pure conduit. 
It`s all about working on ones self, long enough and hard enough to become "usable" in a way that serves others...not the self.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on September 28, 2010, 08:48:30 pm
yes. and i got that from castaneda as well. it was his later books that seemed bent on serving the self..
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: karen mica on September 28, 2010, 10:29:26 pm

Exactly. He had completely fallen off the right track, which can only lead all following... down the wrong path, and seems to fit right in with that new age agenda though.



Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: E.P. Grondine on October 13, 2010, 08:16:54 pm
For Castaneda's early experiences with the yaqueros (spelling?) in the mountains of Peru, read "Cut Stones and Crossroads". That will make it clear.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Defend the Sacred on October 13, 2010, 08:26:29 pm
Could you summarize it for us, E.P.?
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: E.P. Grondine on October 13, 2010, 08:33:42 pm
Could you summarize it for us, E.P.?

Yes, though since I can do it not very well, I am reluctant to.

The locals remembered that Castenada would hang out and use hallucinogens with local "shamans". Their accounts are relayed in "Cut Stones and Crossroads", and that is why they are important.

Later acquaintances of mine who visited the area told me of being told, "That's the good stuff. It's been in the bottle for a week."

I note that the really important part of this is the rather conscious lying, which is the sure sign of a con man.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: 7he4uthor on April 09, 2011, 02:06:40 pm
1 read this author's work at age 14 1971 1 knew it was fantasy, but now 1 understand more about this person whose actions border on criminal/slander/libel regarding magio-religious rites.
Apparently some youth today take this work as reality.

I moved the thread into Fraud because that's what Castaneda clearly was, what he was proved to be repeatedly, and even what he repeatedly (and even cheerfully) admitted to being many times.

If you're too lazy to have not noticed what most people knew thirty-forty years ago, don't go blaming us. The information is all over the place. You could've simply hit the search button on this site, or used google.

This is precisely what Debbie, Moma P, myself, and many other NDNs have pointed out before, that Nuagers get mad at NDNs for not living up to exploiters' falsehoods rather than getting mad at the frauds who fooled them.

UCLA did not revoke his PhD, and it's considered something of an embarassment to them and the anthropology profession. But I know that today most anthropology courses only use his works as negative examples, of what not to do, fabricate falsehoods, fantasies, and exploit or lie about Native peoples.

Sheehs, for someone who devotes so much effort to the guy, how could you fail to overlook literally hundreds of sources like these? And why the hysteria when a Native dares question him?

Or DeMille's work. Or the revelations of a member of his inner circle, that he kept a harem around him that likely all comitted suicide after his death. (Article is in our site.)

Or the most obvious facts of all (ones that even many anthros overlooked) that nothing in his falsehoods had the slightest resemblance to Yaqui, Mayan, or Toltec beliefs, or any Native beliefs, for that matter. They were all obvious ripoffs of Tai Chi passed off as Native.

My favorite debunking is still Deloria's, that his books (and the phony "Don Juan") obviously all came out of a hit of acid.

To me, all his works prove is how elaborate the fantasies are that some whites make up about Natives, and just how desperate and spiritually barren they must be to believe them.
Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: Honoring Boundaries on September 20, 2011, 11:47:57 pm
Years ago, someone wrote an online artice describing how much he sought refuge in reading science fiction when he was an adolescent. Years later, he realized that reading science fiction had, for him, possessed mood altering properties.

Am sorry I cannot find that article. This person may not have been alone. And there may have been something about Castaneda's writing style and also his chosen material that had mood altering effects.

Castaneda wrote a varient of a Gnostic myth. There is something about this basic myth that has an enduring appeal because versions of it have been popular and profitable throughout history.

But thought it gives relief, mood alteration is not mind control.

Feeling good is not the same as being good. Otherwise taking a hit of speed or cocaine would turn us into saints.

Feeling powerful is not necessarily the same as benevolence. The First Nation practices were meant to benefit the entire community, not empower a lone individual.

For comparison, here from sustained action is a critique of Castaneda's philosophy. That philosophy was the creation of an urbanized alienated male child in an adult body, who needed to rationalize his inability to share himself with other persons and make a life as a hustler seem superior to those who could live in community. No clan or tribe living at subsistance level could have tolerated someone like this -- a person like Castaneda is as dangerous to others as a mouse with hantavirus, a squirrel ailing from plaugue or a coyote with rabies. e Castaneda was not cntent to suffer in private--he spread his misery to others to reasurre himself he was not alone. Thats the tragedy.

Title: Re: Carlos Castaneda
Post by: critter - a white non-ndn person on September 21, 2011, 12:12:08 am
Yeh, at a workshop I went to, I met many who when I brought up practicing the techniques in
the books (first four) they said "what techniques".  I know now that the techniques
came from the Dzogchen. As far as I can tell, they are the same, just cloaked and stated to
be something else. 

I never noticed anything about his writing to be mood altering or anything like that.

Yes, the sustained action group formed by one of the people who was part of a group
that Castaneda chose from the workshops. When the illusion broke, he formed that
Title: Castaneda tangent?
Post by: koyoteh on October 02, 2014, 10:13:10 pm
was his first book completely fraudulent though?
i dont' remember it being presented as real. I always thought it was a comedic fictional story. But maybe based on some true events that he went through. Wheere peoples names were changed. Even the medicines name was changed.

For me the story was comedic. Not a book about all kinds of knowledge being presented, but about a dumbass who stalked an old native man and was trying to exploit this old man. ANd the old man just abuses him left and right. Kindo of a story like  "leave the natives elders alone or else"  kind of theme. 

and i looked up that don juan character and all the possibilities of who he may have been and none of them were good. Seems this man whom the character was based on , studied the european darks arts of magic and mixed them into some native ways. SO castaneda was stalking a bad medicine man.

true or not true? i dont know. 

I still say yes the book is fake , when it comes to people thinking its completely real and is like a refernce book.

ON another crazy note, i met this crazy huichol peyote man. kind of a similar character to that don juan. There were people there saying that he was actually the man that don juan was based on . ANd yes he was not a good man.
THat might be a little far fetched though.