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April 11, 2007

Carlos Castaneda: Fraud

Posted in: reality

I have read many books by Carlos Castaneda, and have always been holding out that they may have actually been mostly truthful, or at the very least, had truth interspersed with many fictional sequences or exaggerations. This article, however, does a fairly good job of shattering any faith I had that his books weren’t fiction. There are some caveats I’d like to point out about his books though, which the article points out and which I will summarize:

Many ideas in his books aren’t completely his:
I’ve known this for a while as I’ve discovered many of the things from his books are actually borrowed from older religions. The model for the human energy body as an egg of fibers all connection at a certain point exists in Hinduism and Buddhism as well. It also has been recorded by people sighting others during out of body experiences.

His books lack important details:
One very interesting detail the article pointed out was that Castaneda doesn’t mention anything about pests in the deserts of Mexico. He and Don Juan apparently lived charmed lives in the desert.

He later founded what was a very strange organization resembling a cult:
After he disappeared from the mainstream public eye in the 70′s, he founded a very odd organization which was supposed to be based on the teachings of Don Juan. It was, however, apparently was used to manipulate people’s lives. After he died, his main ring of “witches” all disappeared. One of their bodies was found in a desert, proved by DNA testing. The others are suspected of having committed suicide.

While I find this news somewhat disappointing, it doesn’t really change my views on the books. They are excellent reading, and were a great motivator for me for getting into stuff like lucid dreaming and astral projection. They stretch your perception of the world and make you think in a broader sense of the world. I highly recommend the Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way Of Knowledge, A Separate Reality, Journey to Ixtlan, and The Art of Dreaming.

-Hatter

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