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The Active Side of Infinity (The Teachings of Don Juan #12)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  1,489 ratings  ·  49 reviews
"Ordinarily, events that change our path are impersonal affairs, and yet extremely personal. "My teacher, don Juan Matus, said this in guiding me as his apprentice to collect what I considered to be the memorable events of my life. Don Juan Matus was a Yaqui Indian shaman from Sonora, Mexico; he was a nagual, a leader of a group of fifteen men and women shamans who traced ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 9th 1998 by Harper (first published January 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,573)
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Ron Grunberg
I clicked to review this book from the choices of writings by Casteneda, but really I'm "reviewing" all his books, especially the several early ones I read with great fear and fascination when they first came out. I never really got into the debate over whether they were "real" or not. To me, they were real enough. That is, the stories were hair-raising and frightening for what they were--writing designed to have you question your entire cultural existence.

I remember once when Carlos, the appren
Lil D
Once the pages were opened, I couldn't put the book down until I reached the end. It was a good recap (and refresher) of CC's earlier books I had read years ago. Whether don Juan Matus and his teachings are fact or fiction didn't matter. What mattered was that Castaneda's spin on existentialism and the human experience presented an explanation to many of our yearning questions on this topic. And more importantly, it resonated with my need to embark on self-discovery and attain higher spiritual a ...more
Jan 02, 2008 NEMO rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
what i find most incredible about Castaneda's works is that feedback from people mainly centers on if he even existed, if Don Juan is real, etc.
it's like finding a planet of starving people, offering them not only a tomato, but the seeds and teaching folk how to grow them.
then the starving masses examine the tomato like it's a grenade and wonder, 'but is it a fruit, or a vegetable?'
and prefer to starve rather than just eat the thing.

tis a yul brynner said.
'so let it be written.
It facinates me to unknown end how the Shaman are able to understand so much about our universe without ever taking a physics class. The values and experiences shared in this book are powerful enough for one to rediscover God and take a whole new perspective on what is going on around us.
Fraud or not This was a life changing book for me. opened up my mind to possibilities and set me on a personal quest of discovery.
This book had an immediate effect on me. After he describes the process of collecting memorable events, the recapitulation, and perhaps the part about assessing to whom you are indebted, I woke up one morning with an event from high school in my mind. It had only taken 19 years, but I finally understood how this event that I had interpreted in a negative way at the time was actually this act of love that had surely saved me from grave harm. I had not been thinking about this event at all, it jus ...more
Jack Oughton
So, for a long time I'd been trying to get to a point where Carlos Castaneda's work resonates with me. Having started and abandoned many of his previous books, it was NOT easy, but I was sure that if I kept trying, I'd find a book that I liked.

Anyway, this seems to be the one in which finally I 'got' it. Bloody good reading.

So, by my experience I would recommend it to other people trying to get their heads around Carlos' work. Worked for me anyway :)

Though this may just be my experience...

This struck me as more like leftovers than a capstone to the series, so three stars instead of four or five. A few different phrasings, and it's a quick read, so fans can deal with it, if they can block out the excessive italicization (which I suspect was just CC playing with readers' heads). The core writing technique of all of the don Juan material was slipped into, I think it was Taisha Abelar's book, "The Sorcerer's Crossing" (if not hers then the other female apprentice's): "rearranging sha ...more
Another bright shiny new book that hasn't most likely been read by me.

June 2011

Another box of books has been reopened for cleaning, sorting, and reevaluation and lo and behold, many of the collected works of Carlos Castaneda are part of the contents.

Many years have gone but I remember this author and his works vividly. [Now don't get any ideas as to an allusion I may or may not be making] At some point I stopped purchasing more in the series and put them away. There's a 'blur' factor as I recall
May 25, 2007 Nate marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
From Library Journal
Completed shortly before anthropologist-shaman Castaneda's death in April 1998, this book serves as the fulfillment of a task his teacher, the Yaqui Indian sorcerer Don Juan Matus, gave him many years ago, when Castaneda was instructed to collect the significant events of his life. This was not, however, meant as a collection of major milestones in his physical existence but as a selective work describing the transcendent moments and meaningful insights that changed his life
James Mackay
What a ride. Enjoyed every page and was certainly hard to put down. every time I had to. It has a lot of parallels with some other writers I've been reading like gurdjieff. Don't know what to make about the whole fake or not thing, on one hand I don't think much trace of don Juan would be found but haven't looked much into it yet. Worth the read non the less! Certainly a gripping book.
Very interesting ~ we had to read a couple of his earlier books in my anthropology classes in the 70's. I read this book in record time ~ probably a little over a week.
Donatas Gostautas
"Visata turėjo pradžią, o dabar ji sensta, - aiškino žmogus.
-Ir mirs, kaip viskas miršta."
Kaip mirė jis pats, matematiškai patvirtinęs
savo kalbos sintaksę.
holy cow. i think castaneda had alzheimers when he wrote this, or maybe he had like a 9th-grader working as an intern for him and the 9th-grader wrote the dumbest, most ridiculous piece of insane crap he could, then tricked castaneda into signing it, then sent it off to the publisher, where the 9th-grader's stoner friend worked as an intern, and the stoner friend got it published by blackmailing his boss.

or something. the only reason i read the whole thing was because i was curious whether the b
Weird as usual! Published in 1998 probably after his death.
Bryon Medina
Jan 22, 2008 Bryon Medina rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Die hard Casteneda fans only.
Is it just me, or have Carlos Castaneda's books devolved by this point? Whereas previous books in the series gave the spiritual warrior techniques and food for thought, this book just feels like bad science fiction. Gone are the unfathomable mysteries and in their place we have mere caricatures of the real Don Juan and Carlos.
The first five books are essential reading in my opinion. This book has the feel of an anomaly to me.
This has been my introduction to Carlos Castaneda's "world". I find my favorite types of books are ones that lead me to question more and more of life. Without a doubt, this one opened the gates to intrigue.

"There are ups and downs of daily living. You win, you lose and you don't know when you win or when you lose. This is the price one pays for living under the rule of self-reflection." ~CC

Oct 03, 2007 Shana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is willing to expand their minds beyond the mundane
This book was a complete trip. Carlos Casteneda is brilliant when it comes to explaining and documenting. I recommend reading the first two or three books first though which are "The Teachings of Don Juan," "A Seperate Reality," and "Journey To Ixtlan." You really have to be willing to let your mind go and just take everything for how it is to get the full effect of what Don Juan is explaining to Casteneda.
Jul 25, 2007 Elkin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
Excelent book about chammanisn in the north part of mexico. It talks about the teachings of Don Juan, an old chamman with great knowledge of life, magic, nature. It is based on the author experiences with peyote. Great descriptions of other realities we are afraid to look for.

I learn that my ego is my worst enemy and that is why it rejects any kind of spiritual knowledge (awakening) since it may die.
Whoa! I mean immortality from Tom Robbins is one thing but from Carlos Castenda and Don Juan quite another...almost too serious and too possible. Didn't understand lots of the teachings here and yet am fascinated with different explanations of our energy and energy fields and those Mexican shamans have a view, an understanding that certainly took Carlos over the abyss and back.
Zev Rubin
This is Castaneda's last book. The writing is eloquent and creates realities with metaphor that literal non-fiction or poetic fiction can scarcely ever touch. There is biting truth and insight here - and you get the sense that Castaneda's life apart from Don Juan in Mexico, was just as weird and quixotic and adventurous as anything that happened with the Yaqui master.
Ivinela Samuilova
All books of Carlos Castaneda are very important to me. He (and his Don Juan), Vadim Zeland - writer from Russia, quantum physicist and Alexey Bachev - an unusual psychologist from Bulgaria, protagonist of my book Life Can Be a Miracle have shaped my way of thinking, perceiving, experiencing the reality. Very grateful for showing me the miraculous way of living!!!!
It did present some interesting alternative thoughts, but I kept feeling like they weren't fully developed, and the writing style bothered me "no end". If the author used that expression one more time, I thought I would put the book down. I suppose my rating is a bit harsh, but I also just found myself feeling like he was making too much of everything.
This is my first experience reading Carlos Castaneda and I found it one minute very profound and the next infantile. I came away feeling very glad to have read it though. The character, Don Juan, whether fictitious or not exemplified a believable being with probable and fresh ideas about life and the universe.
Apr 02, 2013 Amylyn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those with open minds, those interested in self-delving
Shelves: recommended
This book was very eye-opening and an enjoyable read. I raced through it and had a lot of things to research that struck my fancy every time I put it down. The last couple chapters really sparked my curiosity and invigorated my own path, leading me to new ways of looking at things. A truly great book.
Instead of an ongoing storyline, this books gives us one more glimpse inside the relationship with Carlos and don Juan Matus. I found it enjoyable to listen to Carlos expand into the universe of being with his teacher/shaman. Very nice read - I liked the series, but I haven't read it in ages.
Karen Sawyer
Mar 10, 2008 Karen Sawyer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in shamanism and spirituality
This book changes with your understanding of the world. I re-read this book last month (February 2008) and found that I understood it in a completely different way than I did when I read it some 8 years ago. It is profound. READ IT!!!
I am planning to re-read this book and see if it is really as magical as I thought 10 years ago. or, as some other reader said, it is the product of a stoner's immagination, loaded on crappy weed.
A lasting impression at the end of this one. I will never again be able to look at the mundane world and my happenings without mentally refrencing this book.
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Carlos Castaneda (December 25, 1925 – April 27, 1998) was a Peruvian-born American author. Immigration records for Carlos Cesar Arana Castaneda indicate that he was born on December 25, 1925 in Cajamarca, Perú. Records show that his surname was given by his mother Susana Castañeda Navoa. His father was Cesar Arana Burungaray. His surname appears with the ñ in many Hispanic dictionaries, even thoug ...more
More about Carlos Castaneda...

Other Books in the Series

The Teachings of Don Juan (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge
  • A Separate Reality
  • Journey to Ixtlan
  • Tales of Power
  • Second Ring of Power
  • Eagle's Gift
  • Fire from Within
  • Power of Silence
  • The Art of Dreaming
  • Magical Passes: The Practical Wisdom of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico
The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge A Separate Reality Journey to Ixtlan Tales of Power The Art of Dreaming

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