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The Teachings of Don Juan #1

The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

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The story of a remarkable spiritual journey, the first awesome steps on the road to becoming "a man of knowledge," the road that continues with A Separate Reality and Journey to Ixtlan. Includes the teachings and a structural analysis.

288 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1968

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About the author

Carlos Castaneda

177 books2,199 followers
Carlos Castaneda was an Latin-American author.
Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan in 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his training in shamanism, particularly with a group whose lineage descended from the Toltecs.
The books, narrated in the first person, relate his experiences under the tutelage of a man that Castaneda claimed was a Yaqui "Man of Knowledge" named don Juan Matus. His 12 books have sold more than 28 million copies in 17 languages.
Critics have suggested that they are works of fiction; supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy.

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Profile Image for Miguel Mayher.
12 reviews19 followers
July 17, 2009
You may find this book has a lot of chaff on how they prepare peyote and other drugs, mundane descriptions in diary... yet when you less expect it, they hit you with a boulder of wisdom that leaves you freezed.

There is ONE core idea in the book that makes the price tag disappear. You cannot pay for it. It goes like this:

"Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary.

This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it."

Ever since I read the book I have followed that advice. Life blossoms with a feeling of realness.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews32 followers
January 6, 2022
The Teachings of Don Juan (The Teachings of Don Juan #1), Carlos Castaneda

The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge was published by the University of California Press in 1968 as a work of anthropology, though many critics contend that it is a work of fiction.

It was written by Carlos Castaneda and submitted as his Master's thesis in the school of Anthropology.

It purports to document the events that took place during an apprenticeship with a self-proclaimed Yaqui Indian Sorcerer, don Juan Matus from Sonora, Mexico between 1960 and 1965.

The book is divided into two sections. The first section, The Teachings, is a first-person narrative that documents Castaneda's initial interactions with don Juan.

He speaks of his encounters with Mescalito (a teaching spirit inhabiting all peyote plants), divination with lizards and flying using the "yerba del diablo" (lit. "Devil's Weed"; Jimson weed), and turning into a blackbird using "humito" (lit. "little smoke"; a smoked powder containing Psilocybe mexicana).

The second, A Structural Analysis, is an attempt, Castaneda says, at "disclosing the internal cohesion and the cogency of don Juan’s Teachings."

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه آگوست سال1986میلادی

عنوان: تعلیمات دون خوان (طریقه ی معرفت نزد یاکی ها)؛ سال1365، انتشارات فردوس ـ ترجمه ی حسین نیر؛ موضوع تعلیمات و معرفت یاکی ها از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

اگر با آثار «کاستاندا» آشنایی ندارید، این کتاب (طریقه ی معرفت نزد «یاکی»ها)، نخستین کتاب از مجموعه ی دوازده کتاب است، که: «کارلوس کاستانِدا»، در طول عمر خود، به نوشتن آنها اقدام نمود؛ برای آشنایی با جهان بینی ای که او، تلاش در بیان آن، در این سری از آثار داشته، و در زمان خود (دهه های هفتاد تا نود سده بیستم میلادی)، بسیار مورد بحث و جنجال، در میان روشنفکران معاصر، بویژه در دنیای غرب، قرار گرفت، بایست از خوانش نخستین کتاب آغاز کرد، و به ترتیب انتشار آن به زبان اصلی، پیش رفت، تا در جریان سیر تکوینی این نوع جهان بینی عرفانی، که بسیار مرموز و جادویی، و در عین حال: بسیار ساده، طبیعی، واقعی، و پذیرفتنی، اما بشدت باورناکردنی است، قرار گرفت؛

خوانش یک کتاب در میانه ی، این سری گرچه خالی از لطف نیست، اما نقاط کور، و پرسشهای بی پاسخی را، در ذهن برخواهد انگیخت؛ چرا که اینها همانند درسهایی هستند، که با توالی منظمی، از سوی استاد عنوان شده اند، و خوانش یک اثر، در میان این سری دوازده گانه، همانند نشستن در سر کلاس درس، در میانه ی سال تحصیلی است، و همانگونه که دکتر «فره وشی» نیز آورده، این مجموعه را، نمیتوان همچون یک رمان، در دست گرفت و بلا انقطاع خواند، و به مفهوم مطالب عنوان شده در آن، نائل آمد؛ مطالبی که، گاه خود نویسنده نیز، در فهم آن، دچار درگیری است، چرا که به گفته ی «کاستاندا» نتیجه ی ده سال گزارش میدانی است؛ گزارش کارآموزیهای یک شاگرد (مردمشناس) نزد: «پیر»، «مرشد»، «شمن»، «مرد معرفت»، «سالک مبارز»، و «عارف سرخپوستی»، بنام «دون خوان ماتوس»، از قوم «یاکی»، در «صحرای سونورا» در «مکزیک » است؛ دوازده کتاب این سری، به توالی تاریخ انتشار به زبان اصلی، که همه به فارسی ترجمه شده اند، به قرار زیر هستند

1-The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968)
عنوان: تعلیمات دون خوان (طریقه ی معرفت نزد یاکی ها)؛ سال1365، انتشارات فردوس ـ ترجمه ی حسین نیر

2 - A Separate Reality: Further Conversation with Don Juan (1971)
حقیقتی دیگر (باز هم گفت و شنودی با دون خوان)؛ سال1364، انتشارات آگاه، ترجمه ی ابراهیم مکلا

3 - Journey to xtlan: Lessons of Don Juan (1972)
سفر به ایختلان (سفر به ناکجا آباد ـ درسهای دونخوان) کتاب با عنوان «سفر به دیگر سو» در ایران منتشر شده است

4- Tales of Power (1974)
افسانه های قدرت (نخستین حلقه ی قدرت)؛ سال1363، انتشارات فردوس ـ ترجمه ی مهران کندری و مسعود کاظمی

5- The Second Ring of Power (1975)
دومین حلقه ی قدرت ـ چاپ اول سال1364، ترجمه ی مهران کندری و مسعود کاظمی

6- The Eagle's Gift (1981)
هدیه ی عقاب ـ سال1365، ترجمه ی مهران کندری و مسعود کاظمی

7- The Fire from Within (1984)
آتش درون ـ سال1368، ترجمه ی مهران کندری و مسعود کاظمی

8-The Power of Silence, Further Lessons of don Juan (1988)
قدرت سکوت ـ سال1368، ترجمه ی مهران کندری

9- The Art of Dreaming (1994)
هنر خواب بینی ـ سال1374، ترجمه ی فرزاد همدانی

10- Magical Passes: The Practical Wisdom of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico
عنوان: حرکات جادویی - خرد شمنان مکزیک کهن؛ کارلوس کاستاندا؛ برگردان: مهران کندری؛ تهران، نشر میترا، سال1377، در330ص، مصور، شابک ایکس-964599831؛

11- The Wheel of Time: The Shamans of Mexico Their Thoughts About Life Death & the Universe (The Teachings of Don Juan #11), Carlos Castaneda
عنوان: چرخ زمان: شمنان مکزیک کهن، افکار آنان در باره ی زندگی، زندگی مرگ و جهان؛ نویسنده: کارلوس کاستاندا، برگردان مهدی کندری؛ تهران، میترا، سال1377، در278ص، شابک9645998360؛ موضوع: کارلوی کاستاندا از سال1931م تا سال1998م، عرفان سرخپوستی، دین سرخپوستان یاکوئی، دین و اساطیر سده20م

12- The Active Side of Infinity (1998)
کرانه ی فعال بیکرانگی ـ سال1379، ترجمه ی مهران کندری

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 10/12/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 15/10/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
1,028 reviews17.7k followers
September 27, 2023
In the seventies, after my footloose brother had left behind the old homestead for a freer and more independent life in seismic surveying, I was often greeted from the open door of his room by his adolescent book collection.

Near the top of his bookcase was Carlos Castaneda’s first book...

One day, in the habitually perplexed and low-level depressive frame of mind endemic to my life at that time (due, of course, to the barbarically primitive effects of first-generation mood stabilizers) I sought to discover what he had found interesting about the book.

But Its contents perplexed me even more than the cover had originally done. To believe the things related here required a momentary lapse of one’s reason.

You see, in those days I had no inside track on the pervasive drug culture whose effects were all around us. I had tried, and now avoided “recreational” weed, because I had known many such drug users as lifers in the psychiatric system.

They were the bottom-feeders who gained in it “a free place to beef up and crash” after suffering the drowning of their sorrows in too much drink and drugs.

Their sorrows, of course, would follow as night must follow day, close upon the heels of their retrospectively-shamefaced antics and slumbers in la-la-Land, for them (alas) always a perpetual possibility.

These guys LOVED Castaneda - a magnet for their intended young victims, girls or boys. And Canada had free Medicare.

I by now had my first full-time job after college, in an office where young dishevelled clerks played a subordinate role to the classier Leisure Suit Larry’s (remember that video arcade game, boomers?) who manned the administrative and professional ranks.

And being a kid, and at a basic subordinate level, I was thrown in with the other folks at the bottom of the ladder.

But, being a kid who was already a fairly innocent psychiatric survivor, I was at sea in the mind games they followed.

Now, I guess that sounds a lot like Henry James’ tarnished old world meets naïve new world scenarios in his novels.

But how else can I explain the otherworldliness of a kid who’s been catapulted abruptly from an aborted coming of age into the strict longterm control of a judiciously claustrophobic office?

I think you can see where I’m coming from.

For the seventies were not only a hotbed for the drug culture, but as well for the sexual proclivities of a generation that had taken the bull of Minos by the horns, like the scantily-clad Cretans of old.

A generation which, as my grandmother put it, were only as good as they had to be. I’m not so naïve now to think she erred in her judgment, thank Goodness.

But back then, in a sea of office layabouts who wore their hair long and their manners short, and myself blitzed with tranquilizers that could sink the Bismarck, I really had no clue.

Such, I imagine, is still the brutish experience of a lot of innocents entering the real world of business.

And when the baby fat goes into the fire, there’s trouble galore.

This is a pretty long-winded apology for a perpetually extended innocence, isn’t it?

But when I rediscovered my Christian roots five years later, my prolonged ignorance of the Ugly Side - beyond the Good and the Bad - was sealed over forever... and I was Saved from its Influence.

And that moment for me had been always only a prayer away, had I but known it then:

And had I but seen that Castaneda’s Magical Sorcery Tour was just another pretext for the old Trip Down the Garden Path for so many of my young contemporaries:

At least for those among them that still kept track through their mental miasmal mists.
Profile Image for Rich Flammer.
Author 1 book6 followers
November 14, 2007
I found this book in my friend's house in Spring Lake, New Jersey about 20 years ago. Flipped through it, started reading, and couldn't put it down. Since then I've read all of Carlos Casteneda's books, but this is by far the best. Sadly, the power of this work is often diminished by readers who mistakenly, and obtusely, attribute his experiences solely to tripping through the use of psychotropic plants in Mexico. "That's a book about tripping," people have told me. But no, it really has nothing to do with that, and whether Castaneda ever actually met Don Juan, or experienced any of what he pens in this and his other books, who cares? His writing is profound, fun in a perverse way, and entirely engaging. If nothing that he has written about never actually happened, he's gotta have one of the best imaginations in the history of civilization. Somehow the New Age movement adopted his fine work and insightful observations as their own, but I feel this represents another sad marginalization of what he has done. All that aside, this book is stunning in its detail, suspense, flow, and message. One of my all-time favorites.
Profile Image for kaelan.
261 reviews309 followers
December 31, 2017
Back in the 70's, Carlos Castaneda—a young anthropologist from the University of California—was the shit amongst hippies, new-agers and wanna-be-cool academics desperate to shed their stuffy tweed. Now? Not so much. For many readers, Castaneda's death knell sounded when most of his accounts turned out to be—factually speakingcomplete and utter BS. To which diehard Castanites objected: "But, like, what is truth anyways, man?"

I don't wish to get terribly enmeshed in the debate. But to my logical, unenlightened mind, the following statement seems like it should hold: namely, that since The Teachings of Don Juan purports either to be non-fiction or fiction, and since these possibilities are mutually exclusive (or at least could easily be defined as such), then we can inquire into which accolades and/or criticisms apply to each, and whether any apply to both.

Accordingly, we should be able to forward a general appraisal of the book that doesn't rely upon any dodgy factual corroboration. Let us begin...

Case #1: It's non-fiction.

Ever since it was first published in 1968, The Teachings of Don Juan has been marketed as non-fiction. Yet as a work of non-fiction, Castaneda's exploration of hallucinogens and spirituality suffers from several major defects. Perhaps the most glaring of these involves the description of Don Juan as a "Yaqui sorcerer," despite the fact that the actual Yaqui culture of Mexico is absolutely nothing like that described by Castaneda. I mean, the Yaqui don't even use peyote (although the Huichol do). Major awk! And for those interested, Richard DeMille has devoted two entire books to the chronicling other such factual gaffes.

So Castaneda makes a pretty piss-poor anthropologist, a flaw which extends to his treatment of alternate epistemologies. Apart from some recurrent and annoyingly sophomoric discussions on the nature of objectivity, he doesn't even attempt to broach the political and social dimensions of "Yaqui" (or whatever) knowledge. Like, the Native Americans of Mexico have had a pretty rough time with oppression, colonialism and whatnot. Couldn't this be relevant to Don Juan's lament for the lost Golden Age of "Indian" sorcerers, or his individual preference for knowledge over power? And as an anthropologist, shouldn't Castaneda have made more of the (sexist) gender norms that pervade much of his benefactor's teachings?

Finally, I ought to briefly mention the "Structural Analysis" that makes up the last quarter of this book. Holy academic posturing, Batman! If sentences like "Corroboration of the rule meant the act of verifying it, the act of attesting to its validity by confirming it pragmatically in an experimental manner" prove anything, it's that the UCLA professors that originally allowed this drivel to pass for Castaneda's MA thesis are guilty of gross charlatanism and intellectual dishonesty.

Case #2: It's fiction.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading The Teachings of Don Juan. While Castaneda isn't the best of writers, he ain't half bad; and the various hallucinatory experiences that he describes tend to be wonderfully bizarre enough to make up for any weaknesses in his prose style. And sure, the fundamental claim of the book—that reality is far more malleable than we may first think—is probably true in a rather general sense.

Does all this make it a good novel? I don't think so. Ultimately, the characters struck me as too flat, the emotional dimensions too underdeveloped. And why introduce the mysterious 'la Catalina' (complete with scare quotes) without doing anything significant with her? And why oh why subject the reader to the abject torture that is the "Structural Analysis"? Tell me that, Carlos! Tell me that!

Yet the most serious problem with the book qua fiction is that its author never once admitted it to be as such. And here's where things get fucked up. In the latter part of his life, Castaneda led a spiritualist cult called Cleargreen (check out their website!), and it's suspected that he convinced several of its members (attractive young women, naturally) to commit suicide upon his death. In the words of one former Cleargreen initiate: "If he hadn't presented his stories as fact it's unlikely the cult would exist. As nonfiction, it became impossibly more dangerous."


As a work of anthropology, The Teachings of Don Juan isn't fit to wipe a monkey's ass. As a novel, it's decent enough, but potentially harmful. If this was thirty years ago, I'd maybe recommend reading Castaneda as a source of conversational fodder. But now? Just pick yourself up a copy of The Doors of Perception or Hallucinations, why don't you?

An Addendum.

But what is truth, man? In The Teachings of Don Juan, Castaneda puts forward an epistemology according to which the concepts of "truth" and "reality" don't mean what we think they mean. How can we refute him, then, without begging the question? Upon what standard of "truth" can his view be "wrong"?

Furthermore, Castaneda talks a lot about power, and how one's experiences in "nonordinary reality" possess "pragmatic" value in the "ordinary" world. He also displays a certain penchant for yerba del diablo (i.e., "devil's weed"), an "ally" which confers "superfluous power" upon the knowledge-seeker.

Where am I going with this? As far as I can tell, the following two propositions should strike most people as uncontroversial: (1) from writing bestsellers to brainwashing vulnerable babes, Castaneda certainly possessed a remarkable degree of power over others, and (2) as this Salon article explains, he eventually let it go to his head. Whether you want to explain these two propositions by appealing to chance, psychology or shamanism—well, that's up to you.
Profile Image for Hyun-mi.
3 reviews
August 11, 2011
The Best Advice that anyone has ever given me is all in this book. This book is my spiritual guidance.
"A warrior acknowledges his pain but he doesn't indulge in it.
The mood of the warrior who enters into the unknown is not one of
sadness; on the contrary, he's joyful because he feels humbled by
his great fortune, confident that his spirit is impeccable, and
above all, fully aware of his efficiency. A warrior's joyfulness
comes from having accepted his fate, and from having truthfully
assessed what lies ahead of him.

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.

The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence
of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of
the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks
impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The
average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked
only to infinity."
Profile Image for Laura.
Author 37 books327 followers
September 15, 2007
I am going to give the same review to all the Carlos Castaneda books I read in that series, simply because they are all outstanding. I was lucky to come across Castaneda very early on my magickal path. My spells and rituals have always relied on the power of intent, and I have found no better education on how to focus your intent than in this series of books. Back then (1994) they were classifed as nonfiction. Lately, they say they are fiction. All I know is much of what is in these books works. And having been a Wiccan Faery Witch now for 13 years I know much of what is real to us is fiction to those not walking a magickal path. These are life-changing books you will never forget, and their teachings still influence my life today. Can't get any better than that!
Profile Image for Adam.
42 reviews
March 7, 2007
A young anthropologist goes into the desert, meets an old shaman and does a bunch of peyote, DMT/salvia, and shrooms. This book is his account from one trip to another with bits of hippy-wisdom thrown in, like the oft-quoted "ask yourself if this path has a heart" passage. Beyond the tripping, the author doesn't seem to understand the spiritual aspects of what Don Juan is trying to tell him. Like when he smoked the "little smoke" and thought himself to become a bird, he asks Don Juan afterwards "did I really become a bird?" and needles him to give him an objective answer, which, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of the whole experience.
At the end of the book, Carlos Casteneda breaks down Don Jaun's belief system in a very scientific yet oddly dogmatic kind of way, like a pastor of a newly found, but no-longer-sacred religion. By explaining it away he kills the mystical sense of his time in the desert and reduces it to nicely categorized names and departments; further nullifying his narrative to a simple hallucinogenic induced party time with an old Yaqui Indian man in New Mexico, all under the guise of his "Warrior's Way". His assessment of his time with Don Juan only go as deep as his literal understanding of things, rather than any meaningful, metaphorical reflection of his "teaching". I couldn't decide if he's either really dense or just too westernized to see anything beyond his daily comprehension.
Profile Image for Ninja Notion.
61 reviews3 followers
July 6, 2023
This obscure writer has a huge cult following who believe that Castaneda's semi-fictious body of work about Don Juan and the indigenous peoples of Mexico hold the keys to power and enlightenment. Ninja is a skeptic. She doesn’t believe in any of that rot – but they are best books being peddled as non-fiction that I have ever read.

Years ago, I caught an episode of Imprint on our local public television station TVO. The host, Daniel Richler, was leading a panel discussion about native spirituality and its literature. At one point during the discussion Richler held up a copy of Carlos Castaneda’s first book, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. He said with great confidence and certainty that Castaneda’s works about the Yaqui Indians of Mexico represented the greatest hoax since the Piltdown Man. With that, he seemed to dismiss the book out of hand. I had already, if truth be known, dismissed Castaneda as a new age phony long ago so I too moved right along with Richler to the next item of discussion. I was surprised then when one of the panel members, Medicine Grizzly Bear Adams, brought the discussion back to Castaneda. He said that Castaneda must have really been trained under a traditional man of knowledge, (as Castaneda referred to don Juan). Otherwise, Adams insisted, he must be “one of the greatest philosophers or genius’ of your time…” to be able to synthesize the information he presents in his books from his sources, whatever they may be.

His comments made me revisit the body of work Castaneda wrote, and since then I have read all the books about his so called tutelage under the nagual, Don Juan. They are most entertaining and thought provoking and many quotes from the book have been weaved into the popular culture. The most well-known of these has come down as something in the form of following a path with heart.

“…a warrior must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if he feels that he should not follow it, he must not stay with it under any conditions. His decision to keep on that path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. He must look at every path closely and deliberately. There is a question that a warrior has to ask: ‘Does this path have a heart?’”

There are many more gems like this in the books. He was a spiritual genius. Whether or not he made it up, he weaved the work into a self-contained reality in its own right.
Profile Image for g.
46 reviews18 followers
November 4, 2008
The discussions on whether this book is fiction or non-fiction are rather futile, and prevent the reader from engaging with it more closely. I think a smarter move would be to suspend judgment on the matter, and look into what one can learn from this account.

The Teachings of Don Juan may be read as a bildungsroman where the narrator/anthropologist Carlos Castaneda engages with an alternative reality, under the strict guidance of Don Juan, on the path to becoming “a man of knowledge”. As a means to become a man of knowledge, he experiments with peyote, jimson weed and magic mushrooms. The book constitutes of Castaneda’s hallucinogen experiences and long discussions with his mentor, followed by a dull ‘structural analysis’. His vivid and lengthy descriptions of an alternate reality (which may remind one of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha) challenge the bubble of perception that the narrator has been enclosed in. At the same time, detailed dialogues between the master and his student (perhaps the most significant ethnographic tool in the book) reveal the incommensurable, yet fruitful, understandings/misunderstandings that are inherent to this learning experience (see page 101 for a good example). Unfortunately, the final structural analysis does not tell us anything new, but reveals how anthropological knowledge may be constrained by attempts at academic interpretation.

We meet Castaneda on a bus stop, and this bus stop is the first and the last secular space that we encounter in the book. After Castaneda begins developing a relationship with Don Juan, his sense of space and time is challenged by the alternative reality that he becomes inundated within. He is still attached to the calendar, and notes the date for each of his diary entries; yet, his sleep patterns transform, his capacity to judge durations is hindered, and the reader does not care for the dates of his entries anymore. His movements in space cannot be coherently traced either: even though he seems to be spending most of his time on Don Juan’s porch, he may as well be flying away. After the first few pages, his everyday accounts become disengaged from UCLA graduate student life, and except for a few moments (such as when he thinks about Georg Simmel), the reader does not glimpse any trace of his prior history. In this sense, Don Juan, like Carlos Castaneda, is constructed as an a-historical character, and the reader does not learn much about the mentor other than his experiences with his benefactor. Rather, the reader develops an understanding of both characters in relation to their mutual learning process.

In this learning process, the narrator portrays himself as a curious young man, and suspends any judgment on the Yaqui way of knowledge. Even though it is not difficult to notice his New Age admiration towards his master, the starkness of his descriptions eliminates any sense of exoticism, and rather evokes an attempt at cultural relativism. Yet, it is important to keep in mind that there are only two characters in the book: the narrator mentions the presence of others in various instances, but does not pay much attention to such conversations. The ethnographic account becomes, therefore, an account of explorations within a particular alternative learning session where the anthropologist is present with all his senses, rather than an exploration of Yaqui culture, and it is this particular focus that makes this book so strong. The absence of any conclusion, or judgment, regarding the Yaqui way of knowledge directs the reader to read this book as ‘a path with a heart’ rather than a conclusive argument on shamanism, and perhaps brings the author to a different understanding of anthropology.
Profile Image for KamRun .
376 reviews1,443 followers
October 25, 2016
درباره کتاب

کتاب تعلیمات دون خوان، اولین کتاب از سری کتاب های کاستاندا در باب شمنیسم سرخپوستی و شروع جنبشی است که کاستاندا مروج آن بود. کاستاندا در این کتاب به نحوه آشنایی خود با دون خوان و پذیرش شاگردی وی می پردازد. بنابر رسمی سرخپوستی، یک ناگوال (استاد و مرشد) در سال های پایانی عمر خویش، بخشی از اندوخته های خویش را به یک شاگرد منتقل می کند. انتخاب شاگرد بر اساس خواست فردی نیست و توسط نیروی غیرشخصی صورت می گیرد. کتاب دو بخش دارد که بخش نخست روایت ماوقع برحسب توالی زمانی به زبان اول شخص و بخش دوم توضیح سیستماتیک تعالیم بخش پیشین است.

تعالیم دون خوان

محور اصلی تعالیم دون خوان، درآمد به هیئت مرد داناست. اما مرد دانا از نگاه دون خوان کیست؟ مردی که در مرحله اول یک جنگجوی تمام عیار است. شاگرد یا منتخب به محض قدم گذاشتن در راه مرد دانا وارد مبارزه با چهاردشمن اصلی می شود.چهار دشمن مرد دانا از زبان دون خوان:

اولین دشمن ترس است. وحشتناک و خیانتکار. ترس در هر مرحله پنهان می ماند، صبر می کند و پرسه می زند. اگر مرد تسلیم شد و فرار کرد، اولین دشمن نقطه اتمام خود را بر او می زند. مبارزه با ترس زمان بر است، اما نتیجه مبارزه به صورت ناگهانی نمایان می شود

روشنایی ضمیر (همراه با غرور)
به محض عقب نشینی ترس، روشنی جای تاریکی را در ذهن می گیرد. مرد رفته رفته اعتماد بنفس بیشتری می یابد و خیال می کند هیچ چیز بر او پوشیده نمی ماند. نور مرد را وامی دارد که هرگز به چیزی شک نکند و نشانه ها را نادیده بگیرد. به او اطمنیان می دهد که به انجام هرکاری قادر است. اگر مرد به این قدرت خودباوری برسد، آگاهی و غریزه او کور شده و دشمن بر وی غلبه کرده است. روشنایی دشمن دوم است و مرد باید مانند ترس با آن مبارزه کند

سرانجام لحظه ای فرا می رسد که مرد مبارز متوجه می شود روشن بینی او جز خالی در برابر دیدگانش نیست. بدین سان وی بر دشمن دوم خود غلبه می کند. حال او قدرت واقعی را بدست می آورد و قادر به انجام هرکاری خواهد بود و این دشمن سوم است: قدرت. قدرت قوی ترین دشمن بوده و طبیعتا راحت ترین کار فروریختن در مقابل آن است. مردی که از قدرت شکست می خورد بر خودش فرمان و اراده ندارد. قدرت تنها یک مزاحم در سرنوشت مرد مبارز است

کهولت آخرین و ظالم‌ترین دشمن مرد داناست. تنها دشمنی ست که شکست آن غیرممکن است، اما در هر حال مبارزه با آن ادامه دارد. هنگامی می رسد که مرد دیگر ترسی ندارد، ناصبوری در روشنی ضمیرش ندارد و تمام قدرت در اختیار و کنترلش است. مرد در این هنگام یک خواهش بی‌حاصل برای استراحت دارد. اگر تسلیم خواهش خود شده، بنشیند و به بهانه خستگی خود را تسکین دهد، آخرین مرحله را باخته و خصم او را به یک موجود پیر بی مصرف تبدیل می کند

جنگجو برای پیروزی در مبارزات خود به یک متفق نیاز دارد. متفق روح قدرت و شخصیت جادویی نهفته در پس گیاهان سنتی سرخپوست هاست که با بالا بردن سطح آگاهی باعث ارتقای زندگی فرد می شود. متفق قدرتی است که مرد می تواند در زندگی او را به کمک بطلبد، از او پند بگیرد و اعمالش را - درست و نادرست، خوب و زشت- پیش ببرد. متفق بسته به نوع آن، در حکم حامی، یاور و رهبر مرد دانا ظاهر می شود. انتخاب متفق نیازمند برقراری رابطه و پذیرفته شدن از سوی متفق است. دون خوان در این بخش دو متفق را معرفی می کند: گیاه تاتوره و دودک (دود حاصل از تدخین قارچ های خانواده سیلوسایبین). یک منبع دیگر برای دریافت راهنمایی و قدرت ماورایی، جویدن مسکالین یا پیوت است. مسکالین بر خلاف تاتوره و دودک نمی تواند در حکم یک متفق به کار گرفته شود، زیرا رام شدنی نیست و از سوی دیگر استفاده از آن اختصاصی نیست. یک متفق خود را درون شخص نمایان می کند، اما رویارویی با روح مسکالین در بیرون از فرد و صرفا به منظور آموزش و راهنمایی صورت می پذیرد.

مرد دانا علاوه بر جنگجو بودن باید صاحب قدرت، اراده، اعتماد بنفس و روشنی ضمیر( قدرت تمییز و تشخیص) باشد. در این صورت می تواند راه درست (راه باهوش) را تشخیص داده و تا پایان عمر آن را بپیماید.

کاستاندا در بخش پایانی کتاب، واقعبت را به دو بخش واقعیت معمول و واقعیت نامعمول تقسیم می کند..تعالیم دون خوان مربوط به واقعیت غیرمعمول است. یعنی اگرچه آن ها در دنیای واقعی رخ می دهند، اما درک آن ها نیازمند سطح هوشیاری بالاتر و ادراکی متفاوت است و بواسطه منطق و علمی که متعلق به حوزه ی واقعیت معمول هستند قابل بررسی نیست.

نگاه تاریک به ویژگی های زنانه

غالبا دون خوان برای قدرت های ماورایی شخصیت قائل است و توصیف شخصیت ها را با اصطلاح زنانه یا مردانه انجام می دهد. هرآنچه منفی، کشنده، پردردسر، اغواکننده و درکل مانعی برسر راه مرد داناست زنانه نامیده می شود. به عنوان مثال گیاه سمی تاتوره که قادر به کشتن مصرف کننده است، ( دارای عوارض بسیار سخت جانبی و توهم‌های ناخوشایند) زنانه (دارای روحیات زنانه) خوانده می شود. در هنگام توضیح یکی از فنون جادوگری، رفتن به دنیای میانی (تلاقی دنیای مردان و دنیای مردگان) و یافتن یک دستیار برای کمک به ساحر توضیح داده می شود. دون خوان هشدار می دهد که جادوگر همواره با این خطر روبروست که اشتباها دستیاری با جنسیت مونث را اختیار کند، در این صورت بازگشت از دنیای مردگان نامحتمل و غیرممکن می شود.

یکی از نکات جالب کتاب (برای من) بیان یک افسانه ی سرخپوستی درباره جادو شدن فرد است. طبق باور سرخپوستان، جادویی وجود دارد که با آن می توان روح مرد مبارز را ربود. مرد مبارز بعد از کشف سحر، باید با ساحر مبارزه کند و در صورتی که شکست بخورد روح خود را برای همیشه از دست خواهد داد. نشانه ی این سحر، همراه شدن روان و فکر مرد با اشیا متحرک است. به عنوان مثال اگر فرد گرفتار سحر به رودخانه نگاه کند یا به صدای باد گوش دهد، رود و باد، روان او را فرسخ ها با خود همراه می کنند

نقد آثار کاستاندا

این قسمت به مرور کامل می شود

Profile Image for Pamela Wells.
Author 11 books49 followers
March 15, 2010
Every Seeker has at some point experienced an unexplainable moment. These are great opportunities to expand your perceptions to begin to believe in something greater then yourself that cannot be explained by your culture, current beliefs or family. Any of Carlos Castanada's books will give you the opportunity to discover another perspective about what reality really is. For those who call themselves Seekers - looking for the meaning of life - this is a foundational book. This was the first book I read that started me on the path to greater consciousness.

I cried, I laughed and I journeyed deeply into the heart of this incredible mystic; with him into the meaning of and purpose of life. I found many answers to my questions and was very inspired by Carlos Castaneda to continue my search even deeper into the mysteries of the human spirit and mind. I thank him as a student would thank a teacher with deep love and gratitude for his contribution to greater consciousness for us all.
Profile Image for David.
227 reviews32 followers
August 18, 2019
This may be the first book that truly exposed me to psychedelic literature. I have just completed it for my third time, and it was just as fresh as the times I read it during college.

Carlos Castaneda was an American author who wrote a series of books about his experiences with traditional Mesoamerican Shamanism. The books that follow The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge are also excellent, and I plan on re-reading the series and reviewing it. This book is written in first person by Castaneda, and describes his apprenticeship with a Yaqui shaman named don Juan Matus. The two met in 1960 while Castaneda was seeking first hand knowledge about the hallucinogen peyote. Don Juan agreed to help Castaneda, but refused to speak about peyote for a long time. Eventually, don Juan and Castaneda shared experiences with mescalito (peyote), datura inoxia (jimson weed) and humito (a smoke-mixture comprised of various herbs and psilocybe mexicana).

Castaneda describes his experiences with these plants and the realm of the unknown they took him to, which he calls nonordinary reality. This term indicates that the realm was a reality, but different from the ordinary reality experienced by human beings during their daily lives. In Castaneda’s interpretation, ordinary reality was simply a description of life that has been pounded into everyone’s awareness since they were infants. Having had a few experiences with this realm myself, I definitely agree with Castaneda that these are real places and real events that one experiences. They are different from everyday reality, but they are just as real as anything experiences during an ordinary day. It is something one has to undergo alone, and it cannot be explained using our ordinary language and syntax.

It is difficult to say what is so magical about The Teachings of Don Juan; it is a journey to foreign places. It is in essence an adventure story written by an anthropologist. As the series progresses, it seems to me as if parts of Castaneda’s intellect are reshaped by his apprenticeship with don Juan, and it becomes easier for him to explain his experiences in nonordinary reality in words. Many people think that Carlos Castaneda was a fraud, and that his writings are entirely fictitious. The first time I read through the series I did not know of this dissenting opinion, and I treated his words as fact. After having read some of the criticism of Castaneda’s books, it is easier for me to approach these books in a more open manner. It is as if his core message is true, but some of the details are embellished. At any rate, this is a wonderful book. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. And stay tuned for a few more Castaneda reviews... I am looking forward to re-reading the series and posting my opinions.
407 reviews67 followers
November 7, 2016
This is a book about a Western student's apprenticeship under a Yaqui sorcerer named Don Juan. That's how the author thinks of it. It was more like getting high in the desert with an old man and playing with lizards.

I think this book was mistitled. A more accurate title would have been, The Drug Trips of Don Juan: An Indian Way of Drug Tripping. It's not about teachings or knowledge at all, at least not as I understand those words to mean. The entire book was a memoir of his drug trips and conversations about drug trips. That's it. The entire book.

I call it, "An Indian Way" because the Yaqui were never specifically mentioned at all in the book. Even Don Juan himself referred to himself as "an Indian."

There was also a bit of discussion of his culture's mythology and beliefs, which was basically personifying drug trips. Absurd claims were made, such as the ability to fly or turn into a crow while drug tripping. The author asked Don Juan whether he was ACTUALLY flying, or if he just imagined it, and Don Juan said, "you mustn't think that way." Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. The word "hallucinating" was never used.

The end of the book is a long, meaningless string of jargon words he made up, things like "put positive emphasis on the idea" and "the rule of the undertaking of non-ordinary reality," or some such nonsense. "Non-ordinary reality" was what he called hallucinating. Since they weren't imagined, then it was real, but not ordinary. Then there's two different realities, so let's make up a new term, "non-ordinary reality" to describe what are actually just drug trips.

Not being an anthropologist, I can't evaluate the quality of this book as a work of anthropology. From what I've read, anthropologists aren't thrilled with it either. I can only evaluate its quality as a memoir, and in that respect, it sucked. I could see how hippies in the 60's would love this book. "We're not being lazy and getting high, we're practicing Yaqui spirituality and experiencing non-ordinary reality!"
Profile Image for Sergio Zea Ramirez.
74 reviews2 followers
September 13, 2021
Reseñar este libro es un poco complejo porque al terminarlo, uno inevitablemente cae en la cuestión de si se trata de una obra de literatura fantástica (que yo, personalmente catalogaría de inmediato como realismo fantástico) o un tratado de antropología. Uno (en medio de su infinita ignorancia del tema) podría arriesgarse a decir que lo uno no desvirtúa lo otro, pero si aceptamos esto ultimo como la descripción última del libro, se encuentra con dos formas de ver este trabajo:
1. Como obra de literatura corriente, la segunda parte mata por completo cualquier sensación fantástica que sabe sembrar muy bien la primera parte. De hecho, en la primera mitad del libro uno asiste a la creación de un universo rico en posibilidades, dada la predisposición natural que Carlos Castaneda tiene para describir los estados oníricos inducidos por el uso de psicotrópicos. las vivencias, momentos y experiencias son ricas en descripción y matices y hace tener una clara visión de lo que sucede en un mundo aparentemente caótico, pero lleno de sensaciones y visiones. Como argumento fundamental que tengo para resaltar mi punto positivo de la primera parte era la constante interrelación que Don Juan hacia de las experiencias con los aliados y Mezcalito con vivencias cotidianas que dejan mensajes poderosos y muy personales que aplican en cualquier sentido de la vida (excepto en el clarísimo machismo rampante que este personaje nos apuntaba en muchísimas ocasiones y que en los tiempos mas modernos queda totalmente sin fundamento). Sin embargo, como ya dije, en la segunda parte al intentar realizar una análisis antropológico de los hechos ocurridos en los relatos iniciales, la magia se esfuma y te quedas viendo un conglomerado de sensaciones que va desde la aburrición hasta la apatía: Carlos Castaneda se encarga de asesinar cualquier resquicio de valoración literaria de su propia obra con esta segunda parte.
2. La segunda forma de ver este trabajo es desde el punto de vista antropológico, de lo que me tengo que cuidar muchísimo al hablar porque de ello no conozco nada. Sin embargo, por medio de la conversación con personas mucho mas versadas en el asunto, puedo compartir que en esta segunda visión también hay un fallo enorme porque es precisamente la primera parte la que termina desvirtuando la segunda: es imposible tener un rigor investigativo contundente cuando documentas tus sensaciones individuales en algo tan poco objetivo como son los estados desencadenados por substancias. Los detractores mas férreos de este libro como fuente de conocimiento basado en la ciencia, critican que el señor Castaneda no estudiara desde afuera el efecto no biológico (interior) sino social (exterior) de los rituales que se describen desde un punto de vista ajeno y por lo tanto objetivo. Sin embargo, desde el punto de vista de conocimiento espiritual, podría decirse que la obra está bien cargada de argumentos, unos muy realistas y en otros planos que hacen de este un buen libro, en mi criterio.
¿Me gustó? definitivamente si. Aunque hubiera sido, desde mi punto de vista, mucho mejor si se dejaba aparte el rigor de la segunda mitas y se hubiese concentrado en describir por mas tiempo las experiencias y anécdotas ya no desde un una documentación sino desde una experiencia de vida y del alma. para mí un claro 3.5
Profile Image for Miquixote.
279 reviews37 followers
August 16, 2023
The 20th century’s most successful literary trickster: Carlos Castaneda?

Or perhaps even the largest literary and academic fraud in history?

Is Carlos Castaneda a nut job?
Is the story really a fiction?

Did he really hallucinate these things?

Is he the shaman per-excellence?

Well, it was writtten in drug positive times (1968)....

It is bizarre , yet certainly well-written, lucid and believable.

Gotta love the turgid "structural analysis", makes it sound like a legit work of scholarship.

So, fantastic, it hit home for most (still does) and became a best-seller. 12 books in total i think.

Even the academics took him seriously, gave him a PhD.

But wait... Yaqui Indian religious beliefs apparently have nothing to do with what is described. Hallucinogenic mushrooms didn't grow in the Sonoran Desert...
And that walking for hours in the desert at the hottest time of the day, no way Jose! Also no proof that Don Juan existed has ever materialized. Castaneda’s PhD thesis: No field notes – essential in supporting a PhD...hmm...Add to that that the author is a self-claimed bull-shitter...so why should we be surprised? Then Richard de Mille wrote two books debunking Castaneda's work and prepared timelines. He actually uses research, objective methodology, intelligence, and diligence. But he isn't even famous for it, so who cares? When Castaneda turned to the occult in his later work, to nonsensical "Tensegrity," and about "600 locations in the luminous egg of man", still some followers were surprised.

But defenders will still say, there are deep truths in this book. Must be! As evidenced by its sales. His books sold well even well after his exposure as a fraud and plagiarist. Castaneda, who died in 1998, was, from 1971 to 1982, one of the best-selling nonfiction authors in the USA. During his lifetime, his books sold at least 10 million copies. None of Castaneda’s titles have ever gone out of print (!)

Is it that our comfort with fantasy is so deep that reality does not import? Or is that if a book can affect so many so deeply that reality really does not matter?

Whether one favors fantasy over reality, most rational people should conclude: this is fiction, combining personal experiences with readings. But today, his books are still classified as nonfiction. Who cares what the publishing companies say? We all know it's fiction....don't we?

Clearly Castaneda had been discredited in academia, but Castaneda’s books have been profitable for Simon and Schuster. So why couldn't Castaneda present his works as James Redfield’s “Celestine Prophecy” has, as allegorical fiction?

...actually that's where the real dark side of the story begins...

"If he hadn’t presented his stories as fact,” Amy Wallace, inner circle Castaneda sex cult member, said, “it’s unlikely the cult would exist. As nonfiction, it became impossibly more dangerous.”

One could also read 'Sorcerer's Apprentice-My Life with Carlos Castaneda' to see that not only is he a fraud but a perversely sexist, bitter, raging, power-addictive personality. Would that change the way people saw him and his works? Not sure.

...as Castaneda himself would say: follow your heart....
Profile Image for Wesley  Gerrard.
207 reviews7 followers
September 22, 2013
For anyone who has the vaguest interest in shamanism, this is an essential text. It is Carlos Casteneda's seminal work and in my opinion is a work of art. He has a very direct personal way of revealing his story, about an encounter with an ageing Native-American man of knowledge, who takes Carlos under his wing and reveals to him some of the secrets of shamanism. The range of psychedelics encountered are followed up in the book, after consumption, with vivid detail of the accompanying experiences. For me, the most rememberable tale in the book is Casteneda's transformation into a crow. It seems really strange and bizarre and perhaps fiction but for anyone who has actually had a shamanic experience, the story has a real truth to it and is a perfect example of the mystic powers that true shamen can harness. As the author weaves his tale through the years of his tuition, we get more and more familiar with th very likeable character of Don Juan. This book was written many years ago, perhaps when psychedleic drugs were only truly starting to be explored properly in the West. The eradication of shamen and ancient belief systems by the rapidly advancing modern society, perhaps makes the mere existence of such wise teachers, an absolute rarity today. Carlos Casteneda found himself a genuine opportunity in learning from a great man who had not abandonned the ancient teachings to the modern world. the insights gathered in this book, give the layman a fundamental grasp of exactly what shamanism entails. It is a literary masterpiece and should not be missed out upon.
12 reviews6 followers
June 3, 2008
Normally teachings that involve drugs bother me to no end. Somehow this book is proving an exception to that. Drugs, I think, complicate spirituality by orienting seekers toward intense spiritual experiences. They strike me as a great form of laziness, which would be fine if they were more effective than they are. But it usually just boils down to rich white kids that watched the matrix one too many times. Again, in the person of Don Juan, the drugs occupy a very secondary position. Foremost, most of the drug experiences are terrible, and are used for specific teaching purposes, usually some form of power. Second, Don Juan is a trickster and appears to be tripping up Casteneda in every way possible. The drugs seem more like very intuitive beatings than cool experiences. I would only hope that I might one day have someone to beat me like Don Juan beat Carlos
Profile Image for Nick.
Author 21 books104 followers
January 2, 2008
I was reminded of this book by a recent article, and I realized I had never read it when it first came out. I was curious to see what the fuss was about. I must say I was sorely disappointed -- the book is clumsily written and very sparing with its insights. Not recommended for enlightenment or even a good read.
Profile Image for Mindia Arabuli.
Author 1 book58 followers
May 6, 2015
არ ვიცი, რამდენად კორექტულია ამ წიგნის მიმართ სიტყვა ლიტერატურის ხსენება. ეს უფრო გამოცდილებაა, ვიდრე წიგნი, ერთგვარი ჩექფოინთი მკითხველობით ბიოგრაფიაში. დონ ხუანის სწავლება არაა უბრალოდ სწავლება, უფრო სწორად, არაა თეორია, არამედ საგანთა უშუალო გამოცდა, უშუალო შეცნობა. თეორია გულისხმობს ინფორმაციის გადაცემას, ხოლო კასტანედა ამტკიცებს, რომ ინფორმაციის ფლობა არ არის ცოდნა. ის რაც არის ცოდნა, არ ეტევა მწირ ლინგვისტურ პირობებში, გაცილებით ბუნებრივია, გაცილებით აშკარა. მეტიც, ჩანაწერებში აღწერილი მისტიკური ეპიზოდების გამოც კი ვერ ეწოდება ნაწარმობს მისტიკური, რამეთუ მისტიკა იდუმალებს გულისხმობს, ხოლო ის, რომ კასტანედას პერსონაჟი დაფრინავს, იქცევა ყვავად, ხვდება მესკალიტოს და ა.შ, აბსოლუტურად გასაგებია. საინტერესო თვისება ნაწარმოებისა ისაა, რომ რაც უფრო მეტდ სცილდები რციონალურ ანალიზს, მით უფრო კარგად გესმის იგი. მე თვითონ წიგნი უკიდურესი უძილობის პერიოდში წავიკითხე, როდესაც ჩვეულებრივი რეაქციაც კი მქონდა შენელებული.სწორედ ამან განაპირობა ის, რომ კასტანედას მიერ აღწერილი მდგომარეობის გათავისება ნაწილობრივ მაინც შევძელი. დიდი შეცდომაა იმისი დაშვება, რომ კასტანედა უბრალოდ ჰალუცინოგენებზე წერს, ეს არის მედიტაციის წიგნი და საჭიროა ძალიან კარგად განვითარებული უნარი ემპირიის თეორიული ა���ქმისა, რათა ჩანაწერების მიმართულება, ვექტორი, აზრი გახდეს გასაგები. კიდევ აღვნიშნავ, სწორედაც რომ აზრი და არა თვით ჩანაწერები. საბოლოოდ, ალბათ ყველაზე დიდი შეცდომაა ამ ჩანაწერების განხილვა, რამეთუ გამოცდილების განხილვა ნაბიჯით არ გვძრავს ადგილიდან და წყლის ნაყვაა, ხოლო დონ ხუანის სწავლება სწორედაც რომ გამოცდილებაა.
Profile Image for Mladen.
Author 20 books81 followers
September 22, 2016
Svakako da bi mi ova knjiga mnogo više legla da sam dvadesetak godina mlađi i siguran sam da bih pronašao mnogo više paragrafa vrednih da zastanem i pročitam ih ponovo.
Kao, na primer, ovaj:

"No! I'm never angry at anybody! No human being can do anything important enough for that. You get angry at people when you feel that their acts are important. I don't feel that way any longer."

Poslednja trećina je suvoparna strukturološka analiza koja ubija svu čar čitanja i magiju celokupnog opisanog doživljaja, tako da sam odlučio da taj deo apsolutno ignorišem, ne samo u čitanju, nego i u ocenjivanju.
Malo je prevagnula i nostalgija.
Shodno tome, 4 zvezdice.
Profile Image for Erik Graff.
5,030 reviews1,165 followers
January 27, 2014
Carlos Castaneda's series about Yaqui religion is a mixture of fact and fiction. According to the Wikipedia article about him, the first three of the dozen or so volumes he produced constitute the academic work leading to his doctorate in anthropology. However, only this volume, the first, has an academic tone. Subsequent volumes are more literary.

Although Castaneda is rightly criticized for misrepresenting his work to the UCLA faculty of anthropology, the first three books still bear reading for his compelling descriptions of altered states of consciousness.
Profile Image for JRemick.
7 reviews1 follower
May 11, 2009
Very deep, you need to be in the right frame of mind for this one
Profile Image for Samson Martirosyan.
104 reviews11 followers
March 20, 2015
Մեկ շնչով կարդացի։ 5 աստղը քիչ է Կաստանեդայի գրական տաղանդն ու Դոն Խուանի ուղեկցությամբ անցած փորձը գնահատելու համար։
Շատերը ասում են, որ գրքում տեղի ունեցող իրադարձությունները Կաստանեդայի երևակայության արդյունքն են, բայց ես չեմ կարող դրան հավատալ, անհնար է։ Չհավատալուս պատճառներից մեկը այն է, որ ուղղակի չեմ ուզում հավատալ, որ այս ամենը հորինված է, երկրորդ պատճառն էլ որովհետև այս գիրքը շատ անհասկանալի բաներ պարզ դարձրեց ինձ համար։ Ասում եմ անհասկանալի բաները պարզ դարձրեց, բայց եթե հարցնեք, թե ինչը՝ չեմ կարողանա հստակ պատասխան տալ։ Այս երևույթը տեղի է ունենում մարդու ներսում, շատ խորը, ու հաճախ այդ երևույթին ռացիոնալ բացատրություն կամ նկարագիր տալն անհնար է։
Շատերը նաև կարդալուց հետո կասեն, որ ուղղակի տարբեր տեսակի հալյուցինոգենների օգտագործման ու դրանց տակ եղած ժամանակ էֆֆեկտների մասին է գիրքը։ Իսկ ես ասում եմ, որ եթե կարդալուց հետո մարդ նման կարծիք ունի, ուրեմն այս գիրքը իր համար չէ։ Պետք է պատրաստ լինել Կաստանեդայի փորձը ընկալել այնպես, ինչպես որ պետք է, ինչպես որ ճիշտ է։
Ազնիվ խոսք նախանձում եմ Կաստանեդային, որ նման բանի միջերով է անցել։ Հիմա՝ գիրքը կարդալուց հետո, առանց մտածելու ինքս կհամաձայնվել նման ճանապարհի վրա գոնե մեկ ոտքով քայլ դնել, հետո կերևար, թե ինչքան հաստատունն կդառնաին քայլերս։
Բացի ոգեշնչող լինելուց, գիրքը իմ համար պարունակում էր բազմաթիվ էնպիսի խորհուրդներ ու ուղղեցույցներ, որ շատ օգտակար են։ Երբեմն ծանր, անհասկանալի ու զզվելու աստիճան անտանելի կյանքին պարզ հայացքով նայելու ունակություն կամ ունակություն ձեռք բերելու հնարավորություն կարող է տալ այս գիրքը, եթե խորհուրդներին բավականաչափ լրջությամբ վերաբերվես։ Գիրքը որոշակիորեն նաև ցույց է տալիս կյանքն հասկանալու, ինքդ քո հանդեպ համերաշխությամբ ապրելու, ազնիվ, անկոտրուն, ուժեղ ու միևնույն ժամանակ խաղաղ լինելու կարևորությունը։
Անկասկած երկու բառով անհնար է արտահայտել այն բոլոր զգացմունքները ու այն վերաբերմունքը, որ ունեմ թե Կոստանեդայի, թե Դոն Խուանի ու թե հենց գրքի՝ որպես գեղարվեստական արժեք ունեցող երևույթի հանդեպ։
Կոստանեդան իր փորձը տեղավորել է 12 գրքում, և սա շարքի առաջին գիրքն էր։ Կարդալու եմ բոլոր գրքերը, անշուշտ, հակառակ դեպքում չեմ կարողանա լիովին հասկանալ ու ըմբռնել այն, ինչ այսքան ճշմարիտ ու իրական եմ համարում։

Հիասքանչ էր ուղղակի։ Շատ շնորհակալ եմ այն մարդուն, ով ինձ ասեց այս գրքի մասին։ Մեծ ցանկություն ունեմ գրքի մասին քննարկումներ ունենալ ընկերներիս հետ։
Երջանիկ դեմքով վերջացնում եմ այս կարճ ու համեստ review-ն։
Profile Image for Thelma.
727 reviews34 followers
February 18, 2023
This is a very old book, that I wanted to read for such a long time it was written when I was just a kid, and my father used to have it and read a few things about it to me, a few years later now married my husband has this book too and urged me to start reading when I started my spiritual path that was more than 13 years ago now, after so many deviating I finally had the time to pick this magnificent masterpiece.

This is the story of Carlos Castañeda his experience with Don Juan and the magical plants of peyote as well as the psilocybin mushrooms, a mushroom that I know very well as my father lives at the mountain in Oaxaca where these mushrooms always grow between May and July.

Carlos embarks on an investigation about magical plants such as peyote, a plant that is very sacred and important in some of the parts of Mexico, especially where the shamans and brujos live. don Carlos really didn't know what was going to happen under this investigation but Don Juan really took him on a journey that he will never forget and that will make him grow so much as a person as well as a spiritual being.

Many of the stories Carlos narrates in his book are hard to understand and believe, but only when you come across these experiences from peyote and mushrooms you will understand what he meant and the symbology these two magical plants bring to the person who ingests them.

Don Carlos and Don Juan explain in this book how these are sacred things that are never to be taken lightly this is always something that has to be done with the guidance of someone who really knows what is doing, this is not a getaway drug, this requires so much matureness and evolution of the soul.

The teachings of Don Juan illustrate the many astral travels and experiences Carlos had during those years with the amazing teachings and knowledge of don Juan. many will sound very weird and even magical but as I mentioned before it is a realm that is not understood in a regular state of mind.

After many years I'm very glad I was finally able to read this amazing experience, but I'm glad it took me so much time to get into it because now I understand in a better way what this book is all about.

Profile Image for Gary  Beauregard Bottomley.
1,009 reviews605 followers
February 27, 2021
If only I could find a wise shaman to lead me on my journey and get me to realize that non-sense-reality is as real as real-reality and make assertions without foundation on the power that pervades the world which only a wise shaman knows through the wisdom of the elders since there is no Western way to truth, and there is no Eastern way to truth, there is only the fact free assertions of a mystic-native-American way to truth especially when it’s mixed with drug inducing psychedelic peyote tripping and sewing of frogs’ eyes, yes, if only, then I would understand the imaginary world that is the world of the non-sense-reality world that this book leads us towards.

It’s somewhat strange, but the incredibly good book The Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze pointed me to this book, because the author raved about it. At the risk of saying something nice about this book about Don Juan, I know the connections. Both books are looking for a structure to the world and therefore meaning beyond the meaning we ourselves bring to this world, but as for Deleuze he never took himself seriously while speaking about reality, and this book always takes itself seriously when speaking about non-sense-reality and therefore negates its own truths by acting as if they really did make sense especially when this reader knows that drugs are not the answer to finding deeper structures to the world.

Oddly, what I’m going to say next might surprise you. I suspect I’ll read the second Volume in this series because I want to see where the author takes us after he had mega-success with this book. I don’t like Sam Harris’ books because he thinks drugs are a key to unlocking our inner truths, also Jordan Peterson has said that kind of crap when he wasn’t talking about lobsters. I think we already have enough distractions keeping us from finding our optimal meaning for life and a book such as this one that assumes non-sense-reality mixed with drugs under a tutelage of a all-knowing-mystic with only assertions for his foundation will at best only lead to the revealing of juvenile truths which is not deserving of my time.

Overall, this book is juvenile and is substance free and was exactly what 1968 needed in order to reflect who we were in those days. Read a philosophy book like Deleuze’s book instead of this book since this book (‘Don Juan’) doesn’t even reach the level of discursion available in the average episode of Kung Fu from the 1970s and the fictional character Caine seemed to be a more realistic character than Don Juan.
Profile Image for Samantha.
241 reviews4 followers
July 5, 2009
I liked the first half of the book, but then it just seemed to be more of the same, so I stopped about 3/4 of the way through. Maybe I'm just impatient, or maybe the story was going nowhere. I understand why don Juan was annoyed with the narrator, he got on my nerves at times, too.

There were good parts, though, I liked where they were out in the desert ingesting peyote, and he wandered off talking to the embodiment of peyote, or "Mescalito", who told him to eat some more, but he didn't have a knife, so he just chewed off the tops of some plants. Heh.

Recently I had a dream where Mescalito told me to take my sheet and wrap it around me like a toga, which I did. Then I was supposed to go somewhere, to a meeting of people like myself, but I stopped because I didn't know where it was. Then Mescalito told me to look on the sheet for writing to appear giving me directions to the meeting. I unwrapped myself and looked for the writing but it didn't appear. Also, I couldn't figure out how to unlock the door out of my apartment so I went back to bed. (Note: this wasn't the result of mescaline, I was just sleepwalking)
2 reviews
January 15, 2008
Whoa. This one was a real trip and half. UCLA grad student in botany goes down to southern Arizona to learn about plants in the 1960s. Winds up studying under the tutelage of a local Yaqui shaman and explores the nether-regions of human perception, induced through a variety of 'power plants' as well as peyote (its own special deity). The is the first of a whole series of books and a large following that were largely inspired by the author, Carlos Castaneda. I haven't read the others, but I like to think of this first book as the unadulterated pure form of the exotic and unknown/forgotten/lost culture of shamanism, and some insight to the abundance of knowledge they hold. By the end of the book, most of my conventional beliefs about human perception, and the order of the world were shattered. Highly recommended.
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