The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge The Teachings of Don Juan discussion


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message 1: by HASSAN (new)

HASSAN SABBAH i cant find this book s on my country

who can tell what was or who or where or who is don juan and his thinks.

if we named there metaphizik??

Ernest Gonzales I researched this topic and I don't think there was an actual Don Juan...I think the author studied shamanism and then put his ideas first I was disappointed that the book appeared to be fiction but then I realized I learned from it and I was Ok with it being fiction.

Sternej I just finished the seventh book in the series. It's generally accepted by even his most ardent followers from when Castaneda was alive (and I'm talking about people who knew him as a teacher and attended many seminars with him) that he made up all the stories and that Don Juan was not a real person. With that said, the series as a whole is very uneven. At their best the books are glorious and exciting to read, at their worst thay are tedious and pedantic. This book reads like the anthopology study it purports to be. The last third of it is a bullet pointed outline of Don Juan's teachings that's very dry. But it is a good book overall. The best books in the series are the even numbered ones, but the series is better understood in the context of the whole. "A Separate Reality" is amazing, so is "Tales of Power" (my favorite). Many readers consider "Journey to Ixtlan" to be his best, I'm not crazy about it but it has some of his better writing and is the first one that reads like a novel. I'm just starting the eigth book "The Power of Silence".

Annette This is the only book I ever read on the subway home that made me miss my stop -- by two or three stops. I was riveted. Just seeing the spine on my bookshelf reminds me of the thrill I had reading it (and ultimately the whole series) some 20 years ago.

Kathleen Gear Well, there's a good reason the TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN reads likes an anthropology text. It is. Carlos Castaneda wrote the book as his Master's thesis. His professors made him add more and more anthropological analysis to the novel before they would award his M.A.

It's a really good book, though A Separate Reality is my favorite book in the series.

Sharon piranha wrote: "i cant find this book s on my country

who can tell what was or who or where or who is don juan and his thinks.

if we named there metaphizik??"

These stories are spiritual quests and Don Juan is the guide and teacher. Yes, they are metaphysical and deal with topics concerning greater truths that are hard to capture in words. Don Juan uses peyote as an aid to entering altered states of mind with his student and helps him interpret experiences, often with puzzles that lead him to greater inquiries.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Everything is real! Order the book from somewhere online if you can't find it at your store. Try abebooks


You'll freak out man!

message 8: by Sternej (last edited Mar 22, 2014 09:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sternej If they are fiction (and I think anyone who does some investigation will arive at that conclusion), then they are not 'anthropology texts'. There's a whole community of people on some blog that was originaly started by people who new him personaly, worked with him, and went to his seminars; the betrayal they felt when they realized this was all made up was cripling to many. Some feel that he ruined their lives. The people who tout this as true often haven't read the whole series. With that said, as 'fiction' I still enjoyed reading the series. Some books are amazing, some are bad. I highly recomend it.

message 9: by Michael (new)

Michael  Gear Well, Sternej, in our experience fiction is often an "anthropological text." For example, the recordings of native Shoshoni stories about the war between Wolf and Coyote at the creation of the world. Clearly fiction, but also clearly anthropological. Don't you think?

Somebody here should argue with me about that phrase, "clearly fiction."

message 10: by Sternej (last edited Jul 19, 2014 07:50PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sternej Michael, I unsderstand your point, allegory, myth, legend, these can be elements of anthropology for sure. However, all those elements can be present in fiction. This is not an anthropoligic study of an ancient culture. These are stories that Castaneda made up where he was a central character. That fact did not diminish my enjoyment of reading the series. In some ways it enhanced it.

message 11: by Chrisl (new)

Chrisl Agostino wrote: "Everything is real! Order the book from somewhere online if you can't find it at your store. Try abebooks


You'll freak out man!"

"Taking responsibility for living in a weird world" ... from Ixtlan

Journey to Ixtlan

message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael  Gear Yeah, we agree with all these comments. Here's the great thing about Castaneda: he pulled together elements from many cultural traditions and wove them together to form great fiction--at least, we think so. And these elements definitely enhanced our reading experience, as well.

message 13: by Henk (new) - rated it 3 stars

Henk Probably not for everyone... we have different aspirations. But many started a search for more meaning after reading this book, and/or later ones. Some got a bit stuck in it -even years later, but I will not condone the central themes in the books. They speak to our yearning for meaning in an increasingly shallow world. I support most of the principles Don Juan espouses as well, though the way in which some have interpreted and/or applied them have yielded hippie types who use it to justify whatever they want or think they understand... sad really. Others have sought the silence over the romantic and it boosted their growth. The books by Don Miguel Ruiz offers a different approach while those of Theun Mares appeals to the intellectual types. Those by Lujan Matus offer a more Daoist or Zen approach.

Sternej Great points Henk!

message 15: by Henk (new) - rated it 3 stars

Henk Sternej wrote: "Great points Henk!"
Sternej. I can´t think of a better exposition of the themes of the Toltec teachings than in Whisperings of the Dragon; Shamanic techniques to awaken your Primal Power. No bull, just a how to of the essential points. Hard read perhaps, so I read it untill I got it. It will be out in audio book format in a month or two.

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