Remember Don Juan/Carlos Castaneda?

I was rummaging around one of our bookcases today and I found, buried in the back, my old copy of Journey to Ixtlan - The Lessons of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda
and it really sent me down memory lane. Does anybody else remember the Don Juan Carlos Castaneda books? I lump their names together because I am 100% convinced there was no such a person as Don Juan, Castaneda made all that shit up while tripping in the UCLA library and working on his masters thesis, the teachings of Don Juan are a composite of a bunch of proto-New Age stuff.

But be that as it may, those books were widely read and admired by me and my friends back in college (circa mid 1970s). Coming from the conservative deep south (Florida), I was not much into acid or peyote but I substituted whiskey and was able to find my power spot, do “Seeing”, jump through the crack between the worlds and all the other Don Juan-moves just like my acid eating friends.

And in California the Don Juan books triggered a whole mini-industry in Native American Cosmic Consciousness. There were books and tapes and weekend seminars. One guy I remember in particular, although I forget his name, may have been Whiskey Wolf, or maybe Big Money Bear or something (I can never remember mystical Indian power names); had tons of books and seminars.

I too must confess, I bought a lot of the books and learned all about the shields of power, and totem animals and all the rest of the pseudo-native American horseshit. Although I did outgrow it after about six months and went back to being a full time white man. (when I say that in a mocking sense, I fully realize that there are legitimate Native American teachings that have value and a real history but most of the shit in the bookstores was not that, it is was fake nonsense, I mean no disrespect to Native Americans, my dad was from Oklahoma).

So, anyone else remember the glory days of Don Juan?

Mad Dog Drinks the Firewater Brian
(that is my mystical Cherokee name)

Yeah…I have never tried peyote but those books made me want to.

I have substituted peyote with acid and shrooms and I was pleasantly pleased by the outcome.

I have always wanted to try one of these bad boys.

Brian -
Remember them well. My early college years - circa ‘71 and onward.
Justified a lot of peyote use for a lot of people.
I was never real sure about the existence of Ol’ Don Juan.
If memory serves me right, Castenada pretty much came clean in the late '80’s - eaqrly '90’s that DJ was a creative device he used for his grad school papers.

But they sure were an anthropological trip to read.

In my neighbourhood there was a guy who sold peyote for 20.00CDN an ounce. Enough to melt the brains of a party of six. The LSD that was available at that time was also the real deal apparently but from what I heard the peyote was stronger. Of course everyone was also into reading Castenada at the time as well and while I seem to recall gaining something of value from those books - particularly the fourth one - I can’t remember exactly what it was now. In his later works he started really going off the deep end and I know that at one point he advocated that sons kill their fathers to gain some sort of freedom. It was around that time that I quit reading him.

“If you remember the sixties, you weren’t there” :wink: :laughing:

Yeah, the first two books were pretty good reads. After that they all seemed the same to me.

Apparently anthropologists dealing with the Yaqui Indians report that Yaqui society is very different than what Casteneda said. Hmmm.

I wonder what Michael Harner makes of all this? He sat on Casteneda’s MA committee…

For years people wondered if Casteneda was real (let alone Don Juan) but he did turn up in person a few years ago (just before he died) to promote his last book, Tengrisity (sp?).

Anybody read Olga Kharitidi? (Siberian psychologist does the Don Juan thing in Altai and then Samarqand).

I once found myself awake shirtless in a desert surrounded by snakes and scorpions slithering over my bare feet. I looked up and saw a child running in the distance. The child stopped, giggled a little laugh and motioned me to follow. I ran across the blistering hot sand only to find a hole filled with black water that dripped upwards towards the multi-colored sky. I peered into the black abyss and saw a Mayan pyramid with tens of thousands of bleeding human hearts raised towards the sun. All of a sudden I heard a low growl emitting from behind. I spun around to embrace a pouncing jaguar that sent me reeling into the pool of darkness, I fell forever it seemed choking on the thick liquid covering everything. The sound of drums rang through the pit I was suspended in. I looked up and saw a blaze of red, orange and yellow covering everything above me. I reached out towards it and the hand of a child grasped me and I was thrusted out and onto my feet. The child looked at me once more and gave a giggle again then petted the jaguar at his side. He got up and ran and the great cat followed. I rubbed my eyes and saw tribal eldars pounding on drums, flicking away at string instruments and chanting around a massive fire with a horde of naked men and women dancing, yelling and jumping all around the inferno. Stumbling onto my hands and knees I looked up and into the face of a man who’s eyes pearced my very soul. He streached out his hand and took me up with one swift thrust. Gasping for air, I looked at him and he said, ‘Welcome NaTaS’ ‘For here lies eternity’ All I could do was wisper out a faint ‘Don Juan, I have found you.’ Too which he smiled and said, ‘You always knew where I was, you just didn’t know how to unlock the way’ Bliss was the state I felt and I looked up to see the beauty of chaos and order flowing all around me. I closed my eyes for an instant and when I opened them I found myself in this land called Taiwan where my journey continues till this day.

…Edit: note…“where your trip continues to this day.”

Natas when I first started reading this thread I thought to myself, “Yeah. I should go back and read those old Don Yuan books I might ask Brian to send me a copy.” After I read your post though, I feel completely satiated. Thanks.

I was there, in Taiwan, and married. Not everybody in the 60’s ingested those poisons. Now, 40 years later, I look at how fecked up a lot of my contemporaries are and am glad I didn’t.

Casual drug use is NOT cool, just stupid.

Yeah, I read Don Juan. I thought it was a pile of shit then and it seems like later on that I was right.


“I am a hunter and a warrior… you are a pimp”

“always carry your stuff in a backpack so that your hands are free”

Something like that…