Carlos Castanada (1925-1998) was a Peruvian born anthropologist and author who immigrated to California hoping to attain an academic career.
For his master thesis, he published the book The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968).
The book was promoted as an anthropological account of Castanada’s encounter with a wise, benevolent Yaqui sorcerer in Mexico. It sold very well and Castanada continued with a series of best-sellers, all making the same claim of authenticity.
Critics of Castanada’s work point out that he took no real field notes and is elusive about his past, suggesting that his books are cleverly crafted fiction.
Whether they be fictional, embellished facts, or factual, these widely acclaimed stories outline a belief in interactive fields of reality. In the broadest sense these fields could be differentiated as ordinary and non-ordinary worlds, or as Mircea Eliade put it, mundane and supramundane realities.
But Don Juan’s teachings involve more than a simple “this or that” cosmology. Schematically, his vision is not unlike the mathematical fractal. The sorcerer is said to control interactive fields of power. Accordingly, he or she may exert influence from one power region to another to bring about an ethically good outcome.
An apparent physical illness, for instance, could be healed by inwardly perceiving spiritual disturbances or fields that are interacting with a patient’s bodily organs. Don Juan claimed that, by focusing awareness and exerting the will, the sorcerer can correct a seemingly isolated physical disturbance.
This is now called distance healing. And in Don Juan’s story, distance healing could be a single or complex, multi-layered event.
This approach might seem fanciful to some, but semiotics wedded to subatomic physics seems to point in a similar direction. Leading physicists and modern science writers say that matter and energy are two humanly constructed concepts. As such, the ideas of matter and energy apparently represent two forms of one underlying essence.
Interestingly, Castanada criticized the beatnik, drug guru Timothy Leary for suggesting that psychotropic drugs, alone, could cure. For Castanada, ingesting drugs was only an initial step in a complicated inner journey requiring a great deal of prolonged training and personal discipline.
- “Welcome to the Other World..” (exohuman.com)
- Dyaus (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Mircea Eliade (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
- The Flyers (toltecwarrior.wordpress.com)
- Healing Spirits (3quarksdaily.com)