CliffsNotes on Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan, A Separate Reality and Journey to Ixtlan

CliffsNotes on Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan, A Separate Reality and Journey to Ixtlan

CliffsNotes on Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan, A Separate Reality and Journey to Ixtlan

CliffsNotes on Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan, A Separate Reality and Journey to Ixtlan

Synopsis

Thirty years ago, the University of California Press published an unusual manuscript by an anthropology student named Carlos Castaneda. The Teachings of Don Juan" initiated a generation of seekers dissatisfied with the limitations of the Western world view, embarking on a remarkable journey that has left an indelible impression on more than a million readers around the world.

This concise supplement to Carlos Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan helps students understand the overall structure of the work, actions and motivations of the characters, and the social and cultural perspectives of the author.

This volume also covers "A Separate Reality" and "Journey to Ixtlan."

Excerpt

Castaneda’s works concerning don Juan Matus, the Yaqui sorcerer, presents to the reader a philosophy seldom recorded in Western literature. It is extraordinary and absorbing and, ironically, is available to us almost as if by accident. Carlos Castaneda, an Anthropology student, was attempting to collect data on peyote and other hallucinogenic plants used by American Indians, hoping to use this data for a paper which he was writing to earn acceptance into graduate school. He was accepted and he did receive information on the use of peyote through a long apprenticeship with the Yaqui sorcerer don Juan. But after beginning his graduate work, Castaneda was urged by his professors to continue his study of the unusual “knowledge” that don Juan spoke of. One professor in particular, Harold Garfinkle, a ucla Anthropology professor, encouraged Castaneda to renew his apprenticeship with don Juan.

Castaneda’s book The Teachings of Don Juan was published as Castaneda’s M.A. thesis. Castaneda admitted that his attempts to catagorize don Juan’s system of beliefs by normal anthropological criteria was a failure. For this reason, he resorted to a subjective reportage of the events and “conversations with don Juan”.

The volume’s importance lies, primarily, in its discussion of the various plants used in don Juan’s teachings. These plants produce the hallucinogenic substances which were the first things to change Castaneda’s conception of reality. the first book concludes with Castaneda’s admitting that his experiences with the hallucinogenic plants and with don Juan’s teachings left him too fearful to continue his apprenticeship.

His second work, A Separate Reality, was the result of don Juan’s convincing Castaneda to once again assume the role of an apprentice to the teachings. Castaneda, it should be noted, had . . .

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