Carlos Castenada



Carlos Castenada.

An enigma.

I pulled the first four books written by Carlos Castaneda out of my Dad’s (ex-hippy!) bookcase when I was about 14. Then I found a few more in second hand bookshops.

I also found books that disturbed me because they purported to expose Castaneda as a ‘fraud’.

But I still read his books about his times with Don Juan Matus … because I loved Don Juan so much, and his ‘teachings’ seemed to ring inside me.

I tried many times to actually find something from Carlos Castaneda in a direct interview. I found some photographs. I found a fairly damning article by his wife/ex-wife(?) once.

But today I found this:

This find has made me indescribably happy. Hope it does the same for some of you. :-)

Navigating Into the Unknown: An Interview with Carlos Castaneda
for the magazine Uno Mismo, Chile and Argentina, February, 1997
by Daniel Trujillo Rivas.

Question: Mr. Castaneda, for years you've remained in absolute anonymity. What drove you to change this condition and talk publicly about the teachings that you and your three companions received from the nagual Juan Matus?

Answer: What compels us to disseminate don Juan Matus's ideas is a need to clarify what he taught us. For us, this is a task that can no longer be postponed. His other three students and I have reached the unanimous conclusion that the world to which Don Juan Matus introduced us is within the perceptual possibilities of all human beings. We've discussed among us what would be the appropriate road to take. To remain anonymous the way don Juan proposed to us? This option was not acceptable. The other road available was to disseminate don Juan's ideas: an infinitely more dangerous and exhausting choice, but the only one that, we believe, has the dignity don Juan imbued all his teachings with.

Q: Considering what you have said about the unpredictability of a warrior's actions, which we have corroborated for three decades, can we expect this public phase you're going through to last for a while? Until when?

A: There is no way for us to establish a temporal criteria. We live according to the premises proposed by don Juan and we never deviate from them. Don Juan Matus gave us the formidable example of a man who lived according to what he said. And I say it is a formidable example because it is the most difficult thing to emulate; to be monolithic and at the same time have the flexibility to face anything. This was the way don Juan lived his life.
Within these premises, the only thing one can be is an impeccable mediator. One is not the player in this cosmic match of chess, one is simply a pawn on the chessboard. What decides everything is a conscious impersonal energy that sorcerers call intent or the Spirit.

Q: As far as I've been able to corroborate, orthodox anthropology, as well as the alleged defenders of the pre-Colombian cultural heritage of America, undermine the credibility of your work. The belief that your work is merely the product of your literary talent, which, by the way, is exceptional, continues to exist today. There are also other sectors that accuse you of having a double standard because, supposedly, your lifestyle and your activities contradict what the majority expect from a shaman. How can you clear up these suspicions?

A: The cognitive system of the Western man forces us to rely on preconceived ideas. We base our judgments on something that is always "a priori," for example the idea of what is "orthodox." What is orthodox anthropology? The one taught at university lecture halls? What is a shaman's behavior? To wear feathers on one's head and dance to the spirits?
For thirty years, people have accused Carlos Castaneda of creating a literary character simply because what I report to them does not concur with the anthropological "a priori," the ideas established in the lecture halls or in the anthropological field work. However, what don Juan presented to me can only apply to a situation that calls for total action and, under such circumstances, very little or almost nothing of the preconceived occurs.
I have never been able to draw conclusions about shamanism because in order to do this one needs to be an active member in the shamans' world. For a social scientist, let's say for example a sociologist, it is very easy to arrive at sociological conclusions over any subject related to the Occidental world, because the sociologist is an active member of the Occidental world. But how can an anthropologist, who spends at the most two years studying other cultures, arrive at reliable conclusions about them? One needs a lifetime to be able to acquire membership in a cultural world. I've been working for more than thirty years in the cognitive world of the shamans of ancient Mexico and, sincerely, I don't believe I have acquired the membership that would allow me to draw conclusions or to even propose them.
I have discussed this with people from different disciplines and they always seem to understand and agree with the premises I'm presenting. But then they turn around and they forget everything they agreed upon and continue to sustain "orthodox" academic principles, without caring about the possibility of an absurd error in their conclusions. Our cognitive system seems to be impenetrable.

Q: What's the aim of you not allowing yourself to be photographed, having your voice recorded or making your biographical data known? Could this affect what you've achieved in your spiritual work, and if so how? Don't you think it would be useful for some sincere seekers of truth to know who you really are, as a way of corroborating that it is really possible to follow the path you proclaim?

A: With reference to photographs and personal data, the other three disciples of don Juan and myself follow his instructions. For a shaman like don Juan, the main idea behind refraining from giving personal data is very simple. It is imperative to leave aside what he called "personal history". To get away from the "me" is something extremely annoying and difficult. What shamans like don Juan seek is a state of fluidity where the personal "me" does not count. He believed that an absence of photographs and biographical data affects whomever enters into this field of action in a positive, though subliminal way. We are endlessly accustomed to using photographs, recordings and biographical data, all of which spring from the idea of personal importance. Don Juan said it was better not to know anything about a shaman; in this way, instead of encountering a person, one encounters an idea that can be sustained; the opposite of what happens in the everyday world where we are faced only with people who have numerous psychological problems but no ideas, all of these people filled to the brim with "me, me, me."

Q: How should your followers interpret the publicity and the commercial infrastructure a side of your literary work surrounding the knowledge you and your companions disseminate? What's your real relationship with Cleargreen Incorporated and the other companies (Laugan Productions, Toltec Artists)? I'm talking about a commercial link.

A: At this point in my work I needed someone able to represent me regarding the dissemination of don Juan Matus's ideas. Cleargreen is a corporation that has great affinity with our work, as are Laugan Productions and Toltec Artists. The idea of disseminating don Juan's teachings in the modern world implies the use of commercial and artistic media that are not within my individual reach. As corporations having an affinity with don Juan's ideas, Cleargreen Incorporated, Laugan Productions and Toltec Artists are capable of providing the means to disseminate what I want to disseminate.
There is always a tendency for impersonal corporations to dominate and transform everything that is presented to them and to adapt it to their own ideology. If it weren't for Cleargreen's, Laugan Productions' and Toltec Artists' sincere interest, everything don Juan said would have been transformed into something else by now.

Q: There are a great number of people who, in one way or another, "cling" to you in order to acquire public notoriety. What's your opinion on the actions of Victor Sanchez, who has interpreted and reorganized your teachings in order to elaborate a personal theory? And of Ken Eagle Feather's assertions that he has been chosen by don Juan to be his disciple, and that don Juan came back just for him?

A: Indeed there are a number of people who call themselves my students or don Juan's students, people I've never met and whom, I can guarantee, don Juan never met. Don Juan Matus was exclusively interested in the perpetuation of his lineage of shamans. He had four disciples who remain to this day. He had others who left with him. Don Juan was not interested in teaching his knowledge; he taught it to his disciples in order to continue his lineage. Due to the fact that they cannot continue don Juan's lineage, his four disciples have been forced to disseminate his ideas.
The concept of a teacher who teaches his knowledge is part of our cognitive system but it isn't part of the cognitive system of the shamans of ancient Mexico. To teach was absurd for them. To transmit his knowledge to those who were going to perpetuate their lineage was a different matter.
The fact that there are a number of individuals who insist in using my name or don Juan's name is simply an easy maneuver to benefit themselves without much effort.

Q: Let's consider the meaning of the word "spirituality" to be a state of consciousness in which human beings are fully capable of controlling the potentials of the species, something achieved by transcending the simple animal condition through a hard psychic, moral and intellectual training. Do you agree with this assertion? How is don Juan's world integrated into this context?

A: For don Juan Matus, a pragmatic and extremely sober shaman, "spirituality" was an empty ideality, an assertion without basis that we believe to be very beautiful because it is encrusted with literary concepts and poetic expressions, but which never goes beyond that.
Shamans like don Juan are essentially practical. For them there only exists a predatory universe in which intelligence or awareness is the product of life and death challenges. He considered himself a navigator of infinity and said that in order to navigate into the unknown like a shaman does, one needs unlimited pragmatism, boundless sobriety and guts of steel.
In view of all this, don Juan believed that "spirituality" is simply a description of something impossible to achieve within the patterns of the world of everyday life, and it is not a real way of acting.

Q: You have pointed out that your literary activity, as well as Taisha Abelar's and Florinda Donner-Grau's, is the result of don Juan's instructions. What is the objective of this?

A: The objective of writing those books was given by don Juan. He asserted that even if one is not a writer one still can write, but writing is transformed from a literary action into a shamanistic action. What decides the subject and the development of a book is not the mind of the writer but rather a force that the shamans consider the basis of the universe, and which they call intent. It is intent which decides a shaman's production, whether it be literary or of any other kind.
According to don Juan, a practitioner of shamanism has the duty and the obligation of saturating himself with all the information available. The work of shamans is to inform themselves thoroughly about everything that could possibly be related to their topic of interest. The shamanistic act consists of abandoning all interest in directing the course the information takes. Don Juan used to say, "The one who arranges the ideas that spring from such a well of information is not the shaman, it is intent. The shaman is simply an impeccable conduit." For don Juan writing was a shamanistic challenge, not a literary task.

Q: If you allow me to assert the following, your literary work presents concepts that are closely related with Oriental philosophical teachings, but it contradicts what is commonly known about the Mexican indigenous culture. What are the similarities and the differences between one and the other?

A: I don't have the slightest idea. I'm not learned in either one of them. My work is a phenomenological report of the cognitive world to which don Juan Matus introduced me. From the point of view of phenomenology as a philosophical method, it is impossible to make assertions that are related to the phenomenon under scrutiny. Don Juan Matus' world is so vast, so mysterious and contradictory, that it isn't suitable for an exercise in linear exposition; the most one can do is describe it, and that alone is a supreme effort.

Q: Assuming that don Juan's teachings have become part of occult literature, what's your opinion about other teachings in this category, for example Masonic philosophy, Rosicrucianism, Hermeticism and disciplines such as the Cabala, the Tarot and Astrology when we compare them to nagualism? Have you ever had any contact with or maintain any contact with any of these or with their devotees?

A: Once again, I don't have the slightest idea of what the premises are, or the points of view and subjects of such disciplines. Don Juan presented us with the problem of navigating into the unknown, and this takes all of our available effort.

Q: Do some of the concepts of your work, such as the assemblage point, the energetic filaments that make up the universe, the world of the inorganic beings, intent, stalking and dreaming, have an equivalent in Western knowledge? For example, there are some people who consider that man seen as a luminous egg is an expression of the aura

A: As far as I know, nothing of what don Juan taught us seems to have a counterpart in Western knowledge.
Once, when don Juan was still here, I spent a whole year in search of gurus, teachers and wise men to give me an inkling of what they were doing. I wanted to know if there was something in the world of that time similar to what don Juan said and did.
My resources were very limited and they only took me to meet the established masters who had millions of followers and, unfortunately, I couldn't find any similarity.

Q: Concentrating specifically on your literary work, your readers find different Carlos Castanedas. We first find a somewhat incompetent Western scholar, permanently baffled at the power of old Indians like don Juan and don Genaro (mainly in The Teachings Of Don Juan, A Separate Reality, A Journey To Ixtlan, Tales Of Power, and The Second Ring Of Power.) Later we find an apprentice versed in shamanism (in The Eagle's Gift, The Fire from Within, The Power of Silence and, particularly, The Art Of Dreaming.) If you agree with this assessment, when and how did you cease to be one to become the other?

A: I don't consider myself a shaman, or a teacher, or an advanced student of shamanism; nor do I consider myself an anthropologist or a social scientist of the Western world. My presentations have all been descriptions of a phenomenon which is impossible to discern under the conditions of the linear knowledge of the Western world. I could never explain what don Juan was teaching me in terms of cause and effect. There was no way to foretell what he was going to say or what was going to happen. Under such circumstances, the passage from one state to another is subjective and not something elaborated, or premeditated, or a product of wisdom.

Q: One can find episodes in your literary work that are truly incredible for the Western mind. How could someone who's not an initiate verify that all those "separate realities" are real, as you claim?

A: It can be verified very easily by lending one's whole body instead of only one's intellect. One cannot enter don Juan's world intellectually, like a dilettante seeking fast and fleeting knowledge. Nor, in don Juan's world, can anything be verified absolutely. The only thing we can do is arrive at a state of increased awareness that allows us to perceive the world around us in a more inclusive manner. In other words, the goal of don Juan's shamanism is to break the parameters of historical and daily perception and to perceive the unknown. That's why he called himself a navigator of infinity. He asserted that infinity lies beyond the parameters of daily perception. To break these parameters was the aim of his life. Because he was an extraordinary shaman, he instilled that same desire in all four of us. He forced us to transcend the intellect and to embody the concept of breaking the boundaries of historical perception.

Q: You assert that the basic characteristic of human beings is to be "perceivers of energy." You refer to the movement of the assemblage point as something imperative to perceiving energy directly. How can this be useful to a man of the 21st century? According to the concept previously defined, how can the attainment of this goal help one's spiritual improvement?

A: Shamans like don Juan assert that all human beings have the capacity to see energy directly as it flows in the universe. They believe that the assemblage point, as they call it, is a point that exists in man's total sphere of energy. In other words, when a shaman perceives a man as energy that flows in the universe, he sees a luminous ball. In that luminous ball, the shaman can see a point of greater brilliance located at the height of the shoulder blades, approximately an arm's length behind them. Shamans maintain that perception is assembled at this point; that the energy that flows in the universe is transformed here into sensory data, and that the sensory data is later interpreted, giving as a result the world of everyday life. Shamans assert that we are taught to interpret, and therefore we are taught to perceive.
The pragmatic value of perceiving energy directly as it flows in the universe for a man of the 21st century or a man of the 1st century is the same. It allows him to enlarge the limits of his perception and to use this enhancement within his realm. Don Juan said that to see directly the wonder of the order and the chaos of the universe would be extraordinary.

Q: You have recently presented a physical discipline called Tensegrity. Can you explain what is it exactly? What is its goal? What spiritual benefit can a person who practices it individually get?

A: According to what don Juan Matus taught us, the shamans who lived in ancient Mexico discovered a series of movements that when executed by the body brought about such physical and mental prowess that they decided to call those movements magical passes.
Don Juan told us that, through their magical passes, those shamans attained an increased level of consciousness which allowed them to perform indescribable feats of perception.
Through generations, the magical passes were only taught to practitioners of shamanism. The movements were surrounded with tremendous secrecy and complex rituals. That is the way don Juan learned them and that is the way he taught them to his four disciples.
Our effort has been to extend the teachings of such magical passes to anyone who wants to learn them. We have called them Tensegrity, and we have transformed them from specific movements pertinent only to each of don Juan's four disciples, to general movements suitable to anyone.
Practicing Tensegrity, individually or in groups, promotes health, vitality, youth and a general sense of well-being. Don Juan said that practicing the magical passes helps accumulate the energy necessary to increase awareness and to expand the parameters of perception.

Q: Besides your three cohorts, the people who attend your seminars have met other people, like the Chacmools, the Energy Trackers, the Elements, the Blue Scout . . . Who are they? Are they part of a new generation of seers guided by you? If this is the case, how could one become part of this group of apprentices?

A: Every one of these persons are defined beings who don Juan Matus, as director of his lineage, asked us to wait for. He predicted the arrival of each one of them as an integral part of a vision. Since don Juan's lineage could not continue, due to the energetic configuration of his four students, their mission was transformed from perpetuating the lineage into closing it, if possible, with a golden clasp.
We are in no position to change such instructions. We can neither look for nor accept apprentices or active members of don Juan's vision. The only thing we can do is acquiesce to the designs of intent.
The fact that the magical passes, guarded with such jealousy for so many generations, are now being taught, is proof that one can, indeed, in an indirect way, become part of this new vision through the practice of Tensegrity and by following the premises of the warriors' way.

Q: In Readers of Infinity, you've utilized the term "navigating" to define what sorcerers do. Are you going to hoist the sail to begin the definitive journey soon? Will the lineage of Toltec warriors, the keepers of this knowledge, end with you?

A: Yes, that is correct, don Juan's lineage ends with us.

Q: Here's a question that I've often asked myself: Does the warriors' path include, like other disciplines do, spiritual work for couples?

A: The warriors' path includes everything and everyone. There can be a whole family of impeccable warriors. The difficulty lies in the terrible fact that individual relationships are based in emotional investments, and the moment the practitioner really practices what she or he learns, the relationship crumbles. In the everyday world, emotional investments are not normally examined, and we live an entire lifetime waiting to be reciprocated. Don Juan said I was a diehard investor and that my way of living and feeling could be described simply: "I only give what others give me."

Q: What aspirations of possible advancement should someone have who wishes to work spiritually according to the knowledge disseminated in your books? What would you recommend for those who wish to practice don Juan's teachings by themselves?

A: There's no way to put a limit on what one may accomplish individually if the intent is an impeccable intent. Don Juan's teachings are not spiritual. I repeat this because the question has come to the surface over and over. The idea of spirituality doesn't fit with the iron discipline of a warrior. The most important thing for a shaman like don Juan is the idea of pragmatism. When I met him, I believed I was a practical man, a social scientist filled with objectivity and pragmatism. He destroyed my pretensions and made me see that, as a true Western man, I was neither pragmatic nor spiritual. I came to understand that I only repeated the word "spirituality" to contrast it with the mercenary aspect of the world of everyday life. I wanted to get away from the mercantilism of everyday life and the eagerness to do this is what I called spirituality. I realized don Juan was right when he demanded that I come to a conclusion; to define what I considered spirituality. I didn't know what I was talking about.
What I'm saying might sound presumptuous, but there's no other way to say it. What a shaman like don Juan wants is to increase awareness, that is, to be able to perceive with all the human possibilities of perception; this implies a colossal task and an unbending purpose, which can not be replaced by the spirituality of the Western world.

Q: Is there anything you would like to explain to the South American people, especially to the Chileans? Would you like to make any other statement besides your answers to our questions?

A: I don't have anything to add. All human beings are at the same level. At the beginning of my apprenticeship with don Juan Matus, he tried to make me see how common man's situation is. I, as a South American, was very involved, intellectually, with the idea of social reform. One day I asked don Juan what I thought was a deadly question: How can you remain unmoved by the horrendous situation of your fellow men, the Yaqui Indians of Sonora?
I knew that a certain percentage of the Yaqui population suffered from tuberculosis and that, due to their economic situation, they couldn't be cured.
"Yes," don Juan said, "It's a very sad thing but, you see, your situation is also very sad, and if you believe that you are in better condition than the Yaqui Indians you are mistaken. In general the human condition is in a horrifying state of chaos. No one is better off than another. We are all beings that are going to die and, unless we acknowledge this, there is no remedy for us."
This is another point of the shaman's pragmatism: to become aware that we are beings that are going to die. They say that when we do this, everything acquires a transcendental order and measure.

"Nobody ever asked me if I would consent to be eaten by beings of a different kind of awareness.”
- Don Juan Matus


FOTCM Member
Why were you disturbed to read articles purporting to show Castenada as a fraud? And why does this particular interview make you "indescribably happy?"


Hello NormaRegula

NormaRegula said:
Why were you disturbed to read articles purporting to show Castaneda as a fraud?
Because I was ‘emotionally attached’ to the whole story of Don Juan – as I think I indicated – and the thought of Carlos Castaneda/Don Juan being a ‘fraud’ threatened to destroy the ‘story’ and hurt me emotionally.

NormaRegula said:
And why does this particular interview make you "indescribably happy?”
Because it read like an intelligent response to the Carlos Castaneda/Don Juan mystique. To ‘me.’ Doesn’t mean I believe every word. I was describing my reaction.

Now … let me ask you a question …

Why are you being so cleverly psychotherapic/analytic toward me? Without ONE CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENT on the article I posted.?

It’s easy to ask any questions as a form of attack. (Though why you would want to 'attack' as opposed to 'mutually explore' I don't know. Maybe you do.)

I can hear you now, repeating my comment above: ‘Why did you say: “Why so cleverly … and superficially … psychotherapic/analytic toward me?”’ Lol!

I have posted in good faith in a Forum that purports to be about discussion.

And on a subject that is mentioned often in Laura’s works. I.e. Carlos Castaneda/Don Juan/’predators’/impeccability/etc.

And the whole Carlos Castaneda/Don Juan story IS controversial.

So … discuss.


“We are a feeling, an awareness encased here.”
- Don Juan (Carlos Castaneda)


Here is the transcript of a ‘radio interview’ with Carlos in 1968:


by Theodore Roszak

Radio interview with Carlos Castaneda - 1968 “Don Juan: The Sorcerer”

Interviewer: For six years from 1960-66 Carlos Castaneda served as an apprentice to a Yaqui Indian brujo, or sorcerer named don Juan. During those years, Mr. Castaneda was a graduate student in Anthropology at UCLA. His experiences with don Juan lead him into a strange world of shamanistic lore and psychedelic experience and adventures in what Mr. Castaneda calls states of non ordinary reality, some of which were frightening in the extreme, and all of which are fascinating in the extreme. His experiences with don Juan are recounted in a book which has been published this year by the University of California Press called “The Teachings of don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge”. Mr. Castaneda is with us here at KPFA today and has agreed to discuss the book and his experiences with don Juan. Let me begin by asking you how you managed to meet this remarkable personality, don Juan, and can you give us some idea what sort of a person he is?

CC: I met don Juan in a rather fortuitous manner. I was doing, at the time in 1960, I was doing, I was collecting ethnographic data on the use of medicinal plants among the Arizona Indians. And a friend of mine who was my guide on that enterprise knew about don Juan. He knew that don Juan was a very learned man in the use of plants and he intended to introduce me to him, but he never got around to do that. One day when I was about to return to Los Angeles, we happened to see him at a bus station, and my friend went over to talk to him. Then he introduced me to the man and I began to tell him that my interests was plants, and that, especially about peyote, because somebody had told me that this old man was very learned in the use of peyote. And we talked for about 15 minutes while he was waiting for his bus, or rather I did all the talking and he didn’t say anything at all. He kept on staring at me from time to time and that made me very uncomfortable because I didn’t know anything about peyote, and he seemed to have seen through me. After about 15 minutes he got up and said that perhaps I could come to his house sometime where we could talk with more ease, and he just left. And I thought that the attempt to meet him was a failure because I didn’t get anything out of him. And my friend thought that it was very common to get a reaction like that from the old man because he was very eccentric. But I returned again perhaps a month later and I began to search for him. I didn’t know where he lived, but I found out later where his house was and I came to see him. He, at first, you know, I approached him as a friend. I liked, for some reason, I liked the way he looked at me at the bus depot. There was something very peculiar about the way he stares at people. And he doesn’t stare, usually he doesn’t look at anybody straight in the eye, but sometimes he does that and it’s very remarkable. And it was more that stare which made me go to see him than my interest in anthropological work. So I came various times and we developed a sort of friendship. He has a great sense of humor and that eased the things up.

Q: About how old a man was he when you met him?

CC: Oh he was in his late 60’s, 69, or something like that.

Q: Now, you identify him in the book as a brujo. Can you give us some idea of what this means and to what extent don Juan is connected, if at all, with some sort of an ethnic background, a tribal background or is he pretty much of a lone wolf?

CC: The word brujos, the Spanish conception, it could be translated in various ways, in English could render a sorcerer, witch, medicine man or herbalist or curer, and, of course, the technical word shaman. Don Juan does not relate, or does not define himself in any of those ways. He thinks of himself, perhaps he is a man of knowledge.

Q: That’s the term he uses, man of knowledge?

CC: He uses man of knowledge or one who knows. He uses that interchangeably. In as far as his tribal allegiances, I think he, don Juan, is very much, I think his emotional ties are with the Yaquis of Sonora since his father was a Yaqui from one of the towns in Sonora, one of the Yaqui towns. But his mother was from Arizona. Thus he has sort of a divided origin which makes him very much a marginal man. At the present he has family in Sonora, but he doesn’t live there. He lives there part of the time, perhaps I should say.

Q: Does he have any formal livelihood? How does he earn his way in the world?

CC: I wouldn’t be able to, to, to discuss that, rather I don’t think that I could at the moment.

Q: One point I’d like to clear up - it’s something that I wondered about as I read the book. The book consisted in large part of recordings of your own experiences in using the herbs and mushrooms and so on that don Juan introduced you to, and long conversations with don Juan. How were you able, just as a technical problem, how were you able to keep track of your experiences over such a long period of time. How were you able to record all of this?

CC: It seems difficult, but since one of the items of the learning process of recapitulation of whatever you experience, in order to remember everything that happened, I had to make mental notes of all the steps, of all the things that I saw, all the events that occurred during the states of, let’s say, expanded consciousness or whatever. And then it was easy to translate them into writing after, because I had them all meticulously filed, sort of, in my mind. That’s as the experience itself goes, but then the questions and answers I simply wrote them down.

Q: You were able to take notes while you were....

CC: Not at the very beginning of our relationship I never took any notes. I took notes in the covert manner. I had a pad of paper inside my pockets, you know, big pockets on my jacket. I used to write inside my pockets. It’s a technique ethnographers use sometimes that they convert notes and then, of course. you have to work very hard to decipher the way they’re written. But it has to be done very quickly, very fast. As soon as you have time; you cannot postpone anything. You cannot let it go for the next day, cause you lose everything. Since I think I work compulsively, I was capable of writing down everything that took place very, very shortly after the events themselves.

Q: I must say that many of the dialogues are extremely fascinating documents. Don Juan, as you record his remarks has a certain amount of eloquence and imagination.

CC: Well one thing, he’s very artful with usual words and he thinks of himself as a talker, although he doesn’t like to talk. But he thinks that talking is his predilection, as other men of knowledge have all the predilections like movement, balance. His is talking. That is my good fortune to find a man that would have the same predilection that I have.

Q: Now, one of the things that’s most impressive about the book is the remarkable chances that you seem to have taken under don Juan’s tutelage; that is, he introduced you to various chemicals, substances, some of which, clearly I suppose could have been fatal if they had not been used carefully. How did you manage to work up sufficient trust in this man to down all of the concoctions that he put before you?

CC: The way the books present it seems to heighten some dramatic sequences, which is, I’m afraid, not true real life. There are enormous gaps in between in which ordinary things took place, that are not included. I didn’t include in the book because they did not pertain to the system I wanted to portray, so I just simply took them away, you see. And that means that the gaps between those very height states, you know, whatever, says that I remove things that are continuous crescendos, in kind of sequence leading to a very dramatic solution. But in real life it was a very simple matter because it took years in between, months pass in between them, and in the meantime we did all kinds of things. We even went hunting. He told me how to trap things, set traps, very old, old ways of setting a trap, and how to catch rattlesnakes. He told me how to prepare rattlesnakes, in fact. And so that eases up, you see, the distrust or the fear.

Q: I see. So there was a chance for you to build up a tremendous amount of confidence in this man.

CC: Yes, we spent a lot of time together. He never told me what he was gonna do, anyways. By the time I realized, I was already too deep into to turn back.

Q: Now, the heart of the book, at least as far as my reading was concerned, certainly the most fascinating part of the book, has to do with your experiences with what you term non-ordinary reality, and many of these experiences as you recount them have a great deal of cogency to them; that is, they are experiences that seem to come very close to demonstrating the validity of practices like divination, and then on the other hand you have experiences that, at the time, seemed to have been tremendously vivid experiences of flight and of being transformed into various animal forms, and often you suggest a sense of some ultimate revelation taking place. What sense do you make of these experiences now as you look back on them all? What seems to have been valid about them and how was don Juan, do you feel, seem able to control or predict what these experiences would be?

CC: Well, in as far as making sense out of them, I think as an anthropologist, I think, the way I had done it, I could use them as grounds for, say, set up a problem in anthropology, but that doesn’t mean that I understand them or use them in any way. I could just employ them to construct a system, perhaps. But if I will view them from the point of view of a non-European man, maybe shaman or perhaps a Yaqui, I think the experiences are, they are designed to produce the knowledge that reality of consensus is only a very small segment of the total range of what we could feel as real. If we could learn to code reality or stimuli the way a shaman does, perhaps we could elongate our range of what we call real.

Q: What do you mean by that, how does a shaman like don Juan code stimuli?

C: For instance, in the idea that a man could actually turn into a cricket or a mountain lion or a bird, is to me, this is my personal conclusion, it’s a way of intaking a stimuli and readapting it. I suppose the stimuli is there, anybody who would take a hallucinogenic plant or a chemical produced in a laboratory, I think will experience more or less the same distortion. We call it distortion of reality. But the shamans, I think, have learned through usage in thousands of years, perhaps, of practice, they have learned to reclassify the stimuli encoded in a different way. The only way we have to code it is as hallucination, madness. That’s our system of codification. We cannot conceive that one could turn into a crow, for instance.

Q: This was your experience under don Juan’s tutelage?

CC: Yes. As a European I refuse to believe that one could do it, you see. But...

Q: But it was a tremendously vivid experience when you had it...

CC: Well it was hard to say, it was real, that’s my only way of describing it. But now you see the things over, if I would be allowed to analyze it, I think, you know, what he was trying to do was to teach me another way of coding reality, another way of putting it into a propitious frame that could turn into a different interpretation.

Q: I thought the passage in the book where these very different orientations toward reality that you had, and don Juan had, the point at which it came through most clearly to me, was the point in which you question him about your own experience of apparent flight. And you finally came around to asking if you had been chained to a rock, would don Juan feel that you still had flown, and his answer was, in that case you would have flown with the chain and the rock.

CC: He alludes, you know, that, I think what he means, what he meant to say is that one never really changes. As a European my mind is set, my cognitive units are set, in a sense. I would admit only a total change. For me to change would mean that a person mutates totally into a bird, and that’s the only way I could understand it. But I think what he means is something else, something much more sophisticated than that. My system’s very rudimentary, you see, it lacks the sophistication that don Juan has, but I cannot pinpoint actually what he means like, things like what he means that one never changes really, there’s something else, another process is taking place.

Q: Yes, it is difficult to focus on this. I think I remember don Juan’s line was, you flew as a man flies. But he insisted that you flew.

CC: Yes.

Q: There’s another remarkable statement he makes. It is in a discussion of the reality of the episode. He says, that is all there is in reality, what you felt.

CC: Uh-huh. Yea, he, don Juan’s a very sophisticated thinker, really, it’s not easy to come to grips with him. You see, I had tried various times to wrestle with him intellectually and he always comes the victor, you know. He’s very artful. He posed once the idea to me that the whole, the totality of the universe is just perception. It’s how we perceive things. And there are no facts, only interpretations. And those are nearly, I’m merely paraphrasing him as close as I can. And perhaps he’s right, the facts are nothing else but interpretations that our brain makes of stimuli. So that such whatever I felt was, of course, the important thing.

Q: Now, one of the aspects of what we normally call reality that seems most important to us is that of coherence or consistency from experience to experience, and I was impressed by the fact that the experiences you had under peyote seemed to have in your recordings a remarkable coherence from experience to experience. I’d like to question you about this. There is an image that appeared in the experiences which you called mescalito. And it seems as if this image appears again and again with great consistency, that the general sense of the experience, the sound of it, the feel of it, is very much the same from time to time. Am I accurate in saying that?

CC: Yes, very, very much.

Q: Well, how do you make sense of that fact?

CC: Well, I’d, its the, I’d have two interpretations. Mine being it’s the product of the indoctrination I went through, those long periods of discussions, where instruction was given.

Q: Did don Juan every tell you how mescalito was to look?

CC: No, no not that level. Once I constructed, I think, the composite in my mind, the idea that it was a homogenous and totally a protector and a very sturdy deity, may have held me to maintain that, that mental composite, or perhaps the deity exists outside of ourselves as he says. Completely outside of me, as a man, as a feeler, and all it does is manifest itself.

Q: Now, I thought your description of this image, of mescalito, was very vivid and very impressive. Do you think you could possibly, just to draw out one aspect of the book, describe what this figure seemed like to you?

CC: It was truly an anthropomorphic composite as you say. It was not truly a man, but it looked like a cricket, and it was very large, perhaps larger than a man. It looked somehow like the surface of a cactus, the peyote cactus. And that was the top looked like a pointed head, but it had human features in the sense of eyes and a face. But it was not quite human either. It was something different about it and the movements, of course, were quite extraordinary because it hopped.

Q: Now, when you described this experience to don Juan, how did he deal with it, was this the right image.

CC: No, no. He didn’t care at all about my description of the form. He’s not interested at all. I never told him what the form, he discarded it all. I wrote it down because it was quite remarkable for me as the man who experienced it. It was just extraordinary. It was truly a shocking experience. And as I recalled everything that I experienced, but insofar as telling him, he didn’t want to hear about it. He said that it was unimportant. All he want to hear was whether I had, how close he let me come in this anthropomorphic composite at the time I saw it, you know, let me come very close and nearly touch him. And that, in don Juan’s system, I suppose, was a very good turn. And he was interested in knowing whether I was frightened or not. And I was very frightened. But insofar as the form, he never made any comment, or he didn’t even show any interest in it.

Q: I’d like to ask about one particular set of experiences. We don’t have to go into them in detail here. I think we might simply tempt the listeners to look at the book, and read the actual details of the experiences. But, your final experience with don Juan is one of extreme fearfulness. Why do you think he lead you into this final situation, at least final in your relationship with him in which, I mean, he very literally just scared the hell out of you. What was the purpose of that. It seemed almost as you record it, it seemed at points almost deliberate cruelty. What do you think he was up to when he did that?

CC: When he had previous to that last incident, or right before it, he taught me some position that it’s proper of shamans to adopt at moments of great crises, the time of their death, perhaps. It’s a form that they would adopt. And it’s something that they would use, it’s a sort of validation, a signature, or to prove that they have been men. Before they die they will face their death and do this dancing. And then they will yell at death and die. And I asked don Juan what could be important, you know, since we all have to die, what difference does it make whether we dance or we cry or scream or yell or run, and he felt that the question was very stupid because by having a form a man could validate his existence, he could really reaffirm that he was a man, because essentially that’s all we have. The rest is unimportant. And at the very last moment, you see, the only thing that a man could do was to reassert that he was a man. So he taught me this form and in the course of the event, this very frightening set of circumstances, or actions, I was forced nearly to exercise this form and use it. It brought a great amount of vigor to me. And the event ended up there, “successfully”. I was successful. And perhaps staying away from death, or something like. The next day, the next night he took me into the bushes, and what I was gonna do was, he was gonna teach me how to perfect this form, I thought was neat. And in the course of teaching me, I found myself alone. And that’s when the horrendous fear attacked me really. I think what he had in mind was for me to use this form, this position, this posture that he had taught me. And he deliberately scared me, I suppose, in order for me to test that. And that was my failure, of course, cause I really succumbed to fear instead of standing and facing my death, as I was supposed to as a, let’s say apprentice of this way of knowledge, I became a thorough European man and I succumbed to fear.

Q: How did things actually end then between you and don Juan?

CC: They ended that night I think, you know, I suffer a total ego collapse because the fear was just too great for my resources. And it took hours to pull me back. And it seems that we came to an impasse where I never talk ever again about his knowledge. That’s almost 3 years ago, over 3 years ago.

Q: You feel then he had finally lead you up to an experience that was beyond your capacity to grapple with?

CC: I think so. I exhausted my resources and I couldn’t go beyond that and its coherent with the American Indian idea that knowledge is power. See you cannot play around with it. Every new step, you see, is a trial and you have to prove that you’re capable of going beyond that. So that was my end.

Q: Yes, and over the 6 year period don Juan lead you through a great number of terribly trying and difficult experiences.

CC: Yes, I should say, I would. But he does nothing that I haven’t, that I finished, I don’t know, by some strange reason he has never acted as though I’m through. He always thinks that this is a period of clarification.

Q: Did he ever make it really clear to you what it was about you that lead him to select you for this vigorous process.

CC: Well, he guides his acts by indications, by omens, if he sees something that is extraordinary, some event that he cannot incorporate into his, possibly his categorization scheme, if it doesn’t fit in it, he calls it a portentous event or an extraordinary event and he considers that to be an omen. When I first took that cactus, the peyote, I play with a dog. It was very remarkable experience in which this dog and I understood each other very well. And that was interpreted by don Juan as an omen, that the deity, mescalito, peyote, had played with me, which was an event that he had never witnessed in his life. Nobody has ever, in his knowledge, nobody has ever played with the deity, he told me. That was extraordinary, and something was pointing me out, and he interpreted it as I was the right person to transmit his knowledge, or part it or whatever.

Q: Well, now after spending six years in apprenticeship to don Juan, what, may I ask, what difference this great adventure has made to you personally?

CC: Well it has, certainly has given me a different outlook in life. It’s enlarged my sense of how important today is, I suppose. I think, you know, I have, I’m the product of my socialization, I, like any other person of the western world, I live very much for tomorrow, all my life. I sort of save myself up for a great future, something of that order. And it’s only, it was only, with the, of course, with the terrible impact of don Juan’s teaching that I came to realize how important it is to be here, now. And it renders the idea of entering into states of what I call non ordinary reality instead of disrupting the states of ordinary reality, they render them very meaningful. I didn’t suffer any disruption or any disillusion of what goes on today. I don’t think its a farce. While I’ll say I tended to think that it was a farce before. I thought that I was disillusioned as I was an artist to do some work in art, and I felt, you know, that something was missing with my time, something is wrong. But as I see it, you know, nothing is wrong. Today I can’t conceive what’s wrong anymore. Cause it was vague to begin with, I never thought exactly what was wrong. But I alluded that there was a great area that was better than today. And I think that has been dispelled completely.

Q: I see. Do you have any plans of ever seeking out don Juan again?

CC: No, I see him as a friend. I see him all the time.

Q: Oh, you still do see him?

CC: Yes I do. I’m with him, I have been with him lots of times since the last experience that I write in the book. But as far as seeking his teachings, I don’t think I would. I sincerely think that I don’t have the mechanics.

Q: One final question: you make a heroic effort in the book to make sense of don Juan’s world view. Do you have any idea of whether don Juan took any interest or takes any interest in your world, the one you’re calling that of a European man?

CC: Well, no I think he’s versed, don Juan’s very versed in what we, the Europeans, stand for. He’s not handicapped, in that sense, he makes use, he’s a warrior and he makes use of his, he sets his life as in a strategic game, he makes use of everything that he can, he’s very versed in that. My effort to make sense of his world is, it’s my own way of, let’s say, paying back to him for this grand opportunity. I think if I don’t make the effort to render his world as coherent phenomena, he’ll go by the way he has for hundreds of years, as nonsensical activity, when it is not nonsensical, it’s not fraudulent, it’s a very serious endeavor.

Q: Yes. Well the outcome of your experiences with don Juan is a really fascinating book and, after reading it myself, I can certainly recommend it to the Pacific audience. It is an adventure in a very different world than we ordinarily live in. I’d like to thank you, Mr. Castaneda, for making this time available to talk about the book and about your adventures. This is Theodore Rosack.

CC: Thank you.



FOTCM Member
StevieX said:
Why are you being so cleverly psychotherapic/analytic toward me? Without ONE CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENT on the article I posted.?
...I can hear you now, repeating my comment above: ‘Why did you say: “Why so cleverly … and superficially … psychotherapic/analytic toward me?”’ Lol!

I have posted in good faith in a Forum that purports to be about discussion.
The questions regarding why you were disturbed to read negative articles and happy to find a positive article about Castaneda are what they are. Straight forward. It would be difficult for me to constructively comment and/or discuss the interview you have posted without knowing where you're coming from.

StevieX said:
Because I was ‘emotionally attached’ to the whole story of Don Juan – as I think I indicated – and the thought of Carlos Casteneda/Don Juan being a ‘fraud’ threatened to destroy the ‘story’ and hurt me emotionally.
My older brother was very into Castaneda from the early 1970's through the early nineties. At one point, he, too, felt as you do...strongly identifying with Castaneda and his 'nagual witches' Carol Tiggs, Florinda Donner, and Taisha Alabar - the author/interviewers of the article you posted on this thread.

A few years ago, my brother became less enchanted (his words, not mine) with Castaneda, due to several books, (one written by Amy Wallace entitled "Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda") and some less than flattering articles about the man Castaneda. Recently, he sent me this link to this website that details some of the positive and negative fruit that Castaneda wrought in his lifetime. My brother is no longer hurt, depressed, or in denial that Castaneda (and some of his followers) were not perfect and did not have all the answers. He has learned to separate the wisdom gleaned from 'Don Juan Mateus;' not caring if Don Juan was real or an amalgamation of esoteric ideals.

StevieX said:
Because it read like an intelligent response to the Carlos Castanada/Don Juan mystique. To ‘me.’ Doesn’t mean I believe every word. I was describing my reaction.
That's good to know. The research conducted on this forum (and elsewhere) in regards to Castaneda is extensive, with some members considering the character of Don Juan to possibly be a combination of actual persons and ideas from teachers like Gurdjieff. (Other forums have come to this conclusion.) This does not take away from the wisdom that was imparted in much of Castaneda's writing. The same can be said of other STO channelers, teachers, and writers searching for the truth, who oft times give their material a slight personal spin (ie: Christianity, New Age, etc.)

I've always been interested in 'Don Juan's' teachings, although I admit, some of my views towards the author Castaneda have been mixed due to my brother's experiences. As for the interesting interview given on this thread, I'll read through it a few more times before I comment.


FOTCM Member
StevieX said:
So … discuss.
That is exactly what NR was doing. A discussion does not have to conform to the standards which you create. Her questions were valid, and revealed a seeming sacred cow you have in this case.


FOTCM Member
StevieX, NormaRegula was asking sincere questions, and I think your reaction may have distorted your view of NR's intentions. I had the same basic questions in mind when I read your post too.

One of the gems in Castaneda's work that has been of use to many on the forum has been his discussion of the Predator's mind, and the particular use of it is actually seeing it in action in ourselves. It could be useful for you to consider that your emotional attachment to his work could have been used by your predator's mind to see NR's constructive questions as an attack. Emotional attachment and the predator's mind go together like two peas in a pod.


The Living Force
Its strange, but reading "The Eagle's Gift" made me think of how the "Celestine Prophecy" was written. Perhaps it was the style.


Hello NormaRegula / Beau / Shane and Ruth


You are making me confront my motives in posting anything at all.

I had not considered the why of that before.

I am a member of a few ‘chat’ forums. And that is what we do. ‘Chat’.

I’m beginning to think something else is the ‘direction’ here.

And I am grateful for it!

Norma … I apologise for my ‘snappiness!’ It was reflexive defense.

I really feel pulled toward ‘truth’ … as I see it ‘Great Spirit.’

There is no one in my immediate life I can talk to about these things. Everyone I try to talk to turns hostile! (Family included … which hurt me very much. I now cannot talk about what I really want to talk about to my own family.)

Some days I see thick ‘trails’ [chemtrails?] overhead, and I point them out to friends, and they REFUSE to see them. I have one good friend from way back who says: ‘It’s atmospheric conditions, Stevie. That’s all it is.’ (As we watch a low-flying ‘plane spewing white trails out from under its wings.)

Sometimes I think I am going mad.

How can a whole world be so much in trance?

Laura’s writings keep me sane.

I am nearly at the end of Laura’s second ‘wave’ book … the Blue Book … and I really don’t know what I would do if I hadn’t found her … and this Forum.

Sorry again for my snappiness. I think I have become habituated to being defensive.

Peace (if that is possible!)

"More disturbing than the sound of the boots … the silence of the slippers!"
- Old World saying

John G

The Living Force
StevieX said:
There is no one in my immediate life I can talk to about these things. Everyone I try to talk to turns hostile! (Family included … which hurt me very much. I now cannot talk about what I really want to talk about to my own family.)
Read the "Marital conflict, children and the work" sticky thread here in The Work topic. I mention in there not being able to talk to my wife about this stuff and she was into Israel/9-11 conspiracies long before me. Talking to others can be a sticky subject.

StevieX said:
Some days I see thick ‘trails’ [chemtrails?] overhead, and I point them out to friends, and they REFUSE to see them. I have one good friend from way back who says: ‘It’s atmospheric conditions, Stevie. That’s all it is.’ (As we watch a low-flying ‘plane spewing white trails out from under its wings.)
I wouldn't mention chemtrails to the mostly asleep, it's a not well understood thing even for us in this forum. If you see lots of low flying planes/helicopters that could be something different namely the powers that be playing with you (I actually mention that in the sticky thread too).

StevieX said:
I am a member of a few ‘chat’ forums. And that is what we do. ‘Chat’.

I’m beginning to think something else is the ‘direction’ here...

Sometimes I think I am going mad.

How can a whole world be so much in trance?

Laura’s writings keep me sane.
My first forum was one for Stevie Nicks back in 1990. Hence the quote I use. Waking people up while avoiding distractions is part of the direction here and that can be what you do while in other forums too. I'm in a couple esoteric forums (one for "consciousness" and one for the Enneagram) and I've brought SOTT ideas up there but they seem to get lost in a maze of things that get discussed. People into channeling can think of the Cs as just one more source, I will never understand how that is possible. You kind of, I think, have to keep informing people without having expectations about how the information will be received. You don't want to intrude on the free will of others but as Laura mentioned to you it's not like there's a lot of time for waking people up gently. If this were the 1990s, I would be trying to give information to Stevie Nicks. I know information has been sent from SOTT to Cindy Sheehan for example. Others like Rosie O'Donnell, Oprah and Natalie Maines (a Nicks friend) have been mentioned as possibilities. I might still try to contact people who know Ms. Nicks, do you think that is a good idea? You are, I have to admit, a bit of a synchronicity for me in this area.


The Living Force
StevieX said:
Hello NormaRegula / Beau / Shane and Ruth


There is no one in my immediate life I can talk to about these things. Everyone I try to talk to turns hostile! (Family included … which hurt me very much. I now cannot talk about what I really want to talk about to my own family.)
Sorry to quote the bible, but in terms of discussing esoteric matters,
it says in Luke 12:

Luke 12 said:
51 Think ye that I am come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 for there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 They shall be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter
against her mother; mother in law against her daughter in law, and daughter in law against her mother in law.
And therefore the warning. Sleeping people are but asleep and waking
them is akin to a "slap across the face" in regards to their belief systems
and they are in for a rude awaking and they might turn against you and
render you into pieces.

You are basically going against the grain, attempting to wake them up
and it is a rude awaking and against their belief systems.

You should tread very carefully. My family turned against me BIG TIME
and it was only by careful dissemination and only when they ask more
questions, that I would respond but only in small bites. If they want
"proof" then direct them to specific readings mentioned in SOTT forum
and I usually start them with OSPUNSKY, Mouravieff, and Gurdjeiff, THEN
to SHOTW, WAVE, and so on but ONLY if they can cite what they read.

I learned NOT to force-feed (an STS action) when not asked to do so. My
youngest is very emotional and will attack verbally if she smelled anything
resembling matters of esoteric nature. Some of my long time "friends" stop
talking to me and some attacked me BIG TIME! But only by their sincere
actions I responded to them. But the attack they gave me was proof of the
belief systems that were in place, and it helped me to see the world as it
really is and it woke me up; I SEE IT FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS and believed.

Again, sorry for another quotation from the bible:

Luke 6:41-42
6:41 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?
6:42 Or how can you say to your neighbor, 'Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,' when you
yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye,
and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye.

Matt 7:3-5
7:3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?
7:4 Or how can you say to your neighbor, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' while the log is in your own eye?
7:5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye.
Hence, another warning: Remove your own ignorance before attempting to remove another's own ignorance.



Dagobah Resident
I find this exchange very enlightening. Namely because I too, like StevieX was supporting
my own sacred cow in the form of CC. After reading NormaRegula's link, sustainedaction,
I see now that CC himself was far from "perfect" and not necessarily walking his talk.
Although I don't have any of his books handy at the moment, I do recall something that
donJuan had supposedly discussed in a few of these. I apologize for not having the exact quotes.

In effect dJ said there were two "schools" of sorcerers, those of the "new way" whose ultimate
goal was true freedom and those of the "old way"(ancient sorcerers), whose ultimate goal was
adventure and power(over others?). DJ very much likened CC to the old way, which also was the
Nagual Julien's(dJ's teacher)predilection whereas he himself(dJ) was of the new. He went into more detail describing how sorcerers of the old way cared nothing about others, only themselves(STS) and that
being a large difference in the two. It very much sounded like a conversation of STS and STO.

I do wish I had the books handy to draw on. Anyone else? I still have great respect for CC's
writings and when possible occasionally pick up a copy of one of his better books to read again.
To sum it up, it seems entirely possible that CC's personal life reflected his personal direction and
that "don Juan" was presenting STO work through him. I still do have a little peeve with some
aquaintances who constantly use the "he made it all up" argument when discussing his works.
Brilliant if so, Imho.
(I apologize for the awkward layout, I tried editing twice but to no avail)



FOTCM Member
dant said:
And therefore the warning. Sleeping people are but asleep and waking
them is akin to a "slap across the face" in regards to their belief systems
and they are in for a rude awaking and they might turn against you and
render you into pieces.

You are basically going against the grain, attempting to wake them up
and it is a rude awaking and against their belief systems.

You should tread very carefully. My family turned against me BIG TIME
and it was only by careful dissemination and only when they ask more
questions, that I would respond but only in small bites.

Continuing with Mouravieff:

Yet man feels that he should not lie. In his inmost heart lives a vague memory of the pure, unperverted consciousness he had before the "fall." Every normal and sane human being experiences, more than once, nostalgia for an uncorrupted life, and bitter regret that they are snared in the meshes of cheating, both moral and material.

Man, however, lets himself be bound more and more in life: his faculty for lying gives him the marvellous impression of being able to arrange things for the best in difficult situations, but he forgets that lies, once uttered, put him under obligation.

Imaginary facts created in these acts demand a context, if not completely identical, must at least support the circumstances within which we live and act.

As long as we deal with insignificant facts, lying does not often result in serious consequences; conversely, in the absence of an adequate context, a serious lie unfailingly leads to catastrophe commensurate with the importance of the problem. We remain unaware of this link between statement and context, which is the underlying reason why this law applies with the harsh rigidity to which Jesus drew our attention by saying: "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; nor hid that shall not be known and exposed to the light of day." In talking about this to his disciples, Jesus added: "Before anything else, beware the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy, the form of the lie which is so pernicious.

When a man goes in search of the Way, it generally signifies that something within him has collapsed. Apart from exceptional cases, this collapse is preceded by a re-assessment of moral values, which in the searcher's eyes lose the value he had previously given to them. This reassessment has been provoked by the accumulation of more or less violent shocks which have given birth to negative emotions.
The humility demanded by the Tradition is necessary as a screen against the noxious influences to which the least exterior or interior success exposes man.

Interior collapse leads to certain consequences. Man starts to see things in a different light. Two diametrically opposed effects can result. If man is sufficiently strong and impartial, he will not lower his eyes before implacable reality. He will have the courage to face things directly, and to accept the constations that are imposed on him, no matter how disagreeable they are.

This signifies that he has firmly started on the track which leads to the Path of Access of the Way.

On the other hand, if the man is weak, this experience will weaken him even more.

The law is explicit: "To whosoever hath, to him shall be given. But whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath."

If man does not accept his situation and, in particular in inner state as it appears to him, thanks to brief illuminations from the consciousness of the real "I," - if he is obstinate against all evidence, justifying his personality by protecting himself behind logic, legitimacy and justice, he will then turn his back on the Path of Access, and thrust himself further into the Wilderness.

We repeat: unless he is one of the just or righteous (not very likely), NOBODY can reach the Path of Access to the Way without first passing through an INTERIOR bankruptcy; a Moral Collapse.

We now look at what should be his attitude toward the milieu in which he lives, as well as its attitude towards him.

An incorrect attitude at the start will create added difficulties and obstacles, which can be avoided.
Economy of energies is a must, as the walk to and on the Way demands their total mobilization. Any unjustified expenditure can lead in the end to failure.

We must always keep this in mind.

In general, the reaction of those around the person who begins to search for the Way is negative.
This negative attitude is the result of the action of the General Law, which, as we know, tends to keep a man in his place. Not being able to do this directly by the action of Illusion, the General Law, when it loses its dominion over the man who "moves," acts indirectly by the mediation of those around him.

It is a classic situation.

From his side, after having passed through moral bankruptcy, he who seeks the Way becomes different from men who continue to live within the limits permitted by the General Law, and thus take the mirage for reality.

Due to this, he will feel himself more and more isolated. The center of gravity of his interest will progressively turn to esoteric work, which will end by absorbing him completely.

The "World" will be hostile to him, because its own purposes are different.

The day will come - if he remains in the same milieu - where, apart from exceptions, he will be openly or secretly hated.

If we ponder this in depth, we shall understand that psychologically this hostile attitude of the "World" towards someone who carries on esoteric work is not only a normal phenomenon but is so to speak, a necessary one.

If he who lives in the wilderness - and is satisfied to be there, were to approve of the attitude of one who walks on the track, it would be equivalent to recognizing his own bankruptcy.

That is why the "World" considers the latter as a failure. The more he progresses on his work, the more he becomes an object of hate. That is why it is said that "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, among his own kind and in his own house."

In taking to the track, man places himself under the aegis of the Law of Exception; for this, it is evident that he must escape the hold of the General Law.

This escape ALWAYS takes on the character of a fight - sometimes a fight to the death: a fight, as we have already said, against the "World"; against the ENSEMBLE of INFLUENCES (the Matrix) of those around him, which in principle, will be NEGATIVE and HOSTILE.

To defeat the "World," this is the watchword for everyone who aspires to Real Life.

As gradually the center of gravity of the interest we take in life is displaced towards the magnetic center, [toward TRUTH] finally installing itself inside in a permanent manner, the pressure of the General Law (Matrix) is increasingly intensified.

Also, the spirit of the ensemble of "A" influences, who watches over the application of this Law from the outside, seeks to act on man by its agents; by the "A" influences of his interior world.
[Laura's note: Here we have an almost direct reference to 4 D STS beings.]

We can easily understand that by mastering the inner world, one can close the door to exterior "A" influences.

[Keep in mind that this "mastering of the inner world" consists in: being sufficiently strong and impartial, so that we do not lower our eyes before implacable reality. Mastering the "inner world" consists in having the courage to face things directly, and to accept the constations that are imposed on us, no matter how disagreeable they are.]

In the picturesque language of the Tradition, it is said that the beast must be tamed, and the wolf transformed into a trustworthy guard dog. The General Law will then have no more power over the individual.


The Living Force
Hi Kenlee,

I have read and understood what Mouravieff wrote, but I do not know
what your personal views are regarding my quotes? Can you elaborate?


FOTCM Member
dant said:
Hi Kenlee,
I have read and understood what Mouravieff wrote, but I do not know
what your personal views are regarding my quotes? Can you elaborate?
Hi Dant. My experience is very similar to yours (as you described in your above post) and Mouravieff describes very well the negative reaction of the General Law towards those who try to explain esoteric ideas to those who are not interested or who have not really asked. The 'false personality' (the false image we have of ourselves) only sees what it wants to see, 'it' does not like reality since reality threatens the foundations of it's very existence. It's this false personality in us and in others, this 'foreign installation' of Castaneda, that becomes a mechanical tool of the General Law (the Matrix).

I have found that its best to be aware of the level of understanding of those who I’m speaking to regarding esoteric ideas (as least, to be aware of their level of understanding to the degree to which I am able) and then only say what needs to be said (if I should so determine that they are genuinely asking) and then referring them to the works of Ouspensky, Mouravieff, Gurdjieff and/or refer them to the Wave material and this site.

So as you said I strive to” tread carefully” and I make my efforts towards that end. Some people will seem interested but will soon become re-immersed back into ‘A’ influences (the hypnotic influences of ‘cultured life’), others may become hostile even if the hostility is a delayed reaction where they may not become hostile directly after our discussion on esoteric subjects but they may become hostile (i.e., argumentative) at some later time concerning 'silly' things, but I know that this hostility could have very possibly, and in all probability, have been a delayed negative reaction relating to our earlier discussion on esoteric subjects, where I tried to ‘enlighten’ them, and where I said much more then I needed to say because I wanted to ‘save’ them. I think many of us have learned the hard way on that one =).

Then, and very, very, very rarely (almost non existent) I might find someone who thinks and ponders very seriously about the subject. But, as a rule, I find that 'less is more' when talking about esoteric subjects to those who are unfamiliar and if they are interested they will read the books I reference them to and then if they are still interested they may, under their own free will, want to further discuss it.
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