Patterson - The Life & Teachings of Carlos Castaneda

Pierre

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
"The Life & Teachings of Carlos Castaneda" by William Patrick Patterson is a 270 pages book that was published a few months ago.

The style is clear and fluid, the book is very well document with a lot of footnotes.

The author definitely knows about esoterism and all along his book he's neither pro Castaneda nor anti Castaneda (that's quite unusual as far as books about C. are concerned).

Patterson offers an extensive biography of Castaneda from his birth to his very last day and even after with the path of some of his followers.

At the same time Patterson presents and explains the key topics developed by C. (organic beings, assemby point, foreign installation, tonal and nagual,...) and shows links with other teachings and other people including of course G. and Ouspenski but also Swami Muktananda, Ram dass, Timothy Leary, Howard Lee...

Two ideas particularly stroke me :

1/ there seems to have been two phases in Castaneda spiritual journey. A first phase of interaction with the so-called Don Juan where Castaneda seemed to be on an spiritual ascent, gaining strength and wisdom. Then a second phase where he became an egocentric bully.

2/ About G. and C. comparison here is the end of chapter VI :

"As striking as the similarities are, so, thankfully, are the differences. The teaching G. brought is based on sacred science; what C. brought is based on sorcery. Both aim to awaken one from the dream of ordinary life, but while G. rejects working with the dream state ans insists on grounding consciousness in ordinary life in order to come tor real life, dreaming for Castaneda is the basis of sorceric exploration.

What one finds missing - is that the right word ? - with C. is a spiritual appreciation and valuation of the scale of Being and the duty to serve and offer "help for God" as G. says. The genuine experiencing of the reason of understanding and unity that lead to conscience and divine love, which are at the core of G. teachings, seems to be missing. Certainly it is never mentioned.

In addition to this biography Patterson included an essay by Daniel Brinton : "Nagualism : a study of native American folklore and history"

In this essay we learn that for centuries nagualism existed and south/central America and was different from Mayan or Aztec religions. "Nauals" were worshipping mostly earth symbols in caves by opposition to the sun cults and pyramids of the surrounding mainstream religions.

As a side note, comets are mentioned once, for nagualists' symbolism, "sickness" was "The red woman", "the breath of the flame", "our mother the comet" (all referring to the fever).

Nagualism (Nahal, naua, naual,...) was praticed over a very broad territory amongst various tribes like the Zapotecs, the Mixtecs or the Quiches.

The main features of their cult were the green color, the trees, the snake, the fire.

Women had the highest ranks, like Mariaz Candelaria who led a revolt against the Spanish occupation.

This rebellion against Spanish occupation and christianity seems to have been a central and lasting feature of nagualism.
 

Avi

Jedi Council Member
I've not read the Patterson book but just learnt that another apprentice to Carlos has published his story.

Felix Wolf and The Art of Navigation.

Anyone familiar with it? Gets good reviews at Amazon and only been out a couple months.

FYI
 

Ellipse

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I think that Castaneda work is a perfect example of influence of STO forces mixed with the influence of STS forces. So I agree with point 1. Make me think he partly channeled the books.
One of pure STS character is the "dead challenger" sorcerer (don't know if it's the right translation for "défieur de la mort") . He is alive for several hundred years and his ultimate goal is to continue so he robe energy to others to do this.

The C. work, as a whole, unfortunately preach more STS than STO attitude.

/Edit/ Thanks Belibaste for this post.
 

Prodigal Son

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I’ve recently finished reading this book, and have little to add to Belibaste’s post which summarises the book well. Especially
What one finds missing - is that the right word ? - with C. is a spiritual appreciation and valuation of the scale of Being and the duty to serve and offer "help for God" as G. says. The genuine experiencing of the reason of understanding and unity that lead to conscience and divine love, which are at the core of G. teachings, seems to be missing. Certainly it is never mentioned.
Also, the book contains a useful cross-referencing of some of Castaneda’s terms with Gurdjieff terms and concepts.
 

davey72

The Living Force
i seen a documentary on carlos castaneda just before he died,and after.it was of my opinion that castaneda himself brought the sto into it,but i felt it was permitted for the western worlds learning purposes.
 

realitybugll

Jedi Council Member
Belibaste said:
there seems to have been two phases in Castaneda spiritual journey. A first phase of interaction with the so-called Don Juan where Castaneda seemed to be on an spiritual ascent, gaining strength and wisdom. Then a second phase where he became an egocentric bully.
This is an interesting way to look at it.

In relation to what you say, I find this part interesting from his book "Art of Dreaming"

“Either total detachment or utter indulging is coming to you tonight. It is a choice that every nagual in my line has to make.” He sat down again and took a deep breath. What he had said seemed to have taken all his energy.
“I think I can understand detachment and indulging,” he went on, “because I had the privilege of knowing two naguals: my benefactor, the nagual Julian, and his benefactor, the nagual Elias. I witnessed the difference between the two. The nagual Elias was detached to the point that he could put aside a gift of power. The nagual Julian was also detached, but not enough to put aside such a gift.”
“Judging by the way you’re talking,” I said, “I would say that you are going to spring some sort of test on me tonight. Is that true?”
“I don’t have the power to spring tests of any sort on you, but the spirit does.” He said this with a grin, then added, “I am merely its agent.”
Castaneda wrote this himself obviously, and it is has to be regarded as fiction I think... so it is not exactly evidence... but just taking the story for what it is, its interesting because it highlights this choice that Castaneda has to make between STO and STS.
And, this supposed event occurs, months or days before the departure of Don Juan, in 1973 I think, which is described in other books. So this fits what you are saying.


Also In talking about Castaneda's accent and the decent, this quote from the Ra material comes to mind that I read a few days ago:
QUESTIONER: Can you tell me what bias creates the momentum towards the chosen path of service to self?

RA: I am Ra. We can speak only in metaphor. Some love the light. Some love the darkness. It is a matter of the unique and infinitely various Creator choosing and playing among its experiences as a child upon a picnic. Some enjoy the picnic and find the sun beautiful, the food delicious, the games refreshing, and glow with the joy of creation. Some find the night delicious, their picnic being pain, difficulty, sufferings of others, and the examination of the perversities of nature. These enjoy a different picnic.

All these experiences are available. It is the free will of each entity which chooses the form of play, the form of pleasure.

QUESTIONER: I assume that an entity on either path can decide to change paths at any time and possibly retrace steps, the path changing being more difficult the farther along the path the change is made. Is this correct?

RA: I am Ra. This is incorrect. The further an entity has, what you would call, polarized, the more easily this entity may change polarity, for the more power and awareness the entity will have.


Those truly helpless are those who have not consciously chosen but who repeat patterns without knowledge of the repetition or the meaning of the pattern.

QUESTIONER: I believe we have a very important point here. It then seems that there is an extreme potential in this polarization the same as there is in electricity. We have a positive and negative pole. The more you build the charge on either of these, the more the potential difference and the greater the ability to do work, as we call it in the physical.

This would seem to me to be the same analogy that we have in consciousness. Is this correct?

RA: I am Ra. This is precisely correct.
 

cagoule

Padawan Learner
Sorry to bump an old post but I've just started reading The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda.

I began reading the book today and become engrossed. I was just about to go to sleep and I thought that I'd search online for some opinions and it appears many feel that Castaneda is a fraud.

The following is interesting article about how Richard de Mille debunked much of Castaneda's work. Also I've skimmed this article which adds further that Castaneda plagiarised much of the teachings from other sources, from Jean Paul Sartre to Wittgenstein to the Buddha, and maybe even Gurdjieff too!

The most interesting part of the disinfo article is the fact that when Castaneda died he was living with five women who all subsequently went missing, with the bones found of one of the women. More information on this can be found here but it seems very odd!

Does anyone know anything else on this? I know Castaneda is highly sought of here and part of the recommended reading.

4MissingWomen.com said:
In 1998, days after the death of Carlos Castaneda - author of the multi-million copy best-seller, The Teachings of Don Juan - five women close to him vanished from a home they shared with Castaneda in Los Angeles, California.

Five years later, the bones of Patricia Partin were found in the Panamint Dunes in Death Valley. The other four are still missing.

We're brothers, sisters, children, cousins and friends of the missing women. We've heard the rumors - they went to Mexico, they committed suicide, they're in one country or another.

There has never been an official investigation into their disappearance. We have been searching for them on our own for 16 years, rebuffed at every turn by law enforcement and people who know more than we do. We've nearly exhausted ourselves and our resources in this search, but we have uncovered important clues. We can't go further without your help: leads and ideas - and/or donations to pursue evidence and find witnesses.

We want to find them and tell them we love them. And we want the truth - whatever it may be.
 
Hi! I just feel the need to replay regarding castanedas books, because I read all of them, and despite what he used to be in person and this and that, the books are not a "hoax" , and he didn't just copy ideas from others, the information is there available to unloaded, for anyone who can do it, so if this guy who wrote about Castaneda , is looking for similaritys in order to what others wrote or buda said, and debunk him,I wonder why? And why not debunk others also? Or just because he was a Latin American? I don't know .....it is odd also , maybe he was converted to the dark side ,but he was not a hoax ,the books are great..........
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
cagoule said:
Does anyone know anything else on this? I know Castaneda is highly sought of here and part of the recommended reading.
Hi cagoule,

Castaneda as a person and his works are the subject of the following topics which seem relevant to your query (there are more, use the search function for those):

Carlos Castenada

Castaneda's concepts

Castaneda and the Fourth Way

There's also a casswiki article about him here: https://thecasswiki.net/index.php?title=Carlos_Castaneda&stable=1

Hope this helps you out. Happy reading ! :)
 

Mikkael

Padawan Learner
cagoule said:
Sorry to bump an old post but I've just started reading The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda.

I began reading the book today and become engrossed. I was just about to go to sleep and I thought that I'd search online for some opinions and it appears many feel that Castaneda is a fraud.

The following is interesting article about how Richard de Mille debunked much of Castaneda's work. Also I've skimmed this article which adds further that Castaneda plagiarised much of the teachings from other sources, from Jean Paul Sartre to Wittgenstein to the Buddha, and maybe even Gurdjieff too!

The most interesting part of the disinfo article is the fact that when Castaneda died he was living with five women who all subsequently went missing, with the bones found of one of the women. More information on this can be found here but it seems very odd!

Does anyone know anything else on this? I know Castaneda is highly sought of here and part of the recommended reading.
I've followed links you provided and after reading them I have found they have something in common. Little objectivity.

Wallace Sampson is author of the first link and searching through his blog I found this is the sole 'contribution' with dealing CC legacy and he seems to be quite frustrated. His thinking is not exactly consequential/consistent and leaves many holes between.

He claims that CC was proved to be fraud and plagiator. I wonder if the W. Sampson is such a presumptive analyzer as he labels himself why doesn't he provide us with arguments and building the case to question the point? Instead what he gives are allegations. No cons or pros, no careful elaborating to support his views. He is relying on and glorifying the work of Richard de Milles his "source" without however providing any substance to his critique. In fact there is so little information that it's amazing how he managed with so many words convey so little. He is clearly biased and all he does is rant.

Right there in the beginning he says: Some thirty or more years ago a family member became enamored of a new book, The Teachings of don Juan by an unknown author, Carlos Castaneda.But mention the name now and one gets one of two responses: Who is that? Or, Oh, he is that literary fraud. (Perhaps he should try to ask in broad spectrum of population for more objective answers)? I find his statement not to be true and based on my observation as there are many various reports of individuals here on the forum and elsewhere who are evaluating, researching, and validating his lifelong work.

Unfortunately for W. Sampson he didn't care (although he says he tried) to carefully examine information provided by CC in his twelve books (Magical Passes and Wheel of Time could be perhaps subtracted) and he fires from waist and misses more then few times. Otherwise he would provide something of value from his own study . Instead he leaves me with confusion.

Some authors attract a lot of attack. After-all CC speaks about the path which was hidden from humanity for long time. No wonder Matrix goes overdrive to suppress it! I am interested more in his work as in him personally, though his work is also part of himself/myself. However I cannot afford to ignore anything connected to crucial study. But I find it difficult to believe(feeling-intuition) that someone who dedicate his life to disseminating the sacred knowledge and learning about transformation (no matter that fame or money comes along) would be murderer or mass murderer (as they are suggesting). He was extremely against publicity/photos in the time he was famous. It's possible those women of his inner circle after he was gone went living under different identities elsewhere. After-all they've been part of tradition which trained them to be unnoticeable. Who knows? I'm open to new information.

I found through my own processes that there are many useful things to contemplate/study/employ. Some concepts are obscure and some become surprisingly fitting and they are all point for further observation/investigation. Those who speaks about plagiarism? Of course there are similarities between various "teachings" how else it could be? You decide for yourself. Certainly there is possibility that he could compile/combine various sources into coherent narrative. It is actually valuable.

If I were you I would read all Carlos Castaneda books first and see how it speaks to you. You have just touched the first one and it is to understand that those books were written during long stretch of time. (two decades and more) So his CC understanding of what he was writing will become clearer when one is getting closer to the last book :-)
 
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