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Carlos  Castañeda

      short profile

major works
other works

works about Carlos Castañeda

other books on the subject

audio & video


The life and works of Carlos Castañeda are wrapped in mystery.

        The thing to remember about Carlos Castañeda is that he was an anthropologist. He indeed accomplished what Margaret Mead had once attempted (and failed) to do, which is to embed the anthropologist in a native culture, becoming a member of that culture, and then reporting the internal workings, the seeming strangeness of that culture to the Western academic community. For that is what Carlos did: He trained for and became a Yaqui shaman or sorcerer or brujo, one of the practitioners of the perhaps dying nagual tradition.
        His reportage, though often mis-represented in popular media, opens up the notion that there are unknown worlds on this planet that you and I would not otherwise access.

        Carlos Castañeda claimed that he was born in Brasil in 1931; however, immigration records show that he was born in Peru in 1925.
        His first three books were written as course-work while a student in anthropology at U.C.L.A. {B.A. 1962, PhD 1970}. His works were criticized against strict standards of academic procedure, but were wildly popular with the public. He remained extremely secretive most of his life; photos and interviews are rare, though Time Magazine published a cover story 5 March 1973 (see below). Carlos sued his ex-wife in 1997 to prevent release of her book on their marriage; the suit became moot when Carlos died.
        The overlapping tales in the books describe many years of study by Carlos under the tutelage of don Juan Matus, a practicing nagual shaman in rural Mexico, and a coterie of older and younger sorcerors. The often-trying, often-funny don Juan teased Carlos and shocked him and pressed him to break thru his 'civilized' barriers to see what don Juan and his companions were able to experience, to visit the worlds that they did, and ultimately to achieve the Yaqui 'way of knowledge', a very distinct and separate reality indeed. Psychotropic drugs such as peyote and cannabis were often used in the nagual rituals. These were also widely popular recreational drugs in the late Sixties and early Seventies, perhaps in part due to Carlos's works giving them some legitimacy. Carlos later disavowed such drug use as potentially damaging to the luminous ball of energy within each human.

        The death of Carlos Castañeda was also mysterious. He supposedly died of liver cancer on 27 April 1998 in the Westwood area of West Los Angeles, California; no services were held, and his ashes were sent to Mexico. (Part of Toltec teachings on impeccability require erasing one's personal history.)
        That personal history was always obscure, partly because of the restrictions of shamanism, and possibly due to Carlos's own persona. He was married for thirteen years to Margaret Runyon Castañeda; she bore a son, Adrian Vashon, whose birth certificate lists Carlos Castañeda as the father. Adrian called himself C.J. Castañeda at times, while often hounding Carlos for money. Four months after Carlos's death, Adrian contested the will, but when asked to provide DNA for testing, he backed down and 'admitted' that Carlos was not his biological father. The case was tossed out of court in early 1999.

        Carlos Castañeda wrote twelve books, and also helped make 3 videos thru his direct apprentices at ClearGreen. Whatever the truth about his career and his life, he intended that his written works be his legacy.

L i n k s
Carlos Castañeda entry at Wikipedia
Rick Mace's "Teachings of Carlos Castañeda" [online text]
Cleargreen's Official Magical Passes site
'Sustained Action' Castañeda fansite
Nagual Webring
The Lucidity Institute
"Dreaming Castañeda" L.A. Weekly article July 1998 by Celeste Fremon
"My Mescalito Trip" L.A. Weekly article May 2002 by Victor Pelevin
report on the Santa Monica 'Sunday Sessions' of 1995-97

Major  Works

browse Carlos Castañeda Store at Amazon

Teachings of don Juan book by Carlos Castañeda  "Teachings of don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge" [1968]
Pocket 6¾x4 pb [6/85] for $6.29
Univ of CA Press 9¼x6¼ hardcover [10/98] for $22.75
Audio Lit ABR audio [4/98] for $16.95
A Separate Reality book by Carlos Castañeda  "A Separate Reality: Further Conversations with don Juan" [1971]
Edited by Jane Rosenman

Pocket 8x5 pb [8/91] for $11.20
S&S hardcover [6/71] out of print/used
Audio Lit ABR audio [7/91] out of stock/used
Journey To Ixtlan book by Carlos Castañeda  "Journey To Ixtlan" [1972]
Washington Square Press 8¼x5¼ pb [7/92] for $14.00
Buccaneer Books hardcover [11/90] out of print/used
Tales of Power book by Carlos Castañeda  "Tales of Power" [1974]
Pocket 8x5 pb [2/92] for $11.20
Buccaneer Books hardcover [1/91] out of print/used
Second Ring of Power book by Carlos Castañeda  "The Second Ring of Power" [1977]
Pocket 8x5 pb [4/91] for $11.20
Eagle's Gift book by Carlos Castañeda  "The Eagle's Gift" [1981]
Pocket 8x5 pb [12/91] for $11.20
S&S hardcover [1/83] out of print/used
The Fire From Within book by Carlos Castañeda  "The Fire From Within" [1984]
Pocket 8x5½ pb [10/91] for $11.20
BookThrift hardcover [8/86] out of print/used
Power of Silence book by Carlos Castañeda  "The Power of Silence" [1987]
Edited by Jane Rosenman

Pocket 8x5 pb [6/91] for $11.20
S&S hardcover [5/91] out of print/used
Art of Dreaming book by Carlos Castañeda  "The Art of Dreaming" [1993]
HarperPerennial 8x5 pb [7/94] for $11.20
HarperCollins hardcover [8/93] out of print/used
Active Side of Infinity book by Carlos Castañeda  "The Active Side of Infinity" [1998]
HarperPerennial 8x5 pb [1/2000] for $10.40
HarperCollins 6¾x10 hardcover [12/98] out of print/used
Harper Audio [1/99] out of stock/used

Carlos Castañeda Boxed Set [1975]
includes "Teachings of don Juan", "A Separate Reality", "Journey To Ixtlan" & "Tales of Power"
S&S/Touchstone trade pb [9/75] out of print/used

Other  Works

Wheel of Time by Carlos Castañeda  "The Wheel of Time" [1998]
Washington Square Press 8x5 pb [1/2001] for $11.16
La Eidolana Press 8¾x5.9 hardcover [6/98] for $25.00
Magical Passes by Carlos Castañeda  "Magical Passes: The Practical Wisdom of the Shamans of Ancient Mexico" [1998]
HarperCollins 9x6 pb [1/99] for $11.20
HarperCollins hardcover [2/98] out of print/used
Magical Passes video  "Magical Passes: Unbending Intent" [video 1999]
Directed by Haley van Oosten

Terra Ent. color VHS with Spanish subtitles [6/99] 2 tapes for $19.94

Time Magazine cover story March 5, 1973

Works  About  Carlos Castañeda

"Castaneda's Journey: The Power and The Allegory" [1976] by Richard de Mille

Don Juan Papers / Controversies book by Richard de Mille  "The Don Juan Papers: Further Castaneda Controversies"
[orig 1980; rev 2000] by Richard de Mille

iUniverse 9¼x6 pb [12/2000] for $29.95
Ross-Erikson Publrs 9x6 pb [6/80] out of print/many used
Ross-Erikson Publrs 9x6 hardcover [6/80] out of print/used
Teachings of don Carlos book by Victor Sanchez  "Teachings of don Carlos: Practical Applications of The Works of Carlos Castañeda" [1995]
by Victor Sanchez, translated by Robert Nelson

Bear & Co. 8x5½ pb [6/95] for $11.20
Creative Victory book by Tomas  "Creative Victory" [1995]
by Tomas

Samuel Weiser 9x6 pb [9/95] for $10.36
Carlos Castañeda bio by Margaret Runyon Castañeda  "A Magical Journey With Carlos Castañeda: A Memoir" [1996]
by Margaret Runyon Castañeda

iUniverse 9x6 pb [2/2001] for $15.95
Millenia Press 8½x5½ pb [11/96] out of print/used
Carlos Castañeda bio by Jay Courtney Fikes  "Carlos Castañeda: Academic Opportunism & the Psychedelic Sixties" [1996]
by Jay Courtney Fikes

Millenia Press 8½x5½ pb [12/96] for $19.95
I Was Carlos Castañeda   "I Was Carlos Castañeda: The Afterlife Dialogues" [2001]
by Martin Goodman

Three Rivers Press 8x5 pb [4/2001] for $9.60

author's website

Sorcerer's Apprentice book by Amy Wallace  "Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castañeda" [2002]
by Amy Wallace

Frog Ltd. 9x6½ hardcover [5/2003] for $18.98
Filming Castaneda by Gaby Geuter  "Filming Castaneda: The Hunt For Magic & Reason" [2004]
by Gaby Geuter

The author and a pal stalked Carlos Castañeda over the course of two years, collecting a handful of grainy photos and this over-written report; not recommended – included here only for completeness.
Authorhouse pb [3/2004] for $16.95
Authorhouse 9x6 hardcover [3/2004] for $27.95

Other  Books  on  the  Subject

Sorcerer's Crossing by Taisha Abelar   "Sorcerer's Crossing: A Woman's Journey" [1992]
by Taisha Abelar, Foreword by Carlos Castañeda

Penguin 7¾x5 pb [11/93] for $11.16
Viking hardcover [6/92] out of print/used
Being In Dreaming by Florinda Donner-Grau  "Being-In-Dreaming: An Initiation Into the Sorcerer's World"
[1992] by Florinda Donner-Grau

HarperSF 8x5 pb [10/92] for $11.20
Witch's Dream by Florinda Donner-Grau  "The Witch's Dream: A Healer's Way of Knowledge" [1985]
by Florinda Donner-Grau, Foreword by Carlos Castañeda

Penguin 7¾x5 pb [1/97] for $11.20
S&S hardcover [8/85] out of print/used
A Toltec Path by Ken Eagle Feather  "A Toltec Path" [1995]
by Ken Eagle Feather

Hampton Roads Publg 8½x5½ pb [8/95] for $10.36
Don Juan & The Art of Sexual Energy by Merilyn Tunneshende  "Don Juan & The Art of Sexual Energy: The Rainbow
Serpent of The Toltecs" [2001]
by Merilyn Tunneshende

Inner Traditions Intl 8x5½ pb [3/2001] for $12.00

Audio  &  Video  Tapes

3 vol set   "Tensegrity" videos from ClearGreen, Inc.
Vol 1: Terra Ent. color VHS [11/94] for $10.75
Vol 2: Terra Ent. color VHS 4/95] out of prodn/used
Vol 3: Terra Ent. color VHS 11/95] out of prodn/used

3-volume sets
Terra Ent. color DVD set [4/2004] 3 disks - out of prodn/used
Terra Ent. color VHS set [2/2000] 3 tapes - out of prodn/used

Teachings audio   "The Teachings of don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge" [1968]
Audio Lit ABR audio [4/98] for $16.95
Separate Reality audio  "A Separate Reality: Further Conversations With don Juan" [1971]
Audio Lit ABR audio [7/91] out of stock/used
Active Side of Infinity audio  "The Active Side of Infinity" [1998]
Harper Audio [1/99] out of stock/used
Magical Passes video  "Magical Passes: Unbending Intent" [video 1999]
Directed by Haley van Oosten

Terra Ent. color VHS with Spanish subtitles [6/99]
2 tapes out of prodn/used
Enigma of a Sorcerer movie poster  "Carlos Castañeda: Enigma of A Sorcerer" [indep Feb 2004]
Written, produced & directed by Ralph Torjan

The only valuable content is a few minutes of audio interview with Carlos Castañeda; the rest ranges from silly to abominable – included here for completists.
Indican color DVD [12/2005] for $16.99
full credits from IMDb

here on Maison d'Être Philosophy Bookstore's Carlos Castañeda [1925-1998] Page
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