Author Topic: Seth on Carlos Castaneda  (Read 118 times)

Offline Sena

  • ****
  • Posts: 996
This is what I could find in the Seth search engine:

"Castaneda’s books, for all their seeming unconventionality, had a niche to fall into, for here was the quite conventional scholar exploring a culture, even of the mind; not his own—but safely, within an academic framework to which he then returned, and to which academic readers could identify. Castaneda had his society’s credentials ahead of time. That society could then accept his journeys, and the individuals could allow themselves to follow his adventures, and forgive him for his cultural transgression because he brought home goodies.

(Pause at 9:37.) Give us a moment.... The point, however, was always made that Don Juan’s inner culture was alien—natural perhaps to Don Juan, but not to Castaneda or to the reader.

Castaneda could report. Other so-called psychic books of current nature are reported also, but usually by someone even further removed from the original experiences. A writer, free-lance, will do the life story of so-and-so, because the “psychic” himself is considered too erratic, too out of it, and too untrustworthy to honestly record his own experience.

[... 1 paragraph ...]

Both varieties of books allow the reader a built-in distance that provides a cushion against cultural shock: the story is, after all, secondhand. Castaneda told his own story, but it was still secondhand, because his own opaqueness added the necessary distance that protected the reader."

—TPS3 Deleted Session April 29, 1975

"I did want to make some comments about the Sinful Self in general, and how it is perceived and assimilated in say, Castaneda’s work and in the belief structure of Kubler-Ross.

[... 2 paragraphs ...]

The Castaneda system accepts the power of evil, for example (long pause), presenting a framework in which those people who do accept such power can confront it, along with a system of exercises and beliefs meant to minimize evil’s effects. In a fashion that particular approach, for all of its reliance upon “sorcery,” is not actually true to the magical approach at all, because it insists so fervently upon the impediments that stand in man’s way, and stresses the importance of rituals and methods, and the almost superhuman effort that is required (pause) in order to meet the “magical ends.”"

—TPS6 Deleted Session June 9, 1981

Offline jbseth

  • ****
  • Posts: 681
Hi Sena, Hi All,

Hey, when I first discovered the “Carlo Casteneda” books, I really loved them. I read many of his books up to and including “The Eagles Gift”.  Then, sometime after reading that book, I started to lose interest in them as they seemed to become somewhat repetitive; no actual new stuff, just more or less a rehash of the same old thing.

Sometime around the year 2012, I came across the book, “Sorcerer’s Apprentics”, by Amy Wallace.  Apparently, Amy was an apprentice of Carlos’s in the last years of his life (around the turn of the century). In the book, “Sorcerer’s Apprentics”, Amy Wallace, paints a picture of what appears to be a “cult” with Carlo Casteneda as the head. As per Amy’s writings, the major purpose of this cult, appeared to be mainly focused upon keeping Carlos happy and was not necessarily focused upon any legitimate teachings of shamanistic practices.

After reading Amy’s book, I was kind of bummed, because I began to question the legitimacy of the stories in the CC books.


Then sometime more recently, perhaps 2017,  I read the book, “Brotherhood of the screaming Abyss”, by Dennis McKenna. This book is all about Dennis’s experiences with his bother Terence investigating various psychedelic substances, such as LSD, mushrooms and ayahuasca.   In the book, on page 202, Dennis McKenna, the author, says that Omar Stewart, an authority on the Native American Church, believed that Carlo Casteneda’s “teachings” almost had to be fabrication because there was nothing in the Yaqui traditions that even hinted at these practices.


After reading these 2 books, I’ve become somewhat skeptical of the authenticity of the “Carlos Casteneda” teachings. Does anyone really know whether any of the various shamanistic events that he claims to have participated in, actually occurred? Did he perhaps instead decide to make a living by writing “stories” and then later on by participating in seminars about his teachings? As his followers began to worship him, did he become a cult leader?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I have a lot less faith in the legitimacy of the legacy of CC information than I use to have, and than I have in the Seth information.


Here’s information on the 2 books, I’ve quoted above.



“Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda”, by Amy Wallace
https://www.amazon.com/Sorcerers-Apprentice-Life-Carlos-Castaneda-ebook/dp/B00DACWAZI/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=amy+wallace&qid=1567967224&s=gateway&sr=8-1

“Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss”, by Dennis McKenna
https://www.amazon.com/Brotherhood-Screaming-Abyss-Hard-Cover/dp/0878396357/ref=sr_1_1?crid=253B4S4JFA7TR&keywords=brotherhood+of+the+screaming+abyss&qid=1567967501&s=gateway&sprefix=brotherhood+of+the+screa%2Caps%2C207&sr=8-1

-jbseth

Offline Sena

  • ****
  • Posts: 996
Quote from: jbseth
After reading these 2 books, I’ve become somewhat skeptical of the authenticity of the “Carlos Casteneda” teachings. Does anyone really know whether any of the various shamanistic events that he claims to have participated in, actually occurred? Did he perhaps instead decide to make a living by writing “stories” and then later on by participating in seminars about his teachings? As his followers began to worship him, did he become a cult leader?
Good questions, jbseth. I am currently reading "Getting Castaneda: Understanding Carlos Castaneda" by by Peter Luce. Luce is addressing the same questions, but I haven't come to the conclusions yet.

Offline jbseth

  • ****
  • Posts: 681
Hi Sena, Hi All,

Yesterday I read the “Forward” of my copy of the book, “The Teaching of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Life”, and I discovered something quite interesting. In the forward of this book, in the very first sentence, which was written by a Walter Goldschmidt, it says, “This book is both ethnography and allegory.”

Then, along with this, Walter also says, “Don Juan has shown us glimpses of the world of a Yaqui sorcerer, …” and later on followed by, “This is the special virtue of this work.”

In addition to this, in this forward, he also warns us, “As in all proper allegory, what one sees lies with the beholder,…”




At this point I wanted to better understand the meaning of the words, “allegory” or “ethnography” and so I looked them up on the internet.  On Google, if you type in the word, “allegory” it says:

A story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.


and, if you type in the word, “ethnography” it says:


The scientific description of the customs of individual peoples and cultures.



Furthermore, on Google, it gives the following examples of allegories:

The book “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, which is a political allegory pertaining to communism. The book, “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis, which is a religious allegory, where Aslan the lion, represents Christ and the book, “The Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, which presents allegories about society, morality and religion.

Furthermore, in the movie, “Avatar”, Pandora’s woods, is an allegory for the Amazon rainforest and in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz”, the lion represents cowardice, the scarecrow stands for the agrarian past, given his lack of a brain and the tin man represents the technological future, given his lack of a heart.




Given this then, it appears that what Carlos Casteneda did here was to write a series of “allegorically” based books.  Furthermore these, “allegorically” based books appear to be based upon the culture and plant practices of native peoples.

In his first book, “The Teaching of Don Juan”, Carlos Casteneda may have intentionally presented this allegory in the guise of an anthropologist, whose notes about specific events were written on specific dates, so as to make this allegory appear to be real.

Given this then, in “getting” Casteneda, perhaps we should understand this about his books. These books are allegorical, not Non-Fiction. Thus, some / many of the things that are written about, in these books, are not necessarily true.

-jbseth






Offline Sena

  • ****
  • Posts: 996
Quote from: jbseth
Given this then, in “getting” Casteneda, perhaps we should understand this about his books. These books are allegorical, not Non-Fiction. Thus, some / many of the things that are written about, in these books, are not necessarily true.
jbseth, thanks for your comments. What I am getting from Peter Luce's book is that what Castaneda learnt from the Yaqui was diametrically opposed to the idea of Create Your Own Reality. Castenada saw the Universe as a dangerous and unpredictable place. Castenada's teacher may have been a Trickster Guru, and Castaneda may have been tricked into false ideas. You may have come across the concept of Trickster Guru in the writings of Alan Watts.

« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 02:44:44 AM by Sena »

Offline jbseth

  • ****
  • Posts: 681
Hi Sena, Hi All,

I didn't know about Alan Watts concept of trickster Guru's.  I have heard that in some Native American cultures, the Raven, is considered to be a trickster.

In regards to Guru's, I'm aware of the fact that that in some "Eastern" cultures, people are expected to search for and find their spiritual teacher, their Guru. In the relationship between the Guru and the student, the student is expected to demonstrate respect for their Guru, which, I believe, in an of itself, is probably OK, within limits. However, this also potentially sets up an unhealthy relationship between the Guru and the student; especially when the Guru doesn't likewise honor and respect the student. 


In the Amy Wallace book, this appears to be what occurred between Carlos and many of his followers, many of the "witches" that he talks about in some of his books. The Guru didn't honor and respect the students.

There were several things that Amy mentioned in her book (unfortunately, I don't have a copy of this book or I would have highlighted them and would be able to quote and reference a chapter number), that made me seriously question much of what Carlos had written.  I came away with the strong sense that Carlos may have made the whole thing up.


Recently I came across a great quote and it goes something like this. There are 2 ways to be fooled. One is to believe in something that isn't true and the other is to not believe in something that is.

In regards to Carlos Casteneda, I can't tell which one of these 2 options is really true. However, I do know that I no longer necessarily believe that his books were non-fiction.


-jbseth

Offline Sena

  • ****
  • Posts: 996
jbseth, Castaneda did have some interesting things to say about the energy constitution of the human body. He said that the body is composed of threads of energy which extend to infinity. I wonder whether these threads of energy correspond to Seth's electromagnetic (EE) units? These energy threads meet at the "assemblage point" of the human body:



This is a quote from Peter Luce's book:

"Our assemblage point shifts naturally during sleep, producing our dreams. Exploring our dreams is the easiest way to develop the ability to utilize the movement of the assemblage point. Matus, though, is not talking about analyzing our dreams in a psychoanalytical way. Psychoanalysis of dreams is a way of understanding them according to our existing point of reference, a way of updating or improving our normal perspective and performance by including new information taken from dreams. Castaneda wrote about developing our attention inside a dream, not looking at it from the outside. As infants, we first assemble our world by focussing our attention exclusively on one position of the assemblage point. He says we can assemble another world by focussing on things that appear in our dreams, when the assemblage point has randomly moved to a different position. In fact, our daily reality is a dream among many dreams, enforced and enhanced because of the agreement of all humans on our planet who share it and renew and enhance it together. The universe is full of dreams with beings sharing them based on their agreements. The universe is filled with assemblage points, places where aware energy is gathered and combined in the act of perception. It’s natural to share dreaming. Our daily reality is just that: a shared human dreaming condition held in unison by many people together." (from "Getting Castaneda: Understanding Carlos Castaneda" by Peter Luce)

From the Kindle edition: http://amzn.eu/fYd4PU9
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 03:02:07 AM by Sena »

Offline jbseth

  • ****
  • Posts: 681
Hi Sena, Hi All,

That’s an interesting point Sena. Yes, I do recall, “Carlos” talking about the “luminous egg” or the “luminous body” that surrounds the human body.


I’ve always found this kind of interesting because, I know that this concept is held by some Eastern philosophies; it is sometimes referred to as the “prana” or “chi”, as I understand it.  However, I wasn’t aware that any Native American tribes actually subscribed to this same concept.

I recently went out to the internet and did a search on Yaqui Native American religious beliefs (see links below) and based upon what I found here, I don’t see anything that indicates that this was a Yaqui Native American religious belief.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaqui

http://www.native-languages.org/yaqui-legends.htm

https://www.everyculture.com/Middle-America-Caribbean/Yaqui-Religion-and-Expressive-Culture.html


On an interesting side note, according to the Wikipedia site above,  Ritchie Valens, the person who became famous for singing the Rock and Roll song “La Bamba” in the 1950’s, was a Yaqui Native American.  :)


-jbseth

 

With Quick-Reply you can write a post when viewing a topic without loading a new page. You can still use bulletin board code and smileys as you would in a normal post.

Note: this post will not display until it's been approved by a moderator.
Name: Email:
Verification:
Type the letters shown in the picture
Listen to the letters / Request another image
Type the letters shown in the picture:
Jane Robert's husband's last name:
Twelve divided by two (word):