Tuesday 2 October 2007

Carlos Castaneda

It has been one of those strange ironies of life. We all have books that we would like to read "if we can ever find the time". For over 35 years I have been aware of the "Don Juan" books of Carlos Castenada but for some reason I have never got round to reading any of them. This is quite strange because at university one of my specialisms was the sociology of religion and this involved a whole section on Shamanism. At that time I used Mircea Eliade's book Shamanism as my main source of material. Indeed it was Eliade's other classic book The Myth of the Eternal Return that was to assist in my development of Cheating the Ferryman.

A few days ago I received a fascinating email from one of my readers, Perry James. Perry pointed out to me that CTF is supported by the writings of Carlos Castanada

Castaneda was an Anthropology student at UCLA in the 1970's and he wanted to conduct a study about the American Indian Shaman, and their use of peyote. He became an apprentice to the sorcerer Don Juan Mantis, and the books chronicle his time as an apprentice, with Don Juan, and also his Benefactor, Don Genero, over many years.

In time one learns that his teaching was given on two distinct levels. Firstly, to combat the addiction to the day to day, ordinary world of reality, he was given hallucinogenic drugs, Peyote and plants in order to shift his awareness away from the fixated awareness that binds the senses to perception, that the day to day reality is all there is. Simply because, we are told, the time that we are born we are taught to 'Label the world' which Perry suggests relates to the education of the Eidolon. Secondly, he would receive a 'sharp blow' to the back from Don Juan, which would then place Castaneda into an heightened, lucid state of awareness, where it was very easy for him to grasp the ideas and concepts that he was being given. Perry proposes that this was to open up the self-awareness of the Daemon

Now here is the interesting part, his teachers gets to choose to cheat death, because they, Don Juan and Don Genero have created a dreaming double, which can dart past the Eagle, who would otherwise consume the souls of ordinary men.

Castaneda is then left to pull together all of the knowledge that he has acquired in both levels of teaching from Don Juan, which then becomes for him, a journey of remembering, and initiating a communication between his higher and lower selves, or the Eidolon and the Daemon, in order to fully understand the knowledge that he has received as an apprentice, and so then in time, become a sorcerer himself, as part of that process, he then imparts his own knowledge to his own apprentice.

I would like to thank Perry for pointing this out to me. Had I known this a few years ago I may have called the theory Cheating the Eagle!

1 comment:

deviadah said...

Well what you have experienced I would call a delayed synchronosity. Meaning that you weren't ready for the information, or that it would perhaps hinder you if you received it too early. Who knows maybe you would have been so colored by Castaneda's books that you might have not written anything yourself. I have a lot of these delayed syncs and I am 100% aware of them. It can be anything from books recommended, to CDs, films whatever... if it seems interesting, but not right, then I wait till the right moment comes. Usually it is at those times I need this new input the most.

On a sidenote the books by Castaneda are filled with alchemical concepts and the Eagle could be the Phoenix. I see this Eagle as an allegory and so is the Phoneix. Death = Re-birth!