“A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting.”
– Carlos Castañeda
Carlos Castañeda was an anthropologist and writer born in 1925 in Cajamarca, Peru. Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan in 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that purport to describe training in shamanism that he received under the tutelage of a Yaqui “Man of Knowledge” named Don Juan Matus. He was “considered a father of the New Age movement.” Castañeda´s books are international bestsellers and have been translated into 17 languages, though many critics came to believe that the works were more fiction than fact.
The other Castañeda work that I have not yet read but appeals to me very strongly is The Art Of Dreaming. “In The Art of Dreaming, Castañeda describes extensively how a state called Total Awareness can be achieved by means of dreaming and the steps needed to master the control and consciousness of dreams.”
I have always had an incredibly vivid dream life and have, on various occasions, tried to practice lucid dreaming. So much is undiscovered when it comes to this topic, and it is a big goal of mine to be able to manipulate my dream world in such a way that it can influence my waking life as well.
“An enigmatic figure who refused to be photographed or recorded, Castaneda offered conflicting autobiographical information, and much of his early life was unclear. It was known that in 1951 he moved to the United States, where he studied anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles (Ph.D., 1973). According to Castaneda’s writings, during a trip to Arizona in the early 1960s, he met Don Juan Matus, a Yaqui who allegedly could manipulate time and space. Castaneda became his apprentice, and the two men embarked on a series of hallucinogen-fueled adventures. In 1965 Castaneda returned to Los Angeles and began writing about his experiences.” (read more here)
While Castaneda was a well-known cultural figure, he rarely appeared in public forums. He was the subject of a cover article in the March 5, 1973, issue of Time, which described him as “an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a tortilla.”
“In his later life, he gathered women around him in a cult-like community. His death was not publicly revealed for nearly two months.” We know today that he died on April 27, 1998, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., due to complications from hepatocellular cancer.