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The Active Side of Infinity Paperback – December 22, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (December 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006092960X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060929602
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although he died last April, Castaneda, dubbed "the Godfather of the New Age" by some, speaks, as seems only fitting for a man who called himself a sorcerer, from beyond the beyond. Castaneda undertook this somewhat autobiographical record of memories and experiences during his famous apprenticeship to don Juan, the Yaqui Indian who tutored him in the ways of shamanism. According to Castaneda, don Juan asked him to remember the most significant events of his life and to describe them in great detail as a means to recoup psychic energy and to understand the forces of "infinity" that had led him to the path of the "warrior-traveler." Castaneda uses those personal events to illustrate aspects of Yaqui mysticism, restating the fundamental themes of his work in a more accessible manner than some of his other writings. Gone are the tales, typical of his earlier books (A Journey to Ixtlan; The Teachings of Don Juan; etc.), of humans who transformed themselves into eagles and wolves, hallucinogenic adventures on peyote and superhuman physical challenges. Instead, readers get accounts of the visionary's lonely but privileged childhood on a hacienda in an unnamed Latin American country, as well as endearing memories of his life as a bumbling and rather neurotic anthropology graduate student at UCLA. "The active side of infinity" is an intelligent energy that intentionally guides the warrior-traveler. Reading Castaneda's account of don Juan's preparation for the "definitive journey" of death will likely be a poignant experience for Castaneda's fans, who may see the writing of the book as the author's preparation for his own departure.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Completed shortly before anthropologist-shaman Castaneda's death in April 1998, this book serves as the fulfillment of a task his teacher, the Yaqui Indian sorcerer Don Juan Matus, gave him many years ago, when Castaneda was instructed to collect the significant events of his life. This was not, however, meant as a collection of major milestones in his physical existence but as a selective work describing the transcendent moments and meaningful insights that changed his life and brought him new understanding. Castaneda excels as a storyteller. Incidents both poignant and empowering form a solid thread through his shamanic development and ultimately total embrace of the world view of the Yaqui sorcerers. This basically autobiographical work is more personal than Castaneda's previous books, presenting a human portrait of a remote, mysterious figure. The supernatural occurrences defy explanation yet help to provide a fascinating look at a complex life.
-?Elizabeth Anne Salt, Otterbein Coll. Lib., Westerville, OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Born in 1925 in Peru, anthropologist Carlos Castaneda wrote a total of 15 books, which sold 8 million copies worldwide and were published in 17 different languages. In his writing, Castaneda describes the teaching of Don Juan, a Yaqui sorcerer and shaman. His works helped define the 1960's and usher in the New Age movement. Even after his mysterious death in California in1998, his books continue to inspire and influence his many devoted fans.

Customer Reviews

Read start to finish, randomly, backwards or just a bit at a time.
Eric Canfield
Active side of infinity is one of the last books written by Castaneda and it is the book were Don Juan finally reveal what the predator is.
Axel
To the average person the stories related to us by Carlos were a big tease, we can never hope to aspire to the warriors way by ourselves.
Mario

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 98 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on November 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Sometime in 1998, on a not-so unusual evening, my computer, once booting it up, seemed to explode in a dance of light and sound - my email had been inundated with the news that the famous author of 'The Teachings of Don Juan', Carlos Castaneda, had leaped into the abyss, never to return. The general response to his final passing, the commencement of his 'definitive-journey', was an ecstatic celebration: his work, it had been said, was finally complete. My feelings were mixed. Castaneda had been a close 'literary friend', a quasi-spiritual companion who, through his many books, made me aware that all things are indeed possible. The 'warrior-traveller' had moved on, and it was rumoured that his last book, ~The Active Side of Infinity~ was on the way.
It has been four years, and for a variety of reasons, I never got around to reading it, but finally did last week. To be sure, this last installment ranks, in my mind, as one of his best. This is the last in a long line of texts concerning Castaneda's appreticeship as a sorcerer, working under the tutelage of Don Juan Matus - a 'nagual' of mystery, power and hilarious wit. Don Juan has to be one of the most interestiing characters of the twentieth century. And to finally meet him again in ~Infinity~ was certainly a pleasure.
~Infinity~ has to be the most accessible of all Castaneda's books. We can almost categorize it as being his last will and testament before his final exit into infinity - an effort to pay off his spiritual debts as a warrior-traveller, recapitulating (Don Juan's term) memorable events and relationships in his life that changed his path or had, either consciously or not, affected or had a profound significance in his life as a sorcerer.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Cassandra Barnes on May 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Active Side of Infinity is the last book Carlos Castaneda wrote before his death in 1998. He described it as "a collection of the memorable events in my life," which he gathered at the recommendation of don Juan Matus, the Yaqui Indian shaman who was his teacher. An anthropologist and shaman, Castaneda wrote ten other books, including The Teachings of Don Juan.
Collecting the memorable events in one's life is a way of stirring "caches of energy that exist within the self," and making that energy available.
The process requires "the genuine and all-consuming act of putting together the sum total of one's emotions and realizations, without sparing anything." It's not a process that one undertakes lightly. Castaneda says that, for a shaman, the act of collecting memorable events is preparation for a "definitive journey" into the "active side of infinity."
Non-shamans call the definitive journey "death," and the active side of infinity "the afterlife." Shamans believe that human energy exists in a very real place after death, and they prepare themselves for continued existence in that place.
The collection of memorable events is not a personal memoir, or a rehashing of life's experiences, but instead is stories and events that touch something universal in all humans. They often change the life path of those to whom they occurred.
Castaneda describes how he first met don Juan, and his difficulties in finding him after they lost contact just after their meeting. He also includes several stories from his life as a child and a young man--events he had totally forgotten, but that had irrevocably changed his life.
Whether or not one agrees with Castaneda and don Juan about the afterlife, those who read The Active Side of Infinity will find themselves thinking about their lives, and journeys they must take after death, in a different way.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For many years now I have been following Carlos Castaneda in his literary journey into the supernatural world of sorcery. Taking a comprehensive look at all of his books, Castaneda's narrative "feels" like a cleverly-crafted tales of ambiguous meanings that captivate the imagination; the creative artistic work of a masterful surrealist author. What Castaneda does for his readers is the same as what a Van Gogh or a Dali does for their admirers but on a different level. Castaneda is the protagonist of his subjectivism, making of himself a mysterious and legendary character. He ventures forth from the world of commonsense into the regions of the supernatural. There, with the aid of don Juan, he encounters tremendous forces. After a fierce battle he comes out triumphant, returning from his subjective adventure with the knowledge which he bestows to his readers. With every new book, Castaneda introduces a new concept that supersede others. For example, if the use of psychotropic hallucinogens was so important in don Juan's method of teaching, why did he stop writing about them in later books? On the other hand, if "Dreaming" was also such an important practice, why he did not talk about it from the very beginning? Why he did not mention the assemblage point in any of his first five books? Why did he wait until the end to introduce us to the practice of the "Magical Passes"? The reason is because over the years Castaneda appears to have borrowed from other sources, reformulating old concepts into new ones and accommodating his narratives to the spiritual undercurrents of the times.Read more ›
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