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Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan Paperback – February 1, 1991
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Praise for the groundbreaking work of bestselling author Carlos Castaneda
"Extraordinary in every sense of the word." (The New York Times)
"An unparalleled breakthrough... Remarkable (Los Angeles Times)
"Hypnotic reading." (Chigago tribune)
"It is impossible to view the world in quite the same way." (Chicago Tribune)
"Excquisite... Stunning... Fresh, unexpected visions with the logic of dreams." (Detroit Free Press)
"Taken together [Castaneda's books] form a work among the best that the science of anthropology has produce." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Staggeringly beautiful reading. Itself timeless, Journey to IXtlan is one of the important statements of our time." (Book World)
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.
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Yes, Castaneda wrote a lot of books. Yes, most of them are very interesting. Yes, it would be wise to start with his first, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, and work forward to Journey to Ixtlan. Yes, Journey to Ixtlan is probably the single most powerfully moving of all his books--though most of them have beautiful and memorable passages in them.
You can skip the second half of the first book--the part where he tries to put what he says was Don Juan's teachings into anthropological mumbo-jumbo hoping he could (so he said anyhow) submit it for university credit. Ignore that part of book one completely.
You can also completely skip (in my own opinion) the book about using various physical poses.
Certain questions have gone unanswered, specifically: how much of what Castaneda wrote, did he believe himself, as opposed to creating a work of fiction and presenting it as actual experiences? I've seen some compelling arguments to suggest that at least some pieces are a deliberate fiction (like a passage about hiking all day in the heat of a Southwest summer day, without ever mentioning phenomenal water requirements or the possibility of death by heat stroke). There are other things suggesting he really believed at least a part of the experiences he describes (whether or not you the reader would literally believe them is an altogether separate issue). For example, the clumsy attempt to anthropology-study the experience, in book one, never repeated again after that, seemed legitimately like someone changing from the role of "university student" or at least "part-time student", to at least a part time APPRENTICE to this man he calls Don Juan. The book all about use of certain postures, much like a martial arts or a meditation book, also seems very matter-of-fact like, WHY BOTHER, unless someone actually instructed him in those things and he came to believe himself that they had some importance....
Perhaps what's most fascinating of all is that even though Castaneda seems to have been raised with a largely Westernized world view, the world-view which he presents as the teachings of his two mentors, Don Juan and Don Genaro (pseudonyms no doubt even if the individuals were real), is so COMPLETELY NON-WESTERN, it's quite an act for one writer to imagine the entire thing alone. And yet, despite being a world view unique from other cultures, he portrays some profound and universal truths about the nature of living, and of a life well-lived as opposed to a life stumbled through, that I think virtually anyone who reads this seriously will be deeply moved. Read it, and be moved. Let it change your attitude toward life.