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Tales of Power Paperback – January 1, 1991

4.5 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews
Book 4 of 8 in the Don Juan Series

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Editorial Reviews

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reissue edition (January 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671732528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671732523
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Castaneda series has become one of the most controversial
in literary history, abetted by the fact that the author himself
swore to the truth of every fantastical event he described in their pages until his dying day. That Castaneda died an old,
frail man when the books promised an extraordinarily long and healthy life seemed to give lie to his words, but in fact this
does not take away from the philosophical beauty of works like
"Tales Of Power", which is my favorite of the six I have read
so far (there are ten in all).
The first book, "The Teachings Of Don Juan", is easily the
slightest--although it introduces the saga and provides the reader with some of the terminology, it is clear that Castaneda
had yet to grasp what was happening to him, and much of it is (as he later admits) a strange cross between far-fetched prose and overly-analytical text. "A Separate Reality" is a vast improvement, even as the stories get wilder and wilder; some readers have howled with laughter over tales of invisible 'allies' which guard the sorcerer, or of an astral
"yoke" which can give a man superhuman powers, but the imagery
is extraordinary and the philosophical lessons behind such
truly bizarre events are unique and important.
The third book, "Journey To Ixtlan", is the easiest to swallow for most people, since it concentrates on the self-help and ethical aspects of the teaching and keeps the wild stories to a bare minimum (as such, it is highly recommended).
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Format: Paperback
If you could only choose to read one of Carlos' books, this has to be the one. For those who aren't familiar with the books, this is the sixth. The first three, expected by most readers at the time of publication to be a "trilogy", describe the first several years of Castaneda's apprenticeship to a native nagual, or shaman in Sonora and other parts of Mexico.

In the first volume Carlos describes the weird rituals and exercises that his teacher puts him through as he trains him in the ways of his line of sorcerers. It concludes with a quasi-scholarly analysis, really nothing more than an outline of the concepts of his teacher's world-view. This book focuses on the concept of living like a warrior and the book is structured as a question and answer sequence between student and teacher.

In the second book, whose time frame has a good deal of overlap with the first book, carlos' activites center around coming to believe that the world is an artifical construction of the human ego, a fantasy that we all choose to agree on. Don Juan batters Carlos with psychotropic drugs to break down his ego and force his consciousness over to the other side of awareness, beyond normal human perception.

The trilogy concludes with Carlos pursuing "stopping the world". This offering portrays the final challenge along the path to becoming a sorcerer. The apprentice will be faced with his own imminent death, and either stop the world, disassembling and reassembling "reality" in a way that ensures his survival, or accept death and enter the eternal realm. Obviously Carlos survives, as he wrote a book about it, and in the process spawned an immense controversy. What was all this bizarre stuff? Was it real? Was there a real Don Juan? A Don Genaro?
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Format: Paperback
I would rate all of Castaneda's books five stars because they are fascinating reading. But starting with this one and going forward, the similarities between the teachings and beliefs of Don Juan to all religions and "New Age" tenets are remarkable.
If you have ever read Jane Roberts "Seth" books, you will find striking parallels between what Seth tells us about life, death and the afterlife, and what Don Juan teaches. Don Juan's philosophy of "impeccability" embraces all the great religions' philosophies: live life as perfectly as you can each day, enjoying it, being kind and helpful to your fellow man, learning from it.
Did any of you read "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom, or see the TV movie? Morrie says death is a little bird sitting on your left shoulder, always ready to take you. Thus, live your life to its fullest each day, savoring every moment. What does Don Juan tell Carlos in each book? Death is always at your left shoulder ready to tap you.
And last but not least, this is only one reality which we perceive. Don Juan (and Seth, and countless others) tell us of a multitude of realities that we can tap into. Seth's whole preaching that our dreams are as real and as important as our waking life is Don Juan's teaching that dreaming gets you into a different reality.
Obviously, one needs to be at a receptive point that this type of information and philosophy is believable. Many people will find Castenada's writings rediculous, but many others can get tremendous benefits out of the teachings. After all, whether you embrace the Golden Rule, or live your life with "impeccability" what does it matter as long as you are doing good and loving all people?
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