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An essay donated by Susan Humphreys


Lessons I have learned from re-reading books by
Carlos Castaneda on the teachings of Don Juan

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I got snowed in these last few days. I had several mystery novels I could read but I felt like reading something with more meat. So I picked out a set of books I had read years before and felt I hadn’t fully understood them at the time. I do this occasionally -- reread something I read a while back knowing I have learned much more, my eyes have been opened and I can see things I couldn’t see back then. My understanding and knowledge have increased and I have a better chance of making sense of what once left me bewildered.

The books I decided to reread were the three written by Carlos Castaneda about Don Juan, the Yaqui sorcerer:

  1. The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge,

  2. A Separate Reality,” and

  3. Journey to Ixtlan;

Some people look at the books and think they are just about the hallucinogenic experiences of a drugged-out hippie of the 60s. They miss much of what the books have to teach us. I picked up three lessons this time that I hadn’t fully grasped earlier and have written a trilogy of essays about them.

  • The first lesson I picked up this time that I missed before is this one about “Tools and Traps”.

  • The second lesson is about the “Controlled Folly of the Warrior

  • The third is about “Stopping the World”. The third might help some returning soldiers understand how their experience has “Stopped the World” causing a shift in their perception of the World, themselves and others.

Just to be clear, I have taken what I have read and interpreted it for my world, my way of understanding life and reality. A way I hope will resonate with others. This may not be at all what Carlos Castaneda intended for us to get from his books.

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References used:

The three books are available from We recommend searching's website for the best deal, because each book is available in many different versions, new and used, different formats, and different prices:

  1. book cver image Carlos Castaneda, "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge," Washington Square Press, (1985). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store

  2. book cover image Carlos Castaneda, "A Separate Reality," Quality Paperback Book Club, Washington Square Press, (1991). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store

  3. book cover image Carlos Castaneda, "Journey to Ixtian," Washington Square Press, (1991). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store

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