Carlos Castaneda, a senior at Travis Early College High School, is the great-great-nephew of his namesake, the author of cult classics “A Separate Reality” and “A Yaqui Way of Learning,” among others, that chronicled his apprenticeship with a shaman in the Mexican desert.
His 15 books, which describe magical experiences, Toltec rituals and experiments with the hallucinogenic drugs peyote and datura, proved controversial, but Castaneda’s following continues to grow a decade past his 1998 death.
In his series of books, Castaneda relates the teaching of Don Juan Matus, a Yaqui sorcerer and shaman he met in 1960, Biblio.com reports.
The shaman, a nagual or shapeshifter, shared Toltec knowledge with him. Castaneda’s account emphasizes three main elements of Toltec beliefs:
• mastery of awareness and art of dreaming — description of the seer’s perception of luminous energy and bubbles of energy around living things (a luminous cocoon) and ultimately, the source of these energetic lines, which are consciousness itself.
• art of self-stalking — dealing with the world and actions in it.
• mastery of intent — dealing with the primary force of the universe or the spirit or the means to move the assemblage point.
He wrote the first three books while an anthropology student at the University of California, Los Angeles
The naturalized citizen was born in Peru on Christmas Day in 1925 and immigrated to the United States in 1957. He earned a bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. at UCLA.
He was later stripped of the Ph.D. after being accused of presenting fiction rather than proper ethnographic research.
His works sold 8 million copies in 17 languages.