Recently at an online event I hosted, the inevitable discussion arose: did Castaneda invent the whole thing? Did he make it up? What is the Truth? This was my response.
As for whether or not Castaneda "invented" the whole thing, it really doesn't matter in the least, for one simple reason. Whether or not don Juan existed, the truths being explored in the books of CC stand up. My personal suspicion is that Castaneda did indeed "invent" don Juan as a "vehicle" through which to dispense the Knowledge he himself had discovered through whatever method. In other words, Castaneda WAS don Juan - whether consciously, unconsciously, or even if don Juan may indeed have been Carlos's double.
Many people have been dissuaded from the path of heart when they come to this realization, but for me it makes no difference WHO said it as long as "IT" holds up. For myself, after many, many years of experimentation and exploration, the Knowledge reported in CC's books still holds up, and, indeed, I have been able to take most of it one-step-further -- which means that it is indeed a valid foundation that can be built upon by those with Intent.
So, in response to your statement that "only the truth can set us free" -- absolutely, 100% true. That's why I am a seeker of Truth and not a blind follower of Castaneda, who himself admitted to being a trickster. So the question then becomes - what is truth? Seems to me don Juan exists (present tense) as a living construct of energy and Knowledge, regardless of who breathed him into life. What is... simply IS.
During the course of this discussion, the comment was made that "Truth matters! If it's not true, how can it have any real power?" Well... I know a lot of people who have had life-altering awakenings as a result of a movie - I'm thinking in particular of "Avatar." At least 2 people I know were profoundly changed after seeing the movie, and in essence it led them onto the path because there are elements of truth woven into the "fiction." Writers often call this technique "fact-ion." Part fact, part fiction. Obviously "Avatar" wasn't a true story, and don Juan may not be pure truth either. But if the truths contained WITHIN the fiction are sufficiently powerful to shake someone out of their human stupor, that's good enough (for a start). Truth is subjective anyway (at least IMO). Everything begins with a thought, and in quantum perspective, anything that can be imagined also exists. It's how reality is created.
For more on this discussion, please visit the Quantum Shaman Discussion group on Facebook.
Other source material (both by Della Van Hise)
Quantum Shaman: Diary of a Nagual Woman
Scrawls On the Walls of the Soul