Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Castaneda: Shaman or Sham?

A seeker wrote:
 It seems to me that Castaneda just snapped toward the end of his life, and the fact that he died a human death instead of burning with the fire from within would also seem to invalidate a lot of his earlier teachings.

All we really know are stories told by disgruntled former followers, and that's rather like listening to the robber's version of what really went down in the gunfight. What a lot of people fail to take into account is that we are all - Carlos included - human begins with human frailties. No matter how accomplished we may become as stalkers or dreamers or Naguals, we are still human - and personally I'm not sure that how Carlos lived in any manner affects or sullies the Knowledge he gave to the world in the form of his books.

In my own life, I've made the statement that anyone looking to discredit me will easily be able to do so a thousand times over - and I will even provide them with the tools with which to do it. But at the same time - the magic of duality allows two seemingly contradictory "realities" to exist simultaneously, overlapping, side by side... and neither obliterates or obscures the other. Point being - just because Carlos spent the last few years of his life apparently fucking his apprentices and raving like a madman really has very little bearing on what he Knew and what he wrote about.

Sure, we can all point fingers of blame and say he should have done things differently or should have practiced what he preached... but the bottom line (and I speak from experience) is that sometimes the Knowledge we receive channels initially from what some have called a "higher source" - what I myself would call the double or the infinite self - and that infinite self is not prone to our human frailties... and especially not prone to the deterioration of the mind/body which occurs as a natural (and perhaps unavoidable?) side effect of being in human form in the first place.

A lot of younger warriors like to believe they will not succumb to the ravages of old age - but there is a reason Don Juan listed old age as the fourth enemy of a man or woman of Knowledge. It is the only one of the four enemies that cannot be defeated. No matter how well-conditioned you are right now, my own experience has been that the body is simply made of organic stuff (even though it is energy at its source), and the juxtaposition of our matter/energy construct is such that even the finest warriors among us may have a genetic predisposition toward Alzheimer's, liver cancer, brain tumors, or something else which might be identified as simply a tool in Death's hip pocket.

I could be wrong. I personally like to think tales of The Tenant (the death defier) are real. But I have had the word out for years that I would be most interested in meeting him/her, and so far the phone isn't ringing off the hook. Then again, I may well have met him/her back in the late 80s and simply didn't recognize him for what he really was. Who's to say with so many years between then and now? Point is - to blame Carlos for being human is sort of like blaming fire for being hot. It just is - and I've seen a lot of folks using the fact that he seemingly died a human death of liver cancer as some sort of banner-flag to be waved about as some sort of proof that he was a charlatan and a fraud and a whole host of other things... when the simple reality is that he was just a man like any other.

A few years back, I began to think about my own changing body, and I wondered to the universe one night in meditation, what would happen if I simply grew old, forgot everything I ever learned on the path, and became a drooling liability in a nursing home. I ran this question past several other warriors, including a couple of self-proclaimed Naguals, and the consensus at the time was that none of them could really provide an answer on any level.

It was about 2 weeks later, in a trance-dreaming state, when I received very clearly the message which provided the following information: Once we accomplish something, that something becomes part of the matrix of the I-Am. In other words, if I were to become a woman of Knowledge in the year 1996, for example, with all the attributes that term implies, but then lived on another 50 years and turned into a raving lunatic with a brain tumor, it would not alter the fact that in the energetic framework of the universe, I would still (and always) be a woman of Knowledge. Duality. Depends on where one is standing on the time/space map that determines how we perceive it, but the reality is much larger than any single point on the map. Once something is experienced (such as the state of being a woman of Knowledge, for example), that experience becomes part of our personal hologram - which cannot be destroyed for as long as even one microgram of energy of the hologram remains in existence.  (See "The Holographic Universe"; Michael Talbot).

And this also brings us face to face with the need for Do-ing. It is through Do-ing that we actually accomplish the things that become part of our energetic matrix (the I-Am). To think about becoming a woman of Knowledge is not the same thing as going through the process of becoming a woman of Knowledge. To fantasize about walking with an ally is not the same thing is spinning with the ally and risking the very real possibility that one may never come back to this world at all.

Even as we grow old and become frightful reminders of the fourth enemy to warriors of the younger generation, what must be taken into account is precisely what I learned in my own do-ings: once we accomplish "the thing", it can never be taken from us. Once we become a woman of Knowlwedge, that Knowledge can never be taken from us within the energetic framework of the hologram of the I-Am. 

So just because Carlos died a human death doesn't automatically make him a charlatan or a fraud, as a lot of folks like to say. What is limited there is their own thinking - and what may be called into question is why they were willing followers of a man who had basically told the world through his books to go out and do/see/be for themselves. The fact that people would fall in line to follow someone who had spent his life telling them not to be sheeple... speaks far more to their shortcomings than to his.

Some may choose to see this as me defending Carlos - but that is simply not the case. I never met the man. Never knew him. And probably would not have liked him much had I followed through on any of the multiple chances I had to meet him. Do I think he was an ass in love with his own ego? Not up to me to decide, because I wasn't there.

Point is, trying to invalidate the teachings by invalidating the teacher just doesn't work for me.



Questions Along the Way: Conversations With a Quantum Shaman
Book 3 in the Quantum Shaman Series
Available from Amazon or directly from

Into the Infinite: Opening the Door to the Unknown
Book 4 in the Quantum Shaman Series
Available from Amazon or directly from

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