The Teachings of Don Juan
The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge was Castaneda’s doctoral thesis in anthropology submitted to the University of California, Santa Cruz. It details Castaneda’s visits with don Juan, a seventy-year-old Yaqui sorcerer whose religious practices feature the use of peyote to provoke mystical visions. With don Juan’s guidance and through the liberal ingestion of peyote, Castaneda is taught to become a “man of knowledge,” entering an alternately marvelous and frightening supernatural dimension in which the ordinary laws of time and space are suspended.
The Teachings of Don Juan was widely regarded as giving a powerful legitimacy to the use of psychedelic drugs. In endorsing the mind-altering peyote and in treating a nonwestern culture as a spiritual resource, Castaneda created one of the seminal works of the “consciousness revolution” of the 1960’s.
The Teachings of Don Juan was the first of a tetralogy that continued in A Separate Reality: Further Conversations with Don Juan (1971 ), Journey to Ixtlan (1972), and Tales of Power (1974). Together these books have sold millions of copies around the world.
Abelar, Taisha. The Sorcerers’ Crossing. New York: Penguin, 1992.
Ash, Lee. Review in Library Journal. XCIV (March 1, 1969), p. 1014.
De Mille, Richard, ed. The Don Juan Papers: Further Castaneda Controversies. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1990.
Fikes, Jay Courtney. Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism, and the Psychedelic Sixties. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: Mellenia Press, 1993.
Noel, Daniel C., ed. Seeing Castaneda: Reactions to the “Don Juan” Writings of Carlos Castaneda, 1976.
Roszak, Theodore. Review in Nation. CCVIII (February 10, 1969), p. 184.
Silverman, David. Reading Castaneda: A Prologue to the Social Sciences. New York: Routledge, 1975.
Young, Dudley. “The Magic of Peyote,” in The New York Times Book Review. LXXIII (September 29, 1968), p. 30.