By: Brian Michael Barbeito
Castaneda is an interesting figure. I read his books, right up to what I believe was the last one, The Art of Dreaming. I also read the book about him and his work called Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism, and The Psychedelic Sixties. And an article from a magazine in the early 1990s where there is an interview, though many people say there are no interviews. The article was called in part, You Only Live Twice. It was interesting. I remember he said, -When I became Carlos Castaneda (meaning a known name), I got to meet Alan Watts.- but Castaneda was disappointed with his meeting with Alan Watts. Castaneda’s fans adore his work. His detractors can’t stand him. I am in the middle but lean to the side of Castaneda. I believe 1))that whatever the case (meaning the veracity and validity and historical accuracy) with his writing, the insights in his work are important and more often than not beautiful, magical, and mystical. There are things in there that are completely helpful to me in my spiritual journey or just the journey as a human. 2) if not everything happened, isn’t creativity and hope, the idea of thinking about existence, life and death and the cosmos, a better direction than the world we have now that worships malls, materialism, and surface-level things, that is ruining the environment, the economies, and whole countries? 3)if he is talking about the sorcery spiritual information of old, he is helping pass it down to those who care and want to be conscious and evolved, people who have embarked on paths of spirituality and self-discovery. not something so bad to me, in fact, I feel this is a good thing. Whatever did or didn’t happen, the books are amazing. They are not supposed to be academic textbooks but memoirs and lessons, and in creative nonfiction, all writers become poetic and have some license to create their own stories the way they want. peace.