on 13 April 2007
"dr_dark" says that "This is the one where the author finally admits that he has made the whole series up from start to finish. He explicitly says so, in the book." This is a lie. Nowhere in the book, or in any of his other books does Castaneda state this.
This is the third book in Castaneda's initiation into the ancient Toltec teachings as provided by Don Juan. This is the book where Castaneda explains that the use of drugs in the previous two books was only a tool used by Don Juan to shake him out of his complacencies. This book takes things beyond drug use and into more philosophical/spiritual territory. The later books in the series explain the historical basis of these teachings as they evolved from the ancient Toltec peoples down to the present. This is my personal favourite. It has an emotional and spiritual impact which had a profound, life changing effect.
I highly recommend it.
on 14 February 2002
If you only read one book by Carlos Castaneda, make it this one. Journey to Ixtlan is unique in my experience, providing insight into a reality that the modern, domesticated world has largely forgotten. Castaneda communicates the feeling that death is never far away, and that it has no regard for our ideas of self-importance. We do not expect lions to treat us fairly, so why are we so easily offended by the behaviour of our fellow human beings? Some of his ideas are difficult to accept entirely, but always aim at awakening us from our complacency. The essence of his philosophy seems to be that we cannot know reality in a final sense, since it is always flowing. Therefore we need to be reminded that our description of reality is always incomplete and must be constantly updated. He suggests that our present description blinds us to other descriptions that are just as real, though maybe this is beside the point. I found some of the visions a little boring since I was unable to grasp their meaning. Still, an enjoyable and challenging read.
on 30 August 2000
Have you ever imagined waking up from being awake. That is this book, it will wake you up without you realizing it. The power this book holds is immense, it is written with such clarity and direction, the answers are here. The emphasis taken away from the non-ordinary states of reality induced by psycotrophic plants and placed on the actual lessons Don Juan was constructing. More accessible as the practical applications are greater, it allows us to see from a different perspective not only on the grand scale but also the irony of some of our culture. This is definately one of Castanedas best and you will return to it again and again and again, and each time you will learn something that you had not learnt the previous times.
I find all of Castaneda's books unique, fascinating and engrossing, and this one is no exception,
We are told about how Carlos met Juan Matus in a bus station in Arizona, and that this was the start of a ten-year apprenticeship.
Carlos first learns about the importance of erasing one's personal history since this makes us free from the encumbering thoughts of other people. One can erase personal history by not revealing what one really does, and by leaving everyone who knows one well. A fog will thus be built up around oneself.
It is also important to lose self-importance. In another book it is explained that in order to "dream" we need energy, and self-importance uses much energy, so therefore it is best to rid ourselves of it in order to preserve as much energy as possible.
Carlos also learns that death is our eternal companion and our most important adviser, and is always to our left, at an arm's length away. Awareness of our impending death helps us to "drop the cursed pettiness that belongs to men that live their lives as if death will never tap them."
We must take responsibility for all that we do, we must know why we are doing things, no matter what, and then must proceed with our actions without having doubts or remorse about them.
Don Juan seems to be able to read Carlos's mind and knows about things that happened in his childhood and youth without having been told of them.
Carlos tells Don Juan that they are equals, while in actual fact he feels that as a sophisticated university student he is superior to him, who is an Indian. He is dumbfounded when the latter informs him that they are not equals - "I am a hunter and a warrior, and you are a pimp."
The world is a mysterious place, especially in the twilight. The wind can follow one, make one tired or even kill one. It is looking for Carlos. Carlos learns about being inaccessible. He has previously made himself too available, especially in his relationship with a particular "blond girl". One must make sure not to squeeze one's world out of shape, but instead tap lightly, stay for as long as one needs to, and then swiftly move away leaving hardly a mark.
A hunter should know the routines of his prey and, most importantly, have no routines oneself. Carlos himself eats lunch every single day at twelve o'clock, as Don Juan keeps pointing out.
These are but a few of the topics that Don Juan teaches Carlos about. He also learns about becoming accessible to power, experiences a battle of power and learns about a warrior's last stand. He learns the gait of power and the tricky art of not-doing.
Finally, he learns about the ring of power and meets a dangerous, "worthy" opponent, a sorceress going by the name of La Catalina.
Towards the end Carlos meets Don Genaro, another powerful sorcerer, and he and Don Juan make Carlos's car disappear into thin air.
Carlos is sent out into the mountains by himself and "stops the world". He has a conversation with a coyote who speaks both English and Spanish (!). Carlos sees "the lines of the world".
We understand that Carlos' time with Don Juan has come to an end, since it is time for the latter to leave this world. Carlos' sadness is overwhelming, and so is that of the reader.
This is an amazing book. The information/knowledge presented is fascinating and absorbing. Castaneda presents the information in great, satisfying detail. The book is well-expressed, though the content is difficult to grasp. (Carlos himself makes no secret of the fact that he finds it nigh impossible to understand Don Juan's "concepts and methods" since "the units of his description were alien and incompatible with those of my own".)
I am really going to miss reading this author's works when I've got through them all, but luckily I still have many left to read. The "separate reality" portrayed in these books is quite different from our daily reality, so it is an amazing journey for the reader to delve into these books and access this other reality, or world.
I strongly recommend that you read this mind-expanding book!
on 27 October 2001
The essential bible of the modern age. Castaneda is a genius. He gives a non-bastardised account of the human condition and the reassurrance that each human being through self knowledge, an open heart and mind can grow to be.. it saved me in a time when I had lost faith. sounds a little dramatic, but very real.
on 13 October 2015
Bought this for a young friend. Read it myself years ago along with the other Casteneda books. You either 'love reading Casteneda or hate him'? I loved reading him. It was an education with regard to understanding the ritualistic and ceremonial nature of shamanism. I did not end up believing everything I read - far from it. But in a sense that was the point. I was embarked on trying to sort illusion from reality, and I believe his writings were instrumental in that regard. They also helped - in a roundabout way, explain some of the phenomena I experienced in altered states.
I that regard do not and cannot recommend taking drugs, but in a historical context many if not most civilizations have accomodated their use and invented ceremonies and rituals and care provisions to ensure greater safety for users, or should I say 'seekers', for in most instances they were used in the pursuit of truth and knowledge rather than taken for pleasure.
I do not believe Casteneda's writings are the answer, but they are now classic literature and in reading them one will at least become conversant with one perspective, like one language among the many. Hope this helps?
on 13 August 2013
Very insightful into how one should live their life, it gives a different view of the world and challenges the ideas and beliefs that we have be taught whilst also providing simple methods to changing your thinking and behaviours with how we interact with the world on a day to day basis.
I really enjoy reading these series of books, they go far deeper to answering the questions about our purpose than anything else that I have ever read.