Sure, I have read JOURNEY TO IXTLAN by Carlos Castaneda. In fact,
I have read all of the books written by Dr. Castaneda. One of his ideas is the ideological center of the Mexican-Jaguars.
Particular the one that says that idea is everything; and when that changes, the world itself changes (Journey To
The first book given to me in college was Castaneda's JOURNEY TO IXTLAN:
I read it and re-read it and couldn't understand it. Sorcery in Mexico is alive, but this sorcery is different from the sorcery
we Mexicans know of. This sorcery came with a philosophy, politics, and a religion (a religion that is almost scientific,
as well as superstitious). It also dealt with psychology, especially the one that deals with the study of human
nature (or 'Psychoanalysis'); and finally, it dealt with magic.
Sure, I am aware of the bad reputation given to Dr. Castaneda. Some have accused
him of having started the New Age movement. Some have even said that he is a fake and a liar. Some even say that his books
are the works of the devil and that don Juan is the devil himself. And that the religion that Don Juan preached, is not a
religion at all, but an instruction manual of how to abuse drugs. But as another sorcerer once said "Each tree is known by
its own fruit." (Luke 6)
Despite the criticism, I was compelled to read the book. I became fascinated
with the idea that the world is only a description: that if one wanted to change the world, one must change the idea that
one has of the world. I became fascinated with the theory of "it is not what I do to my body that makes me strong, but what
I do not do!" (see JOURNEY TO IXTLAN: chapter On Not Doing). I became fascinated with Don Juan's attitude
of "stop complaining that every body is after you ... that you are just a leaf in the wind". And of the supernatural encounters:
of worlds upon worlds theory. Of the theory: that every body and every thing in the Universe is connected by “strings”
of light fibers, and so forth. I love this book in particular. I have read it many times, cover to cover, and each time I
find something new. It is a great master piece of literature.
One is left with wonder: is all this possible? How was he able to write such
an astounding book? Is it true that he made it all up? Or that he stole the ideas from other books?
And what really bothers some people is the idea of an American Indian philosopher-genius.
This can't be possible, some people argue: there are no Indian-philosopher only whites and Aryans (Hindus) and Orientals and
Persians and Semites can be philosophers. Who has ever heard of a North American Indian philosopher?
But what is Castaneda all about?
His writings force most readers to either totally agree with his tenets or
totally disagree. Most agree with him. This frightens people, especially those people who do not accept new facts and scientific
findings and wish to remain in their little Christian world of the middle ages.
Further, the fear that one is instantly a “New Ager” by reading
the writings of Dr. Castaneda, is quite understandable. After all, Dr. Castaneda has been baptized with the title of 'godfather
of the New Age Movement.' But the teachings of Dr. Castaneda is not the same as the teachings of New Age.
Tthe teachings of Dr. Castaneda are the common sense teachings that we find
in the teachings of great founders of religion.
The teachings of Dr. Castaneda make a lot of sense: First, Dr. Castaneda says (in his: JOURNEY TO IXTLAN) that god and the devil [as
defined by Judeo-Christian and Muslims] are anthropomorphic concepts and as such, it is useless to speak of them. And although,
one likes to interpret his teachings as a religion, in fact, it is no such thing: but rather it is more a study of human nature
and a profound study of what we term reality.
Also, Dr. Castaneda makes it clear: not every one is born for sorcery. Only
a chosen few. Although he encourages every body to seek knowledge, he says that sorcerers are chosen by other sorcerers and
the super-natural. For instance, a disciple enters the discipline of sorcery by choice, but it is the supernatural who
decides whether the students stays in or out. Dr. Castaneda says that sorcery's only purpose is to store knowledge and power
so that when the time comes you can pass this knowledge and power to others. Thus, sorcery can only be used to help others
His teachings also deals with ceremonial magic which includes rituals, dances,
postures, meditation, etc. It is also an attitude, and a conviction that there are worlds upon worlds surroundings us: that
there are powers who can influence us and which we can influence and control.
Don Juan Matus, Dr. Castaneda’s benefactor and teacher, also tells us
that Idea is everything. That Idea can be manipulated, set up, modified, and created or made Real, all according to the sorcerer's
will and power. Real sorcerers, says Don Juan, are Man of Knowledge, Man of Power, Man of Will, Man of Character, Warriors,
Hunters, Teachers, and Discoverers of the unknown.
Many disagree with Dr. Castaneda because their ideas do not fit with the idea
of the world as depicted by Don Juan. Nevertheless, the world is still full of mystery: sometimes beautiful and other times
frightening. But if I were to put Dr. Castaneda's teaching in simple terms, how would I put it?
Change the Idea that you have of yourself. Change the Idea that you have of
the world. For example, if you think of yourself as a slave, then, it is you who makes this world happen for you and your
children. If you think of yourself as a divine being, there is no one who can deny you this right.
Change the Idea of the world, and you will change the world itself!
Mexican-Jaguars: Victory to your awakening!