Friday, February 26, 2010

A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

While still in my transitional phases of "What Is Truth?" I was searching for a shorter path to God. Christianity was too filled with religious zealots, all pointing out what each other was doing wrong in their beliefs. The Catholics were sure they had a lock on the one true path. Protestants were all sure that Catholics were spreading lies and leading their followers straight to hell. A view point that was shared by the Ku Klux Klan! And all three were sure the Jews were the killers of their savior. A fallacy, instigated by the Nazis!!! I hadn't yet learned of all the different types of Protestantisms. But I was sure that I wanted no part of any of those.

Then I found a new book, by an unknown author. It was:
"The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge." By Carlos Castaneda. It was published by the University of California Press in 1968 as a work of anthropology. And on the Binding edge of the dust jacket it read "Non-Fiction."
It was submitted by Carlos Castaneda as his master’s thesis in the school of anthropology. It reportedly documents the events that took place during an apprenticeship he claimed to have served with a self-proclaimed Yaqui Indian Sorcerer, named don Juan Matus, between 1960 and 1965.
The book is divided into two sections. The first section, The Teachings, is a first person narrative that documents Castaneda's initial interactions with don Juan.
The second, was a Structural Analysis, by Castaneda to disclose the internal cohesion and the cogency of don Juan’s Teachings.
don Juan tells Carlos that he is a brujo (Spanish for sorcerer or witch), a sort of healer, sorcerer or shaman, who had inherited (through a lineage of teachers) an ancient Mesoamerican practice for refining one's awareness of the universe. In the book, Don Juan was an expert in the cultivation and use of various psychotropic plants (specifically, psychedelic mushrooms, datura, and peyote) found in the Mexican deserts, which were used as aids to reach states of non-ordinary, or alternate reality in the philosophy he conveyed to Carlos.
In the book don Juan is unmarried, and presented as an old man of indigenous ancestry, with great strength and agility, who speaks excellent Spanish but had never been to college, and lived his entire life in poor conditions. Don Juan's philosophy might be summed up in a passage from Castaneda's book,
"For me there is only the traveling on the paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge for me is to traverse its full length. And there I travel—looking, looking, breathlessly."

This was the fist book in a series that told more than a story of a man in search of truth. It gave step by step instructions of how to summon power. And which common plants could be used to "SEE" the lights that were at the center of every human and beast. And how to harness the powers in your dream state. Again in the quest for more personal power derived from the universe as it "Really Existed." Sort of like the way Luke Skywalker was taken into apprenticeship under the tutelage of Master Yoda and guiding him to the power of the force. Only this wasn't a Sci-Fi novel. It was 20 years ahead of Stephen Spielberg. And it was a Master's Thesis in Anthropology. SCIENCE!
The list of books in the series at that time included:
# The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968)
# A Separate Reality: Further Conversations with Don Juan (1971)
# Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan (1972)
# Tales of Power (1974)
# The Second Ring of Power (1977)
It may have been a great story. But to me and a few close friends, it became a handbook!
A statement that is only mentioned in passing in the original books. 
But there is another thing these books have in common with the "STAR WARS" story. There is a dark side. And this darkside (The Nagual) doesn't lure you. Or tempt you. It pursues you. And tries to consume you in an effort to strengthen its own power. And while I can neither recommend or condemn the reading of this or any other book. I will tell you this; If you follow the advice in these books, YOU may see God a lot sooner than you hoped. You may not be prepared for the meeting. But you will not arrive unexpected either.
Next time "Eastern Mysticism": Or "Everything You Though You Knew about Karma!"


Anonymous said...

Cool post. My daughters father is actually half Pasua Yaqui. I take my girls every year to a traditional Easter ceremony the Yaqui's perform. Their Grandmother grew up on the reservation there and I feel it is important for my girls to know their heritage from both families. I forget what the ceremony is called, actually I just forget how to spell it and I don't want to embarrass myself. LOL! I will dig out my book on it later and get back to you. I will also check these books out. Thanks!

2Thinks said...

All I know is: God instructs us to speak the Truth in love- not in arrogance- not kill each other when others miss the Truth of the word (or, more likely, when we get it wrong)...

Orthodoxy means right thinking about God- based on the established proven, cherished truths of the faith. Doctrine refers to Christian teaching. Problem is: you mostly hear these words being used when someone is being told they're wrong, whether from an author in a book or just in person.

But God's word says "don't be a jerk. Don't argue. Don't get sidetracked on secondary issues. Be kind. Be patient. Endure evil done against you and trust in God. When you need to correct someone, do it with gentleness." 2Timothy 2:23-26, with para-phrasing by Josh Harris.

Joshua Harris closes his book, Dug Down Deep, with these parting words:

"The message of Christian orthodoxy isn't that I'm right and someone else is wrong. It's that I am wrong and yet God is filled with grace. I am wrong, and yet God has made a way for me to be forgiven and accepted and loved for eternity. I am wrong, and yet God gave his Son, Jesus, to die in my place and receive my punishment. I am wrong, but through faith in Jesus, I can be made right before a holy God."

"This is the gospel. This is the truth that all Christian doctrine celebrates. This is the truth that every follower of Jesus Christ is called to cherish and preserve. Even die for. It is the only truth on which we can build our lives and rest our eternal hope."

I know, why don't I go over and write my posts on my own blog. I'm sorry. I should really do that.

Betty said...

I need to check these books out, I agree with what 2Thinks said.
Hope your day is a good one so far:)

2Thinks said...

Somewhere over here I missed the part about how KW is telling an ongoing story about how he arrived at Truth. I kinda thought that was what he was doing, but I wasn't sure. I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box. :)

Anyway, my 2Thinks stand...looking forward to seeing how this develops.

Thanks KW!

Blasé said...

A woman called me a "Don Juan", and I didn't know what she meant by that.

Anyway, I bet I can beat Kelly Combs and 2 Thinks in a Bible Trivia contest. It would be like taking candy from a baby...or something like that??

Blasé said...

..oh, wait a minute. What I meant to say was I would run circles around them. Yeah, that's it.

Heart2Heart said...


I love learning about your journey that lead you to arrive at the place in your faith where you are now. Not everyone's journey was a simple and straight path, some were filled with many side trips along the way. We learn much from those experiences, and thus can educate from that line of thinking because we've seen it.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat