Re: Carlos Castaneda, The teachings of Don Juan

Daniel Lawton (
21 Jan 1997 14:57:55 GMT

>hmmm....the website has it at $350...that works out to about
>$20/hour...what might make it worth that price??...his books are
>widely available...

I stand corrected about the price. I've attended so many workshops
that they keep offering me discounts, despite my insistance that they
charge me the normal price.

You could certaily just read his books. If you wanted to learn
Tensegrity they have videos available for $29. There are 3 videos so
far. Note I said they were only $29. Consider that they had to hire a
professional multi-camera studio to film them, edit them, produce the
outer boxes, and arrange for production. Then consider that they'll
only sell a thousand or two at best. Not very good business sense.

There are also private practice groups all over the place. People get
together and rent a dance studio once a week.

But what makes it worth attending workshops and hearing Carlos in
person is that it corrects a lot of misconceptions we all naturally
pick up reading his books. The books condense a lot of conversations
and time spent with Don Juan into a small space. The natural reaction
of readers is to either dismiss it, or to go overboard assuming that
it's like what we've been taught in other areas. This boils down into
some misconceptions pretty common among workshop participants, such as
people who are stuck on procedures and rules and even quote "the
books". Carlos once had a french man "correct" him on a sorcerery
point, even quoting the book and page proving his point.

Then there are people who assume everything must have a happy ending
and there's no way for things to go wrong. They expect Carlos to be
superman. The same kind of nonsense yoga and "spiritual" masters
perpetuate. They never get sick, they always have the answer, all of
their students will succeed, etc.

Attending workshops and seeing and hearing Carlos talk about their
daily struggles clears this up. Sorcery is for real, but sorcerers are
just people who have learned to extend their perception, they aren't
bullet proof. Carlos gets stuck in the second attention sometimes,
right now he's lost the vision in one of his eyes from that situation.
Taisha or Florinda will go off into dreaming and disappear for a week
at a time and the group will be in a panic fearing they won't return.
We're talking genuine panic you can overhear at a dinner table if you
happen to be sitting close to them in a resteraunt near the workshop.

And Carlos gets followed by strange beings from all kinds of weird
places and has to adjust his life accordingly. Things go wrong all the
time, and attending workshops makes it much clearer that there are no
guarantees, but at least it's the real thing. It forces participants to
come down to earth, give up the placebos, and face up to the fact that
it's all about hard work and a sincere effort to change.

If they just wanted to make money they could simply "bless" everyone,
tell them they're wonderful, give them a few techniques, and send them
out of there with a smile. That would be a lot more profitable.
Instead, Carlos risks life and limb tackling the most cherished
preconceptions of the audience, not arbitrarily or by following some
conceptual system of beliefs or faith, by with cold hard reason and

Besides, Carlos is a great commedian and story teller. His stories cut
through nonsense like you wouldn't believe. It's the same kind of "to
the point" stuff don Juan was famous for. There's no crap, just pure
reasoning and honest appraisal of our position and how we can change
it. Some of it is pretty adult stuff, which makes it all the more
funny. I once saw Carlos do a wonderful immitation of a female
workshop participant who was a model practicioner during the weekend,
then went home on Monday to spread her legs for her husband like a good
little wife. The whole room was choking from his imitation, he jerked
open both arms into a big V shape, giving the impression of a woman's
body plopping down on the bed with her legs up high and spread. I'd
travel to Siberia to see that lecture again.

As Carlos has said at the workshops, "I didn't make this up. In fact,
I had to water it down to make it believable."

>sorry to hear that about genero...thought methods for his retrieval
>would have been developed.

I don't get this one. There must be a joke here somewhere but I'm too
dense to see it.

Don Genaro left with Don Juan, they're off in a world on the edge of
the inorganic being's realm. At an early workshop I'd heard that
Carlos had seen Don Juan a couple of times since, but then at a later
workshop someone
made fun of the idea. Don Genaro and group seem to be stuck there,
but there's no possibility of a rescue party. Carlos has said that if
anyone offered to help Don Juan, he'd spit in their eye. Sorcerers
don't go around trying to get money or help from people, they do what's
required of them, as privately as they can.

> what sense do you mean that the blue
>scout will be there??...

The blue scout was a child, then grew up like everyone else. Don Juan
raised her. She attends the workshops and sometimes reads poetry
written by Carlos. You can talk with her if you like, but usually
people surround her and try to get her to talk about things like the
inorganic beings realm, a topic she seems to be tired of hearing about.

>>I was a greedy bastard like the rest of you. Now I'm only a bastard.
>hmmm..."like the rest of you"...seems to indicate that the training
>cures greed...has it cured the greed of the trainers??

It would only take a tiny bit of research to find out that this
assertion is wholly unwarranted. I own a business that's done 12 times
the yearly take of the workshops and I still have a tough time making a
profit. I require less people to maintain my business than Cleargreen
has to provide for. Those workshops are not a good way to make money.
You can't possibly be a business man or you would figure that out with
a Calculator in about 1 minute. Figure it takes about 1 million
dollars in sales volume to support 15 employees of varied skill levels.
It's a good rule of thumb. Then figure that Cleargreen has over 20
and doesn't take in that much money. Plus they have to pay for the
outrageous room rentals. Some of those convention center rooms rent
for $10,000 per day. They maintain a permanent office to answer phones,
publish videos and newsletters, etc. How would you like to have to
figure out how to support that organization? But that's what it takes
to put on workshops of this size, there's no way around it.

And all of their employees have a life of their own, they certainly
wouldn't chose that career if a job was all they were after.

Carlos himself worked as a fry cook for years in the midst of the
highest popularity of his books. He certainly wasn't motivated by
money doing that. One of the Cleargreen people is a successful
hollywood writer. There's positively no monetary reason for him to
work so hard teaching tensegrity at workshops. There are authors in
the group, and professionals who could double their income if they
weren't busy giving workshops and simply
returned to their previous jobs.

And Carlos sure isn't out to get attention. He just isn't like that.
For instance, I know a martial artist and healer in Los Angeles who
knew Carlos for years, even shot home private martial arts movies with
him and (I believe the other fellow was) Raymond Chow. Carlos would
play the bartender. It wasn't till years later that he found out
Carlos was "Carlos Castaneda", the author. Carlos never mentioned it.
Carlos said that after that he never treated him the same, and he
regretted that he had found out.

>...if you
>believe that it has, please state the criteria of greed measurement
>used in making your assessment...

I can't think of anything I want anymore. You can't fake something
like that. While all my friends are trying to buy the next little toy
or car they have their eye on, or trying to manipulate (they call it
"falling in love") some poor woman into sex, I don't have any interests
like that anymore. I sure was filled to the brink with them before I
met Carlos. I was always pining after something I just had to have.
Sound familiar?

I actually used to make myself sick over money and women and if someone
had told me you could just drop that crap I sure wouldn't have believed
it. Now I can't see how people can live like that.

>>A lot less than a heart attack would have cost.
>cute...but irresponsive...please answer the question in a dollars per

Some people attend one workshop per year and practice what they learn.
I'm middle aged, make the kind of money middle aged people do, but have
nothing to spend it on. So I attend all of the workshops, even if
they're in a foreign country. The cost of air flight and hotel are 4
times greater than the workshop price. And there's no reason to attend
all of the workshops, so I'm not a good case study for the dollar per
pound question.

Why not look at it in terms of the money saved on doctors, food,
cigarettes, alcohol, expensive cars, dating rituals, etc? In those
terms, I've made a fortune.

Besides, I come from a pretty fat family. I'm happy to have escaped
that and wasn't going to get out otherwise.

>>I suspect that anyone that asked for a refund would get it. I know
>>of a few cases.
>is that put in writing by those with the authority to do so??...

I'm so sure they would refund if someone expressed genuine
disatisfaction that I'll back it up with my own money.

>hmmm...perhaps you might state to how many newsgroups you posted this
>announcement in its varied forms?? ...if you read all those groups,
>does that not cut down on time that could more valuably be spent
>dreaming or stalking??...

Dreaming time is just sleeping time, everyone gets plenty of that.
Some nights I remain in the same dream so long I have to come up for
air. Other nights I get none. It's not a matter of what you do, but
how you do it. You could even be a fry cook to learn sorcery.

Stalking is just an overstuffed name for controlling behavior. Replying
to posts like this certainly forces me to examine my behavior.

If you really want to figure this out instead of just getting all
stirred up intellectually, posting and reposting in a dual of the
keyboard, why not take a good honest look at your life. Look at where
you really are, what you really do during the day, and look were you're
headed. Don't you visit the same few rooms during the day, travel the
exact same route, just getting older and tireder? Any new thoughts
popped into your head lately, I mean genuinely new ideas? Sorcerery
ideas are so new and foreign that you can't even discribe a single
thing about them accurately, yet you can experience them all the same.
The world's filled with wonderful new things, but we all wander around
too tired and preoccupied to notice anything but the same old stuff.
Is that what you really want to defend?