The Teachings of Don Juan

  • by Carlos Castaneda
  • Narrated by Luis Moreno
  • 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

For over 40 years, Carlos Castaneda’s The Teachings of Don Juan has inspired audiences to expand their world view beyond traditional Western forms. Originally published as Castaneda’s master’s thesis in anthropology, Teachings documents Castaneda’s supposed apprenticeship with a Yaqui Indian sorcerer, don Juan Matus. Dividing the work into two sections, Castaneda begins by describing don Juan’s philosophies, then continues with his own reflections.

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What the Critics Say

"It's impossible to view the world in quite the same way after reading him.... If Castaneda is correct, there is another world, a sometimes beautiful and sometimes frightening world, right before our eyes at this moment - if only we could see." (Chicago Tribune)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Altered States and Strange Encounters in a Shamans World

I really like books that show the world from an unusual perspective. This is the (allegedly) true account of the apprenticeship of Carlos Castaneda, an anthropology student, to a Yaqui Shaman named Don Juan. It is well read and enjoyable.

What I liked best was the contrast of cultures. So, after Castaneda is scared witless by an encounter with the peyote god "Mescalito" who "teaches a man how to live", the following day he keeps asking "does Mescalito really exist?".

For Don Juan this question is totally missing the point "did you not see Mescalito?" His concern is on what Mescalito communicated and the significance of the encounter for a "man of knowledge". It is the clash of modern rational science with aboriginal religion, in a still enchanted world. In the end it becomes too much for the young student and, fearing he is going mad, he terminates his apprenticeship.

This is a book of its time, written in the early 1960s when people were experimenting with altered states and strange religions. It does give a glimpse of an aboriginal worldview populated by spirits and "powers" who can be called on for help as allies or must be confronted and overcome as adversaries.

I very much enjoyed the narrative section of the book, which raised many questions for me about religion, science and reality - and purpose in life. Sadly the "analysis" section at the end of the book avoids these ontological questions, attributing Casteneda's experiences to "suggestion" combined with the effect of powerful psychoactive plants, and thus is much less interesting, though luckily short.

I will be getting the next in the series, when he returns to his apprenticeship, but not for a while. Overall it is a thought provoking book, very well narrated, but a little strange.
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- Jim Vaughan

a brilliant story with many lessons

Would you consider the audio edition of The Teachings of Don Juan to be better than the print version?

have not read the book


What did you like best about this story?

being on a spiritual / shamanic path I have come across this book several times in the past and have considered reading it but have been put off by the bad reviews. I decided that alot of books especially on these type of topics have some bad reviews. These bad reviews are normally from academics or people from a religious back ground who are ignorant to the topic that they are criticising. Sometimes the bad reviews are from people who are not happy about outsiders wrting about a topic that they were not born into. I do not know if the story in this book is real or fictional. I do however know that I learned alot from the book and have come away with a much better understanding of the world of a Yaqui shaman. This book is great for someone who is on a shamanic path and wants to understand the heart and discipline that is required to be a true shaman. Most of us in the west may become shamanic practitioners but this is on a whole other level.

The second part of the book is more for a student of anthropolgy or someone who wants to know the ins and outs of the plants used in the book. There will not be many readers in that category who have the patience or understanding for this. This does not mean I will review this part of the book badly. I am glad I have finally bought this book and will definitely buy the other books from this author


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- m

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-06-2010
  • Publisher: Recorded Books