is best known for his series of books
entitled The Teachings of Don Juan in
which he described traditional Mesoamerican
shamanism. Written from a first person
perspective, supporters of the books see
them as a description of philosophy and
the writer's own experience in "nonordinary
reality" while critics view them
as works of fiction.
Castaneda was born on December 25, 1925
in Cajamarca, Peru to Susana Castaneda
Navoa and Cesar Arana Burungaray. He spent
his childhood in Peru and moved to the
United States in the 1950s. Castaneda
became a naturalized citizen in 1957 and
married Margaret Runyan in 1960. Although
they were legally married until 1973,
Castaneda and Runyan only lived together
for a short time in the early 1960s.
attended the University of California
in Los Angeles where he earned his B.A.
in anthropology in 1962 and his Ph.D.
In 1973. During his time at UCLA, Castaneda
worked as an apprentice with a traditional
shaman, or "Man of Knowledge",
by the name of Don Juan Matus from Northern
Mexico. It was this apprenticeship that
became the focus for his first books entitlted
The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way
of Knowledge, A Separate Reality and Journey
to Ixtlan. These books helped him achieve
his degrees at UCLA.
the publication of his books, Castaneda
appeared for one article for Time in 1973,
after which he became very private and
disappeared from public view. He continued
to write, however, and published Tales
of Power in 1974. His works ignited discussions
amongst both supporters and critics and
Castaneda amassed a large following if
individuals who believed in both his philosophies
and his books. He continued to promote
the ideas of shamans and alternate states
of perception and reality through books,
pamphlets, and a strong network of individuals
who dedicated their lives to promoting
Castaneda continued to write up until
his death in 1998. He passed away as a
result of hepatocellular cancer.
This Carlos Castaneda biography
may not be reproduced online.
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