I've read his books (most of them, anyway) ca. four times and have practiced many of the exercises Don Juan made CC do. (Just without the drugs.)
They do work!
That's why I don't believe the stories of Don Juan are fiction -- first of all, the concept of Tonal, Nagual and all these other things (the
emanations of the eagle) are so weird, and I've heard of them nowhere else before or since... I find it hard to believe that someone could just
invent those things. Second, as I said, the exercises do work... some a bit better than I bargained for, complete with "allies"...
Once, when I still lived in Sedona, I went on a solitary full moon walk around midnight, feeling all Castaneda-like, practicing heightened awareness,
power walking and the like. I went without a flashlight (which basically no one ever did) so my eyes could adjust to the moonlight and the experience
would be more "authentic." Ha.
I came to a spot near the trail that was just plain earth, with a convenient boulder in the middle to sit on. As Don Juan says, "Find a place of
power and then see what happens." This felt like a place of power to me, so I stayed there. The spot was completely open on the left, front and back,
and there were two small bushes (maybe 2 feet high) on the right, with ca. 10 feet of space between them.
So I sat down and waited. I didn't stare (as Don Juan says you shouldn't) but let my eyes slowly shift from side to side to take in everything
around me. All of a sudden I heard a sneeze from behind the first bush that sounded very human... and even if it had been a coyote or such, the bush
would have been barely big enough to hide a full-grown coyote behind it.
Trying not to get frightened (one of the deadly sins in Don Juan's book), I just kept sitting there, folding my arms in front of my belly to protect
my center (as Don Juan had taught), keeping my eyes on the bush without staring.
Nothing for a few minutes.
Then all of a sudden there was a very loud noise from the second bush that sounded (I can't describe it any other way) like an elephant stomping hard
on the ground. The noise sounded like it had been made by a very large, very heavy animal/thing, but as I said, the bush was only 2 feet high and very
narrow...! No way any prankers could have hidden behind the bushes, and since both of them were ca. 10 feet apart, it also couldn't have been the
same thing/animal that sneezed and stomped... I would have seen it cross the distance between the bushes.
In true Castaneda fashion, I got up from my boulder and started this protective "dance" Don Juan describes. I also started doing weird things (also
Don Juan) to throw the "things" off balance.
Next thing, I heard people coming down the trail. I could discern about three different people, one woman and two men, talking to each other, but I
couldn't understand the words. They were carrying no flashlights, which I found very, very strange... few tourists would go out there in the middle
of the night (it was about 1:30 am by then), and basically NO ONE would go without a flashlight. All of a sudden, I had the very strong feeling that
these were not real people, and that, if I let them come closer and catch up to me, I'd be dead.
I jumped up and ran down the trail as fast as I could... I even lost my way for a while in the dim moonlight, and then went home. Quite a trip. Call
me crazy, but with everything that went on there, I still believe that those were "allies" and not real people, and I realized that I was a little
bit out of league trying to deal with those things.
But it was definitely a great experience, and now I believe every word Castaneda wrote.
(Oh, to clear that up, by the way, I have never in my life taken drugs!)
[edit on 4-2-2008 by sylvie]