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Anyone else have a Castaneda like experience w/o drugs?

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posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 05:06 PM
For those who don't know anything about the author Carlos Castaneda here is a quick link.

Carlos Castaneda on wiki

The book I began reading yesterday is his first work entitled, "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge".

To lead up to where I am today you can reference this post I made on the 17th of July. I will reference it here but there is additional information contained there as well. The post speaks of an out of body (or like that of) experience I had. I have not been entirely sure of how to approach that event but reading Castaneda's book has helped me out, but I need others to help me make more sense of it.

His first other worldly experience came from the use of peyote, which I have never used and I was not under the influence of any drug, caffeine included. When I was reading his description I was immediately struck with a sense of familiarity in how he described his senses. Below I will list excerpts from my post and passages within his book.

"I saw him coming towards the water [a dog he had just seen]. The dog began to drink. I raised my hand to push him away from the water; I focused my pinpoint vision on the dog to carry on the movement, and suddenly I saw him become transparent." (pg. 47)

"All I was capable of seeing was the dog become iridescent; an intense light radiated from his body. I saw again the water flowing through him, like kindling on a bonfire." (pg. 47)

I put all my concentration on the cat and it looked like he was being lit with a flashlight. It was the only bright object and I could see this whitish glow around him. The back of his legs and tail almost looked transparent, it was like molten steel with bits of solid still floating, in that there were occasional dark spots within the body but it was somewhat fluid.

"...I found I had difficulties focusing my eyes. I looked for don Juan and as I turned my head I noticed that my field of vision had diminished to a circular area in front of my eyes." (pg 46)

"I had the clear sensation of not being able to open my eyes; I was looking through a tank of water." (pg 48)

Everything else [besides my narrow view of the cat] was a greyish haze, moving like light in a very hot environment. Or one of those old movies where they held a colored bottle [of water/whiskey] in front of the projector.

There were other similarities but I wanted to focus on the ones I had previously posted on ATS, as a previous point of reference. I was startled by the comparison of my descriptions of things like the molten steel/kindling within the animal, or the closed visual perception with everything else looking like water. What I want to understand is why did I have a pure, non drug induced experience that was comparable to a peyote induced one?

Does that say more about my experience or his? Does it validate either in some fashion? Do the drugs change your brainwaves frequency or some other physical characteristic in a more direct manner than natural brain function? Is this not paranormal but a facet or quality of consciousness? I'm just glad I didn't have to experience the vomiting and other unpleasant side effects of the peyote, or Mescalito.

As a scientifically minded individual I'm not sure what to think. I want to research more before I go around saying I can leave my body. The true test would be if I could acquire information about something, anything, that I couldn't have received without the aid of a similar experience (some form of RV or astral projection, though I don't practice or know how to access them). To me, that would be the final validation. Though I'm not sure how to go about researching or looking into this anymore. I don't ask for these experiences, they just happen. I assume that all I can do is wai

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 05:35 PM
Could be HPPD and you wouldn't necessarily have to have been on psychadelics for it to be taken place. Some research indicates that antidepressants and/or Ritalin can cause this phenomenon. On the other hand, the sleep paralysis could also be playing a role or both phenomena may even be acting in conjunction.

Read this whole article, I found it highly informative:

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 06:19 PM
I'll take a shot at answering this; or at least giving you more to look into. First, I'll list some broad assumptions:
* You are a physically healthy human being
* You did not have a fever
* You were not dehydrated, starving, or suffering from a salt imbalance
* You were not, or have not recently taken prescription, over the counter or illicit drugs or medicines
* You have not recently lost a lot of weight
* you have not previously taken psychedelic drugs and recently suffered an injury

If all those are true, what you experienced is still possible. Your brain has receptors for all kinds of things, if it didn't "drugs" wouldn't work. Drugs work by either inhibiting reception, enhancing reception or putting more of the thing being received into your system. A healthy body naturally produces all the stuff you can get from drugs. If your body makes a mistake and releases too much of a hormone or whatever, you will experience the effects of it. A common example is a panic or anxiety attack. Your adrenal gland releases adrenalin, your brain receives it and tells you something is wrong. Nothing is actually wrong, yet you start thinking of all the things that *could* be wrong. Panic attacks have become a common health topic. It's ok to talk about them now. Seeing things you shouldn't be seen are still not ok to talk about. It means (to the average person) that you're crazy. So doctors don't know how often something like an OBE with trippy visuals happens to the average person. Nor do they know whether or not you can trigger one by thinking about it. Doctors do know that you can sometimes trigger a panic attack by worrying if you're going to have a panic attack.
And it doesn't make you crazy, or super human. It's something that probably happens fairly often, but we don't talk about it. Like going to the bathroom.

posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 10:04 AM
I can relate a story too you, though it didnt happen to me, it happened to my mother. She was in B.C around the age of 20, she was sitting on a beach when a recently made aquantence came to sit beside her. As followed his path, his face was not visible, and in place of it, was a ball of white light that covered his head. She kind of freaked and told him what she saw, he said it reminded him of a book. Later that day they were in a book store looking for that specific book, low and behold it was a casteneda book, either the first or the second (second i believe.) And on the cover was exactly what she saw, a drawing of a man with a ball of light over his head. (we own most if not all of his books, ive read 3 of them, interesting perspectives on the relm of the psychadelic and worth the read) This was actually her introduction into the spiritual. Just to mention, she was not on anything at the time.

If your really interested in the world of conciousness expansion and the mysteries it brings, I suggest you look into South American Shamanism. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Native American Shamanism either...

posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 03:35 PM
Thank you for everyone's thoughtful replies...


Very interesting condition. I was unaware of it and will look for more information on it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


Your broad assumptions are correct. I pay more attention to my mind than my body but I'm 6ft and 170lbs, maybe a little skinny but still healthy. I'm very aware of our system of neurotransmitters. I studied psychology in undergrad and know a thing or to. It seems like what we don't know is what even 'psyence' isn't sure of. I always loved reading a textbook and seeing something along the lines of "...though we are still unsure of the exact mechanism or reason for the behavior."

Your superhuman comment is interesting. Humans have a lot of special 'powers' like the adrenalin you mentioned or even our ability to heal. I've always heard of stories about monks being able to control their body temperature or other traditionally unconscious systems. The ability to start a panic attack is not a very positive ability and I'm not sure how it would enhance any reproductive or survival success.

It's just very hard to draw the line between experiencing a scientifically unknown layer or facet of the universe and merely having a chemical imbalance. I'm crazy either way but one is more 'real' than the other. Of course the only true reality is my conscious perception, and I know that I had those experiences, in spite of any connection to the shared reality we perceive.

What I do not know is how to approach it. If there is no soul, no energy, no afterlife, or anything of that matter then I do have some medical condition. However, I believe in all of those things; as a human, scientist, and all around observer. Many people believe in afterlifes, ghosts, or souls but immediately reject things like astral projection or other out of body experiences. Yet, you reach a point where you can't pick and choose. If just one ghost sighting is confirmed beyond belief, then what would that mean for science? Do ideas like telepathy, OOBE's, and remote viewing become more accepted now that we know there is a life and existence outside of our flesh and bone? Would moments like mine be considered a gift or reward, a bridge to a new place to explore?

If that is the case then how should I approach it now? I do not wish to wait for mainstream science to pick up on something I may have access to now. Let the ignorant be bliss. I'd rather find my own way, just need direction


Quite a story. I haven't seen that cover but I'll check it out. Oddly enough, a totally random set of events took place for me to purchase that book. Alone, in the middle of the day I went to the bookstore for no reason. Couldn't even tell you last time I went. I made one round through the store and found only a book on piano theory. As I was leaving the book caught my eye and reminded me about a few people on ATS talking about him. The oddness of the situation precluded that I buy the book. I'm only half way finished but hope to complete the series. I wasn't looking to get into shamanism, and I'm not sure how to meld the subject with my religious beliefs. I usually tell God I'm merely exploring his vast world. Maybe what I'm doing is wrong, or inherently false, but you have to see that side of life to appreciate what works for you.

posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 07:40 PM
Its an older cover, Dont know if youll find a picture of it, so heres a scan of the one I have. I think it was printed in 71.

A Seperate Reality

I dont think exploring your mind would go against gods wish. Why would God give us such a powerful tool and than tell us not to use it to its fullest potential?

posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 08:36 PM
It has pretty much been established now for some time that Castaneda was a fraud and that he made up all those books.

posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 07:04 AM
So what? No one here is saying everything Castanada was the real deal. We're simply relaying experiances which, for one reason or another, share similarities to some of tht things he described in his book(s)

The cover of A Seperate Reality wasnt even drawn by him, nor did it have much, if anything to do with the book. The fact that my mother had never read or heard of Castanada, but yet saw something similar in the cover manifest itself in reality it just an interesting point.

posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 10:10 AM

Originally posted by grover
It has pretty much been established now for some time that Castaneda was a fraud and that he made up all those books.

True but that doesn't change the meat or purpose of the story. Fables and fairy tales are not true but convey a message beyond the reality of it's premise. I'm not interested in becoming a shaman and following in his footsteps. I'm saying that what he described was almost verbatim what I experienced without drugs. For me, that validates his perception or knowledge, whether don Juan was real or the books had chronological problems is irrelevant.


I completely agree but I know there is evil and negativity within the world. And I will admit that it's tempting to learn more of this stuff for the power aspect. I don't want a personal lust to interfere with whatever natural mental progression I have. Speaking with Him keeps my intentions in line. I've always been much happier living a positive life, though it's not always the easiest, or initially most exciting path.

posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 10:21 AM

Originally posted by Parabol

I completely agree but I know there is evil and negativity within the world. And I will admit that it's tempting to learn more of this stuff for the power aspect. I don't want a personal lust to interfere with whatever natural mental progression I have. Speaking with Him keeps my intentions in line. I've always been much happier living a positive life, though it's not always the easiest, or initially most exciting path.

I went into Shamanism for exploration purposes. I dont really know if you can say you gain any power through it. To be sure, you learn a hell of a lot of personal truths, but my teacher has never expressed any "witch doctor" stories (though he probably does have some) nor have I ever experianced anyone goading me with the promise of power or using evil intentions against me.

As far as Im concerned, we each walk a different path. If your faith in God and your religion feel correct for you, persue them to an end that makes you comfortable. If you desire an expansion of your knowledge, nothing should stop you in your quest, religious or otherwise.

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