A Review From the Heart
by Della Van Hise
Author of “Quantum Shaman: Diary of a Nagual Woman”
Getting Castaneda is a fascinating exploration of the works of Carlos Castaneda, and delivers an in-depth examination of the incredible and often inexplicable tales he told in the 11 books he wrote during his stay on Earth.
Even if you might not agree with some of Mr. Luce’s conclusions, they provide a new and intriguing perspective, encouraging the reader to consider other alternatives and examine their own beliefs about the world and the beings who inhabit it – both seen and unseen.
Getting Castaneda is also a helpful primer for those new to the works of Carlos Castaneda, in that it prevents a straightforward and easy-to-read synopsis of some of the most memorable – and most important – events that occurred during Castaneda’s apprenticeship with the Yaqui sorcerer, don Juan Matus. For those who are long-time readers or even practitioners, Getting Castaneda delivers additional analysis and commentary which serve to re-awaken our sense of wonder and enable us to read the books of Castaneda with a fresh perspective and perhaps even a different slant to our own assemblage point.
In the chapter entitled “Dreaming Together,” some important questions about Castaneda’s works are addressed – namely the fact that Carlos encountered what amounted to an entirely new & previously forgotten set of memories that had occurred in heightened awareness. While many readers at the time thought this to be just another gimmick to provide an additional source of material for more books, I can say from personal experience that heightened awareness (also called “second attention”) is neither a myth nor a fabrication. It exists as a quantifiable reality, though attempting to explain it in words is rather like trying to describe the science behind the moon landing to a cave dweller. All one can really say is this: for those who have experienced it, no explanation is necessary. For those who haven’t, no explanation is possible. In my own writings, I have referred to this state as “memories that never happened” – or, more precisely, memories that never happened in what we think of as our linear experience of time. But as Peter Luce points out in Getting Castaneda, much of Castaneda’s works occur not only outside of ordinary awareness, but also outside of time itself. And therein lies the mystery and the lure.
Overall, Getting Castaneda provides an excellent look at the collected works of Carlos Castaneda, and makes a well-educated series of conjectures at what those works might actually mean in the bigger picture. Can anyone become a sorcerer in the manner Castaneda described? Who’s to say? Only one thing is certain: it’s a fascinating world filled with infinite possibility. Getting Castaneda gives us the opportunity to explore our options and our beliefs, and hopefully emerge from the experience with a far greater understanding and respect for the unknown.
-Della Van Hise
Author of Quantum Shaman: Diary of a Nagual Woman
September 8, 2017