Taisha Abelar

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Taisha Abelar
Born Maryann Simko
Pen name Taisha Abelar, Anna Marie Carter (1974)
Occupation Anthropologist, writer
Nationality American
Period 20th-century
Subject Shamanism
Notable works The Sorcerer’s Crossing: A Woman’s Journey

Taisha Abelar, born Maryann Simko, is an American writer and anthropologist who was a close associate of Carlos Castaneda. She disappeared shortly after Castaneda's death in 1998.[1]


Abelar met Castaneda when she was 19 years old and a student at University of California, Los Angeles where she eventually earned her Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Anthropology.[2] In 1973, Castaneda purchased a compound on Pandora Avenue in Westwood, Los Angeles, and soon after Abelar (she was still known as Maryann Simko at this time), along with Regine Thal and Kathleen Pohlman, who would come to be known collectively as "the witches", moved in. In 1974, Samurai magazine published photos of Regine Thal doing karate exercises. In the article, Abelar is called "Anna Marie Carter".[3]

In keeping with Castaneda’s philosophy of "erasing personal history", the witches maintained a tight veil of secrecy. They used numerous aliases and generally did not allow themselves to be photographed. Not long after moving into Castaneda’s compound Maryann Simko changed her name to Taisha Abelar. Likewise, Regine Thal changed her name to Florinda Donner and Kathleen Pohlman hers to Carol Tiggs.

Abelar claimed to have been one of Don Juan’s four students and says she spent a year in his “magical house” in Mexico. In 1992, her book The Sorcerer’s Crossing: A Woman’s Journey, which documents the training she received from the female members of don Juan’s group, was published by Viking Books.

Through the 1990s, Abelar and the other witches started giving workshops in Tensegrity for Cleargreen Incorporated, a company formed by Castaneda for that purpose.

She disappeared around the time of Castaneda’s death in 1998 and has not been heard from since.



  1. ^ Marshall, Robert (April 12, 2007). "The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda". Salon.com. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ Wallace (2003), p. 405
  3. ^ Wallace (2003), p. 29


  • Wallace, Amy (2003). Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda. Frog Books. ISBN 978-1-58394-076-1.