The Teachings of Don Juan
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Cover of 30th anniversary edition
|Genre||Anthropology, Memoir, New-age|
|Publisher||University of California Press|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|Followed by||A Separate Reality|
The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge was published by the University of California Press in 1968 as a work of anthropology. It was written by Carlos Castaneda and submitted as his Master’s thesis in the school of Anthropology. It documents the events that took place during an apprenticeship with a self-proclaimed Yaqui Indian Sorcerer, don Juan Matus from Sonora, Mexico between 1960 and 1965.
The book is divided into two sections. The first section, The Teachings, is a first person narrative that documents Castaneda's initial interactions with don Juan. He speaks of his encounters with Mescalito (a teaching spirit inhabiting all peyote plants), divination with lizards (by using a hallucinogenic powder rubbed on his temples to understand their language), and flying in animal form using the "Devil's Weed" (the datura plant). The second, A Structural Analysis, is an attempt, Castaneda says, at "disclos[ing] the internal cohesion and the cogency of don Juan’s Teachings."
The 30th anniversary edition, published by the University of California Press in 1998, contains commentary by Castaneda not present in the original edition. He writes of a general discouragement from the project by his professors (besides Dr. Clement Meighan, a professor who supported the project early in its conception. In the forward, Castaneda gives "full credit" for the approval of his dissertation to Meighan.) He offers a new thesis on a mind-state he calls "total freedom" and claims that he used the teachings of his Yaqui shaman as "springboards into new horizons of cognition".  In addition, it contains a foreword by anthropologist Walter Goldschmidt, who was a professor of anthropology at UCLA during the time the books were written, and an introduction by the author.
- Castaneda, Carlos. The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. Berkeley: U of California P, 1998: 155.
- Castaneda, Carlos. The Teachings of Don Juan. New York: Eagle's Trust, 1998. Google books. Web. 26 Nov. 2014. http://books.google.com