Thirty years ago the University of California Press published a remarkable manuscript by an anthropology student named Carlos Castaneda. "The Teachings of Don Juan" initiated a generation of seekers dissatisfied with the limitations of the Western worldview. Castaneda's now classic book remains controversial for the alternative way of seeing that it presents and the revolution in cognition it demands. In a series of fascinating dialogues, Castaneda sets forth his partial initiation with don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian shaman from the state of Sonora, Mexico. He describes Don Juan's perception and mastery of the "non-ordinary reality" and how peyote and other plants sacred to the Mexican Indians were used as gateways to the mysteries of "dread, " "clarity, " and "power."
"A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide-awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it will live to regret his steps."