Sorcerers and Shamans:
Carlos Castaneda
and Don Juan

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Course Description

This course examines the controversial writings of Carlos Castaneda, whose
doctoral dissertation concerning his apprenticeship to Don Juan, a Yaqui
sorcerer, became a best-seller in the 1970s. Many readers were inspired to
take up the path of the shaman by this book and its sequels. Castaneda
and his mentor, Don Juan, still have a considerable cult following, despite
controversy over Castaneda´s Ph.D. in anthropology, and allegations of hoaxing.
We will read both Castaneda and the work of the psychologist Richard DeMille
and others, who simultaneously debunk and revalidate Castaneda´s writings.
What makes a work authentic? What is the difference between a work of
scholarship, a work of fiction, and a religious revelation? We will also read and
discuss general work on sorcerers and shamans, in scholarship and popular
culture, and ethnomethodology. No prerequisites.


Jesus or Piltdown Man?

[Don Juan is] "the most important paradigm since Jesus" -- Joseph Chilton Pearce

"Don Juan may be the biggest hoax in anthropology since the Piltdown man" -- Marcello Truzzi



Previously Offered:



Next Offered:

Summer 2004


To Register

Washington University Online Course Catalog

WebSTAC (online course registration)


Time and Place


Summer 2004

ReSt 120 (Q) [U66] Sorcerers and Shamans: Carlos Castaneda and Don Juan
-MTWT--- 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM [
Eads 216]

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Notes and Links

(This page is under development; suggestions are welcome. Please contact Jerome Bauer)

(Note: Neither I nor anyone else at Washington University necessarily endorses these sites)



New Religious Movements (NRMs) Links

Pluralism Project (Harvard University Committee on the Study of Religion)

Religious Movements Homepage Project (University of Virginia)

Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: About Cult Groups

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: Religious Movements

Apologetics Index of Cults, Sects, New Religious Movements, Alternative Relgiions, etc.

Cult Awareness and Information Centre

Eastern Cults and Isms Alternative Religions

Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions
MOBIUS Holdings


Castaneda Links

Carlos Castaneda's Magical Passes

Carlos Castaneda and New Age Shamanism

Carlos Castaneda Information

Carlos Castaneda is, well, y'know, like maybe

The Teachings of Carlos Castaneda: Castanedianism

Sustained Action: Book Summary of Richard DeMille's Castaneda's Journey

Online Review of The Don Juan Papers: Further Castaneda Controversies by Richard DeMille

A Worthy Opponent by Richard DeMille

The Writings of Carlos Castaneda: Sorcery, Mythology, or Both?

Some Readings on Cultural Appropriations, Native America, and the New Age

The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge
Castaneda, Carlos. 1998. Berkeley: University of California Press
E99.Y3 C3 1998 Olin Level B Stacks

A Separate Reality: Further Conversations with Don Juan
Castaneda, Carlos. 1971. New York: Simon and Schuster
E99 Y3 C29 c.2 Olin Level B Stacks

Castaneda's Journey: The Power and the Allegory
De Mille, Richard. 1978. Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press
F 1221 Y3 C374 1978 Olin Level B Stacks

The Don Juan Papers: Further Castaneda Controversies
De Mille, Richard, ed. 1980. Santa Barbara, CA: Ross-Erikson
F1221 Y3 C375 Olin Level B Stacks


Yoga Links

Yoga Centers USA

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Yoga: Cakras Index 

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