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Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Carlos Castaneda talks about illuminated spheres that emanate from people and also rove about the place—it’s his contention that the universe is made up from filaments of light, not unlike ordinary light except which emanate awareness. He describes the light totality—or his shaman, Don Juan, does anyway—as “the Eagle”; and I find that interests from a synchronistic perspective because the day before I read it I spoke of Muhammad in the Arizona desert with an eagle. Castaneda’s account chimes with my experiences of orbs, light strings, and “fairy lights” strung across fields—and the soul has traditionally been taken to be spherical. It looks like he was on to something.

Castaneda has a bad reputation these days—it’s because he was so popular in the late 1960s and 1970s and now he’s considered very passé, if not a bit cringy. He was also walloped with a lot of “sex cult” rumours and was “debunked” because his shaman, DJ, apparently didn’t exist—as noted two articles back, whether or not Don Juan existed or not in the scientific sense is neither here nor there. He existed as a poetic conceit, if nothing else—perhaps an embellishment of someone Castaneda knew. As for the sex cult, Castaneda lived with four women—one of who went missing after he died and was never found—but this itself relates to something he wrote as regards a prophetic man who lived with four (esoteric significance) women.

Castaneda’s Don Juan was very keen on caves—something else I mentioned in the article (I came across the Castaneda book I read today by serendipity). The cave: it’s in Mohammad’s story, it’s where the old man in the mountain lives—it’s the centre of the labyrinth (surely Jesus in the wilderness was a cave habitué too?). Castaneda speaks of the “silent knowledge” that is forgotten—just like Serrano’s logos, the invisible sound surrounded by an air shimmer. That which you know without words, intuition—that which is forbidden.


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