Feb 11, 2008

Journey to Ixtlan

I finished reading Journey to Ixtlan the Lessons of Don Juan tonight and I am surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I found the book to be interesting and funny. Journey to Ixtlan is the third book by Carlos Castaneda that tells the story of his tutelage under the Yaqui sorcerer Don Juan while he was a college student studying hallucinogen plants in the desert Southwest. The Journey to Ixtlan is filled with magic, death, and supernatural power. The stories are purported by Castaneda to be true, but many believe Don Juan is a made up character. Ultimately, I don't think it really matters, because Journey to Ixtlan is such a unique tale that it is worth reading regardless of the origin of the story. It seems more than likely that some of what Castaneda has written was fueled by the use of some of the hallucinogens that he was studying while he was writing the book. Although Don Juan is Native American, I found the book to be full of Buddhist and Existentialist parallels. Castaneda uses beautiful imagery to tell his tale. This is one of my favorite quotes:
...For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I wanted to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while; in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.
Don Juan

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