By Eric Vandenbroeck and co-workers

The Truth about Carlos Castaneda

As already detailed in an earlier more extensive article all evidence other than 'belief' points to the fact that Carlos Castaneda was a hoaxer influential in the psychedelic drug culture of the 1960s and 1970s.

Manuel Carballal, the author of 'The Secret Life of Carlos Castaneda,' compares Carlos Castaneda to Charles Manson. "The difference between them is that Castaneda got something more remarkable than to induce people to kill: he got them to commit suicide."

The author went to the archives of UCLA, the CIA, the FBI and the Lima School of Art. The extensive research shows dozens of photos and official documents that illustrate the life of Castaneda, starting with his birth certificate where his real name is revealed as César Salvador Arana Castañeda:

Manuel Carballal writes in his book that when Carlos Arana Castañeda, arrived in San Francisco from the town of Cajamarca, in Peru, he did it like many other immigrants looking for a better life. He worked as a taxi driver and bookseller, and his friends called him "brujo" since he was fascinated with the occult.

"He left a wife and an illegitimate daughter, Charito, who was the reason behind his decision to erase his past," the Carballal explains. Later in the US according to Carballal Castaneda would mary three more times.

After collecting dozens of calligraphic samples of Castaneda (autographs, official documents, labor contracts, etc.), Manuel Carballal, orders a judicial calligraphic expert to contrast the signatures, from the Castaneda of UCLA with the letters that Carlos César Arana Castañeda sent his sister Lucy to Cajamarca indeed confirming that this is the same person.

Amy Wallace believed Carlos made up his literary figure as a composite of many teachers. These included Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo, of Sufi tradition, his hero, philosopher Alan Watts, Swami Muktananda, Swami Vivekananda, and many more.

Carlos claimed that Don Juan taught him to leap off cliffs and not die. And one of his three female companions later wrote that:

"Increasing speculation, based on mounting evidence, leads me to the conclusion that the five women who left Los Angeles shortly after Carlos' death have committed suicide. Cleargreen employees report the women as 'traveling' and 'overseeing' the business from afar but give no further details." (Amy Wallace The Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda)

According to Amy Wallace, in 2003, hikers discovered a woman's skeletal remains at the edge of the Panamint Dunes in Death Valley. The skull was missing, probably carried off by animals. Scraps from a pair of pink jogging pants with a small knife in one pocket littered the site.

Authorities had little doubt who the woman was. Five years before, in 1998, an immaculate red Ford Escort had been impounded at the end of a desolate road leading to the dunes. The car belonged to 41-year-old Los Angeles resident Patricia Lee Partin, aka Nuri (Nury) Alexander, a longtime disciple of "the godfather of the new age" Carlos Castaneda.

The discovery of Alexander's remains left more questions than answers. The coroner couldn't determine the cause of death. The scene provided no clues to the whereabouts of the four other women who had been in Castaneda's inner circle — Regine Margarita Thal (aka Florinda Donner), Dr. Maryann Simko (aka Taisha Abelar), Dee Ann Ahlvers (aka Kylie Lundahl) and Amalia Marquez (aka Talia Bey). They had all disappeared in the days following Castaneda's death from liver cancer on April 27, 1998. They have not been heard from since.


Enter Carlos Castaneda

Peruvian-born Castaneda had been a mysterious, elusive counter-culture curio since 1968. That year, the University of California Press published his lyrical book, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. A masterful storyteller, Castaneda claimed the tome was a factual account of his decade of studies conducted. At the same time, he was a UCLA anthropology student with a Native American shaman named don Juan Matus. The latter had taught him the ways of magic and the universe with the help of peyote and psychedelic mushrooms.

The book was a phenomenon. According to biographer Mike Sager, author of Shaman: The Mysterious Life and Impeccable Death of Carlos Castaneda, it sold 16,000 copies a week. Castaneda was embraced by everyone from Joyce Carol Oates to Jim Morrison ("Yoko is my don Juan," John Lennon once said). In his subsequent 11 books, Castaneda claimed to have become a shapeshifter who experienced the supernatural freedom of traveling between planetary dimensions.

Awarded a Ph.D. by UCLA in 1973, the suave and charming Castaneda had already begun collecting young acolytes from the world of academia. He hated being photographed, meaning that almost no photographs of him existed, adding to the air of mystery and drama that swirled around him.

"In the '70s, there was a sense of this great excitement around him, and there was this sense that they were part of this avant-garde cause," said writer robert(a) marshall, co-producer of the podcast Trickster and author of the upcoming book Carlos Castaneda: American Trickster. "But with Carlos, you never knew exactly what the cause was. They were going to bring about a revolution, but who knew exactly what that revolution meant?"

This vagueness was evident in every aspect of Castaneda's life. He refused to be photographed and rarely gave interviews. There was probably a good reason for this. Almost every story he told — from the details of his background to tales of his time with don Juan — was a fabrication. By the early 1970s, investigative journalists and researchers were finding massive holes in his accounts and questioning the existence of the mysterious don Juan.

In 1976, Richard DeMille, son of director Cecil B. DeMille, published Castaneda’s Journey, a point-by-point repudiation of Castaneda's tale of don Juan. He noted that Castaneda kept no field notes, incorrectly used Native terms, inaccurately described Native practices, and everything he claimed to have uncovered was already known to anthropologists and researchers.

For those who found meaning in Castaneda's work, these pointed critiques didn't matter. UCLA also stayed silent on the matter, although the university had promoted and published the work of a proven charlatan.

In 1973, Castaneda settled into a sparse but elegant 1920s Spanish-style compound on Pandora Avenue in Westwood, where he lived until he died in 1998. The best-selling author and Castaneda follower Amy Wallace, who died in 2013, described her first visit to the compound in her memoir, Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

"Taking my hand, he led me through a wrought-iron gate, into a verdant, mini-orchard of fruit trees — luscious figs, kumquats, oranges, peaches. One wall was covered with the climbing rosemary in which I had bathed, the plant born of don Juan’s cutting… The house was astonishingly spare. White plaster walls, wooden floors, and no furniture besides the simplest necessities… A quick peek into his bedroom revealed a largish, long room furnished with a queen-sized bed, a bedside table, and a long, simply-constructed desk covered with piles of papers, a book of 'Canciónes' (Spanish folk songs), and a voluminous Spanish/English dictionary."

Castaneda did not live in the compound alone. He had his students with him. "He had brickwork put in that mimics the brickwork at UCLA… There was an idea of having a sort of alternate academy," Marshall said.

The stars of this "academy" were attractive, intelligent young women who moved into the compound, which he nicknamed "the witches' house." Over the decades, dozens of acolytes would flow out of Castaneda's orbit as he morphed into the leader of a high-control group that used sex as a weapon and cut off members from their families and past identities.

The five women who disappeared in 1998 had devoted their lives to Castaneda's needs and beliefs. "He wanted smart people and brilliant women he could subdue and control," Marshall said. Taisha Abelar, one of Castaneda's "three witches," was a talented and demure UCLA anthropology student who became one of his earliest followers.

Taisha wrote about her shamanistic journey in The Sorcerer’s Crossing. Castaneda classified her as a "stalker" who participated in "the theater of the real." As fellow witch Florinda told Wallace:

"When a true stalker becomes free of ego, he or she assumes different personalities; none are more real than another. A stalker lives them in 'the Theatre of the Real,' with total abandon. It's no game — it's life or death to assume these roles."

Taisha claimed to have inhabited multiple lives on her journey to enlightenment, posing as a man in a Buddhist monastery, a tree-house dwelling "ape girl," and a debutante in Mexico.

Her opposite was the "dreamer" (who entered alternate worlds through her dreams), Florinda Donner. The magnetic leader of the witches, her writings, feisty lectures, and charisma drew countless seekers into Castaneda's orbit. "She reminded me of a wild bird, alert and untamed. Her nickname, 'the hummingbird,' suited her to perfection, for she was a diminutive, beautiful creature in perpetual motion," Wallace writes in Sorcerer's Apprentice.

One of Castaneda's greatest victims was Nuri Alexander, who joined Taisha and Florinda in the late 1970s.

"She was a high school dropout, a waitress. She was a talented and artistic young woman. Still, she got pulled into the group at such a young age that she did not have the chance even to have an adult identity," marshall said. Castaneda cast Nuri as a magical alien, his otherworldly "daughter," who he also slept with.

According to Wallace, Nuri acted like an overexcited, petulant child, playing with dolls into her 40s, and being constantly objectified by Castaneda. "You should see my daughter naked! Wowie Zimbowie," he told Wallace.

Even as Castaneda's star power dimmed and retreated into his Westwood coven in the 1980s and '90s, he continued to attract followers. Talia, a whip-smart businesswoman and entrepreneur was president of Cleargreen Inc., which organized Castaneda's workshops and promoted Tensegrity, a spiritual system created by Casteneda, Florinda, Taisha, and fellow witch Carol Tiggs.

Kylie Lundahl, who Wallace considered Castaneda's most honest, loyal, and earnest devotee, was also constantly singled out for abuse and manipulation by Castaneda.

"She moved to California in 1985 looking for that person to take her to the next level," her sister writes on 4missingwomen, a website created by lost women's families. "She found Carlos Castaneda. Within four years, she contacted me, saying she needed to detach from all her worldly possessions and relationships to continue her life journey. I never heard from her again."

According to marshall, life inside the Pandora home had the air of a sophisticated monastery. "You might see them practicing karate in the backyard. There was a sense of a very artistic way of living and a very old-fashioned kind of living. You had to be gentle and very intelligent. There would be talent nights that happened somewhat later. He had something called the 'sorcery theater.' They put on performances. You did not do things like sit around and watch TV, right? That would have been hugely frowned upon."

Out in the world, members cut an elegant appearance. They wore sleek Armani suits, boasted severe short haircuts (cut by Castaneda if you were exceptional), and were rail thin since fatness was "not sorcery," according to Castaneda. The women frequented Beverly Hills restaurant Trumps (no connection to Donald) and shopped at Westwood's most exclusive stores, leading Wallace to dub them the "witches who lunch."


A high-control hotbed

Behind the polished sheen and collegiate air was a hotbed of mental abuse, sexual manipulation, and cruelty.

"Castaneda loved complexity and tricks and the most elaborate kind of mind games. Everybody wants his approval, and he's constantly playing people off against each other. Elevating one, then denigrating the other… just constant mind games. It's a general kind of thing in a culture of any kind of totalitarian regime," marshall said.

Acolytes were encouraged to play mental games with their families if they hadn't cut them off completely. They often got in trouble for the slightest, nonsensical infractions and were constantly told to perform tasks they could never complete correctly in Castaneda and the Witches' eyes.

"Gaslighting loved ones was an act of bravery, worthy of a warrior who had renounced the repugnant social order. Stories should be forever changing, proof positive of a disciple's 'fluidity,'" Wallace writes. She had known Castaneda since the 1970s and was lured into the group in the early '90s when he convinced her that her recently deceased father, Irving, a best-selling author, had willed them to be together.

Wallace soon became one of Castaneda's many lovers, but only after she had purified herself using plants he gave her to remove the worms he claimed had been implanted in her womb by other men.

"When Carlos was having an orgasm, he repeated his command to 'pull the sperm' to my brain and alter my mind's composition. He said I was already a witch, having made love to him and that any man who had sex with me henceforth would receive magical benefits — a sort of free pass to Infinity and freedom. I called it 'the MileagePlus Program,' but Carlos didn't laugh," she writes.

Despite Castaneda's claims that women were more powerful than men, marshall thinks the notion that the women were in control is ludicrous.

"The only one in my view… who had a shot of doing anything independent was Florinda because, among other things, she had the goods on Castaneda. He would say, 'Oh, Carol is so powerful. I can't do anything without her!' But that's all bullshit. He was controlling everything," Marshall said.

Indeed, the witches parroted Castaneda's patriarchal beliefs, which placed him at the center of their enlightenment. "Men have to travel upwards, step by step as if ascending a ladder. They are meticulous and more sober-minded, which we are not. This is because they have to struggle in a way that we don't. This is why the leader of our group, the nagual, is always a male. Men have sobriety, and women need that," Florinda told Wallace.

They also excused Castaneda's extreme verbal abuse. He often screamed at Wallace, calling her a whore, a fuck-up, a puta and a woman "raised with a silver spoon up your culo." The senior witch was unimpressed when Wallace confided in Florinda about Castaneda's cruelty. "It was only abuse, she insisted, if I viewed Carlos' attack from the human perspective, believing him to be a mere mortal," Wallace writes.

Most of the women, who had been pitted against each other by Castaneda for decades, did not get along, according to marshall. In her memoir, Wallace says they also verbally and mentally abused each other, constantly excluding and including eager followers, often acting like the meanest of mean girls.


Into the void

As the '90s progressed, the group's tenor grew darker and more fatalistic. "Well, before he's sick, Castaneda's talking continually about leaping, that we're going to have to do it. We're going to have to do it together. It's essential that this thing that they're going to do is rarely clearly defined. It's always in metaphor," marshall said.

These talks intensified as Castaneda, ravaged by diabetes and liver cancer, started to fade away. As he realized he was dying, Castaneda's cruelty increased, according to Wallace. "As he became increasingly ill, Carlos' plots to subvert his apprentices' relations with their families grew ever more perverse," she writes.

A follower named Bill told Wallace he was disgusted with how Castaneda treated his inner circle: "He'd always been hard on the women, but it was turning into something else, something terribly abusive. I couldn't stand to watch it."

In the early months of 1998, the group was in shock, watching their guru not burn from within — like a true sorcerer, like the mythical don Juan — but die a slow, painful human death.

"This is not the death of a nagual! He's not supposed to die this way!" Taisha told Wallace. "It isn't right; something has gone wrong. It must be… be — his karma. He's paying for the bad things he did… There's no other explanation!"

It became apparent to Wallace that some of the inner circle were planning on dying by suicide. There was talk of guns and pills, and Florinda asked certain people if they would "leave" with their leader into the next world.

"It's right there in the books. You don't have to go too far. He's laying out how, if you have sufficient intent and will and train yourself, you will take the leap and will not have to die. You will be able to navigate infinity with Carlos," Marshall sayd.

In the spring of 1988, obsessive Castaneda fans, known as "the Followers," who often staked out the compound on Pandora, noticed a huge increase of activity in the usually serene headquarters. In Shaman: The Mysterious Life and Impeccable Death of Carolos Castaneda, Sager writes:

"People came and went in shifts several times a day, bringing with them supplies and covered dishes of food. The members of the inner circle all got new cars, mostly mid-sized Fords. A new roof was put on the house… the Followers got the feeling the place was being readied for sale. When landscapers arrived and began tearing up the internal courtyard… the Followers couldn't help but wonder if they were digging a grave."

According to Wallace, the last time she saw Kylie (who she called Astrid) was when Kylie appeared at Wallace’s apartment and burned the galleys of Castaneda's books and her letters and journals.

"She wrapped her muscular arms around me and lifted me up like a little girl, as she had done so many times over the years. I was tiny in her embrace, gaily airborne. "My little elf!" she laughed, radiant. Astrid's hugs were famous among us and I knew it was our last hug. So did she. As she walked out the door, smiling, our eyes met for a long, long time."

As unknowing motorists sped by, Carlos Castaneda died on April 27, 1998, in his Pandora Avenue compound. It was not announced until June 19, when the Los Angeles Times reported on the death under the headline “A Hushed Death for Mystic Author Carlos Castaneda.” By that time, the five women were long gone.

The day after the news hit the press, Cleargreen, Inc. stated about his passing. According to Sager:

"Carlos Castaneda left the world the same way that his teacher, Don Juan Matus did: with full awareness," the statement read in part. "The cognition of our world of everyday life does not provide for a description of a phenomenon such as this. So in keeping with the terms of legalities and record keeping that the world of everyday life requires, Carlos Castaneda was declared to have died."


The aftermath

The delayed announcement of Castaneda's death and decades of estrangement meant that the missing women's family members were unaware of their disappearance for many months.

"Maybe a year later or so, some people called and told us all the women had disappeared. They might have killed themselves. So we immediately went to Los Angeles and tried to approach Cleargreen… Nobody wanted to help," Talia's brother told the Pahrump Valley Times in 2014.

Over the years, there have been sightings and rumors about women's fate. Neither Taisha's van nor Kylie's Taurus has ever been found.

"Rumors said they left Los Angeles by plane, boat, and car, on their way to Death Valley, Mexico, South America or the Netherlands," the families state on the 4missingwomen website.

marshall believes the idea that the women went to another state or country to start a new life is implausible.

"People close to them very understandably want to believe that, but there are several problems. One is that there's no record of any financial transactions happening… For most of them, their job since the early '70s had been to be a witch or a cult member. They did not have skills other than that. Yes, they appear to be these amazing, powerful women but only within a particular context. The other thing is that they didn't get along."

Cleargreen, which continues to promote Castaneda's Tensegrity teachings, did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

marshall hopes his new book on Castaneda, published by the University of California Press in 2022, will finally force UCLA to face the fact that the university promoted and supported a dangerous fraudster.

"Hopefully, this will be a moment in which they take some ownership of what occurred. Once you get people to buy into something and they have spent a sufficient amount of time defending it, it's tough for them to admit they were wrong, and he knew that," Marshall said.

Perhaps the fate of the four missing women will someday be uncovered through forensics, genealogy, or by accident, but signs point to their earthly lives ending around Castaneda's death.

"At the end of book four, Carlos jumps into an abyss," Marshall said. "And I think that's what they did."

Upon reading The Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda one cannot fail to notice that it is written from an admirers point of view, and gives little or no information about Carlos Castaneda or/and his student's true background in the sense of its history of ideas. But Amy Wallace did meet him and was his lover hence she is an important witness.

Following comments are based on a two hour conversation with Castaneda’s ex wife in 1981. She was married to Castaneda for 13 years starting in 1960, the period Castaneda wrote his first books. I did my best, age 20 as I was at the time, to have most of what she told me confirmed by independent research.

As that time already revealed by Time Magazine Castaneda studied painting and sculpture at the National School of Fine Arts in Lima Peru, where he was born, and came as an exchange student to the US. I personally saw the terra cotta bust of his father Ceésar Arana Burungaray made by Carlos "Burungaray" Castaneda, pictured below.

In contrast Castaneda claimed that he was born at São Paulo, Brazil, into a well-known family of Italian descent which was not true. He claimed to his wife that he had been born on "Christmas day" in Italy, and that his mother had finished school in "Switzerland." Instead his mother as Times Magazine team found out, was raised in Lima just like his father.

Living with a foster family he next studied parapsychology at Los Angeles City College from 1955 to 1959. Also in 1959 he became an American citizen and that is when he took the name Castaneda.

Carlos Castaneda: Academic Opportunism and Psychedelic Sixties by Jay Courtney Fikes himself a New Age Anthropologist (1996) in contrast to Castaneda,  did real fieldwork, and Fikes came to the conclusion that the insights of "Don Juan" were taken "from esoteric and occult tradition," and that Castaneda was in the business of turning shamanic experience into a consumer product to be sold in the market place.

As the prime source of Castanedas writings I would argue however that in essence, the no doubt fictional "don Juan," was talking phenomenology. (A topic by the way also heavily relied on by Krishnamurti but that is a different story.)

This was a field Carlos Castaneda had begun gravitating toward at UCLA, largely because of Harold Garfinkel, one of the nations' leading phenomenologists and professor of his.

Garfinkel taught that socialization was a process of convincing each individual that generally agreed upon descriptions actually define limits of the real world. What he was saying was that people generally agree on something being real and true and, therefore, it becomes real and true; the view of a few random schizophrenics, catatonics and autistic children notwithstanding.

"I have begun to understand sorcery in terms of Talcott Parsons' idea of glosses," Carlos said to his newly wedded wife in 1960. "A gloss is a total system of perception and language. For instance, this room is a gloss. We have lumped together a series of isolated perceptions-floor, ceiling, window, lights, rugs, etc.-to make a single totality."

Appearing at the height of the psychedelic 60s, Castaneda’s first book as is known, struck a chord and became a best-seller. It was followed by A Separate Reality (1971), Journey to Ixtlan (1972), and many others. Ironic is that these books as I found out  were taken with surprising seriousness by the academic community: Walter Goldschmidt, a senior professor of anthropology at UCLA, wrote a foreword to Teachings, and when Castaneda submitted Journey to Ixtlan under a different title as his doctoral dissertation, UCLA awarded him a PhD.

But doubts soon surfaced. Experts pointed out that Don Juan's "teachings" bore little resemblance to actual Yaqui Indian religious beliefs. Hallucinogenic mushrooms didn't grow in the Sonoran Desert, where Don Juan supposedly lived. Anyone who'd gone walking for hours in the desert at the hottest time of the day, as Castaneda claimed he and Don Juan had done, would surely have died of sunstroke.

One the one side Castaneda's apologists like Amy Wallace (2003) say it doesn't matter, the books contain deep truths. With skeptics on the other hand concluding that Castaneda was a con man and his books are a hoax.

Like in the case of so many other esoteric spokespersons before and after (maybe most evident in Rudolf Steiner’s very "visible" work), like Religious spokespersons, if looked at it from the viewpoint of visionary art, do not need to be dismissed as only ‘frauds’.

In fact the issues usually come pushed to the forefront once the gullibility of "true believers," or worse, "religious fundamentalists," start a polarization process in their missionary zeal to find "converts."

As for Castaneda’s "history of ideas" another philosopher-magician had come on the scene. In the beginning, he seemed to have all the credentials, a position in academia and a kinky streak of abandon, and Carlos began reading all he could find about Dr. Timothy Leary.

Many of Leary’s ideas had come from Huxley's utopian novel Island, in which the futurist Pala Islanders ate visionary mushrooms, practiced Tantric Buddhism, hypnotism, eugenics, painless childbirth and multi-parental upbringing of children.

Carlos that time would talk a lot about Leary and his psychedelics and his liberation of experiments from the lab. This business of moving the whole thing out of the lab and into private apartments or out into the desert or someplace, anyplace, everyplace, seemed quite important to Carlos. Leary's experiments had the vague look of legitimate scientific inquiry. At least in Carlos' mind they did, and so he paid particular attention to Leary.

But at a party where a group of academics were invited Carlos received a different impression of Leary; "What's your astrological sign?" asked Tim Leary.

Carlos mumbled something about being a Capricorn, Leary nodded and sneered. "A structure freak," he said.


The Making of Don Juan "Mateus."

Much of the actual writing of The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge was done at his apartment. After his first peyote experiences back in 1961 his ex wife reported. He presented it to Professor Garfinkel, but Garfinkel didn't want to read some student's subjective assessment.

So Carlos rewrote and expanded it and showed the work to him again a few years later. But the old man still was put off by all the academic jargon and psychological explanations of don Juan's behavior.

By the time Carlos had quit school however  he decided to work through the manuscript in its entirety again, and this time when he finished it , he went up to the third floor of Haines Hall but this time he dropped it on the desk of Meigham who he had occasionally talked with.

Meighan recalls: "He asked me to read it and give some comments and advise."

Meighan next suggested that he go over and talk with somebody at the University of California Press, which was just across the lawn from Haines Hall, in the basement of Powell Library. He also suggested that Carlos not present his manuscript as something for the anthropology series, or any other series for that matter, but as a trade book with general readership.

By September, after many delays, it was obvious that the University of California Press would publish it. Bill Bright told the board members that the book was oke, Meighan agreed.

At the same time, The Great Fear had reared up at Haines Hall, that haunting, almost unspeakable worry that maybe the whole thing was some kind of elaborate hoax. Nobody really knew how shrewd Carlos was. He had few credentials to fall back on. Maybe he had let his peyote visions roll and was now pulling the pinstripe shank of bluenose academia.

"I can believe what he's telling me," Meighan told the editorial board. "It was the same thing he'd been telling everybody for months. The sorts of things he is coming in with are too damned good."

Meighan went on like this, assuring, proselytizing, assuaging The Great Fear.

And Carlos told his wife: "It doesn't matter whether you are in the Sonoran desert or on the San Diego Freeway, it is all the same."

A final anecdote that appeared significant to me was when his wife described:

"During February of 1973, Carlos traveled to New York to talk with his publisher about Tales of Power and invited me to join him there for a few days. But by now he had become quite dictatorial, ordering me all around. When I got back home to Charleston, West Virginia, I filed for divorce. something that I had meant to do for years. Then Carlos called who said he was confused by the notice of divorce. I complained about his strange attitude and behavior in New York.

There was a long silence, finally, he asked me to repeat all that about his attitude in New York. Which I did- Carlos listened and then solemnly confessed that 'I wasn't in New York at the Drake Hotel in February,' he said. 'I didn't see you there then.'

I thought for a moment and wondered why he would lie about something like this. Somebody was there, that's for sure. What kind of bizarre schizophrenia was I dealing with here anyway? And then suddenly, it dawned on me-what a magnificent new level he had slipped on everybody. What a marvelous new twist."

Around the time Castaneda died in April 1998, his companions Donner-Grau, Abelar and Patricia Partin informed friends they were leaving on a long journey. Tensegrity instructor Kylie Lundahl, along with Cleargreen president Amalia Marquez (also known as Talia Bey), also left Los Angeles. In 2006, Partin’s sun-bleached skeleton was discovered by a pair of hikers in Death Valley’s Panamint Dunes area and was identified by DNA testing. The investigating authorities ruled Partin’s death as undetermined. The fates of the other women are to this day unknown. Sean Munger wrote a fairly good 2013 article about the disappearances here. And an informed 2014 article about the disappearance of Amalia Marquezcan be read here.

The leadership of Cleargreen However maintains the stance that the witches aren't dead they're just traveling their official statement read for the moment the witches are not going to appear personally at the workshops because they want this dream to take wings.

Not to mention that ever since Carlos Castaneda died of cancer in 1988, unveiling the truth to his followers who had spent fortunes on his "tensegrity" courses, many refused to believe it.

"The Nahual is a sorcerer," they said. "It was his double who died." Hence Cleargreen to this day continues to sell courses based on Castaneda's books.

Also throughout 2019 Cleargreen has been hosting ongoing series of multi-day workshops available to anyone willing to pay the registration fee which can cost thousands of dollars depending on the duration and topic of the class. Here students had been trapped by the deadly vision of a liar but those same followers would respond that in reality, their experience all comes down to perception...

And Asian Martial Arts teacher in Los Angeles claimed that Castaneda had studied with him the year before he launched Tensegrity and Cleargreen and that most of the “magical passes” of Tensegrity were really old Chinese Martial Arts moves that he himself had taught Castaneda.

Below a list of the (only eight) people Sorcerer’s Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda provides concrete information of. Plus details of Carlos Castaneda’s disputed "testament."

1. Given Name (or Worldly Name), 2. -Sorcery Name(s) according to Amy Wallace’s book., 3. -Myth, 4.- What Castaneda and the ‘witches’ said according to Amy Wallace.

5. -What they were really doing. So following a compilation of the eight people Amy Wallace provides concrete information about in her book, 7 women and 1 man they are listed below as A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H.

A: Maryann Sirnko

- Taisha Abelar (and a variety of names for her roles in "the theatre of the real")

 -One of don Juan's four students. A consummate stalker.

- Claimed to have spent over a year living in don Juan's "magical" house in Mexico, and well over a decade as his apprentice. Later changes story claiming to be Castaneda's apprentice only, then in private conversation with Ellis changes story back again, emphasizing an ambiguous "they" who taught her.

-What she was really doing: As a nineteen-year-old UCLA student she meets Castaneda. Receives a Master's degree and Ph.D. in Anthropology at UCLA. Teaches at a community college during the same years she claims to have been in Mexico receiving sorceric training.

In 1974 and 1975 photographs are taken of her performing karate along with Florinda, despite don Juan's dictum against photography. Taisha leaves Los Angeles after Castaneda's death and is never heard from again. Carol tells Ellis she is dead, while Cleargreen publicly states she "is directing the workshops from a distance." Carol later tells Ellis she has visited Taisha at an unknown location. Eflis sends a gift Pia Carol, and Carol returns with a "thank-you" quote so unbelievable that Ellis now believes Taisha is dead, or at least has not met With Carol.

B: Regine ("Gina") Thal

- Christina Casablanca/Florinda Donner-Grau

- One of don Juan's four students. A consummate dreamer.

- In lectures she claims to have studied with don Juan, and is the parent of Tarina, the Orange Scout, along with Castaneda. Her book Being-In -Dreaming states that she met don Juan and his party in July 1970.

-What she was really doing:  Born in Venezuela to German ~migr~s. In September 1970 enrolls in UCLA. Meets Taisha while attending karate class; Taisha introduces her to Castaneda. Is married to a German businessman for five years. They lived in Manhattan Beach until mid-1972, when she divorces.

Full-time student at UCILA in 1972 and 1973-the year don Juan's party was said to have left the world. Receives Master's in Anthropology from UCLA in June 1974. Leaves UCLA before completing her doctoral Program. In September 1975 she is named in Castaneda's Will.

In early 1990’s writes book about her supposed apprenticeship with don Juan, Being-In -Dreaming. In a 1992 interview in Dimensions she states, "Actually, I'm not an apprentice of don Juan. 1 was an apprentice of Castaneda who was an apprentice of don Juan," thus radically contradicting her original story. States in a lecture that don Juan was "very sexually active," contradicting Castaneda's books. Marries Castaneda in September 1993 in Las Vegas, under the name Florinda Donner. Marries Castaneda's agent Simon McKrindle in June 1994, under the name Florinda Grau. States in another of her final lectures that Castaneda "has sex," after publicly stating for ten years that he is celibate.

Disappears in 1998, three days after Castaneda's death. The week before, tells Ellis, "I don't want to be around for the circus that's coming! " Cleargreen claims she is "supervising" current workshops. Callers to Cleargreen, the company sponsoring workshops taught by Castaneda's disciples, are informed that Ms. Grau is "travefing."

her doctoral program. In September 1975 she is named in Castaneda's Mill.

In early 1990’s writes book about her supposed apprenticeship with don Juan, Being-In -Dreaming. In a 1992 interview in Dimensions she states, "Actually, I'm not an apprentice of don Juan. 1 was an apprentice of Castaneda who was an apprentice of don Juan," thus radically contradicting her original story. States in a lecture that don Juan was "very sexually active," contradicting Castaneda's books. Marries Castaneda in September 1993 in Las Vegas, under the name Florinda Donner. Marries Castanecia's agent Simon McKrindle in June 1994, under the name Florinda Grau. States in another of her final lectures that Castaneda "has sex," after publicly stating for ten years that he is celibate.

Disappears in 1998, three days after Castaneda's death. The week before, tells Ellis, "I don't want to be around for the circus that's coming!" Cleargreen claims she is "supervising" current workshops. Callers to Cleargreen, the company sponsoring workshops taught by Castaneda's disciples, are informed that Ms. Grau is "traveling."

F: Kathleen ("Chickie") Pohlinan

-Carol Tiggs/ Muni Alexander/ Carol Aranha/ the nagual woman

- The female counterpart to the nagual. Allegedly disappeared into the "Second Attention" for ten years. "Channels" the "Death Defier," a supernatural character from Carlos' book The Art of Dreaming. Castaneda states publicly that "MunP' (a.k.a. Carol) "controls us -she holds us all in the palm of her hand."

- According to her workshop lectures, she met don Juan and Carlos together when she was nineteen years old, visiting Mexico as an art student.

What she was really doing: Born November 24,1947, in Hollywood. Meets Castaneda in 1968. During the ten years she was supposed to have been in the Second Attention, she was living in Berkeley, California, and the Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles with her mother. She married, then received her acupuncture license in 1981. Carol left her husband; she later tells Ellis that he said, "I knew you'd go back to them."

When Castaneda allows her back into the group, she files for change of name to Muni Alexander. Castaneda tells Ellis and others that sexual relations with Carol "stop the internal dialogue" a step on the way to "inner silence," analogous to enlightenment. Castaneda orders Carol to have sex with various disciples, male and female, as he does with Florinda Donner, while telling disciples she is "a whore."

On September 29, 1993, Carol Muni Tiggs Alexander marries Carlos Aranha in Las Vegas, two days after Castaneda's marriage to Florinda Donner in the same locale. After Castaneda's death she takes an apartment in Westwood, Los Angeles, and becomes a recluse. After Castaneda's will passes probate, she becomes a multimillionaire, living on Castaneda's royalties and Cleargreen seminar income. Tells Ellis that Castaneda "hated women," "broke her heart," and that she is "seriously ill" and "is going to need a lot of therapy." Alternately, she claims to be an "empty, egoless being," declaring, "I have attained inner silence." When asked about her supernatural abilities, Carol generally tells questioners: "You don't have the equipment to comprehend my words, because you are not on my level; we'll discuss it when you have advanced." Speaking of her fellow sorcerers, she tells Ellis, "I don't like what left and I don't like what stayed! "

G: Patricia ("Patti") Partin

- Nury/Nuri Alexander/Claude/Claudine/Nuli/the Blue Scout

- A being from the "inorganic world" incarnated physically through the nagual woman and the nagual Castaneda, introduced privately and publicly as their daughter.

- Castaneda alternately claims his daughter "was raised by don Juan," "was raised by Florinda," "was found in an orphanage," and "raped me at the age of seven." Tells Ellis that she "despises men" and has "the emotional capacity of a seven-year-old." Also tells Elbs that "you are my daughter's double-I can't tell you apart in bed."

Claude has the power to select and reject members of the inner circle, which she exercises with severity. Is said to be "violently jealous" and "an egoless being." Castaneda announces that she posesses "non-human sexual organs." Appears normal when she dances naked for the inner circle.

What she was really doing: Born in Southern California in 1957. Does not finish high school. Works as a waitress in 1976. Marries Mark Silliphant in 1977, son of Hollywood writer/producer Stirling Silliphant, who at one rinic planned to film a version of Castaneda's first book. Separates ~rom husband nineteen days after marriage, then divorces. It is assumed that he also was involved in the group. Mark has refused to speak publicly on this topic. Castaneda supports her in lavish style r 1 or the rest of her life. She cuts ties with her family in 1977 or '78, sending them a letter presumably dictated by Carlos. Castaneda adopts her as his daughter in the iggos.

Was last seen leaving Castaneda's home shortly after his death, and stalkers reported seeing her driving in Los Angeles over a two-week period thereafter. However, certain inner circle members are that she "burned from within" inside the house, or "burned the nagual." Her car is soon found abandoned in Death Valle~ . California. Carol tells Ellis that Claude attempted a bloody suicide in a desert hotel room, and claims to have brought her "miffions m :ash" advising her to "open a print shop in Ireland and be excited her future." Muni tells Ellis that she clings to her "mother's" ~,,~-ailing, "I'm a failure, I'm a failure!" When a journalist contac----TheBlue Scoiat's" family, her sister writes the following reply:

Name: Kim Partin Date: Thursday, November 11, 1999, list read about my sister, Patty Partin. Glad to see she is being exposed for what she is-a complete and utter phony, not to mention a con artist. Among her other "attributes," 1 consider her to be a murderess. She kills people in her mind. She killed me and she killed my family. She had "false memories" of a horrible childhood that simply did not exist. To think that people had to hold themselves up to her as the "perfect being" is laughable. 1 could not think of a more twisted, hateful or sick "being," although the part about her not being human does ring true.

H: Marco Antonio Karam

- Tony Lama

- the new nagual

- Tony arranged a Buddhist gathering in Mexico for the Dalai Lama at the pyramids of Teotihuacan. He took photos of the crowd from a height, and on the negatives black winged creatures appeared, corresponding to Carlos' descriptions of alien predators, the Myers" or "voladores. 'This high concentration of people with religious force, Carlos believed, had made it possible for the creatures to anthropomorphize, since their food is egotistical self-absorption (which is what Castaneda believes religious dedication is). This photo is shown to the inner group, then to participants at several workshops in 1995.

What he was really doing: Head of Mexico's Casa Tibet. Meets Castaneda in 1994. Castaneda invites him for visits to Los Angeles, believing he has paranormal powers. Tony organizes and hosts a February 1995 workshop in Mexico, in addition being a linguistic prodigy, providing brilliant translations in Spanish and English. After the omen of the "flyer" photographs, Carlos urges him to relocate to Los Angeles.

The title I initially received-that of "the Electric Warrior," a mythic sorceress of non-parcil gifts-was given to a number of women upon joining the group. We soon learned that this moniker was part of a routine seduction, a game of musical chairs continuing until Carlos' death. But when Carlos told Tony that he was "the new nagual," this was an event unprecedented in Carlos' experience. After much consideration, Tony declined the offer, increasingly convinced that Carlos' stories were fabricated, his methods destructive and debasing. Above all, he was unwilling to promote a philosophy fueled by lies and Byzantine subterfilge. Piqued by this rejection, Castaneda later described Tony as "a liar and an egomaniacal asshole." Tony told Ellis, "I'm not going to leave my life's work to answer phones for the Chacmools."


1, CARLOS CASTANEDA, a resident of the County of Los Angeles, State of California, make, publish and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament, and do hereby revoke all prior Wills made by me. I direct my Executor to pay my funeral expenses, the expenses of my last illness and the expenses of administering my estate.


I am not currently married. I was previously married to MARGARET RUN-YON CASTANEDA, which marnage was terminated by dissolution. Although I once treated him as if were my son, ADRIAN VASHON, also known as C.J. CASTANEDA, is not my son, natural or adopted. I have legally adopted NURI ALEXANDER as my daughter. I have no other issue.


I give, devise and bequeath all my property and estate of every kind and nature and wherever situated, both real and personal, to the Trustee of THE EAGLE'S TRUST (the "Trust"), established pursuant to that certain Declaration of Trust executed on the date on which this Will is executed, by me as Trustor and Deborah Drooz as Trustee, to be added to and become a part of the corpus of the trust estate there under and to be held, administered, and distributed according to the terms and pro visions thereof, including any amendments thereto made prior to the date of my death. To the extent permitted by law, it is not my intent to create a separate trust by this Will or to subject the Trust or the property added to it by this Will to the jurisdiction of the probate court.

If the foregoing disposition to the said Trustee under the Trust is not operative or is invalid for any reason, or if the Trust fails or has been revoked, then 1 hereby incorporate by this reference the terms of the Trust executed on this date, without giving effect to any amendments made subsequently, and 1 give my said property and estate to the Trustee named therein, to be held, administered and distributed as provided in this instrument after incorporating herein the terms of the Trust.


The Trust provides for the payment from a portion of the assets held there under of all taxes incurred or payable by reason of my death, whether or not such taxes are attributable to assets held in that portion of the Trust, or to other assets subject to tax upon my death. If and to the extent that the assets held under the Trust and available for the payment of such taxes shall be insufficient therefore, I direct that all estate, inheritance and succession taxes imposed by the federal government or by any country, state, district or territory and occasioned and payable by reason of my death, whether or not attributable to property to property subject to probate administration, shall be chargeable to and paid out of the residue of my estate provided for under the terms of Article II, above, without apportionment, deduction or reimbursement therefore, and without adjustment thereof among any of the beneficiaries of my estate.


Except as otherwise provided in this Will, I have intentionally and with ftW knowledge omitted to provide for my heirs.


If any devisee, legatee or beneficiary named in this Will, or any person who would be entitled to share in my estate through interstate succession, shall in any manner whatsoever, either directly or indirectly, oppose, contest, or attack this Will or the distribution of my estate hereunder, or seek to impair, invalidate or set aside any of the provisions of this Will, or shall aid in doing any of the above acts, then in that event 1 specifically disinherit each such person and all legacies, bequests, devises and interests passing under this Will to that person shall lapse and be forfeited and shall be disposed of as if such person (together with anyone claiming through such person any anti-lapse law) had predeceased me.


Any provision of this Will is unenforceable; the remaining provisions shall nevertheless be carried into effect.


I nominate and appoint DEBORAH DROOZ as Executor of this Will, and if she is unable or unwilling to serve as Executor, then 1 nominate and appoint JULIUS RENARD to serve as Executor in her stead and if is unwilling or unable to serve, then 1 nominate and appoint FA-BRICIO MAGALDI to serve as Executor. No bond shall be required of my Executor.

My Executor shall have ffill power and authority to sell any property of my estate at public or private sale, with or without notice; to lease, exchange, or encumber the whole or any part of my estate, with or without notice; to own and manage any property and to operate any business belonging to my estate, at the risk of my estate and not at the risk of my Executor, the profits and losses there from to inure to and to be chargeable to my estate as a whole; to invest and reinvest surplus monies of my estate in such types of investments, both real and personal, as said Executor in his, her or their discretion may select, including corporate obligations of every kind, preferred or common stocks, common trust funds, improved or unimproved real properties, interests joint ventures and partnerships and interests in ownership and/or operation of a business. 1 further authorize my Executor to administer my estate with flill authority pursuant to the independent Administration of Estates Act as amended from time to time.

My Executor shall be empowered to retain professional financial coun sel and to charge the expense of such counsel to my estate as a whole.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto subscribed my name this 23rd day of April, 1998 at Los Angeles, California.


On the date written above, CARLOS CASTANEDA declared to us, the under-signed, that this instrument, consisting of six (6) pages, including the page signed by us as witnesses, was his Will and requested us to act as witnesses to it. He thereupon signed this Will in our presence, all of us being present at the same time

At this time, CARLOS CASTANEDA is over eighteen (d) years of age and appears to be of sound mind. We have no knowledge of any facts indicating that this instrument, or any part of it, was procured by duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence. Each of us is now over eighteen (18) years of age. We now, in his presence and in the presence of each other, subscribe our names as witnesses.

EXECUTED on April 23, 1998, at Los Angeles, California.

We declare under penalty or perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

Signature: MARY L. MUlB, residing at 3120 4th Street #23, Santa Monica, California 90405

Signature: LITARES E-PORRAL, residing at 3120 4th Street #25, Santa Monica, California 90405


For updates click homepage here





shopify analytics