October 2014 Book of the Month

So, in essence, the world that your reason wants to sustain is the world created by a description and its dogmatic and inviolable rules, which the reason learns to accept and defend.”

Carlos Castaneda, Tales of Power

A few years ago, a good friend of mine shared an old copy of Tales of Power with me. On the title page he listed several page numbers with the expression “HA HA” next to them. He also wrote “allow for a week between parts”. Good advice. Reading Carlos Castaneda requires patience. The experience is a bit like being suspended in time. As a reviewer for Time Magazine stated in 1974, Tales of Power is “hypnotic reading”.  The brilliance of Castaneda’s excursion into the unknown is the unique framing of his story. By suggesting that his books belong in the annals of anthropology, Castaneda creates an “otherness” that allows the reader to relax his judgment of the story as it unfolds.

Tales of Power is the fourth book in the Carlos Castaneda/ Don Juan series. Inspired by Native American mysticism, Castaneda blends philosophy and narrative to tell the story of his training in Shamanism. Written in the first person, Castaneda takes the reader on an excursion into the unknown. In order to be trained in the art of sorcery, Castaneda must struggle to overcome his own immaturity, fears, mental laziness and assumption about the world around him. Fortunately, for Castaneda, Don Juan is a patient teacher and don Genaro a benefactor with a sense of humor.

Myths regarding our personal identity do not die easily, especially when our personal commitment to them is so strong. For most of us it is difficult to even entertain explanations that run counter to the basic premises we hold dear. Most of us “see” ourselves as we have been taught. When someone seriously questions our accepted belief system, it often triggers anxiety. The beauty of the Castaneda series is that it transcends conventional storytelling, illuminating new frontiers for understanding. Whether you believe in the literalness of Castaneda’s research or simply the power of his insight, Tales of Power is bound to introduce readers to the warrior that lives within us all.