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A Magical Anniversary

Carlos Castaneda’s ‘Teachings of don Juan’ turns 50

Fifty years ago, in the summer of 1960, a young anthropology student named Carlos Castaneda set out to do field work with a Native American shaman, we came to know as don Juan Matus. His encounter stirred up the entire field of anthropology and profoundly affected an entire generation of spiritual seekers. The teachings of don Juan led to a series of bestselling books that were translated into 17 languages and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. None his 12 books ever went out of print in the 40 years since the first publication. Castaneda himself ended up on the cover of Time Magazine and was named ‘godfather of the new age movement’. Even the venerable New York Times wrote enthusiastically: “We are incredibly fortunate to have Carlos Castaneda’s books…One can’t exaggerate the significance of what he has done.”

But what has he done? What is Carlos Castaneda’s legacy?

Most of what has been written since his death in 1998 focused on controversial aspects of Castaneda’s personal life - as little as is reliably known - and on questions concerning the authenticity of his sources. While his detractors and a handful of disenchanted former followers have been very vocal about all things Castaneda, his genuine associates and the members of his inner circle have consistently refused to enter the debate.  Workshops that are disseminating Castaneda’s teachings, especially a movement form called Tensegrity or Magical Passes, are still offered worldwide by Cleargreen Incorporated, an organization founded by the late Shaman himself.

A new book, just published by Felix Wolf, one of Carlos Castaneda’s former apprentices, finally breaks the silence and attempts to present the subject matter in a more constructive manner, staying clear of the temptation to analyze and categorize Castaneda, while still providing rare insights into his enigmatic world. The focus of Wolf’s book “The Art of Navigation: Travels with Carlos Castaneda and Beyond” are the teachings themselves. In compelling and authentic stories Wolf details how his own life had been transformed by his association with Castaneda.  While touching on all aspects of the teachings, Wolf highlights what he perceives to be the overriding and essential transmission that came through Castaneda’s work: The Art of Navigation.

According to Wolf, Castaneda practiced a sophisticated form of shamanism, or sorcery that had less to do with the use of supernatural powers than with the intricacies of perception and the mastery of awareness. The ultimate purpose of Castaneda’s shamanic pursuits had been to attain a state he called total freedom.

Central to Castaneda’s world view was the concept of intent: a willful, creative intelligence that is both personal and universal. Castaneda believed that the path to total freedom or liberation for an individual was through his or her connecting link with universal intent. The clearer this connecting link and the better the individual and universal intent were aligned, the higher the degree of freedom. In his book, ‘The Power of Silence’, Castaneda stated that “every act performed by sorcerers was either performed as a way to strengthen their link with intent or as a response triggered by the link itself. Sorcerers had to be actively and permanently on the lookout for manifestations of the spirit. Such manifestations were called gestures of the spirit or, more simply, indications or omens.”

“From the moment I was touched by Castaneda’s world,” Wolf writes, “I was intrigued by this interactive way of living, and the process of ‘dusting my link with intent’, as he called it, became the main concern of my life. After many years of practice, and especially during my personal interactions with Castaneda, I was able to observe how magically and powerfully life unfolded as it was informed by a working link with intent. The discipline that is involved in clearing and strengthening this link and in perceiving and acting on the manifestations of the spirit, I came to know as the art of navigation.”

Wolf new book is an honest and unpretentious account of an unusual spiritual awakening, coming directly out of his association with Carlos Castaneda. Through entertaining and un-dogmatic story-telling he introduces the Art of Navigation as a most elegant and fascinating pathway into one’s essential nature. Emphasizing the teachings over the teacher, Wolf offers an utterly pragmatic spiritual path, free from ritual and cultural constraints, essentially connecting Castaneda’s work with the 21st century.

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The Art of Navigation: Travels with Carlos Castaneda and Beyond

Council Oak Books

About the author:

German born Felix Wolf is an author, teacher, and transformational healer with academic degrees in Cognitive Psychology and Oriental Medicine.

While on a two year writing retreat in Sri Lanka, he found himself unexpectedly initiated into the mythological world of anthropologist and shaman Carlos Castaneda. This initiation led to a three-year apprenticeship, during which he translated some of Castaneda’s writings into German and served as his simultaneous translator at public talks and seminars. In 2003, Wolf was featured in a documentary about Castaneda: "The Enigma of a Sorcerer", which was shown at a variety of film festivals and in theaters, domestically and abroad.

Felix Wolf is an avid lucid dreamer and visionary, intrigued with the prospect of collective awakening. He has lectured internationally to a variety of audiences about holistic medicine, awareness, and the Art of Navigation. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, with his wife Carmela and is currently writing a workbook on the "Five Elements of Navigation".

Upcoming and Recent Events

"The Art of Navigation" - book signing and live webcast including a 10-min. photo reading book preview at Studio City, CA, Thursday, Nov. 5th 1 pm.
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"The Role of Magic in Teen Development" - workshop and book signing at the "Leadershift 2010" youth conference at the Long Beach Convention Center - Sat. Nov. 6th
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"The Art of Navigation" - intensive mini-workshop on the art of navigating life towards independence from thought based mind. Bodhi Tree, West Hollywood, Sat. Nov.6th. Book signing. Q&A
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"The Art of Navigation" - lecture and book signing at the Unity Church in Burbank, CA, Sunday, Nov. 7th 7pm.
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Radio Interviews - recordings will be posted in the audio section, as soon as they become available.


"The Cosmic Influence Radio"
- a 45 minute interview, recorded on 10/29/2010. Walter Cruttenden and Shawn Freeman speak with Felix Wolf about Carlos Castaneda and the Art of Navigation.
http://www.binaryresearchinstitute.org/bri/radio/

"Healing the Universe" - A CrystalClearSpeaks™ presentation. - 11/11/2010 @ 3:00 PM Pacific. This is a one hour live interview, and listeners can call in with questions and comments. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/crystalclearspeaks

"Walking with Spirit" Monique Chapman's award winning Radio Show - live on Tuesday 11/16/2010 @ 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM Pacific
http://moniquechapman.com/radio-show/

"In the Spirit with Gary Goldberg" - one hour live radio interview on 11/18/2010 @ 3:00 PM Eastern. WRPI-FM Troy, New York. Listen online:
http://www.wrpi.org/listen

"UnityFM - Inside Out with David Matthew Brown" - one hour live interview on 11/24/2010 @ 8:00 AM Pacific
http://www.unity.fm/

"Surviving the Shift" with Michelle Arbeu - one hour live interview on 12/02/2010 @ 3:00PM Pacific
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivingtheshift