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A MYTHICAL ANALYSIS OF A YAQUI WAY OF KNOWLEDGE4-11-95In the summer of 1960 Carlos Casteneda a UCLA anthropology student traveled to thesouthwest to do research on medicinal plants While at a bus station he met an extraordinaryman His name was don Juan Mateus but I will refer to him as don Juan Don Juan a Yaquibrujo or shaman decides to teach Carlos the Yaqui way of knowledge It is not known ifthese stories are fiction or non-fiction and many critics still debate over his writings I interpret hisbooks as modern mythological stories for several reasons The Heroic Journey Archetype andshamanistic ideologies and also the general moral explainative and philosophical content of hiswritings indicate that these stories can be viewed as modern mythThroughout Castenedas stories you can see the Heroic Journey Archetype Carlos goesthrough a restless stage and breaks ties with his studies and professors at school He movesforward with the help of don Juan whose shamanic wisdom enlightens and guides Carlos alonghis spiritual path He also faces death many times in his quest to become a warrior Finally aftermany years he passes through This mythological archetype is one of the main reasons Ibelieve his stories are mythical in natureThere are also many shamanistic idealogies that run throughout his stories Views of thenatural world including plant life animal life and elements are all personified Everything isembodied with spirit Concepts of reality are altered through drug induced states Mushroomsand peyote are mainly used in rituals that don Juan uses to teach Carlos his way of knowledge Mescalito the spirit of the peyote plant indicated to don Juan that Carlos was the chosen onethe person to whom don Juan should pass on his knowledgeCLC87 Don Juan speaks of manydifferent spirits and separate realities His teachings gave an explanation to mans view ofexistence and his ignorance resulting from attachment to the material worldMythological proof is also found in don Juans teachings which compare Indian folkloremysticism and philosophy Don Juan
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