"DOES THIS PATH HAVE A HEART?"
CASTANEDA, Carlos. The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1968. Octavo, original grey cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. $975.
First edition of one of the most influential books on modern shamanism, in rare first-state dust jacket.
"In 1959 Castaneda entered the University of California at Los Angeles, where he studied anthropology. Funded in part by the anthropology department, he traveled to the Mexico-Arizona border the next year to study the medicinal use of plants by the local Indians. As he subsequently reported, while waiting in a bus station in Arizona he met Juan Matus, an elderly Yaqui Indian shaman who agreed to instruct him in the principles and methods of Yaqui sorcery and introduce him to an alternative perception of reality. His four-year apprenticeship included contact with other native holy men and the use of several local psychotropic plants, including peyote and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Castaneda prepared a report on his experience that was accepted as his master's thesis by UCLA in 1964… A blend of anthropology, allegory, and fantasy, it struck the exact note for the period with its validation of drugs as a ritual element of an ancient and spiritual culture; the counterculture of the period embraced it wholeheartedly" (ANB). "Anthropology has taught us that the world is differently defined in different places… that the worlds of different peoples have different shapes… Don Juan has shown us glimpses of the world of a Yaqui sorcerer, and because we see it under the influence of hallucinogenic substances, we apprehend it with a reality that is utterly different from… other sources. This is the special virtue of this work. Castaneda rightly asserts that this world, for all its differences of perception, has its own internal logic. He has tried to explain it from the inside, as it were…. That he cannot entirely succeed in this is a limitation that our culture and our language place on perception, rather than his personal limitation…. The central importance of entering into worlds other than our own—and hence of anthropology itself—lies in the fact that the experience leads us to understand that our own world is also a cultural construct. By experiencing other worlds, then, we see our own for what it is and are thereby enabled also to see fleetingly what the real world, the one between our own cultural construct and those other worlds, must in fact be like…. In this work [Castaneda] demonstrates the essential skill of good ethnography—the capacity to enter into an alien world. I believe he has found a path with heart" (Goldschmidt, from the Forward). First state dust jacket, with no quotation from Don Juan on the front panel.
Fine in a fine first-state dust jacket. An exceptional copy.