The Informant and Carlos Castaneda

the Wanderling

"It's possible that his informant in his undergraduate paper was not Don Juan, but somebody else who outlined details of something that Don Juan repeated later. But Carlos acts as though it is all new in the first book, as though he'd never heard the datura knowledge before"

MARGARET RUNYAN CASTANEDA: A Magical Journey With Carlos Castaneda

Deep in the desert southwest, before Carlos Castaneda met the Shaman-sorcerer that became famous in his series of Don Juan books, Castaneda had a chance encounter with a somewhat mysterious hallucinogenic bio-searcher and mushroom hunter from the Taos, Santa Fe, New Mexico area. It has been chronicled that the bio-searcher, known only as the informant in various Castaneda writings, some written by Castaneda himself, some by others, and some even written by those not always sympathetic toward Castaneda, agree for the most part --- unsympathetic or not --- that the informant was the actual person that FIRST introduced Castaneda to the rituals and use of medicinal plants.

Shortly after that encounter with the mysterious informant, for the first time ever, Castaneda reportedly crossed paths with the nearly white-haired Yaqui Indian called Don Juan Matus in a Greyhound bus station in Nogales, Arizona.(see) Castaneda, who had been taken to the bus station by a onetime pothunter turned reputable archeaologist that Castaneda sometimes refers to as Bill in his writings and sometimes leaves unnamed, told Castaneda that the "old man" sitting across the room was an expert on medicinal plants and such, not unlike the informant. Unbeknownst to Castaneda at the time, Don Juan was also a powerful Shaman-sorcerer who had learned his art from a Diablero, a sorcerer with evil powers said to have the ability to shape shift.

Only a few weeks or possibly even just days earlier than the bus station encounter, the informant, cloaked by shimmering desert heat waves, simply seemed to evaporate into the rocks and sagebrush without a trace, leaving Castaneda without a source. To continue what he was searching for he was thankful for the old man in the bus station. After several meetings along isolated sections of the desert border, Don Juan revealed to Castaneda that he was indeed a sorcerer. The following year, according to Castaneda, he became Don Juan's apprentice, an arrangement that continued from 1961 to the Autumn of 1965. During those years, under the direct tutelage of Don Juan, Castaneda used various amounts and types of hallucinogenic herbs and medicinal plants to enlarge his vision of reality. His experiences were the basis of his first book, THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, published by the University of California Press (1968).

However, again, regardless of what may or may not have blossomed between Castaneda and the person he calls Don Juan Matus following the meeting in the bus station, as stated above, initially it was the mysterious bio-searcher dubbed the informant that FIRST introduced Castaneda to the actual use and rituals of medicinal plants.

Now, if you have read anything at all about Castaneda, it basically goes without saying that there is a significant amount of controversy surrounding the question as to whether Don Juan Matus was an actual person or not and/or if Castaneda's works are fiction or not --- in whole or in part --- but such controversy remains neither here nor there for our discussion here. Even the staunchest critic against Don Juan existing, that is, if he was real or not, would not go as far to say that Castaneda wasn't. Thus said it is fairly clear in all that has been written about him that during the Spring semester of 1960, and only a scant six months prior to the time stated for that first Karma and Omen infested meeting with Don Juan in the bus station, Castaneda, as an undergraduate student at UCLA enrolled in a class called "Methods in Field Archaeology." The class was taught by Professor Clement Meighan, and was, interestingly enough, one of Castaneda's first major forays into the exploration of Shamanism.

The professor told the class if any individual student interviewed a Native American as part of a mandatory paper he assigned, they would automatically receive an "A" in the course. As a result of that offer many have reported that Castaneda traveled several hours east of Los Angeles to interview tribal spiritual elders of the Cahuilla Band of Indians on the Morongo Reservation near Banning and the Agua Caliente reservation down the road near Palm Springs. It is also said he went to the Colorado River area, possibly venturing toward the Yuma, to interview Native Americans there.[1] A few years before, in the Fall of 1957, while attending classes at Los Angeles Community College, Castaneda had written a term paper on Aldous Huxley for an English class, developing in the process a strong interest in things occult after reading Huxley's The Doors of Perception and its account on the use of mescaline. During research and interviews for Dr. Meighan's spring semester of 1960 UCLA class he somehow began putting together bits and pieces of information from both endeavors after his curiosity was piqued from inferences that the Cahuilla and others had, albeit obscured to outsiders, of which he was one, a historical background in the use of certain native-to-the-desert, hallucinogenic plants. That led him to start making trips farther and farther into remote sections of the southwest to study the use of medicinal plants by Native Americans.

On one of those excursions deep into the desert Castaneda had an encounter with a man who was also bio-searching similar plants and it was he who related the information about the plant Datura to Castaneda. The man was a somewhat mysterious bio-searcher that had several plant species named after him and who, as described below, came to be referred to in various Castaneda related writings only as the "informant." It was information garnered from those encounters with the informant that served as the major grounding point for Castaneda's 1960s Paper on Datura he eventually turned in for his 1960 spring semester field archaeology class.[2]

In the book A Magical Journey by Castaneda's now deceased ex-wife Margaret Runyan (1921-2011), she, writing of his 1960 paper, states Professor Meighan recalled: "His informant knew a great deal about Datura, which was a drug used in initiating ceremonies by some California groups, but had presumed by me and I think most other anthropologists to have passed out of the picture 40 or 50 years ago. So he found an informant who still actually knew something about this and still had used it." Castaneda's paper, of which he handed in at the END of the spring semester 1960 for a grade and to meet the class requirement, included fairly academic references to the plant's four heads, their various purposes, the roots and their significance, as well as the method of preparation, cooking and rituals involved --- all information that he supposedly learns over one full year later from Don Juan between August 23 and September 10, 1961 and describes in The Teachings of Don Juan. (A Magical Journey, Chapter 14, Beginnings).[3]

It may well be true that Castaneda interviewed Native Americans for parts of his paper as claimed, but his primary informant on Datura and other hallucinogenic plants was NOT one of them. As mentioned above, Castaneda was an outsider and those he interviewed were not always so forthright in what they revealed. Castaneda's information, although written as though from a field interview, and presented in 1968 in The Teachings of Don Juan almost word for word, but much more casually and not credited, was way too structured in his 1960 paper anyway --- as if the information had been obtained from a formally educated academic or field research expert, which it was, rather than simply a native user or naturalist (again, please refer to Footnote [2]). True, his paper was being written for his field archaeology class, and may have been presented in a more formal format to reflect that. However, Castaneda's, as stated by the students turning papers in, was one of only three involving actual interviews of Native Americans by members of the class --- and, although an excellent paper, there was no convincing hint of actual field interviews or contact with native users at the level one would expect. Because of such, that is, not knowing the full circumstances surrounding how Castaneda garnered his information, his professor, although accepting Castaneda's word on what he said it was, still remained somewhat hesitant and slightly perplexed, saying, as stated previously, he and "most other anthropologists thought the use of Datura had passed out of the picture 40 or 50 years ago." Apparently by inference, assuming from extrapolation that the informant and/or informants were ALL not other than Native American, he thought it most interesting Castaneda had "found an informant who still actually knew something about this and still had used it."

The UCLA spring classes Castaneda enrolled in ran roughly from sometime mid-January to around the middle of June, 1960. His paper was due to be turned in at least by the end of that period, that is, not much later than two or three weeks into June at the most, perhaps somewhat earlier. That would mean his interviews and study of medicinal plants would need to be completed no later than the end of May, 1960. Datura is a night blooming plant. Often times for ritual or strength purposes the plants are picked or dealt with during the full moon phase. In May of that year the full moon occurred during the first third of the month, on Wednesday, May 11th and in June it was Thursday the 9th. There is a good chance Castaneda's informant was probably bio-searching around that same time in order to maximize the plant and take advantage of the moonlight. For the most part the month of May and sometimes early June are almost a perfect time in the southwestern desert, especially at night and during the early morning hours. The cold of winter has pretty much dissipated and spring is in its final throes of unflolding prior to the oncoming intense summer heat.(see) It is my contention that on a very important fact finding Road Trip, set into motion by a colleague during that period, that Castaneda and his informant met. The interesting part is the coincidence at the end of that special Road Trip of the so-called "chance" meeting between CASTANEDA and Don Juan at the Nogales Bus Station sometime in the late summer of 1960 --- which happened at the most only a few short weeks AFTER Castaneda met with his informant in the desert for the very first time.

When the summer of 1960 finally rolled to an end and finding himself in a much better mood psychologically AFTER his lessons during the spring and early summer in the desert regarding the use and rituals of Datura from the informant, followed by a brief meeting with the old man in the bus station, Castaneda formally returned to the Fall of 1960 classes at UCLA. In the process of his return he wrote a paper on halluncinogenic plants for a class taught by Dr. William A. Lessa. Although Castaneda was still an undergraduate, Lessa was so favorably impressed with what Castaneda presented in his paper he requested that Castaneda give a report on his findings to his graduate-level seminar titled "Myth and Ritual." C. Scott Littleton, a now retired professor of anthropology at Occidental College, who was a graduate student of Lessa's at the time, was asked by Lessa to sit in on the seminar --- telling Littleton "he had this Peruvian guy in his class who'd collected the best information from a shaman he'd ever seen, bar none." Afterwards, taking advantage of the scheduled UCLA winter break at the completion of his Fall of 1960 classes, Castaneda left California for Arizona and Mexico searching for Don Juan, hoping for a meeting. On December 17, 1960, he eventually caught up with him at his home, their FIRST face-to-face meeting since their initial bus station encounter.(see) Sometime thereafter Don Juan revealed he was a Shaman-sorcerer who learned his art from a diablero. Six months later, on June 23, 1961, at the end of his spring classes of that year --- and one full year after he and Don Juan first met --- Castaneda formally began his training as a man of knowledge. It was not until August 6, 1961 that Castaneda had his first experience with any sort of psychotropic plants under Don Juan and not until September 7, 1961, before he experienced a brew concocted from Datura. What is being said here of course, is that it is quite easy to extrapolate from the dates presented and documented by Castaneda himself in his own works --- and not by an outsider or by a person with an ax to grind --- that BOTH of the papers he wrote, the one for Meighan and the one for Lessa were written and turned in PRIOR to any indepth interaction or indoctrination with or by Don Juan --- and all of the information presented and said to be "the best information from a shaman ever seen, bar none" by his academic superiors came NOT from Don Juan, but from none other than the informant.

So how does all this play together, especially when in the above I present:

Both of the papers he wrote, the one for Meighan and the one for Lessa were written and turned in prior to any indepth interaction or indoctrination with or by Don Juan --- and all of the information presented and said to be "the best information from a shaman ever seen, bar none" by his academic superiors came not from Don Juan, but from none other than the informant.

While the statement is backed by facts and information that are seemingly reeking with dates and times that chafe against future events as Castaneda describes them, in the end the answer is summed up in his last published book, The Active Side of Infinity (1998) when Castaneda asks his colleague if the old man in the bus station is the Cloud Shaman and the colleague tells Castaneda:

"No. But I think he is a companion or a teacher of the Cloud Shaman. I saw both of them together in the distance various times, many years ago."

Castaneda and his anthropologist colleague Bill, after traveling weeks on end throughout Arizona and New Mexico including having met the informant along the way, ended up at the bus station in Nogales, either through a carefully concocted minipulation of known or upcoming events or simple predestination, vis-a'-vis with those forces. The colleague, upon seeing the old man sitting on the bench by the corner in the bus station, suddenly remembers seeing the old man --- whether it is Don Juan Matus or not --- and the Cloud Shaman in the distance various times many years ago, and instantly realizes that the Cloud Shaman he saw with the old man AND the bio-searcher (that is, the informant) are one and the same person.

What has been presented by Castaneda all along the way in his many books and interviews stemming from his ever important and crucial first Introduction Scene in the bus station between he and Don Juan, a meeting that lasted no more than only a very few minutes at the most, was simply based on Castaneda NOT interpreting correctly (for the readers) what he saw in the first place. What he thought he saw and took as the truth was inaccurate and he compounded the whole thing to his readers throughout his writings because of that misinterpretation. While the conversation regarding the Cloud Shaman no doubt occurred in the bus station initially, and the Cloud Shaman was actually a MAJOR player in the scheme of things, Castaneda simply left it out of his first book not bothering to bring it up until his last book. Why? Because the Cloud Shaman undermines Don Juan Matus as he is written. While it is accurate to say that the Cloud Shaman and the old man are companions or friends (i.e., "No. But I think he is a companion or a teacher of the Cloud Shaman...") in reality he (the old man) is in NO WAY a teacher of the Cloud Shaman. If anything, at the very most, both the old man (if you take the old man to be Don Juan Matus or not) and the Cloud Shaman have the SAME teacher --- or to be even more accurate, and the secret to all of Castaneda's writings --- Don Juan's own unknown, unheralded, diablero real life teacher and the Cloud Shaman, that is, the informant, were actually peers or equals. What Castaneda learned from the informant was the SAME as having learned it directly from Don Juan's teacher, the same original grounding source Don Juan would have learned it from --- and why he wrote it the way he did --- albeit giving credit to Don Juan.

If you remember correctly, at the time of the bus station encounter Don Juan wasn't even really Don Juan --- and why I have overly emphasized the if in "IF you take him (the old man) to BE Don Juan Matus," above. Reading Castaneda's works it is easy to see it is a given Bill did not seem to think so, and at the time of the bus station encounter, neither did Castaneda. So the question is, why should anybody else? In A Separate Reality (1971) Castaneda writes:

Bill said convincingly that he had encountered people like him before, people who gave the impression of knowing a great deal. In his judgment, he said, such people were not worth the trouble, because sooner or later one could obtain the same information from someone else who did not play hard to get. He said that he had neither patience nor time for old fogies, and that it was possible that the old man was only presenting himself as being knowledgeable about herbs, when in reality he knew as little as the next man.

It should be said here, in a quick side note regarding Don Juan, the old man in the bus station, et al, although the possibility exists otherwise, and even though I hint above that the whole bus station meeting could have possibly been orchestrated by a series of carefully concocted minipulation of known or upcoming events, there is nothing in what I know personally or on a first hand basis about the informant that would indicate he knew, met, set the meeting, ever heard of Don Juan --- or knew if he was an actual person or not.[4]

Taking a cue from such hints as presented previously, anthropologist Jay Courtney Fikes in his book Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties (1993) suggests that rather than being one individual, the chance exists that Don Juan was actually a composite of two or possibly even three authentic Indian shamans, of which one was the Mazatec curandera Maria Sabina, with another being the venerated Cahuilla Shaman, Salvador Lopez, albeit not mentioned by Fikes in his book, but by others.[5]

The informant knew Maria Sabina and knew her quite well. I think that during the informant's discussion of plants and herbs sitting around in the middle of the night in some shabby motel, isolated shack, or rock-ring campfire in the desert someplace, Maria Sabina's name came up and may have had an impact on Castaneda. Again, if Don Juan was an actual person, a composite of several people, a total fabrication or a figment of Castaneda's imagination, the events leading up to meeting Don Juan and the various interactions with people, places, and things don't necessarily have to be discarded. Then again, if the informant was used as a model by Castaneda for Don Juan, or if aspects of his manners or abilities seeped into the characterization of Don Juan, I can't really say as he was neither Yaqui, Native American, Mexican-Indian nor Mesoamerican or Hispanic. Except for a possible hint in the closing paragraph of Cloud Shaman, relating to the fact cited above where the informant "cloaked by shimmering desert heat waves, simply seemed to evaporate into the rocks and sagebrush without a trace," it was never made clear to me specifically if he himself was a Shaman.[6] In later years I may of had my suspicions, but in his own actions he always ensured that nothing fell into an area or realm that might frighten or compromise any belief a person held in the natural order of things. He was simply a person in search of the truth and tried honorably to convey that truth once discovered.

Even though Bill told Castaneda convincingly that the old man in the bus station "knew as little as the next man" Castaneda NEEDED someone that would stand up to a closer scrutiny of what a shaman should be than what the informant was, i.e., he was neither Yaqui, Native American, Mexican-Indian, nor Mesoamerican or Hispanic. What better than an old man who was apparently a Yaqui Indian from Sonora, Mexico. In his third book of the series, Journey to Ixtlan (1972), Castaneda writes:

I prepared myself for six months, after that first meeting, reading up on the uses of peyote among the American Indians, especially about the peyote cult of the Indians of the Plains. I became acquainted with every work available, and when I felt I was ready I went back to Arizona.(see)

The "after that first meeting" in the above refers to Castaneda and the old man in the bus station and their very first encounter some say was sometime in early June of 1960 but actually unfolded more toward the end of the summer of 1960 --- a meeting, by the way, that lasted no more than 15 minutes at the very most.[7] Then, still in his third book, citing the date Saturday, December 17, 1960, after allowing nearly six months to lapse without ever seeing or talking with Don Juan, refering to their second meeting, Castaneda writes:

I found his house after making long and taxing inquiries among the local Indians. It was early afternoon when I arrived and parked in front of it. I saw him sitting on a wooden milk crate. He seemed to recognize me and greeted me as I got out of my car.

The six month period that Castaneda prepared himself was of course, the Fall semester of 1960, during of which he wrote, completed, and turned in the paper to Lessa as well as presented in Lessa's graduate level seminar --- garnering the comment in the process that what Castaneda had was "the best information from a shaman he (Lessa) had ever seen, bar none." During the semester PRIOR, to Lessa's, that is, the Spring semester of 1960 and BEFORE he ever met Don Juan Matus those couple of minutes in the bus station, or, as found in Footnote [1] ANY Cahuilla Shaman on any Morongo Indian Reservation, Castaneda had already turned in his paper to Meighan on Sacred Datura --- a paper that was filled with all the same information about the plant and various rituals that he supposedly learns later from Don Juan between August 23 and September 10, 1961 --- all of which in both cases he had learned previously from the informant while on the Road Trip.[8]



Over and over people ask why is it that they should accept what I have written about Castaneda as having any amount of credibility?

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For one thing I personally knew, met and interacted with Castaneda many times --- however, it was done so long before Castaneda became Castaneda. Matter of fact he was still a nobody student trying hard to obtain an AA degree from Los Angeles City College, working at Mattel Toy Company, and when I knew him, considered himself mostly as an aspiring artist rather than anything that remotely resembled an author or shaman. Secondly, and unrelated to he and I knowing each other, my uncle was the Informant that is so widely mentioned in Castaneda's works both by him and others, that introduced him to the rites and rituals of the use of the plant Sacred Datura that sent him into his initial experiences of altered states. Third, in an attempt on my part to confirm, clear up, or have them discount any number of things that have shown up or said about Castaneda and his life, things that have taken on a life of their own as fact because they have been repeated over and over so often, I interviewed, talked to, or conversed with a number of individuals that were prominent in his life --- especially so in areas that raise conflict when people read one thing about him and I write another.

Originally when I first started writing about Castaneda it was for one reason only. It had to do with help substantiating an incident in my life that revolved around what are known in Buddhism and Hindu spiritual circles under the ancient Sanskrit word Siddhis. Siddhis are supernormal perceptual states that once fully ingrained at a deep spiritual level can be utilized by a practitioner to initiate or inhibit incidents that are beyond the realm of typical everyday manifestation.

In that the incident that occurred in my life, although bordering on the edges of what is generally conceived in the west as Shamanism or possibly the occult, was actually deeply immersed on the eastern spiritual side of things.(see) To bridge the understanding between the eastern and western concepts I brought in for those who may have been so interested the legacy of one of the most well read practitioner of such crafts in the western world, Carlos Castaneda. Although highly controversial and most certainly not the fully unmitigated expert in the field, he is widely read and a known figure when mentioned, by camps both pro and con. So said, Castaneda has the highest profile in of all individuals to have claimed the ability through shamanistic rituals the ability to fly --- thus, for reasons as they related to me I used Castaneda in my works as an example. In doing so it opened a virtual Pandora's Box of never ending controversy, causing me to either ignore or substantiate what I presented. Hence, as questions were raised by me in my own writing or raised by those who read my material more pages were created to explain who, what, when, where, and why.

The following people were all major movers in the life of Carlos Castaneda, and at one time or the other I met and talked with them all, which is more than most people who write about Castaneda has ever done. And I only did so on and off over time primarily to clarify questions about Castaneda that I had read that just did not make sense. Most people who question what I have presented about Castaneda simply gather their information from the standard already in existence party line. Some of the people I've talked to in reference to Castaneda who, following some rather extended discussions, clarified a lot for me --- after Castaneda himself of course, others are people like C. Scott Littleton, Alex Apostolides, Barbara G. Myerhoff, Edward H. Spicer, Clement Meighan, who Castaneda dedicated his first book to, and Castaneda's ex-wife Margaret Runyan.

Interestingly enough, my interview with Runyan came about because before she married Castaneda, she had been engaged to another author, the cowboy and western writer, with over 100 books to his credit, Louis L'amour. It just so happened my uncle who, if you recall, was the Informant in Castaneda lore, just happened to know L'Amour. My uncle took me with him one day he went to see L'Amour. When I had a chance to meet Runyan years later I used me knowing L'Amour as the wedge to talk with her. As it was, and not many people know about it, my uncle, who was influential with Castaneda also, along with another man deeply seeped in Native American spiritual lore by the name of H. Jackson Clark, worked together funneling Native American spiritual facts to L'Amour used as a theme in two of his books that borderlined much of what Castaneda wrote about, titled The Californios and Haunted Mesa.


Let Me Travel Through the Air Like a Winged Bird

NOTE: If you have not read the footnotes, please scroll down toward the bottom of the page.

As you scroll down the page you will also see sources listed to back-up the overall thesis as presented. For those who may be so interested, it should be noted as well that a great deal of what is presented, and the essence of it all that has been weaved through the totality of the page emanates from the results of firsthand knowledge gained through a rather lengthy personal interview I conducted between myself and Professor Clement Meighan as found in Castaneda's 1960s Paper on Datura. So too, since that interview with Meighan and the time this paper first appeared in it's original form on the internet, I have gone back in and tweeked some portions because of a personal interview I conducted with Castaneda's ex-wife Margaret Runyan and new information garnered thereof.

To learn first hand WHO Castaneda's mysterious informant was, please refer back to [4] combining that visit with the information found in Footnote [9].


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Margaret Runyan Castaneda
Paperback, 204 pages
Published by Millenia Press
Publication date: December 1, 1996
ISBN: 0969696019

THE TEACHING OF DON JUAN: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge
Carlos Castaneda
Hardback, 288 pages
Published by Univ. of California Press, Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 1968, 1973
ISBN : 0671600419


To make it clear to readers of Castaneda's works, as well as for fact checkers and historians who nit pick every little potential discrepancy, Castaneda's use of the word 'Greyhound' in describing the bus station as being a Greyhound Bus Station is in fact a misnomer.

However, while it is true the bus station was NOT a Greyhound Bus Station in the classical sense, being actually the station for a local regional carrier called Citizen Auto Stage, it was in fact a de facto Greyhound station in all reality to-and-for Greyhound customers because the Greyhound company worked in concert with the Citizen Auto Stage bus line to ferry Greyhound passengers to the main Greyhound Bus Station in Tucson for continuing trips throughout the nation.

In that a person could buy a Greyhound ticket through to any of it's destinations at the Nogales station just as though it was a Greyhound station, for Castaneda, as far as he was concerned, at least in his works, it WAS a Greyhound Bus Station --- Greyhound being more familiar and making more sense to his readers, rather than go into any irrelevant or story distracting distinctions between the two. So too, as for myself, because Castaneda used the term Greyhound, to maintain consistancies and not confuse the readers, I use the same term --- although you will notice, if you read my works carefully, I use the word Greyhound sparingly, most often just calling it the Nogales bus station.

To show you how important bragging rights to a Greyhound affiliation was to carriers like Citizens Auto Stage, a northwest bus company calling itself Mt. Hood Stages, that provided similar services on a route between Portland, Oregon and Bend, Oregon was NOT listed on Greyhound maps or schedules. So said, because of the oversight that Greyhound would not resolve, Mt. Hood took them to court as found in UNITED STATES v. GREYHOUND CORPORATION, 363 F.Supp. 525 (1973), United States District Court, June 27, 1973:

"(T)he Index Map shows the connecting service of Citizen's Auto Stage Company's route between Tucson, which Greyhound serves, and Nogales, Arizona, which Greyhound does not serve. The Index Map refers not only to the Greyhound table 585 showing Citizen's service, but also refers to Citizen's table 4071. Thus, Greyhound's omission of Mt. Hood's route between Portland, which Greyhound serves and Bend, which Greyhound does not serve, was discriminatory against Mt. Hood, as opposed to its treatment of other non-Greyhound carriers."(source)

The Greyhound affiliation for those smaller local carriers was like a badge of honor setting them apart from any competitors, that is why it was so important to Mt. Hood Stages. As I remember the Nogales station, Greyhound logos and the fact that it was a sanctioned station providing services directly to and with Greyhound was prominently displayed. Looking back I don't remember any major prominence of Citizens Auto Stage overriding what I recall regarding Greyhound. In those days Greyhound was THE long distance bus carrier (I never thought of Trailways). Most likely in the 1960 era we are talking about here after I crossed the border I asked somebody where the local bus station was. When I walked in, again most likely, I saw the Greyhound logos, purchased a through ticket to Los Angeles and that was it. As you will learn elsewhere in my works, my buddy took me from the bus station before I ever got on a bus, plus by then the horse medicine I took was beginning to kick in. So too, again as you will learn elsewhere, in 1963 when I went back to the bus station I never rode a bus either. If Citizen Auto Stage used a bus of their own with their own identification rather than Greyhound logos I never personally knew. When Castaneda transferred busses in Tucson he probably didn't think about it one way or the other when it came time to write about it. Far as I remember, much to the chagrin of the naysayers, with my own experience, the station was a Greyhound Bus Station --- albeit some history of the station seems to say otherwise.


Toward the end of his series of Don Juan books, Castaneda writes in The Active Side of Infinity, that while in Arizona during the late Spring of 1960 "he met with an extremely seasoned anthropologist" --- not the informant --- but thought possibly to be Edward H. Spicer, who had written and published a great deal on both the Yaqui Indians of Arizona and those of Sonora, Mexico. Castaneda, a Peruvian, was told "that the Indian societies of the Southwest were extremely isolationist, and that foreigners, especially those of Hispanic origin, were distrusted, even abhorred, by those Indians." Interestingly enough, on the use of Datura, Spicer is on record as saying "I know of no information or reference concerning Yaquis using Datura" which, if so and if correct AND if the "Indian societies of the Southwest" typically blocked the flow of any meaningful information to outsiders as stated, it only underlines and strengthens the Wanderling's thesis that the knowledge of 'how to use and rituals of Datura' as coming from another source, most notably the informant.

Other than Spicer two others that have been mentioned who could have been one of the "extremely seasoned anthropologists" offering Castaneda advice are Dr. W. Curry Holden and Dr. William A. Lessa. Interestingly enough, both are Williams, thus then possibly Bill as in Castaneda's Road Trip colleage Bill. Lessa however, although obliquely influential in Castaneda's early rise, was neither Yaqui scholar nor known to have any substantial interest as a "southwest" field type. Holden, on the other hand, is somewhat different. He was both a Yaqui scholar of some repute and known to be a field expert in the southwest --- albeit one that became somewhat notorious in his later years as it came out for having led a group of students on one specific field exercise in the summer of 1947. According to ROSWELL ARCHAEOLOGIST: The Dirt Before The Dig and other sources such as author Thomas J. Carey, Holden inadvertently stumbled across the wreckage of a mysterious craft of an unknown nature that slammed into the lower north slope of the Capitan Mountains outside of Roswell Crash, New Mexico. The craft was considered by many to have been of extraterrestrial in origin. Holden never really discussed the incident and it was well into his later years before he was actually even inteviewed on the subject.

In a quick note, Holden's archaeologist daughter, Jane (Holden) Kelley, was age 32 in 1960. Like her father she became an expert in the Yaqui Indians of Sonora and scholar in her own right. Although it was not unusual to find her traveling with her father, or possibly even operating in the same broad general area on her own, from the tempo and flow of Castaneda's writing she can pretty well be eliminated as a candidate for one of the "extremely seasoned anthropologists." Regarding the Roswell Incident and the so-called Roswell UFO, the daughter is on record as saying that at the time interviews were being conducted, because of his age, her father was easily confused. Memories from his life were jumbled and reordered, and, even though she and her dad were close, he had never mentioned it.

Another colleague told Castaneda he was better off reading herbalists' books. It was his opinion "that anything to be known about medicinal plants from the Southwest had already been classified and talked about in various publications. He went as far as to say that the sources of any Indian curer of the day were precisely THOSE exact same publications rather than any traditional knowledge. He finished off with the assertion that if there still were any traditional curing practices, the Indians would not divulge them to a stranger."

Castaneda, who most likely at the time was not at peer level and not seen or perceived as much more than a LOWLY undergraduate student by "those experienced social scientists," felt there was nothing left to do except take their seasoned advice and leave Arizona for Los Angeles. However, at the last minute a not nearly so high ranking working stiff and seat-of-the-pants ground-pounder, versed in four-field anthropology (Ethnology, Archeology, Linguistic and Biological) --- and eventually to be camouflaged by Castaneda in the narrative by using only his first name Bill for unknown reasons, told Castaneda he intended to go on a Road Trip and drive throughout Arizona and New Mexico revisiting "all the places where he had done work in the past, renewing in this fashion his relationships with the people (Native American or otherwise) who had been his anthropological informants," telling Castaneda:

"You're welcome to come with me," he said. "I'm not going to do any work. I'm just going to visit with them, have a few drinks with them, bullshit with them. I bought gifts for them-blankets, booze, jackets, ammunition for twenty-two-caliber rifles. My car is loaded with goodies. I usually drive alone whenever I go to see them, but by myself I always run the risk of falling asleep. You could keep me company, keep me from dozing off, or drive a little bit if I'm too drunk."

Portending an Omen like sense of the future, thus pushing aside surface concerns, in The Active Side of Infinity, Castaneda writes:

"Disregarding my feelings of defeat, I started on a journey with him."

Somewhere along the way during Castaneda's weeks-into-months long zig-zaging across the desert-southwest road trip with Bill, however AFTER his encounter with the informant but BEFORE the bus station encounter, Castaneda crossed paths with the so-called colleague who had told him somewhat earlier that he was better off reading herbalists' books than concentrating on field research.

Learning that the herbalist colleague was making a quick couple days roundtrip trip to Los Angeles, Castaneda convinced the colleague that he, Castaneda, had now, since their discussion, developed all honorable intentions of implementing his suggestions into doing nothing but library research on traditional curing instead of wasting any future time on field research. However, he told the herbalist colleague that in order to do so he would have to maintain a continued clear and unqualified enrollment at UCLA. For that to transpire, he told the colleague, would require him, Castaneda, to turn in all of his current field research papers and other classwork to the proper professors in an orderly and timely fashion prior to the end of the spring semester. Since the timing was right, the herbalist colleague, not grasping Castaneda's semi-deceitful stretching of the truth in regards to library research, but instead, only impressed with Castaneda's willingness to take his suggestions to heart, was more than happy ensure just such a thing would happen.

Now, if Castaneda returned personally to UCLA with his herbalist colleague on a couple day turn around and took care of business himself, OR, if the colleague dealt with it for him is not known (see below) --- it is known that Castaneda, gone two days or not, completed the Road Trip that eventually ended in Nogales towards the end of summer 1960 and he DID continue at UCLA --- albeit participating in field research and in doing so, eventually receiving a PhD.


Sometime in the mid to late 1960s, while staying a couple of days at the mining camp of an old Mojave Desert prospector friend of my father's named Walt Bickel, I was introduced to a man named Alex Apostolides. In those days Apostolides was doing a variety archaeological surveys and said to be a Field Director in archaeology for UCLA. In a general small talk sort of way I told him I knew a one-time undergraduate student at UCLA named Carlos Castaneda that had been doing field work in Arizona back in the early 60s. I also mentioned the last time I had seen him was in a bus station in Nogales at the end of the summer of 1960.

Apostolides, although he got to know Castaneda better later, didn't know him well in the early 1960s period I was talking about. But he did tell me he had seen Castaneda at UCLA and actually met him for the first time just around that same time. He remembered it well because of the circumstances. Apostolides said he had gone to UCLA near the end of the semester for one reason or the other that he couldn't recall and Castaneda was either in the department office or going to or from a professor's office turning in papers when he bumped into him. The reason he remembers it so well is because Castaneda was traveling with a teacher's assistant and that the T.A., who Apostolides knew had a reputation for hating field work, told him that the two of them had just returned from participating in a dig in Arizona and, not only that, but the two of them would be going back in a couple of days to help shut down the dig for the summer.

Apostolides said at the time of that first meeting Castaneda was not, of course, the Castaneda people would eventually come to know. As a matter of fact, Apostolides related that their first meeting, in regards to Castaneda himself, that he was not very memorable at all. He said so because one day, two or three years after that meeting, basically out of the nowhere, Castaneda stepped up to him as though they were life long friends and it actually took Apostolides a few minutes to put together how they even knew each other. The main thrust of their first meeting was because Castaneda just happened to be traveling with the teaching assistant that day. Apostolides said he remembered the T.A. alright, and thus then eventually Castaneda. The T.A. told Apostolides that the two of them were on some archaeological dig in Arizona and that he, the T.A., "was running out of time academically" and was down there on "loan" to another professor from another university to pad his resume' with field work experience on UCLA's dime.

For more on Alex Apostolides and any relation he may of or not had with Castaneda please see The Tree.


Carlos Castaneda
Hardback, 272 pages
Published by Harpercollins
Publication date: January 1999
ISBN: 0060192208


In The Informant and Carlos Castaneda, above, the following is written by the Wanderling:

"Although the possibility exists otherwise, there is nothing in what I know personally or on a first hand basis about the informant that would indicate he knew, met, set the meeting, ever heard of Don Juan --- or knew if he was an actual person or not."

As stated above and clarified more thoroughly in the section on Cloud Shamans, Castaneda's colleague, having met the informant while traveling with Castaneda on their Road Trip throughout Arizona and New Mexico, states, upon seeing the "old man" in the bus station, that he remembers seeing both of them TOGETHER (that is, the "old man," whether it is Don Juan Matus or not, and the Cloud Shaman) in the distance various times many years ago. From that recollection the colleague suddenly realizes that the Cloud Shaman he saw with the "old man" AND the bio-searcher (that is, the informant) are one and the same person.

In a quick overview there may seem to be a contradiction in information between the two sources. However, the key here is in the Wanderling's statement: "there is nothing in what I know personally or on a first hand basis". What is being said here is, even though the colleague may know that the Cloud Shaman and the informant are one and the same person and that the Cloud Shaman knew the "old man" (again, whether is Don Juan Matus or not), the Wanderling DOES NOT know it on a first hand basis himself. That is to say, even though his uncle may have told him he knew Carlos Castaneda he never told him, nor did it ever come up, that he knew, met, or heard of Don Juan Matus --- which doesn't necessarily mean he didn't, only that he never told the Wanderling he did, nor was it the case that the Wanderling was ever witness to such a fact. However, in that Castaneda's colleague Bill and the informant knew each other all along AND the informant knew the "old man" and of his shaman-sorcerer background --- because the two of them had studied under the same teacher at one time --- strong indications stemming from deep personal suspicions by the Wanderling point to the fact that the informant actually orchestrated or choreographed the whole bus station meeting.

The colleague says the "old man" and the Cloud Shaman knew each other. He also says the Cloud Shaman and the informant are one and the same person, AND it is known that "one person" is the Wanderling's Uncle. Castaneda says the "old man" he met in the bus station IS Don Juan Matus, which if so, would imply by default then that the Wanderling's uncle knew Don Juan Matus. The clinker is that Castaneda is the ONLY one out of everybody or anybody involved that seems to know or says the "old man" in the bus station is or turned out to be, Don Juan Matus.

By the time the Wanderling reached his teenage years he had already begun study under his spiritual guide and Mentor and no longer under the auspices of his uncle. It was during those teenage years, when the Wanderling and his uncle were separated, that his uncle crossed paths with Carlos Castaneda. It was only in passing conversation many, many years later that the Wanderling came to realize the importance of the time spent with his uncle, the knowledge he held, and where it led to. You have to remember that during the period Castaneda was interviewing the Wanderling's uncle regarding Sacred Datura and other medicinal plants Castaneda was an undergraduate student carrying with him all the baggage of an unassured novitate. The Wanderling's uncle was always running into people that sought various amounts of information from him about natural desert plants and any effect they may have. Castaneda was just another in a long line of seekers and wasn't particularly memorable except for, in retrospect, a certain amount of persistance. Not to undercut Castaneda, but the Wanderling's uncle was surprised --- as well as pleased to a certain extent --- to find out THAT specific person who had tramped around the desert with him all those days and nights and arranged to eventually hook-up with the "old man," achieved the level of success he did and that he actually became "somebody." To his knowledge nobody he had ever come into contact in the past had. His uncle was glad, regardless of how Castaneda may have presented it in his books and the public, that at least some or part of the information and knowledge he carried with him was not going to be simply lost forever to the winds and the rocks and sand of the desert.

When his father and Stepmother divorced the Wanderling was living in a foster home. By high school, AFTER a previously arranged summer of traveling with his uncle, he ended up living with his grandmother in a southern California beach community.(see) Except for the aforementioned short summer interlude his uncle had long returned to the Santa Fe, Taos area. The Wanderling went from a pre-teen to a job to having been in and out of the Army. Eighteen years passed. Then one day late in 1968 his uncle called saying he needed his help. They met in Kingman, Arizona.

His uncle gave him a small taped up cardboard box six or eight inches square and told him to deliver it in person to a man in Laguna Beach, California --- and told him whatever he did, NOT give it to anybody else under any circumstances. When the Wanderling arrived in Laguna Beach he went to an establishment on Pacific Coast Highway called Mystic Arts World as directed by his uncle. There someone took him to the man who was sequestered in a remote cave hidden in the hills above Laguna Canyon Road. The man, Dr. Timothy Leary. The contents of the box not known. For more see:


For the Wanderling, although important, except for the slow growing downstream outflow of events that transpired through Karma and Conditions as described by clicking through to the "see" link at the end of the previous paragraph, the primary importance of the meeting in Kingman had not so much to do with the fact that it involved Timothy Leary as much as the meeting rekindled his relationship with his uncle.

However, as the years passed, before every bit of information could be garnered the Wanderling's uncle died after being medi-vacked back to the United States from South America. He had been on an extended trip exploring the Vortexes at Machu Picchu high in the Andes then bio-searching the banisteriopsis caapi vine associated with the Ayahuasca Sorcerer's Brew along the upper reaches of the Amazon when he broke his leg. A combination of age and a weakening immune system caused from complications of that break, cancer infiltrated his body ending his life two years later at age eighty-six. (see)

Between the time of the meeting in Kingman and the death of the Wanderling's uncle a number of other meetings occurred. At one of those meetings Castaneda's colleague Bill, that is William Lawrence Campbell, was in attendance. At that meeting Campbell discussed his relationship with Castaneda, how they met, the Nogales bus station where Castaneda met Don Juan for the first time, etc. (see)

You must remember we may be dealing with two totally different people here. Castaneda's colleague Bill was never in the picture after the bus station encounter --- and neither was anybody else for that matter --- so there is no one or no way to confirm if the "old man" that both the informant knew and Bill saw and Castaneda met at the end of the summer of 1960 in the Nogales bus station AND the person he met up with in Yuma in December of 1960 and called Don Juan Matus are actually the same person. The closing half of JULIAN OSORIO: Don Juan's Teacher explores just such a scenario as does The Old Man In the Desert.


In The Informant and Carlos Castaneda, above, the following is written by the Wanderling:

"Except for a possible hint in the closing paragraph of Cloud Shaman, relating to the fact cited above where the informant "cloaked by shimmering desert heat waves, simply seemed to evaporate into the rocks and sagebrush without a trace," it was never made clear to me specifically if he himself was a Shaman."

Again, as with Footnote [3], in a quick overview there may seem to be a contradiction in information between two sources. As found in the Roswell Incident Updated the Wanderling as a ten-year old boy is traveling with his uncle. His uncle is called in by the eminent meteorite hunter Dr. Lincoln La Paz to assist in determining the trajectory of the mysterious object said to have crashed in the Capitan Mountains near Roswell, New Mexico. The Wanderling, while busying himself looking for horn toads and lizards in the surrounding scrub brush and sandy terrain as well as breaking up rocks for the first time with a newly aquired prospector's pick, comes across a few pieces of some foil-like material.(see) The military person in charge quickly gathers up the pieces and, in a rather harsh and abrupt fashion, orders the Wanderling and his uncle back to the vehicle they arrived in, placing them under guard with orders not to let them leave. When the military person returns to the truck he finds the Wanderling and his uncle gone, and the guard assigned to watch them having no clue where they went or what happened to them. A search of the area shows no sign of either anywhere in the vicinity, as though they simply disappeared or vanished, the desert and the surrounding environment somehow swallowing them up without a trace. (source)

The seeming contradiction arises in the last part of the quote above: " was never made clear to me specifically if he himself was a Shaman." Now, how could the Wanderling just disappear with his uncle and not know it. That is where a great deal about Shamanism is missed by the non-Shaman. To the OUTSIDE OBSERVER both seemed to have just vanished, however to themselves everything was normal. The Wanderling walking with his uncle wasn't aware of any difference. His uncle may have been fully aware of the situation, but for the Wanderling, not versed in such things, just went along with his uncle enveloped by the circumstances. The only difference, still recalled very vividly, was that the distance they traveled by vehicle that day to the fused glass site was quite far and took quite a long time, however the trip walking back across the desert on foot took only a short time. As a young boy the Wanderling never really thought much about the time-distance difference one way or the other, as a grown man it is another matter.

Interestingly enough, some one hundred years before the above Roswell incident transpired with the boy and his uncle, a highly similar event was recorded involving a venerated Indian holy man and saint, Swami Ramalinga Swamigal, popularly known as Vallalar, and some of his devotees.

One day, while in Madras, the Swami along with several devotees and disciples, were walking to Tiruvottiyur inorder to worship at the Ishwara temple. During the journey he and his party got caught in an exceptionally heavy downpour, all in the group suffering much difficulty because of the sudden flooding and rushing water. The Swami showed them a shortcut and in an instant they reached Tiruvottiyur. T.V.G. Chetty, in the book Life of Swami Ramalingam, describes the incident as follows:

They had reached half the way to Tiruvottiyur. There was heavy rain. His followers began to run pell‑mell. But the Swami "rallied them all together and darted through some mysterious bye‑lane" and got the entire body in front of the temple in a second of time.

Chetty goes on to write:

The above incident seems to be a case of collective dematerialisation and materialisation, that is to say the Swami took them within his subtle‑physical body or possibly enveloped them in his environmental body which is its extension and reached the destination instantly and projected them out again. His devotees should have felt the whole process as going through a mysterious way and reaching the temple in an instant.

See Apportation as well as Chalabhinna the sixfold knowledge of the worthy ones. See also At the Feet of the Bhagavan and the final paragraphs of The Sun Dagger.


There is more on this further on, but quickly for now, the UCLA spring classes Castaneda enrolled in ran roughly from sometime mid-January to at the most the middle of June, 1960. His paper was due to be turned in before the end of that period, that is, not much later than two or three weeks into June at the most, perhaps somewhat earlier. In other words, the spring semester ended basically just at the start of the summer of 1960. It was the summer of 1960 Castaneda met Don Juan Matus at the bus station and AFTER he had already turned in his paper on datura. That initial encounter with Don Juan at the bus station lasted less than 15 minutes. After that a full six months elapsed before they saw each other again in December of 1960.(see)

Continuing, in a quote by UCLA Professor Clement Meighan in the above main text, the following is written:

"His informant knew a great deal about Datura, which was a drug used in initiating ceremonies by some California groups, but had presumed by me and I think most other anthropologists to have passed out of the picture 40 or 50 years ago."

Carlos Castaneda wrote that he learned about Datura from his informant. There is no conflict or disagreement with that thesis UNTIL he frames his idea around the fact that the informant who taught him about Datura WAS Don Juan Matus. Don Juan Matus, real or imagined, may have been or become Castaneda's informant in Castaneda's books, but initially it was the bio-searcher that instructed him in the preparation and uses of all parts of the plant, roots, leaves, flowers and seeds.

Castaneda also claims it was Don Juan that first taught him how to approach the plant properly and how to ask permission from the plant-spirit before digging it up. He writes his informant was very particular about these details and instructed Castaneda to never use an iron or metal tool when digging up Datura. He was told to use only a branch from a tree-friend of the plant in order to ensure that the plant would not be unduly hurt and be more likely to act beneficially and friendly during any subsequent encounter.

As well Castaneda writes that Don Juan taught him the secrets of a lizard ritual in which the use of Datura plays a central role. According to Castaneda, under Don Juan's instructions two lizards are caught with no equipment or traps. The fiber of a century plant and thorn of a prickly pear is used to sew shut the eyes of one lizard and the mouth of the other. While under the influence of Datura the diviner asks the lizards to help find the answer to his question. One reptile is sent away to search for clues while the other remains sitting on the shoulder of the diviner, whispering into his ear all that the other lizard is seeing and experiencing.

All the details about how to dig up plants --- not using a metal tool, using branches from tree-friends of the plant, and even apologizing to the plant-spirit every time for taking them and assuring them that someday the diviner's own body will serve as food for them "so, all in all, the plants and ourselves are even" --- are all things my uncle taught me. The taboo surrounding the use of iron or metal tools when digging up medicinal or spiritual plants is encountered frequently with magical and medicinal plants. The sacredness of the custom dates way back, to an extremely ancient use of the plant --- well before the first iron or metal tools were ever cast or made. That and the rest of the plant rituals were told me by my uncle almost verbatim as a kid while hunting mushrooms and medicinal plants under his auspices in the High Sierras and the desert southwest --- all things in Castaneda's 1960s that were thought "to have passed out of the picture 40 or 50 years ago."

The lizard ritual is TOTALLY another thing --- something of which I question the validity of --- for two reasons. First, none of it is approached in the text as being much more than an ordinary exercise, in line with grinding seeds or collecting plants. Castaneda basically accomplished the whole thing with little or no trouble --- under the darkening sky of the twilight hours and never having done it before. In real life it is questionable that a neophyte anthropology student from UCLA would have the knowledge or refined expertise to turn cactus fiber into thread, a thorn into a needle, or able to hold two lizards still while stitching their eyelids and lips shut. Some say it was easily accomplished by Castaneda because he was on his way to being a sorcerer. However, previous encounters had been under outside influence. Castaneda had been without drugs over three months --- fifteen weeks --- so it was not even a hallucination.

Secondly, as it relates to my own case, I can draw an inference from a highly personal experience that transpired before I even reached my teen years. My uncle had taken me to a sacred Native American site called Fajada Butte that, for reasons unclear to me at the time, he had cause to ascend. As a ten year old boy with no mountain climbing skills I was somewhat apprehensive to ascend the mountain either by unmarked trail or scale the straight up 400 foot cliff walls of the butte. The two of us were traveling with a local tribal spiritual elder my uncle was somehow associated with that had been waiting for us two days before at some nearby ruins. The tribal elder, sensing my apprehension, under the gaze of the rising full moon went into the desert to obtain something he thought might help. The following is presented in The Sun Dagger outlining what happened:

"When he returned he had some plants with him he said warriors used sometimes before going into battle in order to make them strong and brave, and if I used some I would be strong and brave too, inturn alleviating any concern about making my way to the top of the butte. As my uncle nodded an approval, I did as prescribed under the direction of the tribal elder. Then I was told to lay down and rest as there was a difficult trip before us."

"At sunrise my uncle shook me awake and said he and his friend would be gone for a while and not to leave, telling me there was food and water in the corner if I wanted it. I rolled back over thinking I would go back to sleep when it dawned on me my uncle had said 'corner.' When I sat up I could see I was in some sort of a room. Actually, it was more of a 'some sort of ruin' barely stuck on a ledge on the side of the butte hundreds and hundreds of feet above the valley floor."

I had no clue how I got there. The day passed, darkness slowly came across the desert and the temperature began to drop. My uncle's friend gave me more of the plants in the same manner as the previous night, then I curled up and fell asleep. I woke up the next morning in the cab of the truck parked in the ruins northwest of the the butte we started from. As we were leaving I turned to the man and asked how all this happened and he responded by saying something in his native tongue. I asked my uncle what the man had said and he told me it translated into something like, "Eagles don't climb, they fly." Years later my uncle all but cetified that the plants used by the tribal elder that night was Sacred Datura. However, all the rituals were done by the elder, and for the magic of the plant to unfold, which apparently it must have as I ended up on the butte, required nothing remotely close to the use of a lizard or any other animal in any fashion --- nor since then in any similar situation have I ever observed such a ritual or the need for such a ritual. Although Jane Holden Kelley, for example, would most likely disagree, it is my opinion that Castaneda was concerned, and perhaps ONLY SO early on, that through his books he was in effect promoting and sanctioning the use of a dangerous hallucinogenic and potentially toxic drug, information that might reach a wide audience and cause harm if consumed or used in quanities unmetered by someone not versed in their safe administration. By introducing an amost impossible ritual to accomplish, that had to be done in conjunction with the use of the drug if expected results were to be forthcoming, he created a scenario that was basically untenable and unworkable.

The following is from The Ally In Shamanism and refers to Castaneda's swearing off drugs or the use of drugs by the time of his fourth book:

Although a lot of people do not know it, nor are all people particularly pleased by it or willing to accept it, by Castaneda's fourth book, Tales of Power (1974) and written in a time period circa autumn of 1971 --- ten years after his first use of psychotropic plants under the auspices of Don Juan on Monday, August 7, 1961 --- Castaneda is blatantly DENYING the use of or need of drugs in any way, shape or form, just like I have stated above and for the same reasons. If you recall I wrote:

In reality, the "full use of power can only be acquired with the help of an 'ally'," that Castaneda speaks of, like the use of medicinal plants, drugs, or herbs (Aushadhis) --- which he used intially, but denied the necessary use of later --- is a second level of use between the Shaman and the actual power source, the same source the "ally" would draw upon for power

So said, Castaneda, in agreement with the non-use of drugs as I have stated above --- because a true shaman can reach the Power of the Shaman without outside crutches --- in Castaneda's fourth book in the chapter titled: "An Appointment with Knowledge" he writes:

Finally I managed to steer the conversation onto the topic of my interest. I began by mentioning that I had reviewed my early notes, and had realized that he had been giving me a detailed description of the sorcerers' world from the beginning of our association. In light of what he had said to me in those stages, I had begun to question the role of hallucinogenic plants.

"Why did you make me take those power plants so many times?" I asked.

He laughed and mumbled very softly, "'Cause you're dumb."

I heard him the first time but I wanted to make sure and, pretended I had not understood.

"I beg your pardon?" I asked.

"You know what I said," he replied and stood up.

He tapped me on the head as he walked by me.

"You're rather slow," he said. "And there was no other way to jolt you."

"So none of that was absolutely necessary?" I asked.

"It was in your case. There are other types of people, however, that do not seem to need them."

Again from Castaneda's fourth book, Tales of Power in the chapter titled: "The Strategy of a Sorcerer"

The extraordinary effect that psychotropic plants had had on me was what gave me the bias that their use was the key feature of the teachings. I held on to that conviction.

It was only in the later years of my apprenticeship that I realized that the meaningful transformations and findings of sorcerers were always done in states of sober consciousness.

For more on the Castaneda Peyote/Datura discussion-controversy, please see Don Juan Matus, FOOTNOTE [1].


CARLOS CASTANEDA: Datura or Peyote?

THE MEETING: An Untold Story of Sri Ramana


If you follow the narrative in Castaneda's various writings as well as from what is outlined above, you can unravel through a series of events what led up to the Road Trip with his colleague Bill and how Castaneda met Don Juan Matus --- the shaman-sorcerer he was to eventually apprentice under. Now, if Don Juan was a composite or not, he is presented as if he wasn't. Castaneda states that Don Juan had, many years before, at the age of twenty, came in contact with a person he calls a master sorcerer by the name of Julian Osorio. Osorio inturn introduced Don Juan into a lineage of sorcerers that was purported to be twenty-five generations long. Don Juan told Castaneda that Osorio had been an actor and during one of his theatrical tours he had met another master shaman, Elias Ulloa, who transmitted to Osorio the knowledge of his lineage of sorcerers and thus inturn through Osorio to Don Juan, then down in lineage to Castaneda.

As cited above, Jay Courtney Fikes and others suggest that rather than being one individual, the chance exists that Don Juan was actually a composite of two or possibly even three authentic Indian shamans, the most oft cited candidate being the Cahuilla shaman Salvador Lopez. I have a different take on things. Although involving two individuals, it is NOT my opinion there is any sort of a composite of individuals.

In the third book of his series, Journey to Ixtlan (1972), Castaneda writes that after returning to Los Angeles he "prepared himself for six months" and when he "felt ready" he went back looking for Don Juan, however NOT to or around Nogales, Arizona, but Yuma, Arizona.

The difference between Castaneda selecting and going to Yuma to search out Don Juan rather than going to Nogales is huge. In A Separate Reality (1971) Castaneda writes:

"I remembered that Bill and I had once driven all day looking for the house of an 'eccentric' Mexican Indian who lived in the area. We did not find the man's house and I had the feeling that the Indians whom we had asked for directions had deliberately misled us."

The time and place the above quote originated from was the Nogales bus station right after Castaneda and Bill had just returned from their Road Trip around the desert southwest --- which ended in Nogales rather than several hundred miles further toward the west than say, Yuma --- and implies that more than likely they had just come in from the New Mexico or the general northeastern Sonora region. Taking it a step forward, that same implication places the location they had driven around all day looking for the house of an "eccentric Mexican Indian who lived in the area" as being adjecent to Nogales. In other words, the New Mexico or the general northeastern Sonora region ---NOT Yuma. The question is, IF the Road Trip ended closer to the Yuma side of things rather than Nogales in the first place, why would Castaneda backtrack all the way east to Nogales just to turn around and take the bus west to Los Angeles?

Citing a date during the winter recess at the end of the fall semester 1960 (i.e., Saturday, December 17, 1960), after allowing a full six months to lapse without ever seeing or talking with Don Juan since their bus station encounter Castaneda writes, as in the above previously, that he went back looking for Don Juan, however NOT to or around Nogales, Arizona, but Yuma, Arizona, saying:

"I found his house after making long and taxing inquiries among the local Indians. It was early afternoon when I arrived and parked in front of it. I saw him sitting on a wooden milk crate. He seemed to recognize me and greeted me as I got out of my car."

So, Castaneda and his experienced driving around the southwest guide, Bill, drove around a whole day six months before and could not find "the house of an 'eccentric' Mexican Indian who lived in the area" (Nogales/Sonora), but Castaneda on his own, after simply asking a couple local Indians in a effort that he calls taxing inquiries, drove right up in front of Don Juan's house in Yuma.

Where I mention in my writings about a meeting between the bio-searcher and myself with a white-haired old Indian on an "excursion deep into a remote part of the southern New Mexico desert" in The Boy and the Giant Feather, making it (the location) possibly difficult to find, Castaneda writes about a town (Yuma) that you can drive right up in front of Don Juan's house and park. It leads me to believe we are talking about two different places and most likely two different people.

There is a person OUTSIDE the typical circle of Castaneda's closest disciples that has gained some traction by the name of Ken Eagle Feather, a follower and advocate of what he calls the Toltec Path, who says in his writings that he met and studied under the "SAME" Don Juan Matus that Castaneda writes about in his books.

C. Scott Littleton (1933 - 2010) former Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, and former Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Littleton joined the Occidental faculty in 1962, retiring at the end of the spring semester, 2002. Littleton met Castaneda for the first time in Lessa's office at UCLA the same day he sat in on Castaneda's seminar presentation. The two hit it off immediately and because of the level of their friendship, Littleton had Castaneda as a most willing guest lecturer in his classes at both Occidental and UCLA Extension on many occasions.

During the winter of 1942, only a few months into World War II, when Littleton was eight years old, he was living in a small beach community along the coast of Southern California and experienced a most unsual event. In the early morning hours of February 25, 1942 he and his whole family were awakened by the sounds of air raid sirens and air defense guns. Searchlights had a huge airborne object of an unknown type and unknown origin within their sights and whatever the object was it was impervious to the continuing barrage and pounding of seemingly direct hits from anti-aircraft fire. Coming to be called the UFO Over Los Angeles or the Battle of L.A., the object turned inland and disappeared into the night over what was then thinly populated farmland and oilfields, but not without first impacting Littleton for the rest of his life. He has since gone on to do intensive academic research into the mythological dimensions of the UFO phenomenon. In so saying, he has sometimes indulged on his suspicions that Castaneda's experiences reflected a UFO connection --- a possibility Littleton raised with Castaneda personally on several occasions despite the absence of clear-cut UFO imagery in his writings --- and Castaneda reportedly told him that he'd "look into it."

Source for Littleton comments contained herein from: CREATE, COMMUNICATE, COLLABORATE, Subject: Re: A good read; Sat, 30 Jun 2001 14:59:12 -0700 (PDT); From: "C. Scott Littleton" To: "Dr. Jack Sarfatti." Please note Littleton states he and Castaneda met at UCLA in 1960, shortly after Castaneda met his Yaqui mentor:

"I met Castaneda in Lessa's office on the top floor of Haines Hall. We hit it off immediately & I sat in on his seminar presentation. Remember, this was the spring of 1960, less than three months after he met Don Juan Matus."

Create, Communicate, Collaborate

In the introduction to Castaneda's first book THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN: A YAQUI WAY OF KNOWLEDGE (1968), Castaneda writes:

"In the summer of 1960, while I was an anthropology student at the University of California, Los Angeles, I made several trips to the Southwest to collect information on the medicinal plants used by the Indians of the area. The events I describe here began during one of my trips. I was waiting in a border town for a Greyhound bus talking with a friend who had been my guide and helper in the survey (i.e., the friend and guide being onetime former Pothunter turned reputable archeaologist William Lawrence Campbell). Suddenly he leaned toward me and whispered that the man, a white-haired old Indian, who was sitting in front of the window was very learned about plants, especially peyote. I asked my friend to introduce me to this man."

Please note Littleton writes that he met Castaneda in "the spring of 1960, less than three months AFTER (Castaneda) met Don Juan Matus." Castaneda himself writes that it was "in the summer of 1960" that he met Don Juan --- which would be the summer following the spring that Littleton cites. Academic years run Fall, Spring with a start of a new year between semesters (i.e., Fall 1959, Spring 1960 are the same academic year). Calendar years run Spring, Summer, Fall of the same year (i.e., Spring 1960, Fall of 1960 are the same calendar year, but different academic years). Why Littleton wrote he met Castaneda in the Spring of 1960 saying it was three months after Castaneda had met Don Juan is not clear. In reality Castaneda was yet to meet Don Juan. It could be that Castaneda had so much valid Shaman-like information the only way Littleton and Lessa felt he could have garnered it was by having him to have known Don Juan already.

By the time the Nogales bus station meeting between Don Juan and Castaneda occurred --- in the SUMMER of 1960 --- Castaneda had already turned in his paper to Meighan that contained fairly knowledgeble references to the Datura plant, the four heads and their various purposes, the roots and their significance, the method of preparation, and cooking and rituals involved in relation to their use. Please see CARLOS CASTANEDA: The Introduction Scenes.

His meeting with Don Juan in the bus station lasted only a few minutes with Don Juan departing the depot almost immediately after their conversation. Castaneda did not see Don Juan again until December 17, 1960. Between the end of that summer bus station encounter and the December 17th date in which he met Don Juan, Castaneda turned in his paper for his undergraduate class with Lessa and did his presentation for Lessa's graduate level class. It was not until a FULL six months later, June 23, 1961, that Castaneda formally began his apprenticeship under Don Juan --- and another six weeks after that, August 6, 1961, before he had his first experience with any sort of psychotropic plants under Don Juan's auspices. Castaneda's next experience didn't occur until September 7, 1961, with him presenting it in THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN as his "first" experience using Datura. As late as all of the above dates fall compared to when he turned in his papers to Meighan and Lessa, it becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Castaneda to have learned anything of any substance from Don Juan and to have any of it included in either of the two papers. The ONLY way Castaneda could have garnered the information he provided in both papers, "the best information from a shaman he'd ever seen, bar none," could have been through his interactions with the informant.



There is often a question regarding Castaneda's UCLA classes, i.e. when did they start, when did they end, etc. There is a big difference in timing regarding the months and weeks as to when a Spring Semester starts as compared to when a Spring Quarter starts. The same holds true in regards to when they end. The problem is when Castaneda was attending UCLA as an undergraduate the University was on the semester system. By the time he received his PhD it was on the quarter system. Most people who do research on Castaneda typically assume the present day quarter system was in place in the Spring and Summer 1960 when most of the Don Juan material we are talking about here was in the process of unfolding. That assumption skews the data and why dealing with the dates and times of semesters and NOT quarters is so important. Castaneda had plenty of time to travel with his colleague, meet the informant and turn in his papers prior to the end of the Spring Semester 1960, have the summer, turn in his second paper and look for Don Juan at the end of the Fall Semester 1960 --- we are talking ONE FULL CALENDAR YEAR here, from the start of January 1960 to the last day of December 1960, to wit:

The UCLA spring classes Castaneda enrolled in ran roughly from sometime mid-January to around the middle of June, 1960. His paper was due to be turned in at least by the end of that period, that is, not much later than two or three weeks into June at the most, perhaps somewhat earlier.

As well as:

Afterwards, taking advantage of the scheduled UCLA winter break at the completion of his Fall of 1960 classes, Castaneda left California for Arizona and Mexico searching for Don Juan, hoping for a meeting. On December 17, 1960, he eventually caught up with him at his home, their FIRST face-to-face meeting since their initial bus station encounter.

To clarify, UCLA has not always been on the quarter system. The undergraduate college adopted the quarter system in the mid-1960s. Before then, UCLA --- like Berkeley and much of the rest of the universities in the United States --- was a semester school. The following is from the UCLA Senate Calendar History:

A Brief History of UC's and UCLA's Academic Calendar: 1966 to 2001

UC History

Before 1966, all UC campuses were on the semester calendar.

1966: UC System changes to the quarter system calendar.

All campuses in the UC system changed from the semester to the quarter system in 1966-67 on the recommendation of the State Coordinating Council for Higher Education (the predecessor to the current State Postsecondary Education Commission) which believed that the quarter system was the best system for achieving year-round operations (four quarters: fall, winter, spring, summer). A summer quarter was operated in both 1968 and 1969

The original source in PDF format: PDF




  • At the beginning of the semester Castaneda researches, writes, and at the end of the semester, turns in his paper to Meigan. The paper includes fairly academic references to the plant Datura. He discusses the plant's four heads, their various purposes, the roots and their significance, and the method of preparation, cooking and rituals involved when used medicinally and in ritual by various, albeit left unidentified, unnamed or ambiguous, indigenous peoples of the desert southwest --- all information he supposedly learns a year and a half later from Don Juan (between August 23 and September 10, 1961 as described by Castaneda in The Teachings of Don Juan). Near the end of this period and prior to turning in his paper to Meigan, Castaneda goes on a Road Trip with a colleage and meets the informant who shows him the rituals and use of the plant Datura that he writes about in his paper.



One other quick addition to this Footnote. Some people have suggested that the statement attributed to Lessa "...he had this Peruvian guy in his class who'd collected the best information from a shaman he'd ever seen, bar none," could not be true in that a professor of Lessa's status would NEVER use the word "shaman." In so saying, the idea is to undermine the statement so it could never have been said. However, that the word "shaman" would NOT be used by Lessa and others of his ilk is an outsider's view. When individuals or closed groups of insiders such as Lessa and Littleton get together political correctness drops by the wayside. It is not unlike Blacks, for example. Within their own circles or amongst their close friends they can and do use the N-word. If an outsider or White person were to join the group and start throwing the word around there would be hell to pay.

SEE: WE DO NOT HAVE SHAMANS: The Case Against "Shamans" In North American Indigenous Cultures

Again, to find out who Castaneda's informant actually was, please refer to Footnote [9]. See also ZEN, THE BUDDHA, AND SHAMANISM.

the Wanderling


As to how long or short that first meeting in the bus station between Castaneda and the old man may have been or how much information one way or the other --- if any --- could have passed between them, in THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968), Castaneda in his own words writes what transpired:

"I then told him that I was interested in obtaining information about medicinal plants. Although in truth I was almost totally ignorant about peyote, I found myself pretending that I knew a great deal, and even suggesting that it might be to his advantage to talk with me. As I rattled on, he nodded slowly and looked at me, but said nothing. I avoided his eyes and we finished by standing, the two of us, in dead silence. Finally, after what seemed a very long time, don Juan got up and looked out of the window.

"His bus had come. He said good-bye and left the station."

It seems apparent Castaneda did all the talking and Don Juan basically did no more than nod, look, and stand in silence during the time they were together. As short as the bus station meeting was it is quite clear, in his own words, Castandea could NOT have garnered any significant amount of information during their time together because, for the most part, Don Juan said nothing. They did not meet again, even for a single moment, until six months later, December 17, 1960 --- and Castaneda had by then, already turned in BOTH of his papers to his professors.

As to my contention that the whole bus station meeting lasted only a short time, two things are in play here. One, Castaneda diagrams the conversation word for word. He also intimates Don Juan did not say anything in response, at the most only nodding and standing in silence. Just by going over the conversation and taking into consideration no return conversation by Don Juan it is easy to calculate physically not a lot of time would have or could have elapsed.

Secondly, Castaneda writes "Finally, after what seemed a very long time, don Juan got up and looked out of the window. His bus had come. He said good-bye and left the station." Notice in his own words, Castaneda carefully selects and specifically writes "what seemed a very long time" --- not that it WAS a very long time --- only that it seemed a very long time.


A woman by the name of Mary Joan (Joanie) Barker, often cited as Castaneda's girlfriend at the time, is the person that usually gets the lion's share of credit for originally taking Castaneda to the Morongo Indian Reservation near her childhood home of Banning, California.

The inference promulgated in Barker's home being near the Morongo Indian Reservation is that some sort of intimate connection had been established between herself and the Indians because of the proximity of her home --- say for example that she may have volunteered, rendered aid or assistance in some fashion over a period of time, or just hung out, thus being able to lay the groundwork for a long term mutual trust between herself and tribal members. However, although not meant to discount any such prospects from having transpirerd on her part, except for attending an annual festival related to the Indians like almost anybody who lived in the area might, no proof or personal statements by Barker or associates has been forthcoming that substantiates any such actions, either long term or short term, involving Barker.

In any case, over and over Barker is reputed to be the person to have taken Castaneda to the reservation for the first time easing the pathway for him to meet a number of Cahuilla tribal members and spiritual elders including Salvador Lopez. Some say it was because of that introduction to Lopez that Castaneda obtained the information he used in his 1960s paper on datura.

The suggestion that Lopez or any Cahuilla tribal members was the source for Castaneda's datura information would automatically infer then, that the meeting or meetings would have to had occurred BEFORE the end of the spring semester of 1960 for any of the information gained to have been used in his paper.

Therein lays the rub. UCLA professor Douglass Price-Williams, a one-time member of Castaneda's dissertation committee and who counted himself as a friend of Castaneda --- not discouraging strong rumors to the effect by let standing in a low-key fashion that he may have played a part in the initial meeting between Barker and Castaneda --- has been quoted as saying Barker was a librarian at UCLA sometime in the summer of 1960 and it was during that summer, July or August of 1960, that Castaneda and Barker met. If such was the case, any introduction by her involving Castaneda and the Cahuillas or Lopez would have transpired AFTER his paper was turned in.(source)

Continually in my works, as for example, cited in the main text above, I maintain that Castaneda's 1960s Paper On Datura was turned in at the end of the spring semester of 1960, a paper that contained all the information that he supposedly learns over one full year later from Don Juan between August 23 and September 10, 1961. By the time Castaneda met Barker and received an introduction to Lopez, he had already turned in his paper and was yet to meet Don Juan Matus. Therefore, neither Lopez nor Don Juan could have had any instrumental impact.

Both the first meeting and the timing of the first meeting between Barker and Castaneda most usually rests on the oft repeated statement reportedly from Douglass Price-Williams that Barker was a librarian at UCLA sometime in the summer of 1960 and it was during that summer, July or August of 1960, that Castaneda and Barker met. The question is, from what source or under what circumstances did the facts behind the statement originate? I, of course, fully accept the Price-Williams timeline because it substantiates and strengthens MY thesis that it was the person called the Informant in Castaneda's works and by me that introduced him to datura and the shamanistic rituals he later uses and bases his Don Juan stories on. Don Juan and Castanedaophiles, pro or con, selectively ignore or overlook what has been presented by me in The Informant and Carlos Castaneda even though it wasn't me that created the dates or timelines presented by Castaneda --- nor was it me who originally presented the Price-Williams statement in the wider media as being accurate or even existing.

For example, Corey Donovan, creator of the online Castaneda website and forum Sustained Action, in SALVADOR LOPEZ: One of Castaneda's Original Informants? writes:

"The Cahuilla reservations are near Palm Springs, and thus not far from Los Angeles. They are very near the place where Joanie Barker grew up, and she is known to regularly attend their annual festival. It has been speculated that Joanie, who first met up with Castaneda in the summer of 1960 and soon became his girlfriend, would have taken him out to the reservation she was familiar with when she learned he was taking a class (from Clement Meighan) on shamanism."(source)

The following, also found in Sustained Action, only this time in PRELUDE TO DON JUAN: Castaneda's Early Years, pretty much repeats the summer of 1960 meeting and cites Price-Williams specifically:

"Summer 1960 - Mary Joan Barker (Joanie), whom Castaneda later describes to the Sunday group as 'don Juan's first student,' becomes involved with Castaneda. [Douglass Price-Williams, a UCLA professor and friend of Castaneda (and, for a time in the early '70's, Florinda's dissertation adviser) remembers Joanie being first employed as a librarian at UCLA sometime in the summer of 1960. Douglass believes the two met up in July or August of 1960 (i.e., around the time of Castaneda’s separation from Margaret Runyan)."(source)

Again, the question is, where did Cory Donovan and Sustained Action directly obtain the information of when and where Castaneda and Mary Joan Barker first met? I can tell you where I got mine.

In 1973 my former college roomate took a job with the City of Los Angeles working in some fashion in coordinating and mounting exhibits in the art gallery located on the upper floors of the L.A. City Hall among other things. Around the same time he bought a "fixer-upper" dump of a place in Venice, California. Along the way he discovered there was some sort of short-term effort between the perimeters of his job and the Israel Levin Center in Venice. He also discovered, since it was some distance to city hall in downtown Los Angeles and where he lived in Venice, that if he participated in whatever the project was being coordinated with the Center, he could either come in late a few days a week or not come in at all.

It just so happened that during that same period, although teaching full time at USC, Barbara Myerhoff was doing fieldwork regarding elderly Jews at the same Center supported by a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation given to the USC Andrus Gerontology Center. In pursuit of their separate endeavors my ex-roomate and Myerhoff soon crossed paths and it wasn't long after that their crossing of paths was brought to my attention.

Through their crossing of paths I was able to finagle or put into place what appeared on the surface to be, and was for all practical purposes, an impromtu meeting --- a meeting that inturn, led from casual conversation to a rather substantial discussion between Myerhoff and myself regarding some aspects of her knowledge of Castaneda that I was hoping to clarify for my own edification.

Ten years later, sometime in the fall of 1984 I found myself at the Ojai Foundation in Ojai, California at a talk given by a friend of my Uncle, the noted Huichol Indian shaman Don Jose Matsuwa --- probably age 94 or so at the time. After the talk, and this time genuinely so impromptu, I ran into Barbara Myerhoff, as well as, of all people, Professor Douglass Price-Williams, the two engaging in small talk as much as people of their ilk can engage in small talk. I had by then already experienced the events outlined elsewhere with the shaman man of spells high in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica called an Obeah, of which ended in somewhat startling results. Because of such, and because I was sure both saw me with Matsuwa after his talk, having been allowed into his inner circle to offer my respects after it became known the relationship with my uncle, I felt confident to be in a circle of such an exaulted environment. To cut to the quick, although it was Myerhoff to whom I originally intended to speak, when I learned one of the people in the associated group she was talking with was Price-Williams, it was to him I directed my pointed question and it was Price-Williams who answered directly. He basically related that he knew Castaneda since shortly after he arrived at UCLA as a new transfer student from L.A. City College and most definitely before Barker ever entered the picture. That did not happen until the summer of 1960 when she took a job in the library at UCLA.

Douglass Price-Williams, born October 1, 1924 passed away October 10, 2014 in Oceanside, California.


The word conditions is an english word used in context from the Sutras for the Sanskrit word Pratyaya which means (roughly): "the pre-existing conditions that allow primary causes to function." Which basically means if the conditions are absent, then the causes are prevented.

Conditions are the milieu, stage set, or playing field where acts or impulses unfold. They can be increased by other conditions, decreased by other conditions, or replaced by other conditions to accelerate or postpone results in the stream of events. Which means that conditions can, but not necessarily DO modify. They arise primarily on a broader scale from causes in the distant past. When conditions do manifest themselves they are for the most part not defined, that is, they are undefined or spent, meaning they cannot create or impact figuratively further downstream responses. However, even though they are spent, they are still extremely powerful in how they impose themselves on the immediate circumstances in which they are operating. To wit:

Any shift in any fashion in the conditions up or down or across the stream relative to the cause will impact the resultant outcome of that cause.

On the scientifc side of things, no matter how complex any system may be or appear to be AND, even though it may not be able to be determined or known, they rely upon an underlying order. To that extent very simple or small systems and events can cause very complex behaviors or events. This latter idea is known as Sensitive Dependence On Initial Conditions, a circumstance discovered in the early 1960s by Edward Lorenz the scientist usually credited with the discovery of the Butterfly Effect --- making reference to the fact that small, almost imperceptible happenstances or events, over time, can have huge and momentous consequences.

It is in those areas of conditions that the Shaman operates, where small yet powerful well aimed Shaman directed impluses ever so slightly nudge the conditions which inturn modify the outcome.(source)