Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda (Anglais) Broché – 18 décembre 2007
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“Truth hurts … and so does Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Amy Wallace’s harrowing account of her years as Carlos Castaneda’s lover and disciple is a cautionary tale for our times, the story of a woman whose search for meaning took her to the brink, and damned near cost her everything. In this painfully honest memoir, she takes us deep inside the Castaneda cult and shows us the mind games, ego trips, and petty cruelties that wore the guise of wisdom. ‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!’ the Wizard once tried to tell Dorothy. Amy Wallace has ripped the curtain down, and laid the wizard bare for all to see.”
—George R.R. Martin, author of A Game of Thrones
"Amy Wallace expertly maps the territory where mysticism merges into insanity, or perhaps the unmarked land between screwball comedy and terrifying tragedy. I can’t recall a stranger, sadder narrative than this."
—Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life
"Having grown up reading Carlos Castaneda's books and finding them intriguing and enlightening like many countless others, I was shocked when I stumbled across Amy Wallace's book. I cannot recommend it enough. It certainly will change your perspective on the scenario and raise awareness of the horrors of cults—and of how sometimes hell lurks right around the corner."
—Jeffery Pritchett, Examiner.com
“Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a haunting and brutally honest memoir that reads like a tender love story and, at the same time, a taut psychological thriller. Amy Wallace writes with wisdom, grace, courage, and candor about one of the most charismatic figures of all our times, and she allows us to witness both the splendor and the danger of entrusting one’s fate to a powerful man or woman.”
—Jonathan Kirsch, author of The Harlot by the Side of the Road and The Woman Who Laughed at God
"I simply could not put this book down. Amy Wallace’s relationship with Carlos Castaneda was transformative, exciting, abusive, and painful. This is a cautionary tale, containing essential insights for all of us. Thank you, Amy, for having the courage to tell your story so that others may learn from it, and from the redemptive powers of your own healing."
—Susan Piver, author of The Hard Questions
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Or how some kind of wisdom can become a harmfull illusion.
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The texts of Carlos Castaneda have influenced and continue to affect millions of reader's across the world. Regardless if these books are pure fabrication or the literal truth is somewhat irrelevant: the philosophy of the Way of the Warrior, opening awareness to things and events in the world, that we normally do not see, the notion that there is a path to "true" knowledge, and a prescribed method to "total freedom", is an alluring proposal.
Most of us living our mundane day-to-day lives, getting up every day to just make a living, the idea that there is "magic" in the world, and that it can be tapped and used for self betterment is compelling, and touched the 60's generation at exactly the right time. As most readers of Castaneda well know, his philosophy is anti-authority, breaking from the chains of our incessant social conditioning, (smashing the ego to bits) and becoming the beings we were meant to be - warriors of impeccability. Nonetheless, the proof is in our actions, our fruits, which begs the question, has anyone, including Castaneda, achieved the warrior's goal, and leaped into the abyss of infinity with her/his eyes wide open? After reading Amy Wallace's book, a nagging doubt remains.
It is without question that Castaneda was a highly charismatic and enormously persuasive individual. Those who actually met the man, celebrities, politicians and writers all agree on this point. Amy Wallace, though, fell in love with the man, in the romantic sense, became his constant companion, and contributed to the creation of his organization. She became a member of his inner circle of witches, kicked out and let back in again far too many times. She had to experience untold psychological abuse, and the appalling insanities of Castaneda's endless sexual exploits with a platoon of women that would make the most highly promiscuous wince in disbelief. The politics and backstabbing between his inner circle of witches reminded me of the petty games of adolescent girls, with their jealousies and drama, all vying for the father's attention. As the central method to impeccability of a sorcerer is the abolishment of the ego, ridding the personality of "self importance", these so-called witches failed on every count.
Amy Wallace managed to survive her experience in this cult, though had to undergo most of the psychological pain of separating from it, and the death of her lover: post-traumatic syndrome, grief, longing and thoughts of suicide, finally in the end, it seems, achieving her psychological separation, as she proposes, through the writing of this book. Amy is a good writer, as one can feel her pain as she examines the lies, betrayal, and endless abuse from Castaneda and his closest cohorts. Because the most dramatic and real love affairs in one's life remain with you, Wallace continues to respect and feel affection for the man despite their long and tumultuous past.
Personally, this story does not dissuade me from Castaneda's teachings. His books are highly influential and changed my views of the world in positive ways, too numerous to mention. A recommended read for those needing to know some of the workings of the inside of his strange and unorthodox world.
I believe Don Juan's teachings as described by Castaneda are great, no matter where they came from. That doesn't mean Castaneda could not be just another human being like any of us. In fact that is how he is pictured in most of his books: Don Juan keeps saying Carlos is stupid and slow to learn. Amy Wallace shows us Carlos, the man - full of human feelings and emotions, not necessarily positive.
This is a book about the singer, not the song. If Castaneda's work means anything to you, you may be curious about the way Carlos actually lived, how he died, and what happened to those who remained. If you are, then this book is definitely for you. Amy Wallace is a known writer and I hope you will find her work as exciting (and surprising) as I did.
About the reviewer - I started reading Castaneda's books in the 80's and read each of them at least 3 times, including Florinda's and Taisha's. Like many others, I tried to follow Don Juan's teachings for some years - can't say that I succeeded. I never met Castaneda, any of his inner circle followers or, for that matter, Amy Wallace. I am not associated with Amy, her editor, publisher, etc. I wrote this review after seeing many anonymous reviews here that are absolutely unfair to Amy's work. To one who is familiar with Castaneda's teachings and has read Amy's book, those reviews look like a specific task that was given to Castaneda's remaining closest followers, with the intent of keeping hidden the "secrets" Amy brings to light.
* I respect the author's courage for writing this book. It must have been very painful to write.
* It's important that more people speak out on the psychological damage that participating in a cult does to people
* The book needs a sharper editor. The backstabbing goes on for about 50 pages too long (either the author has a photographic memory or took excellent notes through the duration of her participation with this group, or she (like Castenada) must have made up a tremendous amount of dialog.
* The author's pop psychology analysis of the process grew weary at times.
* The author cited the excellent book, "The Guru Papers", several times, but, based on other things she wrote in the book, seemed to miss the wisdom and insights of much that "The Guru Papers" offered.
I am amazed at people who can read this book and still claim that "the jury is still out" as to whether or not Castenada told the truth. What, the guy was completely honest about meeting and training under don juan, and then turns into a sociopathic leader who lied almost constantly? (...ain't gonna happen...). This book was very similiar to "Enlightenment Blues" - another book written by someone who was hurt by a spiritual teacher. The process and "feel" of hurtful cults seem to be quite similar.
Finally, I would encourage the "how-could-she-be-so-stupid" reviewers to be a touch more gentle. Speaking as someone who has been involved with a hurtful, narcissistic teacher - the process evolves slowly, becomes quite hurtful, and it is only in retrospect that I could even question why I put up with the teacher for so long. There but for the grace of God....
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