The Teachings of Don Juan

A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

Paperback, 196 pages

English language

Published Nov. 1, 1972 by University of California Press.

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The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge was published by the University of California Press in 1968 as a work of anthropology, though it is now widely considered a work for fiction. It was written by Carlos Castaneda and submitted as his Master's thesis in the school of Anthropology. It purports to document the events that took place during an apprenticeship with a self-proclaimed Yaqui Indian Sorcerer, don Juan Matus from Sonora, Mexico between 1960 and 1965. The book is divided into two sections. The first section, The Teachings, is a first-person narrative that documents Castaneda's initial interactions with don Juan. He speaks of his encounters with Mescalito (a teaching spirit inhabiting all peyote plants), divination with lizards and flying using the "yerba del diablo" (lit. "Devil's Weed"; Jimson weed), and turning into a blackbird using "humito" (lit. "little smoke"; a smoked powder containing Psilocybe mexicana). The …

5 editions


  • Ethnic or tribal religions
  • Religion
  • Native American Anthropology
  • New Age / Body, Mind & Spirit
  • Native American Studies - Spirituality
  • New Age / Parapsychology
  • North America
  • Spiritualism
  • Ethnic Studies - Native American Studies - Spirituality
  • Spiritualism - General
  • Religion / General
  • Hallucinogenic drugs and religious experience
  • Yaqui Indians