Supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy and descriptions of practices which enable an increased awareness. Critics claim the books are works of fiction, and although the techniques described are verifiable these same critics from differing paths state they are not empirically verifiable works of anthropology overall. In his books, Castaneda narrates in first person the events leading to and ensuing after his meeting a Yaqui shaman named don Juan Matus in 1960. Castaneda's experiences with don Juan inspired the works for which he is known. He was identified by don Juan Matus to have the energetic configuration of a "nagual", who, if the spirit chose may become a leader of a party of seers.
He also used the term "nagual" to signify that part of perception which is in the realm of the unknown yet still reachable by man, implying that, for his party of seers, don Juan was a connection in some way to that unknown. Castaneda often referred to this unknown realm as nonordinary reality, which indicated that this realm was indeed a reality, but radically different from the ordinary reality experienced by human beings who are well engaged in everyday activities as part of their social conditioning. Nagual has been incorrectly used by anthropologists to mean a shaman or sorcerer who is capable of shapeshifting into an animal form, and/or, metaphorically, to "shift" into another form through Toltec magic rituals. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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