"Ordinarily, events that change our path are impersonal affairs, and yet extremely personal. My teacher, don Juan Matsus, said this is guiding me as his apprentice to collect what I considered to be the memorable events of my life . Don Juan described the total goal of the shamanistic knowledge that he handled as the preparation for facing the definitive journey: the journey that every human being has to take at the end of his life. He said that what modern man referred to vaguely as life after death was, for those shamans, a concrete region filled to capacity with practical affairs of a different order than the practical affairs of daily life, yet bearing a similar functional practicality. Don Juan considered that to collect the memorable in their lives was, for shamans, the preparation for their entrance into that concrete region, which they called the active side of infinity."
In this book written immediately before his death, anthropologist and shaman Carlos Castaneda gives us his most autobiographical and intimately revealing work ever, the fruit of a lifetime of experience and perhaps the most moving volume in his oeuvre.
Completed shortly before anthropologist-shaman Castaneda's death in April 1998, this book serves as the fulfillment of a task his teacher, the Yaqui Indian sorcerer Don Juan Matus, gave him many years ago, when Castaneda was instructed to collect the significant events of his life. This was not, however, meant as a collection of major milestones in his physical existence but as a selective work describing the transcendent moments and meaningful insights that changed his life and brought him new understanding. Castaneda excels as a storyteller. Incidents both poignant and empowering form a solid thread through his shamanic development and ultimately total embrace of the world view of the Yaqui sorcerers. This basically autobiographical work is more personal than Castaneda's previous books, presenting a human portrait of a remote, mysterious figure. The supernatural occurrences defy explanation yet help to provide a fascinating look at a complex life. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/98.]--Elizabeth Anne Salt, Otterbein Coll. Lib., Westerville, OH