Among Carlos Castaneda’s admirers and detractors both, few seem to appreciate or understand that his apprenticeship to the old Yaqui “sorcerer” who he called “don Juan Matus” was entirely about erasing the boundaries of the self so that “the wings of perception” could unfold. In other words, from first to last his apprenticeship was about overcoming the narcissism of what don Juan called Castaneda’s “precious self”.
And about that there are many lessons to be learned.
I have spent part of this weekend snow-bound in a ditch along Wide Awake Road. It’s just one of those things that happens to winter drivers at least once in their lifetimes. I lost the road during a white-out while avoiding an on-coming vehicle and — Phwump! — my right wheels caught the shoulder of the road and the Jeep was pulled down the embankment ploughing into four feet of snow. That may have been a good thing, since the snow-depth in the ditch prevented the Jeep from possibly rolling over. It was one of those visually disorienting days in wintertime when the sky and the ground are the same uniform and monotonous colour — an undifferentiated gray-whiteness. As above, so below, and also to the left and the right. The primal grey goo. Fortunately, in due time a Good Samaritan in a 3/4 tonne 4×4 diesel truck came along and we managed to free the Jeep.