Guru of New Age Movement dies in US

(Investigator 63, 1998 November.

Reprinted courtesy of The Advertiser 1998, June 20)

LOS ANGELES: Carlos Castaneda a godfather of the New Age movement whose best-selling books claimed to relate the mystical secrets of a shaman named Don Juan, has died. He was believed to be 72.

Castaneda died of liver cancer on April 27 at his home in Westwood, said entertainment lawyer Deborah Drooz, a friend and executor, of his estate.

"He didn't like attention," Ms Drooz said yesterday in the Los Angeles Times. "He always made sure people did not take his picture or record his voice…"

For more than 30 years, Castaneda claimed to have been the apprentice of a Yaqui Indian sorcerer named Don Juan Matus.

He had millions of followers around the world, and his 10 books continue to sell in 17 languages.

Castaneda, who held a 1973 PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles, said he met Don Juan in Arizona in the early 1960s while researching medical plants, and followed the shaman when he moved to Sonora, Mexico.

His first book, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, was a best-seller when it appeared in 1968, as were several sequels tracking Castaneda's 12-year apprenticeship.

In the works, Castaneda described supernatural, peyote-fueled journeys with the sorcerer who could bend time and space.

While his books sold millions of copies, critics doubted that Don Juan existed.

But Castaneda always maintained that all his experiences were real.

No funeral service was held and his cremated remains were taken to Mexico.–AP