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Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with…

Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda

by Amy Wallace

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Not a bad book, and one far less shocking than the title and cover matter suggest. While this is definitely an account of working with one of the most famous gurus of the 20th century, above all else it's decent biography -- you learn more about the author's personal relationship with (and sometimes weird dependency on) Castaneda and his "witches" than anything else, but that's still an interesting story. ( )
  popejephei | Jun 17, 2008 |
This book about one woman’s intimate involvement with Carlos Castaneda and members of his inner circle affected me on a very personal level, as one of the spiritual groups I was involved with borrowed heavily from the teachings of Carlos and his female colleagues. Reading Amy’s account of the dysfunction and cruelty within that group, as well as discovering information that discredited many things that I had believed as fact, caused a crumbling of a large chunk of my world view that felt a lot like finding out there is no Santa Claus.

Amy handles her subject confidently and there are parts of this book that are truly gripping. It might not be as compelling to someone with less familiarity with Carlos’s work, as some scenes have repetitive themes. But I would strongly recommend it to anyone who was moved by the work of Castaneda and his female companions.
( )
  Lenaphoenix | Sep 7, 2007 |
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Book description
Amy Wallace's memoir of her complex relationship with Carlos Castaneda plunges readers deep into the reality of the Castaneda cult and the psychological terrors it perpetrated. With the skill of a master storyteller, Wallace recounts early meetings with Castaneda, shares previously unpublished material straight from the Nagual, and explores the aftermath of Castaneda's death and the long term effects of his legacy. Insightful and unwaveringly honest, Sorcerer's Apprentice is simultaneously a love story, a cautionary tale about the dangers of giving one's power to another, and a joyous account of healing and self-affirmation.
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"Amy Wallace - daughter of novelist Irving Wallace - first met Carlos Castaneda and friends when she was a teenager through her father's social circle of celebrities. They met sporadically for many years, but through a fortuitous reconnection with Florinda Donner, one of the "witches" in Carlos' inner circle, she was drawn back to him and into his classes and lectures. Amy and Carlos fell in love, but she slowly learned that she was part of a harem. Yet she remained with the group because she is a spiritual seeker at heart, fascinated by the legend of Don Juan, and stubbornly attached to her lover." "Castaneda's circle of intimates included three very influential "witches," one "magical alien," and a shifting clique of people attracted by the books to pursue Infinity, the ultimate liberation. The cut-throat scramble to be part of the inner circle, the manipulative tactics of Castaneda, and the thrills and crushing disappointments experienced by ambitious followers all point to the inevitable conclusion: Castaneda created a cult and set himself up as guru. Wallace's story spans thirty years, focusing on the last years of Castaneda's life, until his death on June 19, 1998 from liver cancer and diabetes. His admirers sadly realized that this was "not the death of a nagual," who should "burn from within" and disappear into Infinity. Castaneda left his lovers, witches, students, fans, and groupies to grapple with the implosion of their fantasies." "Amy Wallace's true story paints a most disturbing portrait of Carlos Castaneda and his closest associates. Her own profound trauma, disillusionment, and shame caused Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, not uncommon for ex-members of any cult. The writing of this book was a part of her healing. Yet Wallace is able to separate the tawdry reality of a cult from the essential genius of Castaneda and the shining gems of wisdom that can be gleaned from his unique writings. Many people have said that real or fake, the books of Castaneda (presented as truth) are brilliant and well worth reading, and Wallace agrees, even though modern consensus tells us that Don Juan never existed, Castaneda was a chronic liar, and the powers ascribed to "sorcerers" in the books and in the actual cult were imaginary."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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