Fikes, Jay Courtney. Carlos Castañeda

Fikes, J.C. (1993). Carlos Castaneda: Academic opportunism and the psychedelic sixties. Canada: Milenia.

My ethnographic research on aboriginal Huichol ritual, and study of the “ethnographic” anomalies infecting the work of Castaneda, Delgado, Furst and Myerhoff prompted me to conclude that their “findings”
are best interpreted as a manifestation of the American popular culture of the 1960’s. (pag XXV)

I believe theory- building should always be subordinated to doing meticulous research. Emphasizing accuracy in ethnographic investigations will in turn promote greater respect for Huichol and Native
American religions (pag XXVi)

When Ramón Medina Silva was murdered an June 23, 1971 he was almost as famous  as Carlos Castanedaos teacher, don Juan Matus… Although Ramón Medina was a Huichol Indianm two anthropologist,
Peter Furst and Barbara Myerhoff, turned him into a Huichol mara’acame and full-fledged singer, which he was not (pag 1)
Ramón Medina and his relatives appear to inhabit a touching and colourful fantasy land. The best way to begin unmasking this charming but “sepate reality” is t sumerize the events sorrounding Ramón
Medina’s tragic murder (pag 2)

Capítulo 1 A stroll through the psychedelic sixties (un paseo por los psicodélicos sesentas)

Aldoux Huxley, the English author whose numerous works of fiction and nonfiction include Brave New World and Doors of Perception, is the real pioneer of the psychedelic movement… Huxley hinted
that peyote and LSD could stimulate the caliber of mystical experience required to ignite a religious revolution (pag 14)

In the early 1950’s, the English psychistrist Dr. Humpry Osmond and two canadian colleagues were discreetly using mescaline to treat patients with schizophrenia…Aldous Huxley learned about the results
of Dr. Osmond’s research… Dr. Osmond administrated mescaline to Aldoux Huxley. (pag 15)
Huxley did not hallucinate. He saw familiar objects in a wonderfully compelling and aesthetic way… Huxley’s reflections on this experience were published within a year in Doors of Perception (pag 15)
Several other notable anthropologists and scientists, among them James Mooney, Weston LaBarre, and William James, had ingested peyote or mescaline long before Huxley. But, none of them had Huxley’s
literary reputation, or his ability to make personal mystical experience attractive to the general public (pag 15)
Huxley evidently believed that mescaline, in addition to mystical enlightment, emotional shock, aesthetic experience, and disease, could facilitate an expansion of mind beyond the narrow confines of the
utilitarian, conventional real world (pag 15)

By late 1963 the media had made LSD a highly inflammatory topic. Leary’s uncanny ability to make outrageous, highly quotable statements was spectacular. One of these, “Tune in, Turn out, Drop out”,
became a buzzword for younger Americans rejecting the materialistic values of their elders, an escalating war in the jungles of Southeast Asia, and a dormant racism about to erupt in flames in several
of American black guettos. Well-publicized interviews with media-selected authorities on drugs began persuading lawmakers that LSD and other psychedelics should be made illegal (pag 25)

September 1966 interview in Playboy: According to Leary, the psychedelic drug experience “means ecstasy, sensual unfolding, religious experience, revelation, illumination, contact with nature (pag 25)
“Sexual ecstasy is the basic reason for tre current LSD boom”

A 1977 study suggest that LSD usage reached its peak between 1965 and 1968, the fist year when a dramatic decline in LSD use appeared. “Many were frightened by the chromosome damage charge,
others by the fact it was illegal”. In 1968, this nation’s stage was set for something less frightening and more exotic than LSD. Don Juan, Castaneda’s essentially fictional guru of plant psychedelics, Ramon
Medina Silva, the huichol Indian “shaman” made into a spectacle by Peter Furst, Barbara Myerhoff, and María Sabina, a real Mazatec Indian mushroom specialist uncovered by Gordon Wasson were
bound for glory (pag 44)

The idolization of Mexican Indian “shamans” and Far Eastern gurus was a logical concomitant of the scarcity of reliable guides to the altered states of consciousness New Age seekers yearned to
explore (pag 45)

Ver The Marketing of Huichol Shamans (pag 129)