The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda
Carlos Castaneda (1925-1998) was a Peruvian-American anthropologist and a writer, with a PhD degree in anthropology from the University of California.
He became known with a series of novels, twelve of them, starting with the first “The Teachings of Don Juan” in 1968. The novels are written in the first person, relating the author’s personal experiences as a student of the Indian shaman (brujo) don Juan Matus from the Yaqui tribe, whom he met in 1960.
Motivated by the desire to find out more about the effects of hallucinogenic mushrooms, cactuses and herbs used by the Mexican Indians, Castaneda came into contact with the ancient Indians. More precisely, the teacher Don Juan, who gradually introduced him to the wonderful research world behind hallucinogenic plants: peyote (Lophophora williamsu), Jimsonweed (Datura inoxia) and from the kingdom of hallucinogenic mushrooms – (Psilocybe mexicana).
Don Juan introduced Castaneda to the world of Indian tradition and the reality of magic, and by leading him through different spiritual experiences prompted his belief in “miracles”, pleasure and treatment with altered states of consciousness.
Don Juan was his connection to the unknown. Castaneda often called this unknown as an “unusual reality” immersed with inner force, pleasure, ecstasy, power and self-confidence.
The book is a story of an infinite spiritual journey that left a strong impression on millions of readers throughout the world and impacted many social movements and subcultures, such as the Hippie movement for example.
„The Doors“, directed by Oliver Stone
In the film The Doors (1991), Oliver Stone portrays the life of the famous American musician and sex symbol Jim Morrison and the cult band The Doors in the notorious 1960s. It’s the decade of the incredible rock n roll expansion and the desire for personal freedom; the decade when The Doors and their smooth but intoxicating music became a symbol of a generation.
The Doors’ front man – Jim Morrison was described as one of the most influential people in rock n roll history. He was rightly given the status of a living icon, celebrated throughout the world of rock n roll and the Hippie movement advocating for peace on earth and free love. As many other music stars, after his death in Paris in 1971, he became a legend.
The film speaks of Jim Morrison, his childhood, his intimate relationship with Pamela Courson, his philosophical inspirations, how the band was formed, alcohol and drug use, sex, spiritualism (shamanism) and his obsession with pain and death which shaped his character and in his image created new cultural patterns that influenced the youth in USA and the world at the time.
This is not a typical biographical film but rather a collection of experiences conveyed through The Doors’ songs, combined with excellent audio-visual solutions attacking all your senses. Oliver Stone offers an insight into the psychedelic world of Jim Morrison, a world abundant with ideas and visions, an inspiration for many even today.
P.S. – Val Kilmer is excellent in the role of Jim Morrison, however perhaps “Jim Morison” would have been more appropriate title for the film considering how dominant his character is throughout the film.
Prepared by Irena Jovanovska