Carlos Castaneda and Alan Watts

Amy Wallace’s book Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Between those covers lie many interesting tales. She relates the generally homophobic Castaneda’s disgust at learning that Alan Watts was gay. Watts had been his hero, and Castaneda was just crushed to learn the truth. Even worse, when the two men were climbing a staircase, Castaneda said, “he made a pass at my culo!”

And playing grabass wasn’t the worst of it. Watts got “stinking drunk” and horrified Castaneda with his impiety. These are Castaneda’s words about Watts, as reported by Wallace:

He was crude, cynical about spirituality, even sneering at his own books, books I had practically memorized! But worst of all was hearing Watts, my hero, declare “Of course we can never live up to the behavior we admire – that’s the beauty of it!”


You might dig this page:

What movies and music did Carlos Castaneda like?

7 thoughts on “Carlos Castaneda and Alan Watts

  1. Alan Watts wasn’t gay. He was married three times and had seven children. His weird sexual kink was that he liked to be spanked and degraded. You know those Brits. He shared one thing with Castaneda, in my opinion. They wer both bullshit artists. Castaneda was a compulsive liar according to a bio by his wife. And I believe her.

  2. So was he or wasn’t he? Certainly being married even multiple times doesn’t rule it out.

    I’m guessing not, as this was the only relevant article to come up in my Google search “Alan Watts gay.”

    Need to know though — may be performing an extended character impression of him soon and this would help.


  3. So what, he got a few drinks in him and made a pass at Carlos. Alan never moralized at his students, and he never claimed to be some saint. He mocked the fact that some people saw him as a holy man, and made it clear that he was no such thing. If there are any of his books which he sneered at, it would have probably been the ones written early in his career about Christianity, while he was an Episcopalian priest. Alan de-converted and left the church, and around the time this account would have taken place, he claimed to be nothing more than a philosophical and spiritual entertainer, someone who found certain views interesting and wished to share them with the rest of the world.

  4. This story makes me like Watts even more than I do already. I’ve always appreciated what a deeply flawed human being Mr. Watts was (and he admits it). I am, however, terribly disappointed in Castaneda. I’ve heard some nasty stories about Castaneda, his ego, his pathological lying, etc BUT THIS antigay tripe he spewed about Alan Watts? All because a drunk guy made a pass at him? Wow. I would have never thought Castaneda to be such a tight ass, closed minded jerk. smh. .PS I also don’t believe Castaneda’s story.. Alan Watts was very open about sexuality. He didn’t put down LGBTQ people AT ALL. I don’t see Watts as the type of man to live life as a “closest case” Just sayin..

    1. Alan Watts’s was completely heterosexual as far as I know. His only sexual peculiarity was that he had a strong desire to be spanked on the bottom during sex (you know those Brits). A revelation that was somewhat of a horror to his first wife, who was very straight-laced, and didn’t find out about this “perversion” until after she married him. It was one of the primary reasons she divorced him, along with Watts’s fondness with having sex with some of the co-eds at the university where he was employed as campus deacon.

      Castaneda, on the other hand, was indeed a “pathological liar,” as you pointed out. He made up the entire Don Juan saga, first passing off this fraud as a work of anthropology. And then later as a work of non-fiction. Castaneda’s wife described him as a man who constantly lied. About virtually everything. She said she would sometimes have long conversations with Castaneda. And later she’d discover that Castaneda had transcribed the conversation virtually word-for-word and published it in one of his books, only her dialogue would be attributed to Don Juan.

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