Carlos Castaneda and the Suicide Women

If Castaneda has not been on your radar screen up until now, “The dark legacy of Carlos Castaneda” by Robert Marshall is a basic though unflattering introduction.There is biographical information– the early marriage, and, even though the marriage ended, Castaneda’s adoption of the son his wife already had from another man. We are told that he worked on The Teachings of Don Juan for seven years. The editor at the University of California Press had serious doubts, but the UCLA anthropology department convinced him to publish the book in 1968, and the Carlos Castaneda myth was off and running.

30 years later, the death of Carlos Castaneda was shrouded in mystery. A woman named Gaby Geuter wanted to become a member of Castaneda’s inner circle, but was constantly rebuffed. By 1996 she realized it wasn’t going to happen, so she and her husband Greg Mamishian started following the teacher and filming his activities whenever possible. Borrowing from the technique of government agents and A. J. Weberman, they became garbagologists and retrieved many interesting documents from Castaneda’s trash. The Gaby & Greg website was shut down in 2008 but it included a photo captioned, “Carlos being helped to the house, less than a month before he died. This was the last time we saw him…” Immediately after the sorcerer’s death, four women disappeared. An associate, Daniel Lawton, wrote,

I had telephone numbers for four of the ones who left at the same time, which were all disconnected on the same day. This, and the strange mood of the May 2 one-day workshop, led me to make certain inquiries that resulted in me learning that he was gone.

Another female member of Castaneda’s intimate group fell off the map a few weeks later. The five suicide women included two witches, a chacmool, the president of Castaneda’s company, and his adopted daughter/paramour. This is enough intrigue for anyone’s biography.

Richard Jennings (aka Corey Donovan) started a website after Castaneda’s death. Sustained Action is “devoted to exploring and evaluating the legacy of Carlos Castaneda, and to investigating other possibilities for increased awareness and expanded perception.” The webmaster did research on the women who had been so close to Castaneda and then disappeared. His records started with 1947 and ended up in 1999, tracking the lives of the fancifully re-named female disciples. In a piece called “Sex, Lies and Guru Ploys,” Donovan/Jennings gives a succinct capsule description of Castaneda:

He claimed to be the last of an ancient lineage that supposedly held the secrets not only to traveling bodily into other worlds or dimensions, but which also offered the promise of a form of immortality–evading death by keeping one’s awareness intact. He claimed to have a unique “energetic configuration”—one that he and his colleagues purportedly had not seen in any of the thousands of people they had interacted with over the past few decades—that gave him special abilities and capacities as the “Nagual.”

Amy Wallace was enthralled by Castaneda for many years and later wrote a book, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, about her experiences as a member of his inner circle. When she first got involved with him, her life was headquartered in Berkeley, so at least there was some protective distance between them. When she talked about relocating to Castaneda’s realm in Los Angeles, one of his close female companions (a witch) warned her,

Don’t move to Los Angeles. Those that do the best are the ones who take his work, use it and make it their own, and stay far away from here – the stress is too great.

But Wallace did not heed. Of course, given what she later learned of the intrigues enmeshing the sorcerer, what sounded like a warning about grave spiritual danger could have been merely a jealous reaction from a concubine already forced to share her beloved’s attention. The last thing an established favorite wanted, was another cute young college girl moving in.

Kylie Lundahl

Wallace became the confidant of Kylie Lundahl, the tall gaunt Scandanavian instructor of magical passes, or Tensegrity. (In Sorcerer’s Apprentice, she is called Astrid.) In Castaneda’s universe, Kylie Lundahl was a chacmool–a fierce guardian warrior–but it’s too complicated to go into here.

The point is, in Castaneda’s last days, Lundahl warned him that some of his people might commit suicide. To fill the emptiness, she recommended that he assign people specific tasks to carry out, once he was dead. She was talking about not only the tight inner group, but the followers who ran and worked for his organization, Cleargreen. It must have surprised Lundahl when the boss told her he didn’t care what happened to Cleargreen. But she managed to change his mind to an extent, and he did assign jobs to people as she had suggested. It kind of makes a person wonder. If he had not taken Lundahl’s advice, how many more suicides would have occurred?

In an online discussion group, Wallace talked about the final weeks of Castaneda’s life. Apparently when the witches, chacmool, and adopted daughter left, one of the other followers, Carol Tiggs, stayed behind, thinking to take on the leadership post. She told Wallace the ones who had left were “Dead, dead, dead!”

Carlos Castaneda in Acid Heroes

21 thoughts on “Carlos Castaneda and the Suicide Women

  1. where did u gather all this information from… and how come are u sure its all true? its not that i say u r wrong or right
    but… do u belive everything that people say? u sound very sure that what u wrote is exactly what happend

      1. “We are told that he worked on The Teachings of Don Juan for seven years” were told by who? and why do u trust that someone?

        u know… i have information from the inside
        that carlos castaneda was really an allien… really… a person from the ucla university said that.. and he even wrote a whole book about castaneda!!!
        and god really told muhammad to kill all jews… really.. .some arab guy told me that!

    1. I’ve listened to Lash….he’s very conceited….if he only knew what I know about the inner circle and the cat’s cradle….everyone on this earth is involved in maintaining the seance …freedom from is for those who seek the spell

  2. It is funny how many burnouts are incapable of realizing they’ve been fed a line…We’ve all been lied to by psychopaths for thousands of years, get over it ! 🙂

      1. Oh man, beautiful words! That’s what I’m talking about! Carlos Castaneda is our human friend. His books are the work of an impeccable being, and because of that we have the chance to meet in dreaming now!


    Admirers of Carlos Castañeda wonder how much truth about his mysterious death .

    But despite Castaneda’s obsessive pursuit of complete anonymity , he refused to be photographed or recorded and almost never gave interviews , he gained international fame , and books continue to sell well after their fashion passed.

    In recent years , he emerged with a new vision , the teaching of Tensegrity , which is described in Cleargreen site as “a modernized version of some movements called magical passes developed by Indian shamans who lived in Mexico in times prior to the Spanish conquest . ” he even made public appearances and spoke at seminars that promote the work .

    Unknown to customers just for the seminars that cost $ 600 and more – Castaneda was dying of cancer while describing his route to vibrant good health, perhaps one of their shamanic journeys or even a future of deception that would happen to you .
    Indeed , although only his inner circle knew about it , he died on April 27 at his home in Westwood , a section of well -to-do Los Angeles , where he lived for many years with some of the self – described witches , stalkers , dreamers and spiritual seekers who shared his work .

    Invariably described as a flawless person who kept his affairs in perfect order , Castaneda apparently signed the will on April 23 , and then strangely died at 3 am on April 27 , ie four days later where his death certificate said mortis causa ” metabolic encephalopathy , a neurological breakdown” that followed two weeks of liver failure and 10 months of cancer. Something very strange , because the signature is partially obscured , and his son CJ Castaneda and his mother , Margaret Castaneda , say that does not look like the signature Castaneda .

    He was cremated within hours of his death . His death was kept secret for more than two months until the word was leaked and confirmed by their representatives , who said the death was kept quiet in line with the pursuit of lifelong Castaneda privacy .

    His will cited assets of $ 1 million , a modest number for an author who has sold so well and apparently lived simply. All their goods were delivered to the Eagle Trust , created while the will . It is unclear how much additional assets had been placed in the trust , but a London newspaper recently estimated its assets at $ 20 milhões.Ao it seems to some of his fans and the author pesquyisadores simulated perópria his death and disappeared as the their shamanic writings and now lives in Mexico or by some track raised by his followers in Brazil , in the same place from where he left to study at UCLA in North America . Apparently today writes under the pseudonym CSScriblerius , known as writings faceless .

  4. I read the books with passionate interest for years, became quite involved in a tensegrity circle for quite some time and attended workshops in various countries. At the time, I saw my own personal involvement and commitment as a kind of experiment. Many of the claims were very far-fetched, but I wanted to see what would happen.
    There were some very dedicated ‘followers’ in the group, and I witnessed quite a lot self delusional rhetoric. I saw the danger of this behaviour and noticed that some people were rather quick to start talking about their increasing ‘energy’ and ‘awareness’… The honest truth is, nothing much ever did happen. After his death, I eventually moved away and distanced myself… then later some of the truth began to emerge and now … we know what we know.
    Some of the people in the group that I knew have still not let go and I find that disturbing. I just cannot agree with those who say that it doesn’t matter how he actually behaved, or how destructive the effects of his deception and hypocrisy were for many people.
    I get any angry reactions for saying these things, but I’m not interested in trying to offend anyone, or getting drawn into slinging insults back and forth. I feel that these people haven’t faced up to the truth that they were hoodwinked by someone who had brilliantly fabricated a whole belief system based on borrowed ideas. It was really a superb masterpiece, although listening to that talk now, it sounds like so much gibberish.
    We live, and hopefully we learn, and then we live better.

  5. as a practical use I wish one would experiment some the things mentioned in his books and please tell me were Carlos found this stuff out.1 walking to untrain one eyes an shut off the internal dialogue 2 using ones body parts as a focus is dreaming to stabilize environment 3 using gazing as a dreaming platform(seam to be more part of the world than meditating).The list goes on,were did he find so many tricks of the trade?Its been a rare thing that they have not worked with very little effort.I understand UCLA has a library

    1. Well put. Regardless, truth or not, its fantasticaly magical the words he wrote. Besides I just finished “The Art of Dreaming” (second time) and have been several years studying and experiencing lucid/obe dreams. His book, whatever you believe, has real applicable concepts. But a rational observation simply cant understand. It can only be experienced first hand. Whatever his story his work has truth for anyone to take into their own explorations of self and beyond.

  6. I don’t care about Castaneda lies because they all could have been a part of erasing his personal history and creating the “fog”. I don’t care about his sex life because to me it is not important how, when, and with who he did (or didn’t do) sexual things. It is not even important whether Don Juan existed or not. You know why?

    Because techniques described in his books do work. He wrote the truth. It all exists, it is real.

    It’s funny and sad to read all these sarcastic, angry, or ironic articles about the man and how bad he was and what a monster… When (and if) you ever wake up in a lucid dream, or see an inorganic being, or stop your inner dialogue and see the world change, you might realize that his personal life and all these “bad” things is not what one should focus on

  7. I am a filmmaker and psychological researcher and am interested in Castaneda’s companions. Please get in touch with me….maybe there is something here to work with.

    1. Mr. Dark I have done a lot of research and have written two screenplays based on Carlos Castaneda and the Castaneda Witches. If you are interested in looking at them, I’d be glad to send them along.

    2. There are two recordings of Castaneda, about 25 min each, from oct. 1995 tensegrity workshop in LA. Also, one recording of Florinda Donner and one of Taisha Abelar, 30 min+ each, from the same workshop. If interested, contact carlostapes at protonmail dot com

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