Carlos (César Salvador Arana) Castaneda
Carlos (César Salvador Arana) Castaneda (anglicized from Castañeda; 25 December 1925 – 27 April 1998) was a Peruvian-born American anthropologist and author. Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan in 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his training in traditional Mesoamerican shamanism. His 12 books have sold more than 8 million copies in 17 languages. The books and Castaneda, who rarely spoke in public about his work, have been controversial for many years. Supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy and descriptions of practices which enable an increased awareness. For several years, anthropologists considered his work authentic and important, but then a number of exposés questioned Castaneda's veracity. Academic critics now claim the books are works of fiction, citing the books' internal contradictions, discrepancies between the books and anthropological data, alternate sources for Castaneda's detailed knowledge of shamanic practices and lack of corroborating evidence.
In his books, Castaneda narrated in first person what he claimed were his experiences under the tutelage of a Yaqui shaman named Don Juan Matus whom he met in 1960. Castaneda wrote that he was identified by don Juan Matus as having the energetic configuration of a "nagual", who, if the spirit chose, could become a leader of a party of warriors. He also used the term "nagual" to signify that part of perception which is in the realm of the unknown yet still reachable by man, implying that, for his party of seers, don Juan was in some way a connection to that unknown. Castaneda often referred to this unknown realm as nonordinary reality, which indicated that this realm was indeed a reality, but radically different from the ordinary reality experienced by human beings who are well engaged in everyday activities as part of their social conditioning. Ordinary reality as experienced by humans was simply a "description" that had been pounded into their awareness since they were infants.
Castaneda dropped out of public view in 1973, living in a large house with three "witches," women who had cut their ties to family and changed their names. He founded Cleargreen, an organization that promoted tensegrity, purportedly a traditional Toltec regimen of spiritually powerful exercises. After Castaneda died in 1998, the three witches and other people connected with Castaneda disappeared.
John Perkins, co-founder of Dream Change, an organization dedicated to creating more aware and compassionate societies and to helping indigenous people around the world protect their cultures and environments. He is a best selling author of The Secret History of the American Empire and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. His other books include Shapeshifting; The World Is As You Dream It; Psychonavigation; Spirit of the Shuar; and The Stress Free Habit. He served during the late 1960's 1970's in the Peace Corps (Amazon and Andes) has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East; studied extensively with indigenous prophets and shamans; and taught at universities and learning centers on four continents.
Alberto Villoldo, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and psychologist who has studied the spiritual practices of the Amazon and the Andes for more than 25 years. While at San Francisco State University, he founded the Biological Self-Regulation Laboratory to study how the mind creates psychosomatic health and disease. Founder of The Four Winds Society, he instructs individuals throughout the world in the practice of energy medicine. Dr. Villoldo has written numerous best-selling books, including Shaman, Healer, Sage; The Four Insights, Courageous Dreaming and Illumination: The Shaman’s Way of Healing.
Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa
“I wish to appeal to the world. First, I am not a quack or a charlatan or a sensationalist. I am an old man who has seen much. I wish the world to know that there is a faint ray of hope that emanates from South Africa.”
Born in South Africa is a Zulu Sangoma (Traditional healer) and High Sanusi,artist, poet and sculptor. He is well known and respected for his work in nature conservation, and as an author of ground breaking books on African mythology and spiritual beliefs.
Banjo (Henry) Clarke
Banjo (Henry) Clarke (1922-2000) was born on Framlingham Aboriginal mission, located near Warrnambool in South-Western Victoria. Over 27-years, Banjo Clarke told the story of Aboriginal traditions which he learned from his elders, that include caring for the land, taking only what you need, sharing with others and sensing a deep connection to each other and one's elders. His advice was even sought by the former Prime Minister of Australia. Shane Howard a well known Australian musician said, "Banjo was in the business of saving lives on a daily basis."