Chinese authors influenced by Castaneda?


Right now I'm reading "I Shall Seal the Heavens." I'm at Chapter 462…
Yeah, some of the descriptions of invisible "Strings" tying things together as well as the Totemic Imagery seems very reminiscent of Carlos Castaneda's groundbreaking Gonzo Fiction. If Chinese Light Novels had been reasonably available in the '60's and '70s I'd be more likely to suspect Castaneda of having raided them for Ideas…

How many of the Authors can read English and might have read Castaneda? Or has his work been translated into Mandarin?

Does anyone know?

Yeah, "The Rubaiyt" reminds me of parts of "Ecclesiastes" too—but I doubt there was any cross-pollination there…

Saxon Violence


  • I never got to Ch. 462 (read the raw, but dropped it around book 5), but it's very unlikely that the author have read Castaneda. First, although Chinese school curriculum have mandatory English classes, a majority of Chinese (including many web novel authors) have a weak grasp of the language (their grammar is especially atrocious, trying to apply Chinese grammar directly to English. I cringe every time an author decides to use some english phrase (incorrectly) in a story). They can understand, speak and write simple sentences, but I doubt they would be able to read English literature that seems to fit for college-level English course. Also, the Chinese wikipedia for Castaneda is one sentence long, barely mention his books (not articles for them), and not even a single citation, so I doubt he and his works are well known in Chinese literature circle.

    On totem: totemic worship is actually pretty important in ancient China, especially in mythology and folklore. And by ancient, I meant Epic of Gilgamesh ancient. Dragons (eastern ones) are actually a form of totem created from mixing parts of different existing animals. In the author's previous work, Beseech the Devil (I think this is the name?), the early arcs (like the first million words) totems were featured prominently.

    Also, it might be possible that the translator have read Castaneda, and translated it that way (intentionally or not) because s/he was influenced by the imagery of Castaneda's works.

    Although on further googling, it seems his works are translated to Chinese, so I guess it's possible for the author to read it, but I still think it's unlikely.
  • Shamanic totem is part of Chinese culture for centuries. Remember that Chinese isn't just the Han Chinese but it include a wide range of ethnicity. In fact, the reverse of your question could also be true, your author Carlos Castaneda was probably inspired from Chinese mythology and tales.
  • Yeah,
    Everything in Anthropology seems to step on someone's toes but many Anthropologists believe that the American Indians are descended from Oriental peoples who migrated across a now submerged Bering Land Bridge. For some reason this theory tends to make Indians very angry. I remember some ancient excavations that seemed to show that thousands of years ago there were people living in Teepees in China.
    There are Indian-Like tribes in Eastern Siberia and there seem to be a host of similarities to American Indians. The Saami also parallel American Indians in a number of ways.
    For anyone who doesn't know:
    Castaneda claimed to have been apprenticed to a Yaqui Shaman and to have experienced ever greater instances of Non-Ordinary Reality. In fact his third book was also his Anthropological Doctoral Thesis. Internal evidence and incredulity led most to conclude that the works were fiction—on the Order of some of Hunter S Thompson's "Gonzo Journalism"—although "Gonzo Journalism" simply means the narrator soundly broke the 4th wall and was an integral part of dubious goings on.
    Castanada arguable never actually partook of Psychedelics but his descriptions seem cribbed from Huxley and some of the anecdotal LSD-25 literature.

    Saxon Violence 
  • Do you have the titles of the books Castaneda wrote which resemble ISSTH? I'm very interested in reading them.
  • Friend,

    There are far too many. "Journey to Ixtlan" is one of the more Psychedelic of the early books.

    Go here:

    Saxon Violence
  • I see, turns out most of the books are related and tell the tales of Don Juan. I'll start with the first book then, Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.
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