The ape that we have inside yearns to have someone to guide him, he needs to believe that there are superior entities who can magically solve his problems. As children, we are always hoping that somebody will show up and take care of the situation. From this, cults are born that, in essence, are ways of leaving the responsibility for one’s own growth in other people’s hands. ~ Carlos Castaneda, Encounters with the Nagual
The American Heritage Dictionary defines cult as 1. a system or community of religious worship and ritual; 2. a) obsessive devotion to a person or ideal; b) a group of persons sharing such devotion.
That said it seems safe to say that every religion, spiritual belief, intentional community or membership into anything (gyms, gangs, clubs, fraternities, military, etc.) is indicative of cult-like behavior. The preferable word for cults has become cultures or traditions but the bottom line is they are cults and for you language enthusiasts, the Latin word cultus is the root of the words cult, cultures and cultivated which all refer to worship, care, nurturance, devotion, ritual and ceremony. This basically covers everything from the way you dress, the way you worship, the way you talk, the music you listen to, the way you define yourself. All of it part of a cult in one way, shape or form. The human brain is exceedingly malleable and one can be coerced and manipulated into doing or believing anything if they don’t have enough personal power.
What really interests me is the amount of people who consistently lump the Castaneda paradigm into the cult model. In my mind, nothing can be further from the truth, in fact, quite the opposite when you consider that the whole theory behind Castaneda’s work is essentially freedom from the foreign installation, the predator and the cult mind. Seems to me that the people most opposed to Castaneda are the ones who are extreme cult followers through their religious or spiritual beliefs or their membership into some other largely accepted social behavior. These are the people who are rigid in their devotion to mostly any dogmatic enterprise promising salvation, personal development and/or group mind endeavors.
Are there Castaneda cultists? Yes, there are many. They are the people who uphold Castaneda’s and don Juan’s teachings with two very uncomplimentary expectations to the Warriors path of freedom. Some attempt to sell workshops and “certifications” of mastery by providing a very materialistic and diluted version of the Toltec path. Others have become such ardent followers that they appear to have lost sight of what it really means to be on a journey towards freedom and will dictate or provide directives on how to do it right. Much of what they offer in the name of the Toltec path are rational, systematic techniques outlining advancement on this path as a structured course as opposed to a beautiful journey of awareness and freedom.
These people, quite sadly, are repeating the same old Salvationism patterns. Geez, that damn predator gets into everything. But, as I’ve said for years, don’t believe a word I say. Practice, walk, connect with silence, align with intent, experience, perceive and keep dancing!!!
A warrior fights to break the description of the world which has been injected into him, in order to open up a space for new things. His war is against the self. For that purpose, he tries to be permanently aware of his potential. Since the content of perception depends on the position of the assemblage point, a warrior tries with all his might to loosen the fixation of that point. Instead of creating a cult out of his speculations, he pays attention to certain premises of the path of sorcerers. ~ Carlos Castaneda, Encounters With the Nagual