Castaneda and the warrior’s spirit

Carlos Castaneda was an author who left his mark on my generation – although in academic circles he was never considered someone worthy of attention. As a tribute to him, I present a summary of his most important writings:

The most difficult thing in this world is to adopt the spirit and attitude of a warrior. It is no use being sad, complaining, feeling unjustly treated, and believing someone is doing something negative. No one is doing anything, and certainly not to a warrior.
It matters not how we were brought up. What determines our way of acting is the manner in which we administrate our will.
The will is a sentiment, a talent, something which lends us enthusiasm. The will is something which is acquired – but it is necessary to fight for it one’s whole life.
The humility of a warrior is not the same humility as that of a servile man. The warrior does not lower his head to anyone, and nor does he allow anyone to bow before him. The servile man, on the other hand, kneels before anyone he believes to be more powerful, and demands that the people under his command behave in a similar fashion before him.
The bad thing about words is that they make us feel as if we were illuminated and understanding everything. But, when we turn and face the world, we see that reality is completely different from that which we discussed or heard. A warrior seeks to act, and not waste time in useless conversation.
The ordinary man thinks that yielding to doubts and worries is a sign of sensibility, of spirituality. Acting thus, he remains distant from the true meaning of life. This type of person loves being told what he should do.
Only a warrior can endure the path of knowledge. A warrior does not complain or lament anything, and sees challenges as neither good nor bad. Challenges are simply challenges.
The world is unfathomable and mysterious, just as we all are. The art of the warrior consists of reconciling the terror of being a man with the wonder of being a man.



  1. Portia says:

    Aside from the The Alchemist, this is the most important piece of advice I think I will ever read.
    If I can try to follow the way of the warrior everyday hence forth I dont think I will go far wrong. Thankyou for everything Paulo.

  2. Tarek says:

    How about this one: The art of the warrior consists of reconciling the terror of being a man with the wonder of discovering the woman (obviously this applies for both sexes) :-)

    1. Well says:

      then, life is beautiful

  3. katieg says:

    Thanks you so much for the reminder, I devoured everything he wrote and still have them…It may be a good time to read them once again

  4. David says:

    Sí­, Castaneda descubrió el camino del guerrero, pero ya hace muchos más años existió el guerrero por excelencia, Jesus de Nazaret, leed también sobre él. Intentar seguir el camino del guerrero, ya es un privilegio.

  5. Thank you for this wonderful post. It is always a pleasure to read your inspirational writing.

  6. Heimo Kruschinski says:

    A friend recently mentioned the name Castaneda. I myself have never read him. I’ve checked after i heard his name only in Wikipedia. What does not mean much. But it made me curious. I will certainly read something from him when I have time. What I read here he is, in my opinion very good and true. I like it very much. Thank you for the inspiration. Much love to you!

    I wish you all a wonderful day

  7. toñi says:

    Hola! no he leido nada del señor Carlos Castañeda, supongo que porque no está en mi frecuencia espiritual leer nada sobre él. Respecto a lo que dice de que “la forma en como hemos sido criados no determina el carácter” pues tengo que decir que nuestra infancia y como hemos sido criados SI determina y mucho nuestro carácter y nuestras vidas. Nuestros recuerdos determinan todo, hay que saber recordar y valorar y darse cuenta para poder crecer. Sobre que un guerrero no se arrodilla, tampoco estoy de acuerdo. He visto personas de un gran nivel arrodillarse humildemente y no por eso dejan de ser seres notables y maravillosos. He visto como un enemigo se puede transformar en un hermano sin necesidad de soberbias ni luchas. Y tengo algo más que añadir: no hay que confundir a un guerrero o un hijo de dios con un brujo o un vampiro de energí­a. Porque hay personas que aparentan ser grandes maestros y en realidad son unos seres vacios que absorven y se alimentan de la energí­a de los demás. Pero os repito que no he leido nada sobre este señor Carlos y no voy a clasificar si sus ideologí­as son buenas o malas, solo doy mi opinión sobre lo que acabo de leer ahora. Hay muchos caminos en la vida para crecer y cada persona elige el que tiene que elegir, yo voy a elegir el camino de la paz y de la sabiduria. Un saludo a todos. Toñi.

  8. eleonora says:

    Non importa come siamo stati educati. Che cosa determina il nostro modo di agire è il modo in cui amministrare la nostra volontí .

  9. Olta Canka says:

    Great! This morning, this post helped me to change once more my way of seeing things. :)

  10. satpal khayaal says:

    Dear Paulo,
    I think the problem arises when we try to change people around us and try to change situations around us. When we start accepting everything as it is..miracle starts there. The centre of happiness and sorrows lies within us, which needs to be identified.

    thanks so much for valuable comments.

  11. jlcollinsnh says:

    I am also of a vintage to have read the Castaneda books as they came out.

    They were enjoyable but also burdened with excess that obscured the value. Your post sums it up nicely.

    One of his concepts I remember with clarity is the “petty tyrant.” It informed my response thru much of my corporate working life. Looking back, it might even have been the genesis my the epiphany described here.

  12. This is one powerful post, Paulo!

    I have recently learned so much more about the man Che Guevara while traveling across Argentina and Rosario, his hometown. WOW, to this day, you will see people walking around wearing a t-shirt of him, see his famous portrait everywhere! Of course, I don’t need to go in detail about his legacy with anyone. But, just to reinforce this post, I have heard so many people say, ” I can not change anything, how can one person do it alone…” Now, maybe not to Che’s level, but, he was just an ordinary person. Someone who while taking a bike tour across South America, was disgusted by the way people were treated…He did not limit himself to accept this. He was one man, an example of a true warrior! He believed he could make a difference, a will he was determined to fight as long as he had to. We all are capable of making a difference, it all starts with one person!

    1. Valentina says:

      Thanks antonia, I went to cuba last November and he is a legend there…. and you are totally right! People do not believe enough in their capabilities, I guess..

  13. Keith says:

    I do not know if I have all the books, but certainly many are sitting on my bookshelves, all read many many years ago.

    Did he make it all up?

    I have no way of knowing, other than travelling the same path.

    Another writer well worth reading, again I have many if not all his books and all read, Hermann Hesse. Though if you wish to read, do not start with The Glass Bead Game.

  14. Allan Gregoire says:

    Love this article because it points to the key problem with society, the failure to act. I wrote an article on my website about having the courage to act. It is true that a warrior seeks to act and not waste time talking about it. We need more warriors who aren’t afraid to change the world.

  15. Dan says:

    Thank you for this.
    Do you have more on the subject?
    I’m packing up.

  16. Carlos betrayed everyone, but mostly himself. He dilberately lied and left out information that would have made don juan world accessiable. Had I not found The Toltec I would have never learned just how much Carlos betrayed everything he learned in exchange for presitage, ( self importance) sexual favors, ( lust ) and money ( power amongst average people). Students of knowledge must not submit or surrender to anyone who claims to have known Carlos, as he did about knowing don Juan. He and his alleaged four witches performed a scarm upon the entire world.

    Anyone who has actually studied, and attempted to break into the world of sorcery knows so much of what Carlos claims are lies, half truths and some, complete fantasy.

    My sorrow is that self importance and his denial of death, which he preached as essential to awarness, were never really known to him and that he died an average man, filled with dread, fear and remorse.


  17. eleonora says:

    The warrior does not lower his head to anyone, and nor does he allow anyone to bow before him.

  18. eleonora says:

    Il mondo è insondabile e misterioso, proprio come lo siamo tutti. L’arte del guerriero consiste di conciliare il terrore di essere un uomo con la meraviglia di essere un uomo.***

  19. nicola says:

    I have the greatest respect for Carlos Castenada as a warrior of the spirit and I feel we must look past any accusations to blacken his name now he has left the earth plane.The power of his teachings is clear for all to see without letting the fog of peoples prejudices and criticisms cloud it.

  20. Bill McClain says:


    The sword changes the world to your definition. That is a statement of power and conquest, which is not the aim of the warrior.

    The warrior’s challenge is to neither impose his will on the world, nor allow the world to impose its will on you.

    A delicate balance that requires strength and wisdom.

    William Kenly
    author of The Dogs of Divorce

    1. satpal khayaal says:

      well summerised.

  21. Bill McClain says:

    You are right. It is not right to live in constant war with the evil around us,like against windmills. Instead we should recognize that the good and the evil are both parts of us, and we should not establish the duality in our souls by fighting ourselves. Instead we should “feed the right dog” (William Kenly), we should “talk to the white spots” (Boris Akunin).

    It is the highest order of human existence to seek your own God-consciousness (Depak Chopra). When I was growing up, we had a more crass way of saying it. We said, “Don’t let the bastards get you down”. Same thing. Seek your own personal treasure (Paulo Coelho).

    Or not. THAT is you choice. Good luck my brother.

  22. Anca says:

    ¨No one is doing anything, and certainly not to a warrior.´
    Thank you for this, I knew I had to return and read it better. Now I know why.

    Love and gratitude,

  23. Ruth says:

    I remember once, sending you an email, asking if you had read Castaneda’s books. I read them all, in spite of and because of the controversy and I could see the similarities between your writings and his. Of course, you had read them, the tradition is the same, the words different but nevertheless the same messages. I am so glad you have mentioned him on your blog. A warrior never fears judgement.

    1. ;) says:

      Did u get that job at McDo?
      or was it u at the cafe?
      perhaps… driving the little red car? Little red riding hood:)

  24. Tischke says:

    Paulo, I have been sitting on the branch until now, but I have to ask you if plagiarism charges against Castaneda do not bother you. If those charges are justified, it would be a crime if we stopped at Castaneda instead of trying to rediscover the source.

    1. Paulo Coelho says:

      they don’t. Knowledge is universal, and at the end we are always repeating the same Tradition, and translating to every generation.

    2. marie-christine says:

      souvent je pense que je transmets quelque chose qui date de tres longtemps. Je crois que c’est la raison pour laquelle je suis ici.Nous retournons toujours a la source pour la connaissance du langage universel.

    3. marie-christine says:

      J’ai vu un ecureuil l’autre jour sur la branche.
      En reconstruisant la cena.
      Ils boivent du vingt
      Il presente la copae
      aile ait api aussi
      toc toc qui est la?
      Doctor qui
      le ma perche
      Marie madeleine
      say mirabella
      qui va faire un petit tour dans les bois
      sans le lift
      Es un milagro
      The lost symbol
      n’est pas perdu
      Rendez-vous a Brasilia
      e vero

      Bjs :)

    4. Tischke says:

      I love your translation of the Tradition by the way :) Thank you.

  25. THELMA says:
    The Magus of Strovolos, by Dr. Kyriakos Markides.
    Kyriakos, the author is a friend of my sister and a long time ago he had lent us, while he was in Cyprus for a sabbatical, the books by Castaneda. I remember them as a … dream now, but I am sure his teachings have influenced my way of thinking. Thank you Paulo Coelho, for reminding them to us.
    Thelma xxx

    1. katie says:

      I agree, Jessica.
      thank you, thank you Thelma :o)

  26. Alexandra says:

    I think I will serach something written by him in library, I hope to find. Can anyone share tittles to search for, the best of the author? Thank you

    1. THELMA says:

      Dear Alexandra, the wise Goggle will give you a biography by him and all the titles of his books. Wikipedia is the most reliable source, I think.
      Thelma xxx

    2. Alexandra says:

      ok, I will try, but an opinion of a reader is best, else I dont know how to chose. And sometimes not everything on Wikipedia, but this might be a known author so I will find him, thanks.

    3. Ahalia says:

      All depends what you are working on with in yourself, probably a good one for most poeple is

      The fire from within

      Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it–what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.
      Every effort should be made to eradicate self-importance from the lives of warriors. Without self-importance we are invulnerable.

    4. Ahalia says:

      THe warrior with in

  27. Flora says:

    I definetely want to become a warrior

    1. mariette says:

      I like the Nike slogan: just do it!
      You will be accompanied by others.

  28. Василий says:

    Пауло! Вас приветствует Сантьяго – Василий!
    Мы с Вами давно знакомы! Много тысяч лет!
    Я благодарю Вас за Вашу книгу.
    Все до мелочей совпадает! Спасибо!
    Да будет благодать Бога вечно с Вами!

  29. adiam says:

    a warrior is capable of changing his enemy into a friend(the worrier of light by Paulo coelho ):)

  30. Dietmar says:

    Just a fast little look, and i saw the word Castaneda.
    Oh, i thought, lets have a look at it, maybe it is this Castaneda i ever read. long ago.
    And, yes it is.
    Thanks to my favourite Author Paulo.
    It remebers me, and i will read his book again.
    And right is it, to give him a tribute, also to you too.
    There is a hope in your writings, the world need more then money…

  31. juan davila says:

    I have begun to read Carlos Castaneda’s works, another remarkable man in his time. As with Mr. Coehlo’s works I have enjoyed learning about myself through their words.

    Thank you Both.


  32. clarissa says:

    Being a warrior is no easy task. We are living in hard times. Not to feel sadness, disappointments, and not to feel hopeless would not only require a warrior’s strenght and heart but also warrior’s steadfast faith in our ever loving God!

  33. clarissa says:

    Reading the words of wisdom from a great person is like having a new life! Paolo is really a great gift from the Lord to the human race.

  34. Catherine E.A. says:

    Paulo – what you say about words, illusionsary…
    it brings me peace of mind today ;o) Thankyou! ;o)

  35. sajeer says:

    i liked the way you delivered the comments and the comments too..

    living with enthusiam, loving without expectation..

    sajeer :)

  36. I love this!! Thank you Paulo,
    Enjoyed reading the comments too.

    Loving purpose, living with enthusiasm, personal responsibility, gifts, humility, destiny, open mind and heart to explore, accept the mysteries and magic moments…
    And I think of little children once again. They do not know fear, only the wonder of it all. The miracle of life.

    = JOY!!!!!!!!

    Love to All, Wishing everyone a wonderous day, Jane : ) xo

  37. pia says:

    …’The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you.
    Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather to what he does not say.’ Khalil Gibran.

    Thank you for your generosity of spirit, Paolo.

    1. “…If you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather to what he does not say.”
      I agree with Khalil Gibran…and this is a valuable tool in relationships. Words are often a ‘cover up’!

  38. c'est un sacre gaillard! says:

    On n’a besoin que de Zizou et de Ma donna pour faire une equipe enthousiaste.

  39. Polina says:

    The warrior’s spirit; transformation of body and existence are little scary. Castaneda’s books make me sick. I couldn’t read his last 2 books of the volume because I start to vomiting and having nightmares… Also book of Taisha Abelar and other students of Castaneda depressed me a lot. Does anybody feel the same?

    1. katie says:

      Hi Polina,

      not so extreme. but with the art of dreaming, I always had the feeling that I am in the dungeon of my mind :o)

      I find him also very dark in general. his books initiated in me a kind of hopelessness, reminded me on Camus’ books.

      But overall, when I am now looking back, Castaneda influenced me in working with dreams and going into animal totems. I have to admit I loved his descriptions of changing from human to animal :o)

  40. Sraosha says:

    Thank you… Thank you… Thank you… Paolo.
    Very timely reminder for all of us today.
    Castaneda’s writings/ books did influence me in the past, and… in one way or another, they still influence me until now.

    Happy New Moon-Solar Eclipse tomorrow;)

  41. MamaBear64 says:

    Paulo, thank you for the beautiful reminder.

  42. Irfan says:

    the words that moved me to the core were, “The art of the warrior consists of reconciling the terror of being a man with the wonder of being a man”.
    its an irony of enormous magnitude, that a talent such as this goes un-noticed..someone who had the power to create ripples in minds of people around is a genious..a true genius indeed!
    or a Prophet perhaps…

  43. katie says:


    I perceived his books in a different way :o)
    -the existence of a non-ordinary reality.
    – how it can be perceived.
    – the acknowledgment of the Native American Spirituality. what at his time was special.

    as a writer, he represents well the worldwide student movement in the 60s/70s: the dropping and questioning of the rules of a society. the right for adventure and testing.

    Ha! I always believed that his books describe his own experience with drugs and those natural products he tried out.
    and this was just covered by the existence of the old man in his books.

    another important message for me is the connection between human and other animal species, so that the boundaries within the animal kingdom is changing. the importance of spirituality goes beyond man.

    I actually loved to read his books with “the guts” and not the brain. I really mean that something else in me recognizes symbolism and goes deeper, beyond the words.

    the style of the books, especially the late ones, deviate from an anthropological research style. if he really wanted to prove something he does not provide the necessary information. but so what? Is it important for the message he wants to give?

    1. Yes Katie, ” I actually loved to read his books with “the guts” and not the brain. I really mean that something else in me recognizes symbolism and goes deeper, beyond the words. ”

      Be masters of our own destiny (ship)…remembering Ithaca again!

      Thank you Katie!!

      Love to All, Jane : )

    2. katie says:

      Hi D-w-C!

      what does “Ithaca” stay for?

  44. Vami says:

    These words came just when I needed to hear them the most. Many thanks!

  45. Jinsol says:

    The art of the warrior consists of reconciling the terror of being a man with the wonder of being a man. <- I do agree with it. :)

  46. James says:

    How is the warrior like the Greek “hero” one who struggles?

  47. Alex Sandra UK says:

    Thank you for introducing me to books by other great writers. I read The Teachings of Don Juan not so long ago and was amazed by it. You have also led me to enjoy the work of Henry Miller, for which I am also grateful. Thank you for your constant inspiration!

    Much love to you

  48. I find the Warrior’s Spirit very inspiring! I shared it with my students.thank you for sharing it with us !! greetings from Albania

  49. Nicola Masters says:

    Thank you Paulo, I was unaware of this author and now am looking forward to discovering more about him and his works.

    With much gratitude

    Smiles and rainbows