Author: Anthony Taylor
Date: October 18, 2003 05:13PM
Hi Gene,

I don’t know whether you are aware but Castaneda’s have made a bit of a name of themselves in more recent years with their so called Tensegrity Workshops.

The story goes like this: Castaneda never told you one of the most secret and significant parts of the teachings he received from don Juan. Don Juan would during the whole time the training took place teach him certain movements which are supposed to allow you to manipulate your assemblage point of your energy structures.

I read the first few books with no appreciation of the real situation in Mexico and must say I really enjoyed them. Whether inspired by drugs or not they make a good yarn and it gives a completely different type of mood to sorcery than ideas about Merlin or reading the likes of Ursula le Guin. If one were to reject anything which was inspired by drugs you could probably throw out ¾ of your record collection.

I think it was about 1997 that one of these workshops was to come to Berlin and they were looking for interpreters so I went along to check it out. A ticket for about 2 or 3 days of about 4hrs each would have cost 1000 DM, so about $500, give or take. For my interpreting I was to get in for free.

I kind of figured “hey, even if the books are not real (a kind of religious equivalent of an historical novel), then it is such high quality BS that it should be worth it.

When I got there in this big multi-function hall which is also used for basketball for instance there were proper cabinets for the interpreters but that is about where the professionalism stopped.

A little background on translators and indeed interpreters. I knew this because my mum used to run an agency for the same. Interpreting is very strenuous work and for this reason no interpreter should do more than about 40 mins without a proper break. If a congress goes on then there should be relief workers. Translators and interpreters should always translate only into their mother tongue. However proficient they are only in their mother tongue will they have adequate grasp of the idioms. In addition you translator should be conversant with the subject material i.e. if it is a text about bridge-building they should be an Engineer.

Only for the German/English translation did they have two interpreters, for Spanish and French there was only one. The guy interpreting into French didn’t understand German so he got linked through to my interpreting and was actually a Spanish guy who couldn’t stop making his own comments during the whole show.

So you have 1000 paying guests milling around in the hall and on a couple of little podests you had some people they’d obviously dragged from some fitness centre to do the tour with them who were now called “Energy Trackers”. Every now I went out and tried some of these magic pass exercises and could see that at least half the hall weren’t getting any where near what these passes were supposed to be. When I asked one of the course organisers, they said, “ well the important thing is trying it, not getting it 100% right”

Guess what: Castaneda who the course organisers were hoping to have there suddenly discovered it was energetically un-cool for him to be in Europe and had to remain in USA couldn’t come. – yeah right!

I walked out after ½ a day, I said to the course organisers they should organise some professional interpreting. I was so annoyed, it was nothing like even high quality BS, never mind the real thing. It was a really badly organised rip-off. Funny thing is, I talked to some of the participants and most of them were happy.

They will have grossed half a million dollars just for those 3 days and they were touring the whole of Europe. Not a bad business to be in I suppose, that is, if you don’t mind not really liking yourself.


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The Power of Silence