Statement by Victor Sanchez regarding Castaneda vs.
Sanchez and related topics
About the Lawsuit of Castaneda vs. Bear & Company
and Victor Sanchez
- The lawsuit was primarily against Bear & Company and they included
Victor Sanchez, about a book cover that was the responsibility only of the
publisher and not the author. I actually didn't like the cover because it
was too "cartoon-like" and because on that cover Castaneda's name
was bigger than mine. The fact is, covers are a matter in the publisher's
domain, not the author's.
- The complaint involving my name in the lawsuit was: "conspiring with
Bear & Company to create a cover that damages Castaneda's reputation and
business" (which I didn't).
- They didn't attack the contents of the book because there was nothing even
close to illegal or dishonest about it.
- I received an adverse judgment, because I was supposedly on default. Drooz
[Castaneda's attorney, now the Trustee of his estate] convinced the judge
that I didn't want to respond the court, because I was a Mexican that
disrespected the American legal system.
The simple truth is:
- I didn't respond at first, because the author of the cover was my
publisher (Bear & Company). The publishing company told me not to
respond because they were going to settle the whole problem with Drooz.
Then, Drooz accepted a settlement with Bear and Company for around $11,000.
After the agreement my publisher told me the problem was over.
- Months later I discovered that someone was lying. I was not included in
the settlement and I was about to be declared to have defaulted by the
court. Then I hired a lawyer in New Mexico who talked with Drooz for months
trying to get to a settlement agreement. Drooz's requests were absurd (e.g.,
wanting to have money from every workshop I have given in any country before
or after the publishing of the book, prohibiting me from using the title of
my book, and other restrictions to my freedom of speech). She kept saying:
"Don't respond to the court because we are going to get to an
agreement," and at the end, always again asking unacceptable terms.
- Then, seeing that Drooz was not in the mood to get to a real understanding
or settlement agreement, I hired a lawyer in L.A. who assisted with the
first hearing of the case and the incredible happened: Drooz convinced the
judge to put me in default, even with my lawyer in front of her! This was
not legal and the judge took her discretion to the very border of what is
legal (i.e., declaring someone in default whose lawyer is right there, in
the first hearing of the case). One of the main arguments of Drooz was that
she was insisting to my New Mexico lawyer that we should respond to the
California Court to avoid being in default but that we had not listened to
her. The simple truth was that she did everything she could to convince my
lawyer to not respond to the court. That was, in simple words, a trap.
- It seems that, first, Drooz convinced Bear's lawyer of not including me in
the settlement, but creating at the same time the false impression that I was
included. Then she convinced my lawyer from New Mexico to not respond to the
court, and then she accused me of not responding to the court. The result? I
had a judgment of $111,000 against me for something I didn't do (a copycat
cover) when the real authors of the cover just paid $11,000. During the
entire process I did not have the chance to show the lack of merits of the
case against me. This means that no judge ever heard my arguments and proofs
against the false accusations.
My reflection is that I lost because Castaneda and his lawyer had more money
better knowledge of how to twist the American legal system to make white look
black and black look like pure snow-like white. (It is ironic that when the
moment comes for a self-claimed sorcerer to show his power, we wouldn't see him
flying or performing any phenomena that challenges the laws of physics, but
simply mundane tricks like using money and lawyers to intimidate others . . . )
The same tricky ways found their way into the appeal that I filed and lost.
Well, the bad part is that I supposedly owe to the Eagles Trust $111K. The funny
part is that, contrary to Cleargreen assessments, I have not become a
millionaire, so I live a modest life, and don't have assets or money to pay such
a sum. So there is no way for them to collect the money they fought and lied so
hard to get. (I recently learned that they are now claiming $180K, I suppose
because of interest. Anyway, it's the same to me--$110,000, 180,000 or a
million. What's the difference when you don't have what they want?)
This is just a short summary of a long and complex story, and, of course, I
have documents to prove all this, but this is just part of the story.
5. Cleargreen harassment has included: accusing me of claiming to be
Castaneda's disciple, making millions using his name, and spreading rumors
about people being injured or killed in my workshops. Nothing of that is truth.
Incredibly, they have also had the time to be interested in my sexual life,
accusing me of seducing women (this of course is consistent with their constant
concern about sex).
The only thing I can say is:
- Like everyone, I do have a sexual life.
- I have always approached sexuality and love with respect in my work.
- I have never claimed anything against having a sex life. I have never
needed to tell lies, or talk about spiritual sex practices in order to have
sex with anyone. Their gossip about sex is just ill intentioned rumors.
- My disagreement with their dark stories about sex--like the holes in the
energetic body because of having children, the malignity of sexuality
between men and women because of the sucking energy worms left in the
women's womb, etc.--have always been clear in my writing, seminars and
conferences for a long time. So, there is no similarity in my views and
doings related to sexuality and the one in Castaneda's works or Cleargreen's
About the accusations by Francisco Bringas
I recently questioned Francisco Bringas (who was fifteen when he participated
in my workshops) about his strange declarations about my behavior which were
filed in the famous lawsuit. He said, "I didn't mean to say that. They
distorted my declarations, and I never expected this to be used this way. That
is when they asked me if I was willing to declare as a witness at the court. I
said no, I wouldn't do it." When I asked him how they got the declaration,
he said, "They passed questionnaires to all the attendees of Tensegrity
seminars, hundreds of people. In those questionnaires they were asking for
people who had participated in Victor Sanchez's workshops, and who would be
willing to sign declarations against him." (It is interesting to note that
from the many people who worked with me and then attended Tensegrity workshops,
they had such a poor response.) Finally, when I asked him why he participated in
such a lie, his answer was, "It was a stupid mistake of a stupid boy. In
that time I trusted them completely. They convinced me that you were damaging
Castaneda by making millions using his name. I believed them and that is why I
did it. But I never thought this was going to get so far. I am sorry so
much." He added that he was going to write a letter to Sustained Action
himself. Let's see if the letter arrives . . .
Finally, about my work
- My work is related to my experiences among surviving Toltec indigenous
people and my intention to create a bridge for shamanic experiences to be
applied in a practical way for us, people of the modern cities. I call these
- I never presented myself as Castaneda's student. My meetings with him were
not private, but as a part of small audiences in Mexico, a long time before
Cleargreen came into being. (In those years they said that the
"movements were taught to them by a Chinese teacher" [I suppose
Howard Lee], then Castaneda changed the story to say they were taught in
dreaming by a Chinese nagual from the 16th century. At the end, he changed
the story again by saying that the movements were taught by don Juan). In my
first meeting with Carlos Castaneda, Florinda (Gina in those years) asked me
about joining them in L.A. I told her I admired Castaneda´s books, but no
thanks, I have my own path. I was not looking for a master, guru, shaman or
nagual, because I was already connected to my own tradition which has to do
with surviving Toltec Indians from Mexico. (I know that Castaneda has denied
having met me, but that encounter took place with many witnesses. It was in
the house of a friend of his, Carlos Ortiz de la Huerta, on Sierra Bacatete
in the rich neighborhood "Lomas de Chapultepec." If I remember
right, it was in 1983. There were about 18 people present. That night
Castaneda answered all of my questions from 7 PM to around 4 AM. Other
meetings took place with other audiences. This, of course, doesn't mean that
we had a personal or disciple-teacher relationship. I have always been clear
3. Part of my work has been to show that trying to get to freedom following
illuminated persons is a good way to get into psychological dependence,
confusion and cult-like problems. Toltecs had a basic principle for knowledge (nimomashtic,
which means "teaching yourself"). The figure of a nagual as a
spiritual leader who will take you to the freedom or to the other world, is a
fantasy invented in California. It has nothing to do with the real Toltec or
indigenous traditions from Mexico. I think the same about tensegrity; there are
no traces about anything like that in our history.
4. I am convinced that there are healthy ways for people to gain other realms
of awareness, like shamanic practices (when they come from sincere sources and
serious research). Illuminated masters, fake Western shamans and self-proclaimed
naguals are an obstacle to the path of knowledge.
I met two Castanedas. The first one is the one I imagined when receiving so
much benefit from his earlier books. This one will be close to my heart forever.
The second one, the one creating for-profit enterprises, the self-proclaimed
nagual, making lawsuits to protect his business, pretending to be the unique
chance to freedom over this planet, the "flyers' talker"--this is the
one I don't want to be connected to in any way.
Since my life has been touched so positively by the first one, and so badly
by the second, I feel I have some responsibility in helping others to rescue the
good part and to keep away from the shitty side. Maybe by watching these two
sides we can discover that maybe we all are just like that: having a luminous
and a dark side. By recognizing this, we may stop longing for illuminated
perfect masters to lead our lives and start to take full responsibility for
choosing, improving and making energetic emphasis on our luminous side.
Castaneda v. Sanchez summarized