Taisha Abelar

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Taisha Abelar
BornMaryann Simko
Pen nameAnna Marie Carter (1974)
OccupationAnthropologist, writer
Period20th century
Notable worksThe Sorcerer's Crossing: A Woman’s Journey

Taisha Abelar, born Maryann Simko, was an American writer and anthropologist who was an associate of Carlos Castaneda.


Abelar met Castaneda when she was 19 years old and a student at University of California, Los Angeles where she eventually earned her master's degree and PhD in Anthropology.[1] In 1973, Castaneda purchased a compound on Pandora Avenue in Westwood, Los Angeles, and soon after Abelar (she was still known as Maryann Simko at this time), along with Regine Thal and Kathleen Pohlman, who would come to be known collectively as "the witches", moved in. In 1974, Samurai magazine published photos of Regine Thal doing karate exercises. In the article, Abelar is called "Anna Marie Carter".[2]

In keeping with Castaneda's philosophy of "erasing personal history", the witches maintained a tight veil of secrecy. They used numerous aliases and generally did not allow themselves to be photographed. Not long after moving into Castaneda's compound Maryann Simko changed her name to Taisha Abelar. Likewise, Regine Thal changed her name to Florinda Donner and Kathleen Pohlman to Carol Tiggs.[citation needed]

Abelar claimed to have been one of Don Juan’s four students and says she spent a year in his "magical house" in Mexico. In 1992, her book The Sorcerer's Crossing: A Woman’s Journey, which documents the training she received from the female members of don Juan's group, was published by Viking Books.[citation needed]

Through the 1990s, Abelar and the other witches started giving workshops in Tensegrity for Cleargreen Incorporated, a company formed by Castaneda for that purpose.[citation needed]


In April 1998 – shortly after Castaneda's death – Abelar disappeared, together with four other close associates of Castaneda (Florinda Donner, Amalia Marquez (also known as Talia Bey), Kylie Lundahl, and Patricia Lee Partin). Partin's sun-bleached skeleton was discovered in Death Valley by hikers in 2003. No trace of the other four women has been found.[3]

See also[edit]


  • The Sorcerer's Crossing: A Woman's Journey. Viking Books. 1992. ISBN 978-0-670-84272-8.
  • Stalking With The Double. unpublished manuscript. 2020.


  1. ^ Wallace (2003), p. 405
  2. ^ Wallace (2003), p. 29
  3. ^ "The dark legacy of Carlos Castaneda". salon.com. April 12, 2007. Retrieved May 8, 2019.


  • Wallace, Amy (2003). Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda. Frog Books. ISBN 978-1-58394-076-1.