Who is Jodorowsky?
Alejandro Jodorowsky was born in Tocopilla, a seaside city in northern Chile, on February 17, 1929, into a family of Jewish and Ukrainian origins. In 1953 he moved to Paris and began his theatrical activity. He creates the Panico theatrical movement together with the poet Beppe Costa. He collaborates for a long time with Marcel Marceau, for whom he writes several plays. He also tries his hand at writing novels and comics.
Jodorowsky’s popularity comes thanks to cinema. The films that reveal it to international audiences are Fando y Lis and, subsequently, El topo of 1971. In 1973 he wrote and directed The holy Mountain and in 1988 Santa sangre. Her biography is entitled The dance of reality. In a period of economic difficulty he devoted himself to reading tarot cards of which he is a great expert. In his films El topo and The Sacred Mountain he also appears as a leading actor. They are films deeply inspired by surrealism, of profound social criticism, full of magical and esoteric references and tarot reading. Santa sangre is also enriched with psychoanalytic themes.
Jodorowsky crossed the path of other artists who worked in the film industry with a vision of inner growth, making fascinating and sometimes very successful films. He collaborated as an actor in two films by Franco Battiato: Musikanten in 2005, where he plays Ludwig van Beethoven, and Niente è as it seems, in 2007. In 2013, twenty years after his last film, The Dance of Reality was distributed, taken from his autobiographical book. In 2016 the film Poesia sin fin, financed with a crowdfunding campaign, was released in cinemas. In 2019 he made a documentary on the practice of the psycho-magical act which he deals with extensively in many of his books. The title is Psychomagic, A Healing Art.
In 1975, after the international success of The Sacred Mountain, the preparation of a major project to film adaptation of the science fiction novel Dune by Frank Herbert begins. Try to involve artists who were on the wave frequency. between psychedelia and spiritual research. The music should have been made by Pink Floyd and in the cast there were unconventional personalities such as Salvador Dali and Orson Welles. The crew included set and costume designers such as Moebius, Chris Foss and Hans Ruedi Giger. It should have been a Kolossal film over 3 hours long. But the project never saw the light in the 70s. It was only realized in 1984 under the direction of David Lynch. There is also a 2013 documentary on the story Jodorowsky’s Dune, directed by Frank Pavich.
Jodorowsky also had an intense literary activity, mainly dedicated to the study of psychomagic, cabal and tarot. His books that explore the esoteric relationship of man with God. He has also written several novels, some of which are autobiographical, and has written some comics in collaboration with the French cartoonist Moebius and with the Italian Milo Manara.
Jodorowsky and psychomagic
Jodorowsky was a great admirer of André Breton and surrealism from an early age. His interest in esotericism was born in the sixties when he met a Mexican healer named Pacita. The woman was able to heal the sick by transmitting them a very strong energy with actions that had nothing in common with traditional medicine. Fascinated by this practice, Jodorowsky gives it the name of Psychomagic. The psychomagic act is a kind of catharsis that leads people afflicted with a problem to change their perception of reality, and consequently of the problem itself.
For example, he proposed to a person who had financial problems to glue two coins to their shoes so as to always hear the jingle of money when walking. Or he proposed to a boy negatively influenced by his father’s authority figure to burn a photo of his parent and throw the ashes into a glass of wine, which he would then drink. Jodorowsky calls them “ephemeral acts”, that is, apparently superficial actions without any concrete utility but in reality capable of releasing a strong healing energy.
The extraordinary in the ordinary
Knowing Alejandro Jodorowsky can be a very special and unconventional experience. Some people exude an energy that we rarely encounter. They are men and women who have a particular magnetism and a freedom to be that does not seem to belong to this world. While most individuals appear ordinary to us even in his most extraordinary qualities, Jodorowsky is a man who appears extraordinary even in his simplest activities.
Despite the complexity of his films such as The holy mountain and El Topo and the almost cryptic aspect of his images Jodorowsky says and does very simple things, as only very wise people can do. His journey into the wilds and into the unknown always seems to lead us, at the end of the journey, to very familiar and everyday destinations. The mystery is to be discovered behind the apparent banality of everyday things, but being able to look beyond the veil of appearances, beyond Maya and her illusion, is a quality that very few have.
Jodorowsky: a man discovering his own self
Jodorowsky has dedicated his entire life to poetry, writing and cinema. But all these activities have one goal: the discovery of one’s self. The influence of French surrealism and artists such as Salvador Dalì and André Breton is certainly of great impact in his cinematographic work. The language of dreams was a great inspiration for the Chilean director as well as for the surrealist artists. The goal was for both to open an access in the rational life to the language of dreams and the irrational. Affirm the importance of the unconscious and its ability to expand awareness with respect to the conscious mind. Jodorowsky is an explorer of distant worlds where very few people meet. And this daring journey of his led him to meet those few artists who walked the same path as him, far from the territories of the mainstream, even if very famous. Such as David Lynch and John Lennon.
Consumerism versus personal growth
Jodorowsky agrees with other great thinkers, such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, in considering consumerism one of the worst evils of the era we are experiencing: quantity, chaos and the superfluous have filled every space and closed the possibility to perceive the silence and the magic of life. Quality triumphs over quantity. We have to exaggerate everything, we live in a kind of perpetual big binge followed by perpetual indigestion. Even for films, it no longer makes sense to watch them for personal growth, for a greater understanding of existence. Successful fashion is binge watching, a kind of drug-like addiction to forget reality. Stun by consuming more and more.
Jodorowsky’s films are conceived exactly the opposite: we could dwell on every frame, on every single image for whole minutes and grasp its nuances, the relationships between colors and shapes, the revealing details in the background, the references to knowledge and cultures. Jodorowsky’s films are certainly suitable for the practice of sip watching: thrifty, careful and aware viewing of films. From which one always comes out enriched.
The appearance of reality
Jodorowsky deepens the idea of thein his writings and films. The world is an illusion that does not belong to us, that continually creates new desires that we do not want, that makes us consume every day things that we do not need. Most people are victims of a completely artificial society that makes men do what they have been determined to do. Getting out of this Matrix is not easy at all: we are convinced that that perception is something of our own and not a conditioning that we suffer from outside. But the feeling of lack of freedom, of being locked up in some kind of invisible cages never leaves us.
The common thread of Jodorowsky’s work is in showing that this fiction in which human society is immersed is limited, it is an illusion that cannot infect everyone. The truth is there and it knows how to manifest itself and reach receptive people. There is what many Eastern spiritual traditions call the Great One: a collective consciousness that binds every living being and everything and is able to find solutions to any problem. Its power and its enormous perfection. Nature knows exactly what to do, the planet knows exactly how to heal its wounds. Universal consciousness continually creates positive energy and goes on by itself outside of any fiction.
The fictions of the world
For Alejandro Jodorowsky, as for many other sages and gurus, religions are part of this fiction, they are like comics, photo novels created by men who want the power to act as intermediaries with God. The truth is that for to put in communication with God or with the universal conscience there is no need for any intermediary. In fact, in recent decades, religions have lost a lot of power, people are no longer willing to believe in certain schemes. Religiosity has nothing to do with religions, it is in a vast mystical sentiment that allows anyone to experience life. And the only God that exists is not outside of us but in our interiority. Every living being is a drop of the ocean. If I am a drop I cannot know the whole ocean but I am actually part of it. In the same way, men cannot know God but understand that God is a part of ourselves, the part connected to the universal consciousness and to the whole. Jodorowsky’s vision seems to coincide with that of Osho, the famous Indian guru of whom hundreds of books circulate.
Homeland and family are very limiting concepts for Jodorowsky. The borders of nations are artificial patterns, which never existed in reality. These geographical and cultural divisions are created by people still dominated by a polarized, dualistic perception of the world, made up of divisions, separations and opposition, Good and evil, white and black, African and European, moral and immoral. But the truth is that the only possible homeland is the entire planet, and the only true family is the whole of humanity. Indeed, not only humanity, but everything that exists in nature: plants, minerals, insects, animals …
Even in the condemnation of contemporary political vision we find strong similarities between Jodorowsky and Osho. For the director there is no room for politics when you move on a creative and artistic level of consciousness: current politics is nothing more than an eternal competition, a continuous clash of ideologies. It is the ideal battleground for the polarized and divided mind. But everything positive that arises in society is due instead to collaboration, to openness to others, to cooperation for a single goal.
Art to explore the unknown
Art is the tool with which we can go beyond, overcome our limits and explore unknown territories. With art we can probe our interiority to reach the maximum possible state of freedom. Art is by no means tied to commercial success and neither is it a solitary pursuit nurtured by the artist’s ego. According to Jodorowsky, art is the noise that waves make on the surface of the ocean: a phenomenon that comes from the deepest abysses, a propagation of energy that comes from universal consciousness and that we can perceive only when we are in communication with our Divine part. .
Jodorowsky lived most of his life in Paris, where he still resides today, with his second wife Pascale, whom he met at the age of 76. Every Wednesday at 3 pm Jodorowsky arrived at Le téméraire café, in the twelfth district, to select about twenty people who could use his service for free, with a sort of artisanal lottery draw. Or he often organized his performances at Cabaret mystique, a small 70-seat room in the Le Cent Ciels bookshop, in the eleventh district.
According to Alejandro, now at the venerable age of 92, on February 17, 2021, old age is not the sad decline of the human being towards illness and death, but it can be the culmination of the experience of a wonderful life. A sacred moment in which all the illusions of the external world are abandoned and we focus on our inner wealth. The meaning of life for Alejandro Jodorowsky is to die happy. No longer being the beautiful butterfly dancing around the flame but becoming the burning flame ourselves.