Uri Hertz: We've become familiar with your work through El Topo and The Holy
Mountain... and now Tusk, but I understand there was an earlier film that has yet to
be seen in North America concerning the massacre of student demonstrators in
Alexandro Jodorowsky: No...my first picture was Fando y Lis, a play by Fernando
Arrabal. I never made the picture you speak of.
Hertz: Is it a rumor?
Jodorowsky: What is this rumor?
Hertz: That in 1968 when Mexican university students were murdered en masse
during a demonstration...I'd heard that you'd made a documentary on that.
Jodorowsky: No. The reality is that I was there. My wife was playing in a theater in
the same place where they killed the students at that time. Then, I went about half an
hour later to find my wife and I started to feel the ambiance. All the people in the
taxi were scared. (The taxi, by the way, cost one peso and there were six people).
There was a big silence and the dogs were barking. It was one of the weird
psychological experiences I've had. Death was in the air. It's true. It's like with
animals. When a large quantity of human beings are killed, all the town is scared
and they don't know why. There's some kind of communication, as with sensitive
Hertz: In your film The Holy Mountain there is a sequence on the students where
they are killed and then flowers come out of their mouths.
Jodorowsky: Also, in that scene I was showing the reality of the special effect. I
put in front of the public how you do the special effect. I show the tube where the
tears come out. It's not hidden. And you can see the balloon full of blood. You can
see all the artificial techniques in that sequence. But it is stronger. It has another
meaning when you show the artificial process. Then it's not a lie. It's true.
Hertz: Is one of your sources to be found in Bunuel's film, The Andalusian Dog?
Or other films by Bunuel? I'm also thinking of Simon of the Desert— the tableau of
the tower in the middle of the desert.
Jodorowsky: Yes. In Tusk I found that beautiful temple with the single column. It's
the only homage to a filmaker I have in Tusk. I've seen the film you speak of and I
like it a lot.. .so I put that image of the girl sitting on the column there as homage.
Hertz: In Tusk, the elephant seems to me to represent a certain elemental force in a
way that is similar to Moby Dick, the white whale in Melville's novel. Are you
familiar with it?
Jodorowsky: Yes...it's exactly like that. And also, you know, Ganesh is the
elephant-god in India who represents sexual spirituality... the sexual power. I put the
sacred syllable Om on the elephant's forehead to show that it was an elephant, but
also a divinity... a spiritual power.
Hertz: Ganesh being the son of Shiva in Hindu mythology, and I recall the Shivite
saddhus who keep reappearing... and finally, at the very end of the film, the
Englishman goes among the saddhus, into the Shiva temple.
Jodorowsky: Yes. He respects that in the end...not like in Gunga Din and all the
colonialist pictures I saw as a child, where the Indian is savage and does not have
Hertz: Here it turns out that the Indian saddhus are more refined than the
Jodorowsky: It was a conspiracy of the saddhus all through the picture, from the
very beginning, to suround that man in order to absorb him. And the Englishman
represents here the conscience... the ego conscience.
Hertz: Do you mean conscience as it is used in the moral sense... or in terms of
conscience as expressed in the French language: awareness?
Jodorowsky: Yes. Ego-conscience. Ego trip.
Hertz: Control, domination...
Jodorowsky: Yes... domination.
Hertz: Then the two are going against each other in almost a Reichian sense. I'm
thinking of the raw, primal energy of the elephant and the so-called primitive people
being contained and forced into the forms of the white European's laws.
Jodorowsky: Yes. The moment when I demonstrate this is in the sequence with the
train when Reverend Castle—who is on a very personal trip trying to force his
books on the people and buy them with rice—comes up against the elephant. He is
trying to change, through the stomach, the philosophy of the country. And then the
train, which is the mental train, finds the elephant in the way. He needs to make the
train fight with the animal and he loses. The elephant—the spirit of India—
destroyed that train. It is not real. The elephant comes to destroy it.
Hertz: Are you familiar with the North American folk legend of John Henry?
Hertz: John Henry is a black railroad worker, a steel driver, who pits himself
against the train.
Jodorowsky: Maybe in your history the train is taken as progress, no? Mechanical
progress. In Tusk, I take the train as a culture. The train of the civilization. It is not
mechanical. Reverend Castle is giving out books and trying to change the spirit. He
is seeing the elephant as an evil demon...not as a divinity.
Hertz: It seems as if the saddhus are true holy men... who are in touch with
something outside the tracks that the ego runs on.
Jodorowsky: Yes. It's like that. And also they're the guilty conscience of the bad
guys. There is that one saddhu who is always singing in the places where he should
not be. They're trying to be bad guys, but every time they do they find the sacred
form of the saddhu in the house—like garbage—and they try to throw away that
garbage. They don't destroy the saddhu, but in the end he is singing in the house of
the bad guy which was destroyed by the elephant. It's the triumph of that spirituality,
which is the unconscious.
Hertz: The two saddhus—the one who is always singing and the shaman who
appears and disappears at will—they strike me as being the Watchers.
Jodorowsky: Si. One is the magician. I was also very much aware of the magic of
the Mexican people. For me, to make a picture in India was like making a picture in
Mexico. Almost the same climate, almost the same food...
Hertz: ...and almost the same colonial situation.
Jodorowsky: Maybe. But who would be the English in Mexico?
Hertz: Spain in the past, or...
Jodorowsky: I couldn't say that about Mexico. But I can say of Chile. I was born in
the north of Chile...in a little town near the copper mines. The Americans and
English had that. One of the first things I remember is that we could not walk in
certain areas because they were forbidden to Chileans. It was the beautiful side of
the gringo colonies. From the first time I came to life in Chile I saw this difference.
This was real. The Americans in Chile during the 1930's were like the English in
Hertz: You are of European descent, right?
Jodorowsky: All four of my grandparents are Russian. They took a ship and tried
to escape from Russia to the end of the world.
Hertz: And they got there...
Jodorowsky: And they got to Chile. I was born in Chile. The Cossacks made me a
Hertz: When you were growing up... did you have much contact with the Indian
Jodorowsky: Yes. You know, there are Indians that very few people are aware of:
the Araucanos. They are a colony, but even the Chilean doesn't know how many of
them there are. They are on reservations like your North American Indians. They
didn't have a culture. They were warriors. There were no pyramids... only warriors.
But if you go into the secrets of the Araucanos you can find alchemy there...and
soma. The Chileans never speak of the Araucanos. When I was grown I started to
know the Araucanos in Paris through alchemists and kabbalists who travel to go
speak with the Araucano initiates. The best of the Chilean culture isn't known. You
know Neruda, you know Gabriela Mistral, you know Huidobro—you know the
Chilean poets. Even the folklore. But you know nothing of the Araucanos. Very few
Chileans know the secret of the Araucanos.
Hertz: Antonin Artaud traveled to Mexico and spent time with the Tarahumara
Indians, eating peyote and observing their rites. A primary part of his theories are
based on what he learned from observing the Balinese theater and through other
sorts of inquiries into ancient and primitive myth and ritual. His theories on theater
seem to have affinities and parallels to the ceremonial intensity of the things that go
on in your films.
Jodorowsky: That's very true. I was completely deep inside The Theater and Its
Double, [a collection of Artaud's essays on theater] It was my bible. I made 100
plays in the theater, and Artaud was my bible. I have a strong connection with him.
When I went to Mexico, I think it was because of what Artaud wrote about it. I
would like one day to make a motion picture of the conquest of Mexico. Artaud had
wanted to do it.
Hertz: That would be quite a film... I hope you do it.
Jodorowsky: Yes...but first I need to do another picture and then I will try to make
Hertz: And what is that other picture?
Jodorowsky: The picture I am working on right now is called The Cosmic Mary. It
is how I see the life of the Virgin Mary. But don't think I will make a sexual version
or that I will laugh...because I will make it very seriously. I think the mythology of
the Virgin Mary is the greatest in all the religions. More than Tantra, more than
Taoism, more than anything. I think this is the highest woman initiation...
Hertz: Do you find parallels between the Virgin and the Shekinah?
Jodorowsky: Yes...and with the yin and the yang. Evidently. I find that she is the
Sephiroth #10, my Virgin. She receives all the nine other Sephiroth in the Tree of
Life, n'est-ce pas? She is the universe receiving the sound of the voice of God...the
fiat lux. There is a big relation between the fiat lux of God and the fiat lux...you
know this? It's in Latin. It's the first word you say of God. I don't know how to
translate it into English.
Hertz: How about in French?
Jodorowsky: Au commencement etait Ie verbe et Ie verbe etait Dieu...
Hertz: "In the beginning was the word and the word was God..."
Jodorowsky: This is the voice of God. The Virgin is the universe listening to that
voice of the Creator. The Virgin Mary is a cosmic mandala.
Hertz: Are you drawing your concept of the Virgin from Gnostic sources?
Jodorowsky: Yes...but I will tell you, gnosticism is not a source, it is a reading of
the Gospels. In the 4 Gospels you find everything. And the gnostics make
commentaries about that. I am going to that source. Do you see?
AJ: When Christ comes and the fisherman is sitting...he looks at the fisherman and
says, "come with me." And the fisherman follows him. This scene is enormous. You
can't make ten minutes of that. This fisherman is at a low level—an honest, low
Jodorowsky: Yes, humility...because he is fishing and not hunting. He is not
running in search of the knowledge. He is waiting... with humility. And the big, huge,
enormous fish—Moby Dick—Christ arrives and through his humility he jumps from
level to level to accept and understand the Master. It's a change like a monkey
becoming a human being. It is a transfiguration, a transformation, in order to receive
that message. It is a whole process. And you can find that in the Gospels.
Hertz: Speaking of evolutionary change, it appears that there is a next step we must
reach in our way of dealing with energy and with the tools we create in order to
channel that energy.
Jodorowsky: We have an energy crisis now. But we also have a crisis of spiritual
Hertz: Maybe they're one and the same.
Jodorowsky: Yes. Human beings need to change their energy. This is the crisis. A
lot of people will go to a low energy and a lot of people will go to a high energy.
What can you do? In order to make white cloth in Egypt they need to put a plant in
water so that it will rot. When it is rotten, the purer part comes, and with that you
make the white material. And in alchemy they say the solva coagula. The solvent
coagulates. In order to make gold you do that process...and some people will remain
in the solvent. They will not coagulate. But a few will. Christ in the Last Supper
speaks of two processes: giving the bread and giving the wine. Wine is a humid
process — fermentation — and the bread is a dry process...you put it in the oven.
You have a yin process with wine and a yang process with bread. Fire and water.
He showed the two processes. Bread is the intellectual process—active—and the
wine is the receptive process...working with the intuition... receiving.
Hertz: In your films there are always processes going on in a symbolic language—
rituals which are leading to a change in the order of energy or spirit. With El Topo
and The Holy Mountain, each film seems to be a rite, or a series of rites. In El Topo
it is through compassion, through going down under the earth and finding the mal-
formed, subterranean creatures—the cripples and freaks—finding them and bringing
them to light. Through this process El Topo experiences rebirth or awakening. In The
Holy Mountain, the ritual consists of reaching the mountain, overcoming obstacles
in getting to the summit, to find the masters who are sitting at the very top. Here it
turns out that they are nothing. And in the end you say, "Pull back the camera...let
us enter real life." I'm curious about these processes and the differences between
where the ritual in El Topo takes us and where the ritual in The Holy Mountain
Jodorowsky: Listen... I am not a normal filmaker. What I am doing is making my
masterwork, which is my soul. To make a picture, for me, is to make my self. When
I say my self, I mean the big self. What I am seeking is to make the experience and
then to turn it into a picture. Now... when I am making The Virgin Mary I am
making the Christian experience. When I made El Topo I was making the Zen
experience. I was very deep into it. When I made The Holy Mountain it was the
Gurdjieff experience, or the Sufi experience. The Quest. When I made this new
picture. Tusk, it was in reality some kind of Hindu, Tantra experience. It is the
chakras...the body experience. The elephant is the body, the earth—working with
your own elephant, no? Even though I make a comedy. For me, Tusk is a comedy...I
am laughing a lot. But I have the numbers. Every principle divides into four
characters. There's the father, the girl, the boy, and the elephant: intellect,
heart/emotion, the instincts/sex, and the body. The elephant is the body. You can
also find this principle in the four bad guys. There are four rich people. Also, there
are connections between each one and the others... a connection between (energy)
centers. I did that very consciously because I was working on opening the way in
order to reach the point where you are your soul. You are living in your interior
castle...not the exterior one represented by Reverend Castle. You ask me what I did
in El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and in Tusk. The only thing I can say is that each
film is a diary of mental life, of spiritual life. In The Holy Mountain I speak about
Tarot...but I continued it after the film. Everything I spoke of in The Holy
Mountain... I went deeply into doing it. I am writing a book about Tarot because it
is necessary to do so. And I'm using the Tarot in medicine. I have 200 people who
are studying the Tarot of Marseilles. Not the other tarot. I think the Marseilles Tarot
is the one which is important like a talisman.
Hertz: And does this one come down to us from the Greeks?
Hertz: I know that Marseilles was a Greek colony from ancient times.
Jodorowsky: Maybe...but it's a mystery. The Marseilles Tarot is like the Torah. It
is a mystery. It can come from everywhere. You must not know from where it is
coming. And one day when you memorize it completely—every detail of all 78
cards—then you know who did it. Because whoever made the Marseilles Tarot was
a kind of Buddha... at some kind of high mental level. When you memorize and see
the Tarot it makes a drawing like a mandala. I discovered that the Tarot is like a
game for children—the Tarot of Marseilles. And you make a drawing like the solar
Azteca calendar. It's a mandala and you can find that mandala...and you can do it.
And when you find it...at this moment the Tarot comes inside you. And then you
realize the mind who did it...who was an incredible mind. One of the biggest minds
in the world made the Tarot...of Marseilles. Because it's anonymous. I was studying
plants in The Holy Mountain. Now I am into aroma therapy with a doctor who heals
illnesses using essential oils of odorant plants. When I was filming the elephant it
was a huge experience... to go into the elephant. I ate only elephant food for four
Hertz: And what is that?
Jodorowsky: It is horsegram. It is a cereal. I ate only whole rice and horsegram.
Hertz: This was in India?
Jodorowsky: Yes... and the first thing I did was to go with the mahout. I took care
of a mahout who was sick using my essential oils. He was ill with gangrene or
something like that. I saved his leg with some oils and he was my friend. Then I
started going into the elephant. He gave me elephant milk. I drank a glass of
elephant milk. I had elements of the elephant from the very first moment in order to
go and understand the elephant. This was what I wanted in that picture...because
riding for kilometers and kilometers on the neck of an enormous elephant changes
your consciousness in some way. This is why the elephant is important. When the
elephant is in the Muladara Chakra [in Hindu depictions of the energy centers
running from the base of the spine up to the center of the forehead] and he is in the
third eye... They have the elephant up here and down there. It is because they
experienced the elephant. We are occidental. We don't experience the elephant. We
experience the Cadillac...we experience the Ford. We are sitting in a Ford which is
not in the world. It is out of the world. It is running. [Jodorowsky makes the sound
of a motor] But at that time they experienced the elephant. And this is important for
me... in a selfish way.
Hertz: You spoke of healing. One thing I've perceived as an underlying current in
El Topo and The Holy Mountain is that both of these films are healing rites in which
the distorted aspects of human consciousness—embodied by the people in the
church in El Topo, and in the people living underground, and in the decadent people
of the town as well as in parallel types in The Holy Mountain—are brought out and,
through various forms of violence and elemental struggle, we come through to the
other end and a sort of purgation and/or spiritual healing takes place.
Jodorowsky: Yes. It is like that.
Hertz: Do you consciously work on that?
Jodorowsky: Yes. In order to understand the Tarot you must experience The Fool
and Death. You need to go through madness and death...and pain. And after that
you can find what you want. But if you don't understand how to die and if you're not
liberated from suffering and you don't destroy your self—in destroying your self
you do not destroy your true self... There you can do it, no? I truly think that. These
are my pictures. And this is why there is violence and all kinds of things in the
beginning...because it is the initiation. Also for the person who is seeing it to go
through an initiation. This is what I was trying to do. No. I was not trying to do that.
I was trying to express myself. I was not trying anything.
Hertz: But it all works into it.
Jodorowsky: It came like that. I realized what I did when I finished the picture.
When I went to make Tusk I said, "God is somewhere waiting for me but I don't
know when he will come, because I don't see where God will be in relation to that
elephant." And then suddenly, suddenly I told them to put Om on his head and they
did... and suddenly the real meaning of the elephant started to come. And suddenly I
wanted to make a children's picture. I wanted to make a comic strip in two
dimensions. That movie is in two dimensions. Even what they say is ridiculous. The
good people are ridiculous because they're caricatures of what is good. She cries, "I
love elephants!" and she is running. It's funny. Because every feeling, even the good
feelings, are lies in the end. Because Mind needs to be empty, but the heart needs to
be ignorant—to not know anything. And sex needs to be without desire, and the
body needs to be without action... And then there is not even the desire to say
Hertz: You seem to be proposing that each action be negated...
Jodorowsky: Negated in order to do it. But in another way than language like...
conceptual life with the way of speaking. For me, every time a character speaks, he
is funny. Even if he is honest and must try to say something, he must not try to say
it...he needs to do it.
Hertz: I hope that many children see Tusk, because they will see this struggle going
on between these elemental forces which you portray through the elephant, through
the waterfall, through the Indian people and particularly the saddhus... these forces
seem so much more total than the European consciousness which tries to dominate
Jodorowsky: But in India this is normal. But if I were to shoot this film in Los
Angeles the Indian would be the bad guy. Because everything in its place has a
soul—and a way to do it. In the United States I will do the holy train with a guru, an
Indian guru, saying ridiculous things. And maybe he will find an electrical orchestra.
I don't know what he'll find, because I haven't thought about it. But it is not the
same. What I'm talking about is a civilized culture which goes to a country and
starts to kill the country, because he is not able to see the country. These people are
blind in another culture, in another situation. They are not changing when they go
there. And they start to kill all the natural and spiritual environment. I am speaking
about that. It is the same with the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish...
Hertz: ...and all of Latin America...
Jodorowsky: ...Mexico was conquered like India: by blind men. The English at that
time... they went to the school of the blind. And they made armies. And they only
had white guns because they were blind...and deaf. And this is why the problem
Hertz: And yet we also have the story of Cabeza de Vaca, the conquistador who
was shipwrecked on the coast of Mexico and was captured by the Indians—and who
ended up discovering the spirit that was there. But he was only one. He wrote letters
to the king of Spain telling him to conquer, not with weapons, but with love.
Jodorowsky: This is the thing. And even when you go to India now you find that
sort of1 thing. In Tusk I show India as I feel it. The elephant is still a slave. The
elephant is dying. They are sacred but they are treated badly. The government
makes them work a lot. They are working and working and working! An elephant
must not work. The elephant needs to be wild, to be happy in the woods...because
they are sacred...
Hertz: ...They have their own way outside of what man thinks they should be doing.
Jodorowsky: Yes. They are sacred...but they are working. They are tractors.
Hertz: This is a principle that comes to us through the Marquis de Sade and of
course goes far back into history: the idea of using another human being or any other
life form, to dominate and rule that life form and control it so that it does what one
wants it to do...rather than to respect its own awareness and will.
Jodorowsky: This is true. I like this interview. You say some things I like. I want to
say something: Man, for me, the human mind and human body...is a universe. Man
has everything within him. Animals do not... plants do not. Only man. I think he is
special. He is not an animal. You have an elephant in you. You have a fly. You
have a spider. You have a rose in you. When you see an elephant, your nervous
system, going into contact, will take the lesson of the elephant. Every animal has a
lesson. And each animal we have lost forever, we've lost a lesson.
Hertz: In the Chinese martial arts, I understand that they learned each form by
observing different animals and then named the forms after them.
Jodorowsky: Yes...but not the form. The essential lesson of the animal. You don't
see the forms... Anyway, there are no forms. The animal is a whole unity. Like a
masterwork. But it is a lesson which is inside you. And in contact with the animal
you discover that lesson.
Hertz: When was the last time you were in Chile?
Jodorowsky: I left Chile in 1953 and never returned.
Hertz: Was that when you went to France?
Jodorowsky: Yes...I never returned. Not because I didn't like Chile. I loved it. It
was my paradise. I am writing a novel now, about the 1950's in Chile...a very crazy
novel. I am writing a novel because there I can express everything I want. In a
picture I cannot, because I have economical limits. A lot. I am not making a picture
of huge commercial success because I cannot do it. It is not the way. When
Gurdjieff wrote his book, I liked it. It is not a best seller. Gurdjieff is not a best
seller. I want to have the public of Gurdjieff.
Hertz: Are you writing it in Spanish?
Jodorowsky: I'm writing it in Spanish and it will be translated into French very
soon. I have published a book of fables: The Spider Without Memory. L^araignee
Sans Memoire. I am writing the novel about Chile because I like Chile. It was a
paradise, a crazy paradise. Incredible. But I needed to cut with that...because I don't
want to have roots. All the people are searching for their roots. I decided to make
the sacrifice to not have any roots...in order to reach pure spirit. It's very difficult
because you become Robinson Crusoe. You are on an island. And you are not
Indian, you are not Chinese, you are not Jewish, you are not Christian, you are not
anything. You are not Chilean, you are not Mexican... then you are human. Without
nationality. In two or three centuries people will start to realize that to have a
nationality is to be a child.
Hertz: In the sense of having parents?
Jodorowsky: Yes...to be a child. And countries are children that need to
grow and become adult, become planet Earth, become cosmos. You must not have
an age. You must not have a sex—interior, in your soul. No name. No nationality.
No form. You are ego. You are self... in the myth. There are many people fighting
for their country. They need to fight...and it's good. They are people who are
fighting to eat. I know that. But in a way there are also people who need to be
fighting for the pure soul. It is important. We need to divide the work. Because we
are humanity... and if some people are starving, we are starving. If some people are
fighting, we are fighting. But some people need to do some things and the other
people need to do other things. Myself, I was in that work in order to lose all the
characteristics of a non-human...of a human who is still not human.
Hertz: You are saying that name, nationality—all these external identities—keep
us from being human?
Jodorowsky: With pain...with age...with the four things that Buddha said.
And sex. Do you know that we will be liberated from sex? We give a lot of
importance to sex...but sex will change. And we know it. We are tired to be fucking
like that. We are tired. We will change normally. There will be a time when you will
have more and more people who will sacrifice any limits. Then they will feel like
not having an age, not having a sex, not having a nationality, not having a face...not
having numbers, not having anything. A person without definition, making the
work... making the work into humanity. But what is humanity? The work is doing it
from the present and affecting, not only the future, but the past.
Hertz: And how can that be done?
Jodorowsky: Because time is a unity. When you put a light on the present, the light
comes to the past and the to the future.
Hertz: Are you speaking of time in terms of our perception of it?
Jodorowsky: Yes. And then in your memory you go to individual experiences.
When you get enlightened it's not only in the present. Your memory will completely
change! And everything that was suffering in your life becomes ecstasy...and you
realize that you were happy all your life. When you reach happiness you realize that
you were happy from the moment you were born. Because this light of the present
changes all your past immediately. This is why, in the legend of Faustus, he is
saved at the last second before he is going to die and all his life is changed. No
more sin. This is when you are forgiven by God.
Hertz: In Goethe's Faust he is saved through an act that involved helping others...
Jodorowsky: Yes... in the last moment. But it is not the act that saves him. It is the
awakening of his true self. But who made that act? It is not delusion... it is not the
ego. The true self made that act. And when he gets enlightened, all the past is
different. And the future is also hanged. And then when we try to get to an
enlightened humanity, we will change the past.
Hertz: I recall that during the question and answer session after the screening of
Tusk last night at Filmex, you told the Sufi story about the man who keeps saying he
Jodorowsky: Yes… Alalah. It is a story of the life of a holy man. It's true. At least
they tell it like it's true. I think it's true. It's a voice inside him. He went through
death and that voice who was saying "I am God" was God. There was extreme high
conscience. Because you need to realize we are not the consciousness. We are not
conscious. It is a duality to say "I am conscious." When you reach consciousness
you reach reality...
Hertz: ...Not to be aware of it but to be it...
Jodorowsky: Yes. It is a circle. You can be very near to the circle, to within a
millimeter of the center, but even if you are a millimeter from the center you are
halfway. The only moment is there: circle and center. And when you are in the
center—then you are at the end...or the beginning. But if you are only a millimeter
away from the center it is not the center. Like a woman who cannot have an orgasm.
Every time it is near, and near, and near... You never make love with a frigid woman
trying to work for her. And then you are trying to clear her mind and her memory...
and you start to ask about her relation to her family. And then there is the feeling.
You say "I love you" and you caress her...You do everything you can in order to
give her that orgasm. And that woman is coming closer, coming closer...but she
feels so far from that reality. But at the moment she gets that orgasm:
VRRUMMMMM!!! Everything changes. She is in there and it's the first time...and
the life changes. It is an experience, no? But while you are not into that experience
you are very far. And you lose hope. And again you need to fight madness,
Hertz: In The Tibetan Book of the Dead, when the spirit who has just gone through
death sees the rays of pure light... the light may be too intense and they turn away
and encounter many different forms and demons.
Jodorowsky: Let me tell you something about that... because I am not speaking in
an old, hippy way about these things. I am speaking seriously.
Jodorowsky: A sphinx. Oedipus needs to solve a riddle. And if you don't
solve the riddle the sphinx will eat you. And then what was the solution? Eudipus
doesn't give the solution. Because when he gave the answer to the sphinx he failed.
And the sphinx punished him: she didn't eat him. And then he needed to go to kill
his father, to fuck his mother, to have children by his mother, to take his own eyes
out and become blind... because he didn't solve the problem. The solution was to let
the sphinx eat him. Everyone was afraid of the solution. The paradox of the ego is
that it wants eternal life. And then ego goes to the sphinx—who is your soul, your
essence— and says, “I want to be immortal... can I?”
“Yes you can.”
“I will eat you. If you die you will be immortal.”
You realize that whatever you want now, you can obtain— except losing the
memory. And for the person who is searching it is very sad, because when you
reach, you forget you are reaching. You forget the person who was searching. You
were the person searching. When you find—then you are no longer this person.
Hertz: There is great violence in the Greek tragedies—and they were based in the
Festival of Dionysos and those very old rites that come from the earth...
Jodorowsky: Yes... the light which is buried in the earth: this is the wine. Wine is
the solar strength—but buried in the earth. The wine is the movement of the
kundalini... because the light is buried in the sex. And then light is coming to Mind.
This is Dionysos.
Hertz: And where does Orpheus come in?
Jodorowsky: When Orpheus goes to find his woman... Orfeo...he is a poet who
needs to sing. And when he sings, the animals don't eat him. And he goes to the
world of death in order to reach that woman... What were you asking me about
Hertz: In old sources of the Orpheus myth, it is said that he was originally a priest
of the Dionysian cult, but he turned to Apollo and worshipped him. And we find in
one story that the Bachantes—who attacked Orpheus and tore him limb from limb
and threw his head, still singing, into the river—were taking revenge on him for
turning from Dionysos to Apollo.
Jodorowsky: Dionysos is Apollo... and Apollo is Dionysos. Even if you say they
are two principles, it is one and the same. Two aspects of life.
Hertz: And would that be two aspects in the sense of yin/yang?
Jodorowsky: Yes. Everything is the same. In the stories of the 1001 Nights—if you
want to understand all that, you need to find the 1000 nights in the one night. And if
you want the one night you need to find it in the 1000 nights. You need to find
multiplicity in unity and unity in multiplicity. It is the same principle. In order to
realize society, you need to realize yourself. But in order to realize your self, you
need to realize society. There is no one saint who is alone. They all end up going
into humanity. There is not a secret saint...never. Because he made the sainthood in
the midst of humanity... Because you cannot work without that. But what is a saint?
A holy man is the top of a mountain. And he is straining... with all of humanity
behind him, making the work. He is not alone. He is doing that work.
Hertz: So you view the work that one might do in mindfulness, in breathing, or in
Jodorowsky: ...Collective. And it is not important if I find Los Angeles full of
businessmen thinking only of money. They are doing what they need to do...
Hertz: ...or what they think they need to do...
Jodorowsky: ...for the moment. And then, we need to work in order to put it one
step farther. Even if you believe you are wasting your time. This is faith. You need
to believe in what you are doing.
I will finish the interview by telling this story:
In the cockfights in Mexico, the cock loses when he puts his beak to the ground. But
sometimes there is strong fighting and the two cocks are almost dying, but the cock
who is the real fighter dies like this: [Jodorowsky arches his spine so that his head
is thrown back] looking at the sky. Technically, for the gamblers, he has not died;
legally he is still fighting. But the other cock has lost blood. Maybe he dies ten
minutes later. And the one who was the first to die, he is considered as having won
the battle. Even dead, he wins the battle... because never does his beak touch the
ground. Even after dying you can continue it in your ideas. This is the thing.
Hertz: That even with the death of the body...
Jodorowsky: Even if you die. You need to be sure. You need to continue to until
the last second...and even farther.
alchemy & cinema
interview by Uri Hertz
(from Third Rail #4, 1980)
copyright © Uri Hertz 2008
|photograph by Victor Aleman