Alejandro Jodorowsky’s new book, Sacred Trickery and the Way of Kindness: The Radical Wisdom of Jodo, reveals the inner world of the artist as he discerns the timeless within the immediate and gauges the everyday by the measure of eternity.
Inner Traditions has released five books in total concerning both the philosophy and fascinating biography of the legendary Chilean artist Alejandro Jodorowsky, who sometimes describes himself as a “poor guru exploited by the spiritual business.”
Their latest book, Sacred Trickery and the Way of Kindness, contains a total of six interviews. The first two are excellently facilitated by Gilles Farcet, who is both thorough and prying in his inquiry. The latter portion of the book is devoted to shorter, quality interviews with Philippe Manoeuvre, Croalie Trinh Thi, Francois Boucq and Arnaud Desjardins. It also contains a touching letter from Jorowsky’s son Adan, and is then concluded with a pithy epilogue dialogue from both Farcet and Jodorowsky.
The wise Jodo is portrayed as a loving father and a complex man who radiates a responsible, warm aura in relation to his extended family and co-creators. His philosophy concerning sex remains refreshing:
“Sex is the temple of God… We are all born from sex, after all! And what’s more, holiness has nothing to do with chastity. I do not see why a saint should not have ten children.”
The details of his parenting techniques are also amusingly unorthodox:
“My oldest son, who has moved out to live with his wife, first lived with her for two years… I was not at all opposed to his having a sexual life in the house of his parents, on the contrary. His wife made a lot of noise when she had orgasms; in my view, these cries of pleasure were a blessing for the entire household, and I did not try to prevent my eight-year-old from hearing them. He knew that they were cries of pleasure and welcomed them as something happy and normal.”
Another highlight is the story of the first and only time Jodo ingested LSD with Oscar Ichazo (Bolivian-born founder of the Arica School), in a contemplative initiatory setting shortly before creating The Holy Mountain—which Jodorowsky considers a “personal failure,” along with his unfinished Dune project, recently the subject of the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune.
Farcet questions why Jodo wanted to act in his own early films, speculating that it must relate to the European philosophy of the panic principle, in which “…the artist must implicate himself completely in his work.”
Details about the function of the now infamous mystical cabarets are also disclosed—all of which are encompassed in a complex magical-ritual practice that called psychomagic. It’s worth noting that the mystery surrounding psychomagic is influenced strongly by the divinatory components of the Tarot, which incidentally also contain relevant parallels to England’s rural tradition of the so-called “cunning folk” in the history of European magic—particularly in Essex.
According to scholar Owen Davies, in England’s own folk magical system there was a necessarily strong contrast to using simple, practical magic that could be worked without the necessity of advanced ritual tools. Instead, the folk magic of pagan England would typically consist entirely of objects or tools that could be found easily throughout the house (a deck of cards, natural cooking herbs or the old broom) and were said to be used for rituals instead.
The subtle intricacies of Jodorowsky’s psychomagical theory is thus in stark contrast to the equally fascinating but decidedly more cerebral ceremonial grimoire traditions, developed later in the Western occult tradition.
In short, Sacred Trickery and the Way of Kindness is a must read for all fans of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s work.
Below: Jodorowsky meets Kanye West.