The magnum opus from Alejandro Jodorowsky — director of The Holy Mountain, star of Jodorowsky’s Dune, spiritual guru behind Psychomagic and The Way of Tarot, innovator behind classic comics The Incal and Metabarons, and legend of Latin American literature.
There has never been an artist like the polymathic Chilean director, author, and mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky. For eight decades, he has blazed new trails across a dazzling variety of creative fields. While his psychedelic, visionary films have been celebrated by the likes of John Lennon, Marina Abramovic, and Kanye West, his novels — praised throughout Latin America in the same breath as those of Gabriel García Márquez — have remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world. Until now.
Where the Bird Sings Best tells the fantastic story of the Jodorowskys’ emigration from Ukraine to Chile amidst the political and cultural upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries. Like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Jodorowsky’s book transforms family history into heroic legend: incestuous beekeepers hide their crime with a living cloak of bees, a czar fakes his own death to live as a hermit amongst the animals, a devout grandfather confides only in the ghost of a wise rabbi, a transgender ballerina with a voracious sexual appetite holds a would-be saint in thrall. Kaleidoscopic, exhilarating, and erotic, Where the Bird Sings Best expands the classic immigration story to mythic proportions.
Genre: Science, Education
Jodorowsky’s memoirs of his experiences with Master Takata and the group of wisewomen-magiciennes-who influenced his spiritual growth
• Reveals Jodorowsky turning the same unsparing spiritual vision seen in El Topo to his own spiritual quest
• Shows how the author’s spiritual insight and progress was catalyzed repeatedly by wisewoman shamans and healers
In 1970, John Lennon introduced to the world Alejandro Jodorowsky and the movie, El Topo, that he wrote, starred in, and directed. The movie and its author instantly became a counterculture icon. The New York Times said the film “demands to be seen,” and Newsweek called it “An Extraordinary Movie!” But that was only the beginning of the story and the controversy of El Topo, and the journey of its brilliant creator. His spiritual quest began with the Japanese master Ejo Takata, the man who introduced him to the practice of meditation, Zen Buddhism, and the wisdom of the koans. Yet in this autobiographical account of his spiritual journey, Jodorowsky reveals that it was a small group of wisewomen, far removed from the world of Buddhism, who initiated him and taught him how to put the wisdom he had learned from his master into practice.
At the direction of Takata, Jodorowsky became a student of the surrealist painter Leonora Carrington, thus beginning a journey in which vital spiritual lessons were transmitted to him by various women who were masters of their particular crafts. These women included Doña Magdalena, who taught him “initiatic” or spiritual massage; the powerful Mexican actress known as La Tigresa (the “tigress”); and Reyna D’Assia, daughter of the famed spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff. Other important wisewomen on Jodorowsky’s spiritual path include María Sabina, the priestess of the sacred mushrooms; the healer Pachita; and the Chilean singer Violeta Parra. The teachings of these women enabled him to discard the emotional armor that was hindering his advancement on the path of spiritual awareness and enlightenment.
Genre: Science, Education
A healing path using the power of dreams, theater, poetry, and shamanism
• Shows how psychological realizations can cause true transformation when manifested by concrete poetic acts
• Includes many examples of the surreal but successful actions Jodorowsky has prescribed to those seeking his help
While living in Mexico, Alejandro Jodorowsky became familiar with the colorful and effective cures provided by folk healers. He realized that it is easier for the unconscious to understand the language of dreams than that of rationality. Illness can even be seen as a physical dream that reveals unresolved emotional and psychological problems.
Psychomagic presents the shamanic and genealogical principles Jodorowsky discovered to create a healing therapy that could use the powers of dreams, art, and theater to empower individuals to heal wounds that in some cases had traveled through generations. The concrete and often surreal poetic actions Jodorowsky employs are part of an elaborate strategy intended to break apart the dysfunctional persona with whom the patient identifies in order to connect with a deeper self. That is when true transformation can manifest.
For a young man who complained that he lived only in his head and was unable to grab hold of reality and advance toward the financial autonomy he desired, Jodorowsky gave the prescription to paste two gold coins to the soles of his shoes so that all day he would be walking on gold. A judge whose vanity was ruling his every move was given the task of dressing like a tramp and begging outside one of the fashionable restaurants he loved to frequent while pulling glass doll eyes out of his pockets. The lesson for him was that if a tramp can fill his pockets with eyeballs, then they must be of no value, and thus the eyes of others should have no bearing on who you are and what you do. Taking his patients directly at their words, Jodorowsky takes the same elements associated with a negative emotional charge and recasts them in an action that will make them positive and enable them to pay the psychological debts hindering their lives.
A glimpse into the mind and life of one of the most creative and enigmatic visionaries of our time, filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky
• Retraces the spiritual and mystical path Jodorowsky has followed since childhood, vividly repainting events from the perspective of an unleashed imagination
• Explores the development of the author’s psychomagic and metagenealogy practices via his realization that all problems are rooted in the family tree
• Includes photos from Jodorowsky’s appearance at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and from the film based on this book, which debuted at Cannes
Retracing the spiritual and mystical path he has followed since childhood, Alejandro Jodorowsky re-creates the incredible adventure of his life as an artist, filmmaker, writer, and therapist-all stages on his quest to push back the boundaries of both imagination and reason.
Not a traditional autobiography composed of a chronological recounting of memories, repaints events from Jodorowsky’s life from the perspective of an unleashed imagination. Like the psychomagic and metagenealogy therapies he created, this autobiography exposes the mythic models and family templates upon which the events of everyday life are founded. It reveals the development of Jodorowsky’s realization that all problems are rooted in the family tree and explains, through vivid examples from his own life, particularly interactions with his father and mother, how the individual’s road to true fulfillment means casting off the phantoms projected by parents on their children.
Offering a glimpse into the mind and life of one of the most creative and enigmatic visionaries of our time, is the book upon which Jodorowsky’s critically acclaimed 2013 Cannes Film Festival film of the same name was based.