So it was with great excitement that I read the recent translation of Jodorowsky’s spiritual autobiography, entitled-hold onto your hats-The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky. Like his films, it is a puzzling, wonderous, grotesque, and sometimes tedious book, but it does confirm the sense I get from his films that he is not fucking around with the mysteries. In the Sixties and Seventies, Jodorowsky was a serious practitioner of Zen, studying and meditating with a Japanese priest in Mexico City named Ejo Takata. Their koan combat is the most steady thread of this book, a male-buddy-cognitive conversation that forms a counterpoint with the other figures in the book, all of whom are women who offer Jodo various modes of initiation-artistic, sexual, magical, energetic. These women include the surrealist painter Leonora Carrington, who sounds as wacky brilliant as Dali, and a goat-killing silicone-implanted Mexican actress known as La Tigress.
The strongest aspect of the book are the tales themselves. Jodo is a great story-teller, and the details he provides about his fascinating life-a Chilean expat in Mexico, a renegade theatre director turned filmmaker, a celebrity in Mexico City’s hothouse creative environment-make me pray that someone chooses to translate his autobiography La Danza de la Realidad as well. His stories are rounded out with remarkable and sometimes hilariously bizarre details about random encounters with street urchins and strange synchronicities involving firing squads and singing vulvas. Late in the book, he visits a brujo, and the setting tells you all you need to know: ‘A black dog gnawed the remains of an iguana and a pig was snuggling its belly comfortably into a freshly dug hollow in a humid patch of ground.’