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The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky: The Creator of El Topo

4.39  ·  Rating Details ·  322 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
In 1970, John Lennon introduced to the world Alejandro Jodorowsky and his movie El Topo, which the filmmaker wrote, starred in, and directed. The movie and its author instantly became a counterculture icon. The New York Times said it "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 ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Park Street Press
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Jun 12, 2015 Neal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the more intense reading experiences I've had. I kept switching from feeling that what I was reading was total bullshit to find it transcendent and illuminating. It ends up almost being like his movies, somehow vulgar and disgusting then beautiful and transcendent, then all of those things at the same time.

I'm kind of torn between not telling anyone about this and wanting to tell everyone. Why it ends up being meaningful is sort of hard to put into words because I feel like when
Dec 15, 2008 Grantimatter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a weird cluster of synchronicities for me. Pulp writing, Zen, Surrealism - only a third of the way through it started snapping into place with lots of other things I'd been reading.

It's a suprisingly tight little story, with a focused narrative (all that great stuff like character and plot - things that happen to people you believe in), seasoned with good insights into the process of mindfulness and the "meaning" of Zen koans.

If you're not into Buddhism, specifically, you might fi
Oct 27, 2013 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jodorowsky is a masterful story crafter. His tales, which defy belief, are entertaining, enlightening and profound. This is a great look into Jodo's spiritual life in the time just before the film El Topo and shortly after The Holy Mountain. The journey is largely based in Zen traditions as he studied with his master, a buddhist monk from japan, who declared, "Intellectual, learn to die!" Jodo's artistic vision and intellect remain central despite this call and offer a generous wisdom that only ...more
Olivier Goetgeluck
From that moment on, I began to work on myself: to affirm the conviction that the world desires
my existence. This world includes all of humanity, past, present, and future. My father and mother
identified themselves with their acquired personalities, their families, and social and cultural
influences. Their insane ideas (inherited from their parents and ancestors) gave rise to negative
emotions, unhealthy desires, and false needs.

“The wisdom of the master depends on your own capacity to use it
to fi
May 04, 2010 Juju rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Jodorowsky's Mystical Encounters with Miraculous People and his immersion in the study of koans and Zen Buddhist meditation. Like the Fool of the Tarot, Alejandro steps into the unknown, exposing his own damaged childhood psyche and finding himself in completely crazy situations without really bothering that he often portrays himself as a bumbling spiritual barbarian. Reminds me of Carlos Castandeda's books, except most of this probably happened.

It was through reading this book that the idea fin
Jan 20, 2016 Texasshole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
While you may doubt the veracity of a lot of these stories (things are recounted in incredible detail, especially for tales which frequently involve either the consumption of sake or altered states), to do so would be to miss the point of Jodorowsky in general and this book in particular. Absolutely essential in achieving a deeper understanding of some of my favorite films. And, while not leading me to necessarily the same conclusions, this book has certainly inspired my own quest to begin teari ...more
Dustin Reade
Apr 26, 2011 Dustin Reade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THis book blew my mind. I thought it would be a somewhat flat, reporter-esque sort of thing ala Carlos Castaneda. But boy was I wrong! Jodorowsky is just as gifted with the written word as he is with filmmaking. His encounters with Leonora Carrington are incredibly well written and wonderfully surreal. All in all, it was an interesting look into the life of a gifted artist, as well as a remarkabl;e study on Buddhist Koans (questions that are impossible to answer logically), and an interesting lo ...more
Dec 14, 2015 B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Four stars for the book; one star for the man himself. Jodorowsky's contradictions and failings are huge, as huge as his successes, if not larger; he keeps repeating them, too, he never learns, and it is probably because of this ceaseless striving and endless failure that his films are so profound and his imagination so fecund. He searches endlessly and with reckless abandon for spiritual awakening, for emotional catharsis, for release from the tyranny of repressed childhood memories, for the re ...more
Melissa Stanley
Feb 21, 2011 Melissa Stanley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
already one of my favorites. laughs & cries within minutes of each other.
Nick Cato
Feb 25, 2012 Nick Cato rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unless you're a BIG fan of the Chilean cult film director, you'll probably get through some of this and wonder what the bid deal is. While fans will see how some ideas for his unusual films came to be, Jodorowsky's intent here is to explain what it takes to understand koans, i.e. metaphysical questions given to practicing Buddhists by their masters.

Much of what happened to Jodorowsky on his spiritual journey was quite amazing, from the way he met his master, Ejo Takata, a Zen monk who left Japan
Aug 12, 2015 Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The more stuff I consume that he has created, the more likable I find Jodorowsky. For one thing, we are interested in the same whackadoodle stuff. Second, he's open to experiences. And what experiences he has in this book. In what could easily become a Manic Pixie Dream Girl kind of narrative, instead, these broads turn him inside out and help him become aware and strip away his emotional bullshittery. Every woman he meets is the master of her own domain. (heh) Best line of the book and story of ...more
Jul 30, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
Reminiscent of Carlos Castaneda, Jodorowsky takes us on a journey of encounters with magicians, priestesses, and others who practice in the spiritual arts. Like Carlos, Jodorowsky’s ego and self-importance is the focal point of many of his teachers’ lessons. And yet, his consistent connection to his Zen Master weaves the golden thread of teachings that allows the reader to understand why he is taking this journey from one character to the next.

The books wraps up a little sudden, when you kind o
Sara Gray
Sep 18, 2015 Sara Gray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very ok.
May 15, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this took me a good while to read. so many large ideas covered. bigger than the self. i really loved the explorations into this notion of a spiritual art. or search for truth. whatever you want to call it. at times it got a bit self promoting/absorbed/macho for me and i found myself questioning his authenticity. that said, i'm glad i pushed through it. can't wait to see some of his films.
Sep 16, 2016 Lukasz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lukasz by: interested in buddhism and spiritual growth in general
Shelves: biography
Great reading it was indeed! I've been moved by this book so many times I can hardly believe it. Whole story seems quite surrealistic at the beginning and I think it's made like that on purpose. It reads more like a literary work than biography. I've also some doubts about Reyna D’Assia story. Her account of fourth way doesn't seem credible to me, though I'll do my best to verify it.
Nov 27, 2015 Justin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bits of wisdom are scattered throughout this pleasant read.
It follows a storyline and feels somewhat similar to a Carlos Castaneda story.
Compared to other similar books this feels both more interesting and better written.

There are a few sexual parts that were too stimulating for sleepy-time reading.
Oct 04, 2010 Gyrus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written simply and vividly, at a cracking pace, this deeply enjoyable book expands the mind of the reader through the devastating combination of Zen-infused insight, salacious yarns, and a brutal, compassionate honesty about human being. More:
Mar 11, 2009 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book was amazing, and reading it afffter seeing all his movies you see how closely aligned they are with his life. it was weird and strange and seems super surreal for it to have actually been his life in a really calming, reassuring but poetic way.
a gem, just like jodorowsky's films. this is beautiful and hilarious, full of synchronicity, mystical crazy experiences, vivid descriptions of mexico, koans, shamans, fascinating people, wondrous places... storytelling at its best.
Oct 21, 2013 Marksplatter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jodorowsky describes his primary spiritual influences and reflections as an artist and poet. From Zen masters to native shamans and post-Jungians. He analyzes with anecdotes and reflections on his path of visionary enlightenment.
May 27, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jodorowksy learns from a Zen master Ejo Takata to give up his fear of women and go learn at the knee of Leonora Carrington, dona Magdalena, La Tigressa, and others (lay your sword before the flower, bow down to her...)
Dec 09, 2012 Mahmoud rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved every page,every story and every koan he tried to figure out with his master. true wisdom in small phrases and beautiful soul..a true spiritual journey
Mar 19, 2011 Evan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Jordorowsky had some cool experiences. But he is not as enlightened as he wishes he is. Glad I read it but I am not in awe of him anymore.
Apr 21, 2012 Astral rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WHOA! what a wormhole i fell into with this! The films of Jodorowsky almost overshadowed by his amazing lives he led. Very inspiring words.
Tyler Giese
The material often goes to the land of fantastical. The accounts, though largely based in fiction, are entertaining & thought provoking.
Dec 02, 2009 Lepadah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El Topo let me say a must see & read the book. Introduction to this movie years ago...
Those that know ... know.
Aug 26, 2012 Kretchin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again, one of the best books I've ever read. I recommend this to any spiritual being with an open mind.
Blake Palmero
Feb 12, 2014 Blake Palmero rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alejandro is awesome. Brilliant guy with a great sense of storytelling.
Dec 17, 2010 Kris marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysticism, my-library
Pre-ordered this one... should be here June 16th!
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Some things change your life forever... 1 14 Oct 26, 2008 08:05PM  
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Also credited as Alexandro Jodorowsky

Better known for his surreal films El Topo and The Holy Mountain filmed in the early 1970s, Alejandro Jodorowsky is also an accomplished writer of graphic novels and a psychotherapist. He developed Psychomagic, a combination of psychotherapy and shamanic magic. His fans have included John Lennon and Marilyn Manson.
More about Alejandro Jodorowsky...

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“During a party, Luis Buñuel, seduced by Carrington’s beauty and emboldened by the notion that she had transcended all bourgeois morality, proposed (with his characteristic bluntness) that she become his mistress. Without even waiting for her answer, he gave her the key to the secret studio that he used as a love nest and told her to meet him at three o’clock the next afternoon. Early the next morning, Leonora went to visit the place alone. She found it tasteless: It looked exactly like a motel room. Taking advantage of the fact that she was in her menstrual period, she covered her hands with blood and used them to make bloody handprints all over the walls in order to provide a bit of decoration for that anonymous, impersonal room. Buñuel never spoke to her again.” 18 likes
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