Jodorowsky on Carrington

Here’s a tasty morsel from Alejandro Jodorowsky, describing encounters with the great author, Surrealist artist and mage Leonora Carrington, excerpted from The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky

‘If the outside of the house was like a prison, the inside was the magical extension of her mind. The painter and artist was in every piece of furniture, every object, in each of the many plants that flourished in every corner. Sitting here and there were large, delicate dolls, some of them hanging from the ceiling, swinging slowly like pendulums. The armchairs were covered with tapestries that glittered with strange symbols. The one covering the couch featured two godlike young men with dogs’ heads squatting and looking toward each other.

‘With an imperious gesture of her white-gloved hand, Leonora bade me sit between these two men. Then she spoke with a strong English accent. “Ejo told me that, among other things, you are a mime teacher. I want you to show me how you move. This will help me to know you better.”

‘At that very instant, I realized that this artist wore absolutely no jewelry—no necklace, rings, earrings, or watch. She wore no makeup, and her dress was a simple black tunic. Before such a presence that was shorn of any ornament, to engage in pantomime seemed vain, infantile, and vulgar. The idea of demonstrating some stereotypical mime technique such as carrying a weight, pulling a rope, walking against the wind, creating imaginary objects or spaces with my hands, or simply walking like a robot made me ill at ease. I had the impression of being dressed in an old, useless overcoat. Thanks to my work with koans, I was able to purify my mind by emptying it of abstractions; but I knew that I must also empty my gestures of any sort of imitation in order to arrive at a purity of movement. I undressed, and in that otherworldly space where silence nestled in the very air, I began to move with no goal. One with my body, a union of flesh and spirit inspired by Leonora’s eyes, I allowed myself to be possessed by movement. I have no idea how long it lasted—a minute, an hour? I had found the place, and I knew the ecstasy of freedom from the domination of time.

‘Suddenly, I fell upon the couch. Drowsily, as if waking from a deep sleep, I began to dress.

‘Smiling, she whispered, “Silence. Let us not disturb the mystery.” Then, walking on tiptoe in order to avoid making noise, she left and returned with two glasses of tea and some biscuits. She sipped the drink, which was sweetened with honey, then she lifted her tunic, which covered her down to her ankles, and showed me a small wound on her calf. With the teaspoon, wearing the childlike expression of a sorceress, she scraped the scab away from the wound and let the spoon fill with blood. She brought it carefully over to me without spilling a drop, emptied the red liquid into my glass, and bade me drink it. I sipped it with the same slowness and attention I had learned in the Japanese tea ceremony. Then, rummaging in an oval box, she pulled out a small pair of scissors and cut my fingernails as well as a lock of my hair. She put them all in a tiny sack which she hung around her neck.

‘“You will return!” she said.’

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Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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