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Occult Symbolism in The Holy Mountain

Page history last edited by Air Dupaix 10 years, 10 months ago






Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1973 film, The Holy Mountain, is ripe with hidden allegorical conceptions. The first twenty minutes of the film alone contain enough interpretable material to comprise a small novel. From the enticing introduction, which is a completely necessary scene, as it sets up the underlying aspect of ritual within the film, to the final words uttered in the film, "Real life awaits us," the movie almost purposely sets itself up to be disputed.  





The above image, seen very early in the film, depicts a group of flayed and crucified animals, an obvious reference to the myth of Christ. One plausible interpretation of this particular scene would be the anomalous correlation that causes one particular species (or race?) on the planet earth to believe their spiritual background is more sacred than any other species currently occupying this planet. Since this scene is juxtaposed with several different references to the corporatization of faith, Christianity in particular, I believe this is what it is referencing.    



The image above depicts the stomach of Alchemist's assistant. Notice the Hebrew glyphs across her elbows, as well as the butterfly on her right hand, and the turtle on her left - two unanimous symbols of wisdom and rebirth, which seems like one of the prominent underlying catalysts of the narrative structure.


The corporitization of faith is also a topic the film seems to brush up against. The image above is taken from a scene in which one of the characters (Mars) displays her collection of weapons made for various religions. Some people confuse the film with slandering the Christian faith, when in reality (as evidenced by a scene in the beginning of the film which depicts the Thief casting many guards out of their own temple due to their blasphemous "Christs for sale" - as well as a scene towards the end of the film which contains an allegorical reference to the Biblical myth of Abraham) it is simply trying to personify the core teachings of the faith under a clear light, and warn against those who would threaten to seek a physical constraint, such as money, in order to profit from other people's beliefs.



This particular image is taken from a scene which depicts the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The lizard pictured above is dressed like an Aztec, while the invading toads (not pictured) are dressed like conquistadors. During the scene, the music playing is very much in the vein of an old sailor war song, while the actual lyrics are sung in German, a possible allusion to other conquests throughout human history.









The above scene depicts the "Spanish" conquest, as refrenced above.


However, the maddening amount of conceivable interpretations which could be made about this film seem extremely intentional (Cinemaattraction.com). During a Q&A on Oct. 6, Jodorowsky commented that The Holy Mountain is like a documented drug-induced experience, which he claims is not directed toward a single meaning or conclusion (it seems that audience members from the ’70s as well as today, however, might lean toward certain similar conclusions in regards to the respective manufacturing of art and war toys). Rather, he puts himself in opposition to someone like Alfred Hitchcock, who “manipulates” the audience as though a single malleable body into feeling specific emotions – suspense, fear, etc. – during specific moments. Jodorowsky hopes that a spectator, as an individual, will have his or her own singular reactions or thoughts. [1]


 Works Cited

[1] http://www.cinemattraction.com/?p=78

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