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Psychomagic: The Transformative Power of Shamanic Psychotherapy

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Psychomagic: The Transformative Power of Shamanic Psychotherapy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    I'll be processing this one a while. Completely changing the way I think of healing, art and the unconscious mind. His approach to healing takes Marinetti's statement "Poetry is an act" to the most fascinating extreme. His idea of the 'panic party'...the importance of a positive effect of art (something I would have scoffed at before)...I could sum it all up as, "Better living through metaphor." Really excellent to read as a companion to Jung's Psychology and Alchemy, which I read earlier this y I'll be processing this one a while. Completely changing the way I think of healing, art and the unconscious mind. His approach to healing takes Marinetti's statement "Poetry is an act" to the most fascinating extreme. His idea of the 'panic party'...the importance of a positive effect of art (something I would have scoffed at before)...I could sum it all up as, "Better living through metaphor." Really excellent to read as a companion to Jung's Psychology and Alchemy, which I read earlier this year. God how I wish I had read this when I was actively studying the craft of poetry. For anyone interested in creativity, the appendix on creative processes is priceless. Some of my favorite quotes: "At every moment, the capacity of the unconscious exceeds the limits of our reason, whether by way of dreams or by involuntary acts. With that in mind, shouldn't there be a way to make the unconscious behave voluntarily, like an ally?" "The same advice given at the wrong moment will not have the least effectiveness...Similarly, when a person lets their guard down a bit, I often try to kick a psychological goal. We understand well that anyone who is prey to a vice continually maintains a position of defense. The ego refuses to yield. I must then seize or provoke a moment of distraction so as to let an order pass through the line of defense, into the unconscious. In order for the client to adopt the advice, it is important to penetrate his stubborn 'I' and to touch the much more impersonal zone of the self." "Every day we should carry out a free act, a little thing that serves others, like giving a chocolate to a child, simple things. I have come to true depravity in searching for goodness. Sometimes I put cash in the pocket of a sleeping homeless person, so he thinks he has good luck. I invent miracles. Even if you don't believe in miracles, you can do little things to help others." "The most difficult thing in the world is to create sublime art. Very few people have achieved this. But I could cite Rene Daumal, who learned Sanskrit and was a student of Gurdjieff; he achieved it. Federico Garcia Lorca is an opposite case: he could not achieve it, he did not know how to...When you read 'A Poet in New York,' it makes you sad...I remember some artists who said this world isn't worth anything, that it is a pigsty, that we are going nowhere, that God is dead, and all those things. Bad literature is this. To expose your navel, to tell how you drank your morning coffee amid general disgust, with everything around you rotting. While the world is dying, I drink my coffee. Or I perform my little sex acts. This is old-fashioned. One must cross this neurotic curtain. I, for example, confess that I cannot read Marcel Proust. He's too sick for me, and his neurosis can contaminate me. Every day I see neurotic cases, why would I want to read others? Nowadays Franz Kafka is on the loose everywhere! I go to mail a letter, and I find myself with Kafka in the post office: an employee full of problems." (!!! As a sometimes-depressive who has alternately been completely in love with Kafka and Proust, I laughed out loud at this.) "A healthy person can read Emil Cioran or Michel Houellebec and laugh a lot." "In an unguided way, the true master lets wellness slip in and subtly introduces knowledge that can raise another's level of consciousness." "The plant, the rocks, the joke: they are sacred, these things are consecrated." "Throughout life, prejudices are not fixed, but beliefs are. I remember that at thirty years old I did something fundamental: I took a notebook and told myself, 'I am going to write down all the ideas I have in my mind. What do I believe in?' I wrote it, I did it to pick the ideas off, like fleas. And then I told myself, ' These ideas are not me; they may end up being useful, but they are not me.'" "Behind every illness there is a book, be it the Qu'ran, the gospels, the Old Testament, Buddhist sutras...All books, if they are interpreted through fanaticism, produce illnesses." "Psychoanalysis notes the dreams and interprets them in light of reason; it goes from the unconscious to the rational. I go in reverse. I take the rational and capsize it in the language of dreams, introducing dreams into the language of reality."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Juan Luzuriaga

    A mind opening experience, it's LSD on paperback, a great read. A mind opening experience, it's LSD on paperback, a great read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Blair Emsick

    Jodorowsky is a hoot! This book isn't to be taken lightly, but also neither too seriously either. Naturally after reading it everything has changed for me. Some very strange things happened to me while reading this (I literally had my head busted open!) Some of my favorite bits from the book: wanting to heal other people is egotistical. Yet, if you don't share your knowledge with others it will die. Interpret your life like it's a dream. Drugs take you from the cellar to the roof instantaneousl Jodorowsky is a hoot! This book isn't to be taken lightly, but also neither too seriously either. Naturally after reading it everything has changed for me. Some very strange things happened to me while reading this (I literally had my head busted open!) Some of my favorite bits from the book: wanting to heal other people is egotistical. Yet, if you don't share your knowledge with others it will die. Interpret your life like it's a dream. Drugs take you from the cellar to the roof instantaneously -- with a sober mind one must climb. In a world amongst machines, we take ourselves for machines (existing for a specific purpose) this may not always be so. Extinguishing fears.... I haven't felt this fearless in YEARS.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Siona St Mark

    This was a really interesting book, and there are a lot of concepts and messages that I really like. Would definitely recommend!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fernando Suarezserna

    If you're willing to go through the hard-to-believe stories of Jodorowsky, this book will give you great insight on creativity. Many people don't like Jodorowsky because they believe he's a weirdo. And he definitely is. I don't believe any critic reader will stand on Jodorowsky's side at all times, so his books turn into a kind of active reading, where you have to discern which ideas work for you and which ones don't. If you're willing to do that kind of reading, you'll get A LOT out of his books If you're willing to go through the hard-to-believe stories of Jodorowsky, this book will give you great insight on creativity. Many people don't like Jodorowsky because they believe he's a weirdo. And he definitely is. I don't believe any critic reader will stand on Jodorowsky's side at all times, so his books turn into a kind of active reading, where you have to discern which ideas work for you and which ones don't. If you're willing to do that kind of reading, you'll get A LOT out of his books, at least from a creativity point of view.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rommel

    If you don't know who Jodorowsky is, you may recognize the name from movies like "El Topo", and "The Holy Mountain", which are surreal, mystical, some may say crazy movies about humanity that debuted in the 60's and 70's. In discovering art throughout his life, Jodorowsky went on a journey to learn about poetry, public art, directing films, Tarot, Shamanism,the subconscious mind, among other things, and from all this work he concluded that the subconscious understands in metaphors. In this book J If you don't know who Jodorowsky is, you may recognize the name from movies like "El Topo", and "The Holy Mountain", which are surreal, mystical, some may say crazy movies about humanity that debuted in the 60's and 70's. In discovering art throughout his life, Jodorowsky went on a journey to learn about poetry, public art, directing films, Tarot, Shamanism,the subconscious mind, among other things, and from all this work he concluded that the subconscious understands in metaphors. In this book Jodorowsky shares how Psychmagic came into being. Psychmagic is the art that Jodorowsky has developed over many years of study to heal people from simple things like smoking, to all types of neurosis and other illnesses. Jodorowsky to this day practices Psychmagic to liberate people from all kinds of problems. He claims that most of society's problems today are based on limiting beliefs that we have produced in this world and that most of our personal problems were developed by experiences in our childhood. He analysis family trees and the history of the consultee, and after coming up with an analysis, he recommends an act of psychmagic which can range from the simplest of forms to what many may consider outrages acts. Nevertheless, the accounts of people who have been cured from performing these acts are numerous, to the point where Jodorowsky is one of the most popular artistic healing figures in Latin America today. The whole book was an interview that was recorded and then transcrived into a book. I found this format to be easy to follow because it breaks down all the topics discussed in the book in short form. If you are interested in learning about something new from someone with a really open mind, I would recommend this book, just don't go trying any psychmagic acts without first consulting a psychmagic artist like Jodorowsky. Good reads!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aydin Mohseni

    This book, for me, tugs mischievously on two chords: The first, that it compels me to laugh at myself, knowing that possibly only a year ago, I would have dismissed it out of hand for its 'belligerently irrational' premise. The second that it provides such delicious and irresistibly applicable inspiration for ways to expand the domain of my social and psychological play. >:D When I think of acting and theater, Jodorowsky along with Daniel Day-Lewis exemplify two of the azimuths of its unique and pr This book, for me, tugs mischievously on two chords: The first, that it compels me to laugh at myself, knowing that possibly only a year ago, I would have dismissed it out of hand for its 'belligerently irrational' premise. The second that it provides such delicious and irresistibly applicable inspiration for ways to expand the domain of my social and psychological play. >:D When I think of acting and theater, Jodorowsky along with Daniel Day-Lewis exemplify two of the azimuths of its unique and profound potential.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shawn M.

    Fantastic and no other book is quite the same. Yes, this book is nuts but its done so well. The man is trying to teach us something really deep. I laughed at some bits, wowed at others and raised an eyebrow to some fucked up shit. It's a hard book to recommend to a normal person, but like any other magick book, it finds itself in the hands of those that would appreciate the information. I myself loved it. Like everything Jodorowsky, the man's mind is a work of art. Fantastic and no other book is quite the same. Yes, this book is nuts but its done so well. The man is trying to teach us something really deep. I laughed at some bits, wowed at others and raised an eyebrow to some fucked up shit. It's a hard book to recommend to a normal person, but like any other magick book, it finds itself in the hands of those that would appreciate the information. I myself loved it. Like everything Jodorowsky, the man's mind is a work of art.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ricardo Acuña

    I discovered a new way to understand what is behind most of our physical or emotional illness: unconsciousness, reality as dreams extensions. All ideas exposed converge at some extent to spiritual teachings about self development. A must read book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Herrera

    Profoundly important read for non-traditional therapies that serve from a place of poetry and theater as opposed to science and western pathology. Magnetic to the soul of all in their own paths of healing, becoming, being.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Huber Castaneda

    Definitely a great book to expand on thought and imagination. Looking forward to read more of Alejandro's books to keep thinking outside the box. Definitely a great book to expand on thought and imagination. Looking forward to read more of Alejandro's books to keep thinking outside the box.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amie

    Some of the stories told in this book seem to be absolutely insane or unbelievable but right there on the edge of "this could actually happen". I am not a huge fan of Jodorowsky's films - mainly because I haven't seen them except for one (Santa Sangre) - so this review is not coming from a film fan of his. I am merely a magical worker interested in different approaches and this surely fit the bill! Now, if you are wanting a step-by-step guide of how to do psychomagic, you are not going t get it Some of the stories told in this book seem to be absolutely insane or unbelievable but right there on the edge of "this could actually happen". I am not a huge fan of Jodorowsky's films - mainly because I haven't seen them except for one (Santa Sangre) - so this review is not coming from a film fan of his. I am merely a magical worker interested in different approaches and this surely fit the bill! Now, if you are wanting a step-by-step guide of how to do psychomagic, you are not going t get it here. Not in plain print, anyways. Instead, Jodorowsky details how he came about with this method through many years of artistic, magical and practice with the psyche. The next section of the book he tells stories of psychomagic works he has prescribed and the resulting letters from those who came to him for help. Through these tellings, you can figure out on your own if this is something you believe you could add to your practice and even glean how to do so. But he doesn't explicitly give detailed instructions. In fact, he does say that psychomagic is not a practice just anyone can do. It is an entertaining and interesting read regardless.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jason H.

    I really enjoyed this book. It's a collection of interviews and lessons in accessing creativity through the madness of our dreams from the director of El Topo, Holy Mountain and Santa Sangre. He talks about assisting a famous Shaman in Me...xico in various gory procedures and his own bizarre and at times extremely taboo healings that he collectively terms psychomagic. He makes use of the language of the subconscious to examine deep rooted genealogical hang-ups that slowly alienate the individual I really enjoyed this book. It's a collection of interviews and lessons in accessing creativity through the madness of our dreams from the director of El Topo, Holy Mountain and Santa Sangre. He talks about assisting a famous Shaman in Me...xico in various gory procedures and his own bizarre and at times extremely taboo healings that he collectively terms psychomagic. He makes use of the language of the subconscious to examine deep rooted genealogical hang-ups that slowly alienate the individual from the collective consciousness of the world..

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    it's always been evident from his films that jodorowsky is a wise and delightfully weird soul, and psychomagic is a window the method of his madness. he actively blurs the line that some would draw between their art and their life, taking inspiration from the conflicts unearthed in the quest for self-actualization. One of the most deeply playful contemporary artists/thinkers i've come across. the book has already influenced my relationships, art, and approach to understanding. it's always been evident from his films that jodorowsky is a wise and delightfully weird soul, and psychomagic is a window the method of his madness. he actively blurs the line that some would draw between their art and their life, taking inspiration from the conflicts unearthed in the quest for self-actualization. One of the most deeply playful contemporary artists/thinkers i've come across. the book has already influenced my relationships, art, and approach to understanding.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marcy Rae Henry

    un momento de sinceridad: i have been 'reading' this for quite some time. admittedly, it's placed in a place where one can and should read but very little. that's because it is not the type of book to read cover to cover. it's good in spurts. good to open pages at random--alejandro himself would appreciate that! i don't know how transformative it is, but it is entertaining in parts. nowhere near as engaging as his 'the spiritual journey of...' un momento de sinceridad: i have been 'reading' this for quite some time. admittedly, it's placed in a place where one can and should read but very little. that's because it is not the type of book to read cover to cover. it's good in spurts. good to open pages at random--alejandro himself would appreciate that! i don't know how transformative it is, but it is entertaining in parts. nowhere near as engaging as his 'the spiritual journey of...'

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Penn

    I do not have words to describe this book. Whoa...I went back and forth between thinking the author is crazy or brilliant or both. Probably both. There are some serious insights in this book especially around dreams and consciousness. It's written in Question/Answer format so you can skip around. Honestly it's the second half of the book that intrigued me. Not for everyone. But if you already have an interest (read the Amazon synopsis) this may add spice to your spice jar! I do not have words to describe this book. Whoa...I went back and forth between thinking the author is crazy or brilliant or both. Probably both. There are some serious insights in this book especially around dreams and consciousness. It's written in Question/Answer format so you can skip around. Honestly it's the second half of the book that intrigued me. Not for everyone. But if you already have an interest (read the Amazon synopsis) this may add spice to your spice jar!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cal Godot

    Absolutely transformative. Not for the faint of heart or feeble of imagination. Possibly this book should carry a warning: MAY TRIGGER MID-LIFE CRISIS! If transformative psychotherapeutic rebirth and enlightenment are a "crisis." But you have been warned: this book will change you. Or at least make you wish for change. Which, as you will learn by reading this book, may be just enough. Absolutely transformative. Not for the faint of heart or feeble of imagination. Possibly this book should carry a warning: MAY TRIGGER MID-LIFE CRISIS! If transformative psychotherapeutic rebirth and enlightenment are a "crisis." But you have been warned: this book will change you. Or at least make you wish for change. Which, as you will learn by reading this book, may be just enough.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Krystian Urbanski

    Great book by eccentric movie director Alejandro Jodorowsky. He has created great movies like El Topo or Holy Mountain. In this book author explains subconscious connection between our mind and dreams, curing people's mind with psychomagic and shamanic approach. Tarot as not a fortune telling tool but also finding our more about ourselves and how to improve our lives. Great book by eccentric movie director Alejandro Jodorowsky. He has created great movies like El Topo or Holy Mountain. In this book author explains subconscious connection between our mind and dreams, curing people's mind with psychomagic and shamanic approach. Tarot as not a fortune telling tool but also finding our more about ourselves and how to improve our lives.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Geoff Hunnef

    A brilliant book that blends the line between fantasy and reality. An interesting way to engage with the subconscious and the stories are otherworldly with tales of encounters with sorcerers in Mexico and healers in dark alleys. It shows how to dream of reality and the processing of the reality of dreams. Jodorowsky walks a path of his own. It’s out there but it’s a great read. 👍👍

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Jodorowsky is an incredibly interesting person worth reading about for anyone in search of understanding themselves. Personally I feel he contradicts himself in certain points, but all in all this book has great messages about art, life, death and the human experience.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Juliette

    This is one of the most beautiful, illuminating books ever. It is essential reading for anyone with an open mind and heart, who wants to take their reality, and make it extraordinary.

  22. 5 out of 5

    chuunicute

    Jodo a cute

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Ferreira

    A surreal metaphysical auto-biography with pearls of wisdom from an exemplary cross-disciplinary artist.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ziba Nasirli

    Definetely a must read book for finding a different view point to life

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alissa Rothman

    life changing just like his film the holy mountain that is one of my favorites

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gina Wilson

    Transformational, empowering work. Approach with an open mind. I’m already ready to read it again.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mayas

    i love you, jodo

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    This book is as Jodo as it gets.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Taka

    Good! Really liked the first part (which was what was originally published as Psychomagic) and the second part that was later appended to the original felt really disconnected and a bit too out there for me (Jodorowsky there felt a bit too optimistic, too open, maybe even too naive and blindly faithful of human progress assisted by technology (esp. genetics). Or maybe I'm way too influenced by the acerbic realism (or pessimism, depending on your view) of John Gray to accept Jodorowsky's more rece Good! Really liked the first part (which was what was originally published as Psychomagic) and the second part that was later appended to the original felt really disconnected and a bit too out there for me (Jodorowsky there felt a bit too optimistic, too open, maybe even too naive and blindly faithful of human progress assisted by technology (esp. genetics). Or maybe I'm way too influenced by the acerbic realism (or pessimism, depending on your view) of John Gray to accept Jodorowsky's more recent views. At any rate, the first part is full of golden nuggets of wisdom (and so is the second part, though more sparse) that remind me of Arnold Mindell's process-oriented psychology. So much so that I'm surprised that someone as well-read and erudite as Jodorowsky doesn't even mention Mindell's work (though he does mention Jung and Castenada, two important figures for Mindell). The book did convince me, however, to read and watch more of Jodorowsky's works. For anyone interested in the unconscious, shamanism, and Process Work.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gibran

    Very good summary of psycho magic and trans-formative therapy. Psycomagic can be broken down to the power of symbolic action, of objects as unconscious language and of embodiment of new behaviors. It is changing the inner by changing the external. Contrary to psychoanalysis that would aim at restructuring beliefs and identities to then change lifestyle and behavior. The role of tarot to explain the present and past, rather than future. Many practical examples of how healing works, how to guide s Very good summary of psycho magic and trans-formative therapy. Psycomagic can be broken down to the power of symbolic action, of objects as unconscious language and of embodiment of new behaviors. It is changing the inner by changing the external. Contrary to psychoanalysis that would aim at restructuring beliefs and identities to then change lifestyle and behavior. The role of tarot to explain the present and past, rather than future. Many practical examples of how healing works, how to guide someone in pain to self-healing. Good thing about Jodorowsky is that he is empirical, so he just tells it as he knows it, no theory, no mystery. Good description of the "sacred trap".... refereed to the role of suggestion in healing. To summarize, he shares some philosophies of life. A mixture of Mexican shamanism, zen budism, sufism and his own experience.

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