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Jodorowsky's "Way of Tarot"

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Jodorowsky's "Way of Tarot"


I had started a thread in Using Tarot Cards about the court card system used in this book. Freyja of V asked a question about the book itself, and rather than take that thread off-topic, I thought I'd start this thread to reply to Freyja's question.
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Originally Posted by Freyja of V View Post
Do you feel that Jodorowsky isn't truthful regarding history only or other things as well such as card meanings?
Hi Freyja,

Technically speaking, I don't really regard one person's card meanings as truer than another person's. When I judge an author's meanings, I look at things like is the author internally consistent, do the meanings and general approach seem well-thought-out, and, more subjectively, does the system of meanings work for me in readings.

I don't find Jodorowsky's interpretations to be well-thought-out or consistent. For example, he's worked out a system of interpretation that explains why each trump card is facing the way it is. However, as is common when people try to make tarot fit into some system, there's always at least one or two cards that can't be made to fit. In this case it's the Hermit. In Jodorowsky's system, the TdM Hermit should be facing right, but, inconveniently for Jodorowsky, he's facing left. Jodorowsky explains this by saying that therefore the Hermit must be walking backwards.

It's this kind of thing that I don't appreciate. I don't want you to think I approach the tarot with deadly seriousness -- quite the opposite, I prefer a light approach with a healthy dose of humor. But to me, Jodorowsky's concepts and writing betray a lack of respect for his audience which rubs me the wrong way.

You might find this previous thread interesting, as it touches on some of these issues.
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Hmm . . . if the Hermit were to walk blindly backwards he would be knocking all the seekers off the narrow path who are trying to follow him. Like the "Highlander" motto: "There can be only one!" But maybe that lends credence to my idle musing that Capricorn/Saturn might be a better fit for the Hermit than Virgo/Mercury. He wouldn't eat his own children so much as discourage their upward mobility by literally "butting" them aside. All of which is simply to point out that Jodorowsky tried to sabotage an "inconvenient truth" that didn't fit his model.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightsofblue View Post
Maybe...but it's an absurd criticism when you are confusing The Hermit with The Hierophant.
Not sure I get the point. Was Jodorowsky confusing the Hermit with the Hierophant? I didn't get that out of Lee's post. At any rate, in the detailed "re-imagining" I did, I already gave Sagittarius - the philosophical, traditionally religious sign of higher learning - to the Hierophant. Maybe you didn't get my allusion to the Hermit holding his lantern aloft to light the way for those coming up the path behind him. (See Paul Foster Case and others.)

ETA: Or perhaps you aren't using the Golden Dawn system of correspondences (Hermit = Virgo [Mercury], Hierophant = Taurus [Venus])? I know there are a few others.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightsofblue View Post
I'm not referring to any other posts but you rmentioned a number of things. It's another way of saying I dislike the blending of the two (Hierophant with Hermit).
These are two very different monoliths that do not share the characteristic of leadership/fellowship. I think that becomes clearer with the Golden Dawn astrological comparison you referenced, a Virgo attribution indicating a "loneliness" if you're looking for the deeper stratum of the card's meaning vs. expanding it. And I'm not familiar with your "detailed re-imagining" so you will have to include that if you want to have a conversation in that direction. I'm more interested in Jodorowsky's.
As am I, so I won't take it in a different direction. I was being semi-facetious in my reply to Lee, playing off the "Hermit walking backwards" notion as a way of force-fitting it into a preconceived model.

ETA: I still don't get what you mean by "blending the Hermit and Hierophant." I certainly didn't, and if it looked like I did that was a misconception. I'd really like to understand where you get that idea. (If you're talking about my "Highlander" quip, that was a joking reference to the movie/TV series; maybe it was a cultural misunderstanding.)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightsofblue View Post
Lol, it appears I missed that reference. I'm not familiar with the show and now I feel rude because in-context that was truly, a well done joke (wow, laughing right now !)... But you know I don't think it's fair to say it's a forced fit, if you aren't acquainted with the way he talks about his work as both an artist and mystic. "Art that heals" is a pretty cohesive, gestalt statement. My contention, and I don't want to bring my argument to you, really, but my contention is with the opinion that he intends to disrespect his audience with his ideas/way with words. That is like saying the astronomer who named Aquarius' ruling planet "Ur-anus" was being funny. I mean, if you know any Aquarians you might think there is something to it (and I do). I don't think he minds if people find it offensive, but I still think it's incorrect to say that any irreverence is contrived rather than native and rooted in authenticity/a way of living. It's just useful for some and not for others.

(eta, include Jodorowsky as an Aquarius sun sign)
Hopefully Lee will chime in on this. I'm at a disadvantage because I haven't read the book yet (although I want to add it to my small library of English-language TdM books). By the way, if you've ever seen Jodorowsky's surrealist film El Topo, you know that he takes great liberties with his audience's sense of "normality" and propriety. It's one of my favorites.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
Hopefully Lee will chime in on this.
Not sure what I can really add. I started this thread in response to a member who asked in another section about my opinions about the book. I read the book when I bought it several years ago, and I'm certainly not going to go back and read it again for the purposes of this thread.

Let us not forget that Jodorowsky is the guy who said his deck was a compilation of features from antique decks, while including a pictorial representation of the Cabalistic Tree of Life on the Hanged Man's buttons. That, for me, combined with the Hermit-walking-backwards thing, is all one really needs to know about Jodorowsky. It's not what I'm looking for in a deck or book author. But if it floats someone else's boat, that's fine.
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