The Holy Mountain Alejandro Jodorowsky
Famous Mexican surrealist Alejandro Jodorowsky gives us his master work of the paths to enlightenment in The Holy Mountain'.
The movie begins by following the Thief (symbolized by the Fool card of the Tarot) and his paraplegic sidekick (symbolized by the 5 of Swords = Strength'). The two go though several adventures while in the world of the mundane and commercialized religion, which culminates in a powerful scene of self-realization and world rejection for the Thief. At this point the Thief sends off a visual cry for help and he ascends the Tower of the Master. The lair of the Master is bizarre and frightening for Thief, and after his fright and feeble attempt to kill the Master are quelled, he begins his purification and teaching by the Master. He undergoes physical, alchemical, and spiritual purification and comes into company with the wealthiest tycoons who have achieved the very heights of the material world and have come to reject it for self-knowledge.
Thus begins the spiritual training of the Thief and his companions (each symbolized by a planet) to initiation and their quest to slay the Nine Ancient Masters of the holy Mountain.
The next segment is an introduction to the lives of the planetary representatives -essentially character building. These segments also help to explain each of their weaknesses that they face as they ascend the Holy Mountain, which are graphic and visceral.
The Master hypothesizes that different spiritual disciplines are like different elements on the periodic table and that different combinations will yield enlightenment. Therefore the nine undergo several different kinds of training to prepare themselves for the ascent of Holy Mountain.
Before the ascend the mountain they come to a city at the base of the mountain offering up earthly delights and inhabited by false teachers who attempt to lead the party astray through promises of quick fix enlightenment through LSD, and lesser attainment such as moving through mountains, rather than up them.
The final scene of the movie puts an interesting spin on the movie, and the Thief finds his method of attainment through the left-hand path.
Overall Remarks: The movie's symbolism is so all-pervasive and essential to understanding the film that to anyone untrained or unfamiliar with occult and mystic ideas that the whole movie would seem surreal to nonsensical when it actually has highly significant symbolic meaning behind all its images that give great understanding . The Holy Mountain' is an excellent movie on many levels, but not child friendly.
A good example of the symbolism is the opening scene, where it pans across a picture depicting a serpent rising up to meet a geometric solid, passing through three pylons. The serpent on different levels represents knowledge,' the Kundalini or Fire Serpent, the Ophidian current of non-being passing into being through Dath. The serpent's ascent past the three pylons most likely represents the three pillars of the Sephir Sephiroth with its culmination at the Ain, Ain Soph, and Ain Soph Aur. This sequence is accompanied by The Eye (or Ayin) which is the Secret Eye of the Void' is reified in its symbolism with the Thief (later), "who utters no human word but a wild and monstrous speech.'" (Kenneth Grant, Nightside of Eden, 82) The viewer should also note the animals used in the movie, especially the frogs as leapers on the nightside of the Tree of Life.