Seasons Greetings from Daumal, Jodorowsky and myself – and from the Analogue Mounts, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse …

As, of course, I use a trackpad at home these days to avoid repetitive stress injury.

So, twas the night before Christmas, and as soon us it will be upon, the question to ask ourselves is:

Whose side are you on

And have found myself wanting as I knew I owed a gift to my loyal and by now incredibly surprised reader who had probably forgotten what the hullabaloo was all about. I mean, I never did get back to you about the winning crowdsourced blog name, nor the still developing story that is Fusion Anomaly.

If this were any other blog post before Xmas, you would be reading a retrospective on the achievements of my blog in 2014 or at least a some kind of list about said year. Being atypical, I’m going to save something along those lines for the lead up to the new year – although its a safe bet that a retrospective focusing on my blogging achievements will not be , ahem, required …

Instead, I thought it time to give you an update on the paper I was writing on Rene Daumal and Alejandro Jodorowsky that made me almost as invisible as the apparent object of both their quests – Mount Analogue:

The summit of #MountAnalogue - achievement unlocked!

The summit of MountAnalogue reached – achievement unlocked!

I finished it in November and it’ll be published in the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion‘s special issue on Gurdjieff early in 2015. For those of you without patience, here’s what ended up being the abstract:

Abstract:

The Chilean-French avant-garde filmmaker and self-styled spiritual teacher Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film The Holy Mountain (1973), is often referred to as a ‘surrealistic’ exploration of Western Esotericism, and was a pivotal cinematic moment for what Christopher Partridge (2004; 2005) has termed ‘occulture’. It is often claimed in secondary literature and informally online that the film is based on the unfinished novel Mount Analogue (1952) by René Daumal, French writer and follower of the esotericist G. I. Gurdjieff. The Holy Mountain is thus a clear candidate for testing theories about the cultural production of ‘Gurdjieffian’ film adaptations. A closer reading, however, shows that the two texts share few ideological or even structural elements. In the wake of the film’s reception and Jodorowsky’s growing cultural importance, this article maps the congruence of the film to the novel by focusing on the role played by the eponymous mountain as the only invariant symbol in both. Some of the biographical contours of the two artists’ relationship to Gurdjieffian and wider occultural esoteric discourses will also be traced to reveal the pre-critical and largely self-referential narrative of the film adaptation in the secondary literature as a species of academic urban legend-making.

However, as patience should also be rewarded, below is the slightly longer preprint version that can be found on Scribd:

You can also download it and basically bump up my altmetrics XP over at my Academia.edu account.

Although it was a struggle (never write a paper on a dare, kiddies!) I was happy with it in the end.

Not a scene from the movie but an artist’s representation of how I felt after I typed that final period …

I, too. had found my peradam.

“The clarity of this stone is so great and its index of refraction so close to that of air that, despite the crystal’s great density, the unaccustomed eye hardly perceives it. But to anyone who seeks it with sincere desire and true need, it reveals itself by its sudden sparkle, like that of dewdrops. The peradam is the only substance, the only material object whose value is recognized by the guides of Mount Analogue.” – René Daumal

The reviewers in the end were equally happy:

This is definitely a key alchemical scene from the movie and any resemblance to the comments of my reviewers is purely incidental.

On balance they thought it a novel, logical, and well-argued piece that left little doubt that Holy Mountain was not even an film adaptation of Daumal’s most famous novel.

I’m also very glad that I got to know them both so well, although I think they did outstay their hospitality in my mind’s eye. Indeed, most of the virtuosos I’ve ever written about were usually long dead, and I’d be curious to find out what Jodorowsky thought of it before he joined them.

Either way, I’m looking forward to exploring the work of both artists in future posts during 2015, and even to publish a more journalistic version that uses their imagery for greater effect.

However, my handling of the whole episode and both its immediate effects on those around me and its aftereffects was definitely a lesson in what I wouldn’t do again. Here I begin to stray into 2014 flashback territory but 2014 has been a great reminder that the world and its constituents – organisations, systems, etc – only cares about us as long as we serve its needs:

The only conspiracy theory I subscribe to

In that spirit, feel free to regift my gift to you: pass it on and share it and enjoy your Xmas days. Its the only way to know to which party you will in the end belong.

You’ll hear from me again before the New Year rings in.

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