Change is strange.
Despite society’s advances, embracing change remains a formidable challenge.
Luckily, humans long ago found a way to formally integrate change…
It’s been called many things. The shamanic journey. The Great Work.
Whatever its name, initiation is a doorway to a new world, a new self.
“The trick is to recognise that you are standing at a crossroads – a threshold of change.”– Phil Hine, ‘Condensed Chaos’
One comic which so beautifully illustrates this concept is The Incal, written by Alejandro Jodorowsky and illustrated by Jean Giraud aka Moebius.
The Incal was born of failure.
Despite years of preparation and a cast of contributors ranging from H.R. Giger to Mick Jagger, Jodorowsky’s film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune failed to find American distribution.
POOF! Dreams dashed. And yet…
“Failure doesn’t mean anything, it just means changing paths.”– Alejandro Jodorowsky
It was Dune which allowed Jodorowsky to meet fellow visionary Jean Giraud, aka Moebius.
Giraud had learned as a child that his very hand could construct alternate dimensions, offering an escape from the world, within himself.
Then, as a young man, a months-long visit to Mexico solidified the landscape of his mind into a vast and open plain, bleak yet brimming with potential.
The Incal, full of high concepts and transcendent ideas, offered him a way to further explore this inner world.
“Science fiction transported me in an almost metaphysical way.”– Moebius
Initiation is just this: confronting change and converting one’s fear of the unknown into excitement at the opportunities it hides.
The story follows the debaucherous lowlife, John DiFool, a literal representation of the Fool tarot.
Essentially unnumbered, the Fool Tarot stands at the start of his Journey, over time embodying the deck’s 21 other Major Arcana.
Likewise we meet DiFool mid-fall, a beginning of sorts…
So it is with the shamanic journey of self-discovery: a fearful plunge into uncertainty.
Ultimately, The Incal ends with DiFool once again mid-fall, showing us that initiation is a cycle of change and adaptation; that the reward is the journey, not where it takes you.
Simply reading The Incal is a shamanic journey in and of itself, teaching us that change holds power.
While change is inevitable, our resistance to it need not be.
“An artist must smash down the systems that domesticate the mind.”– Jean Giraud
We are magicians, witches, occultists – whatever we call those that long for answers beyond the realm of understanding.
We are divine beings, gods unto ourselves; builders of worlds, tellers of stories.
We, All-of-Us, hold the key to a power source as old as Life itself!
But let it be said: initiation hurts.
Our Mind digs its heels into the ground of Familiarity, doubting Change is anything but an Inconvenience.
Do not be fooled, Fool! For initiation brings with it Illumination, which shines a light upon our hidden potential.
And if John DiFool could do it, so can we.
For a wise man once said:
“You are excrement. You can change yourself into gold.”– Jodorowsky
Condensed Chaos: An Introduction to Chaos Magic by Phil Hine
“In Search of Moebius” (2012)
Jodorowsky’s Dune (2014)