Litkicks Message Board Archive

Jim and shamanism

Posted to What Are You Reading?

Thanks for your reply, anasazi,

Again I only copy that dissertation by Stig Söderholm, but because of my present busy program I have too little time to start translating longer sections from his doctoral thesis. To mention one thing, Jim was also interested in American Indians, and he tells about a childhood experience (based on Lisciandro, Frank 1982. Jim Morrison - An Hour For Magic. London): "... how he met death first time in his life. He was about four then, with his parents and grandparents on a car trip, when in a desert they met a group of Indians lying seriously wounded on the ground, due to an accident their lorry had got into. Some or all of the Indians were dead, and Jim felt there that the soul of one or even several of them moved into him, assuring that 'this is no ghost story, it is something that really means a lot for me'."

Morrison's interest in shamanism can be seen in his band's, The Doors, first album, where the first song "Break On Through" can be interpreted as a musical manifesto of 'opening the doors' theme designed by Jim: its refrain encourages, demands to 'break on through' to the other side 14 times! Also the song "Shaman's Blues" on the album Soft Parade clearly refers to shamanism.

It's true he never came out with a specific "cosmology of the other side", but in some of his comments he refered to 'freudian' breaking on through to subconscious layers of human consciousness, made possible by means of music, and hallusinogenic drugs. He was aware that he was NOT a modern representative of a traditional shaman as a HEALER - he had said: "The shaman is a healer - like the witchdoctor. I don't see people turning to me for that." (Sugerman 1983, p. 123)

The populariser of shamanism, Carlos Castaneda, was studying (and living) at the UCLA (is it the Uni of Southern Cali?) at the same time as Jim Morrison. They were not near friends, but (source: Hopkins, Jerry & Sugerman, Daniel 1982. No One Here Gets Out Alive. London) Jim and his friends had been asking Castaneda for rights to make a film about Castaneda's work on shamanistic consciousness, The Teachings of Don Juan. So he was influenced by people who knew about shamanism.

I coud though try to translate all the subtitles in this books --- the other parts of the thesis deal with the drug issues, and onthology of Jim Morrison cult, i.e. what happened when the writer visited Morrison's grave. The writer needed as much as possible authentic material, so he visited the graveyard and talked with other 'pilgrims' there. E.g. one French woman, who claimed to have "seen the other side, I have been there", etc. Also the graffiti on the grave stones, empty, full or half-full wine and champagne bottles, rituals of giving some of the drink to the sculpture image of Jim Morrison, etc. etc.

What I have said here, is all based on this study, and I'm no expert on Jim Morrison, but you understand, I'm just only 20, too, and I like rock music a lot!!! I think we must study even popular culture and base our opinion more on researched facts, rather than "in my opinion" attitude, let alone gossip, and NEVER ON LOUSY JOURNALISTS, who throw their articles on sunday papers written in one night....

One thing's strange: when I have been here writing about JM, I feel a lot of sympathy for him, as if he liked the thing his thoughts are being studied, and I begin to feel a kind of telepathy, reaching over to him in the grave, to the other side... and he'd say to me "baby, enjoy your young life while you still can do it --- baby, your nice girl to have written about my inner thoughts, not just my public image"...