Purple Magazine
— The Mexico Issue #36 F/W 2021

antonin artaud in mexico


during a trip to mexico in 1936, the heroin-ravaged french poet antonin artaud traveled alone to copper canyon in the sierra tarahumara to discover the peyote ritual with the native people. living in a cave, he recorded his experiences and hallucinations in his book “the peyote dance” — a poetic act of redemption and enlightenment that recon- nected him with life, the earth, and the supernatural. this was his last moment of joy. upon his return to france, in 1937, he was committed to mental institutions for the rest of his life. he died in ivry-sur-seine in 1948. 

a note on peyote: extract from “the peyote dance”

I took Peyote in the mountains of Mexico, and I had a dose of it that lasted me two or three days with the Tarahumara, and at the time those three days seemed like the happiest days of my life.

I had stopped tormenting myself, trying to find a reason for my life, and I had stopped having to carry my body around.

I realized that I was inventing life, that that was my function and my raison d’être, and that I suffered when my imagination failed, and Peyote gave it to me.

A human being stepped forward and drew the Peyote out of me with a blow.

I made it into real shreds, and the cadaver of a man was torn to shreds and found torn to shreds, somewhere.

rai da kanka da kum
a kum da na kum vönoh

Granting that this world is not the reverse of the other and still less its half, this world is also a real machine of which I have the controls, it is a true factory whose key is inborn humor.

sana tafan tana
tanaf tamafts bai

— Antonin Artaud

[Table of contents]

The Mexico Issue #36 F/W 2021

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