Lorcan O’Toole is a filmmaker, writer, alchemist, musician and spirit-medium. As the name gives away, his father, was the wondrous Peter O’Toole, and Lorcan is heightening the legacy of the legendary actor, by introducing a revolutionary approach to the cinematic medium.
The young O’Toole also has a background in acting, with powerful performances in films like In Time with Justin Timberlake and television shows such as Sons of Anarchy and Harry’s Law. However, Lorcan’s path changed in 2012 when he began to have a spiritual awakening. He started to go into trances and had visions of sacred-patterns related to geometry, a science that since the dawn of time has been associated to deep wisdom and the creation of the Universe. This transformation made Lorcan aware of his ability to be a spirit medium and multi-dimensional channel.
The acknowledgement of this enhanced perceptive skill encouraged Lorcan to embark upon a film project, that would allow audiences to engage in an experience that blends the senses, memories, and our interconnectedness with our planet.
REFLECTIONS: the return of light is an interactive immersive film series about the awakening of consciousness on our planet. Lorcan O’Toole, will take audiences on a journey through several power-points on Earth, where he interviewed the locals who described their extraordinary experiences in life.
Each episode is going to be 33 minutes and 33 seconds long, an emblematic number that has thrived since antiquity, as a powerful mixture of science, spirituality and numerology. No wonder, another study on spirituality, Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, divided each of the 3 Parts (Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise) in 33 Cantos.
Just like Dante was guided by Virgil from the abyss to the divine, Lorcan’s spiritual voyage is chaperoned by Gaia — the holistic concept that envisages our Earth as a self-regulating system controlled by the community of living organisms.
In this Exclusive Interview, Lorcan O’Toole gives us a few anticipations of his upcoming project:
Q : You began working on this project 7 years ago (the number of completeness and perfection) and you interviewed over 100 people in 25 destinations. How did you map out these places?
L. O : When I first started I thought it was going to be a one year project, but as I continued I realised over time that it had the potential to become an interactive experience, so it has been revealing and unveiling itself as it has been going along. I was guided to travel to vortex points. That refers to those places on the Earth — such as Bali, Machu Picchu, Mount Shasta, Maui, Glastonbury — that are connected to the ley lines or dragon lines, which are a reference to the energetic geometry of the planet, where there are very high frequencies of energy. Many of the churches and temples built around the world connected to religions are connected to these ley lines, as well as a lot of the major financial and spiritual centres, because it has been understood for sometime that there is a very powerful force in these locations, that amplifies and magnifies energy. Some people refer to these places as chakras of the Earth, like the Pyramids of Giza, the mountains in the Himalayas, and many other places around the world. When you go to these destinations there is a very palpable experience and also a benefit to the entire Earth. Visiting these places and being in the vibration, ends up giving energy, which can be felt and experienced across the world.
Q : In the making of your film series, how did you manage to identify reliable sources and avoid imposters?
L.O : Very simply, through synchronicity. The entire film journey has been very different from other projects where I would need to do a lot of research and planning ahead of time. This film series has been an exercise in trusting synchronicity. Carl Jung discovered through numerology and synchronicity that there were experiences, that defied mathematical possibilities. There’s a higher force that allows you to come across the right people, at the right time, in the right place. There are many frauds in shamanism, new age situations, and channellers. But there are charlatans in any area of life and all you can do is to trust your own heart. This means to be able to feel a resonance, with certain people and places. In my case I feel a golden feeling of love when I’m in resonance with a person or a place that has authenticity. You cannot manufacture the feeling of authenticity. When you tune into that you can trust your own intuition. In my case, all I had to do was go to one of these energy centres, for example Mount Shasta. Once I was there, while I was going about my business, I would come across all of these people and locations that I would have never expected. And all the people I have interviewed have been genuine, powerful, moving and wonderful. These include scientists, philosophers, politicians, artists, psychics, and shamans. The synchronicity that brought me to these people revealed authenticity.
Q : We should definitely all believe in the power of serendipity. Is there one specific encounter that mesmerised you?
L.O : There were a lot of unknown people at the time, who were not necessarily on the radar who were given an opportunity to shine. Many had never been on the world stage and had never given interviews before. It was lovely to be able to steward into their own ability to publicly speak. Michael Tellinger is a friend of mine and he is an extraordinary interview subject. He is a South African politician and archeologist, who has the ability to discuss a lot of what goes further back beyond the recorded history of humanity. He started the Ubuntu movement, which supports the supply of free resources across society, creating small towns all over the world, to give us a sense of community as human beings.
Q : From a technical aspect, you are a cinematic polymath. Besides having an acting career you are a director, cinematographer, composer…how many hats do you wear in this film series?
L.O : I am a one-man-film-team and I have also worked in a number of locations around the world with local crews that helped me film. But sixty percent I filmed myself, that includes, steady-cam work, drone piloting, editing, writing, film score composing and finding locations. It was an interesting journey to take care of so many things myself. In theatre they say that the director should always sweep the stage, because they understand what it is like to not have a hierarchy and be part of the entire living team of the project.
Q : The message to humanity that you convey with your work is one of unity through our planet…
L.O : In a time where we see so much division in the world, it’s very disheartening for many people. I think that the most important experience that we can all have is what unites us. The Earth is the most beautiful symbol of that which unites all of us, no matter our races, or genders. Solidifying and crystallising our connection to the Earth itself and recognising that all the animals, plants, seas and oceans are all children of the planet is important. No one is separate from that equation. We are one family.
Q : Speaking about numbers and music, Pythagoras came up with the idea of the Harmony of the Spheres, that connected the entire universe and was audible from the spirit more than the ears. This relates to how music was used to heal the ailments of the body or mind. I was wondering if your film score followed this idea?
L.O : Science is also part of what is being described, not just spirituality and there is a song underlying everything. Some call it the Om, and it’s broadcast on a very subtle level. To be in a very meditative state, with the mind quieted and the heart open you can start to feel this song and realise it starts to guide you. I love music very dearly, it’s the foundation of my humanity. I know that when combining music with film it really goes into the heart so much more; I have certain films that make me weep very deeply and I use them as medicine, and the same goes with music. I’m very much of a healer in my practice and I like to combine various sounds to convey this balancing effect. I call my music ‘Past, Present, Future, Now.’ What I like to do is to add ancient elements such as the duduk — an ancient Middle Eastern instrument — classical music, electronic music, synthetic ethereal pads and mix it all together. Almost as if the past, present and future were encapsulated in the music. I have a strong connection also to female vocalist singers from all over the world, broadcasting from their locations and combining it all together to make a song of the Earth herself.
Q : You said the Earth herself. The idea of Mother Earth for many is still feminine, also because it is associated with those values of nurturer and caregiver. In your series how do you confront the gender our planet?
L.O : First and foremost the gender of our planet is neutral. It is neither male or female, and at the same time both. But the essence of the Earth is feminine. The gender of human beings relates to their genitalia, but the soul is gender transcendent: it’s beyond gender. It is beautiful to see men and women opening up to a feminine energy, and I mean compassionate, nurturing, caring, sweet, kindness. What people call the patriarchy, that has a lot of negative stigmas to it, I see it as a corrupt system that blends into toxic femininity and toxic masculinity. I think it’s so important to honour within ourselves both the feminine and masculine. If you look in nature, it’s very difficult to tell the gender of plants or trees. I think it’s important to understand that we are holistic beings that contain masculine and feminine and only this can allow us to experience forgiveness and acceptance in all of each other.
Q : How do you present in your work, the reflective nature of reality, as we are shaped by society but are also shapers of our culture?
L.O : People are starting to awaken in the arena of quantum mechanics and quantum physics, to describe it more in terms of science than spirituality. We surely create our realities. We possess the same ability as creation itself, using our imagination, belief systems, actions, thoughts, feelings. We shape and create the reality around us, collectively and individually. It is always coming from within us. It’s a projection of what we experience our life to be. As someone said “A conscious awakening is realising that you are not just in a reality but that you Are the reality.”
Q : This reminds me of how Virginia Woolf said that the self is an illusion, created by the brain in order to make sense of its own disunity. When it comes to the power of consciousness, philosophy has long debated about whether the mind and body should be considered separately or acknowledged as inseparable along with the world we live in. What is your opinion?
L.O : Your body is an expression of your own soul. It’s even beyond the mind. The majority of all illnesses have a routing in belief systems. The majority of people on the planet whose bodies are out of balance is related very much with their disconnection to the Earth itself. When you look at plants, and flowers and you see how they grow, it’s very slow, peaceful and beautiful. When you look at any situation you can either respond or react to it in a certain way. There is an opportunity and benevolence in everything that happens. Even war can be seen as an example of something you don’t want anymore. The Coronavirus pandemic gave everybody an opportunity to slow down, perhaps even change life habits. Everything gives you a chance to go inwards and reflect. The media called “the new normal” this moment in which time was suspended, but what we considered normal was completely unhealthy and unbalanced. As horrifying as some of the experiences have been for certain people, others could take a moment to relax and match the rhythm of nature.
Q : Surely during the pandemic, those who could spend more time in nature felt purified by the culture of violence that is propagated by some media…
L.O : Undoubtably most of the violence we experience is from our screens. They are not in our house. The media does seem to present and project these images all the time. The pandemic and the war are tragic occurrences, but we are bombarded with these images all the time on our screens. If we didn’t watch them, our attention might shift to the beauty in our lives. We would look at a sunset and thank the Earth for it. There’s two hormones. Melatonin is the relaxation and dreaming hormone. And then there is adrenaline, the fight-or-flight hormone. It seems that the system is feeding the adrenaline making people junkies of it.
Q : This makes me think of Jean-Paul Sartre, who said that we are freer than we believe, and that too often we live an unsatisfactory life because we choose to follow the predicaments of society. Is this one of themes in your series?
L.O : Self-responsibility in terms of consciousness and spirituality is a very important theme. We are more empowered in creating our reality than we are led to believe. We call FEAR False Evidence Appearing Real. This is why it is important to have the discernment in listening to our hearts in knowing what’s true for us, then being dependent on external sources.
Q : This pursuit of truth connects with Light, that has always been associated with a clearing, that would disclose the appearance of things in the world. History of art too has played along the idea of light as the manifestation of truth with the chiaroscuro. How does light resonate to you and from a cinematic perspective?
L.O : The chiaroscuro in every single frame is always demonstrating the balance of life. The dark and light, the different shades and tones. The yin yang symbol has it all in there: a black side and a white side and a black portion in the white side and a white portion in the black side. But right in the middle is a wave, which seemingly separates the two sides. That is the sacred neutrality of the Earth, the balance point. In my project when I use the expression “The Return of Light” I’m not discussing the white portion of the yin yang symbol, I’m referring to the energy that is all things. That light is a vibration, that you experience at nighttime and in daytime. Although it may sound very Pollyanna-like — if we think that the Earth also produces volcanoes and tsunamis, as well as beautiful flowers — I intend light as this whole-encompassing energy in creation.
Q : When discussing light, inevitably we discuss darkness, that somehow serves as a background for something to emerge, and also conceals more versions of a story…
L.O : Light emerges most powerfully when things are at their darkest point. I find it very important to dispel the projections of negativity towards what we call darkness. I have interviewed many people who had life changing accidents, that unlocked gifts and perspectives and beauty within them. We all have relationships sometimes that are very difficult and painful, with those we love or even strangers. But within all of those experiences, we understand something profound about ourselves. So it can be benevolent in that way.
Q : Your journey from darkness to self discovery, as an alchemist and channeller, happened when you were still an actor in Los Angeles. How do you convey this awakening within your work?
L.O : This process of connection with the unseen has gone on my whole life. In Los Angeles in 2012, after a painful break up, I went to live with a friend of mine and there was a lot of pain at the time. But something emerged. What people describe as self-realisation, which I would describe as having a visceral, full-body experience of connection with all things. It opened me up very profoundly to the fact that there are other dimensions and experiences of life that we are not aware of using our physical senses. The idea of sensing and using frequencies on a subtle level, can open you up to experience a lot more of yourself and of life. In the same way that lovers finish each other’s sentences, there’s a connection that we all have. We all have the ability to communicate with each other, using consciousness and sensing feeling. This can be described as telepathy or tel-empathy.
Q : Empathy is indeed key in our world. In consideration of your alchemic skills, how does your storytelling differ from a filmmaker who does not possess your perceptive abilities?
L.O : There’s something that was said to me which I resonated with, that is called “the mystic lens.” What that means is there are some people that have a particular perspective on life and they are able to capture that, based on their ability to perceive. For example it is very uncommon for people to be allowed to film in Ayahuasca ceremonies, and I have been invited to do so by shamans and maestros. But I do not want to make my position special in anyway, I have learned from Ridley Scott, Michael Mann, Stanley Kubrick, Paul Thomas Anderson, and all the brilliant filmmakers I watched growing up. I went from being an actor in Hollywood to having this major shift in my life. I’m always wanting to use film and music to capture the elements and frequencies I encounter on my journeys, that authenticity. The same can be said when you see actors living fictional lives on screen: the way they convey their emotions by re-experiencing very real moments in their life. Even if it’s expressed in an imaginary scenario it has truth in it.
Q : You definitely possessed that authenticity as a performer. Will you ever go back to acting?
L.O : One of my favourite things when I was an actor was having the opportunity to experience my emotions very deeply. I think that being vulnerable is your true strength. When I was younger I wanted to sleep in a theatre. It was my biggest love in the whole world. When the spiritual experience happened to me, something opened up that fascinated me so much that leaving behind the acting profession was very simple, I didn’t shed a tear. There was no regret nor remorse. I’m very open to the idea of doing voice over work at this moment and even return to acting in the future. Right now I feel a stronger calling to another kind of mission, to give people a similar experience of what I had in connecting with the Earth. When I was asked why I wanted to be an actor, I said I wanted to make the whole world laugh and cry. Now I feel I have another way of going about that.
Q : One way or another it all comes down to unleashing the power of the Imagination. Up until a few years ago several schools did not give much space for creative expression, but nowadays they are teaching emotional literacy, empathy, sustainability, mindfulness. Do you feel education is opening up towards imagination?
L.O : I think Imagination itself is the most important thing for both children and adults to be immersed and educated in. Imagination has not been traditionally factored into the education. In fact, it’s almost been the opposite. Children were often been chastised for daydreaming in school. It’s always been about memorising data and then being able to regurgitate it for examinations. The whole education system needs to be reimagined. There is a shift going on and I would like to see a lot more of it. Meditation I think is a very important quality to that, being relaxed, serene and having the ability to have a blank page within yourself to paint upon, whatever colour or expression. I think that if imagination in children is encouraged that will change the whole world.
Q : Talking about childhood, you grew up in Ireland, a land that encourages the propensity in welcoming the unseen and the imagination. What was your father’s viewpoint on the hidden forces of nature?
L.O : Interestingly enough, my father had some contradictory elements there. He would describe to me the process of acting, and that learning your lines was as if one were building the vessel of a ship. He said that once you had built this structure, then spirit will fill in the rest. And yet he was somewhat of a nihilist. He grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, which was very painful to him and nudged him away from these topics. But he was very spiritual in his own way. He understood that there was a magic to acting, to cinema. He told me that one night he was lying in the desert on the sand, looking at the stars and saw one particular star that was shining and felt a very strong feeling of the infinite nature of existence. The two of us talked late at night about the unseen and various different things, he told that when he went to Tibet, to visit some monks, they all got down on the floor and bowed to him because they sensed something in him. They knew there was something there, that he probably wasn’t even aware of. Being around my father as a young boy and man was massively inspiring, he was such a force.
Q : He definitely passed that on to you and you are channelling it in your own way. So where and when can people experience REFLECTIONS: The Return of Light?
L.O : People will have a multi-sensory experience while they are watching the film. It’s an interactive, immersive experience. There’s going to be 3 or 4 episodes to begin with, that will be shown in some specifically built domes that will use a particular technology. Everything will probably be ready in the next couple of years. At the beginning they’re all going to be connected to the Earth, different locations, energy points, plants, flowers, trees. Experiencing the films in these domes will provide the sensation of actually being in the locations, intertwining the senses, emotions and memories. It’s something that has never been done before. The series has many different elements to it. I can’t anticipate too much right now, but what I can say is that it intends to give people an evocative journey, through all of the senses to connect to the Earth itself and therefore to the larger part of themselves, Creation itself.
You can follow Lorcan O’Toole on Instagram at @lorcan1111