The Circle of Immortality

Going deeper and deeper into the meanings she wanted to expound in the movie and refining it stage by stage, Susan M. Griffith-Jones made three versions of her creative artistic documentary, ‘The Circle of Immortality’, over 3 years (2005-2008).

circle of immortality


A full description of each and every step of the journey she made in order to create each version of this documentary is written in her book, ‘The Living Pyramid’.

The Living Pyramid

The Circle of Immortality – Version 3 (2008)
(Final Version)

English version Subtitles


To read the Narration of the 3rd Version, click here

Shot in three principal sacred locations of Nepal, short revolving sections of visuals displaying aspects of life within varying parts of the country create an outer layer to the movie, especially focussing on the culture of Tibetan Buddhism; at Muktinath (High Himalayas), Maratika (middle hills) and Lumbini (low land – Terai).

However, having condensed Version 1 (1.5 hours) and Version 2 (60 mins) , into this final Version 3 (43 mins), Susan formed an inner layer to this movie by ‘hiding’ a pyramid shape within its structure.

Through dissecting the timeline itself into segments, whereby the timeframe of each location section pivots around central points that can ephemerally fold themselves in half at both the quarterly and midway marks, the strategically placed layout of short sections of each of the three movie locations, show them oscillating as if into and back out of a mirror again, so as to follow the shape of ‘The Circle of Immortality’ art piece, in its seemingly paradoxical ‘Stilled Motion’.

The Circle of Immortality Art Piece

Photograph of the original art piece, ‘The Circle of Immortality’


This 3D art piece, ‘The Circle of Immortality’ is the model layout of the structure of the film, which bears the same name. Its entire meaning is expressed in Susan’s book, ‘The Pyramid Spiral, Dance of the Five Elements’.

Following the structure of this pyramid shaped art piece and subsequently embedding it within the movie, each section of the film concentrates on one of the five elements of WIND, FIRE, WATER, EARTH and SPACE.

These are thus skilfully expounded through the timing (speed – WIND), narrative (perception – FIRE), music (sound – WATER), visuals (light – EARTH) as they mix together within the SPACE of the overall movie.

The four elements make up the four corners of the base of the pyramid, whereas the fifth is the space within which they appear in an illusory way inside the mirror. A sixth aspect of CONSCIOUSNESS lies at the apex of the Circle of Immortality Art piece, demonstrating the underlying meaning of the movie, of one’s consciousness being mirrored into the space, arising as a corresponding appearance.

The narration for this version was again entirely re-written and is fully based upon the description of ‘The Circle of Immortality’ art piece.


Cross section view of The Circle of Immortality from below with its actual and mirrored reflection creating an imaginary octahedron


View of the actual art piece from below



3D rotating image of cross section of The Circle of Immortality with its actual and mirrored image


Other Subtitled Versions of the Film

‘There are also several subtitled versions of the 3rd version of ‘The Circle of Immortality’, please see below for Russian and Italian.”

Russian Version Subtitles
(Translated by Irina Petrova)


Italian Version Subtitles
(Translated by Mike Bortolotti)


The Circle of Immortality – Version 2 (2007)


To read the Narration of the 2nd Version, click here

After the Sakya Monlam Prayer Festival in Lumbini where Version 1 was premiered in December 2006, Susan visited the Caves of Immortality in Eastern Nepal in the January of 2007.

During this extraordinary trip, Susan shot visuals of the place and being so pertinent to the meaning of the movie, decided to add them into the movie, heavily editing the visuals of Muktinath and Lumbini within Version 1 of the film to make place for this third sacred location.

At this time, Susan found herself building a symmetrical shape around the central point of the movie and subsequently discovered that she could fix an underlying shape of the pyramid within its overall structure through careful usage of the timings of each section, as well as the presentations of the elements and their order in relation to music (sound), visuals (light) and narrative (perception).

An entirely new narration sprung forth for this version, encompassing a symmetrical pattern, as described in ‘The Living Pyramid’

The Circle of Immortality – Version 1 (2006)


To read the Narration of the 1st Version, click here

As various causes and conditions came together, Susan found herself on a trip to Muktinath in October 2005, to make a film about life in the valley there. Some months later, she attended the Sakya Monlam Prayer festival in Lumbini, in December 2005, where she also filmed. Weaving these two sacred places together, she then made a movie depicting the nature of the five elements.

Searching the meaning of the union of Relative and Absolute Truths, Susan wanted to embed this meaning into the movie and through drawing a shape with squares encompassing circles, encompassing squares, she ended up making an unusual piece of 3D art, which she also named, ‘The Circle of Immortality’.

The story of the making of this art piece and its meaning is told in her books, ‘The Living Pyramid’ and ‘The Pyramid Spiral, Dance of the Five Elements’.


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