Friday, November 21, 2014

Lifting the (Very Heavy) Curtain on the Leader of Mexico's 1910 Revolution

November 18, 2014
Though the recent protests in Mexico City's historic center have made it impossible to continue the lecture series on Francisco I. Madero as originally scheduled in the National Palace, the lectures continue at the same day, same time, right next door in Museo de la SHCP / Antiguo Palacio del Arzobispado, Moneda 4. 

I am quite sure the long-ago resident Achbishops must be a-rollin' in their graves, for the topic of this conference is:

(Francisco I. Madero: From Spiritist to the Bhagavad-Gita and Other Esoteric Influences)
Free and open to the public
(en español, por supuesto)

This is an watershed of a conference. For those of you foggy on your Mexican history, Francisco I. Madero was the leader of Mexico's 1910 Revolution and President of Mexico, 1911-1913. He was also a Spiritist medium, a leading Spiritist organizer and evangelist, and as "Bhima," the name of a Hindu warrior, the author of a secret book, Manual espírita. A handful of Mexican historians, including Enrique Krauze, have written about Madero's Spiritism and how it was the source of his political inspiration and platform. Yet, incredible as it may sound, most historians of the Revolution, apart from a lickety-split footnote, have almost completely ignored it. As I noted in my talk for the American Literary Translators Association, I believe one reason is that most historians, who know next-to-nothing about it, consider Spiritism mere superstition and so beneath their notice. In my book, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution, I have much to say about cognitive dissonance and the rich esoteric matrix from which Madero's version of Spiritism sprang.

This lecture series, sponsored by Mexico's Ministry of Finance-- which, by the way, has a long tradition of stellar cultural calendar with free book presentation, concerts, theater, childrens' workshops, and much more-- and, among other archives, holds that of Francisco I. Madero-- continues with:

Tuesday, November 25
@ 5 PM
CARLOS FRANCISCO MARTINEZ MORENO will talk about "Masonry, Spiritism and Hinduism: Interconnected Strands in Madero's Trio of Mystic Pillars"

Tuesday, December 2
@ 5 PM
Yours Truly, C.M. MAYO, will talk about my book, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual [Odisea metafísica hacia la Revolución Mexicana: Francisco I. Madero y su libro secreto, Manual espírita], and IGNACIO SOLARES, an expert on Spiritism, will speak about his acclaimed novel, Madero, el otro [Madero, the Other].

Previous lectures were by Dr YOLIA TORTOLERO CERVANTES, author of the deeply researched and pathbreaking El espíritismo seduce a Francisco I. Madero, whom I had the very great honor of introducing; 

LUCRECIA INFANTE on "Spirits, women and equality: Laureana Wright and Kardecian Spiritism in Mexico"; 

and most recently, last Tuesday, ALEJANDRO ROSAS ROBLES talked about "The Revolution of the Spirits" and MANUEL GUERRA, the lost Spiritist writings of Madero.

Manuel Guerra de Luna is the author of Los Madero: La Saga liberal, and of the screenplay for the excellent documentary film directed by Alejandro Fernández Solsona, 1910: La Revolución espírita. Alejandro Rosas Robles, a prolific and very popular historian in Mexico, is the author of many books and editor of the 10-volume series of the collected works, Obras completas de Francisco Ignacio Madero (Clío, 2000).

Guerra de Luna's talk was especially fascinating for me, as he talked about Madero's Spiritist notebooks. Madero was a writing medium, and so his method of receiving communication was to go into a trance and allow the spirits to use his hand and pencil. We know from the notebooks that as Madero sat down to work on his political grenade, La sucesión presidencial en 1910, he would first channel the spirits' advice. These notebooks were rescued from a fire into which a relative wanted to consign them. They are held in the Francisco I. Madero archive in the Ministry of Finance (SHCP) and transcribed in Rosas' Obras completas de Francisco Ignacio Madero, volume VI, Cuadernos espíritas. [Spiritist Notebooks.]

(Mexican history aficionados will note that Rosas Robles has confirmed that on his birth certificate Francisco Madero's middle initial stands for "Ignacio," not "Indalecio.") 

Madero's channeled writings end abruptly in 1908. Based on a comment in one of Madero's letters, Guerra de Luna believes that at that time, Madero stopped "automatic writing," adopting the method of channeling he considered more advanced: direct telepathic communication. 

Both Guerra de Luna and Rosas Robles appear in the must-watch documentary film, 1910: La Revolución espírita. > WATCH IT HERE.<

One of the points I make in my book is that Madero's Spiritism was based on was very different from that of mid-19th century Spiritists, for by the late 19th century, thanks to various occult philosophers, Theosophists and others, Hindu philosophy and in particular, the Bhagavad-Gita, had become an important influence. In addition, Madero was a Mason and Rosicrucian. Next Tuesdays' talk by Carlos Francisco Martínez Moreno, an expert on Masonry, will be sure to be especially illuminating.

As for the recent political tumult here in Mexico, I steer clear of discussing current politics on this blog, but I will go so far as to suggest that a good source of reporting and opinion in a variety of media in English is via the Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute. The email signup is on their webpage.

Your COMMENTS are always welcome.

(Transcript of my talk for a panel at 
the American Literary Translators Association 
conference, Milkwaukee, November 2014)

(Madero, Spiritism, esoteric philosophies, history)

Cool Tool for Creating Timewealth:
(A guest-blog on Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools blog)

(book review)

(My essay and a podcast about an adventure in a remote area in 
Big Bend National Park, near the US-Mexico border)