what ways did Francisco I. Madero's philosophy shape modern Mexico?
Madero was the leader of Mexico's
1910 Revolution and the democratically elected President from
1911-1913. His commitment to democracy and the law have stood
as an inspiring example for generations of Mexicans
indeed, his remains are enshrined in Mexico's Monument to the
Revolution and his personal archives are in the National Palace.
How did you come upon Madero's Manual espírita,
and what prompted you to translate it?
You can read about my
first encounter with the Manual espírita in this excerpt from my book-length
introduction to the translation. I immediately recognized, as
have others, that the Manual espirita is a fundamental
document for understanding the personal philosophy of the leader
of Mexico's 1910 Revolution. I felt this book deserved to be
brought to those who are interested in Mexican history but unable
to read in Spanish. And as a long-time translator
of Mexican poetry and literary prose, I also knew how little
Mexican writing appears in English so I figured, if I did not
offer to do it, another century might go by with the book left
untranslated. (Yes, you chickadees who inevitably ask, one could
run it through some translation software, I suppose, but that
would be rather like trying to, say, cut your hair with a lawnmower.
Pretty crude, and as far as understanding goes, dangerous.)
Why do you think, for all that has been written about the Mexican
Revolution in English, Madero's Manual Espírita
has never before been translated?
First, until 2010, when
the Manual espírita appeared on-line, it was no
small feat to find a copy without a visit to a Mexican library
or archive. Second, a translation takes time, the going rate
is not cheap, and I was willing to do it for free. Third, and
most importantly, most historianswith a few notable exceptions
have steered far clear of Madero's Spiritism because, I venture,
les da ñañaras, as they say in Mexico. In
other words, it gives them the creeps. The fancy term for the
source of this discomfort is "cognitive
dissonance." Here they are, studying an educated man
who, in the name of justice and democracy, successfully overthrew
a dictatorship, was elected President of Mexico, and yet... who,
of sound mind, dares to admit they believe in invisible beings,
tables tipping without human agency, and that they can hear messages
from the Beyond? These days, most people who hear voices telling
them they have "a great destiny" end up in a hospital,
where they are dosed with, say, Clorazil and Ziprasidone. In
short, tackling such a translation takes an open mind and a significant
investment in reading about the various concepts and vocabulary
which many of those who were otherwise interested in Madero apparently
found too disagreeable or otherwise daunting. Or maybe I was
just meant to do it. It is, after all, a bit of a mystery.
is the origin of Spiritism and how did it come to Mexico? (Is
Spiritism the same as Spiritualism?)
countries we are more familiar with "Spiritualism,"
while in France and Latin America, it is Spiritism that has had
more of an influence. Though they differ in important respects,
Spiritism and Spiritualism are closely related and indeed, the
former was inspired by the latter.
Spiritualism has its roots in myriad traditions, but if it has
a beginning, it is with Andrew
Jackson Davis (1826-1910), a seer who was born in Bloomingrove,
New York. As a youth, taken under wing by a local tailor and
mesmerist, Davis was soon was well known in the area for his
clairaudience and clairvoyance, which he used for making medical
diagnoses. One day in 1844, he fell into a trance and woke up
in the Catskill Mountains, some 40 miles distant from his home
He claimed to have encountered there the spirits of Galen, the
Roman physician and philopher, and the Swedish mystic Emmanuel
Swedenborg. Subsequently, Davis went many times to a mountain
near Poughkeepsie to receive from the spirits information for
his book, Principles
of Nature: Her Divine Revelations and a Voice to Mankind,
which was published in 1847, and which foresaw the emergence
of Spiritualism in the following year.
Most histories recount that Spiritualism
first emerged near Buffalo, in Hydesville, New York in 1848, when a Methodist
farm family heard strange raps and knocks, the source of which
they were unable to identify. Two of the young daughters, Kate
and Maggie Fox, found that they could communicate with whatever
was causing the noises by clapping and calling out questions;
soon the source was determined to be the spirit of a murdered
This phenomenon, as well as others such as tipping tables, pencils
writing by themselves, or on a planchette, levitation, clairvoyance,
the appearance of strange lights, levitation, "spirit photography,"
and more, spread quickly throughout the region, and into Canada,
England, and Europe, as scores of mediums emerged, claiming to
communicate with spirits, and legions of curiosity-seekers as
well as not a few intellectuals (among them, Victor Hugo, W.
Crookes, and Alfred Russell Wallace), who, after attending séances,
joined the ranks of the converted. Apart from the Fox sisters,
who went on to spectacular fame, among the several outstanding
mediums in this period were the Eddy Brothers from Vermont, William
Stainton Moses in England, Eusalia Palladino in Europe, and the
Scottish-born American Daniel
who toured England and the continent, where he performed séances
for the Emperor Louis Napoleon.
In 1871, a group of Spiritualists began to meet during the summers
on the shore of Cassadaga Lake in upstate New York; eventually
they formed the Lily
which remains today the leading American Spiritualist community.
Summer home to some forty registered mediums, the town of Lily
Dale still attracts streams of visitors seeking to communicate
with their departed loved ones.
Over the years, Spiritualism has been defined differently by
various individuals, circles, and churches, but most amply by
the Lily Dale Assembly as the belief in the continuity of life
and in individual responsability. According to their website, "Some, but not
all, Spiritualists are Mediums and/or Healers. Spiritualists
endeavor to find the truth in all things and to live their lives
in accordance therewith."
In Paris, by
the 1850s, attending séances with the so-called tables
tournantes had become a fashion, and it was in this context
that Spiritism first emerged.
of Spiritism was
formulated by Hippolyte Léon Dénizard Rivail, aka
Allan Kardec (1804-1869), a French educator, in his several books,
among them, Le Livre des Esprits, 1857 (The Book of the
Spirits) and Le Livre des Médiums, 1861 (The Mediums'
Book). Inspired by American Spiritualism, Kardec's works are
based on his own extensive interviews with spirits who purportedly
communicated with him through French mediums. These interviews
led him to conclude, in an important departure from the American
Spiritualists, that spirits reincarnate as, in life after life,
they evolve into ever greater states of consciousness.
Though he quickly developed a following of millions, and even
today, his tomb in Paris's Père Lachaise Cemetery, in
the style of a Druidic temple, attracts heaps of flowers, Kardec
was an unlikely guru for, according to his translator, Anna Blackwell,
Kardec was "grave, slow of speech, unassuming in manner,
yet not without a certain quiet dignity." Further, "he
was never known to laugh."
According to its adherents, Spiritism is at once a science, a
philosophy, and a religion. The science examines the nature of
spirits and the invisible world, while the philosophy, among
other things, holds that humanity evolves through multiple reincarnations;
and the religion, presented in Christian termsJesus Christ as, to quote
Kardec, "the epitome of the moral perfection to which humanity
can aspire on Earth" that the universe is
a creation of a loving God.
A minority, certainly, but an important one, of intellectuals
and scientists viewed these purported communications from the
Beyond as not only spiritually momentous, but at one with ongoing
discoveries in astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and more.
As historian John Warne Monroe emphasizes, "These believers...considered
their approach utterly rational, and, in elaborating their views,
they drew self-consciously on their knowledge of scientific discourse
and method. Indeed, the multifarious visions of 'factual' metaphysics
that heterodox thinkers advanced during this period were as much
a part of the emerging landscape of modernity as the railway
or the telegraph."
In the late 19th century, though
elite Mexicans more often traveled to, studied in and had business
dealings in the Unted States, they tended to feel more comfortable
with French language and culture. Unsurprisingly then, it was
Kardecian Spiritism, rather than American Spiritualism, that
first made inroads in Mexico. This was in 1872, thanks to Refugio
González's translations of Kardec's books, among other
Also of note, Federico Gamboa (1864 - 1939), the novelist and
diplomat, translated Kardec's follower, Gabriel Delanne; and
Ignacio Mariscal, in 1892, when he was serving as Mexico's Minister
of Foreign Relations, albeit identified only as "un mexicano,"
translated Après la mort (After Death) by another
leading Spiritist, León Denis.
While educated Mexicans, such as Madero's father, could subscribe
to Kardec's Revue esprit, soon Spanish-speaking Mexican
had their own Ilustración Espírita and they
could join various informal Spiritist circles, as well as the
Sociedad Espírita Central de la República Mexicana
in Mexico City and other cities including Guadalajara, San Luís
Potosí, and Monterrey.
Kardec's philosophy found fertile
ground among those intellectuals who considered the positivist
científicos, unbalanced in their overly rigorous
materialism. The consoling idea of eternal life and the Spiritist
morality based on love and charity also had their appeal; and
finally, Spiritism found some adherents among the already well-established
Masons who, at their higher levels, by tradition, had been open
to esoteric teachings. (Madero himself was a Mason.)
During this same period, the Russian mystic and co-founder of
Petrovna Blavatksy (1831-1891) published her seminal works,
Isis Unveiled (1878) and the Secret Doctrine (1888),
which were almost immediately translated into French and which
infused Western esoteric thinking, including that of some of
the Spiritists, with new strains of Eastern and neopagan thought.
The Mexican Catholic Church strenuously condemned Spiritism.
The leading intellectuals of the time, the so-called científicos,
for the most part, considered Spiritism absurd and superstitious.
Under attack, Mexican Spiritism receded somewhat in the 1890s,
but after the turn of the century, it reemerged with vigor, and
in large part because of the efforts of Francisco
I. Madero, who was a leading organizer of the first and second
Latin American Spiritist Congresses, both held in Mexico City
in 1906 and 1908, respectively.
is the attitude of the Catholic Church towards Spiritism? Is
Spiritism important in Mexico today? (And are Teresita Urrea "La Santa
de Cabora," El Niño Fidencio, and Doña Pachita
part of this tradition?)
While many adherents
to Spiritism consider themselves Catholic, the Church (Pope Pius
IX's benevolent countenance notwithstanding) does not approve
Unlike Protestants, who forthrightly reject the authority of
the Vatican, as well as various aspects of Catholic doctrine,
Kardec and other Spiritists, including Madero in his Spiritist
take pains to appeal to Catholics, positioning Spiritism not
as a new religion, per se, but a more like modern, scientifically-advanced,
complement. (That said, Madero does directly attack the Church's
understanding of divinity, sin, and natural law.)
To the Catholic Church, however, séances are dangerous
if not diabolical, reincarnation is not accepted, and Jesus was
more than one of the several "divine missionaries";
he was the Savior. As early as 1864, Pope Pius IX slapped all
of Allen Kardec's works on the Index, the Vatican's list of prohibited
As for Spiritism in Mexico today, because of their webpage, I
am aware of the Centro
de Enseñanza Espírita Allen Kardec in Mexico City; apart
from that, I can only offer my impressions and they are that
Spiritism, as formalized by Allen Kardec, has a relatively more
important following in Brazil, while in Mexico, it has interlaced
and/or dissolved into a melange of traditions, both indigenous
and of European and American and even African and of course,
Caribbean origin. (I suppose I should include Reiki, a Japanese
healing modality, popular especially in Tepoztlan, Morelos, wherein
the healer, his hands hovering above the client's body, draws
in energy from the universe and sends it into the client's body;
meanwhile, he may receive advice about the healing process from
"spirit guides" who show up to assist.) There are also
some Mexican traditions of more modern origin, such as the worship
of Juan Soldado or, La Santa Muerte, but I know little about
these. Mexico has such astoundingly diverse regions and so many
ethnic groups that I would hesitate to make, or take seriously,
any generalizations about anything (and this a point I make in
my anthology Mexico:
A Traveler's Literary Companion).
As for Teresa
Urrea "La Santa de Cabora" (1873-1906), she was born in the
north of Mexico, the illegitimate daughter of a well-to-do rancher
named Tomás Urrea and one of his workers, a teenager named
Cayetana Chávez. After being abandoned by her mother,
Teresa's father brought her into his household where, it so happened,
she was trained in the healing arts by an indigenous servant
and curandera named Huila.When Teresa's psychic and healing
powers became known, some members of a Spiritist circle visited
her in 1889, first declaring her insane, and again in 1890, after
which they made her their honorary president. She was also associated
with a confirmed Spiritist named Lauro Aguirre (b.1857), a surveyor
trained in Mexico City's Colegio Militar. Though soon known to
Spiritists throughout Mexico and as far as Europe and Puerto
Rico, Teresa cannot properly be considered one of their ranks
for, according to historian Paul Vanderwood, "she could
not adhere wholly to [Spiritism's] tenets," which "denied
the 'celestial court,' the divinity of Jesus and the concept
of the Trinity." Teresa attracted a massive following, some
of whom began to call her "La Santa de Cabora" (the
Saint of Cabora), raising the ire of the Catholic authorities.
She always lived very simply and never took money for her services.
After she and her father were involved in a revolt against the
dictator Porifio Díaz, they had to leave Mexico for Arizona,
where she died of consumption at the age of 33 in 1906. Teresa's
fame was rekindled when her great-nephew, Luis Alberto Urrea,
wrote a best-selling novel, The
based on her life.
from Madero himselfand also in a distinctly
more rustic veinEl Niño Fidencio is
considered Mexico's best known Spiritist, though it would more
accurate to say that he was associated with Spiritism. Born José
Fidencio Sintora Constantino in 1898 in
a village in the state of Guanjuato, he was orphaned as a child
and later moved moved north to the state Nuevo Léon, where
he workered on a ranch in remote Espinazo. Known as El Niño
or "child," because of his high-pitched voice and sweet,
playful nature, Fidencio was taken under wing by a German-born
Spiritist named Teodoro von Wernich, who recognized and encouraged
his development as a healer. As news of El Niño Fidencio's
healing powers spread, and in particular, his abilties to remove
tumors, increasing numbers of people arrived in Espinazo, so
many that the place became a vertitable camp city. The apogee
of Fidencio's career came in 1928, President Plutarco Elías
Calles, who sought a healing for a skin ailment, pulled into
Espinazo on his private train. Although El Niño Fidencio
died in 1938, his following, both of white-robed materias
or mediums who serve as cajitas, little boxes, for Fidencio's
spirit's healing powers, and of those who seek healing from them;
from a dip in the mud pool at Espinazo; and/or by praying to
El Niño Fidencio, has grown to prodigious proportions.
Though officially the Church does not approve of Spiritism, nor
of Fidencismo, in practice, many Mexican Catholic clergy show
tolerance, that the sheep may not leave the corral altogether.
Many Fidencistas consider themselves Catholics and for them,
with the Vatican's seal of approval or not, Niño Fidencio
is a saint. Throughout the north of Mexico and in U.S. Chicano
communities, it is not uncommon to see candles, pictures, and
even elaborate altars to El Niño Fidencio, right alongside
those to Jesus, San Judas Tadeo (St. Jude Thaddeus), and, of
course, Mexico's patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Madero's Spiritism a factor in the downfall of his government?
It is important
to take into account that not everyone in Mexico knew that Madero
was a Spiritist, or, if they saw the cartoons or heard the gossip,
believed Madero was a Spiritist, and in any event, some who did
nonetheless did not understand what Spiritism was, while others
wholeheartedly agreed with his Spiritism. Also, Madero's government,
like any post-revolutionary government, had to contend with divided
loyalties in the Army, among many other pressing and dangerous
issues. But yes, his Spiritism was a factor, I believe, and in
part because for many people, anyone who claims to communicate
with spirits to "hear voices,"
as Spiritist mediums do must be mad, no discussion.
We know from his correspondence that Madero was aware that the
Spiritist Manual, published when he was president elect
in 1911, could cause him damage his reputation; he was very discreet
about his authorship; only a few knew that he was the author,
"Bhima." We do know that, in attempt to discredit him,
his political enemies, the Reyistas, published some of the Spiritist
Manual; many newspaper cartoons pictured him as a medium
communing with ghosts and/or "tipping tables"; and
after taking Madero prisoner in the coup d'etat, General Victoriano
Huerta wrote to US Ambassador Wilson asking if he thought he
should send Madero to the lunatic asylum. That in itself speaks
What is your personal opinion of Spiritism? Do you believe (or
not) that Madero was really channeling spirits?
First of all, my intention in
translating and writing about this work is not to convince anyone
of the validity or invalidity of Spiritism but rather, to simply
provide an English translation and an context for understanding
Francisco I. Madero and, therefore, the Mexican Revolution of
1910 and Madero's Presidency, including its brutally abrupt end
I have never been a member of nor in any way involved with any
Spiritist or Spiritualist church or organization. I was born
in the U.S. in the early 1960s; when I first heard of them in
my reading about Madero, Monsieur Kardec and his 19th century
world of séances seemed to me ultra-strange. I was baptized
Catholic (my father's religion), raised Presbyterian (my mother's),
and, as a teenager, decided to take a lifelong vacation from
the whole church thing.
I believe in treating others, as much as humanly possible, and
measured to the circumstances, with kindness. Other than that?
I'm working it out and, in the meantime, I don't appreciate anyone
else telling me what to believe and where to go on Sundays. But
perhaps because I grew up in multicultural California, I have
a very tolerant attitude if you're Baptist or Jewish or
Mormon or Buddhist, bless y'all; if you want to believe, as Mormons
do, that the Angel Moroni appeared at a farmhouse near Palmyra,
New York in 1823, or as Catholics do, that the Virgin Mary appeared
at Lourdes, France in 1858, OK. Was I standing there with a camera?
Who am I to say what really happened or didn't happen? I don't
go through life with the need to wave around the cudgel of an
answer for everything.
I was fortunate to get a good education, which included courses
in various sciences at the University of Chicago; I could get
all puffed up about that but now, on the other side of 50, I'll
own this much: compared to the football field of what we don't
know, what we know about the universe could, perhaps, fill a
nano-thimble. This is why I think it's a healthy thing to stay
curious and open-minded, but, at the same time, learn to live
with ambiguity. Many things might be true; or, they might not
be true. We just don't know.
On that note, to those who discard
these phenomena as "having been totally rejected by science,"
I would say that this not only betrays an ignorance of the existing
scientific literature but a misunderstanding of what science
is. Science is not a doctrine but a method of inquiry, a system
of practical logic.
In other words, all too often
critics conflate scientism with science.
That said, I believe the best
stance is the one Mexican historian Enrique Krauze adopts in
his Francisco I. Madero: Místico de la libertad,
to whether these spirits did or did not appear before Madero,
the historianskeptical, by principle cannot say,
but neither does he need to. Whether these revelations were really
of astral origin or merely psychological, that is to say, projections
of the medium's unconscious, the result is the same: a scaffolding
of beliefs Madero constructed around himself which regulated
Nonetheless, whatever one believes
about channeling spirits or about people who believe they channel
spirits who tell them they have "a great destiny,"
the fact isand it is a very provocative one Madero
was a charistmatic leader who effected monumental political change
in Mexico, and the consequences of his bold and brilliantly organized
fight against tyranny continue to reverberate in the Mexican
polity and beyond more than a century later.
own understanding of reality is quite close to that expressed
in Michael Talbot's The
Holographic Universe, a work that has strongly influenced
my fiction writing. Following physicist David
Bohm's concept of the implicate order, Talbot conjectures
that the world as we experience it is a kind of hologram, and
that this may explain psychic phenomena., including, possibly,
communication from disembodied consciousnesses.
I expect that over the next decade, with more scientific evidence,
as we are seeing from physicists, as well as near-death and consciousness
researchers such as Raymond
Moody, Dean Radin, Lynn Taggart, Gary E. Schwartz, and so many
others, the reigning "orthodox" paradigm will shift,
and for most educated people, the idea that human consciousness
can separate from the body and survive death and that it has
a vastly complex and magnificent nature, indeed, in some instances,
is capable of interacting with the living, will no longer seem
"fringy," nor a question of faith or superstition,
but rather, a simple scientifically demonstrated fact, and in
this, the Spiritists will be vindicated. Nonetheless, this has
been a hope for a small but dogged group of scientists and other
intellectuals for more than a century and, try though they might,
they have made little headway in convincing the broad community
of their peers to take them seriously. Even today, the scientific
establishment's resistance to anything that smacks of "psychic"
or "paranormal" research, as it has been called, ranges
from the barest of tolerance to snarky disdain to ferocious,
Torquemada-like hostility (witness Harvard University's unprecedented
investigation into the work of tenured Professor
John Mack for his writing about people who claimed to have
been abducted by aliens.)
As the Catholic mystic Carolyn
Myss so elegantly put it, "Somehow, through the centuries
of our adoration of the mind, we've evolved in a way that has
made our capacity to perceive through the eyes of the soul not
only difficult to access, but also threatening to the stability
of our physical and mental life" and I doubt this
can change in a day. In science as in politics, we need leaders,
people of vision and courage, but we don't always have, or have
the wherewithal to follow, the ones who can best serve us. But
then, sometimes we do.
From the time I was very young, I have always been intensely
curious about psychic phenomena and yetlike most people,
if not to the same degree I have felt that inner nudge
of caution. Some mediums and psychics have been shown to be hoaxers,
but not all, and there is too much evidence over too many years
to throw a blanket rejection over the entire field. If the spirit
or astral world is real, then what, really, are we dealing with?
When a Ouija board summons a message, is it from one's own unconscious,
from an all-wise and loving guardian angel, or the equivalent
of a punk with a spiritual can of spray paint? (And you are the
wall.) As for mediums, psychics, remote viewers and others, though
I have seen some remarkably talented ones, even the most advanced
cannot perceive everything and, in any event, if I cannot see
what they see, why should I should accept as gospel whatever
they tell me? And of course, the imagination can be a vividly
powerful force, allowing completely fictional characters to take
on a life of their own, appearing in dreams, even "whispering,"
like a memory, into one's ear, as any novelist knows. What is
real (the voice of an angel, of one's spirit guide or departed
grandmother, say) and what is just one's own imagination? As
psychologist Gary E. Schwartz points out in The Sacred Promise:
How Science is Discovering Spirit's Collaboration with Us in
Our Daily Lives, "Some intuitives and psychics may become
ungrounded and flaky as they lose their ability to distinguish
between their own thoughts and those which purportedly come from
elsewhere." And, assuming there is a world beyond the veil,
might not there be a protective purpose for that veil? Sometimes
I think so. But I don't know.
Bottom line: As the translator, I have not taken any position
for or against, but have only tried, as all translators should,
to render the author's words in the way he intended. The Spiritism
Madero expresses I understand to be derivative of a European
Gnostic Christian (with touches of Hermetic, Hindu, and Buddhist
influences) late-19th century interpretation of some phenomena
and concepts about reality and consciousness that, quaint as
they sound to modern ears, may, in some part, be valid. The Spiritists's
emphasis on researching consciousness seems to me a worthy endeavor,
though certainly, one need not be a Spiritist to be interested
in or engage in such research. The morality the Spiritists preach,
of trying to be and do good, seems to me a mighty fine idea.
The same can be said for every major religion on the planet.
were some of the issues and challenges you encountered in translating
There were five challenges. First,
in reading it and, simultaneously, works on the Mexican
Revolution, Madero, and Spiritism my own opinions about
Madero and his Spiritism underwent so many jolts and swings that
it felt like riding a rollercoaster. It was difficult at times
to maintain an objective, respectful stance towards the material
and its author but, always, I felt that this was important.
third, and more prosaic challenge, was ferreting out all the
many verses from the Bible. Because most English speaking Catholics
of the time would have used the Douay
Rheims version of the Bible, I did not translate these verses
directly, but took them from that. Fortunately, there is a free
on-line and searchable edition at http://www.drbo.org
Fourth: Finding the sources for quotes from theBhagavad-Gita.
I could not, in fact, find these. I hope to correct this in an
updated edition before the end of this year.
Fifth: Well, apart from whatever literary talent Madero may or
may not have enjoyed, his Spiritist Manual is aimed at
readers with limited education. I am used to translating literary
works, with all their arabesque leaps and twirls, so translating
this book sometimes felt like a clomp through tall grass in clogs.
But certainly, it was always very interesting.
is there a flower with an eye on the cover?
cover incorporates the image from the painting "Gerbara
and Eye" by the American San Miguel de Allende-based artist
who very kindly gave his permission. I chose it because it is
an arresting image (always an advantage in the modern sea of
distractions); furthermore, it echoes the Masonic Eye of Providence
or all-seeing eye of God, which is usually shown with rays of
lights within a triangle, and Madero was a Mason. When I asked
Vandiver why he had painted an eye in the flower, he told me
it was because he wanted to show that the flower, like everything,
was conscious. I believe this is true. (See, for example Dean
Radin's The Conscious Universe.)
Madero's Spiritist Manual is, precisely, a profession
of beliefs about consciousness, so, as a cover image, Vandiver's
"Gerbara and Eye" cover image seemed to me very apt.
If you only want the Manual espírita, a quick search
should bring it up on the Internet. At the time of this writing,
Manual espírita is available as a free PDF download
a Mexican government website featuring historical documents.
Worldcat also lists the
libraries that have copies.
can I write to you?
to hear from readers. Click on the planchette to send a message.
Biographers International Newsletter January 2017
Q & A with C.M. Mayo Read
"I found C.M. Mayos
book to be very engaging and well-written. This is not your typical
history, or even esoteric history book. Mayo is a profoundly
creative and insightful artist who is able to bring her own perspective
into the frame while enhancing our understanding of her subjects.
This is a masterful introduction to a topic that hasnt
been explored in this accessible way before, and may never be
again. If you enjoy esotericism, history, politics, and the way
that they sometimes intersect, I highly recommend you read C.M.
Mayos Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution."
Greg Kaminsky, host of Occult of Personality
of Chicago Alumna Explores Secret Book by Leader of the Mexican
By Greg Borzo, Division of the Social Sciences University
of Chicago, on-line newsletter, April 2014 Touring archives at Mexicos Ministry of Finance in
2008, Catherine Mansell, who goes by her penname, C.M.
Mayo, came across a little book called Manual espírita
aaaWhos Bhima? she asked.
None other than Francisco Madero, the Mexican statesman who kicked
off the Mexican Revolution and served as president of Mexico
from 1911 to 1913, before he was assassinated.
...At that moment, Mayo, an accomplished
novelist, memoirist, poet and translator, knew instantly
and absolutely that she would translate this secret, never-before-translated
Financiero (in Spanish)
Alberto Baude Barrientos interviews C.M. Mayo about books, publishing,
and the latest, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution
and the novel, El último príncipe del Imperio
the Talking Dead Helped Forge Modern Mexico"
Guadalajara-based journalist Stephen Woodman interviews C.M.
Mayo. "It is an inconvenient fact for Mexican historians that
the Father of the Revolution Francisco I. Madero,
kept in regular contact with spirits of the dead. Yet Madero,
who served as president from 1911 until his assassination less
than two years later, was a deeply committed spiritist and believed
he spoke to departed relatives and possibly even former Mexican
leaders. Through his practice of mechanical writing, Madero put
pen to paper and let invisible beings guide his hand, shakily
transcribing words of wisdom from beyond the grave. With a Metaphysical
Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution, U.S. novelist and translator
C.M. Mayo has written one of the only books to focus on this
key aspect of his life. READ
en Vivo" (in Spanish)
de radio con la maestra Bertha Hernández. Mexico City.
March 14, 2015 (in Spanish)
de Francisco I. Madero" En Odisea
metafísica hacia la Revolución Mexicana, Catherine
Mansell Mayo recupera el viejo Manual Espírita
escrito con seudónimo por quien derroca a Porfirio Díaz.
Vainey Fernández. Milenio
March 8, 2015
Spotlight on C.M.
Mayo over at Lisa Carter's Intralingo Blog, on getting
started in literary translation, translating Mexican writers
Agustín Cadena and Mónica Lavín, and tackling
the translation of Francisco I. Madero's secret book of 1911.
February 13, 2013.