ON THE USE OF THE 2ND PERSON HYPNOTIC NARRATIVE IN THE TEATRO MAGICO SEQUENCE OF SPIRITUS MUNDI: THE ROLE OF ARTISTIC EXPERIMENTATION IN THE IMAGINATIVE ARTS
The rarest mode in literature (though quite common in song lyrics) is the second-person narrative mode, in which the narrator refers to the reader as “you”, therefore making the audience member feel as if he or she is a character within the story. Second-person narrative occurs when the protagonist or another main character is referred to by employment of second-personal personal pronouns and other kinds of addressing forms, for example the English second-person pronoun ”you” or “yours,” as for example in these opening lines of Jay McInerney’s modern novel, Bright Lights, Big City:
“You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy.”
Or in the opening lines of the well known novel, If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller, by Italo Calvino:
“In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you.”
The Second-person narrative thus has an extraordinary power to reach out, grab by the throat, and immerse the reader radically, intimately and unexpectedly in the text and story, breaking the expected frame and utterly erasing the distance, safety and uninvolvement of the more traditional Third-person “He or She” narrative, or even the interpersonal separation of the First-person “I” narrative.
This Second-person narrative is used extensively in the modern epic Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard in the culminating hallucino-mythic sequence of the Teatro Magico, or Magic Theater, final part of the more extended Chapter 28, The Volcano’s Underworld, taking place in the murky underrealm of Mexico City’s music, sex, drugs and cabaret subculture. In that sequence, the reader experiences in his own person the hypnotic-surreal adventures of the protagonist, failing social activist Robert Sartorius in the occult Magic Theater, in extremis from excesses of Mescal, alcohol, longing, sex and despair in contemplation of suicide on his fiftieth birthday in Mexico City, impelled through a radical and unexpected shift from the Third to the Second-person voice, hypnotically forcing the reader’s direct participation in a shape-shifting and hallucinatory experience of the fantastic, drawing him inexorably onward into a dream-vortex and living nightmare beyond his control.
[For the full text of the The Volcano’s Underworld and Teatro Magico sequence go to: http://www.behance.net/gallery/The-Volcanos-Underworld-Teatro-Magico-Mexico-City/6271207 or see the excerpts below.]
It is also no accident that the 2nd Person is the obligatory form of address and induction in Hypnotic Scripts used by professional hypnotists or hypnotherapists:
“the feeling of every muscle of your body is just loosening up, and just letting go, and lying flat like a limp rubber band, very deeply relaxed, and although you’re aware of my voice, you can be even more aware of the wave of comfort embracing your awareness, as you continue enjoying the restfulness of not having to do anything in particular right now.”
“your whole body can now be separate from your immediate experience…. Almost as if, you are just far away, and you are just, all mind, floating freely … almost as if you could just lift right out of your body, and just float like a cloud in a beautiful blue sky.”
The hypnotized subject thus entering and accepting the hypnotic state abandons himself to an overpowering Second-person voice—giving way to a deeper unconscious desire to lay aside the weary burden of self and reality, willingly suspend disbelief, and consensually, if temporarily, to abandon the painful burden of self-autonomy and self-control enabling entrance into a more vital realm of uncanny experience:
“In a moment, I am going to ask you to open your eyes, and when you do, I would like you to lean forward and to look to your left. When you look to your left, you will see a mirror. The mirror you will see will have properties of a normal mirror, with one major difference. The person you see in the mirror will not be you, it will be a stranger. When you open your eyes and turn your head to your left, whilst remaining as deeply relaxed and comfortably hypnotised as you feel now, you will see a stranger reflected in the mirror. I would now like you to slowly open your eyes, turn your head to the left, and look into the mirror………….”
“In a moment, I am going to ask you to open your eyes, and when you do, I would like you to lean forward and to look to your left. When you look to your left, you will see a window through to another room. When you open your eyes and turn your head to your left, whilst remaining as deeply relaxed and comfortably hypnotised as you feel now, you will be able to see what is on the other side of the window. I would now like you to slowly open your eyes, turn your head to the left, and look through the window…………”
“Now, I am going to ask you to open your eyes, and when you do, I would like you to lean forward and to look to your left. When you look to your left, you will see a window and through the window, you will see a stranger. When you open your eyes and turn your head to your left, whilst remaining as deeply relaxed and comfortably hypnotised as you feel now, you will be able to see the stranger on the other side of the window. I would now like you to slowly open your eyes, turn your head to the left, and look through the window, recognizing the person you see.”
Words have served healers, doctors, priests, shamans, leaders and politicians from time immemorial. Consider how words affect attitudes, change beliefs, and nurture faith. Through our words, deep inner resources for self-love are kindled which become physiological changes. In at least one Creation story, the Word was sufficiently powerful to create the world. We do maintain our identities with the words of our stories about ourselves and perhaps our stories also maintain the integrity of our body, for words are physical events, even as are the bodily dreams by which we daily recuperate and reconstitute ourselves, spoken and undergone by people through bodies with vibrational energy and more than seldomly bearing some compelling capacity to change and alter those who hear these words.
Hypnosis is the art of speaking persuasively and suggestively. Hypnosis is one of the Fictional Arts, linked in its primeval origins to individual and collective dream, to shared collective vision, conscious and unconscious, and to the tribal merging of the fragile, fleeting and equivocal individual self into the collective being of family, tribe, polis, nation, and religious communities of faith. Out of such common primal roots have also grown the voice of the vatic poet, the Dionysian and Apollonian mysteries of Tragedy and Comedy, the rituals, mystic trances and communions of faiths, and also drama, dance, film and the Literature of the printed word.
The Second-person thus bears the power to take us back to the primal depths and the primal unities, the drum-trance beside the night’s campfire or cavefire and the loss of self in the dance of the tribe, or in the voice of the stars. Willingly we surrender ourselves to sleep and dream at the end of weary day. Willingly we follow entranced some occult messenger of Eros or Thanatos or Buddha or of some other sleeping god. Willingly from time to time we lay down the burden of ourselves and our realities to surrender ourselves to visions, communions and renewing ritual energies greater than and more sustainable than ourselves.
One of the conundrums in approaching a deeper understanding of the use of the Second-person voice lies in the Protean and equivocal character of such a mode or genre—–what is Second-person narrative? But a little exploration of its manifestations will easily uncover many secondary and rhetorical uses of the pronoun “you” which are not necessarily central to the practice of Second-person narrative per se. But given the rarity of the Second-person Narrative, it seems counterproductive to be overly exclusionary and more helpful to inclusively embrace a wide variety of its uses. A working definition of Second-person Narrative might thus begin with: A narrative the NARRATEE of which is the PROTAGONIST in the story he or she is being told using the Second-person “you” address. Of such Second-person narrative we might thus identify several basic types.
The first instance of the Second-Person Narrative might be found in the situation in which the narrator addresses him or herself as “you,” as we often dissociatively do in interrogating or philosophizing about ourselves, attaining some greater or lesser distance from our own acts and thoughts. An example might thus be taken from Frank Morehouse’s Walking Out:
“How, in bed early Thursday morning, do you explain to your father and mother whom you have lived with for 22 years, that you do not want to go to work and that you do not want to see your friends? How do you explain that you’d rather not see them too? How do you explain that the idea of working and the idea of seeing your friends makes you feel sick in the head? How do you explain that you think that life stinks and that you want to lie down somewhere on your own?
So I lay on my back in bed early Thursday morning knowing that the clock was ticking toward seven o’clock. . . .”
A schematic of this form of the Second-person “you” might be as follows:
Here, however, the use of the “you” falls short of constituting the “you” as the protagonist of the story, and is revealed as a rather rhetorical device, a form of address of the reader outside the frame of narration for a limited time and purpose, before the text and story shifts back to a more traditional “I.”
A second instance of the Second-person narrative might go further, constituting the “you” as a separate character from the narrator of whose address he is more or less conscious and independent within the frame of the story and text. Examples might include Fuentes’ Change of Skin, or the above mentioned opening lines of Italo Calvino’s classic, If On a Winters Night a Traveller:
“In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you.”
Here the “you” attains at least an ontological parity with the narrator, a personhood of equal dignity and weight of potential shared existence in a shared world of common existence.
A third instance of the Second-person Narrative would be even more radical still, crossing the murky and indefinite boundary between the “you” of a character constituted within the frame of the story and text to directly address the Reader himself. Thus we might recall the classic short story of Ring Lardner, “Haircut” in which the reader himself is summoned to take his place in the narrator’s barber’s chair:
“I got another barber that comes over from Carterville and helps me out on Saturdays, but the rest of the time I can get along all right alone. You can see for yourself that this ain’t no New York City. [. . .]
You’re a newcomer, aren’t you? I thought I hadn’t seen you round before. I hope you like it good enough to stay.”
A schematic of this more radical reconstitution of the field of Second-person narration might be illustrated as:
Such a more deeply transformed relationship with the reader is more difficult to induce, and still more difficult to sustain over narrative time and space. The reader may constantly fall away in sympathy, energy or imaginative connectedness, or may suffer the anomie of the mise-en-abime, constantly reframing and blinking himself in and out of the narrative as he is pursued outside the narrative frame. Pushed to its limits, the 2nd Person “you” discloses its inherent instability, the “slither of self.” Indeed, the residual grammatical form of the 2nd Person in English, taking curiously the pluralized verb “you are” rather than the more logical “you is” when addressing a single person, intimates the latent pluralities of self dormant in both pronoun and its implicitly addressed self. Thus the Second-person, pushed to its limits may suffer the fleeting instability of Quantum States and the Uncertainty Principle of high-energy sub-atomic physics’evasive protagonists—leptons, hadrons, quarks, bosons and anti-matter.
Nonetheless, or rather in consequence rather than in spite of such challenges, the Second-person Narrative has attracted more and more contenders. Such would include Sheppard’s Spiritus Mundi, alongside such new and old works as Barnes’ Talking it Over, Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, Barth’s Lost in the Funhouse, Federman’s Take it Or Leave It, Margaret Atwood’s “Rape Fantasies,” Butlin’s The Sound of My Voice, Fuentes’s A Change of Skin, and Daniel Gunn’s Almost You.
In Spiritus Mundi, the scene of the radical ‘breaking of the frame” to summons the “you” of the reader to partake directly of the hypno-hallucinogenic journey into the Magic Theater of the Teatro Magico is prepared by a long narrative of the protagonist’s progressive psychic breakdown under the influence of his alcoholism, suicidal fears, consciousness of failure, Mescal overdoses and wandering exile across the Mexico City of the festival of the Day of the Dead, sexual detours and mental disintegration leading later towards its surreal denouement:
“Towards four in the morning, Sartorius was oozing Mescal and alcohol from every pore and had danced with Maria and Teresa alternately for hours. Teresa pressed her body close to his and stroked his ear, whispering into it: “Roberto!—-I think you are ready for something special! I don’t take everybody there—it is a special place only for special people. You have to be the right kind of person at the right time——and be ready for something new—it is a private club and you need a pass to be admitted. Here—-this is your pass—I have signed you in as my special guest—let’s get Maria and Oskar and grab a taxi.” –He handed Sartorius a card with the drawing of a magician in top-hat and tails levitating a beautiful girl over whom he passed a hoop, upon it. The name of the club was printed on the top: Teatro Magico: For Madmen Only!—-(Private Club: Admission by Membership or Personal Invitation Only).
The Teatro Magico, or Magic Theatre, was lit by a neon sign poorly visible from the street and at the end of a long alleyway towards the rear of the compound. Sartorius, Maria and Teresa approached the massive solid red wooden door and Sartorius rang the doorbell. Overhead, above the face of the door was a moderately sized flashing neon sign in purple and red with exactly the same design as the card–stating again:
Teatro Magico: For Madmen Only!—-(Private Club: Admission by Membership or Personal Invitation Only).
Once inside, Sartorius and the reader learn of the nature of the Magic Theater:
“The Teatro Magico, was not one theater and had no central hall for an audience, but fashioned on the popular “Cineplex” model, rather consisted of an array of smaller theatres in a semi-circular ringed hallway sided at intervals by small lounges, to the far side of which were arrayed various ornate gilded doors, each inscribed with an alluring title designed to invite entrance, and the near side of which was an endless curved mirror. Anyone was free to enter or not enter as many of the smaller theatres as one wished or none at all at his own choice. This with one great difference, Teresa cautioned, there were no seats or audience, but that the partaker himself was taken up in a role in the drama, as it were, as part of a dream come alive, a ‘virtual reality’ or an incarnation into another life, to continue until he should chose to exit by the door by which he entered.—-Thus, transcending its origin as a ‘Cineplex,’ it might be better styled a ‘Psychoplex.’ “
The sympathetic participation in the Third-person narrative of the protagonist’s increasing mental disintegration and ritual transiting of the boundaries of this netherrealm prepares the reader, as does the hypnotist’s seductive hypnotic induction and relaxation of self, for his own coming Quantum Leap of person:
“Drunk with a trembling expectation of the appearance of her face, and beginning to feel his pulse quicken under the kick, Sartorius braced himself with a second spoonful of cocaine and walked precipitously towards the hanging curtain. Sartorius then, after a lingering moment of seeming numbness as he laid his fingers against the velvet cloth, pulled against the curtain, struggling against a charm that seemed to deprive him of all his will and all his energy, and of almost all of his lucidity at the moment he wanted them most. He succeeded in drawing back the curtain that hid her face from him and he walked to where Maria stood. She herself seemed moving backward, towards the back of the small enclosure, the whole of which was occupied by a great mirror that reflected her image, but not his, for he was just behind her and entirely covered by her. He heard her voice singing the sultry cabaret song in ineffably exalted sirenlike tones that pulled against his heart with a physical force as she approached the mirror: “In olden days…………….Now heaven knows, Anything goes!” As she sang Maria walked towards her image in the glass with her arms outstretched and the image came towards her. The two Marias—the real one and the reflection—ended by touching, and then their hands touching and seeming to melt and pass into each other just as Sartorius put out his arms to clasp the two in one embrace. But, by a sort of dazzling miracle that sent him staggering, Sartorius was suddenly flung back, while an icy blast swept over his face; he saw, not two, but four, eight, then hundreds of Marias spinning around him, laughing at him and fleeing so swiftly that he could not touch one of them. At last, everything stood still again, and he saw himself in the glass. But Maria had disappeared.
He rushed up to the glass. He struck at the walls and at the glass surface with the heels of his hands and fists. Nobody! And tears from somewhere fell, streaming downwards like a soft rain upon the cold glass. Which way had she gone? Which way would she return? Only an invisible voice rang out again its sultry Porteresque echo: ‘Now heaven knows, Anything goes!’”
Finally, Sartorius enters the First Theater of the Teatro Magico, and the reader experiences the shock of the 2nd Person address with the force of a Mescaline-induced hallucination of his own mind:
“Returning to find him, Teresa gathered Sartorius together and led him down the curving hallway towards the ornate multiple doorways of the Cineplex. She told Sartorius he was free to choose. Sartorius walked a few paces to inspect the titles of the offerings on the first three doors: (1) “You Rule All Before You With Absolute Power!” (2) “A Friendly Ball Game” (3) “All the Women of the World are Yours!”—–Sartorius entered the first door:
As the door of the theatre closed behind you, you strode forward, noticing first that you were clothed in a turquoise coloured ceremonial robe and with a large jade image of a Jaguar pendent from a heavy jade necklace suspended on your chest. On your head was a crown of jade and gold, topped with innumerable long and striking trogon feathers, the blue-green of meter long quetzal feathers, and the multi-coloured rainbow like feathers of the troupial. You were seated on an ornate throne of pure gold atop the Grand Pyramid, Tempel Major, above which was sculpted in bas relief the images of the Gods: First and foremost Huizilopochtli, the Sun and War God, patron and protector of the Aztec empire; then of Tlaloc, the Rain God; then Xochiquetzel, and then Quetzelcoatl, the Plumed Serpent and patron of the city of Tenotichtlan. A eunuch slave approached you, prostrating himself on the ground before he spoke without daring to raise his eyes to your own:
“Lord Tlacaelel, the Tlaxcallan war captives have arrived at the base of the Pyramid. The priests and the warriors await your orders.”
“Bring the first son of the captive Tlaxcallan king to me here, and send his daughters to my palace apartment and prepare them for their fates.” you ordered.
You looked below, down the glittering and terrifying expanse of the Grand Pyramid. The eunuch made his way down the long stone stairs from the peak of the pyramid where you were seated towards its base, an armed warrior at every landing and a torchbearer at every ten steps. The steps were stained a purplish brown along their length from decades of the river of running blood from their top and the rolling of the dead, heartless bodies down to the base, where below the chiefs of the abattoir severed and carved the limbs of the defeated soldiers into the cooking vats to be shared out to our victorious Aztec warriors. When the eunuch reached the head of the column of prisoners, their hands bound with leather straps behind their backs, and relayed the instructions to the ear of the Lieutenant of the Guard, the warrior guards moved to execute his orders. You could see the white haired head of the captive King of the Tlaxcallans drop helplessly as he saw his children being led away from him—-his son to certain death and his daughters in sexual bondage to the harem of his lifelong enemy, you, Lord Tlacaelel. You saw his knees collapse and his white hair cover the ground as the body shook with convulsive sobbing.
The Captain of the Guard, Marlo Xiloj approached and prostrated himself, then rose to speak into your ear: “Lord Tlacaelel, shall the old man die as well?”
You answered: “No, he is broken to the power of Tlacaelel. He will return home childless and chastened before his people, a living testimony to our absolute power.”
The Captain responded: “Why do we let them live? Why don’t we exterminate the Tlaxcallans and their kingdom and reduce them to slaves, as we have all the other kingdoms surrounding us and them? They are defeated in battle—-why let them go on?” he queried.
You answered: “If we kill all the actors, our Theater of Terror will go dark! No! The whole world witnesses our power here clearly and willingly submits. And furthermore, the Tlaxcallans are our close cousins! Nothing is so sweet as to devour a hated brother! And furthermore, our God, the great Huizilopochli does not like the flesh of the barbarous peoples from far away. He devours his own close kin! To our god the captives from those distant foreign expeditions are like hard yellowish, tasteless tortillas in his mouth! Only sacrificial victims from nearby cities, our own near flesh and blood will come to our god like warm tortillas, soft, tasty, straight from the fire!—sweet as your own sister!—-We keep the Tlaxcallans alive and free to suffer beautifully for the glory of our Beloved One, Huizilopochli—–Marlo Xiloj!—if you are going to be a captain you mustn’t be afraid to look straight-eyed into the dark beauty of the heart of darkness!” you say.
Then the bound captive Prince, proud and defiant, was led before you and the priests and guards forced him onto his back upon the altar. You took up the black obsidian knife, scalpel sharp, tore open the tunic of the prince and with a single deft motion entered the cavity of the chest, the priests prying back the ribs exposing the beating heart. You looked into the Tlaxcallan prince’s eyes, still conscious. With a motion of your arm you forced your right hand into the open chest and under beating heart of the supine prince, and without severing the vessels you lifted it up out of the chest where it continued to beat gloriously, hot and living in your hand! You looked from the heart to the eyes and saw the lids droop, and close, like the eyes of the Tlaxcallan queen, the boy’s mother when you entered her, forcing her legs apart for the first time after the victory at the battle at Taxcala. As you took the obsidian knife and cut the arteries of the beating heart in your hand, spilling and spattering the blood in a wild orgasmic chaos you were in near delirium as you raised the still beating heart to the beloved face of your God Huizilopochli and watched the streaming red blood bring life to the face of the Adored One before you!
As you felt your teeth enter the warm and still beating heart, the hot blood running down the corners of your mouth and as you kissed the upturned lips of the idol you convulsed, then began to shriek with revulsion and you ran, hyperventilating, to escape. You pulled open the door of the Theatre and saw Teresa standing next to a gilded mirror smoking a cigarette in a long cigarette-holder while leaning against an ivory statue of Cupid on a pedestal.
“Roberto!—what is wrong?” she pleaded, grasping your hand and comforting you.
“The horror!” you answered hypnotically, “……the Horror!”
Within the Psychoplex of the Magic Theater the Reader is thus impelled, under the hypnotic trance of the 2nd Person voice to tear away the “Fourth Wall” of the proscenium stage, becoming for the interval of the trance the character himself:
Thereafter, the reader assuming the role of the protagonist Sartorius follows his mythic misadventure through the two remaining doors of the mysterious theater, once recuperating the archetype of the Trickster and Sojourner in the Underworld, another as Tragic Hero and Scapegoat, until transformed and exiting the tranceworld, he boards the airplane back to his London home in contemplation of a change of life, reuniting with his new London love Eva, and the prospect of renewal of his mundane world:
“Well, Roberto, you had better get a grip on yourself before the next feature. Here, sit down and have a drink.” She motioned for the usher behind the theatre bar and he brought a large bottle of Mescal, pouring out two glasses. You drained one glass, then half of the other. Though you were back in your own clothes, you noticed the stream of blood about your mouth from the previous scene trickling down the side of your mouth and into the cup. Teresa picked up the half drained, blood stained second glass of Mescal, raising it to her lips, saying jokingly to you as she drained it: “Leave me my bloody bever for soothsay,” after which the usher then refilled both glasses from the bottle. Then Theresa picked up one of the glasses, handing you the other and proposed a toast: “To Roberto—and his Brave New World!” and you downed the ether together, “…..but maybe you need something a little lighter for a change….which do you choose next?”
Having recovered yourself, you agreed with Teresa’s suggestion and looked down the hallway for your options. You chose door number two…….”A Friendly Ball Game…” Teresa said, to reassure you “And if you are still a little bit nervous, we can go in together.” You walked in side by side.
“Xbalanque! Quick get it!” you heard from behind you as you found yourself running forward. You caught the heavy rubber gummi ball full on the yoke you were wearing around your middle, then kept it in the air, dribbling it with the motions of your thighs and upper arms, which were padded. Two opponents were quick on your heels giving chase. Across the field to your right you saw Tiresias in his male form running parallel to you dressed in the same coloured yoke and pads. You and Tiresias were teammates, and bore an uncanny resemblance to each other—appeared to be twins, almost mirror images of each other. Just as you were about to be overtaken by the opposing trio you turned and quick-batted the ball adroitly towards the line of advance where Tiresias was sure to arrive in the next second when the ball would reach him. He looked halfway down the field and saw his object: a stone hoop mounted atop the stone wall of the court, towards which you were intent on propelling the ball.
“You’re up, Hunahpu!” you bellowed out, “………to your right!…..Go!Go!Go!”
Both the Red and the Blue teams were shouting madly as Tiresias scampered down the right sideline, three paces ahead of his pursuers, frantic on his heels. The gathered crowd roared out their excitement, rising to their feet as Tiresias took his shot——A miss!—-but so close!
Happy you were, you Divine Twins, to be playing the Mayan ball game again, having swept out the ball court of your fathers, the prior generation of Divine Twins, One Hunahpu and Seven Hunahpu who had been so cruelly killed and dismembered by Xibalba, the Lord of the Underworld for disturbing his peace with their loud sporting revels, as was told in the Popul Vuh, the Council Book, which recorded all things past and foretold all things…..whether there would be death, or whether there would be famine, or whether quarrels or wars would occur. You knew it for certain, since there was a place to see it—-there was a book. The Popul Vu, the Council Book, was your name for it.
Below the earth, as you and Tiresias played and shouted, Xibalba, horrible and stately in mien, covered his ears to shut out the din:
“Damn! Damn! Damn!—-I thought we had gotten rid of that horrible game long ago!” he, One Thanato, Lord of Death, said to his underling Seven Thanato, his captain. “Seven Thanato—-go up to the world of the Roof of the Sun and invite those damned new players down for a Friendly Ball Game!——-‘You are summoned you will tell them—–You must come—–We would play ball with you here in the Court of the Underworld.’”
“It is done, Lord Death.” said Seven Thanato.
You and Tiresias received Seven Thanato graciously and accepted his invitation. You knew that your own Fathers, One Hunahpu and Seven Hunahpu had received a similar invitation and met a cruel death by accepting. But you were not of a character to turn down a challenge, however daunting.
On the first day of the game, the team of Death played against you and Tiresias unto a draw, and you broke off, retiring for the night. Seven Thanato took you, the Divine Twins, you and Tiresias to the House of Cadavers to sleep, giving you a torch and two cigars. “You must burn the torch and smoke the cigars through the night, but return them intact in the morning, on penalty of death, instructed Seven Thanato,” who then returned gloatingly to Lord Death, sure that he would return to see their cadavers on the morn. You, however had a plan——you had brought a jar of honey with you to refresh yourself throughout the game, and you smeared some of the honey on the tip of the torch and the tips of the cigars. The honey attracted the fireflies during the night, so that from the distance that Seven Thanato watched you, it appeared that you had lit them. Seven Thanato reported to Lord Death that the game was underway and that they were sure to find the dead twins on the morrow. However, much to his chagrin, on the dawn you returned the torch and the cigars to him intact, and the Lord Death was forced to concede his loss of the engagement and ordered the second day of the Friendly Ball Game to begin.
The second day of the game, so unexpected, attracted a jostling crowd of Demons, Spectres and Devils of the Underworld in their thousands as spectators. Looking on as you and Tiresias donned your yokes, pads and equipment they gossiped: “What’s happening? Where did they come from? Who begot them and bore them? Our hearts are hurting, because what they are doing to our team is no good! They are different in their looks and different in their very being!” they said amoungst themselves.
Hearing thus, Lord Death, whose own name was Xibalba and who presided over the game stopped you both when you bowed before him to pay your respects prior to the commencement of the action, so as to ask a few friendly questions:
“Where might you have come from? Please name it.” Xibalba asked them.
“Well, wherever did we come from?” you asked rhetorically, looking towards Tiresias “To tell you the truth we don’t know!” That was all you said. You didn’t name it.
“Very Well, then.” said Lord Death “Let the game proceed!”
“Let’s play ball boys!” you called over to the Team of Death, and you ran out in full spirits to enjoy the sport.
As they had done before to trap your fathers One Hunahpu and Seven Hunahpu to their deaths, Xibalba prepared tricks they were sure would prove fatal. Xibalba after an hour said the old ball which you both had brought with you was defective, and insisted on using a new ball. You complained, saying the old ball was fine and the new ball was nothing but a covered skull. Xibalba insisted, however and you acceded to his wish. The Captain of the Team of Death smashed the ball hard at you, aimed directly at your heart. Instead of intercepting the ball, you dove in a somersault on the ground, letting the ball pass over you and strike the stone wall of the Ball Court behind you. With a loud crash the new ball splintered and a knife blade emerged from it, clattering upon the ground.
“What’s that?” you and Tiresias cried, “Death is the only thing you want—-you don’t have the honour to play fairly! You summoned us to the game and now you cheat! If you can’t play fair we will simply take our ball and leave!”
“Well, don’t go boys! Don’t be spoil sports! We can still play a fine game, and to show you what good sports we are, we’ll even use your ball!” said Xibalba.
So the game continued through the second day, ending again in a draw. So Xibalba gave you both leave to retire for the evening. Seven Thanato again plotted your deaths during the night, locking you into to the Jaguar-Demon House to die. “Good-bye, my boys! I don’t think we will be seeing each other soon! Let me introduce our good friends you will be lodging with here tonight to you: Here is the one called Gouger of Faces, he delights in gouging out your eyeballs!—There is the one called Sudden Bloodletter, he snaps off your heads!—-then comes Crunching Jaguar, the eater of flesh, and Tearing Jaguar, who tears your bodies open!—Sweet Dreams!” The heads of the many demons loomed at you out of the darkness like the devouring heads of Scylla, the Hydra-headed devourer. You, however had stuffed your bag and poncho with the carrion bones from the House of Cadavers of the night before, and then threw them to the demons, saying: “Don’t eat us! We brought you something even better that should be yours! Bon Appetite!” with which the demons began to gorge themselves on the carrion, fighting amoungst themselves for the last scrap, until they fell asleep over themselves, tired and satiated. Xibalba and Seven Thanatos arrived at dawn again in a light and joyful mood. Xibalba said to him: “Let’s collect their skeletons and put them into our trophy case to remember this game by!” However when they opened the door they found the Jaguar-Demons on the floor, still asleep, and you two, the Divine Twins beaming with health, Tiresias calling out to them with a playful sneer: “Let’s play ball boys—we’re up for it!”
“Why haven’t they died?” cried out the throng of demons assembled at the Ball Court of the Underworld, and were amazed at the feats of the two of you, the Celestial Twins in the House of Death. “I can’t believe what I am seeing—I must have drunk too much Mescal last night and I’m hallucinating all this!” said Seven Thanatos. The game proceeded and finally you made a supreme effort at the end of the last inning, and leaping a head higher than the captain of the Team of Death, batted the ball through the stone hoop with your shoulder.
Sweet as the victory was, there was great danger in it. You knew the Lord of Death was above all a sore loser, and spite was at the core of his being and character. Xibalba, Lord Death invited you to a celebration dinner before returning home, but you suspected another attempt on your lives before you would be allowed to leave his domain. You had in California been a fan of the Magic Castle, which had a club for teaching young magicians magic tricks. Knowing the delight of the demons and lords of death for destruction, you announced that you would provide some light entertainment at the celebration dinner by performing some magic tricks, destroying things and magically restoring them.
First, you took a watch and placed it on the table, covering it with a handkerchief. Then you smashed the watch into pieces, showing them to the demons. Then you placed the pieces in the handkerchief in the pocket of Seven Thanato. You chanted the magic phrase: “AllyeAllyeOxenFreeFreeFree!” and then took out the handkerchief, opening it. The watch was whole and restored! The Demons were delighted!—–You had discovered that they were all really such children at heart!
Next you drew a live dove from beneath your tunic. You took up an obsidian knife and cut off its head, and the Demons laughed as they watched the headless bird run about the floor, not knowing that it was dead! Then you picked up the carcass of the dead bird and the head and placed them within a bird cage. You covered the bird cage with its night cover and said the magic words: “EenyMeenyMinyMoe—CatchA…..” then pulled off the cover, opened the cage and the dove flew skywards to freedom! There was a stomping of feet and chortling cheering heard far and wide across the House of Death.
Then Xibalba, Lord of Death, arose and said: “Very Good! Excellent indeed! But before you can return home you must do one more trick for us. You know the rite of human sacrifice. The losing team in the Ball Game is condemned to death. You have yet to kill a person! Yet you must be confident in all your wonderful magic that you can bring him back to life! This is my command and condition for your safe return home to the World of Light: You must kill your Twin brother Hunahpu and bring him back to life! You must make a human sacrifice without Death! We love our small delights here in the House of Death——delightful entertainment is a bit in short supply down here unfortunately!”
So Seven Thanato and Xibalba laid Tiresias on a black marble altar and opened his tunic at the chest. Xibalba picked up an obsidian knife and incised his chest, then Seven Thanato pulled back the ribs, exposing the beating heart. They then handed you the obsidian knife and instructed: “Make your Deathless Sacrifice now, Magister Ludi!”
You wedged your hand beneath Tiresias’ beating heart and lifted it upwards. But instead of cutting out the heart you took the obsidian knife and applied it to the center of the top of his head and dissecting his entire body along the centerline, separating and bisecting his body into two neat halves. The demons, specters and devils of the Underworld gasped in amazement as they saw that one half of Teresias’ body was male and the other half transformed into a female, cut away separately completely, linked only by the beating heart shared between them! Then Tiresias arose, severed and bisected into two halves, and his two halves began to dance and sing, sliding across the dance floor making a good imitation of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers: “S’Wonderful!—S’Marvellous!—-that you should care for me!” he-and-she sang and danced and twirled together, breaking into a tap dance between refrains!
The demons and specters after recovering their breath burst into an uncontrolled applause: “They must be reincarnations of Ometeotl, the “Dual God,” male and female both—-both the mother and father of the Gods!” they shouted
Then you escorted the he-and-she halves of Tiresias back to the altar. You severed the beating heart between them and held it high above your head until it stopped and there was no doubt Tiresias was dead. You then replaced the heart between the dead male and female halves of the cadaver and covered them with a white sheet. You passed your hand over the cadaver and repeated the magic words: “NihilHumanumAlienumEst!”
Then Tiresias rose under the white sheet like a ghost at Halloween, the cloth still covering his face and body. You held the edge of the sheet in front of Tiresias’ body as his body rose to a standing position, and as the suspense built you finally let go with a dramatic flair, whipping the white sheet away! Before the assembled devils, demons and specters appeared Tiresias in his performance costume—half male and half female—half Teresias in a tophat and tails, and half Teresa in her drag dinner dress of silver sequin, bisected neatly down the centre! After milking the moment of shock for all it was worth Tiresias turned to break into his performance, singing, gliding and tapdancing:
You’re the top!
You’re the Coliseum.
You’re the top!
You’re the Louver Museum.
You’re a melody from a symphony by Strauss
You’re a Bendel bonnet,
A Shakespeare’s sonnet…..
You’re Mickey Mouse!
You’re the Nile,
You’re the Tower of Pisa,
You’re the smile on the Mona Lisa!
I’m a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
But if, baby, I’m the bottom you’re the top!
The effect was sensational and the applause thunderous! Then from here and there in the audience spontaneously you began to hear the words: “Me!….Me!….Let me try it!…..Cut me in two and bring me back to life again!……I want to try it!” as the hearts of the Underworld were filled with a childish longing and yearning for the dance.
You were about to perform the trick on Seven Thanatos, when Xibalba, the Lord of Death was insulted by your offence to his pride and announced: “No—-Protocol demands that I go first as the Lord of the Underworld”—he said as he moved to your side, shooing the captain aside.
“Very Well” you said, “You ought to come back to life. After all aren’t you Death? And aren’t we making you happy, along with all the vassals of your domains?”
Thus Xibalba, the Lord of Death was the first one to be sacrificed, and you cut out his beating heart, which was Black and spurted blood of black ink in your hands when it was severed. You cut, bisecting his body into two, as you had done with Tiresias. And, then you said the magic would take a short time, so you would do a few more while we all waited, and you similarly sacrificed Seven Thanatos and his lieutenants. They did not come back to life. They had no regenerative other, no soul to rejoin their bodies. Their bodies lay sexless and dead, the dismembered Eunuchs of Death. Their end was their end and no new beginning.
And then the Xibalban vassals, devils, demons, specters of the undead rose in a panic, seeing their Lords dead before them. “Death be not Proud!” they shrieked and scurried like lemmings to the edge of the abyss, the Pit of Eblis. There they piled up, on the edge of the abyss, like myriad ants, Myrmidian spectres trying to make up a single body from a buzzing swarm of ants, to replace their dismembered Lord, the Lord of Flies; but failing they tumbled into the abyss, free-falling for hours until they reached absolute bottom, all bent low in surrender, meek and defeated in the lake of sulphur and fiery brimstone. Then you and Tiresias wheeled the dismembered bodies of Xibalba and Seven Thanato to the edge of the abyss and pushed them over, following them with your gaze, disappearing into the black chaos below.
Then you two, you Divine Twins, embraced each other and wept in each other’s arms with manly though tender tears of joy. Such was the defeat of the Rulers of the Underworld, the omnipotent Lord Death Xibalba and his servile minions. And you brothers accomplished all this only through Wonders and Self-Transformations.
Arm in arm, you glorious two headed for the exit door of the small theatre of the Psychoplex and returned to the hallway. Sitting to recover your breath, the usher poured two more glasses of Mescal, and you toasted each other: “Tie Ger Mer! Sworn Brothers!—Semper Fi!” you exchanged, drawing off the cool ether of the Mescal.
“Now I’m getting into the fun of it!” you blurted out, putting down your glass of Mescal. “Now for the next adventure!” you effused, moving towards the third door: “All the Women of the World are Yours!”—–“Perhaps I’ll try this one alone!” you said smiling back at Teresias, opening the ornate door.
Immediately you discovered yourself in a wonderful forested glade, watered with a beautiful stream with the most luxurious foliage, flowers, and the cooing voices of the exotic jungle birds—-quetzel, trogon and troupial. In the center of a large clearing in the glade was an immense tree, singular in its immensity, that seemed to tower to the heavens—a veritable Tree of Igdrasil in its proportions. Beneath it was a young Aztec warrior, exquisitely handsome and well muscled, Adonis-like in his beauty, standing ever vigilant with a sword beneath the tree, fields of ripening maize corn visible at the edges of the clearing further down the glade. Upon his head was a golden crown, encrusted with sun-shot jade and precious gems, ears of maize corn sculpted in purest gold upon the crown, and topped with a headdress of brightly coloured feathers, green-blue, orange and iridescent purple, of the quetzal, trogon and troupial.
You crept in the underbrush until moving about behind the Aztec warrior, deliberately aside of his field of vision. Then wagering that you could affect the surprise, you drew your spear and ran straight at him, just out his peripheral vision. You built up speed and momentum as you neared the beautiful youth, raising your javelin to your shoulder. The warrior heard your footsteps and turned to face you—–too late!——and you released the javelin straight into his naked neck, cutting the jugular vein and with half its length emerging out the backside of his spine. The blood spurted frantically as the youth dropped to his knees, then looking up into your face to see his undoer. As his eyes caught your gaze, your hands rested boldly upon your hips, your pelvis thrust forward in proud triumphant display; the fallen man’s eyelids lifted, then drooped, and he died kneeling, the spear shaft thrust through his throat holding him up in a posture of prayer, his lips mouthing words, mocking speech, but with nothing to be heard but the congested gurgling of his ebbing and effusing blood.
From a palace far below you caught sight of a filing troupe of one hundred of the most beautiful women you had ever seen, clad entirely in immaculate white, their hair exquisitely done up, and carrying on their heads jars and urns of oil, food, dates, and other delicacies, or articles of gold embroidered clothing. Some played flutes and lyres and wondrous instruments. At their head was a being, one could say a woman, but the being was too beautiful to be an earthly woman, and seemed to have a superhuman radiant aura about her, intimating that she was not of earthly origin but a Goddess.
As the vestal column neared and found you standing over the kneeling corpse, the Goddess spoke out decisively: “The King is Dead—Long Live the King!” With that she lifted the golden crown from the blood-spattered head of the fallen youth and placed it on your head. Her underling women then stripped the robe from the fallen victim, removed the spear, and laid him out naked upon the ground—the gaping bloody hole opened wide beneath his open gasping fishlike mouth, still in frozen dead posture seeming to want to say something, but unable. The women took the naked body on a stretcher, anointed it with oil, and then cast it into a newly dug and unmarked grave, between two rows of maize corn.
The women removed your blood-bespattered clothing, poured water, soap and then oil and incense upon your naked well-muscled skin, washing your naked body and genitals unashamedly, then clothing you in a gold embroidered tunic and adjusting the quetzal feathers on your golden crown. Then the Goddess spoke:
“I am Xochiquetzal, Goddess of Love and Fertility. You are now my earthly king! You shall reign with absolute power until the next King comes to slay you, as you have just slain the King before you! Until that time you shall rule with the power of an emperor, vital and unageing. All the women of this land shall be your harem and your semen’s seed shall spread over their bodies like the kernels of maize corn upon the land of the fertile plain! You shall marry me and become as a God! The women of the earth shall worship your body, your phallus and your seed as their God! We shall retire to the Palace and consummate the ceremony! Then the women carried you and the Goddess, seated side by side, hand in hand in a sedan-chair litter on poles, in royal estate towards the palace. As they chanted their entoxicating melodies, singing joyfully in choral unison as the procession neared the Palace, you abandoned yourself willingly to the songs of the Sirens.
At the palace thousands of women, all nubile and gorgeous, lined the halls and bowed to you as you entered, the Goddess at your side. They installed you in your apartments next to the Goddess’ and then bathed you in frankincense and myrrh, and anointed your well-muscled body with holy oils, christening your skin. They brought you endless delicacies to eat, dates, exotic nuts, curries, puddings, gels, meat and fowl, fish and vegetables, in the most diverse sauces and spices. Aphrodisiac spices and wines were brought, powdered rhinoceros horn and tiger bone, oysters and shellfish, and hosts of others. Music was played endlessly by a female band, naked to the waist who entertained you, while oriental singers sang lyrics of great seductiveness and delicacy, suffusing the imagination. You felt your potency surge within you violently.
Then the Chief Priestess returned at the head of an endless train of nubile women clad in the most enticing garments. Behind her walked three gruesome hags who carried a litter surrounded with a purpled cloth curtain. They placed the litter, which looked like a small puppet stage beside a white marble pillar thrust up behind the altar. Each hag, a pale semblance of a Medusa, was accompanied by a priestess of a secondary order of extraordinary beauty. The three gruesome hags, who alone could approach the litter, drew back the curtain of the litter and before you appeared an extraordinary face atop a limbless torso, limbless except for one withered leg which extended upwards and across the back of the shoulders and base of the neck, with a diminutive foot, exquisitely wrapped in Chinese foot bindings and a silken shoelet dangling helplessly behind the figure’s left ear. The leg was atrophied and devoid of muscle, and at its base there was but a small pubic mound from which the genitals had been excised. The torso was sewn tightly into a silken sack like a papoose on the chest of which was a mystic arabesque. Atop the torso was a face of seeming feminine beauty dressed entirely in a consummate feathered headdress of immaculately white down feathers which drew tightly about the outline of the face, concealing any presence of hair like a nun’s white wimple. The skin was of perfect smoothness and delicately rouged and the lips protruded thickly in a perfect guled cupid’s bow glossed and pointed at its tips and ridges. The eyes seemed splayed like two extended wings of a delicate small bird of an immaculate white that resembled a masquerade ball mask, but with the feathers seeming to grow from the eyes themselves. The eyelids were closed, but also shingled with tiny soft white feathers, which took the place of eyelashes, with a line of diamonds and tiny coloured jewels limning the very edge of the upper lid as if penciled by a royal cosmetician. The three hags lifted the papoosed torso up a small ladder and placed it in its cradling nest atop the erect pillar.
At a signal from the Chief Priestess drums took up a relentless jungle beat and the train of maenad women raised their voices in a collective wailing song which must have been of the repertoire of the Sirens, jazzing to a mounting frenzy. The women of the train tore the clothes from their bodies and danced a frenzied writhing hypnotic dance, hormonally-crazed about the marble pillar, some by turns pressing and sliding their splayed vulvas up and down its erect length like the pole dancers of an erotic theatre. With the rising wails of the maenads the face began to turn upon its neck in slow tortured ritual circles and the grimacing mouth began to moan and attempt speech in an unknown glossalalia. At a climaxing drumstroke the perfectly fletched and splayed feathered eyelids of the face burst open with an awakening start, revealing within their downed frame the empty blood-red caverns of the gaping eye sockets from which the balls had been gouged and torn. The face shrieked in a tone that was clearly of a residual male timbre, and the mouth gaped open, from which issued not a human tongue but two, the tongue having been sliced precisely in two from its tip to its base, revealing two forked tips, one of red and the other of green, snakelike, from which no human speech issued, but a serpentine babbling or talking in tongues or helpless shrieks and plaintive moans. All about the crazed maenad chorus rose and quickened to the drumbeats in a frenzying ecstasy and violent crescendo of chant: “Imbunche, Imbunche, Imbunche……………………Imbunche!”
Finally, the Chief Priestess of the Goddess in a purple robe entered your chamber and announced it was time to conduct and consummate the marriage ceremony. The priestess performed the ritual, chanting the verses, and a maenad chorus replied hypnotically in sensual song and dance; then she led the Goddess to her nuptial bed, preparing her concealed behind the gauze curtain veil of the crimson-purple wedding chamber. Then the Priestess indicated only one thing remained of the ritual before the consummation and the night of pleasure and sublime ecstasy: The Sacrifice.
She indicated that to consummate the ceremony the living, beating heart of a woman must be excised from her body, then placed upon a silver tray, and placed over the marital bed while still alive and beating. She led you to the sacrificial altar, where was bound the body of a selected victim, a handsome woman, writhing, naked to the waist, with her face covered with a veil. The Priestess placed the sacred curved obsidian knife in your hands, then pulled back the outer curtain of the sacrificial altar. You hesitated, unsure of yourself, then raised your hand. You could see the fear in the eyes of the sacrifice, somehow vaguely familiar. You watched as she struggled against the leather bands that held her hands tight, and she squealed against the gag in her mouth, emitting a high hysterical and plaintiff whine. As you stepped forward the Priestess uncovered the sacrifice’s veil and removed it from her face. It was Eva!—your sister and your own heart! To your horror you saw the Priestess cut open her chest and pry back her ribs. You reached between the ribs and held Eva’s beating heart in the palm of your hand. You froze, inexplicable to yourself, unable to move or act.
“Strike!” The Priestess shrieked at you “Strike and sever the beating heart!–Strike or you shall be stricken dead!”
You raised the obsidian knife above your head–the full arm’s length above your head….you struck downward with all your remaining might——striking dead—–the Priestess and not Eva! You rushed to Eva, cutting her bonds and gag with your obsidian knife, then kissing her frenzied face and lips, bent on your knees, so uncontrollably desperate and frantic in your holiness towards her. Then you then picked her up in your arms and rushing towards the Exit of the theatre of the Psychoplex you pushed open the gilded door, re-entering the hallway. But when you had regained the hallway all had disappeared as into a lost dream, and Eva was no longer in your arms. Neither was the Teatro Magico behind the door, but you found yourself naked in your own hotel room at the Marco Polo Hotel, pushing open your bathroom door and re-entering your sitting room, darkened except for the moonlight shining through the translucent curtains. You collapsed onto the sitting room sofa, then poured yourself a large water tumbler full of Mescal from a large bottle on the coffee table before you. You gulped it down incredulously, first one, then two then the final gulp, drawing down and draining the Mescal’s ether to the bottom. You wiped your eyes and heard the buzzing about your ears and the shock of the Mescal hitting your spine and your bloodstream. Then you looked towards the bedroom, and you saw Maria rise from the bed, naked except for her lace panties, drawing you backwards towards the bed. You saw the exquisite tropical butterfly, floridly tattooed, large and iridescent across the small of her back, moving above her sculpted buttocks as she walked you towards the bed—and beneath it, delicately stenciled, the word: “Mariposa.” You became the butterfly as she moved, and fluttered drunkenly around her enticing body, like a moth before a flame in the night.
“Roberto!” she intoned pleadingly, “Come back to bed!—–we are getting cold waiting for you!” As she kissed you and caressed you inside your thigh, fondling your genitals, the stiffening shaft and heavy balls, which lifted, hardened and surged before you at her caressing touch; you glanced to the other side of the double King-sized bed and saw Teresa in a seductive negligee, fully feminine and inviting, yet with Tiresias somehow, submerged somewhere there within, half-hidden under the sheet, beaming back at you warmly and joining Maria in caressing your hardening penis, then lowering to suck your aching left ball and mouth then the tip and end of your cock playfully as Maria slid her tongue, French kissing, inside your mouth. Then the Mescal flooded your senses and you were unsure where you were, who, what you were doing or whom with, or doing to. You lost yourself in the rush of yourself, like the rushing wings of the butterfly emerging from the chrysalis into the unknown realm of flight towards the blinding sun upwards, and then dark, down into sleep and into a long unremembering…………..
Sartorius awoke at noon in an empty room, nursing a wild hangover. He could not tell if it all had been dream or real. It was as if he could not tell if he were a man dreaming he were a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was a man. He leaned over from the bed and poured himself a last glass of Mescal, draining the bottle and sucking down its strong ether. He lay long incoherent in the bed, and closed his eyes, drowsing several times, then regaining a fuller consciousness; then he considered what he had to do—–his plane for London would leave at 6:00 pm. As he raised himself to shower, he glanced back at the bed. Fallen between the pillows was a handscrawled note: “Roberto!—-Vaya con Dios!” It was unsigned.
Sartorius pulled the cord drawing back the curtains and looked outside his room: it was pouring rain from a thick dark deck of rainclouds above, thunder rumbling above his head like the threatening voices of the gods. An occasional flash of lightning would illuminate the gloom below. Slowly he gathered himself together, nursing his hangover with small sips of Mescal, then calling room service to have a lunch brought up to his room, then finally getting himself into the hot shower, that “three-minute miracle of self-transformation,” with which he was wont to undertake the daily ritual re-emergence. After the shower he took his meal in his robe, then smoked a cigarette, blowing the smoke upwards towards the ceiling. He dressed and gathered his things together, packing his bags, and then called down to the desk for a taxi to Benito Juarez Airport. The traffic was slow and heavy under the pouring rain, and Sartorius rested his forehead against the cool glass of the car window in a melancholy stare, dragging on a cigarette along the way.
The flight was delayed because of the rainstorm and he took a string of Tequilas in the airport bar, waiting and waiting. Sartorius sat long at the airport bar looking at the rows on rows of bottles arrayed on display before him and looking at himself in the array of mirrors behind the bar long and long. He stared at the bottles—-bottles on bottles—-half-empty, then fully empty bottles receding with himself into the endless mise-en-abime of refracted emptiness. He dropped his eyes at last. Suddenly he saw them, the bottles of aguardiente, of anis, of jereez, of Highland Queen, the glasses, a babel-tower of glasses—a towering, a babel of glasses rising high above the clouds into the sky, and then the bottles, the vast and empty volcanic mountain of empty bottles, piled high like the towering, heavenward gaping mouth of an extinct volcano—–the cumulation of all the bottles of his empty life—-the glasses and the bottles empty, the sum total of all that he had drunk and thought in his life—–he saw them all piled tower-like, babel-like high into the airy sky—-and he saw them come crashing, come crashing downward like a grand Niagara of broken glass, plunging downwards with an unbearable din, the broken bottles and glasses of a lifetime, plunging downwards and fracturing and splintering themselves, bursting into smithereens, bursting into tangled shards, a sea of tangled shards stretching out before his feet. He saw them all, and smelt them all, from the very beginning—-bottles, bottles, bottles, and glasses, glasses, glasses, of bitter, of Dubonnet, of Falstaff, Rye, of Johnny Walker, Vieux whisky, blanc Canadien, the aperitifs, the digestifs, the demis, the dobles, the noch ein Herr Obers, the et glas Araks, the tusen taks, the bottles, the bottles, the beautiful bottles of Tequila, and the gourds, the gourds, gourds, the millions of gourds of beautiful Mescal…….
Sartorius sat very still. How could he hope to find himself to begin again when, somewhere, perhaps, in one of those lost or broken bottles, in one of those glasses, lay, forever, the lost shard—–the solitary clue to his identity? How could he go back now and look, and scrabble and clutch, bloody-fingered around in the broken glass, under the eternal bars and under the glazed-glass oceans?
Then he fumbled in his pocket and re-found the letter. Eva’s letter. He read and re-read it, long and long. Eva’s face floated before him, seeming to appear above the looming abyss and constellate itself towards him like a beckoning beam of a lighthouse in a storm to a sailor in peril, tossed on a deadly sea; her face appeared to him——Beatrix-like to his Dante, Sita-like to his Rama, a Guan Yin and Madzu appearing before his eyes; Layla-like to his Majnoun, Gretschen-and-Helen-like to his Faust, his ewige Weibliche—his Eve to his Adam—–his Virgen de la Soledad, all seemed beckoning above the waves to the shipwrecked sailor, clasping at his spar, clasping at his lost shard. A line out of Rilke floated up and into his consciousness, like a last piece of flotsam or jetsam bubbling up from a sinking ship: “For here there is no place that does not see you: You must change your life. “
Then the delayed plane finally boarded, taxied, and took off. Sartorius held his hot brow against the cooling glass of the porthole window as the plane mounted, swung and spiraled heavenward through the beating rain and gloom. Then suddenly, with a flash of golden light, the airplane burst through the cloud cover below and emerged into the bright sunlight above the cloud-deck, as Sartorius watched the flashes of lightning buried and smothering in the translucent dark clouds below. The plane circled, first heading Southwest then coming round on a course heading towards the Northeast, in the direction of London. As it did so it passed between the twin volcanic peaks of Popocatepetl, the Passionate Warrior, and Ixtaccihuatl, the Sleeping Woman, their heads pushing bravely into the sun above, encircled by the whirlpooling deck of blackened and thundering cumulus girdled below their waists. As he looked down, strapped and buckled firmly into his airseat amidst the galley rows of open portholes, taking in Popocatepetl to his left and Ixtaccihuatl to his right, he felt a sense of release, of tension suddenly letting go from a danger passed, an evanescing of nemesis into the blue, clear sundrenched sky above; and he felt as he felt Odysseus must have felt, clearing the twin perils of the black swirling whirlpool of Charybdis and the many-headed devouring monster of Scylla behind him, or lashed to his mast, as he heard faintly disappearing, the sweet but deadly voices of the Sirens, those around him with wax-plugged ears pulling, eyes-averted in their airseats on the oars of their daily lives. He thought of Eva and felt her presence near him, near to his heart, and reached out his arms inwardly to embrace her there, and he said yes, yes he said, yes he said to himself, yes he said as he asked himself if he would, and his heart was going like mad as he drew his face near down to her face in his mind, and he could feel her breasts against him all perfume, and he said yes, and his heart was going mad and he said yes to himself, yes I will, Yes.”
Of course the use of the Second-person Voice in Spiritus Mundi is a limited experiment, and no attempt is made to make that narrative mode the principal mode for the entire novel, which, given the epic length and breadth of the work, might well be unsustainable. In fact, Spiritus Mundi uses a large variety of narrative modes, with the dominant Third-person narrative playing a dominant role, complemented in large part by extensive First-person narrative through the “Blog Journals” of four of the principal characters, protagonist Robert Sartorius, his lover and later wife Eva Strong, Eva’s former lover and colleague of Sartorius in the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, Andreas Sarkozy, and Japanese Artist, Clairvoyante, and UNPA Activist Yoriko Oe. These five voices or “Multiple Points of View” including the Hypo-Hallucinogenic 2nd Person of the Teatro Magico are further complemented by a wide range of narrative devices and modes, including the use of Internet RSS “NewsFeeds” intended as the Internet Age equivalent of Dos Passos’ cinematic “camera-eye” and Headline voices of the USA epic, the use of dialogic Internet “Chat” text, the First-person embedded novella, “Neptune’s Fury,” a “Naval Diary” telling the story of Sartorius’ ancestor’s shipwreck in the Indian Ocean in the 1800’s, the dialogic-dramatic US Congressional Hearing Transcript in Washington, D.C., Sartorius’ embedded poetry alongside many embedded song and poetic lyrics of diverse origin, and a wide variety of intertextual references and allusions, and stylistic emulations recapitulating the history and canon of World Literature, reminiscent of Joyce’s recapitulative canonic stylistics in Ulysses. Thus, the 2nd Person voice plays a limited role, in secondary complement to other narrative modes. Had it been the principal mode, it might well have been more fully developed along other possible innovative and radically experimental lines to exploit the fuller energies and narratologically radical potential of the Second-person Voice and point of view. However, used as it is, as a quantum –leap hypno-hallucinogenic shift of Point-of-View to embody a transitorily altered psychic state, it plays an important role in the epic novel as a whole.
One additional use of the Second-person “you” address also occurs in the “The Volcano’s Underworld” chapter of Spiritus Mundi, namely the Baudelairian “Hypocrite Lecteur” passage in which the Reader is directly addressed and expelled from the novel in a fit of drug-induced pique by the hallucinating protagonist, Sartorius, once again “breaking the frame,” “baring the device,” and using a direct and pointed 2nd Person address of the Reader to tear down the “fourth wall” in a Brechtian use of the “Verfremdungseffekt,” or narrative strategy of “making strange:”
“Sartorius lifted the third Mescal and in a single motion drained it. Setting the glass upside down on the table with a muted clatter he noticed a man with a mustache staring impolitely at him and frowning menacingly at him, but he returned the grimace, as the man followed his every motion, seemingly mocking him in imitation, setting his glass upside down on the counter in front of himself just as he did. One of Salvador Dali’s clocks was draped over his wrist, the spinning hands of which stopping at 2:46 then reversing themselves in the mirror to 6:42. Sartorius checked his own watch and 6:42 it was—-he had to run across the street or he would be stranded outside the city. He shoved a note towards the Senora and ran out, clutching his laptop carrying case. He ran across the street and reached the stand. 6:48. No bus. He sat down on the bench and looked around him trying to decide what to do. On the opposite corner was a small hotel—unbelievably dirty and dreary. Depressed, he closed his eyes and seemed to slumber. He found himself walking desperately, like a man lost in a jungle or in a labyrinth suffused in thick fog. He turned and turned and turned. Then he caught sight of a woman, beautiful, leaning against a wall. He took her for a streetwalker at first, trying to catch his eye. Then he looked again and the woman, pulling a thin veil from across her head, revealed a face the very image of Eva. He approached her and kissed her violently on the mouth, she closing her eyes and loosening her lips to take him. He then raised his head and eyes and then flung himself back in horror as a red rat pushed its head and then body from inside her glossed lips and scurried down her blouse…….He sat down bleary eyed at a picnic table inside a gazebo just next to the bus stop and opened his laptop and began to type violently:
“HYPOCRITE LECTEUR!—-THIS MEANS YOU!
Mon Semblable! Mon Frere!
You! Lousy Reader! Get out!
Yes You! Don’t pretend you don’t know who it is I am talking to!
What makes you think you have got any fucking right sticking your ugly nose in here when real people are suffering! Go! Now! Go!—Get Out!
Get your filthy hands off this book—Now!—You!—you lowlife! You think you can just barge in here with your lousy twenty bucks or your fucking library card Nook or iPad and own, rent and gawk and manipulate real people’s lives from your chinsy invulnerable tower with its lousy cheap little peep hole? I’m 86’ing your ass out of this fucking text right now! Get lost you closet faggot!—You Peeping-Tom! Go back where you fucking came from!”
Then his head slumped into an unconscious torpor pushing down shut the top of the laptop beneath him.”
Further playful incidents of a parallel nature occur with more frequency in Book II of Spiritus Mundi, “Spiritus Mundi the Romance,” as the greater plasticity of the latter form opens with numerous intrusions of the authorial voice in direct address to the Reader, reminiscent of transitional passages of authorial address in Fielding’s Tom Jones, or of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. There also further “breaking of the frame” sequences occur, such as the “labor strike” of the characters against the author and publisher and the appearance of God in the text, reminiscent of the dissociation techniques of Pirandello’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author.”
Human survival has always depended on a shared vision. The modern Cartesian self, one of the crowning achievements of Western Civilization freeing the genius, scientific and rational judgment and unbounded energies of the individual mind from the bondage of tribal dominance and repression, unleashing its untold creative energies, nonetheless must be tempered by the realization that the “cogito ergo sum” of its declaration of independence and of the full autonomy of the individual, as though such disembodied individual could blithely go on existing should the rest of humanity, history and the world cease to exist, is at least partly the exercise of a willful fiction not wholly sustainable within reality. Aristotle famously stated that “man is a social animal.” Evolutionary Biology asserts that the survival of the human species must in some part have depended upon a shared language and a shared social vision of reality which would enable to mobilization and concerted action of the entire community in times both of peaceful development and of lethal crisis. The mere existence of the faculties of language and human reason, in and of themselves, constitute the necessary, but not sufficient conditions for indispensible social cooperation, cohesion and extended action in the face of hostile natural or human threats. To language must be added the power of vision, the power of the imagination to create a vision of reality and human identity and destiny capable of strengthening the cohesion of the human community and of realizing across generations the dreams of an uncertain yet possible future which might unite the human commonwealth for survival. Art and Literature, alongside myth, religion, cultural heritage, and the arts have always been called upon to provide such vision and through it the common understandings and common identities requisite for mobilizing the means of individual and communal survival and finding out the common direction of the further evolution of our species on earth.
Within the imaginative arts, states of consciousness transcending the individual ego and drawing the greater self within into more comprehensive and sustainable relationships with the human community and the cosmos have always been found necessary from primordial times to the present and into the future. The transitory abandonment of individual autonomy in hypnosis, dream, tribal ritual and dance, religious trance, ecstasy and ritual, and in the residual power of such intersubjective forms as Second-person narrative and song provide lasting opportunities for the recuperation, strengthening and renewal of the individual self through its recurrent merger with the energies of the collective unconscious in heightened imaginative experience.
It is the role of the artist and of the writer is to mediate between the greatness of the past and the new. This implies a progressive conservatism of the future: its goal is the preservation of a core of values around which, in beautiful forms, the new might crystallize. Art and the imagination supply the missing seed crystals of this process. Modern art and literature reach into the primordial past, the collective unconscious and the evolving canon and find the links to powerful states of consciousness, sometimes submerged, which can be revitalized in newer and evolving forms. Experimental techniques such as Second-Person Narrative hold potential for recuperating states of consciousness transcending the modern individual ego and potentially enabling it to find sources of renewal and regeneration, and of greater inner and outer wholeness and health. It is hoped that Spiritus Mundi may make some small contribution to this ongoing effort.
[Acknowledgment for visuals and for further 2nd Person reference: http://members.westnet.com.au/emmas/2p/thesis/1.htm#1-1%5D
Related Links and Websites: Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard
For Introduction and Overview of the Novel: https://spiritusmundinovel.wordpress.com/
For Updates on the Upcoming Movie Version of the Novel, Spiritus Mundi & Casting of Actors and Actresses for Leading Roles See: https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/
For Author’s Blog: https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com//
To Read Abut the Occupy Wall Street Movement in Spiritus Mundi: http://occupywallstreetnovel.wordpress.com/
To Read a Sample Chapter from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundisamplechapters.wordpress.com/
To Read Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundifantasymythandmagicalrealism.wordpress.com/
To Read Sexual Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: The Varieties of Sexual Experience: https://spiritusmundivarietiesofsexualexperience.wordpress.com/
To Read Spy, Espionage and Counter-terrorism Thriller Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: http://spiritusmundispyespionagecounterterrorism.wordpress.com/
To Read Geopolitical and World War Three Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundigeopoliticalworldwar3.wordpress.com/
To Read Spiritual and Religious Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundionspiritualityandreligion.wordpress.com/
To Read about the Global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundiunitednationsparliamentaryassembly.wordpress.com/
To Read Poetry from Spiritus Mundi：https://spiritusmundipoetry.wordpress.com/
For Discussions on World Literature and Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycriticism.wordpress.com/
For Discussions of World History and World Civilization in Spiritus Mundi: https://worldhistoryandcivilizationspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/
To Read the Blog of Eva Strong from Spiritus Mundi: https://evasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/
To Read the Blog of Andreas Sarkozy from Spiritus Mundi: http://andreasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/
To Read the Blog of Yoriko Oe from Spiritus Mundi: http://yorikosblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/
To Read the Blog of Robert Sartorius from Spiritus Mundi: http://sartoriusblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/
ON SPIRITUS MUNDI
“Read Robert Sheppard’s sprawling, supple novel, Spiritus Mundi, an epic story of global intrigue and sexual and spiritual revelation. Compelling characters, wisdom, insight, and beautiful depictions of locations all over the world will power you through the book. You’ll exit wishing the story lines would go on and on.” May 13, 2012
Robert McDowell, Editor, Writer, Marketer, Editorial Cra, The Nature of Words
“Robert Sheppard’s novel, “Spiritus Mundi,” has everything. “Spiritus Mundi” is Latin, meaning “spirit” or “soul of the world.” According to the Norton Anthology of English Literature, the phrase refers to “the spirit or soul of the universe” with which all individual souls are connected through the “Great Memory.” This amazing novel is all inclusive and unceasingly riveting. If you are interested in politics, philosophy, human relationships, sex, intrigue, betrayal, poetry and even philosophy — buy and read “Spiritus Mundi”!”November 18, 2012
Raymond P. Keen, School Psychologist, Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DODDS)
“Robert Sheppard’s new novel “Spiritus Mundi” is a new twist on a well-loved genre. Robert leaves no stone unturned in this compelling page turner you’ll experience mystery, suspense, thrills, and excitement. Robert touches on sexuality and spirituality in such a way that the reader is compelled to ask themselves “what would you do if faced with these trials?” Robert is a master at taking the reader out of their own lives and into the world he created. If you’re looking for a “can’t put down” read pick up Spiritus Mundi!” May 20, 2012
Nicole Breanne, Content Coordinator, Ranker.com
“Longing for a thrilling experience of the sexual and spiritual world? Expecting a thorough summoning of your inner heart? Aspiring to find an extraordinary voice to enlighten your understanding heart? Then you can’t miss this extraordinary novel, Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard. The author will spirit you into a exciting world filled with fantasy, myth, conflicts and wisdom from a fresh perspective. Don’t hesitate, just turn to the 1st page and start out enjoying this marvellous journey.”November 17, 2012
Alina Mu Liu, Official Interpreter, Editor & Translator, HM Courts & Tribunal Service, London UK & the United Nations
“Robert Sheppard’s Spiritus Mundi is a literary novel for those with an extensive vocabulary, and who believe how you tell a story is as important as what occurs in it. It is as current as today’s headlines.
Jaime Martinez-Tolentino, Writer” November 19, 2012
“Robert Sheppard’s exciting new novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey of high adventure and self-discovery across the scarred landscape of the modern world and into the mysteries beyond. Its compelling saga reveals the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global protesters and idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War III to bring the world together from the brink of destruction with a revolutionary United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and spiritual rebirth. This modern epic is a must read and compelling vision of the future for all Citizens of the Modern World and a beacon of hope pointing us all towards a better world struggling against all odds to be born.” May 19, 2012
Lara Biyuts, Reviewer and Blogger at Goodreads.com and Revue Blanche
“Robert Sheppard’s “Spiritus Mundi” is a book of major importance and depth. A must read for any thinking, compassionate human being living in these perilous times. I highly recommend this powerful testament of the current course of our so-called life on his planet. April 25, 2012
Doug Draime Writer, Freelance
“This new novel ‘Spiritus Mundi’ brings together history, politics, future society, and blends with a plausible World War Three scenario. I have read it and find it over the top fascinating. I am very glad to see Robert share his creativity with the world through this work of fiction, and know it will be a huge hit.” April 28, 2012
Jim Rogers, Owner and Director, AXL
“Robert Sheppard is an exceptional thinker! His work should be read and made the subject of critical study.”May 26, 2012
Georgia Banks-Martin, Editor, New Mirage Journal
“This novel rocks the reader with its supple strength. You want to say “No, No,” and you end up saying, “Maybe.” Political science fiction at its highest, most memorable level.”November 17, 2012
Carl Macki, Owner, Carl Macki Social Media
“Robert Sheppard’s Novel Spiritus Mundi confronts politics and philosophies of the world. He’s examined multiple layers of personality in his characters; male, female, Chinese, Arab, English, and American melding them into a story of possible outcomes. How else can I convey the intelligent presentation of fiction woven with sensitivity to our world’s governments, religious influences and sectarian principles? We must not forget the influence of a largely secular world. Robert tirelessly checked, rechecked and triple checked his resources in order to bring a fiction of occurrence, and psychological impact as set forth in his novel Spiritus Mundi.”November 18, 2012
Glenda Fralin, Author, Organization NWG
“Robert was one of my best guests. His novel is as wide ranging as are his interests and expertise. He can explain his various ideas with great clarity and he does this with compassion. Novel is worthwhile reading.”November 18, 2012
Dr. Robert Rose, Radio Show Host, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/icdrrose
I write to introduce to your attention my double novel Spiritus Mundi, consisting of Spiritus Mundi, the Novel—Book I, and Spiritus Mundi, the Romance—Book II. Book I’s espionage-terror-political-religious thriller-action criss-crosses the globe from Beijing to London to Washington, Mexico City and Jerusalem presenting a vast panorama of the contemporary international world, including compelling action, deep and realistic characters and surreal adventures, while Book II dialates the setting and scope into a fantasy (though still rooted in the real) adventure where the protagonists embark on a quest to the realms of Middle Earth and its Crystal Bead Game and through a wormhole to the Council of the Immortals in the Amphitheater in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in search of the crucial Silmaril Crystal, and to plead for the continuance of the human race in the face of threatened extinction from a nuclear World War III, all followed by a triple-somersault thriller ending in which a common garden-variety terrorist attack is first uncovered by MI6 and the CIA as the opening gambit a Greatpower Game of States threatening World War III and then, incredibly, as the nexus of a Time Travel conspiracy involving an attempt by fascist forces of the 23rd Century to alter a benign World History by a time-travelling raid on their past and our present to provoke that World War III, foiled by the heroic efforts of the democratic 23rd Century world government, the Senate of the United States of Earth, to hunt down the fascist interlopers before their history is irrevocably altered for evil.
When activist Robert Sartorius, leading a global campaign to create a European Parliament-style world-wide United Nations Parliamentary Assembly presses the proposal in New York on his old friend the UN Secretary-General and is rebuffed due to the hostile pressure of the conservative American administration, his Committee resolves to fight back by launching a celebrity-driven Bono-Geldof-Band Aid/Live 8-style “People Power” media campaign and telethon spearheaded by rock superstars Isis and Osiris and former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to mobilize global public support and pressure in alliance with the Occupy Wall Street Movements worldwide. The Blogs of Sartorius, activist Eva Strong and Committee Chairman Andreas Sarkozy reveal the campaign’s working struggle, their tangled love affairs, a loss of faith, attempted suicide, reconciliation of father and son after divorce, and recovery of personal love and faith.
Things fall apart as the idealists’ global crusade is infiltrated by a cell of jihadist terrorists using it as a cover, then counter-infiltrated by CIA agent Jack McKinsey and British MI6 agent Etienne Dearlove. A cat-and-mouse game of espionage and intrigue ensues pitting them against the Chinese MSS espionage network allied with the Iranian Quds Force crossing Beijing, London, Moscow, Washington and Jerusalem unleashing an uncontrollable series of events which sees the American Olympic Track and Field Team bombed on an airplane in London, uncovers a secret conspiracy of China, Russia and Iran to jointly seize the oil reserves of the Middle-East, and witnesses Presidents Clinton and Carter taken hostage with Sartorius, McKinsey, Eva and other activists at a Jerusalem telethon rally cut short by the explosion of a concealed atomic device in a loaned Chinese Terracotta Warrior, then flown by capturing terrorists to Qom, Iran as “human shields” to deter a retaliatory nuclear attack.
In Book II, Spiritus Mundi, the Romance they encounter Iran’s Supreme Leader in Qom as the world teeters on the brink of nuclear confrontation and World War III, while mysterious events unfold leading Sartorius and McKinsey from their captivity in the underground nuclear facilities of Qom into a hidden neo-mythic dimension that takes them to a vast ocean and land at the center of the world, Middle Earth, Inner Shambhala, and to involvement in a mysterious Castalian “Crystal Bead Game” linked to the destiny of the human race on earth. They then embark on a quest for the Silmaril, or Missing Seed Crystal to the central island of Omphalos in the Great Central Sea in the middle of the globe, aided by Goethe, the Chinese Monkey King, Captain Nemo, the African God-Hero Ogun, and a Sufi mystic they traverse a ‘wormhole’ at the center of the earth guarded by ‘The Mothers’ and the fallen angel tribe of the Grigori (Genesis 6:1-4) which leads the way to critical meeting of the “Council of the Immortals” at the Black Hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy to determine the final fate of the human species. The heroes battle and overcome the treacherous opposition of Mephisto and his satanic subaltern Mundus through their Underworld and Otherworld adventures and successfully plead the cause of the continuation of the human species before the Immortals, returning with the critical Silmaril Crystal, resolving the Crystal Bead Game and thereby inspiring through the Archangel Gabriel a dream in the mind of Iran’s Supreme Leader which brings a new Revelation causing him to release the hostages and an end the crisis. China and Russia stand down from aiding Iran in seizing the Mid-East oil reserves, but in a treacherous blow the Chinese instead utilize their forward-positioned armies to attack their former ally Russia and seize Siberia with its large oil and gas reserves instead. President Barret Osama, America’s newly-elected first black President then invites Russia, Japan and South Korea to join NATO and together they succeed in expelling the Chinese from Siberia and usher in a new Eurasian and global balance of power and a New World Order.
Rock Superstar Osiris meanwhile, after undertaking a narcissistic Messianic mission in the wake of the Jerusalem atomic blast is dramatically assassinated on live world-wide television on Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa by a disillusioned follower. His wife and rock-star partner Isis then leads a spiritual movement to reconcile and unite the clashing religions and catalyze a common global spiritual Renaissance through a Global Progressive Spiritual Alliance which seeks to construct an Inter-faith Temple on the ruins of the atomic blast in Jerusalem. In counter-reaction to the cataclysmic events the world finally implements Sartorius’ crusade for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, but not before Sartorius has himself has died, Moses-like of a heart attack while helping to foil a metaconspiracy mediated by Time Travel in which a fascist agent from the 23rd Century who has time-transited back to our time to alter a benign history by causing WWIII and thus preventing the evolution of a democratic world government, the United States of Earth, which follows him through time and nabs him just in the “nick of time” to prevent Aramgeddon. The book ends with the opening ceremony of the UN Parliamentary Assembly which is attended in Sartorius’ name by his widow Eva Strong, whom Sartorius had fallen in love with and married in the course of the novel, and by their son Euphy, newborn after Sartorius’ death. They are joined in cinematic climax at the ceremony by newly chosen UN Secretary-General Clinton, President Osama and UN Parliamentary Assembly Committee Chairman Andreas Sarkozy who have just received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in creation of the world’s first world parliamentary assembly within the United Nations, bringing together the representative voices of the peoples of the world in face-to-face assembly and dialogue for the first time in world history.
All the Highlights of the novel cannot be contained in such a short Introduction, but a few of them would include:
1. Spiritus Mundi is the first novel in world history to portray the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assemblyon the working model, inter alia, of the European Parliament and the first novel to portray the Occupy Wall Street Movement and related movements worldwide;
2. Spiritus Mundi is a prophetic geo-political WWIII novel of the near future forseeing a conflict and conspiratorial surprise attack by a resurgent “Axis” of China, Russia and Iran seeking by a decisive blow in jointly seizing the Middle-East oil fields to radically alter the global balance of power vis-a-vis the West in the world and Eurasia. Like Clancy’s The Bear and the Dragon, it forsees the inclusion of Russia in NATO, and goes far beyond in forseeing the inclusion of South Korea and Japan, following a joint Chinese-Russian occupation of a collapsing North Korea and the Axis strike at the Middle-Eastern oil fields;
3. Spiritus Mundi is an exciting espionage thriller involving the American CIA. British MI6, the Chinese MSS, or Ministry of State Security and the Russian SVR contending in a deul of intrigue and espionage;
4. Spiritus Mundi is a Spellbinding Terrorism/Counterterrorism novel involving a global plot to conceal an atomic bomb in a Chinese Teracotta Warrior to be detonated in Jerusalem;
5. Features the romantic and sexual searching and encounters of dozens of idealist activists, rock-stars, CIA and MI6 agents, public-relations spinmeisters and billionaires with a detour into the bi-sexual and gay scenes of Beijing, New York, California, London and Tokyo:
6. Establishes and grounds the new genre of the Global Novel written in Global English, the international language of the world,
7. Spiritus Mundi is a novel of Spiritual Searching featuring the religious searching of Sufi mystic Mohammad ala Rushdie, as well as the loss of faith, depression, attempted suicide and recovery of faith in life of protagonist Sartorius. Follows bogus religious cult leaders and the Messiah-Complex megalomanic-narcissistic mission of rock superstar Osiris that leads to his dramatic assassination on worldwide television in Jerusalem, followed by the religious conversion of his wife and rock-star parner Isis;
8. Features the search for love and sexual fulfillment of Eva Strong, a deeply and realistically portrayed divorced single mother involved in the United Nations campaign, who reveals her tortured heart and soul in her Blog throughout several disastrous sexual affairs and ultimately through her final attainment of love and marriage to Sartorius;
9. Features Sartorius’ experience of a bitter divorce, alienation and reconciliation with his son, his loss of faith and attempted suicide, his battle against drugs and alcoholism, his surreal and sexual adventures in Mexico City, and his subsequent redeeming love and marriage to Eva Strong;
10. Contains the in–depth literary conversations of Sartorius and his best friend, Literature Nobel Laureate Günther Gross, as they conduct worldwide interviews and research for at book they are jointly writing on the emergence of the new institution of World Literature, building on Goethe’s original concept of “Weltliteratur” and its foundations and contributions from all the world’s traditions and cultures;
11. Predicts the emergence of the institution and quest of “The Great Global Novel” as a successor to the prior quest after “The Great American Novel” in the newer age of the globalization of literature in Global English and generally;
12. Features the cross-cultural experiences and search for roots, sexual and spiritual fulfillment and authenticity of Asian-American character Jennie Zheng, and Pari Kasiwar of India;
13. For the first time incorporates in the dramatic narrative flow of action the mythic traditions of all the cultures and literatures of the world, including such figures as Goethe, The Chinese Monkey King, the African God-Hero Ogun, surreal adventures in the ‘Theatro Magico’ in Mexico City bringing to life figures from the Mayan-Aztec Popul Vuh, Hanuman from the Indian classic the Ramayana, and many more;
14. Book Two, Spiritus Mundi, the Romance is a fantastic Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Rollercoaster Ride: The more mythic Book Two utilizes a Wellsian motif of Time Travel to explore the making of history and its attempted unmaking (a la Terminator) by a hositile raid from the future on the past, our present, and the foiling of the fascist attempt by an alliance of men and women of goodwill and courage from past, present and future generations united in a Commonwealth of Human Destiny; Like Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day and Welles’ Journey to the Center of the Earth it involves a journey to an interior realm of the “Middle Earth;” it also contains a futuristic travel through a wormhole to the center of our Milky Way Galaxy for a meeting with the “Council of the Immortals” where the fate of the human race will be decided;
15. Is a fantastic read on a roller-coaster ride of high adventure and self-exploration!
C Copyright 2013 Robert Sheppard All Rights Reserved