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When philanthropy goes bad, it goes really bad: crass suffering and irredeemable psychic damage occur, especially when children are involved. Such a travesty unfolds upon the pages of the historical novel Remember Me (2020) written by Mario Escobar who gives voice to the “Children of Morelia.”

One year into the Spanish Civil War, 1937, the Mexican government offered asylum to Spanish children, in harm’s way from Generalissimo Franco’s aggression. One was a relative of the author. She and over four hundred other children were shipped to Morelia and jammed inside the Spain-Mexico Industrial School barracks to live in sub-human conditions for the duration of the war. Designated funds for their care found other pockets.

To enflesh these events, Escobar develops three siblings: Marco, thirteen years old, and his sisters Isabel and Ana, ages ten and six, respectively. Their resiliency, courage, and spirit moved them in and out of shocks from bullies, from their cruel director and teachers, from abductions, and from hunger and worn clothing. Memories of their parents in Madrid fuel their determination to be reunited, at any cost.

Escobar’s skillful editing screens out unseemly details that could have interrupted the urgent flow of the narrative. At stake here is the survival of the siblings.

Because twentieth-century Spanish history eludes me, I found the author’s end chapters on the “Clarification of History” and “The Timeline” helpful in understanding the novel.

Thanks to the artistry of Mario Escobar, the “Children of Morelia” have found a permanent home in Remember Me. Their innocent suffering and even death will not be relegated to the backwards of Spanish or Mexican history.

Doors—Every day we open and close them, seldom noting their materials, their purpose their mechanisms: hinged, folding, sliding, rotating up and over, some with locks and some without. Perhaps with the advent of consciousness came doors: for specific rituals, for protection of homes from enemies or predators, and for so much more. Crossing their threshold alters energy, either positively or negatively.

Even tomb builders in the Nile Valley fashioned hieroglyphs of single and double doors to cordon off sacred space for the grieving. In later centuries, ornamental doors were hung on mosques, monasteries, cathedrals, and temples, bespeaking their mysteries within. From a first century AD estate in Pompeii, a set of Roman folding doors is exhibited in the Naples Archeological Museum. We could go on and on.

Many view their front door as sacred. Above mine is taped a medal of St. Benedict to ward off those with whom I’ve no business.

Yet, there is another door closer to the home we live in—the door to our hearts; its challenge is to pause before opening it to who or whatever attracts us. With instincts activated, discernment is critical. In the in-between space, questions surface: Are lesser motives involved? Is neediness demanding to be satiated? Who will benefit? What will I learn if I act? Or give in? Perhaps “No”—the closed door—is the wisest response when clarity is an issue. Such practice deepens humility and opens the psyche to spiritual guidance, without which we stagnate. 

Thus we thrive in our flawed humanness and bring our unique gifts to fruition among others—often behind closed doors.

At midnight I awoke with this dream:

The Eyes of Isis has just been published and drawn rave reviews. I’m eager to buy my own copy.

 For the remainder of the night, sleep came in fits and starts, given my body’s memory of touring the Egyptian Temple of Isis with a Jungian study group in 1996. It was the last temple built in the classical Egyptian style, with construction beginning around 690 BCE.

 

 

Overwhelmed then and now by the Sacred Feminine, my psyche thrummed with energies opening onto vast realms beyond imagining. Who would have thought I would revisit this sacred site of Isis in my dream? Would find such nurturing as I await my transition? Would again feel at home within Isis’s protective arms?—No matter the centuries that separate us, Isis first mentioned in the Pyramid Texts, c. 2350–c. 2100 BCE. The priests of Heliopolis developed her myth that spread throughout the Greco-Roman world, its mysteries practiced in her Temples.

 

 

Isis’s devotees yearned for spiritual growth in this life and a high place in the afterlife. In this striving, they leaned into her motherly wisdom and compassion, sought the succor of her healing, and welcomed her presence at the weighing of heart ceremony in the underground Hall of Osiris. I share their yearning.

The dream seems to invite deeper penetration within the eyes of Isis opening out upon bliss, and not lose heart with the rigors of my transition. This is working out.

 

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