The moment you start studying the Fortean mysteries, you begin to realize there’s a large chunk of historical events missing from the history books you read during your school years. A Hidden History which is often dismissed or overlooked by most mainstream academicians, either due to sheer ignorance on their part, or because such events are considered unworthy to be included in the official records or museum exhibits.
This is certainly a tragedy as well as a very big mistake, for it is not possible to make sense of what transpired in those incidents which shaped the course of the past, if you lack the knowledge of the deep undercurrents which influenced them. In order to understand the Exoteric, one must first be acquainted with the Esoteric.
One very interesting example of just how profoundly the Esoteric can veer the course of mankind, can be found in the events which subsequently lead to one of the most important & violent episodes in the history of my nation: The Mexican Revolution.
Now, as you can probably imagine, the Revolution is a basic subject in the curricula of every school in Mexico, and since grade-school every child is supposed to learn how at the beginning of the XXth century the ‘evil’ Porfirio Díaz had ruled for over 30 years with an iron fist, keeping most of the population in misery and without any liberties, until one day the hero Francisco I. Madero called upon the nation to raise in arms to overthrow the tyrant, who finally stepped down and was exiled to Europe. THE END.
Like all propaganda, the official account is so watered-down & schematic that it oversimplifies what was in reality an extremely complex social movement. As you grow older you learn for instance that General Díaz had in fact brought the first period of stability & true economic prosperity to Mexico –though truth be told, said prosperity had been gained at the expense of social equality & freedom of expression, often relying on brutal methods to crush any attempts of dissension.
The grade-school teachers also expect their students to take as a given that Madero sought to overthrow Diaz, and launched an armed conflict which ended up claiming the lives of over 2 million people, just because he was a really REALLY nice guy. And although there’s no doubt that Madero’s intentions were fueled by a deep sense of social justice, that which most history books leave out is just WHAT had fostered that sense on him in the first place. The legend behind the myth of Madero, the ‘Apostle of Democracy’, never bothers to explain WHY a young heir in one of the wealthiest families in the land –coal mines, cotton mills, vineyards and huge haciendas were just a part of the family’s emporium– decided to leave it *all* behind in pursuit of what seemed as a hopeless Crusade –“a microbe fighting an elephant,” in the words of his own grandfather don Evaristo, the patriarch of the Madero clan.
I finally started to get some of those answers after I stumbled upon a copy of ‘Biografía del Poder’ (Biography of Power), a multi-volume compendium written by the renowned Mexican historian Enrique Krauze, which focuses on the study of the most relevant personages in the Revolution. And the volume dedicated to Madero not only allowed me to get a better understanding of ‘the man’ in contrast to ‘the bronze figure’, encumbered on a marble pedestal as he’s often portrayed by officialist books, but also the person I discovered in those pages turned out to be something of a kindred soul, with ideals and intellectual pursuits not unlike my own.
And I also learned why even the title of ‘Apostle’ is more fitting than most Mexicans realize.
Born in October 30th 1873 in Parras, a region in the northern state of Coahuila, Francisco Ignacio Madero was the oldest among the offspring of Francisco Madero Hernández, don Evaristo’s firstborn son. During his childhood, little Panchito was enrolled into the best schools in the region; and as the custom of the wealthiest families dictated back then, after spending a brief period in Baltimore he was sent to France so he could learn the necessary knowledge to help administer the family emporioum. He arrives to Paris in 1886 and returns to Mexico in 1892, but during his stay on the City of Lights, during which young Madero tasted the many bon vivant pleasures it had to offer to those who could afford them, he fortuitously got introduced to knowledge he found far more interesting than any class in Economics: the school of Spiritualism.
Spiritualism, as the belief & practical methodology to communicate with the dead is known, saw its beginnings during the mid-1800s in New York with the Fox sisters, and spread rapidly across Europe thanks to the leadership of Allan Kardec, who gave a more coherent structure to the Spiritualist philosophy with his books The Spirit’s Book, followed by The Gospel According to Spiritism & The Book on Mediums. Notable figures of the era such as Flammarion & Victor Hugo were among his many followers.
Kardec also founded the monthly magazine La Revue Spirite, which Madero started to read with eager enthusiasm. Spiritualism became to him the perfect marriage between Religion & Science, and its doctrines the best way to cleanse the Christian morality from superfluous dogma.
After frequenting some Spiritualist centers, young Francisco discovered that he had a natural aptitude for what is known as automatic writing, the method of entering into a trance state, so that incorporeal entities can take a hold of the medium’s hand and write messages –or letting the recipient’s subconscious manifest unbound by the restrains of personality, whatever floats your boat. After a few unsuccessful attempts, his efforts were finally rewarded with a first message ‘from the Beyond’:
“Love God above all else & your neighbor as yourself.”
From then on Madero embarked on a spiritual journey of self-improvement under the severe tutelage of different discarnate entities, including ‘Raúl’, the spirit of one of his brothers who had died at the tender age of 4 due to a horrible accident. In 1893 his family entrusts him with the management of an hacienda in San Pedro de las Colonias, where Francisco lives in Franciscan austerity while at the same time embarking in many successful economic enterprises. In the hacienda he builds a shelter for the needy and his workers enjoy good salaries & medical attention. Madero was not only interested in Spiritualism, he was also a passionate practitioner of Homeopathy, and during those years he was often seen walking with a medical kit on his hand, making his rounds to visit the homes of his farmhands to prescribe them with remedies he himself concocted.
While his business & medical practices filled his days, the spiritualist sessions –in which he took the role of medium to a group of close friends & relatives– filled his nights. By 1901 ‘Raúl’ starts to impart to him harsh habits of discipline & purity intended to ‘dominate the matter in favor of spiritual affairs’. Madero slowly renounces his dissipate ways: he becomes a vegetarian, quits smoking & gets rid of his wine cellar; the kind of ascetic abnegation which is all too common with channeling practices. He doesn’t follow a life of complete celibacy though, and in 1903 he married Sara Pérez Romero, the daughter of a wealthy commoner whom he had met during his student years in Baltimore. The noble Sarita never left the side of her husband, and always showed her full support even during the bleakest times of the struggle.
At the same time, the spirits keep reminding him that showing charity to the needy was his mission in life, and the reason behind the wealth of his family:
“You’re not the owners of the riches and thus you ought to give them the best use as commanded by its true owner, of whom you are the servants.”
“The only fortune you possess are the good deeds you make”
But the good deeds Madero could make with his personal fortune are not enough for his spirit mentors, who begin to show him that the only way to make a lasting change in the lives of the destitute, is by committing to a higher purpose intended to raise the moral level of society, and free it from oppression & fanaticism.
“Great men shed their blood for the salvation of their homeland”
Madero understands then that Politics is the noblest goal of charity, and thus realizes for the first time his true vocation & the scope of his mission. In 1904 he begins his political career contending in the elections of his hometown, which he loses by a very close margin. His new pursuits don’t separate him from his spiritualists interests though; he is a subscriber of The Spirit Dawn and he also finds time to write articles for The Astral Flock using the pseudonym Arjuna, the archer hero in the Hindu saga of the Bhagavad Gita. Quite possibly Madero felt a strong resemblance between himself & the young prince, who in the ancient text is shown feeling a lot of doubts before entering to battle with an enemy he doesn’t really hate –General Díaz, in the case of Madero– and is reassured by the Lord Krishna on the righteousness of his cause.
“A person who neither hates nor wants the rewards of his actions is known to be somebody who has given up worldly pleasures. Somebody who has gone beyond the idea of love and hate can easily give up worldly pleasures and thus find freedom.”
In Madero politics can only make sense when it’s not influenced by power or personal gain, but when it’s understood as devoting one’s life in service of your fellow men. Only then can politics be turned into a true apostolate.
By 1905 Madero opposes the re-election of his state governor in a clear opposition to the central government of Díaz. As expected the official candidate wins the election, but Madero doesn’t lose hope. His immaterial guides –the spirit of Raúl had been replaced by José as his new ‘control’– help him delineate his political strategy while they keep pushing him to continue with practices intended to help him tame his ‘animal nature’ –prayers, meditation, long hours of reclusion to absorb ‘etheric fluids’, etc.
“Seek to hide yourself from the external world, and lock yourself in the internal world, where a perfect calm reigns along with a profound & majestic silence.”
Madero organizes a network of collaborators with whom he keeps correspondence, while at the same time financially supporting opposition diaries which criticize Díaz & his policies. While his increasing number of enemies publicly mock him & accuse him of being mentally deranged, the spirits advise him to study books on the history of Mexico in order to prepare him for the future struggle ahead. Madero also continues with his spiritual exercises as per the guidance of José:
“Make your prayers, your emanations, your inspirations & then, under the influence of your emanations, focus your view on the crystal ball for a span of 15 minutes, while proposing to ‘automagnetize’ yourself & enter into a lucid dream for 20 minutes. Before going to bed you will envision the purpose of the matter you wish to investigate during your dream, which should be of a higher purpose, in harmony with your noblest aspirations.”
By 1908 Madero concludes his investigation. He is now fully ready –mentally, physically & spiritually– to embark in the writing of a book destined to set the spirit of the whole nation aflame: La Sucesión Presidencial (The Presidential Succession). That same year his political apostolate receives the blessing of a new guide: the spirit of Benito Juárez, the great president who fought the conservatives during the Reform War, and defended the sovereignty of Mexico against the French empire during the most tumultuous years of the XIXth century:
“Your triumph is going to be most brilliant and of incalculable consequences for our beloved Mexico. Your book is going to create an uproar all over the Republic… it’s going to instill real panic in G[eneral] D[íaz]… You need to fight a cunning, false & hypocritical man. Yet you know which are the antithesis you should propose to him: against cunning, loyalty; against falsehood, sincerity; against hypocrisy, frankness.” ~B.J.
The final thing Francisco needed before fully embarking in the last stage of his mission was the blessing of his father. He writes to him a letter in which he explains the reason behind his crusade:
“Amid the spirits inhabiting space there’s a portion who worry greatly for the evolution of mankind & its progress, and each time an event of importance is prepared anywhere in the world, a great number of them is incarnated to carry it out, in order to save a given people from the yoke of tyranny, from fanaticism, and to give it freedom, which is the most powerful medium that can help people reach progress.”
“Everything is now ready; through a patient labor, I’ve managed to develop the strengths of my spirit in order not to falter at the supreme moment. Among others, I have developed the faculty to receive inspiration through mediumship. Thanks to this I have managed to write a book which will join to me everyone who has come to this world with the preconceived notion to fight […] and I must play a relevant role in that fight, for I have been chosen by the Providence to fulfill the noble mission of writing this book.” [Emphasis mine]
Reluctantly, the weary father gives his blessing to his idealist son, and Francisco publishes his book The Presidential Succession in the year 1909. The 1st edition quickly runs out and Madero, in accordance to his role as Arjuna, sends a signed copy to none other than General Díaz himself as a sign of good will. He adds a letter in which he invites the old ruler to gain his place in history by allowing a peaceful transition.
Madero begins his true role as Apostle of Democracy with a campaign across the whole Republic. Everywhere he goes he’s received by cheerful crowds and the Anti-Reelectionist movement starts to gain momentum. The people are drawn to him more by the strength of his message than by his physical presence, and during his travels he never forgets to communicate regularly with his guides. The governor of Coahuila & his son once observed the young Apostle perform ‘healing passes’ to a drunkard on the street.
The mighty elephant starts to fear the microbe. The government begins to exert pressure over Madero’s family and their many interests, but it’s already too late: Madero’s message of ‘Effective Vote. No Reelection’ becomes the banner of the oppressed masses who start to gain hope that their yoke will finally be lifted.
Unfortunately in june of 1910 Díaz orders the arrest of Madero while a massive electoral fraud is orchestrated. Instead of diminishing his influence, the imprisonment gives Madero the legitimacy he needed to call for a massive insurrection in November 20th of that same year. Arjuna can no longer say no to his destiny to lead the armies into battle.
The masses respond to the Apostle’s calling: In the South the peasants take arms under the orders of Emiliano Zapata, and in the North a former bandit by the name of Francisco Villa –his real name Doroteo Arango– begins to show his courage in the battlefield. Not even during the most uncertain moments of the rebellion did Madero show the smallest doubt in the hand of the Providence which guided his every step. Victory was inevitable because he & his troops represented the forces of Good against Tyranny.
During the armed conflict Madero distinguishes himself for the mercy shown toward the enemy. When his army takes Ciudad Juárez, he confronts Villa & Pascual Orozco –another Revolutionary leader– who demand the execution of the Federal Commander in charge of the city. Madero refuses and Villa threatens him with his pistol; Francisco valiantly responds “I am your superior. I dare you to shoot me” and Villa drops his gun and begs for forgiveness with tears in his eyes. Years later after the triumph of the Revolution, the roles would be switched & it would be Madero’s turn to save Villa when he was charged of insubordination & sentenced to death.
Finally on May 21st the Federal government signs it surrender, officially concluding the armed conflict. Porfirio Díaz abandoned the country & headed to France to live the final years of his life in comfortable exile. Here in the moment of his final victory Madero takes a decision which, although congruent with his moral ideals, would prove nonetheless to be a fatal mistake: Instead of declaring himself the leader of the Nation he wanted to grant official legitimacy to his rule –after all, it would have been against everything he believed in to merely supplant one dictator for another, since his role given by the Providence was to free the people of Mexico, and allow them to rule themselves as they saw fit– thus he accepted the creation of an interim government which would be in charge of organizing the elections while the Revolutionary troops were discharged. Many of his allies, including Zapata, saw this as a betrayal.
Madero’s other mistake was to leave intact the old governmental structure, which quickly sought to fill the void left by Díaz’s absence. After he was elected President the old Porfirian Congress sought to block all of his initiatives, and even the newspapers who for the first time were relieved of any official censorship, wasted no time attacking him & his administration while yearning for the return of the old regime. In spite of all of this, Madero never tried to silence the press –“I prefer to sink with the law, than to sustain myself without it” he once said.
They say that all great men are doomed to not seeing the completion of the movements they initiate. Madero’s apostolate ended in martyrdom through the treacherous pact between general Victoriano Huerta and the US ambassador Henry Lane Wilson, who promised him the official recognition of Washington after the coup. After an infamous series of events known in Mexican history as the Ten Tragic Days, Madero & his vice-president Pino Suárez are captured by the disloyal troops commanded by Huerta, and are forced to resign, which Madero accepts hoping to stop any more bloodshed. They are both kept imprisoned inside the Citadel plaza, and Madero learns of the assassination of his brother Gustavo. Like Christ who was comforted by an angel before His Passion, Madero is accompanied by General Felipe Angeles, one of the few officers still loyal to him (Angeles means Angels in Spanish).
Whether Madero sought the consolation of his spiritual guides during his final hours it is not known. In his book Biografía del Poder Enrique Krauze mentions the unconfirmed rumor that before Madero & Pino Suárez were escorted out of their cell for their execution, he was holding his personal annotations on the Bhagavad Gita, which he had studied with great care before his political campaign. Perhaps among the ancient Sanskrit teachings the young Apostle managed to find a quote which assured him that his sacrifice would not be in vain.
“He who has no egoism, no I-ness and my-ness, who has friendship and pity for all beings and hate for no living thing, who has a tranquil equality to pleasure and pain, and is patient and forgiving, he who has a desireless content, the steadfast control of self and the firm unshakable will and resolution of the Yogin and a love and devotion which gives up the whole mind and reason to Me, he is dear to Me.” ~Chapter 12, Verse 13-14
By showing no egoism, by renouncing to the material manifestations of power, Madero was betrayed & nullified by that same power on February 19th 1913. But in his martyrdom he became an even greater symbol, a secular saint calling once more on the oppressed to fight against the unlawful government of Huerta. Thus commenced the 2nd stage of the Revolution, which would not be over until 1929, with almost all of its principal characters killed by deception & petty power struggles.
What are we to make of Madero’s actions & the unusual beliefs that inspired them? What judgement could one make of the man who was born a century before me, and who showed many of the intellectual interests & the moral pursuit of social justice I myself pursue?
Should his mediumship be explained in merely psychological terms, as a subconscious reaffirmation externally manifested through trance-like methods? Or, if we entertain the notion that the entities he kept in contact with had an objective existence, was he then duped by them as I have previously considered in other essays*?
Or perhaps the spirits knew beforehand the tragic but necessary outcome that his role would bestow upon him, but kept quiet in order not to interfere with Francisco’s free will. Who can really say?
All we can say with any certainty is that this good-hearted Homeopathy practitioner who sought the guidance of discarnate teachers managed to change not only the course of my nation, but the entire world. And to show I’m not exaggerating, consider the fact that the Mexican Revolution was the 1st social bellicose movement of the XXth century, preceding even the conflict which overthrew the Czar in Russia.
Also consider how in 1917 during the height of the First World War, the German Kaiser sent president Venustiano Carranza –who ruled Mexico after the Revolutionary forces defeated Huerta– a secret telegram proposing an alliance against the United States, in exchange for the restitution of the northern territories Mexico lost during the XIXth century. The telegram was intercepted by the British, and as a result of this the United States finally decided to join the war, the first real step to become the Super-power we know today.
In light of all this, I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to conclude how Spiritualism has had a bigger role in the shaping of major historical events than most people would care to admit. And that for better or for worse, perhaps that was the reason why Madero was chosen by the Providence all along…
In 1911, under the pseudonym of Bhima, Madero wrote these lines for a book he entitled The Spiritualist Manual:
“No doubt that if all men of goodwill were to cast their selfishness aside & got involved in public affairs, the peoples [of the world] would be wisely ruled and the men of more merit & virtue would be the ones in charge of the highest stations; and it’s natural that such men would do good & accelerate the evolution of mankind, not occurring the same with evil men who so frequently occupy such positions, for aside from not ruling unless in favor of their own selfish interests, they set a pernicious example to the masses, who only see the success rewarded at the cost of crime, and this means an incentive for bad tendencies, while also being a great obstacle for virtue since, in such conditions, the good & virtuous man falls prey to all kinds of pursuit, while the wicked who adapts to the situation is rewarded. In a country ruled by perverse men, vice & crime are rewarded and virtue is pursued, which mightily influences in the mood of a great majority, who insensibly grow used to consider practical & convenient that which tends to harmonize them with such a situation; and dreams, utopy, madness, everything which means noble & lofty tendencies.”
Now more than ever, the world is in desperate need of more utopic madmen as Madero.
This essay was originally published on December 18, 2012, on the —now defunct– Intrepid Magazine blog.
(*) The essay ‘Trollien Invasion?” will be republished shortly in this blog.