(The Universal Spiderweb by Armando Torres)
One day the healers took me to the funeral of don Mariano, a sorcerer-dancer from another town who was an old friend of the abuelos. And it so happens that, at the same time that the wake was being held for the deceased in the living room of the residence, in another nearby room, a midwife was helping a woman in labor to give birth.
After a cry, they announced that a boy had just been born. The owner of the house told me that the name of the child would be Mariano. I believed that it was in honor of the dancer who lay dead in his casket, but later, don Melchor explained to me that don Mariano belonged to a tradition that practiced the transfer of bodies to perpetuate themselves. Showing me the newborn boy, he said, “This is already the ninth time for Marianito.”
“But, will the boy remember that he was himself?” I asked with a knot in my stomach.
“In his case, yes, he will remember it because he’s a practitioner of retracing the steps. However, there are other fraternities that have similar practices, but they don’t do the recounting of the events of their lives as they should. In these cases, one begins from zero. They don’t remember anything; they may have occasional flashes of memories, but almost all of their previous lives are lost, so they have to learn everything again every time they do a transfer. To achieve this, they count on the help of fraternities that are dedicated to doing exactly that.”
“For that reason, recapitulation is so important; the idea is to make a copy of all the memories and experiences of our lives. This way, when the organic part ceases to exist, the energy double will still preserve its memories…. The organic memory carries over from electrochemical impulses into conscious energy…. Oblivion is the true death.”
While he was living, I had met don Mariano. He belonged to the council of elders. I met him in one of the ceremonies that I participated in. For some reason, I felt uncomfortable in his presence; it was as if he was a person from another time. On one occasion, he told me:
“I watched as the Spanish conquerors, covered with their brilliant armor, paraded around mounted on their horses; many Indians believed that the man and beast were one and the same being.”
Obviously, I didn’t take his words very seriously. I believed that he must have been speaking figuratively. For myself, I thought that the old man was a little “touched in the head,” but later, in light of these revelations, I began to believe that, perhaps, he really had seen the conquerors in their brilliant armor.