Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution:
Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual

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"In my fifteen years of researching the life of President Francisco I. Madero, I have never read a more complete book as the one just written by C.M. Mayo. It will simply surprise any reader. The research is impeccable and the narrative well-rounded."
Manuel Guerra de Luna, author of Los Madero: La Saga Liberal

"La obra de Catherine Mansell Mayo rompe con la forma tradicional de las biografías y de las reconstrucciones históricas de orden cronológico y académico. La libertad con que escribe, sus virtudes literarias, su estilo fresco y la forma como articula las conexiones entre distintas épocas, la manera como encadena las pequeñas biografías de sus múltiples personajes o actores y las coincidencias que encuentra en la vida real e imaginaria del pasado y del presente, incluyendo sus circunstancias personales, constituyen un aporte historiográfico sin precedente y un modelo de referencia idóneo, para abordar con otra mirada el tiempo y el contexto que giran en torno a un libro y a Madero como su autor....El gran aporte de la obra de Catherine es que cumple con creces su propósito de entender y explicar el contexto en el que Madero escribió su Manual Espírita
Dr. Yolia Tortolero Cervantes, author of El espiritismo seduce a Francisco I. Madero

"Having finished her fascinating The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, C.M. Mayo
offers another dazzling work in her own fluid, poetic and highly visual prose. Her translation of the Spiritist Manual of Don Francisco Madero (intellectual, revolutionary, mystic and President of Mexico until his assassination in 1913,) makes this work available for the first time in 100 years. It is enhanced by Mayo’s account in the first third of the book of the history of spiritualism from Swedenborg to the present day and in the second third by her galloping history of Mexican independence. The last third translates Madero’s Manual Espírita, concerning the meaning of life. Those who are familiar with the ideas of New Thought, Swedenborg, metaphysical churches, the Bhagavad Gita, White Brotherhood, reincarnation or the Theosophists will find themselves on familiar ground, but the Manual, laid out in a format of Q & A, makes the Mysteries so simple that even readers with no spiritualist background will find themselves drawn in. By the time I finished I wished for a Don Francisco Madero to guide us today, a politican who is also a mystic and intellect.
Sophy Burnham, author of A Book of Angels

"I found C.M. Mayo’s book to be very engaging and well-written. This is not your typical history, or even esoteric history book. Mayo is a profoundly creative and insightful artist who is able to bring her own perspective into the frame while enhancing our understanding of her subjects. This is a masterful introduction to a topic that hasn’t been explored in this accessible way before, and may never be again. If you enjoy esotericism, history, politics, and the way that they sometimes intersect, I highly recommend you read C.M. Mayo’s Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution."
Greg Kaminsky, host of Occult of Personality

"The fascinating story of Madero, called the “Apostle of Democracy” in Mexico,
is told by C. M. Mayo in her 2014 book Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution, which includes her English translation of Madero’s book, Manual espirita (Spiritist Manual).
Michael Tymn, author of
The Articulate Dead, and Afterlife Explorers
READ the complete review

"Suspend your disbelief, dear reader, and spend a few moments with the Spiritist Manual. After its introduction by Mayo, I started in on it, expecting to be bored silly as I usually am by most ritualistic spiritual manuals excluding writers like Blavatsky...and what some now refer to as the "Neo-Modernist Buddhists:" Jack Kornfeld, Mark Epstein, Jakusho Kwong Rosh, Alan Watts, and the late prison guru, Bo Lozoff. Despite my affection for these writers, it was with heavy heart that I embarked on the pages of The Metaphysical Odyssey. But, I am here to tell you: they were, if you pardon the expression, a revelation..."
Carlos Amantea, The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy, and the Humanities
READ the complete review

"Mayo... provides not only an English translation of Madero's Spiritist Manual, but also a lively introduction...
The author argues effectively that Madero's manual is essential to understanding his revolutionary zeal."
Kirkus Reviews

"Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution paints a complex picture of a curious crossroads in history, where the rise and fall of a regime coincided with a spiritual and social awakening with the potential to rewrite a country's future. Kudos to Mayo for introducing us to both the man and his message."
San Francisco Book Review

"Few have read and interpreted the soul of Mexico as Mayo has... Mayo’s signal achievement is to be the first translator of a much stranger book of Madero’s, his Spiritist Manual (Manual Espírita, 1911), and to include it in her study of Madero’s metaphysical vision...[Mayo's] translator’s notes and her research into Madero and related arcana such as the Biblioteca Orientalista have produced a long and winding study that satisfies both with its thoroughness and with its titillating other-worldiness.... Metaphysical Odyssey is as entertaining as it is informative. In the end, though, it is more. It’s somewhat haunting. This derives partly from Madero’s valor and genuineness and partly from the cri de coeur of an entire nation seeking a new way."
Peter Thompson, EZRA Translation Journal

"Interesting, in an odd way, as the 90 page “Spiritist Manual” is, it is Mayo’s own story of how she came to translate the book, that holds you. The strange paths of research and scholarship it led her into that makes up the bulk of her own “Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexico Revolution”....we are embarking on a journey into the — not unknown, but forgotten — intellectual past. Mayo — who after all is a travel writer, among her several talents — is our guide on what is as much her own
"Metaphysical Odyssey" as a journey down roads less traveled, but with one heck of an unusual view."
The Mex Files

"This is a 'must read' for anyone interested in Mexican history.
It's the true story of the role ghosts (well, actually, spirits) played in contributing to the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution...This book has the great merit of reminding us that real history is replete with uncomfortable facts that need to be remembered if we are to begin to understand their legacy."
Deborah Riner

"In this
delightfully engaging book, C.M. Mayo brings to vivid light an aspect of Mexican history astonishingly neglected by most historians: the Spiritist beliefs and practices of Francisco Madero, instigator and first leader of the world-historical event that was the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Fruit of considerable research, this volume includes the first translation into English of Madero's Spiritist Manual, itself an invaluable contribution to the historical record."
José Skinner

"Mayo does a brilliant job combining the known facts of the Mexican Revolution and Madero's role within it, and creates an intellectual bridge to the president's spiritist belief structure.
He was not the hopeless idealist so many historians have proclaimed him to be. Neither was he inept or indecisive. Rather, his personality was deeply rooted in a sharply defined vision for a future Mexico. .. With her translation of the Spiritist Manual, C.M. Mayo opened this incredible window into the metaphysical side of the Mexican Revolution that might otherwise have been forgotten."
Heribert von Feilitzsch
author of
In Plain Sight: Felix Sommerfeld, Spymaster in Mexico

"Ever astonishing are the greats whose inner tracks wholly diverge from their renown. Such a case is Francisco I. Madero, first president of Mexico after the 1910 revolution, whose political genius was immersed in mysticism, and equally extraordinary is C. M. Mayo's account of this paradox in Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution. Threading the tortuous path of Madero from birth to assassination, and culminating in the first translation into English of the little-known Spiritist Manual of this master of statecraft, Mayo's account brings to life the duality of the singular founder of Mexican democracy."
Bruce Berger, author of The Telling Distance: Conversations with the American Desert

"How many Spiritualists in the United States and Europe are aware that Francisco I. Madero, leader of the 1910 revolution and President of Mexico, 1911-1913 was a practicing medium, regularly sat in a home circle and even authored a book for mediumship development? Madero's personal library included a large assortment of classic Spiritualist literature including Spanish translations of works in English and French by such pioneers as J.M. Peebles and Allan Kardec. C. M. Mayo provides an extremely informative introduction to the first English translation of the secret book written by one of Mexico's major national heroes. Anyone interested in the history of international Spiritualism as well as mediumistic unfoldment will find this manual invaluable."
Reverend Stephen A. Hermann, National Spiritualist

"C.M. Mayo's lively, clear style drew me right into Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution. Her academically impeccable scholarship, conveyed with wit and humour, makes this fascinating subject irresistible."
Sandra Gulland, internationally bestselling author of the Josephine B. Trilogy

"C.M. Mayo has written a fine new book
... One look at the subtitle Francisco I. Madero and his Secret Book, Spiritist Manual is enough to tell you her work is both demanding and ambitious. It is demanding in part because it begins by summarizing a century of fine-print esoteric thinking in little more than 100 pages. It is ambitious because of its goal: it wants to change our most basic thinking about the Mexican Revolution....Mayo's large contribution in this book is to remind us of what we way too easily forget. Francisco Madero was a countryman of El Niño Fidencio, of Teresa Urrea, aka La Santa de Cabora. He was born in a land of faith-healers and desert saints, into a belief system built on four millennia of shamanism..."
Philip Garrison, author of Because I Don't Have Wings: Stories of Mexican Immigrant Life

"Absolutely fascinating... the well-crafted outcome of a sharp mind and meticulous research, combined with serendipity."
Tony Burton, author of West Mexico and Geo-Mexico

"What a great book. I’ve read a lot on Madero, but this book gives the reader such a different view of the man. It fleshes out his true personality and sheds light on the forces that truly drove him. Since Spiritism was such an important part of his life, one couldn’t really know the man without examining that aspect of his personality. Moreover, Madero was writing his book on Spiritism at the same time that he was running for the presidency showing how important that belief was in his life. I especially appreciated the rich detail the author provided regarding Madero’s last days before he was assassinated that matched the solid research that the remainder of this book demonstrates."
Raymond Caballero, author of Lynching Pascual Orozco

"Metaphysical Odyssey has no literary equivalents. Mayo seamlessly interwove historical, spiritual, and personal details about Francisco Madero and the Mexican Revolution in a way that kept me turning without pause. The translation of Spiritist Manual provides a unique look at a hundred-year-old secret manifesto that is both interesting and highly relatable today."
Amron Gravett, author of Chimney Rock National Monument

"Don't be thrown off by the academic-sounding title—this book is like a rambling conversation with a really smart friend who knows a great deal more than you do, but truly enjoys telling the story to you, and does it in an entertaining and enlightening way."
Jennifer Silva Redmond

"[A] delicious potpourri of political and cultural history, philosophy, literary detective work, and memoir"
Joseph Hutchinson

A Library Journal Best Book, 2009

"Once upon a time, there was a little half-American boy who briefly became heir to the Mexican throne—until his distraught parents sued the doomed Emperor Maximilian for his return. As in the best historical fiction, Mayo's sparkling first novel transforms a forgotten historical footnote into a spellbinding, heartbreaking tale filled with drama and fascinating characters."
Library Journal

"It is a hefty, sprawling work, more than 400 pages long, but at no point does it begin to sag under its own weight. Perhaps because its spread is solidly supported by facts, Mayo's intricate plot trips along at a natural, inexorable pace, easily traveling the sweeping map she has laid out for it, from Washington to Mexico City and all the way to the imperial halls of Europe... a swashbuckling, riotous good time, befitting the fairy-tale promise of the opening sentence."
Austin American-Statesman


"With elegant prose and an artist's eye for detail, Mayo may just have written one of the best books ever about Baja California. Highly recommended"
Library Journal

"Ay, if only I had been at C.M. Mayo's side in her rendezvous through Baja California... My recourse is her joyful, intellectually sparkling chronicle"
Ilan Stavans,
author of The Hispanic Condition

"A breathtaking vision of the past, present, and future of [Baja California]... Meticulously researched... a valuable combination of historical and social study"
El Paso Times

"A luminous exploration of Baja California, from its southern tip at Cabo San Lucas to its 'lost city' of Tijuana... [Mayo] takes the fiction writer's impulse and blends it with the instincts of a journalist to create a work of nonfiction that elides into modern myth"
Los Angeles Times Book Review


"one of the outstanding contemporary works on this country"
David Huerta, El Universal, Mexico City

"This is a book to throw in a suitcase or mochila (backpack) on the way to Mexico or just settling into a favorite patio chair. It will open your eyes, fill you with pleasure and render our perennial vecinos a little less distante."
Los Angeles Times Book Review

"This delightful anthology . . . allows readers who do not have roots in Mexico or who have never traveled there a glimpse into the rich diversity of people and landscape. For travelers, these selections enhance exploration and offer vistas beyond the scope of the usual tourist guide. For other readers, they provide a clearer understanding of the cultural and social forces that shape today's Mexico. Highly recommended."
Library Journal

"Discovering it was like opening a door and walking into a brightly lit room filled with all kinds of literary treasures"
Mexico Connect


"A remarkable literary debut... tautly fashioned prose, alive with myriad turns of phrase as on-target as they are idiosyncratic."
Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"C.M. Mayo writes some of the most exquisitely fashioned, perfectly measured prose alive in the world today. Her stories glitter with delicious odd details. They feel electrically charged, richly mysterious, and rhythmic. I love her layering of cultures, her offbeat humor, her potent instinct for voices. Bravo! Captivating! Yes, yes, yes!"
Naomi Shihab Nye

"The haywire circuits of our whole electrically but not ethically connected global village stand exposed in Mayo's work. Sky Over El Nido won the 1995 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. I am not surprised."
David Toolan, S.J., Commonweal

"Sky Over El Nido is a breath-taking first collection... These stories are vibrant, strange, loaded with off-beat humor, exquisite detail, and delivered with near-perfect pitch. Sky Over El Nido shimmers with life."
The Virginia Quarterly Review

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