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Remembrance

The symbolic (not etymological) origin of the word "remembrance" can be traced back to ancient times, in Egypt, particularly in the myth of Osiris. Osiris was the pharaoh of the gods of the Egyptian pantheon, he was worshiped and venerated for his fair way of legislating, but his reputation and recognition aroused immense envy in his brother Seth.


After an unsuccessful first attempt to get rid of Osiris, Seth successfully cut his brother's body into 42 pieces which he then scattered throughout Egypt. After finding ou, Osiris' wife Isis, who had already managed to save him once, undertook the new quest of gathering and re-membering (the word member in Spanish, from the latin membrum bears also the meaning of the english word limb, in this sense, the spanish word remembrance can be reinterpreted in the sense of reuniting the limbs, as "re-limb") the pieces of her love. After a heroic search, Isis managed to recover the pieces of the body, all but one: the phallus. In the absence of the last piece, the remembrance of Osiris could not be completed, so Isis had to resort to a magical-erotic act that resulted in a new creation: the birth of Horus, son and resurrection of Osiris. Since his body was incomplete, Osiris father, the remembered one, could not return to the world of the living, and had to continue his corporeal existence as lord of the Dwat, the underworld. Horus, who in turn was the result of his mother's magical endeavor with his father, and therefore was, in a sense his resurrection, would go on to reign over the earth after avenging his death.

Like any other act of remembrance, Osiris' could not be fully completed. Memory is like water that escapes from the hands, leaving them just damp between the wrinkles of the skin. Almost everything can be remembered, but the act of remembering is, itself, a creative act supported by imagination, ultimately an act of magic. All that was a moment can never be completely found in memory. Remembrance is itself a creation of the present that is made up of some real parts (the limbs that could be found), blocks or bricks that are fragments of memory, and other imagined parts, which act as the cement that unites them, resulting in a particular building, a completely new creation. This idea of ​​remembrance and its relationship with memory is strongly conditioned by the inability of our mind to recreate past events in their entirety and with accuracy, which is why it must resort to its own creative powers. In many cases, the act of remembrance concludes in a wonderful act of magical renewal. In others in the assembly of a monstrous and terrifying memory.

 

The most powerful echo of the myth of Osiris we may find in our time, is Frankenstein, a curious mixture with the Jewish history of the Golem and the premonitions and experiences of war. In this story, the creature is remembered out of parts, no longer of the same individual, but of different and anonymous people. He appears, not as a father, but as a son also born of an act of asexual creation, where the warm magic of Isis is replaced by the cold, rational science at the hands of Dr. Viktor Frankenstein. In the novel, the act takes place in the absence of fertile femininity, and the "resurrected" son no longer comes to avenge his father's death, or to reign, but to suffer the horrors of humanity, among them, the search for his creator who abandoned him at “birth”. The anonymous [1] remembered creature who, as the only inheritance from his father received his name years after the novel was published, is much more akin to the world as we know it now, it is an update that corresponds to our own psychic deficiencies, with its conflicts and degenerations that lead to the remembrance of a monstrous being.

Frankenstein, the remembered, is described at the beginning of the novel as a sensitive and compassionate being, capable of feeling remorse and sadness, who lives his life alone in search of company and tranquility. However, because of his origin and because of his horrible appearance, he is constantly attacked and rejected. In the words of its own creator: "A mummy that was endowed with animation again could not be as frightening as that unfortunate one." The horrors that he suffers from his appearance, despite the fact that he knows how to speak, write, is cultured and empathetic, lead him little by little to despair.

This remembrance (Frankenstein) who, throughout the novel haunts his creator, is a manifestation of Dr. Frankenstein's own subconscious horrors, his conscious self, and what he embodies: the drying effect of arid and desert rationality of mechanic scientific thought (Viktor abandoned the more esoteric alchemy for modern chemistry), when it is unbalanced with the fertile more emotional and poetic creativity. The remembered man pursues his creator for answers, and in the face of rejection, destroys his life a little at a time. He is an allegory of what the rejection of one's shadow, memories and the repressed traumas exert on the individual when he refuses to confront them by runing away from them.

 

In Latin America there is another echo of the Osirian remembrance, recorded in the story of "La Llorona", although this has a more lurid twist than that of Frankenstein. If I remember it correctly, as the sons of my grandfather's assistant told me in Tolima, in the story of La Llorona, it was the woman's children who died after they drowned as they were dragged by the stream of the river where she was washing their clothes. In Tolima's version (there are different versions throughout South and Central America, although they all retain the essential elements), after their deaths, the woman makes a pact with the devil to be able to recover her children. According to the pact, she had to recover even the smallest bone of each of her children and thus he would bring them back to life. Years passed and the woman managed to recover all the bones except one, the little bone of the little finger of one of the baby's hands. Legend has it that, since then, the woman has wandered the world crying and screaming in anguish, asking for the bone of her baby. We must see the society in which we live today, to understand the symbolic meaning of a story in which the conscious, rational component appears evoked by a capricious demon, the feminine, subconscious by a careless woman, and its seed, creation, resulting in a kind of distressing eternal abortion. It all ads up to a collective state of mind.

 

Remembrance is a magical endeavor that has, as conclusion, the unavoidable act of creation. Consequently all creation is an act of remembrance of a continuous and unlimited flow of our individual and collective memory that lies latent in the depth of the subconscious underworld and in the infinity of heights, in the superconscious heavens. We can access this memory through the recognition of our lunar, feminine faculties, so repressed today at all levels of social and personal life. It is necessary to appease the uncontrolled desires of the conscious, masculine and rational "I", focus them and surrender them to her. Only by granting her absolute freedom in her magical acting, can she (embodied in Isis in the original myth) correctly recall and give us her seed, the shining new sun.

 

 

 

[1] The name by which we know Frankenstein the monster today, was not originally given by Shelley in the novel, in fact, in the novel he didn't have a name.