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THE BOOK

  27336387_574659352883518_4901319193719699322_n “Theologians maintain that the mere presence of a feeling of God in Man’s heart, is, in itself, a proof of His existence. Since –as they assure us- that feeling is innate, it’s actually a reminiscence. Well, if it’s as they say, Blanca, then, along with a feeling of God (and, as I hope to demonstrate during the course of these letters, closely bound to it), there exists in Man’s heart another innate feeling of no less power. The feeling of the twin soul, of the one creature who, out of every other, is destined to us, for it’s the other half that will complete us.” Thus begins one of the letters of this epistolary essay in which the author undertakes an exhaustive tracing of the theory of soul mates in the history of Religion and Philosophy, of Literature and Occult Sciences, showing the preeminent place that in the worldview of the ancient sages occupied this enigmatic feeling that we know today as romantic love.

THIS BOOK HAS BEEN TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH BY JOAO DUARTE

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THE GOSSIP

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-I’ve been reading this book that you lent me: “Love Letters from a Widower: the Mystery of Soul Mates in Light of Ancient Wisdom”, and I’ll tell you something: I think there’s something strange about the author of this book. He seems the usual fool instead of the usual intellectual.

-Of course he is a fool! Didn’t I tell you?! He was the fool of my village, Tàrrega! I’ve known him since he was a kid. And I assure you he made a lot of nonsense!

-In my opinion he is not the author, he must be an impostor.

-Of course he is not the author! He even confesses it in the prologue. He just found the book by chance in an old bookstore in Barcelona. Look! I found the original image of his profile! It’s titled “Itza THE FOOL”!

-But these letters are Jewish… He must be a Jewish fool!

-Maybe he’s Jewish. In medieval Tàrrega lived a large Jewish population. Also, in his book he constantly talks about Kabbalah, and Kabbalah is a Jewish thing. But what difference does it make if he is Jewish or is Czechoslovak?! The fact is that he is a fool!

-Wow. What a surprise! I am browsing his Facebook page and I have found out that he is madly in love! She will be his late wife, I say, right?

-What wife? He has no wife, neither alive nor dead. THE WIDOWER IS THE ONE WHO WROTE THE BOOK! I told you: he just found it in an old bookstore. I told you he is a fake. And a fool. You will see: it is true that he is madly in love, but he is in love WITH A NUN.

-I beg your pardon?

-It turns out that when he was thirteen, his sister of twelve brought home a classmate from school. And he goes and falls in love with her! But he is a shy fool and does not dare to propose for fear of not being loved back. A few years go by, and she enters the cloistered monastery as a nun. And he has not stopped loving her for a single moment since then! Foolish right?

– He must be a romantic jewish fool!

THE EPIPHANY

Do you know the feeling of being in love, deeply in love, that feeling of happiness? Well, add to that the certainty that suddenly assails you that life on Earth is just a kind of dream from which you will awake one day to return to your true home, which is the spiritual world from which we all come and where the Twin Souls are together. It is as if suddenly, you did not see only the tip of the iceberg floating on the surface of the waters but, diving, you could see the mountain of ice in its entirety. All this in an instant, the moment I turned around, saw her and recognized her. And the same thing happened to me the second time I saw her, ten years later, and this time from a distance, from the bus window where I was traveling. They are two unforgettable moments for me because they are two of the times I have been closer to a mystical experience. To a revelation. To an epiphany.

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(Image: Dante recognizing Beatrice)

I was fourteen years old. My sister two years younger used to bring home some of her classmates to do homework together. That afternoon, my mother had been urgently required by a neighbor, so she left me in charge of ironing the clothes she was forced to interrupt. Soon my sister arrived accompanied as always by a friend. I informed her out loud that our mother had left, she acknowledged receipt of the notice and went to her room. But her friend did not follow her: intrigued by that masculine voice, she followed its trail until she found me in the room where I was ironing shirts. Since I was on my back and focused on my task, I did not notice her presence until she greeted me with a “hello”. I turned a little startled and saw her standing there, watching me. I barely had time to react because my sister immediately came to the rescue of her friend. In general, I did not like my sister’s friends, but this one was different. Not only did I like her, but I felt as if a spring had jumped in my memory. In a word: I felt a surprising familiarity towards her, as if I had found a loved one after a long time. I did not hide it from my family: during dinner, I commented that I really liked my sister’s friend, which generated joking reactions like “Go, finally you like some of her friends!”, “Miracle!”. Here the story is interrupted to retake it ten years later. In all that time, I had not seen Blanca (that’s her name) or known about her. I worked at that time as a scriptwriter on Televisión Española. One evening, I came back home by bus when I saw her in the distance through the window. My heart skipped a beat because I recognized her immediately. But I recognized her not as the girl who had briefly passed through my family’s home ten years before, but just as I recognized her that afternoon: as someone very dear, for whom I felt a strange familiarity and confidence. It was a little later that I realized I had experienced that same feeling ten years ago and that she was the same girl. (This experience sparked my interest in the theory of Soul Mates and, when I noticed that there was no book that thoroughly traced the origins of this theory, I decided to write that book myself.) It was the hour people left work, the traffic was intense and the bus moved slowly, so I had time to observe her. She had just left the Conciliar Seminary, ​​where the future priests were preparing, and she was chatting animatedly with a friend. I do not know if it was the expression of surprise on my face what made her stop suddenly and turn to stare at me, also with the same expression of surprise. The next day, I asked my sister about her old friend and I found out she was preparing to become a cloistered nun and that this had been her vocation since she was a child. Among other considerations, that made me desist from contacting her. I thought that such an ingrained vocation was too beautiful a thing to be ruined. A year passed. I was visiting my sister’s new apartment. She was busy in the kitchen preparing dinner while I took off my coat in the living room. Then an open envelope called my attention on the mail tray; the address was that of a convent of Poor Clares. The next Sunday I took a train and I stood at the door of the convent church with the intention of attending mass. I had arrived an hour in advance, but the door was open and I wanted to take a look. The Church was in gloom and I saw no one; but suddenly I heard a greeting from one of the sides. I turned around and there she was, lighting some candles. She was dressed as a nun, wearing a white novice headdress, but once again I recognized her immediately. My plan was to attend mass with the hope of seeing her, but without her being aware of my presence, so I stepped back and left the church with my heart beating strongly. To reassure myself, I went for a walk among the vineyards that surrounded the convent, and at the time of the mass I returned. This time there were many parishioners gathered in front of the church. I was among the last to enter. I sat on the side, discovering with satisfaction that, as I had foreseen, the nuns were present. They occupied the first two banks, which allowed me to contemplate Blanca without her seeing me. I thought with joy that, as long as I lived, I would not stop attending that mass every Sunday. However, an unforeseen event occurred, which is that Blanca went out to read the first reading of the Gospel. There we were again face to face, our eyes met … My intention to pass unnoticed had been frustrated. However, I did not stop going to my “appointment” every Sunday. But, as the weeks passed, our peculiar relationship based on looks of complicity, was becoming more and more evident. Then one day I received a letter from the mother superior of the convent asking me, for the sake of Blanca, to stop attending mass in that church. Since then, more than twenty years have passed and I have not seen her again. But seven years ago I suddenly felt the urge to make inquiries, and I learned that, along with the other nuns in the convent among vineyards, Blanca had just been moved to another Spanish province, to a centennial monastery in need of young nuns to relieve the old ones who occupied it. I applied for vacations and again took a train, this time with a farther destination. I was again in front of the church of that centennial convent. Again I opened the door slowly … but suddenly the emotion took over me and I was not able to enter. I returned to Barcelona after a few days, sad because I knew I would not see her again, at least in this life. But I remembered that she was always joyful and had a blind faith in the bright future that awaits us all at the end of our pilgrimage on Earth. So I recovered, and now I am joyful, waiting for that luminous future in which I also believe blindly.

BLANCA

THE POET

(Quoted from the book:) The poems from his youth show us a womanising Donne. However, later in life, Donne changed. And do you know what the scholastics think was the turning point for this change? He found his twin soul: Anne More, a young lady whose aunt was married to a high-ranking court member where Donne was a secretary (this was the trick Destiny devised to bring them together). It seems like from the moment they met, they knew they were made for one another. And what happened was that the amorous cynicism that he had shown until then, gave way to an increasingly higher and deeper conception of love. A conception that was intertwined with the idea of God, Blanca, as evidenced by the proliferation of religious references in his later works… In one of those poems, Donne warns Anne More about the likely event of one of them dying before the other. There is no need for despair, he tells her, because it will not be an actual separation: it will be like when spouses turn around in bed, after kissing goodnight (“Are but turn’d aside to sleep”). In their sleep, they go their separate ways; but there they remain, lying next to each other, maybe dreaming of one another; knowing that night will be followed by morning, and the morning will awake them.

(Image: John Donne before becoming a cleric in the Church of England)

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THE LOVE’S FAITHFUL

(Quoted from the book:) Al-Mas‘udi, another Arabic wise man, contemporary of Ibn Hazm, regales us with yet another example of the same belief when, alluding to his beloved, he proclaims: “My soul was bound to hers before we were created.” And a Sufi sage (a sage who adheres to Sufism, the biggest strand on the “reverse side” of Islam), the Persian Ruzbihan Baqli of Shiraz will, one century later, express an identical conviction in his treatise on mystical love The Jasmine of the Fedeli d’Amore (The Jasmine of the Love’s Faithful)… But first, what are The Love’s Faithful? “Love’s Faithful” is what numerous ancient sages and poets of mystical temperament, both in the East and the West, often called themselves. These ancient sages, Blanca, were protectors of a belief essential to the theory of twin souls: the belief that erotic love has its ontological roots in Divinity. The Love’s Faithful served as a secular religion: a religion without temples, or Scriptures, priests, or dogmas. A secret religion where they worshipped God under the name of Love (which is the most appropriate name for Him, my dear, for, as A. Afifi explains, to these mystics “love is not an abstract quality superadded to [God’s] Essence”, but rather “the reality of love is identical to the Essence”) and access to God wasn’t achieved through meditation, but through human love.
(Image: Dante and Beatrix)

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THE HOLY GRAIL

(Quoted from the book:) It’s a shame that there are no volumes from this literary cycle in the blue library because, as the fairy tale enthusiast that you are, the Story of the Grail and its numerous sequels would have certainly delighted you… Since I’m not sure if you are familiarised with the myth, I will quickly set the scene: The Holy Grail appears for the first time as a literary subject in the context of medieval chivalric novels, and it does so in the hand of a legendary sixth century Breton king. According to the legend, King Arthur summoned the bravest errant knights to his Camelot court, and he gathered them around a round table (like this one from where I’m writing to you), thus the chivalric Order they founded came to be known as the “Round Table”. Said Order, like every self-respecting chivalric Order, was devoted to protecting the weak from the powerful. However, with time, the Knights of the Round Table began feeling that such noble mission had become too small for them, and so they decided to aim higher: earthly chivalry drifted towards the spiritual one. This was triggered by rumours that had been going around the court, rumours about an enigmatic object: the Holy Grail.IMG_20180628_135538_953

THE PROCEDURE

(Quoted from the book:) To the ancient sages, Blanca, the Universe is mysterious. Existence, in general, is mysterious, and so is its every aspect. Including that fundamental aspect of human existence the “reverse side” of which we are going to investigate in this letter and the ones following it – the subject is too complex, and one letter will not be enough. I am talking, of course, about erotic love, the love between man and woman (though, of course, this kind of love can also happen between two people of the same gender). With a detective–like spirit, we will delve into erotic love. Although we will not do so like biologists and neurologists, who like watchmakers trying to understand the inner workings of a watch, would disassemble it and study its parts. Don’t worry; I will not talk to you about hormones, cerebral areas and processes, or about dopamine releases or other such things that are the latest fashion in scientific discoveries. The point of view we will adopt is that of the old sage, who, to better understand the watch, undertakes a reflection on Time.IMG_20180623_205421_479