When asked if I wanted to write a preface to the novel by Raffaella Corcione Sandoval, I confess to having fallen from the clouds and to have been surrounded by doubt.
I know and appreciate the Italian Venezuelan artist and her metaphysical pictorial and sculptural works and I was aware of her spiritual depth and her general knowledge of profound languages, mystical religions but I did not know of her writing skills and above all of her articulate understanding of esoteric doctrines.
'Ella', in fact, is not a simple novel but a powerful fresco that weaves together the author's biography and the 'magical' encounter with the American scholar Nottingham, co-author of the literary work, with the re-reading of sacred texts, from the New Testament to the so-called apocryphal Gospels, the scrolls of Qumran, the essays of Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh, the teachings of Sai Baba, and even the doctrine hidden in the folds of the religion of the Pharaohs.
A combination that, far from being a potpourri, is consistent in philosophical and spiritual investigation as it successfully attempts to restore unity to multiplicity, to govern syncretism by bringing chaos back to cosmos, through a red thread of esoteric wisdom.
Esotericism and love as a code are the two main features of Ella's story.
How much confusion occurs around esotericism, misinterpreting it with occultism. While the latter claims through magical arts to modify nature and the laws of physics that govern it, esotericism points to an 'inner', secret doctrine, the prerogative of initiates, based on symbolic knowledge that refers to the unity of the earliest archetypes.
Corcione Sandoval has knowledge of profound, symbolic and mystical languages and has skillfully seasoned the novel, telling a story which, from the power of an Egyptian amulet, leads through Miriam of Magdala to the Moma of New York, along a tale of sacred and profane love between the Elect and the Divine, between the Yin and Yang, between the death and resurrection of the Rabbi Yeshua.
Love is the keystone. It is between Miriam and Yeshua, it is between Ella and Nottinghill, it is between Ella and her daughters and between Ella and her friend Angelica.
They are partly different loves, on different levels of existence, but all united by an idea of time and space that transcends the consumerism of today which burns every relationship in the bonfire of narcissistic vanity.
Love becomes the code by which Yeshua communicates with the world, and his world is Miriam. She is destined through love to profound teaching, to the pedagogy of the doctrine of the man who makes himself King, of the Vitruvian man, measure of all things, not as a ruler of the world, but as one with the world, part of an integral pantheism.
It is love that makes the Miriam of the novel the guide of the apostles and of the disciples of Christ the Essene, it is love that Ella finds in the lotus flower which seals the book of wisdom, it is love that makes the Ella’s daughters understand the originality of the mother, her eccentricity with respect to superficial normality.
Ella is truly a beautiful book that can be read in one go but that requires many readings to grasp the multiplicity of meanings and symbolic textual planes.
It is a neatly woven story, an artist ready for the inauguration of her work at the Moma in New York who, in her dressing room, receives a book as a gift, apparently from an unknown admirer.
In fact, the book is a story of initiation, of a transmission of ancient knowledge, of a mystical knowledge, through love, sacrifice, regeneration, pain, resurrection.
And the love in real life between Corcione and Nottingham, so delicate and profound, is not only a background but is the true protagonist who in backlight becomes heir to the mystical union of the Magdalene.
This is a book that could be the screenplay of a film, except that the greatness of its dialogues would risk simplification as a blockbuster, capable of making people reflect, unleash questions, undermine certainties, sow doubts, feed curious and ready minds.
Exactly what a good book must do.
Dr. Gianni Piettella, Senator