Monday, February 2, 2009


Homosexuality and spirituality in Xena, the warrior princess

Abstract: The document analyzes the TV series ‘Xena, the warrior princess’, from which the author raises some up-to-date theoretical references on mythology and argues over the hyper-textual aspects of the narrative structure of sacred stories.

Our culture is full of stories. Each commercial we read or see is really a story – told in an intelligent, artistic and costly way. Consumerism is the main story of our civilization. It feeds our not-fulfilled appetites; it is nourished by the fact of us not being spiritually supplied, of existing inside of an emptiness that cannot be filled, no matter how much we spent in goods or treats.
Consumerism is a dangerous and debilitating story, but we can bring back - we need to recover - our strength in telling stories. We may deviate from those habits that we spend billions of dollar and hours with. We can recover wastefulness and recycle, creating more authentic stories. We can annul the toxic effect of our pseudo-history, replacing them for more rewarding stories that satisfy heart, mind, imagination and the quest of each one of us for justice and peace, and for the return of the blessings upon our daily life. (FOX, 2002, 252)

Xena: Warrior Princess is a North American TV series that was produced in the New Zealander city of Auckland and its surroundings, and was broadcasted originally between 1995 and 2001. It premiered with the actresses Lucy Lawless and Renée O' Connor.

The series started in 1995, as one spin-off of the series ‘Hercules: The Mythical Trips’. The Saga of Xena in the American television started with a special participation of Xena in Hercules during three episodes, The Warrior Princess, The Gauntlet and Unchained Heart. In the two first episodes, Xena was a villain, but in third, she feels sorry for her past and ally with Hercules.
Xena had such success with the public that the producers of Hercules had decided to record an exclusive series with the warrior princess. The producers Robert Tapert and John Schulian had the idea, and together with Sam Raimi, signed an agreement with the Renaissance Pictures for 24 episodes of Xena, as audience test. From then on, the series had a huge success and it has been reported as a cultural phenomenon and a pop-feminist icon. In a short space of time, Xena became synonymous for feminine force and frequently appears in other contemporaneous works: video games, comics, other show series (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer; Dark Angel; Alias), and as far as in Tarantino´s Kill Bill and others[2].

And while Hercules was a failure, lasting only two seasons, Xena endured for six years with a great international success. Besides the charisma of the two leading actresses, the success is mainly due to the conjunction of two apparently incompatible subjects: homosexuality and spirituality.

Homosexuality here is Greek, ‘saphic’ and not ‘lesbian', that is, the protagonists are not masculine, they actually sisterly share and stand up for the feminine values: they have children, partners, but the girlfriends keep one another as their main affective relation. Although without explicit erotic scenes, there are innumerable mentions to the homosexual relation between Xena, Gabrielle and other personages of the Saga – for the delight of great part of the GLS public[3].

But the great success of Xena does not lie simply in this bisexuality with feminine preferences, so old and yet so actual: in contrast to Hercules, that is a patriarchal hero fighting against the great goddess Hera; Xena is a matriarchal heroine fighting against Ares, the god of the war - what it is much more, let´s say… politically correct. She, in fact, aggregates and defends the feminine values. The macho and violent behaviors are constantly ridiculed through Joxer (Ted Raimi) and Ares (Kevin Tod Smith). A good example of this complete demoralization of the patriarchal values is the episode Here She Comes… Miss Amphipolis, in which Xena applies for a beauty contest as Miss Amphipolis to find out which of the sponsors want to kill the participants. The criminals discovered, after a hilarious feminist mockery where the main candidates give up the competition, a transvestite wins the contest. But, beyond the saphistic homosexuality, spirituality is another theme that passes by the whole series and one of the reasons for its success.

Are histories always sacred?

George Orwell says that when he was in the front of the Spanish civil war, a place where a human being would not give away even a used match for his best friend, he witnessed soldiers that would give half of its food to hear a story. By the way, many already had said that the list of the human necessities has only two items: bread (the food nourishes the body) and circus (the narrative feeds the soul). But would it be that our need for entertainment is that important? What would be the true importance of the narratives for our psychological balance? And still: would it be that all stories have the same merit?

The 11th annual conference of the Common Boundary - a North American NGO, headed toward the study and divulgation of experiences on the relation between psychotherapy, spirituality and creativity – it was entirely dedicated to the matter of the sacred histories. There were researchers of different areas and specialties participating: Edith Sullwold; Gioia Timpanelli; Robert Bly; Allan B. Chinen; Richard Lewis; Nancy J. Napier; Shaun McNiff; Meinrad Craighead; Walter Wink; James P. Carse; John McDargh; Matthew Fox; Richard Katz; Al Gore; Clarissa Pinkola Estes; Maya Angelou.

Among approaches on specific mythologies, I emphasize three: David Peat, that related the actual Chaos theory and the cosmovision of the North American natives; John L. Johnson, who spoke on the re-habilitation of drug abusers through the narration of African histories; and John Daido Loori, who presented a work on Zen koans.

With Peat, we learn that the mind (collective or individual) works as a map formed by narratives, through which we have access to the territories exterior to the cosmos. With Johnson, we discover that drug abuse is a history of social failure that can be told again. With Loori, we are introduced to the koans, mini-stories, usually absurd and paradoxical that aim to provoke an insight, a change in the perception state of the listener (and not to give to ethical advice or moral teachings through parabolas or allegories).
However, the center of the debates was the sacred characteristic of the narratives. Regarding this, it is possible to set three distinct and yet not conflicting positions: the ones that have nostalgia of the traditional stories; the ones that consider histories as cognitive narratives for the constitution of biographies; and the ones that understand sacred and profane narratives as parts of a complex game of identity.
Sam Keen, for instance, integrates the group of the eco-traditionalists. “In order to free ourselves from the destructive myth of progress, we have that to rediscover our familiar mythologies and personal history”. (KEEN, 2002, 43) In the traditional scenario, we believed in a myth that guided our life; in the modern scenario, history took the place of the mythical stories; and in post-modern times, there is not only one myth nor only one history that shapes our identity, but we are overwhelmed by many histories from various different places[4]. For Keen, this multiplicity of global narratives generates a discontinuous and fragmented culture, with space/time ruptures that deviates men from themselves and from nature.
Mary Catherine Bateson also considers the current culture discontinuous, but she believes there it has a spiritual continuity passing through the different discontinuities of our life history. Therefore, she emphasizes: the important thing is to live life as a creative process. It means to be the authors of our own history of life, to be the artists and the very work of art in evolution. The stories, in this context, are seen as connection between people and images, as a form of art therapy. Bateson has a special interest for the conversion narratives.
And, finally, there are the authors who believe that the “sacred narratives are constituted of symbols and metaphors of the profound truths about the mysteries of the life.” We live in a universe formed by histories - histories of the family, the school and the media. Histories inform, distract, and teach us. But, not every story is sacred. There are also histories that are silly, obscene and even immoral. The sacred ones are those that tells us who we are and what is our relation to the cosmos, those that “transforms us bring us closer to the others” (SIMPKINSON, 2002, 09).
But, what make a story to be sacred is its form and not its content. What matters is how one tells history and not on what it is about. There are religious histories that are not sacred. A sacred story is recognized by “meaning effects” it unchains in the receiver.
Or even better: profane histories say who you are, while sacred histories say what you are not.
Present not your profile
Forget thy side vision
All that is exterior
Search for your other half
Always by your side
And tend to be what you are not.
(Antonio Machado. BLY, 2002, 130)
Initially the idea of the producers was that Gabrielle would die in the second episode, but as the charisma of Renee O' Connor conquered the public, they had decided to keep her. In the first season, Gabrielle is young, prattling and innocent and demonstrates her intelligence and diplomacy. It is she who writes the history of Xena. Although she does not fight, she proves her value next to Xena using sagacity. She becomes, then, the heroine who does not use of the brute force. In the third year, there are quarrels between the two heroines and Gabrielle becomes self-sufficient in the fights. Finally, in the fifth and sixth years of the series, Gabrielle is a complete warrior.
In many moments, not only the coadjuvant takes the place of the protagonist, but the narrator takes the place of the hero. In the episode The Titans, Gabrielle reads a magical parchment and resurrects three Titans; in Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards, she participates in a storytelling competition; in The Quill is Mightier, Aphrodite bewitches Gabrielle´s parchment, in such way that everything she writes turns into reality; The Play' s the Ting, Gabrielle directs a play based on the adventures of Xena, metalinguistically reflecting the series, aiming to conciliate the enjoyment of the public for sex and violence with the ethical and aesthetic intentions of the artists.
The pair Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, created by Cervantes, is a model to critically think the heroic narrative, in which the protagonist, idealist and dreamy, live submerse in the universe of the stories (of medieval gallantry) and the supporting role, has its critical conscience well rooted in the world of the material reality and its needs. The pair of heroines formed by Gabrielle and Xena is the inversion of this model, therefore while the warrior is pragmatic and realistic; the poetess constantly confuses reality with her narratives. By the way, this inversion of the perspectives allows not only the character to learn from someone inside other story, but, overall, to be a dynamic and transforming dialogue between who writes the story and who carries out the narrative. That is: the pair Xena/Gabrielle is a re-interpretation of the author-personage reflective model considered by Cervantes to think the journey of the hero.
And more: Walter Benjamin observes that, in modernity, there is been a change in the narrative way through which we tell stories. In the traditional environment, the stories were transmitted verbally; therefore, they were repeated always in the same way - as the children are told to do in their first years. Or yet, when having written versions, the narrators do not assume to be authors of the narrative: Homero, Hesiod, Virgilian, and Apuleius only repeated the narratives they had heard.
In the modern environment, however, the storyteller (writers, filmmakers, artists) must ‘be creative’, original and remarkable for the newness, not only telling the same story in different forms, but always telling new stories. Thus, with the technical reproductability and the disappearance of the ‘aura’ of art objects in general, originality would have been substituted by novelty also in the discursive field of the narratives.
But, within post-modernity, it became common place not only to retell classic histories with an authorial style, but also to combine histories from different cultures and times, relating them, mixing its characters and texts, making citations to be recognized. The classic A Midsummer Night's Dream, of Shakespeare, for example, is homaged in the episode A Comedy of Eros, in which Bliss, son of the Cupid and Psyche, steal the arrows of his father and makes Xena to fall in love for Draco, that falls in love with Gabrielle that falls for Joxer. Or in the episode The Furies, which is an interpretation of the tragedy Electra, from Sophocles. The episode A Solstice Carol is a parody of a Christmas Tale: Xena, Gabrielle and the toy manufacturer Senticles join and disguise as the Fates so that king Silvus won’t banish the children from an orphanage.
Beyond the interaction with several Greek gods (Ares, Aphrodite, Hades, Bacchus, etc), Hercules and other legendary characters from the Greek mythology (Ulysses, Helen of Troy, Prometheus), Xena also re-interpretates narratives from other cultures. In The Rheingold, the Nordic warrior Beowulf asks Xena for help; in Giant Killer, Xena decides to face her friend Goliath in order to defend the Israelis to be killed by the philistines; in Altered States, Xena saves the boy Ikus (in allusion to Isaac) from being sacrificed by his father Antheus (name given to Jacob) and finds out that the instigator of the crime was a single god. Many other examples could be given. But, the mythical approach most daring and most import for the narrative of Xena, is the history of Eli (or Jesus Christ). Initially Eli (Tim Omundson) is an Essenian mystic man that the heroines met during a peregrination to India, who preaches the philosophy of non-violence and universal love. Gabrielle is converted to these ideals. He reappears in Devi, episode where the poetess has her body possessed by the evil spirit of Tataka, in India, and is exorcized by Eli; and, in The Way, when Xena fights against Indrejit, the most powerful of all demons, who kidnapped Gabrielle and Eli. At the beginning of the fifth season, in Fallen Angel, the heroines are resurrected by Eli after a battle between heaven and hell. And, finally, in Motherhood, Eli appears once again, when granting to Xena the power to kill all gods from the Olympus.
Beyond re-interpret narratives of different cultures with its feminist-matriarchal framing, the stories of Xena are fractals, that is, each episode of the series will describe elements of the set of the Saga seen from a specific point, each story is full of details and subtitles that advance and explain what it is to happen or what happened in another story, inside of a gigantic time-puzzle. Thus, the first episode, when Xena comes back sorry to her native village to ask for her mother to forgive her after many years of slaughters and wars, is when we get to know how she left Amphipolis. Or in the episode Death Mask, Xena finds her older brother Toris to revenge the death of their youngest brother, Lyceus. Or yet in Orphan of War, Xena meets again her son Solan that had been educated by the centaurs for ten years.
In each new episode, the shady past of Xena is shown in flashbacks. At the same time that the narrative structures a gradual history of a warrior in search of redemption, it also constructs a regressive history of guilt and savagery, previous the conversion of Xena. This double narrative, regressive/progressive, leads to the construction of a time line in two directions, with characters, places and time very contradictory.
A good example is the episode Past Imperfect. While Xena revives her memories from the time of her pregnancy until the death of Borias and the birth of Solan, Xena confronts her former-servant, Satrina, which is attacking cities in the present with the same techniques used by her to destroy Corinth in the past. In fact, the complete Saga of the warrior princess can be subdivided in cultural cycles: the Roman Cycle (joint of episodes where Xena is crucified twice by Julius Cesar (Karl Urban); the Chinese Cycle (with two trips of Xena for China permeated with memories of her spiritual mentor Lao Ma); the Germanic cycle (in which Xena convinces Odin not to commit suicide and is transformed into a Walkiria); Cycle of the Amazon and the Centaurs; Japanese Cycle (where Xena, in the past, provokes a fire that kills 40,000 people to revenge the death of the princess Akemi and, in present time, dies decapitated by the samurais); etc.
Besides this simultaneous construction of the narrative in the past and the in the present, Xena and Gabrielle also travel, in its trans-cultural revision of mythologies, in other dimensions of the space-time: in Dreamworker, Gabrielle is abducted by the priests of Morpheus and Xena enters the world of dreams to rescue her; in The Bitter Suite, after dying, Xena and Gabrielle go to the kingdom Ilusia where they make up; in Paradise Found, Xena and Gabrielle fall in a hole and arrive in a paradise that is governed by Aidem, a sorcerer who feeds from people's kindness. Xena had been in hell many times, as in the remarkable episode where she kills Mephistopheles and becomes the ‘Queen of Hell’ (The Haunting of Amphipolis), and soon after, in Heart of Darkness, makes the archangel Lucifer to commit the seven deadly sins so that he would assume the place of ‘King of the Hell’ instead of her.
But, among the regressive cycles involving trips to the spiritual worlds, the episodes that tell the story of the Siberian witch Alti (Claire Stansfield) hold a special place. Gabrielle dies (for the first time) in the end of the third season. And in the first episode of the 4th year, Adventures in the Sin Trade, to have one last contact with her, Xena decides to go to the place “where Amazon goes when they die”, but finds out that Alti, her former ally and powerful shaman, imprisoned the old Amazon souls on a sort of ‘limbo'. Xena, then, remembers her agreement with Alti to become `the annihilator of nations' and of her betrayal to the amazon queen Cyane. Xena, once more, ransoms her debt with the past, freeing Gabrielle and the amazons, but she will also awake the anger of the witch that will haunt her from then ahead, during the whole series, in many dimensions, places and times.
Also there are displacements in the future time. By the way, Uberfic is the used term (created by Xena’s fan club in the Internet) to assign the stories where the personages are shown in some episodes in the future, usually incarnated in other bodies, and soon after acknowledging about their past lives. This kind of resource was used in the episode The Xena Scrolls, in the second season: in Macedonia 1940, anthropologists Melinda Pappas and Janice Covington, reincarnations of Xena and Gabrielle, look for scrolls that have the adventures of Xena. In Between the Lines, Xena and Gabrielle are sent to the future to fight the reincarnation of Alti. In Déjà Vu All Over Again, when, in present time, Harry, Anne and Matie, the reincarnations of Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer do regression therapy from past lives and when Xena and Gabrielle are interviewed by a TV reporter in You Are There.
There are still two episodes dedicated to the present time: Send in the Clones, in which Xena and Gabrielle are cloned by three fans obsessed by the series; and Soul Possession, which presents a Buddhist solution (body exchange) to the karmic conflicts of the three main personages of the series: the spirit of Xena reincarnates in the body of the actor Ted Raimi and the spirit of the foolish Joxer in the body of the actress Lucy Lawless. Thus, the union between the twin souls of Xena and Gabrielle would become ‘heterosexual' `- what many fans disliked.
In these episodes, the artists take their critical satire over themselves to the last consequences. The importance given by the fan clubs to the question of the protagonist’s homosexuality is brought inside the show. There is a hilarious scene with the Raimi brothers on the possibility to produce - from the lost scrolls of Xena (found by the switched reincarnations of the old heroes) – a low budget show for American TV “with neo-Zealand locations and casting”.
In a way that the narrative discontinuity of the episodes of the Saga always bring in the problem of the narrator, either through the relation author/actor, represented by the couple of protagonists, either through scenes of metalinguistics and the explicitation of many usually invisible aspects in the TV series, as the role of the producers, the show success, the characters homosexuality, the fan clubs, etc.
The book Myth and Body (2001) is a resulted of the encounter of two great contemporary authors, deriving from different areas of psychology: Stanley Keleman – director of the Center for Energetic Studies of Berkeley, author of many books on somatic therapy and responsible for the approach of Reich ideas in the actual context - and Joseph Campbell, a well-known mythologist that took the postulates of Jung to the fields of archaeology, anthropology and history of the religions, elaborating a universal model for the archetypical journey of the hero.
The main argument of the book is that the Myth is a corporal experience; it keeps the somatic memory of the Body. And the Body, in its turn, is constructed by the Myth. Campbell’s ‘Journey of the Hero' corresponds to what Keleman calls `corporification', the history of our somatic nature, the individuation process (Jung). Thus, there is a resonance between the sacred histories and the personal biographies. The book still brings an interpretation of the medieval Legend of Parsifal as a symbolic script of initiation, rites of passage from youth (and the feeling of pride) towards maturity (and the feeling of compassion).
‘Xena’ tells the story of a cruel and sanguinary warrior who regrets from her violent and merciless behavior, converting herself to the spiritual path of the warriors and defending the weak and oppressed. But, in relation to the archetypical journey of the hero, she is a woman and, instead of the passage from pride to compassion, her story dramatizes the passage from revenge and rivalry feelings for ones of justice and fellowship. This - increased to the fact that the heroines are much more solitary and less competitive then the heroes in general – bring a special tone to the show.
But, with its feminine style, in the basics, Xena fulfills the two basic requirements of the Warrior Path: to be one own enemy (the others are adversaries that can be become allies) and to have death as companion.
Of Course Xena has enemies for which there is no reconciliation, that represented the absolute evil (as the witch Alti; the god Dahak; and Hope, the daughter of Gabrielle), but, during the whole series, the warrior princess fought to convert her adversaries into allies, a time she was a ‘converted' herself. That is particularly visible in the episodes that count with the participation of the warrior Callisto (Hudson Leick).
In hers villainous times, Xena pillaged and destroyed the city of Cirra, killing the family of a innocent girl called Callisto, who, nourishing a mortal hate for the warrior princess, passed her whole life searching for revenge. She is defeated and imprisoned in the episode Callisto; in Return of Callisto, she scapes from prison and kills Perdicas, the husband of Gabrielle. In the episodes Intimate Stranger and Ten Little Warlords, Ares switch the bodies of Xena and Callisto - putting each one in the other´s shoes.
By the way, this resource (of the bodies exchange to demonstrate to the protagonists how others see the world) is used at other moments of the series: in Little Problems, Xena is placed in the body of the girl Daphne; in Succession, Ares join Xena and Gabrielle in a single body. But, let us come back to Callisto. In A Necessary Evil, Xena resurrected by Gabrielle, enters into an alliance with Callisto against Velasca, the goddess of chaos. To stop her, Xena helps in exchange for ambrosia. After Callisto become a goddess, Xena makes her and Velasca to fall in a well of lava. Callisto starts again to resurrect and join to the enemies of Xena (Hope, Dahak, and Julio Cesar) in the episodes Maternal Instincts, Sacrifice and The Ides of March; but, in Fallen Angel, at the beginning of the fifth season, she is redeemed and becomes a celestial angel after Xena save her from hell. In Seeds of Faith, Xena finds out that her future daughter, Eve, will be a reincarnation of the angel Callisto and will have an important role in ‘crepuscule of gods'. Callisto´s redemption is also Xena’s redemption!
The issue on the warrior ethics and non-violence is also set in the episodes Crusader and The Convert, when the heroines meet Najara, a warrior who says to be fighting in the good side, but actually she is religious fanatic, killing the ones that do not want to follow (her) the light path. The encounter with the fanatic warrior served to define that, although they follow their way together, Xena and Gabrielle follow different spirituals paths: Xena follows the Way of the Warrior, guided by Krisna; Gabrielle follows the Way of Love preached by Eli.
Here there is an important point: the love between women who follow different ways and respect each other (this love either being sexual or not) is the great distinguishing subject of Xena in relation to the warrior stories. The fraternity and love between men follow other parameters (it is ruled and competitive) and the women generally do not possess histories that exceed the feminine rivalry and establishes parameters of solidarity with different perspectives.
And if Xena differentiate from the traditional stories due to the feminine way she fights, she also surprises regarding death. In traditional legends, the hero defies his Destiny (and death) and conquers immortality. But, in Xena (and in other contemporaries narratives as we saw in Sandman), the protagonist prefers to die without fear. Altogether, during the whole series, Callisto dies five times, Gabrielle, eight times; and Xena, four – not mentioning the different reincarnations.
In the episode Death in Chains, king Sisyphus captures Celesta, the embodiment of death, taking death away from humanity. And Xena, in contrast to the traditional hero who aims immortality, decides to set death free, bringing humanity back to its ephemeral condition. In actual life, represented in the stories, it is necessary to always `be on the limit'. Death as permanent risk is a new form of producing existential meaning. As a constant presence, before an exclusive experience of a few mystics, death had became now, through the media, a way of mass subjection in the contemporary culture. And life became fragmented in many simulated micro-deaths, in many existential shocks of the body at risk, at many anticipated final moments of a single irreversible time. And the series just reproduces this reality.
In the episode Been There, Done That, Xena thinks constantly on how to break the Cupid charm, in a day that is always repeating itself. It is a homage to the movie 12:01, in which the protagonist live the same day many times until finding out what was going on. To each repeated day, depending on the options of the protagonist, many coadjuvants and the main characters die. But, as the day re-starts all come back to life without remembering they had already passed through those events. By the way, this film is very ‘honoured’ by TV series and even other films, as the Butterfly Effect, also adapt this specific model of secular paradox to its narratives and specific contexts.
It is as somebody once said: “in media, nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is copied.” Or: "One man's trash is another man's treasure". And as everyone copy the stories of everyone, it all starts to be a matter of who tells the story better. And the series itself also brings up this narrative relativism and this plurality of interpretations in the If episode If the Shoe Fits… Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer and Aphrodite take the princess Aesia home and tell her different versions of the story of Cinderella, called by them Cirela.
There are many similarities between the mythological series of Xena and other contemporaries works, such as, for example, the gigantic series of graphic novel Sandman, masterpiece of the English writer Neil Gaiman, telling the tragic epic of Morpheus, the master of dreams. Both narratives are hyper textual, filled with literary, artistic, scientific citations from multiple cultural scenarios; both understand death as a process of change in life, but, above all, the great similarity between Xena and Sandman is in the role played by the Three Fates (a young woman, another one of middle-age and an old one), that, in both histories, represent the past, the present and the future: the inflexible existence of the time above and beyond death and destiny.
In Sandman, Destiny and Death are endless, brothers of Dream, protagonist of the story. And the endless are not gods, but aspects of the human soul. The three witches appear many times in the stories of Sandman in the form of oracle for different characters and, in the penultimate arc, Dear Beings (2008) they are placed above the endless and represent the awakening of the conscience of time in dreaming.
In the Xena show the three Fates also appear many times. In Remember Nothing, in the second season, the three of them make Xena go back in time and never to be a warrior. And they warn that if Xena do not kill, she will not come back to normal. Also in the episode Looking Death in the Eye, in the fifth season, Joxer, already an old man, has a parchment with the story of Xena trying to deceive the three fates to save her daughter Eve from being killed by gods and ends up kidnapping Celesta, the goddess-death. In the end, Xena and Gabrielle forge their own death and Ares think that they had died and freezes them. In the sequence, the heroines are defrosted 25 years after and meet again Eve, with the name Livia that is now is a servant of Rome and lover of Ares. And in the end of the sixth season, in the episode When Fates Collide, they are imprisoned by Julius Cesar who runs away from hell and changes Xena’s string of life, modifying her future and transforming her into the Empress of Rome. But Xena meets Gabrielle, a famous poetess and Cesar get involved with Alti, a powerful priestess of Rome. In the end, Alti kills Cesar and the three fates helps Gabrielle recover the string of life of Xena.
In another occasion (GOMES, 2000), I defined `Hypertext' as being a text in which the reader interacts with the discourse, as an open structure of multiple meaning, edging polysemy and allowing the maximum interpretations. The written text is a linear system in relation to the continuous time that it tries to represent in many 'continuances': the succession of events, the order of the speech, the gradual accumulation of resultant information. The transmission context is different from the many possible contexts of reception, opposing to the single context of orality.
Now, the time of the Hypertext is at the same time continuous and simultaneous, sequential and parallel, historical and circular, successively and simultaneously - it is the re-unification of the contexts in a superior scale. In the text-scripture there is a relation between past and present, history and the social memory; in the Hypertext, the relation is between present and future, between what is prevailing and its virtual simulation.
From this optic, the Hypertext is not only an Internet matter, but actually a new standard of organization, that invaded the daily life creating the basis for another form of thinking and feeling, of a new and more democratic and participative sociability. And it is not only a tool and a product of the webs it engenders (in which the receivers awake from passivity towards the interactive construction of a referent), but, overall, it represents the cognitive integration between two distinct standards, verbal-mythical (one-one) and historical (one-many) to a new standard (many-many).
It is common to say that everyone that forget history, are doomed to repeat it. But not even Nietzsche (in Gaia Science and other writings) nor Mircea Eliade (in his book about the new year of the societies without history) had imagined the broad, pluralist, open, polyphonic, multiple and complex dimension that the Myth of the Perpetual Return gained to the contemporaries audio-visual narratives.
Sandman and Xena are different models of hyper textual structures (or “arch-textual” as the neobaroque critic says about Joyce and Guimarães Rosa) of the audiovisuals contemporaries narratives. If it was not its unexpected, multifaceted and chaotic character it could be compared them the time cycles of the Vedas or to the many conceptions of the simultaneous and immutable universe.
They are histories inside histories inside histories. In A thousand and one Nights, the stories tells one another to the infinite, but they are contained by the ‘real history’ of the Princess Sherazad. In Sandman, there is “a symphonic” narrative (as McConnell said), with a succession of outcomes from many initial narratives. The story of Xena has a narrative more circular. Its episodes are discontinuous and can be placed in any order, so that the general narrative is maintained. There is not a way to know which of her deaths was definitive or the last to occur in her biography.
Also it is necessary to say that the model of Xena has more audience and greater interactivity than Sandman. While, the Saga of the Master of the Dreams reaches a specific type of nerd (in which I am included), the history of international success of the warrior princess is not limited to the GLS public, reaching everyone that relate to the current feminine values. Besides, each season of Xena was written based on opinion pools with the public (a common procedure nowadays for shows and soap operas). Public and spectators appear sometimes inside the show. Because of all this, we choose the Saga of the warrior princess as an example of Hypertext.

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[2] In 2005, the team that discovered the dwarfed planet 2003 UB313 called it Xena in homage to the TV character. In October 1st of 2005, the team announced that 2003 UB313 had a moon, that they nicknamed Gabrielle. The objects officially had been called Eris and Dysnomia for the International Astronomical Union in September 13th of 2006. Although the official names have legitimate roots in Greek mythology, Dysnomia also means lawlessness or anarchy, perpetuating the connection with Lucy Lawless. (Source: Wikipedia)
[3] Among the fans, it is a matter of much interest to know if Xena and Gabrielle are lovers or not. Xena has being cultuated as icon for the lesbian community. There is also a lesbian group of activists called The Marching Xenas which participated of several gay events. The question is left ambiguous by the writers of the series on purpose.
[4] Keen still criticizes the non-political interpretation of the traditional thinkers who work with myths (Carl Gustav Jung, James Hilmann, Bruno Bettelleim), who reduce evil to the psychological shade and use the term archetype- that he considers to be a term culturally conservative. Actually, Keen literally reproduces the arguments of Paul Ricouer (without citing him) on the advantages using of the notion of metaphor instead the concepts of archetype in the symbolic narratives.