But The Mummery Book is not a mere commentary on the forms of life’s bondage. Intertwined with its densely parabolic surface is the archetypal love story of Raymond and Quandra.
Who is Quandra? In one sense, she is the romantic and desirable Other, the beloved of one’s heart, a thing of beauty that one achingly and longingly pursues with dreams of union; she is a "Darling" or goddess-lover who will make the "edge of life and death" bearable with her love.
"She was so Beautiful! And She was — so willingly — Mine!," says Raymond of Quandra. But Quandra is not just a woman, an other, an object of desire.
Raymond and Quandra represent the archetypal duality, always seeming to register a primal "difference" (or even opposition) in their multivalent interrelatedness: consciousness and energy, subject and object, observer and observed, mind and body, I and not-I.
In The Mummery Book, this duality, this separation, is "Raymond’s problem" — and the problem of existence itself. Energy in all "her" forms attracts us — yet energy is seemingly separate from the consciousness that observes it; energy is always changing and disappearing, as the "dying world" and "nature’s heap of time."
Raymond and Quandra’s love story represents a union of consciousness and energy that would heal the split in the world of experience.
The Mummery Book suggests that the separation between Raymond and Quandra results in a basic distortion of reality and fuels a primal fault in our being. It is the original (perceptual and conceptual) fault that leads to suffering. All the difficulties that the characters experience are the result of this division:
In the ego-drama of experienced duality, all is a little play, of twos—within the larger Play, of Two. The Mummery of life-and-world-and-death is a constant Melodrama—made of opposites and contraries. And life is always "self-and-"other"—in a Growling! pit.
There is only a pattern. Patterning, in Clicks! and Clacks! Appearance, Shift, and Change. Always repetitions — and, yet, never the same.
The countless pairs are not Recognized, AsIs, by the always ego-"I"—in its waking, dreaming, and sleeping, here. The oblivious little play of twos—never exactly Founders, in their One. Forever—there is only "she" or "he" or "it" or "that", and the always-remaining "I". The "I" and the "other"—forever waiting, for the One-and-Only One. The One That Always Already Is—Infinitely Expanded, Beyond the persistent point of ego- "I". Beyond the egg of attention, and its Klik-Klak visions of eternal "difference".
The archetypally erotic scene of Raymond and Quandra’s union that occurs a third of the way though the novel — in the open, by the lake at "God’s End" — is described in unforgettable language.
In a tour de force of poetic imagery, which mixes Elizabethan sensuousness with the exotic ornamentation of Hafiz, Raymond and Quandra enter the pantheon of sublime lovers in world literature, joining their two feeling-hearts "of Divinely human Love" in a "Single, Breathing Consciousness."
But their embrace is also a most "terrible secret," and almost immediately afterward the two embrace each other again, this time only to weep. They love each other, but they know that they will inevitably be separated from each other.
This master theme of limitation runs through whatever grand or humble subject that stories portray; it is the unrelenting subtext of every plot and every point of view; and it is the confining vision in which Raymond and all merely human lovers are trapped. But Raymond cannot accept this inevitable scenario:
And Raymond walked—to Find a TrueHouse—of his own. A True House—made of True Heart’s own Divine True love. On True Water’s own—Eternal, and un-dying—bed. The only True and deathless wedding-bed. The bed of Living Light—That Always Already Is!
That True House, that True Heart, that True Water — that radical nonduality, in which there is no separation between anyone or anything, between consciousness and energy — is the esoteric theme of The Mummery Book, and it is developed on several interlocking levels.
The story of Raymond and Quandra is imbedded in a vast and ultimately inexhaustible architectonic of difference and non-difference that plays on their simultaneous and paradoxical connection.
Their story is like the book Raymond writes in the attic room of Dad — a play named "The Ego and the God-Idea" . . . which itself is written on the back of Dad’s elegiac play about the separation of Raymond and Quandra . . . which is both a revelatory vision and a false one . . . and which contains within itself further false and true perspectives, as a result of being apprehended through the mummery-ridden consciousness of other characters in The Mummery Book (such as Evelyn Disk, the insidious genius-priest of Saint-and-Ear, who has Raymond recite Dad’s play as part of a ritual).
Raymond and Quandra, and Raymond's book and Dad's play, are related to each other like the two sides of a Mobius strip mentioned in Raymond’s book: "The relationship between Consciousness and Form is a Mobius Strip of Sudden! Life." The trope of the Mobius strip, which looks as if it is composed of two surfaces but only has one, suggests something about the nature of reality: one can take on the appearance of many.