Dark Characters in Visionary Fiction Can Reveal the Light

By Eleni Papanou

Visionary fiction’s theme is the evolution of human consciousness. But what does that mean? What is consciousness? Psychologist, William James, coined the phrase stream of consciousness. He identified consciousness as something that is shaped by experience and how the experience is processed in our minds. So it’s our life experience that defines who we are, and we play out that definition in reality. If we have many dark experiences, then it might lead us to passing similar experiences on to others. Why are some people able to overcome darkness?

LIGHT-IN-THE-DARKNESS-1

The great sages of history paved the way to free us from our dark nature. Socrates taught us the limitations of knowledge by asking us to question our assumptions. The Buddha taught us that our attachments lead to suffering. Attachment to possessions, to people, to social status, and destructive personal and outer beliefs can overcome our sense of self, and we instead become products of culture. In other words, without taking the time to reflect upon our experience, we’re instead  shaped and molded by culture. When that happens, we lose a sense of who we truly are. We go through life performing a role that we believe we’re expected to play.

The Jungian term of enlightenment is moving beyond the archetypal roles that we’ve perpetuated since the dawn of civilization. Once we can look from the outside in, we become what Jung described as modern man. He explained that modern humans (noun adjusted for modern usage) are lonely because they have detached from their historically assigned roles. They also may be viewed as crazy as a result of their unwillingness to continue being fellow … Continue reading

What Is Women’s Visionary Fiction?  Part I – Guest Post By Mary Mackey

Women’s Visionary Fiction is not a new type of Visionary Fiction. It has been around for decades if not centuries. In fact, for all of recorded history (and thousands of years before writing existed) women have been associated with visions, mystical experiences, spiritual powers, magic, the ability to bring new life into the world, heal the sick, and speak to the dead.

When women authors finally cracked the Paper Ceiling of Publishing in the early 1970’s, they began to draw on their visionary heritage as they struggled for cultural recognition and spiritual identity.

The best of Women’s Visionary Fiction is not preachy or didactic. Mystical, flowing, beautifully crafted, it draws on folk traditions and esoteric sources as it creates new worlds, explores the after-life, and evokes other states of consciousness and other realities. Yet many of the early examples, fine they are, still remain unknown except to a small audience of readers.

Cover of Waterlilly by Ella Deloria

For example, in 1940, Native American author Ella Deloria wrote Waterlilly, a visionary novel that takes as its subject Lakota (Sioux) culture before the Lakota had contact with Europeans. This fascinating recreation of Lakota rituals, culture, and spiritual life, was not published until 1988, nearly twenty years after Deloria’s death.

In the past half century, women have written visionary fiction about witches, midwives, herbal healers, priestesses, goddesses, fairies, oracles, and angels. In fact, sometimes the authors themselves have been witches, midwives, herbal healers, and priestesses. Take for example Starhawk, San Francisco’s most famous witch. Her novel The Fifth Sacred Thing (Bantam, 1993), is a post-apocalyptic vision of the … Continue reading

The Visionary Fiction Revolution – And How Words Can Change the World Part 2 Guest post by Rory Mackay

(Read Part 1 of Rory Mackey’s The Visionary Fiction Revolution here)

We tell stories for a reason 

Mythology, which is storytelling at its most essential level, was not purposeless. It played an important role in shaping and sustaining society and, according to Campbell, had four primary functions. The first was to open the eyes of the individual and awaken a sense of awe, humility and wonder about the very nature of existence; to become aware of an interplay of tangible physical and elusive metaphysical realms.

The second function was cosmological; using stories and metaphor to help people understand the universe around them, making sense of time, space and biology. On a sociological level, mythology was also used as a means of forming and maintaining social connections. Having a shared narrative enabled tribes to stick together, supporting the social order and maintaining customs, beliefs and social norms.

On a more personal level, the tribe’s stories provided signposts for navigating life, sometimes reflected in ritual and rites of passage. The individual was not left to muddle through life without guidance. The epic tales of mythology were used as metaphors for dealing with the challenges and conflicts we face along life’s journey. These stories, properly understood, contained great wisdom and guidance.

Mythological tales were reflections of the human psyche and the conflicts and desires that drive it. The catastrophic battles between heroes and demons, the sacrifices, betrayals, jealously and love were reflections of the forces powering the human mind and heart. Furthermore, as stated before, Campbell believed that they could all be reduced to the same basic pattern, the same essential story: a story of trial, transcendence, rebirth and redemption. It was always a story of overcoming great adversity and conflict and finding that most cherished of all things, the true goal … Continue reading

The Visionary Fiction Revolution – And How Words Can Change the World, Part 1 – Guest post by Rory Mackay

It’s estimated that nearly 130 million books have been published in modern history. 28 million books are currently in print in English alone. When contemplating writing a book, I can’t help but reflect on these staggering statistics, as indeed I think all authors should. Does the world really need another book to add to those 130 million others? In what way is writing a book going to benefit the world and enhance the lives of its readers? Is there a reason for telling a new story – a need, and a purpose for doing so? If not, then why invest the substantial time and effort in writing a book? If it’s just to make money, then there are certainly easier and less labor intensive ways of doing so – particularly with the market as saturated as it is, with more books published than any time in history and an apparently downward trend in readership.

A changing landscape

The publishing industry is in the threshold of a transformation comparable to the advent of the Gutenberg print press over 500 years ago. The way we read is changing substantially, and the way writers release work is also changing. The advent of digital publishing has resulted in an explosion in the number of books being published. I’ve heard it said that we are experiencing an overproduction of books. The scarcer a commodity the more valuable it is, and indeed vice versa. There are more books to choose from than ever before, and to compete in this wild new literary world, authors and publishers must keep prices rock bottom and increase their output to compensate.

Our 21st century civilization is guilty of the crime of excess, if nothing else. In the current information age, we have more information than we’ll ever know what to do … Continue reading

Reincarnation as an Element in Visionary Fiction: Part 3

There is sufficient evidence to hypothesize that reincarnation is real—whether one believes in it or not. In other words, once we enter the human zone between the material and spiritual universes, we don’t get to exit without a diploma. It’s either mastery of the human condition or repeat until you get it right. Continue reading

Reincarnation as an Element in Visionary Fiction: Part 2

The stranglehold that Justinian’s Council of Constantinople placed on the concept of reincarnation and the Gnostic approach to truth through personal experience held fast for about a millennium. But there’s an odd thing about truth, especially those dealing with fundamental principles. It is resilient; it keeps coming back until it is recognized as valid. And so it happened with the doctrine of reincarnation. Continue reading

Reincarnation as an Element in Visionary Fiction: Part 1

This 3-part series focuses on the role of reincarnation, one of the more complex of the paranormal phenomena encountered in the visionary environment. With it as an example, I hope to illustrate that the various psychic elements are actual features in the visionary realm we inhabit, just as stars, planets, mountains and oceans are part of our physical environment. Continue reading

Planning a Successful Author Event

How does one create a successful author event–you know, the book launch, the coming out party, the please buy my book fair?

Back in 2011, I drove to Chateau LaMair in Granite Bay to find out.

author eventFormer senior editor at Random House and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published, Jennifer Basye Sander, and certified special event professional, Ingrid Lundquist, were “sharing the secrets writers need to know about how to best move books, get publicity, and enjoy face-to-face success with readers.”

Jennifer started with a pronouncement.  “No one cares about your book.”

No surprise there.  After fifteen years of writing and revising four novels and five years of inducting myself into the world of social media, I’d pretty much figured that one out on my own. My books are about as useful as lemons until they’re made into lemonade and served on a scorching hot day.

“Great,” Jennifer said, “you wrote a book. Wow, now you’ve published it. Next step is to have a book signing, right?”

Well, yeah, isn’t that how things work?

“Wrong,” she said.  “Announcing to your friends and the rest of the world that you are having an author signing to sell your book is the worst way to create excitement and produce sales.”

There goes the lemonade stand.

The hard reality is that after publication, and even before, the difficult job of book marketing begins. It’s time to MOVE the treasure that demanded so much of your hard work, time, and love.

Fortunately, the class was limited to eight, because, as I soon discovered, one size does not fit all when it comes to an author event.

Setting Goals for An Author Event

For starters, authors must … Continue reading

The Scabbard and the Sword Part II – guest post by Marian A. Lee  

Part II: The Purer Archetype and the Warrior King

The second part of this blog explores the warrior king as the Jungian purer archetype with regard to the Qabalistic understanding of the scabbard and sword and its political application.

King_arthur__KarrMost of us know King Arthur as the courageous “once and future king” destined to unite Great Britain and establish the peaceful kingdom of Camelot by creating the Knights of the Round Table. However by examining his shallow understanding of the scabbard and sword, it is clear that he personifies the Jungian archetype of the Purer, and that this more than anything else shapes his destiny. The Purer is the quintessential “innocent” eternal male-child who acts in the world without thoughtful consideration often possessed of an early realization of deeper spiritual truths which are treated in a casual manner without mature judgment and value. Since Arthur chooses the importance of the sword over the scabbard, he acts like the quintessential Purer, unable to relate to the world with mature self-regulation. The Purer has an overly-developed fantasy life; layers of illusion cover the reality of his situation which is perhaps why he is unable to at first realize Morgan’s trickery in switching Excalibur and its scabbard for those of unequal value. According to Kime, the sword serves the psychological function as the “…main means of communication with the material world”. The end result is the misappropriation of the use of the sword.

The sacred task which Arthur must accomplish is to learn how to use the sword and more importantly when to use it. Discrimination comes with maturity, which the Purer never obtains. … Continue reading