Jodine Turner’s Visionary Fiction series traces the reincarnations of a priestess specially called to do the work of the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea, an Ancient One who reawakens when humanity is ready for a dramatic shift in consciousness. The first novel in the series shows us the fall of Atlantis and the rise of Avalon. In The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis, Geodran is promised to this special Goddess even before her birth. Her mother, High Priestess Jaquine, has lost babies to miscarriages and does not want a repeat performance. The Goddess of the Stars and the Sea claims Geodran as her own in return for bringing her to term.
Many of us have written about Atlantis and grab up books that reimagine or remember those times as soon as we find them. Turner spends a good deal of time in this civilization, showing us the capitol city with its looming pyramid, and taking us into the countryside where we see the fishing and farming villages, as well as the spreading forests. We get to watch Geodran grow up, be accepted into the temple, and go through some training. The High Priestess, rigid with tradition, has trouble allowing Geodran to meet her Goddess each full moon on the beach. Geodran succeeds. She learns sacred sexual ritual with none other than the son of the Goddess.
But paradise is already falling. The priesthood is corrupt, trying to gain the immortal body of light through force and dark magic, dulling the pyramid’s beacon light and endangering the island. Geodran is directed to form the new temple in the land of Avalon, in the midst of water and woods, not the shining, golden city of Atlantis, but brimming with the special power of the twin springs and the Tor.
I particularly enjoyed seeing Atlantis through Jodine Turner’s eyes. I loved traveling through the country, my own memories being tickled. She made me miss temple life, the ceremonial garb, the heightened consciousness of ritual, the ebb and flow of training, friends, and magic.
In the second in the Visionary Fiction series, The Keys to Remember, our priestess is once again called to incarnate, this time as Rhianna. We see her as a child, adopted by a family who easily gives her up to a Christian nunnery where she endures deprivation and spiritual indoctrination through a rigid, unimaginative, and cruel Mother Superior. But hope dawns when they travel to the great cathedral in Glastonbury to celebrate a religious holiday and Rhianna sees the Priestesses of Avalon preparing for their ritual march through the town, spreading the Goddess’s joy and blessings. Her true calling stirs within her. Many trials and tribulations unfold as Rhianna strives to find herself and fulfill her grandmother’s prophecy, “Your destiny lies with the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea.”
I enjoyed the rituals and use of the holy wells in this novel. It also shows us the two faces of Christianity during this period. Sister Regina embodies Rome, patriarchal, controlling, rigid. She doles out harsh, spirit-damaging punishment when Rhianna has questions. In Father Robalius we see the Celtic Christianity begun by Joseph of Arimathea, when this tin merchant planted his staff at the foot of Wearyall Hill and it bloomed there. He welcomes Rhianna’s questions and leaves her free to choose her own spiritual path. The Priestesses and the Celtic Church see their ultimate oneness.
The next two Visionary Fiction novels take place in contemporary Glastonbury. They are titled Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call and Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic. Once again Geodran incarnates as Sharay, a teenager with psychic gifts that are of course interpreted as symptoms of a mental illness. This is a subject dear to my heart. At this time, western civilization treats its most gifted spiritual beings as crazy. Divine revelation is a psychosis to be gotten rid of with drugs. Lucky for Sharay, Merlin checks himself into the hospital to save her—a man by the name of Dillon.
Sharay has found one of her teachers in Dillon, and they escape with the help of Dillon’s son, a young man who is quite familiar to Sharay, her lover who keeps coming back to do sacred tantra to bring in the Goddess. The plot thickens, with family betrayal, revelations of birth and heritage, and spiritual training, all while being chased by the police.
Another element of this story that I particularly enjoyed was Turner’s emphasis on completing one’s psychological healing by embracing forgiveness. I have done therapy and also completed an MA in Counseling. What was emphasized in the most effective techniques was finding one’s buried feelings and claiming them. Processing the anger, betrayal, terror, etc. of childhood abuse. Reclaiming one’s self worth. Rebuilding one’s ability to function in the world. But in my experience, most therapists and theories stop here. And in my experience, that is not enough. Working through to forgiveness really completes psychological healing. Not the fake stuff, like “Respect your parents” or “They did the best they could.” All that. But the real forgiving. Thoroughly processing one’s feelings until they are truly integrated and one can look at the offenders as the people who also suffered as children or who experienced a serious adult trauma, like combat. This is not allowing for the next round of abuse. It is truly healing. Turner herself is a therapist, and I think she must be a really good one.
I also enjoyed Turner’s intimate knowledge of Glastonbury and priestess teachings. She lived in Glastonbury as she was writing these novels. She herself is a consecrated priestess, and a deacon in the Gnostic Church of Mary Magdalene. She has walked the path. She teaches others to do so as well.
Another thing. Jodine is also a founding member of the Visionary Fiction Alliance. I highly recommend these Visionary Fiction novels. You’ll enjoy this journey through the history of one of the world’s powerful spiritual traditions.
Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her paranormal mysteries. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion holds a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. The shadow government search for ancient Atlantean weapons in the fabled Hall of Records in Under the Stone Paw and fight to control ancient crystals sunk beneath the sea in Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Her short stories explore ancient myth brought into the present day. The most recent include “The Judgment of Osiris” and “Bringing the Waters.” Theresa has also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.
www.theresacrater.wordpress.com @theresacrater on Twitter