I can’t totally rule out the possibility that, if all the external conditions and the karmic action were there, a stream of consciousness might actually enter a computer. –His Holiness, the Dalai Lama
This startling statement made by the renowned leader of Tibetan Buddhism knocked me off kilter on first reading it. It had a similar effect on the renowned physicist who reported it. Continue reading →
I wrote my first novel to explore several concepts that struck me as compelling and profound. The first of these concepts posits that all human beings are connected collectively at a deep psychological level, inaccessible to the thinking mind but which can be touched in higher or altered states of consciousness. Accessing this state is akin to what some religious and spiritual belief systems would call a unity experience. Carl Jung termed this shared reality the collective unconscious, likening our individual psyches to the spokes of a bicycle tire with the collective at the hub.
The second idea relates to locales around the globe that mystics and sensitives claim to be energy centers or “power points” via which inflowing energy animates our reality, and may even influence thought, belief and emotion. Some have speculated that the world’s most enduring belief systems and religions arose in the most powerful of such places (e.g., Jerusalem) and retain their influence due to this origin.
The third idea involves the remote viewing program that both the U.S. and Soviet Union operated during the Cold War years, recruiting and training mystics and sensitives to serve as “psychic spies.” A whole body of literature exists today detailing this now declassified program which claimed startling successes in the projection of consciousness to distant locales.
The Ah-ha Moment
When I came across The Celestine Prophecy and saw how James Redfield had woven together several metaphysical theories within a fictional adventure story, I recognized how I would tell my tale. Like Redfield, I structured the plot along the lines of the Hero’s Journey, so … Continue reading →
Visionary fiction is not religious fiction or sci-fi or fantasy.
What will it take for traditional publishers to make room on the shelf for fiction that “speaks the language of the soul and offers a vision of humanity as we dream it could be?”
In other words, what will it take for visionary fiction to be recognized as a genre?
Mystic Tea Finds a Genre
Though I don’t have a cup of mystic tea to help me see through time, I can come up with a simple – if not easy to accomplish – answer to the above question.
For visionary fiction to be recognized as a genre, it will take:
Visionary writers, such as Rea Nolan Martin, with the talent, perseverance, and willingness to write stories from the heart rather than cave to the dictates of what is currently selling.
Contests, such as the Independent Publisher Book Awards, that recognize visionary fiction as a category and award talented VF authors like Rea Nolan Martin awards for their superior work.
Reviewers, such as the impressive number that gave Rea Nolan Martin’s visionary novel Mystic Tea a five-star review.
Mystic Tea on Goodreads
I was first drawn to Rea Nolan Martin’s novel by the following blurb at Goodreads:
A community of quirky, mismatched, and endearing women struggle to find meaning and purpose on a ramshackle monastery in upstate New York. Having spent their lives in service to a church that seems to no longer serve them, they are confused about their own futures and … Continue reading →
Art is kind of an innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him.
Exciting news for all Visionary Fiction authors, readers and lurkers:
As of August 2014 a entry entitled “Visionary fiction” has been published on Wikipedia at:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visionary_fiction Continue reading →
Personality type may seem an abstract and unnecessary thing for writers to be concerned about. Shouldn’t we be polishing our prose with our writing groups and editors, instead of worrying about our psychological types?
No. Personality type is something writers must know, in addition to how to construct a killer novel and get it sold. Why? Continue reading →
It came to mind that a backdoor approach to the key question—What is Visionary Fiction?—might yield valuable insight into this genre’s elusive definition. So let’s take a look, for a lark, at what is not visionary fiction. Continue reading →
To read or review “Carl Jung and Visionary Fiction, Part 1, click HERE.
“Universal in Worldview and Scope”
The VFA characterizes Visionary Fiction as “universal in worldview and scope.” The Jungian visionary novel “is not concerned with the individual even when it is written about an individual,” Keyes says. “Exploring the individual experience is a feature of Jung’s psychological literature. Visionary literature concerns itself with human existence in its entirety.”
Jung’s essay goes into considerable and worthwhile discussion on the sources of the vast and fantastic worldviews presented in great visionary works and their relationship to the personality, even sanity, of the writer. In response to reductionists who would attribute the intuitive beauty and truth of The Divine Comedy to Dante’s fevered imagination, he says: “In works of art of this nature—and we must never confuse them with the artist as a person—we cannot doubt that the vision is a genuine, primordial experience, regardless of what reason-mongers may say. The vision is not something derived or secondary, and it is not a symptom of something else. It is a true symbolic expression—that is, the expression of something existent in its own right, but imperfectly known.
I daresay that every VF writer, like the deep meditator or the seer, has entered that “zone” where she has seen things undoubtedly true. Somehow we leave our narrow selves and experience a much vaster Universe, to come back “trailing clouds of glory” to quote Wordsworth’s Intimations of Immortality, even though the experience can only be imperfectly translated into words. How many of us have reread extraordinary bits in our own works and exclaimed, “Where did that insight come from?”
Why Visionary Fiction is not “Popular”
Popular fiction, like polite conversation, simply cuts the uncomfortable or so sensationalizes it that it has nothing to … Continue reading →
It may come as a shock, or at least a revelation, to Visionary Fiction readers and writers that Carl Jung, the eminent Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology, defined Visionary Fiction and described it in detail in a lecture delivered in 1929, “Psychology and Literature,” included in the volume Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Rather than the narrow sub-genre it is often reduced to, Jung depicts Visionary Fiction as a super-genre that forms one of the two major divisions of artistic production: “I will call the one mode of artistic creation psychological, and the other visionary.”
To differentiate the two: “The psychological work of art always takes it materials from the vast realm of conscious human experience—from the vivid foreground of life, we might say.” What is generally called realism.
The latter [visionary] reverses all the conditions of the former [psychological]. The experience that furnishes the material for artistic expression is no longer familiar. It is a strange something that derives its existence from the hinterlands of man’s mind—that suggests the abyss of time separating us from pre-human ages, or evokes a superhuman world of contrasting light and darkness. It is a primordial experience which surpasses man’s understanding, and to which he is in danger therefore of succumbing. The value and the force of the experience are given by its enormity. It arises from timeless depths; it is foreign and cold. Many-sided, demonic and grotesque. […] The primordial experiences rend from top to bottom the curtain upon which is painted the picture of an ordered world. And allow a glimpse into the unfathomed abyss of what has not yet become. Is it a vision of other worlds, of the obscuration of the spirit, or of the beginning … Continue reading →
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