A New American Vision: Rethinking Our Past and Future Mythologies, Part 2 – Guest Post by Marian A. Lee

Vision is not mere fantasy devoid of pragmatic realism but an expression of our core values linked to universal experiences.  For a nation that used to pride itself on a universal concept of E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one), we have politically divided and compartmentalized ourselves in the “Pluribus,” but have precious little “Unum” to show the world as the American political process continues to grind away defined by fractured relations and contentious posturing.  Our “better angels” have obviously not alighted on this planet to guide our actions to date.

Both sides of the political spectrum confuse the “map with the territory” a concept first proposed by philosopher Alfred Korzybski and expanded upon by anthropologist Gregory Bateson.  In essence, people confuse their own personal maps of the world with the territory the map represents by the conviction that their view is the one and only “truth”.  As a result, we engage in never ending arguments over whose version of the truth is the correct view of reality.  When gazing through a universal lens, multiple realities exist which necessitates a collaborative response for effective governing so that each reality is honored at a given level of consciousness, while moving toward wholeness and understanding. Creating a national vision where multiple realities from diverse perspectives are organized into a coherent unified force to solve our complex domestic and global problems has clearly been lacking in the current political climate.

Furthermore, the capacity of our … Continue reading

A New American Vision: Rethinking Our Past and Future Mythologies, Part 1 – Guest Post by Marian A. Lee

Black Elk, a Native American visionary and Lakota Sioux medicine man chronicled by John Neihardt in Black Elk Speaks, believed a coherent vision to be central to a people’s well-being.  Black Elk’s prophetic message was clear—“Without vision, the people perish.”  A vision encompasses not only the values and goals a people strive to honor but creates a mythology of who we are, what we stand for and how our vision fits into the cosmic order. Out of this mythology comes its symbolism of meaning that functions in maintaining the moral integrity and stability of the community as a whole, while also assisting individual members through the stages of life. Vision permeates what Jung calls the self, “…the organizing principle of the personality,” through the archetypal symbolism we embody tied to the collective unconscious. According to Jung, the self is the archetype of order, organization and most importantly, unification, which harmonizes all other archetypes and their manifestation.  The visionary connected self carries us through crises that occur during the course of our individual lives and the history of a people.

Joseph Campbell, a professor and lecturer on comparative mythology and author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, found that danger exists when the social order requirements and interpretations of social institutions (religious, political and cultural) “…press on people mythological structures that no longer match their human experience.” Campbell maintained that the symbols or metaphors which express societal mythology must possess a “spiritual aura” signifying a living spiritual core of awakening.  If mythological symbols are “…reduced to the concrete goals of a particular political system of socialization,” they lack the “connotative meaning of … Continue reading

Why the Genre of the Old Testament is Visionary Fiction – guest post by Stefan Emunds

This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the twelve tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. – Ha’aretz Magazine, October 1999.

Old Testament stories are spiritual allegories, Visionary Fiction that is. These allegories recount the struggles of men and women who met God face to face. Visionary Fiction has the same goal. It is a literary form that illustrates the process of growth in human consciousness and contains an all-inclusive spiritual component (Wikipedia).

Why do we read the Hebrew Testament like a history and law book? Because we take its stories at face value. Moreover, our minds are wired differently than those who wrote the Torah. In his essay The Philosophy of the Hebrew Language, Jeff Benner, an expert in ancient Hebrew, draws attention to an unrecognized issue: Throughout the world, past and present, there are two major divisions of thought or philosophy; Western and Eastern. Eastern philosophy has its roots in the ancient past and was the predominant form of philosophy throughout the ancient world. The beginning of Western philosophy arose in the ancient Greek culture from such philosophers as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. As the Greek culture spread, so did Western philosophy, to the point that it has become the predominant philosophy throughout the world. The Hebrews … Continue reading

Setting the Stage: Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction – guest post by Karen Rider

Editor’s Note: Karen Rider’s insightful article was originally published in January, 2013 on our VFA blog site. We thought the discussion it catalyzed was worth having it reposted. We invite you to enjoy and comment!

 

Genres

Setting the Literary Stage for Visionary & Metaphysical Fiction

Rapid-fire change is ongoing in the publishing industry—and it’s not just in the way books are produced, marketed and distributed. Perhaps like no other period in literary history, writers are experimenting with voice, style and format. Such literary exploration arises from both a writer’s creative urge and in response to market trends. This has led to the emergence of new genres and a shift in the way books are marketed and categorized. On physical and digital bookstore shelves,  we find books grouped as  “alternate historical fiction”, “slipstream” and “paranormal romance.” These categories may arise from official sources (e.g., the Library of Congress), publishers and sometimes from authors and readers. Rarely is there agreement and many books can be placed in more than one category. For example, novelist Alice Hoffman’s book The Story Sisters has Library of Congress designations as Fiction/Psychological fiction/Loss/Mothers & Daughters. The same book has been described as a literary magical realism (for which Hoffman is most widely known) and mystical fiction. (It even popped up under fantasy on my Goodreads profile—and this book is definitely not Fantasy.) M.J. Rose’s series of novels dealing with the quest for tools that can reveal past life memories (The Reincarnationist, The Book of Lost Fragrances) are categorized as suspense right on the cover. On Amazon, these books were once listed under both suspense and … Continue reading

Once Upon a Time – A Visionary Fiction Perspective

I first started watching Once Upon a Time with my daughters this year.  The visionary fantasy story was created for television by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. It focuses on a young boy, Henry, who believes that his book of fairytales is based on real-life events.
The setting is Storybrooke, Maine where Henry’s foster mother, Regina, is the town’s mayor. In actuality, she is the Evil Queen.  She spends most of her time plotting revenge against Snow White, who inadvertently blurted out a secret that led to her lover’s death.  Unable to kill Snow White, Regina casts a spell that transports all the fairytale characters from the Enchanted Forest to Storybrooke, each without memories of their previous lives. The story takes off when Henry’s birth mother, Emma, arrives in Storybrooke.  Henry reveals to Emma that she is the long awaited Savior who must help the residents remember who they are and  liberate them from Regina’s control. He also discloses that Snow White and Prince Charming are her parents.

Villains and Heroes

What makes OUAT stand out as visionary fiction is the character arcs.  As there are many characters in this story, the focus of this article will be on the three leads that personify the symbolic archetypes of darkness and light.  The two main villains, Rumpelstiltskin and Regina are three-dimensional, which helps make them sympathetic to the viewer. Through their backstories, we are shown that evil isn’t born but rather created out of circumstances along with the choices that stem from those circumstances.  Regina turns to the dark side after the murder of her lover.  Rumpelstiltskin’s weakness and inability to care for his son leads him to enter the world … Continue reading

Climb the Stairway with Visionary Fiction – guest post by William Moore

Visionary Fiction gives us a stairway upon which we can climb and express what we know deep within. When we look at great works of art, it is as if they are reflections of higher worlds, higher dimensions. Artists paint upon a canvas, writers write upon a page, but at the top of the stairway we paint in Light upon the universe and we write in words of Light upon the universe. As we look up we see the vision, we reach into our souls and we can connect to that place, that reality.

Francis Bacon (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, author and concealed poet, said, “All rising to great place is by a winding stair.” Today we say, “What was that guy talkin’ about?” But Francis was a very great visionary, and he understood how we evolve.

We can think of good vs. evil in terms of an upward spiral or a downward spiral, a good choice or a bad choice, the truth or a deception. There is only one power source in the universe and it allows downward spirals and wrong choices because it honors free will in the hopes that we will learn to always fight to spiral up and propel the Light and defend the Light and love the Light.  Energy returns to its source and its source is perfection, and we have to reach up to return to our source and come home.

But why fight to spiral up? Is it worth it? What will we find at the top of that stairway? Will we get to … Continue reading

Visionary Fiction’s Role as Catalyst in the Evolving Human Mythos – guest post by Gerald R. Stanek

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that those of us writing Visionary Fiction have had some sort of vision, be it a lucid dream, an unexpectedly successful meditation, a trip brought on by a substance outside the normal diet, or even a near-death experience. It may have lasted several hours, possibly a day or two, but more likely it was only a few minutes. Nevertheless, a mere glimpse beyond the veil is all that’s required to alter one’s consciousness. We are suddenly aware that we are more than; more than we had been taught, more than we believed, more than we could have imagined. We are aware that things are not as they seem, and perhaps more importantly (as a motivating factor), we are aware that things need not remain as they are, that if only more people were clued in to the true nature of reality, the manifested mundane world could be modified in ways that would benefit all beings. So we are driven to spend endless hours of our short time here on earth piling up words, in hopes that our work will open the minds of our readers.

I’ll go out on another limb and presume that as writers of fiction we have all learned the maxim: show, don’t tell. Yet how do we show the qualities we have come to know in that eternal moment snatched from the other side—timelessness, infinity, unity—given that our only tool, language, is linear, finite, and distinctive by nature? How do we convey a globe to Flatlanders at all, let alone without technical ‘tell-y’ … Continue reading

Visionary Fiction and the Science of Consciousness, Part 3

Applied Parapsychology: Synchronicity and Super Synchronicity

To read or revisit Part One of this series, click HERE. For Part Two, Click HERE.

Parapsychology in its various aspects is an enormous field of study and practice both for evolving humans trekking through the maze of physical/mental/spiritual existence and for visionary authors narrating that tortuous saga, aptly named the Hero’s Journey by mythologist Joseph Campbell.

Super SynchronicityBut prior to it becoming a way of life or genre of fiction, parapsychology is a science: a body of knowledge that can be trusted because a scientist, in the broad sense of the term, did the proper lab work and wrote the requisite papers that other scientists diligently vetted. Such science takes dedication, time, and resources, and often must be done in the hostile environment mentioned earlier. So, a work like Super Synchronicity: Where Science and Spirit Meet is a priceless gift to humanity.

For someone coming cold upon the concept of synchronicity, this book might initially evoke a “You’ve got to be kidding.” Why Gary’s degrees and experience are necessary for him to get away with it.

But as a VF writer, who sees that reality is often stranger than fiction, I came to it already familiar with the concept and experience of synchronicity. Even supersynchronicity (six or more events “in close proximity that do not seem to have any causal connection but are still related meaningfully”) was not too much of a stretch. But rarely did I pay attention long enough to count that far. Also, I had no idea how many others had such experiences and in what quantities, or what might cause such chains of events.  All … Continue reading

Visionary Fiction and the Science of Consciousness , Part 2

Undercover Agents of Consciousness

To read or revisit Part One of this series, click HERE.

Like researchers venturing beyond the known and allowed boundaries of sanctioned science, visionary authors often strike radioactive material that incites incredulity, hostility, and worse. For these, in the words of Carl Jung, “The experience that furnishes the material for artistic expression is no longer familiar…. 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.” Writing, even if obviously fiction, that calls another’s sacrosanct belief system into question invites attack and ridicule. Ask Dan Brown or J. K. Rowling.

While we create stories to ostensibly enthrall and entertain, we are, in fact, undercover agents attempting to ignite the universal but often lethargic human impulse to grow in consciousness. That effort, like a medicinal shot, is rarely appreciated. Becoming more aware is hard; it takes change. Everything that improves our chances of success is on the table.

The state achieved by taking the recommended hero’s journey has to appear valuable, and the trip itself better seem doable, or we’ve lost our knight-errant. Readers want to see themselves performing the feats that our heroes do and to come away with some tools to do likewise. The more accurately informed (scientific) our work is, the more they will be inclined to try similar experimental deeds on their own.

Since we are dealing with the paranormal, too often misread as abnormal, and the unusual, also misread as untrue, we must ensure that our facts are facts more so than those who write realistic fiction. As Gary Schwartz reminds us in Super Synchronicity, Dr. Carl … Continue reading

Visionary Fiction and the Science of Consciousness, Part 1

Introducing Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Parapsychology is a field of study concerned with the investigation of paranormal and psychic phenomena, which include telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences, and other paranormal claims. It is often identified as pseudoscience…. Parapsychology has been criticized for continuing investigation despite being unable to provide convincing evidence for the existence of any psychic phenomena after more than a century of research. It has been noted that most academics do not take the claims of parapsychology seriously.

The above, in italics with the bolding mine, is a quote from the current Wikipedia entry  for Parapsychology. I could spend time berating its fake facts as ought to happen with the fake news all the rage today. Instead, I’ll cut to the chase and, as an allegedly sane visionary novelist who specializes in historical fiction featuring reincarnation and other paranormal phenomena, take down this benighted description with the example of a highly-credentialed academic who indeed takes parapsychology seriously.

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