Visionary Fiction and Truth

BY ELIZABETH BECKETT Truth is relative. It depends where you are standing, and when. A thousand different versions of one story can all be right. So how do we make sense of it all? By finding your own truth – what resonates with you and you feel implicitly to be on your frequency. Some people think that my books are astounding, and others think that they are rubbish. But I must persevere for the readers whose personal truth frequencies are attuned with what I write, because that is powerful. Continue reading

The Wounded Healer: the Greek Myth of Human Evolution

Multi-faceted visionary craftsman Esme Ellis has been a supporter and contributor to the Visionary Fiction Alliance almost from its inception. She has written four books; Pathway Into Sunrise, Clea and the Fifth Dimension, This Strange and Precious Thing, and Dreaming Worlds Awake. Here are some of her musings amidst samples of her visionary art. Continue reading

The VFA Website Gets a Facelift

Change, especially with familiar computer screens, can be a challenge. But this change required by the VFA’s phenomenal growth–our readership has more than tripled in the last two years–is all good news. We are making room for more viewers, subscribers, features and posts in the coming years. We hope the changes are obvious and awe-inspiring. Continue reading

The Anesthesia Game and Visionary Fiction – guest post by Rea Nolan Martin

(Editor’s note – Oftentimes our stories are culled from our life experiences – painful, joyful, mystical, paranormal – and forged into Visionary Fiction. Author Rea Nolan Martin tells her tale of how such an experience shaped her newest novel.)

The Anesthesia Game final coverThe story behind The Anesthesia Game is very close to my heart. The fifteen-year-old protagonist, Sydney, suffers a life-threatening illness that requires frequent spinal procedures for which she undergoes regular anesthesia. Having spent years accompanying my own child through such procedures, I understood from page one the spectrum of courage (or cowardice) my characters would likely exhibit, patient and family members alike. Having said that, this story is far from a memoir. The personalities of my characters vary greatly from those of my own family. I constructed the characters from scratch, asking myself—what if not one, but all of them suffered some kind of affliction, real or imagined? What if, in order to manage their afflictions, each one of them was also under the influence of her own version of anesthesia? How would they manage to help each other? How would they progress? Or would they? Who would lose a life and who would find one? After the first 100 pages or so, the characters showed me the way.

As a writer of Visionary Fiction, I imagined the child’s disease and the resulting anesthesia, not as a means of sedating her life, so much as awakening it. After all, what value do negative experiences contain if not to hone us and/or those around us? The problem is, at what price the experience? The risks in this story are as high as they can … Continue reading

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

Fables, Italo Calvino, and Visionary Fiction – guest post by Stephen Weinstock

Stephen vfa postThis summer I saw Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. Teiresias was in drag, the Chorus intoned like gospel churchgoers, and the blind Oedipus appeared in the nude (an email warned us ahead of time). Despite the wonderful theatricality, I was put in mind how powerful the Oedipus myth is, with the oracle, the Sphinx, the plague, and the family tragedy as archetypal components. This great myth raised questions for me: is Sophocles’ drama Visionary Fiction? Here is a character grappling with the nature of Truth and his inner consciousness, blindness and all. This is the theme Sophocles renders, but then is the primal myth Visionary Fiction, a myth that has inspired great minds like Freud to transform human consciousness about our psychic nature?

We know this aspect of myth, of fairy tale, of fable, that they exist as pure story, often innocent on the surface, broad-stroke actions without inner character development or thematic commentary. But scratch a bit of that surface, do the least bit of interpretation, and worlds of meaning emerge, often the kinds of transcendental truth that Visionary Fiction embraces. How then do we include or approach these folkloric narratives, which have no original authors or first editions? They are at once the most visionary of fictions, and not technically fiction at all.

What of fable? On the one hand, this form may be the closest in definition to VF. A fable is a story intended” “to reveal moral or ethical consequences to life’s many choices.” This lesson component to the fable aligns with the higher truths that VF … Continue reading

Two New Arthurian Visionary Fiction Novels – Guest Post by Theresa Crater

“Well now, there’s legends and then there’s

secrets that the legends hide.”

~The Singing Stones

Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and T.L. Ashcroft-Nowicki, mother and daughter, have both written new takes on the Arthurian legends in the last few years. Dolores wrote The Singing Stones for her grandson and she plans to write more. T.L.’s first novel of a planned trilogy is entitled Merlin’s Daughter. In each novel, we get a glimpse into the spiritual traditions and teachings behind the Arthurian legends from one of England’s foremost magical families. Dolores studied with W. Earnest Butler, and is the head of the Servants of the Light, the organization founded (now renamed) by Western Mystery Tradition Occultist, Dion Fortune. T.L. grew up in her mother’s magical household, and I’ll just bet learned a couple of things here and there.

Theresa pic1In The Singing Stones, the main character, Thomas Greystone, learns about his life’s destiny to sing awake the standing stones in his ancestral homeland and allow the Once and Future King to return. His mentor, Bald Bessie, an apparently homeless woman who lives in a cave with a Jack Russel terrier, turns out to be no less a personage than—but wait. Should I tell you? Let’s just say she’s a major player in this myth’s cast of characters.

We follow Thomas as he discovers his true heritage, regains his lost manor, evades the Others in the nearby village who are trying to stop him from coming to full consciousness of himself and his role, finds the circle of singing stones that move about from hilltop to hilltop (a portal to other worlds and realms), and … Continue reading

Laying the Foundations of a new Visionary Fiction Sub-genre – Guest Post by Gordon Keirle-Smith

Authors writing in the realm of Visionary Fiction are tremendously privileged in that they are only limited by the scope of their own creativity – or by their ability to connect with a source of inspiration beyond themselves. They also have a tremendous responsibility, for our shifting world desperately needs their unfettered vision and the catalytic catharsis they can bring about by communicating that vision to a wider audience.

The goal

Simply stated, we can say that Visionary Fiction has the power to open up readers’ awareness of broader dimensions, stimulate their imaginations, and create a much-needed relief from the pressures and challenges of our frenetic, “connected” epoch.

One step beyond

Let us imagine for a moment how we could take this further and devise a technique capable of blurring the line between fact and fable sufficiently to suspend disbelief more completely. We would then be free to draw readers into an ethos of meta-reality (transcending normal awareness) so that fiction can morph into perceived truth long enough to cross the threshold of rationality and sow the seeds of visualization. At which point doors can open to even more fascinating possibilities.

Getting there

Noble principles. But how can we reach such a goal? Is it really achievable? The only way of being sure we are making our mark is to closely monitor readers’ feedback and reviews, hoping we can excite comments like these:

Once you have turned the last page, you can return to your linear world, to the safety of those physical or metaphysical explanations for our existence you have always taken for granted. But if you have just read this book, they will never be the same.”

“The book created many questions, which is great. It stretched my mind beyond what I knew. Who can say it is … 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