The Article that Started it All – by Jodine Turner

The Article that started it all ~ by Jodine Turner

I write Visionary Fiction. It’s my passion. I published an article defining it in Writers Journal, May 2009, hoping to promote the relatively unknown genre. In November, 2011, I posted a link to my article on the Goodreads page for the Visionary Fiction Group.

From that Goodreads post emerged a small network of author colleagues who also write Visionary Fiction – Saleena Karim, Shannan Sinclair, and I started a web ring in order to discuss the genre. Our initial conversations on Goodreads attracted nine other VF authors. We decided to formalize our connection and develop a blog with the purpose of increasing the awareness of the genre. Hence, the birth of the Visionary Fiction Alliance and blog!

So, here is the originally published article. Fellow VFA Founding Member Eleni Papanou said it is ‘the article that started it all’. I suppose that is true! I couldn’t be more happy about that.


Visionary Fiction – the New Kid on the Block

I learned about Visionary Fiction first hand. I was in my thirties when the magical town of Glastonbury England, where “The Mists of Avalon” was set, beckoned me. I answered the call to adventure, and moved to that ancient Isle of Avalon for nine months. Glastonbury had more in mind for me than adventure.

Vesica PiscesWhile living there, I would take a daily walk to the nearby Chalice Well. The well is an ancient holy spring, a pilgrimage site set amidst a garden of colorful English flowers, hawthorn shrubs, Rowan trees, and meandering paths. As I’d sit beside the bubbling springs, my mind would still its chatter, and my body would heave a sigh of relief. Early one morning in late spring, while in that relaxed state, an unbidden vision flashed in my mind’s eye. Vague images of robed women, seemingly from times long past, filled my thoughts. Over the course of the next hour, I watched them plant their gardens, and bake their bread. Saw how they’d treat the sick or injured who came to them for help. I heard them sing and chant. And, to my surprise and shock, I also saw them fall, defenseless, at the hands of raiding marauders. I heard their screams, felt their pain and terror rent my heart.

Once the images faded, I sat beside the well until the sun set behind the rounded hills. Unable to move or make sense of what I’d seen, I was gripped by the sadness the images evoked. If it weren’t for my budding friendship with Anna, the owner of a local bookstore, who knows what I would have done with this experience. Maybe I’d have written about it in my private journal, keeping my vision to myself, and never fashioned a story from it. But Anna and her eccentric grandmother changed that.

After my incident at the well, Anna told me about her Irish born grandmother, Millie. She recounted her last visit with Millie, years ago, the cold and damp winter she turned thirteen – only months before her grandmother died. From her vivid descriptions, I could imagine Anna as a young teenager, almost felt as if I’d been on that visit with her.

Millie had lived in a small village in western Ireland, and owned an old stone cottage with a cozy inglenook. Anna spent many hours beside that hearth, wrapped snugly in a warm wool shawl, watching the flames lick the edges of the sweet smelling peat. Her grandmother would sit on the bench beside her, her craggy face illuminated, her gnarled hands wrapped around a mug of steaming black tea, often with “just a spot” of whiskey added. Anna would snuggle into the protective shoulder of her grandmother, never really minding the cold, because that was the winter her grandmother taught her how to “travel.”

ImramMillie was a natural story teller, what her ancestors might have called a Bard. She regaled Anna with tales that sprang to life in the tiny, fire lit living room. Tales of the mighty heroes of ancient Ireland, the power of the land, and the Tuatha de Danaan, the early Gods and Goddesses of Ireland. Most of her stories had to do with the Celtic Imram.

The Celtic Imram

moon reflecting on oceanThe Imram was the mythical heroes’ quest, the adventurous travels taken by ship to reach the farthest islands in the western oceans, in search of treasures, healing, or immortality. But Imrams were no ordinary expedition to explore the promises of those distant shores. They were the extraordinary voyage of the soul. The islands the travelers visited were portals to the Otherworld, that numinous place of magic, mysticism, and paradise. Whereas their outer expeditions brought them to the edge of the known physical world, where they had to fight in order to survive, their inner voyage brought them to another sort of edge – one where they had the opportunity to evolve heightened levels of awareness. New spiritual realizations were gained and changes in consciousness occurred.

Through the tales of Anna’s grandmother, I came to see that my experience in Glastonbury was my Imram. And those startling images I’d seen as I sat quietly beside the Chalice Well were my initiation into major shifts in awareness. Several years later, those provocative images eventually married my creative Muse, and birthed the novels that became my Goddess of the Stars and the Sea Visionary Fiction trilogy.

Visionary Fiction is like the legendary Celtic Imram.

DestinysCall e book coverVisionary Fiction is like the legendary Celtic Imram. The drama and tension of the characters’ adventures is one layer of the tale. All of the usual elements of suspense, conflict, even romance and mystery, are interwoven in the plot. The other layer, deeper and more archetypal, is that mystical inner journey of spiritual awakening. In Visionary Fiction, esoteric wisdom is embedded in story so that the reader can actually experience it, instead of merely learning about it.

When written well, visionary Fiction does not proselytize, evangelize, coerce, or feel dogmatic. Often relegated to the genre of Fantasy, Inspiration, or Spirituality, it contains elements of all three. But the story line is generally more concerned with the protagonist’s internal experiences where non-logical methods – such as visions, dreams, psychic phenomena, past life remembrances, or forays into uncharted planes of existence – are the unique catalysts for radical shifts in perception. Characters explore alternative dimensions, sometimes willingly and sometimes not. They break from our everyday conditioned reality to glimpse a more enlightened doorway into unconventional perspectives.

It is a recent genre, and despite the fact there are not many Visionary Fiction novels out there, there is a rapidly growing interest in it. Take the world of priestesses and the sacred ancient sites of Glastonbury from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Mists of Avalon”. Morgaine, the main character, is a priestess of the “Old Ways”, the ancient Goddess religions. The legend of King Arthur and the quest for the elusive Holy Grail – that divine receptacle of Love, Soul, and womb of the Sacred Feminine – is told through her unique perspective. Her personal and spiritual growth is an archetypal metaphor for our modern culture where there is a re-emerging interest in the Divine Feminine. This theme touched a collective yearning, something archetypally familiar, for millions of readers, and the novel became a Visionary Fiction classic.

Early Visionary Fiction Classics

James Redfield’s “The Celestine Prophecy,” while not a great literary work, clearly filled a need that reached main stream readership, selling over 20 million copies. It is a metaphysical adventure tale, a modern day thriller where governmental and church authorities pursue the hero as he undertakes an expedition to Peru in search of an ancient manuscript purported to hold nine spiritual insights. These insights serve to illuminate spiritual understanding as well as engaging the reader in a good tale. Mystical encounters and spiritual awakenings provide the raw material for the alchemy of the characters and reader alike.

Dan Millman’s “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” is a Visionary Fiction best seller based on a true story, which also became a major motion picture. The main character, a college student and Olympic Gold hopeful in gymnastics, meets up with an enigmatic spiritual mentor, a contemporary Merlin disguised as a car mechanic. This teacher’s brand of mysticism and magic guide the hero to shatter his pre-conceived beliefs about strength, might, and victory. The world of the supernatural and the uncharted powers of the mind become fertile ground for the hero’s metamorphosis. His story becomes the quest that offers the potential of spiritual breakthroughs for the reader via the transformations he achieves.

“Visionary Fiction speaks the language of the soul.”

The Awakening Rebirth of Atlantis jpgMy own visionary fiction trilogy is told through the eyes of the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea, and the priestesses of Her lineage. This ancient Goddess helps humanity during their cycles of spiritual evolution, those collective leaps in consciousness that occur throughout critical junctures in human history. Her priestesses confront personal and spiritual trials before they can don the mantle of their destiny and assist humankind through these cycles.

In the first novel of the trilogy, “The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis,” the priestess Geodran must protect the culture’s spiritual traditions from the degeneration of the once illuminated society, and go on to seed the world with Atlantean wisdom after the continent’s cataclysmic demise. In the “The Keys to Remember,” the priestess Rhianna must preserve the lineage of the sacred feminine for posterity during a time when the feminine was savagely suppressed. In the final novel, “Carry on the Flame,” the modern-day priestess Sharay must persevere through deceitful accusations that she’s criminally insane, in order to find her power and make the spiritual leap that has been prophesied – the brilliant light of embodied Divine Love.

In all three novels of the trilogy, the heroines face obstacles in the mundane world, where the full potential of metaphysical human abilities are not often acknowledged and certainly not commonplace. The characters must also journey through the portal where the mundane world ends and the enchanted Otherworld begins. There they must address the unique challenges this unseen world presents. The metaphysical tools and methods the characters use to meet these challenges are imbued in the story, woven into the fictional thread. The invitation for readers is to apply them in their own lives.

Visionary Fiction author, Monty Joynes, who wrote, among other books, “Conversations with God: the Making of the Movie,” says Visionary Fiction is a medium for metaphysical experience. I would add that it is a direct link to Spirit, a sort of Mystery School initiation for the reader. Whereas fiction uses story to touch the soul, Visionary Fiction speaks the language of the soul. It offers a vision of humanity as we dream it could be. At a time where our world is going through so much tumultuous change, we need more Visionary Fiction.

Good Visionary Fiction

candle-small_4292745837As with any good writing, Visionary Fiction requires you to be a word smith. You paint a verbal picture that offers a glimpse of the spaces in between the words. The spaces in between the plot, in between the drama. It is between the words that the metaphysical gem sits, and where inspiration dances. The spaces act as the passageway and portal to the visionary mystical experience for the reader. Therein they are admitted into a Universal Mystery School. The characters are merely the limina, Latin for threshold, into new views of reality. The Imram, the story, is the passport there.

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Jodine TurnerBio: Jodine Turner is a multiple award winning, best-selling author of Visionary Fiction, fantasy, and magical realism, and a Founding Member of the Visionary Fiction Alliance. While living in Glastonbury, England, the ancient Isle of Avalon, Jodine began writing her Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series about priestesses who have lived in Glastonbury down through the ages to today. The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis, The Keys to Remember, Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call, and Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic are all stand alone reads. Jodine is also an Adorata practitioner in the spiritual path of embodying divine love and balancing the feminine and masculine within, as well as a therapist, consecrated priestess, and deacon in the Gnostic Church of Mary Magdalene.  www.jodineturner.com  Blog  Facebook  Twitter   Linkedin  Goodreads

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20 Responses to The Article that Started it All – by Jodine Turner

  1. Pingback: Reflections of 2012 « Visionary Fiction Alliance

  2. Angel Pricer says:

    I am delighted to have found this site! Your article has helped to clarify where my work-in-progress stands in terms of genre. Thank you !!

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  3. Pingback: A Case for Visionary Fiction, Part 2: What Goes into the Bucket? | Fiction for a New Age

  4. Murray says:

    Your excellent site was suggested to me by a fellow author. You have named my genre and for that I am really pleased, because 'fantasy' is less than it is, and 'spiritual' sounds a little dogmatic and possibly pretentious. But visionary fiction is spot on. So thank you. I look forward to getting to know this little circle of authors better!
    Murray

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  5. tlcrater says:

    I've come home! My first novel was published by Hampton Roads in the visionary fiction line. But they sold the press and the new CEO stopped publishing fiction. I've been floating around since, but still writing and publishing. Just didn't quite "fit" anywhere — until now.

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  6. Bob Edward Fahey says:

    I have known my work is "Literary Fiction" in that every word counts, and the characters are rich, multi-layered, complex. It is "Magic Realism" in that it reads as though this is just an everyday story while making laying-on-of-hands, reincarnation and such clearly part of that reality, and relevant to our strained and challenging modern lives. But now with the sub-genre "Visionary Fiction" I get the rest of it. Ancient principles and teachings shared without preaching. Powerful emphasis on the limitless potential each has for growth and transformation. These are the bases for every one of my novels. It is all there now. Thank you so much for this new discovery.

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  7. I too feel I have finally found my literary home. I had a visionary experience, similar to Jodine's many years ago – at Rodia's Towers, in Watts, Los Angeles, California. I have kept the vision and notes and many other story ideas – not knowing where to take them. And I was so disappointed with my first Kindle novella's lack of reception – and it definitely is visionary fiction. So, now I have a genre and am so truly grateful to know I am joining like minded writers and seers.

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  8. wayne b says:

    Just stumbled upon this site, with a similar story. Great to see there's something afoot in these abstract corners of experience. Any ideas about markets that look for these kinds of things? Especially short stories?

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  9. Pingback: Enjoy My VF Novella – for Free | Skywalker Storyteller Works

  10. Z Newell says:

    Jodine~

    I am EXCITED! I just finished my first novel, which I am about to publish. I have been struggling with how to categorize it. It will get lost if I label it "Fiction", I said to myself, because it is so much ~more~ than that! Then I read an article by Karen Rider and now here I am! I want to join…I want to contribute…I am SO EXCITED to have the Universe lead me to this place!
    My novel is called BRINK: Don't Go Back to Sleep. In essence, it is inspired by Michael Singer's The Untethered Soul. That book blew my mind…so I took it's concepts and wisdom of the ages passed down through Yogis like Mickey SInger, put it into a character and, hopefully, this will inspire many and transmit a different way of being in this world we know through out humanness.

    So THANK YOU! for 'labelling' this so that those of us who don't fall into a category can now claim a bit of identity and alliance to move the world forward!

    With gratitude,

    ~Z Newell

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  11. Z – I am so happy you found your home in VF! You are indeed a kindred soul. May your novel give your readers that VF shift in consciousness that we VF authors aspire to!

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  12. Z says:

    Thank you…I'm happy to find a home !

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  13. Monica Poole says:

    I didn't know this category existed. I've always had trouble picking a specific genre for my book. It fits Science Fiction–except it's not plotted around any scientific element. It fits fantasy–except there is no magic. The book, Fourth Son, grew from my imagining what sort of social/religious/political structure would evolve if a people evolved esp and telepathic abilities–if a soul retained these abilities after death. And what if the chemical rush that accompanies strong emotion heightens, and expands a person's ability, and what if ability was passed down genetically?

    I didn't know this 'visionary fiction' label existed until Amazon put my book in that category. I saw that and thought, 'what is this Metaphysical Visionary Fiction' stuff? Turns out, it's a pretty good stuff and I think Fourth Son is a fit.

    Fourth Son asks, "what is true?" and "Why does religion have to be beat into a person?" Does the equation Violence=true spiritual conversion ever work? The story introduces a society deep in the grip of religious and political tyranny and the awakening of a young man who will lead a rebellion that will break the grip of the church and lead to spiritual awakening.

    Anyway, it's nice to have a place to fit in. I'm looking forward to becoming active in this group.

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  14. Admin - Eleni says:

    Welcome, Monica. It's always a pleasure to hear authors discuss how they discover the visionary quality to their writing. Did you receive a membership email? I sent it several days ago. As a member you can also write posts, but the best benefit is being part of a spiritual and supportive group.

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  15. Welcome 'home,' Monica! Your description of your novel certainly fits the VF genre. Your synopsis – "The story….spiritual awakening" – is a great example of skilled writing to capture the essence of your novel for an elevator pitch, or back cover blurb, or query letter synopsis….or a simple description of why you belong to this wonderful group of writers at the VFA!

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  16. Paul Hill says:

    Jodine, I just read the account of your vision in the garden in Glastonbury, which unfortunately ended in a massacre. I was reminded of a post I wrote awhile ago about a friend’s vision of the Sand Creek Massacre in southeastern Colorado. Same phenomenon; different time and space. If you have the time, you may want to take a look at it:

    https://lightinthedarkparanormal.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/vision-of-a-massacre/

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