Visionary Fiction Writer Jodine Turner

Please welcome Visionary Fiction writer Jodine Turner, the mother of the genre!

jodinePlease tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been writing stories since I could hold a pen. However, my first career was in healthcare, as a nurse, then a Ph.D. therapist. I focused on alternative healing, holistic healing, and also did energy body work. When I became ill in my thirties, I needed to stop working. My own healing journey brought me back to my real passion – writing.

How did you become interested in Visionary Fiction? How do you define it?

I became interested in Visionary Fiction when I couldn’t find a suitable category for the fiction I was writing. While researching genres, I discovered Visionary Fiction and found it to be the ideal fit for my novels. There wasn’t much written about VF, and very few books were labeled as VF. So I decided I’d do some more research and write an article describing the genre. I wanted to promote this fabulous genre to readers and publishers, and create a place where other VF authors could find resources, information, and networking.

awakeningMy article exploring VF was published in Writer’s Journal, May 2009 issue. In November 2011, I posted that same article at Goodreads. That drew together other VF authors enthused about the genre. We started a web-ring, which grew into the present day Visionary Fiction Alliance. The Alliance is now thriving and growing, proving to the world that VF is a genre today’s readers yearn for. My original article is now called ‘the article that started it all’ (for the VFA), and can be found on our VFA website. http://visionaryfictionalliance.com/the-article-that-started-it-all/

Defining VF was a complex process. I came up with a definition in my article. Then a group of us at the VFA developed and expanded a working definition that can be found on our site http://visionaryfictionalliance.com/what-is-visionary-fiction/   I still often refer to a description from my article that perfectly sums it up for me: “Visionary Fiction speaks the language of the soul. It offers a vision of humanity as we dream it could be.” 

Please tell us about your latest book?

Mdestinys-cally latest published novels are the third and fourth books of my Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series: Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call and its sequel, Carry on the Flame: Ultimate Magic

I published these last two novels with a small press that wanted to jump on the Young Adult genre bandwagon and market the novels as YA, since the protagonist was 17 years old. This was a lesson learned for me, because the books are definitely VF, not YA. I recently got my publishing rights back, had an incredible artist redo the covers, and republished the novels myself.

In these novels, Sharay is chosen by the Goddess to help humankind move through the fear and dark times of today’s world. Born into a lineage of priestesses in modern-day Glastonbury, England, Sharay’s way is blocked by her jealous Aunt Phoebe, who uses black magic against her to steal her fortune and magical power. When Phoebe commits Sharay to a psychiatric ward and accuses her of murder, Sharay struggles with the temptation to fight Phoebe’s vengeance with her own. It’s the elder, eccentric wizard Dillon who sets Sharay on the Celtic ‘Imram,’ a quest designed to awaken her magical abilities as a priestess. And it’s Dillon’s grandson Guethyn who shows Sharay how to open her heart in the Beltaine Ritual, the ancient Celtic ceremony of sacred union.

Hunted by the police, stalked by a demonic Tracker conjured by her aunt, and torn from everyone she loves, Sharay must learn to transform her hatred for her aunt in order to continue her Imram on her own, and fulfill her destiny to prove that the power of love, both human and divine, is the ultimate magic.

If your book were chocolate, what kind would it be?

Rich dark chocolate. Delicious and satisfying, containing the whole complexity of the cocao bean!

 Does this book fit into a series? What is the focus of that series?

Yeultimate-magics it fits into a series but all of the novels are a stand-alone read as well. The focus of the series is the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea – the evolutionary force of embodied love – and Her priestesses down through the ages. The essence is about what’s demanded of our hearts and souls when we finally choose to embrace our personal destiny and have to come face to face with our authentic truth, our deepest pain, and our darkest secrets.

How did you prepare to write about the book’s specific area or field of study?

Most of my novels take place in Glastonbury, England, aka the legendary Isle of Avalon. I lived in Glastonbury for 13 months (also met my husband there!) and experienced its mystery and magic firsthand. Immersing myself in Glastonbury catalyzed many mystical experiences and meditations which inspired the content of my novels. I also traveled to Scotland, particularly the Orkney Islands, which features heavily in my fourth novel.

But most of all, my training as a consecrated priestess informed my writing. For 25 years I studied and practiced in the Western Mystery Tradition, an earth based spiritual system of living consciousness encompassing Kabballah, Paganism, and esoteric Christianity. Many of the visions and meditations I experienced influenced the development of plot, characters, and story scenes in my novels.

How does this book fit into your real-life interests?

My novels are a natural extension of my passions: embodied love; the craft of writing; the mysteries of magic and spirituality; the deeper meanings of life on earth and of the unseen realms in between so-called reality. I express these passions in the art form of words and story. I flesh out my stories based upon my experiences as a priestess and a Ph.D therapist, mixed with the imagination of my creative Muse. And I endeavor to embed my stories with gems of esoteric wisdom in an engaging, entertaining, but never proselytizing way.

I also discovered a practical way to teach the more spiritual things that I write about in my VF adventure stories.  I found this practicality through a spirituality of embodied love called Adorata, which is a path of sacred union of the feminine and masculine principles within us. I am now an Adorata Practitioner and teacher, which complements my novels, in a pragmatic, down to earth way.

What are you working on right now? OR What’s next for you?

I am excited about my work in progress, The Hidden Abbey. I just finished my first draft and am in the revision stage. I write first drafts with heart and abandon, then go back and apply the craft of writing to sculpture my words into the art form of a novel.

The Hidden Abbey is set in both the 16th and the 21st centuries, tracing the story of a young headstrong priestess, Marissa, from the mystical land of Avalon, and her secret lover Michael, a monk at the Glastonbury Abbey. As King Henry VIII sets out to destroy the Churches and Monasteries of England in 1539, the two lovers become embroiled in a grand plan to save the most sacred talisman of the Divine Feminine at the roots of mystical Christianity. When their grand plan is thwarted and their love is star-crossed, they are reborn in the 21st century and given one more chance to fulfill their shared destiny.

Jodine Turner is an author of Visionary Fiction and magical realism. She is also a therapist and a consecrated priestess. While living in Glastonbury, England, the ancient Isle of Avalon, Jodine began writing The Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series, about priestesses who had lived in Avalon throughout the ages and today.

Jodine’s series is a dark and edgy saga of a young priestess who’s reborn during three different critical junctions in history in order to help humankind move through fearful and bleak times – the demise of Atlantis, the Dark Age’s suppression of the feminine, and today’s turbulent world.

Buy Jodine’s Books.

Visit Jodine’s website   Blog  Facebook  Twitter   Linkedin

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The Animals in My Fiction

My pets have a way of creeping into my novels. Even pets I wish I had. My cat Wizzie is in two. That cat had the key to my heart. He appears as Malcolm in Beneath the Hallowed Hill, keeping Megan company on her first few nights in Avalon and escorting her to an audience with the Morgan. He is a healing, reassuring, and somewhat regal presence.

“Malcolm followed Megan to her cottage, hopped up onto the middle of the bed and proceeded to groom himself. She had to push him over to get enough room. ‘Goodnight, my lord.’ He regarded her out of his round, yellow eyes, then turned his attention back to his bushy tail.”

wizzie-at-top-of-stairsIn The Star Family, he appears as Marvin. I don’t know why I kept giving him “m” names. Here he is a member of the animal family that Jane inherits along with the English Tudor house. He is still himself, “an enormous black long-hair complete with ear tufts.”

Wizzie has left us now, although I feel him from time to time. Here he is next to his properly shredded corner of the stairs.

He lived most of his life with our calico Arwen, who is his companion in The Star Family as well. In that book, she goes by the name of Suzie B. In this scene, Marvin and Suzie B inadvertently reveal a secret passageway while in the midst of a midnight hunt. Jane has been awakened by strange music:

“She walked over to the windows that faced the front of the house, but they were closed also. The other set looked out on the backyard. Closed. A half-moon lit the new garden. The rose bushes looked like a pencil sketch in the muted light. Suddenly Marvin burst from the walk-in closet.

Jane screamed.

Winston barked.

Suzie B ran in from the hallway to join him.

A tiny, dark shape dove under the bed. The cats followed in hot pursuit.

‘You scared the crap out of me!’ she scolded.

The mouse made a dash across the floor and squeezed behind the chest of drawers. The cats took up positions on each end, tails twitching, ears perked, ignoring her. Then she realized the singing had stopped. The car must have driven away.

How had a mouse gotten up here? Steeling herself for more rodents, she walked to the closet and nudged the door open the rest of the way. She’d expected it to be stuffed with Miss Essig’s old clothes, decade after decade of fashion, but instead she found bare wood. Except for a shadow in the corner.

Her hand groped for a light switch, but slide down a smooth wall.

‘Winston,’ she called.

Loud breathing announced his presence.

She swung her hand over her head. A string brushed her fingers. She tried to grab it, but missed. On the second attempt, she captured it and pulled. Harsh light from the bare bulb flooded the closet. She closed her eyes against the glare for a second, then squinted.

The dark shadow in the corner remained. A panel stood partly open. She’d thought the wall was just that—a solid wall. But there was an opening. Winston sat in the doorway, his head cocked. The singing had started again, softer this time. It was coming from behind the open panel.”arwen-wizzie-together

Here is Arwen putting Wizzie in his proper place.

Winston is the bulldog I always wanted but never had. He has a bit of the boxer who was my childhood companion. His name was Mugs. Very imaginative name, don’t you think?

The hounds in Beneath the Hallowed Hill have never been tamed by any human hand. They are the fae hounds of the Wild Hunt.

The Egyptian Mau cats Vivienne and Merlin in Under the Stone Paw are also a combination of pets I’d like and pets I’ve lived with. I’ve always thought Egyptian Maus were beautiful and would be nice to have as friends. These two are reminiscent of our old Siamese named Persephone. She passed before we adopted Wizzie. She was one Queen Bee, let me tell you. She had a daughter named Ting Li, a tortie whom Persephone bossed around heartlessly. So much for mother love. That must be why there are two Egyptian Maus in Under the Stone Paw to match those two little loves.

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Visionary Fiction Writer Robin Gregory

Robin Gregory starts off my series of interviews with writers of Visionary Fiction.

robinPlease tell us a little about yourself.

My professional background includes lay minister, journalist, and infant massage instructor with at-risk mothers and babies. I studied Creative Writing and Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Stanford University. I love foggy afternoons and English tea and listening to difficult jazz with my hubby.

How did you become interested in Visionary Fiction and how do you define it?

I found VFA through my alliance with author Rea Nolan Martin.

I suppose my best working definition of VF is that it rises from a basis of human evolution, whether individual or collective. It is more of a literary category, in that characterization and themes involve multiple facets of experience, and deep regard for transformation.

Please tell us about your latest book. moojie_ippycover-copy

The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman is visionary YA, written in the form of magical realism. Part moral allegory and mystical adventure, it tells the story of a disabled orphan boy who has unusual spiritual powers. At St. Isidore’s Fainting Goat Dairy, he befriends outcasts from an alternate universe, and embarks on a series of trials and misadventures. Determination to belong to a family fuels his self-mastery, and leads to one last terrifying trial.

If your book were chocolate, what kind would it be?

Great question! Definitely dark semi-sweet chocolate with blood orange flavoring.

Does this book fit into a series? What is the focus of that series?

Maybe. The idea of Moojie learning to “transmigrate” to the Light-Eater’s galaxy is stalking me.

How did you prepare to write about the book’s specific area or field of study?

First, I spent 35 years exploring spirituality, mysticism and self-realization. Ha! When the time came to put some of what I had realized into a fictional story, I needed help with background and characterization of supernatural extraterrestrials called the “Light-Eaters.” In some ways, they are fashioned after the Annunaki in the ancient creation text The Kharsag Epic. I relied also on information from The Golden Age Project and a book entitled, The Genius of the Few, an in-depth study of Kharsag Epic, written by Christian and Barbara Joy O’brien.

How does this book fit into your real-life interests?

Writing the book over thirteen years caused me to reflect daily and stay focused on what kind of world I wanted to realize for myself. Like most everyone, I’ve had some pretty tough challenges, one of which was raising a son with multiple special needs. The book has been my constant companion in the process of surrender, transformation and awakening. It’s as much the story of Moojie’s awakening as my own. I was hoping to offer it to others for the same reason, as a companion.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m learning to balance marketing and promotion with working on the big screen adaptation of Moojie Littleman. By grace, the acclaimed producer, writer/creative director, John Crye (The Whale Rider, Memento, The Passion of the Christ, to name a few), has taken a serious interest in the book. We’ve come up with a working treatment, and will be meeting soon to decide whether or not to bring in a pro screenwriter for the rest. Working with him has been an amazing experience, and a privilege. Also, I’d like to get the audio book done before moving on to the sequel!

WEBSITE: http://www.MadMysticalJourney.com

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/The-Improbable-Wonders-Moojie-Littleman/dp/1942545002

BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-improbable-wonders-of-moojie-littleman-robin-gregory/1122692771?ean=9781942545002

 

 

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The Kindness of Cats

This last month has been intense. The astrological configurations have been through the roof, and for me with my planets, up close and personal. My favorite astrologers and sound healers have been sending out explanations and meditations to help with the rough waters. My cats have been the kindest of all.

Clcleo-in-front-of-the-new-tveo, our tortoiseshell, was raised feral. She’s the sweetest cat imaginable. One day after I was bemoaning all the challenges to Stephen, I came out to my garage office where she hangs out with me when the weather is wet or too cold. I found right next to my chair a headless mouse. How thoughtful.

Cleo comes to visit throughout the day. When I hear the cat flap, I look to see if she’s got anything in her mouth. She likes to share her catches with me. Mostly she brings mice in from the open space. I’ve become used to the crunching of mouse heads. Lately she’s been on a bird kick.

Image result for cat with snake this is perfection

The thing is, though, the critters are not always expired when she brings them in. She sets them down and then chases them all over again. Twice now, the birds have flow up out of her reach and I have to open the garage door to let them fly away. Cleo is so confused by this. “You don’t like my gifts, mommy?”

Arwen, the older calico, is more tradition in her consoarwen-on-chairling of her humans. She allows us to pet her. She sits on the couch between me and Steve and gets stroked from both sides. Seriously though, she is kind and expresses concern if we’re ill or upset. She stayed with Stephen while he healed from a recent surgery. I’ve felt a little paw placed on me from time to time when I’ve been upset. She grounds me. She tells me I’m loved.

Even Sekhmet, the famous warrior lioness, is kind. The first time I saw her at her shrine in Karnack, she looked down at me as if through several layers of worlds. I felt a deep compassion from her. She felt for us that we have to struggle in this world. She offered unconditional love.

sekhmet

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Higher Consciousness and Visionary Fiction

I’ve been blogging recently about higher states of consciousness. What’s that got to do with writing fiction? One of the accomplishments of Visionary Fiction as I see it is to subjectively explore what higher states of consciousness feel like. It’s all well and good to understand that these states exist and have some concept of them intellectually, but the real point is to achieve them ourselves. Lot of visionary fiction imagines what that’s like.

As Jodine Turner puts it, “In Visionary Fiction, esoteric wisdom is embedded in story so that the reader can actually experience it, instead of merely learning about it.” I asked some of my fellow Visionary Fiction Alliance writers to send me excerpts and here they are. Some of these books may appeal to you. I haven’t read them all myself yet.

1001From Michael Neer’s The Elixir of Freedom: “The trees bowed down till the golden amber stopped right in front of Ravi and Verda, like a giant pendant adorning the trees. This had to be it, Ravi thought. The Heart of the Sun!   The amber Heart hung like a jewel between them and the Sun. They looked through the Heart towards the sun. Waves of light stretched across land and space. They could see no end to the waves. They were infinite. Objects – trees, mountains, even the sun itself – were there – Ravi could make out their shapes—but it was like they were melted into one ocean of light. It was just one. Unified. Complete. Full. Immense.”

11527544From Gerald R. Stanek’s Sonoran Ruminations:  “She said she told Peter what she told me; how she’d been staring at the circle, and pretty soon she could see the wall behind the circle, and then she could see outside the wall, and she could see the whole city, and the whole desert all around, and the whole big valley, and the whole continent, and the whole planet, but she could still see the desert and the city and the wall and the circle and she could hear every sound and it was like she was everything and everyone else just as much as she was herself, and I said ‘I know’, and I smiled and rocked the baby.”

516jz4nsbelFrom Stefan Emunds:  “Without warning, I enter into a lucid daydream. I find myself standing in front of a noisy river, but it’s no ordinary river – it’s the river of my thoughts and feelings, the stream of my internal dialogue. The river is deep with strong currents. I dip my foot into the cold water. Crossing the river seems like suicide, and I almost give up, but then the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt across the Jordan into the Promised Land comes to mind. Is there a deeper, psychological meaning to this story? Then it occurs to me that I have neither the Ark of the Covenant to herald me, nor the Living God by my side. How can I part these waters? “The original meaning of covenant is promise,” the voice whispers into my right ear. ‘I promise that you will find your true self on the other side. Go ahead and cross.’”

6167dsewqllFrom Bob Fahey’s The Gardens of Ailana:  “As morning rose around her, Paulette carried no memories. This was joy without hope because the concept of hope held some belief that something was broken that needed fixing; something was ‘less’ that one wished could be ‘more’. There was no thought, no yearning for things to be different. Paulette had no concept of differences and moments. She had lost herself in the essence of sweetness.”

 

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Knowledge is Structured in Consciousness

Now we come to an interesting aspect of states of consciousness. I talked about the seven states of consciousness in an earlier blog and described the subjective experience of each (to some degree). For example, while we’re sleeping, we have no conscious experience at all (unless you watch yourself sleep, which is a whole other topic). Dreaming is similar to waking, except one world is more symbolic while the other we experience as consensus reality. Reality is different in different states of consciousness.

But how can that be?

People say “we’re all one,” which is true. But do we always experience that? It’s the direct experience that’s important, not the intellectual understanding. Or people say, “All is illusion” (see Brahman Consciousness below). The Rosicrucians and other mystics such as quantum physicists tell us that everything is vibration.

So, if everything is simply vibration, everything is one, and all is illusion, then we can stand in front of a car going 60 mph and not get hurt, right? The car is vibration. The body is vibration. The two could blend. We’re all one anyway. You’d be fine. Right?

Depends on which “you” you’re talking about.perspectives-e1424376691921

In waking state, that car is solid and so is that body you’re inhabiting. The car will win. Your immortal self will be fine, but you’ll need a new vehicle/body. But you knew that already.

Perhaps if you were in the state of Brahman Consciousness, a step higher than Unity, you’d be OK because you could manipulate physical form, tune the two vibrations so they’d be harmonious, and wa la. Still all intact. Brahman Consciousness is when we realize (experientially, not intellectually) that there never really was a manifestation. That everything is simply waves of consciousness in one big ocean. Hafiz puts it this way:  “There are some who can visit that Luminous Sphere that reveals this life never was. The truth of that experience is reserved for so very few.”

Why is this important? Because it is vital to our growth that we honor our own experience. We can realize that we are immortal beings untouched by pain in that higher state, but pain is real here in this manifest world. (Yeah, I know. There’s not really a manifestation, but gee, it feels real to me right now. Knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.) So denying our pain—not allowing ourselves to experience it—delays our growth. It creates blocks to experiencing all of our consciousness.

My partner is fond of quoting his Egyptian/Khemitian teacher: “There is no separation. There is no (individual) soul, so who reincarnates?” That’s true. In a certain state of consciousness. But I am not directly experiencing that state. Yet.

In order to experience it and not just think about it, I need to meditate. To clear out the blocks in my system that dull my perception of that big Self. Otherwise, I could lie in the hammock and know that I am That already (which is true) so why bother?

Maharishi used to say it’s like the difference between thinking about traveling to Paris and paris_by_nightbeing in Paris. You can buy a beret, get some French wine, purchase a great baguette, put up pictures of the Eiffel Tower in your work cubicle, study the language, and watch French movies. Or you can get in a plane and go to Paris. Is there a difference? I think so.

Knowledge is structured in Consciousness. Go to Paris. Don’t just think about it.

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The Seven States of Consciousness

Silhouette of a man figure meditating in the outdoorsThe Vedas teach there are seven states of consciousness and we are equipped to experience them all. They each have their own subjective and objective reality.

  1. Waking State. Yeah, that’s just your ordinary being awake and experiencing the world in your daily life. The brain is in mostly Beta waves, and your vital signs are those that the doctor measures when you go for your check up.
  2. Sleeping State. We don’t really experience sleep. We know we were asleep when we wake up and feel refreshed. Sleep is like the night janitor, cleaning up the day’s stress. The brain moves from theta to delta waves and our metabolism drops. You can tell someone’s asleep often by their deep, slow breathing.
  3. Dreaming State. We experience dreams. They’re much like waking state, only it’s not “real” in the sense that we ordinarily use the word. There are various theories about the meaning of dreams, but we do know they are necessary. If people don’t dream, they go a little nuts after a while. (Remember that Star Trek episode where dreams were suppressed on the ship?) This state is sometimes called REM sleep, during which we experience rapid eye movements, our muscles sometimes twitch, and our breathing becomes more shallow and rapid. Brain waves during dreaming are similar to waking.

Now it gets more interesting.

Rear View of Two Buddhist Monks in Orange Robes Sitting on a Tiled Floor

Rear View of Two Buddhist Monks in Orange Robes Sitting on a Tiled Floor

  1. Transcendental State. This is a state of consciousness that is most often experienced during mediation and sometimes in the quiet of nature or listening to certain types of music. This is an experience of the root of consciousness, the universal mind that forms the basis of all consciousness. Indeed, all existence. It is experienced as deep, silent awareness. Wakefulness without an object of perception. The self is resting in the Self. Physiologically, we experience the deepest rest in this state. The breath and heart rate slow dramatically. For example, in this research oxygen consumption drops 15.5 percent during meditation vs 3.5 percent during regular rest. The brain experiences an unprecedented coherent state, with both sides of the brain operating together in alpha waves, which indicate relaxation. Check out this video of brain waves during TM, a popular meditation.
  2. Cosmic Consciousness. Here’s where we combine Waking with the Transcendental State. Yeah, sounds like a contradiction, but if we continue to experience the Transcendent, the brain and body and mind like it so much that they learn how to balance the two together. Here our sense of who we are shifts from the small self we ordinarily have experienced up to now to Universal Consciousness. But we don’t lose who we are. It’s like our personality is floating in a boat in a big sea of universal awareness. Physiological research is just beginning. Preliminary results show increased theta/alpha activity with eyes open, more frontal coherence and increased cortical participation in normal activity, and increased theta/alpha and decreased muscle tension during sleep.
  3. God Consciousness. This is the state in which the person begins to directly perceive more and more subtle levels of the world surrounding them. This is where those abilities our superheroes have reside. Well, maybe not all of them, but common experiences might include clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc. It’s called “God” Consciousness because this is where the creator gods are said to reside in the Vedas—at the most subtle level of creation. We are supposed to be able to perceive them directly in this state. I don’t know if there is any physiological research about this state—just writings from people (rishis or seers) who have experienced it.
  4. Unity Consciousness. In Unity, not only do we experience the Self as Universal Consciousness, we perceive everything and everyone else as that also. Yet we don’t lose the ability to function in the “real” world. Again, I’m not aware of any scientific studies of this state—just writings from the rishis. This progression of consciousness is described in the Vedas as, “I am That (Cosmic Consciousness), Thou art That (God Consciousness, all this is That (Unity Consciousness).”

BX2EBA Mixed race businesswoman practicing yoga in busy urban crosswalk

How do you get there? In my opinion, meditate regularly and relax. Find the meditation that really works for you. You can meditate anywhere. Live your life, deal with whatever arises, and it will come.

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