My journey into the world of podcasting continues with episode 88 of Steve Silverman’s “World Gone Good” podcast. I had a wonderful time chatting with Steve about healing, writing, reiki, yoga, and following your joy. Some of the highlights include our Jodie Foster stories, how we healed our stomach aliments through mindfulness, and how we channel our inner truth through writing.
The other day, I found myself chatting with a friend about our writing aspirations. While I was talking about my visions for the Warriors of Light book series, the conversation veered into the subject of magic. I mentioned how most books that use magical elements are placed into the category of fantasy because they are beyond the realms of the realistic. They entertain and enthrall us by encouraging our minds to play with the fantastic in the form of the impossible or unreachable. They stir our imaginations in a way that leaves us wishing for something we will never obtain. Fantasy, though, can also remind the imagination that there is more to life than we often allow ourselves to notice…
How frustrating it can be to feel as though a magical life is illusive and always beyond the realm of possibility. When I mentioned that a few readers of The Labyrinth had compared my book to one of the most popular fantasy series written, our conversation began to explore the definition of magic and how much it differs in my series vs. the one it had been compared to. The young “warriors of light” protagonists are not wizards or witches, nor do they use wands or attend a school that teaches spells and potions. Instead, their teacher is the labyrinth, a magical maze they journey through individually and together to bring back the light where it has been broken by darkness. Sure there are somewhat fantastical elements. The six young protagonists learn how to shapeshift into their spirit animals. Some of them see ghosts and all of them converse with beings in other realms, but is there really so fantastic?
Magic Can Be Extraordinary
Those how have traveled the shamanic journey will probably tell you that shapeshifting, or communing with spirit totems is not so fantastical. And, I’d wager most of us have had communications with spirits or beings from other realms, whether we realize it or not.
The hidden realms of life reveal their wonder as we open ourselves to the inherent magic that resides in all life. Like young children who have not yet lost their connection to inherent magic, our inner sight and senses re-expand beyond the ho-hum of the everyday routines. A mere walk in nature can stir the cells into a state of blissful union. Glimpses, or perhaps more, of the extraordinary become common, but no less magical. The more connected we feel, the more interconnected we feel as joy arises from our sense of being a part of an infinite web of light.
The Magical Inner Journey
While adding truly fantastical elements to a book of fiction can be fun, the magic of a hero’s journey arises out of self-discovery. It is an inner journey as well as outer journey. This is magic that is not only sustainable, but grows with awareness. The state of joy becomes accessible, achievable, and sustainable unlike a material treasure that is not easily found and can be lost, or stolen away. The gift of inherent magic can only be robbed by the self as it resides within the self.
Magic is an opening to and not a manipulation of energy
True magic arises out of the very essence of life. It does not manipulate the forces of the elements, but opens to the inherent magic that already exists. Herein lies true wonder. The state of joy is accessible through the opening. When we allow ourselves to open to life’s mysteries we find connection, truth, and re-union. Although most of us are not trained in shamanism, or have the ability to shapeshift into our spirit animals like the protagonists in the Warriors of Light series, we do have the ability to connect with and glean wisdom, inspiration, and a sense of union with the animal and plant communities around us. Many of us experience an aspect of this connection with the animal companions that live in our homes, but we can also open ourselves to connecting with the wildlife outside of our homes. Sitting in the presence of a tree and bearing witness to its enduring strength and flexibility, or watching the transformation of an earth-bound caterpillar into a near-weightless butterfly can bring profound insight, peac,e and awe to the observer.
Magic is Living in Wonder
This is magic. It is opening to life and all of its wonders that exists and unfold in each moment all around us. It is the knowing that not everything can, or will be known, in one’s lifetime, because life is filled with such complex and intricately balanced beauty that no mind can truly understand creation.
I discovered a fun little competition called “Cover Wars” from a fellow writer and blogger, Ritu Bhathal. The Labyrinth is in the running for this week’s competition of book covers. Take a look if you’re interested. Please vote for your favorite. It’s okay if it’s not The Labyrinth. 🙂 The true credit for my cover goes to Danielle English at Kanizo Art
“Where am I?”
“Dear boy you are inside a crypt. Or, to be more precise, you are inside what once was a tomb. But, before it was that, it was something more.”
As Lupe’s eyes adjusted to the absence of sunlight, he realized the earth around him was glowing. He no longer felt fear, only awe. Tiny orbs of silvery gold speckled the ceiling and walls, and for a moment Lupe thought he was gazing up at the stars.
“They brought the above into the below, as you can see.”
“It’s so cool. But why? And what is it made of, a special paint?” Lupe reached out his fingers.
“Don’t touch it. Don’t touch anything unless I tell you to. You’re walking on sacred ground. Remember that. Those stars you see are made from pyrite and quartz. They’ve been there for thousands of yearsOn.”
Lupe let out a low whistle of air, “Geez, that’s kind of amazing.”
“Yes, it is, isn’t it? No other human now living, aside from you, knows about this place, as far as we know. They’ve found some of the others, but not this one.”
“What’s special about it? The dead bodies? You said this was a crypt, right?”
“Yes, and no, but you won’t see any bodies here. The tombs are still preserved. Untouched by man. We’d like to keep it that way.”
“Fine by me. I’d rather not trip over some dude’s femur if you know what I mean,” Lupe paused. “You said they are untouched by man. Do you men just men, or women too?” He wasn’t why he asked the question, but it suddenly seemed important.
“Ah, they did say you would be bright. I meant men. Women, you see, once held a place of honor. As the sacred bearers of life they were revered as holy beings. Only women touched the bones that lie here. We are inside a woman’s chamber built to symbolize her womb. It is a place where only women walked.”
“Oh, wow! I thought you had said tomb,” Lupe felt his body fill with the weight of the truth. “Are you sure we should be here now? I mean you’re a ghost, so I suppose you are okay. But I’m a dude.”
“It’s just an expression. You know, for a person. Anyway, why have you brought me here and not Aponi, Dell, or Sula? I mean, they’re, uh, women, or almost women.”
“Those must be the three females who have been chosen for other tasks. Your friends. Well, you see. There are rules that are now allowed to be broken. But, not just by anyone. You, alone, were chosen to come here, Lupe, because you have proven your love for Earth. Your roots are here, and it’s important that you are not female.”
Lupe felt the weight of these words sink into his mind. Have I really proven myself, though? he wondered.
“You have honored Her with your actions and the reverence you hold inside of your heart. You understand the need for balance, both of the inner and the outer, although you have not yet wholly discovered it. This is why you are allowed to enter this sacred place. There is no force striving to control within you. You do not seek to dominate, but to balance.”
“I see…” Lupe replied, even though he was not sure he did. He let his eyes wander back to the walls of the cave, “Why’d they paint the ceiling like this if it’s a graveyard. I mean, why go through all the work?”
“Ah, but it is not a graveyard, it is a place where life begins and moves on. Look closer at it, perhaps you will be able to figure out why.”
“Hey, is that the Milky Way?” Lupe pointed to a wavy band that held more densely packed crystals of light than its surroundings.”
“I believe that’s what you call it now.”
“Now? You mean it used to have another name?”
“Oh, it’s had several.”
“The River of Creation. The Great Mother. Plumed Serpent…Your ancestors believed that it was the gateway to where the light of the individual souls are formed, and to where they returned after death.”
“Oh, you mean like the rainbow bridge?”
“Some called it such.”
“Well is it?”
“Is it what?”
“The place where we all come from and where we return when we die?”
“That is not for me to reveal. You are here to observe and discover for yourself. You are here to walk the path of darkness back into the light. Just as your friends are doing.”
Lupe felt himself weighed down by his ancestor’s words. He let his body fall against the cave wall then lower to the ground. Instead of landing on the floor, though, Lupe came to a seat upon a bench he had failed to notice before. It was not large, and appeared to be part of the rock itself. Jutting out about half a foot, the stone seat looked like it was a part of the wall and could comfortably hold three people, side-by-side.
“I see you found the waiting place.”
“Yes. Where those who were chosen would wait to be called.”
“Called for what?”
“To do the work of the Great Mother.”
“But why would they wait here?”
“Because this is where they were tested. The initiates. Here, where the dead lie in wait to be reborn is where the chosen ones from the living come to birth their true selves. It is a place of power and of self-discovery. Some found they were called here only to return to what they were doing before they came. Others awakened to gifts that had been hidden inside of them. Many healers, prophets, and seers emerged from here. Many Earth Keepers like yourself.”
Lupe felt a rush of energy descend from the crown of his head. The heat flowing inside of him ignited each of Lupe’ cells with a knowing that felt like truth.
“You are not so very surprised, are you?”
“No. I guess I’m not. I mean, somehow I’ve always known I was here, in this life, to help protect Earth. This place,” Lupe paused, “in a weird sort-of way, feels like home.”
“Well, my boy, it should. Come. Let me show you the rest.”
“There’s always more.”
This is a chapter from my WIP, book two of the Warriors of Light series. When I saw Sue’s photo for this week’s writing prompt I immediately thought of my characters, some of whom find themselves in similar looking places to what we see here. Lupe is one of them, a young teen tasked with a mission to repair the lines of light inside Earth and save the life of his friend’s mother. To participate in Sue’s #writephoto challenge this week, click here.
Warning, this post contains some disturbing content.
I was, I believe, about mid-way through my studies with the Silent Eye School of Consciousness. Driving in my car, as I so often do, down a road so familiar cellular memory could take over and I could lose myself in my thoughts. How many of us have been down these types of roads? Lost in our own musings and not paying mind to what is happening around us?
That day, though, I was paying attention. I was looking with new eyes at what had become so familiar that, I realized, I had become accustomed to it to the point of acceptance. I was jarred into a reality that I found acutely disturbing. I was looking at the facade of a convenience store. A sight not at all uncommon, which is why I was deeply disturbed. Posters defaced the windows, calling eyes to drink in the alcoholic beverages held inside. Mouths to draw in the cancerous smoke of the tobacco sticks sold behind the counter. Bellies to fill with the carbonation of liquid chemicals laced with artificial sugars. Defile your body and numb your mind, they called out to every onlooker: man, woman, and child.
This is my world, I thought. This is what we have chosen for our life, collectively. I was deeply disturbed. Yet, I had also come to accept this, at least partially, driving along the roads and barely noticing my surroundings. Even, sometimes, stopping inside these stores to purchase a beverage or snack to fill my hungry body. And what about my mind?
Last night, while watching an episode of “The Crown,” which I’ll admit has become a bit of an addiction, I fell into a similar state of disturbance. Once we make the conscious effort to open our eyes to our surroundings, we cannot help but see what is before us. “Hold her still,” the voice of the handler demanded, while a stallion did the deed of impregnating a mare. “Well done,” was the response after the deed was complete, as the satisfied parties left the scene.
I, though, was infuriated and saddened. What of the mare? “Hold her still.” “So,” I declared out loud, “they essentially force rape her.” And, everyone applauds a deed well done. Once again I found myself thinking, And this is the world I live in?
This morning, while going through my email, I found myself clicking through the daily dose of petitions in the hope to instill change. It’s always disturbing, the barrage of cruelty that meets the senses head-on. A macaw shot for fun, a comatose woman raped for pleasure (another rape), but it was the face of a young woman that pulled my eyes into the layers held behind the scene. Her grin, an artificial high of delight, as she held the dog she calls “Momma” with bloodied feet. A thrill-ride of violence. A young woman who had taken her scooter and dragged her pet behind her. “Mission accomplished,” her eyes spoke. “Look what I’ve done!”
And yet, I thought, why should we be surprised? Look at the billboards we feast our eyes on? They come in myriad form. Books filled with glorified rape and violence. Big screens bringing to life pillage, greed, lust and more gloried rape and violence. I have never enjoyed reading horror novels, nor have I ever enjoyed watching their counterparts on the screen, yet so many of us do. Perhaps, in part, because we can say, “This is not happening to me.” But is it not?
Look around you. What is your world like. Are you okay with it?
When I sent my visionary fantasy novel, The Labyrinth, to a young beta reader, she asked me if anyone was going to die. She expected violence and even murder. Why not? It’s everywhere. Glorified. Accepted. Welcomed into our homes through media, news, and entertainment. What we create becomes our realities. That, in itself, deserves some thought.