Archive for the ‘Authors’ category

Kundalini, Crop Circles and Creation Experiment

June 20, 2010

Ouroboros eternal returning serpent of life swallowing its own tail: crop circle Walbury Hill, Berkshire June 12, 2010

Crop circles this season have not been bountiful. More designs have appeared so far in Italy than in Wiltshire and southern England. But the messages transmitted by the few have been powerful indeed: archetypal images, ancient knowledge refashioned, the human race is being encouraged to take note, achieve self-mastery, to grab hold of the solar wind and fly.

My last blog went online overnight June 12/13th, just as the Berkshire crop circle was being discovered at Walbury Hill – an ancient site, but not a common place for crop circles. I had been gearing myself up to write for a couple of days beforehand, but there were a number of incidents in my life which made it impossible – I had guests from Tuesday of that week until they departed on the morning of the New Moon, June 12th. The night before they left, they asked me to do an I Ching reading for them: something I haven’t done in thirty years. Composing oneself for psychic interpretation of the age-old wisdom of the Orient, the symbolism of the Yin-Yang, was a new feeling for us both. Their combined chosen hexagram turned out to be Hexagram 20: Contemplation.

…the kings of old visited the regions of the world, contemplated the people, and gave them instruction…

Apart from that extremely apt symbolism as it relates to crop circles visiting Earth, a secondary meaning is:

‘You will gain understanding of what the future holds for you by contemplating the effect of your life on others. If your influence and example are good, you are without blame. This is its own reward.’

When my friends were safely on their flight the next morning, I lost no time in putting my blog-thoughts on computer, working right through until midnight. Then I tweaked and uploaded at 2a.m. the following morning.

Supreme Lord Siva, gold-adorned sculpture on Delhi's Gurgaon Highway

As fate would have it, my American guest blogger, Mehal Darji-Rockefeller, who is steeped in Vedic astrology, religious symbolism, kundalini, working with chakras and eastern consciousness-raising techniques, was online and responded immediately from the heart. He didn’t have time to ‘think’. His response (below) was beautifully right-hemisphere. Seen in retrospect he was voicing the spirit of the crop circle which had materialized during the night at Walbury Hill. His reference to Vedic symbolism, kundalini power, ancient archetypes and our human shift in consciousness is of great significance. He wrote:

‘Tonight, the 13th moon phase or new moon, is a hallmark event. In the Vedic tradition it is known as Pradosham and means “removal of stains from the law of cause and effect.” Archetypal Being Siva designated a few different Pradosham windows (times when it is easier to dissolve old patterns).

‘The 13th Moon Phase (in both the waning and waxing cycle of the Moon) is one of the Pradosham windows chosen by Siva for removing karma. This is a very ancient concept – not that of all this new age business. The body turning into light is a reality for the earth plane. Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom.

‘As William Blake said in Auguries of Innocence,

“We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro’ the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.”

‘Comets and their symbol of death, evil destruction are a primordial message that I welcome. For that is how Rome was born, right? With that in mind, humanity is in a key transcendence of consciousness. This was brought about via a synergistic effect of Uranus in powerful Aries and when Saturn went direct in Virgo last week.

‘Saturn is the task master. Virgo gives us the ability to pay attention to detail. This transit is time for humanity to stop procrastinating! The time for action is NOW.

Saturn also receives the aspect of Jupiter at this time which has the scope to accelerate new opportunities on a global scale. This comes with a word of caution, however, to financial and banking employees regarding stability. With the fluctuations in the global market, expansion in any industry is not guaranteed.

‘There is also the spice of Muruga that adds divine energy and power to the mixture. This year Muruga‘s birthday coincided with the strong, astrologically-significant transit of the planet Mars into Leo – May 27th.’ [My note: this was also full moon and beginning of the 29-day moon cycle which will end with full moon/partial lunar eclipse on June 26th; more below]. ‘This opens the gates for the energy of the Regal Warrior to enter. Gone is the time of hold-ups and frustrations. Lord Muruga‘s birth is celebrated in the Vedic month of Vaikasi (May-June) when the Full Moon coincides with the Vishakha star.

‘The day celebrates the incarnation of Muruga who assumed the form of a Regal Warrior to triumph over the evil forces of the Demon King Surapadman. It is symbolic of the conquest of the refined intellect over the egoistic mind.

Muruga‘s energy is the culmination of wisdom, desire, and action. He is the archetype or deity in charge of Knowledge, Youthfulness, and Valor. This is the day on which Mars, the planet ruled by Muruga, enters into Leo, its friendly sign. As Mars moves from Cancer to Leo, it sheds eight months of passive behavior and dons its usual fiery garb. This is the ideal time for go-getters to unleash the full potential of Mars. The energies are especially supportive for dynamic action to achieve lofty goals.

‘Mars’s big march into Leo lasts up to July 20.

Muruga was the Supreme Commander of the forces of Devas (gods), and led them to victory over the demons. He fought his enemies using his weapon – the Vel or Lance. In esoteric tradition, the Vel represents the rising Kundalini fire which consumes karmic impurities. Muruga is considered Lord of Kundalini who enables the ascent of one’s sexual energy from the base of the spine (center of gross qualities) to the pituitary gland (center of divine wisdom).

‘This now activates the collective consciousness of humanity’s kundalini energy.

‘The heart and throat chakra are activated — which were under-active. Now, with the power of forgiveness, humanity can break the bondage of karma and the cycle of duality. This correlates with the Uranus-into-Aries shift.

‘We must all put our attention on our intention of ascending the soul of Mother Earth. Forgiveness offers that. Otherwise we will stagnate in the realm of darkness.’

His words were transmitted as first footage was being filmed at Walbury Hill.

John Scott's interpretations of the Walbury formation in Berkshire

Over the following few days there came a rash of commentary on the Walbury crop formation, much of which is logged on the ‘Forum’ of the excellent CropCircleConnector site run by Mark Fussell and Stuart Dike. It ranged from simple snake-like graphics of the Lower Mississippi basin encompassing the oil fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico to extra-planetary channelings from starbeings. Two important interpretations, however, came from John Scott and Luke Peacock, both of whom focus on astronomical cycles (Scott lunar, Peacock solar) and both see the symbolic ‘broken lines’ in the formation as evidence for reading an I Ching interpretation, specifically Hexagram 20! Luke says:

Overall Hexagram 20 refers to having the perspective of a tall tower or a high mountain that sees all below, and has a better vantage point of above also. It serves as direction for people to aspire to, where the view is wide and expansive.

Within the centremost circle of the design the barley crop has been laid in folds, one curving clockwise, the other counterclockwise: the resulting pattern is the eternal Yin-Yang symbol. A little déjà vu for me, considering my guests’ chosen hexagram last weekend. The serpent, coincidentally, embodies the above concept of Muruga activating the collective consciousness of human kundalini.

Walbury Hill serpent's head faces midsummer sunrise precisely

Luke Peacock is fascinated by the position of Walbury Hill, with its Walbury Camp Iron Age hillfort enclosure 947 feet above sea level, the highest point in SE England. It was chosen in prehistoric times to view sacred sunrise and sunset with ritual held at annual equinoxes and both solstices. The crop circle reflects this precision, aligning the serpent head directly to view the point on the horizon where the sun will rise tomorrow morning, June 21st.

John Scott is a little more direct. He is sure this year’s crop designs speak directly to the human psyche: like Mehal, he believes that after ‘death’ of worldly trappings and ego, a ‘vast sociological shift in consciousness is about to take place.’ He sees the Ouroboros, Great World Serpent circling the Earth, as one of the most powerful archetypal and alchemical symbols which could have been chosen to touch and purify the human soul on its path to enlightenment: ‘. . .possibly the most powerful symbols known in occult literature. It seems the CC-makers have shifted to another level of content. Anyone who has had a personal enlightening experience knows this can often mean not just death on the emotional or mental plane, but complete annihilation of ego; a complete 180º turnaround in thinking and living.’ He is not optimistic for huge numbers of those not ‘getting the message’:

‘I feel with crop circles this year that the important nature of archetypal symbolism may not be fully understood by a wide swathe of the community. The (death and the Ouroboros) symbols are immense in terms of a global, sociological (change). People’s personal problems will be swept aside. These two symbols are completely unforgiving in energetic content; it would be akin to a paper aeroplane in a tornado; the tornado dictates the journey.’

He is convinced the overlighting intelligence creating the crop designs has a ‘deep metaphysical knowledge of our collective energetic bodies which in itself is the real mystery.’ He feels a sense of honesty and openness in their communication as an ‘urgent message to humanity.’ And no amount of reading spiritual literature or self-improvement manuals will prepare us for the actual leap we are about to take.

Chirton Bottom, Devizes, Wiltshire 'analemma' appeared June 16th

As if that weren’t powerful enough, another crop formation appeared on June 16th at Chirton Bottom, near Devizes, Wiltshire. It has been interpreted by Red Collie, an American DNA specialist with a PhD from CalTech currently living in Australia. He sees the linked figure-of-eight as an ‘analemma‘, or the apparent elliptical motion of a heavenly body in the sky as seen from the earth. An analemma of the sun is caused because
1.The Earth is tilted on its axis 23.5° in relation to the plane of its orbit around the sun.
2. The Earth does not orbit the sun in a circle, but in an ellipse. Analemma is ancient Greek for the pedestal of a sundial.

Dr Red’s conclusion about Chirton is that it is an analemma of the 29-day lunar cycle.

He explains:

Analemma explained


Analemma, elliptical apparent motion of a heavenly body

‘Its major shape is a figure-eight or lunar analemma that proceeds for 29 days or one complete lunar phase cycle as “Sun (big) – Moon (small) – Sun (big) – Moon (small) – Sun (big) – Moon (small)”, going day or night for 29 days. It shows dates of May 27, 2010 to June 26, 2010 (both full Moons). 
There will be a 50% partial lunar eclipse on June 26, 2010, so that is why its “small Moon” symbol for “day 29” or June 26, 2010 has been drawn at half the size expected.’

Neither of these latest crop circles looks ahead beyond June. The total solar eclipse of July 11th will no doubt come up again as a reminder later this season.

EXPERIMENT IN CROP CIRCLE-CREATION
In the meantime a group of crop circle enthusiasts who all share Facebook identities have decided to hold an experiment in consciousness (and crop circle creation) this solstice weekend. You can join in if you like.

The suggestion is made that at a precise predetermined time (tonight, Sunday June 20th at 22:30 BST/21:30 UTC – that’s 5:30pm Eastern Daylight Time, 2:30pm Pacific Daylight Time) a specific design drawn by Andreas Müller in Germany will be released on the Facebook page of ‘Report a Crop Circle Formation’ and it is then up to each one of us to meditate, focus on, picture in our minds, whatever method comes most easily for the design to imprint on our consciousness and for – hopefully – this specific design to appear within the following four+plus hours in the fields of Wiltshire. A group meditation has also been suggested starting 22:30 UTC (one hour later than photo release). A specific location will also be released, so that those who are familiar with the environs may visualize that, too, but for those meditating in distant locations worldwide who may not know the English countryside, this aspect of the experiment is secondary. The main focus is to discover whether our group consciousness can create overnight a design in the fields.

Result(s) (if any) will be released on the same ‘Report a Crop Circle Formation’ page on Facebook the next day or as soon as discovered. There will be trusted followers in the chosen location ready to witness any appearance through the solstitial night of June 20-June 21. If you want to participate and the link provided doesn’t work (Facebook requires one to log in first), please enter Facebook and then ‘search’ the ‘Report A Crop Circle Formation’ page.

The design is until this moment only known to one person in the world – Andreas – so that no ‘leaks’ will jeopardize the experiment.

Think of it this way: if John Scott is pessimistic about human beings’ ability to raise consciousness as a group mind, we might prove that we are indeed capable of more than we know. Our Supermind may indeed succeed in tapping into the Universal Overmind as we return to Source and simultaneously project our intentions as Kornkreise pixels.

Until tomorrow morning, then. Let’s see if we can do this together.

Volcanic Surprise: Take your Toys and Go Home

April 18, 2010

Eyjafjallajökull erupts during the strongest geomagnetic storm to hit Earth in 3 years; photo Albert Jakobsson

Tomorrow morning, April 19th, 2010, at around 5a.m. PST the Space Shuttle Discovery is due to reenter Earth’s atmosphere on a trajectory that takes her over the Pacific Northwest, and then on a southeasterly heading towards Cape Canaveral, Florida. She undocked from the International Space Station at the weekend in preparation for reentry.

Early birds in the states of Montana, South Dakota, Missouri and Mississippi and those driving to work in the cities of St. Louis, MO, Memphis, TN and Columbus, GA may catch a glimpse of the descending craft as it prepares for landing at the Kennedy Space Center, ETA 8:48a.m.

Trajectory of space shuttle Discovery on her way home tomorrow

Viewers in continental U.S. will be able to see Discovery as a blazing fireball in the dawn sky on first reentry over Northern California, Oregon, Washington and BC, and then, when daylight progresses, as a bright high-altitude object, as the craft heads east. Those who may not be sure of what they are seeing will hear a double sonic boom about a minute after the shuttle passes overhead.

Discovery’s appearance in the skies over continental USA is unusual, to say the least.

NASA is normally super-cautious, not only to schedule reentry on a trajectory over ocean (south Pacific or Atlantic) – to avoid potential conflict with commercial air traffic or the complication of an accident over such an important landmass – but also does not issue a specific schedule beforehand – for ‘security reasons’.

In the case of tomorrow’s landing, another issue has complicated NASA’s plans: the volcanic cloud emanating from Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. Because the eastern hemisphere is affected by dust and volcanic ash in the atmosphere resulting in the grounding of all European airlines, the shuttle’s choices were drastically reduced.

It is perhaps our present crazy world’s greatest irony that tomorrow, when the whole continent of Europe has not a single aircraft in the skies, except for patrolling military Tornadoes or light prop craft which can fly below radar, United States air traffic controllers will be overworked as they reroute planes so as not to provoke a chance encounter with the spacegoing shuttle on her way home.

Air travel all over northern Europe has been disrupted, with flights grounded or diverted due to the risk of engine damage from sucking in particles of ash from the volcanic cloud.  Even the usually noisy skies of helicopter traffic to and from North Sea Oil fields are silent.

Eyjafjallajökull sub-glacial eruption

And what of Eyjafjallajökull?

What series of convoluted circumstances caused her to erupt just when airlines the world over were pulling in their horns in response to global recession, cutting frills and flying fripperies to an absolute minimum?

Eyjafjallajökull is merely responding to a ripple in the mid-Atlantic ridge.

Iceland can’t help it: her island kingdom sits astride a large tectonic anomaly, where two plates meet, and – rather like Hawaii – has confounded scientists for centuries in their ability to ride the volcanic storms and still maintain buoyancy as islands. Icelanders have benefited in cleverly channeling underground heat from natural hot springs to provide comfort – even luxury – to every home, but, like Hawaiians, their tiny population (300,000, about the same as a medium-size British city) is not unaware of the fragility of their situation.

Eyjafjallajökull has erupted five times since human settlement in the ninth century and its most recent eruption has been going since March 20th this year, but it is only in the last week that ash from this eruption has reached the stratosphere of its continental neighbour.

And Europe is freaking out.

In terms of aviation, when almost all transport is presently airborne – people, freight, goods and services – it is understandable that Eyjafjallajökull’s blasting through its surface glacier and spewing dust and ash into the airlanes should cause concern. Health and safety have become buzzwords in industry: the natural reaction for air traffic regulators was to close everything down. So soon after Easter, when many were starting to enjoy the prospect of spring following a very hard winter, holiday travel numbers were high and planes fully booked.

Those airplanes are now dead in the water.

And, with no change in the foreseeable future, Europeans are stranded in remote locations worldwide, unable to get back home; British-based airlines may not take off and US-based airline traffic may not land in Europe.

Europe – the northern portion of it, certainly – is like a plague zone.

They’ve always said character comes to the rescue when crisis descends or hard times rule. And the other thing they say: Necessity is the Mother of Invention.

During the hard snows and frosts of winter – that in northern Scotland and pockets of Europe lasted until spring equinox – Britain went through a series of threats from companies in conflict with employment unions – with aviation and transportation strikes imminent – until intervention by a well-meaning Icelandic volcano moved the goalposts.

Suddenly, within the last week, other means of transportation – bus, taxi, train, ferry, tube, metro, hot air balloon, microlite, bicycle – have reared their heads again and a dumbed-down population re-creates, starts to think outside the box, begins to invent.

In early ‘seventies ‘3-day-week’ Great Britain, share-a-ride became an everyday occurrence, nobody drove a car without at least two other passengers, public transport was in full use and the struggling population again became aware of their parents’ post-war attitude of ‘conserving’ energy. It is possible that the present crisis may bring about a similar respect for alternative means to get from A to B, and consequently even more respect for the entity which caused the hiccup in the first place: Mother Earth.

Many of us have blogged over last winter about impending changes the Earth may put us through: for most of us those earth-changes were remote: reports from Haiti, Chile, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey. But changes are starting to happen closer to home (Home being the First World).

large swathes of Amazon rainforest under threat

The First World has not traditionally reacted well to being threatened by Nature. It has acted (particularly over the last two generations – fifty years) as if nature were subservient to Man. It has turned a blind eye to decimated rain forests, depleted habitat for endangered species, global poverty, substandard housing and polluted drinking water in those ‘other’ worlds. It’s not accustomed to having its toys taken away and told to go home.

With the grounding of aircraft run by some of the world’s most elite flying operations, those ‘toys’ are getting a shakedown. And Big Business doesn’t like it.

Already on shaky ground over fears of recession, many airlines are already in debt or about to seek bail from world governments. Now governments themselves are questioning whether there are funds in the coffers to cover planetary transportation meldown. Big Business has traditionally used London, Paris, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Amsterdam as staging posts in its hops between hemispheres. Suddenly their wind-up toys aren’t working. No immediate replacement in sight, they’re having to think of ways around the situation.

Pressure/precipitation 4-day forecast, courtesy Unisys

Fortunately, continental Europe has remarkably efficient waterways, rail links, passenger liners, trains and autobahns. Every one of them has suddenly become remarkably important as an artery of communication in an atmospherically-deprived world. But if Icelandic ash continues to spew forth it will take some really revolutionary thinking for Big Business to survive. Seven million passenger-journeys have been cancelled in a few days. There’s talk right now of losses in the millions – Emirates Airlines calculating 25 million dollars per day in lost revenue, British Airways losing one million pounds every hour. Pretty soon those losses will be billions and thereafter . . . if Eyjafjallajökull doesn’t let up – or worse, if her neighboring volcanoes on the Ridge join in – figures will be incalculable. ‘Business’ as a concept will have no meaning.

None of us wants the approach to ‘End Times‘ to come suddenly. But there have been warnings; we have had clues; our history is littered with references to ‘preparing’ for when those ‘decline and fall’ times will come. So should we be surprised when the Earth herself is the instigator?


It is a well-known phenomenon that spacecraft engineers, pilots and scientists, on their return to Earth after a space mission, express feeling ‘transformed, changed, uplifted’ and ‘born-again’ by their experience outside Earth’s atmosphere. From liftoff as hardened scientists, electrical engineers, they return as philosophers, enlightened spirits.

It might be seen by some that Discovery’s reentry to Earth coinciding with the Earth’s growling northern latitudes indicate a sign of impending doom; for others it may signal the onset of liberation from earthly institutions which were beginning to cripple creativity; a top-heavy bureaucratic mechanism that smothers the budding creative spark.

Heaven knows, now is the time for creativity to surface and be recognized: time for the toys to come alive and play for real: our future and our future home – the planet Earth – depend on it.

©2010 Marian Youngblood
Marian Youngblood is the author of a prescient novel (in the light of this week’s events) ‘SHASTA: Critical Mass‘ which relates volcanic earth changes to Man’s ability to rise above his own beginnings and become superconscious human. Her book is entered in James Twyman’s contest to find the ‘next spiritual author’. Press this LINK if you would like to read an excerpt and vote for her entry. Round One (voting round) of the competition ends on May 3rd.

Lobo and the Future of Mankind

August 31, 2009

SHASTA: CRITICAL MASS
The following is an excerpt from the new back-to-the-Earth spiritual novel by MARIAN YOUNGBLOOD

A video presentation of the novel’s story and setting can be seen on YouTube here.

… or a shadow over my grave…

The wolf pack had been gathering all day under the watchful eye of Tawnia, the mother, and were about ready to head out. Her mate Lobo, the tribe’s great white alpha male, experienced in the ways of Men and the natural world, would lead them. If they walked all evening and most of the night, they would travel beyond the perimeter and out of danger. In the Park they were protected; out there their lives were not safe because Man and they didn’t always get along, It was a risk they had to take. Staying behind was for the aged or sick. The young were hitching rides with cousins, allowing aunts to carry them in their mouths. Never in Tawnia’s time had she seen such cohesion and trust within the pack: young warriors were cowtowing, behaving like wise old beasts, just this once. They knew something big was afoot.

Lobo’s instinct was pure; his decision contained wisdom beyond their own limited view. They trusted him to lead them to safety. He called the Elders together and they agreed.

They had to leave the camouflage and protection of their Yellowstone home and take their chances in desert night temperatures because Lobo had read the signs and Yellowstone was telling them to leave: west across the desert, through the badlands lay sanctuary. There a new home beckoned. Lobo knew. Now the young had practiced and could imitate and howl the name of their destination.

Three Sisters.

Back at daybreak, Lobo called together and addressed a conclave of Elder wolves, experienced in the ways of canis lupus. They all agreed. Craters of the Moon was close, but barren; lava beds had a familiar smell but supported little wildlife. They would have to go farther to find the perfect place.

 

Lobo's wisdom would guide them

Lobo's wisdom would guide them

They may be of Wyoming stock, their strength in their connection to volcanic timber slopes and grassland, but their experience was gained in richer territory. Expert and lethal at trapping niche animals in a familiar shared habitat. Specialists in foraging as a posse. Community skills handed down, kept their tribe alive and strong for ten generations. Lobo’s direct ancestor founded the dynasty. Nine-times-great grandfather had been a traveler, himself: descended from New Mexico’s original and celebrated Lobo, the great wolf emulated by teenagers; one of whom even human beings had heard. He, a son of the Great Wolf Spirit, inspired respect.

 

Much had changed since Man created the first National Park in their hunting grounds; some Elders believed and hoped that ethos of the original parks was alive and active in the human young.

More senior Elders felt Man had not yet learned to put aside his ancient fear of Wolf. It was even said their Ranger friends in the old homeland were persecuted in their stead for allowing Wolf to return.

Elsewhere in this great country, canis lupus was, if not extinct, definitely rare and there were few areas where they and domestic animals shared territory. But Yellowstone was a milestone park, even if it was about to die, and there was talk among humans of giving wildlife a fairer portion, a more sensitive sharing of habitat, of a new kind of park where the lion might lie down with the lamb.

Even Abuela had heard such talk and encouraged Lobo before departure to head for the most dreamed-of location because dreams come true. Oregon had volcanoes, people there were also descended from original pioneer stock and a place would be found.

After Lobo patiently explained her words, they listened thoughtfully to her opinion and came to a consensus. There was no doubt about the Elders’ decision. They were agreed their aim was for Three Sisters. There the Great Wolf Spirit would provide a place for them.

A couple of hours later, the pack was on the move.

Only Abuela, the old grandmother, stayed in her den. If Lobo’s guidance proved less than accurate or the crisis was somehow averted, they would return to her. Age gave her resignation. She watched without blinking from her rock ledge, head between outstretched paws. As she saw the last straggler leave, her eyes closed.

LOBO is an excerpt from my forthcoming spiritual novel:
SHASTA: Critical Mass by Marian Youngblood

 

Book cover by Joris Amerlaan for SHASTA: Critical Mass by Marian Youngblood

Update:April 2010
When I wrote this, who would have known that the Bush administration would cancel the US Endangered Species Act and allow wholesale murder of Wyoming and Yellowstone wolves. Wolf killing continues as a ‘sport’ in March and April 2010-2012 in Wyoming and Idaho.

I entered SHASTA: CRITICAL MASS in James Twyman and Robert Evans’ 2010 spiritual author competition, Nexttopauthor.com. The video presentation was created at that time. Another excerpt –which gives more of the novel’s volcanic flavor– can be accessed here.

‘SHASTA: CRITICAL MASS’ has been picked up by AllThingsThatMatterPress for publication during 2012. I continue to encourage all genuine interest from agents who may wish to represent the novel with its déjà vu scenario and may feel its publication is prescient. I may be contacted via this page. Thank you.

Dabbling in the Quantum Field

July 10, 2009

Spiritual novel 'SHASTA: Critical Mass'

 

In quantum physics, the act of Observation changes the object observed.  

 

Writers, especially novelists, beware. 

 

It is a truth worth remembering when knuckling down to the synopsis.  A necessary evil, some say;  but it is really important to remind yourself, when you lift your head up again after you’ve sent the ‘hook’ off to your editor/publisher/reading group that it was an exercise in stepping into the quantum field.  That’s all.  It isn’t really you.  You were acting as a mere observer presenting an object as you saw it to an outside agency.  The real you in still in there, champing at the bit, ready and waiting to get back to REAL writing.

 

I’ve been asked a few times: ‘So, what is your novel about?’  an open-ended – but natural – question from a reader.  The answer varies with the mood of the request.  Which got me thinking about queries in general and query letters in particular: oh, no, not again, sounds the imaginary chorus of rejected authors in the agent/publisher debate.

 

Any excuse will do.

 

There IS a case to be made for the poor, maligned, ever-hopeful, endless optimist writer; she does have to lay down all tools of the scribe and pick up tools of the adman to get her subject noticed.  Her query letter, synopsis and an impeccable first chapter are all she’s got.

 

But not today.   If she’s a trooper, then her Muse will return, the pen or keyboard will beckon and the wild ride will begin once more.

 

So what is my novel about?  The thing is: I didn’t think I was writing a fantasy adventure; I thought it would turn out to be an historical romance with some realtime spiritual insights; a kind of James Redfield-style handbook set in both past and present Scotland with a respectful nod to the New Age, California style.  I spent my childhood in Scotland, some early adult years in California and now swing between the two.  It made sense that I should draw on my own history to create an authentic atmosphere; I spent 20 years writing and giving lectures on the suppressed, unwritten history of my country. It wants to be told.

 

But my spirit soars when I step into the wild country of the Pacific Northwest and I guess my Muse knows that at her core.  So, let’s face it, after setting the romantic framework of ancient Scotland, my Muse was itching to get in there and change it all around.

 

As I began to relax and allow my characters to speak, Muse Girl (MG for short, thanks to S.King for his male version) wasn’t standing for any nonsense.  If it was authenticity I wanted, she would show me what the real message was in the book:  I am the instrument and she directs as the movie unfolds.  Drop the dry historical facts, castle interiors, ancient hunting forests, family lineages;  enter a succession of vivid past lives intermingled with a present day drama of a family caught up in cataclysmic events precipitated by a planet in environmental crisis.   

 

Even my title got changed:  it became SHASTA. You don’t want to know what it was before.  That got relegated to short-story-dom.

 

In some awesome way I could not (didn’t want to) control,  the 14,000-ft mountain colluded with MG to become the dominant presence.   And, gradually the historical corridor of my original vision morphed into a capsule which faded in and out, while a dormant volcano in the present-day Cascades proceeded to take over; create a tectonic miracle, and develop a scenario with potential to disrupt national and international communications. 

 

All right.  It’s true: a lot of writers see their novels as movies in their heads: it’s the way the right hemisphere transmits information.  Yet I was carried along on this visual current like a swollen river of ash and mud within a backdrop that was more than real. Daily reports issued by NOAA and the Global Volcanism Program were mirroring my scenes: Yellowstone, Mauna Loa, Kamchatka, Vesuvius.  There was no way I could put this down.

 

When each morning I went back to edit what I’d written the day before, the left hemisphere often had punctuation and grammar to correct, but the right hemisphere was right there (along with MG), ready to pick up where we left off.

 

Naturally Shasta saw to it that I learned Native American respect for her, researched her early history, became immersed in her volcanic past.  In process I discovered the difficulty humans faced constructing highways and railroads  in trying to tame her; her influence on local tradition, myths and legends surrounding her, filtered through New Age groups and sects that inhabit the valley at her feet. 

 

She is a rumbling giant; she never sleeps.   With or without a volcanic murmur, northern California suffers annual forest fires and spring deluge.   It’s what people live with all the time.  What I was being asked to do was to give it a little tweak to up the ante.  It all fit.  I had to move with the story.  It was telling itself.  And by setting the scene over one long weekend I simply brought the elements together to make it believable – in a fantastic sort of way. 

 

Ancient Scotland plays a part.  It has to.  In a quasi-science fiction way it becomes a timeline thread, interjected into the future-present narrative, meshing the background of the principal characters with a deeper element – I like to think.  Past meets present creates future earth where all is possible… of course I’m an idealist.   

 

So what is it about?  We should be grateful for the gentle reader, the well-meaning questioner.  It makes us look at genre (the agent/publisher’s tool) and in observing, perhaps changes us the writer from quantum instrument to quantum fly on the wall.

 

SHASTA made the decision for me: molded my characters, attached me to the project, wouldn’t let me go.  My historical journeys became woven through and around her, creating more substance than I originally planned.  But what story is not improved by a mystery weaving a web to pull one in, to keep up the pace, to NOT give away the ending?   

 

Quantum field? Personal movies or Images of this scale are beyond quantum physics, in my humble opinion.  A project guided from beyond? A spiritual adventure? Particle or wave, it chose me to put it into print, and I am the first to say that I, the observer, was changed by it. Not the other way around.  

The Timeless Art of Getting Back on the Horse

July 3, 2009

We’ve all been there.

I got rejected by a BIG publishing house editor around 10 days ago and I haven’t really been able to share the information until now.

Some of us use the dear joan letter as a springboard for our next plunge into an alien world and rebound with a kitbag of ideas; others take rejection (from an agent, a publisher, an editor – they all hit hard) very personally and never surface again.

But there is part of me that uses the kick of the mule of rejection – timelapse included – as a way of getting back up on the animal; I think I come to terms with my own vulnerability, start to look at the wounded soft centre as a way through, as a tool to create a gentler version of a particularly difficult character, or to be ruthless and throw out a superfluous scene.

For me that’s a better way  than to allow the rejection process to gag and bind me into hardening and toughening and ‘becoming the adversary’.

Been there; done that.  And it doesn’t work because I’m still me inside. I live with me and my characters, my story are part of me.  Something phenomenal came from my keyboard and I’m not going to let it go.

It’s not easy to say this.  But I have slept on it.

Writers are traditionally loners by definition.  I think the part of this writer who feels most miffed is the invisible self-critic, the one on alert all the time; so being told by the ‘expert’ what I already know: that’s a little of a let-down. 

The thing is, the other comments were really helpful, constructive, even complimentary.  I liked having my writing style compared with Sheri Tepper; Barbara Kingsolver;  and yet sustaining a ‘fast pace which manages to stay just the right side of chaotic’ (?)

 I like chaotic.

But putting it out there, stretching out the young shoot and having it nipped by frost – again:  that is the hardest to handle.  It implies not good enough. Compromise, adaptation, tailoring required.

There are those who react to a negative response by thinking their work is somehow mediocre, not complete; needs re-grouping, splitting into two separate books; compromising the original idea which was to write a great big exciting blockbuster to end all blockbusters.  

Why then let the dream die?

Why shouldn’t the original dream  be more real than the  ultimate short story mini-format adaptation the publishing industry thinks it wants?  We know it’s the reader who counts : s/he’s the one with desire to read our book in the mindset we originally conceived it: holed up in the imagination, carried along by the story, wanting to see what happens next.

It’s the reader that keeps us in the novel business.  The publisher is incidental.  Heavens, don’t let them know I said that.  I might get rejected – again.

I don’t intend to offend the big publishing houses – if indeed there are personalities left to offend.  They are necessary to the whole works.  There are, however, one or two little things they should know: people have, do, and will continue to read. The book business isn’t going to die.

Like the rest of us it’s currently going through a process of change.  

One thing a new-age spiritual discipline teaches me is change can make or break me: make or break any enterprise. It’s up to the individual to see change (in this instance, rejection) as failure or potential success. And no outside critic is more valid than my own fierce inner censor.  

But a writer has to lay down his tools when it comes to the query letter  because it requires a different mindset to write, a commercial approach that’s usually foreign to the novelist, the romance author, the passionate thriller-writer.  Unlike the industry:  they have the edge on us. They get to use tools – like arbitrary filtering, rejection – that have kept them in business: it allows them to do what they do best: publish books. They get to shut out the best, the middling and the bad at the first hurdle, just because that’s what they have to do.

I like what Randy Pausch says in The Last Lecture

‘The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.’

I agree.  I’m not other people.  I’m going to make this one work.


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