I was in the habit of bumming around Barnes and Noble, and took to exploring parts of the store that I had never ventured before. One day, the title Archangels & Ascended Masters caught my eye, and I wound up purchasing the book.
It was the archangels part that piqued my interest, and despite reading the whole book, I could never muster any appreciation for ascended masters. I was a thorough angel junkie by that point.
The book was my first exposure to non-Christian spirituality.
There were several things that happened in 2008 that sealed my fate in paganism, and after about a year of research I knew that I wasn’t remotely the New Age sort at all. I could never accept the idea that humanity was supposed to transcend basic emotions (aka lower vibrations) like fear and sadness, in order to live in the rather emotionless state of peace forever more. How boring. How stagnant. How pointless.
I quickly outgrew Doreen Virtue, viewing her as the equivalent of cotton candy who says a lot of feel-good fluff, but lacks any substance. She made for a good introduction, but the sort of stuff that I ultimately craved wasn’t going to be found in Barnes and Noble.
I suppose this illustrates how out-of-the-loop I am, but I finally learned that Doreen Virtue denounced New Age spirituality in 2017 and is now a born-again Christian.
Wow, isn’t it a funny world?
I wish that I could believe it was an honest-to-God conversion, because I don’t care about the particulars as much as I care about sincerity, and I don’t know many people who are actually sincere about their religion any more. Unfortunately, the heavy censorship that Doreen Virtue is continuing to enforce around herself triggers my cynicism, and I’m inclined to think not.
Of course, I’m coming to the party late and I don’t know much of the story, so don’t take my word for it — I just don’t get a particularly good feeling from her.
The question is, does this invalidate all of Doreen Virtue’s products? She was prolific, and published an enormous number of books and card decks, which she now actively discourages people from reading/using. Am I left with tripe that I might as well burn?
It was never Doreen Virtue who mattered in the first place. She shared her thoughts, but the important part was me. It was the way I felt and interpreted what I read, the parts that I liked and the parts that I dismissed, that made up the foundation of my spirituality. No matter who Doreen Virtue is or what she believes, I am still me. She doesn’t have the power to change my story, and her books will always be part of my spiritual journey.
Like it or not, all of Doreen Virtue’s New Age products still have value, even if it’s just sentimental. There’s magic in honoring where you’ve been.
In the past, I used to try to socialize more. My oldest is very outgoing, and when she was 4-years-old, I felt guilty about being such a retiring introvert. Unfortunately, at that age, her social circle was my social circle, so I decided to put myself out there and see about those mom groups. The neighbor who was heavily involved in them seemed to be an okay person (I found out later that she was duplicitous AF), so I thought it would be a safe bet with at least one other “friend” already there.
At 22, I had danced naked in a forest during a thunderstorm (there was no chance of anyone else being around to see me), and I had felt magnificently connected to all of the elements of the Earth. I can still vividly remember the dark clouds overhead, the pink flash of lightning, the prickle of goosebumps in the cold rain, and the elation of nature and magic. I felt that I could never be struck down.
At 28, I was shrinking into myself, feeling hopelessly like an outsider around my peers, small and insignificant in their eyes. In turn, I found them to be boring, controlling, and generally unpleasant, and I was miserable around them. I hated being there. Hated being the only mom who carried my baby in my arms instead of hauling around a car seat, and the defensive reactions I got when I simply commented that it was because I thought car seats were cumbersome. Seemingly, everything about me was not only wrong, but actively offensive.
As much as I admire the stereotype of the self-sacrificing mother, there’s a huge difference between sharing my last bite of brownie and selling my soul to fit in. I have my limits.
Shortly after I quit, it filtered back to me that they had all been calling me a “doormat” behind my back. Um, what? I’m supposed to prove that I’m not a doormat by . . . abandoning my natural personality to become what someone else thinks I should be instead? No thank you, I’d much rather be a doormat; there’s more dignity in it.
No matter how others try to cajole or criticize me, I stubbornly stick to what I am. Why? Because I remember how it felt to dance with the wind and rain as the thunder kept the beat. Because I actually look at my peers, dressed in unflattering leggings with their hair tied on the very top of their heads like Teletubbies, and I know that I could never in a million years take myself seriously if I looked like that. Because my Jupiter is in Aries, so I need to be an uncompromising individualist in everything I do. Because I know what makes me happy, and what doesn’t.
As for my oldest, I adore the way she naturally is, and I don’t want her to learn to sacrifice her personality to have fake friends. It would break my heart if I lost her like that.
As a writer, experiences like that always get filed away in the back of my mind, along with all of the emotion and aftermath, to reappear as overarching themes in my stories.
I don’t have much heat tolerance, and the summer months are spent chugging electrolyte mixes while waiting for the hottest part of the day to hurry up and be over with. Popsicle’s are not so much a treat as a necessity around here.
Of course, there’s nothing quite like sitting outside on a warm summer night and listening to the crickets. Sometimes, the best part of life can be found in the quietest of moments.
This year, I’m going to play as hard as I can, heat tolerance be damned. I’ve got a big freezer and Popsicle’s to spare.
I’m what is called an eclectic Pagan, though I think of myself more as an obsessive cherry-picker.
Religion fascinates me. When I was 21, I made plans to move far away and get a degree in Religious Studies, but it turned out that I was destined for something else. Instead, I now have a large collection of books ranging from the Liber Null to Doreen Virtue.
I’ve dabbled in all sorts of magic, and I have a deck of Tarot cards that I consult regularly. If something doesn’t work, I move on to the next; if it does, I add it to the ‘eclectic’ part of my Pagan practice. All I really care about is finding what resonates with my soul, irregardless of what shape it takes.
I consider the religious beliefs of others to be sacrosanct, and while I will discuss why I do or don’t believe in a particular thing, I respect that everyone has their own path to follow. That’s also part of my beliefs.
All of my stories have an esoteric element to them, and they all happen in the same spiritual universe.
Light Eternal, for example, is pretty heavy on the spiritual stuff. So much so, honestly, that I don’t expect it to gain any sort of attention until after I’ve published a few novels. However, it was exactly what I needed to write at the time, and it’s a good foundation, so I went ahead and put it out there.
I’ve been a bit shy to say all of that right out. I’ve had very mixed reactions to this particular aspect of my personality, but considering that it’s an obvious part of my writing, it would be disingenuous of me to try to hide it.
So there you have it, I love religion. I’m just not picky about which one.
I think that the best way to describe Light Eternal is as a Gnostic romance. Or, as my husband so succinctly put it, I studied up on Gnosticism so I could write trashy fanfiction about it.
I like fantasy romance, and most of my ideas revolve around the simplicity of two people in love. One of my biggest disappointments with the romance genre (and fiction in general) is that very few of them start with marriage, which, in my personal experience, is when I would say the real adventure begins. My novels don’t revolve around the question of “Will they get together?” but rather, “What are they willing to do to stay together?”
I also like magic and larger-than-life characters, so with a touch of amusement I would say that I ascribe to the “One-Punch Man” style of storytelling. The conflict isn’t about how they are going to be strong enough to win, but is instead an almost human interest exploration of what life would be like as the strongest, smartest, etc.
Light Eternal also contains a lot of pagan elements, including soul retrievals and spiritual parasites. The story is about gods and goddesses surrounded by a rich mythology, verging on spiritual fiction. Because there is a strong theme of Light versus Dark, there are a lot of Gothic and horror moments as well.
Finally, it is a novella about trauma, mental health, and dissociation. It illustrates the damage that traumatic events can cause, and the struggle to continue on with life afterward.
It is the best fictional Gnostic romance book out there!
I confess that on an emotional level, it takes me back to being a teenager on Elfwood, trying my best to chummy up to some clique, and wondering why they just didn’t like me no matter what. After all, I was WAY more talented than any of them.
Now I realize that it wasn’t about admiring talent. They copied each other, and I was stubbornly myself. Cliques don’t like individuals.
I like to imagine that those people who rejected me years ago are now trapped in lonely and pathetic lives. That’s what you get when you sell your soul! Bwahahahaha!
I can say this here, because we aren’t among them right now: I don’t like writers. I have never once gotten along with one. However, I like readers. I LOVE readers, really, because they love fictional worlds and stories as much as I do. I feel a kindred spirit with readers. Writers have fragile egos and are always on the defense — they feel threatened by talent and hard work. They don’t like me either.
I fully expect them to utilize the reviews and rating system to attempt to bully me into conformity. I will likely never be featured as a top writer. I will probably abandon my account with enough time. I suck at fitting in.
So why did I join a community for writers?
Because my oracle cards told me that I need to step outside of my comfort zone, and I can’t think of a more uncomfortable place for me.