Literary Escapism is pleased to welcome fantasy author CL Talmadge. Her latest novel is The Scorpions Strike, which is the third novel in her Green Stone of Healing.
Make sure you stick around through the end because we’re giving away a whole set of the Green Stone Healing series all autographed by Ms. Talmadge…
Past Lives = Future Fiction
Fewer than three months after starting to write my epic fantasy, I knew without equivocation that I was chronicling a life I had lived before—and that some of the saga’s main characters would return to earth to pursue unfinished business.
I woke up one morning in October of 1998 with the horrendous memory of a trauma suffered by Helen Andros, the first-generation heroine. I was devastated and deeply depressed without any immediate cause or corresponding event from earlier in my life. My emotions were so profound and painful that I realized this went way beyond trying to imagine how a character in a book might feel or behave. I was literally in Helen Andros’ tragic shoes because I was—and still am—Helen Andros.
Since childhood, I have always been open to the possibility of past lives. In 1986, my attitude transformed to deep conviction as a result of profound emotional and spiritual healing experiences that involved other lives I have lived. This life-altering healing was possible through an alternative method that helps bring about emotional and spiritual resolution within the energy field of human consciousness. That same approach, called Sunan therapy, helped me resolve Helen’s pain and shame.
Reincarnation is a fairly frequent theme of genre novels. In most fictional treatments of past lives, characters learn that a previous existence has an unsavory influence over them and their relationships in the present, and much of the book’s action involves their search for resolution.
Although the initial books include that approach, the Green Stone of Healing® offers a unique twist. As the series progresses through four generations, dead characters return as different people still struggling to resolve their issues. Soul mates and dear friends, heroes and villains meet again, but the outcome is by no means happy, even if the feelings between them do not change. How do they know each other? By intuitively detecting soul energy, (called kura in the series), which does not alter from physical lifetime to lifetime.
Like the existence of God, it’s impossible to “prove” reincarnation to the conscious mind. The only clue to the validity of a past life is whether a person’s re-experience of it resonates emotionally and spiritually. And Helen’s tragic life and flawed character resonate at a very deep level for me. Equally compelling is the powerful impact that the process of writing the series has had on my partner of 22+ years, Jana Simons (Judith Altair) and our mutual dear friend Susanne Doucet (Miriam Andros).
No one wants to be forgotten. This is the basis for fascination with genealogy and the rising interest in preserving family memories in scrapbooks that have developed over the past two decades. The effort to make a difference (and thus not be forgotten) drives many lives. It certainly drove Helen’s life and it’s what drives my life today, although in a far different, happier direction.
Outside of the language of traditional religion, I am exploring our connection to God, to each other, and to ourselves. Like Helen, most of us feel a sense of alienation from God, from others, and most important, from ourselves. These days I aim to make a difference by stirring readers’ soul memories with the Green Stone of Healing® series, which is really one long look at the true meaning of free will and personal responsibility.
The question then, is what causes this separation? Western religions traditionally ascribe the cause to ‘sinful’ human nature. My series argues for a different explanation—one that is tied to healing at the deepest levels of self —just as it posits a different definition for evil.
My series also happens to be a unique, compelling tale of other timeless themes, such as conflict and reconciliation between parent and child, between women and men, and between different races.
Highly relevant to current headlines, the saga chronicles the demise of a theocracy. The novels recount how and why a country destroys itself and brings about global devastation by practicing racial, sexual, and religious bigotry and by emphasizing militaristic, might-makes-right policies over respectful cooperation with its neighbors and its opponents.
My heroines and their mysterious green gem attempt to offer a healing, inclusive alternative to a government that persecutes those who do not look like or share the religious beliefs of its top leaders.
While I am not writing allegory, the situation of this fictional theocracy, called, Azgard, is certainly applicable to the world today. Although defeated in the presidential election, the religious right will not stop campaigning to remake the United States into a “Christian nation,” while religious zealots have worked their way deep into the ranks of the U.S. military. Abroad, many who oppose the United States shroud their political aspirations in religious terms.
Yet even as the religious extremes on all sides harden their rhetoric and their positions, most Americans and many others hunger deeply for spirituality over religiosity, for inclusion over division, for community over isolation, for resolution over strife, for true healing over just addressing symptoms of disease, for unconditional love over judgment.
These powerful themes loom large throughout the Green Stone of Healing® series and they are front-and-center in our nation while this so-called war on terror pervades and corrodes every aspect of life in the United States these days.
The preceding isn’t my observation alone. In Scrooge’s Nightmare, an essay posted 11/25/04 at Salon.com, Leonard Steinhorn, associate professor of communications at American University, explores the results of multiple U.S. public opinion polls about social issues and reaches similar conclusions. Despite all the right-leaning hype, Steinhorn writes, polls consistently show that the new “silent majority” of this country holds what religious conservatives decry as “liberal” values of inclusion, tolerance, and civil rights for women and even traditionally despised minorities like homosexuals.
This new majority outlook has to be one of the factors in the “surprise” success of nonfiction like God Without Religion. This self-published bestseller speaks directly to those who hunger for spirituality and spiritual expression without all the trappings of religiosity.
I would define religiosity as public displays of man-made dogmas, creeds, rules, judgments, and other constraints on freedom of thought, belief, and action. Too often those who exhibit the most fervent religiosity try to impose their dogmas on others while ignoring or circumventing those dogmas’ rules of behavior in their own conduct. I can think of numerous politicians and other public figures who trumpeted so-called moral values and then were revealed to be less than pristine.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is the God-made essence of who we are as created souls. We are spiritual beings even if we don’t believe in God. We absolutely have that right not to believe. As created souls, we also have an absolute right to free will that is truly free, and yearn always for freedom that is not limited by dogmas or creeds.
The Green Stone of Healing® series explores in depth the profound differences between religiosity and spirituality. As I got further into writing the series, I realized the two races, Toltec and Turanian, symbolize the former and the latter respectively. I find it fascinating that just like in today’s world, in Azgard religiosity is dominant and prominent while spirituality is repressed and demeaned. That says something tragic about the state of our world.
Having said all that, the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States fills me with hope. We have chosen unity over division, healing over strife, and all of this is embodied literally in Obama, a person mixed-race descent, just like Helen.
Obama is the bridge between peoples that Helen’s mother, Miriam, hoped she would be. Helen, however, turns out to be too wounded to fulfill that role to its fullest, although her life does have deep impact and significance for the ultimate survivors of the utter annihilation inflicted on Azgard by theocrats who lusted for the total power to which they had no right whatsoever.
StoneScribe is C.L. Talmadge, author of the Green Stone of Healing® epic fantasy series. For a free ebook on the link between healing and spirituality, visit http://www.greenstoneofhealing.com and sign up for the newsletter.
Now it’s contest time. Ms. Talmadge has been gracious enough to offer an autographed set of her complete Green Stone of Healing series. All you have to do to enter is to answer this question: Who were you in a past life? No answer, no entry, so fess up.
As always, if you want more chances to win, you can post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
Join the Literary Escapism blog group over on Facebook and you’ll get an additional entry. Only new readers to the group will be considered.
The contest will run until midnight on Nov. 4th. I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer.