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A young curandera...an evil archbishop!
International Winner/New Age Fiction
Pinnacle Winner/Metaphysical Thriller
December 7, 2016
In The Unholy
, Claire the young medicine woman, suffers. Within her psychic depths she struggles against fears that have been there since childhood. She tries to run from what she has to face, what she legitimately has to suffer her way through; so, she becomes, in a sense, neurotic. She can't commit to love, she can't move on in her life. She's caught by the neurosis of fearful living! Her quest lies in finding her way through this neurosis-a challenge and a "must do" in the life of one who considers herself a woman of courage and determination.
To do less than find our way through in life leaves us prey to needless suffering. It get us nowhere. We move from one complaint to another, no end in sight. This is symptomatic of neurotic suffering, pain without meaning or purpose.
In the writing of The Unholy
, the character of Claire often came to me in dreams. I saw a frightened young woman. She was seriously afraid to take up her calling, walk her path as a healer. I looked in her eyes and saw one who was paralyzed, a doe in headlights.
I didn't know which way things would turn out for Claire. But as the story evolved it became clear that meaningless suffering, neurosis, would be a tragic end to a woman loaded with potential. So I wrote The Unholy
as Claire told me of her life, its pain, suffering, and unfolding.
November 30, 2016
Omar on The Wellness Ultimatum Radio Podcast
asked me to delve into religious guilt and how it compromises quality of life. His podcast radio show focuses on well being, physically, mentally and spiritually. He was an insightful interviewer who managed to get to the heart of things concerning the dark side of religion, guilt, and the human need for spiritual freedom.
As we discussed The Unholy
, his questioning moved into the dark side of religion. The podcast is about health and the importance of wellness, so our discussion included physical and mental issues as well as spiritual. He continually directed our conversation into religious guilt as compromising health in all its aspects.
I agree that religious guilt causes us to descend into a sickness of soul. Our minds and bodies suffer. General medical problems increase when a person is afflicted by untreated guilt, including of the religious variety. Here I'm talking about guilt that is neurotic, serves no productive purpose. In bad religion, as Omar and I emphasized, people are pressured to believe and behave in certain ways, to conform to group think. Group think is toxic. It leaves no room for individual growth, a person walking their own path.
Toxic religion imposes guilt on those who do not believe as they are told. Wellness is compromised when spiritual individuality is compromised. A person suffers mentally, physically and spiritually. We talked about psychotherapy helping people heal from religious abuse, the imposition of religious guilt on a susceptible psyche. Depth therapy is a form of exorcism, a working through and releasing of troubling and destructive spirits, emotional complexes that threaten mental stability and well being.
As you listen to The Wellness Ultimatum Radio Podcast
, I'm sure you'll find inspiration and perhaps even an awakening to the importance of exorcising, healing, the religious guilt addressed in the story of The Unholy
November 23, 2016
Depth psychology teaches that the answer to what life is about lies beyond present existence. In The Unholy
, the medicine women call upon the powers of earth, air, fire and water. These primal elements that convey life force point to the beyond, to that which is greater than us.
Dr. Carl Jung, the famous depth psychologist, wrote regarding a friend's death: Dear Mrs. Oppenheim, 12 August 1933 - A year ago I heard through a friend of Mr. Oppenheim' s most unexpected death. Yes, it is true, such a death and such suffering seem to be pointless if one assumes that this life is the acme of all existence. I have seen quite a number of people who died when they had reached the most they could. Obviously then the measure of their life was fulfilled, everything said and everything done and nothing remained. The answer to human life is not to be found within the limits of human life. Sincerely yours, C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 127
We search for answers. We find answers if we consider that there is more to life than present existence. Matters of destiny, being true to self, and fulfilling self all lead us to the answers we need. The limits of human life are just that-limits. A more transcendent perspective, one that realizes the spirituality that is central to life, puts things in perspective. A mystic attitude keeps us balanced as we find answers to present day concerns by, like the medicine women in The Unholy
and CG Jung in his letter, understand that there are forces greater than ourselves always at work behind the scenes of daily life.
November 2, 2016
No matter what we think, to move forward means squaring up with the past. We need to draw down on what was good there. As we take a moment to look back, to reflect, we often find sustenance from the past that helps us to move forward. There's something someone has said, a helpful experience that we remember, an encounter that changed us and propelled us forward.
In The Unholy
we read, "The cave near where her mother had died had called Claire back. She didn’t know how she had gotten to the Place of the Granite Boulder. Time had stood still and moved backward. Ominous and dark and red, the moon was centered at the top of the mouth of the cave, wolves howled in the distance, and the little girl within her moved into a trance as her mother had taught her, watching and listening" (p. 197).
As with Claire in The Unholy
, we face times of reckoning. We need to focus. To do so offers the hope that we can resolve what's been haunting us. It must be done. Otherwise, we stay stuck, unhappy, a haunted person living a haunted life.
We're a bundle of there and now, here and then. The past crowds in on the present. In essence, focus happens when we become aware of past and present in the moment. It frees us from the shackles of denial, trying to be other than who we are. We become new with each present moment that we, like Claire in The Unholy
, focus, watch, and listen to our ever evolving life. ~ The Unholy
October 26, 2016
"Don’t just resist cynicism — fight it actively. Fight it in yourself, for this ungainly beast lays dormant in each of us, and counter it in those you love and engage with, by modeling its opposite. Cynicism often masquerades as nobler faculties and dispositions, but is categorically inferior. Unlike that great Rilkean life-expanding doubt, it is a contracting force. Unlike critical thinking, that pillar of reason and necessary counterpart to hope, it is inherently uncreative, unconstructive, and spiritually corrosive. Life, like the universe itself, tolerates no stasis — in the absence of growth, decay usurps the order. Like all forms of destruction, cynicism is infinitely easier and lazier than construction. There is nothing more difficult yet more gratifying in our society than living with sincerity and acting from a place of largehearted, constructive, rational faith in the human spirit, continually bending toward growth and betterment. This remains the most potent antidote to cynicism. Today, especially, it is an act of courage and resistance" (Brain Pickings 10.25.16).
“Quitters lose out on the battles that make the soul. Once the soul is made then it is time to move on to the next level,” Claire remembered Francesca instructing. “You’re no quitter. You exorcized that demon the other night,” Francesca announced proudly. Claire remembered the knife on the kitchen counter and the pull toward suicide. “And if it returns?” Claire asked. “When it knocks on the door of your mind, it’s you who decides whether to let it in or not,” said Francesca. ~ The Unholy
October 19, 2016
Remember, when things are bad.. "This too shall pass" from FB friends Meditation Masters 10.12.16 - thanks for the reminder that in the midst of troubles, "beacons lost during a dark night", sometimes it's best to breathe easy and wait it out.
In The Unholy
we read, "An empty hurting space deep inside Claire opened up. Flashing bright lights scattered across her field of vision as she lost consciousness. Anthony’s smile, Lucia’s loving gaze, and Francesca’s warm and strong face died away— beacons lost during a dark night" (p. 147). Claire struggled to keep hold of life. The faces of those she loved and loved her sustained her. She sensed within herself that the bad would pass and, chances were, life would open up again.
Such hope requires courage and strength. It's easy to give up. When bad hits, we want to pack it up and vanish. But, in real life, we have to deal with things. In The Unholy
, Claire realized that the best way to deal with bad was to wait things out, let it pass, and have another go at dealing with what's facing her.
October 12, 2016
When it comes to wanting to fit in, we're all guilty. The question is whether we keep doing it, keep compromising basic human respect for self and others. It's one of the greatest challenges we face, the powerful dynamic of respect for others and self.
Aeon (9.30.16) published an article entitled The Desire to Fit in Is the Root of Almost All Wrongdoing. It's about fitting in, wrongdoing, and basic human respect: "Immanuel Kant calls this sort of excessively deferential attitude servility. Rather than downgrading the values and commitments of others, servility involves downgrading your own values and commitments relative to those of others. The servile person is thus the mirror image of the conventional, self-interested immoralist found in Plato, Hobbes and Hume. Instead of stepping on whomever is in his way to get what he wants, the servile person is, in Kant’s words, someone who ‘makes himself a worm’ and thus ‘cannot complain afterwards if people step on him’ . . . Crucially, the servile person is guilty of the same root error as the person who deceives or threatens others – namely, denying the basic moral equality of all persons. It’s just that the person you’re degrading is you. But servile behaviour neglects the fact that you’re entitled to the same respect as anyone else." ~ The Unholy
October 5, 2016
Intuition speaks to us all day long. If we take the time to listen, we'll often receive the answers we need in less time than we think possible. Unexpected events, dreams, sudden inspiration are all the voices of inspiration coming from deep places of soul.
To trust our innermost feeling, the images that come to mind in a given situation, and our gut sense about people is what intuition is all about. One person told me, "The more you trust it, the more you come to see that you can rely on it. It comes more frequently and when you need it."
Dreams are also an aspect of intuition. They speak in images and symbols. We can understand them if we move into the core feeling of the experience. An image produces a feeling that speaks to a life situation. We are thinking of doing this or that and we have a bad dream. It tells us to not go that way or get involved with what we were considering. A good dream about something is often like a green light telling us to proceed. Dreams are the voice of intuition speaking to us when we sleep.
Stories speak in an intuitive way for us. The characters can be facets of self that tell us something about ourselves and our life. We are intuitively drawn to read a story with characters that may address our life problems or challenges. When we read, we can be open and wonder and ponder and allow intuition to speak to us and offer helpful guidance and inspiration. After all, intuition is the voice of the soul and we can trust it. ~ The Unholy
Image from fb Healing Light Page 9.26.16
September 28, 2016
To find our way to love we often have to find our way out of what isn't love. The dark side of religion goes against the grain of human caring and compassion. As dramatically revealed in The Unholy
, bad religion taints love and causes us to fear.
Fear gets into the heart when spirituality becomes harsh and dogmatic religion. This is a human enterprise ruled by a religious establishment bent on controlling people. In The Unholy
, a young medicine woman struggles to find her way out of religious fear. In her culture, the majority of people followed a dogmatic and dark religion.
Prophets, poets, and philosophers whose inspiration sparked the basis for various organized religions were not about institutions or organizations or the establishment. Jesus, Buddha, and other generous souls simply stated and lived from their heart to the best of their ability. A New York Times article (9.4.16) entitled What Religion Would Jesus Belong To? is provocative and well worth the reading . The writer asserts, “What would it mean for Christians to rediscover their faith not as a problematic system of beliefs but as a just and generous way of life, rooted in contemplation and expressed in compassion?” McLaren asks in “The Great Spiritual Migration.” “Could Christians migrate from defining their faith as a system of beliefs to expressing it as a loving way of life?”
The young medicine woman in The Unholy
fights against the inevitable. She must decide between spiritual life and death. She cannot live in the world of fear and the world of love. She must choose to bow before the dark side of religion or to take the risk and discover her own way of life and being in the world. ~ The Unholy
September 23, 2016
Fiona McVie from Glasgow, Scotland reached out via international virtual reality on Glasgow, Scotland Book Interview
and asked for an interview about The Unholy. I was struck by one of the questions pertaining to family life. What touched me was how my mind lit on my granddaughter, Zoey! She has learned to watercolor. What a delight it is to see her in action. Only two years old and filled with the joy of a new discovery, eyes bright and heart twittering with excitement. I felt joy in giving this book interview as I hope you will if you can take some time and give it a read.
Where are you from? New Mexico
A little about yourself, your education, family life etc...
I am a husband of 40 years to a wonderful artist and art historian, Kate. We share the joy of four adult children, two writers and two artists, and a wild creature of creativity, our granddaughter – Zoey. I am a Ph.D. in clinical psychology specializing in adult psychotherapy for individuals in emotional and spiritual crisis, a therapist and writer whose writing has been both in non-fiction (psychology and spirituality) and fiction – thrillers, the first of which is The Unholy, a novel that explores the dark side of religion and the human struggle for spiritual freedom.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news is that my next psychological thriller, Goddess of the Wild Thing, is completed and ready for release in about six months with my publisher, Sunstone Press. It’s a thriller about love and whether bad love is better than no love – a woman’s struggle to find herself and her discovery that love is a wild thing!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I always wanted to be a psychologist and writer since I was sixteen years old. I read Freud, Jung, and William James along with H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood, and Arthur Machen. They were the old men that set loose a passion for the human psyche and creativity in the realm of therapy and writing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It really began when I was sixteen. I saw an image of myself in my mind as a writer. It’s never left and I hope it never will. It’s a good and replenishing thing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first thriller was The Unholy. My wife, Kate, inspired me to bring my experiences in treating survivors of religious trauma into a story. Out popped The Unholy.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I feel that the old gothic writers like Blackwood and Lovecraft and Machen are guiding lights for me along with Hemmingway and Carver. I like things to be as lean and into the story as possible, to move along, tell the tale, and paint the picture of what can happen when things go wrong and how to set about dealing with it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Ahhh….religious trauma is The Unholy. It gets to the heart of things that violate the soul, human integrity and conscience. The title hit the mark of the darkness that the young medicine woman suffered and had to go up against and deal with in a way decisive and shocking.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is – the dark side of religion kills. It’s about the soul being snuffed out and fear and despair setting in so deep a person feels there’s no way out. The dark side of religion kills, as The Unholy dramatizes, and it’s how the young medicine woman in the story dealt with it that’s totally riveting.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Oh – The Unholy dramatizes real experiences of real people whose identities are obscured to protect their privacy, a novel about so many people that it is about no one person because it is about everyone at some time or another in life when religion has been questioned and the face of the dark side of religion jumped out front and center.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Like I said, it’s the novels of Lovecraft, Machen, Blackwood along with Hemmingway, Carver, and Castanaeda, with his workings of natural magic in the everyday world, that set my pen afire on the page.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
The new indie authors that I have read such as Tamara Ferguson, Jeff Jackson, Alice Montalvo, Rayna Noire, Nuzo Onoh, David W. Wright, and Sean Platt are stimulating reads. All these folks are great writers, tell a good story, and clear out your head.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
An entity that supported me – well that’s tough – gotta’ say there’s nothing that comes to mind in terms of anything outside of my own sense of self and my intimate relationships.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Oh…writing is a calling. It comes from deep inside. And, if it’s there you got to follow through and write out the words, tell the story, and speak your mind.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope – The Unholy hits the dark side of religion hard. It’s riled people up. That’s what a novel is supposed to be – a new idea, a novel thought, that provokes and sets the wheels of imagination turning.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Harris Channing did the cover along with my publisher Sunstone Press. I described the actual place of the Devil’s Throne and they did a bang up job of making the image into a surreal book cover.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you feel the urge, do the words. There’s something in you or you wouldn’t feel it in the first place. Do what you have to do and don’t look back.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
When you pick up the story of The Unholy, have a blanket close, wrap up, and get ready for a thrilling read and a wild ride!
Glasgow, Scotland Book Interview