Today I have Rhaima Warren author of Dark Innocence on the blog today! She’s here to share her thoughts on Truth in Fantasy Stories as well as a two giveaways!
Truth in Fantasy Stories – Rahima Warren
Michelle, I love the title of your blog. It raises a question for me: how much truth is there in fantasy stories? Aren’t they full of unreal things such as magic, dragons and unicorns? Well, yes. However, I have found that fantasy stories often are about real human qualities and dilemmas. After all, we writers are human and we write what we know, which is, of course, being our human selves. The deeper we have delved into the experience of being ourselves, the more truth our stories will reveal.
During twenty-year career as a psychotherapist, and while in training for that career, I read many non-fiction books exploring the human experience. I also learned a great deal about the human experience from working with my clients on their healing journeys, and from working toward my own healing. To help my clients beyond our consultations, I periodically thought I would share what I had learned by writing a self-help book. I wrote various essays, but could never get myself to write such a book. Instead, as my practice evolved, I found myself moving into non-verbal approaches, especially expressive arts therapy, to helping my clients understand and accept themselves.
In the expressive arts approach, we use all the arts – movement, music, writing, painting, collage, clay sculpting, etc. – to allow the intuitive right-brain, or as I call it, the dreaming mind, to express itself with no concern for technique or end-product. Using the dreaming mind in this way has a deep, healing effect on us even when our logical left-brain mind doesn’t understand what we are doing.
Having learned to trust the dreaming mind’s creativity, instead of another self-help book, I found myself writing a fantasy trilogy, all in one long swoop, over a three-year period. It was so much fun and there was so much passionate, creative juice flowing that I just kept writing, with no idea where the story was going. (See How My Hero Turned Me Into A Writer.)
One of the most surprising and creative things my dreaming mind came up with was a tree that is a healer. The Great Tree, called the Heart of the Forest, is a vast and ancient oak which has become semi-sentient, and works with the Tree Warden, Svahar, to do healings. It is so huge that the Tree Warden and others live inside the Tree. One of the scenes that I find most magical is the funeral for the Tree Warden, who dies after he and the Great Tree perform a powerful healing ritual for Kyr, the protagonist of the story.
As they sang, the Sun descended behind the Western cliffs, and swift lavender dusk filled the valley. Their many voices wove together with the calls of the birds and animals, and the rustling of the Tree. Kyr kept silent, sure his voice would pollute the sacred power of the song.
In the new-born night, the birds and animals fell silent and the Great Tree became still, while the chanting voices gained urgency and power. Soon, the slender silver crescent of the New Moon slid down beneath the edge of the Great Tree’s canopy, hovering just over the Western cliffs.
Mysterious and inhuman, a deep bass chord silenced the chant. The hum of the Great Tree was echoed by the granite cliffs in their own vast tones. The slow harmonies flowed in alien progressions up and down the vale of the Heart of the Forest. High and sweet, a brave-souled piper sent a poignant melody soaring toward the awakening stars.
The vast trunk of the Great Tree slowly spread open, forming a ledge.
“Now, Kyr-ne,” whispered Tenaiya.
Together, they lifted the Tree Warden’s body and placed it on the ledge. With gentle fingers, Kyr straightened the green cloak and tucked it around the body, then stood with bowed head, wishing he could find words to express his sorrow and remorse, as the Tree gradually closed over Svahar’s body.
After a time, Tenaiya spoke, her voice peaceful and glad. “The Heart of the Forest has taken unto itself one of its own. Let us not be sad, for Svahar has added his essence, wisdom, and healing power to the Great Tree, as have so many Wardens before him. He is not lost to us, but transformed into what he loved―this most majestic and wise of all trees.”
Another surprising and beautiful thing that emerged from my dreaming mind was the sacred chamber called the Kailithama, where the Kailthana, a Priestess-Healer takes Kyr.
The Kailithana released his hands and stepped back. In a formal tone, she said, “We will begin by clearing your main zhan pathways. This is a difficult process that requires that you surrender to whatever your body, mind, and heart require for their cleansing and healing. Will you do that?”
“Yes, I will,” he said, placing his soul in her hands.
She nodded and led him through the sanctuary, then up a maze of twisting corridors that took them deep within the oldest part of the Temple. They stopped before a seemingly blank wall. But the Kailithana whispered a charm and a door swung back, revealing an oval room, rich and warm with lamplight, soft with carpets and pillows. Jolanya gestured him to enter. “This the Kailithama, the Crucible of Healing, created by the first Kailithana long ago.”
Suddenly uneasy, he hesitated on the threshold. It was nothing like the Watcher’s torture chamber, but it was a small space, far from help. Then he started back with a gasp, his eyes riveted on the glittering images covering the walls of the chamber.
“Merciless gods! What are those?”
“These mosaics are part of the magic of this chamber. They show the Goddess and Her Consort as Lover and Beloved, making love together. They will guide and inspire our work. She is the Golden Sun, Monarch of Day, and He is the Silver Moon, Lord of Night.”
Kyr cautiously examined the shining images. A pale, dark-eyed man, his hair as black and lustrous as Jolanya’s but starred with diamonds, wore nothing but silver bands around his upper arms, wrists, and ankles. From the silver band about his neck hung a large disk of iridescent white shell. Strong and lithe, he embraced a woman who outshone him in golden splendor, with luxuriant red-gold hair flaming out from her powerful, radiant face. Her golden-amber eyes gleamed, and her tawny skin glowed as if a fire burned within her graceful form. Golden snakes twined about her forearms and calves. Two more clasped her neck and held a golden sun disk over her heart.
Fascinated and perturbed, Kyr looked from scene to scene. Were these Divine Ones caressing or clawing each other? Were their faces contorted in agony or in bliss? He couldn’t tell.
I hope these examples of what the dreaming mind can create will inspire you to allow your imagination free rein.
What are some examples of what your favorite author’s or your own dreaming mind has created?
More On Rahima Warren
Rahima Warren is the author of Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer‘s Prophecy, a deep, rich novel of the healing journey. With Master’s degrees in Clinical and Transpersonal Psychology, she was in private practice as a licensed psychotherapist for over 20 years. In 2006, Rahima retired to focus on her expressive painting, creative writing, and spiritual studies.
In her work with clients recovering from abuse, she was awed by the human capacity to heal, and to reach new levels of forgiveness, wholeness and happiness. She also learned to trust the psyche’s own process. This enabled her to allow a dark and mysterious story to flood forth unhindered: Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer’s Prophecy.
Rahima is a third-generation native of California and resides with her husband in Northern California, where she periodically chases squirrels off the wild bird feeders, and deer away from her roses. Her life-long love of fantasy is her parents’ fault: they left sci-fi & fantasy magazines with fascinating cover art lying around the house.
About Dark Innocence
The “twin-souled dark innocent,” Kyr, is a youth born and raised to blindly carry out the Soul-Drinker’s brutal commands. At first, Kyr’s one desire is death, the only escape from the Soul-Drinker’s hellish rule. Just when he is about to get his wish, the secret Circle rescues him. Now he has to choose between the familiar easy path of despair and death, or the hard path of healing, living, and a greater destiny, about which he knows nothing. How can a slave who has known only evil, pain and obedience choose to become a man of courage and compassion, and fulfill the Star Seer’s Prophecy?
Rahima is giving away prizes, including an e-copy of her book at each blog stop on her tour AND a Grand Prize Giveaway of a Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with your choice of fan art, chosen from here: http://www.starseersprophecy.com/fan-art/, plus other goodies, including a signed copy of Dark Innocence for one lucky winner, shipped to anywhere in the world!
- To win a book: Leave a comment on this blog post on what your own dreaming mind, or that of your favorite author, has created to be entered to win a book. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends on June 18th!
- To win the Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with Rahima’s fan art of your choice, or a signed copy of Dark Innocence, or other goodies, click the link to go to Rahima’s website here: http://www.starseersprophecy.com/blog-tour/ and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. A winner will be selected on June 21st. Or follow the Rafflecopter link here: a Rafflecopter giveaway