Friday, November 30, 2012

Winter Solstice Blessings

Avebury, England at winter, photo by Chris Turner
Winter Solstice, Yule, December 21, is the longest night of the Wheel of the Year's annual cycle of seasonal festivals. The power of the sun is at is lowest point. But from this day onward, the sun experiences a rebirth, where each day we will begin to see more and more sunlight until we reach the Summer Solstice. In ancient times, the return of the sun meant people could once again plant and harvest food, ensuring their health and longevity. 

Winter Solstice's significance lies in the fact that although everything appears dead, we can remember and celebrate that new life will burst forth come the spring. It is a time of inner preparation for rebirth.

As part of our inner preparation, we can use the Winter Solstice longest night to focus on the power and blessings of darkness. Not the negative connotation of darkness as evil, or even winter's suppression of nature's bounty - but, rather, the richness of the fertile, fecund, gestating earth, and that same dark richness within each of us. This rich darkness holds the divinity in matter, as well as our intuition, our creativity, and all potential. Divine Darkness, according the to the spiritual path of embodied love called 'Adorata', is the Divine Mother in God, the divinity inherent in all physical matter. 

The Earth Mother births the sun/divine son at the Winter Solstice. Legends around the world carry this theme - Isis rebirths her son Horus, Demeter gives birth to her sacred daughter Persephone, Rhiannon gives birth to her sacred son Pryderi. In 336 A.D., to align with the theme of the returning power of light,  Jesus' Nativity was moved to coincide with the Winter Solstice, thus changing his historical birth to December 25th in order to merge Christianity with ancient religious rituals and customs. 

The origins of the Yule Log and Christmas Tree

Oak King and Holly King picture from
At Winter Solstice, the ancient Celts lit bon fires with the purpose of driving the cold winter away. They would beckon the Sun God, known as the Oak King, to rise and defeat the long dark winter which is the dominion of the Holly King, thus ensuring that the sun would return to rise and triumph again. When the Norsemen invaded England and brought their Yule Tide traditions with them, the Celts adapted it to their own bon fire ritual and the Yule log was born. Lighting the oak log also gave reverence to the Earth Mother and her wisdom in nature. The Yule log would be lit on the eve of the solstice, using the remains of the log from the previous year, and would be burned for twelve hours for good luck. Today, candles are lit in many religions around the world, in celebration of returning light. 

Our Christmas tree tradition was brought to England and Ireland by the Norsemen who, in their land, would cut boughs of evergreen fir trees and bring them inside to decorate and enliven their homes as a symbol of life amid the death like grip of winter. The fir boughs eventually led to bringing in whole trees that would later be dressed with offerings to their various gods and goddesses, and also items to represent wishes for the coming year, such as an abundant harvest, a marriage, or children.

               Mistle toe and Holly

To the Druids, holly's evergreen nature made it sacred. It was believed Holly remained green to help keep the earth beautiful when the deciduous trees, like the oak, shed their leaves in winter. The holly berries represented the sacred menstrual blood of the Goddess. People would decorate doors and windows with holly to capture any evil spirits before they could enter the house.

In the Celtic language, Mistletoe means 'All Heal'.  Mistletoe was considered so holy that even enemies who happened to meet beneath a Mistletoe in the forest would lay down their weapons, and keep peace until the following day. From this old custom came the practice of suspending Mistletoe over a doorway or in a room as a token of good will and peace, which led to the popular custom of kissing beneath the mistletoe.

         More Christmas traditions roots

Alban Arthuan was a Celtic festival held during the Winter Solstice. Alban Arthuan means 'the Light of Arthur', celebrating King Arthur, who was said to be born on the Winter Solstice.
Santa's elves were once the 'nature folk' of ancient Celtic religions. Santa's reindeer were associated with the Celtic Herne, the Horned God of the forest and its animals.

               2012 Solstice is special

We're well aware of the upcoming Shift of the Ages.

December 21, 2012 is predicted to be the onset of the golden era prophesied, among others, by the Hopi Indians, the Maya, as well as the procession of the Astrological Ages. It also marks the end of the Hindu dark ages called the Kali Yuga. It is said we will rise out of degenerate ways into a new consciousness and a new way of being.

Before I learned about all the prophecies, New Age or ancient, I had a vision when I was in my late teens. 
I always remembered it, although at the time I had no context for it. I sensed and saw this turning of the ages. Not the chaos, turbulence, and destruction which always precedes rebirth. But, rather, a peaceful quality of life possible afterward.

So, at the 2012 longest night, at the end of the epoch of degeneration and turbulence, we can use our inner preparation to choose to align with love and the hope of a promising tomorrow. That is why I write visionary fiction, where the emphasis is on our limitless human potential, and transformation and evolution are entirely possible. 
(see the newly formed Visionary Fiction Alliance)

That is why my novels offer not only a vision of humanity as we dream it could be, but also some practical tools to get there.

I agree with Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit, who says, “I think I am quite ready for another adventure.

    "Carry on the flame to a new dawn. I am with you."
              ~The Goddess of the Stars and the Sea

              from Carry on the Flame: Destiny's Call

  Winter Solstice Rituals

1. Hang a wreath of holly sprigs on your door for protection from unwanted energies entering your home, and to celebrate the greening power of nature - the 'Veriditas', as named by Hildegard Von Bingen..

2. Place the  gemstone that symbolizes the Winter Solstice, the Red Carnelian, on your altar; or you can simply place it on your kitchen counter or bedroom dresser. Imbue it with your wishes, prayers, and intentions for the upcoming year. Everytime you see your Red Carnelian, or hold it in your hand, you can remember your wishes and feel the power of your intentions.

3. Sit in quiet contemplation of this time of inner preparation and rebirth. Connect with the Divine Mother, the Divine Darkness, within your body. She is the divinity of God in physical matter. 
Let her love fill you and nourish you so you can meet the demands of this busy holiday season, or of any stressful occurrence in your life. Ask Her to increase your capacity to receive and give love, to create a harmonious balance between the two. Give Divine Mother your thanks.

(Adapted from the Adorata Virtue of Service)


Some traditions information from Mara Freeman, Celtic Spirituality teacher.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Book Giveaway News

Why do authors offer book giveaways? Being honest, of course there is a practical publicity side. We want to spur interest and reach as many readers as we can. It is often a giving from the heart, a chance to help spread the word about our literary creations. In the case of the VFA launch giveaway, it is a celebration of the labor of love in creating the Visionary Fiction Alliance and blog, and we wanted to generously share our joy.

The Visionary Fiction Alliance is hosting a multiple book giveaway as part of its premiere launch. There are seven titles from several  award winning or best-selling, really great Visionary Fiction authors including: Saleena Karim, Sandy Nathan, D.E. Lamont, Michelle Gordon, Michael Sussman, Peggy Payne,! 

Enter here for the chance to win the Visionary Fiction titles that include: Tales from Earth End, The Way of the Eagle, Crashing Eden, Revelation, Systems, The Doorway to PAM, and Carry on the Flame. One lucky winner will receive all seven VF novels! (Actually, it’ll be nine novels, as one author is giving away 3 parts of a series). Ebook formats vary, but most are either Kindle, epub (Nook, Palm, iPad, etc.) or PDF.

Also, there are 5 days left to enter my Goodreads novel Giveaway where I am offering a chance to win a copy of Carry on the Flame: Destiny's Call.

Good luck to all who enter!

Friday, August 17, 2012


Today is the launch day for the newly created Visionary Fiction Alliance and its blog site. Our purpose is to increase awareness of this novel genre. I am so blessed to be in the company of some of the best Visionary Fiction authors at the VFA.

As one of the Founding Members of the VFA, I invite you to join us in our blessings, our intentions, and our prayers for our new blog site. You may envision us christening a ship’s hull with a bottle of champagne. Or perhaps you see us cutting a shining golden ribbon with over-sized scissors. You might even imagine us sitting around a crackling fire or holding a brightly lit candle, toasting to our success. Whatever you imagination conjures up, pull up a seat and join us in our celebration.  

I invite you to witness our blog blessings, virtually spoken below, as they ride the silver rays of today’s new moon; a perfectly timed day to launch the Visionary Fiction Alliance!

VFA Founding Member Blessings:  (as also posted on the VFA site)

Blessings for our VFA and our newly created blog. May the VFA provide a beacon for authors, readers, reviewers, and publishers to discover, network, and be inspired by Visionary Fiction; to feel it’s call to transform ourselves into the most awakened and loving beings we can be. And may Visionary Fiction change the world for the better – one story at a time.
~ Jodine Turner

May the VFA
Inspire today
And foreshadow
A better tomorrow
~ Michael Sussman

With all my heart, I send out love, light, and inspiration to the Visionary Fiction Alliance, its founders, and future members. May we successfully transmit our positive messages with our stories, support each other's efforts, and strive for the very traits that our characters evolve into. Here's to a beautiful beginning on a most auspicious day. 
~ Eleni Papanou

May deep and lasting connections be forged,
Between like-minded souls who roam this site,
Together we are strong and bold
As we all head towards the light.
~  Michelle Gordon

Dear beneficent universe, recognize in us our desire to serve you and all creation. The Visionary Fiction Alliance is dedicated to manifesting the glory of spirit in a world that sometimes seems to lack it. We ask your protection and blessing on our effort to let the light shine and illustrate the conscious awareness in darkness. May this blessing extend to all the ways we authors are moved to depict it.
~ Sandy Nathan

May the Visionary Fiction Alliance serve as an enlightening, inspiring, and uplifting online community for all whose sense of the sacred includes personal growth and service to others. May VFA bridge differences and provide entertainment with an eye on solutions rather than fear and misunderstanding. And may VFA help its members and followers transcend their limited perceptions to allow for inquiry and the expansion of consciousness. 
~Margaret Duarte
I raise a virtual glass to the Visionary Fiction Alliance. May it thrive and achieve all its noble aims, for readers and writers alike.
~Saleena Karim

I invite you to visit the Visionary Fiction Alliance blog site!


New Moon photo credit: Doblonaut via photo pin cc
Candle photo credit: 53 mm photogRaphy via photo pin cc

Monday, August 13, 2012

Visionary Author Insight

It's been a year since Book One of Carry on the Flame was published. It feels really good to know that the interest, the awards, the interviews, and the great reviews keep coming. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and my novel, I'm truly grateful.

Today I have been interviewed by a fellow Founding Member of the Visionary Fiction Alliance. Michell Gordon's interview questions are unique. She asks insightful and evocative questions that felt tailor fit for Visionary Fiction.

You can find the interview, titled 'Visionary Fiction Insight' here. I invite you to stop by!

And, the countdown for the Visionary Fiction Alliance official launch begins. Stop by this Friday, August 17th, either here or at the VFA site.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The New Visionary Fiction Alliance

Visionary Fiction speaks the language of the soul. It offers a vision of humanity as we dream it could be. At a time where our world is going through so much tumultuous change, we need more Visionary Fiction. ~Jodine Turner

Those of you who have read my novels or follow my blog know I write Visionary Fiction. It is the title of this blog. It is my passion, and its themes guide the writing of my novels. So, you may notice that I have a new banner logo in the right column of this page: ‘VFA Founding Member’. It stands for ‘Visionary Fiction Alliance’. I’m so proud to be a Founding Member.

The whole thing began a couple months ago when I posted my Visionary Fiction article from Writer’s Journal on my blog and then linked it to my Goodreads page. From that emerged a small network of author colleagues who also write Visionary Fiction - Saleena Karim, Shannan Sinclair and I started a web ring in order to discuss the genre. Many of us who write this genre have the experience of finding it challenging to place our novels under the category of Fantasy, or Inspirational, or Speculative, or Sci-Fi. Why? Because while Visionary Fiction may contain elements of these genres, they do not accurately reflect nor describe just what Visionary Fiction is.

Our initial discussions on Goodreads attracted 9 other authors. We decided to formalize our connection and develop a blog with the purpose of increasing the awareness of the genre of Visionary Fiction. We have 12 Founding Member authors, and have already attracted several new members before we even officially launched the blog site! 

Our blog is dedicated to the promotion of visionary fiction and is a resource for readers, authors, agents, reviewers, and publishers. We go live on the new moon of August 17th -  the perfect time to launch new projects. I will post more when the Visionary Fiction Alliance blog officially launches.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Glastonbury inspires my Visionary Fiction

When I first read the classic fantasy novel, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, I was enchanted with the story’s setting in Glastonbury, England, the ancient Isle of Avalon. After reading the novel, I visited Glastonbury several times. I eventually moved there for 13 months in order to immerse myself in the energy and do research, as all of my novels take place in Glastonbury. As a lovely surprise and side bonus, I actually met and married my husband there! And of all the wonderful people I encountered, one incredible woman has remained a dear friend, across the sea, up to this day.

While living in Glastonbury, I would make daily excursions to the Chalice Well, one of Glastonbury’s more powerful sacred sites. Spending time in the Chalice Well Gardens quenched a deep longing within me as only the fulfillment of a spiritual quest can do. During my daily visits, I would experience spontaneous waking visions that stirred my soul. I began to study the local folklore and legend. Glastonbury taught me to explore the realms of mystery and magic, and helped me to discover worlds seen and unseen. The worlds that lay parallel to our everyday existence. These are the worlds that visionary fiction is created from.

I tapped into these realms of legend and archetype, especially Celtic lore, to weave the edgy magical fantasy aspect throughout my novels. Tapping into all of my experiences, I began to write my Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series about priestesses who had lived in Glastonbury throughout the ages up through today.

Lion's Head Fountain, Chalice Well Gardens
Glastonbury remains one of my favorite spots. The Chalice Well Gardens, the beacon-like hill called the Tor - all the sacred sites I was introduced to through reading The Mists of Avalon – touched the core of my being, and continue to inspire the content of my visionary fiction, magical fantasy stories.

~Jodine Turner is the best-selling, award winning author of the visionary fiction, fantasy Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series about young priestess who have lived in Avalon down through the ages to today.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Festival of Beltaine - May 1st

“I want to do with you what the spring does with the cherry trees”
~Pablo Neruda

The first day of May has been celebrated for thousands of years as the season of fertility, when nature displays her beauty, juiciness, and the fecundity that brings about new life. In the Celtic tradition, this is called Beltaine, which means the magic of flowers.

Flower blossoms herald the renewed vitality of summer. On Beltaine, we celebrate life, growth, love, and sexuality. Beltaine is the season for lovers. The life force of nature, the healing ‘greening’ or Veriditas as Hildegard of Bingen called it, courses through our veins as well as nature’s. No wonder Beltaine is often associated with love-making.

Hawthorn, a prevalent tree and hedgerow bush of England (as well as growing in the USA), blooms in May and is associated with Beltaine. Traditionally, ribbons and bright scraps of material were hung on the blossoming tree to honor Beltaine. It is said that Hawthorn’s small white flowers carry the scent of a woman’s yoni. 

Hawthorn is also a tree sacred to faeries and faerie trysts. The hawthorn tree figures prominently as a magical tree and metaphor in my novels. As my Beltaine offering, I've included a book excerpt from Carry on the Flame:Destiny’s Call at the end of my post. It is the scene where the Welshman Guethyn prepares for his Beltaine ritual with Sharay.

Another tradition belonging to Beltaine is to jump between two Beltaine bonfires. This ritual brings good fortune and prosperity, as well as health to the livestock. The fires bring the power of the sun to the earth to sanctify and purify the whole community. The bonfire was kindled with the wood of nine sacred trees – willow, hazel, alder, birch, ash, yew, elm, and oak. Notice only eight trees are mentioned – the ninth is said to be a mystery.

The maypole was another popular symbol of e returning growth and upcoming summer. On May Day/Beltaine, a tall tree was felled and set up on the village green. A long streamer was tied to the tree pole and villagers added their own streamers in turn, weaving the ribbons in and out of each other as they danced around the Maypole.


Beltaine Rituals:

1.On May Eve, make a May bough to place on your altar or to use as a table centerpiece. 

Ask permission of one of the flowering trees from the sacred trees listed above, or from other flowering trees native to your area such as dogwood, crab apple, etc., to cut a small budding branch, including its twigs. Crush the bottom of the branch so that it will absorb water, and anchor it in a vase of water, with pebbles. 

2. Make a traditional Hawthorn brandy. 

Fill a wide-mouthed jar with hawthorn flower petals, cover with brandy, and let the infusion sit for 2-3 months. Strain and re-bottle. 


(Guethyn prepares for his Beltaine Ritual with Sharay)

In the thick of the forest, Guethyn readied himself amidst a grove of birch trees. He had chosen the spot not only for the ring shaped thicket, place of nature’s ancient earth magic, but for the color of the birch bark. The silver hue reminded him of Sharay’s white-blond hair. 

 He sat cross-legged, spine erect, in the center of the grove. He was able to quiet his mind easily enough. What he was having trouble with was stilling his heart beat and the ache in his body that wanted only to touch Sharay in the yielding places that had brought her moaning with pleasure the night before. While pleasure was part of Beltaine’s gift from the Goddess, he knew this ritual meant more. Through the portal of pleasure, it would also be Sharay’s initiation into her true power. 

His grandfather had given him a set of invocations and prayers as part of his preparation, and Guethyn set to work. First, he pulled off all of his clothes and dropped them in a pile beside him. He closed his eyes and shifted his attention to the verdant ground he sat upon, to the trees that surrounded him in leafy canopy.  

He’d spent many years exploring the woods of his grandfather’s home in Northern Wales where he’d played amidst the huge oaks, learning how to forage for berries and mushrooms, how to make himself a bed of soft moss and leaves inside the cradling arms of the oak roots. Grandfather had made sure also to teach him about the invisible beings and the secret language of the forest realm.  

“The forests of Wales are the poetry of the Goddess,” grandfather had said. “This landscape shaped our people and our culture, uninterrupted by invaders, for centuries.”

 Guethyn’s body and blood carried this Welsh heritage and effortlessly thrummed in tune to the ageless pulse of the forest. It was as much a part of his being as his ancestors were.

Freshly blossomed blue bells spread their sweet scented carpet to blanket the ground around him, fanned out in a king’s mantle of brilliant blue and purple. He opened his hand to touch the delicate flowers and his fingers extended further, seemingly merging with the gnarled roots of the ancient oak tree in the midst of the birch grove. Lichen and moss inched their way up the tree’s trunk, and he felt their feather soft greenery tickle as if it grew along his own torso. He lifted his arms like the tree’s branches, where red kite and cuckoo balanced delicately, quieting their birdsong in anticipation of their native son’s invocation. 

 He began his chant, first in English, then unknowingly switching to the guttural lilt of Welsh. His deep voice rang out throughout the grove, and the earth answered his calling. The birch trees held their breath, their leaves unmoving, providing a deep primordial stillness through which the chants reverberated.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Place of Visionary Fiction in Today’s World - guest post

I am so pleased to share this insightful and thought provoking article with you about the genre of books I write - visionary fiction. Please enjoy this guest post by author Saleena Karim. Saleena is part of the Vistionary Fiction Web Ring, a group of visionary fiction authors devoted to promoting the genre of Visionary Fiction. I just finished reading Saleena's latest visionary fiction novel: Systems: A Novel. It was a brilliant read, a suspenseful thriller, and I highly recommend it.

The Place of Visionary Fiction in Today’s World

Whilst the genre of visionary fiction is relatively new, it actually has its roots in ancient mythology, and in the parables and legends we find in religious scripture across the world. It openly harks back to the original function of 'story' itself, to ask questions about humanity, what we are, where we are going, and what we would like to become. So in a way, visionary fiction isn't new at all. But we might ask why this 'new' type of novel has appeared just as we have crossed into the new millennium.

It's a mad world

The future is undoubtedly both exciting and uncertain. It's exciting because of the pace of technology; faster communications such as the internet and mobile devices and TV; the leaps in our understanding of the physical universe; our advances in medicine, genetics and much more. Yet it's also uncertain, because it seems to lack direction. Many of us fear that our combined knowledge is not being put to the best possible use; we remain painfully irresponsible when it comes to the environment; the vast majority of scientific research is funded by, and carried out for, the military; and we still can't feed the world, even though it is already technically possible. Many people express concerns about 'progress for the sake of progress'. Some even fear that we are losing sight of our very humanity and are gradually becoming machines.

Whilst ancient religious cultures emphasised the importance of the 'spiritual', in the modern age we seem to have fostered a culture of pure materialism. It might be said that at one time humanity was so focused on the spiritual, and on religion, that we neglected the material world and progressed very slowly. In recent centuries, we have reacted to this one-sided worldview by embracing science. But in our enthusiasm for material progress, we have also rejected the 'spiritual', and are out of touch with our inner selves. To put it another way, whilst we are technologically advanced, psychologically we remain quite primitive.


Visionary fiction comes from a human psychological need - a desire to rediscover the 'spiritual'. It is also a totally new incarnation of the stories of old. It may contain (fictional or otherwise) references to Moses, or Buddha, or Celtic or Roman deities, or reincarnation, psychics, and the rest, inviting us to suspend our disbelief to make way for the fantastic. Yet it also seeks to find the spiritual through the regular, worldly gateways of genetic engineering, computer technology, environmentalism and dreams (insofar as dreams are a natural psychological phenomenon). In short, it uses the seemingly ordinary to explore the extraordinary.

At present visionary fiction is still new and virtually unheard of in the mainstream. But with time it could become an important part of our literary heritage and provide a valuable commentary on our present collective state of mind. Visionary fiction gives equal space to spirit and matter, and bridges the gap by suggesting that the difference between the two is perceived rather than real. And unlike some forms of speculative fiction, it looks to the future with hope.

Jodine Turner is the award winning and visionary fiction, fantasy author of the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series about young priestess who have lived in Avalon down through the ages to today.