A Divine Female

I want to share a story I recently came across concerning Inanna, the ancient Sumerian goddess of both love and war, connected to Venus, known as the Queen of Heaven, celebrated and honored as a powerful deity.

Inanna went to visit her sister, who ruled the underworld. Before she went, she instructed her servant to contact the gods if she hadn’t returned by the third day because anyone who entered the underworld wouldn’t be allowed to leave. Wearing an elaborate outfit, Inanna descended.

She passed through seven gates in the underworld, all of which had been ordered closed and locked by her sister. At each gate, Inanna was forced to give up a part of her outfit until she finally stood before her sister naked and powerless. She still made her sister get off the throne so she could sit, but judgment was passed against her. Inanna was sentenced to death and hung on a hook.

Three days passed and her servant appealed to the gods. At first, they refused to help, knowing Inanna had brought about her own punishment but the god of creation and magic was troubled by the occurrence and agreed to help. He created two figures to collect Inanna’s body. Her sister was in agony, willing to trade anything to gain respite. The two take Inanna’s corpse and sprinkle the food of life onto it, resurrecting her.

Creatures are sent by the queen of the underworld to take someone in Inanna’s place. Inanna will not let them take her loyal servant and friends, because they had mourned her. However, her husband had not, entertaining other women while she was believed to be dead, and so she let them take him in her place.

Inanna’s sister-in-law pleads on behalf of her brother and is able to take his place for half the year in the underworld, thereby giving rise to the seasons.

~

This is one of the oldest recorded myths. You will notice the themes of descent into the underworld, death and resurrection. In three days, no less. Food of life…Seasons changing. I’m sure you’ll also notice how these particulars themes carry on throughout other cultures’ mythologies, first among female deities (Persephone, for example) and then to males (like Jesus.)

I don’t particularly care what you believe, I just think it’s interesting that a common myth begins with a goddess, and yet, so many have never even heard of her. A woman who lost her power, was trapped in a world with no light or life, but brought back and resurrected to retake her throne.

Would that womankind did the same.

In recent days, we have, again, been bombarded by the fact that many men still hold no respect for women. We have seen rapists and molesters in powerful positions come to light and we have seen rapists and molesters put into powerful positions against all commonsense. We are losing girls to the sex trade, taken as they walk home from school, snatched off the street and seduced on the internet. The stories go on and on, memes, hashtags and movements abound, but still it seems like so many are swimming against the current, and so many are deliberately pretending to an obtuseness that can’t possibly be genuine.

It wasn’t always like this. A long, long time ago, women were venerated, respected, loved and cared for. They were the leaders of their families and of society. Lineage and authority were traced through the mother’s line because she knew who her children were, while men had to take her word for it. She wasn’t called vile names for knowing the worth of her own body, nor was she vilified for celebrating all the things her body could do.

She held power over her own self, her own actions and her own future.

I’m a traditionalist in the sense that I think society as a whole should revert back to ancient traditions concerning power roles. Essentially, to my view, women were meant to lead because we are the caretakers and men were meant to protect, following their leaders’ directives, because they are physically stronger. Somewhere in humankind’s past, men took over the power—and don’t argue because this is well-accepted history. For the past several thousand years, men have controlled ‘civilization’ and they’ve been running it into the ground.

Because they aren’t natural caretakers. They are natural protectors, but what they’ve been protecting are resources, money, institutions that guarantee them more power. Women tend to care more about people, the elderly, the downtrodden, the children. Society.

Yes, I know that’s overly simplistic and there will always be exceptions to the rule, but it seems to me that the way people are viewing the world these days, it’s best not to complicate the message.

I think it’s time the women got another shot at leadership. I think it’s time we started looking into our own history and mythology, so much of which has never been written down because history has been preserved by men. So many truly important deities were depicted as women, in both love and war, hearth and home, travels, life and death. And justice, most especially justice. Interesting, right?

I think women should step up and show their strength, and I think that’s happening right now.

Psychic Mediums

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It started with a single premise from my first book, Demon’s Bond. Nina sees dead people.

I was working on my psychic trilogy, getting close to outlining the third novel and knowing it would be about a haunted house. I’d grown up in a house I swear is haunted, so I figured I had plenty of experience to draw from. Then one night I found my grandmother pretty shaken up and she told me she’d seen a dark shadow figure pass right through her living room.

Ties of Family was born. The shadow figure my grandmother saw clinched the idea, and so I did a little research.

Now, most of us have seen the shows – all manner of shows – but I learned that while a medium is a psychic, not all psychics are mediums. Mediums are more concerned with relaying the truth of the past than other psychics, who tend to predict the future. This is because mediums have the ability to communicate with the dead and other spirits, and go beyond the capabilities of other psychics in that they don’t rely on intuition or energy readings, but on advice or messages from the spiritual energy they encounter. This is primarily done through a telepathic exchange of information where the medium may receive visions, hear noises or words, or be overcome with very strong sensations or feelings – these are the ‘clair’ talents.

  • Clairvoyance – clear seeing, the ability to see what is not physically present
  • Clairaudience – clear hearing, including voices or noises like cannon fire on an old battle field.
  • Clairsentience – clear feeling, or having an impression of what the spirit wants to relay
  • Claircognizance – clear knowing, ‘just knowing’ something is

 

In traditional Spiritualism, which was wildly popular in the late 1800s, a medium would be the one hosting a séance. The medium could be overtaken by the spirit, oftentimes speaking in their voice, or simply hearing and relaying the message. Unfortunately, there were also many con artists taking advantage of grieving clients, and we’ve all heard the stories of a medium hosting a séance with a complicated network of strings, pulleys and levers so that bells rang, tables knocked and chairs shook.

And that’s exactly what Michael Marsden expected of Nina Rodriguez in my book, Ties of Family. Michael is a skeptic, having never been to his family estate before and never believing his father’s tales of ghostly activity on the property. Nina is hired to investigate and discovers things aren’t quite right with the Marsden family.

Nina is a bold woman, confident but hiding behind sarcasm after an experience with a demon in her youth left her idea of sex much darker than normal. She likes pain, but not just any pain, true pain – talons ripping through her skin, teeth biting into her flesh – and can’t reach climax without them. Terrified she will hurt others or be hurt herself, she’s avoided any intimacy with another person.

But, from the beginning, Michael has her off balance, continuously finding her in situations that leave her feeling vulnerable. And he might not believe in the entities haunting his family, but he absolutely believes he can bring Nina pleasure in bed.

“You let a monster torture you with pain. Now you’ll let a man torture you with pleasure.”

Unfortunately for Michael, his skepticism dies a dramatic death when the entities haunting his estate target him. Nina is the only one who has a chance of figuring out what the spirits want, and the only one with the talent to put a stop to it. But she isn’t a Marsden, doesn’t have any blood ties to the family, and therefore has no way to win the battle without Michael’s help.

She’s got to trust him, but that’s a difficult concept for her on the best of days, let alone after Michael falls under the influence of the evil plaguing his family.

Ties of Family is an erotic horror, perfect to read for the Halloween season. It’s the third in the trilogy, but all the books are stand-alone and feature three different women with three different talents. It’s available on Amazon, Smashwords and everywhere Smashwords distributes.

My Mythology: Shadow People

Shadow people aren’t exactly a new phenomenon, but sightings are definitely on the upswing lately. Most people who claim to encounter shadow people say they see it out of the corner of their eye – a smoky shape that strongly resembles a whole or partial person. But more and more, witnesses are claiming to see whole apparitions, directly in front of them.

Shadow people range in density, sometimes a dark grey, sometimes a thick black. As I said before, they can outline the entire shape of a person – predominantly males – or just a portion of a man’s frame. Sometimes these shadows are so well defined, people swear they are wearing hats or cloaks or even have red, glowing eyes. They are mostly considered to be male judging by their appearance, and definitely have an agenda. There is only one non-changing fact about all the sightings of shadow people…

They have no face.

They are very different from ordinary ghosts, which tend to be described as white or a misty, pale thing. Shadow people are definitely not ‘residual energy’ as many spectral phenomena can be classified – you know those hauntings, the woman who weeps in the castle tower every new moon, or the white cloud that passes through the same door at 3am sharp. Those are considered to be energy stuck on repeat, a leftover impression of something that happened in the past.

So what are shadow people? So many theories, so little time… Here are a just a few.

Angels

While not a common theory, some believe shadow people are angels, sent to watch over us. These are the few that have experienced feelings of joy, peace or safety in the presence of this phenomenon. They are in the minority, as far as theories go.

Demons

A vastly more popular school of thought, shadow people as demons would certainly explain the glowing red eyes. As most people describe a terrible feeling of dread or fear when they witness this phenomenon, demons would fit the bill very well.

Interdimensional Beings

This theory is rapidly gaining believers. Those who follow this line of thought believe the shadows are caused by a thinning of the veil between parallel dimensions allowing people on this side (and therefore the other, as well) to catch a glimpse of life in a dimension not our own. That would mean somewhere in another dimension, their people are having the same discussion about shadow people every time they look over and see one of us through the divide.

 

I went in a different direction for my novel Ties of Family, the last in the Psychic Trilogy. In this book, Nina Rodriguez (I know many of you have been waiting for her story!) has agreed to conduct a paranormal investigation of the extremely haunted Marsden family estate. Among the other ghosts and ghoulies, she encounters a shadow person predominantly responsible for all the centuries of incest, murder and insanity plaguing the Marsden bloodline.

I made my shadow person a creature of ancient evil. Older than demons, older than the gods that locked it up in the earth, it is completely alien to humanity. There is no mercy, there is no loyalty and there is no love. It knows only survival, greed and hunger.

In true shadow people style, I made my being male in shape, dark grey and nearly fully formed. No red eyes or hats, but inspiring a sickening sensation every time it is close – paranoia, dread, fear – and it shows Nina all the sins it has committed on the family property since it was released from its imprisonment. It can project a different image of itself into Nina’s mind in its attempts to induce fear. But those of you who’ve read the other books in the trilogy know Nina fears nothing…except Michael Marsden, but that’s a topic for a different blog.

I, like everyone else, have no idea what a shadow person truly is. But I’ve seen one. Fully formed, darker than night, and I was terrified. But that terror came from within me, not from the specter. You’ll have to make up your own mind about what they are, and those of you who have witnessed shadow people already have an idea – and know whether or not you’d like to see another.

Ties of Family will be released near Halloween 2014, the perfect time to settle in with a scary story. Then, you can read all about my take on this phenomenon for yourself.

My Mythology: Psychometry/Psychoscopy

Psychometry (from Greek, meaning spirit measure) is also known as psychoscopy or token object reading. Generally, it’s a form of clairvoyance where the psychic has the ability to touch an object and read the residual energy, or the history of that object. The word was coined by Joseph Buchanan in the 1800s who thought the practice would revolutionize science.

Needless to say, the practice is extremely controversial. (And didn’t, in fact, change the way scientists went about their business.)

In Monster’s Chains, Rebecca Sterling has this ability, but it’s a little different from what’s typically accepted for the talent. I gave my character the ability to see crimes from the perpetrator’s point of view, whereas most real-life people who claim to have this ability will see through the eyes of the object’s owner, or as a distant, third-party observer. My research into this phenomenon turned up quite a lot of information on psychics and how they work with the police on various cases.

Mostly, the police don’t believe them. There are countless examples of psychics who’ve helped solve crimes, but there are just as many examples of inaccuracies. Statistically, it’s about 50-50 whether a psychic is useful or a hindrance.

There have been a lot of famous psychics who’ve really developed a following. When they are wrong, the believers point out that nobody is right 100% of the time. When they are right, the skeptics point out that they are really good profilers who read body language and other small clues people give unconsciously.

I tried to weave this into my story. Not actual historical cases of course, but the prevailing sentiment. Though the detective she works with believes in her, the police are generally skeptical of Rebecca, as is Aiden until she offers him irrefutable proof. In fact, Rebecca hasn’t always been convinced she had the ability – she never had a way to get proof of her accuracy until she started working with Detective Frank James. Aiden considers her a ‘phony’ only able to read his body language like any good profiler could, until she witnesses a scene from his childhood that he never shared with anyone else. Suddenly he’s a believer – and he’s desperate to believe as he needs Rebecca to help him find his missing sister.

If you want to look into the practice further, Wikipedia is a good place to start. In addition, check out the real life stories of these psychics: Florence Sternfels, Greta Alexander, Nancy Myers Czetli, Nella Jones, Gerard Croiset, Georgia Rudolph, Annette Martin, Peter Hurkos and Dorothy Allison

I didn’t write this book, or this post, to support or deny psychometry/psychoscopy. You can make up your own mind. But if you want to read a sexy, scary (fictional!) story about a woman with the ability and a man who’s trying to protect her from someone who wants to manipulate that ability, Monster’s Chain will be available June 1st on Amazon and Smashwords, and soon enough after that at Barnes & Noble, Apple Ibooks and Kobo.

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