Several More Chapters

The Risen God      I got in several more chapters of The Risen God today (here’s the facebook page). It’s up to 58,000 words and looks like it’ll end up being around 150,000 by the end of it. I’ve really heard when people have said that certain books weren’t developed enough. I had always thought I was “way too wordy” so I was actually relieved by the “negative” comments that allowed me the freedom to be as wordy as I feel I need to, in order to get the story across as fully as I desire to!

This is the beauty of negative book reviews (although I can say that I rarely get any genuinely horrible, mean ones, thank goodness)… you can learn from them if the person giving the review is willing to take the moment to explain why they gave them. It’s a gift, even if right in that moment you don’t feel like it is.

I still remember those negative comments, most of which centered around my Guardian of the Abyss book. They are very freeing, as odd as that might sound. I loved the book, but I, myself, actually felt disappointed because I didn’t feel like I could go into everything and develop the characters as I wanted to!

So, to fellow writers… don’t be afraid of negative comments. Let go of the desire to win with everyone–no one can. Look at the criticism and ask yourself, “What is the gift this person is trying to give me?” or “How is this person trying to help me so that more people will enjoy my books?”

Questions like these are very freeing. Remember, you’re a story teller. So tell yourself whatever story you want to about that negative review. Tell yourself “this person hates me!” if you want to… or tell yourself, “This person wants to help me, so how does this do that?” if you want to. YOU get to choose what story you tell yourself about anything that anyone says to you.

And readers… please, take a moment to write a review. It matters. It matters so much more than you will ever guess at. It encourages the author. If you like his or her books… comment. Because the more motivated we are to keep writing, the more likelihood you’ll get more books to enjoy!

Pagan Blog Project: G: GABCE

Friday’s Pagan Blog Project post.

So that’s just a series of letters, right? Well, I at, if you strip away everything beyond the utter basics, a pantheist. So my discussion today is The Great All-encompassing Being who Created Everything.

When I was a young child, I had multiple experiences during which I died. During some of these events, I had experiences that they call “Near Death Experience”. I don’t know why it’s called “near” death experience, since at least two of the times I was clinically dead with no brain activity, but I digress…

During these events, I walked with a being that I generally call “God”. This, however, isn’t really a good word, because it has more baggage than a fleet of fully-packed 747s.

So for this G day, I’m going to call it GABCE.

I walked with GABCE during these events. First, I would meet what you might call a guide, or a guardian, or an angel. This beautiful, loving Being would then take me ‘flying’ in the Universe, where I would, in essence, walk with GABCE.  I learned that this incredible, over-arching presence is in all things, through all things, and it is within this ultimate presence that we live and have our being.

As years have passed, I’ve come to understand that, within that GABCE presence, there are so many more spirits and beings. There are those who are here in service to us, who assist us, and are our “god/desses” in some cases.

I remember the amazing, loving being who would first greet me upon my body’s death, and a specific conversation that we once had. I asked it, point-blank, “What are you?”

The answer was cryptic, and dissatisfying to me as a child. It was, in essence, that it was whatever label I wanted to give it… and many more. Some label it an angel and stop there. But its purpose, it informed me, was to serve human beings. All of them serve human beings as we struggle in this life we’ve chosen (on a spiritual level, not a “The Secret” level).  That being human is a very hard work, a heavy spiritual labor unlike any other. Because of that, we need help, assistance, and support while we do it.

Each of these “beings” are part of the whole, like we are. That to try to say that this or that pantheon is The Right One is like saying that only people who live in given a small town in Russia are human beings. The rest are… well, wrong. Or are something else.  It’s illogical and unrealistic… and the same goes for trying to claim one deity real and others nonexistent.

The GABCE needs no name, because yes, there is only one of It. There is only one sky, so we’ve never named our sky, either… we don’t need to know one sky from another. We don’t need to know one GABCE from another because there’s only one.

But like the sky, we can often come to relate better to GABCE by seeing a part at a time and knowing that part thoroughly. We see one part of the sky at a time, because our vision is too limited and the sky too vast. This is why I have begun to get to know various deities on their own merits. Because they are both individuals, and part of the whole that is All That Is.

Their love is as real as the love of the GABCE. But sometimes, it can be easier to sense directly and relate to personally, as seeing part of the sky is more possible from our limited perspective, than seeing all of it is.

Good day to all. 🙂

God/dess in the Garden

This week’s letter for the Pagan Blog Project is G.

Before I begin, I must point out that I’m sort of an unofficial pantheistic polytheist, which is not exactly pagan in the polytheistic meaning. But it’s as good a label as anything, I suppose, and I’m content with the appellation and the company. 🙂

That being said, my discussion here will make more sense in that light, I hope. I believe that God, better known to me as The Infinite, Loving Intelligence that created everything and is in and through all things, is what brings forth life in everything. This infinite force IS Life, and Love. And it is in everything, as everything… and life yearns for itself with a deep, abiding longing.

This, to me, is no more apparent than in the garden, where each plant has its own personality and its own penchant for passing forth its own life.  Seeds, runners, tubules, tubers… everything in the garden yearns towards life.

It is time in our state to begin thinking of and planning the garden. Soon planting will begin, as well. It is the way life is, this cycle of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.  Before the great fires of Beltaine come the indoor planting and the nurturing of the seeds from a glimmer of life to a seedling.

Gardening is not for the faint of heart, and you must be prepared for the seedlings to die sometimes. It’s an art, or perhaps a science–neither my forte. I imagine sometimes that this must be what it is like for the Divine force that created us. There is such great pleasure and hope when we flourish, such an eagerness to assist when we flag, and a tender sorrow when we must be composted back into the great Earth from which our various minerals, proteins, fluids, and the like sprang.

In the essence of gardening I find the whisper of spirits. Nature spirits, gods and goddesses, or the Divine Creator Itself, I know not… and it matters little. For these whispers are meant for me, from the garden to my heart.

When it is time for you to begin gardening and growing the seedlings in your house, may you find yourself also in a place of such joy. Take the time as your hands are sunk into the brown soil to feel the joy and wonder of the lives, both great and small, all around you. For in giving life, we reflect the Divinity within us that is reflected back at us from everything around us. In living, the things around us reflect our own natures and our own souls, that we might know the truth of our intrinsic nature.

God, or that being within whom we have our life, is in everything. But there’s a special connection in the garden, even for those of us who bumble and fumble about in it like fools.

I’m ready, spring. I’ll kill a few seedlings and I’ll screw some of it up, but I’ll still feel the life that comes from gardening, and the magic and wonder of when it works out right.

F is for Pagan

Okay, not really. But the Pagan Blog Project is featuring the letter F this week. As fate would have it… oh no, I can already tell this post is going to be punny. Or something.

(Please consider all of the following to be according to my PERSONAL walk with The Morrigan, and not written according to established lore or writings! Thanks!)

As I was saying. As fate would have it, I’ve recently begun intense personal research into the Celtic deities. Including (not limited to) The Morrigan. The Morrigan is a Goddess of Fate, Death, War, Fertility, Passion, and many other things. Given the human fascination with such morbid subjects (and the less morbid, but no less interesting ones), The Morrigan is a popular target for fascination and for fear and misunderstanding, even in some who claim to revere her.

What I’d like to talk about is The Morrigan’s dual position as Death and Fertility Goddes, and her dual position as War and Fate Goddess. So I’m taking on two F-words today. Neither of which is the most famous f-bomb of all (even though the f-bomb is an integral part of one of these words, even should we prefer not to talk about it–though we will. We will).

The interesting thing about The Morrigan is that she is an amazingly multidimensional deity. One story includes her ill-fated passion for Cu Chulainn, and how he wounded her three times. He swore never to heal her, and yet he did, blessing her three times when she gave him milk to drink. His excuse was that he didn’t know her. But that was his excuse all along.

This story is deeply wrapped up within all of her aspects. Cu Chulainn was off to fight in a war when he met, and rejected The Morrigan. When she changed into her Goddess aspect as a raven, he declared that he wouldn’t have rejected her, if only he had known her. How often this is true of us in our lives… how often we reject friends (perhaps even lovers), because we do not know them. This is a not-so-subtle warning against prejudgment and standing upon it without thought.

Not mollified in the least, Morrigan warns him of his fate, and she (being a goddess of revenge) pretty much tells him that she’s going to enjoy watching him suffer. He mutters to himself and ignores her.

The story as a whole is a microcosm of marriage and/or the search for love, really. A woman determines the fate of the marriage. “Happy wife, happy life” is a common saying, and it would behoove men to begin to heed it. The Morrigan did not inflict the suffering upon him herself. She simply informed him of his fate. It wasn’t the fate that was the problem. It wasn’t even that he was warned of it. The problem was that he rejected and ignored her. Much could have been prevented if he had listened, and if he had concerned himself with getting to know her.

The question could be begged of whether The Morrigan chose and sealed his fate, or simply disseminated the information to him; but such an argument would take away from the larger image that the story portrays.

Morrigan warned him of what would happen to him in his war. War can be many things in life, it isn’t always a group of men running around with swords (or guns). It can be relationships, it can be our work day or even our mindset when we post on forums or blogs. War takes many forms, not all of them Earth-shattering. One of the most timeless wars is “the war between the sexes”. And there are many genders involved in that war, too. It’s disingenuous to ignore the war between extremists who loathe homosexuals and those who feel a person’s sexuality is his or her own, and no one elses’.

The war on drugs, the war on cancer, the war in Afghanistan… they are all wars. They can fall within the purview of the Goddess of Fate.

Yet the war most notable of all of these, and which is displayed in the story of Cu Chulainn and The Morrigan is the war between men and women. The endless dance during which children are created–or not.

Fertility (not merely childbearing, but all forms of fertility) in a marriage requires that both sexes sit back and listen. Yet as the story shows, it is frequently the man who strikes the blows, and it is the man’s purview to heal them. Fate can only intervene to the degree that we each are willing to let her in. Within that timeless dance is the secret of a fertile life and a fertile relationship… the fate of humanity left to us to decide.

A barren future, or a fertile one? Will we embrace Fate, let her in, and allow her to set aside the aspects of revenge and war… or will those be the only aspects we will harken to? It is our choice. It is a choice that we make every day, in every area of our lives, from the war in the bedroom, to the war in the boardroom, to the war abroad.

Fate can be our friend, but unlike Cu Chulainn, we must accept and acknowledge her love… and hear and know her voice as that of a friend, perhaps even a lover.

— Shannon Phoenix is a paranormal romance novelist. You can find her books at www.shannonphoenix.com

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