Category Archives: metaphysical

Keeping Body and Soul Together

Finding the Staff of Life. 

By 1600,  less than 10 percent of the Totorames and Cahue Indian population had survived the brutality and diseases spread by the Spanish across Sinaloa. So, who rushed to fill the vacuum? Like it was the pot at the end of the rainbow, scalywags, sons of biscuit eaters, adventurers, money changers, miners, gypsies, tramps and thieves, people of every nation and the indigenous—all came to Mazatlan. Why? Because here was a fabulous harbor very near the gold and silver mines of the Sierras. Then, in 1768, there happened a miracle— or so it seemed to those longing for “the staff of life,”  those who knew that “man does not live by bread (or gold) alone.”



A Miracle? 

Voilà! A white cross appeared on the crest of a steep fist of rocks  fashioned by nature between  Olas Altas, Cerro de la Vigia  and the southern harbor. This promontory exists today and at it’s top sits a white cross— still.  But, to the grimly determined settlers steeped in sacrifice and hardened by pain,  to those stuck on a floodplain swarming with mosquitoes, termites, bad water, and banditos, to the many losing-out in their quest  for riches and fame, this symbol of the sacred was stunning. Plus, it came out of the blue! It spelled hope that Mazatlan’s harbor flush with hellish mud and blood, was the place to launch  dreams  and sail away into the golden light of salvation. That’s the promise of religion and it had arrived. So what if someone while improving his lot in life—might have set  vigas de madera (heavy beams of ironwood) up-top. Hmmmmm. Well, how would any person have managed that?? Not even the donkeys that delivered the wood could scale such a peak. It clearly was a miracle.

Still today, the site is visited on pilgrimage to the Holy Cross on the first days of May.

Or Not?

Our team of ghost bustin’ history dusters are pulling our collective hair out over this happening! We are buried in books, but words used in the 1700s to describe previous centuries don’t always take our modern translation. Examples: The word “prison” is used without the usual inmates. Could the word prison refer to  El Presidio: defined in those days as a fortified base established by the Spanish in areas under their control or influence??? We also find “la alcabala:” perhaps a tax imposed by the Spanish Crown upon its colonies.

So in the interest of nay-sayers ready to poo-poo miracles, we point to a certain Don Jose de Gálvez, who arrived in the port in 1768 seemingly to review the militiamen in the “prison,” impose “la alcabala” and maybe to set up a symbol of power and ownership for Spain??? Hmmm.

The Miracle of Life—Water!

Now that we have both sides hmmming, in the interest of harmony, we will try to stick to “the staff of life” everyone knew Mazatlan needed more of—water. Sweet, clean water! According to Enrique Vega Ayala “Encuentros con la Historia” Mazatlan Tomo I, p. 62-64, “Nothing is more important to the development of a city than a reliable source of potable water and, for residents in the mid to latter 1800s, potable water supply was often a problem.”

https://mazatlantoday.net/history_of_mazatlan_sinaloa_mexico.html

” The freshwater spring, formed by the runoff from the Cerro de la Neveria was the only source of vital fluid for the first ones who dared to live in Mazatlan.”

We have already examined the role of the donkeys hauling the living and the dead around town. Once again, the donkey’s saved the day. The aquadores “guys with the donkeys,”  got water from the springs, and as the need arose,  hoofed jugs of agua in from smelly lagoons out of town. Reflecting the rapid growth of the Mazatlan population, in 1820 there were three donkeys and their respective handlers. By 1849 there were 24 . When the number of aguadores reached 40, the citizens recognized a critical problem.      Inspired by the cross high over the city, (God’s Law and Civil Justice had not been separated out in those days) the city now had a jail for those who drank four bottles of wine everyday to compensate  for bad water. Clearly, in the interest of  keeping body and soul together, a better source and distribution of potable water must be found!

Guess what!

Our team is growing! Indeed, we  have recruited some learned folks:  a resident geologist,  to help us clear up troubled waters, and a researcher who is committed to sharing What Happened Here! Guess who they are! Such fun! Meet them in a month. But while our growing team figures out how Mazatlecos kept body and soul together— or didn’t, join us in two weeks on a Tuesday  to learn  about life in old Mazatlan from the book A Mingled Yarn by Henry Edwards.  Thank you Encarnacion Garate Osuna for sending the excerpt called “Three Weeks in Mazatlan.”

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Buy Now:

Hotel Belmar: the Ghost Has the Key

is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats at:
https://amzn.to/2pOpoMI


ISBN:978-0-6921 139820

The Author will have books at the First Friday Art-walk in Mazatlan. May be sold at Saturday Market.  Click here to read reviews.

Until then, going fast. Call 981-8072.

Other books by S.K.Carnes

ISBN:978-0692-84685-8  description 
Purchase here

 

ISBN:987-0692-85172-2
Available in paperback, as an audiobook and e-book.  Silver Medal from Readers Favorite
Purchase here

 

ISBN:978-0-9718600 2008 Golden Moonbeam Award.  Available from author.Description Here


What’s In a Name: Part 1. Frozen in Time.

What’s in a name when it is out of context; when populations and understanding has passed it by and the meaning is frozen in time? Historians differ. How can we be sure? Bette Schwarz is consulting five different books for answers, while Cheryl D Angelo is searching the internet,  and the mystery is —only growing! But Your Ghost Bustin’ History Dustin’ Team (that’s us)  well, we are digging into the names given to the burial sites of old Mazatlan, and who was buried there. The streets had different names too. And what miracle has given the old chapel it’s name? Ahh-who will know? Who will remember? The ghosts of old Mazatlan!!!!!!!

Chapel Miraculous sits high up on Calle Marzo 21 above Rosales street looking down on what was once the first organized graveyard in Mazatlan. But today, that is hard to believe. Indeed a resident coming out of his house at the junction of Calles Canizalez and Carvahal  shakes his head when we ask if the 4 block quadrant where he lives was once called the Barrio de las Calaveras “Who told you that?” This place could never have been a graveyard,” says he, and he walks away shaking his head in disapproval, grumbling about foolish Gringos.  Cheryl and I climb the steep hill up to the church, wondering if we have come to investigate a baseless rumor.  But a man sweeping out front has a different reaction. He smiles knowingly and volunteers-“ahh to us Mexicans, the shadows have eyes.”  He goes on to explain that Mazatlan was called “the Islands” because of the fingers of water that ran between the hills. They made certain routes a better place to canoe than stroll along. People buried their dead on higher ground with intentions that they would forever enjoy the view. “This is higher ground.  But when the torrential rain water poured off the hills, well”…..he turns his eyes heavenward.

Certainly Mexicans loved and honored their ancestors, sometimes burying them under their houses. Stones were often set above the graves-the more rocks, the higher the esteem. There were several native sites where people were buried back before recorded history.  A graveyard often grew over top of another.

“First the pirates, then the Spanish, held tight to Mazatlan,  but in 1822 (after Mexico’s Independence) the port welcomed international traffic. Most cities in Mexico formed around the government buildings and the church square, but Mazatlan bowed to the god of material gain and for a full half century of rapid growth, it developed around enterprise and the Port.  The discovery of silver and gold that could be exported through Mazatlan’s great harbor San Felix,  brought entrepreneurs from every nation and  these new  settlers from Spain, France and Germany brought their religion and customs with them.  By 1842, with  four to five thousand people calling Mazatlan home,  the Church San Jose was completed.  There was still no resident priest for this first church. A priest traveled from Villa Union to tend the flock.  But in these troubled times, many people died and needed burial.   Did the deceased travel all the way to Villa Union?  Were they buried in the first organized graveyard at the Barrio, or in the Protestant Graveyard called  the “Plaza of the Burros?

Even the term “burros” is questionable. The name “Burros” was  used to describe the poor people —the indigenous, the Totorames, the slaves who worked the mines. The “Burros” may not have been buried in coffins….Thus the  digging up of the skulls and perhaps other bones.  Then the plot thickens, for in 1855 Benito Juarez, an enthusiastic freemason, secularized government at least on paper, in the “Law of Juarez. “The term “Protestant” loosely meant that a Mexican graveyard, called a Panteon was now under government control.

In the mid 1800s, cemeteries were set outside of town for reasons of public health. Mazatlán’s Protestant cemetery was located on the eastern side of the peninsula with the old town on the western side.The graveyard on the Plaza of the Burros became officially the Municipal Panteon No.1. in 1851 when a cholera epidemic killed 2500 citizens, many of them  foreigners, most of which held various religious affiliation or no faith at all.  What Panteon No 1 lacked in supervision, it made up for in body count as an aging population, constant war, the yellow fever and plague epidemics filled it to bursting.  With the expansion of the city eastwards, a second panteon opened on Avenida Gabrial Leyva in 1890.

The city asked families to claim their buried dead for transfer to the new site with a harbor view, but many did not come forward, and  their  loved ones stayed buried—sort of. The unearthing was described as “a whole mountain rising up from the entrails of the earth.” Afterwards, people forgot. Soon the abandoned graveyard was a grazing spot for burros. Hence the name? With few gravestones remaining, the Donkey Plaza became a sports field in the early 1900s.  The land was donated in 1921 and authorities decided to open a park on the site (1924) but neglected  to remind the public of coffins and the under-ground remains. Finally a concrete floor was poured to cover everything over. Neat. Impenetrable. A way to finalize the past. But did it work?

Drivers complain that,  “the pavement sinks in spots.“ And if that is not distressing enough, there is this from the neighbors: “souls wander between the walls of houses and along the street.”  Countless stories are told of suspense and mystery, tales of entities in pain, or angry over being abandoned, disturbed and dishonored.  Grandparents, students and teachers tell of ghostly encounters. Basketball players speak of voices and laments they have heard in the “unquiet night.” The clock in the once “cutting edge” tower of the school has stopped still—frozen in time.


Buy Now:

Hotel Belmar: the Ghost Has the Key

is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats at: https://amzn.to/2pOpoMI

ISBN:978-0-6921 139820 https://amzn.to/2pOpoMI

The Author will have books at the First Friday Artwalk in Mazatlan. Click here to read reviews. Watch for news of a book signing.

Until then, going fast. Call 981-8072.

Other books by S.K.Carnes

ISBN:978-0692-84685-8 amxn.to/2nasO9S
Click description 
ISBN:987-0692-85172-2      http:bit.ly/SoldiersJourney     Available in paperback, as an audiobook and e-book.  Silver Medal from Readers Favorite
ISBN:978-0-9718600 2008 Golden Moonbeam Award.  Available from author Click              description 

 

By The Way

BUY NOW: https://amzn.to/2pOpoMI

Hotel Belmar: the Ghost Has the Key is finished and available from Amazon as an e-book or paperback. Click here to order it. Go to my website: https://susancarnes.com and click on the “Books” menu to read a synopsis and review of this historical novel.

Joaquin Lopez and I will be giving a Presentation at 3:00 on the 16th of December at El Recreo at 209 Constitución in El Centro. Please come! The book truly is overflowing with information yet only scratches the surface. As I wrote it, I was constantly energized over new information. But my wise editor warned me not to include one more discovery. “Enough already!” With so much more to say,  I packed the “Notes” section of Hotel Belmar, often called “Research” with stories that are books in themselves.

By The Way,

still so many untold tales call to me, promising intrigue and enlightenment.  Wouldn’t you like to know the rest of the story of places and people? Ah —but let me feather-up the nest before asking you to sign up for further adventuring.

I grew up listening to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story.” Try this link to hear him again with the rest of the story of a writer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPOizT9WzdI (especially apt in this case.) I am hoping you enjoy this sort of thing. Learning these little secrets  is a little like finding a treasure at the base of the rainbow.

And that is what I want to offer. A treasure chest of legends. And the ghost has the key! Subscribe to this blog and I will bring you along across the rainbow bridge to explore the less visited byways of Mazatlan and Friday Harbor too (both places are home to me). And there will be more ghosts in some of the back alleys, hovering about once famous  buildings, waiting for you with little known tales of  “once upon a time. ”

 

 

On Laureates, the Sungod and Trees!

The above picture is a composite of polkadotedflower.deviantart.com and Franceso Albani from 1615.
Hooray! Epiphany. Starting Over in Oregon is finally formatted in paper and available on Amazon.com. Whew. It is great to have completed this, my third book and second novel—a daunting task. And now that I have made an audiobook of The Way Back. A Soldier’s Journey, I know I can make Epiphany an audiobook too. I crown myself “Laureate of the Highest Order I Have Reached Yet!”
More crowns ahead.  I want to transform-branch out-radiate! I am not ready “to rest on my luarels.” Like I do when I write, I looked up the meaning of said saying, and found that I want to be like Daphne who originated “the look.” A good look for me! But let me explain. I hope you love stories like I do.
It seems that Apollo, the pre-Christian Greek god, loved the nymph Daphne who turned into a Bay Tree when he reached out to her. Voila! He embraced the plant, cut off a branch to make into a wreath to wear around his head, and declared the tree sacred. Of course such wreaths were given as accolades for lauded deeds like winning an Olympic game. Hence “laureates are recognized for completing some kind of wondrous task—like writing a novel. Resting on your laurels means laying back on what you have accomplished. Laying back does not thrill me.
I am hooked on rising up, Daphne style. Like a tree, I like to branch out.  Yep. It’s a fact that when a tree stops growing it begins to die. So, having tasted some success looking back on my own life, making sense of it and honing the skills to communicate my story, it is time to shift gears and begin again. Why? Because I want to be like Daphne the nymph. As long as the sun god shines on me, I am going to bloom. I like my companions in my writing group-their challenge, their support, and I know I belong because I can still give them something from my experiences to help them grow too. And then there is the excitement of researching my subject and putting together the ideas and stories around me into something new. And what I am not good at—the technology, the social networking, the marketing etc. etc.? Well that just means there is room for growth. And oh the view, the contacts, the heady warmth of Apollo coming close, the rays of the sungod shining through me—embracing me. Oh. What fun to learn.
No, the book is not the destination, but instead it is the funny thing that happens along the way to finishing it. Like the going is the getting there. Got it? Get  growing!
And just for the “lovely of it” here is the whole poem by Joyce Kilmer about a tree. The writer was a Daphne lover!
Trees  
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
 ___________________________________________

Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back,
recently released in all e-book stores.

cover of The Way Back
New novel: The Way Back. To find it on Amazon Kindle at  http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney
Also as an Audio book at adbl.co/2f0UeOp      Soon to be Published in paper.
finalist-shiny-web5star-shiny-web

The Power of the Animal

 Last summer, we adopted a young German Shephard dog by the name of Karma. I saw her picture on the Internet and fell in love with her pretty face. She had been abandoned in a kennel for a year and a half and it took a court order filed by a sympathetic soul to get her out. Karma means action you know, and reaction. Fast forward to life with Karma today. We go to the beach twice a day for a run and a swim. At first, she was afraid of the waves on Olas Altas Beach—the sound and fury of them as they crashed ashore. She had only known a chain-link fence that kept her in confinement. But now, she cries and trembles on the way to the beach as she thinks of the joy of being free to work a job! When I throw a stick out across the breakers, she bounds into them to fetch it. Even as the waves roll over her, she remembers her mission, and though the stick gets sucked and surged in the surf, Karma finds it using her considerable powers. It is something to see her parade with her stick. Triumphant. Pleasing me, doing what I could never do.
And I remember my little Arabian horse Gremlin. Back in my long ago Wisconsin life, when all means of rounding up the cattle on our ranch failed, and the men finally admitted that their 4 wheeled beasts were no match for 60 head of rangy yearlings, that is when the guys would come asking for help. Gremlin knew. He would snort and tremble with excitiment as I rode him out to face the herd of beasties. Just me up top  a little horse facing jazzed up young cattle that had suceeded in out manuevering 4 men on machines. And so, in our face challenging, “they” (the yearlings) would come forward in a line, breaking out each end in a dead run. But one by one, I watched their eyes ablaze in rebellion, widen in fear, then get docile, as my little horse came alongside, ears back, nose out, outrunning them, out turning them, until they obediently filed thru gates and into the corals like it was their idea. How Gremlin would prance and dance with pride, for he loved his job—his work—and I got to be part of it. For a little while, I had powers I did not have alone—the power of the animal. Amen.
attackdog
I finished my book Epiphany. Starting Over in Oregon. It is out as a Kindle book:
amzn.to/2bFQnme
A reviewer calls it ” a story of endings and beginnings, heartache and humor, confusion and enlightenment.”
Over summer I learned how to make an Audiobook of my work of Historical Fiction set after World War I on my homeplace in Wisconsin: The Way Back. A Soldier’s Journey.
Listen to an audio http://162.215.253.97/~susancar/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/retail-audio-sample.mp3 Simply double click on this link and a new window will open.  Enjoy!
 

Shedding the Long Shadow of Abuse

Above image: hope_for_the_future_by_eddiecalz-d60f44i

Purpose

Epiphany is not just a pretty face. Sure it is classified by Kindle Scout as a “Romance,” and an “Action Adventure” but it is really a story about struggling out of the shadows toward the light. Please go to Kindle Scout, and nominate Epiphany to be published. Only 16 days left.                https://kindlescout.amazon.com/category/158566011?page=2
Birch in the Canyon 1
Years ago I took this picture of a birch tree in a canyon. Because it was so dark deep down, the birch tree grew up—up and—UP to reach the sun. It turned into this remarkable tree. It is an outstanding specimen among birch trees that usually mature at 40-50 feet in height. To me, this tree symbolizes people who live in difficult situations. Like trees, our purpose is to grow toward the sun. Thus enlightened by wisdom, we inspire others to overcome the shadows.



While I wait to see if Kindle Scout will publish Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

Metaphors and Layers

Above image from:  http://www.themeshack.net/2010downloads/201001/0110/irene/blowingbubbleswp.jpg

The Audacity of Expression

The onion has many layers on the way to the juicy white heart of the thing. I heard that heaven had seven stories (give or take a few). Multilayering is found in  relationships, a piece of writing, dressing for the cold, meditation, and the metaphor. An oil painting done by a master will have layers of paint rich with colors shining through each other making for translucent opulence. Indeed, if a single flat color is set next to such layering, it might look unfinished but for the shimmer of the paper through it like a hole in a silk stocking. Pulsing. Vital. When one reads a love poem like “How Do I Love Thee” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/how-do-i-love-thee-sonnet-43 we discover the layers again. Each layer is important to the overall effect. Even words themselves carry multiple meanings as a dictionary can prove. Rich writing can be appreciated on different levels. An example is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry. http://www.angelfire.com/hi/littleprince/frames.html
Life is layered. We can go deeper and deeper into the physical thing, and into the conceptual realm, digging for—digging for—what. Meaning? The essence? Reality beneath illusion? Something solid to have or believe in? And consider the metaphor, the meaning will be on several levels. Is life itself a metaphor?
And so I wrote a poem about my writing/digging/painting. It is a metaphor about the audacity of putting one’s self out there in the hope that, for a precious moment, we can catch a ride on the ebullience that transcends layers. I will remember along with Chief Seattle, that “All things share the same breath.”

Hitchhiking

I am blowing bubbles,
irridescent, and transparent,
trusting the air
to float them up
Rounded moonbeams,
rainbows spinning,
bursting, falling
I try again.
For like the Century Plant,
blooming before it dies,
It is the way for fools like me,
To hitchhike  on a breeze.
But see,
my bubbles catch the light.
That’s my breath
up there
trying to reach beyond myself.
 
All the way


While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

Follow The River Out: A Metaphor

Above Image: courtesy of Mark Chadwick on Flickr.

Have you ever been lost and “followed a river out?”
My new novel, Epiphany  is being edited at present, and will be published later this year.  This post is one of several about themes, metaphors, and story structure. Lori our protagonist,  writes poetry filled with metaphors, to bring clarity to her life. What follows is an excerpt using the “Western Star” and “the river” as a metaphor.
Lori has interviewed for a job as a school counselor in the Oregon Cascades. As she waits, hoping to be hired, she writes a poem about leaving Wisconsin and driving West.  The trip, just before Christmas was terrifying. She remembers how frightened she was.
Too heavy my load
Of doubt and disgrace
Too late for me
Fear lines my face
I am a wave
Without a tide
Dust in the wind
Hitching a ride
I sail the seas
Without a tac
Can’t find the wind
That takes me back
Lori had wanted to turn around.  The face of the blizzard at her heels scared her less than going forward into the unknown.  But then her car and trailer spins full circle out of control on Montana black ice.  Panic. The reality is, she can’t go back.
I CAN’T GO BACK
There’s no way back
There’s no home base
I’m out of time
I’m out of place
Lost in the dark!
Which way to run?
Where is my map?
Where is my sun?
How will I live?
Without a man?
Lean on myself?
Make my own plan?
A teamster drives his big Western Star truck up alongside and leans out to congratulate Lori on surviving. “Santa put Lady Luck in yer sock.”
She drives on to Eugene, Oregon, where she walks along the Willamette River, listening to the music of the river and making friends of like-minded strangers. Lori knows she has been granted a second chance at life.
If Lori is hired, she can build this new life in Lucky Strike, Oregon. Her dream is happening. She goes to sit by the river, letting the restorative water wash away her fear of moving on. She thinks about what her father had told her, “when lost, follow the river out.”The last two stanzas of her poem reflect the role of a river as a metaphor for finding her way.
Across the prairies
Ore mountains-crest
Follow the river
On her sea quest
The pioneer spirit
Like Oregon’s rain
Refreshes my courage
To start over again


While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

Invictus: An Epiphany For Holy Week

Photo by Mega Mike  https://www.flickr.com/photos/topick/6342953521

INVICTUS

I am the Master of my fate. I am the Captain of my Soul.”

An unconquerable soul! Now there’s a theme especially appropriate for Easter time! In my new book  Epiphany, (presently being edited) Lori our protagonist, struggles with this larger than life concept. And, in the light of forgiveness, she glimpses the meaning. Sometimes that moment when it all makes sense passes us by, but we remember that it is there—waiting for us to be ready to know it. And so, Lori, obedient to my writing, prints out a card:  I am the Master of my fate. “I am the Captain of my Soul.” and keeps it with her.
Consider this: she has printed out the last two lines, but there is more to this poem and a story about the Author, William Ernest Henley.  At age 12, Henley had a leg amputated just below the knee due to arthritic tuberculosis and his other foot barely saved by surgeries. He lost his father as a teenager.  And so, his poem begins:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Before he knew his real strength, he had been brought down and severely tested. The façade we all live behind, trying to protect our weakness, was broken by the “bludgeonings of chance.” This same sort of thing has happened to many of our great spiritual teachers. Shamans and healers often have suffered near-death experiences before they find their power. Notice the dreaded tarot card the Tower depicting this soul level journey.
tower
It is useful to remember that the Tarot is divided into Major Arcana (the journey of the soul) and Minor Arcana (the drama of the embodied).
The horrific happenings in Henley’s life gave him the experience to  write about his own unconquerable soul, found at the depth of his pain.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Like the captain of a ship is responsible for his decisions: the course he charts, the skills he learns and uses, he must also surrender to the mood of the ocean, the tides, the storms and catastrophes that befall him. But can these things destroy him? Henley says no.
If I were to distill all I have experienced, thought, and written, into a single sentence, the last two lines of Invictus would be it. Indeed, my character Lori keeps these words with her. Yes, the experience that spurred Henley to write this poem is profound, and is still beyond my grasp except as a glimpse. I can thank my own suffering of wrath and tears for this illusive epiphany.  But, I shrink and shiver at the idea of Christ’s crucifixion to rise again. Maybe at the end of days for me,  I can wrap my mind around it. Let it flow through me to hold it tight to me. Ah—the paradox we call life.


While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears

I have written Epiphany all the way through, and am currently editing and polishing it. It is easy to see themes in this novel. “Kiss Yourself Goodbye,” is the first line. Certainly the very word “goodbye” elicits visions of letting go and moving on.
Often in my life, I have gotten lessons dealt to me when I most needed them.  Sometimes, my teacher is an image. In the following excerpt,  Lori, the protagonist in my story, choses an archetype from the teachings of Tarot, the Queen of Wands that symbolizes the qualities and strengths she needs to go forward. Notice the pictures on these cards and follow her thinking as she recognizes her own creativity, and begins to use it to inspire her students to use their talents.

the-four-queenshttps://mjhernandeztarot.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/of-empires-and-kingdoms-part-/

Lori looked at what had once been her first choice, the Queen of Cups.  Solitary. Reigning from  a throne embellished by shells, she seemed almost transparent, for  her face was reflective as the sea at her feet, and she gazed with expectation at the golden cup she held, enchanted by its sweet potion. Lori did not wish to drink from her chalice of love. Not today. The aloof Queen of Swords, her blade cutting the air as she coldly contemplated truth did not tempt Lori,  and not even the splendidly adorned Queen of Pentacles, luxuriating in the riches of the earth, interested her. Indeed, having tasted abundantly of the elements of  water, air and the good earth—Lori looked to the fourth queen-the Queen of Wands and the element of fire. She faced forward to the ready, opposing lions of  fire and strength guarded the sides of her throne, and she held sunflowers. Sunflowers bloomed all around her. Why even the wand was coming into bloom.  And the black cat at her feet mirrored magic! “Today,” Lori said, ” This queen is my symbol. The sunflowers, vibrant with the colors of fall, are the harvest I have planted. It is time to shine.


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.