Saturday, 24 September 2016

Tolkien's World ~ Manuscript pages from Edel Silmarillion

Benjamin Harff, Tolkien illustrator and creator of the Edel-Silmarillion
The whole process took about half a year, plus about half a year where I dealt mainly with the illustrations but also collected knowledge and made sketches for calligraphy, says  Benjamin.
Read more HERE

Love and light,


Love and light,

The Holy Grail of the Unconscious ~ Jung

An interesting find...
By Sara Corbett HERE
A story about a nearly 100-year-old book bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say "Liber Novus," which is Latin for "New Book." Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn't know the book's vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome. And yet between the book's heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure - taking place entirely in his head - he finds it again.

Most of what has been said about the book - what it is, what it means - is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it.

Of those who did see it, at least one person, an educated Englishwoman who was allowed to read some of the book in the 1920s, thought it held infinite wisdom - "There are people in my country who would read it from cover to cover without stopping to breathe scarcely," she wrote - while another, a well-known literary type who glimpsed it shortly after, deemed it both fascinating and worrisome, concluding that it was the work of a psychotic.

So for the better part of the past century, despite the fact that it is thought to be the pivotal work of one of the era's great thinkers, the book has existed mostly just as a rumour, cosseted behind the skeins of its own legend - revered and puzzled over only from a great distance.
Illustration by CG Jung for his Red Book, a.k.a. Liber Novus 

The book tells the story of Jung trying to face down his own demons as they emerged from the shadows. The results are humiliating, sometimes unsavoury.

He worked on his red book - and he called it just that, the Red Book - on and off for about 16 years, long after his personal crisis had passed, but he never managed to finish it. He actively fretted over it, wondering whether to have it published and face ridicule from his scientifically oriented peers or to put it in a drawer and forget it. Regarding the significance of what the book contained, however, Jung was unequivocal. "All my works, all my creative activity," he would recall later, "has come from those initial fantasies and dreams."

Jung evidently kept the Red Book locked in a cupboard in his house in the Zurich suburb of Küsnacht. When he died in 1961, he left no specific instructions about what to do with it. His son, Franz, an architect and the third of Jung's five children, took over running the house and chose to leave the book, with its strange musings and elaborate paintings, where it was. Later, in 1984, the family transferred it to the bank, where since then it has fulminated as both an asset and a liability.

Anytime someone did ask to see the Red Book, family members said, without hesitation and sometimes without decorum, no. The book was private, they asserted, an intensely personal work.

Carl Jung founded the field of analytical psychology and, along with Sigmund Freud, was responsible for popularising the idea that a person's interior life merited not just attention but dedicated exploration - a notion that has since propelled tens of millions of people into psychotherapy. Freud, who started as Jung's mentor and later became his rival, generally viewed the unconscious mind as a warehouse for repressed desires, which could then be codified and pathologized and treated. Jung, over time, came to see the psyche as an inherently more spiritual and fluid place, an ocean that could be fished for enlightenment and healing.

Whether or not he would have wanted it this way, Jung - who regarded himself as a scientist - is today remembered more as a countercultural icon, a proponent of spirituality outside religion and the ultimate champion of dreamers and seekers everywhere, which has earned him both posthumous respect and posthumous ridicule. Jung's ideas laid the foundation for the widely used Myers-Briggs personality test and influenced the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. His central tenets - the existence of a collective unconscious and the power of archetypes - have seeped into the larger domain of New Age thinking while remaining more at the fringes of mainstream psychology.

Love and light,

Which Jung archetype best describes you?

A little fun ~ personality quiz HERE
You're the explorer! 
According to Jung we can find this archetype in many myths and fairy tales. You're a restless nomad, always full of wanderlust. You see life as one big adventure and you're always planning your next move. This archetype thirsts for new experiences and new people. You're independent, adaptable, ambitious and true to yourself. Your sense of adventure is your greatest strength, but you may risk wondering aimlessly and you may find it difficult to choose a direction. Channel your adventurous spirit into something productive!

My thoughts...Hmm
Internal explorer, perhaps. :o) 
A nomad wandering fictional worlds. Always seeking knowledge and beauty.

The term "archetype" has its origins in ancient Greek. The root words are archein, which means "original or old"; and typos, which means "pattern, model or type". The combined meaning is an "original pattern" of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are derived, copied, modeled, or emulated.

The psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He believed that universal, mythic characters—archetypes—reside within the collective unconscious of people the world over. Archetypes represent fundamental human motifs of our experience as we evolved; consequentially, they evoke deep emotions.

Although there are many different archetypes, Jung defined twelve primary types that symbolize basic human motivations. Each type has its own set of values, meanings and personality traits.

Most, if not all, people have several archetypes at play in their personality construct; however, one archetype tends to dominate the personality in general.

The Soul Type

5. The Explorer
Motto: Don't fence me in
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one's soul
The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.


In Jungian psychology, archetypes are highly developed elements of the collective unconscious. Being unconscious, the existence of archetypes can only be deduced indirectly by examining behavior, images, art, myths, religions, or dreams. Carl Jung understood archetypes as universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious and are the psychic counterpart of instinct. They are inherited potentials which are actualized when they enter consciousness as images or manifest in behavior on interaction with the outside world. They are autonomous and hidden forms which are transformed once they enter consciousness and are given particular expression by individuals and their cultures.


Exploring personality types

A little while back I wrote a post concerning sensitive souls - HSP - 'highly sensitive people' and came across the personality types of Jung / Myers-Briggs. Curious, this week, I plunged in and took two different tests online. I'm not sure how accurate they are but found it interesting that I got an INFJ result both times.

INFJ stands for Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging, and represents individual's preferences in four dimensions characterising personality type, according to Jung's and Briggs Myers' theories.

Out of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, INFJ type is believed to be the rarest. Apparently, uncommon jewels of the personality spectrum make up less than one percent of the population.

Here are some excerpts that I've read online:

One of the things that differentiate INFJs from other introverted types is their easy and pleasant conversation style. They are known for being great verbal communicators.
To most friends and acquaintances, the INFJ type seems very sociable and extroverted. This can cause confusion when INFJs become overwhelmed and must withdraw from people. In truth, INFJs are just like other introverts in the sense that they are very selective with whom they consider real friends.

Like other intuitive introverts, INFJs sometimes struggle with external sensing perception. This means that they can become so absorbed in their inner world that they are oblivious to the physical world.


INFJs are champions of the oppressed and downtrodden.They often are found in the wake of an emergency, rescuing those who are in acute distress.INFJs may fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimise the defenceless.The concept of 'poetic justice' is appealing to the INFJ.

In their own way, INFJs are just as much "systems builders" as are INTJs; the difference lies in that most INFJ "systems" are founded on human beings and human values, rather than information and technology.

Usually, self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. Since in addition they often possess a strong personal charisma, INFJs are generally well-suited to the "inspirational" professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership. Psychology and counselling are other obvious choices, but overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their career paths.

Writing, counselling, public service and even politics are areas where INFJs frequently find their niche.

INFJs are some of the best writers. They can fiercely write about everything and anything. And they never show anybody what they write out of fear of what people will think of them.

They struggle with loving a lot of creative things and not sure what they like the most.

With their giant imagination and visionary minds, they can have a tough time dealing with daily, practical matters. Not being able to answer the question "What's the point?" can lead to neglecting cleaning, financial responsibilities, etc. Insomnia. Splurges of hyperactive thought. An overindulgence of creativity.

INFJS can be rock solid calm, then a strange wind happens that carries a dead bird abstract construction. Then they are super sad and say lots of deep things from nowhere.

A nice piece on Wordpress HERE

Social psychologist Elaine Aron suggests that 15 to 20% of the general population will have the innate temperamental difference which she calls “High Sensitivity” (HS), or for research purposes, Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS).

While sensitive persons are often thoughtful, careful and empathic parents, partners and friends, when they are stressed… or if they have never learned how to cope with their unique qualities effectively, they may create tensions and difficulties for the people around them.

My thoughts...

I relate to the words above. I can ignore the phone, it doesn't matter who it is because I need to 'feel' in the mood to chat. If I'm having a lively day and living in reality, great. If not, I will pretend the outside world does not exist. That includes the doorbell. Lol. Seriously. It drives everyone crazy, but they accept it's me. Such beautiful peeps. :o) I will later catch up with them, and they know this. My daughter will nag me the most but we end up laughing about it. Aww, I love her so much.

My resilience to sensitivity has improved greatly since childhood. I say improved, perhaps it is a growth of  realising which emotion to display or not, how to mask them better. As Virgina Wolf wrote:
People draw different things from me.

Does anyone else relate to this quote?
I can usually adapt to my surroundings, to people. I may not always like it, but I hold on in there until I'm able to leave. Then I gasp a big gulp of air in relief. What I give off entirely depends on them. In some ways, it's like a mirror of energy but I'm still me, it's just that I pick up on the vibe around me. This is truer if I'm not in my usual environment. I tend to think before I speak. Observe, wait until I 'see' a person if that makes sense? I then adapt accordingly. Adapt in the sense of topics I talk about, how much I express, etc. This is often construed as being reserved. I can be more open, but I guess it depends on the company.

Growing up, I always saw the beauty in things and appreciated what an incredible world we live in. When I hit my teens it was like that wonderous world became lost to me. I discovered hatred and conflict, mostly through secondary schooling. It was a dreadful time where I felt confused by the actions of other children around me. None seemed balanced or truly happy. I didn't understand why they weren't 'nice'. I endured the systematic teaching of a non-sensitive environment for three years until one day I walked out of school vowing never to return to that ugly place. I never did. This changed the path of my adult life forever. From eighteen to my twenty's I found independence exhilarating and unpressured, attending many courses on subjects that interested me. I had always loved learning and the calm adult environment suited me better.  Life became that wonderous place again, of course, there were personal ups and downs, but in general, I fitted in. I blossomed and grew. Inside still lived that sensitive soul, but I could choose my surroundings and luckily, then, there was the freedom to do so. Art became, always was, my soul's release. It allowed me time to vent using a creative expression . I felt free. In my experience, other creatives tend to be 'different' too, more sensitive, less judging, and generally converse on deeper levels.
I really feel, as I've mentioned before in another post, that there should be more options for sensitive children in education. I have three children and the eldest thrived in mainstream schooling with no problems, which was great, but there were areas with my middle child, and sensitivity issues, like my own, with my youngest. I've battled with 'the system' shrugging off those looks of disapproval when I take my children's emotions into account. I've been called 'too soft' even given snotty remarks about my son's hair being too long, yes really, but I remain strong in their defence because of my own experiences. I still need to recuperate in solitude, at times, from the still ongoing fight. Thankfully, great family, friends, art and writing get me through. Phew! :o)

I believe strongly in education but the delivery needs to be re-evaluated for the minority. Since I was a teenager to now, I'm nearly fifty, why is there not a different form of schooling in place? Why is it so difficult to get heard? We're still fighting battles that shouldn't exist.
I've often daydreamt a world where beautiful schools cherish the gentle souls of children. Play and creativity being vastly important structures, along with knowing the self, and appreciating others. Not in a textbook format, but through actively playing out. Is that the hippy side of my mother influencing me? :o) Idealistic perhaps, but we need diversity in a material world. Need something other than drive toward the profit, future 'paid' job, and importantly, I believe this structure of teaching can co-exist with the system in place.
I drifted off course, I think...Okay, back on track. All of this is possibly a part of INFJ thinking. I don't know. It's interesting to me to ponder as I idly write...humanity and reality blending with dreams of a better, more understanding world. Somewhere everyone has a place.

Hemmingway said to express what pains you. Write from that truth. This has been so difficult for me, still is. I'm so used to hiding the 'inner-self' away from the world and pain lays even deeper within. When I write, I do tap into those depths, but it is not easy to express that emotion on the page without editing the scenes to be calmer, focused, more rational. I think that's why I subconsciously write in omniscient. It's a detachment. The reader can't get too close. My thoughts run deep but no-one would know, and that has been an interesting development in my writing, sharing words and my secret world, something I would never have done before. In a story I've outlined, Shining Sword, I think I'll be tapping into more of my fears and hopes while exploring the story and characters. It is a follow-on to Awake in Purple Dreams where a young woman called Brooke uses art to channel hope to children. It really resonates with what I've written above, and I guess, is where certain elements of this story stem from. A tale of a world in conflict with underlying manipulations, none are good for the development or purpose of creating a happy, nurturing community.  These are areas of grey in my reality of this amazing world at present.

The quote below reminds me of the main characters in my writing:

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.
But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.
~ Hemingway

There are some beautiful quotes of damaged people that become strong and remain kind. They have lived through the darkness and carry the scars. Yet these scars shine once the soul grows and can be worn with pride. A marking of strength, of overcoming the worse of battle. Mental or physical, or both. I write my characters from these places in different ways. I feel their fears and hopes. I really want them to grow, to be humbled by life and have a new appreciation for the wonder of it all. To realise that we are all so very important in a much bigger picture that we know nothing about. For me, this is where the magic is, in the transformation, going beyond the set boundaries, which are often too marginalised and definitely not for all.

So, does any of this portray the thoughts of INFJ? Or at least some depths of the traits? I don't know. Are labels even necessary? Sadly, I believe in the current system of our world, yes, they are. Initially, it can 'free' the sensitive from the system to a certain extent. They can be accepted for who they are at last and not  have to be pushed into being a certain way. I would even go so far as to say they should be exempt from certain participation if it does not suit their well-being. After all, isn't that what humanity is all about? Understanding, caring, compassionate, and nurturing? Helping people grow?

I care, have always cared, and need to express this with art or writing. Working in the charity sector also gave me a sense of  having 'more' to offer. Helping others in small ways goes a long way. Seeing someone's eyes light up when they have accomplished a tiny thing makes me smile and lifts my heart. That feeling which you've helped put there - blows you away.
Sensitivity is not weakness, it's a bravery like no other. To remain, at the core, kind, really is being a true warrior in this world.

Love and light,

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Autumnal Equinox ~ Mabon

22nd September
The autumnal equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator on its apparent journey southward, and we experience a day and a night that are of equal duration. Up until Mabon, the hours of daylight have been greater than the hours from dusk to dawn. But from now on, the reverse holds true.
Mabon marks the middle of harvest, it is a time of equal day and equal night, and for the moment nature is in balance. It is a time to reap what you have sown, of giving thanks for the harvest and the bounty the Earth provides. For finishing up old projects and plans and planting the seeds for new enterprises or a change in lifestyle. Mabon is a time of celebration and balance.
This is the time to look back not just on the past year, but also your life, and to plan for the future. In the rhythm of the year, Mabon is a time of rest and celebration, after the hard work of gathering the crops.
Apples are the perfect symbol of the Mabon season. Long connected to wisdom and magic.
In many cultures, fall was a time of celebration and gathering. It was the season in which friends and relatives would come from far and near to get together before the cold winter kept them apart for months at a time. Part of this custom was storytelling. Learn the harvest tales of your ancestors or of the people indigenous to the area in which you live. A common theme in these stories is the cycle of death and rebirth, as seen in the planting season. Learn about the stories of deities who have died and then restored to life.
Love and light,

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Book Stuff. How important is a book blurb?

Often it is the editor or some other person from the publishing house who writes the book blurb/jacket description. The publisher usually has a better idea of what elements of the story will most appeal to readers who pick up the book at a glance.
Below is an example of how important it is to get the blurb right. A professional reviewer and author, Christina Philippou, gave ACoPF a wonderful 5-star rating and listed it in among the top 10 books of 2015 on her blog - Wow! But this shows how the blurb can give a wrong impression that could ultimately repel potential readers ~

'From the blurb, I expected a kind of ‘Twilight for adults’. What I got was intricately-imagined fantasy, suspenseful action, two beautifully interwoven love stories (not the kind of paranormal love triangle I was anticipating), and a lot of well-crafted drama. Brilliant – I want more!'


In hindsight, I should've definitely re-written the book's blurb - shown below:

‘Every Unknown is a Beginning’

Bea lives a simple life residing in a South London second-hand bookshop. It had been an especially difficult year, first with Bea’s uncle dying, then splitting up with Brandon, her philandering, druggie boyfriend. The shop's trivial daily conversations, local faces and calm were all she desired, but that was all about to change.

No-one expects to bump into supernatural beings, let alone two opposing sects of a forgotten race. Bea’s quiet existence turns into turmoil as she slowly starts to unravel a secret past. A lost history in which love, revenge, betrayal, magic, power and karma are not mere cycles of a soul, but a sacred journey upon a web of many possibilities.

The future is not set in stone and the choices that Bea makes ripple through the cosmos. As the secret unfolds she realises that no matter what form your soul takes there are consequences for one's actions in which time has no relevance – we call it karma, they call it Vororbla.

Will she cope with the heartbreak and truths before her?
What would you do if your very existence came into question?
Join Bea as she uncovers the truth of her past via A Carpet of Purple Flowers.

To something like this, perhaps?

Discover a new fantasy world with a unique love story.

'Four Souls & Three Hearts' 

No-one expects to bump into supernatural beings, let alone two opposing sects of an otherworldly race. Bea’s quiet existence as a bookshop owner in SW London turns into turmoil as she starts to unravel a lost history. Reality quickly becomes blurred with folklore, and as the secrets unfold, she realises that no matter what form your soul takes, there are consequences for past actions in which time has no relevance – we call it karma, they call it Vororbla.

What would you do if your very existence came into question? 

Hmm. I'm going to work on book two's.


Note that the goal of the blurb is NOT to summarise the book. Rather, the goals are to:

  • Implicitly reveal the genre or subject. This should reinforce the message conveyed through the title and visually by the cover.
  • Entice the reader to look inside.

That’s it!

Here is a fiction blurb checklist:

  • Be concise. Did you say anything that was unnecessary?
  • Arouse curiosity. Did you give anything away? Does it read like a summary?
  • Genre. If strangers can’t read the blurb and guess the precise sub-genre or have some idea as to the content, your blurb has miserably and utterly failed to be an effective sales tool.
  • Engage. You need to draw interest immediately; most customers won’t be patient and let you build things up (true of your Look Inside, too). Come out swinging with your best stuff, but also pack enough punches so that you can engage interest throughout. When you run out of punches, stop writing your blurb.
  • Flow. Check that it flows well. A hiccup, such as when a reader has to stop and figure out how to correctly parse a long idea, is like stumbling on your way to the cash register.
  • Spellcheck, aisle three. If you can’t get the spelling and grammar right in a hundred words or so… Look, it’s not an option. You have to get it right.
  • Vocabulary. It needs to match your target audience. Words they don’t understand can scare them away (but if such words are common in the prose, you also don’t want to create false expectations).
  • Research. Do your homework. Check out blurbs of successful books similar to yours.

Feedback. Ask for opinions on your blurb. Before you publish, this can help you generate buzz.

Did you know Amazon has 30,000,000 different books to choose from? Wow! 

Love and light,