Posts Tagged Shaman

Profile: Dr. Victor Furst

Thursday, October 15th, 2020 | Permalink

Taking a tip out of the Inkers Con playbook, I’ve placed a character description and brief interview with the main character in my Escape from the Immortals series, Dr. Victor Furst. Shown below is his character profile:

  1. Dr. Victor Furst
  2. Occupation—shamanic psychotherapist
  3. Conflicts—loves his ex-wife, Evelyn, but deeply resents his daughter-in-name only, Miriam. Feels he was forced to break his professional vows in using his shamanic abilities to kill her biological father, Boris Zarkisian, the material world leader of the psychic vampires, the New Immortals.
  4. Motivations—to regain Evelyn’s love and trust, behave ethically as healer.  
  5. Traits—Athletic, tends to be snide under duress.’

Physical description: Tall (6′ 3″), lanky, with a shock of salt-and-ginger hair and trimmed beard to match, plus a pair of clinically penetrating blue eyes.

Interview begins:

whf: You’re portrayed in the first book of the series, Mission: Soul Rescue, and its upcoming sequel, Mission: Soul Sacrifice, as an emotionally conflicted character. Why?

vf: It seems to me a natural response as a professional psychotherapist/shaman and as a parent to feel conflicted. Our first duty as a shaman and as a therapist is to do no harm. Not only does that mean no harm either physically or psychologically to the individual patient, but also to the ones around him/her, their significant others, friends, family, etc. As a parent I realize I may have violated that vow when I left my family to do research in the Amazon and become a shaman. Though it was done to protect them from the machinations of Dr. Basil Zarkisian doesn’t mitigate the profound psychological impact my absence had upon my family, particularly on our daughter, Miriam. The fact my actions may help save the world from the predations of those psychic vampires, the New Immortals, ameliorates the guilt I feel somewhat, but it doesn’t justify them.

whf: Do you feel your role in the story is one of expiating guilt then?

vf: It may be, but I hope not, not solely at least. It’s a funny thing–part of the time I’m recognized as a hero. In ordinary reality I rescue my wife’s soul and reintegrate it into her conscious self. In the Lower World of her unconscious reality, I play the role of Vahagn, the Hercules of Armenian myth, whose destiny is to prevent Ahriman, chief of the Zoroastrian gods, from seizing dominion of the Lower World, entering ordinary reality, and ruling over the universe for all eternity. Yet, despite this lofty calling, I’m viewed as a failure and an anathema within my own family, one whose welfare I hoped to protect by redirecting elsewhere the attention of those forces seeking to harm them. Ironic, isn’t it?

whf: One last question–you sound bitter. Are you?

vf: I hope not. Frustrated and bewildered, maybe, but not bitter. I’m enough of a professional to understand why my feelings, though justified perhaps, should not interfere with my judgments toward helping my patient(s) feel better about themselves by becoming whole spiritually and psychologically. At the same time, that understanding doesn’t mitigate the hurt and resentment I feel toward their unwillingness, no–inability, to recognize the good intentions behind some of my actions and forgive them.

(Sighs and flashes a crooked smile). Yeah, maybe a little bitter.

What do you think? Does Victor seem bitter? Defensive? Or just uncertain? Let me know your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Visionary Fiction

Saturday, May 6th, 2017 | Permalink

A week or so ago I indulged in the guilty pleasure of viewing the ranking and ratings of my new novel, Mission: Soul Rescue, on amazon.com. While the customer ratings were high and its ranking was low (More reviews needed–c’mon, guys), what surprised me most was its inclusion in the Kindle format under the categories of metaphysical and visionary fiction.

Though the story concerns rescues from the unconscious realm and its protagonist is a shamanic therapist, I never considered my book to be anything more than an adventure thriller with supernatural overtones–until I looked up the definition on Wikipedia (handy pipeline to many unusual topics regardless what its detractors say). Recognized as a new and distinct literary genre by the Book Industry Study Group in 2000, the entry states visionary fiction is “a literary form that illustrates the process of growth in human consciousness. While it contains an all-inclusive spiritual component and often makes use of paranormal modes of perception, it employs story elements like plot, character, and setting to immerse the reader in a drama of evolving awareness—rather than an exposition of specific teachings or practices.”

The source of that quote originates with the Visionary Fiction Alliance, a group of like-minded authors and readers that formed in 2012. Like most authors, I’ve engaged in a vain search for readers who understand the meaning of the word “novel” and enjoy extending their minds into new frontiers of imagination and reality. After exploring the VFA site, I realized that M:SR has found a home. Here’s the link to their web site:

Home – Visionary Fiction Alliance

Look around, check out some of the entries. You might find you’ve discovered your new source for thought, reflection, and pleasure.

Discovering cunning folk

Saturday, December 6th, 2014 | Permalink

Year51JvlAscCPL._AA160_As ago a contemporary of the Wisconsin State Journal‘s Roundy Coughlin wrote an occasional column about things he’d discovered on the way to other things. By the same route, my researches uncovered a group of healers that receive little attention in the reference books: cunning folk.

My forthcoming novel, The New Immortals, contains a number of familiar animals or spirit guides which British historian and folk expert Emma Wilby says “were supernatural entities believed to assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic” during Medieval and early modern times. Her book on the topic, Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Vicsionary Traditions in Early Modern Bristish Witchcraft and Magic, has been extolled by fellow historian, Marion Gibson, for making “a strong case for a British shamanic tradition.”

Given thee subtitle of Wilby’s book and her background, the book also presents a strong case in behalf of shamanism in the Western European cultural and healing traditions. The cunning folk of Sweden, Germany, Italy, and200px-Cunning_Woman A Wales along with their familiars resemble in many ways the shamans of Siberia, India, and South America with their reliance upon power animals to interact with the spirit world and channel those energies into the material world. My novel takes this one step farther by having a psychologist combine the practices of his profession with the shamanic traditions of  the native South American Quechuas to combat the followers of the ancient Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda. If Furst fails in his quest, he stands to lose not only his wife and family, but his very soul to the race of psychic parasites called the Anausaveds by the ancient Persians which translates as the New Immortals.

Many indigenous cultures disparage Western practitioners of shamanism as “plastic shamans” for misappropriating their ancient traditions. Due to a felicitous bit of research, it appears that Western culture has a strong, healthy shamanic tradition of its own in the guise of the cunning folk of western and central Europe. The realms of the human spirit and the unconscious would seem broad enough to encompass healers from all cultures regardless of origin.Бэликто A