Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations? I view my books and articles as vehicles for my lifework, a way folks can be introduced or as an adjunct to my programs. For more than twenty years I’ve been mentoring people toward conscious living, essentially to realign their lives. In 1999 I founded Kenosis LLC to support human potential through travel journeys working with Native spiritual leaders and healers in Peru, Mexico, Guatemala and the USA; and mentoring programs integrating Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and sacred world traditions. Then in 2007 I established Kenosis Spirit Keepers, its nonprofit extension, to help preserve indigenous lifeways through various projects. I’ve also been doing conflict mediations since the late ‘80s when most people didn’t know what it was. They thought I was talking about meditation! These days I specialize in family mediations for divorcing parents.
Tell us about your new book? Portals to the Vision Serpent was released on June 17, 2013. It’s a coming-of-age novel—a Hero’s Journey—that takes the reader into the realms of shamanism and the Maya world as a young man searches for his lineage and missing father. The struggles the Maya have to preserve their way of life and the devastations that can come from misunderstandings are an integral part. It’s basically a book about spiritual healing. Readers are likely to see themselves in various ways, the same as reported to me from readers of my nonfiction books Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage (2004) and Calling Our Spirits Home: Gateways to Full Consciousness (2000).
What can you tell us about your main character? Preston Johns Cadell is a young man who never felt he belonged, like many of us. He feels an ongoing sense of isolation and longing for connection. He doesn’t have strong ties, except to the invisible realm—and he can’t share that with others. He doesn’t really know who he is. The not knowing is painful. He begins to recall memories of early childhood when Mama Luna, a brown-skinned woman, cared for him after his father disappeared, and his mother began her frequent absences. Mama Luna opened him to things his heart calls out for now. But she vanished long ago. The story moves back and forth from childhood to present-day as Preston seeks to resolve his ever-present discomfort, and to discover his origins and path in life. His is an initiation journey, carried by faith, to fill the gaping hole left by not knowing his people, even as they insistently call to him.
Why did you choose to write this particular book? This is a story that has been with me for a long time. I started it about ten years ago but set it aside. It would go away for a long time then visit me again more formed, maybe as Preston himself filled his skin, and my own experiences in Mayalands became richer over the years. Basically, the story wouldn’t leave me alone. When I finally picked it up again in late 2011, it came rushing out in the next several months.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? There are several messages. The first is that it’s possible to be lost and then found, to find ways through inner turmoil and difficult times, to find resolution. So, I consider it an initiation story in the sense of answering an inner call toward healing. It’s also about opting to have a wider perspective than our own and forgiveness.
A very important message is the difficulties that many Native people face, the acts done against them and the lands they value. I really wanted to bring awareness to these issues.
Preston Johns Cadell is tormented. He attempts to outrun discontent and the void in his heart. His mother is hardly around. His father’s origins and disappearance are shrouded by family secrets. His sole remembrance of his father is flying through the stars nestled in his arms.
Any comfort Preston derives is from an unseen advisor who teaches him of the invisible world. Now he is coming of age. Memories arrive from long ago when a brown-skinned woman cared for him. But she, too, vanished. Finding the buried remains of his father’s altar, Preston must answer the draw to his destiny, to discover his lineage–even though he has no idea how or where it will lead him.
Portals to the Vision Serpent is a Hero’s Journey into the realms of shamanism and the Maya world. Interwoven are the struggles of indigenous peoples to preserve their way of life and tragedies that often come from misunderstandings. Through a family saga of dark wounds and mystery, spiritual healing unfolds.
The author donates 10% of profits from book sales to Kenosis Spirit Keepers, a 501(c)3 nonprofit she founded whose mission is to help preserve Native traditions in danger of decimation.
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Genre – Fiction / Coming of Age / Historical
Rating – PG