Looking back on my personal history, I became interested with occult themes in my mid-twenties. Between graduate classes and work, I’d find myself heading off to the new age shop whenever I got a spare moment. Unfortunately, that old shop is now gone. I loved walking up the steps to the old house where I’d lose myself for a while, browsing through all the stones, tarot cards, and pendulums. One time a friend of mine and I splurged and paid $25 for an aura photograph. What was neat is that she had a white aura. I’d heard of people having those, but I’d never seen one. As I waked through the rooms, the incense lingered heavily in the air, and I knew I carried it out with me on my clothes. There was a legend surrounding the house about a black cat that would mysteriously dash through the room. I never saw it.

After thinking long and hard one day, I invested in my first tarot deck, The Mythic Tarot. I purchased it because it had a nice book and a layout cloth to go with the cards. I’d just reassured myself that much of these divination tools were not evil and bad at all, but a way to bring to the physical world a representation of what was going on in the spiritual world. I studied my cards, practiced, tried different layouts, and became proficient in reading them. One weekend, my friend invited me to do card readings at a local event. I dressed the part, wearing a long black skirt and white top. I even wore a crystal ball ring I’d purchased in my favorite shop. When I read the cards, some people cried. That was scary.

Later, I bought a pendulum at a bookstore. I also made some additional charts to fit my question, writing down all the possible answers. If I enjoyed the tarot cards, I loved the pendulum even more. The one thing I never used was the Ouija board, though I received one for Christmas when I was a little girl. I got rid of it years later after I grew up some more. A few years ago, I used some money (another Christmas gift) and purchased the Spiritual Pathways Board, a prettier and definitely more detailed board than the Ouija.

When I was in my late thirties, I finally joined the Rosicrucian Order AMORC and spent years studying the arcane, spiritual teachings. The lessons were orderly, made sense, and finally I had a better understanding of the universe, how it worked, and how everyone and everything fits in it. Sadly, I still fall short of living the exemplary life, still holding on to prejudices and frustrations. I’m not racist by any means, but I’ll admit I do have my prejudices still.

As I learned to meditate and became more intuitive, I’ve discovered I’ve lost the ability to use the divination tools like the pendulum or spirit boards. Cards are still good (I even learned I Ching). But I miss using some of my old methods to delve deeper into the psychic world.

One of my novels uses elements of the occult, and I felt comfortable incorporating them into the story and working out the attitudes of the characters who used them. It was just as easy for me to write the character who was skeptical as it was to write the character who believed in those spiritual ways unconditionally. I find myself enjoying metaphysical stories as opposed to vampires and werewolves, which I think are too overdone at this time.

Using occult themes in writing allowed me to explore a part of myself, and it forced me to look closer at how those tools worked. How does one get into a mood and state to channel or receive answers from beyond or from spirit? How does intent create an atmosphere for a stronger answer? The most interesting scenes I incorporated into my novel involved kundalini, a spiritual state where one feels a rush of energy starting at the base of the spine, traveling through the body and out the top of the head. It’s a total spiritual orgasm, if you will. The truth is, I learned from a spirit guide, one that came from a most unlikely source, but one that worked perfectly.

When I used this experience and concept with my characters, I had to include what the sensation was like and wrap it all up with a reason they would even experience something like kundalini. I had a better time creating a scene where another character describes himself going through the same sensation but under different circumstances, though the timing coincided perfectly with another event. It all gets complicated, I know, but it was exciting for me and a golden opportunity to incorporate some unique activities I wouldn’t normally address in a story.

That’s the beauty of writing. You can write what you know. No matter how much you may think you understand or know something about a particular subject, there’s always additional research you have to do so you don’t sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about. Author M. J. Rose is one who incorporates metaphysical themes in her work. My goal is to read some of her books to see how she does this, and how would I (and how will I) use them differently when I write my stories in the future?

Here’s another interesting tidbit. Before I even considered writing a novel, I went to a new age fair–again to do card readings (and promote my shop, which is not new age). One of the other vendors did crystal ball readings. Needless to say, I’ve never been any good at scrying. I adore crystal balls, but I’m deplorable at using them. I just can’t. She did a reading for me and said I’d be writing. I told her I’d written two books on jewelry design and the jewelry business, but I couldn’t imaging me writing anything else. I had absolutely nothing in mind. She said, “Well, I can’t see what it will be, either, but you will write.” Interestingly enough, when I did meditations, I saw myself sitting at a desk writing. I couldn’t figure it out, either. And only when I truly began writing did I realize why she saw the vision in the crystal ball and why I had the visions I did. And so I journey onward, continually trying to come up with interesting material and subject matter. Too bad I can’t consult a handy crystal ball, but maybe I can meditate on it all.

Scarlet Darkwood Author Page on Amazon

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