Date Published: March 2012
Meanwhile Hector, servant of LIFE and the man from Ellena's dreams, has a dilemma. How do you tell someone they are a goddess? His previous attempts have met with disaster so he must be cautious, particularly when his new trainee, Boudica, formerly Queen of the Iceni tries to help. The question is can they succeed before it is too late?
My incarnate body was not all I had hoped for. It was not that I wanted a human body - it’s just that I wanted to be a Great Dane. I shifted in my basket by the Aga and nibbled an itchy bit of black fur just above my right paw. But that’s LIFE: so often you get what you need, not what you want. Even so, a Border Collie with a bit of Labrador thrown in was not a real dog as far as I was concerned. My fur was long, my paws were white, while the rest of me was black except for a white crest on my chest and a circular patch around my left eye, which I guessed had been added for comic effect. Still, it could have been worse - I might have been a poodle.The current phase of my mission was going well. Although the overall project, Brh-man: Phase 1, was not. But as I frequently reminded the Council, who had sanctioned the project, one had to take the long view with these things. This time … well not time really, that was my dog-self talking. There was only now, or as LIFE liked to call it “the present” owing to its love of puns. In reality a “time” would be more accurately described as a handful of stuff grabbed from the lucky dip barrel of the present.
So far I had incarnated without too much difficulty. Dog-shape was ideal for the kind of work ahead and I’d succeeded in being adopted by Ellena, who was ripe for my special kind of assistance. Boudica, my trainee, had met with similar success. Although not everything had gone so well for her, she was at this moment prowling around Ellena’s front room irritably, no doubt still wondering how the Queen of the Iceni had come to this. It seemed that, Boudica, not as adept at subconscious communication as myself, had not been able to plant an image of her real name in Ellena’s mind. So while, I had a shiny tag with “Hector” written on it, Boudica’s tag said “Fluffy”. Since she was a large long-haired white cat, I felt this showed a distinct lack of imagination on Ellena’s part or perhaps an overdeveloped sense of irony. Either way Boudica was still having a major sense of humour failure.
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A.F Firebird author of “The Reluctant Goddess” talks about her new novel and metaphysical fiction
Q: You describe your new novel as metaphysical fiction, what is metaphysical fiction?
AFF: It is a form of speculative fiction which explores ideas prevalent in metaphysics through the medium of story and characters. This type of fiction strips away religious rhetoric and new age language, so that the reader can contemplate the ideas presented in a simpler and hopefully more accessible way.
Q: Give me an example of the type of ideas explored in the book.
AFF: Firstly, the story is written within the context of a benevolent conscious universe, where the inanimate and animate alike work to help Ellena. The books in the shop, that she owns, all have something to tell her if only she could hear them. Her pets, a dog and a cat, are her spirit guides offering gentle, loving encouragement. Through the eyes of the characters we see our planet and the universe from a perspective.
The second main theme, is the idea that the greatest work a person can do is to live authentically. To discover who and what they really are. The main character, Ellena, has lived a life full of the common distractions of life. By the time she reaches her late forties she still has not discovered her true self or a purpose which gives her life meaning. Throughout the novel we follow her journey as she is assisted by a conscious benevolent universe, to fully realise her identity.
Q: The Reluctant Goddess takes a non traditional approach to the idea of a goddess. Explain your take on what it means to be a goddess.
AFF: My aim has been to merge old ideas with new. Ellena is a reincarnation of Quan Yin, Goddess of compassion, who, rather than take up buddhahood, chose to stay on earth to help all humans reach enlightenment. Instead of showing the goddess as super human, the book explores the effect of fully realising the virtue of compassion in the world. And so the idea of a goddess being someone who lives their virtues or values whatever they might be.
Q: Now that The Reluctant Goddess is finished what next.
AFF: I want to continue working on metaphysical fiction. The next book continues to delve into the role of compassion in human evolution. I believe, as so many others before me, that fiction is a great way to open discussion and contemplation of ideas, so I am looking forward to feedback from readers.
About the author:
A.F. Firebird is the alter ego of a sociologist/psychologist turned web developer from the UK. While A.F. Firebird has worked in several fields her primary focus is the exploration of six virtues: appreciation, forgiveness, compassion, humility, understanding and valour. Her first novel, The Reluctant Goddess, numerous short stories and children's books, all investigate aspects of these virtues.