Welcome to the Sleigh Bells and Ink Wells Blog Hop! See links at the bottom of this posting to hop on to the chain of blogs for 12 wonderful writers!

 IN CELEBRATION OF THE CHILD

The images are everywhere during the holidays: Clara in The Nutcracker, eyes filled with wonder; the orphaned boy, Hugo, so curious and fierce in spite of the tragic loss of his father, and the Christ child himself, a babe in a manger on a cold winter’s night.

Stories abound in all cultures of the virgin birth of a god, born in the dead of winter, heralding new life that comes with the Spring. It must be a virgin, because psychologically, the birth of this new, sacred energy comes not from physical human intercourse, but from the person’s “impregnated” relationship with the divine within. The beauty of story and metaphor is that its symbols cover all definitions of the divine, from the Higher Power, to psychological wholeness, to the spirit guide, to God or Goddess of all faiths.

In the world of literature and fairy tales, the path of the soul has often been told with a child protagonist. He or she is quickly orphaned, or, as with Huckleberry Finn, the child is on the run from an abusive parent or wicked step parent. Success requires courage, loving friends, and, magical guide who embodies the divine.

Each of us begins life as an infant. We become a child, conscious of the world, and our own feelings. We encounter loss, obstacles, and struggle to find our way home. In this life-long journey, we can return again and again to the archetypal child within. We can view loss, and tragedy with fresh eyes, finding new dimensions of curiosity, compassion, generosity, and resilience.

In my own childhood, I experienced considerable trauma and loss in my family. I survived by surrounding myself with creative play, friends, and children’s literature. I didn’t realize it then, but I was developing a relationship with the divine.

In The Secret Garden, a robin red breast shows the orphaned Mary Lennox where to dig up the key to an abandoned, locked garden. In The Wind in the Willows, my favorite chapter was The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. A baby otter is lost. Mole and Rat search all night, and at dawn, discover the Piper, half man, half goat, playing his protective tune to the sleeping baby otter. Every time I was sad about my family, I read this chapter, and felt the power of a great love, embedded in Nature Herself.

Now I have created my own literature. Soul Stories is a collection of two novels: Safari to Mara, and Aria of the Horned Toad, for older children, and for the child in all of us.

In Safari, ten year old Mara is born to a loving family in Kenya’s Masai Mara. She enters an apprenticeship with her safari guide father, and is thrilled to be so close to the animals  of the African wilderness. Tragedy comes when fever takes the life of her beloved mother. Mara must fight her way out of grief and despair. She prays to the Masai goddess, Engai, in the face of the moon. Mara rescues an orphaned baby zebra, and finds the long way back to her true self.

In Horned Toad, ten year old Beatrice is growing up in a Texas family filled with love and strife. Her mama, it seems, loves gin cocktails more than her own daughter. Beatrice enlists the help of two neighbor kids on a journey to the dream country. Surely, if they can find the Dreammaker, he will weave the perfect dream to cure Mama of her drinking. The tragedy of addiction throbs at the heart of this story, and the children must wrestle many demons, real and imagined, to claim their own value, and inspire hope and change for their families.

If you would like to enter the world of my Soul Stories, you can read excerpts, and articles on my website http://www.soulstories.net Books may be ordered from Amazon. Direct link is http://amazon.com/SoulStories-Safari-Mara-Horned/dp/1926975006

AND, I invite you to hop onto the links below, to learn about the wonderful writers participating in the Blog Hop of Sleigh Bells and Ink Wells!

BLOG HOP PARTICIPANTS NAME … BLOG NAME, and BLOG URL

Smoky Zeidel, Smoky Talks, http://SmokyZeidel.wordpress.com

Patricia Damery, Patricia Damery, http://www.patriciadamery.com/

Debra Brenegan, Debra Brenegan, author, http://debrabrenegan.blogspot.com/

Malcolm R. Campbell, Malcolm’s Round Table,
http://KnightOfSwords.wordpress.com

T.K. Thorne, T. K.’s Tales, http://tkthorne.wordpress.com/

Anne K. Albert, Anne K. Albert, http://Anne-K-Albert.blogspot.com

Elizabeth Clark-Stern, Elizabeth Clark Stern’s Blog, http://elizabethclarkstern.com/wordpress/

Collin Kelley, Modern Confessional, http://collinkelley.blogspot.com/

Sharon Heath, Sharon Heath, http://www.sharonheath.com/

Melinda Clayton, Melinda Clayton, Author http://AuthorMelindaClayton.xanga.com

Ramey Channell, Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge,        http://SweetMusicOnMoonlightRidge.blogspot.com/

Leah Shelleda, After the Jug was Broken, http://www.leahshelleda.com/

13 thoughts on “

  1. The child is a powerful symbol of the soul’s journey. Since we’re universally drawn to it–regardless of our religion or philosophy–it is also a powerful symbol in our storytelling. I especially liked your stories and the way the child blended into the reality in which it was placed and brought the reader new meanings on many levels.

    Malcolm

  2. Elizabeth, you have written so beautifully about the meaning of the birth of the divine at this time of year. When people ask about what it means when I say I celebrate Winter Solstice, or Yule, I tell them simply, “I celebrate the rebirth of the sun. You, as a Christian celebrate the birth of a son.” Often, they see the similarity. Sadly, sometimes they do not.

  3. Oh, Elizabeth, what a beautiful post! I’d love to introduce your Beatrice to my Fleur! Though I write for adults, it seems you and I are both smitten with the archetypal divine child and the sense of renewal with which it imbues our lives. Lucky women, yes?

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