I write honest fantasy. Honest fantasy is about real people in fantasy worlds who are relatable, who in their alien place can reveal to us truths about our own place. I use magic, fantastical creatures and imagined worlds to explore subjects close to home.
These fantasy worlds are based on our own familiar Earth. There’s horses and cake, swords and palaces. Sometimes I need to do some research into history, physics, engineering or biology in order to anchor my fiction in facts. This blog series is a peak into the varied and fascinating research which enhances my work. Some might call it procrastination, I call it fantasy facts.
In the Ethra Born series, the priestesses believe in a Goddess called Ethra. She is the sacred spirit of the world with a bountiful and generous nature. As High Priestess Shang-Lae says, “When each of us is born, a part of Her spirit is born with us and when we die, that part of us is returned to the Goddess”. Therefore, everyone is connected through the part of us that is Ethra’s.
The priestesses are healers, revering life. They know that everyone is as sacred as Ethra. They know that the actions we engage in, the choices we make, our intentions and purpose, matter on a divine level. Whatever we do during our lives, we take with us when we return to the Goddess, changing Her, affecting everything She is connected with.
Lowenna is Ethra Born, a rare individual who appears human but is actually a spirit born directly from the Goddess. Lowenna can directly access the wellspring of divine power. Just like nature, she can heal and grow or she could choose to destroy and injure. Her upbringing as a healer and priestess urges her to be a nurturing pacifist but the nightmares which have haunted her her entire life, show her a different path. The dreams are snapshots of other people’s lives, emotionally charged, from their most desperate, passionate moments. Connected so closely to the Goddess, Lowenna experiences these immersive visions from the life-fragments that Ethra holds.
The concept of the deification of the Earth can be traced back through many civilisations. Most commonly it is a female deity, although Egyptian mythology is an exception, having an Earth god. In Greek mythology, the Earth goddess is called Gaia, corresponding with the Roman, Terra. Gaia is considered to be the primordial mother of all life. In Celtic religion, the Earth mother goddess is called Danu. In Viking culture, her name is Joro. Around the world, she is known as Pachamama, Houtu, Papatūanuku and many others.
These Earth goddesses personify the bounty of nature, as well as representing motherhood and fertility. Often, they hold the power of both creation and destruction. As Shang-Lae said, we are born from the Goddess and it is to Her we return when we die.