Spirituality and the Paranormal with Carole Ann Moleti

Midwives have long been associated with the use of herbs and potions, as well as with witchcraft. Most of my colleagues are not witches, but before the advent of modern medicine, women were called upon not only to assist with childbirth, but also to use their knowledge to heal any number of ills, both physical and psychological, in men, women, and children. When the outcome was not good, or the one expected, the midwife was often accused of witchcraft or sorcery.

Modern midwifery practice embraces all belief systems and incorporates the use of herbs and alternative medical practices and, as such, Wiccans and those with less mainstream religious and spiritual practices often seek our services.

Though divination and connection with ghosts and spiritual beings lies outside the grasp of my mind and abilities, watching those who have the gift do their work has convinced me that all humans have the capacity to use parts of their brain in the same way, but few have developed it.

The first step is opening one’s mind to the possibility, then embracing it with a peaceful, accepting attitude. But in order to transfer that into credible fantasy and paranormal fiction, writers must, at the very least suspend disbelief and, at best, understand and accept it themselves.

In addition to mining my experience and harvesting story ideas from dreams, I’ve applied my research and journalistic skills to writing paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I begin with the facts. Huh? We’re talking paranormal, right?

Herbology, alchemy, astrology, tarot, and divination are as old as history. Prayers and offerings to deities in exchange for favors, intercessions, and miracles are part of most religions, as well as the belief in an all-powerful being or beings that manipulate events.

I value among my friends and clients many witches, energy healers, and spiritualists who have taught me much about their beliefs, and allowed me to experience how rituals (including births conducted in settings where the space is conducive to spiritual and metaphysical connections) generate energy, and how it is channeled to produce the desired effect or outcome.

I’ve carefully followed the instructions of a santera on the use of teas, banishing and cleansing, potions, offerings of fruit and burning scented candles to heal both physical and emotional distress (much the same way people use aromatherapy and many Catholics light votives and pray to saints).

Natural phenomena, like observing a woodland full of blinking fireflies, gave me pause to consider the possibility that fairies really do exist. I’ve talked with ghost hunters about their research and practice and learned how to monitor for electromagnetic activity.

I approach research for my paranormal fiction as a traveler who wants to enter the culture to best experience it. Showing up with a camera, pad, and pencil will not allow you to obtain the information you need, nor the context required to translate it into a compelling plot with believable characters. If you’re going to ask readers for leaps of faith, you’ll need to take a few yourself.

One result is my recent publication in Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/133489

“The Dhampir’s Kiss” introduces the characters in my current writing project. A gritty urban fantasy, Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams is set in The Bronx, notorious for its gang violence, arson, drugs, and prostitution. A beta reader compared to Sin City, and I describe it as and mix-up of the film Fort Apache, The Bronx and Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities with an updated paranormal twist.

Blurb:

Can any vow survive immortal life?
Excerpt:

No ordinary Bronx girl, though na├»ve and unaware of the vast power she possessed, Taina Aponte wasn’t desperate enough to offer her loyalty, her neck, or any other part of her body, to Raul in exchange for a hit of heroin, cocaine, or crystal meth.

Down boy. The desire to leap from his perch and take her, too compelling for even the most lovely of his harem to satisfy, must be restrained. His aura threatened to flare like a candle flame too close to gasoline. Raul suppressed his demon’s halo lest she become suspicious of his intent. Claiming The White Witch required more effort than he was accustomed to. Much more.

Taina bound a circle in the witches’ area. Sun glimmered through the trees, speckling the grass with flecks of gold. Brighter than he liked, but private. The multitude of castings over the years kept mundanes away. Poor bastards weren’t even aware of bumping into the transparent curtain of energy that snaked off in the other direction like a magickal path to the noisy playground.

No sign of her defacto bodyguard Arnaldo. Good. This evening he could get Taina dhamp drunk and willing, scratch a fang across her throat, penetrate her. It only took one encounter to inoculate with the virus and begin the change, to absorb the elixir of life, to transfer the soul, the body, and the mind to his service. To advance the evolution of his kind.

 

Author Bio:

Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.

Carole’s work has appeared in a variety of speculative fiction venues including Lightspeed, The Internet Review of Science Fiction, Tangent Online, The Portal, and The Fix. Her short stories set in the worlds of her novels are featured in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts and Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires.

http://caroleannmoleti.com

12 thoughts on “Spirituality and the Paranormal with Carole Ann Moleti

  1. Good morning, all! I’m off to work for twelve hours (in the hospital) so I will check in when (and if) I can. Forgot to mention that I’d like to give away a copy of Bites to one reader who posts a comment or question on the blog here.

    How many of you out there are as lucky as I to have the opportunity for a spiritually rewarding experience during a normal workday? It may not always be a positive one–there was that voodoo curse a few years back–but….

  2. So, I can’t seem to access the discussion from my phone. Maybe leaving another note will accomplish that?

    • Thanks, Dina! I’ Catholic but see a lot of parallels between the Italian traditions my grandmother kept–a whole gallery of saint’s statues on an altar cloth in her bedroom, around which she burned votives for special intentions, and the Santeria traditions I see in the botanicas and in people’s homes. There is a huge cultural component where customs evolve and Santeria is known as a syncretized religion combining Nigerian traditions with the Caribbean countries due to the influence of slavery, forced conversions, etc.

      And the Wiccan rituals and practices focus on energy concentration. I’ve seen it work, and felt it.

      It’s a matter of opening yourself to the possibilities.

  3. What is the difference between Scifi and Paranormal and spirituality and religion? I think all have some truths in them that I like to explore in my books. But how do you feel about their differences?

  4. Linda

    Science fiction relies on observable and reproducible facts that can be extrapolated to some future event or practice. For example, genetic therapies and manipulations are now in the research stage, but a sci fi writer might pen a story about how genetic manipulation affected a population in the future–either making people stronger or live longer–or killing them off.

    Paranormal has to have some basis in a magical or mystic system, but you don’t have to explain the scientific basis for why your wand can shoot pure light energy at the villain or a spell can cause the moon to set earlier than it was supposed to.

    Religions, to me, are discrete belief systems built on concepts that all practitioners believe. Spiritualism is a part of religion because most, if not all, accept the existence of beings who are no longer, or never were, among living beings–angels, or saints, or God himself. You can’t see them but find solace in their presence.

    Pagan or pantheistic religions believe in spirits as well, they may or may not be deities, and can be natural forces, planets, etc.

    The more I study religions and spirituality, the more similarities I see–even though the practices are different. I have been fortunate to have met practitioners and believers who have been willing to share and welcome me, even though my religion is different than theirs.

    It makes for fascinating stories–and some truly memorable personal experiences as well

    Great question.

  5. BTW, if anyone wants to enter the random draw for a copy of Bites, please let me know. Leave a message here, and if you’d like, email me at caroleATcaroleannmoleti.com so I have your correct address.

  6. And BTW, BTW, just got home from a long day but I did have some lovely connections with patients today who are in tough situations but I think I was able to help them simply by connecting on a very deep level. So, I;m not that tired–rather energized enough to do a little writing.

  7. As a mnedium and healer I like your way of thinking, it’s great to find someone who is open to things beyond the norm.

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