Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Victoria Marina-Tompkins: The IAN Interview

Author Victoria Marina-Tompkins discusses her book Spiritual Turning Points and her writing and publishing experiences. First her Bio.

Author Victoria Marina-Tompkins is an Intuitive, Astrologer, and founding director of Flight of the Hawk Center for Contemporary Shamanism in Half Moon Bay California. In 1994 she produced the music CD “Flight of the Hawk: Shamanic Songs and Ritual Chants” which continues to be distributed worldwide. Victoria has a private practice in spiritual counseling and is a recognized leader in the fields of contemporary shamanism and spirituality. Victoria lives with her husband John on the Northern California coast.

IAN. Tell us about your latest book.

VMT. SPIRITUAL TURNING POINTS offers a groundbreaking look at the Seven Life Transitions of Birth, the Terrible Twos, Adolescence, Mid-life Crisis, Life Review, Dying and Death through the lens of Shamanism, Astrology, and the Michael Teachings. It represents the culmination of twenty years of client work, personal experiences and spiritual mediumship. Victoria Marina-Tompkins presents a compelling explanation for the mysteries of birth, life, death, and beyond. A must read for serious students of metaphysics, SPIRITUAL TURNING POINTS is a fascinating investigation of how the human soul evolves through each lifetime.

IAN. How long did it take to write the book?

VMT. I had been gathering client stories for many years then on Sept. 1st 2010 I sat down and began to write. I devoted at least 2-3 hours a day to writing and finished Nov. 1st, just two months later.

IAN. What inspired you to write the book?

VMT. Over the years, I have heard many amazing stories from clients and friends about their personal life transitions and I wanted to share what I had learned during my twenty plus years of private counseling and personal spiritual studies. I feel that there is a common thread that all humans share, natural rites of passage, and looking at these threads through the lens of shamanic or indigenous cultures and comparing those practices to Western rites of passage proved to be very interesting. We can learn a lot from people around the globe and learn to live more in balance and joyfully. We can learn to welcome change.

IAN. Talk about the writing process. Do you write at night or in the morning?

VMT. That's an interesting question. Although I consider myself to be a night person as I played classical music professionally for many years that required working at night, I always write first thing in the morning when it is quiet and I can hear my own thoughts.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

VMT. I knew I wanted to work with the seven life transitions starting with birth and ending with death, so I started with birth and then wrote about each of them in sequential order. Once I wrote the first draft, I returned to chapter one to flesh it out, eventually expanding each chapter. I wrote four drafts total before the final one.

IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?

VMT. Well there's really nothing quite like this in print that combines psychology with shamanism and esoteric studies. You can find individual books that discuss life transitions, but to my knowledge none that combine the three disciplines. I also think including people's stories brings the principles to life as the reader can see how they apply pragmatically and not just in theory.

IAN. Is your book published in print, e-book or both?

VMT. Both, it is available in hardcover, trade paperback, and as an e-book.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

VMT. I hope the readers will see that change is a natural part of life and can be embraced rather than feared. Applying the concepts I have presented will help them identify significant times in their life, the Spiritual Turning Points, when they can align with their souls purpose and move forward with less fear and more curiosity and a positive outlook. My book is also great for parents whose children are experiencing transitional states including the twos and teens as well as whose aging parents are facing the end of life. Spiritual Turning Points is, as one colleague said, a manual for life that we can return to again and again.

IAN. Where can we go to buy your book?

VMT. Online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, SonyReader, or iBooks for Apple products. It can also be ordered through the publisher Xlibris or your local bookstore.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

VMT. My next book is about moments when the paranormal and every day life intersect. It's a departure from my first book but also based on personal experiences. It's a page turner!

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?

VMT. My website is and my blog I post ongoing writing on my blog as well as publishing updates. I am also on Twitter @FOTHawk, Spiritual Turning Points has a page on Facebook, and I am also on Goodreads and LinkedIn. Please look me up and become a fan!

IAN. Thank you and good luck with your book and future writing.

Spiritual Turning Points

191 pages


An excerpt:

Life Transition Four

Part One

Midlife Spiritual Crisis

If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into.

—Saint Theresa of Lisieux, Nineteenth-Century Carmelite Nun

The years following the completion of the third transition are filled with new experiences as the young adult ventures into the world, building foundations for home, work, relationships, and leisure-time activities. This is usually a period of excitement as ideas are implemented, doors are opened, new relationships begin, and the life moves forward at lightning speed. All seems right in the world.

Then, somewhere between the ages of thirty-five and forty, a feeling of discomfort begins to creep into what has become an idyllic life in many ways, a dissatisfaction that is perplexing. Or a sudden event such as losing a job, divorce, or other family issues may provoke changes that are not welcomed and spin the now full-fledged adult into a vortex of self-questioning. Resisting these new problems, it’s common to try to keep it all together, maintaining external appearances but facing sleepless nights, worry, fear, and anxieties which are rooted in what will soon become a midlife crisis, a time when what isn’t working becomes unavoidably clear even if what to do about it isn’t.

St. John of the Cross, a Roman Catholic mystic of the sixteenth century, called this process “the dark night of the soul” in his poem “La Noche Oscura del Alma.” He described how the soul must face hardships on a journey through the dark night in order to separate from worldly concerns and eventually reunite with God. During this dark journey, comforts that before would bring solace no longer work; prayer, meditation, and time with loved ones feel empty and without meaning. It is as if God has abandoned you. Night and day blend together, and there is little respite from feelings of loneliness and desperation, which may appear as depression and isolation, or as a lack of energy or interest in life.

Soul Loss and Disconnection

Shamanic cultures describe this process as “dismemberment,” a time when a person is dragged down into the depths of the underworld where a surrendering process must occur before the healing can begin. The personality that has been created from birth to middle adulthood was based on family expectations, which now begin to feel false and hollow. The initial stages of the fourth transition do indeed feel like one is being torn apart as the personality faces an onslaught of unconscious material sometimes in the form of dreams—earthquakes, tidal waves, and other dark unseen forces out to get you. This phase can also feel like falling into a great pit or hole where one is unable to climb out. “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up. It’s total darkness. I’ve lost my way.”

Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of the sky who chose to pass through the seven gates of the underworld, each time surrendering something of value until she entered the realm of her sister Ershkigal, the queen of darkness. There she was stripped bare and hung naked and lifeless on the wall. Early Aztecs believed that the Earth was created when Tlalteuctli was dismembered, and Inuit mythology tells the story of Takanakapsaluk whose severed parts became sea creatures. These myths explore the deep transformational process that occurs during a dark night experience, when we must let go of our egos and allow ourselves to literally fall apart, tolerating the intense discomfort of no longer knowing who we are so that we may begin the internal process of self-inquiry.

These experiences may also not be all metaphor. Life events can occur which literally throw us into turmoil and can become not only life altering, but also life threatening. Some face serious physical illness at the onset while others grapple with intense emotional obstacles. What has worked before no longer works, for in many respects, the old life is in need of change in order to facilitate the emergence of the true self that is rooted in love, not fear and familial patterns. In order for these changes to occur, it is necessary for the patterns to be illuminated and brought into consciousness rather than remaining undercurrents in the life. Such personality traits now become glaringly uncomfortable—the perfect wife and mother realizes she wants something more; the breadwinner who has clocked in forty hours a week feels depressed and without energy, feeling a restlessness which he can’t quite put a finger on. Details of these stories are unique, but the theme remains the same as life structures begin to crumble all around them and the internal angst increases exponentially.

The Goal of Self-Realization

The ultimate purpose of this transition is to achieve self-realization.

Usually, most people do not have a clear idea of who they really are after years of imprinting by their families, and adjustments made by them in order to fit in, achieve, or be accepted are related more to who they are not rather than who they are. The false self has been built on expectations placed on the person as well as the family icon itself that was given prior to birth, the totality of which is difficult to grasp early on in the process. If self-awareness does not occur as a result of the monadal process, then acquiescence can occur, the negative of this transition. As is true with other transitions, it is possible to end somewhere between the two with no firm footing in either and a tendency to vacillate depending on external events.

During the course of the transition, there are likely to be many small “ah ha” moments that will eventually add up to create the true personality that is based on self-awareness and acceptance if the individual is willing to make the necessary external changes after realizing who they truly are. Choices are plentiful along the way and provide many opportunities for an increase in consciousness should the seeker be willing to change. Fear of the unknown is perhaps one very challenging aspect of this work for as the old self is cast aside in preparation for the new, a willingness to wait for what may be coming may provoke anxieties and the need to do something when in fact waiting is the best course of action.

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