THE MOURNING AFTER by Edward Fahey
Seeking other writers who write on spiritual topics, I was drawn to Edward Fahey’s work. His recently released novel is a treasure and I want to share it with a larger community of bloggers and others who have gifted me with a very special audience. Edward has created a beautiful, mystical work using his own brand of poetic prose which captivates and delights. His writing excels for its descriptions, character building, and tone. Come; dig into the magic and mystery as we follow Denis, M, and Waters who will eventually discover who they truly are.
Here’s a brief synopsis of The Mourning After:
Nightmares of war and death from lost centuries torment a young boy with ever more devastating detail until he can’t separate fantasy from reality. Denis meets a child he calls M, who seems to know his dreams intimately. She asks him, “Do you … remember?” He grows into adulthood amid disturbing evidence that his fantasies have been ancient memories. He finds a decrepit cabin in the woods where they start coming real. Outside is a grave for one of his “imaginary” childhood playmates, Enoch. Someone has been tending a garden over it. Through life after life Denis and M have loved each other with increasing desperation. He keeps dying young; leaving her grieving into lonely old age. Enoch, always in the background, somehow holds the key to ending this cycle of suffering. Denis now searches for M, as she fights her own haunting mysteries back to him. He meets a quiet, mysterious man in the forest…. You will believe in reincarnation. Probably before the narrator can. You will know that broken relationships can be mended, and that tragedy can lead to triumph. But most of all you will fall in love. This is a tale for those who never quite fit in. It’s a story of passion, where that which can’t possibly be true weaves through wonders that can’t be denied, until love makes everything real.
In a world where death is but another beginning, you must trust in what you cannot believe.
Welcome Edward and thanks for being here.
Thank you, Ellis. I feel like The Mourning After is my gentle-natured baby, so I love that she is touching the hearts and lives of so many readers. It’s like we are an intimate and growing family. I’m thrilled you’re now part of it.
I know this novel is a reflection of your own spiritual path and I wonder if you could share how the idea for the novel came into being and how it grew over time.
My mom, dad, and great-grandmother returned as ghosts. People in my family don’t always stay dead. I’ve had past life memories of being given as a small child to the church in medieval times, and of being burned at the stake as a high priest. Since childhood I’ve sensed lingering spirits in old homes and graves. So you might guess I rather naturally came by a certain curiosity about what lies beyond.
“The Mourning After” also grew out of a profound romance, including shared past life memories that totally changed me in my twenties. When it ended, a victim of loving beyond the stage of self-sacrifice, almost to that of soul-demolition, I knew we’d have to meet again in some future life, because we weren’t done loving each other.
I marinated in this conviction for years until “Mourning” was finally born.
I just returned from six months in Europe, touring powerful ancient centers of spirit, mysticism, and magic, along with ancient graveyards. Exploring other realms has been a lifelong passion of mine.
Throughout the book, you use extracts from The Mountain Journal. As a reader, I questioned whether these poems were specifically created for the book or if they were from your own journals collected over the years.
Great question. It was actually some of both. I’ve had readers tell me my characters are so alive they have dreamed about them. Well just imagine how they shove and nudge about through my own days and nights. When I finish writing one novel, I have to spend months letting that world dissolve before I can find an open place in which to start building, or discovering, the next world.
But while they are alive, we eat, sleep, and dream together. When I watch trees fade into darkness, I see them through the eyes, spirit, and mood of whichever character is coming through me at that time.
For example, I heard a dog echoing through the woods one night. I live in the woods, and had heard that before, but this time I was sitting with Denis, a lonely, painfully sensitive, isolated soul who had lost everyone he’d ever loved. He was troubled by nightmares that could have been ghosts, could have been past life memories. So I feel it was he, more that I, who wrote:
Dogs don’t echo in the city.
Under a low, sodden moon,
one far distant and solitary beast
called out to a world that had turned away.
His plaintive baying haunted me,
echoing unanswered through the wooded hills.
His loneliness drew up into a soft little fist of tears inside my chest.
The evening was just gathering;
this poor empty creature would have a long time to cry uncomforted.
– Then I sensed forsaken spirits
wandering lost among the trees around me,
keeping silent company,
themselves uncherished and unanswered.
As these nightmares and mysteries gather ferocity, slashing at him, insisting he figure them out, he can feel something big, maybe even fatal, coming at him. So when I listened to the winds as he was went this, it was as if it was he who was listening:
Far off I heard ominous winds gathering force,
churning trees with massing ferocity;
while around me
all things held and were still.
Except for the anticipation.
As I looked out on cold grey day as he suffered, I shared his mood:
Outside the clouding windows,
a few weary leaves
shivered off their last dying hopes
as fragile wood fingers danced back the winter.
I would love to take credit for these passages, but they grew out of the passions and needs of the characters moment by moment. Many have said this book has a life of its own, and I’ve just helped set it free. I may have been wandering the woods around my mountain cabin, observing and gathering thoughts; but once the world of any one book has formed around me, I am never alone, and what I write seems a shared effort.
Alone, I can only write the first draft. After that, the characters take the reins from me, and carry each tale to places I could never have imagined on my own.
One of my basic rules of writing is that I must surprise myself, or I could never surprise the reader. When these characters come fully alive, in all their psychological layers, they are just full of surprises.
Your novel begins with Denis as a child. I enjoyed the way you blended the fantasy play life of this boy with the stirring of past life recall. Did this come naturally to you or did you research children who exhibited past life recall?
I have researched reincarnation and what lies beyond. I am quite sure, since before my own birth. I’ve had ancient memories both under hypnosis, and spontaneously. In The Mourning After, there are scenes where a young couple recalls Native American village life from another time. These were based on recurrent memories I enjoyed from as far back into my childhood as I can remember.
I know we share a background in Theosophy. There are many aspects of the story which resonate with those ideas. What other ideas or influences helped you to create The Mourning After?
Students of theosophy may recognize certain moments, like when a ghost writes a message to a friend in trouble, and the words seem to bloom inside the paper, rather than being written on the surface (as with certain Mahatma Letters).
There’s another scene where a deceased character gathers a tiny seed of heaven and memory before being pulled back into the world of the living. This is how I see the concept of the Sutratma.
But beyond theosophy, and my own life, I think there have been unseen influences. Sensitive friends have told me that when I read passages of this to theosophical groups, unseen beings, spiritual teachers, gather around and listen in. Sometimes they nod, as though they had tried to influence or inspire me as I’d been writing it, and I may have gotten some of it right.
Can you tell us what you’re currently working on? Is a new novel in the works?
Until The Mourning After was actually published, I had no idea how profoundly it would affect the lives of so many. For example, I had no idea how many mothers out there have had their children tell them things like, “Remember when we lived on the farm, and you were my sister?” It doesn’t make the news, or even common small talk among friends, but there is apparently a lot of that out there.
When Dora Kunz first became president of the American Theosophical Society, she asked me to join her at headquarters, which I did for over a year. She and another beloved friend and mentor, John Coats, used to say Theosophy was mainly being presented to eggheads, that someone needed to breathe some life and youthful energy into it.
Now I’ve seen the wonderful reaction of everyday folks living ordinary lives, but loving my mystical little story. There seems to be a real need for presenting ancient truths to normal people in entertaining, easily assimilated ways. Single moms raising kids. Families and individuals dealing with AIDS, cancer, poverty, alcoholism… If these ancient truths are real for any of us, they must touch the lives of all of us.
So I want to continue offering messages of hope and theosophical principles through magical and entertaining stories. To these ends I am currently writing a book called “The Gardens of Ailana,” through which readers may learn how to heal and be healed. It will be based on my time studying Therapeutic Touch with Dora in private lessons after hours in the occult library at Olcott, with Dee Krieger, and the folks at Pumpkin Hollow Farm, and the New York T. S.
I am gathering ideas for another book so far titled, “Facebook Mystic.” It will be about people feeling isolated in their own lives, but who touch and bond through the internet. They find themselves guided more and more through undeniable synchronicity and developing awareness that could only come from some Higher, knowing, intentional force.
My life has been a strange one. Living with ghosts, healers, psychics, and mystics. Traveling out-of-body to the hospital rooms of those in need. Camping in deserts and living on cruise ships. Massaging celebrities and suffering poverty. Working myself up from suicidal depression to a life of joy and fulfilment. I have roughed this story out in a book called, “Entertaining Naked People,” but have stuck this on the back burner for now as I develop the others.
I’ve also written a political thriller, “The Soul of Hatred,” which will also have to sit on a shelf for a while. In this one, we show a dystopian future under a totalitarian government. The mega-rich have taken over everything, even re-writing The Bible to suit their agenda. America is lost to Dickensian poverty and ignorance as their mouthpiece “news” network encourages violence and racism, hoping to bring on Armageddon.
When they do, though, and God fires his first warning shots across the bow of humanity, the fascists find out they are on the wrong side.
For more information on Edward Fahey’s work, please visit his sites.