A Story that Heals
A Story that Heals: An Interview with a Survivor
“I could safely start to heal old wounds …And it all happened through the story…”
In this interview, Tetja Ann Barbee shares how reading my fantasy novel, Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer’s Prophecy, inspired her to forgive, and to deepen her own recovery process.
1. What was it like for you while reading Dark Innocence?
“In the beginning the author Rahima Warren, a licensed, experienced psychotherapist (now retired), makes it clear that there is more to Dark Innocence than just a fantasy fiction tale, and that her purpose is to provide a deep, meaningful, healing and spiritual fantasy story. “Wow, fascinating concept,” I thought, “a therapeutic story written in Tolkien style—MUST READ!”
At first I had little personal connection to the horror of the initial setting of this complex adventure, but I became so drawn to the spectacular story, that my feelings of separation turned to a longing to delve into my own psyche. And the hero Kyr’s tumultuous journey became my own! Through the very descriptive writing–colors, vibrations, sights, sounds—I developed a sense of deeper meaning. I began to feel, hear, see, smell, and taste the experiences of each character vicariously, which in turn, became personally relevant.”
2. What parts of the story resonated most with you?
“The visceral presentation of sex used as a means to control, dictate, and manipulate for the purpose of subjugation is a concept I took personal note of, having survived horrible sexual acts against myself in life. However, later in the book, the sacred sexual healing scenes with Kyr and Jolanya balanced out the earlier abusive ones.
In addition, as a Feminist, I have a deep personal connection with the metaphysical concepts of God, The Goddess, Yin & Yang,…. Dark Innocence gave me a world filled with the presence and practice of Goddess knowledge, the beauty of nature and life; a way to assess my own thoughts of human interactions; and hope for the future.
Another thing that your book has really done is helped tie in many years of good therapy with my personal faiths and connections to the Universal forces of masculine and feminine (yin and yang) via a fantastic and compelling fantasy story that I could both enjoy, and use as guidance through suffering.”
3. How did reading the story affect you?
“I put the book down twice with an initial reaction to the nightmarish evil the characters were facing, but it beckoned me because the story is written so well, and I decided to continue on the notion it was going to be an enjoyable reading experience rather than a personally relevant one meant to heal. I trudged on through the darkness seeking light in the story along with the characters, and amazing things began to happen in my mind. A mood began to set, deeply and passionately. When that happened, I could not put the book back down until I finished it!”
4. Did reading this story help you heal in any way? If so, how?
“By living vicariously through the characters in a safe, fun, and captivating manner, I began to relate to my own dark and deep feelings. I found I could safely start to heal old wounds, and question things about my own beliefs. And it all happened through the story’s presentation of terrible suffering, acceptance, and growth, as opposed to having to analyze myself. I cried and laughed a lot, and consciously decided that if these characters can face such horrendous pain and evil, and come out to a place of lightness and beauty and love, so can I.
As a result, I have been able to forgive someone with whom I was very angry for a long time, for injuring me in a car accident. I have committed myself to deepen my recovery process. And I’m enjoying the effects of personal realizations about my own path in life and where I want to go.”
Thank you for sharing your experience so openly, Tetja.
“Rahima, I want to thank you for having such a keen sense of a person’s suffering and the hurdles one can face while dealing with it… and for helping me jump the first hurdle!”