When a deceased southern Appalachian grandmother delivers a mysterious message to her adult granddaughter in a waking dream, she sparks a mystical adventure that helps the young woman turn her life around. The Garden of a Desert Rose, a spiritual novel, is a modern-day, Jungian takeoff on A Christmas Carol, in which Scrooge is a sweet-natured, Southern single mother (in red snakeskin heels, no less) who spouts Bible verses and basic Jungian concepts with equal enthusiasm.
Feeling defeated by her life choices, thirty-two-year-old, twice-divorced Lenny has little energy for launching a journey of self-discovery. Raising two children and holding down a job as a secretary for the coaching staff of the University of Tennessee football team keeps her days busy. But Lenny’s nights open a portal to a series of vivid, lucid dreams overflowing with rich archetypal images. Buoyed by the support of friends and her unflagging sense of humor, Lenny sees her inner desert transform into a blossoming oasis with one final Christmas Eve dream.
This is a work of “real-fiction” that tries to capture the reality behind the known world. The tools in author Deborah L. Kelley’s hand are her colorful imagination and a lifetime of personal happenings, visions, and spirit communications. Inspired by C. G. Jung’s writings encouraging people to discover their personal myths, Kelley imagined her own myth to the surface. She named her hero Lenny and, with many additional archetypes dancing in her head, revisited Christmas of 1982. It was a time in her own life in which profound mental transformations took place. The Garden of a Desert Rose is a novel that seeks to ignite in your own imagination a deeper awareness of the myth you’ve been living.
Granny’s Visit Even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. —Aeschylus (525-456 BC) The unseen visitor noticed a current 1982 calendar dishrag, reeking of mildew, carelessly tossed atop a pile of dirty white undershirts. She tried to kick it off with her foot. It didn’t work, but she really didn’t care. She was focused on delivering a message to a young woman, her granddaughter, who was in grave danger. The visitor would do the best she could to address the sleeping woman’s inner child and lift her limited awareness into a vaster awareness of Self. She had to work fast, and yet she needed to wait for just the right moment. She watched for signs that Lenny was betwixt and between conscious and unconscious awareness. As she watched Lenny’s eyes roll just a certain way, she zapped the top of her head with electrifying non-physical fingers. The touch of her hands sent patterns of energy into Lenny’s inner decoding system. The visitor smiled, looking down at her pink flowered cow creamer, sitting on the nightstand next to the bed. While she had been on earth, the creamer had been one of many treasures given to her by her husband. Now it belonged to Lenny. Then she looked down at the darn dishrag and kicked it once again. It didn’t budge. “Maybe next time,” she whispered. She thought of Home and then, she was there. “I just heard Granny,” Lenny whispered to empty space. But Granny was dead. No question about it. Yet there was not a single doubt in Lenny’s mind that she had just heard her Granny voice. “A Center stays where it is,” she’d said. “You are a Desert Rose. Now grrrrooow!” The last word sounded more like the growl of a tiger. It could also have been, “Now go,” or “Now glow.” She wasn’t sure. She reached up to rub the gummy mascara and sand from the corners of her eyes. With one arm, she swept heavy bedclothes off the top of her warm body. The air felt chilly. Lenny’s feet were on the floor before she realized that she was standing. She stood silent as a statue until her brain wrapped around what she thought she’d just heard. Standing, confused and more than a little disoriented, she looked around the bedroom for Granny’s ghost. She had seen her before in a lucid dream. It wasn’t that spirit communication was something new to Lenny. It was ingrained into the tapestry of who she was because she’d experienced it firsthand. Otherwise, like many other people, she’d probably think it was hogwash. She got up, walked toward her dressing table and plopped down, Indian-style. Her pink-and-green-striped satin vanity bench felt cold pressing against her ankles. She surveyed the landscape of her pale complexion. Her eyes were red from too little sleep, and too much wine and tearful poor me girl-talk whining had left her senses dulled. Yet Lenny sill sensed Granny’s presence. Her room suddenly felt too dark and lonely. On her vanity sat two tall lamps with tiny fringed shades. She switched one on and then the other. Together they cast a warm golden glow over her chilly bedroom. But her body still felt cold, covered in goose bumps from her encounter. Was the voice really Granny’s? It was forceful and know-it-all. That was definitely Granny’s style. Although if it had been Granny’s ghost, she didn’t bother to wallop Lenny on the head with one of her whipping Bible verses. The voice didn’t sound happy with Lenny. And Lenny knew she wasn’t happy with herself. Was her unconscious mind mirroring her own inner anxieties and frustrations with her life? She didn’t know.
Deborah Kelley is a visionary artist whose paintings display her love of nature and always incorporate a touch of the divine feminine. Her lifetime body of work includes oils, watercolor, pen and ink, and commercial illustration. At an early age, Deborah often experienced lucid states of dreaming, conversing with deceased loved ones and electrifying archetypal figures. Upon waking, she often felt confused about what was real and what was unreal. From this fertile ground, her inner author awoke. Her heart’s desire is to paint with words, from a Southern woman’s perspective, a rich and beautiful dimension of life just beyond the five senses.