Historical Fiction / Short Stories
Date Published: March 20, 2023
From the Sphinx communicating through a Ouija board to Narcissus's traditional, terrible fate morphing into his first glimmer of hope, Tales of a Spiritual Sun re-writes the Greek myths as never before...
The tales of the familiar are tackled, such as the stories of Medusa, King Midas, and Pandora. Yet, Tales of a Spiritual Sun also includes those that are, perhaps, less well known such as Orpheus, Proteus, and Psyche.
All the stories are viewed from new angles or written with modern twists. They take on new lives, with fresh locations and messages at their heart. These include a scientific experiment ready to change the world on the night it is set to end and a personal detective who must decide if a man, claiming his wife is a nymph, is delusional or about to commit an awful crime.
Tales of a Spiritual Sun allows readers to discover ancient myths in a bold and original way, in both contemporary and traditional settings.
Read An Excerpt Below
About the Author
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD, MScMed, is a medical psychologist, poet, and artist. His seven published books cover contentious topics in psychiatry and clinical psychology, mind-matter interaction, literary studies, and poetry, and he is the recipient of twenty-two book/literary awards. He was elected for inclusion in the 2023 Doctors' edition of the Best of California Magazine for excellence in medicine. Paul's diverse academic interests straddle cognitive neuroscience, psychology/neuropsychology, and philosophy of mind on one end of the spectrum and esotericism, comparative religion, and history on the other. He enjoys cycling, weightlifting, playing the keyboards, and scuba diving in his spare time.
Excerpt from "Tales of a Spiritual Sun"
Choosing to contemporize or reconstruct any ancient myth, particularly a fragment of universally recognized mythological discourses such as Homer’s The Iliad and Odyssey or Hesiod’s Theogony, can be an incredibly daunting experience. Yet for any writer who intuitively penetrates the dark veil of entertainment, or explanatory devices, and sees myth as a primal mover in the narrative or story-telling process, one who can acknowledge the intrinsic powers of myth in reshaping and recasting the cosmic clay which forms the mold of knowledge, the cultural attitudes, behaviors and values of any society, and for any writer who appreciates the political ramifications that may ensue, retelling these extraordinarily powerful and timeless stories somehow mimics a thermometer. The thermometer—measuring and reflecting the increment and nature of our collective consciousness―acts as a necessary precursor to our evolutionary leap in critical thinking, inquiry, and the way we process and evaluate information as a whole.
But before we go onto my preferred choice of subject, it is necessary to define the physiology, the internal components or “stuff” of what might be defined as “myth.” Strictly speaking, myths are sacred, timeless stories that attempt to make sense of an otherwise confusing and chaotic universe. They also define and delineate the central “Self” from the unconscious matrix, illuminate the relationship between the microcosm of the “Self” and the macrocosm of the greater cosmos, and recount events pertaining to the origins and functions of the universe and all things, living or inanimate, contained within it.
Most of the questions inexplicably linked with myth are abstract, philosophical in nature, and highly resistant to localization in the three-dimensional, corporeal region of time and space. Myth consciousness might be viewed as a baby struggling to make sense of its immediate environment despite its own helpless state of passivity in a world of meaningless associations. Information processing belonging to this level of evolving intelligence would inevitably raise the following questions: Who am I? Who are we? How did I come to be?
What is the world? How did it come to be? Who created it, and what are the moral, and social codes of conduct that govern our behavior and society as a whole? What are the consequences of law-making and law-breaking?
The term mythos itself, derived from the Greek “mythos,” denotes a word or story. Apparently, the pre-Socratic philosophers only referenced it in passing and the concept didn’t really gain eminence in the intellectual world until the life and times of Plato, who perceived it to be a literary vehicle encapsulating allegorical truth, i.e., the mythos of Atlantis. The Platonic and Neo-Platonic schools of thought, despite some significant differences and unlike the dark age separating them, are inextricably linked with the exploration of reality. This exploration divided the cosmos into an eternal world of “being” which encompassed the intellect, divine forms and ideas, and the ever-fluctuating, temporal, and chaotic world of “becoming.” It goes without saying that Platonic thought flirted openly with a psychological, ahistorical approach to mythography, though little to no attention had been given to the hermeneutics of myth until well into the nineteenth century.
In 1890, Sir James Frazer published his now-classic book, The Golden Bough, as a quasi-anthropological work which defines mythological discourse as a preserved body of oral folklore, embodying the unconscious projections of pastoral dilemmas and traditions. Emerging in the twentieth century, Carl Gustav Jung and Sigmund Freud, taking a more holistic approach, saw myth as an exploration of psychological terrain in which archetypal content of the human psyche emerged from the unconscious, subsequently forging dynamic relationships with one another and with the macrocosm at large. Joseph Campbell, the author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, took the psychoanalytic point of view a step further; he professed that the characters of myth and dream were urgent heroes who embarked on a long journey, underwent a struggle of some sort, and successfully emerged from it enlightened and anew with a refined, resilient and altogether more evolved identity. On the polar end of this hermeneutical or interpretative scale sat French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, who rejected the psychological internalization of myth for a more impersonal model, one that emphasizes narrative strategy and plot device as the bone which forms the skeletal framework of all stories, be they compelling fiction or dramatic non-fiction.
My purpose here is not to analyze the scope of hermeneutical interpretation that has typified the study of mythography over the last few centuries but to give a millisecond flash, a fleeting glimpse, if you like, of the onion-skinned layers composing the mythological sphere; in this way, readers may garner a greater appreciation of its interdisciplinary, multifaceted nature. Thus, entering the labyrinth of mythology, one must tread the winding passages which harness a worm’s eye view of political, social, literary, performative, textual, psychological, astronomical, seasonal, and structural aspects, and all the while he or she must never lose sight of the birds-eye view, an impartial trajectory which succeeds in taking all into account without becoming localized.
Present-day Western society is eclectic in its choice of subject, with most academics and students harboring an unconscious bias toward Greek, Roman, and Norse myths. If one elects to study mythology at a postgraduate level, they’ll be surprised to find the subject reader askew with a profusion of classical texts. This is one reason I’ve chosen to contemporize a selection of Greek myths. Another is because simplified and unaltered children’s versions of classical myths comprised my first ever experience of active story-telling. It’s downright impossible to forget the page-turning suspense and anticipation evoked by masterful tales absorbed during one’s formative years, and I am no different. Who could overlook memories of the twelve death-defying feats of Heracles, Jason’s adventures in finding the Golden Fleece, Theseus’s courage in squaring off against the dreaded Minotaur, Perseus’s subjugation of Medusa, the snake-haired Gorgon, and the lamentable fate of Oedipus who killed his birth father and unknowingly married his own mother? Myths are narratives that reflect universal laws of being that no human can transcend, and so, carry widescale appeal. We are fascinated by them because we are them, individually and collectively.
The collection of short stories in this tome is Tales of a Spiritual Sun. As an avid lover of multiple meanings, my choice of a pun is self-explanatory. Just as the sun is the heart-center of the solar system that makes life on earth possible, so, too, is the Divine Mind, or what many would term as God, the source of the transient human soul which makes personal growth and transformation possible. These are the stories whose nuclei have their roots in esoteric spirituality as well as mystical philosophy, and the writer who transcribed them is merely a transitory vessel for an everlasting spiritual world. One might say, then, that they are cogitations of the spirit world written by one of its mortal children, a spiritual son. Functioning mythically, these cogitations aren’t true in the literal sense of the word. They are allegories comprising philosophical and spiritual truths about the anatomy of the individual and collective human psyche. In other words, they are unconscious archetypal projections that find expression through the contingencies of chance, time, and time again.
There are thirteen retellings in this collection, all written within the space of a year. In terms of content and proximity to the old myths, they range from marginally transformed versions that stay faithful to the original plots to versions whose skeletal frameworks and compositions are virtually unrecognizable.
Whichever the case, the contemporary versions can be linked to their ancient counterparts through ideologies, philosophies, characters, or narrative fragments held in common.
The reader is first dropped into the mystical marshes of the Minoan world and the inner chthonic workings of Hellenistic fatalism before a change of scenery brings him or her to a variegated landscape of star-crossed lovers; a landscape that includes inwardly-turned reinterpretations of Orpheus and Olympia Eurydice, Pygmalion and Galatea, Eros and Psyche, and Narcissus and Echo. Following this is a transposition into turbulent waters where the reader encounters such dreadful villains as the Minotaur, the shape-shifting Proteus, the Theban Sphinx, and the Gorgon Stheno. The mythological journey then changes trajectory once again, wheeling a Trojan horse of a different kind before the reader. Finally, an ethereal narrative built around a Pandora’s Box of the latter-day intellect unleashes a cosmic paradox into consciousness.
I hope you enjoy reveling in these tales as much as I enjoyed breathing life into them.
In the beginning, was the Word and the Word was with the Imagination, and the Word was the Imagination.
So, let the Imagination begin….