The Making of The Mystical Ark
I had an idea once. I thought there might be a deeper meaning to the scripture commonly known as The Ten Commandments. As a student at what is now known as Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute, I learned to interpret the Bible metaphysically, meaning beyond the physical. I found this view of scripture fascinating as the words on the page opened up to reveal an underlying story that made so much sense it brought tears to my eyes.
I learned that the name Moses means “drawn from the water,” and that water represents a sea of consciousness, in this case, a consciousness of bondage and limitation. Suddenly, this story was not about a group of people that lived thousands of years ago. It was a story about you and me; a story about being drawn out of a sea of negative thought and freed from limiting beliefs.
It was from this expanded perspective that the first seed thoughts of The Mystical Ark were planted in my mind. The theme first emerged as a series Sunday school lessons titled, Seekers of the Lost Ark. The Indiana Jones movies were popular then, and the allusion to the Lost Ark film made the lessons more engaging for the kids. Years later, the idea took shape as a series of Sunday sermons, followed by a collection of essays that I was determined to make into a book.
Progress on the book was painfully slow, and the distractions were many. A half-written manuscript sat on my shelf for a year or two. But the idea would not go away. I would move on to something else, and then someone would ask when I was going to do the next talk in the series or when I would publish the book. Spirit seemed to be using people around me to encourage me to get busy with the book – and soon. So, I planned a writing binge; a weekend with the house to myself, no distractions, and forty-eight hours of nearly non-stop writing. Surely, I would complete this project before Monday rolled around. It was a great plan. I had lots of enthusiasm for it, but it didn’t happen quite that way. That weekend writing spree turned out to be just the beginning.
The morning I was to begin my writing marathon, I was awakened by a lucid dream. In this dream, a small group of explorers sat in a circle around the Ark of the Covenant. They were dirty. Their clothing was torn and spattered with blood. They tried to open the box, but it repelled them. They were all unable to touch it – except for one member of the team. When she approached the relic, her hand slipped right through the invisible force-field that had deterred the others. Then, the box opened, revealing a passageway to another realm of being. The entire team was pulled through the opening into a mystical experience that would forever change their lives.
The dream clung to me in vivid detail. I tried inserting the scene as a fictional forward to my exegeses of the Ark. But that didn’t work. The fictional scene was engaging – but the shift to the essays was abrupt and disorienting. It was as if two different books had been glued together rather than one leading gently into the other.
It seemed this book was destined to be a work of fiction; a story with relatable characters that would draw the reader into the experience. Writing a fictional novel was something I had never considered. I wasn’t even sure where to begin. What characters would I need to create? There was the small group of explorers in the opening scene, but I didn’t know who there were or what they would represent. What I did know was that I had to write this book. It would not leave me alone. It permeated my every thought. The Mystical Ark wanted to be born and was asking me to be its midwife.
But how does an author of spiritual essays and inspirational articles successfully birth a fictional novel? I was about to find out. The next two years would be spent putting the principles of visioning and positive thinking into action, developing a disciplined writing routine, reading every book on writing I could get my hands on, researching everything from geography and anthropology to the genetics of hair color – and oh – writing!
What began as an idea and a dream planted in my mind and heart blossomed into reality. The book is now published, and available from retailers around the world. The characters I created and lived with for the past two years are now engaging and entertaining an expanding group of readers. It is a deeply satisfying experience, and I look forward to sharing more about the steps I took to turn that dream into reality in blog posts to come.
© 2019. Eileen Patra
Eileen Patra is the author of The Mystical Ark: A Vessel of Blessings and an ordained Unity minister. She is currently guest speaking at a variety of Unity churches and working on her next book, Living as the Ark. Learn more about The Mystical Ark at themysticalark.com