Feminine Mysticism in Art by Ashland resident Victoria Christian has been named by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group as one of the best indie books of 2019.

Victoria’s book is the winner of the Spirituality category in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the world’s largest not-for-profit book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors.

The awards are judged by leaders of the indie book publishing industry, including many with long careers at major publishing houses. Their love of a great read and experience in the publishing arena identify books deserving a wider audience.

 2019 is the 12th year of the not-for-profit book awards program.

Catherine Goulet, Co-Chair of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, proudly said, "Our program has become known as the Sundance of the book publishing world." Sundance is the famed independent film festival which is now described on its website as “the ultimate gathering of original storytellers and audiences seeking new voices and fresh perspectives.”

In an article at CNN.com titled If it’s cool, creative, and different, it’s indie, journalist Catherine Andrews wrote: “The term ‘indie’ traditionally refers to independent art – music, film, literature or anything that fits under the broad banner of culture – created outside of the mainstream and without corporate financing.” That definition remains true for book publishing.

 Independent book publishing companies are independent of the major conglomerates dominating the book publishing industry. Indies include small presses, larger independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.

 According to Goulet, “Like other independent artists, many indie book publishers face challenges that the industry giants don't experience. The indies have to work much harder to get their best books into readers’ hands.”

 “Authors and publishers who compete in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards are serious about promoting their books,” added Goulet. “They aim to stand out from the crowd of millions of books in print.”

 According to an October 2018 report by Bowker, publisher of the Books in Print database, the number of self-published titles grew to 1,009,188 in 2017, an increase of 28% over the previous year, surpassing the million mark for the first time.

 The most recent statistics from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reported more than 2.2 million books published worldwide in a single year. 

 To help indie authors and publishers reach a wider audience, the top 70 books in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards will be reviewed by New York literary agent Marilyn Allen of Allen O’Shea Literary Agency, or one of Ms. Allen’s co-agents, for possible representation in areas such as: distribution, foreign rights, film rights, and other rights. Ms. Allen has worked with best-selling authors and served in senior positions with major publishers including Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Books.

 The awards will be presented on June 21 in a ceremony at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, coinciding with the American Library Association Annual Conference.

 A complete list of 2019 winners and finalists is available at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards website at www.indiebookawards.com.

AuthorVictoria Christian

Her anthology featuring over 65 Visionary artists and writers is an Amazon top-seller

Ashland, Oregon, April 29th 2019 – Author Victoria Christian's anthology of visionary art and writings entitled "Feminine Mysticism in Art: Artists Envisioning the Divine" is a 2019 Silver Nautilus Award Winner in the category of Photography and Art. The book, released in 2018 is self-published by Victoria's Independent Publishing Company Awakening Soul Wisdom. Victoria is the head editor and contributing writer/artist and Susan Stedman, Victoria's Mother, is the copyeditor.

Feminine Mysticism in Art fills the void of Goddess imagery and wisdom in the West by providing images and writings offered by 70 contemporary visionary artists and writers (male and female) who have committed their life's work to the re-birth of the Divine Feminine in the West.

"This book is an incredibly unique and powerful book as it reveals contemporary sacred iconography of the Divine Feminine and Primordial Sacred Union in various spiritual traditions", says Author Victoria Christian. "And because it is a co-creative effort of 72 powerful voices, it has a tremendous impact both personally and collectively. It truly is the medicine for the world right now and has the potential to spark a massive tidal wave of awakening, which is needed right now in order to balance out the hyper-yang patriarchal systems of domination. However, this book is about equality of the sexes, and ultimately, a transcending out of socially constructed binary gender roles as we individually and collectively awaken to ONENESS."

The mission of the book is to not only document a genre of art referred to as Feminine Mysticism or Goddess art, but also to reveal powerful images of the Divine in his/her myriad forms. The ultimate mission of the book is to assist humanity in evolving our conceptualization of the Divine, transcending out of antagonistic, dualistic, and hierarchical gender associations and into a new mode of consciousness that is more inclusive of all of God's creation.

The book is available in Softback, Hardback and Kindle E-book, is printed and distributed by Ingram and is available on Amazon.com and other online bookstores internationally and through retail bookstores throughout the US and Canada.

About Victoria Christian

Victoria Christian, M.A, M.S.W is an author, transpersonal psychologist, sociologist, artist, and sacred activist. She holds a Masters of Social Work from Portland State University and a Masters of Sociology from Northern Arizona University. For more information about the book see the website: www.awakeningsoulwisdom.com Victoria counseling website, Guanyin Healing Arts can be viewed at: www.guanyinhealingarts.com

About the Nautilus Book Awards:

During the past 20 years, this unique book award program has continued to gain prestige with authors and publishers around the world as it seeks, honors, celebrates and promotes print books that inspire and connect our lives as individuals, communities, and global citizens. nautilusbookawards.com

Ashland Daily Tidings News Article

Ashland artist-author Victoria Christian has published a 430-page book titled “Feminine Mysticism in Art, Artists Envisioning the Divine,” a stunning visual compendium of the works of 70 contemporary artists marking “the reemergence of Goddess imagery and wisdom in the West” to support “a growing awareness that we are doomed as a species and planet unless we have a radical shift in consciousness.”

The book was granted a silver Nautilus Book Award on Thursday for photography and art books. It’s a major award for works in the genre of social and environmental justice and has gone to such luminaries as Deepak Chopra, Barbara Kingsolver, Thich Nhat Hanh and Amy Goodman.

The large-format book explores facets of the “sacred feminine archetype” in the sacred union of male-female and nature-humanity, creation, sexuality, emotion, wisdom, transformation and a “new golden age on Earth.” She calls it “Art for Earth’s sake.”

“I’ve always been fascinated by women mystics, along with yoga and meditation,” she said. “It all blooms from my own transcendent mystical experience, and I wrote about a third of the book.”

It contains many articles by prominent thinkers in the field, including Anne Baring, Sandra Ingerman and Margaret Starbird. Some essays and paintings are by men.

“The artwork alone is unique, exquisite, political and provocative, communicating a message of hope for the postmodern era,” she notes on her mysticspiritart.com.

“It is an epic co-creative effort by powerful voices in the women’s spirituality movement, the inter-spirituality movement (drawing from all religions), the transcendental art movement, and the ecological movement,” said Christian in her book statement.

Christian is a transpersonal psychologist and social worker, with a master’s degree. The book project was done with a big learning curve on editing-authoring, stretching over 12 years, with her mother Susan Steadman as co-editor.

Christian grew up in Ashland and, as a girl bicycling through the woods, “I had a lot of mystical experiences, lying on the Earth, connecting with myself. It really grounded me, and I received profound healing from Gaia.”

She calls her own art “magical realism.” One shows a happy young girl kicking her legs out while riding a bicycle among grazing sheep into the rising sun. The meaning is clear: happy, playful, secure, free in a better world.

In her forward to the book, Gloria Orenstein, a gender studies professor at University of Southern California, said it presents a “second wave” after “goddess art” or ecofeminist art of the late 20th century, and is “more enlarged, inclusive and evolved. ... I am stunned how rapidly and organically the new movement has sprung forth ... and more importantly, how the visionary aspect of this art literally transports the viewer to expanded states of consciousness.”

Besides herself, she said, local artists include Raul Casillas, Atman Rebecca Cloe, Lindy Kehoe and Martin Ball. Many are sensual, tribal, shamanic, ecological, cosmic, apocalyptic, sometimes incorporating images of traditional religions.

“A lot of these artists had profound mystical experiences during their artistic process and this book,” she noted, “allows them to show their images in a way that doesn’t degrade their experience. They were having a very common experience of the divine feminine, but it’s also common to experience a lot of rejection around that. However, transcendental art is a really important movement that gets around the commodification or commercialization of art.”

The book allows artists to describe their “ineffable experiences on a subjective level,” she said, and — with her “Toward the Within,” she painted from a transcendent experience in Navajo canyonlands. “I was completely one with nature, all sense of ego dropped away. It was like time travel, going back to the divine primal sacred.”

Christian said she created the book to help get out of the “antagonistic, dualistic and hierarchical gender associations (of organized religion) and into a new mode of consciousness that is more inclusive of all God’s creation.” Tor this, it’s “essential that the sacred feminine be firmly rooted in human consciousness.”

The book is self-published through her Awakening Soul Wisdom and is printed on demand via Ingram Books in Roseburg. It’s on Amazon in hardback, paperback, e-book (Kindle) and, with art and music, on DVD.

Reach Ashland freelance writer John Darling at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

AuthorVictoria Christian