Shortly after my college days, I developed a series of questions that I would present to women I met who interested me enough to make me want to know more about them than how well they performed on the dance floor.  Not to take anything away from the dance floor.  One should not underestimate what can be discovered on the dance floor.  Neither should one understate the difficulty in the cold sales pitch needed to get a complete stranger isolated in a crowd of moving bodies.  When on those occasional times I was successful, the next challenge was to leave the dance floor with the girl, luring her away from her friends’ assuming eyes.  Finally, away from the dance floor, somewhat able to hear each other’s words over the music, I would ask at some point in the conversation what color dress she would like, if I was to buy her any dress that she’d ever want.  It was my way of asking “What is your favorite color” and not sound like a goof.   Furthermore, when I juxtaposed her answer to the clothes she wore at that time, I gained a little insight on her psyche.  This was good for me in my attempt to level the playing field.  You see, the guy already plays his hand when he asks the lady to dance.  Now, she already knows he’s in to her.  He doesn’t know, however, that she’s in to him.  Yeah she may be curious; she may even like something about him, but he never knows for sure what it is.  She could be out for a free drink – he’ll never know, so the guy has to find a way of leveling the playing field.

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At this moment in my life, I understood how to get from people information that was not necessarily volunteered.  I understood the power of symbolism.  I learned that the colors a person wore more frequently had connections to their personality, securities or insecurities.  It would be an over simplification to say that most people who often dress with bright, flamboyant colors are seeking attention or hiding their insecurities.  But there is some degree of truth to such assumptions.  Despite the amount of research in this matter, little information has been disseminated on the effects that colors have on the human psyche.  Jill Morton is an instructor for Color Matters, which is an online class with a full curriculum.  In her courses, she teaches how colors have profound effects on the human mind and behavior; additionally, she shows that colors embody messages that often sway thinking and influence emotional reactions.

To go a little further, after a day or two, I would ask a lady to make an animal symbol to represent me.   Then I would ask that she did the same for herself.  From her answer I would infer her expectations in a relationship.  If she described me as a lion and described herself as a rabbit, I inferred that she wished for a secure, somewhat aggressive, and almost imposing man in her relationship – not forceful, gentle at times but in no way a pushover, still sensitive enough to stroke her ego and enjoy intimate and meaningful moments.  In some cases, I turned, ran and never looked back.  The point is that I understood that if a pitcher is worth a thousand words, a symbol is worth a hundred more.

I use symbols in my writing, quiet a bit.  I like to play with the conspiracy theorist who find Illuminati symbolism in everything.  The truth is that if Rihanna makes a hand symbol in a music video, it will have no effect on the viewer unless the symbol’s meaning is interpreted in the way it was intended.   Cultural ideas and definitions are what makes cultural symbols work.  Remember the scene in DaVinci Code when Robert Langdon made his presentation and revealed that the priest in Spain use the same symbol as the Ku Klux Klan?  The symbols of the hooded robes had one meaning in Spain and a different almost opposite meaning in America. He did the same thing with the Poseidon’s trident when the crowd assumed it was the devil’s pitch fork.

This is not to disqualify symbolism.  Psychologists know that symbols have very effective uses that can hold complex ideas and beliefs.  In 1935, using symbolism, Carl Jung developed the Active Imagination technique to treat patients.  This technique parented others like autogenic Therapy and guided affective imagery to help treat patience.  Along with psychologists, Wiccans understand that symbols hold various transferable energies.  In Men Djinn & Angels – Awakening, there is a scene where Charles takes letters from the Angelic Alphabet to create a symbol, and using a Wiccan technique, he heals his sick aunt.  In this technique, the spell is activated when the image is burned or destroyed (with the proper type of mental, spiritual, and physical energy).

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The use of symbols by characters and in narration or plot line can be a fun way to tell a story.  I believe it also provides depth to characters and plot by giving an extra layer that could inspire higher level thinking.  When I write, I often try to convey a message as well as tell an entertaining story.  Sometimes the names of my characters are used as symbols.  This was a technique I picked up from To Kill A Mockingbird.  Nathanial Hawthorn and Edger Allen Poe were writers who influenced me to use symbolism in my writing and now I enjoy doing so.  In Men Djinn & Angels – Awakening, Talib’s name is an example of name symbolism.  The two ships that sale over the waters dividing continents are symbolic, and Charles’ trip to England with his Grandfather is symbolic as well.

With all this being said, I believe that symbols can be powerful tools.  As far as the conspiracy theories of mass hypnoses, I think there is some truth to them, however exaggerated they may be.  I often laugh about a YouTube video I saw a couple of years ago where some guy elaborately uses the “clues” from a Kanye West No Church In the Wild video to prove how Obama and Prince William will lead the US to war against Russia.  I think it is safe to say he was wrong.  But if you are a writer, I encourage you to use symbolism.  If you read many books, look for the use of symbolism and you will get much more from your reading experience.

I was just barely twenty-years old when I caught the paranormal fever. It started with a movie; I don’t remember the title, but it dealt with an Angel that came to earth for some mission and fell in love with a woman. Sense then, I’ve been drawn to similar books and movies until perhaps five years ago when they started to boar and annoy me. It may have been the Twilight series that did it for me as the story line seemed to get out of hand. I did like the beginning of the series, as it was intriguing and different: Vampires trying to co-exist with people. True Blood, the HBO series, was equally intriguing for a while. But then, the stories all seemed to have the same basic story lines that I broke down into two categories.

The Love story: These stories, mostly written by female authors, seem to lose an interesting story line in an abrupt or slowly materializing romance. The innocent, beautiful girl causes the powerful vampire or angel to throw everything to the wind in order to obtain her love. If not that, the powerful supernatural being is on a quest to find his lost love. These stories usually have nice action that kept me interested, but then, often became sappy. An example of this is Fallen, by Lauren Kate. I was caught up in it for half of the story until – you guested it – it became sappy. Here is a description of the story from Good Reads.

17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.

The Demons of Doom. These story lines are usually written by male authors. They involve Biblical angelic or demonic characters by name and not so much by theological personality descriptions. These stories usually fail to take into consideration the idea that in theology, various demons are believed to have been bound or imprisoned until the end of time. Demons like Azazel and Asmodeus, according to religious texts and dogma, have been taken away from our world forever. Yet Azazel, is a very popular character that authors seem to always pull out of his eternal prison. In addition to the creative and theological contradictions, many writers paint Hell as a living quarter for demons. Hell is where they live? I thought it was a place for punishment, but many authors like to give these demons power that allow them to come from the fiery pit, and in some cases, they are sent to earth by the devil himself – who, according to theology and religious dogma, won’t see Hell’s fire until the end of time. Still, these writers like to make the devil the ruler of Hell as Hades rules the underworld in Greek mythology. In the end, just as the love story plot lines become sappy, the Demons of Doom plot lines become too simplistic. The demons have come to destroy mankind and wreak unprecedented havoc on the universe simply because they are evil. These story lines often lack complexity in the demonic characters and if I’m watching the movie, I’m only waiting for the next fight scene. Take for example the film NEPHILIM. Here is a description from IMDb

<strong>NEPHILIM begins with the first signs of warfare evolving between good and evil. Set in modern times, two archangels, an atypical priest, an ex-homicide detective and a resurrected spirit form an unlikely alliance to unite against an insurgence of fallen angels and the termination of free will. It is written that the final battle is destined when the seeds for the race of Nephilim were planted by Beshwa, the first fallen angel to mate with humans during the ancient days on earth. Now, Father Markus must lead the battle against Azazel, a fallen angel who plans to create a new race of Nephilim. If born, the new race will prevail over all mortals and wreak unmitigated havoc and unstoppable evil. Indeed, with the birth of the Nephilim, a final battle between good and evil is set to begin.

What both types of paranormal stories have in common is an over-humanization of the supernatural. I believe the paranormal genre tends to put too much human emotion into the supernatural characters without answering some basic questions. Why would an angel love a mortal so much that he gives up everything? How does an immortal throw away all reasoning and logic to blindly pursue a selfish goal? Why does evil exist? Are demons out to destroy mankind just for the sake of doing so with no other reason aside from their evil nature?

When I write my paranormal fictions – usually based on angels and demons (djinn), I try to find an original angle that answers the above questions. What my goal is with the Men Djinn and Angels series is to connect theology, science, history and creativity in a thought provoking way that tells an interesting and entertaining story. In future books,I hope to show that demons and angels are different from people by de-humanizing them and present a less visited view of mankind through the eyes of the supernatural. I don’t know if it works, but so far, I like what I have done.