Fantasy or Metaphysics?

I have described “Illiom” elsewhere as a book of metaphysical fantasy and I thought I might just spend a little time here explaining why I chose this description.

The issue arose when I began the process of publishing Illiom as an eBook on Amazon.  Amazon has this method by which you can choose a limited number of categories for a book that you wish to publish. The purpose is simple, to pigeon hole your book in order to make it easier for people to find works they are interested in.  Fair enough.

Amazon lets you choose just two categories so it’s a good idea to select well and accurately.  But as a recent best seller tells us, there are many shades of grey. Illiom was always going to be a fantasy story for the simple reason that I am deeply impassioned with metaphors.

Wikipedia, the celebrated on-line encyclopaedia, describes a metaphor as

“a figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object”

and then proceeds to quote Shakespeare’s well known “all the world’s a stage” line from “As you like it”.  Well of course the world is not a stage but we all get it: by using the metaphor the poet successfully side-stepped a lengthy explanation that also would have missed out on the poetic impact of comparing the world to a theatrical stage.

There is a more contemporary and specialised form of metaphor and it is that which is used in NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming).

To cut a long story short there was a time (in a recent past life) when I learned to create “metaphors” as psychological interventions for clients. The purpose of the metaphor was to provide the client with a story parallel (but not identical) to their predicament. Within the metaphor it was important to insert deeper stories in successive layers, stories that would help the client to subconsciously recognise the resources available to them and then, deeper still, to drink from a well of “embedded messages”: positive and uplifting assertions about the client’s intrinsic worth.

At the same time as I was delving into my clients’ psyche, trying to find answers that would help and not hinder, I discovered the fantasy genre.

Wow! Suddenly I felt like I had just discovered a metaphor on a gigantic scale, one that could be used to reach not just one person but hundreds, thousands and, potentially, even millions of people.

The Metaphysical side


‘What,’ I asked myself, ‘is the only thing worth sharing with people on such a scale?’  Well, the answer that came to me at first was very glib: truth.  Truth was worth sharing.  At first I toyed with the idea of spreading environmental awareness (yes, I was a bit of hippie-greenie even back in the early eighties). But it was not enough, I wanted to go deeper, I just didn’t know how…

It was considerably later – and over an extended period of time – that it occurred to me that I could only share what was mine to share, and not what wasn’t.  This may sound obvious, but when you don’t even know who you are, how can you even begin to know what is yours?

It helped when I began to experience an awakening, a rekindling, you might say, of spiritual fire.  Sharing truth suddenly no longer seemed like a conceited idea… of course I did’t have a monopoly on truth, but what I’ve always had was a monopoly on my particular experience of truth…

…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Leave A Reply (8 comments so far)

  1. Anna
    8 years ago

    isn’t that a paradox – if everyone has their own experience of truth then everything is true…


    Claudio Silvano Reply:

    …and, conversely, nothing is true!
    In India there are many different schools of philosophy. One, Vedanta, meditates upon what one is not. Another, Kashmir Shaivism, meditates upon what one is. The two are not seen as contradictory and both seem to lead to the same conclusions regarding ultimate reality…
    Personally, I like my points of view, but I know that they are only that: just points of view. Truth? Hmm…

    Rumi, I think said it best: “Out there, beyond right and wrong, there is a field… I’ll meet you there.”


  2. Todd
    8 years ago

    Hi Claudio,

    I am largely inspired in a similar direction to yourself; currently working on writing projects, and with the view of fantasy genre as a vehicle for truth.
    Acknowledging that truth is uniquely personal is vital to avoid the stagnancy of dogma and makes it a living and personal expression, and yet in this way, its depth can relate to many people. It reminds of the metaphor of Indra’s Net.
    J.R.R Tolkien also had a similar view, where he sought to create a mythology for England through his world of Middle Earth – he used the term Mythopoesis to describe this way of writing, and there is a society that is devoted to this (

    I think all this is most important for the future spirituality of our world.



    Claudio Silvano Reply:

    I remember the term Mythopoeic from the days when I started some early training in shamanic modalities, but did not realise there was a society devoted to it. Hmm, good stuff.
    Wikipedia tells me that the Mythopoeic Society even gives out awards to authors who meet its criteria. Good news, and I was very pleased to see some of my favourite authors – like McKillip, Beagle, Gaiman, Stewart, Chant and several others. Yum! A good source of kindred spirited reading material for which I seem to have an insatiable hunger…
    Totally agree about the role this can play in the future spirituality of our planet!
    BIG thanks for your comment, Todd!


  3. Tere
    8 years ago

    beautifully spoken/written… That’s why I love “sand play” – it’s a metaphore in the making – and does present the “player of sand” with his or her truths…
    best wishes for the remaining $200+.

    Ta – T x


    Claudio Silvano Reply:

    I like it that you wrote metaphore with an e on the end. I thought of doing that too and then caved-in under the perceived pressure to write it in the US spelling…
    Am not familiar with “sand play”, is it like the Navajo sand-paintings used in healings? Or something else?


  4. Ros
    8 years ago

    Ah, Truth!
    Is a beautiful thing.
    From the depth of our darkness
    to bring it to light,
    revealing to self
    that life’s a delight.


    Claudio Silvano Reply:



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Posted 15 December 2017

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