Interview with Lona Lyons, author of “The Magdalene Dispensation.”
Reader Views is pleased to have with us Lona Lyons, author of “The Magdalene Dispensation.” Welcome Lona.
Irene: What inspired you to write “The Magdalene Dispensation”?
Lona: The characters and part of the story had been coming to me over a period of six years before I sat down and wrote what was to become the real first draft. I knew I wanted to write a book about the power of women and the force they become when they transcend their feelings of unworthiness and consequent tendency towards competition. I wanted to display the rich gifts of women and their embodiment of the Sacred Feminine that have been devalued for thousands of years. But even I was surprised how the story unfolded, as I’m sure most writers are when they sit down and let the pen have its way with them. The real turning point in story focus and content came about as a result of a writer’s workshop I took in which we were given exercises to help us identify our real passion – the thing we felt the most strongly about and would keep us up at night writing. I came to realize that my real passion was bringing to light the fear and guilt, as well as the cruelty and injustice, which have been perpetrated and perpetuated by some of the Christian churches throughout history. I wanted to present a more unconditionally loving and inclusive alternative that I believe is the truth of God.
Irene: You mentioned that you were surprised how the story unfolded. Do you believe that you, for lack of another word, “channeled” the story?
Lona: I have been asked that question by many people who say they feel the truth of what I have written. I can only tell you that, to the best of my knowledge, I was not “channeling” this information. Instead, I think I may have accessed an old wisdom that I once knew, and this wisdom is available to all.
Irene: Your book is considered as fiction. How much truth do you believe is in it? How do you base your belief?
Lona: For me, there is a lot of truth in the book. But I believe that it is up to each individual to develop the ability within them to accurately discern the truth and that responsibility should not be abdicated to any outside authority. “Blind faith” produces fanatics and cults and shuts down the intrinsic part of ourselves that knows better. I call that intrinsic part the True Self and I have come to know it as the presence of the Divine within every person.
I followed the same path in my early life that most follow when they are searching for God. I went to all the churches I could get my hands on and looked and listened intently. The only conclusion I came to was that I would never measure up to a God that was unforgiving, angry and disappointed in me as most leaders in the pulpit claimed HE was. And since God was presented as a man and I was female, I knew my chances for redemption were even slimmer. Yet, there was something in me that nudged me forward and made me persist in my search, despite my early disillusionment. I believe that “something” was the Voice of God within me and it is genderless and all-knowing. I believe that same “Voice” resides in all and our real job here on Earth is to allow that divinity to express through us, as us.
Irene: Please give us some tools as to how we can access that “Voice” that you speak of.
Lona: There are probably many ways to develop the stillness within where the “Voice” can be heard. Many choose meditation as a discipline to quiet the relentless wanderings of the mind so a deeper Truth can be accessed beyond the chatter. I think intention is an important first step because it creates a type of surrender, energetically, that opens a pathway to receive divine inspiration.
Irene: What research did you do before and during the writing of “The Magdalene Dispensation”?
Lona: I read many books and did a lot of online research, which I found to be more up-to-date than the public libraries. Margaret Starbird’s work was an inspiration and it rang many bells for me, along with Holy Blood, Holy Grail. I was in the final stages of editing my book when I heard about Dan Brown’s book and my first thought was that my book may be redundant. When I read The DaVinci Code, however, I was gratified to see that he had presented the same research that I had already seen and his story was much different than mine. I think his book is making a great contribution by bringing a lot of attention to the inconsistencies and abuses of power in Christian dogma and church hierarchies.
Irene: Much of the research would be your own interpretation of what you found. Explain to us how you were able to use this research and bring it into believable form.
Lona: One part of my book that is true is the part in which the fictional author tells how she was contacted by a client who claimed she was having the memories of Mary Magdalene. A woman actually contacted me and wanted to do some past life regression therapy to try to understand why Mary Magdalene’s life was coming to her so clearly. (Interesting “coincidence” since I had already worked on a previous draft of a Mary Magdalene book which was collecting dust in a drawer somewhere.)
Since I have a background in past life regression therapy, I agreed to help. In the course of many sessions that contained many details, some of my own memories returned from that period. I began to remember that I was there with Mary and Yeshua and that explained my passion for this story, along with a lot of other experiences I’d had in this life – such as the mystical experiences of the Crucifixion that occurred spontaneously about 25 years ago. As I got more in touch with that previous lifetime, I was able to use that as a foundation to help make the story believable.
Irene: Some people would discredit your theory of you being “there with Mary and Yeshua,” especially people that don’t believe in past lives or that one can actually go back into the memory bank and retrieve the experience. How can you make this more believable?
Lona: I probably wouldn’t be inclined to try to make it more believable. I think resistance can be very helpful. It is through our struggles that we often have the great “aha!” experiences. I remember the first time I received some information about my past lives. It was about 30 years ago and I had no belief or interest in the subject because it just didn’t seem relevant to me. Yet, when presented with the information by someone who could see my past, I “knew” that it was true. There was no way to prove it – I simply knew. That perspective changed my outlook on the world, but I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone to delve into the subject of past lives. If you need the information for your highest purposes and your soul’s growth, it will be made known to you in ways you never imagined.
Irene: Tell us about some of the more prominent characters in the book. How did you bring the characters to life?
Lona: The main characters are reuniting after having shared an incarnation 2000 years ago in different bodies with different identities, and sharing a common purpose. Constance Weatherstone, the present-life identity of Mary Magdalene, comes to Earth in an unusual way with full mastery and has an estate on the Big Island of Hawaii, where most of the story takes place. Greta Muldaur is the publisher and editor of Leading Edge Women magazine, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Ella Goldman is an accomplished artist and former university professor who owns a very successful art gallery in Carmel, California. Jillian Landry is a well-known therapist and host of a live, call-in radio show in Austin, Texas, and she interviews pioneers in alternative healing on her radio show. All the main characters are more mature women, ranging in age from 56 to 90.
I drew on my own life experiences, as well as the experience of thousands of people I’ve worked with and counseled, in an attempt to create personalities that were believable and credible. I think the reason so many write to me or call me and tell me about their tears and epiphanies while reading my book is because they can relate.
Irene: How much of the story is based on your own experience?
Lona: I took some of my own, numerous idiosyncrasies and sprinkled them liberally in the book, along with many other idiosyncrasies and virtues I’ve met along the way.
Irene: Aside from being a fable, “The Magdalene Dispensation” has some deep seated messages. Would you tell the reading audience what would be the most important message in the book.
Lona: The most important message of the book is that we are all divine – and we are all equally divine. The true basis for our equality is spiritual in nature. God has no favorites because favoritism requires judgment and there is no judgment possible in Unconditional Love. The greatest gift we have been given is the spark of divinity that resides within us and it connects us as an inseparable part of our Divine Source. Our choice is to allow this True Self to express though us, or we can choose the frequently traveled and well-worn road of the personality/ego, which is the temporal part of us, thank God. Most of us have had quite enough of our personalities in one lifetime and have no interest in carrying them around any longer than necessary.
Irene: By reading the book, the reader is drawn into getting in touch with their own divinity and searching for their own truth. Why do you believe this is an important aspect of living a spiritual life?
Lona: My biggest dream is that this book will contribute to the awakening of humanity to its divinity. (I include myself in that awakening.) We are all works in progress. As we look out into the world, we see evidence of the absence of this awareness in the headlines of all the newspapers, in the majority of television programs and films, and in our own communities. Nestled deep within the truth of our divinity is the key to peace on Earth. It is the great equalizer and the answer to every important question. I believe that’s worth searching for, despite the obstacles and the depth of our amnesia.
Irene: I find this topic very fascinating. I could go on and on asking you questions but we have to wrap this up. Is there anything else, Lona, that you would like the readers to know?
Lona: I think we are on the verge of a huge breakthrough in consciousness. The more we know the truth of our divinity, the more that divinity will be made manifest in our outer world. I am fascinated by the critical mass theory as it applies to this consciousness. Like the mythical hundredth monkey (if it is a myth), I believe there will come a time – in this lifetime – when that hundredth monkey will awaken to its divinity and suddenly, the effect will be felt everywhere. Then life will get very, very interesting!