Kathleen McGowan is the New York Times bestselling author of The Magdalene Line series, novels which explore and celebrate the role of exceptional women in history who have changed the world through their courage. Her novels, The Expected One, The Book of Love and The Poet Prince have been translated into over 40 languages and sold over a million copies. She is at work on her fourth novel in the series, The Boleyn Heresy, due for 2013 release.

Kathleen is preparing to launch a new series in e-book format, "Legends of the Divine Feminine", a unique hybrid of fiction and non-fiction exploration into stories from around the world, featuring extraordinary female characters.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Why I Should Run A Bar In The Himalayas, and other tales of an embattled warrioress

                                       Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Los Ark,
                                                 copyright Lucasfilms Ltd

On a somewhat regular basis, I receive an email, post, letter or private message informing me, usually accompanied by a nearly audible sigh of disillusionment, that I "am not what they thought I would be." Siiiiiigh. I can hear the exhale of disappointment at the end of that sentence, or the similar sentence with the same message. Doesn't matter what the words are, really. "I thought you would be different after reading your books" is the thematic of the correspondence. Depending on the sender's own character, the delivery of the sentence is either gently scolding or harshly critical. But the intent is always the same: to tell me I have let them down because I did not fit whatever version of me they had hoped to find. I am too edgy, too aggressive, I swear too much... or some version of those critiques.

Fair enough. I am a public figure and I live out loud and my life is open to scrutiny because I allow it to be. But I have to wonder when I receive these letters, what, exactly, the disappointed masses are reading and why do they think I would be anything other than outspoken, controversial, embattled, and brash? Have they really read my books?

I would like to examine this for a moment and I hope you will come with me, because it will make an important point, I promise you.

In the eight years since The Expected One and its sequels were released, I have received tens of thousands of letters from around the world (the books are in 50 languages) telling me that my books have impacted, changed or even saved the lives of my readers. These letters are gifts beyond imagining, a price above rubies, more valuable to me than any royalty check can ever be. And yet, some of these same people who are changed by my work are the most angry or upset when this very human and flawed author does not live up to their imagined standard of spirituality or act as their desired role model.

Let's look at the paradox here. The same people who say my books are powerful are offended when I am powerful in person. The books challenge them, but I am not allowed to challenge them. They say my books are fantastic because they are provocative, but when I am provocative it is somehow offensive, I often wonder if male authors would be held to the same standard? I think not. Female authors are supposed to behave in a ladylike fashion. We are the women you want to have tea with, right? And so-called spiritual authors are held to an even higher accounting. We aren't supposed to feel anger or swear or defend ourselves in public. We are supposed to sign our correspondence with "love and light" and "blessings dear one" and be neutral and zen in the face of opposition. Yet my books are not wrapped in rainbows and covered in flower petals. They are hard hitting, love them or hate them. They force you to think, feel, conclude. They push your envelopes and ask you to grow beyond what you have been taught and challenge what you believe.

Both The Book of Love and The Poet Prince open with prologues that contain gruesome, ultra-violent death sequences. Simon and Schuster asked me to tone down the extreme gore of The Poet Prince and I refused. It was necessary to make the thematic point about the dangers of fanaticism. These are not Harlequin Romance novels. They are written to change you from the inside out, to make you weep and even retch with remembering, if I have done my job properly. Now, with that in mind, do you really think I write like Mother Theresa, or that I should? Because here is the thing: you can't have it both ways. Either you want my work to change you and to elevate the way you think about the world and history through the challenges I present, or you do not. You either want to understand that women have the power to change the world - because they have and they will continue to, in many different guises and personalities and approaches, - or you do not. But it is not a shrinking violet who creates books like this. It's a warrior.

Most people cannot begin to imagine what it takes to spend 20 years of a life devoted to finding and telling these stories. It sounds glamorous, but if you have ever watched an Indiana Jones film, you know that Indy has to fight a lot of bad guys and survive a lot of perils and pitfalls before he finds the Ark and the Grail. Dorothy has to kill the witch before she is killed by her, and only after showing that kind of courage and willingness to die for what is good and right will she be given the knowledge that she seeks. That is the nature of the Hero/Heroine's Journey. Wisdom, understanding, knowledge, secrets, all must be earned. That quest has caused me to risk everything I am and have over two decades. It cost me my first marriage, many relationships with family and friends, every penny I have ever made, and risks to my physical and emotional well being that are more extreme than the fiction I write. And yet, I took those risks because I had to. I took those risks to write the books that have changed so many lives. And sweet, demure women do not take such risks.

But Marion Ravenwood does.

Go watch Raiders of the Lost Ark again and watch Marian in the scene where she takes on Nazis in her bar in the Himalayas. THAT is the kind of woman who does this work. The kind of woman who literally spits in the face of evil, even though she is clearly scared to death. Which I often am. But it doesn't stop me because I cannot let it. Jane Austen I am not, and I do not aspire to be. Marion Ravenwood... now we're getting closer.

But the truth is, most of us only like Marion Ravenwood when she is safely on our movie screen. If she is in our living room, or even on our Facebook feed, she is unspiritual, unfeminine and downright scary.

Attaining the information to write these books is only the first part of the journey. Once the knowledge is attained, it then has to be put into a written form that can be assimilated, digested and hopefully enjoyed by readers around the world. These books do not write themselves. They require years of devotion, years of juggling raising three kids, figuring out how to feed them, educate them, be their full time caretaker while at the same time pursuing truths that can change the world and inspire people in heart and soul - and write 165,000 word manuscripts that are worthy of worldwide publication. I haven't slept through the night since 1995. Fact. Anyone who knows me well or has roomed with me on a tour or research trip can jump in here and attest to the fact that this is not an exaggeration. I simply do not have time to sleep. I am writing this right now at 3:00 am, because the middle of the night is MY time. The computer is on my lap in bed, because hopefully, once I finish this particular piece of writing, I might be able to get an hour or two of sleep before waking up at 5:30 am to make breakfast for my son and get him to school before starting my day all over again. Maybe.
                                       This hugely controversial "cult favorite" of my books
                                    is the story of one of the greatest warrior women in history

The criticism I receive the most often - although usually it appears on discussion boards or my detractors' Facebook pages - is that I am somehow a hypocrite or liar because I "do not live  The Book of Love." I often wonder if those critics have actually read that book, because if they have, they will know that it is the story of one of the greatest female warriors of all time. Matilda of Canossa challenges the laws at age 13 when she begins training in arms, goes in to her first battle at 16, and leads her first army at 18. Her battle strategies were so brutal and so brilliant that General George Patton carried a book about her approach to war with him while on campaign. Women like Matilda of Canossa and Joan of Arc led armies into battle to defend the very histories and principles that I write about. They carried swords and they used them - they hacked men to pieces and became very bloody in a wholly unfeminine and (apparently) unspiritual way. That is the nature of battle. It isn't pretty, but it is often necessary. And if Joan had not fought brutally, the battles of Orleans and Reims would not have been won and European history and geography might look very different today as a result.
                                     Joan of Arc, painted by Annie Louisa Swinnerton in 1904,
                                          with the sword that she was not afraid to use.

Was Joan of Arc unspiritual? She was told where to find her sword - which she was to use in acts of war to hack her opponents into mutilated bits - by St Michael the Archangel himself. But if she were alive today in the 21st century, she would be vilified on the internet for not behaving more like Doreen Virtue - for not being pretty and soft and ultra-feminine all the time in her pursuit of angelic understanding. And NO, I am not comparing myself with Joan of Arc,or even Doreen Virtue, so stop it already. What I am doing is saying that there are many archetypal role models, and most of mine are warriors who by their very nature have, and require, an edge. And that shouldn't be a bad thing. So I ask the question again: would a male author be held to the same standard of behavior? Because this is a sexist issue, like it or not.

Finally, after nearly two decades of questing, juggling, writing, risking, rejection, insomnia, chest pains, pneumonia, divorce, and financial hardship, my books get published and distributed worldwide. And then comes the horrifying revelation that the battle has just begun. I have spent every day of the last eight years defending my work and myself against every kind of detractor, from pathological plagiarism accusations to physical theft to very serious death threats. The book tour and launch party for The Book of Love in 2008 had to be canceled by my publisher for security reasons, and I had armed body guards and police support with me on every tour stop for The Expected One in the United States. I have had more cease and desist letters and restraining orders written in my defense than most would ever believe. This is not work for the faint of heart or for "ladies who lunch." This requires - this demands - true grit. I don't have the luxury of perfecting the Downward Dog or practicing mantra. I'm too busy in my lawyers' offices. So I repeat: you can't have it both ways.

Now, imagine if Indiana Jones had died in Marion's arms at the age of 41 - not fighting evil or on an epic quest for the truth, but of an insidious and horrible disease that destroyed his once strong adventurer's body before her eyes, until it finally robbed him of his last breath as she held him. It might make her edges a little sharper, her exterior a little harder. One could hope that people might remember that as strong as she is, she still lost the love of her life and had her heart ripped from her body in a way no different than if the Thuggee in the Temple of Doom had done so with his bare hands. One could hope that compassion for the tragedy of her journey just might remain in the hearts and minds of those who encounter her along the path. It is rarely the case.  Sympathy has a short shelf life, whereas grief and its after effects are enduring. 

                                               My "Indy" - Philip Coppens, passed away
                                             in my arms from a rare and aggressive cancer
                                                five months after our wedding in 2012.

You do not have to love me to love my books. This is about the message over the messenger. But perhaps this note will at least give those of you who cluck your tongue at me for my "negativity" and "unspiritual" behavior pause to consider the amount of blood it takes to actually accomplish this task. Each of my novels is emblazoned with the motto of the warrior queen Boudicca - who slaughtered the Romans without mercy - and that is THE TRUTH AGAINST THE WORLD. I am often told by "very spiritual people" that I need to change that motto to "The Truth For the World" or "The Truth in Service to the World." No, actually. I don't. Because I am not Doreen Virtue or any other spiritual leader or guru or Hay House author, with all due respect to Doreen, who I am sure is very lovely and I happen to have several decks of her beautiful and inspirational cards, thank you very much.

What I am is an unapologetic warrior. And true warriors do battle for what is good and protect what needs to be defended - which is what Michael the Archangel taught Joan. Warriors of light and love do battle AGAINST the Dark Side of the Force. They spit in the face of Nazis who would try to steal the holy medallion. They do not send them love and light. They do not "go with the flow."

When the literally gigantic tyrant general, Holofernes, oppressed the Israelites and killed the innocent, Judith and her maidservant hacked his head off while he slept. Guess what? That ended the oppression!
 
                                        Judith and Holfernes, by Artemisia Gentileschi. 
                                      Sometimes, a woman has to use her sword to save
                                  what is good and precious in the world against the forces
                                  of evil and oppression. I once published this painting on
                                  Facebook along with a blurb about Judith, and several women
                                  unfriended me for my "disturbing and unspiritual message" -
                              without even knowing who Judith was or reading the message!

So the next time something I say or do on Facebook or here or anywhere else that offends your sensibilities, pisses you off, or somehow disappoints you, ask yourself: what would Marion Ravenwood do? Because here is what I think she would do, with a respectful nod to George Lucas and Laurence Kasdan, who created her character. I think she would say:

"Take me off the goddamn pedestal. Come stand beside me and fight this battle with me so that we might both get out of this alive and defeat evil in its many forms, be it lies or oppression or trafficking or sexism. Or not. But if you aren't going to join me... well, then get the hell out of my way because I have a battle to fight, and at least don't make it worse. But if you do decide to fight beside me, I promise that when the battle is over and won, I'll buy dinner and the first round, and you will have my loyalty."

Well.. that's what I would say, anyway.

Cue the John Williams theme music while I polish my armor with special attention to that place on my helmet that is engraved with The Truth Against the World. Are you coming with me, or not? Because my sword arm is itchy.
 
                                        Boudicca, by artist Stephen Youll, the first to scream
                                       the battle cry "The Truth Against the World"
                                     (She didn't scream it in English, however, and instead it
                                        sounded more like this: 'Y gwir erbyn y Byd')
 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mastery and Mysteries of Mary Magdalene 2014


Mastery and Mysteries of Mary Magdalene In Southern France


MM3


June 1 – June 8, 2014 In Southern France


Join Kathleen McGowan and Rev. Cynthia James in a once in a lifetime journey to the land where Mary Magdalene lived and taught: the ancient and mystical Languedoc region of France.  Bestselling author Kathleen McGowan and globally beloved Transformational Specialist and Teacher, Cynthia James are your sisters on this journey which is designed for women only.


Seminar topics covered will include:



  • Freeing the Body and Loving Your Temple

  • Healing the Heart and Living from Love

  • Sacred Sexuality and Beloved Partnerships

  • Crossing Thresholds / Sacred Transitions

  • Finding Your Authentic Voice / Sharing Your Gifts With the World


For the complete Itinerary and to Register please click the following link to be taken to the Mind Body Spirit Journey’s page for this trip:


http://bodymindspiritjourneys.com/mary-magdalene-2014



Mastery and Mysteries of Mary Magdalene 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

An Urgent Lesson from "The Book of Love"

Please Note: Venus is Retrograde, and has been in a pattern since November 20th 2013, and remains in such until March 4th 2014.  During this period, we have been and will continue to be forced to examine our relationships on many levels: romantic, platonic, familial.  Those which no longer serve our growth or forward movement are imploding.  They need to.  It hurts like hell, but it must happen. 

Stay with me on this, there is a point to it beyond celebrating my own book. I promise. Keep reading.

My favorite thing as a writer is getting feedback on my books, specific details that people respond to. I have been gifted over the years to receive tens of thousands of letters, notes, messages, etc. with this kind of delicious responsiveness. And I do mean GIFTED. It's like Christmas and my birthday combined when I receive the natural, enthusiastic responses that tell me my work has somehow impacted someone's life in a positive and forever manner. And whereas ALL of these comments mean the world to me, I have a particularly euphoric response when a man tells me that some element of The Book of Love has rocked his world. If I could issue a copy of TBOL to every man in his own language on his 21st birthday, I would do so. I truly believe that this is how important the information in TBOL is for men. And don't just take my word for it. TBOL is what caused Filip to want to be in a relationship with me after a lifetime of being single. He said often that TBOL completely altered him, it awakened him and gave him "eyes to see and ears to hear - and a heart to be heard." A dear friend of mine's husband says that TBOL "Changed the way he loves for eternity."



  This week, a wonderful and dynamic male friend of mine sent me a text to tell me that he had been reading TBOL on an airplane and he was completely blown away by a specific element. In this case, it was the legend of Ariadne and Theseus, the story of the labyrinth. Well the way that story is told in TBOL has a twist. Trust me, even if you think you know this story, you have never read it told quite like this. This version was revealed to me in a very special way and I rewrote it many times over the course of that book to get it just right. But I realized as I read his text that I had not read that segment in years - probably not since it was published in 2008. And so... I went back to read it again.

Now, it may sound a little weird that I often do not remember what I have written in great detail, and I do not know if this is true with all writers, but once I have committed something to the page finally, it leaves my memory. I don't need it anymore, and what I do need is more space to add new stories and teachings, so I don't hold on to old material. I often have to go back and read something I wrote when somebody asks me about it for that reason. At the time of writing it, I LIVE it to the point of insanity. But once it's gone... it's gone. So there I was, re-reading the story of Ariadne and wondering why it had been so impactful when I was punched in the stomach by one of the lessons in the story. This spiritual truth about love and the concept of a true beloved relationship is so powerful, so honest and so important that it bears repeating to everyone who has ears to hear it, and I know a number of people right now who DO need to hear it. So this is it:

"For love that is not requited in equal measure is not love at all. IT IS NOT SACRED. And holding on to the ideal of such love will keep us from finding the one that is true."

  Too often, we try to make a relationship work because we desperately want it to. We love so hard, so deeply, so much more than the other person in the relationship. We WILL them to love us back in the same way, but they simply cannot. They cannot, because it is not the right relationship for us. We cannot force another to love us as we love them, and that is the most painful of realizations.

It is only when we are loved in return, in EQUAL MEASURE of give and take, that love evolves into the "beloved relationship." And so, my friends, during this time of Venus retrograde, if you are in a relationship where your love is not returned in equal measure, it is perhaps time to release it and let it go. Holding on to the idea of a love that is not of equals is keeping you from finding that true, bonded mating that changes the world with its depth. I know that kind of relationship intimately and was blessed to experience it, and I wish it for everyone. Was my relationship perfect? No way. It was flawed and challenging and messy in all kinds of ways, as most truly intimate relationships are. But did we love each other with equal depth and incredible commitment? We did. And THAT was what made our love epic.

Do NOT settle for anything less than epic love, a love that is reciprocated, a love that gives to you as much as you give to it.

 I was listening to Neil Young recently and was struck by the harshness of a specific lyric, "It doesn't mean that much to me, to mean that much to you."  It kind of kicked me in the teeth and made me think about whether or not I had people in my life who might think that about me - people I loved with far more commitment than they loved me in return.  It was a very eye-opening and somewhat disturbing inventory, but a necessary one.  But certainly, if this sentiment can be said within your most intimate relationship, you are receiving a very strong wake up call to get out and  let go.  Love deserves love in return, always.  Open yourself to the kind of epic love that reciprocates in generous measure.  Accept nothing less. 

You deserve to be loved in the same, "all in" kind of way that you know you are capable of loving.  And every minute you settle for anything less, you are blocking your ability to know something far greater.



  And if you have not read this version of the Ariadne story, it may be time for you to pick up The Book of Love. Who knows where it might take you? 

Here's a great link to understanding the Venus Retrograde energies at work in our lives: http://virgomagic.com/2014/01/11/venus-in-the-underworld/

Wishing you epic love on the journey.  - k  x
 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ancient Aliens - Aliens and Mysterious Mountains Dec 13, 2013

Aliens and Mysterious Mountains



Premiere Date:December 13, 2013 – 10:00-11:00PM ET



Albert Bierstadt - Storm in the Mountains
“Storm in the Mountains” by Albert Bierstadt

Shooting the “Mysterious Mountains” episode of this week’s Ancient Aliens for H2 and the History Channel had special meaning for me given that I spent my birthday this year hiking in the Himalayas. As I trekked through the Anapurna Mountain range in Nepal during the Vernal Equinox, I was often breathless – not only from the strenuous hours of uphill climbing, but also from the sheer beauty and majesty of my surroundings. On my first night of the trek, we arrived at our campsite under heavy cloud cover, unable to see anything beyond our immediate location. We fell into our beds, exhausted, and there we stayed – until our guides came knocking on our doors just after midnight. ”Come, you must come now!”


Annapurna Ghandruk
Annapurna – Ghandruk

We jumped out of bed and scrambled to see what the guides were so excited to show us. The clouds were parting as we slept, and the tallest peaks of the Anapurna Mountain Range were emerging in the moonlight, revealing their height and breadth and almost indescribable beauty. It was the most spectacular and mystical vista I have ever experienced. Compounding the exquisite natural gift was the fact that it was now the earliest hours of the 22nd of March – my 50th birthday.

That night and in the days that followed, I found myself in communion with these magnificent mountains and frequently said aloud some version of the phrase “God lives here.” For surely a place this close to the heavens, this pure and powerful and magical, is the dwelling place of the Divine. This is a feeling that I have shared with countless generations who have come before me, from cultures across the globe and into antiquity. Thus when I was asked to talk about the power of mountains in folklore, mythology and ancient cultures for Ancient Aliens, I was feeling very inspired.

When working on a show like this, one never knows just what segments will make it on the air – sometimes we shoot 30 plus questions for a segment that lasts 5 seconds on the air, but that is the nature of television. I spoke on a number of topics related to the mysticism of mountains for this episode, and I am in delicious anticipation of what will make it on the show. Watch with me on Friday, December 13, 2013, and see!

Synopsis From The History Channel website:


Across ancient civilizations, the world’s mountains were viewed as the sacred home to all-powerful gods. Why would so many different cultures share this belief that mountains had a connection to otherworldly beings? The Greeks believed their most powerful gods, the Olympians, waged an epic war for control of the universe from Mt. Olympus. Ruins of a 4000-year-old observatory discovered on a mountain in Macedonia reveal that the ancients tracked celestial movements from on high with remarkable precision. And in Peru, the descendants of the Incans continue an ancient pilgrimage tradition in order to commune with mountain spirits known as Apu. Could these gods have been extraterrestrials? Did they use remote mountain peaks to interact with early man? Might this explain why humans have been drawn to mountains for thousands of years?

TVPG

Upcoming Airings:



  • December 14, 2013 – 02:00-03:00AM ET

http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens


Ancient Aliens - Aliens and Mysterious Mountains Dec 13, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Kathleen McGowan on Ancient Aliens - Dec 6, 2013

Aliens and The Lost Ark



Premiere Date:December 06, 2013 – 10:00-11:00PM ET




Indiana Kate says:



It is always fun to appear on a hit show like Ancient Aliens, but this week’s episode on the Lost Ark is really special. I am very excited to participate in bringing this new information about the Ark to the world. If you think you already know all there is about the Ark of the Covenant, this episode will change your mind and make you think again. Come with me and see, Friday night at 10 PM on H2.



The Ark of the Covenant is one of the most sought after religious relics of all times and far more than just a box that contained the Ten Commandments. The biblical stories surrounding the Ark speak of a device with divine powers that was able to produce food, take down stonewalls, kill those that come in contact with it, and provide direct communication to God. Are these stories mere myth? Or did the Ark of the Covenant possess extraordinary powers? What happened to this incredible relic? Could it still be hidden? Are we getting close to a rediscovery and reactivation of the Ark? And if so, will the Ark of the Covenant reveal a long, lost connection to our extraterrestrial past?

TVPG

h2-logo

Upcoming Airings:



  • December 07, 2013 – 02:00-03:00 AM ET

http://www.history.com/shows/h2


Kathleen McGowan on Ancient Aliens - Dec 6, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kathleen McGowan on the History Channel - Dec 4, 2013

Kathleen McGowan on The History Channel


“I am honored and thrilled to have had such a huge role in the “Forbidden Scriptures” episode of the History Channel‘s new show, Bible Secrets Revealed. It was and is a dream come true to discuss openly these topics which would have all been cause for execution at so many times in the past 2000 years – the importance of Mary Magdalene as the keeper of sacred wisdom and the true successor of Jesus, Asherah as God’s female counterpart and equal, the benevolent nature of God. It is the first time on television, that I am aware of at least, for discussion of texts as controversial as the Testimony of Truth, the Apocalypse of Peter and the Life of Adam and Eve.

My heartfelt thanks to the History Channel and the producers at Prometheus Entertainment for allowing me to have such a strong presence and opinion on this show, and for being the sole “non-academic” voice in the mix. If you missed the airing of “Forbidden Scriptures” last week, there will be an encore showing of it this Wednesday, December 4, prior to the new episode, “The Real Jesus.” I am told that I appear in the new episode as well, but as yet I do not know in what capacity, so let’s watch and find out!”

The Real Jesus - Premiere Episode - December 4 at 10 PM ET



For billions of people around the world he is known as “The Son of God” ”the Messiah whose teachings have inspired one of the most powerful and influential religions in the world. Nearly everything we know about the life of Jesus comes from the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But just how accurate are these sacred texts?…(find out more)

The Forbidden Scriptures - Watch Online



The books, gospels and epistles found in the Holy Bible are writings considered to be divinely inspired. But are there chapters of the Bible that are missing? Have stories been censored and characters deleted? And if so, just who decides what is included–and what is forbidden?…(watch it online)

Show Schedule:

(All are scheduled at 9PM CST)

“Lost in Translation” – November 13, 2013
“The Promised Land” – November 20, 2013
“The Forbidden Scriptures” – November 27, 2013
“The Real Jesus” – December 4, 2013
“Mysterious Prophecies” – December 18, 2013
“Sex and the Bible” – Date to be announced

Bible Secrets Revealed is produced by Prometheus Entertainment for The History Channel

Kathleen McGowan on the History Channel - Dec 4, 2013