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Interview: Victoria Pendragon, Author of Sleep Magic, Surrendering to Success

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Victoria Pendragon was born and raised in the vicinity of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is the oldest of 11 children. Her life has been defined, as are most of ours perhaps, by conditions that would seem to have been beyond her control. Eighteen years of various sorts of abuse and two diseases that should have killed her, rank among the most outstanding of those.

Ms. Pendragon’s study of metaphysics began in early childhood as an attempt to validate the lessons she’d been learning from the earth and the trees whenever she left her body. She has been working as a professional in the field of spirituality since 1995, has read tarot since 1964 and created in 2007 Sacred Earth Seven Element Tarot, a tarot deck designed to bring the world community together.

Victoria Pendragon began training in art when she was still a child, eventually acquiring a BFA from The Philadelphia College of Art. Her work hangs in numerous corporate and personal collections, among them are The Children’s Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Moss Rehab, and Bryn Mawr Hospital Rehab.

She has two children by her first marriage, a son and a daughter, both of whom amaze her. She is currently married to her third husband, a man whose kind soul has created, for her, an atmosphere of clarity and creativity in which she dances, writes, creates art, and helps when asked.

Readers may learn more about Victoria Pendragon and here work by visiting the following links:

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

Sleep Magic falls into the category of self-help, albeit a very different approach to self-help than most other books of that genre. So the main character would have to be the reader, the person engaging themselves in the process; other major characters would be drawn from his or her life experience.

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

Funny that you ask. Sleep Magic is a technique that I was using for many years both for myself and with clients. I called in, in those days, SleepWork. But one day one of my clients told me that she was tending to stall, to not do the work that had been given to here because she saw that word, “work,” and it put her off; she had enough work to do, she said. That gave me pause and I wondered if the title might not be having a similar effect on other people, so  I changed it to Sleep Magic! The ‘Surrender to Success” part is there to help clarify the fact that this book is not about getting a good night’s sleep–though the quality of sleep has been known to improve for some–it’s about allowing your body to guide you in the re-creation of your ‘self, ’ hence the word, ‘surrender.’ Most self-help books are mind-driven; Sleep Magic is body-driven.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

“That is because the vast majority of the programming we carry in our neural circuitry, the core programming that makes us who we are, happens before we are seven years old during a time span when the neural connections in our brains multiply at a rate never seen again. In those seven years and in the nine months that precede them, we take on information about life at an incalculable rate partially because we have little or no ability to censor input. In utero and until we are perhaps as old as four, most of us are veritable sponges. We end up knowing things that we don’t know we know because at the time we register the information, we have no knowledge of what these things really are or what they mean. What we are programmed with is feeling information, happiness, frustration, fear, whatever, linked to situations that could be as trivial as breakfast, as meaningful and complex as an argument between two people in relationship, or as transcendental as a religious ceremony. And all of this happens at a subconscious or unconscious level.

“In later life, this early life emotional harvest will yield phobias, aversion responses, fetishes, or other manifestations of being in an unconscious relationship with our surroundings when those surroundings mimic the original set of circumstances. We may recognize that our response is unreasonable and may even strive to rise above it. We may consciously modify our behavior or seek therapy to unearth the secret we carry within. However, what we cannot change, either by therapy or modification, is the fact that it happened in the first place. In other words, we cannot undo that which has been done. We cannot un-know at a cellular, neural level that which we have had programmed into our primal circuitry. We may consciously “forget” it, but our cellular consciousness will not.”

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

Interviews are certainly one of my favorite ways but I’m also an artist and, during the summer months I do a lot of outdoor exhibits. Information about my book is always available and if people become interested, I’m right there and we can talk about it one on one which is my favorite way to interact in general… my work with my clients for 8 years as the proving ground for Sleep Magic was the start of it, after all. And I love people, love hearing their stories.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

  • Write till my head feels as if it will burst
  • Paint until I feel as if I can’t possibly do another thing 
  • Back to writing – etc. 

It balances my brain and gives my body variety.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

Reading. Walking too.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

The classics, actually. I’m especially drawn to 17th and 18th century English literature. There was a conceit to the use of language in those days that I am sure affected my early writing–probably not in an entirely good way (laughing). I think it’s worthwhile reading English as it was used when there was more stress put on the language itself and on formality. We’ve all become so casual… I like a little discipline for balance.

What author would you most like to meet and why?

Richard Bach. I’m just curious. What he writes as an experience of life reminds me of the way in which I experience of life and I don’t see a lot of that.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

I’m toying with–have started a few chapters on–death as a goal instead of something to be dreaded and avoided. I really think that someone – and why not me? I’ve got some actual experience with the subject, having been headed in that direction twice already – someone ought to be out and up front and open about the fact that we are, all of us, dying… and it’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s the plan! So why not embrace the process. It’s just another form of transformation, after all.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

I get angry. I don’t think people think I get angry; I do. Injustice and greed get right to the core of my being and I will speak up. I am passionately involved in a number of environmental battles, like mountain-top removal in West Virginia, where I live. It’s important.

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