Creative Writing

Hungry Ghosts of Paradise: an audio novella by Sabrina Monarch

Days before my 30th birthday, I was on a plane head to Tulum, Mexico, and got the download to start writing and sharing this audio novella. I had trepidation about the project but felt encouraged by my friends who were on the trip with me as I discussed the budding project during our vacation week together.

Hungry Ghosts of Paradise is an autobiographical story (with names changed and some details obscured for privacy) about a sequence of events in my early twenties (23 and 24 mostly) that I never really got over, nor had the capacity to fully write about with justice. In the aftermath of these events, I devoted myself deeply to my studies and career as an astrologer – with the hope that I would find myself inside of a better life (and with my heartache magically disappeared)

And I did find myself in a better life! But just a better and more abundant life, from which to address the raw material of the original heartache. I had a reading from astrologer Michael J. Morris at the start of the year, and they astutely predicted that my Saturn return would be largely psychological, and that I would have the bandwidth/maturity to process traumas I hadn’t been able to before, and that I might need to set some boundaries around my time and energy for this process.

So fast forward, I’m here, spending most of my time in solitude, creating, working, writing, deeply content to be alone and also dreaming of the possibility of being in love again, beyond my imagination of what that might possibly feel like, beyond what I’ve already known that to be.

The story is about a time I was in love and a sequence of tragic and seemingly fated events that unfolded. Some of these memories that I’m now depicting in the story I used to have like an allergy to – stuffing them in some deeper recess of my being, and then collecting throughout my 20’s different pieces of insights, modalities, tools, to actually touch this content again.

What I am excited to be able to share through this work is my life as an artist, and my subjective impressions/perceptions, and the liberties I take with drama and poetics. I also am sharing my grief publicly. Most of the story will actually be enjoyable to listen to. Listeners have already told me they find this story captivating, or that it is enhancing their own desire to write and enhancing their dreaming at night. This audio novella is an act of grief but I’ve intended to honor the magic of the experience it is inspired by by letting the story be magical and legitimately transportive.

I decided to share my grief publicly because I’m at a loss. My Saturn return brought me career stability that I’d worked on for years, an amazing community, a real foundation. A lot of the work of this return has been about unraveling, taking layers off of my conditioning so that I can be transparent and expressive and fully alive.

It is still so new that predicting the implications of this work, or why I was instinctually called to it, is difficult. What I sense is that I reached a point of it being true to share this story, it being a true desire. This contradicted my sense that it is somehow wrong, shameful, embarrassing, etc. to display this part of my humanness, and so the project is taking me deeper into a process of defining my values and the way I wish to live. In the same way I have stood for speaking about magic and enchantment, I think I am learning that grief is a currency too, one I have been learning the value of.

Personally, this story is a prayer in action of returning to a fertility of my heart space. For others, this is a prayer of creating a story that works the magic that it needs to for the listeners that find resonance with it.

You’ll find below the episodes of this in-progress audio novella, updated as more chapters are added. Feel free to leave comments at the bottom, at any point.

UPDATE: The novel is complete – all chapters are listed below.

With love,

Sabrina Monarch

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