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Follow Me: Religion in SFF - Catherine Coundjeris

Pre-orders are now open for Luna's latest Call for Papers! Follow Me: Religion in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Pre-order yours here! Ebook also available on the usual retailers' sites.

Our Award Winning series, welcomes essays from academics, independent researchers, fans and creative writers, appealing to both the casual reader and a more research-oriented one. We consider this cross-disciplinary collaboration a strength, and the beginning of many more journeys.

The book will be released on the 20th of June, so we have plenty of time to introduce you to our contributors.

Today we'll introduce you to Catherine Coundjeris - USA - presenting the paper, A Christian Fellowship: Inklings’ Perspectives on Religion, Myth, and the Word.


A common religion bonded the fantasy authors: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams together as they shared their literary works in progress with one another in the Inklings, meeting between the late 1930’s and 1949, spanning the great upheaval of World War II. The major common thread in all the Inkling literature is a stubborn search for meaning in a changing world wounded by war, plagued by totalitarianism, and haunted by modernity rife with nihilism. Williams, Lewis, Barfield, and Tolkien all share a belief in the true myth of Christianity and this is reflected in their works of fantasy. According to A.J. Reilly, “Christian theology itself springs from a “given,” an experience—not an idea but a happening or a series of happenings” (Reilly, 2006, p. 6). Thus, there is room for an individual’s experience of Christianity to impact the whole of that religion. Indeed, even though, each Inkling keeps his own brand of Christianity: Williams with his Rosicrucian

leanings, Lewis with his conversion back to the Anglican Church, Barfield with his keen following of Anthroposophy and Tolkien with his loyalty to his mother’s Roman Catholicism, they are Romantics at heart. All four men are individualists and their religion respects the individual’s choices. An individual can change the direction of the world and what that individual says is important. Each Inkling finds meaning in the study of words, manifesting in their ultimate deification of the word. Language becomes crucial to the defining moment in human evolution from body to spirit. The purpose of language and its study, culminates for each Inkling in their acceptance of the Word Incarnate: Jesus Christ. In their works they illustrate that the purpose of language is to facilitate human relationships and their religion does the same thing with its dogma, rules, and beliefs. The highest form of these relations is friendship and love, mirroring the relationship between God and the individual. The greatest Christian law is “to love one another as I have loved you.” The greatest affirmation of his law is to lay one’s life down for a friend. In Williams’ All Hallows’ Eve, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Barfield’s The Silver Trumpet, and Lewis’ Space Trilogy the myth is told through heroes who adhere to the Tao of Christian faith. They are willing to sacrifice self for the other. We will examine the role of religion among the Inklings and the role of religion in their writing and how this religion gives meaning to their myths and, as Barfield would say, evolves the human consciousness towards a higher purpose: to love the other as the self.

About the Author:

Catherine A. Coundjeris holds an M.F.A. from Emerson College and a M.A. in Children’s Literature from Simmons College. A former elementary school teacher, she has also taught writing at both Emerson College and Urban College in Boston. Catherine’s poetry is published in literary magazines, including The Dawntreader, Paper Dragons, Kaleidoscope, Jalmurra, Cholla Needles, Bewildering Stories, The Raven Review, Open Door Magazine, Stone Hill Journal, Honeyguide, Zephyr Review, Phare, Blue Bird Word, Life and Legends, and Jonah Magazine. She also has stories published in Proem, Quail Bell, and KeepThings on Instagram. She has recently published an essay, “Éowyn as Light Bearer,” in an anthology from Luna Press called Not the Fellowship. Dragon’s Welcome!. Currently she is working on a fantasy epic. Catherine is passionate about adult literacy and ESL learning and volunteers with her local Literacy Council. An avid reader she enjoys listening to music, watching movies, gardening, and swimming.

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