Special Feature: Interview with Psychic Jon Edward
Internationally known psychic medium John Edward was named one of PEOPLE Magazine’s “Most Intriguing People of the Year” for pioneering the first unscripted cable TV series based on psychic talents, ”Crossing Over with John Edward”. In 2007, one of his bestselling books --“What if God Were the Sun”-- was adapted into an Emmy-nominated Lifetime movie.
I was invited by an online book review site to interview Jon Edward about his first fictional novel. Fallen Masters deals with a struggle for earthly dominion after the planet is threatened with annihilation by evil forces. Characters include a U.S. President, a pop star, a fanatical TV broadcaster, a psychic from Grenada, a surgeon, an FBI agent, and more.
JGP: There were many themes in the book, but the most basic was Heaven and Hell. The book describes hell, on both physical and spiritual planes, as a separation from the will of "The Source" (or God ) – that we "love one another". The catalyst for Heaven, through the many characters' actions, was their striving for unification -- of race, of religions, and through the joining of the Other World with the physical plane to achieve deliverance from the evil intentions. How did this "come together" philosophy evolve for you?
JE: When Crossing Over was on the air, I wanted to script a TV show that I could teach metaphysical principals through, teaching a nugget that people would learn if they watched it weekly. So every Hollywood pitch season, I would go out with all the different pitches, but quite honestly, I couldn’t sell it. But I fell in love with all these different characters that I had created, and their back-stories. I remember saying, ‘I can’t let them go. They are part of who I am’ so I decided to write one book and put them all in it. Fallen Masters was created to unify all of their lives in one ticking clock moment of one apocalyptic thing. I wanted to blend something on the Other Side with what was happening here and empower choice. I also wanted to show communication between the living and those who have crossed over.
Another central theme was choice – your characters weren’t inherently good or evil. They had provocation to behave in either manner. Though there were a host of different guides trying to influence them, ultimately they chose, in each instance, how to respond. Was that also your conscious choice, to make that point as the author?
I wanted to remind people that no matter if you were President of the United States or if you were a nurse in a hospital or a cocky surgeon who lost your ability to practice, or if you were an internationally known singer who didn’t have to worry about money in her lifetime, we’re all really boiled down to the same essence. We’re having a physical experience, and within that physical experience we’re learning lessons, and within those lessons, we have choices.
That’s the goal – to remind people that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from in your life, we still have choices, so don’t make them haphazardly. Make them coming from a place of being empowered. Use that knowledge, that philosophy, that faith. One of my favorite parts of writing that book is when the nurse Rae hands the surgeon Tyler the envelope with all the business cards in it [from religious leaders] and tells him just to pick one [a church to attend to try it out]. Just pick one!
But then Tyler asks why he doesn’t see Scientology, which is a private joke between him and the nurse due to her relationship with John Travolta in the book. Do you include John Travolta because perhaps you’ve done a psychic reading for him after his son’s death?
No. Actually, I never met him. But I wanted to take somebody that folks really resonate with. Tom Cruise is too much the action hero; John Travolta has this human side to him where he’s been celebrated, attacked, celebrated again, critiqued, but he’s got a nice-guy aspect about him. He’s real but he’s connected to Scientology, so people look at him a little differently. And my wink to Scientology – as a kid growing up, L. Ron Hubbard and others were on television non-stop. I remember having my interest piqued as to what Scientology was. And when I studied a little bit, I thought about the psychological principals of it, helping people feel empowered about their lives, and that fit the book’s theme as well.
A blue rose was offered during a proposal of marriage in the book, and later in the text. Another was employed by a resurrected Our Lady of Guadalupe. What’s the significance of the blue rose for you?
It’s a very personal one. I had a very good friend who passed – Shelley. She was a phenomenally gifted medium and it didn’t matter if there were 10 or 500 people in a room, she would always end up connecting with the person who had the most recent loss. I mean ridiculously recent losses. I did an event with her where she immediately connected with a gentleman who had actually left his wife’s wake to be there. She became very emotional and asked him why he was there, and he said because that was where he knew his wife would show up. I witnessed a lot of those moments and they took a toll on her. To keep it light, I told her she was on the greeting committee, welcoming souls right when they get to the Other Side. I told her I was going to get her, for Haunukah, a Greeting Committee sweatshirt. She passed in June 2001. Very shortly after that, I had a very profound dream. I was in my eighth grade science class; when I walked in, Shelly was in the front of the class teaching. She was helping the new arrivals. She told me it wasn’t a dream; she just wanted me to know what she’s doing. She walked me to the window ledge; when I looked out, it was too bright outside for me to see. There was a dead plant in the windowsill and I told her that if it was real, the plant wouldn’t be dead. She waived her hand over it and the plant came back to life as, what felt to me, like a crystallized glass rose. That became my symbol for someone who recently passed – a new arrival. Whenever I see a blue rose in a reading, I know someone has passed in the last 18 months.
When the president died in the story, he manifested himself in the physical world in the form of a kiss on his wife’s cheek to reassure her he was alright. Do you have a “sign” worked out in advance with your wife of what you’ll do to validate The Other Side and your presence there – and still here?
She knows I’m going to torment the crap out of her when I get there. I’m going to be a total nightmare – that’s my personality. I’m a goofball now, and I’ll be a total goofball on The Other Side, without a doubt. I might flip channels on the TV, flick the lights….
You placed a living Joan Rivers in the book and other celebrities by name. Your book takes place in the future, so that jars a reader, when a real personality placed in a futuristic book, dies. I know she died after publication, but does that worry you, making the choice to feature known celebrities in fiction, not knowing what their situation or even reputation will be after publication?
No. I have a personal connection with Joan, and something she said at an event spawned the three words I use at all of my events now, which are communicate, appreciate and validate. At her husband’s funeral, she gave such a moving and eloquent speech in her comedy show that I needed to put her in the book to honor part of my fabric in history. Quite honestly, even if I’d known that she had passed, I still would have used her just because of that, or referenced her in some way. Barbara Walters… I really didn’t care for her as a person after meeting her a number of times, which is why I put her in the book the way I did. Ironically, what I put in the book did happen. But I can see where the worry you speak of would come in. That’s when, when I referenced the Fallen Masters, C.S. Lewis was one of them because he’s historical and I love his writing. And I like him because in his life, he flip-flopped. He went from being religious to non-religious to atheist to spiritual. He went back and forth depending on what was happening in his life, and his writing reflected that.
As a pioneer in terms of broadcasting medium-assisted communication, do you feel your work is validated by later publications, such as the book more recently written by neuroscientist Eban Alexander about his own near death experiences? What’s the future trend, in terms of acceptance of psychic connections as a growing science versus psychic activity being seen as a secretive parlor game?
I think Science and religion had a nasty breakup – by today’s standards a tabloid breakup -- several centuries ago, I think science and spirituality are going to become kissing cousins, and in the next few decades there will be a marriage. There are so much that is being revealed and discovered and discussed that will make it into the popular mindset due to social media. Now people get information simultaneously before someone has an opportunity to vet it or put a spin on it.
The character Mama G in your book is very reminiscent of a character in Stephen King’s book, The Stand, who also was an African-American older woman with psychic connections and a personality very similar to Mama G’s. Was this a revisit of that character or a purposeful inclusion of a similar character?
That's weird, that nobody ever put that together before! And yet that was very much on purpose. When I was a seventh grader, reading that book, freaked out to sleep at night afterwards, my psychic beginnings or embers were just starting to burn. And I felt the level of that character; she was powerful without words, a presence. And I felt like that energy. I almost felt like when I read that book, I was almost feeling that energy in my own life. And I didn’t know what it was. We all have our spirit guides that we work with, and I felt like she was the earthly embodiment of what I already had in spirit. That was my wink and nod to my early beginnings, and that character, and also to the Whoopi Goldburg character in Ghost because she was also such a cool character for me, early on in my career. [My character Mama G] is certainly homage to the character in The Stand.
When we think along historical lines about defending religion, it’s usually tied to crusades or acts of violence. It’s a fight, in other words. In Fallen Masters, good doesn’t fight. The defenders of good, instead, love. They shine light. Is that your overriding philosophy of "combat" when it comes to the war between good and evil?
It comes from doing the work I do. When I was in college, I took a class on theology. And it pretty much demolished my good Catholic theology. When you study the philosophy of religion, and you see what was done in the name of God and how much bloodshed there was, for people fighting for sand in the name of God. And my God is bigger than your God, and like that. That level of conflict is just stupid.
And to this day, when you look at what’s happening in the Middle East, it’s like… seriously? I can’t comprehend that. So when you boil that down, if you were to pull two highly empowered people with sound philosophies out of the Middle East right now, and sit them down in a chair and talk to them, and boil them down to just being people, and take off their principles and what they are fighting for… they are people. And those people have to make choices, like all people. And their choice is either to embrace who they are and fight for a cause or embrace who they are and BE who they are. If they can allow each other to be who they are and not have this whose penis is bigger competition, I think it could be a better world that we are living in.
They fight over principle, and I wanted to put that right out in front. I wanted to say, “Listen, you want to live in the dark and have a fist fight or do you want to live in the light and appreciate the world we live in? Pick one.”
Again, you didn’t have them fight for love. You had them love for love.
And make choices, while still acknowledging by the end of the book that the battle is not won. That it is ongoing, every single day, with every single choice, no matter where you’re looking. And by the way, thanks for making the choice to actually read the book – it’s so refreshing to be interviewed by someone who actually read the book first. Thank you for caring that much about the characters, to continue through the story.