Beenya Soul - beenya - a Gullah term meaning "been here"
By Toni Dianne Holm
Literary fiction/magical realism - Synopsis
Tula comes from southern shores, descendants of African slaves, soldiers, farmers, voodoo vagrants, hunters, a trinity of Southern women healers, warriors, sea captains, murderers and mystics living off sand and sea and hope . . . hope that Tula masters all three miracles. To claim the highest powers from her lineage - Great Aunt Jewel's boldness, Aunt Sarah's compassion, and her mother, Teet's sight in total darkness, Tula battles the two-leggeds (evil incarnate). Tula needs three untrained knights (Uncle Seth, Walker, and Leonard), a daughter of an African queen (Great Aunt Jewel), two sisters - her mother, Teet (a blind seer) and Aunt Sarah (a ghosted healer), a five-year-old named Saint Jeremy, and an unexpected Troll named Bode piled into a white Fleetwood Cadillac to carry them forward toward a multi-dimensional zone dividing the seduction of the dark and the divinity of the light. If Tula succeeds, Tula heals the sins of the fathers and her ancestral karma.
In the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a young woman sets out to find her place to stand in the world as a healer and a seer. Tula is the fifth- generation descendant of African slaves.
The Prologue tells the inciting event of WE —the collective narrator. "We carried our destiny as the heirs to this forced migration from our homeland on the coast of Africa. We journeyed with our prayer . . . for the ship, the Commerce, for Captain Thomas Morton, and for the souls, upwards to 203 prime slaves. We mastered the yoking of nature to the surreal of our grief, pain, fear, and rage. The karmic cycles of our generations echoed, living through creation, preservation, and destruction until the mixing of our races birthed the child, Tula, who ratcheted our healing journey of grace into a smooth closure. Our prayer answered. This is our story."
Tula's birth into this world had a Soul's purpose - to release the karma of this lineage of Souls. Tula is required to live a human life with all its challenges, but if Tula forgets who she is or how to implement her life assignment, these Souls will reincarnate, tied to their ancestral karma.
To save her world, Tula must learn the identity of the two-leggeds (evil incarnate); befriend her allies (the mystics) and discover the truth about her mother's death and her father's suicide to transform the sins of the fathers. To battle the two-leggeds, Tula must claim the highest powers from her lineage: Great Aunt Jewel's boldness, Aunt Sarah's compassion, and Teet's sight in total darkness. If Tula succeeds, she lives out her life fulfilled with loving and being loved by Javier, her twin Soul, and 203 slaves receive grace—Soul Freedom.
All of life comes with a karmic price, but the integrative force of love is the great regenerator.
Ordinary lives, broken through wrong choices, misperceptions, loss, and bondage created characters who rise with vision, strength, and truth-telling voices. In their artistry and power of overcoming loss, family, and regret, they saw themselves worthy of forgiveness and healing through intricate conflicts ofthe broader human drama in a Southern story, an American story, a woman's story, and a healing story of realized and unrealized dreams.