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The Goddess of Fifth Avenue:
Quan Yin and Compassion
by Carol Simone (known as Simone), Interview by Connie Hill
C:  How did you become a writer?

S:  I've been a writer all of my life. I was writing poetry as a little girl. I had little validation for it, but loved it and it was my passion. My former husband was poet and he said my poetry is really good.

I worked at Stanford in the English department with lots of recognized scholars. One, Diane Middlebrook , championed my poetry and helped me get published. Then I wrote for Runner's World , the San Francisco Symphony and I owned an advertising agency. I was also having some mystical things happen to me and my psychic abilities increased. After my divorce I gave up my advertising agency and began a practice as a clairaudient.

In 1989 I was swimming in Napili Bay in Maui. As I dove under the water this thing with a beautiful face came toward me. Her eyes delivered me from all of my years of self-criticism. I went to a space of self-realization and oneness with the planet. A year later I was walking by an antique store in Palo Alto and saw this beautiful head in the window. It was the same face I had seen under the water. I started sobbing and didn't know why I was crying. So, I went into the store and though had very little money, I bought the head. It's the same one as on the cover of my book.

I put the head in my office and immediately I felt closer to her than words can say. I started giving readings about why the soul comes back and I moved from being a psychic to teaching people how to look at their beginnings. With Quan Yin I could access the akashic records. She made herself so delicate. I allude to her as a piece of violet silk in my book and that is how it has felt to me the last 12 years when she has come to me. So I have been blessed to help educate people about her for the last 11 years.

It has been my honor and my life. I don't feel like I even had a life before until I met her energies. She allowed me see that I am a mirror like she is. It has been quite a fascinating journey for me.

I have studied the history of Quan Yin and her history is very mysterious. There are only three books out there now. This is the first novel about her that has mixed literary fiction with spiritual fiction.

When I first started working on the book it came through me in about 24 hours. Oh, I forgot to mention a very important component. I was in New York in '95 and I was walking down Fifth Avenue with a friend. There was a woman lying naked in a garbage bag in the center of the sidewalk.

C:  Just like in the book!

S:  That's right. We walked over to her because it was clear that she was dying. I bent down and I looked in her eyes and I felt the same presence I had felt under the water in Maui coming through her. That was the second mystical thing that changed my life totally when I realized that I was her. That every woman has that archetype in them and unless we start moving with compassion we will never be able to heal.

C:  So what does compassion mean to you?

S:  I went on a quest to find out what compassion really means. There's a lot of confusion over what compassion really is. You can't really have compassion unless you are in a place of oneness and equality with every living thing. Most people don't know that.

C:  I also had to go on a quest to find out what compassion meant to me. I realized what I had been thinking was compassion was co-dependence and that I had no idea what compassion was.

S:  I guess some of us were being tapped on the shoulder pretty strongly. For me I started off looking into that woman's eyes and thinking I had to give her something. She didn't want any of it. She was in an exalted state because she was verging on leaving her body and she was fine.

C:  What brought you to write this book?

S:  A combination of things. And what tipped the scales was meeting that woman in the street. And coming back and being so blown away by what she transmitted to me in her eyes in the brief 3-minute moment in my life. For some reason I was hungry enough for truth that I reached out.

The book was much more mystical when I first wrote it. Then on a trip to Maui I was told "don't write it for a metaphysical audience. Write it for everyone. This has got to appeal to Archie Bunker." And later, one of the first people to read the book was the man who co-wrote All In The Family.

Everything has been like this. One bizarre and affirming circumstance after the other. For instance, the photo shoot for the cover--we wanted to have eyes coming through on the face of Quan Yin. So we hired a model and she's 18, it's her first shoot, she doesn't know what it's for, and what does she have around her neck? A Quan Yin! She sits down and I tell her what we want and she says, "I don't know if my mother will be able to handle this. When I was growing up it was very difficult and we prayed to Quan Yin every night." I have one story after another like this.

C:  What do you know about the flowers blooming in Korea that have not bloomed in a hundred years?

S:  Very little, but I feel like I'm a flower that bloomed on that statue because I was so deeply moved and touched. I feel the Quan Yin energy appears constantly and all we have to do is pay attention. The reason it is being displayed so boldly is that it's time to wake up.

C:  I find it interesting to see spiritual books at Costco.

S:  And I hope mine gets there, too. People are so hungry to find something spiritual. They want a taste, a glimpse of the essence. I even see this wonderful understanding and celebration of death now and it is so profound. It's in the media now. It's finally coming to the mainstream. Anyway, I'm thrilled at how people are responding to my book, it's my life's work.

C:  Thank you for talking to me today and I look forward to seeing you in June.

Simone will be presenting a Friday evening talk about Quan Yin, Compassion and her new book at New Renaissance Bookshop on June 8, 2001. To register call New Renaissance Bookshop, 503-224-4929 or on-line at

Connie Hill works at New Renaissance Bookshop and is a local astrologer. She can be contacted at 503-291-8229, ext. 2 or