NEW Season of the Serpent: A Study Guide

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A Study Guide by David Nova

The Hero’s Journey and the Major Arcana of the Tarot are integrated in a metaphysical book series that illustrates a spiritual journey of awakening beyond the matrix of duality.

INTRODUCTION

“Season of the Serpent” is a metaphysical fantasy series that incorporates real life Synchronicity with a unique mix of historical, esoteric, and extraterrestrial background, presenting a modern re-imagination of the Garden of Eden tale.

Many readers have praised these books for their deep insights of metaphysical knowledge and for dramatizing a journey of spiritual awakening.

However, these books are not for everyone. Some readers have difficulty with them. Because these books are too often described as complex, confusing, multilayered, and esoteric, I decided to put together a study guide to aid curious readers in their journey through the pages of these novels.

NOTE: This study guide contains spoilers that reveal some of the plot twists and turns. However, awakened readers may simply wish to know if this material is worth an investment of their time.

From the start, these novels were designed to be both entertaining and enlightening, to provide a pleasurable experience in which to learn about esoteric concepts (and a few conspiracies along the way). I could have chosen to present this material in a standard non-fiction New Age textbook format, however I decided to use a fictional fantasy as the vehicle for several significant reasons.

(1) The material makes use of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey to illustrate the spiritual path, which is dramatic by its nature, and is echoed across countless films, stories, and myths.

(2) Fiction, used as metaphor or parable, is likely a better vehicle to convey complex spiritual themes without distortion. It allows the reader to access his or her own creative, subconscious mind without the ego getting in the way or acting as a filter. Fiction can better illustrate psychological states or themes than non-fiction.

(3) It discloses controversial material in a non-threatening way, allowing the reader to awaken at his or her own level of comfort. This was particularly important as I was writing novels that could be read by sleepers to aid their own process of personal and spiritual awakening.

For the purpose of this study guide, I’m going to focus on Point (1) The Hero’s Journey.

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JOSEPH CAMPBELL & STAR WARS

The Hero’s Journey was described by American scholar Joseph Campbell, in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, as a pattern that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, religious ritual, and psychological development alike. It describes the archetypal adventure of The Hero, a representative who leaves the safe and comfortable confines of his home to explore the uncharted unknown, and perform a great deed, or attain great knowledge on behalf of the larger group, community, or civilization. The Hero’s Journey is at its core, a Service-to-Others spiritual path.
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“The Hero’s journey is mankind’s oldest story. It is a story that transcends all cultures and ideologies. Symbolically, it is our own story as it is an allegory for the individual paths we must journey upon. It is constantly being retold and manifested within each of our own lives. It is the story of the soul; and its ultimate purpose is to remind us why we are here and what we must accomplish.” (source)

One of the most famous examples of the Hero’s Journey is the original Star Wars film in which Luke Skywalker makes a very literal Hero’s Journey from the Ordinary World, his home planet of Tatooine, to Meeting with the Mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to the Approach of the Death Star, to the Reward of the Death Star plans, to the final act of victory that marks his personal transformation from farm boy to galactic hero.

George Lucas credited Campbell’s influence in the making of Star Wars, and that influence may have had something to do with the universal appeal of the film.
I came to the conclusion after American Graffiti that what’s valuable for me is to set standards, not to show people the world the way it is…around the period of this realization…it came to me that there really was no modern use of mythology…The Western was possibly the last generically American fairy tale, telling us about our values. And once the Western disappeared, nothing has ever taken its place. In literature we were going off into science fiction…so that’s when I started doing more strenuous research on fairy tales, folklore, and mythology, and I started reading Joe’s books. Before that I hadn’t read any of Joe’s books…It was very eerie because in reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces I began to realize that my first draft of Star Wars was following classic motifs…so I modified my next draft [of Star Wars] according to what I’d been learning about classical motifs and made it a little bit more consistent.
George Lucas
Like many kids of the 1970s, Star Wars had a huge impact on my life. It was “the Force” that sparked my interest in Gnosticism. I then graduated to the Dune novels by Frank Herbert, another excellent example of the Hero’s Journey. It was “the Spice” that propelled me to experiment with psychedelics. While Star Wars was instrumental in wetting people’s appetite for a spiritual awakening, it failed to deliver real spiritual substance, as the trilogy went on to focus upon epic externalized battles of duality.

(There was one profound moment when Luke enters his inner-most cave and confronts his shadow side, seeing his own face behind Darth Vader’s mask, in The Empire Strikes Back.)

Hollywood writers have been appropriating the Hero’s Journey ever since to retell countless heroic adventure tales of externalized victory over the forces of darkness. Christopher Vogler, a screenwriter and Hollywood executive, adapted Campbell’s work in a legendary Hollywood memo for screenwriters, A Practical Guide to The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Vogler later developed his approach to The Hero’s Journey in his book,
The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers.

However, the real mythic purpose of the Hero’s Journey is portraying an internal spiritual transformation. This is something a Hollywood blockbuster simply can not adequately accomplish, giving us an externalized counterfeit instead. Books are significantly better at describing their hero’s interior landscape and their inner journey. That’s not to say my novels are the answer, but for many readers they provide valuable insight and inspiration (as well as a great story.)

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A JOURNEY REFLECTED IN TAROT CARDS

The archetypal sequence of the Hero’s Journey is also depicted in the Tarot cards, in the sequence of 22 cards that make up the story of the Major Arcana (which literally means “big secret” or “important hidden knowledge”). Each card is a visual reference of a symbolic archetype that emphasizes an important life stage encountered on the journey of life, the stages that are significant to our psychological and spiritual development.

“The Tarot offers a structured interpretation for our life path and enables us to grasp these concepts at our deepest core. … The Major Arcana Tarot card meanings illustrate the structure of human consciousness and, as such, hold the keys to life lessons passed down through the ages. The imagery of the Major Arcana Tarot cards is filled with wisdom from multiple cultures and esoteric traditions, including the Egyptian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi, Hebrew and Christian religions.” (source)

“The Major Arcana cards can also represent Carl Jung’s archetypes – consistent, directing patterns of influence that are an inherent part of human nature. They are themes which mark, portray and symbolize stages in our psyche whereby we aim to become a balanced and integrated person. Along this journey, we encounter challenges, face adversity, perform labours, make hard decisions and fight opposing forces. Each step of the way brings us closer to enlightenment. This is often referred to as the journey of the Fool.” (source)

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After watching “The Dark Side of the Rainbow” the curious and altogether astounding Synchronicity/mashup of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wizard of Oz” in the summer of 1997, a vague idea for a fantasy novel developed into a metaphorical tale of spiritual awakening, that explores the nature of duality – culturally, politically, and spiritually.

The spiritual quest of the Hero’s Journey and the Tarot cards is recreated in Season of the Serpent, comprised of two books, broken into ten acts, with five acts per book.

I’ve adapted my formula, using Christopher Vogler’s simplified 12 steps and the 22 M.A. cards of the Tarot into a 10 act format, and I set it within the dramatic template of The Wizard of Oz (another Hero’s Journey) to tell a metaphysical story of spiritual awakening where the Hero transcends duality.


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