The Seeker's Guide to Harry Potter - DVD
by Geo Trevarthen
The Seeker's Guide to Harry Potter takes you on a journey and exploration into the underlying themes of J. K. Rowling's fantastically successful Harry Potter series. Drawing from her unique background and personal experiences, the author provides original insights into the mysticism, magic, and symbolism within the world of Harry Potter.
Dr. Geo Trevarthen is an academic who has painstakingly researched the Harry Potter craze. But she goes far beyond the normal criteria and steps into a world of real magic and its shamanic past. In doing so, she reveals the origins of many of the elements found within the novels and films. She developed and taught the course on Harry Potter in Open Studies at the University of Edinburgh, where she received a Ph.D. for her groundbreaking work on Celtic shamanism and is currently a postdoctoral fellow.
Dr. Geo Trevarthen comes from a shamanic (Irish and Scottish) family tradition, has a Ph.D. in Celtic shamanism from the University of Edinburgh, and presents and interprets the Harry Potter books and journey mostly in this light. She is wonderfully well-read and well-spoken and gives some excellent insights on the many possible layers of meaning in J.K. Rowling's books. The DVD is divided in 7 chapters, and one small Extras addition, as follows:
- Dr. Geo Trevarthen - who she is and how she became interested in the Harry Potter journey. Some history of the Harry Potter novels, J.K. Rowling and Edinburgh. Magic and why it appeals to us nowadays.
- Why Harry's character appeals to us all - a story of loss and rediscovery, a magical process. Dumbledore as the "King" (who has reconciled all polarities, and is now beyond good and evil) and Harry as the "Knight" sent on his quest. Numerology - 7 books, 7 horcruxes and the unknown 8th, No. 4 Privet Drive. Fleeing death, and mortality - how these are addressed by different characters and people (Voldemort, the Dursleys, Nicolas Flamel and J.K. Rowling).
- More on witchcraft and wizardry - linked to wit/wisdom. Alchemy and its original meaning. Alchemical symbolism in the Harry Potter novels - the golden snitch - the winged disc in different traditions, linked to the philosopher's stone and to the beginning and end of the alchemical process. The alchemical meaning of the 3 friends - Hermione, Ron and Harry. The importance of giving love to young children, so they gain faith in love and magic. "Synchronicity" and following our "bliss" - the Room of Requirement.
- The Deathly Hallows - the story of the three brothers and its symbolism. The invisibility cloak and alternate states of consciousness, on how to reach the transcendent.
- The four Hogwarts houses and their association with the four elements (air, water, fire, earth) and their properties, and also with the four magical precepts - to know, to will, to dare and to keep silent. The positive and negative aspects of each house/element.
- Between realms and realities (platform 9 3/4) - on shamanism and how to allow yourself to play with imagination, so that alternate realities may be allowed to prove themselves to you.
- The importance and deeper meaning of fairy tales and myths. The Harry Potter phenomenon filling voids in our contemporary culture of complacency.
- Extras - the four elements and their magical implements - wand, cauldron, sword, pentacle.
The DVD has some beautiful imagery and music, most of the time lovely to watch and listen to, and potentially conducive to meditative states (I assume this was the intention), but - in my opinion - they are sometimes rather poorly mixed, and distracting, in some places even making it difficult to follow Dr. Trevarthen's speech. I would also have liked to hear more on the alchemical and transfiguration process through which Harry is going, and on the goal of his/our journey. I could not find a logical structure, or the reason why the DVD has been split in the 7 chapters as they are (other than the sacredness of number 7, with an 8th extra), but maybe it's just my left brain hemisphere trying to find fault with a (mostly) right-brained affair.
Overall, I feel that the DVD could have been better structured and arranged, but Dr. Trevarthen's ideas and well-spoken and engaging enthusiasm overcome this drawback and manage to bring forward some very good points of meditation for Harry Potter fans and spiritual seekers, coming from any or from no religious background.