Luna Saint Claire is a visitor of this blog and author of The Sleeping Serpent – a woman’s struggle to break an obsessive bond with her yoga master. Even though I haven’t read her book, I was intrigued by its psychological aspects, so agreed to a guest post introducing her main character — and Luna’s alter ego — here.

Vampires are real

The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksIt may have been a result of the shamanic healing ceremony, San Pedro. I’d been assured of the bitter potion’s virtue. I remember, it literally took my breath away. It felt as if I had become San Pedro. I got these jolts of electricity through my body and was convinced I could see the blood coursing through my veins. It was as if the cactus was examining me from the inside. I was aware we were safe in the womb-like chamber of his yoga studio, then suddenly swept by an invisible current, transported to an ancient place of rivers and woodland—to the Mohawk tribe of my ancestors. I heard a familiar voice singing to me, but felt no need to locate it. Staring up, the sky was vast, embellished with billions of glittering beacons. Each individual ray of light indelibly etched a grid across the sky. A cool breeze and the mist from a waterfall drifting in the night air brushed lightly against my skin as I climbed higher onto the cliffs to touch the stars with my bare hands. It was marvelous to feel completely connected to everything, throughout all time, without beginning or end. You see, San Pedro brings the universe into the body, putting you in touch with the creative powers you possess to direct your own life. He shows you the beauty of your soul, and though you are aware of your individual magnificence, San Pedro is humbling—teaching you to recognize everything is in balance and equal in its importance.

Everyone feels alone and afraid. The teaching of San Pedro is to face your fear, and I wasn’t alone. Nico was there with me, his bare skin radiant in the moonlight. His muscles rippled as he took me by the hand and led me up the precipice beyond the falling water. A rainbow of colors emanating outward from him enveloped me, and I thrilled at the knowledge I was sharing his aura. I reached out and felt his arms, then gently caressed his face, running my fingers across his lips to feel their softness. Pulling my fingers through his hair, I reveled in the surety his electrifying energy commingled with mine. He was there with me in forever time. Gazing into his eyes, I spiraled down a funnel of undulating rivers beneath towering pine trees, aware of the sweet fragrant scent of oranges, plummeting into a dark green pool of memories and arcane knowledge. Time was an illusion. There was no self and no other, we were one.

The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksNico placed a garland of herbs around my neck, then he wrapped them around my wrists, like bracelets. I knew he was doing this to connect the past and the future, the light and the dark, the world above to the world below, and the sacred to the profane. I saw everything—through Nico’s eyes. Stroking my hair, he held a feather wand above my head while still chanting my name, and I fell further into the elliptical galaxy of his eyes—right into his soul. The words flowed mellifluously off his tongue as he sprinkled corn, sugar, and wine to all four corners of the mesa as an offering to the holy spirits—and to this day, I believe them, “Luna, you are blooming, flowering—florecimiento. This is the moment of your baptism, your transformation into a being of light and pure consciousness.”

I know with certainty, I have been here before, with Nico. The San Pedro ceremony was merely symbolic of something we had shared hundreds, if not thousands of years ago in a sacred space. This time, we made the journey from life taking to life giving. Permit me to explain.

Have you ever met someone you instantly connect with—someone who seems to know who you are, and what you need? It happened to me at a vulnerable time in my life when I was mourning the loss of my youth and beauty and disillusioned with my conventional circumscribed existence. He was a charismatic kundalini yoga master—an initiated shaman. Charming and magnetic, he appeared to be perfect—the answer to my prayers. This may shock you, but vampires are real. Not the paranormal kind who drink blood and have fangs, but rather emotional vampires—the ones who use manipulation and compulsion to seduce. Truth is, they have targeted you.

The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksNico Romero used the power of kundalini for the dark side of self-interest—his desire for wealth and fame. When I first met him, his keen ability quickly identified my vulnerabilities, and he bewitched me by appealing to my vanity and fears. I think we have all been there on some level. He made me feel beautiful and important to him, and gave me confidence, opening me up to the possibilities surrounding me. Being married, I fortunately didn’t have a sexual relationship with him. Yet, he still held power over me. He made me feel a part of him—of something larger, and somehow more alive.

I wasn’t the only one bound to him. As an accomplished healer with his own celebrity, he possessed an entourage of beautiful, successful Hollywood women. He spent time cultivating each us, playing guitar and singing Spanish love songs. He ensured each of us we were the most important person to him. He was captivating and passionate, yet nothing satisfied him. He was needy and controlling, making you feel desired and important to him. A dark healer hooks their victim in the chakra that holds their wound—where they are weakest. In the seduction phase, he showered me with his attentions. Before I could discern his artifice, I became ensnared in the spider’s web, struggling for survival, and craving the drug that was his flattery. The dark brooding torment he revealed in song enchanted me—reaching into my gut and grabbing hold with an invisible hand. Then slowly and methodically he tore me down.

The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksI wish I had known about narcissistic personality disorder when I met him, yet that still may not have protected me. They mirror what you want to see and believe, concealing their true nature. Once a narcissist has you compelled, the bond is difficult to break. Persons with this disorder treat others as an appendage and source of supply—though they will never feel gratified. Just like in a vampire story, a narcissist will siphon another’s life force in the attempt to fill the echoing emptiness they feel inside. The extreme drama Nico created was a plea for validation stemming from his fear of loss. The rages and meltdowns provided a release of anxiety, and a euphoric high empowering him in the face of feeling worthless. There was no explanation acceptable for not responding to his immediate demands. If I was at work and didn’t pick up his call, he would threaten to end our friendship. It may have started with an argument whereby he lost his temper and then apologized, excusing himself by saying he was frustrated or had a stressful day. Over time it escalated to berating until I barely registered the verbal abuse. I excused his behavior, saying he was nervous and feared abandonment. He played a cat and mouse game of pushing me away and then reeling me back in. Before long, I became a shadow of myself and my self-worth was shattered.

I possessed an unrelenting need to fix him, even though I knew I was powerless to do so. I couldn’t bear the thought of abandoning him. He had awakened me, stirring the sediment that had long ago settled at the bottom of my well. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental illness. The affliction is the cruelest inhumanity, in which the painful suffering will never be assuaged. Yet, how much longer and at what cost could I continue to open my veins to quell the storm that tormented him?

The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksLike many of the other women who had become ensnared in his cannibalizing web, I was faced with the choice of bleeding to death or reclaiming my life. I learned from a friend in recovery about “chasing the high,” trying to regain the elation once felt in the initial phase of a relationship, be it with a drug or a person. Getting his validation and affection back had become my obsession. The craving, desperation and painful longing—that was the addiction talking.

Once I disentangled myself from him, I reflected on what had called the relationship to me. Though difficult to admit, it had been my fear of aging—of becoming invisible—no longer having heads turn when I walked into a room, no longer feeling desired.

Weathering this personal storm was a valuable experience that made me stronger and wiser. It is only through such an eroding experience that I believe one can transform. Whether by free will or fate, my encounter with a narcissistic sociopath provoked a storm that shattered my perception of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. That storm didn’t blow in from the outside. I was the storm. Its turbulence forced me to confront the darkness, uncovering my secrets and my pain.

The Sleeping Serpent

The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksThrilling as The Girl on the Train, twisted as Gone Girl, and tortured as Big Little Lies. A gripping masterful account of the seductive manipulations of a sociopath.

Luna Saint Claire has a loving husband and an enviable career as a Hollywood costume designer. Still, something is gnawing at her. Bored with her conventional and circumscribed existence, she feels herself becoming invisible. When she meets Nico Romero, a charismatic yoga guru, his attentions awaken her passions and desires. Dangerous, but not in a way that scares her, he makes her feel as if anything is possible. Infatuated, she becomes entangled in Nico’s life as he uses his mesmerizing sexuality to manipulate everyone around him in his pursuit of women, wealth, and celebrity.

Erotic and psychologically captivating, The Sleeping Serpent is the compelling story of a woman’s obsession with a spellbinding guru and the struggle to reclaim her life. At its heart, it is a painfully beautiful exposition of unconditional love that makes us question what we truly want.

The Sleeping Serpent is on a $2.99 sale this week (normal price: $4.99).

Who is Luna Saint Claire?

The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksLuna Saint Claire is a costume designer and author residing in Los Angeles with her husband, a philosophy professor. She loves blues rock and Indie music, often setting her Pandora station to Damien Rice. Her personal style can best be described as eclectic bohemian. Though she now enjoys running and yoga, she spent years of her youth in the ballet studio. Her part Native American heritage informs her work as a designer and influences her storytelling.

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