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My first response is that we have to look at whom the story of Harry Potter is aimed at. If we were visitors from another planet in a far away galaxy what would we see? Surely we would see a moral inferno that would give us nightmares for the rest of our lives? I think the trouble with us, earthlings, is that we're so inundated with black news about misery, suffering, exploitation and so on, that we've grown immune to it. Try to have a really good look at present-day slavery and human trafficking. Try to think deeply about sexual abuse of children, about the lengths drug traffickers will go to to get people addicted, about the economies of drug cartels that are bigger than those of some smaller countries. Try to get a realistic picture of what lengths some people in positions of power go to to achieve their aims. Have a really good think about child soldiers - hundreds of thousands of them! Look at terrorism, suicide bombers, piracy, wholesale slaughter, or the addition of dangerous chemicals to food just to get a few extra bucks. Do some research and find out some statistics about man's inhumanity to man.
Another aspect of this is the extremely fast realisation among millions of people that traditional religion is, at best, opium for the people, and at worst, an evil scheme to exploit the masses. But this also means people's traditional moral values have lost their contents. And on the other hand there is an increase in religious fanaticism, in fundamentalism, which is not open to reason or limits.
I have only just barely touched a few sensitive nerves in the tissues of the human world-body. If we look at it dispassionately and honestly, wouldn't we have to say that "man" as a collective being is deeply depraved, gravely ill, in imminent danger of suicide, and slipping fast down a slippery slope, now right on the edge of the precipice?
I think that's the collective human being Harry Potter was written for. Seen in that light, the story of Harry Potter is very pure indeed, even if the story is interpreted literally. But as I have explained on the website and in the discussion group, the symbolism is supernal, radiant, and exalted above the mire of this polluted world. That's the nature of symbolism. It's incorruptible because it's indefinable and its interpretation is in harmony with the level of consciousness of the person who perceives the symbols. To one person a cross is a sword to attack the enemy, to another it's a kiss from a lover, to a third it's a burden to bear through life. But to a person whose consciousness is looking "up to the hills for help" it's an instruction to sacrifice everything, including his life, to achieve the Essence of Life. That symbol cannot be destroyed by evil.
If the human being were a blank clay tablet, symbols wouldn't mean anything, but as we know from CG Jung, there is such a thing as "the collective unconscious". This means that hidden deeply below the superficial interpretation of symbolism, there is in every human being a layer of "archetypes" which resonate very powerfully with certain stories. I don't know the mechanics of how this works exactly, and I hope one day we'll receive an email from someone who can explain this more clearly. From what I understand, however, people, especially children, feel a gripping sense of personal involvement with an archetypal story, and they identify powerfully with the "hero". The result of this depends on the person concerned, but it means it influences his or her basic moral attitude and can therefore influence their behaviour. In addition it leaves a very strong imprint in a certain level of the memory. I don't mean they remember the story; that's obvious. I mean there is a deep, semi-conscious memory of what options are available under certain circumstances, or even all the time. For example the way Harry sees only one option when other people are in grave danger. He doesn't even think about the danger to himself! If Ginny is in the Chamber of Secrets, there is no alternative but to go down and rescue her. And if there is only one way to rid the world of Voldemort, then Harry does it, by sacrificing himself to certain death. I'm sure this must have a very powerful impact on young people's ideas of what is good behaviour.
I am saying that the archetypes in Harry Potter are having an influence on people's unconscious. We have now reached the ridiculous figure of 400 million books in print. The influence of this is incalculable - but in my opinion, very real.
But what has all this to do with Liberation from death, suffering and evil? So far I've talked about achieving maybe a slightly more unselfish attitude by upcoming generations.
There is a third factor which plays a role. This is the Spark of the Original Spirit which is in the hearts of millions of people. Although "man" is lying in the (astral) gutter, so to speak, in a drunken stupor, careless and oblivious to the corruption, pollution and moral bankruptcy he is in, nevertheless there is in his heart a Lily bud, a white rosebud, pure, incorruptible, eternal, and perfect. This may be completely asleep, but it's not totally without influence. Its small, still voice gnaws at the conscience and gives people the suspicion that deep down they are wizards who are destined for a life in alternative world. There is that deep, unconscious remembrance of their kingship, lost during the Fall.
We have to see this in a historical perspective. For many thousands of years there has been the same story in circulation. It's the story of Briar Rose, of Moses, of David, of Arthur, of Orpheus, of the hero with a thousand faces. The name of the hero changes with the time and the place of where the story is told, but the archetypes and symbols are there in some form. It's only in recent times that the story of the liberation of the Spark of the Original Spirit has been written down. For many thousands of years the story was passed on by oral tradition. This is how we should see the story of Jesus. It was passed on by word of mouth in Mystery Schools around the Mediterranean. Tom Harpur and Timothy Freke describe in their wonderful books how this happened. The Bible is a written version of certain oral traditions. The church fathers selected particular writings which could be used to subject the masses to the power of the church. There are many symbolic stories which were left out because they rely less on symbols and more on explicit teachings of liberation. However originally the gospels were not for the masses but for seekers who felt a longing to return to the Life of the Spirit.
Times were different then. The human consciousness was very different. People were much purer and less immersed in the mire of this dualistic universe. Their intuition about what symbolism meant was far greater than today. In that sense they were more childlike, and open to the symbolic teachings of Liberation. Hence the story of Jesus contains symbolism that is not so mingled with the polluted way of life of man today. The gospels were composed for spiritual people in a spiritual setting, in a world that was far cleaner, purer, and innocent. Not that I'm saying there wasn't any evil, but I'll leave it to you to think about this and try to understand the difference in attitude, lifestyle, motivations and behaviour of people thousands of years ago and today.
Harry Potter, I assert, is the same story as the gospels and the other ancient stories of liberation, but it is aimed at people who are immersed in a totally polluted atmosphere, i.e. the astral plane surrounding them; bombarded by news and mass media which make evil, corruption, egocentricity, violence, conflict etc. very ordinary and everyday things, and almost an accepted way of life; affected by 1700 years of lies and deceit by the church fathers who have made the symbolic birth of the Inner Christ a once only historic event; and so are now reaching a stage where they reject the church teachings, but at the same time throwing out the baby with the bathwater, i.e. the moral standards taught by the church; yet feeling the call of the Lily in their hearts, and so searching for spiritual content to give their lives meaning.
I think we have reached the nub of the answer to the question about comparing Harry's journey to that of Jesus. Harry is today's hero for today's children in today's world. I put it to you that if Harry had been a holy boy without blemish or fault, no one except a few dedicated traditional Christians would have read his story. We're talking about the world's most popular book here! Yes, the Bible has sold more copies, but it's had centuries longer. Harry Potter is only about 11 years old. And Chairman Mao's book does not bear comparison.
I think it's unrealistic to expect present day humanity to be influenced to seek for the Kingdom by an overtly religious book. If Harry Potter weren't so veiled in its inferences it would long ago have been banned in many countries and by many religious groups. The whole magical mystery is that its liberating symbolism is being spoon fed to millions of children right under the noses of the authorities who would have a heart attack if they knew what's going on! In my opinion Harry Potter is the spiritual impulse that today's world needs. It is tailor made for the situation man is in as described above.
The purpose is to make astrally polluted, morally bankrupt and directionless man of today conscious of the Spark of the Spirit in his heart, and that it is possible to go the Way of the Cross (King's Cross) as the purpose of life. This message is as yet unconscious, but in my opinion it's only a short jump to understand that it can be applied to one's life very concretely and directly. If that weren't so, why would we have the Greek legends? Why would we have the fairytale of Briar Rose, or the Glass Coffin? Indeed, why would we have the gospels, or The Chymical Wedding, or The Angel of the West Window? None of these stories explicitly talk about the birth of the New Soul! Every single one is symbolic, and has had to be explained to us!
I think that the "short jump" from symbolism to practical application is probably a spark that needs a conductor to bridge the gap. What exactly will happen to make man aware of the real meaning of the symbolism is something I don't know. However I do know that the letter written in the fleshy tables of my heart is telling me to bridge the gap to the best of my ability. This is what this website and the discussion groups are about.
Where are the death, the resurrection, the transfiguration and the ascent to Heaven in Harry Potter, you ask?
The death is where Harry walks into the middle of the Forbidden Forest to face Voldemort. The forest symbolises the nucleus of the astral plane, as I have made clear in my post on the spiders. He descends into hell, in other words, just like Jesus. There he dies at the hands of Voldemort. He leaves his body and has the choice of "going on" at King's Cross into a world of peace, or going back into the conflict and violence. As usual his love gives him no option, and he returns of his own free will.
There is no transfiguration strictly speaking, because the septology only goes to the end of the process of transmutation, i.e. the purification and the process to turn Harry into gold. The loss of the consciousness-I, symbolised by the scar in the forehead, signifies the end of transmutation and the beginning of transfiguration.
The story of Harry's transmutation is already the most exciting, moving and eventful story of modern times. Why add transfiguration which is a process so abstract even Jan van Rijckenborgh only summarises it very briefly?
There are however many hints about the process of Transfiguration. There are things like Bill and Fleur's wedding, which is the process of the opening up of the Crown Chakra. In fact Harry's association with the Weasleys has many symbols about the reversal of the rotation of the chakras, a prelude to Transfiguration.
Where's the ascent to Heaven? Harry is a Bodhisattva who forsakes going to Heaven. He could have done that at King's Cross, but his compassion told him to go back and finish the job.
There is certainly a very powerful symbol of ascent though. When the dragon escapes from Gringotts he carries Harry, Ron and Hermione on his back. The dragon is the symbol for the human being (as Jan van Rijckenborgh said), and the trio symbolises respectively the heart, the personality and the head. Its escape from deep under the ground is a beautiful symbol of the liberation of the human being.
Many readers were disappointed by the last chapter. However one member of Harry Potter for Seekers pointed out that the spiritual process of Liberation is an internal process. The external world goes on as normal. And I hope you haven't missed the clue about Albus and Rose: the white rose. The story is starting again from the beginning. Albus and Rose are beaming at each other: a very happy combination. A new generation is going the Path of Liberation. And the "nineteen years" in my opinion indicate the 9¾, which is approximately half of 19.
Now to answer the point about me being so obsessed with Jan van Rijckenborgh that I see his teachings in everything. Perhaps one day I'll have time to describe my journey of discovery. How I have found patterns present in Jan's books which were also present in Harry Potter. For example how I found Scabbers described as the spleen-liver ego in The Coming New Man. How gob-stopped I was when I discovered that Ron's middle name was Bilius - as in bilious, meaning of bile, produced by the liver - Ronald Bilius, Scabbers' owner. How The Coming New Man talks about how Sirius comes and chases the ego out of the spleen-liver system, and how Sirius goes through the Gate of Saturn. Imagine my shock when I discovered that Jan calls Sirius "The bright morning star"! These events in my journey of discovery have been extremely exciting and breathtaking. However there's no time to do that now.
But does it actually matter? Is it actually essential that I can prove the symbolism in Harry Potter is actually present in Jan's books?
Let's assume for the sake of argument that I have imagined all this. That I am pushing Harry Potter into a mould that I have made with my own imagination from my reading of Jan's books. So what? Isn't the real issue the fact that I CAN use Harry Potter to explain the process of liberation from A to Z?
I'm not conceding that I'm wrong about seeing the teachings of liberation in Harry Potter, but if I were, the fact is that on the website I'm explaining the Path of Liberation to people who otherwise would never hear about it. Some people shudder when they see Jan's books brought into connection with the world's most popular book. But what's wrong with proclaiming the teachings of liberation to the world? Right at the beginning of the Symbols Page are the teachings of the two universes: the perfect, eternal and divine one, and the relative one, with a mixture of good and evil. What could possibly be wrong with telling people they have a particle of that universe in their heart? What harm could it do to tell people this has to be awakened so that a New Soul can be born? Is there anything wrong with telling people that they need to undergo a process of self-surrender to the New Soul, eventually preparing to sacrifice themselves fully, going through a process of death and resurrection? Not in the least, in my opinion. In fact I think it is extremely wonderful that we have been given the opportunity by Harry Potter to do so, whether that's the intention behind it or not.
The world is perishing in misery, evil, hunger and hatred. I don't see any alternative to mankind falling over the edge of the precipice very soon. When the remnants of our "civilisation" are lying at the bottom, I just hope that burned into their consciousness will be the Way of Liberation. Whether that will be to any extent due to my efforts is immaterial to me. I just feel that when I see the Way of Liberation I need to share it with the world.
I now want to answer the criticism about comparing Harry Potter to The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosycross or The Angel of the West Window by Gustav Meyrink.
If we look at these two stories we find, just like the Old Testament, they're full of sex and violence. In The Chymical Wedding there is a game in which the men can sleep with the women if they win. People are hanged, decapitated, drowned, branded with red hot iron, whipped, or beaten to death with rods. At least there isn't any sex in Harry Potter.
The Angel of the West Window is very sexual in nature, but with much less violence.
I would like to ask in return: where is the death, the resurrection, the transfiguration, the ascent to Heaven?
Certainly there is death and resurrection in The Chymical Wedding, but how does it end? It says the end of the story is missing and the author has come home. No ascent to heaven there! How does that compare with taking the White Rose to Platform 9¾?
There is no death and resurrection in The Angel of the West Window, yet Jan van Rijckenborgh tells us it is a wonderful symbolic tale of the Path. And how does it end? It ends with a newspaper article saying the house of the hero burns down to cinders. Where is the ascent to Heaven?
The point is that we wouldn't have known that these stories, and others, are telling us about the Path of Liberation if it hadn't been for Jan van Rijckenborgh telling us what the symbolism means! That's the real issue.
And I feel that it's my job to point out the Path of Liberation in Harry Potter.
As a conclusion I would like to say to you: become a child again and open your heart in purity and innocence to the refulgent symbolism in Harry Potter. Try to look beyond the superficial trimmings of the story that makes it so delicious to young people, and experience the heartbeat of eternity in the symbolism.
With Love from Hans
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