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The Alchemy of JK Rowling

In the light of the Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross

by Hans Andréa


Chapter 32 - Snape

J.K. Rowling has been inspired to make Snape the deepest and most interesting character in the book. Without Snape the whole book would have lost a great amount of excitement and interest. I doubt if it would have become so famous and well loved. In this world, the interplay of opposites is absolutely necessary. It provides the driving force that sends humanity through its long journey of experience on the way to Godric’s Hollow. This driving force is always present in good literature, and in the holy scriptures of all the great world religions.

The most important point I want to make about Snape is that he is alive in each of us! All the main characters are aspects of ourselves, and as Snape is such a vivid character this means he is a strong voice in every seeker, and especially in every alchemist!

In one sense Severus Snape and Remus John Lupin belong together. They represent respectively the black king and the grey king in The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosycross.

These two characters personify two voices that speak forcefully in the candidate for alchemical transformation. They represent a harvest of experiences that has built up in the microcosm for hundreds of incarnations. These experiences have all been caused by the interplay of two opposite forces in our lives: good and evil - black and grey. How apt! How superbly and cunningly appropriate! Not black and white, but black and grey! For there is no Good; there is no pure white goodness in this fallen universe! There are only shades of grey and black. Good is where the Spirit is; Good is in the original divine universe we’ve left behind. One of the greatest examples of a person who had reached liberation, Jesus, says: ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.’ (Mark 10:18) Snape always wears black. He is the black king and therefore the voice of our shadow side, our black side, and our sinful aspect. He also symbolises the accumulated bad experiences we’ve had. He is the cup of bitterness we’ve had to drink throughout hundreds of incarnations. How many times have we committed intensely evil actions, how many times have we given in to the evil around us, how often have we made grave errors of judgement that have caused great suffering to others? All these things have caused extremely painful karmic consequences for each of us. We all have our black side!

We human beings are unable to learn without making errors. The word ‘error’ literally means ‘to wander’. What we do in life is to wander around in the dark. Originally this was not so. Before the Fall we were always guided by the Light of the Spirit and there was no wandering, no errors, and hence no sin. But we chose to turn away from the Light and go our own way. The more we turned away the more we wandered, and the more we wandered the more we fell into error and blackness. That’s Snape.

Snape therefore is not just our black side; he is that aspect in us which caused us to turn away from the Light. And whenever we turn away from the Light we seek the darkness. The darkness is any place where the Spirit is not present, and that’s this whole universe, which Jacob Boehme calls ‘the nature of death’. Whenever we seek life fulfilment in any aspect of this fallen universe, Snape is talking to us.

When a person decides to go the Path of Liberation through alchemical transmutation, he surrenders his whole being to the New Soul, personified by Harry. This is why Snape leaves Voldemort and joins the Order of the Phoenix. He tries to save Harry’s life during the Quidditch match in Part 1.

The alchemist knows that both his good side and his bad side have to be sacrificed so that the original divine human being can resurge in an alchemical process of death and rebirth. He tries to restrict and restrain his black side as much as possible, but it is still very painful to the new soul. This is why Harry suffers whenever he is in contact with Snape. Snape’s very essence is abhorrent to Harry, as our shadow side is abhorrent to the new soul.

It is obvious why Snape hates Sirius Black, James Potter and Remus John Lupin.

– Sirius: the archetype of liberation. – James: the longing for liberation. – Remus John: the striving for goodness.

These three aspects of the candidate on the Path of Liberation are intensely abhorrent to the shadow side. This is why he tries to get Sirius ‘kissed’ by the Dementors in Part 3. Sirius is the very opposite to everything Snape stands for! This is why he opposes Remus’ appointment to Hogwarts. This is why he loathes James with the utmost intensity. And he sees his old rival James in Harry James Potter.

One of the most dangerous aspects of our personal Snape is a tendency to engage in occult activities. The human being has a conscious or unconscious desire to rule over his life (the black ‘KING’), to make his temporary state permanent, to conquer death. We know that Severus Snape studied the black arts in his youth. He was a Death Eater and was marked by Voldemort (‘fleeing from death’) with the dark mark.

What is the essence of Occultism? It is in fact very close to alchemy. It’s Harry Potter without Harry. What I mean by that is that the occultist goes the same path as Harry does, but without a new soul born to Lily and James. As I said in Harry (10), the occultist goes to the serpent of the kundalini in the sacral plexus and drives this upwards through all the chakras, endowing him with great occult powers. See The Chakras by C.W. Leadbeater (Theosophical Publishing House).

No wonder Snape has such skill at Legilimens and Occlumency! Those are occult powers. J.K. Rowling shows us in the most convincing way that Harry can’t do that, and in any case he doesn’t need it! His love is what drives Voldemort out, not occult power. The liberating message of Harry Potter is so clear, so right, so pure, so obvious I’m amazed so few people can see it!

In Part 6 we learn that Snape has a house. It is filled with books; so many in fact that even the doors have book shelves on them. All the time Peter the Ego is lurking behind the doors, assigned by Voldemort to assist Snape.

It is normal in this fallen world to gather knowledge. In the World of Light it is not necessary to do this, because the union with the Spirit provides instant knowledge for whatever activity is to be carried out in the Divine Plan. But our inner Snape has an extremely large store of occult knowledge, through which the ego creeps and crawls to see what is to its advantage. Who knows what dangerous and black experiments we have carried out in previous incarnations? If we were to ignore our inner Harry and delve into our past, we would undoubtedly find a great storehouse of occult knowledge and skills which would come to life if we dedicated ourselves to developing our occult powers.

Snape has a big secret, as we learn in Part 7. In his early youth he fell in love with Lily and this love never left him. The black king in our microcosm is deeply fixated and emotionally drawn to the Spark of the Spirit in Godric’s Hollow, our heart. When Snape looked into those magic green eyes he saw the flame of eternal life and this ignited a fire of deep desire which could never be extinguished. Snape was motivated by this fire for the rest of his life, although the object of the desire was absolutely unobtainable. Occultism and the Spirit are mutually exclusive! Lily can never return Snape’s love. Occultism cannot attain eternal life.

We learn that one of Snape’s deeds is actually part of the chain of events that lead to Lily’s death. He hears the prophesy about Harry being destined to defeat the Dark Lord, and tells him. He asks for Lily to be spared, which Voldemort agrees to. But neither Voldemort nor Snape foresee that Lily’s love for Harry will motivate her to sacrifice herself. Snape is struck by an extremely powerful remorse and promises Dumbledore to protect Harry and assist him in defeating Voldemort, while all the time not telling Harry (‘Harry must not know,’ or Voldemort would find out), and knowing, I’m sure, that he will have to sacrifice himself to enable Harry to win. In The Chymical Wedding the black king voluntarily submits to decapitation. Snape is bitten in the neck by Nagini. As he is dying Snape sees the green eyes forthe last time, and with his last strength he gives Harry his memories. These show him the last pieces of the puzzle that gives him the knowledge of how to defeat Voldemort. In Part 7 Harry honours Snape by naming his second son after him. ‘You were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew,’ he tells his son.

From: The Deathly Hallows Chapter Nineteen Years Later

As alchemists we would do well to choose Snape as a source of inspiration and strength. For to go the Path of Liberation we need Snape’s bravery! We need to understand, we need to desire, and we need to actualise our self-sacrifice for Harry, the New Soul. We need to be brave enough to carry out the Plan of Redemption no matter what. We need to fall in love with Lily’s green eyes, as Dante did with Beatrice, so that this love will carry us through all difficulties and all opposition from Voldemort. We need to love the spark of the spirit in our heart so much that our Patronus, our very essence, becomes identical to Lily’s: a doe.

To attain liberation there has to be a sixfold death: Snape, Lily, Remus John, Tonks, Harry and Dumbledore must all sacrifice themselves, just as do the six kings in the Chymical Wedding. Why? Because to be able to enter the Absolute, there has to be an absolute purification. The two aspects of our personality: good and evil – grey and black – have to be replaced by absolute Good, and the New Soul and the increasing influence of the Spirit within the human being have to be brought to a zero point; a point at which the original divine human being can be born again completely, and start the process of rebuilding the human temple in which the Spirit can dwell. Only then can the prodigal son return to the arms of the Father. Harry Potter is a new version of the ancient alchemical Path of total human Liberation from suffering, sorrow and death. J.K. Rowling is bringing this message to the world in the form of a rapturously beautiful story.

Alchemy in Harry Potter - End Chapter Snitch