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The Alchemy of JK Rowling

In the light of the Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross

by Hans Andréa


Chapters 9-12 - Harry 5-8


Harry [5]

The Seven Trials (1) The seven trials in Part 1 sum up what the person who has a nascent Immortal Soul has to go through to be able to perform his first liberating act – detachment from the physical plane.

First he encounters Cerberus (Fluffy), the three-headed dog. Cerberus personifies the forces of the past which tie us to the universe of time and space. The river Styx symbolises the border between the fallen universe and the original pure Universe of God. To cross the border, we first have to pass Cerberus. He is the mirror of the past; in actual fact: delusion.

Why is he three-headed? It reminds us of the three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. He too was at that moment ready to cross the border between earth and Heaven, i.e. the Seventh and the Sixth Cosmic Plane - Nirvana.

One of the great forces tying us to this universe is fear. The person who wants to be liberated from fear has to have the right motivation. Harry was motivated by a great purity. He wanted to save the world from Voldemort. Unselfishness is the only way to overcome fear. It cannot be overcome by courage alone. Armed with only courage, Harry would have been devoured by Fluffy. Harry was able to make ‘fear’ go to sleep by playing the flute. The music played by Harry symbolises the vibrations of his purity, his pure motives.

Another force tying us to this universe is dogma. ‘Give up learning, and put an end to your troubles,’ says Lao Tzu (Tao Teh Ching 20). Yes, to live in this world, we have to study. We need a certain amount of learning to live a meaningful life. And so we think we can ‘learn’ our way into Nirvana. Bad mistake! Lao Tzu adds: ‘Other men are sharp and clever, but I alone am dull and stupid.’ But!! ‘I am different. I am nourished by the Great Mother.’ Who is the Great Mother? Why, Lily, of course.

No learning, no study, no knowledge contained within the brain can prepare us for the overwhelming beauty of the Kingdom of Heaven. It lies in another universe, in another plane, in a dimension where time and space do not exist. There is nothing in our universe that we can compare with that. No words can describe it; no pictures can give us even the vaguest idea. Not even the most heavenly music can give us a slight hint of what it’s like.

But we DO have a little piece of Heaven inside us. That’s the Great Mother, the Lily inside the heart. We must give up dogma and turn to the voice of Tao within.

When Harry turned eleven he received a letter ofinvitation to attend Hogwarts. In Chapter 6 I explained that the candidate for liberation has a letter in his heart. The alchemist has all the instructions in his heart to turn lead into gold. They have been there for millions of years but we’ve been too busy to read them. Then James marries Lily and Harry is born. We can now read the letter in the heart and carry out the alchemical processes with great joy. We can throw away dogma. We live from the instructions in the heart given to us by the Great Mother.

The third head is false idols. This is a very big, dangerous head, because in our past lie many idols we have worshipped through hundreds of incarnations. When we go the path of liberation we’ll be confronted by this aspect of the past, and we’ll discover that some of those idols are a long way from being dead.

We are all surrounded by thought forms we have accumulated in the past. These are our personal idols and must be given up, one by one. How? By turning to the Great Mother. She will give us Harry, the new soul, and our heart will be so filled with love for him that all the accumulated idols in our aura will fade away and die.

The big word for defeating Cerberus is: self-surrender. If we surrender to the Inner Christ He will drive out fear, attachment to dogma and false idols. He will give us the magic flute of purity and put ol’ Cerberus to sleep. It’s a cinch!

Harry [6]

The Seven Trials (2) The second trial Harry and his friends face is the vicious killer plant, ‘Devil’s Snare’. Before they’re aware of it they’re ensnared by a plant with long, snake-like tendrils. We know from Part 5 that people can easily be strangled by this plant. The more they struggle against the creepers the tighter their hold. The children figure out that what’s needed is to stay calm and think clearly. Hermione remembers that this plant hates light, so she lights a fire. The plant recedes and the children are free.

I think what this can teach us is that the alchemist needs to give the process of liberation his whole, undivided attention so that he can stay calm and figure out what to do. The candidate for liberation is always in danger of being overwhelmed by his emotions. Strong emotions are not conducive to going the Path because then the candidate loses control. They can do harm to the new soul if the candidate allows himself to be carried away by them. The Path is extremely beautiful, and sometimes one can be overwhelmed by the sheer magnificence of it, but as soon as one loses control of one’s emotions they tend to strangle the new soul. The heart of the candidate can be filled with great joy and love for others without being carried away by sentimentality, or by being moved to tears. The candidate must learn to control himself and turn to the light of reason so as not to lose touch with reality, and he must focus on the aim of the Path.

The third trial is to open a locked door. The key is present, but it’s got wings and is flying high up near the ceiling among hundreds of other keys.

It’s important to see in each trial which of the three children solves the problem. If it’s Hermione, it’s the mind of the candidate which solves the problem. If it’s Ron, it’s the old, earthly personality, and if it’s Harry it’s the New, Immortal Soul.

In the case of Cerberus, it was Harry, and therefore the New Soul, who played the flute - the harmonious vibrations of the pure Soul. In the case of Devil’s Snare it was Hermione, and therefore the mind, but she was helped by Ron.

In the case of the flying keys it’s Harry again. He is an extremely good flier and can see things others can’t. His excellent flying obviously symbolises the height of his aspirations. The new soul can fly to great spiritual heights. It also has an extremely keen faculty of discrimination. And so we see that no door can be locked against the new soul. It can open all doors and overcome all barriers.

Harry [7]

The Seven Trials (3) The fourth trial is a giant game of chess with pieces that whack each other quite vigorously when they win a move. The children have to take the places of some of the pieces and play a winning game to get to the other side of the board and continue their quest. This game reminds us of the chess game played in The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosycross on the seventh day. Christian Rosycross tells us that the game he saw represented virtue against vice. We could see the chess game in Harry Potter in the same light. Notice, too, that it is Ron who directs the game. In other words, it’s the old earthly personality that has the important role to play here.

What Harry Potter is telling us here is that the earthly personality needs to have a very good sense of what’s vice and what’s virtue. He must have a very strong faculty of distinction between right and wrong. At the end of the game, Ron sacrifices himself to the white queen so that Harry can checkmate the king. The earthly personality has to sacrifice itself so that the New Soul can go on its glorious triumphal march back to its Fatherland. This is the meaning of the words, He who is willing to give up his life for my sake shall find it.

In the New Testament this is represented by the beheading of John and the entry of Jesus on to the centre of the stage.

Fortunately Ron doesn’t die at this stage but is merely knocked unconscious by the queen.

The fifth trial is a gigantic troll which is guarding the passage. However the three children have already passed this test in an earlier venture and so they don’t have to do it again. The troll is already lying there unconscious.

Once again it was actually Ron who defeated the troll. He cast a spell which lifted the giant’s club and smashed it down on its skull. We can learn from this that the earthly personality has to learn to control the tendencies and passions of his lower nature and its mentality. Ron, to his surprise, finds that he is capable of greater things than he knew.

Harry [8]

The Seven Trials (4) Leaving the unconscious Ron behind, Harry and Hermione enter a room where they are trapped by fire and can neither go forwards nor backwards until they solve a logic puzzle. Obviously it is Hermione who solves the puzzle, as she personifies the renewed mind of the seeker with a New Soul.

My interpretation of this symbolism is that an alchemist must act with intelligence if progress is to be made. Although the heart, the centre of the New Soul, always takes the initiative on the Path, the head must ensure the candidate takes logical and intelligent actions. Together they succeed.

I just want to digress slightly and ask a question. This is a short extract from the book:

Hermione’s lip trembled, and she suddenly dashed at Harry and threw her arms around him. ‘Hermione!’ ‘Harry – you’re a great wizard, you know.’ ‘I’m not as good as you,’ said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him. ‘Me!’ said Hermione. ‘Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!’

From: The Philosopher’s Stone Chapter 17

As you can see above, Hermione says, Friendship and bravery and – And what? Ever since the first time I read this I’ve thought that she was going to say, ‘love’, but was too embarrassed to say it. I thought it was obvious, in fact, that everyone else would think the same. After some years now I’ve found that no one else has this thought at all. My question is, what do you think is the missing word?

Back to Harry. There is only one draft of the magic potion to be able to get into the next room, so Harry goes in alone. The new soul has to face this trial alone. Whenever the soul is facing a be all and end all situation, it has to act on its own inner strength.

When Harry enters the next room he meets a man with two faces – one in front and one behind. I believe this is to indicate that the microcosmic self is both good and evil. This is why Quirrell, speaking as Voldemort, says, There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it...

As I said in Chapter 4, the microcosmic self is impersonal and knows no good or evil, just power.

Harry is able to take the stone out of the Mirror of Erised because he doesn’t want to use the stone. I believe this symbolises the liberation of the soul from attachment to the physical plane. The stone can make gold and the elixir of life. In other words, the owner of the stone can live an unending life in perfect health, with all the luxury he wants. Harry does not think of himself, or of the unending wealth and power and prestige he could have. He thinks only of defeating Voldemort

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Alchemy in Harry Potter - End Chapter Snitch