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Harry Potter's Invitation to the World

by Vickie Ewell


Chapter 13 – The Leaky Cauldron
(HP Chapter 5)

After arriving at shore, Hagrid and Harry left the boat and the Dursleys behind, and made their way through the Muggle streets. As they walked, people stared at Hagrid who pointed out inventions he found intriguing, such as parking meters. He spoke as if Harry had never seen one. What was an everyday, common experience for Harry was unusual and interesting to Hagrid.

Although the Wizarding World resembled a higher plane of existence, the differences between that plane and the Muggle World were similar to different countries or cultures. People have separated themselves into two major groups of society or tribes, two separate and distinct cultures, with only one group as a whole knowing about the other.

Hagrid told Harry that one of his desires was to acquire a dragon. He had longed for one ever since he was a child. Harry didn’t understand why Hagrid would enjoy having a dragon. To Harry, dragons were supposed to be scary and dangerous creatures.

The word dragon is Draco in Latin, and in Greek, it’s Drakon, which is a snake. The snake represents the life force. It’s the energy used during transformation. In alchemy, dragons come in different colors depending on your current spiritual state: black, green, or red.

We know that Hagrid felt attracted to dangerous creatures. He cared for them and loved them. He took care of them in the same way that the animal collective consciousness takes care of animals. Dumbledore assigned that task to Hagrid after he was expelled from Hogwarts during his efforts to achieve the third level of perfection. His role was gamekeeper, but he had just verbally expressed his desire for something more: a dragon.

A fire-breathing dragon is fire element, and fire causes metal to melt. In essence, a dragon is the First Matter, the spiritual substance that cannot be created or destroyed. It is the creative force that is in all things and throughout all things. Hagrid had the ability to fly – he’s a spiritual force – but desired the fire or acid power of transformation.

Dragons represent the beginning, middle and end of The Great Work, because as the source of all things, this force is responsible for all transformation. Hagrid yearned for this power, and his verbal expression of desire coupled with heavy emotional will now cause his desire to come into being.

When Hagrid and Harry reached the train station, Hagrid asked Harry to buy the tickets for them because Hagrid didn’t understand Muggle money. Muggle treasures make no sense to Hagrid. Since he had no interest in learning how to use Muggle money, he simply handed the job to Harry. We always act according to what we value. Unlike Mr. Weasley, Hagrid saw little value in Muggles, so he reacted to the situation with indifference.

After boarding the train headed for London, Hagrid sat knitting something that looked like a canary yellow circus tent (Dumbledore loves knitting patterns) while Harry read over the list of things he needed for Hogwarts. In addition to his uniform, course books, and other equipment, he was allowed to bring with him an animal companion: an owl, cat, or toad.

The cat is a symbol of transformation, but its role is that of guardian of the Other World. They keep the secrets of the spiritual world securely locked, but not out of compassion or patience. Their issue is pride. They have little tolerance for others who cannot see, understand, or appreciate the depth of their own knowledge and understanding. They tend to distance themselves from people and situations. They are resourceful and unpredictable, but their presence in our lives is generally a call for more flexibility in our thought and actions.

The toad, like the black dragon, crow, or raven, represents the beginning of The Great Work. It’s a signal that decay and putrefaction has begun. The path of putrefaction is slower and takes longer than the dry path of calcination represented by the crow or raven. As man turns to the darkness within himself, the self slowly rots from being poisoned by the toad. Our inner world is a place that’s rich with the possibilities of new worlds we haven’t yet seen.

The toad is also a symbol for First Matter, the energy of materialization. It suggests continuity and the ability to eventually become the Philospher’s Stone.

Hagrid was not a stranger to London, but still fumbled his way around. “I don’t know how the Muggles manage without magic,” he said, as they climbed a broken escalator to reach a higher level. He didn’t see the hypocrisy in his words and feelings. Nor did he relate his frustration to the stumbling and swimming against the current that many Muggles have to do because the Wizarding World has chosen to keep their existence a secret.

Hogwarts does send invitations to a select group of Muggles who are ready to ascend to the next level of being, such as Hermione. Yet, Hagrid’s attitude towards humanity and his beliefs that mirror the collective consciousness of the Wizarding World are what’s surprising to me.

Harry had never been to London. Yet, he didn’t find it much different from his own small corner of the world. In fact, he described it as ordinary. To me, this reflected his current standing. He had already let go of the physical world, so he didn’t see London as Paradise. It’s just an ordinary place filled with ordinary people. It wasn’t magical or even worthy of his attention. It didn’t look like a place where you could buy the things he needed for Hogwarts, but he trusted Hagrid.

This was the third time the word “trust” had been attached to Hagrid, so even though his beliefs and attitude towards humanity were iffy at best, Jo has rooted his trustworthiness firmly into our minds.

“This is it, the Leaky Cauldron,” Hagrid announced. Harry still wasn’t impressed, but he did find it peculiar that folks on the street were acting as if the place wasn’t there. They couldn’t see it even though it stood right in front of them, in plain sight. The people of London couldn’t see that the Leaky Cauldron existed because the physical world they had created was all they wanted to see and know. They were too busy with their physical lives to consider whether there was something else more real.

A cauldron is an iron pot used for making potions or cooking over a fire. It sometimes symbolizes the womb. The bar was called The Leaky Cauldron, which inferred that amniotic fluid was leaking, and Harry was about to be symbolically born into the Wizarding World.

Hagrid steered Harry into the bar (into the womb), but Harry found it very dark in there. The bartender asked Hagrid if he wanted the usual, but Hagrid told him he couldn’t drink today. He was on Hogwarts business. At that moment, the bartender suddenly recognized Harry and with tears in his eyes, rushed out from behind the counter to shake Harry’s hand.

Harry was stunned. Not only did the bartender know his name, but so do everyone else. In fact, they all wanted to meet him and shake his hand, including Professor Quirrell. Professor Quirrell was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. He reached out and grasped Harry’s hand while stuttering a welcome.

The Harry Potter movies don’t carry as much power as the books do. That’s because the movies eliminate many important symbols and teachings. Quirrell/Voldemort grasped Harry by the hand, and by doing so, the three of them became one. Quirrell didn’t pull back from Harry, afraid to touch him.

Harry hasn’t been fully initiated into the Wizarding mysteries. His initiation has only just begun. He can touch Professor Quirrell without physically hurting him. Voldemort knows that. Harry’s vibration level does disturb Quirrell, which might be why he stuttered so badly, but the handshake didn’t destroy him. It’s like a handshake between warring opponents just before the contest begins.

Our contest with Voldemort is similar to a love/hate relationship. He is essential in our transformational process.