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Harry Potter's Invitation to the World

by Vickie Ewell


Chapter 2 - Introduction to the Wizarding World
(HP Chapter 1)

As Mr. Dursley watched the evening news, we hear that owls normally hunt at night and are seldom seen during daylight hours. That is their sleeping pattern. They sleep during the day and go about their lives during the night. That sleeping pattern mirrors the sleeping pattern of Muggles. A mirror reflects what looks into it, but that reflection always appears backwards. Right and left are reversed depending upon perspective.

After reading about the owl’s reversed sleeping habits, I suddenly saw a connection with Hedwig being knocked unconscious and dying in the beginning of Book 7. Although an owl is often the companion of wizards, his/her function is that of a familiar: an animal soul-spirit who accompanies us upon our life’s journey. A Hopi friend of mine told me once that everyone has at least one animal spirit who attends them, and sometimes more, whether we are aware of their presence as Harry was, or not.

But in Chapter 1, owls signal change and call those who see them to a higher level of being. That doesn’t mean the invitation will be accepted. Even though Mr. Dursley’s gut was churning with possibilities and he had secret knowledge (he knew things others in the Muggle world did not), that awareness did not keep him awake. That awareness did not produce change.

Mrs. Dursley chose to ignore the signs and went to sleep immediately. Mr. Dursley battled within himself for a little while longer. He has more internal conflict than Mrs. Dursley does. When he took another look at the world outside his bedroom window, the cat he saw was just a physical cat, so he tucked away his dis-ease and went to sleep.

Like the Dursleys, we can ignore our introduction to the spiritual world and choose to go back to sleep, firmly re-planting ourselves in the material world. We probably do that many times before we actually start to stay awake and accept spiritual reality. However, Jo doesn’t let us go back to sleep. After introducing us to the Dursleys, she moved us immediately into the spiritual world by introducing us to the two extremes of Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall.

The feeling I got at this point was strong duality. Professor McGonagall (still in the form of a cat) is not experiencing any sleepiness. Unlike the Dursleys, she was wide awake. She consistently lived in the spiritual world, but she doesn’t flinch, react, or think anything of the two owls she saw fly by. Although owls in her world are common, the meaning of their appearance in the narrative was still the same. However, she didn’t understand their message, that they symbolized change and were calling her to a higher level of being.

Dumbledore suddenly appeared. We watch him put out all of the street lamps, so no one would see what he was doing. He pulled the light into a self-made illuminator, called a Put-Outer, and then made his way to the Dursleys’ house to wait for Hagrid. He was amused that Professor McGonagall was there. He did not expect that. Apparently, Dumbledore is not all knowing. His character has a certain Merlin feel to him with his purple cloak, but he also wore half-moon shaped glasses.

In alchemical terms, the moon represents the lesser work, the perfection of one’s feminine aspect or forces. But the moon itself plays an illuminary, maternal role in our lives. Luminary means that it produces no light of its own, but relies on the sun’s light to reflect her image to us. In the narrative, Jo showed this by Dumbledore taking the light from the street lamps into his self. He is the illuminator. Kabalistically, a male Sephira manifests female characteristics.

The moon doesn’t boldly blaze us with its heat, but gently influences us through persuasion, impression and passive attention-getting devices. The moon influences all of us to one extent or another, depending on where she is in her own cycle. Albus was wearing half-moon spectacles, so his vision, desires and goals are only half realized at this point. While he seems to function throughout the series as the moon, interestingly, he also wore a purple cloak, which was where he carried the illuminator.

McGonagall changed into her true appearance, which included square-framed glasses and hair pulled back tight. Before she spoke, we see that she was a stiff, no-nonsense type of person, sort of a spiritual counterpart to the Dursleys because she reacted to the wizard celebrations from the perspective of her sensible mind. She wanted people to be careful and sensible, like herself, and didn’t understand why they are not. Why are they willing to put the entire wizarding world in jeopardy? Like Mr. Dursley, she feared discovery, but she was also afraid to use Voldemort’s name.

What we learn is that the wizarding world is peopled with folks much like ourselves. Living in the spiritual world, or at that level of being, doesn’t erase our automatic reactions and impure behavior. When we move from the physical world to the spiritual level we let go of the idea that physical law and commandments are all there is. We begin to function within exceptions to the rules and purer motivations for doing things, which sometimes fall outside of the box, but for the most part, we are still trapped. We continue being a slave to our subconscious programming.

Dumbledore stands in stark contrast to both the Dursleys and Professor McGonagall: He defended the wizards and witches, and he didn’t join in with McGonagall’s need to express how others ought to be. Instead, he calmly sat there, eating lemon drops. In the U.S., lemon drops are called Lemon Heads. They are a tiny, round, yellow hard candy made of lemon juice and sugar. They are a well-balanced combination of the flavors of sweet and sour -- similar to lemonade.

This was the presence that Dumbledore presented to the world. At the narrative level, he is either a Master of Compassion who has returned to the spiritual plane to play a lesser role in Harry’s evolvement, or he has finally reached that status in his current lifetime. At one time, he did own the Deathly Hallows, but realized he did not want that kind of power.

In keeping with his moon-like role, Dumbledore subtly offered a lemon drop to Professor McGonagall, a symbolic peace offering and a call to examine the motives, distractions and influences that are currently controlling her behavior, but she refused. She would rather keep her unbalanced, unloving, sour mood than give it up.

Through her behavior, we do learn of the rumors running around the wizarding world concerning Voldemort, which Dumbledore confirmed were true. Plus, we see Professor McGonagall pull out a feminine handkerchief to dab her eyes because the news of the Potters’ death had moved her to tears. So, despite her faults, she is not hard hearted, but she quickly changed back into her judgmental self when she discovered that Dumbledore was planning to leave Harry with the Dursleys.

This pendulum swinging back-and-forth often occurs when one attempts to juggle the physical world and the spiritual world at the same time. It also resembles the swinging motion on the Tree of Life as one struggles to find balance between two opposite Sephiroth. In her own way, McGonagall mirrored Mr. Dursley’s mask of normalcy when she said, “You couldn’t find two people who are less like us.”

Granted, she’s afraid for Harry because she has seen Dudley’s defiant, disrespectful and strong-willed nature, but Dumbledore holds firm. He wanted to give Harry the best possible chance to avoid any contamination that fame might bring. Dumbledore was looking at the big picture, while McGonagall was looking at keeping things the same. Although she was a Griffindore with strong intellectual abilities, she had drawn a line in the sand that stood between wizards/witches and Muggles.