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Harry Potter's Invitation to the World

by Vickie Ewell


Chapter 21 – Harry Meets Neville Longbottom
(HP Chapter 6)

At half past 12, the candy cart came by. Harry had never had money for candy before. He planned to buy as many Mars candy bars as he could stuff into his pockets, but he quickly discovered that the pleasures of the Wizarding World were not the same as the Muggle World. Harry didn’t want to miss anything, so he bought a little bit of everything. Harry was starving, not only because he didn’t eat breakfast, but because he was hungry for spiritual nourishment – real spiritual food.

While eating candy was a pleasurable experience that Harry had missed growing up, he offered to trade Ron some of the candy in exchange for one of his corn beef sandwiches. Ron resisted the offer, and told Harry the sandwich was dry. He wouldn’t enjoy eating it. But Harry ignored Ron’s suggestion and urged him to take some candy. The inference here is that Harry’s Path will be the Dry Path of Alchemy.

Harry had never had anything he could share before or anyone to share it with. He quickly discovered that he liked the feeling that sharing produced. Sharing was more pleasurable than keeping the candy to himself. To Harry, the experience of sharing was real food.

Ron was particularly interested in the chocolate frogs. The package contained cards with pictures of famous witches and wizards, comparable to Muggle baseball cards. Harry and Ron were sharing the toads. Even though Harry’s familiar was a white owl, Hagrid and Harry retraced their steps the day Hagrid presented Hedwig to Harry. Harry also went back to the Dursleys for a month, back to the beginning, and was now moving forward again.

Book 1 appears to be a type of Initiation, an introduction to everything Harry had to accomplish to complete The Great Work, so he was currently living at the spiritual level of a toad.

Although Ron was more knowledgeable about Witches and Wizards than Harry was, his knowledge had not moved him forward. He was a toad as well. Ron had collected about 500 cards, so he ate a lot of frogs (we are what we eat), but he was missing Agrippa and Ptolemy.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa was a German Magician and Alchemist. He believed that if all things descended from God, then there was hope that man could return to Him. Claudius Ptolemy was a mathematician who studied astronomy and astrology. His written works described the effects that heavenly bodies like the planets had on people’s lives. Ron was telling Harry that what he was missing in his life was the Alchemical transformation process known as The Great Work.

When Harry unwrapped the chocolate frog, he found a picture of Albus Dumbledore, the wizard who was responsible for Harry going to the Dursleys. Unlike Agrippa and Ptolemy, the back of the card said that Dumbledore was a modern-day Alchemist who defeated the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945. He also discovered 12 uses of dragon’s blood. His Alchemical work was in connection with his partner, Nicolas Flamel.

We now learn that Dumbledore had already defeated his own Voldemort in this lifetime, and gained control over the energies of the 12 planets, so he had already completed The Great Work.

Nicolas Flamel was a small bookseller who lived in the middle of the fourteenth century. He believed that Alchemy had to be something more than physical chemistry. One night in a dream, an angel appeared to him and handed him a book. The angel told him that at first he wouldn’t understand anything in the book, but that eventually he would be able to see what no other man could. When he reached out to accept the gift from the angel, the entire scene disappeared.

A short while later, a man walked into Flamel’s bookstore. He wanted to sell Flamel a book. That manuscript was the same book the angel had showed him in his dream, so he purchased the book. The author was Abraham the Jew who was a three-quarter prince, priest, Levite, astrologer, and philosopher.

A Levite was not from any particular Israelite tribe. Levites descended from the small group of individuals who sided with Moses against the rest of the people when Moses came down from the mountain with the 10 Commandments. Although they all were of Israelite descent, they were a combination of several tribes. They and their descendants were thereafter set apart as Levites and given a lower form of Priesthood than the Order of Melchezidek that Moses and other Masters of Compassion have.

The secrets Flamel sought were hidden within the symbols, diagrams, and formulas in that text. It was filled with symbols that did not match the current Alchemical symbols of Flamel’s day. That made me wonder a bit about just how reliable the various Alchemical manuscripts are that are floating around the web today. This book was a pearl of great price to him because it contained the real path to Liberation, and as such was a pearl that was not to be given to swine.

This book reflected the potions book that Harry received in Book 6, as well as Snape’s attitude towards bloodlines and his use of the word “swine.” Many today still believe that the lower priesthood (or the real keys and secrets of Alchemy that Flamel received) should only be passed down through those of a certain blood heritage. However, the spirit of the Law that Moses received would be in accordance with readiness, rather than keeping to strict Levite bloodlines today.

When Harry turned the frog card back over to the front side, Dumbledore had disappeared. Ron told Harry that Dumbledore didn’t stick around all the time, but that he would come back. We are introduced to the idea that Dumbledore will come and go throughout the rest of Harry’s life. Harry was surprised at Dumbledore’s disappearance because in the Muggle World, people stay put in photos. Ron found that weird. The boys both have difficulty with what was not familiar to them, but that keeps their relationship interesting. They can easily learn from each other.

Ron was more interested in eating the frogs than the pictures. Besides, the next card was Morgana Le Fay and he had six of her already, six siblings who give him a hard time. Harry was more interested in the cards than the frogs. The pictures on the cards were new to him, and therefore not boring. In addition to Dumbledore and Morgana, Harry also received Hengist of Woodcroft, Alberic Grunnion, Circe, Paracelsus, and Merlin. Plus, he found it hard to tear his eyes away from the druidess, Cliodna, who was scratching her nose.

Hengist means “stallion” in Germanic. He was a leader of the first German settlers in Britain. Circe was a minor goddess of magic well known for her vast knowledge of drugs and herbs. Paracelsus introduced the ideas of the four elements and that the cosmos was fashioned from Mercury, Sulphur and Salt. Merlin achieved Wizard status while still an adolescent, and Cliodna was an animagus, the goddess of love and beauty. All the cards that Harry received will play an important role in his journey.

The boys next turned to the Every Flavor Beans. “You want to be careful with those,” Ron warned. “When they say every flavor, they mean every flavor.” You get ordinary ones, and then you get flavors of foods you don’t like: spinach, liver, and tripe. Ron picked up a green one, hesitated, and then nibbled on a corner. “Bleaaargh – see? Sprouts.”

Even though Ron liked to eat, and we see him eating often, he was picky about what he chose to put into his mouth. Ron was Taste Sensitive. Generally, that’s associated with sensory dysfunction. When one experiences less sensory input than normal, they crave extra sensory experiences trying to make up for it.

In Ron’s case, he craved food that tasted good. He used the sense of taste to provide himself with pleasurable experiences. Harry willingly experienced a variety of beans, including grass, sardines, and pepper, so he obviously didn’t have the same aversion to discomfort that Ron did.

Neville was next on the scene, but Jo introduced him by commenting on the countryside that was now flying past them. The neat fields were gone, so the scenery was getting wilder. There were woods, twisting rivers, and dark green hills. Neville and others who will soon enter the boys’ lives were going to liven up the calm atmosphere the two boys currently share.

When Neville entered their compartment, he was tearful and wanted to know if either of them had seen his toad. “I’ve lost him,” he wailed. “He keeps getting away from me!”

Frogs and toads were a major theme of this section of the story. Their appearance symbolizes the beginning of The Great Work. Apparently, Neville must have found his toad before boarding the train, but now it was gone again. Harry reassured him it would turn up somewhere, and the boy gained a bit of control over himself at Harry’s assurance. Neville then asked Harry and Ron to let him know if they saw the toad. Then, he left.

Ron instantly began to judge Neville’s strange behavior. He didn’t understand it. Nor did he understand why anyone would want to bring a toad with them to Hogwarts, but he quickly caught himself. “I brought Scabbers,” he said, “so I can’t talk.”