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Harry Potter's Invitation to the World

by Vickie Ewell


Chapter 24 – Harry’s First Experience with Ghosts
(HP Chapter 7)

Jo has spent over one-third of the book so far showing us our fallen nature. We see how fallen man acts, how he treats others, what he believes, what he fears, and how his conditioning hardwires him, and affects his perspective and actions. We see his self-centeredness, conflicting emotions, and his lack of love and compassion. It doesn’t matter if one is a Muggle, Witch, or Wizard. Everyone suffers with the same fallen nature, and similar faults and weaknesses.

Before we can wake up, we must become aware of what lies beyond the physical world. Without that awareness, we will just continue to recycle through our lives, content with the physical world and its enticements. When we refuse to believe that things exist outside of our viewpoint, we remain trapped in our fallen carnal natures like the Dursleys.

Stuck in the rut of ego, thought projection, repressed feelings, and emotions, we go through our physical life in a circular pattern that doesn’t go anywhere. The only way to move forward out of the chaos is to open our hearts and let the divine spark within ourselves catch fire. Once that fire ignites, repressed energies rise to the surface of our awareness where we can deal with them appropriately.

Harry, Ron, Neville, and Hermione chose to accept their invitation to attend Hogwarts. Despite their fallen condition and fears of the unknown, they have heeded Hagrid’s call, followed him through a spiritual rebirth, and were now standing in front of the large oak door that would allow them to enter a whole new world of experience. Ron, Neville, and Hermione have passed through their symbolic spiritual rebirth for the first time. Harry has now passed through that same experience twice.

After Hagrid knocked on the front door three times, it opened immediately. Professor McGonagall greeted the students, dressed in emerald green robes. In Alchemy, symbols present themselves to us in various ways. If we have strongly identified with any of the four main characters in the book, we see Professor McGonagall’s green robes, the same as they do.

For us, as well as them, the robes symbolize that we are ripe for new growth by living the Harry Potter experience vicariously. No matter where we are on the Path, the spiritual initiation we receive by reading Book 1 will touch and change our lives.

For many of the first year students, their first year at Hogwarts will be a time of spiritual growth. The seed planted within their hearts will crack, sprout, and begin to grow into the Tree of Life. The Professor’s face was stern though, so Harry’s first thought was that this woman was someone you didn’t want to cross.

He saw her as a firm taskmaster, which she was, but Harry’s perspective is mostly colored by what he had learned from the Dursleys. We need to be careful about what Harry suggests to us. His thoughts and opinions won’t necessarily be accurate.

Hagrid presented the first year students to the Professor. “Thank you, Hagrid,” she said. “I will take them from here.” Professor McGonagall was Headmistress at Hogwarts, so Hagrid’s job as gatekeeper and Keeper of the Keys for the students was over for the year. His role will now switch to that of a mentor for Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and the gamekeeper for the animals within the grounds.

Professor McGonagall opened the door up wide. The entry hall was huge. You could fit the Dursleys entire house inside of it. The stone walls were lit with flaming torches. That tells us that the spark inside the heart has ignited into flames. The ceiling, or end of the Path, was too high to see clearly, but there was a marble staircase, symbolizing further potential for ascension, that led to the upper floors.

The students followed Professor McGonagall and crowded themselves into a small, empty chamber off the hall. Here, the students learned that before they took their seats in the Great Hall, they would be sorted into four separate houses, or community groups, in front of the whole school.

Professor McGonagall called these four houses families. The students of each separate house will have classes together, sleep in the same dormitory, and spend their free time together. Each of the four houses (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin) had a noble history, and each house had produced outstanding witches and wizards.

Harry chose not to believe Professor McGonagall when she said that outstanding witches and wizards had come out of Slytherin. Like many of us, he listened to and believed his peers instead.

The Hogwarts houses were in competition with each other. This would promote team unity, but also further division between the students. There was “us” and there was “them.” That was similar to the way the Dursleys saw the world. The Dursleys had built a wall between themselves and the Wizarding World.

Competition also encouraged the students to follow the school’s rules, since rule breaking resulted in points being taken away from your house. Points were given for triumphs, but both giving and taking back were subjectively enforced, depending upon a teacher’s discretion. At the end of the year, the house with the most points won the House Cup.

Professor McGonagall left the first year students to themselves for a few minutes without knowing how the sorting was going to work. Ron thought there would be some sort of test, which caused Harry to panic, since he didn’t know any magic. Ron’s brothers told him it was going to hurt a lot, but Ron didn’t believe them. He had obviously not accepted their suggestion.

Apparently, Hermione thought the same thing because she began whispering very fast about all of the spells she had learned. She was wondering which one she would need to use.

Harry tried not to listen to her. Her attempt to solve the problem by calling upon her earthly knowledge was making him feel even more nervous and insecure. He had already told us that he assumed he would be the worst boy in class academic wise, but a test would guarantee him a spot in the worst house, too. To Harry, that meant Slytherin: where bad Wizards come from.

What we see here is how duality of thought – good houses and bad houses, passing the test or failing – causes internal stress and discomfort. Hermione handled her discomfort by sorting out the spells she knew in her mind, and Harry condemned himself to doom for his lack of knowledge. Both were trying to rid themselves of pain. Ironically, Ron’s brothers were not so wrong. For Hermione and Harry, the sorting is indeed painful.

In the meantime, someone screamed, which caused Harry to jump about a foot in the air. In reality, that wouldn’t happen, so Jo is preparing us for something that exists on a slightly higher level.

About 20 pearl white, slightly transparent ghosts moved through the back wall and into the crowded room. They were not initially aware of the students because they were conversing among themselves. When they realized they were not alone, they acted surprised and asked the students who they were. The students were too afraid to answer. One of the beings figured out these were new students about to be sorted.

The white, slightly see-through entities were not invisible to the students. We seem to be in a place that sits slightly above the physical plane. They were talking, arguing, and interacting with each other the same way we do on the physical plane. They also attempted to interact with the students. Their presence at Hogwarts was a common occurrence, because Professor McGonagall ignored them.

These particular entities remained attached to their Houses. They have physically died, but they chose to remain at Hogwarts for various reasons. All reasons involved an inability to let go of the material world. Their presence represents the danger of not letting go of the world. In a sense, they were trapped in a prison of their own making – a warning to the students of what could happen to them if they didn’t take their lessons at Hogwarts seriously.

In a way, these ghosts represent our own attachments sitting slightly outside of our awareness. As they come into view, from time to time, we can see them more clearly. Perhaps they are things we think we have given up, but when they come through our walls, we learn that they still exist.

Professor McGonagall returned, so the sorting ceremony was about to begin. As she had the students form a line, the ghosts floated away through the back wall again, one at a time. The students were focused on other things right now, so their physical attachments left.

Harry and Ron got into line. “Follow me,” Professor McGonagall said. Harry’s legs felt like lead, symbolizing his current Alchemical status, but he followed the others out of the chamber, back across the hallway, and through a pair of double doors that led into the Great Hall.