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Harry Potter's Invitation to the World

by Vickie Ewell


Chapter 47 – Christmas Tree Analogy
(HP Chapter 12)

In mid-December, Hogwarts found itself buried in snow. The lake had frozen over, mail owls were getting hurt attempting to deliver the mail during storms, and Potion classes in the dungeon were turning the kids’ breath into an icy mist in front of them. Life was cold, foggy and white. While the Common Rooms and Great Hall had roaring fires, the school’s corridors were drafty and a bit noisy due to the bitter wind rattling the windows.

The roaring fires made me think of collective Alchemical burnings occurring among the students and staff of all four houses. Snow in general reminded me of the white phase. Hogwarts was buried in snow, so it seemed that Jo was walking us through a systemic set of images that resembled the Path as we travel through Book 1. A frozen lake mirrored the hardness of the heart that many have at the physical level, and the drafty corridors showed us the potential to wander away from the heat of the Path if we are not careful. The fires in particular areas and the overall coldness everywhere else was similar to life.

Those going the path do move closer together to increase the warmth, as like attracts like, but the world itself remains cold, bitter and misty. It is suffering from the absence of love. The mist in front of the students’ faces remind us that we don’t see things clearly, especially the truth about ourselves. The kids move closer to their hot cauldrons, allowing the alchemical fire to do its job, but outwardly, they stay pretty much the same. They continue to struggle against their carnal natures and vanities.

Draco continued to feel angry and envious that Griffindore won the Quidditch match. He can’t help but take a new stab at Harry since he blamed him for his discomfort that his team lost. Claiming sorrow for those who have to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas, he reminded Harry that he was not wanted at home. Obviously, he was trying to get a reaction out of Harry, but Harry just ignored him. He didn’t want to go home to the Dursleys for Christmas, so Draco’s words were meaningless to him.

Draco’s weapon of choice gives us another glimpse into his situation and emotional state. He had a family that loved him. If he didn’t, the words he used against Harry would have hurt him badly. Ron and his brothers were staying at Hogwarts along with Harry because their parents were going to Romania to visit Charlie. Harry figured it would be the best Christmas he has ever had, so he doesn’t feel sorry for himself at all. He is clearly seeing the value in his current situation.

I have been looking at a couple of Hermetic websites trying to find info on the Paths of the Sword and Snake, and I ran into an analogy about the dragon that fits here. In some spiritual circles, the dragon represents the Shadow: that inner voice that taunts and criticizes us. That’s exactly what Draco was doing here. He tried to attack Harry emotionally. He tried to make Harry feel bad about himself. It didn’t work because Harry hadn’t addressed his feelings for his lost family yet. At present, those feelings were buried beneath a blanket of snow, so Harry only associated family with the Dursleys.

When Harry left the dungeon, a large fir tree was blocking the corridor. This insinuated that Harry had an emotional blockage he needed to dislodge. Hagrid was carrying the Christmas tree, so Ron stuck his head through the branches and asked if he needed help carrying the tree. Hagrid told Ron no. He was all right.

The tree seems to symbolize Hagrid himself, since he looks like a giant Christmas tree with feet. While Christmas represents love and sacrifice, a Christmas tree is evergreen, so the tree is symbol of Eternal Life. This was another reference to Hagrid’s current status as a Master of Compassion.

Taunting Harry didn’t work, so Draco turned to Ron who was much easier to rile. “That hut of Hagrid’s must seem like a palace compared to what your family’s used to,” he said. Ron perceived Draco’s remarks as a physical attack upon his family and dived at Draco without thinking first.

Unfortunately, Snape was coming up the stairs and didn’t hear Draco’s insult. He just saw Ron attack Draco. This reminds us that we don’t always have enough information to accurately judge people and situations. We only see a portion of what’s going on. Hagrid tried to defend Ron, because Snape didn’t have enough information, but Snape reminded him that fighting was never allowed at Hogwarts even if Draco had provoked Ron into it. Snape then subtracted five points from Gryffindore.

At Snape’s first encounter with Harry, he only took a single point away from Gryffindore, but lately, Snape had been taking five. Snape was functioning from a severe viewpoint. He was very legalistic, but I wonder if his switch from subtracting one point to five didn’t come about because five was what he saw Professor McGonagall take away from Gryffindore when the boys fought the troll. If he continued to deduct only a single point while other teachers were taking five, it would look like he was favoring Harry and friends.

Hagrid was coming at the situation of Draco insulting Ron’s family from the perspective of love and compassion for Ron’s feelings. What Snape tells Ron is that he should be grateful that he didn’t take more points away than he did. This seemed to be a reflection of karmic justice. Karma doesn’t have room in its heart to give us anything less than what we strictly deserve. There was no degree of allowance, no “i” that goes undotted. Intent of the heart doesn’t matter, only what we do. But this incident also brings up the spiritual principle of gratitude. Things can always be worse than what they presently are.

Draco, Crabbe and Goyle pushed themselves past the tree with a smirk. In their mind, they had won. That pushing caused the tree’s needles to scatter everywhere. I really loved the image of the scattering needles. It introduced cause and effect, but also a reason for our current non-eternal situation. The scattering shows us how the divine spark was a piece of the original tree, but also the effect of a specific cause. Jo inferred that certain beings deliberately shoved their way past their current situation of Eternal Life, which then resulted in our scattered condition.

Whether this action on their part was preconceived and therefore a part of God’s Priginal Plan, or not, varies depending upon our spiritual traditions, but I really liked the Christmas tree analogy here. This image helped me understand how we each relate to the whole. We don’t remember the tree. We don’t remember what it was like to be a part of the tree. We are a Christmas tree needle, an infinitely small piece of one of the branches, but since we cannot see the tree, we believe a needle is who we are. We have been deceived into believing that we are separate from the tree.

What happens to a Christmas tree needle when it falls? Whether it falls at the base of the tree or the wind carries it further away, the needle dries out from lack of moisture and nourishment. The tree’s roots can no longer feed it and nourish it, so it turns from green to brown and eventually shrivels and dies. To prevent that from happening, Mother and Father both work together to feed and sustain us in various ways until we have learned what we need to know and are ready to return home to their presence