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Harry Potter's Invitation to the World

by Vickie Ewell


Chapter 67 – Firenze Saves Harry
(HP Chapter 15)

Harry heard hooves galloping behind him, and then something jumped over him and charged at the hooded figure. Obviously, it was another guardian. I suppose we have many. The pain in Harry’s scar was so fierce, he dropped to his knees, disabled. Harry didn’t see what happened. Although The Holy Spirit and other guardians handle many things for us, the pain made Harry blind to how it was done.

It’s the same for us. As long as we nurture the pain in our lives, we won’t be able to see reality. It took a couple of minutes before Harry’s pain ceased. When he looked up again, the hooded figure was gone.

A centaur stood over Harry. It wasn’t Ronan or Bane. Harry’s new protector was Firenze. He helped Harry to his feet. Harry asked him what the hooded figure was, but Firenze just looked at Harry’s scar. Finally, he said, “You’re the Potter boy. You better get back to Hagrid.” The forest wasn’t safe, especially for Harry.

Although Voldemort’s inclination was to physically get rid of Harry, safety is also our own greatest fear. Sometimes, the fear of death is masked by lesser fears and worries, but everything a conditioned mind does is always an effort to survive.

Firenze lowered his front legs so Harry could climb onto his back, and he could fly him to safety. That angered Ronan and Bane who came charging through the clearing. They were upset that Firenze had a human boy on his back. The Harry Potter series introduces us to a variety of races and cultures, but each race shows us a little bit more of ourselves. Like many of us, the centaurs are prideful and consider themselves superior to humans.

Firenze told the pair that it was Harry Potter. The quicker he left the forest the better. Bane wasn’t concerned with Harry’s safety. He cared about what Firenze had told him. Centaurs have sworn to not oppose the heavens. They believe in keeping their knowledge hidden and not interfering with whatever the heavens reveal. They had read what was to come in the movements of the planets, so Bane was angry.

Although Bane was concerned, centaurs couldn’t run around the forest picking up stray boys. Bane seemed to have control issues, and his demand that Firenze conform to his way of thinking and acting only made Firenze angry. In fact, Harry had to grab onto Firenze’s shoulders to keep from falling off.

“Do you not see that unicorn?” Firenze said angrily. “Do you not understand why it was killed? Or have the planets not let you in on that secret?”

I just realized that Voldemort taking the unicorn's blood into himself mirrored what he did to Harry in the graveyard in Book 4. The centaurs seem to have understood Harry's Path up to that point, but could not as yet see any further. The unicorn's death also symbolized the sacrifice that Harry made for everyone in Book 7. By then, he had already united with it.

We have not been shown how Voldemort overcame the unicorn enough to get that close to him. Maybe, he didn't. Maybe the unicorn gave his life freely to Voldemort.

Firenze also confided that he had set himself against whatever was lurking in the forest, and he would stand alongside humans to do that, if necessary. He then charged into the forest with Harry on his back. Apparently, this new guardian was a dissident.

Harry didn’t have a clue what was going on and started to question the centaur, but the centaur didn’t answer any of Harry’s questions. Undoubtedly, he was weighing out in his mind what Harry should be told and what he should not.

After a long time, they stopped. Did Harry know what unicorn blood was used for? Harry didn’t of course. They had only used the unicorn’s horn and tail in potions classes. Firenze confided that it was a monstrous thing to slay a unicorn. Only someone with nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. Voldemort must have already killed his own unicorn, and therefore had nothing to lose killing another.

Unicorn blood keeps you alive, even if you are close to death, but there was a price. You have slain something pure and defenseless to save yourself. In Voldemort’s case, that would be to gain immortality. The price for that was a half-life – a cursed life – from the second the blood touched your lips.

We’re not told exactly what that curse entailed. My own spiritual tradition speaks of it in terms of no forgiveness in this world or the world to come. Biblically we’re told that Christ’s saving power doesn’t extend to the Son of Perdition, but perhaps that’s because the unicorn portion of ourselves, our spiritual strength and might, is actually the saving power itself.

Jo gave us a clue by using the term “half-life.” If our unicorn dies, there would be no way for the Alchemical marriage between the unicorn and stag to take place. Voldemort fed on the unicorn’s life force since he didn’t have a body of his own. Taking innocent blood by force was what he did, because he refused to sacrifice himself.

In his drive for immortality, Voldemort didn’t understand the role that death plays in our lives, nor that there are many things worse than death. The condition Neville’s parents are in is one example. It all circles back around to fear of the unknown, fear of death, and fear of extinction.

Harry couldn’t figure out who would willingly take upon themselves that type of curse. He thought being dead would be better. Biblical references say the same thing: it’s better for that individual to have never been born than to choose the path of perdition. The centaur told Harry it would make sense if someone needed to stay alive until he drank something else that could bring him back to full strength and power – something that would give him immortality.

“Mr. Potter, do you know what is hidden in the school at this very moment?” Harry did, of course, but had never connected the Stone to the Elixir of Life. He still didn’t understand who wanted it though.

The centaur asked if Harry could think of someone who had waited for many years to return to power, someone who has clung to life waiting for his chance? He was leading Harry into the realization of who Voldemort was, and what he wanted, rather than simply telling him. Our own discoveries often come to us in a similar way. We are led, rather than told, because personal experience is essential to our evolution.

Suddenly, it felt like an iron fist had closed around Harry’s heart. Hagrid had told him he didn’t believe Voldemort had died, but Hermione interrupted them before Harry could ask the centaur if the answer was Voldemort. Harry told Hagrid about the unicorn, and then slid off the centaur’s back. He was safe now. “Good luck, Harry Potter,” Firenze said. “The planets have been read wrongly before now, even by centaurs. I hope this is one of those times.”

Interestingly enough, the centaurs believe the planetary alignments are absolute rather than a depiction of a possibility given the future’s current direction. Like many of us, they also attempt to fill in the blanks, which can often be wrong. In reality, the future is fluid depending upon our choices, so prophecy is never exact.

Back in the common room, Harry woke Ron up, so he and Hermione could explain everything. Despite the centaur’s revelations, Harry continued to blame Snape. Instead of reevaluating his previous theory, he just twisted it, so it would fit better. Snape wanted the Stone for Voldemort, not himself.

Ron freaked out about Harry using Voldemort’s name openly, but Harry wasn’t listening. He was more concerned with remembering exactly what the centaur had said. “He was talking about interfering with what the planets said was going to happen.” That’s how Harry interpreted what Firenze shared. We can twist our revelations in similar ways. Everything filters through our perception, current beliefs, and place on the path, but assumptions can really mess with us.

Harry also assumed the planets had told the centaurs that Voldemort was coming back, so Bane thought Firenze should let Voldemort kill Harry. “I suppose that’s written in the stars as well.” It wasn’t, but Harry couldn’t relate to the centaurs’ code of secrecy in any other way.

“Will you stop saying the name!” Ron hissed. Harry continued to ignore him. All he had to wait for now was for Snape to steal the Stone, and then Voldemort would be able to come and finish Harry off. Here we see how our fears and assumptions can cause discomfort, worry, and fear that we bring upon ourselves.

Hermione was frightened, but she did have a logical thought. Everyone said that Dumbledore was the one person that You-Know-Who was afraid of. As long as Dumbledore was around, You-Know-Who couldn’t touch Harry. Plus, it sounded like fortune telling. “Professor McGonagall says that’s a very imprecise branch of magic.” Although Hermione was parroting Professor McGonagall’s beliefs, this was the second time that Jo has suggested that prophesy is fluid rather than absolute.

The sky had turned light before they finished talking, but the night’s surprises weren’t over quite yet. When Harry pulled back the sheets to jump into bed, he found his invisibility cloak folded neatly underneath them. The note simply said, “Just in case.”