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  • Hans Rieuwers
    The lily, the rose, and the lotus are traditional symbols for our deepest spiritual self, our only true and immortal self, our inner God. The imagery speaks
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 29, 2004
      The lily, the rose, and the lotus are traditional
      symbols for our deepest spiritual self, our only true
      and immortal self, our inner God.

      The imagery speaks clearly. A seed falls into the
      dark, slimy, rotting earth. A plant rises up and one
      day produces a breathtakingly beautiful and dazzlingly
      pure white flower that is in such complete contrast to
      the environment the seed was planted in.

      This is not very flattering for us personally, but the
      idea is that we are the rotting earth and the flower
      is the potential Inner God in the heart. That's Lily
      Potter - Harry's mother.

      The divine flower in the heart has been symbolised in
      many other ways in stories through the centuries. For
      example a familiar one is the Philosopher's Stone. The
      legend about this stone is that it can produce the
      elixir of life and can turn all other metals into
      gold. Here the symbolism is clear too. The elixir of
      life obviously alludes to the property of the
      spiritual bud in the heart to give the bearer eternal
      life - if he uses the stone properly. Turning other
      metals into gold symbolises the same thing as the
      flower above, i.e. turning something worthless into
      something very beautiful. Gold is a very powerful
      symbol because we all know it doesn't oxidise and so
      doesn't tarnish. There is an additional meaning to
      gold, because advanced seekers on the path of
      liberation have told us that when the flower in the
      heart has opened up fully and its heavenly fragrance
      has spread throughout the body, the aura of the seeker
      takes on an exquisite golden radiance. This is
      especially so around the head, and this is where the
      legend of the aureole or halo began. We can see this
      depicted in medieval paintings.

      Jo uses the symbol of the Philosopher's Stone in quite
      a different way than the above, though. She uses it to
      make the very opposite point! She uses it as occult
      symbolism and the elixir of life here means life in
      the physical body, and gold means wealth on earth.
      This is quite an unexpected use of symbolism, but
      extremely effective.

      Another effective symbol for the immortal life in the
      heart is the seed. Thanks to Herbert for sending that
      lovely quote from Meister Eckhart: "The seed of God is
      in us. Now the seed of a pear tree grows into a pear
      tree; and a hazel seed grows into a hazel tree; a seed
      of God grows into God." What an effective symbol that
      is! We know that a seed is full of potential and that
      a small acorn can grow into a mighty oak which needs
      ten men to girth it.

      The seed is especially interesting in discussing Harry
      Potter, because we know that to create a plant, a seed
      has to die. Perhaps this is the message of why Lily
      sacrificed herself for Harry, symbolically speaking.
      The potential dies so the actuality can live. I have a
      gut feeling there's more to Lily and James' death than
      that, but that's all I can offer right now.

      If we compare Harry Potter to other stories we can see
      Lily represented in various ways. For example in
      Grimm's fairy tale, "Briar Rose", also known as
      "Sleeping beauty", we see another flower. Hidden
      behind impenetrable briars is a castle with a sleeping
      princess and a whole court, all asleep. If we can just
      accept that our self-centred life is the briars, we
      can awaken the "royal" life asleep in our heart.
      Royalty is another powerful symbol for the divine
      potential within. Many seekers have a suspicion that
      there's something special about them; that secretly
      they're royal. That is actually true, for the child
      asleep behind the briars of our temporary existence is
      a Prince or Princess: a child of the King of Creation.

      Another of Grimm's fairy tales, "The Glass Coffin", is
      similar to "Briar Rose". There the divine potential is
      a princess asleep in a glass coffin, and jars around
      her contain a miniature castle, servants, etc. When
      the lid is lifted the princess awakens, and the castle
      grows back to its real size, all symbols of the
      "Kingdom in the midst of you". This particular fairy
      tale is even more relevant to Harry Potter, for guess
      what brings the hero to the glass coffin? A stag!
      We'll come to that when we discuss James.

      The inner God can also be symbolised by things like a
      diamond or another jewel. The diamond is very apt
      because its hardness and hence near indestructibility
      is a wonderful symbol for the immortality of the inner
      prince or princess.

      I hope I may be permitted to conclude by telling you
      what, in my opinion, the divine potential within the
      heart really is. As I said in my introduction to this
      series of posts about the characters, abstract things
      can be understood better (or only) by symbols. But
      please remember that symbols are just comparisons;
      they're not the thing itself!

      The inner God is LIKE a seed in that it can
      "germinate" and grow according to its "genes". The
      inner God is LIKE a castle in that it's capable of
      self-supporting life full of richness, grandeur and
      beauty. The inner God is LIKE a prince or princess
      because it's a child of the King or Architect of the
      universe. It's LIKE a bud because out of it can unfold
      a flower of dazzling purity and beauty. But it's none
      of these.

      Obviously it's not physical because we have had it
      through every incarnation. It's invisible,
      undetectable by science, and its existence is possibly
      denied by millions of people. Only its owner can
      detect it. How? By feeling that deep down he is royal.
      By suspecting that life on earth is not all there is.
      By being incessantly urged from within to seek for the
      purpose of life, for the causes behind the physical
      causes, for self-realisation as a spiritual being. And
      now we're starting to get close to the character of
      James Potter, so I'll stop here.

      So what is it really? In my humble opinion I think it
      can best be described as a divine thought-spark.
      Anything God creates is everlasting and
      indestructible. However there is the possibility of a
      divine thought-spark developing according to the
      thought contained within, or of atrophying if its
      potential is not realised. Millions and millions of
      years ago the Spirit of God flashed like a lightning
      bolt through the universe and in its wake it left a
      sea of thought-sparks. Each one of these is unique yet
      able to develop into a mighty god, an everlasting
      father, a Prince of Peace. Through a process that took
      an unimaginably long time, the sparks developed, and
      many of them grew into Sons of the Father in
      mind-boggling glory. But others chose to follow an
      experimental plan instead of the one written within
      their own beings. They "fell" into another universe
      and the thought-sparks atrophied back to a bare
      minimum. For those who like technical explanations;
      the thought-spark is actually the mathematical centre
      of the microcosm we inhabit.

      If my theory of what Harry Potter is about is correct,
      this means that we all have within us something so
      ineffably precious, so utterly sublime, so
      inexpressibly supernal that it should make us feel our
      heart is filled with a swelling balloon as Jo puts it.
      Just think: no matter what our physical circumstances,
      no matter what our role in life or where we live, we
      have the potential to open our hearts to the Lily
      within and give birth to Harry, who will go on a long
      and painful struggle to defeat the Voldemort within
      us, ending in total liberation and the restoration of
      the inner Prince as heir to the everlasting Kingdom.
      Go Harry!

      Points for discussion.
      1. Do you agree with any of the above? Or disagree?
      2. Can you give examples of other symbols for the
      "Lily" in the heart?
      3. Can you give examples of other stories where there
      is an inner potential that is not recognised at first?
      4. How do you react to the idea that Harry Potter is
      telling the same old story of unlimited inner
      5. Do you think that the characters in Harry Potter
      just have random names and Jo's choice is a coincidence?

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