Friday, February 20, 2009


I was reading an aritcle by someone I find very thought provoking the other day. The particular article I've been pondering was written in response to fears in some Christian groups that the Harry Potter series is dangerous. They suggest it promotes witchcraft. He makes a distinction between the actual occultic world, and fantasy. I appreciate that distinction. I appreciate any time a distinction is made which enhances the subject. More than just distinguishing the books as fantasy, and not necessarily a handbook to witchcraft, he fleshes out some bits of the story that are quite wonderful.

What I have really been pondering is the mirror of Erised. In brief, it is a mirror which when you look into it, "it reveals the deepest most desperate desires of our hearts." I've been walking around with the name Erised in my mind, because as Haack pointed out, Erised spelled backward is desire. I know if I looked into the mirror, I would see something, and it would not be God. I yearn for both: to desire God with all my heart, and at the same time, I yearn for the images I would see in the mirror to be fulfilled. Haack quotes Dubledore's explanation to Harry this way also, "The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is." That makes my heart palpitate.

It's the paradox of life I think; looking in the mirror and seeing only a reflection, and looking in the mirror and seeing God. How can we both be happy in our position, and as well hope for more. And, more importantly, how can we keep that which is greater than all above all? How can we be both satisfied, and move forward?

The other interesting connection is the association of the mirror of Erised to the greek god of strife and discord, Eris. The supposed association between the mirror and a god is yet another reason to shun the books according to some. For the sake of calling a spade spade, Haack points out the mirror is actually called Erised and not Eris, similar but not the same. The interesting thing to me is that strife and discord is often the product of untempered desire. So, the association does work for me. That said, how often do we do that in our life? We take the tiniest association, and turn something into an entirely different thing. How often do we miss the beauty of something, because we are quick to judge. I think, had I decided the Potter books were handbooks of evil, I would have missed out on some great imagery to take and use in my own life. And I would have missed out on a great story that speaks to me. 

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