J Algeo

Magazine Article: Theosophy in Australia, March 2005

Harry Potter began his education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first of seven projected novels: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In that first novel, Harry was on a quest to find the Philosopher’s Stone, which turns base metal into gold and produces an elixir of immortality. But his real quest in that novel, as in the succeeding books of the series, is for self-knowledge. In the second book of the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry continues his education and his quest for self-knowledge during his second year at Hogwarts.

In his second year, Harry learns, among other things, about the three marks of existence that the Buddha taught, namely (1) that life involves suffering, (2) that we have no enduring separate self, and (3) that everything is constantly changing or transforming. Indeed, transformation is the key theme of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Harry has returned to Hogwarts School after the summer vacation only to discover that something is very much amiss. Daubed on a wall of the school are the words ‘THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.’ The ‘heir’ is a descendant of Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founding Wizards of Hogwarts, the only one who believed that none but pure-blooded Wizards should be admitted as students. To ensure the eventual implementation of his belief, he created a secret chamber deep underground, a chamber that only his true heir, a descendant who shared his belief, could open. And in that secret chamber was concealed a secret monster — a Basilisk, which is a serpent whose look either kills or petrifies.

Have we been here before? Various spiritual traditions propose that this life is not the first one we have lived on this earth, but one of many. We could say that with each new life we are in fact picking up from where we left off.

Our individual lives form part of a greater cycle. We can relate to this proposal because, on a minor scale, every day we have a period of activity followed by a period of rest and assimilation. Each new day can be seen as a fresh start with new opportunities for growth

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(kindly sourced from the Theosophical Society in America) 

 

John Algeo is an American professor who was President of the Theosophical Society in America from 1993–2002, and then served as Vice President of the international Theosophical Society in Adyar, Chennai, India until 2008. He had a distinguished academic career at the University of Georgia as a professor of English language and linguistics, and is now Professor Emeritus. In 2014, Dr. Algeo was awarded the Subba Row Medal for his significant contributions to Theosophical literature.

John Algeo is an American professor who was President of the Theosophical Society in America from 1993–2002, and then served as Vice President of the international Theosophical Society in Adyar, Chennai, India until 2008. He had a distinguished academic career at the University of Georgia as a professor of English language and linguistics, and is now Professor Emeritus. In 2014, Dr. Algeo was awarded the Subba Row Medal for his significant contributions to Theosophical literature. (Theosophy Wiki)

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