The Half-Blood Prince


From a psychological perspective, I found the latest Harry Potter movie to be one of the best I have ever seen for illustrating the different paths the orphan hearted can take once they are awake to their own pain. We have Harry Potter, an orphan raised without love, and Tom Riddle (who becomes Lord Voldemort), also an orphan raised without love. Harry takes the path of the heroic orphan, Tom that of the tragic one. Harry uses his loss and pain while Tom abuses others for his. One is a giver, the other a taker.

The young actor who plays Tom as a boy is brilliant; look at the petulant, angry expression on his face when he first meets Dumbledore, and then look at the transformation as Tom realizes that he can make use of Dumbledore. Through Dumbledore he can learn how to harness his powers and get revenge for his suffering. Through Dumbledore he can experience vindictive triumph.

Finally, look at Dumbledore’s character and aims: in both relationships his goal has been to teach young wizards how to use their powers for good. He’s a wise old wizard doing what wise old wizards do. Yet even a wise old wizard like Dumbledore can’t predict outcomes.

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To celebrate his 75th birthday, Carl Jung hewed a four-sided stone mandala he set outside his house in Bollingen. One of the sides said this:

I am an orphan, alone; nevertheless I am found everywhere. I am one, but opposed to myself. I am youth and old man at one and the same time. I have known neither father nor mother, because I have had to be fetched out of the deep like a fish, or fell like a white stone from heaven. In woods and mountains I roam, but I am hidden in the innermost soul of man. I am mortal to everyone, yet I am not touched by the cycle of aeons.

We are all orphans in a part of ourselves. The question is how we manifest our orphan heart and whether we are heroic or tragic orphans in that part of ourselves.

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