“You’re a shaman, Harry”

“I’m a — what?”


“A shaman. And a thumpin’ good un I’ll wager once you’ve been trained up a bit.”
“I think you’ve made a mistake. I mean, I… can’t be a… a shaman. I mean, I’m… just.. Harry”
“Not yet you’re not. You just think you are. Harry’s who you think you are and who you’ll grow into. If you survive, if you come back. When you can honestly say you’re just Harry then you’ll have learned everything you need to know.”
“You’ve forgotten the comedy farmer’s accent Hagrid”
“It’s good to forget the comedy, Harry, good to forget the costumes we wear and the masks, and the tasks we set ourselves. While I’m bumbling old west country oafish I’m easy to deal with. You don’t see the glorious burning fire at my core. See it without the mask and it will consume you.”
“Does everyone burn”
“Everyone burns, Harry, you can’t look straight at anyone and see them as they are. Basilisk bright the sight will blight you.”
“Why not? Hagrid this is scaring me.”
“It’s too bright, too one, too hard to fit into words so you can’t think it. There are billions of people but only one fire. It’s bright, Harry, and it burns away the costumes and the masks. Listen to that drum beat. Can you hear it? How loud it is?
“Make it stop”
“It’s your heartbeat Harry, the big boss drum, the auditory driving, driving you down the tunnel into the underworld. You have to go into the underworld Harry, all shamans have to go into the underworld. Face the monster, who is always yourself, and then you’ll die.”
“You’re talking in riddles. Speaking with fawked tongue. I can’t die.”
“That’s true, but not the way you mean. You’ll rise again after being consumed in fire, steel forged harder into the sword of intellect, dividing truth from falsehood. You’ll come back from the underworld having rescued the maiden that is your other half, your better half that will be. Rescued from the monster who is an aspect of yourself, the shadow, the dark woodland, your own forbidden forest. The one revealed in words from the past, trapped in his own account of himself. You have to break free of your history.”
“I’m too young for all this. Much too Jung for all this”
“Every hero has to descend into darkness, without their mentor, their master, their father figure. You have to open that humble door by yourself alone.”
“I’ll have friends, I meet them on the train.”
“They’re training wheels, not real, you can’t take them down with you. At each doorway you strip yourself of one of them, like Inanna descending into the underworld shedding garments like a burlesque queen. You descend alone but you will not rise alone, that’s wisdom”
“I’ll have my wand to protect me,”
“You’ll burn yourself to ash thinking like that. You need the chalice of compassion not the wand of will.”
“I don’t have it, where is it?”
“I told you, it’s in the underworld, your underworld. You’ll face the monstrous and rise, not alone, whole again with wand and chalice both. Will and compassion. The sword in your hand, return to the world above, solid and stable. Elementary my dear Harry.”
“I’m hungry”
“You’ve had enough of your birthing cake for now Harry, it’s powerful stuff. Listen to the drums and let it work on you.”
“That’s all in the future isn’t it Hagrid, descending, ascending, but it’s all happened before.”
“So often my son, my daughter, my everyone. Everywhere and everywhen the hero finds the way and then, alone and stripped bare descends into the hole and is made whole and ascends and mends.”
“It’s just a wall, just a wall, how long have I been staring at it?”
“Long enough. It’s just a wall, and I am just Hagrid and you are just Harry. Isn’t that right?”
“No. No. There’s only one fire, you said so. Or I said so. One fire in all of us, wearing endless silly hats and false moustaches to fool itself into thinking it’s divided. Trapped in the words we wrote about ourselves, not really living, just repeating old tropes. And it’s not a wall. It’s a doorway. Adore way.”
“If you try to walk through a solid wall you’ll get a bloody nose and everyone will laugh at you. Better stay seated and listening to the drum.”
“It’s a doorway and the drumbeat is the sound of my steps. It melts away, the bricks are no more real than the fiction of you and me. And there’s sunshine and a crowd of people all dressed alike, new and staring and amazed. And I think that’s a train, a train, a train of thought. Can I ride it?”
“A man once dreamed of riding on a photon, and that was real enough relatively speaking. But do you want to climb aboard, knowing where it goes? Where you have to go?”
“Where we all go, onward blindly or eyes open into the darkness. To face the two-faced men and the ancient horrors, and the monsters that are myself again and again and again, always descending through a tunnel or a cellar or a secret cavern, or through a maze of twisty passages all alike, until I can look inside myself and not be slain with a single glimpse. See myself know that I am not Harry, and you are not Hagrid and nobody is anybody.”
“And then?”
“Come back. And take up Harry again. Like a wand. Or a sword. Or a goblet. One more magical instrument in the shape of a boy who died and lived. Perfected.”
“Not perfected. Not a perfect ten, Harry, there’s no such thing not on this side of the veil. But nearly there. Nearly a perfect ten. Just a little way further to go. Nine and three quarters. All aboard.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s