Harry and The Gift
This is a complex story story about commitment and sacrifice.
Guidance on how to most easily consume this tasty treat: Listen to the audio first, then read the explanation below. Please note that there are actually two chapters in this story. This is a conversation about the first chapter. Next month we will dive into chapter two of this story.
We begin with Harry riding on an elephant that is larger than life. The story notes that it even taller than the redwood trees. So we look past the obvious symbol of elephant: strength, stability, dignity, blasting through obstacles, and note that it is larger than the redwood trees. So as we look into that association we note that the redwood tree is one of the largest creatures on the planet that is created by one of the smallest seeds. And when we look into that, we now have a powerful being that is connected to the ancient beyond form and time, but also who is out of balance. Who has grown so tall, that it can not feed and water itself. But this elephant is not a victim to it’s circumstance, it meets the needs of the moment, and makes a point of traveling great distances so it drink from waterfalls since it can’t reach the ground for food or water. As we look at what this elephant and what it represents in this story we can take two different paths. We can look at elephant as something outside of ourselves…and see it as a symbol them as being It is a symbol that says he is being guided by an ally that is connected to more than just the form of just its species. We can also look at is a symbol that asks about the internal life of the reader…Where are you out of proportion with your power or access to it? What is so powerful and out of proportion in your life that you can’t easily manage the simple necessities of daily tasks?
Now we return to the story and note that Harry is seated on a saddle, meaning this this is his rightful place, seated in the seat of power.
But Harry and elephant have an interesting contract or binding agreement. One will not eat or drink until the other can. And so as they cross a desert on their way to the jungle where there is a great waterfall that elephant can drink from, they have to keep passing all of these oasis’, and even though Harry is thirsty, he chooses to not drink until they can drink together. This is the first introduction of sacrifice in this story. It seems to have an under current of loyalty and equality in it. It is also an opportunity for you to ask yourself...who do you have contracts with? Spoken or unpsoken? Who are you in agreement with that you will only be nourished or rest once they are able to be nourished and rest?
Harry is also covered by a flock of small golden birds that reflect the shining light of gold. People see the light before they seem him. Lets focus on gold: As a transitional metal, gold is symbolic of flexibility on our spiritual path while life experience galvanizes our faith. One of the more valued elements, gold represents perfection in all matter, on any level. It also symbolizes humankind’s quest to perfect, illuminate and refine his/herself. When we look to the bird, it was never defined, so we look to overarching symbolism of birds... their amazing power of flight, many are revered as bringers of messages and symbols of change
So we are in a situation with Henry, who has these sweet kind and quiet of presence of birds (or change) riding on his shoulders. And the mere energy of their presence, the energy of change, is what people see before he, himself, arrives. It is as if by letting those symbols ride with him even before he knows how to relate to them, creates the projection of the change he will one day experience to the world.
Their journey takes them into the jungle, a place they are afraid of, because they know anaconda lives in the jungle. We are entering into a classic moment in the hero's journey: knowing that if you take the next step (in this case...into the jungle), you will face your fear...and then taking that step anyway.
Sure enough, Harry comes eye to eye with Anaconda. She demands 2 maybe 3 birds. She gives him the option to go the easy way or the hard way. There are a million ways we could examine the snake, but we're going to pay attention to that Anaconda in it's essence, is a constrictor. The question to ask: What is facing you that is putting the squeeze on you? Constriction is powerful. It's what happens in the birth canal. You can work with the energy or resist it's power, but there is no getting away from the metaphor of the moment. You have left the comfort of the womb, stepped into the birth canal. I love the line that presents in this story, you can go the easy or the hard way...so then you can ask: Are you working with the energies that are creating conflict, or against them? And at what price?
Harry felt a sense of obligation to protect the birds, even though he didn’t understand them. They were just simple, kind, and considerate companions and they never took anything from him. And so he refused. Anaconda was not amused, and doubled the price.
Harry was distraught, not sure what that would make him if he did such a thing. This is interesting wording to pay attention to. He was afraid of what it feeding the anaconda his birds would make him into. So lets ask, how many times have you let your fears of a projected version of yourself stop you? Are you afraid of becoming the monster that you feed? And if so...what is it that you are afraid of becoming?
One of the birds sang into his year that wove a prayer, where she explained that their purpose was to be in service … and the way she was going to be in service was to make this sacrifice for him. She also became very logical, saying they both knew the price would just get higher and higher until Harry agreed to give over some of the birds. Harry considered “the gift” from the little bird. He was about to refuse the anaconda, when another bird came over and pleaded, saying, “Please, it’s just going to get messy.”
What a fascinating flip! Turns out the mysterious presence of the birds is here to serve. So what Harry thought he had to sacrifice, is actually in service of him. Juicy. So now we can ask, what in your life are you protecting, that you are willing to give everything for and maybe even fight to the death to defend, that's very presence is in service of being sacrificed by you?
This is a crucial moment in another way: because Harry was able to leave his ego mind as protector, and listen to the voice of guidance. The birds and the Anaconda were consistent in their message: "We can do this the easy way or the hard way," and "Don't make this messy." Are you able to hear when you are receiving the same message from different places? Can you trust that guidance that is coming to you even though it goes against all logic?
Harry agrees to give the Anaconda some of the birds, and the price was upped to 6 birds.
The symbolism behind number six* is legend. With Venus as its ruler, Six represents harmony, balance, sincerity, love, and truth. Six naturally reveals solutions for us in a calm, unfolding manner. We invoke the six when we need delicate diplomacy when dealing with sensitive matters. The spiritual meaning of number six also deals with enlightenment; specifically "lighting" our path in areas we require spiritual and mental balance. Sixes beckon us to administer compassion and consciously choose forgiveness in a situation.
Harry gave courtesy to the birds by extending his hand and allowing them to choose who was going to be sacrificed. So in this section again, he is in right relationship with the balance with the masculine and the feminine. He asks what is ready to be sacrificed rather than forcing something before it's time. It is also a show of respecting the divine, even when it isn't fully understood.
He gave them the dignity of watching them. This is where our Hero demonstrates great courage. He is willing to watch, wide eyed, at the consequence of his actions.
As Anaconda ate, a great white light filled her, and she was no longer a snake, but transformed into woman, who then took her place on the saddle behind Harry. This is an important piece: in the Celtic tradition, snake is seen as a symbol of transformation, able to shed it's old skin and become fresh and new again. In this case, when the sacrifice was made, the threat was transformed into an ally.
And when the energy of this ally arrive, the great Elephant shrunk down to a normal size on normal legs, to a shape and form where it could feed itself again.
This is the end of the first chapter. The second chapter will be explored next month!
*Definition of 6 came from: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/spiritual-meaning-of-numbers.html