The Secret of Harry’s Magic
Over the last ten years, an unprecedented literary phenomenon has emerged. Its name is “Harry Potter.” To date, the series, comprising seven books, has sold over 325 million copies worldwide. The Harry Potter series has been translated into 65 languages, some of which are truly esoteric, such as Latin and Zulu. The last book in the series sold eight million copies in a mere fortnight, and in the United States alone, thousands of copies are sold every hour. To understand the level of its success, consider this: the only book that sold more copies than the Harry Potter series is the Bible.
What’s the Fuss Over?
Harry, the amiable, bespectacled youth who attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, must fight wicked witches and monsters to save the human race. But Harry’s struggles are not a unique phenomenon. They are the culmination of a globally increasing attraction to the mystical, hence young Potter’s success.
Along with Harry came other cinematographic hits such as The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings. We can point out many more examples but the idea is clear: we fancy fantasy. What is it that attracts us to mysticism? What are we trying to find there that we cannot find elsewhere? Do we really believe that such enchanted places and magic powers exist, or are we merely trying to escape our bleak reality?
A Journey into Wonderland
Deep within us is an inherent yearning to discover a deeper level of reality—complete and free, unbounded by time and place. Beneath the threshold of our consciousness is a drive to understand the forces that govern the picture of reality we see before us.
To an extent, fantasy novels address this need in us and provide us with a temporary substitute for the deeper reality we are seeking. They usher us into alternative worlds, enchanted and mysterious, and tell us of other dimensions, governed by great legendary powers that can change our world.
Childhood is a good time for us to ask about life’s meaning. Often, with childish innocence, we try to clarify for ourselves who we are and where we come from. When someone dear to us passes away, we are prompted to ask about the meaning of life and death.
Fantasy novels offer magical responses to questions we find hard to answer; we drift on their pages to remote destinations, where untold adventures happen, and from which we always return home safe. The problem is that as we grow, life becomes dull and dim, like the charmless Muggle community of non-magical ancestry.
As we grow and become “responsible” adults, we forget our questions about life, and bury them under our unrelenting commitments to our grownup world. Our increasing interest in fantasy novels arises because the complications of our lives in the 21st century reawaken our desire for a more appealing alternate reality.
A Platform to Infinity
Remember Platform Nine and Three Quarters at King’s Cross Train Station in London? Young Potter was told in the letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that there he would embark the train to the world of wizardry. But to get to the platform, Harry had to cross a very solid-looking wall, the barrier between our (Muggle) world and the wizardry world. Without the help of the plump woman, he would never have known what he had to do to get across.
Quite similarly, in one of his letters, Baal HaSulam, the greatest Kabbalist of the twentieth century, told his students a story about the first entrance into the spiritual world. He, too, describes it as a wall, but instead of walking straight through it, all you need is to acquire the right intent and the wall will vanish. Replacing the plump woman are Kabbalah books and Kabbalah teachers, which describe what we need to do to acquire the right intent.
The Magic Word Is “Love”
Like the school of wizardry, the spiritual world has its own “owls”—Kabbalists. In their books, they have been “sending out invitations” to the spiritual world for several centuries now, describing the abundance we will find if we only follow their lead. Yet, so far the majority of us did not seek entry. Either we were unaware of the existence of Kabbalists, unaware that we were invited to join the magical world of the spirit, or we simply turned down their invitation.
Nevertheless, the wisdom of Kabbalah stands ready to usher us into that wondrous world of wisdom. It can teach us how to prevail over life’s hardships, challenges, and dilemmas, and it can help us bond in love for one another. Kabbalah books can restore the charm we lose at adolescence and show us that we were meant for greatness.
We can find that the enchanted world humanity has been searching for in Alice, Narnia, Oz, and in the Harry Potter series is actually right around the corner, not in another life, but simply in another intention. The real magic is within us, and the word that turns this magic on is “love.”