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Alchemical Traces in Harry Potter, Part II

Alchemical Traces in Harry Potter, Part II

By Kate Daley Bailey….
Harry Potter as Coded text? Not only does Rowling incorporate many overt references to the history and legends surrounding alchemy, she often employs the very methods of communication which noted alchemists used. Alchemists often employed symbols, animal images, anagrams, and various word games/codes in order to keep their finding secrets and safe. While Rowling is not facing the Inquisitors or angry monarchs, her use of codes (anagrams (i.e. Tom Marvolo Riddle/ I am Lord Voldemort) and backwards writing (the Mirror of Erised/Desire) are very compelling to her audience. The most readily identifiable mythic animal associated with alchemy is the Phoenix. The phoenix, the iconic ‘fire bird,’ embodies the ultimate symbol of death and rebirth. It also represents spiritual transformation. This mythical bird plays a defining role in the Harry Potter series, especially the first few books. Harry is particularly troubled when Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix, grows very old and bursts into flame before his very eyes. He is even more perplexed when from the ashes a small baby phoenix is born.

Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell

Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell

By Tito Ferguson, Georgia State University ….
When considering the theorists Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell, it is not difficult to recognize similarities in their theories of religious thought. Comparisons can be made between them in regards to their methods of analyzing separate traditions as well as their attempts to draw universal conclusions from them. Not only do these two theorists demonstrate the ability to take unrelated traditions and create a new way of viewing them as part of a larger picture, but they also resemble each other in how later theorists consider their work. Both men inspired a change in the way religion was thought about by the public, and both have earned the criticism of modern and feminist scholars.