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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Spiritual Interpretation of Jack and the Beanstalk







Jack and the Beanstalk   


  There was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son named Jack, and a cow named Milky-white. And all they had to live on was the milk the cow gave every morning, which they carried to the market and sold. But one-morning Milky-white gave no milk, and they didn't know what to do.

"What shall we do, what shall we do?" said the widow, wringing her hands.

"Cheer up, mother, I'll go and get work somewhere," said Jack.

"We've tried that before, and nobody would take you," said his mother; "we must sell Milky-white and with the money start shop, or something."

"All right, mother," says Jack; "it's market-day today, and I'll soon sell Milky-white, and then we'll see what we can do."

So he took the cow's halter in his hand, and off he started. He hadn't gone far when he met a funny, looking old man, who said to him: "Good morning, Jack."

"Good morning to you," said Jack, and wondered how he knew his name.

"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the man.

"I'm going to market to sell our cow here."

"Oh, you look the proper sort of chap to sell cows," said the man; "I wonder if you know how many beans make five."

"Two in each hand and one in your mouth," says Jack, as sharp as a needle.

"Right you are," says the man, "and here they are, the very beans themselves," he went on, pulling out of his pocket a number of strange-looking beans. 

"As you are so sharp," says he, 

"I don't mind doing a swop with you—your cow for these beans."

"Go along," says Jack; "wouldn't you like it?"

"Ah! You don't know what these beans are," said the man; "if you plant them over-night, by morning they grow right up to the sky."

"Really?" said Jack; "you don't say so."

"Yes, that is so, and if it doesn't turn out to be true you can have your cow back."

"Right," says Jack, and hands him over Milky-white's halter and pockets the beans.

Back goes Jack home, and as he hadn't gone very far it wasn't dusk by the time he got to his door.

"Back already, Jack?" said his mother; "I see you haven't got Milky-white, so you've sold her, How much did you get for her?"

"You'll never guess, mother," says Jack.

"No, you don't say so. Good boy! Five pounds, ten, fifteen, no, it can't be twenty."

"I told you couldn't guess. What do you say to these beans; they're magical, plant them overnight and——"

"What!" says Jack's mother, "have you been such a fool, such a dolt, such an idiot, as to give away my Milky-white, the best milker in the parish, and prime beef to boot, for a set of paltry beans? Take that! Take that! Take that! And as for your precious beans here they go out of the window. And now off with you to bed. Not a sup shall you drink, and not a bit shall you swallow this very night."

So Jack went upstairs to his little room in the attic, and sad and sorry he was, to be sure, as much for his mother's sake, as for the loss of his supper. At last, he dropped off to sleep.

When he woke up, the room looked so funny. The sun was shining into part of it, and yet all the rest was quite dark and shady. So Jack jumped up and dressed and went to the window. And what do you think he saw? Why the beans his mother had thrown out of the window into the garden had sprung up into a big beanstalk which went up and up and up till it reached the sky. So the man spoke truth after all.

The beanstalk grew up quite close past Jack's window, so all he had to do was to open it and give a jump on to the beanstalk which ran up just like a big ladder. So Jack climbed, and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till at last, he reached the sky. And when he got there he found a long broad road going as straight as a dart. So he walked along and he walked along and he walked along till he came to a great big tall house, and on the doorstep, there was a great big tall woman.

"Good morning, mum," says Jack, quite polite-like. "Could you be so kind as to give me some breakfast?" For he hadn't had anything to eat you know, the night before and was as hungry as a hunter

"It ’s breakfast you want, is it?" says the great big tall woman, "its breakfast you'll be if you don't move off from here. My man is an ogre and there's nothing he likes better than boys broiled on toast. You'd better be moving on or he'll soon be coming."

"Oh! Please mum, do give me something to eat, mum. I've had nothing to eat since yesterday morning, really and truly, mum," says Jack, "I may as well be broiled as die of hunger."

Well, the ogre's wife was not half so bad after all. So she took Jack into the kitchen and gave him a hunk of bread and cheese and a jug of milk. But Jack hadn't half finished these when thump! thump! thump! the whole house began to tremble with the noise of someone coming.

"Goodness gracious me! It's my old man," said the ogre's wife, "what on earth shall I do? Come along quick and jump in here." And she bundled Jack into the oven just as the ogre came in. He was a big one, to be sure. At his belt, he had three calves strung up by the heels, and he unhooked them and threw them down on the table and said: "Here, wife, broil me a couple of these for breakfast Ah! What's this I smell?

 Fee-fi-fo-fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead
I'll have his bones to grind my bread."

"Nonsense, dear," said his wife, "you're dreaming. Or perhaps you smell the scraps of that little boy you liked so much for yesterday's dinner. Here, you go and have a wash and tidy up, and by the time you come back your breakfast will be ready for you."

So off the ogre went, and Jack was just going to jump out of the oven and run away when the woman told him not. "Wait till he's asleep," says she; "he always has a doze after breakfast."

Well, the ogre had his breakfast, and after that, he goes to a big chest and takes out of it a couple of bags of gold, and down he sits and counts till at last his head began to nod and he began to snore till the whole house shook again.

Then Jack crept out on tiptoe from his oven, and as he was passing the ogre he took one of the bags of gold under his arm, and off he pelters till he came to the beanstalk, and then he threw down the bag of gold, which of course fell into his mother's garden, and then he climbed down and climbed down till at last he got home and told his mother and showed her the gold and said: "Well, mother, wasn't I right about the beans? They are really magical, you see."

So they lived on the bag of gold for some time, but at last, they came to the end of it, and Jack made up his mind to try his luck once more up at the top of the beanstalk. So one fine morning he rose up early and got on to the beanstalk, and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till at last, he came out on to the road again and up to the great big tall house he had been to before. There, sure enough, was the great big tall woman a-standing on the doorstep.

"Good morning, mum," says Jack, as bold as brass, "could you be so good as to give me something to eat?"

"Go away, my boy," said the big tall woman, "or else my man will eat you up for breakfast. But aren't you the youngster who came here once before? Do you know that very day, my man missed one of his bags of gold."

"That's strange, mum," said Jack, "I dare say I could tell you something about that, but I'm so hungry I can't speak till I've had something to eat."

Well, the big tall woman was so curious that she took him in and gave him something to eat. But he had scarcely begun munching it as slowly as he could when thump! thump! thump! they heard the giant's footstep, and his wife hid Jack away in the oven. All happened as it did before. In came the ogre as he did before, said: "Fee-fi-fo-fum," and had his breakfast off three broiled oxen. Then he said: "Wife, bring me the hen that lays the golden eggs." So she brought it, and the ogre said: "Lay," and it laid an egg all of gold. And then the ogre began to nod his head, and to snore till the house shook.

Then Jack crept out of the oven on tiptoe and caught hold of the golden hen, and was off before you could say "Jack Robinson." But this time the hen gave a cackle which woke the ogre, and just as Jack got out of the house he heard him calling: "Wife, wife, what have you done with my golden hen?"

And the wife said: "Why, my dear?"

But that was all Jack heard, for he rushed off to the beanstalk and climbed down like a house on fire. And when he got home he showed his mother the wonderful hen and said,

 "Lay" to it, and it laid a golden egg every time he said "Lay."

Well, Jack was not content, and it wasn't very long before he determined to have another try at his luck up there at the top of the beanstalk. So one fine morning, he rose up early, and got on to the beanstalk, and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till he got to the top. But this time he knew better than to go straight to the ogre's house. And when he got near it, he waited behind a bush till he saw the ogre's wife come out with a pail to get some water, and then he crept into the house and got into the copper. He hadn't been there long when he heard thump! thump! thump! as before, and in come the ogre and his wife.

"Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman," cried out the ogre. "I smell him, wife, I smell him."

"Do you, my dearie?" says the ogre's wife. Then, if it's that little rogue that stole your gold and the hen that laid the golden eggs he's sure to have got into the oven." And they both rushed to the oven. But Jack wasn't there, luckily, and the ogre's wife said: "There you are again with your fee-fi-fo-fum. Why of course it's the boy you caught

"Well, I could have sworn——" and he'd get up and search the larder and the cupboards and everything, only, luckily, he didn't think of the copper.

After breakfast was over, the ogre called out "Wife, wife, bring me my golden harp." So she brought it and put it on the table before him. Then he said: "Sing!" and the golden harp sang most beautifully. And it went on singing till the ogre fell asleep, and commenced to snore like thunder. Then Jack lifted up the copper-lid very quietly and got down like a mouse and crept on hands and knees till he came to the table, when up he crawled, caught hold of the golden harp and dashed with it towards the door. 

But the harp called out quite loud: "Master! Master!" 
and the ogre woke up just in time to see Jack running off with his harp.

Jack ran as fast as he could, and the ogre came rushing after, and would soon have caught him only Jack had a start and dodged him a bit and knew where he was going. When he got to the beanstalk the ogre was not more than twenty yards away when suddenly he saw Jack disappear like, and when he came to the end of the road he saw Jack underneath climbing down for dear life. Well, the ogre didn't like trusting himself to such a ladder, and he stood and waited, so Jack got another start. 

But just then the harp cried out: "Master! Master!" and the ogre swung himself down on to the beanstalk, which shook with his weight.   Jack climbs down with ogre following. This time Jack had climbed down and climbed down and climbed down till he was very nearly home. 

So he called out: "Mother! Mother! bring me an axe, bring me an axe." 

And his mother came rushing out with the axe in her hand, but when she came to the beanstalk she stood stock still with fright for there she saw the ogre with his legs just through the clouds. But Jack jumped down and got hold of the axe and gave a chop at the beanstalk which cut it half in two. The ogre felt the beanstalk shake and quiver so he stopped to see what the matter was. Then Jack gave another chop with the axe, and the beanstalk was cut in two and began to topple over. Then the ogre fell down and broke his crown, and the beanstalk came toppling after.

Then Jack showed his mother his golden harp, and what with showing that and selling the golden eggs Jack and his mother became very rich, and he married a great princess, and they lived happily ever after.


A Spiritual interpretation of Jack and the Beanstalk
    

In Jack's magical, mystical realm, beanstalks reach for the sky, gooses lay golden eggs, and golden harps talk, all while a cannibal ogre stalks about.  Thankfully there is a hidden theme of spiritual transformation that unifies this facade of outlandish events.

 In general, Fairy-tales are extended allegories that use metaphors and symbolism to signify the psyches path toward self-knowledge. In this particular story, the theme depends on the process of Jacks’ individualization and transformation of consciousness. Of course, the connections are hard to figure out without any knowledge of Kundalini, and its power to transmute the body and mind. In any case, physical and psychological effects unfold in a particular pattern that occurs after an awakening of Kundalini. This pattern begins with the motif of a missing parent, as Jack has no father figure to guide him in life. (Joseph Campbell called his pattern of themes and symbols the “monomyth”)
The model or pattern that I have discovered is different than the monomyth,  

Here is a breakdown of the motifs and symbolism;

1.   Missing parents / refers to leaving any attachments behind
2.   leaves home for adventure or a quest / Climbs Beanstalk
3.   Adverse forces or beings appear / Ogre
4.   A helper or mentor arrives / Peddler @ Ogres wife
5.   Receives talents and gifts / golden coins,  goose and harp, Beanstalk
6.   Symbolic number three / refers to the rule of three
7.   Symbolic color / Gold relates to Enlightenment
8.   Tree @ beanstalk/token of the spine @ nervous system
9.   Conquers lower forces / kills the ogre
10. Returns home / helps his mother
11. Sacred marriage/ indication of inner balance @ climax of the story


For example, Jack begins life as a fatherless child with a mother who is abusive. He has to bring balance both sides of his psyche or anima / animus used in Jungian semantics, to achieve any lasting peace of mind. This inner equilibrium, symbolized by his marriage, is only reached at the end of the story after completing all his tasks.

Jacks first duty involves selling his Mothers cow “Milky White.” The color "white" of the cow is a secret meaning that indicates Jack has reached an advanced stage of meditation; called the “White Phase” a taught in alchemical literature.

The mysterious peddler Jack serendipitously meets is something of a mentor/trickster that indicates the beginning of Jack’s intuitive mind and advancing maturity. The most apparent symbolic event is Jack climbing the beanstalk: which would relate to the serpent power or Kundalini ascending the spine (Beanstalk) and the experience of higher consciousness. Consequently, the color gold is symbolic of the highest state of mystical ecstasy. Since Jack obtains a greater quantity of gold on each trip up beanstalk, this event alludes to the progressive increase in bliss/consciousness.

By interpreting the theme of the story, like an allegory on the evolution of consciousness, different aspects of Jacks’ personality can function as independent characters, a literary technique that helps the plot to move forward. For instance, the Ogre, a monster incarnate, is a projection of the jack’s lower vital energies, which other Jungian Psychologists call the ego or shadow. This being, ( the protagonist)  disappears (allegorically murdered) in most fairy tales before higher consciousness can become a permanent state.

All of the events in Jacks’ life leads eventually to Jack's maturity and sacred marriage which indicates the conjunction of his internal (male and female) and concluding Jack's transformative journey. 




No Father figure

The first observation is Jack has no father figure to guide him. A deceased parent is written into many fairy-tales to place a particular focus on the Child's ‘undeveloped awareness. His father’s death is similar to the Mother's death in both ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’. The protagonists, Jack, Snow White and Cinderella face their own individual trials and temptations without guidance from a same-sex parent, indicating a shift of insight to their own shadow or unexplored psyche. These dilemmas occur in the plot development in order to push Jack forward into greater awareness and increase the Hero’s individuality through understanding the consequences of any decisions. The absent parent is actuality forcing the hero to live his or her own life.



“Milky White’’ the Cow

Breaking down the plot into perceptible themes we find Jacks’ first challenge is the sale of “Milky White”, due to the cows’ inability to provide milk, a seemingly unimportant event, but very symbolic when compared to ancient religious mythology; “Milky White” the cow is the metaphor related to the universal cosmic Prana that pervades the universe as an “ocean of milk” and also a symbol for the sublimated sexual energy that ascends the spine (beanstalk). The cow is also associated with “Soma” in the Indian Vedas or food of the gods, so this event; selling the cow, indicates moving past the white stage to the gold. The cow motif appears as a central tenet in Indian and Egyptian culture. For example, the Egyptian God Hathor was closely associated with the Cow.



“Hathor is an Ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles of joy, feminine love, and motherhood. She was one of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt. Hathor was worshiped by royalty and common people alike in whose tombs she is depicted as "Mistress of the West" welcoming the dead into the next life. The cult of Hathor pre-dates the historical period and the roots of devotion to her are, therefore, difficult to trace, though it may be a development of predynastic cults who venerated the fertility and nature in general, represented by cows.” (1)



A historical review of ancient cultures of India, Egypt, and Europe finds the cow was an important animal in humanities early survival plus an integral member of the family. The cow produces many types of food including milk, cheese, and butter ensuring sustenance of an extended family. Even cow dung is considered sacred, which is used in the Hindu fire ceremony, Agni-Hotra. There are three separate ways to interpret the cow “Milky White “as a symbol, one indicates the protagonist’s inner consciousness has achieved a milestone in which the inner light appears as luminous white, secondly it points to the sublimation of sexual energy upward into the brain, and third, as a symbol of the cosmic Pranic energy or “ocean of milk”.



This luminous white phase is often hidden within the number of ancient texts. In India the God, Vishnu is pictured reclining upon the serpent; Shesha Naga, with his consort Lakshmi, seated at his feet, while floating on an (ocean of Milk) or “Kshira Sagar”. Esoteric teachings describe this ocean of milk as a symbol for the universal Prana that pervades all of existence, while Shesha Naga alludes to the curved path of subtle Prana. 



In addition, in ancient Egyptian religion, the goddess Isis was depicted wearing a set of cow horns that supported the moon while seated on the royal throne, nursing her son Horus. The moon is a symbolic image relating to the white phase of the transformation and the feminine nature of Kundalini. Nursing her inner child “Horus”, pertains to the ones birth into higher awareness, as her milk is again a metaphor of Pranic energy. The thousands of medieval Madonna paintings are just another way of visually presenting the same idea. Don’t forget about the fairy tale of the cow that jumped over the moon which reflects a similar motif of evolving past the white phase.

In the first paragraph of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, the beautiful Queen makes a wish; 

“Would that I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood and as black as the wood of the window frame.” 

The colors of black, white, red (gold) are important colors that appear in alchemical literature and in fairy tales indicating the progressive stages of the inner light. In ordinary consciousness no internal light is observed when the eyes are closed (except in dreams), this would be considered the first phase of awareness symbolized by the black color. The second phase occurs when the bio-energy or Prana increases in intensity becoming luminous; lighting the interior of the mind, symbolized by the color white. This progression of colors delineates the psychological and spiritual stages within the interior consciousness of the hero. The beanstalk and milk exist together, to reflect the psycho-spiritual effects of Kundalini on the body. This sublimated sexual energy (Milky White) ascends the spine (beanstalk) just as Jack climbs the beanstalk. “Into the Sky”, that is higher consciousness. 

The trade for beans looks like a good deal to Jack, especially with a guarantee, but his Mother is much more of a rational type who is upset and angry at his naive decision. Jacks’ mother expresses a part of his undeveloped feminine side that is verbally and physically abusive. She berates young Jack for trading their cow for some farcical magic beans, instead of money, which would have been the safe option. He trusted his own inner judgment and will be eventually rewarded for the decision with good fortune. This episode indicates the beginning of intuition, even though outwardly it appears naive or stupid. Jacks’ magic beans can produce food, maybe, even more, seeds which could be planted in his Mothers’ Garden. So, instead of receiving money that would dwindle away quickly, Jack planned for the future.

The bean is also a seed, which can be said to symbolically contain the past and future in the DNA, so in one sense these magic beans are Jacks karmic inheritance. His mother though, representing negativity of the past, tosses the beans out the window in disgust showing no support for his decision, an angry, even disrespectful attitude in complete opposition to Jacks new attained intuitive abilities. This symbolizes Jack fighting the normal expectations of civilization to get a job and make money or in general, it alludes to the adverse forces lined up against spirituality. 

Next, Jack falls asleep in his upstairs bedroom upset because of no dinner. He wakes up the next morning viewing the world differently. His anticipation stems from his decision to trade for the magic beans. There is light is shining through the window now. Beans are also a symbol of his growth, as a seed precede all growth and sustenance.

Beanstalk: 

Setting out to explore the higher world by courageously climbing the beanstalk, Jack enters into an unknown space. In the tall house, he meets his nemesis the monster ogre, a personification of his shadow self which he must conquer before obtaining any treasure, which is a very clever metaphor for self-improvement by ridding oneself of the negative emotions of greed, hatred, as personified by the monster within. Similarly, Snow White and Cinderella succeed when their evil Stepmother dies a terrible death symbolizing the destruction of the shadow side. All three fairy-tales, therefore, place emphasis on the internal insight into the true self and bringing to the light of awareness of their own darkness in order to cleanse their mind of negativity.

The beanstalk is identical with the tree in the Garden of Eden or in the Garden of Hesperides as both are solid vertical plants that grow upward and produce a type of seed or fruit. The beanstalk and tree should be considered a symbol of the human spine and nervous system. This tree appears in the Garden of Eden with the serpent encircling the trunk and offers Eve the apple. An apple that bestows immortality and knowledge of good and evil, just as the beanstalk is guarded by a monster Ogre the tree is guarded by the serpent as the prize of immortality must be won by great effort. Similarly, Hercules eleventh labor involved stealing Hera's Golden apples of immortality, located in the Garden of Hesperides which was protected by the hundred-headed dragon named Ladon, a symbol of Kundalini. The prize of the golden immortal apples is a parable for the mental gifts which manifest after the transformation, that include long life, creativity, spiritual insights, magnetic attractiveness, a sense of immortality and the inner golden light.

The beanstalk grew upward into the sky, or heaven in a sense. Jack climbs the Beanstalk (spine) to reach “heaven “and obtain the gold of higher awareness. This first foray into the heaven cannot be sustained. Three trials are often mentioned in fairy-tales, and accordingly, Jack tries to obtain more gold upon each entrance up the beanstalk or spine. in his first attempt he only receives a small set of gold coins; then the goose that lays the golden eggs, in the final escape he obtains the Golden Harp. The three golden objects point to the progressive expansion of consciousness, which does not happen all at once, it is a sequential unfoldment building upon previous expansions. The body and brain need time to physically adjust to any new activity of bio-energy. Nerves are rewired and new hormones are created. This relates to the psychology of the mystic who searches desperately for a new experience after once reaching the “kingdom of heaven’’ or the bliss of Samadhi. 

The Golden Egg

The Goose that lays the golden egg is also a very interesting symbol. It relates to the mundane egg, a well-known motif in mythology found in creation myths.“ Typically, the world egg is a beginning of some sort, and the universe or some primordial being comes into existence by "hatching" from the egg, sometimes lain on the primordial waters of the Earth.”(2)

It is interesting to note that: “Legend says that Brahma was born in water, or from a seed that later became the golden egg. From this golden egg, Brahma, the creator was born, as Hiranyagarbha. The remaining materials of this golden egg expanded into the Bramanda or Universe. Being born in water, Brahma is also called as Kanja (born in water). Brahma is said also to be the son of the Supreme Being, Brahman, and the female energy known as PrakÅ—ti.”(3)

Once inside the Ogre's house, Jack finds a bag of gold and throws it down to his mother’s garden. When this money has been spent, Jack climbs up again to steal the “goose that lays the golden egg.” Creation begins with the Golden Egg, it expands outward to into the whole universe, and this is presented as a parable of a mystical experience rather than child stealing gold from a greedy Ogre. Medieval legends are based on this same premise wherein St. George must fight the Dragon to save a Virgin and take the golden treasure. As stated before the last stage in the inner transformation of light is symbolized by the color gold.

With the help of the Ogre’s wife, Jack steals the golden goose, consequently, when the plot unfolds the feminine side of his personality, first represented by his mother then the Ogre’s wife, becomes more accommodating and congenial. Because the wife of the Ogre helps Jack it reflects on his continued growth of the intuitive aspects of his creative feminine side.
The Oven 



Jack enters the house and is forced to hide inside the oven which is a symbol for the fire of transformation. The fire of the kitchen oven plays a pivotal role in the fairy-tale of Hansel in Gretel, as the wicked witch is incinerated, alluding to the power of fire to eliminate or purify evil. In Cinderella, she manages the fireplace, for days reflecting her need for inner purification. Ancient Roman and Greek religions had their own fire priestesses of Vesta, and Hestia respectively, Goddesses of the hearth. The Vestal virgins tended the sacred fires because the Romans regarded their continuous burning the safety of Rome. In the Bible one could be tried by fire as in the King James Version: Job 23:10

"but he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” 

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. "Deuteronomy 4:24; 

Fire is, therefore, the element used to separate the good from the bad, the impure from the pure, as the element of purification fire appeared in all ancient alchemical texts. In Vedic hymns, the god Agni is synonymous with fire. On a personal level, the Chinese Taoist purify their minds and body by practicing the microcosmic orbit for the defined purpose of raising the chi up the back through the spinal cord and down the front where it finally rests one and a half inches below the navel. Different sections of the body were labeled according to the amount of heat (Agni) it held. The triple burner is situated in the lower chakras where strong vital heat is produced; the Japanese call this the Hara center. Internal fire is released and magnified by circulation of the Chi through the major chakras. The fire as symbolized by Jack hiding in the oven is part of the overall spiritual message of the tale.


The Golden Harp

A singing Golden Harp is the last object stolen by Jack. It has been observed and written in much of yogic literature about the internal sounds or music that is heard after a spiritual awakening. The golden harp which produces beautiful melodies is a symbol for the final stage of inner transformation, in that Pranic energy becomes visible as a golden light and sound. Sometimes this sound is described as a group of bees or an internal river. In the yogic tradition, the sound is called “nada” while the Chinese mystics called it “Hu.“ This internal sound varies it may deliver symphonic melodies completely finished when the bodies Pranic system is pure, as in the case of Mozart who stated he heard the specific melody of every symphony internally. This internal melody is created by the increased intensity of the Pranic energy flowing through the blood and reaching certain brain centers associated music and hearing. Gopi Krishna believed that all species were governed by their own Pranic spectrum which generated the group’s common traits.

The Giant Ogre

‘’In the Greeks mythology, the Giants were the children of Uranus and Gaia, who fought the Olympian gods the battle of Gigantomachy. The war was won with the help of Hercules for the Olympian Gods. ‘’Medieval romances such as Amadis de Gaul feature giants as antagonists, or, rarely, as allies. This is parodied famously in Cervantes' Don Quixote, when the title character attacks a windmill, believing it to be a giant. This is the source of the phrase tilting at windmills.’’(4)

The ogre acts as a personification of Jack's unrefined desires, which is a fitting metaphor and explains why the ugly giant is eliminated after obtaining the last piece of golden treasure. Jacks’ lower desires and negativity are reduced to a minimum and purified which is symbolically played out in the death of the ogre. In a number of fairy-tales Giants or wicked stepmothers, are obstacles on the path which the hero must pass through before achieving happiness.

The common interpretation that this tale hides a moral lesson concerning greed belies the fact of Jacks' total lack of remorse and his Mothers approval of murder and theft. If this is a moral tale just trying to instill honesty, Why are there no consequences for his greedy actions? 

A literal interpretation ignores a sense of morality and  contradicting all accepted cultural standards, by implying that murder and  greed  have no consequences, which surely could not be a morality tale for children. He steals the ogres precious gold three times without being caught and his mother notices nothing wrong or immoral while Jacks continued greed eventually leads to murder. 

A literal interpretation obviously leads to contradictions as Jack gets away with theft and murder, then lives “happily ever after.” But if Jack's theft were interpreted through a spiritual prism the plot takes on perfect allegorical meaning. Right from the beginning to the end the tale is an intricate symbolic allegory on the spiritual transformation attending a Kundalini awakening. Jack climbing the beanstalk is Kundalini ascending the spine and obtaining the prize of higher consciousness (gold) while killing the giant ogre (negativity) reflects on the hard inner work burning away one's negativity or shadow self. His quest for gold is motif expressing an acquisition of a higher state of consciousness.  

Joseph Alexander Edited 4/15/2015 


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