Saturday, November 04, 2006

From Rich (Who's afraid of the big bad boggart?)

Who's afraid of the big bad boggart?

Long, long ago, Rabbit, known to be a fearless and respected warrior, was a great friend of Eye Walker, a witch with great magical powers. Out climbing a high mountain one hot day, Rabbit declared, "I'm tired and so thirsty".
Walker , picking up a leaf, blew on it, turning it to a gourd of water. Rabbit drank it all, saying nothing. Later, when he said "I'm so hungry", Eye Walker picked up a stone, blew on it, handing Rabbit a turnip that he ate with relish, still not saying a word.
They had almost reached the top when Rabbit fell, rolling all the way down to the bottom. Eye
Walker used a magic salve which eased his pains and healed his broken bones in minutes. Still, Rabbit didn't say a thing.
Some days later Eye Walker, hoping to go on another long walk, searched high and low for Rabbit, who was nowhere to be found. A week later, she met him quite by accident. "Rabbit, why are you hiding and avoiding me?" she asked.

"Because your magic scares me. Stay away from me".
"I used my powers to help you, and now you refuse my friendship!" Sadly, she added, "Though I can easily destroy you with my magic, I won't, because we have been such good friends.
But, from this day forward I lay a curse on you and your kind. From now on, you will attract what you fear, and your fears will come to you".

A frightened Rabbit now shouts: "Eagle, don't you dare come near me!" If he feels Eagle hasn't heard him, Rabbit yells even louder, "Eagle, stay away from me, do you hear!" Eagle, now hearing Rabbit, can come find him, and kill and eat him.
An old proverb cautions us: What you most wish for and what you most fear will both come true!

If we believe that we can influence, if not actually create our own 'realities', then it makes sense that by wanting something desperately or not wanting something equally desperately we give those 'things' a lot of energy to help them manifest in our lives.
Befriending our fears has often been offered as a solution; easier said than done, we hear ourselves say! However, a popular set of children's books shows us another brilliant and often effective way, by introducing us to The Boggart ...
In Celtic mythology, a boggart was a mis- chievous household spirit, given to making life miserable for those in whose houses it decided to stay.
In the Harry Potter books, a boggart is given an intriguing new twist as a kind of shapeshifter. When anyone looks at it, it changes shape to become whatever that person fears the most.
Due to its tendency to hide in relatively small, dark, enclosed places, such as in closets, under beds, or in tree hollows, it is quite likely that the boggart's natural form is fairly small; only when we give it any importance does it seem HUGE!
Now here comes the best part to make the boggart disappear, you can use the 'Riddikulus' spell, knowing that boggarts are weakened by laughter.
This is achieved by transforming the image of your greatest fear into something else, something amusing or silly therefore harmless pointing a wand at the boggart and confidently saying: "Riddikulus".
What's your boggart? And how will you use the spell?

The writer is a mythologist, storyteller and workshop leader.