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Jack and the Beanstalk: A Gnostic Allegory

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“Jack and the Beanstalk” is a folktale featured on ABC’s Once Upon a Time. It was written by British author Benjamin Tabart in 1807. It was revised by English author Joseph Jacobs in 1890.

Jack and the Beanstalk: A Gnostic Allegory

Manly P. Hall, in his book ‘’Lectures on Ancient Philosophy’’, underlined the esoteric and Gnostic symbolism hidden behind the story.

Jack and the Beanstalk: A Gnostic Allegory

‘’In the allegory of the beanstalk, Jack is the initiate climbing upward toward perfection. The beanstalk has two significances.

First, it is the secret doctrine which may grow up to its fullness in a single night, if that night be regarded as the duration of a soul in the mortal state. The beanstalk is further symbolic of the soul itself, up which consciousness must climb to discover the divine sphere from which it was exiled.

It is noteworthy that when Jack reaches the upper world, where one would naturally expect beauty and tranquillity to reign, he finds instead that his newly-discovered sphere is the dwelling place of a fierce ogre (ogre: a man-eating giant in folklore) who has the distressing proclivity of using strangers to supply the requirements of his menu.

Jack and the Beanstalk: A Gnostic Allegory

This giant is the ancient demiurgus— the lord of the world, the royal autocrat, the vast tyrant who opposes all who would climb out of their materiality.

He is selfishness, egotism, lust, and hate. He is the epitome of all physical attachment, and the appetites by which man is inclined toward the corporeal state. He is the giant of form, the hero of little minds, the fetish of the materialist, the god of those who worship through the senses alone, the supreme genius of the physical-minded, the magnificence to which fools bow down.

Those who would escape the clutches of this giant must be wise indeed, for they must outwit themselves.

Jack and the Beanstalk: A Gnostic Allegory

In the ancient writings it is said that all will fail except a fortuitous destiny move with them, for skill will not suffice, prayers will be unavailing, and only the graciousness of the gods can insure success.’’

-Manly Palmer Hall ‘’Lectures on Ancient Philosophy, page 428.

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