"Jack and the Beanstalk" by Rev Christine Emmerling 7/10/2022 (text)
"Jack and the Beanstalk" by Rev. Christine Emmerling 7/10/2022
Today we’re continuing the fairy tale series with Jack and the Beanstalk. It is said that the story originated sometime between 4500-2500BC, based on a wide-spread archaic story form which is now classified by folklorists as The Boy Who Stole Ogre's Treasure. In 1734 it was revised as The Story of Jack Spriggins and the Enchanted Bean. Later variations were written to make them more children friendly and morally fit. The version I’m sharing is from 1918 by Flora Annie Steel. Then I’ll interpret its deeper meaning for its spiritual insights.
Once upon a time there lived a poor widow and her son Jack. One day, Jack’s mother told him to sell their only cow. Jack went to the market and on the way he met a man who wanted to buy his cow. Jack asked, “What will you give me in return for my cow?” The man answered, “I will give you five magic beans!” Jack took the magic beans and gave the man the cow.
But when he reached home, Jack’s mother was very angry. She said, “You fool! He took away your cow and gave you some beans!” She threw the beans out of the window. Jack was very sad and went to sleep without dinner.
The next day, when Jack woke up in the morning and looked out of the window, he saw that a huge beanstalk had grown from his magic beans! He climbed up the beanstalk and reached a kingdom in the sky. There lived a giant and his wife. Jack went inside the house and found the giant’s wife in the kitchen. Jack said, “Could you please give me something to eat? I am so hungry!” The kind wife gave him bread and some milk.
While he was eating, the giant came home. The giant was very big and looked very fearsome. Jack was terrified and went and hid inside. The giant cried, “Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he alive, or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread!” The wife said, “There is no boy in here!” So, the giant ate his food and then went to his room. He took out his sacks of gold coins, counted them and kept them aside. Then he went to sleep. In the night, Jack crept out of his hiding place, took one sack of gold coins and climbed down the beanstalk. At home, he gave the coins to his mother. His mother was very happy and they lived well for sometime.
Jack climbed the beanstalk and went to the giant’s house again. Once again, Jack asked the giant’s wife for food, but while he was eating the giant returned. Jack leapt up in fright and went and hid under the bed. The giant cried, “Fee-fifo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he alive, or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread!”
The wife said, “There is no boy in here!” The giant ate his food and went to his room. There, he took out a hen. He shouted, “Lay!” and the hen laid a golden egg. When the giant fell asleep, Jack took the hen and climbed down the beanstalk. Jack’s mother was very happy with him.
After some days, Jack once again climbed the beanstalk and went to the giant’s castle. For the third time, Jack met the giant’s wife and asked for some food. Once again, the giant’s wife gave him bread and milk. But while Jack was eating, the giant came home. “Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he alive, or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread!” cried the giant. “Don’t be silly! There is no boy in here!” said his wife.
The giant had a magical harp that could play beautiful songs. While the giant slept, Jack took the harp and was about to leave. Suddenly, the magic harp cried, “Help master! A boy is stealing me!” The giant woke up and saw Jack with the harp. Furious, he ran after Jack. But Jack was too fast for him. He ran down the beanstalk and reached home. The giant followed him down. Jack quickly ran inside his house and fetched an axe. He began to chop the beanstalk. The giant fell and died. Jack and his mother were now very rich and they lived happily ever after.
Now to look at this story as the spiritual principle of manifesting our good. Jack represents our innocence, hope and imagination. Jack’s mother is that part of us that has put faith in the physical world believing only what we can see and touch. The cow is their most valued possession, and represents our faith and hope.
The 5 magic beans is our faith in that which is invisible, we are exchanging that which is visible in the hope for greater things to come. The number 5 represents spiritual transformation. It is the power of increase, as in Jesus multiplying the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to feed the 5,000 people. Beans are seeds that can grow, bring forth new life and multiply their good. They are the seed ideas within us.
The mother throws the beans out the window. Through out scripture windows are used symbolically to pour out blessings, to describe an opening to heaven, to escape in, or, out of. If the soil they fall into has been cultivated in the past, all the better. If the soil in our heart is hungry for the seed, the situation is perfect, and their blessings unfold.
Jack going to sleep hungry means a subconscious state of mind, and having a deep desire for something greater. This desire gives life to our magic beans - our seed ideas. This is where the seed ideas take root and grow and become strong within us. In the dark of the night these seeds sprout, grow, and become a great stalk.
The next morning Jack looks out the window and sees the great stalk. The next step to bring forth our ideas is represented by the great stalk. The daylight represents our conscious mind. We have a choice now to continue on to the next level of bringing our desires forth to put the effort in and climb or not. Jack chooses to climb up the stalk and finds a kingdom in the sky. This is our spiritual world in consciousness our Heaven is within us; all potentiality lies herein.
The giant’s wife provides nourishment of bread and milk. We spiritually nourish desires by strengthening our faith by affirming our good with affirmations and affirmations.
Jack’s hiding means to keep our thoughts close to us, we protect them from other people’s opinions and doubts. We have to get past our giant; known as our obstacles, fears and negative thinking. These fears may be lulled to sleep laying in our subconscious only to awaken and resurface. Facing our fears, examining their validity, helps to dissipate any power they have held over us. They dissipate into the nothingness from which they came. Our good is now at hand in the form of a bag of gold coins - our manifested good.
Soon we need to manifest again to secure our good flowing. We put to practice what we have learned, and go back strengthening our faith for even something so much more rewarding. The hen that lays golden eggs is our understanding of our source - our ever flowing good. We go back a third and final time. Jack takes the golden self-singing harp which represents unlimited divine ideas and inspiration that sings freely through our mind.
The three trips up the great stalk is the fulfilling of the spiritual law of creation as 1. Idea, 2. Thought, and 3. Action. We receive an idea, then give it thought; first we decide to accept or let it go; if we choose to accept then we contemplate and nurture it until it is time to take action, and bring it forth into manifestation. These three when working together bring forth our desired results.
Looking at this story now as our spiritual unfoldment. Jack is the seeker on a spiritual journey to enlightenment. Jack represents our masculine mental nature within us. The mother represents our feminine spiritual nature within us that is being overshadowed by our belief in the physical world as all there is. They were poor, meaning poor in spirit, in hope and faith.
There comes a time when our soul becomes dissatisfied with our way of life. Our soul realizes there must be something greater than this physical material way of life provides. Our spiritual journey begins when we leave home taking our hope and faith for finding the true riches of the spirit.
Next our soul exchanges its belief in the visible material world, our sense of self as a body for the inner intangible things of the spirit. Such as love, peace, faith, temperance, and patience. The window the beans are thrown out of is the opening in our consciousness to the blessings of the fruits of the spirit.
This is done through periods of silent meditation, contemplation, and prayer represented by Jack sleeping. During these quiet times our inner faith grows and is strengthened. This is represented as the beans grow to a strong stalk that we can climb and reach the heavens or heights of consciousness. The beanstalk is reminiscent of the ancient Northern European belief in a world tree connecting Earth to heaven that we can climb. This is within us as the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God.
In this state of consciousness, we meet the giant and his wife. The wife is our intuition, wisdom, love and nurturing support. While the giant lives in our subconscious mind, and is our ego sense of identity that believes it is powerful and in control. Our ego sense of self wants to protect this belief at all costs, or else if the truth is known it will no longer exist. The ego will negate any spiritual sense of self, distract us with all the negative mind chatter, and try to keep us in fear.
It is during times of quiet meditation that we can tip toe past the sleeping giant of our mind chatter. We are able to gain the higher wisdom, and build our spiritual muscle of Truth, faith, love, spiritual power and wisdom.
Three times we return to the kingdom, each time shedding more of our old ways and gaining new spiritual insights. Once our soul is awakened to its true spiritual nature and true power the giant is gone to never return.
The number 3 is the mystical marriage taking place. This marriage is the balance of the feminine and masculine aspects of our soul; love and intuition balanced with wisdom and knowledge to bring forth our Christ consciousness and true spiritual power.
All the items our soul has taken from the kingdom of heaven are of gold. That lets us know that these are the purity of spirit. These items represent our different stages of spiritual unfoldment; the beginning seeker climbing that stalk; the disciple advancing gaining gold coins; the initiate receiving the goose with laying gold eggs; to mastership gaining the gold harp that plays and sings on its own; this is our having reached enlightenment knowing our at-one-ment of God. We are the purity of love, divine wisdom and true power. Our whole soul vibrates to a new tune. Our fears and old beliefs are gone for good, and we live in peace, joy and love.
Jack and the Beanstalk can be related to two parables shared by Jesus.
First the parable of “The Mustard Seed.” Jesus is teaching how the smallest of seeds when rendered completely invisible when buried in the ground grows to be a great tree that supports birds and their nests. He relates this as to our faith, and how powerful just a small amount is needed in our ability to manifest, and continues to grow even stronger and more powerful, and even able to support other life.
The other one is “The Pearl of Great Price” is the story of a man willing to sell everything he owned for this one pearl, and searches until he finds it. Jesus is teaching how valuable truth and wisdom are in comparison to worldly things. And, how it takes persistency to attain the great wisdom that sets us free.
May Jack’s story stir up some magic in your life, and bring you the riches of the spirit; true fulfilment of mind, body and soul.