New Thought

Maleficent — Knocking Down Walls With the Power of Love

This past Friday Suzanne and I went to see Maleficent.  It’s the backstory of Sleeping Beauty, featuring Angelina Jolie as the title character, who first appears by name in the classic Disney version of Sleeping Beauty.
I will try not to reveal too much plot or any spoilers, but there are a couple of metaphysical lessons in this movie.
We first meet Maleficent as a young girl, a fairy who is a leader of the fairy kingdom.  Across the moors is a kingdom of humans and the two barely get along.  One day, a young man named Stefan comes into the kingdom and he and Maleficent become fast friends and fall in love.  On her sixteenth birthday, he gives Maleficent the gift of “true love’s kiss” — but sadly, it does not last.  His ambition to be king causes him to betray her.
The King wants Maleficent killed.  Whoever can do it will be his successor.  Stefan cuts off her wings and brings them to the King.  He is anointed successor.
The years pass, and King Stefan and his queen have a child, a princess they name Aurora.  (Aurora means “light”.  It is also the name of the goddess of the dawn.)  From here, much of the familiar story of Sleeping Beauty kicks in, but with additional wrinkles.
Seeking revenge, Maleficent lays a curse on Princess Aurora — that on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger and go into “a sleep like death” that can only be broken by “true love’s kiss.”  Stefan entrusts Aurora to the care of three pixies until the day after her sixteenth birthday.
Maleficent saves a bird named Diaval and turns him into a human.  He switches back and forth at various times to be Maleficent’s wings. She also constructs a wall of thorns to keep the humans from Stefan’s kingdom from ever again setting foot in the moors.  (The moors are also protected by some very strange looking creatures that made me think that some who failed auditions to be orcs and ents in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies found jobs at Disney.)
Every day Maleficent watches Aurora, to the point that when Aurora finally meets her, she identifies Maleficent as her fairy godmother.  By this time, Maleficent has developed a real love for Aurora and is trying to find a way to undo her curse.  Unfortunately, when she spoke it, she decreed that no power on Earth could break it.  (It takes a power greater than that of humans and fairies.)
Eventually, Maleficent tears down her own wall and heads for the castle to try to save Aurora, but she is too late and Aurora is in the deep death-like sleep decreed by the curse.  A prince from another kingdom arrives  and he kisses her, but that doesn’t do the job.  Eventually, however, the right kiss arrives and she awakes.
Meanwhile, Stefan is trying to kill Maleficent.  There is a great battle, Maleficent turns Diaval into a dragon, but they’re trapped.  However, Aurora has been poking around the castle and comes on the display case where Maleficent’s wings are stored.  She breaks it, the wings fly in, the day is saved.
What do we draw from this story?
First, the power of love.  It takes true love to awaken Aurora and it takes true love to end Maleficent’s desire for revenge.  (She also realizes that Aurora may be the way to peace between the two kingdoms.)  Their love for each other saves them both.  The movie is a testament to the power of love to overcome the hatreds of the world.  Love overcomes revenge and causes Maleficent to release it.
Second, we see that only you can tear down your walls.  No one can do it for you.  And as long as those walls stand, you cannot let anyone in.  That cuts you off from the world.  Breaking down those walls is essential for love to flourish.
All in all, a lovely afternoon well spent.

La Cenerentola – Forgiveness and the Power of Our Word

Suzanne and I are fans of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD.  It’s a remarkable thing – live, high-definition transmissions of operas from the Met, as they are happening, to movie theaters throughout the country and in 54 countries worldwide.  You’re sitting in your local movie house watching a world-class performance, and the mere act of doing so binds you by a simultaneous experience to people around the world.

A few years ago, we enjoyed a brilliant performance of La Cenerentola  as part of the Met Live in HD series.  La Cenerentola is Gioachino Rossini and librettist Jacopo Feretti’s telling of the Cinderella story.  I am happy to note that another live performance of this opera will be shown as part of the Met Live in HD series on May 10, 2014.  (Cinderella seems popular these days.  The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of Cinderella – originally written for TV in 1957 – is currently enjoying a successful run on Broadway.)

The metaphysics in this opera amazed me.  We open with Cinderella working and singing a song about a king who had to choose a wife and had three choices.  He chooses the poor girl, the lowest of the three.  (Of course, this turns out to be her own story.)  She sings this at the opening and again near the beginning of the second act.  Is anyone noticing Cinderella’s affirmation here?  She’s affirming the choice of the poor servant girl by the Prince, which ultimately is just what happens to her. This is the power of our word.

Towards the end, Rossini and Feretti turn it into a story of forgiveness.  When the sisters and the stepfather (a Baron) are moaning and whining about the Prince’s choice of Cinderella over either of the sisters to be his wife, he threatens to hurt them for insulting her and for other things.  She intervenes, saying that, if he truly loves her, he will show mercy toward her family.  She has a lovely aria about all that has happened to her and how it has, in that moment, disappeared from her life and she says that “My revenge will be…my revenge is…to forgive them.”  Wow, the power of love, release, and forgiveness.  And she triumphantly becomes a Princess.  Her kindness and forgiveness show her worthiness to marry the Prince (and step into the riches of the Kingdom).

For those intrigued, you can find out more at  If you can spare the time to go see it, you might enjoy the gorgeous music and you will find it a wonderful (and beautiful) metaphysical experience.

Tim Phares, RScP


“We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.” — Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Suzanne and I watched the first episode of Cosmos together.  I don’t know who wrote it, but there was a LOT of New Thought in the script — and they think it’s just science.
The host, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York (one of my very favorite places growing up), went through the long history of the cosmos, from the Big Bang to the present day.  It’s amazing how small a part of that time we’ve been around.
Some years ago, I read a book entitled The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World by Dr. Amit Goswami, one of the scientists featured in What the Bleep Do We Know?  Dr. Goswami sys something similar to the Tyson quote from tonight’s episode that I cited above: “The Universe is self-aware through us.”
We are the eyes, ears, and senses of the Infinite.  It deliberately, consciously, intentionally chose to express as you and me, as each of us, as that which came before, as that which comes after.  So what kind of awareness are you expressing?
At this week’s service at Celebration Center, we were given the suggestion to “surrender your idea of who you think you are to the possibility of who you really are.”  So who are you really?  Dr. Tyson, Dr. Goswami, and others give us a suggestion of who we really are.
We know that our awareness defines our Universe.  Our awareness does not define THE Universe — it’s way too big for that — but it defines ours.  How are you defining your Universe?  Step back and check it out.
Cosmos runs Sunday nights at 9 PM Eastern on Fox and Monday nights at 10 Eastern on National Geographic.
-Tim Phares, RScP


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