Disclaimer: The grief model outlined below is completely unsubstantiated. The opinions expressed by the author in no way reflect the opinions of anyone anywhere (except those who take the train from King’s Cross Station Platform 9 & 3/4 *wink wink*)
In order to defeat grief, individuals must overcome the 8 Horcruxes listed below. Muggle explanations are in red.
I’ll provide some background info for you non-Harry Potter devotees. It would take me forever to explain the whole plot so if you want more information either read the books, rent the movies, or check out this Harry Potter wiki.
Okay, so Tom Riddle was a bad kid who grew up to become Lord Voldemort. Lord Voldemort was super powerful and super mean. He was the evilest.
In an effort to avoid ever really dying he created Horcruxes. Horcruxes are powerful objects in which Dark wizards and witches hide fragments of their soul for the purposes of achieving immortality. A Horcrux anchors your soul to earth so even if your body is destroyed a piece of you stays alive. The more Horcruxes you have, the closer you are to immortality. Voldemort ultimately created 8.
Long story short, when Harry Potter was just a baby his entire family was attacked by Lord Voldemort. Voldemort succeeded in killing Harry’s parents, but when he tried to kill Harry his body was destroyed due to a protection spell cast by Harry’s mother. After this Voldemort only existed in his Horcruxes, although he made many attempts to regain his power. Ultimately, as Harry Potter grew up, it became his legacy to destroy these Horcruxes in order to completely kill Lord Voldemort.
Horcrux: Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring
Heirloom ring that contains the ‘Resurrection Stone’. The legend of the ‘Resurrection Stone’ tells of a man named Cadmus who asked Death for the power to return people from the dead. Death picked up a black stone from a nearby riverbank and gave it to Cadmus, telling him it contained the power he desired. Cadmus then brought his lover, who had suffered an untimely death, back to life. Sadly when she returned she was not truly alive and she wanted to go back to the world of the dead where she belonged. It pained Cadmus to be able to see her but not truly be with her and he was driven to madness.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross spoke of the ‘bargaining phase’ of grief when survivors hope on some level they can postpone, delay, or reverse death. They want to buy more time, see the person again, or have life returned to the way it was. In order to overcome this Horcrux, one must accept the finality of their loss and the reality that their loved one is gone. Those who have overcome this Horcrux may find peace in seeing their loved ones in their memories and dreams as opposed to feelings of frustration and agitation at not having them completely.
Horcrux: Salazar Slytherin’s Locket
Locket which was owned by Tom Riddle’s mother. Riddle coveted the locket and, after making it into a Horcrux, hid it in a seaside cave. He guarded it with a potion that caused unbearable pain to anyone who drank it and forced them to relieve their worst memories and face their worst fears. The locket was removed from the cave and eventually came into the possession of Harry and his friends. The locket affected the mental and physical wellbeing of anyone who wore it. The locket was known to cause irritability, suspicion, and the complete inability to feel happiness. Harry and his friends knew of the locket’s negative influence yet still struggled to understand their feelings when wearing it. It took a very long time for anyone to succeed in destroying it.
In order to overcome this Horcrux, one must learn to identify and understand the feelings caused by grief. Grief causes unbearable pain and forces us to relive bad memories and fears. It has a negative influence on our physical and emotional well-being, causing us to feel all sorts of bad. One must be able to identify grief’s ability to cause unhappiness and misery and understand that in order to feel better they must work through their grief. Grief can take a long time to work through, but eventually, the strong feelings of discomfort and negative emotions should subside.
Female snake with a special bond to Lord Voldemort. He used her venom as one of the ingredients for a potion to help him regain strength. She is cunning, deceptive, fast, strong, and understands the inner-workings of humans. Being bitten by Nagini can result in terrible wounds and even death. Her venom makes it difficult for wounds to close.
In order to overcome this Horcrux, one must resist the temptation to use negative coping mechanisms such as drugs and alcohol to deal with their grief. It is easy to think these will provide a respite from bad thoughts and feelings, but they will not help you regain true strength. They are often poisonous, fast, and strong. Using these coping mechanisms may actually result in the wounds of grief staying open and/or healing slower.
Horcrux: The diary of Tom Riddle
The first Horcrux created by Tom Riddle was a journal he kept as a boy at Hogwarts. The diary used its magical influence to posses Hogwart’s student Ginny Weasley and forced her to open a dangerous Chamber of Secrets.
In order to overcome this Horcrux, one must deal with painful thoughts from the past. One must not let their memories of regret, guilt, fear, shame, and/or anger keep them locked up in a room of pain. Negative feelings need to be unlocked and dealt with which can be achieved by learning to understand, process, accept and integrate them.
Horcrux: Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem
A crown which enhanced the wisdom of the wearer. This crown was stolen from Rowena by her daughter Helena out of jealousy. Helena hid the crown and then died years later. It remained hidden until Tom Riddle charmed its whereabouts out of Helena’s ghost. Once Riddle procured the crown he turned it into a Horcrux and hid it for another few decades in Hogwarts Room of Requirement (which is the ‘Room of Hidden Things’).
Many of us bury our emotions and feelings about unpleasant experiences deep and keep them secret. Often we’re afraid to admit these secrets to even ourselves. In order to overcome this Horcrux, one must find an outlet for these secrets, whether through journaling or art, talking to a therapist or a close confident, or another coping mechanism.
Horcrux: Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup
The magical cup which came into Tom Riddle’s possession after he murdered its owner and stole it along with several other artifacts. After turning the cup into a Horcrux he gave it to Bellatrix Lestrange, a mean witch, who treasured the object and locked it up in a vault with many other artifacts and objects.
In order to overcome this Horcrux, one must decide what to do with the objects and belongings of their loved one. You may choose to keep them, give them away, sell them – it doesn’t matter – but you must find peace with the decisions you have made regarding the disposition of important objects. Read our post on dealing with a loved one’s belongings after a death for more clarity.
Horcrux: Quirinus Quirrell
This Hogwarts professor literally became a Horcrux when Voldemort decided to share his body. Quirrell was unable to resist Voldemort’s will and was forced to do his evil deeds. Quirrell began to prey on unicorns in the Forbidden Forest to give Voldemort strength. Quirrell ultimately died trying to murder Harry Potter at the command of Voldemort. His body burned due to the protective power Harry’s mother left in his skin when she died for him. Quirrell did not ultimately lose his soul because he tried to resist Voldemort on occasion.
In order to overcome this Horcrux, one must understand the influence grief has on behavior. Grief forces us to do things which are out of character and one must learn to accept and forgive their grief influenced behaviors no matter how crazy, strange, mean, or weird. One must trust, although they will never quite be the same, they will eventually feel normal again.
Horcrux: Harry Potter
Harry Potter became a Horcrux when the love from his mother protected him from Lord Voldemort’s curse. Instead of killing Harry the curse backfired and destroyed Voldemort’s body and all his power. In the course of this battle, Voldemort accidentally gave part of his powers to baby Harry as well as a piece of his soul. Harry was left with a lightning-shaped scar which became a telepathic link between Voldemort and himself. In their final battle years later Voldemort attempted to kill Harry but instead ended up killing his Horcrux inside of Harry. Harry did not die at this time because his blood contained a bond anchoring him to life and protecting him from Voldemort.
This is the final Horcrux in the battle to defeat grief. In order to overcome this Horcrux, one must accept their own feelings towards death and mortality. Experiences with death can bring us closer to understanding the fragility of life often leaving us feeling scared, fragile, and powerless. Our grief scars become links between us and the existence of death. Like Harry, continued bonds anchor our loved one’s memories to us, just as they will anchor us to those who remember us after we die.
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