To part 1
The Little Prince used to live on an asteroid and travelled to many other planets before arriving on Earth. All of these planets were inhabited by a (type of) man. This picture correlates with esoteric teachings – it implies the existence of spherical microcosms. According to these teachings the original human was an immortal being with a divine personality and a complex, spherical life system. But after the spiritual fall – a cosmic catastrophe – it is only an injured, incomplete life system, which from time to time connects to a mortal, earthly personality, whose purpose in life would be to restore this microcosm by developing an immortal, divine personality.
The asteroid of the Little Prince correlates with the picture of the fallen state. It belongs to the world and nature of opposites with all its consequences. Days turn into nights quite often due to the small size of the planet, and even though its only inhabitant loves the sight of sunsets, destructive forces are also at work. Bad seeds, sprouts, baobab trees spread constantly, and the owner of the asteroid can only keep them in line by relentless weeding – this task mirrors a continuous internal effort to purify consciousness. This is a trait of a noble soul, of noble origins, thus the title of prince is justified. It is not surprising that a “noble” flower, a rose starts to bloom on this planet. However the rose is a twofold symbol: its stem has many thorns, but its chalice is beautiful, fragrant. It is like the human heart, which is colored red by self-centered desires and passions; further inside there is affection mistaken for love; but deep inside there is divine love – like a well in a desert – which (would) spread the flower’s real fragrance.
As soon as the Little Prince’s flower becomes self-aware, she behaves like the outer shell of the human heart: she is finicky, pestering, snarky and pretentious. Projecting all of this outward and afraid of the hardships and dangers of the outside world, she demands to be protected by a glass globe at night. After a while the Little Prince gets fed up. He decides to leave his home; he puts his planet in order for the last time and says goodbye to the rose. Then the rose leaves the outer shell of the heart (she does not even require a glass globe anymore) and “steps” into the territory of affection mistaken for love. Therefore, she admits to her faults and expresses her love for the Little Prince, even though she blames him for what happened as well. Her understanding and generosity stem from her vanity for now; and her tears of self-pity are restrained out of pride.
The Little Prince sets out for other asteroids (microcosms). He visits six planets, and his seventh destination is Earth. As the pilot had to execute an emergency landing due to a functional error, a problem with the engine, the Little Prince has to leave his etheric home for the same reason. His charmingly pure, childlike vision admired by the pilot (when the tiny man sees the swallowed elephant in the boa constrictor, and the sheep in the box drawn), fails him when it comes to the rose, because he fails to recognize the Rose under the petals of the flower.
All inhabitants of the planets visited are obsessive and stubborn, misshapen caricatures of the divine personalities of the original microcosms. They are egocentric earthly individuals who are obsessed with themselves. They became ever more greedy, keeping the divine powers for their own good, which led to the fall of the microcosms in the cosmic past.
The king obsesses over dictatorship, the conceited man over coquetry, the tippler over dazedness. These three are easily ridiculed or pitied by the world. However, the following three stubborn personalities may seem useful and respectable – even though they are just as obsessive and self-important as the others. The businessman strives to possess more and more, the lamplighter oppresses himself with his false sense of mission, the geographer seeks superficial knowledge and domineers explorers.
The least likeable person for the Little Prince is the tippler, and the most likeable one is the lamplighter. It is interesting that the two are connected: the tippler yearns for daze, the other for sleep. Both have a problem with being awake. The life of the tippler revolves around himself: he drinks to forget his shame over his drinking.
The seemingly likeable character of the lamplighter – through external religious traditions, commandments and rituals – embodies the obsession to maintain false light. This compulsive religious practice is indeed like opium – similar to alcoholism. However, they relate to themselves differently: the tippler (not without a reason) despises himself, the lamplighter (without a reason) praises himself.
But we come across a wise saying among the six obsessive individuals: “’Then you shall judge yourself,’ the king answered, ‘that is the most difficult thing of all. It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.’”
But it is only a show the king puts on, he does not live by these words of wisdom. The Little Prince however thinks and lives according to this maxim more and more every day – especially in relation to his rose. And as per the geographer’s advice, his seventh destination is the planet Earth.
The Little Prince arrives on Earth in the Sahara Desert. The desert, just like the rose, has a twofold meaning. On the one hand, it is a wasteland which represents the futility of the world; on the other hand, it is where poverty and purity in spirit can be attained through distancing oneself from earthly pleasures and through trials.
Here the protagonist first meets the snake, at night. This animal is also a twofold symbol. In the negative sense it represents deceitfulness and temptation, and as we saw in the narrator’s drawing, it swallows and digests its prey whole. The most dangerous kind is the venomous serpent with venom in its fangs. But poison in small quantities can be medicine and this leads us to the positive traits of the snake symbol. The animal also represents cleverness, as it guards valuable treasures (hidden knowledge). It can shed its skin, thus it is also the symbol of rebirth. Such a complex animal is closely related to everything the desert represents.
It is the first being the Little Prince meets on Earth, and it will also help the protagonist leave the planet. The snake welcomes and sends him off providing evidence of its many skills.
To be continued in part 3