They then displayed themselves in five times seven
consonants and vowels, and I saw these letters
singly, and in the order they were traced.
DILIGITE IUSTITIAM — these letters,
placed together, verb and noun, came first,
QUI IUDICATIS TERRAM, last.
Paradiso, Canto 18, Lines 88 – 93
Diligite Iustitiam Qui Iudicatis Terram – Love justice, you that are the judges of the Earth. These are the opening words of the biblical book of Wisdom. It is also the request of the soul sparks on the sixth sphere of Jupiter.
Jupiter is located in Dante’s heavenly order between the hot passionate planet Mars and Saturn, that is usually described as cold star (you will see in the next picture that Dante was of another opinion when it came to Saturn). Jupiter, temperate and pale, balances the two. For the poet it is like a blush of modesty.
A blush of modesty that passes from the face of the heavenly, jovial father – as this is what Jupiter means. The word derives from archaic Latin ‘Iovis’ or Latin ‘(D)is’ = God and Latin ‘pater’ = father. As ‘Heavenly Father’ Jupiter was the king of Roman Gods, ruler of cosmic justice and father of many.
Like a careful knitter he loved knitting patterns. He placed and knotted his threads with deliberation in ever new ways. Occupied with the moment, as the father and ruler of them all he had to consider the overall picture to do justice to all in his rulings, so that his creation became not unbalanced, one sided, unjust – in one word: ruined.
Knitting is a recurrent theme in the Harry Potter series as well. Hagrid knits what appears to be a canary-yellow circus tent in the train to London when he takes Harry for his first trip to Diagon Alley (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Chapter 5: Diagon Alley). Dumbledore admits freely to loving knitting patterns when he takes Harry to Horace Slughorn to use the Boy-who-lived as a bait the to-become potion teacher swallows unchewed (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4: Horace Slughorn).
However, most prominently tied to the subject of knitting is the mother of all – Molly Weasley.
‘I think I know who that one’s from,’ said Ron, going a bit pink and pointing to a very lumpy parcel. ‘My mum. I told her you didn’t expect any presents and – oh, no,’ he groaned, ‘she’s made you a Weasley jumper.’
Harry had torn open the parcel to find a thick, hand-knitted sweater in emerald green and a large box of home-made fudge.
‘Every year she makes us a jumper,’ said Ron, unwrapping his own, ‘and mine’s always maroon.’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Chapter 12: The Mirror of Erised
She even adorns her sweaters with single letters like the ones spelled out by Jupiter’s sparks.
In that torch of Jupiter I watched
the sparkling of the love resplendent there
make signs, before my eyes, of our speech.
And as birds risen from the river’s edge,
seeming to celebrate their pleasure in their food,
form now a rounded arc, and now another shape,
so, radiant within their lights, the holy creatures
sang as they flew and shaped themselves
in figures, now D, now I, now L.
Paradiso, Canto 18 Lines 70 – 78
The last letter that Dante sees on Jupiter is the ‘M’ of terram. Together with the lily that wraps itself around the lines of the M and the eagle flying high above it, the M marks Jupiter as the planet of monarchy and just rulers.
Yet the M can be read also as a symbol for matriarchy, especially as it is the last M of the word terram. The earth is usually seen as an archetypical symbol for the mother. Seen upside down it can also be the first letter ‘W’ of the name Weasley – Molly Weasley.
In the Harry Potter series Molly Weasley is not Jupiter but Jumiter. She represents the ups and downs of the archetype. She is the birth-giving, protecting woman who tries to make the Burrow and later Grimmauld Place #4 as well the most cosy place on earth against all odds. She is the personified fertility and literally the magical authority at her place. In all the poverty the Weasleys live she provides plenty not only to her children but also to everyone she can pull under her wings.
Yet, as already hinted at in the Mercury essay, she represents also the destroying, devouring mother. Like a Norn she is inescapable. Her voice echoes even in the halls of Hogwarts, it is repeated however reluctant by Sirius in the fireplace and follows Percy to London. The image of Percy all tied up in a Weasley sweater unable to move (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Chapter 12: The Mirror of Erised) symbols best the way Molly almost suffocates her loved ones with her caring while not considering their needs and wishes.
One could say, her knitting has some flaws. Yet, in the end, when you put everything on a scale, the positive aspects outweigh anything negative – symbolized by Percy’s return. And the motherly dragon spreads its wings one more time to destroy its black aspect – the power hungry femme fatale Belatrix LeStrange.