Why Was Professor Snape Mean to Harry?

Photo of Professor Snape in his Black Robes
Professor Snape: Who Was He?
In order to understand Professor Snape and his purpose in Harry Potter's life, you have to first understand the self.

The "self" isn't simple.

It's complicated.

It has been constructed of various bits and pieces, sewn together like a crazy patchwork quilt. Each bit is at war with another bit, so each belief we have unconsciously accepted and embraced struggles to maintain dominance.

As a whole, self is cunning like a snake. It's been in charge of the house for a very long time. It doesn't want to lose that valuable position, so it works within the darkness of ignorance and does everything in its power to keep you from seeing it.

That patchwork quilt is warm and familiar.

It feels right. It's comforting. It's the only thing you've ever known in this stage of existence because you began sewing it from day one.

However, that quilt isn't a living being. It's mechanical. It's triggered into motion by mental association with something similar and familiar that happened in the past. In Harry's case, the look that Professor Snape tossed his way the very first time their eyes met resulted in Harry setting up an account against the man, due to Harry's imagination and sleepiness, that Harry would cling to until almost the end of his journey to wholeness.


Because that look was familiar. It reminded him of the Dursleys.

And while it was true that the Dursleys didn't like Harry at all, that wasn't what was really going on at the moment Professor Snape first penetrated Harry's eyes.

Who is Telling Harry Potter's Story?

The Harry Potter story is told through Harry's perspective, and since perspective changes as the awareness grows and develops, understanding "what" is:
  • thinking
  • talking
  • reacting
  • responding
  • or acting
at any given moment is crucial to understanding ourselves and others. Otherwise, your beliefs and attitude about what's going on in the story will be heavily influenced by whatever you identify with at the time. If you identify with Harry Potter, for example, as Seeker who is striving for liberation, your beliefs and feelings will parallel his beliefs and feelings, even if those beliefs and feelings are coming from one of his not-I.

Identification with fictional characters can be dangerous.

It's one of the easiest ways for not-I to hypnotize you into accepting one or more of their false beliefs without checking it out for yourself first.

It's better to keep yourself at a distance as you read the story, enabling you to "catch" the little snitches or hints that Jo offers within the narrative. For example, before Harry sees Professor Snape for the first time, Jo clearly states:

"Harry, who was starting to feel warm and sleepy, looked up at the High Table again."

Sleepy is a clue that Harry's perspective has slipped into identification with not-I and shouldn't be taken for granted. Not-I always lie.


Who Sits at the High Table?

Book 1 of the Harry Potter series clearly demonstrates what Professor Snape is -- a Hogwart's Teacher whose purpose is to guard and protect The Stone -- but those details are overlooked by almost everyone. Even when Harry states Professor Snape's purpose toward the end of the book, in a moment of clarity:

"Snape was trying to SAVE me?"

Readers are more likely to cling to Harry's first reaction:

"This couldn't be true. It couldn't."

The reason for that is simple. Not-I are reading about other not-I, which sets you up to be deceived by your current false belief system. The books are structured that way on purpose. Although Professor Snape sits at the High Table along with Hagrid, Professor McGonagall, Professor Dumbledore, and Professor Quirrell, Harry's first impression of Professor Snape:
  • greasy black hair
  • a hooked nose
  • and sallow skin
focuses on the outward details of the man, rather than the heart that lives within. Outwardly, he has no beauty that anyone would desire. He's not pleasant to look at. Not in Harry's opinion, at least. And most of that reaction comes from the way we've been raised to look on the outward appearances of others rather than the heart.

The irony, is that those few details clearly define what Professor Snape is:

The most vital and well kept secret in Alchemy, the Prima Materia, which Jo doesn't reveal completely in metaphoric terms until the moment of Snape's death in Book 7 -- the instant when the darkness and light inside Harry reversed themselves, giving him the ability to see what he needed to do to defeat Voldemort, his conditioning.

Solar Eclipse
Professor Snape: The Prima Materia, the Black Sun of Alchemy

In Hermetic tradition, there are two suns. One is constructed of profane gold, and represents outward appearances, the personality. 

The other sun is a hidden sun of pure philosophical gold that consists of the essential fire necessary for transmutation which has been conjoined to aether. We watch Professor Snape participate in that conjunction when he makes an unbreakable vow, latter on in the series, with Draco's mother, but most people have no clue what they are watching.

By that time in the story, a great many readers have nursed and developed a great sense of hate for Professor Snape. For some, that hate reverses itself in the same way that darkness was replaced with light in Harry when he merged with Professor Snape's consciousness, which is why the Harry Potter story is so powerful.

If you allow it to, Life will pull you through the various stages you need to go through in order to produce the same transformation that Harry received.

First Meeting With First Matter is Often Unpleasant

Not-I loves to play the role of victim. It sees itself as a kind, wonderful person that is almost always mistreated by others in some way. Not-I is always right and others are always wrong, so when an emotional not-I is at the helm, the feelings you get can be quite distorted and inaccurate. In fact, they are almost always negative.

Harry's first impression of Professor Snape was that the professor didn't like him because that's the truth that Harry experienced at home with the Dursleys.

He had no other reference point with which to assess the look Professor Snape gave him from the High Table at the moment when the professor looked past Quirrell's turban and deeply into Harry's soul, so Harry used the only measuring device he had to work with: the not-I. And since the purpose of not-I is to avoid discomfort at all costs, Harry interpreted Professor Snape's look in the only way he knew how:

Professor Snape doesn't like me.

Coupled with the sharp pain that shot across Harry's scar at exactly that moment, Harry's perspective of what Professor Snape thought of him -- true or false -- was born.

It literally became a living thing that would continue to grow into a crystallized belief that Professor Snape hated him, and thereby, influencing Harry's perspective of the professor throughout the series. By extension, your own perspective of Professor Snape will be similar to Harry's -- if you have identified yourself with him.

Everything about Snape will be filtered through the first impression and Harry's rock-solid conclusion that followed his first Potions class until Harry chooses to consciously close the account he set up against Snape for mistreating him with that initial look. No matter what Hagrid or Dumbledore will tell Harry about the professor, as the days and weeks go by, Harry will continue to believe that Snape doesn't like him, that Snape is mistreating him, that he's mean and cold and vengeful because:

Snape hates him.

Harry feels that way because Professor Snape doesn't treat him the way he thinks Snape ought to treat him. Harry has created a false image in his mind of what he feels a teacher or good person should be like and since the professor doesn't fit that mold, Harry believes that the professor hates him. Therefore, Harry hates him back.

Truth About Professor Snape: Why Was He So Mean?

Despite the revelations that came forth in Book 7 about Snape's motivations and real intent, a lot of fans can't get past the way Professor Snape treated Harry. Most of them feel that the professor should have treated Harry differently than the other students because of who he was.

To the professor's credit, he didn't do that.

He tried to treat Harry objectively: the same as he treated all of the other students.

Photo of Harry Potter Contemplating
Professor Snape Tried to Treat Harry
the Same as All of the Other Kids

In order to keep Harry safe from Voldemort, when Harry was at Hogwarts, Snape had to do a lot of pretending. He had to make himself unpopular, even with the other teachers. He had to make Harry look like he wasn't a threat to Voldemort, like his popularity was hype and his talents were non-existent.

In addition, Snape had to be particularly on guard within the confines of his own house because Draco's father was a solid supporter of Voldemort, and Snape knew what Voldemort was capable of should he even venture to think that Harry contained the potential to dethrone him.

At the same time, the birth of awareness cannot be clothed properly if traveling a path of ease with no resistance. Awareness must be challenged by an objective consciousness in order to grow. It has to stop:
  • whining and sniveling about how unfair life has been
  • sticking up for its rights instead of caring for its privileges
  • defending the false picture of itself and let go of it
  • doing things out of fear like pleasing others
  • running around trying to live up to the expectations of others
  • insisting that other people be different than they are
  • looking for blame when challenges present themselves
  • identifying with not-I
But it can't do that in an environment that is pleasant and comfortable all of the time because it's through discomfort that we come to see ourselves exactly as we are.

Resistance is the most loving gift that God -- both sides of God -- grants to us, yet it's also the gift we are the most blind to. There is no creation without the work of insemination.
  • There is no creation without a womb,
  • no creation without labor,
  • no creation without a willing vessel.
Likewise, the truth lies behind Professor Snape's words and actions.

Child Writing "MOM" on a Brick Wall
The Dark Mother is the Dark Face of God

The Dark Mother appears cold and heartless because we don't understand what objective consciousness really is. We have created a false image in our mind of what a Master of Compassion looks like, so when First Matter initially appears, a lot of us don't recognize her.

If you do, you can save yourself a lot of pain, agony, and time, but the sad truth is:

Most people reject First Matter the first time she appears to them because she doesn't come clothed in what they expect her to be like. She comes dressed in filthy rags:

Her eyes are dark black like Hagrid's, but they are also cold and empty like dark tunnels because at birth, awareness is only a spark of potential that has been hypnotized and deceived by the not-I. 

When Harry looked into Professor Snape's cold, black eyes, he was looking at himself. 

But he didn't recognize himself because the image wasn't all sweetness and light. Instead, Professor Snape reflected Harry exactly as he was:
  1. A Point of Light that needed to learn the subtle science of potion making to Awaken and Arise to his true potential.
  2. A Point that didn't understand the beauty of a softly simmering cauldron, nor the power of the liquids that crept through his veins -- for good or evil.
  3. A Point that needed to become aware of the Draught of Living Death, use the stone in his belly to protect himself from the poisons of the not-I, and recognize First Matter for what she truly is:

The two faces of God


  1. This read made me realize that although I don't know all the characters in this story, there is truly only one character( ourselves). We can get a glimpse of others when we know and understand how our perceptions are shaped. Know thyself, the most important.

    1. Absolutely. I love how you put that: there is only one character, ourselves. So true. I think it's easier to love others once we realize that we are all similar.


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