Following trail markings


“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
Albert Einstein

When I was going home from work last week, I started to think about Felix Felicis, a potion playing an important role in Harry Potter’s adventures…

Well, I need to insert a little intermezzo here. Afterwards I pondered about the occurrence of that idea in my mind, why Harry Potter all of a sudden? And I realised that I could start many of my posts with the words “When I was going home from work, it occurred to me…”. I usually sit alone in my car while commuting, drive and listen to the radio and during these activities I sort of switch off the conscious thinking. I pay attention to the road, which I know very well, and to the broadcasting and relax.

Under these conditions various ideas and thoughts come to my mind, uninvited but welcome, emerging from various spheres. It is similar when I work in the garden and focus on the gardening routines. This makes me believe that we need to empty our minds, to suppress our conscious thinking, so that we can hear the voices of our subconscious. Generally we are not good at either letting them speak or listening to them and that is to our disadvantage for sure.

Back to the Felix Felicis potion. You may like Harry Potter’s stories, you may dislike them, you may be totally indifferent to them and may have never read them. I guess I would not be interested in them at all if my friend did not send me the first book of the series many years ago, remarking something like “I have something for you to read in English”. After the initial hesitation I plunged into reading it. And found many interesting thoughts along the way.

In the sixth volume of the series, Harry needs to get a necessary piece of information – a memory – from a professor who is not willing to share that memory. Nevertheless, Harry wins a bottle of a Felix Felicis potion which is called ‘liquid luck’ and after drinking it, he is supposed be lucky in everything he attempts which is exactly what he needs to get that information.

Nice fantasy, no doubt about that, but here comes what made me think. When Harry swallows a gulp of the potion, his friends Hermione and Ron expect him to go to the professor and obtain the memory. Just that easy. But to their surprise and alarm, Harry acts differently. He goes somewhere else and is confident and clearly persuaded he does the right thing. He has no idea why he knows what is the right thing to do and he does not know the whole way to the achievement. Yet along the way he has a good feeling about doing this or that, he is seized with immediate desires to do something or nudged a little into changing the direction. The potion leads him on.

Which way do I proceed when I want to achieve something? I have an idea, think of a plan and go. I follow my intentions and expectations, try to surmount obstacles and hope to arrive at the destination. But do I perceive those feelings telling me what is right? Do I pay attention to those immediate desires which may show me the way? Do I notice the nudges I get to change the course of my intentions? And do I accept the fact that the road to the destination may not be the road I wanted to take?

Even if I did all of that, without Felix Felicis success is not guaranteed. But I may increase its probability or find a new, more fitting destination. That will probably be often the case.



  1. Soosie

    What an entrancing image – perfectly matched with this post. I need to listen much more closely to my intuitive self. I often discount it – despite knowing that it is often right. Thank you. I am going away to consider this further (and I thoroughly enjoy the Harry Potter series).

  2. Marcie

    I think hearing that often very quiet and intuitive voice is a cultivated skill and art. Sometimes we get it right…but oh-so-very-often we don't. Your after-work travel-home time in your car sounds like a magical space in which to think. Beautifully crafted post!

  3. Catherine

    Very thoughtful post Petra and I am now wondering…….sometimes I think the trick for me is to distinguish the intuition from the other voices….which voice is the intuition? I usually find it's the one I hear in my gut rather than in my head…..literally the brain in the body, and therefore it's not always clear what it is saying to me, I feel it before I understand…… Harry Potter stories are so layered with imagination and questions just what a good book should be…..:~)

  4. Honey

    i know this wasn't the point of your essay, but what struck me is that you think in your car! driving home from work was always my favorite quiet time…this was pre-cell phones. imagine such a time! i loved that you wrote about the time between work and home as a thoughtful place.
    i get so many calls that begin with, "i am just leaving work….," because driving time needs to be filled with conversation! i have no judgement on which is better. it was just nice to remember the peace of the car ride in your thoughtful post. loved it.

  5. Gotham Girl Aka Robin

    Oh my…that image! The moss on the left is something out of a story book! Beautiful Petra! There have been so many times that I didn't listen to those feelings at the get go and if there's one thing I'm learning as as I age and that is to do so! Excellent post!

  6. Deborah

    I love the Harry Potter stories. And the story of this good luck potion is such a fun one!
    Do we listen to the nudges? I love that you call them nudges because I do the same. It is so easy to dismiss them and proceed the way our head thinks we should go and ignore the nudges from the heart. Lately I have been doing my best to tune in to the nudges.
    I appreciate what you have written here, Petra. Your image fits perfectly with your words.

  7. Ginnie

    How splendidly wonderful to see Harry Potter woven into this thought-provoking post, Petra, especially alongside your image of, clearly, a great adventure. I also like how you started this off with Einstein's quote about the intuitive and rational mind. There is definitely something therapeutic about the coming-n-going car routine, alone and while deep in thought. I have always seen it as a 'tweener time…almost like the twilight zone…when the subconscience can take the lead.
    I'm chewing the cud, so to speak, on this gem of a post. Thank you.

  8. Susan

    I sure wish more people would follow your lead and use their driving time for paying attention to driving and to their thoughts … and to always follow their intuition without hesitation. I would love to be on this trail in your image, so very lovely and peaceful!

  9. Elena Caravela

    Petra, I love Harry. I also believe the Einstein quote, and I'd love to walk into your stunning image. And while I know that the brain needs to dictate sometimes, I lead with my gut. A terrific post.

  10. Barbara

    One is a servant and one is a gift – what an interesting way to look at our thinking. Intuition, a wisdom of its own, a wisdom of our spirit, is a cultivated gift. Actually, I think we have it, we just have to listen for it, be still now and then, heed it, and then trust. Surrender, if you will. I would love to travel the path you have pictured here. So mystical and intriguing.

  11. Maery Rose

    Beautiful image! I want to go there!
    Intuition is a hard thing to listen to since it wears disguises and "wants" can disguise themselves as gut feelings. I've had to deal with that lately, jumping off the cliff because of something nudging and terrified that I've made the wrong choice. Another thing that I've been wishing would come along has and I'm turning away from it as a voice whispers, "Not now". I do hope my intuition is right.

  12. Thank you all for your appreciative and thoughtful comments!

    The photo was taken in the Czech Republic in a rocky area called “Broumovské stěny” (Broumov Walls). There are beautiful woods and wonderful views of the country, I loved being there and you’d love that too.

    I absolutely agree that it is difficult to tell the voice of intuition from the voices of our “wants” and expectations, sometimes I find it desperately hard or impossible. Einstein said it well, we forgot that gift and so we need to cultivate it again. In prayer and in contemplation, in humble listening and yes, in suppressing the consciousness willingly… Which doesn’t mean to suppress the thinking utterly, we need – and love – that faithful servant, don’t we?

  13. Juli

    Petra! What an amazing piece you have written complete with a quote from Einstein and a story from Harry Potter. Love, love, love it! Intuition is such a I am working to attune to more readily. I'm finding it a little bit easier as a result of the different rhythms and routines of life post full-time employment. Now, I wonder if, when I don't think I can hear it, it's because its wisdom doesnt fit with the challenges and balance required to fulfil my day, and I've tuned it out. Following intuition once heard, isn't always easy – taking us down unexpected paths that just don't make sense as Potter's story illustrates. The task becomes trusting intuition..something I know I'm still working on. Thank you for such a wonderful piece..and a simply gorgeous image!

  14. Linda

    Again, my friend, I approach this issue from the perspective of my relationship with Christ. When that "still, small voice" is heard in my head, the immediate need is to determine if the voice is His. As others have mentioned, it could be merely an expression of my own desires, in which case some logic and prayer may need to be applied. If I determine that the voice is His, obedience is required.
    As always, your post has made me think. And your photograph has made me wish to see the place in person.

  15. Puna

    I love how you follow your instincts. Beautifully written Petra! My kids were never really "into" the Happy Potter craze because they don't like to read:) but are just now finding out what it's all about. I like that . . .

  16. CherryPie

    I always follow my instincts, the always lead to where I need to be.. The journey may be difficult along the way, but the end result is always worth it 🙂

  17. Sondra

    Hi Petra, this post is another wonderful bit of writing. I have never read Harry Potter, I have seen some of the films. The photo above is so inviting I want to hike that trail!!
    Intuition and rationalizing–I think I used both most of the time. I rationalize what I don’t see the big picture. Quiet time in the car driving home is a great time for getting quite in your mind and a great use of that time spent behind the wheel. I wouldn’t mind a shot of that potion!!

  18. Kelly

    Oh, I so want to step right into that photo… and, as I am in this place just now, of trying to find the right path, I could use a little Felix Felicis to bring with me! I think we don't give enough credit to our intuition, we often ignore what it tries to tell us, and then later wish we hadn't. How nice it would be to have a potion that would tune us right into it!

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