Winter’s Tale: On Angels and Healing


We are all voyagers, set on a course towards destiny
To find the one person our miracle is meant for.


The film should have begun with this scene, even if the story began differently. For it’s the pivot around which everything turned: the halfway point that had to be crossed before his destination could be found.

The story’s hero and protagonist is Peter Lake. He’s stuck in the in-between: not quite living, yet unable to die. A hundred years ago, when his true love died, he was thrown into the Hudson. That’s when everything began, like this obsession.

His memory was failing. He’d even forgotten his name. All that was left was the image of a woman in red reaching for the moon. He drew it repeatedly.

Kneeling – with hands and knees on the ground – he’d pray, yearning to divine the meaning of what he saw, hoping his unknowingness would come to an end.

Spirit Guide

Although he didn’t know it, Peter was becoming an angel. His obsession and his unknowingness were merely signs of his transformation.

For those who knew him, this seemed unlikely. After all, he used to be a thief. But thievery led him to the girl destined to change his life. And he knew it immediately, "All I know is that I’m pulled to her, like air when I’m under water."

Even more important was the spirit guide – and vehicle – that Peter called "horse." He would lead Peter during each step of the journey. The only trick was learning how to listen and then accepting the guidance that was sent his way.

But be warned: As we seek out the light, darkness gathers …
The eternal contest between Good and Evil is not fought with great armies,
but one life at a time.


Peter’s antagonist – his alter-ego – is Pearly Soames who raised Peter and taught him how to steal. He blocks the path of Peter’s quest, resisting each opening, willing to fight to the death … all to ensure that everything remained the same.

(Black and white are the colors used to symbolize their confrontation, but it could just as easily be depicted by yellow vs. violet or red vs. green.)

Unbeknownst to Peter, this antagonist killed his love. He slipped something into her wine, causing her heart to palpitate, inducing contractions much stronger than she could withstand. (Also a characteristic of a Sarasvati rising.)

He intends to stop Peter from changing. And he’ll do everything in his power to prevent Peter from finding the one his miracle is intended for. Because, if that happens, nothing will ever be the same again.


The demon seeks out Lucifer whenever he needs clarity or counsel. A curious ritual unfolds: Lucifer enters a sacred place, then turns on a light. Only then is the demon allowed to speak, using language fit for a church or courtroom, a mark of his reverence for an authority higher than his own.

The ritual should remind us of the meaning of Lucifer’s name. For he is the light-bearer – often equated with the morning star – the harbinger that comes just as night turns into day, signaling the future arrival of a blazing sun.

Thus, while the demon may be Peter’s antagonist, he’s vitally important.
In the end, he helps Peter see the light.


Peter once stole jewels, but it was the demon who was enthralled by them. He said it was the way they accepted light: their "feminine" ability to receive impressions. One could say they symbolized the subtle sensations he hoarded, each attuned to an illumination of a different sort.

The demon used the gems twice during this story. First, to find Peter’s spirit guide and later, to track Peter himself. The gem’s capacity to receive higher vibrations – a "quickening" – allowed him to squash the inspiration they brought.

Peter once had new ideas about stealing, about how harm could be reduced. But for the demon, pain was the point of thievery: the ripples it created was the goal of his work. It was as if his sole purpose was to elicit overpowering sensations, but not necessarily to learn from them. (That was Peter’s task.)

The universe sends us spirit guides,
Sometimes they speak to us through small children.

Frozen Lake

Years ago, Peter’s love brought him to her favorite place in the world: a house nestled on the edge of a frozen lake. She’d been going there ever since she was a child. Her father said nothing happened there that wasn’t supposed to.

But beneath the beauty was the truth of her "consumption," a fatal condition. She had to stay cold – away from heat – to slow her deterioration, and often used a mirror to test herself: when her hand left no imprint, she knew she was safe.

At night, she slept on the roof of her father’s house, far from the furnace below. From there, she counted the stars, always beginning in the same constellation ( … Castor … Pollux … ) as if the story about twins, one immortal, the other not, held a clue about her personal destiny.

 Three Pairs

Always close was her sister Willa ("resolute protector"), who never tired of asking about angels and their relation to the stars. In a way, by asking, she reminded her sister of other planes of existence, how one can become something new.

....Tell me again.
.......– Okay … There’s this great dance, and we all have our part.
....– And when we’re done here – if it’s after one life or a thousand –
....– We rise up into the sky and we become stars.

This "protector" also liked to be carried. She often held out her arms invitingly, asking to be lifted off the ground. It was a frequent gesture, almost a defining trait. As if she, too, yearned to reach the sky.


One night, when neither could sleep, the child appeared before Peter. She wanted to show him a special place where the plants and flowers grew. She called it a "princess bed" which she had the neighborhood boys make for her.

Her father once told her a story about a prince who saved a princess with his kiss. That’s why she brought Peter there, asking him to promise: if anything should happen, he’d bring her sister and kiss her there. That way, she wouldn’t die.

Despite this, the sister’s fate couldn’t be changed. Peter did as he promised, but his kiss didn’t work. For some reason, it didn’t have the necessary power. With her animating spirit gone, all he could do was bury his face in her dead body, and cry.

Destiny calls to each of us …
since there is a world behind the world where we are all connected.
All part of a great and moving plan.

 Second Chance

Years later, in the midst of his obsessing, he crashed into a young girl. It was a strange encounter, each making a confession: he didn’t remember his name and she’d forgotten the names of the stars. As if the passage of time had weakened their link with the very source of their being.

And yet, the meeting would set the wheels turning, reigniting a process that had stalled. Peter’s memory would begin to return, remembering the names of stars he learned about in a different time ( … Castor … Pollux … )

It wasn’t about compensating for her amnesia, but his own. Which is why he then returned to a neglected hiding place and pulled out a dusty box of belongings that spoke of his origins and the nature of his birth. Slowly, the memories would begin to return. He’d even remember his name. It was Peter Lake.


Because he needed help understanding the memories that were returning, he went to the library. He needed to learn about what was happening to him, but also the meaning he should give to his transformation.

Once there, he’d discover the little girl’s mother was already there, doing her own research (her daughter’s cancer). But when she saw Peter fumbling, she offered to help with the "micro-fish," as if the machine was a portal to an aquatic world.

With the two of them looking at ancient photos, he discovered that his memories referred to a real place – not just fleeting images or a fantasy – and the past came flooding back to him. With his remembrance came old heartbreak, of course, but also the possibility figuring out why he he was unable to die.

 Shines For All

For a hundred years, he’d been wandering in a haze: obsessed with his vision, and oblivious to just about everything else. As his memory returned, and with the help of the girl’s mother, he found an important person from his past. She once asked Peter to save her sister with a kiss.

Willa (the protector) was now an old woman, no longer a little girl. Her earthy life was coming to an end. She had inherited and now managed her father’s newspaper – the New York Sun – a sign of the luminary alignment that Lucifer portends.

Their reunion would be bittersweet, particularly since she knew it’d be the last time they saw each other. The return of his memory meant that he’d soon be heading for the stars. In her heart of hearts, she knew her dead sister was already there.

A bed of wishes made 100 years ago by a little girl who’s now an old woman.
A bed made to save a girl with flaming red hair from dying too young.
A place made for a miracle … Isn’t that why we love at all? To save?


Peter’s revelation came like a bolt of lightning out of the blue. The image of his obsession was the child he just met, not the one who died. Just like in his vision, she was turned away from him, as her hand reached out towards the light.

Whether the pose was real or the shape of her subtle energy was unimportant. It was a kriya, the hidden language of the soul. She was fighting a malignant foreign body (cancer), making the message clear: she was the one his miracle was for.

It explained why Peter was still alive: the miracle in the love he found so long ago was hers rather than his. She made him love her so much, he was unable to die.

The only question now was: would Peter figure out how to perform his miracle?
and would he be up to the task?

 Defending the Girl from His Demon

Once Peter understood what his miracle was meant to be, the demon returned with a vengeance, protesting Peter’s decision. This was precisely what the demon fought so hard to avoid: Peter’s coming to awareness of what was meant to be.

Should there be any confusion as to what Peter and his demon represent, the answer is clearly seen in the film: one deeply enmeshed in worldly affairs, the other seeking detachment while reflecting upon his existence, trying to understand. Two distinct functions that exist in us all.

No longer confused about the purpose of the "princess bed," Peter returned to the frozen lake, hoping he could get it right this time. But as soon as this is done, comes a second realization: he could only save the child if he confronted his demon first.

 Praying Together

After the demon is defeated, only then can the girl be be saved. Until then, the demon blocks his passage, single-minded in his defense of what he wouldn’t allow to be changed.

When her body is returned to the place where his true love died, Peter kisses her, although not as he did before. For the mouth is the subtle organ used for tasting, while the brow detects how Spirit works. When kissed in this different way, that’s when her death is defeated and she wakes up, still alive.

There’s another difference from his earlier experience with the princess bed. This time, there are three participants, not just two. The mother is there as well, a supplicant just like Peter. Both of them praying over the dying girl. Both of them fighting for her resuscitation. Both of them hoping she does not die.

Each baby born carries a miracle inside. A unique purpose.
And that miracle is promised to one person and one person alone.

 The Triangle from Above

How does Peter’s miracle relate to his birth and his purpose for living?

From all accounts, Peter was born at sea. His parents had tried to enter the Land of Freedom, but were turned away due to pneumonia. So they bundled him up and lowered him into the ocean, hoping he’d make a life for himself in a land they were never destined to see.

His adopted surname – Lake – is a cognate of this experience, also referring to a body of water. This was his inheritance, crucial for solving the dilemma at the heart of his story.

Man-Made Vault

Despite his birth, Peter was more comfortable with air than water. After his first escape from the demon, that’s where he hid himself: in Grand Central Station behind a vault made to look like the heavens. Were it not for a tiny spot, he’d be completely invisible, as if he wasn’t really there.

That’s precisely when he fell in love. It was was a sign that an exchange of energy was about to take place: she returning him to water (although it was still frozen), he taking her to the princess bed learned about from her father (although it didn’t work like she had hoped).

Each of them would need to make a second visit to those places if they hoped to finish the work that energy exchange had begun.


But before that, certain preparations needed to be completed. For Peter, it was his obsession. Drawing furiously, but also visiting the cemetery, exploring the nature of his loss. Both symbolize activities associated with the practice of sadhana.

One is about traversing a sheath or kosha, which is about the most difficult thing to do. The other is about divining the specific energy that’s captured the mind’s attention, which has more to do with the jnanendriyas than the color itself.


For mother and daughter, the pairing is reversed, as the child no longer needs to be a protector. The elder has become a cook, which signals a changed relation to consumption and to the causal body (host to the immortal soul).

Repolarization is the occult term used to describe this process, which involves working with energies like electricity and magnetism. In the language of the yogis: learning to recognize the Self via the not-Self. Those actively involved in sadhana will know exactly what this means.

A miracle is nothing more than dormant justice from another time
arriving to compensate those it has cruelly abandoned.
Whoever knows this is willing to suffer,
for he knows that nothing is in vain.

 A Bridge Unfinished

Fans of the novel were unhappy that "Jackson Mead" was excluded from the film. He was a master bridge builder and an exile from heaven: his life’s work was to build one last bridge – the Rainbow Bridge – that would allow him to return to the place from which he came.

While the character was missing, his bridge was not. That bridge, still incomplete, is how Peter first tried to escape the demon. It’s also where Peter was thrown into the Brooklyn River after his love died: a baptism which brought on his obsession.

These three form a trinity: the demon wedded to the solidity of earth, the bridge-builder seeking to transcend it, and Peter who eventually succeeds. But before that could happen, he first needed to be tossed into the river from a great height.

City of Justice

The film also omits Peter’s obsession with Justice. It was the twin to his obsessive drawing. Both emerged with Peter as he crawled out from the river’s edge. (But the film alludes to this, as well.)

It illustrates how the mind operates when there’s unbearable pain, looking to manifest what can be tasted, touched or seen. Its a sign of grasping, and the desire to recreate what was lost, reflecting the intimate connection between the hand (as organ of action), the element of air, and the heart.

Ultimately, the purpose of manifestation is the mastery of one’s vehicles, physical, astral, and mental. Sadhana seeks to coordinate these vehicles with each other, and then with the soul. Later, the task shifts to releasing energetic investments. At each stage, the practitioner experiences a "mini" spiritual death. This is the sacred work that has Peter consumed.

(The man unwilling to do this work – expecting things to happen automatically -follows the path that Buddhists call the Path of the Abandoned Vehicle, which isn’t really a path at all.)

 Defender of Ice

Such work – on both sides of the equation – prepares for the second half of this story, in which another exchange takes place. It’ll not be romantic, since that’s just one way a journey can begin. This time it’ll involve the task of remembering, or what might be called redemption: a return from exile to a state of grace.

For Peter, this means reconciling his obsession with his origins, and his fight against the demon provides the opportunity to do just that. For in defeating his antagonist, cracks form in what the demon was protecting, allowing new access to what was frozen (made "solid") and beyond his reach.

Not to be overlooked is the plaque of Justice used in the demon’s defeat. Like Saint Michael himself, the greatest of them all, he fought – and defeated – the forces of darkness vying for control over heaven.

 A Princess Saved

For mother and child, the remembering is closer to restoring belief, learning how to take miracles and fairy tales seriously once again.

The child had forgotten the names of the stars, and her mother was too busy to think about the fantastic or miraculous. And yet, to save her child, she’d have to return to the princess bed, believing that a miracle could still happen there.

Where there were only two, there were now three: a new triangle created. It was organized differently and channeled a new kind of force. This time, a man fights his demon in order to save a child. Not because of any romantic expectation, but because it was his to give. Thus, Justice is awakened from its dormant slumber.

This is the transmutation that kills the cancer, and allows the girl to live.
It’s also how Peter crossed the Rainbow Bridge and earned his wings.


~ by mistified on August 19, 2014.

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