There is a distinction between the actual story of A Christmas
Carol by Charles Dickens and the interpretation of the story,
the Carol "canon" (from the word measurement). The story
is there for us unchanged, to be read year after year, but the
fit, the measurement of the Carol's meaning, is constantly changing.
Joe Cusumano provides a creative and inspiring measurement for
Dickens' famous tale, as well as placing the original story in
acknowledging the traditional meanings of the story and providing
an excellent historical background, Cusumano filters A
Christmas Carol through the novel lens of spiritual experiences
that include: alien abduction, Near Death experiences, Kundalini
yoga, and clinical psychology. Disconcerting as his suggestions
are to the standard literary approach, Transforming
Scrooge opens the story up to fresh and vital
interpretation. It is difficult to envision the 19th Century "Father
of Christmas", Charles Dickens, as having nightly visitations
by the greys and blacks of sci-fi fame, but the parallels between
his ghosts and modern accounts of close encounters are startlingly
similar. The bright light and chaotic effect of the Ghost of Christmas
Past mirrors the kind of psychological experience as recorded
in movies such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind
and Fire in the Sky.
Ebenezer undoubtedly needed a psycho-spiritual jolt to rock him
from his calloused materialism. The use of fantasy literary technique
allowed Charles Dickens to condense a long, complex process into
a single evening. Alien abduction and Near Death experiences have
the same intensive effect. Leaving aside the literal proof or
validation of such experiences, Cusumano focuses on the transformative
effects of them, showing how human hearts can be softened when
open to the healing imagery of life review, in-depth perception
of reality and prophetic warning.
Scrooge is revolutionized both from within and without in A
Christmas Carol. Transforming Scrooge compares Scrooge's
experience to that of one undergoing counselling. Releasing repression,
built up pockets of energetic resistance located in the chakra
points, according to Kundalini yoga, allowed Scrooge to change
from being "as solitary as an oyster" into being the
"Father of Tiny Tim". Cusumano, using a variety of therapeutic
metaphors, shows how the release might take place in us modern
from the bondage of blockage, Scrooge discovered the roots of
his own miserliness in the abuse that he suffered as a child at
the hands of his perfectionistic father. Uncovering his own pain,
he was prepared for the prophetic statement of the Ghost of the
Future who predicted the social effects of child hatred on society.
"Beware of Want and Ignorance!" is a mantra for the
new millennium as much as the Industrial Revolution. The way we
treat the child is the litmus test of our society; the havoc we
inherit through street gangs, thugs and dictators is the price
we pay for our treatment of the innocent.
The good news of the Carol is that doom is not inevitable but
that an openness to the spiritual and psychological experiences
of healing can sponge away the death knell of our insensitivity.
As Cusumano says, "Dickens was letting us know that this
is not really just a Christmas Story. More importantly, it is
an Easter Story, one of resurrection." The measure of A
Christmas Carol for our lives is the extent to which we participate
in this heart opening resurrection. Transforming Scrooge
by Joe Cusumano speaks to the heart from the heart of that message.