Our prime minister’s father, Stanley Johnson, caused some media outrage the other day when he said in a television interview that most of the British public wouldn’t know how to spell Pinocchio. I don’t think, however, it was a form of arrogant, out-of-touch elitism, as was claimed, because I also didn’t know how to spell Pinocchio even though I’d previously written a whole chapter in my book Stories in the Stars about the mythic structure underlying the original Tuscan folktale about the wooden puppet, which Walt Disney went on to adapt for his animated film. But when it came to touching upon that story again in the writing of my last book, I had to look up the spelling!
It’s probably that tricky single ‘n’ and double ‘c’ combination that’s at fault. It doesn’t register in the old grey matter, because I don’t think it occurs in Anglo Saxon words. In that form of Latin, Pinocchio meant “pine nut”, which is code in certain Mystery teachings for “pineal gland” or what we call the Third Eye, and therein lies the tale.
Here’s the illustration from Stories in the Stars which shows how the original Tuscan tale was based on the classic zodiac journey of the mythological hero through the 12 constellations and three water and fire initiations, to reach enlightenment, and how Disney, for reasons best known to himself, left out the adventures of the wooden puppet at Leo, Virgo and Libra.