Finding the Lost Spirit of Christmas

Traditionally, Boxing Day was the day when those who ‘have’ gave something to those who ‘have not’ – like coins dropped in the special alms box at church or presents given to the servants. This might sound condescending to modern minds, but perhaps in earlier times the gesture was better received than we imagine.

Boxing DayNow, Boxing Day means nothing more than beginning of the famous after – Christmas sales.  In other words, not only do those who ‘have not’ continue on their sad trajectory of ‘not having’, but those who already ‘have’ acquire even more.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love a sale as much as the next person.  But I can’t help thinking that somehow, as a society, by focusing so much on our consumerism, we’ve lost the true spirit of Christmas.

Because of its association with the Christ (and hence Christmas), reflection on the meaning of Tiphareth, the 6th sephirah of the Kabbalistic Tree, may help us to address the problem.

According to the occultist, Dion Fortune, Tiphareth is associated with the tarot sixes – victory (wands), joy (cups), earned success (swords), and material success (pentacles).

There’s nothing wrong with money.  It’s what we do with it that matters.

In Hebrew, Tiphareth signifies Beauty.  True beauty consists in the relationship of harmonious forms, on both the material and moral planes.  Yet all too often our focus gets stuck on the material plane. Given the media hype to which we’re exposed every day, that’s no surprise.

Yet morality has always had a key role in a functioning society.  Without it, we could take no man for his word and that would spell disaster for commerce.

Tiphareth also called the Sphere of the Sun; because of its central location on the Kabbalistic Tree, it holds the same place in human lives, as does the Sun in our solar system.

As such, a strong sense of self is indispensible with Tiphareth.

Yet  Tiphareth requires  more.  It it requires the simultaneous centrality of self and communion with others.  Perhaps this why the gift-giving traditions of Christmas arose.

Tiphareth also is associated with the sacrificed God, the Crucified Christ, the Divine Redeemer who having, incarnated is fated to die.  Dion Fortune reminds us we can never understand Tiphareth unless we understand of the real meaning of sacrifice.

Whatever that is,  I suspect it has hasn’t much to do with the Boxing Day sales unless one counts the running up of more credit card debt (for which at some point in the future when it comes time to pay it off, real sacrifice may be necessary.

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