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. May sound condescending to modern minds, but perhaps the gesture was better received than we imagine.

At any rate, these days 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, but those who already ‘have’ acquire even more.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love a sale as much as the next guy.  But I can’t help thinking that somehow, as a society, we’ve lost the bigger picture of Christmas.

Because of its association with the Christ (and hence Christmas), Tiphareth, the 6th sephirah of the Kabbalistic Tree, may shed light 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 of course, one counts thee running up of more credit card debt for which at some point in the future, real sacrifice will have to be made).

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Christ, a boy named Jesus born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, by revisiting the concept of ‘Christ consciousness’ you may find the holiday season more meaningful.

The Jesuit priest, philosopher, and palaeontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, used the term ‘Christ consciousness’ to denote an Omega point, toward which he believed human collective consciousness is evolving.  Reaching the Omega point (the end of the world as we know it) will bring us not only ‘peace on earth and good will to men’ but also a transcendent, love-dominated enlightenment through which we will become one with the ‘ultimate reality’, otherwise known to some as God.

Quantum physics supports this view.  In essence, mankind, acting as a collective Christ, plays the role of the conscious quantum-mechanical observer:

“One might say that, by virtue of human reflection (both individual and collective), evolution, overflowing the physico-chemical organisation of bodies, turns back upon itself and thereby reinforces itself (see note following) with a new organising power vastly concentric to the first—the cognitive organisation of the universe. To think the world (as physics is beginning to realise) is not merely to register it but to confer upon it a form of unity it would otherwise (i.e. without being thought) be without.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man

That’s all very well and good – but how do we relate Christ consciousness to our daily lives in the here and now?

The Kabbalah may help.

The 6th sephirah, known as Tiphareth and associated with the ‘Christ’, lies at the exact centre of the Kabbalistic Tree.  Because the Kabbalah is a system based on balance and symmetry, it’s not hard to understand why this sephirah is also known as Beauty.

At the point of balance, Tiphareth is where the archetypal brilliance of the higher sephirot are grounded in the rich, dark nutrients of the bottom sephirot.   According to the great occultist, Dion Fortune, Tiphareth is a link where ideals are brought to focus and transmuted into ideas.  As such it that it is a Place of Incarnation; it is also called the Child.

In Tiphareth, soul and body, self and ego, higher consciousness and personality come together.   It is associated astrologically with the Sun and heart-chakra; Tiphareth is the place of our humanity.

It also referred to as the place of the sacrificed god, thus its association with Christ Consciousness.   As Christians know, it wasn’t enough for Jesus to feel sorry for the lot of mankind; Jesus, or Christ, had to be born into the world and sacrifice himself in order to save it.

Thus Tiphareth is the place of the wounded healer, a concept on which all twelve-step programs of rehabilitation are based.  It’s the place where one, through the loving heart, brings his own human experience to the help of others – personal Ego is sacrificed for something more.

In this context, at the time of the Winter Solstice, when the life-giving Sun is farthest away from the Earth, Christmas – or the celebration of Christ Consciousness – offers spiritual symbolism far surpassing that of the birth of a lowly babe.

At Christmas, we’re privileged to glimpse the possibilities of a whole new world – a world in which in relationship with himself man stands truly at the centre of his universe.