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Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Eternal Return

My little christmas tree to you.        
So I´m a little late…I got caught up in rushing around before Christmas…but I´m in time to wish you a Happy New Year!

I had an unusual Christmas this year.  It was very nice, with excellent foods, and good company but it wasn´t Christmassy... There was no going down the pub to see faces you haven´t seen for a minimum of a year or decade, and in Catalunya cranberry sauce is unheard of. No mistletoe, no sitting around with the ceremony of who opens which present when, and shockingly not even a hint of drunkenness…I did slurr my words, but it was more due to the eternal struggle with foreign languages.

Mircea Eliade writes that all cultures have ceremonies that allow the individual to leave his daily life, if only momentarily, to enter into “that world” where all is exactly the same as the last time, where time stops ticking, all becomes eternal. It is an ethereal, sacred place where the spirit is renewed, the old is thrown out, and the experience gives a sort of reset. Like taking the battery out of the back of your Blackberry.

It is the same place maybe that Henri Corbin talks about, where the material is spiritualised and the spirit is materialised.

I am sure that we have all felt this, when a certain date of the year we do exactly the same as the last time, as the time before that, since we can remember. When we forget ourselves and in so doing re-find ourselves. For, why else would Catalans get so excited about eating a soup for their Xmas meal? And how come stuffing takes you back to when you were a child and Uncle Maurice said that if you imagine strong enough, stuffing tastes of whatever you want it to? And it did. And it does. It tastes of Christmas, it tastes of a connection with my ageless self that I renew through stuffing ceremonies every year.

And this year I didn´t get it through food. I didn´t manage to get into that agelessness on Xmas day where all is the same, where the brain gives way to the heart. Xmas day isn´t a day I expect to do a bit of graffiti with Enric´s grandchildren. But I did (and I loved it...).

But do not fret, I did get that feeling, I was transported back to being my ageless musical self, playing carols with Dan the Man. It is something that as a child and teenager I have done every year, and since have listened to nearly every year. And god-damn, though they are not exactly top of the pops, I love ‘em! They give me the same emotions as when I was me before. They take me half way to that place.

On Xmas day I listened to a TV programme talking about the symbology of Father Christmas. I found it super interesting and want to share it.

Papa Noel was originally dressed in green, because he represented being connected with the earth, with nature, with trees. He is helped by little elves, or tree dwellers, who if you are worthy, if you have worked on yourself, give gifts. The programme talked of gifts as in talents, such as the gift of creativity. If you passed through the material darkness with dignity, with connection to the light of being, then you were given more gifts-talents.

Santa Claus, being attached-connected in this way to the heavens by a very fine golden thread (in Norse mythology), descends from the heavens down through the chimney, which the programme mentioned is related with the spinal cord, with the chakras. He tumbles down to the root chakra and if you have been good, he leaves gifts under the tree.

Here the tree is a symbol of life. We humans are suspended between the roots that go into the lower worlds and the branches that reach up to the higher worlds. The lower world is represented by black, the chaos of material, the instinctual world, and we grow organically up towards the white of the heavens, where there is the possibility of reaching an entelechial connection with the stars (with the star or angel, who sits at the top of the tree smiling angelically, even though the tree has been rammed up her flowing robes).

The tree is decorated, and in the past with candles, which I would like to think are the little lights of consciousness that help us along our individual paths to the final goal - but begs the question of how did the tree not burn down…?

If you are unworthy here in Spain, if you are a naughty and have been acting up, you receive a piece of coal, which is black and represents a regression to the world of material chaos. The smiling white angel has to wait.

But if we´ve been worthy, can the experience of connecting with the angel, be the same that Mircea Eliade and Henri Corbin speak of? Where, as Hermes Trismegistus said, chiselling in the Emerald Tablet: "That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing"?

So, you see I was very happy eating my dinner on my lap, in the privacy of our home, listening to the idea that Papa Noel too represents, in this time of the Winter Solstice, the idea of going into the dark depths with the light of our souls, to come out of the dark chaos with grace, having learnt more about ourselves, enabling us to receive gifts that allow us to live a little wiser, somewhat more universal, with more pleasing order. With each cycle let´s hope we are a little more in unison with our true selves.

Have a Great New Year.

Alchemy and Mysticism from The Hermetic Museum
Author: Heinrich Khunrath
Work: Amhitheatrum sapientae aeternae
Date: 1606

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