Christmas and other Solstice Celebrations

It’s here… That time of year when to all of the pressures of everyday life are added the pressures of the holiday season. In addition to the demands of Higher Ground, kids, the day gig, (I am an engineer) and everything else that seems to pile up over time, we now have shopping, family pressures, decorations, (inside and out) advertising blitz’s, the “must have” toys of the year and everything else that is attached to a holiday that is shares a season of well wishing with many other holidays. Many of the traditions associated with Christmas are shared by other faiths and religious systems in addition to the fact that their celebrations center on the winter solstice.

If you get down to the true meaning behind the origins of the Christmas Holiday as opposed to  that into which it has grown, I think it’s safe to say that Jesus lost that fight to Corporate America a long time ago. If we want to “put Christ back in Christmas” I can get behind that, but I wonder if we have come too far. The modern Christmas celebration, including the Coca Cola Santa Clause that I grew up with, would be unrecognizable to anyone from the 19th Century, let alone the year zero. That leads pretty easily to what I want to talk with you about.

There are aspects of the real holiday that do survive. You will see the classic Nativity in front of a home or church and just for a moment you remember what we are celebrating. But what are we really celebrating? It is supposed to be the birth of Jesus Christ. A nice Jewish boy born 2000 years or so ago, who had a profound effect on humanity. I say “or so” because no one really knows the date. Many don’t even know he was Jewish. We just assume it was December 25th exactly 2015 years ago (or would it be 2016?). Now, if this was in fact the case, it would not have been called the year zero, it would have been 754AUC (referring back to the start of the Roman Empire). People in the year 45 BC didn’t call it that… how could they know? The calendar was later re-calibrated to center it on the birth of Jesus and the so called start of the “Common Era”. Are you confused yet? Wait, it gets worse. Without getting too lost in all of this, doesn’t it seem strange to re-organize a calendar to a date and year we can’t identify? That gives you an idea of how unique the impact of this one individual.

Now why do we have such a hard time setting this date? Don’t we have his whole life story? Well, yes and no. The two gospel stories that do cover the birth of Jesus conflict with each other, and the earliest of the books in the canonized Bible (Mark) which doesn’t mention the birth, wasn’t written until about 60-70AD (we can’t set that date either). Mathew says he was born while Herod the great was King of Judea (he actually died in 4 BC) and Luke tells us it was in the time that Quirinius was the Governor of Syria. Ironically, history indicates that those two things didn’t happen at the same time. In addition, census that put Joseph and Mary on the road to Bethlehem was most likely the one commissioned by Cesar Augustus in 6 AD, 10 years after Herod died. So we are left to wonder…

Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter what year it was as long as we have the day right. Birthdays don’t mean as much to me anymore and I’m not 2000 years old, I just feel that way sometimes. We can still celebrate and just not have the right number of candles on the cake right? Sorry, we don’t really know the day either. As a matter of fact in the first 337 years of the common calendar 136 different days were used to celebrate Jesus’ birth. That means there is a 1 in 3 chance; no matter what day you are reading this story, that it was Christmas Day at least once. In 337 Pope Julius decided that they had to do something. That mess was OK before, but Rome had basically adopted Christianity in 325 at the council of Nicea. I guess he figured they had to be more organized. So how did he decide? In the absence of reliable historical evidence where would you turn?

As beautiful and complete as the story of Jesus may be, it is not unique in some of its aspects. There are many avatars over the ages and in different civilizations that are celebrated as the “only begotten sons of God”. Edward Carpenter identified 21 common characteristics of these Scriptures and traditions in his “Pagan and Christian Creeds” starting with a virgin mother, (many of whom were named Mary) and including the flight from “a slaughter of the innocents.” Interestingly, many of them were (supposedly) born on December 25th. Are they copying Christmas? Not by a long shot. Christianity is one of the most recent tellings of this ancient story.

Dr. Annie Bessant explains this unlikely coincidence in her book Esoteric Christianity discussing the plurality of these traditions.

“He is always born at the winter solstice, after the shortest day in the year, at the midnight of the 24th of December, when the sign Virgo is rising above the horizon; born as this sign is rising, he is born always of a virgin, and she remains a virgin after she has given birth to her Sun-Child, as the celestial Virgo remains unchanged and unsullied when the Sun comes forth from her in the heavens. Weak, feeble as an infant is He, born when the days are shortest and the nights are longest…”

Alice A. Bailey, in her definitive work on the subject, From Bethlehem to Calvary, states, “At the time of the birth of Jesus, Sirius, the star in the East, was on the meridian line, Orion, called ‘The Three Kings’ by oriental astronomers, was in proximity; therefore the constellation Virgo, the Virgin, was rising in the east, and the line of the ecliptic, of the equator and of the horizon all met in that constellation.”

Hence, we celebrate the birth of the “light of the world” at the birthing of the light at the winter solstice, along with countless other celebrations in varied cultures… Does this sound farfetched? Why would a Pope care about hokey astrological signs when dealing with purely Christian issues? If we dig a bit into history we find some interesting facts. Did you ever wonder why Easter Sunday moves around every year? The date is set each year in accordance with rules set in the same council of Nicea anchored to the Vernal Equinox. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. As a matter of fact it was among the reasons for the reform of the Julian calendar into the Gregorian calendar in 1582. The older Julian was skewed and over time the date of the equinox had drifted 10 days, effecting the Easter celebration. The new calendar bearing the name of Pope Gregory XIII would “reset” Easter to the date established in Nicea in 325 AD and correspond with the solar or tropical calendar, the actual time it takes for the earth to complete its path around the sun. So, as you can see there is precedent for this kind of basis for the timing of a Christian celebration.

So where are we now? We celebrate a definitive event in human history, the date of which cannot be fixed, at the same time that many other celebrations occur, for many of the same reasons. Insecurity alone can be the reason for thinking that the other celebrations are less important or somehow diminish the one that is most important to us. In my father’s One Solitary Life series, this information is given in much greater detail including two dozen virgin born Sons of God.

If we look together at what the teachings of the world have in common we may find even greater reason for our faith. If differing civilizations and cultures all over the world center around the same tenets without the possibility of a common language to have effectively bridged or communicated these aspects of faith, does that diminish the tenets of any? On the contrary, I believe it is compelling evidence of the central truths. Let’s celebrate our faith together and truly honor the teachings and life of the Lord of Compassion along with all of the other celebrations of light around the world.

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Key Seven – Spiritual Truth is Necessarily Given in Symbolism

Remember that when we talk and think in symbols we are placing something

between ourselves and reality – something protective, interpretive and

significant, but something nevertheless veiling and hiding.

The Master Djwahl Kuhl

 

Merriam Webster defines the word symbol as a noun: an action, object, event etc., that expresses or represents a particular idea or quality. Another definition I found was “a letter, group of letters, character, or picture that is used instead of a word or group of words.”

When we think of symbols, most of us think of pictograms and hieroglyphs but that is just one way of using symbols. A glyph generally looks like the object it represents. Language is a complex symbolic system in which the symbols do not look like the objects (or ideas) they represent. Words are symbols made of symbols, because letters are symbols too. The letters represent sounds which when uttered together can represent not only an object but a concept.

The word automobile doesn’t look like a car, but that is what we all get from the word because of our common experience in the world. Automobile simply means “moves by itself” but we have come to associate it throughout our culture as a car. It is a concept because it represents more than just one car but the idea of all cars. This concept of “car” means something slightly different to each person who hears or uses the word. The average driver has one interpretation, and the engineer has another, based on the diversity of their experience, but there is enough common experience for them to communicate about a car.

How deep does this idea go? That same car can represent success or failure to an individual. Other “status symbols” can make you feel success or achievement. Your entire life can be seen as symbolic of a certain kind of struggle to those around you or, if you gain notoriety to the country, or the world. Story tellers can use this symbolic language to teach us a moral through the life experiences of a fictional character, or select specific events in the life of a real person to get a certain type of point across. Some people may readily see the back story as it unfolds and others may need the author to explain it through the denouement.

We all see the same movie but walk away with a different impression. The life experience we bring to the theatre colors the way we interpret the story. This is what the writers of scripture and fable capitalize on when transmitting certain types of truth. When we move into the arena of faith, what is being transmitted by the backstory is the real story. When the idea is abstract, or as in the case of spiritual truth, must be experienced personally, a symbolic transmission of the truth is necessary. For instance, we cannot prove, or even define God. By most definitions it is indefinable (oddly enough). Even labeling it with the word God is a limitation so the Hebrew faith refers to the ultimate creator as “he about whom naught can be said.” Lao Tsu tells us that “the Tao that can be discussed is not the real Tao.”

If we cannot discuss it, or speak about it without distorting the idea, the only thing we have left is to point at it in a vague way from a number of different perspectives and hope the point gets through. For some people it will become clear and for some it will not. Some will gain a faint understanding and never see the whole picture. Some will not realize the story has a point at all. That is the continuum of understanding of spiritual truth. To someone who is unaware of the use of symbolism, or does not have the keys to unlock their meaning the truth remains veiled.

These are the people who will only see the literal meaning of a scripture. They see The New Testament as the story of the life and times of a Rabbi in Palestine. This can offer inspiration to their lives because of the things he went through and the experiences they have had throughout their lives may relate to his in some meaningful way. For others, with “eyes that see and ears that hear,” a deeper meaning is revealed. In the case of The New Testament, we have a story about the enlightenment of not only that particular Rabbi, but the path it takes for every single human being as we evolve our understanding about ourselves and the universe we share. If you are curious about this idea it is treated at length in my father Anthony J. Fisichella‘s last book. It was the final book of his Trilogy, “One Solitary Life” and it is titled “The Christ Epoch.”

There is another aspect to this use of symbolism when it relates to spiritual truth. The awareness of these ideas will empower someone in very specific ways. These truths can be used for the general good or selfish gain (evil). Power in the wrong hands is dangerous, so in order to preserve and communicate the truth it must be veiled from the profane. In the words of Geoffrey Hodson the symbolic presentation is use to “both conceal and reveal” the truth.

It is with these ideas in mind that we will explore the presentation of these spiritual ideas within the pages of my upcoming book “Spiritual Practicality – The Seven Keys to the Mysteries of the Ageless Wisdom.”

The Seven Keys – Key 6 – All forms of life embrace lesser forms, and are in turn embraced by greater forms.

If you have been following along, this may seem a little redundant after discussing our 5th Key. It is an important distinction because now we are talking about a hierarchy of life, not just the classification of matter. In addition to worlds within worlds, we have lives within lives, embraced by the One Life. In this context, the idea of a “greater” form of life simply means a more complex and encompassing one which is the result of a higher level of consciousness. The earth is a living organism; an assemblage and community of the differing life forms which make up its totality. It is the macrocosm (big universe) to our microcosm (little universe). It embraces us on our journey as we embrace the billions of varied cellular level lives, as well as the hitch hikers and stow-aways we take along for the ride within our own smaller system, or “ring pass not.” There are many organisms within your body which are decidedly not human, such as the over one hundred trillion microbes of over 400 different types in your digestive tract alone. From the perspective of those lives, you are the macrocosm. These are separate little creatures living within you who are as crucial to your survival as you are to theirs. I hope you are beginning to see how these ideas are all couched within one another.

 

It is the Law of Analogy which reveals truth to the human mind so effectively. If it what we are discussing is universal truth, then by definition we should see it expressed on all levels within our range of perception. If not, we are not dealing with universal truth. If so, we have earned the ability to project that truth into realms we cannot perceive directly to see what our intuition may reveal to us. Let’s start over and project the idea upwards.

 

Imagine what you would be like if all of those little lives within you were capable of knowing your intent and working toward it consciously. What if they knew they were an integral part of “you” and that their efforts served a greater purpose? We have a tendency to anthropomorphize everything and it conjures up images of little people running round inside a big robot yelling “we need more power” but, it is a useful metaphor to a point. You are a unit of consciousness within a greater consciousness which, in turn, is a part of something even greater. If you can in some way perceive and then align yourself with the greater purpose, you can hasten its progress.

 

On a physical level you are an animal body, which is one of literally billions of your own species, evolving together within a greater organism called Earth. You are surrounded by an infinite number of other physical beings who share a destiny, either consciously or unconsciously. We can perceive groups within groups within groups with all manner of classification, and yet one being, clinging to a ball of dust hurtling through space. The same holds true for the concepts of mind and emotion. You are a mental being, which is a fragment of the mind of God. Your love is the love of God in microcosm. Not of some old man in the sky, but of that greater organism; a greater level of organization of not only matter but the life of which it is a mere reflection.

 

This too is a living entity which is part of something greater; a solar system, a galaxy and the universe(s). You are a cell in that being and all of the greater lives in which it is a living part. To know and be in touch with the will of God and live in harmony with the greater being of which we are a part is the stated goal of religious teachings. Can you see now that it is a symbolism created to guide you to this understanding of unity? We will look at symbolism as the necessary method of communication used in the transmission of these ideas in our 7th Key. It unlocks the secrets of the universe if you just recognize it for what it is.

The Seven Keys – Key Four – All manifestation is cyclical. It is the result of, and conditioned by vibration.

The world around you is vibrating from every corner of existence. These vibrations sometimes harmonize, and sometimes they do not, but patterns emerge out of chaos like the autogenic effects we see in fluid dynamics. Like all of these keys, this is impersonal and factual. Science defines heat, and therefore energy itself, by molecular movement. There is perpetual motion in the universe at scales that we cannot imagine. The microwave background radiation famously and accidentally discovered by Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson are reverberations of the Big Bang that started our current great cycle or “Mahamavantara.” This is science’s version of Genesis, and since that moment when time, space, and matter began it has all been vibrating.

Ever notice that nearly everything floating around in space is round? There is no up or down in space so objects don’t make piles and liquids don’t make puddles. Gravity exists and affects everything, although this weakest of the physical forces requires a close relative proximity to be felt. If you are on the surface of the earth you feel it strongly and the moon, with its lower mass, has less ability to hold on to you. The sun holds the earth in its system because of their relative mass but we don’t feel its affect. The earth and sun are spheres, like every other large body in space and as they move and spin we see the cycles we have come to know as the seasons and days of our lives.

These cycles are caused by the very nature of the universe and they can be seen represented in every aspect of it. The orbit of the moon around the earth is as life giving at the radiation of the sun and the rotation of the earth allows for that radiation to ebb and flow just like the tides, caused by the gravity of the moon. All manifestation is cyclical. The earth’s path around the sun gives us our year and the tilt of its axis gives us the seasons. It’s not summer when we are the closest to the sun, but when the tilt of the earth makes the sunlight impact more directly. For us in the northern hemisphere that actually happens when we are farther away.

Why am I bringing all of this up? Because it is the nature of our universe and nothing escapes these cycles. Without them there is no life. Without day and night we would fry or freeze. Without the cycles of the tides provided by our moon there would be no life on earth. The seasons play their part and affect when animals and plants reproduce. You are a part of this universe and you are born of, and participate in this cyclical expression. Look around you and you will see that this fourth key is pivotal. Next we will look at how these systems and cycles are nested in one another.

The Seven Keys – Key Three – Consciousness is the result of the interaction of Spirit and Matter

In order to justify such an esoteric statement we will have to look to the scriptures of the world. Science has no opinion as of yet on creation. They start with the big bang, and that is fine. We are really concerned with the moment prior to creation so this is going to stay theoretical (just as the big bang is). Sorry, but the real answer is that only you can decide for yourself what the truth of this matter may be. Nothing like this can be proven except by the self, to the self. You will find that a recurring theme when it comes to this level of teaching. No one should insist you believe anything on their faith. Only your own intuition can tell you what is truth. Spiritual matters must be worked out by each individual conscious entity. We cannot communicate our experience of God or any of the universal truths through language, because it can only be used to relate common experience. you cannot describe “blue” to a color blind person, no matter how intense your experience of “blue” may be.

Most of the religious traditions of the earth are constructed around a trinity of equally divine aspects of the One Life. The Christian voices this as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. This Holy Spirit always confused me. Why is there no Mother aspect? If the father is spirit why does it appear again? Well, this is simply a distortion that came down through the cultures adhering to this particular doctrine. The Holy Ghost is matter imbued with the Spiritual Essence, and it is female. Matter is the feminine aspect. Spirit is positive, not because it is better or righteous, but because it posits. In the same way, matter is negative because it receives. In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna tells Arjuna “Having pervaded the whole universe with a fragment of myself, I remain.” This is a statement of that concept. Spirit, also known as the father, pervades pre-existent “proto matter” (mulaprakriti) which is in essence energy. Then it interacts with it, producing form and with it, consiousness. The Father, The Mother, and the Son. The son is consciousness. My father used to say “consciousness cannot be hung in a void.” There has to be something to be conscious, and something of which to be conscious. It requires, and is the result of the manifested universe.

The trinity has also been characterized in Hinduism as Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. The Buddhist refers to Atma, Buddhi, and Manas. The Hebrew faith refers to Kheter, Chokma, and Binah. The Theosophical Society and other researchers and teachers of the philosophy known as “The Ageless Wisdom” have characterized these aspects of divinity as Will, Love, and Active Intelligence. This more modern terminology serves the western mind more appropriately. In every case there is the male principal (Spirit, Will) interacting with the material or female aspect (Maya, Matter, Body), which is seen as organized by mind, producing the Son (Consciousness, Love, Soul). I slipped it in there but we have all heard of the trinity in terms of Spirit, Soul and Body as well. This falls perfectly in line with all of the other characterizations. Soul is another synonym for consciousness. Just as a side note, you may have noticed that I did not include Islam above. The tradition resists the trinity because the “three persons in one” seems to diminish in some way, the ultimate creator. My impression is that the trinity is a result (like everything else) of the One Life that animates all into manifestation. It is the first result of the creative process. The creator cannot be diminished by the act of creation.

This process is characterized in Genesis as God hovering over the waters and stirring into activity. God represents the unity from which all is derived. The waters represent this null or proto matter. The first thing that happens is a thought. I jokingly charachterize this as “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if there was light?” Then the words “let there be light” and vibrations separate light from the darkness and bring the manifested universe into being. Duality is created and instantly a relationship between the two aspects is seen as the trinity upon which all these systems are derived. More on that in the next post.

For now I’d like to close with the idea of evolution. I have been talking in religious terms about creation and most people think that evolution is a contradiction of the creative process, but it is an integral part of it. Eveything evolves. Your consciousness has evolved in the course of your lifetime, and humanity has become more conscious over Aeons. This process of the evolution of consciousness is layed out beautiflully in the book “Cosmic Consciousness” by Howard Maurice Bucke. Early scritpures and other writings make no reference to color or fragrance. The first references to color are reds. This is the low end of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum that were call visible light. It is possible that we have even evolved the ability to see color over time. Our understanding of the universe has changed dramatically in just the last few hundred years and it governs our behavior and interation with all we know.

We have evolved as a race, and are different just as you are different from the 5 year old you that you were. Think about it.

The Seven Keys – Key One “There Is But One Life”

There is but One Life. All of the following Keys and everything within the religious and philosophical teachings throughout the history of humanity can be boiled down to this one concept. This infinite singular Life force expresses itself through what Lao Tzu called the myriad (or ten thousand) things. It is the basis of the teaching on the brotherhood of man, and the unity of all being. Religious systems have tended to personify this life and describe it as separate and transcendent. They mistakenly attribute to it the male principal, but the truth is that this life force is the predecessor, cause, and source of both male (spirit) and female (matter) principals as well as the consciousness (Christ) that is the result of their interaction. It is you and I and the space in between us, united and alive. In the Book of Acts we read that it is God “in whom we live and move and have our being.” St. Paul described the reverse idea when he said God was “above all, and through all, and in you all.” These two statements combined give us the idea that this life force and source is both imminent, and transcendent. All is in God and God is in all.

I would ask at this point, whatever your idea of God may be, if there is anything that could be a part of this life force, this supreme creator, and still be “dead” matter? What part of God is dead? The belief that all in the universe is alive is called Hylozoism. It is closely related to Pantheism. The problem with Theist and Deist doctrine is that it separates God from not only humanity, but from everything else. These dogma’s then suggest that “He” interferes with what he has created, and for some, he evidently doesn’t like evolution; the process by which life expresses itself in ever expanding and more complex forms.

If we ascribe the word Life as a synonym for God, most of the scriptures of the world not only still work, but they work better. Life is above all, through all, and in you all. It is within Life that we live and move and have our being. We are all immersed in a resonant translucent jello which is teeming with life. It is not always apparent, but it is there. Atoms and molecules are in constant motion and interact in predictable ways. Chemical affinities will break down when a substance with a stronger attraction is present and these bonds will re-form when the interloper is removed.

We are not, as scientific materialism suggests, apart from our environment and studying it. Where would we be? We are an integral part of all that surrounds us and this results in the observer effect recognized in virtually all areas of physical science. On all planes of existence this environment resonates and responds to all we think feel and do, and it is all permeated with a living essence shared by everything else you see, feel, and touch, along with everything you can’t see, feel, or touch.

One of the interesting aspects of the abortion issue is the question of when life begins. When did it end? The only way to “create” life is with life. A living egg fertilized by a living sperm transforms it into a living vehicle for another living entity, the human Soul, which uses it to express its infinitely more complex life. Each cell within this vehicle or body is another life unto itself and a part of the more complex organism. Each Soul is itself an expression of the One Life force animating all into being. Krishna says to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, “Having pervaded the whole universe with a fragment of myself, I remain.” The Soul (a fragment of the whole) repeats this process on its own level, giving purpose, cohesion, and direction to this newly organized expression of life.

This process is reflected in infinite layers from the most restricted form of the life essence in the mineral kingdom up into levels beyond our ability to comprehend, and it is all alive. It is all brought into being by the supreme creator who, having pervaded it with a fragment of itself, remains… One Life.

Is there really a War on Christmas?

It’s here… That time of year when to all of the pressures of everyday life are added the pressures of the holiday season. In addition to the bathroom remodel, the demands of Higher Ground, kids, the day gig, (I am an engineer) and everything else that seems to pile up over time, we now have shopping, family pressures, decorations, (inside and out) advertising blitz’s, the “must have” toys of the year and everything else that is attached to a holiday that is purported to be under attack. This is evidently caused by the courtesy extended by the use of the phrase “Happy Holiday” instead of “Merry Christmas”; or perhaps by having to share a season of well wishing with the evil celebrants of other less worthy holidays. It makes me wonder who is really under siege, and by whom.

Well if you get down to the true meaning behind the origins of the Christmas Holiday and that into which it has grown, I think its safe to say that Jesus lost that fight to Corporate America a long time ago. If we want to “put Christ back in Christmas” I can get behind that, but I think commercialism has been more of a nemesis than Kwanza or Chanukah could ever be. The modern Christmas celebration, including the Coca Cola Santa Clause that I grew up with, would be unrecognizable to anyone from the 19th Century, let alone the year zero. That leads pretty easily to what I want to talk with you about.

There are aspects of the real holiday that do survive. You will see the classic Nativity in front of a home or church and just for a moment you remember what we are celebrating. But what are we really celebrating? It is supposed to be the birth of Jesus Christ. A nice Jewish boy born 2000 years or so ago, who had a profound effect on humanity. I say “or so” because no one really knows the date. Many don’t even know he was Jewish. We just assume it was December 25th exactly 2008 years ago (or would it be 2009?). Now, if this was in fact the case, it would not have been called the year zero, it would have been 754AUC (referring back to the start of the Roman Empire). People in the year 45 BC didn’t call it that… how could they know? The calendar was later re-calibrated to center it on the birth of Jesus and the so called start of the “Common Era”. Are you confused yet? Wait it gets worse. Without getting too lost in all of this, does it seem strange to re-organize a calendar to a date and year we can’t identify? That gives you an idea of how unique the impact of this one individual.

Now why do we have such a hard time setting this date? Don’t we have his whole life story? Well, yes and no. The two gospel stories that do cover the birth of Jesus conflict with each other, and the earliest of the books in the canonized Bible (Mark) which doesn’t mention the birth wasn’t written until about 60-70AD (we cant set that date either). Mathew says he was born while Herod the great was King of Judea and Luke tells us it was in the time that Quirinius was the Governor of Syria. Ironically, history indicates that those two things didn’t happen at the same time. In addition, census that put Joseph and Mary on the road to Bethlehem was most likely the one commissioned by Cesar Augustus in 6 AD. So we are left to wonder…

Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter what year it was as long as we have the day right. Birthdays don’t mean as much to me anymore and I’m not 2000 years old. We can still celebrate and just not have the right number of candles on the cake. Sorry, we don’t really know the day either. As a matter of fact in the first 337 years of the common calendar 136 different days were used to celebrate Jesus’ birth. That means there is a 1 in 3 chance; no matter what day you are reading this story, that it was Christmas Day at least once. In 337 Pope Julius decided that they had to do something. That mess was OK before, but Rome had basically adopted Christianity in 325 at the council of Nicea. I guess he figured they had to be more organized. So how did he decide? In the absence of reliable historical evidence where would you turn?

As beautiful and complete as the story of Jesus may be, it is not unique in some of its aspects. There are many avatars over the ages and in different civilizations that are celebrated as the “only begotten sons of God”. Edward Carpenter identified 21 common characteristics of these Scriptures and traditions in his “Pagan and Christian Creeds” starting with a virgin mother, (many of whom were named Mary) and including the flight from “a slaughter of the innocents”. Interestingly, many of them were (supposedly) born on December 25th. Are they copying Christmas? Not by a long shot. Christianity is one of the most recent tellings of this ancient story.

Dr. Annie Bessant explains this unlikely coincidence in her book Esoteric Christianity.

“He is always born at the winter solstice, after the shortest day in the year, at the midnight of the 24th of December, when the sign Virgo is rising above the horizon; born as this sign is rising, he is born always of a virgin, and she remains a virgin after she has given birth to her Sun-Child, as the celestial Virgo remains unchanged and unsullied when the Sun comes forth from her in the heavens. Weak, feeble as an infant is He, born when the days are shortest and the nights are longest…” Alice A. Bailey, in her definitive work on the subject, From Bethlehem to Calvary, states, “At the time of the birth of Jesus, Sirius, the star in the East, was on the meridian line, Orion, called ‘The Three Kings’ by oriental astronomers, was in proximity; therefore the constellation Virgo, the Virgin, was rising in the east, and the line of the ecliptic, of the equator and of the horizon all met in that constellation.”

Hence, we celebrate the birth of the “light of the world” at the birthing of the light at the winter solstice, along with countless other celebrations in varied cultures… which constitutes an attack in the minds of some, even though some of the traditions such as the Yule Log cross over and many of the traditions are much older.

Does this sound far fetched? Why would a Pope care about hokey astrological signs when dealing with purely Christian issues? If we dig a bit into history we find some interesting facts. Did you ever wonder why Easter Sunday moves around every year? The date is set each year in accordance with rules set in the same council of Nicea anchored to the Vernal Equinox. As a matter of fact it was among the reasons for the reform of the Julian calendar into the Gregorian calendar in 1582. The older Julian was skewed and over time the date of the equinox had drifted 10 days, effecting the Easter celebration. The new calendar bearing the name of Pope Gregory XIII would “reset” Easter to the date established in Nicea in 325 AD and correspond with the solar or tropical calendar, the actual time it takes for the earth to complete its path around the sun. So, as you can see there is precedent for this kind of basis for the timing of a Christian celebration

So where are we now? We celebrate a definitive event in human history, the date of which cannot be fixed, at the same time that many other celebrations occur, for many of the same reasons. Insecurity alone can be the reason for thinking that the other celebrations are less important or somehow diminish the one that is most important to us. In my father’s One Solitary Life series, this information is given in much greater detail including over a dozen virgin born Sons of God. If we look together at what the teachings of the world have in common we may find even greater reason for our faith. If differing civilizations and cultures all over the world center around the same tenets without the possibility of a common language to have effectively bridged or communicated these aspects of faith, does that diminish the tenets of any?

On the contrary, I believe it is compelling evidence of the central truths.

So is there a war on Christmas? Maybe so, but the combatants may not be who they seem at first glance. Let’s celebrate our faith together and truly honor the teachings and life of the Lord of Compassion along with all of the other celebrations of light around the world.

One Solitary Life – The Christ Epoch… is here

christ-epoch-cover1Well, Its done. I just signed off the galley for the last book in the One Solitary Life series, authored by my father Anthony J. Fisichella. It took him 10 years to write and it took 4 years and 10 days after he passed for me to complete this for him. The work itself is not finished because it has become my own. I will be doing whatever I can to make people aware of these teachings for the rest of my life, and by no means will it be limited to my fathers teachings. He never laid claim to this as anything he created. We all simply create our interpretation of these kinds of teachings and if we are able to help people understand better by that interpretation it has value. I can say it had value for me but only you can decide whether it is valuable to you.

It will probably be two weeks or so before I hold it in my hands but the book is done. An idea fostered in my fathers mind and nurtured in his heart for over 40 years. The book that became a trilogy out of the necessity of clarity. This is what he set out to write, the story of Jesus as interpreted by an esoteric mind. The mind of a metaphysician focused on understanding the hidden meaning behind the greatest story ever told. Not great because it is about Jesus, or The Christ (a distinction you will understand after reading the book) but because it is about each and every one of us.

My father always maintained that the story in The New Testament is true, even if it was to be proven beyond a doubt that Jesus never lived. Think about that. Even if the central character is proven fictional the story in its symbolic interpretation is unchanged. That is one of the things that make scripture timeless.

Dr. Annie Bessant said in her book Esoteric Christianity (this is a paraphrase because now I can’t find it) “Christianity is an ocean into who’s shallows a child could wade, with depths that would drown a giant”. If the New Testament is really just a historical account, its not a very good one. it contradicts itself and skips around leaving huge holes. If its seen as the hero’s journey and something we can aspire to… If its really about you and I… If it is a single view of a universal truth which is told and retold throughout the religious teachings of the world… WOW

My dad spent his life teaching this. He did a presentation on this whole subject a couple of years before he died that we were lucky enough to have recorded. It was two hours long and covers much of what the One Solitary Life Trilogy is about. Its listed on Higher-Ground.com and there is a link below. If anyone would like a jump on things. Get the CDs and if you do it before the book is released I will send you book III for free.

http://www.higher-ground.com/audio_one_solitary_life.html