As the Christian Church emerged and progressed, it embraced and assimilated many of these earlier belief systems as well as their Holy Days, Festivals and even pagan rituals. Initially, Christians did not celebrate the birth of Christ or Christmas during this time, but rather the Winter Solstice on December 21. Apparently, this began a lively period of drunken celebration for Christians and pagans alike. In an attempt to unify all the various belief systems into Christianity and under one umbrella of a belief in Christ, the Church combined several winter festivals into one event and chose December 25, to celebrate Christ’s birth. Over time, this strategy worked and the old ways were absorbed into the new.
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
by Fred and Karen Kipp
From the time we first embodied in dense physical matter, we have had a long history and intimate relationship with the cycles and seasons of nature and with the celestial bodies overhead. Everything about our early life in matter and our subsequent ancient civilizations directly related to and revolved around these apparent natural cycles. The constellation star patterns, along with their mythic symbols seemed to remind us of the actual creative hierarchies that had directed and governed our creative descent into matter. At one time, we inherently understood their relevance to our inner and outer lives. Based on this lingering memory, our early religions scheduled and celebrated Holy Days and Festivals to coincide with the monthly moon phases and annually with the sun’s passage through the signs of the zodiac as it progressed through the solstices and equinoxes. These two lights in the sky were our major symbols of God’s power of life on Earth and astrology was our method for interpreting their possible effects in our lives. Although our actual survival and lives depended on the visible universe, we inherently believed in the power of an invisible force animating it. Astrology was our way of integrating and relating the physical universe with the dimensional energy sources behind it. It was a system of interpreting these cycles, both collectively and individually. Versions of these same beliefs were common in all ancient cultures and religions at the time.
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However, there were those Christians who were led to maintain a universal and inclusive perspective, derived from the overall scheme of actual energy cycles of life on Earth. They were resolved to keep them alive in human consciousness. Because their purpose threatened the power of Roman Church doctrine to control Christian life, their lives were in danger and they went underground. Today, we call this secret movement Esoteric Christianity.
Esoteric Christians believed that the Christ Energy (which expressed physically through Jesus) is available to all of humanity regardless of religion, spiritual belief or lack thereof. Furthermore, they believed that the Christmas season was a time to celebrate our own internal connection to the Christ Consciousness, exemplified for us through the birth and life of Jesus. The emanations of this energy flowing to the Earth (symbolized by the life-giving Sun) followed a kind of rhythm and pattern, directly related to the solstices and equinoxes. Its focus depends on whether the Energy Cycle is acting internally within us and the Earth, or externally in our lives and the environment in which we live. The external cycle begins with the Spring or Vernal Equinox on March 19, when the Christ Energy breaks free of the Earth’s surface and then ascends to its zenith at the Summer Solstice on June 20. The internal cycle begins at the Fall or Autumnal Equinox on September 22, when the Christ Energy once again touches the Earth’s surface on its descent to the Earth’s Center or Heart at the Winter Solstice on December 21. The Winter Solstice is the key to the celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas. At that particular point in the spiritual energy year, the Christ Energy has reached its deepest point of contact with the Heart of the Earth, of humanity and the individual human being. From this point, it begins its ascent back to its zenith in the spiritual realms underlying and supporting all manifested life. It takes a few days to reverse its energy direction, which is why the celebration of the return phase begins on December 25. Traditionally there are twelve days (with a thirteenth day of integration within us, which some people might relate to as the Epiphany). Daily from December 25 to January 6, this energy cycle reveals and anchors, collectively and individually, the spiritual essence of the coming year. From dimensions far beyond the physical spheres known to human consciousness, Spiritual Hierarchies transmit their creative spirit and energy through the etheric network connecting the constellation star patterns and the planetary bodies of our solar system. As Corinne Heline discusses in her book, The Mystery of the Christos, each “of the twelve Holy Days is under the direct supervision of one of the twelve zodiacal Hierarchies.” Each day repre-sents one of the signs of the zodiac through which the respective Hierarchy will release a cosmic energy pattern to the Earth during each month of the following year. By consciously participating in the twelve-day celebration of the Christ Energy with our own creative ritual, we have the opportunity to anchor and internalize the essence of the monthly spiritual cycles before the next progression begins. Through our meditative thinking and feeling, as well as through our daily activities, we can begin discovering, qualifying and reaching toward our growth potential for the upcoming New Year.