Today’s Christmas celebration has very little to do with what is understood by Christmas in the mystical tradition of Gnosis. Nevertheless, there are still numerous symbols in the Christmas story which, on closer inspection, can point to those esoteric meanings and reveal us an archetypal pattern (primal pattern) of the soul.
Christmas – The Child Jesus in the manger in the stable in Bethlehem is an image for the symbolic birth of light in the darkest season of the year, in the deepest darkness, in the longest night of the year. In a dark area, new life is born that illuminates the darkness, like a candle – a light that is newly lit in our inner being.
This birth of light therefore takes place at a time when the forces of darkness reached their highest point of strength. It is exactly at this time that an astrological and astronomical turning point takes place: the winter solstice. After this birth of the new light-filled consciousness, the forces of light strengthen again from day to day and gradually push back the influence of darkness in the annual cycle. Thus the light is found in the deepest darkness of the first winter night and not in the bright sunshine of a summer’s noon.
The Child Jesus in the manger is a symbol of the new consciousness that is emerging. This consciousness was not there before. In the Hermetic Kabbalah, this newborn child in a manger is one of the symbols of the Sephirah Tiphareth in the Tree of Life, and stands precisely for this new higher consciousness, the Christ Consciousness, the Sun Consciousness, which is conceived and born within us.
Only if this birth takes place in us, that is, if this sun-consciousness or Christ consciousness is born within us, we can have contact to the higher self. The true path to enlightenment starts at the birth of the Christ Consciousness. However, this is only the first stage of the Great Work of Alchemy.
This child is not born in a comfortable and closed shelter, also a subtle symbol of the ego, but in a stable open to the wind (breath of life) on all sides. The old must die, the tower of the sealed-off ego, the ego must be destroyed so that the new can emerge. So before that higher Christ consciousness can move into a house, it is necessary to at least partially overthrow and dethrone these selfish tendencies. Only if we are open like the stable the descending spiritual forces can move into their new temple.
However, in order for this young germ of light to survive and grow up and ultimately mature into a true king with full authority, a Herod must also die, who is a symbol of the false king and in turn wears a closed crown.
Shepherds and the three “holy” kings (wise men from the Orient) together find the way to the manger, the birthplace of light. The kings wear a crown open at the top and stand symbolically for the developed and hard-earned spiritual and mental powers of man. However, it is necessary that these powers are eventually combined with the heart powers of the shepherds.
The Trinity in the manger with Mary, Joseph and Jesus shows a powerful symbolic image of an anticipation of the chymical wedding, the union of subconscious, self-conscious and superconscious, the work of the Sun, Moon and Mercury; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Heavenly Triad, to mention only a few symbols of the Christmas Mystery.
Christmas must therefore take place symbolically within us, otherwise we will be as Angelus Silesius says: “and though Christ was born a thousand times in Bethlehem, but not in you, you shall be lost forever”.