«YULE AND NOEL: THE SAGA OF CHRISTMAS Yule and Noel: The Saga of Christmas By Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Ph.D. Get any book for free on: Get any ...»
But the horrid scroll of history since the first century belies any historical reference to the meaning of Messiah's coming at a given epoch in a given personality, and sets the seal of truth on the hypothesis that the Gospel story is the dramatic representation of man's total evolution to divinity, a goal which is yet to be achieved in anything like its fulness. It is far better to know that Messiah has not yet come--in the final sense of an overt event in objective history--than to cherish the common belief that he has come, and that succeeding history has displayed more in human savagery than any age before it. If what has eventuated in history since the divine event fulfills the meaning of Messiah's birth, there is little about which to sing halleluiahs and bedeck the hall with holly. The hope of humanity is in the realization that the Christ is yet to come, and to come not in any manger bed or chamber of luxury, but to reign as King of Love in the lives of individuals and in the statecraft of the nations. To proclaim that Messiah has come--and left the world groveling in brutish lust for butchery--would be to crush man's spirit in despair.
The failure of two thousand "blithe Noels" to bring the Christly spirit to birth in the world is easily accounted for. Taken as overt historical event occurring personally to one man, and not understood as the implantation of the "bare grain" of the future growth of godliness in all hearts, the mighty cathartic and transforming force of the accolade to infant deity went out from all hearts and dissipated itself upon the imagined figure of this one alleged personage, when it was intended that it should go inward to work its benign efficacy upon all souls. The Christ was objectively heralded but not subjectively received. He was hailed out there in history, but not welcomed into the inn of each heart. Homage was lavished upon his physical personality, when his spiritual body should have been sacrificially eaten and psychically assimilated. The enormous collective stream of psychic Get any book for free on: www.Abika.com 29
YULE AND NOEL: THE SAGA OF CHRISTMASadoration doubtless focused over the mythical stable in Bethlehem and formed a veritable Shekinah there. And there it is reanimated and reinforced year after year at Christmas. But, if the quality and character of Western history be a competent criterion, evidently there it stays.
Bethlehem receives a vast emotional inundation; somehow the rest of the world is left without beatitude. The Yule greeting goes out voluminously to Judea; all too obviously it does not return to the senders. It is spent outwardly upon a supposed historical event, and apparently exhausted in the spending. The vast psychic outpouring is wasted upon the symbol, when the symbol, its majestic connotation converted into the realities of love and brotherhood, should generate the wondrous leaven of universal charity and send it pulsing through all the hearts in the world.
The historization of the drama and the beautiful allegory swallowed up the spiritual efficacy of the annual ritual, and therefore simply failed to carry home to any minds the pivotal truth on which its beneficent leavening of humanity entirely depended. The nub of the great sweeping significance was the cardinal truth that 53 unless the Christ be born, loved, reared and exalted as ruler in the conscious life of every individual mortal, his birth has not been brought to pass. One birth in Bethlehem is not enough to leaven the world. All men must be reborn, and only in this collective rebirth is the Christos born.
If he is not reborn in each heart, he has had his birth nowhere. He can not be born outside of human hearts, minds and consciences. What good could one man's divine love do in a world rankling with the petty selfishness of individuals and the unrelenting animosity of nations?
Christos will be born, Messiah will come, when Love reigns in the human breast, and humanity will be born as it gives birth to the King of Love. Philips Brooks in his touching O Little Town of Bethlehem pleads that the spirit of Christos
Be born in us today.
If Christmas does not implant the spirit of divine love ever more deeply in all souls, it is celebrated in vain. And never will the festival of gladness generate its high cathartic power to spiritualize the race until, instead of the physical birth of one babe in the impossible Bethlehem story (taken as history), the anniversary at the solstice speaks volubly to every intelligent human of the birth within the area of his own consciousness of the soul of divine graciousness and compassion.
54 BETHLEHEM AND BETHANY
Bethlehem itself is hardly to be taken geographically in connection with the event. Scholars have been unconscionably slow to derive any central significance from the etymology of the town name. Beth-lehem means, as any Hebrew knows, "the house of bread." This was an emblematic designation of the house of Virgo, the Virgin in the Zodiac. The wheat symbolized by the great star Spica in that house of the heavens emblemed the Christ coming as the divine bread to be Get any book for free on: www.Abika.com 30
YULE AND NOEL: THE SAGA OF CHRISTMASeaten mystically by all souls. (See the author's The Lost Light for a full and revealing elaboration of this entire theme.) Indeed it could be affirmed that the ancient books would have proclaimed the Christ-birth as "occurring" in Bethlehem even if no such town had stood on the map; or rather they would have seen to it that a town appropriately located according to some semantic scheme would have been given the name of Bethlehem. (That the name of this particular town is to be accounted for in this way is indeed fairly probable, for this was the ancient religious custom.) For some thousands of years the venerable documents of Egypt allocated the Messianic birth to the town of Annu (Anu) in the Nile valley. In Annu, the books stated, Christ had gone to his "death" and there he would be born again. And it is a breath-taking discovery in Comparative Religion study that Anu is in one passage described as the "place of multiplying bread."
This Egyptian background can not be discounted as the genuine source of the "miracle" in which Jesus feeds the five thousand enhungered gathering by multiplying the loaves and fishes. The Greeks named Anu Heliopolis, the "city of the sun," the spiritual city where the 55 sun of divine soul went to its "death" and had its resurrection. Anu in the Egyptian system was the place of increasing the divine bread of eternal life! And this "city" is finally the human body itself, where soul first goes to its "death," then has its glorious resurrection. Likewise this "city" is Beth-lehem, the house of bread, when the zodiacal symbolism is transferred from Egyptian to Hebrew name and type. Egypt had proclaimed the solstitial birth of the Son of God ages before it became the current legend in Hebrew hands.
What little there is to Christmas that can be claimed as distinctively Christian is itself marred by misguided comprehension of its relevance and quite erroneous application of its symbolism. It is almost a wholly Pagan festival that we celebrate. The dire tragedy is that we no longer have the perspicacity to discern in it the transcendent glory of the original Pagan significations. The galaday of all human-divine history goes off as a mere anniversary celebration in the spirit of a worldly carnival. That few observe it in the exalted appreciation of its profound mystical values bespeaks the depths of our philosophical failure and the decay of our culture.
56 YULE AND NOEL
It remains to build up the structure of the two familiar names attached closely to the Christmas gaiety. They are Yule and Noel. Nowhere has there been seen any scholar's derivation of Yule from its obvious philological sources. It almost incontestably springs from the ancient Egyptian name of Deity, IU, meaning "(the Deity) who comes," and the Hebrew EL, "God." Its total rendering would then read: "The Deity that comes as God," or, more simply, "the coming God."
The Egyptians many times called Horus, or Iusa, "he who comes regularly and continually," and in hymns he is hailed and appealed to as "The Comer!" IU is the verb meaning "to come." In course of Nordic and Anglic transmission, the IU became YU and the EL more phonetically conjoined to it as LE, giving us in the end YULE. As the Divinity under zodiacal symbolism "came" at the winter solstice, the late December period became designated as the Yuletide and its festival "the Yule."
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YULE AND NOEL: THE SAGA OF CHRISTMASAs to Noel, adopted as the French name for Christmas, the same terminal el unites here with the Greek root of all words meaning divine knowledge, the primal root of the Greek verb gignosko, "to know," and the no in the English word "know." No is the Greek stem meaning the divine noetic mind of God, or in essence and potentiality the mind of the Christ. The Greek word for "mind" is itself Nous, meaning of course the cosmic Mind. Noel would then mean "the mind of God," as manifested in his Son or Sons born on earth. The birthday of the Christly principle was allocated to the winter solstice. When, therefore, choirs chant joyously "Sing We All Noel!", the import is that we mortals can in this festive celebration exult in the birth or initial advent of that same mind which was also in Christ into the scope 57 of our conscious life. And certainly earth offers nothing more worthy of rhapsodic song from mortal lips than this event. If we fail to rise to ecstatic joy over the contemplation of this crucial episode in our racial history, we are "stocks and stones, and worse than senseless things" indeed.
So potent, however, is a symbolic ritual that, even though the millions who enact the annual ceremonials and go to the considerable labor and sacrifice of presenting the round of gifts year after year have little or no real conception of the explicit meaning of their activities, they still catch something of the inexplicable impressiveness of the occasion. In spite of the fact that the meaning escapes the individual celebrant as a commemoration of an evolutionary crisis and the end and beginning of distinct epochs, and adumbrates a spiritual transformation that he can consummate for himself, still the sheer beauty of the symbolism and imagery of the memorial, standing in their purely external form, reaches deeply into the psychic consciousness and stirs there profound intimations of human brother-hood and the love emotion. For a few short hours on December twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth the Christian world is brought to some measure of realization of the loveliness of charity and fraternity. Worldly cares, anxieties and concerns of the daily struggle are forgotten for an interlude, while elders enter into the glee of childhood elated over engaging toys. A brief foretaste of what it would be to live in a world of amity and heartfelt good-will is enjoyed, a bit wonderingly. But all too quickly the glow of humanism fades, the carols give way to the prevalent decadent "pep music," and the daily interests and the tone of secularity crowd out the new-born Christ spirit from the heart.
Christmas is the salvation to a large extent of what true Christian spirit is extant. Its anticipatory eagerness and the momentary touch of fellowship engendered by it keep the soul of brotherhood from threatened extinction in the modern world of science and engrossment in the externalities of existence.
But it is the earnest presentment of this essay that if to the external beauty of the Yuletide ritualism there was added the full intellectual apprehension of the precise symbolic significance of all the conventional customs perpetuated in beautiful traditional fashion every year, there would be released from out the subliminal depths of man's divine subconscious potential such a Get any book for free on: www.Abika.com 32
YULE AND NOEL: THE SAGA OF CHRISTMASflood of Christly love, born of beauty and understanding combined, as would sweep Christianity into the hearts and minds of the age. This would come because it would touch and bestir in man's deeper nature the latent powers of the Christ consciousness themselves. With their awakening would come the birth and later the adult development of the Christ mind. It would bring the spiritualization of the world, the apotheosization of humanity.
The force of ritual is powerful in its sheer outward performance. Even when its forms and movements are without rational appeal, they stir the soul to feelings of beauty. But if there was added the still more potent force that would flow in powerfully from the mind's clear grasp of the symbolic intimations of the rites, the operation would lift the very soul to moments of ineffable exaltation. This is precisely the psychological element lacking in the festival's annual incidence, the one factor requisite to make it the efficacious channel of spiritual purgation and uplift.
The mind is unquestionably the central dynamo of all psychological energizations. But merely outward feelings sensually excited by pageantry, no matter how beautiful in themselves, can not bestir the soul's deepest 59 sensibilities as profoundly and as lastingly as can the logical cognitions of understanding.
Philosophy is the mother of understanding and that in turn of affectional states, and these set the norm and tenor of individual stability and psychic integration, the health of the mind carrying the health of the body with it.
Instead of being merely a periodic recurrence of gifting and a happy time for children, with a few carols thrown in, Christmas could be the occasion of a veritable annual re-baptism of the conscious mind in a flood of supernal benignancy released from the hovering Oversoul of divinity, the immanent-transcendent God within man, that would constitute a periodical cathartic purification of the soul and a dynamic regeneration of the spirit in the body. It carries an ordination of ancient wisdom designed to utilize astronomical features of the season to impress upon human understanding the significance for man himself of all that which the outer natural phenomena can adumbrate for him of the interrelation of soul-consciousness and mundane body.