So, here we are: Christmas 2015!
And, I’ll take this opportunity to speak about an object that is a symbol for such a festivity. Yes, I am speaking about the Christmas tree. Indeed, it’s not a secret that the tree represents something more than a simple decoration for the pleasure of our eyes, at home or in the public square. Indeed, the trees have appeared as earthly fare before the designers and the urbanists. And, even if we do the best we can to destroy them, they’ll end their existence far after our own.
The tree was considered as a sort of “cathedral” by the most ancient animist cultures, and its cult is quite diffused. The Christmas tree is a continuity of the ancient German tradition, which celebrated the Cosmic Tree. However, the tree as a cosmic symbol is present in the culture of the Vedas, the Persian and biblical Tree of Life, and so on.
After all, the tree is an element in nature which fits as a universal symbol. Indeed, it represents life itself, gives food and refuge, purifies the air we breathe, links the earth with the sky, incorporates in it all the four elements, sinks its roots into the Mother Earth, and elevates itself towards the Celestial Hierarchies.
In Northern India, in Central Asia, China, Tibet, Siberia, and in many places in Africa, trees are an object of cults: people tie on the trunk, tiny strings on which they light incense and insert flower wreaths. At the bottom of the tree, they deposit flowers, food, and lamps. This very ancient tradition is still extant throughout the World.
On a Babylonian clay tablet dated 1850 B.C., it is represented as a stylized tree. On the branches are hung diamonds which represent the stars, and on the top of the tree, is the Sun which dominates the other stars. It’s the most ancient known Christmas tree, if we remember that the Babylonians celebrate the God Shamash, exactly on the 25th of December. Also, the Babylonians used to decorate the tree with different varieties of fruits.
Celts, Saxons and Normans used to bring trees into the home to keep away evil spirits – the Egyptians the palm trees, and the Romans, the fir trees. As a sign of devotion towards the consecrated trees, the ancients would hang apples and other fruits as offerings to the divinities. This tradition was extended throughout Europe, in gratitude to the earth for its generosity and, as a sign of good luck, the farmers would hang the fruits of their harvests on the trees. The ancient Germans would hang stones on the branches of oak trees in order to keep away spirits who had escaped from the afterlife during the falling of the leaves. Successively, the trees became decorated with colored fruits, wreaths and candles.
There would really be too much to write on this topic, and a dozen posts wouldn’t be enough. And, now it’s Christmas time – time for greetings, not time to read (at least not too much!).
So, during these days, when you see a Christmas tree (and this will not be a difficult task), don’t look at it as a decoration. Remember what it represents: the Cosmic Tree of Life. And, greet it with all your Heart. Your Christmas will surely be enriched and more pleasurable with this simple act.