For many, especially children, the joy of the festive season revolves around the Christmas Tree. On top of this symbol is a star, or guiding spirit, who orients the communal celebrations. Whilst not all people celebrate Christmas, this holiday spirit is part of our popular culture. There is so much divine play, Lila, moving in us through the festive season, that we cannot help but see this brilliance all around. Reveling in this presence, the ritual of concealing and revealing presents, embodies the movement of Shiva, who dances the creation of the world.
This image has roots in the Jewish Cabalistic tradition with the Sephiroth, also known as the tree of life. The Tree of Life is the divine subtle body structure that supports all of life, as if from above. It is often depicted as the cosmic body of Adam Cadamon, who like Shiva (or Purusha) from the Hindu tradition, unfolds down through the Tattvas, as different aspects of reality. The lighting up of the Christmas tree thus reenacts the illumination of these different aspects of a divine essence in a joyful celebration. In yoga, this subtle body structure is known through the chakras, and our practice is also a ritual dance, lighting it up.
The Vedas depict this as a Bodhi Tree, with its roots in the starry firmament. Our entire existence is supported by this presence, which is immanent, growing down into the world.
To all who came to Preshana this year for practice, and everyone who made it in spirit, we thank you, and wish to see you in the new year!
Holiday Blessings To All,
Ananda, Jim & the Preshana Team