It’s Christmas! Nelson Santa Parade director Mark Soper said the idea behind the Māori Santa was "bi-culturalism leading to multi-culturalism”.
Over the last three years I have been a participant in the Auckland University ‘New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study’. This 20 year study is gathering data from over 325,000 Kiwis to better understand how people’s cultural beliefs and values change over time.
They are currently offering a fully funded PhD position so since the Santa parade I have been working night and day doing my own research to better understand: “What customs and traditions are most closely associated with Christmas?” My control group was 325,000 of Santa’s elves, reindeer and helpers from around the world.
We’re pretty multi-cultural here, so I’d like to go around the room…
“What customs and traditions are most closely associated with Christmas?”
Well some interesting answers. Let’s see if they match my research?
In third place, our survey says… Presents 14%
In second place, our survey says… Christmas trees 27%
And in the top spot we have… Santa Claus with 29%
OK, so I’m not sure if Auckland University will accept my PhD proposal but I have been doing some other research linking Santa Claus, Christmas trees and the giving of presents with my continuing exploration of the chakras.
Santa Claus, or Saint Nicolas was a Christian Bishop during the time of the Roman Empire. He was famed for his secret gift giving and like all saints he was venerated because of his high level of spiritual development, a fact we can deduce from the red and gold mitre on his head. In the book “Achieving Oneness with the Higher Soul” Master Choa Kok Sui, the founder of modern pranic healing, demystifies some symbolism. He explains that the mitre of the Pope, and the yellow hat of Tibetan Lamas symbolise the spinning golden petals and golden flame of a highly activated crown chakra belonging to a spiritually illuminated person. Notice also the halo.
Like many other Christian icons Saint Nicholas also had the golden glow of his crown chakra depicted with a halo.
In Master Choa Kok Sui’s other book, “The Spiritual Essence of Man” the subtitle is ‘The Chakras and the Inverted Tree of Life’. Why?
In 2004, Pope John Paul called the Christmas tree a symbol of Christ. “This very ancient custom, he said, exalts the value of life, as in winter, what is evergreen becomes a sign of undying life, and it reminds Christians of the "tree of life" described in Genesis.
In the Bhagavad Gita, the sacred text of the Hindus, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna: “Roots in the air, branches below, the Tree of Life is unchanging”. Lord Krishna is teaching us that the Inverted Tree of Life is the Soul with nourishment coming from above to feed the branches or chakras below.
In this, the Jewish or Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the inverted roots or the spiritual cord of light connect ten chakras, and one hidden chakra, upwards to the 12th chakra, ‘Ain Soph Aur’ or the Infinite Light.
Lets not forget our 14%: the giving of Christmas presents. Remember Happy who has a big heart chakra and is very generous with his share of the gold? St Francis of Assisi said “It is in giving that we receive”. As we open our hearts and give and share generously we strengthen the connection with our crown chakra, which in turn increases the size of our spiritual cord connecting upward to the light of our Higher Soul.
So is Christmas becoming more multi-cultural over time?
For me Christmas in long Scottish winters was always about family. I used to love singing Christmas Carols in the church choir and the festivities that brought warmth and light into the cold, dark, solstice days. As I grew up I questioned the interpretation of many Christian beliefs but in recent years I have come to understand Christmas from a new perspective.
Now festivals and holidays, or holy days, of all religions and cultures across the world remind me to pause in my daily life. At Christmas, St Nicholas invites us to contemplate higher meaning in life. The evergreen tree reminds us of the undying nature of the soul and the system of energy centres that lights up our bodies like Christmas lights. The giving of gifts opens our hearts and activates our crown chakras creating peace and goodwill for all beings. Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Maori festivals of light all celebrate the light, the love and the joy that can unite us in one worldwide family.