Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | February 8, 2010

Perichoresis and the Holy Trinity

As Catholics, we grow up learning and accepting the mysterious concept of the trinity, Father Son and Holy Spirit, one God, three persons. Recently, I heard this term, perichoresis, brought back into the mainstream by people like C. Baxter Kruger(I have not researched his theology).

Perichoresis describes the three persons, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons, but all of one “ousia” or essence, indwelling in each other, partaking in each other, and “dancing” around each other in a creative, spontaneous dance of love and joy and relationship. I am not a greek scholar, but my understanding is that “choresis” is not the etymological source of the term choreography, although interpreting as such does give a true flavor to the essence of what the mysterious trinity is.

The explanation of it reminds me of the “dance” that takes place in some aikido dojos when three people are practicing and entering and exiting the other’s space–it’s a beautiful thing to watch. The same is true, I think, in tai chi, and in the taoist concepts underlying tai chi: out of the void come yin and yang, and they dance around each other, with a little bit of each in each, an indwelling of sorts, and as they revolve, they create the five elements, and in their interaction, the eight trigrams from which come the 64 things or archtypal situations of the I Ching, and from the 64, the 10,000 things.

It would be a mistake to equate the trinity with the grand tai chi; they are not the same thing. But they both display an awesome image of the ineffable, mysterious source of life.

Perichoresis also extends itself into our lives, as we are a manifestation of this creative dance, and the energy, or chi flows in us. There is an indwelling of the spirit in us. We are temples of it. There is no doubt in my mind that when we move in tai chi, we are moving with the universe, we are moving with “God,” we are participating in the grand dance.

Here’s a possible addendum to the tai chi classics: When God moves, I move; when I move, God moves.

Theological Interpretation of Perichoresis



  1. Hey Mike, great post just wanted to clarify the “choresis” term a bti more.

    The assumed origin of the word choresis is chorea which in turn has a Greek Origin:
    1680–90; < Gk choreía a dance, equiv. to chor(ós) chorus + -eia -y 3

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