I just returned from a weekend retreat given by the A.R.E. ( Edgar
> One of the workshops I took was to do with Mandalas. For some
reason mine consisted of trees. I had cut out a dozen trees and placed
them inside my mandala. It seemed odd to me because I also love water
and rocks. On the second day of the retreat we played the Angel game.
That is where you go up and reach in an draw a number from a bowl,
that number correspondes with a gift. The gift can be an object or an
inspirational saying. My number 43 corresponded to an envelope, that
when I opened it up there was the most incredibile picture of a tree in
Africa with a man sitting under it along with some insparational
words. I was blown away. It all tied in with the mandala.
> Can you tell me what the symbol of trees are. I know I am very
fond of them and even have a special one that holds all my pain. But I
would like to know the meaning of this.
Posted 1/27/2006 6:36 PM (#239 - in reply to #234) Subject: RE: trees
Here is an excerpt from the Symbols and Colors course at UMS that might give some insight on Trees and their general symbology, Does anyone else have any input or personal experience with trees? I personally have felt quite a connection to trees, and am a bonafide California Tree Hugger!
Apple: Apples are significant in our culture, from sayings like, “The apple of my eye,” “An apple for the teacher,” to folk legends about Johnny Appleseed, and American apple pie. The apple in Christian dogma comes from the tree of knowledge in paradise. It is the key to original sin, the fall of grace from God. From Symbols Of Church Seasons And Days (1997), by John Bradner, “By tradition the apple is the fruit of the Paradise Tree. It is used sometimes as a symbol of Christ, the new (or second) Adam.” However the apple’s five-petalled blossoms, like the rose and pentagram, comes from the older Indo-European tradition representing the “knowledge” of sacred femininity, sexuality, and immortality. The Goddesses magical paradise took the form of apple groves in many traditions such as the Celtic “Apple-land” of Avalon, the Norse Goddess Idun’s magical apples kept the gods immortal, and the Greek Goddess Hera’s magical apple garden contained the Tree of Life and the sacred serpent. A significant aspect of the apple to witches and gypsies is the five-pointed “star” of apple seeds in the core of the apple when cut transversely, and relates to mythology about the Virgin Kore (Core) within her Earth Mother Demeter. Walker in The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983) explains, “The five-pointed star in a circle was the Egyptian hieroglyph for the underworld womb, where resurrection was brought about by the mother-heart of ‘transformations.’” Thus, among gypsies and pagans, the apple symbolized sacred union.
Christmas Tree: This symbol is one of many symbols that stem from the tree (such as the Tree of Life or Tree of Knowledge). The custom of cutting a evergreen and bringing it indoors during the short, dark, days of winter goes back to Norse Yule celebrations of the darkest days of winter, but was co-opted by Christian Missionaries in an attempt to easily convert the local pagans, and the modern Christmas Tree was created according to Symbols Of Church Seasons And Days (1997), by John Bradner. Barbara Walker, in her book, The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983) explains, “On the night before a holy day, Roman priests called dendrophori or ‘tree-bearers’ cut one of the sacred pines, decorated it, and carried it into the [Great Mother’s] temple to receive the effigy to Attis. Figures and fetishes attached to such trees in later centuries seem to have represented a whole pantheon of pagan deities on the World Tree.”
Tree of Life: Also called World Tree. Man, Myth And Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Mythology, Religion And The Unknown (1995), edited by Richard Cavendish, explains, “An infinity of symbolic detail accompanies the different parts of the world-tree… The cosmic tree often bore fruits which the gods ate to ensure their immortality: and so it became a tree of life.” The idea of tree as the universe dates back to Scandinavia where the Oden Ash (Yggdrasil) was given this quality; in India it was the fig (Asvattha); in Hindu it is the Banyan; in Christianity it is the apple tree and many other religions have similar ideas, including China and Russia. The Celts and Druids represented it as the sacred oak tree, connecting the three worlds of the Upperworld, Middle-Earth, and Underworld through its branches and roots. The concept of the axis mundi also is visualized as a world tree, in the Mayan culture as Wacah Chan. Wikipedia (2005) encyclopedia states, “It is a common shamanic concept, the healer traversing the axis mundi to bring back knowledge from the other world. The axis mundi both connects heaven and earth as well as provided a path between the two.” The Druidic World Tree is top left, the Kabalistic Tree of Life is to the bottom left. See Yggdrasil.
Holly: This bush of thorny leaves and red berries is green year round and is used in many winter celebrations. It was also the Burning Bush of Moses’ vision. This plant was important to the druids as well and represented death and regeneration. It was the plant of Mother Holle (or Hel) the Norse underworld Goddess. In Germany, witches used Holly for making wands. In her book The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983), Barbara Walker states, “Red holly berries showed the female blood-of-life color, corresponding to white mistletoe berries associated with male elements of semen and death.” At Yule, the winter festival of the Divine Marriage, these two plants were displayed together. The Dionysian cult of Roman times displayed the holly with ivy, as the symbol of feminine and masculine balance during times of the solstitial festival. Because of its connection with sex it was renounced by Tertullian and the Council of Bracara as not fit for Christians, although the practice of adorning doorways with it continued. Kissing under the mistletoe originally represented a union between the man and mistress of a house. However, according Symbols Of Church Seasons And Days (1997), by John Bradner, the holly is “symbolic of the crown of thorns and drops of blood on the Savior’s head.”
Pear Tree: All throughout the ancient world the pear tree was significant. Vishnu-Narayana was recognized as Lord of Pear Trees in the Himalayas; in Eurasia it was recognized to have feminine significance; Russians used it as a protection charm for cows; peasants of Europe believed it to be a “life-tree” for girls; Christians translated the partridge as Christ. The Partridge in a Pear Tree is an analogy for the myth of Athene’s sacred king Perdix’s journey from earth to heaven as a bird, with the help of the Goddess. Barbara Walker, in her book, The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983), states, “He was the partridge, she the pear tree.”
Laurel: Man, Myth And Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Mythology, Religion And The Unknown (1995), edited by Richard Cavendish says, “Poets, military heroes and Olympic victors all sought the crown of laurel as the highest honour. Sacred to Apollo, the laurel or bay was also associated with oracular powers.” The nymph Daphne, of Greek myth was turned into a Laurel tree in order to escape the lecherous arms of the god Apollo, who consequently wore a wreath of Laurel leaves and declared the tree sacred to him.
Meriah: Like the ancient Israelites, the people of northern India also made sacrificial offerings to their gods by hanging the victims on crosses or trees, called Meriah. Barbara Walker, author of The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983), states that the Meriah is a “Sacrificial victim ‘bought for a price’ and hung on a tree or cross ‘between heaven and earth’ in northern India, as an offering to the Earth-goddess Tara, or her spouse, Father Heaven.” In the Old Testament, Abraham goes to sacrifice his son Isaac to his god Yahweh on the sacrificial mound, “Moriah;” similarly, the Polynesians called their sacrificial place morai.
Mistletoe: Mistletoe is a parasite that lives on Oak trees and means “all heal” (Shepherd, 2002). The mistletoe symbolically represents the mythical union between the god and goddess through yearly castration and death of the savior-god, necessary to insure the peace and fertility of the land and people for the druids and pagans of Europe. It was connected with the death of Baldur in Scandinavian lore. The oak tree was viewed as the living god, called Zeus, Jupiter, Balder or Dianus of Dodona, and the mistletoe, with its white semen-colored berries was considered the plants genitalia. In the same fashion as ancient sacrifices of human savior-king, the genitals (mistletoe) of the god were castrated (cut off) in ceremonial fashion, before the sacrifice was performed. According to Barbara Walker, in her book, The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983), “At the season of sacrifice, druidic priests ceremonially castrated the oak god by cutting off his mistletoe with a golden moon-sickle, catching it in a white cloth before it could touch the ground, so it remained like every sacrificial deity ‘between heaven and earth’… The phallic meaning of the mistletoe made it the ‘key’ that opened the underworld womb, key and phallus being interchangeable in mystical writings.” The female counterpart to the mistletoe was the holly, with its red menstrual-colored berries, representing the goddess and consort to the god, Lady of the Grove and Moon-mother Diana Nemetona. Through the Renaissance, mistletoe was still being placed on altars in English churches on Christmas Eve. From Symbols Of Church Seasons And Days (1997), by John Bradner, “mistletoe in the Christian world becomes a symbol of joy and good will.” The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe may have come from the religious ceremony of the kiss of peace (Bradner, 1997). See Horns and Holly.
Palm Tree: Like the Apple Tree of the Biblical Garden of Eden, the Palm Tree was the sacred Tree of Life in the Babylonian Primal Garden, sacred to the Goddess Astarte (in Hebrew known as Tamar, which translated to “Palm Tree”). Barbara Walker, in her book, The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983), explains, “The Goddess was often embodied in a Mother-palm, giving the food of life in the form of coconut milk or dates.” The Goddess’s partner was Baal-Peor, also known as Phoenix, deity of Phoenicia, which translates to “Land of the Palm.”
Sala: The Sala is the sacred cherry tree under which the Virgin Maya gave birth to Buddha. Representing virginity, the cherry is commonly associated with the Goddess, along with other red fruits such as the apple and pomegranate, according to Barbara Walker, in her book, The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983).
Thistle: According to Symbols Of Church Seasons And Days (1997), by John Bradner, “The thistle as a thorny plant and a symbol of sorrow is a symbol of the Passion and in particular the crowning with thorns.”
Willow: Along with water, the willow represented the Goddess Helice, the virginal form of Hecate. Willow also represents melancholy and sorrow as its association with queen of the underworld Persephone and Orpheus; Chinese coffins were coverd with willow boughs. Man, Myth And Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Mythology, Religion And The Unknown (1995), edited by Richard Cavendish, explains, “A traditional emblem of grief and melancholy, the willow is also a symbol of forsaken love, and it was once customary for the jilted to wear a willow garland.” However, according to Barbara Walker, in her book, The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983), Willow wands were believed to give protection in the underworld, invoke the Muses, and sacred to the Moon-Goddess.
Xikum: Representing Ishtar, this sacred Babylonian Tree of Heaven, spread “her branches into the celestial and nether worlds, holding the Savior Tammuz in her midst,” according to Barbara Walker, in her book, The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983). This same tree later appeared in the Moslem Koran as Zakkum, the Tree of Hell.
Yggdrasil: Norse name for the “Terrible Horse” or “The Horse of Ygg [Ogre],” symbolic for Odin’s gallows tree where men “rode to Death,” according to Barbara Walker, in her book, The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets (1983). It is also considered a world tree, connecting nine worlds: Asgard, Alfheim, and Vanaheim in the branches; Miogaro, Jotunhaim, Nidavellir, and Svartalfheim around the trunk; and Helheim, Niflheim, and Muspelheim at the roots, according to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2005)
Posted 1/27/2006 9:37 PM (#242 - in reply to #234) Subject: RE: trees
I have found trees to be gentle nurturers. Whenever I feel sad or feel like crying, I go and sit under one and let it rip! Soon, I feel the tree taking notice of me and it seems to gently put it's "arms" around me, and holds me. I feel safe and secure, and I curl up there for a while and then sometimes even fall asleep. When I wake up, all is better and I feel refreshed and rejuventated.
I've often wondered if the tree actually does some healing on me. It's roots reach deep in the ground, so they could be like a grounding mechanism, diffusing all my sadness or negativity, and it's branches reach up into the sky, so it could be like a sieve that catches all the good stuff, like sunlight, sky energy, etc, and drops it down on me. Something about trees is so healing.
I also had a tree once volunteer to let me beat on it when I was really angry once. I didn't use anything too damaging, just a big stick, and a little bit of bark got chipped, but no damage was done. When I was finished, the tree was happy to hold me afterwards and help me get it back together. They are very giving and self sacrificing.
Those big redwoods in CA, (hopefully our govt won't let them all get chopped down!) are like grandfather trees, big and slow and wise. To think that they have been her for as much as 4-5000 years! Wow. That means they were here long before Christ! They have seen a lot of comings and goings! They must have gained a lot of wisdom from all those years.
I don't know if I've helped or not with your question, but I just wanted to share my experience!
Posted 1/28/2006 6:12 AM (#244 - in reply to #242) Subject: RE: trees
Than you for sharing. I have had similar experiences with trees as well. I have a special sacred tree in a beautiful location that has a deep hole in it. Whenever I have pain or a hearts desire I write it down and place it inside that hole. Over the years that tree has taken on a lot of pain and also granted me so many wishes. I also seem to be very drawn to hawks. If I need confirmation about something I will ask to see a hawk and when the answer is a go ahead the hawk show up.
Posted 1/28/2006 6:13 AM (#245 - in reply to #239) Subject: RE: trees
Thank you for the information, I am making copies and sharing it with my meditation group.
Posted 10/17/2006 1:12 PM (#1064 - in reply to #234) Subject: RE: trees
Location: United Kingdom
I have only just discovered this beautiful thread with all its wonderful contributions; thank you for sharing them with us all - especially Laura's. Here is yet another aspect of the meaning of the word tree:
‘We [your guides from the world of spirit] would like you to see truth as a tree – a tree of knowledge planted in the infinite and eternal garden. It is a tree that has many branches, big branches breaking up into small branches, down to the smallest twig. The branches are all aspects of esoteric [spiritual] truth, and they are innumerable. But a man or a woman [human beings are all too easily tempted, when they get] hold of one branch or one little twig and think they have [found] the whole truth.’ White Eagle
With love and light,
Posted 10/19/2006 12:30 PM (#1075 - in reply to #1064) Subject: RE: trees
This sounds like it was channeled from a source you trust, yes?