Tree of Life
December 27, 2010 Comments Off
The concept of a many-branched tree illustrating the idea that all life on earth is related has been used in science, religion, philosophy, mythology and other areas. A tree of life is variously: (a) a mystical concept alluding to the interconnectedness of all life on our planet, (b) a metaphor for common descent in the evolutionary sense, and (c) a motif in various world theologies, mythologies and philosophies.
The Tree of Life and The Origin of The Christmas Tree
When the Fathers of the Christian Church in AD 340 decided upon an exact date to celebrate Christ’s birth event, they wisely chose the day of the Pagan Winter Solstice, which was already firmly fixed in the minds of the people.
Pagans had considered the “World Tree” or the “Tree of Life” as a symbol of life and their universe for thousands of years. It was only natural to continue to use a tree as a symbol for the birth and re-birth of Christ.
In the early seventeenth century, Germans began bringing these trees indoors at Christmas and decorating them with candles.
The end result today is that we see these trees all over the world, used in a festive spirit of peace and joy, and we still place a star or an Angel on top, much as the Ancients did over 5000 years ago.
History and Myths Behind The Tree of Life
An Ancient Symbol
To the Babylonians, The Tree of Life had magical fruit, which could only be picked by the gods. Dire consequences befell any mortal who dared to pluck from it. The Tree found its way into the Judeo-Christian legend of Adam and Eve…
~ George Sassoon and Rodney Dale, The Manna Machine
When a Celtic tribe cleared a new land for settlement, they always left a great tree in the middle, known in Ireland as the “crann bethadh”, or Tree of Life, it embodied the security and integrity of the Celtic people.
Chieftains were inaugurated at the sacred tree, for, with its roots stretching down to the lower world,and its branches reaching to the upper world, it connected him with the power of both the heavens and the worlds beneath.
~ Mara Freeman 1998
In the Book of Genesis, The Tree of Life is planted by God in the Garden of Eden (Paradise), the fruit gives everlasting life.
God also planted the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” (Genesis 2:9). After eating from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”, Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life.
The Tree of Life, is a mystical symbol used in the Kabbalah of esoteric Judaism to describe the path to God and the manner in which He created the world.
The Kabbalists developed this concept into a full model of reality, using the tree to depict a map of creation. The tree of life has been called the “cosmology” of the Kabbalah. Some believe the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah corresponds to the Tree of Life mentioned in Genesis.
Image: The Visionary Art of Willow Arlenea – Goddesses
Ancient Legends of The Sacred Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a Universal symbol found in many spiritual traditions around the world. It symbolizes life itself, with it’s branches reaching for the Heavens “Father Sky” and it’s buried roots, linking to “Mother Earth”.
Many ancient mythical stories come from the idea that all living beings are born from the earth; the source of life and sustenance for all.
Legends say that The Sacred Dove sits in the branches of the Tree of Life and appears with the fruit of the tree and the waters of life.
The tree has become a symbol of love, wisdom, rebirth, strength, redemption, friendship, bounty and encouragement.