Meaning of Tree of Life
Mayan World Tree
The Mayan believed heaven to be a wonderful, magical place on Earth hidden by a mystical mountain. They called this place Tamoanchan. Heaven, Earth, and Underworld (Xibalba) were connected by the ‘world tree’. The world tree grew at the locus of creation, all things flowing out from that spot into four directions. These were: East associated with red, North represented by white, West that is black and South that is yellow. The Mayan tree of life is a cross with its centre being the point of ‘absolute beginning’, the source of all creation and its branches passing through each of the three layers of existence - underworld, earth, and the sky.
Sumerians and Babilon Tree of Life
The oldest name of Babylon, Tin-tir-ki, meant ‘the place of the tree of life’. To the Babylonians, it was a tree with magical fruit, which could only be picked by the gods. The earlier Sumerian traditions played a major role in Babylonian culture. The early Sumerian art (around 2500 BC) depicts pictures of a pole or a tree called the ‘axis mundi’. Guarding this tree is a snake or a pair of intertwined snakes. Babylonians have the concept of the ‘navel of the world’, the place of the connection of different spheres. This vertical dimension, axis mundi, is the connection between three cosmic spheres: heaven, earth and underworld. The sacred mountain, the temple, the sacred city are all considered to be this Sacred Space, the axis mundi, the connection of the three cosmic dimensions.
Assyrians substituted the tree for the caduceus with coiled snakes circling around the wood of the wand. Here we see a snake symbolising an underworld consciousness, passing through earth, climbing a stick, transcends to a winged reality, a heavenly creature. Wings on a wand became a symbol of transformation and transcendence.
Egyption Tree of Life
In Egyption mythology, the first couple are Isis and Osiris. They have emerged from the acacia tree of Iusaaset, which the Egyptians considered the tree of life. Egyptians considered the Tree of Life to be the tree in which life and death are enclosed. The direction East was associated with the direction of Life, the direction of the rising Sun, and the direction West was seen as the direction of death, of under-world, because Sun sets in the West. Egyptian creation myths refer to a serpent and a primordial egg, which contained a bird of light.
Within the Nordic cultures we also find a Tree of Life called Yggdrasil. It is a massive holy ash tree where Gods assemble daily. the tree provides a magical springwater of knowledge. An eagle is on the top of the tree and a serpent is coiled around the roots of the tree. The eagle and the snake hate each other.
On the top of the above tree is the symbol of Thor, the eagle. The dogs guarding the Tree emulate the guardian lions depicted in Byzantine works.
Chinese Immortality Tree
In Chinese mythology a Taoist story tells us of a peach magical tree that produces a peach every three thousand years. The one who eats the fruit becomes immortal. At the base of the Tree of Life is a dragon, and at the top is a phoenix (a bird). A tree has deep connections with the earth, yet its branches reach up to the heavens. It embodies a connection of earth and heaven, of spiritual and physical realms. In Chinese cosmology, there are four Dragon Kings (Qin, Kuang, Jun and Xun), each with his own elemental domain.
Kabbalah Tree of Life
The Tree of Life that is in the centre of Kabbalah’s symbolism can be studied as a complex formula of existence, the flow of creation from the Divine to Earth and back to the Divine. It is the Tree of Life and Knowledge, a magical key to how life manifests itself. The Tree of Life is comprised of ten sephiroth, with twenty-two paths interconnecting them. The Kabbalah is a magical framework for the Hebrews' mystical thoughts.
The left column is called the Pillar of Severity. It represents the female aspect of creation and contains three sephira: Binah (Understanding), Geburah (Severity) and Hod (Splendor).
The right column is called the Pillar of Mercy. It represents the male aspects of creation and contains three sephira: Chokmah (Wisdom), Chesed (Mercy) and Netzach (Victory).
The middle pillar is called the Pillar of Equilibrium. It represents the balance between the male and female pillars. It contains four sephira: Kether (Crown), Tiphareth (Beauty), Yesod (Foundation) and Malkuth (Kingdom).
The Tree in the Garden of Eden
The tree legend became the Hebrew legend of Garden of Eden. In the centre of the Garden of Eden grew the Tree of Life guarded by a snake. The main river flowing from Eden to water the garden spread into four major directions.
Within the Ortodox Church the cross of Christ is also referred to as the Tree of Life. The cross is a symbol of life, the union of heaven and earth, and spirit and matter. It also represents the centre, meeting the divine in the human heart. The arms extend into the four directions
Tree of Life - Modern Interpretations
Gustav Klimt tree of life
A Tree of Life in various religious interpretations, within myths, and as a mystical concept represents the interconnectedness of all life on our beautiful planet. The Tree of Life connects all forms of creation. The Tree of Life is considered to be the symbol of 'Creator'.
Symbols and Signs are Language of the Soul, Language of Dreams
Occultists believe that symbols are given a supernatural power at their creation.
Words, symbols, images, colors, light, are all used for aeons to convey a spiritual meaning.
According to an old Rabbi legend, an angel gave Adam the mysteries and secrets of Kabbalah and of Alchemy, promising that when the human race understand these inspired arts, the curse of the forbidden fruit would be removed and man will again enter into the Garden of Eden.
The Phoenicians, and Babylonians were familiar with alchemy. It was the most prized of the secrets of the Atlantean priest-craft, it was practiced in China, Greece and Rome; and it was the master science of the Egypt. The most powerful of the alchemical organizations were the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati, and certain Arabian and Syrian sects.
Awakening or alchemical birth requires a precise spiritual method.
Hidden amongst obscure drawings and fascinating art work of ancient cultures is the re-occurring symbolism of the Tree of Life.
The meaning of the 'Tree of Life' is very powerful and it is often seen as the Key to Consciousness.
'Spiral of Life' represents:
- Unity of body, mind and spirit.
- Interplay of birth, growth, and death
It is a symbolic representation of primordial forces that materialize in magical, mysterious fashion while obeying precise universal laws. The Tree of Life starts with a triad.
The seasons change while the Earth continues its journey through the space and time. Rituals at the Autumn Equinox honour balance between light and dark.
Some teachings of esoteric wisdom say that during this time the veil between the physical world and other worlds opens. This is a good time for meditation, prayers, rituals and offerings.
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