Roots sinking deep into the ground, a solid trunk and lush branches... The tree of life seems a true metaphor of the richness and complexity of the Universe.
A sacred symbol, it takes its meaning in many cultures throughout the world and the ages. We find it as much among the Celts as the Hindus, or even in Islam.
In your daily life, it can be the guardian of your personal strengths, while reminding you of your importance as a full-fledged individual.
With us, discover the meaning of the tree of life...
Origins and meanings around the world
Perhaps you have noticed this fascinating fact: the origins and meanings of sacred symbols are always numerous and diverse.
The same is true for the Tree of Life, whose genesis is not precisely identified, while its interpretations are varied. This is for the good reason that the tree, an omnipresent plant individual, is a full-fledged member in every human society.
Whatever its geographical area, humanity has always evolved in parallel, if not in symbiosis, with its natural environment. Logically, the tree, as an essential element of an ecosystem, then becomes as much a source of life as a bearer of metaphysical and sacred meaning.
The tree of life, as a spiritual symbol, thus draws its origins from many soils. From the misty lands of the Celtic world to tropical Asia, from Druidic traditions to Buddhist myths, it is here a sign of growth and strength, there a canvas linking all aspects of existence.
In Celtic culture
It is notably in the Celtic culture, which shone in Europe between 1350 B.C. and 500 A.D., that the tree of life appears in a recurring way. The Celts called the tree of life Crann Betadh, both a source of life and a sacred symbol.
The tree is, in all its forms, synonymous with abundance for the Celts. Alive and rooted, it provides protection from the weather, where animals and people find refuge. When felled, it also provides the wood needed to make weapons, to build houses and for heating.
For the Celts, it is a source of physical life, as much as the emblem of an interconnected and cyclical Universe.
With its roots sinking into the ground, its powerful trunk and its branches rising to the sky, Crann Betadh binds the earth to the sky. While its rich root system provides nutrients and anchoring, its branches unfold beautifully towards cosmic inspiration. It nourishes and strengthens man while connecting him to divine guidance.
In Celtic culture, the tree is also at the center of the sacred rites conducted by the Druids. These ceremonies occur at key times of the year. In this sense, the tree of life also represents the eternal cycle of the seasons. Seasons marked forever by these annual customs.
In the main monotheistic religions
Judaism, Christianity and Islam also have their own tree of life, which takes different names from one tradition to another.
Thus, Jews call the tree of life "Eitz Chaim". It refers to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, source of all existence and nourishing man. Eitz Chaim also refers directly to the Torah, the holy text of Judaism. In the Kabbalah, a Jewish mystical tradition, the tree of life is also a sacred symbol linking the Infinite to the material world.
The tree of life also appears in Christianity as a source of eternal life. It is described in Genesis, the first chapter of the Bible, as the bearer of the forbidden fruit that caused Adam and Eve to be cast out of Eden. In Christian tradition, moreover, the tree of life would appear through the image of Jesus, and would then designate the cross on which he was crucified.
Islam also understands its interpretation of the tree of life to be similar to that of the other two monotheisms, whose origins it shares. The tree of life is called the Tree of Immortality. As in the Christian tradition, it is the representation of man's disobedience to God, through access to knowledge and thus the awakening of consciousness.
Note in passing a common point between the trees of life evoked by these three great religions: as with the Celts, it always makes the bridge between the world of men and the sky, between the earthly and the divine.
Buddhism and Hinduism
The tree of life is finally found in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. It then takes the form of the banyan tree, very present in India.
This species of tree has a very particular growth... After a certain time of growth, the branches of the banyan tree fall back towards the ground and become established there. Thickening over time, they finally become very difficult to distinguish from the original trunk!
A unique growth in the tree kingdom, which gives the tree of Hindu and Buddhist life a special meaning. These two traditions see it as a vegetal metaphor of their fundamental perception of the Universe.
Thus according to Hinduism and Buddhism, all matter emanates from the Invisible, and eventually returns to it. In the same way, all the branches of the banyan tree emanate from the same soil, and eventually burrow into it again.
The Universality of the Tree of Life: Metaphysical Interpretations
Beyond spiritual and religious traditions, it is always interesting to look at the universal meaning of sacred symbols. These concepts and ideas that resonate deep within us at the mere observation of these motifs .
For the tree of life, several interpretations differ. There are indeed different ways to understand it, and therefore, for you, different reasons to integrate it into your life!
For example, you might decide to invite it into your daily life to :
• Stimulate your strengths and your evolution,
• Symbolize your uniqueness,
• Reminding you that everything in this Universe is connected.
Tree growth and strength
Deeply rooted in the earth and spreading majestically towards the heavens, what is the tree of life, if not a magnificent symbol of strength and fulfillment?
With its firmly planted "feet", it enjoys the unfailing support of the earthly world. Its soil provides it with the stability, nutrients and vitality it needs to survive and flourish.
Full of confidence and vigor, its branches grow into a majestic and abundant bough. It can then fully capture the sunlight and the energy of the cosmos, channelling the universal vibration.
Its trunk constitutes a solid bridge between here below and the heavens, between the physical world and the invisible worlds.
Its growth, constant and beautiful, is thus ensured by the earth as well as by the sky. Supported by the physical and inspired by the immaterial, it can always continue to create new branches, abundant foliage and sweet fruit.
Adopt the tree of life as a talisman to anchor yourself, and to remind you that you are not only supported by Mother Earth, but also by universal consciousness, your guides, God, Allah or Buddha, depending on your personal beliefs. May you be protected, nourished and revitalized in this way, you can always flourish in your path.
The uniqueness of the individual
Like human beings, all trees are unique. Its complex root network, the marks in the wood of its trunk, the shape of its branches are all elements that make a tree singular.
Placed differently in its environment compared to its neighbor, each tree also has its own vision and experience of the world around it.
Finally, the direction and manner in which a tree grows will inevitably be particular, depending as much on its constitution as on its external environment.
The tree of life can therefore also be interpreted as a symbol of singularity, uniqueness. Make it your personal talisman to remind you of your particular talents, or the singularity of your personality, or your unique experience of existence.
By drawing from these elements that make up you as an individual, you will be better able to spoil the world with your fruits, to offer your refreshing presence, or to heal with your unique energy.
The interconnection of life
The tree of life is also and above all, a symbol of interconnection.
The sacred traditions we were talking about above had already seen it as a link between earth and sky. Its roots are the earthly, physical world, its branches, the invisible worlds or the Infinite, and its trunk, the bridge between these worlds.
The multitude of its roots and branches could also evoke the giant web of the Universe, which connects between them all beings and all aspects of existence. The tree of life then becomes a symbol of the interconnection between individuals. Each being with its unique experience, represented by branches and roots, unfolds within a great whole, the tree of life.
So keep this symbol close to you to maintain in your mind and heart the notion of the universal canvas. When you feel lonely, sad or discouraged, remember that you are an important part of this great Whole, just like the root or the branch of a tree. That deep down you are not alone, and that you can always rely on this universal canvas...