Tree of Life

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I am fascinated with Tree of Life and its long historical existence from all walks of life, from all elements of life, from the basis of life.  From various readings, Wikipedia, images and pictures, here is a simple of excerpt from such a magnificent concept; also a glimpse of various expression and impression in art, books, tattoo and many more.

 

The concept of Tree of Life is quite universal, from various religion and beliefs (Christian, Muslim, Qabalah, Buddhism and other early religious beliefs), countries (Iceland, India, Germany, Scandinavia, Egypt, Africa, China, North America, Australia) or mythology (Norse mythology to name a few).  It acts as a model connecting the Universe with the Great Divine, or God, and humankind; with the branches spreading throughout creation reconciling the individual leaves, representing the unified whole. 

 

Their branches reach high into the heavens.  Their roots dig deep into the Earth. 

Yet all are woven together, signifying the connection between all things

in the Heaven and the Earth.

 

Tree of Life has the four elements of life interwoven in it.  Water circulates in its sap; Earth becomes part of its body through its roots; Air feeds its leaves; Fire is produced by rubbing its sticks together.

 

To the Celts, the tree was a source of basic sustenance – a bearer of food, a provider of shelter and fuel for cooking and warmth. 

To the Christian, God planting within the Garden of Eden beautiful trees, two of which were the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life, which was symbolic of immortality.

To the Hebrew, Tree of Life was a key factor as it illustrates the underlying unity within the Universe.

 

In German and Scandinavia, it is customary to have a guardian or lucky tree beside the house

In Norse mythology, the great ash tree was considered to be the axis of the world, with its branches reaching out over both Heaven and Earth.

 

The Bodhi Tree under which Buddha sat when he attained enlightenment is both a classic representation of the axis of the world and a tree of life, which represents Buddha himself.

 

There are a number of legends about the early life of Mohammed, founder of the religion of Islam.  It is said that just before Mohammed’s birth, his father, Abdullah, dreamt of his unborn son.  He saw growing from his child’s back a tree, which climbed upward, and reaching its full height emitted a light that spread around the world.  Most Muslims interpret the dream and its imagery symbolically.  The tree would of course represent the religion of Islam, supported by Mohammed.  The light is the wisdom of his teachings that have truly been globally disseminated.  However, we also know that the tree in Mohammed’s back could be the ‘tree of life’ and is common symbol in Middle Eastern and Islamic culture.  For the Ismailian Shi’ite Muslims, the tree that reaches beyond the seventh heaven is the symbol of ‘hakikat’, the state of beauty in which the mystic is reunited with the supreme reality.

 

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2 Comments

  1. ketikataku said,

    9 February 2009 at 7:56 am

    Sempat kesasar ke blognya Durga : http://darkfolkloreart.wordpress.com/gallery/ dan blognya Andreas Harsono akhirnya ketemu Shankara juga,…hihihi,…

    Tree of Life means Universality,.????

    • Shankara said,

      9 February 2009 at 10:05 am

      can be.. can also be a body of knowledge; nurturing part in life, where beings can rest underneath and breathe…


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