Saturday, January 31, 2015

sacred trees

Trees are beautiful in winter, their bare branches tracing a lacelike pattern against the winter white.  The texture of bark on the trunk to he fine and delicate tips of branches, much of which had been hidden by leaves is now a new source of wonder.   And I do wonder  a lot, and often I wonder about trees

Trees, who stand there silent, year after year after decade, after decade, often century after century,  held a fascination for my youthful mind, I was sure they knew things, sure that they knew secrets, and sure they heard me when I talked to them.  I was sure they had knowledge of what went on around them and sure they had a memory.  I can remember looking for their eyes, none were to be found,  and my youthful imagination could provide little help. 

Trees appear  to be dead, though they are just dormant in winter, in some climates the roots grow until the ground is completely frozen. I wish I could conjure the magic of what it was like when I first realized that with the warmer weather, the tree would again have leaves.

I have had young ones tell me that the bark of a tree was it's  skin and, and  would bleed sap if you cut it.  "Who told you that?"I would ask, and more often than not the answer  would be something like "I saw it".   Seeming to die and be reanimated each year gives trees the appearance of magical beings, silently observing, they provide food, fuel and shelter, and I wonder still if there are things we don't so readily see.

 words and pictures are shared from Human Odyssey
Trees have been revered as sacred monuments since the prehistoric era. Our ancestors may well have been inspired by their annual cycle of decay in the autumn fo...llowed by a luscious rebirth in the spring. To the primitive mind, these trees became symbols of life, death and rebirth.
There was one tree in particular which achieved mythical status throughout all world cultures. It is known today as the 'World Tree' and according to our ancestors, it was truly epic in scale. Its branches were said to reach as high as the heavens, while its roots plunged deep into the abyss of the underworld. Because of their association with celestial realms, these trees were regarded by many priests as gateways to other dimensions.
• Yggdrasil was said to connect middle earth (Midgard) to eight other realms (some made of fire and ice, others of darkness and light)
• The World Tree of Mesoamerica was seen as a gateway (aka axis mundi) connecting the planes of the Underworld and the sky with the terrestrial world
• The 'Sky Tree' from Hungarian mythology had a series of branches which reached out to seven worlds. Each branch was said to touch the sun, the moon, the clouds and other celestial spheres.
• The Dawn Tree from Baltic mythology was depicted with a golden trunk, copper roots and silver leaves. The trunk represented life in the present, while the past was embodied in its roots (life that has passed). The branches, however, represented future choices yet to be made
It should be noted that in nearly all depictions of the ‘World Tree’, a great serpent is said to reside at its base. These serpents typically guard a forbidden knowledge which only a select number of mortals have ascertained:
• It was Adam and Eve who attained wisdom by eating fruit from the tree of Knowledge (Judaism/Christianity)
• It was under the Bodhi tree that the Buddha was said to have gained enlightenment (Buddhist mythology)
• The Kabbalah represents the tree of life (the other legendary tree of Christian mythology). Legend says that to learn the secrets of this mystic tree is to know the secrets of life itself
• The Druids were priests of the natural world whose name was said to mean 'knower's of the oak' (Celtic mythology)
• The Cosmic Tree of Latvia was a highly symbolic image. It was said to hold birds in its branches (enlightenment), mammals at its base (instinct) and serpents in its roots (wisdom)
The most common theme found in world mythology is the 'Tree of Life' which is said to both create and prolong life. In many cases, our ancestors believed that these great trees gave birth to the Gods and even to to humanity itself. Many pilgrims have searched for this mythical tree throughout the ages, but only the most worthy have been able to find it:
• In Tengrinism, it is said that humans were descended from Trees, as well as other spirit entities and lesser gods who lived for hundreds of years.
• A tree of life belonged to the Goddess Iusaaset who was said to have conceived the lineage of Egyptian Gods through the trees life giving properties
• The Kalpavriksha tree from Vedic mythology was said to produce an abundance of life giving fruit for those who wished for it

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