The Tree of Life Meaning & Symbol

Oct 29 , 2021

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Umi Soul

Trees are a beautiful creation and represents serene beauty. Trees represent the cycle of life from the day you sow the seeds until the tree grows and bears fruit.

What is the tree of life meaning?

The tree of life is a mystical tree that is mentioned throughout several religions. Each different culture has a unique way of describing the tree of life, including different myths about the tree and different names that the tree is called by.

Through all the different cultures and religions, the essence of the tree of life remains the same. This sacred tree has different parts, and each part of the tree has a symbolic meaning.

The tree of life represents all aspects of life on earth. It shows us how we should lead our lives. The roots, trunk, leaves, and the branches each relate to different parts of our lives.

The roots of the tree symbolize that we must be strongly rooted, and the trunk symbolizes support. The branches show sustenance, and the leaves represent strength. The fruit produced by the tree is a sacrifice offered to us by the tree of life.

tree of life

What is the history of the tree of life?

The symbol of the tree of life dates back to ancient times. The oldest known example of the tree of life was found in the Domuztepe excavations in Turkey and dates back to 7000 BC. Archaeologists believe that the symbol spread from there across religions and cultures.

A symbol of the tree of life was also found during excavations in Acadia, dating back to 3000 BC. These symbols depicted a pine tree as pine trees are evergreen and do not die.

The Ancient Celts also attach a strong significance to the tree of life as it represents harmony and balance. The Celts believe the tree has magical powers so when they prepared their fields to plant crops, they would always leave a single tree standing in the middle. This central tree would also be the gathering place for people of the surrounding area to hold meetings or celebrations.

References to the tree of life as an important symbol has been found in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Iran, Ancient Mesopotamia, Urartu, and many other places around the world.

What does the tree of life symbolize?

1. A Symbol of Connection

The tree of life connects everything and represents togetherness. It is a reminder that we are not alone but connected to other elements. The Tree of Life represents the interconnectedness of everything in the universe. It symbolizes togetherness and reminds us that we are never alone, but we are always connected to the world. The roots of the Tree of Life penetrate deeply and spread into the earth, thereby accepting nourishment from Mother Earth. The branches reach up into the sky and accept energy from the sun and moon.

2. Ancestry, family, and fertility

The tree of life is seen as a symbol that connects us to our family and ancestors. The tree of life has branches that are interconnected representing the growth of a family and its expansion over generations.

It also represents fertility as it grows and keeps growing by producing seeds which grow into saplings. A tree is lush and green and signifies vitality.

3. Strength and growth

A tree is a universal symbol of strength and growth as trees stand tall and unwavering watching over the world below. The tree spreads its roots deep into the earth to be strong and stable. Trees can weather the toughest storms which is why they symbolize strength.

The tree of life represents growth, it begins as a delicate sapling and grows over time to become a large strong tree. Trees grow up and outwards representing a person who grows stronger and increases their knowledge and experience during their lifetime.

4. Individuality

The tree of life symbolizes individuality, each tree is unique and different with branches growing in different directions and sprouting from different points. In the same way people are unique, their growth and experiences make them who they are. Trees change over time, their branches break off, new branches grow, and the weather may damage the tree. Through all this the tree remains strong and tall. This is similar to how a person grows and changes throughout their lifetime. Different experiences and challenges molds each person to become a unique individual.

5. Immortality and rebirth

The tree of life is a symbol of rebirth. Trees lose their leaves in winter and seem to be dead, but as it grows warmer new buds appear and as spring emerges, so the leaves unfurl. This represents the beginning of new life and a fresh start. The tree of life also represents immortality because even as trees grow old and die, the essence of the old tree lives on through its seeds and saplings.

6. Peace

Trees are associated with calmness and peace. The tree of life is a symbol of peace and relaxation. Trees are tall and strong while their leaves rustle in the breeze, the tree remains calm and sturdy. The tree of life symbol reminds us of the calm and peace we feel when we stand under a tree, protecting us from the elements.

 tree of life symbol

What is our spiritual connection to the tree of life?

The tree of life has a deeper inherent connection to our lives on earth. This tree furnishes us with the breath of life. The breath of life carries the spiritual essence of the air we breathe and sustains us in life.

Lifeforce or “prana” sustains all life and flows through every living organism, bringing life to every area. Prana refers to the breath we take to give oxygen to our bodies. In yoga “pranayama” or meditation is the connection made between breathing and the flow of the central life force. A yogi who can channel breath in the right manner will be able to awaken their sixth chakra or the spiritual eye and be blessed with spiritual eternal life because that soul would have attained its purpose.

 

What is the connection between the tree of life and the elements?

The tree of life is intrinsically connected to all the elements of nature. Water, air, earth, and fire combine to make a tree grow strong and healthy. Water provides nourishment and rejuvenation. Air provides oxygen needed for the growth of the roots, branches, leaves and fruit. The fire from the sun, sunshine, gives the tree the power to grow healthy and strong. The nutrients in the earth gives the roots what they need to grow and pass the nutrients on though the trunk and into the branches and leaves.

 

How is the tree of life viewed in different cultures?

Buddhism and the Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is known as the Bodhi-tree and is believed to be the Tree of Enlightenment. It was under this tree that Buddha attained enlightenment and has become a sacred symbol.

The Christian Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Genesis. It is the tree that grows within the Garden of Eden and is the source of eternal life. Some believe it to be the symbol of humanity free from corruption and sin, while others believe it to represent love. The tree is believed to have healing properties and its fruit grants immortality.

tree of life history

The Tree of Life and Islam

The holy Quran refers to the tree of life as the tree of immortality.

The Tree of Life and Judaism

The Tree of Life is a used a lot in Judaism and is mentioned in the Book of Genesis that it is different from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This tree of Life has been referred to in the Book of Proverbs and is associated with wisdom. It is a tree that nourishes and sustains life. This sacred tree stands in the center of a garden cultivated by Yahweh.

Jewish mysticism refers to the Tree in the form of ten nodes that are connected together.

Middle East

Mesopotamian mythology tells of a plant called the “plant of birth” that provides a child to the seeker.

North America

In the myth “The World on the Turtle’s Back”, the tree of life is a symbol accepted as the tree that is found in the land of immortals and in the heavens.

Turkish Symbols

The Tree of Life or the World Tree is the central symbol for the Turkish people. The blue sky behind the tree represents peace and the red ring denotes all the natural elements and the faith in the rebirth.

The Tree of Life and the Norse World Tree

Pagan writings have referred to the tree of life as the Norse World Tree. This tree combines and binds together all the realms of existence. This is an eternal tree that has no beginning and no end. The Norse gods eat the fruit from the tree and that keeps them forever young. This tree also symbolizes the healing of the soul and eternal life.

Celtic Beliefs 

The Tree of Life is a prominent symbol in the Celtic beliefs, they believe the roots represent the ‘other world’, the trunk represents the mortal world and connects the roots and branches, the branches represent the world above, or the heavens.

 

Representations of the tree of life

Jewelry - The symbol of The Tree of Life was used in jewelry in ancient cultures. Pendants were made of wood, stone, or bronze and is still used in jewelry today.

Ornaments – The tree of life is used in ornaments to express a person’s philosophy and belief systems of life.

 

Final Thoughts

The tree of life is an ancient universal symbol that represents strength, courage, growth, and immortality. Different cultures have myths regarding the tree of life, but they all have a central meaning associated with it, wisdom, strength, and growth. These are the central points along which we live our lives. Therefore, like a tree you must stand tall, be calm and strong and gain knowledge as you grow older in life.    


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