V. Cedar – Hierophant

Cedar – Hierophant – Faith

Genus: Cedrus – Family: Pinaceae

Cedar speaks deeply to our soul as it helps to restore our faith in humanity. Cedar honors our journey and reminds us that we all belong to each other and that to conquer fear we must have love.

The most legendary cedars are the Cedars of Lebanon, Cedrus libani. The oldest written story c.2100 BCE is the Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh.” It identified cedar forests as the “home of the gods”. King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem c.950 BCE was built using wood from the Cedars of Lebanon. The legendary Ark of the Covenant, the cornerstone of the Judeo-Christian faith, was originally housed in this “First Temple” before being destroyed by Babylonians. In 621CE the Prophet Muhammad experienced his “Night Journey” where he ascended the “Heavenly Lote Tree” and received visions. In his dream, he saw the Sidrah (cedar) tree standing in Jerusalem over the ruins of King Solomon’s temple. Cedar tells the shared story of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Cedrus is a Greek & Latin word used to describe trees with aromatic wood. Atlas cedar, Cedrus atlantica, is native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Atlas cedar is the source for Cedarwood essential oil used to heighten spiritual awareness. Cedar was burned as a sacred incense by the Greeks and Romans.

Cedar forest in Lebanon

Cedrus is native throughout the Mediterranean and the western Himalayan Mountains. They are evergreen trees that can reach 130ft in height with very thick trunks. There are only four “true” cedar species: Lebanon cedar, Atlas cedar, Deodar cedar and Cyprus cedar. All “Old World cedars” belong to the Pinaceae (pine) family.

Old World cedars can be identified by their long straight needles and complex cone structure, which resembles an egg. Cedars are most closely related to fir trees and have been prized for their decay-resistant, insect-repelling aromatic wood.

In 1753, Carl Linnaeus officially began the process of identifying separate genera for conifers, especially cedars. Because of the aromatic nature of most evergreens the name “cedar” remains on many “New World” species even though they are not botanically considered “true” cedars. These “new world” cedars include: juniper Juniperus (eastern redcedar), arborvitae Thuja (western redcedar & northern whitecedar) plus Calocedrus decurrens (incense cedar). These “New World” cedars are all members of the Cypressaceae (cypress) family.

Message: We are being reminded to have faith during a time of struggle. By staying true to ourselves everything will eventually sort itself out. By living in a world of absolutes, we limit our ability to see the bigger picture or appreciate the opportunities that are available to us now. The saying that “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” clearly applies. This is a time to reconnect with our core purpose to believe in our self and the laws of nature.

Challenge: Lack of faith in yourself or others. Exhibiting controlling or hoarding behavior. Having a scarcity mentality that nothing will ever work. Focusing on the negative in the positive.