X. Ceiba – Wheel of Fortune – Change
Genus: Ceiba – Family: Malvaceae
The ceiba tree represents a turning point in the trajectory of our life. This can be perceived as chaos, because our world may seem to be spinning out of control but in reality, the ceiba brings good fortune.
In pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, the ceiba tree was the most sacred tree to the Mayan people. They knew the ceiba as ya’axche, the symbol of the universe, or “Green Tree” that connected the three levels of earth to the cosmos. Its roots went to the underworld, its trunk represented the middleworld and it branches reached for the upperworld. They honored the ceiba as the “First Tree” and saw it as the home of their gods. The ceiba tree represents our circular nature based in the four directions (east, south, west, north) with the tree as the center point. The ceiba tree is seen as the axis mundi, or world tree. This is depicted as a giant tree (pole) running through the earth from the north to south pole.
The ceiba tree is a deciduous tree native to tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas and West Africa. It’s pink and white flowers produce fruit that release silky seeds that float in the air. The silky fiber of the ceiba seeds are used to stuff pillows and life preservers. This aspect of the ceiba speaks to its gentle spirit during times of great change.
There are 18 species of ceiba trees. The Kapok, Ceiba pentanda, is the best known and most widely cultivated ceiba. Its large buttress shaped roots anchor it to the ground in a wheel-like pattern. They can grow to 230 feet tall with a straight, almost branchless trunk that culminates in a sprawling canopy. The trunk of a young ceiba tree is covered in thick conical thorns that grow in clusters. These thorns create a natural defense during the early, more vulnerable stages of the trees life, which lasts approximately seven years. Seven is seen as the organizing number in a world of chaos.
The Maya reproduced its thorns on cylindrical burial urns to aid the soul during its transition from life to death and back into rebirth.
The ceiba as the wheel of fortune speaks to the many aspects of life that are ever changing. Fortune in itself can be seen as fate, destiny or an inheritance of great wealth. This may signal a time of travel.
Message: The spirit of ceiba reminds us that nothing is constant except change. Even the best made plans can change due to unforeseen circumstances. This may signal a turning point in our life that could bring unexpected news. By embracing this time of change, we learn how to best use what is being offered to us. This is a chance to turn things around and seek new opportunities.
Challenge: Fatalism, misunderstanding our purpose and or feeling like a victim caught in an endless loop of trauma. Work with ceiba to climb above the stories to see the bigger picture.