Sycomore – Nurturing – Earthkeeper of Fruit Trees (Queen of Cups)

Genus: Ficus – Family: Moraceae

The ancient sycomore tree is a spirit that reminds us to see with our heart instead of our head. This is a time of trusting our soul’s intuitive nature to nurture ourselves and those we love.

Ficus sycomorus is an ancient species of fig tree native to Africa and Southwest Asia. The Egyptian goddesses Hathor, Nut and Isis have each been the “Lady of the Sycomore” and over time each was considered the mother of Horus. Twin sycomores, symbolic of the “Mother Tree” stood on the eastern horizon to mark the birth of a new day. The sun god Ra, later known as Horus, rose each morning from the east and set each night in the west. This ongoing cycle of life/light/day and death/dark/night marked the rebirth of the “Sun” as the “son” with “Earth” as its “mother”. Hathor and Nut were also seen as cosmic cows who nurtured their children, this associated them with the Milky Way. A milky juice can be extracted from unripen figs that grow along the sycomore’s trunk.

Sarcophagi were made of sycomore wood in order for the dead to return to the “Mother Tree” and be nurtured back to life. Its figs were known as the “Figs of the Pharaoh” who named them Nehetmeaning “refuge”. To Egyptians, the sycomore was a Tree of Life.

In Hebrew, the sycomore’s name is shikma, meaning to nurture, regenerate or reestablish. In the Old Testament – Kings I: Solomon comments on how abundant sycomores were in the foothills. In Christianity, the sycomore tree is found in Luke 19:4 where Zacchaeus climbs a sycomore tree to get a better view of Jesus.

Some believe that a sycomore tree near Cairo, existed at the time of Mary and Joseph’s flight from Egypt. According to legend Mary rested upon the tree with the infant Jesus 2000 years ago where it provided nourishment and shade. Today, people from all faiths visit the site of this “miracle tree” to heal the mind, body and soul.

The name sycomore comes from the Greek word sukomoros, meaning “fig-mulberry” because its leaves resemble a mulberry tree. Sycomore figs are massive shade trees with sprawling canopies similar to plane, platanus trees, but the similarity stops there. Because of this many platanus species are commonly called sycamore, with an “a”. This confusion is made even more complicated because the leaves of a plane tree resembles those of a maple tree. The American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis is actually a plane tree, not a sycamore. The Sycamore maple, Acer pseudoplatanus means “false plane tree”. Sycomore figs are a long-lived species that can reach 60ft tall. They were cultivated for years and pollinated by their own unique fig wasp.

Message: When sycomore appears, we are reminded to listen with our heart. This is a time of compassion for others as well as our self. The appearance of sycomore signals that we are being called to help, support and teach others during a time of need. During this time, it is important to define our boundaries so we don’t lose our self in the process. Create beauty with art, words or music.

Challenge: Close-minded and shut down, unwilling to change.