Acacia – Loss – Ten of Hardwoods (Swords)
Genus: Vachellia – Family: Fabaceae
The acacia signals a time of unexpected loss or betrayal that happens without any warning. There is little we can do except to face it, move through it, release the pain and prepare to move on.
Acacia (thorn), Vachellia tortilis, (umbrella thorn), is one of the iconic trees of the African savanna. Acacia, Vachellia nilotica, (thorn of the Nile) grew along the Nile River.
In Egyptian mythology, the first gods were born under a cosmic acacia tree associated with Hathor and Nut.
The solar barge of Ra (Sun) made from acacia and date palm, represented the journey through day/life and night/death. Acacia is seen as the tree in which life and death are enclosed.
In the Osirian myth, the acacia was the tree that encased Osiris after he was betrayed by his brother Set. Osiris became “one” with the acacia tree as lord of the underworld, afterlife and rebirth. His spirit is said to live on in the evergreen yet thorny nature of the acacia tree.
In Hebrew, acacia wood was known as shittah. The Book of Exodus identifies acacia as the wood used to build the Ark of the Covenant.
Exodus 25:10-16 “They shall make an ark of acacia wood. You shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. You shall put into the ark the covenant that I shall give you.”
In 570 BCE, the Babylonians conquered the Israelites and destroyed King Solomon’s temple where the legendary Ark was housed. The Ark’s disappearance became one of the greatest losses and ultimately on the great mysteries of all time. This loss represents the archetypal search for the “Holy Grail.”
The word acacia comes from the Greek word akakia meaning “thorn.” In 1773, Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, claimed Acacia nilotica as the “type species” for the genus Acacia. Almost 200 years later, in 1978, it was discovered that not all 1300 species in the Acacia genus shared a common ancestor, this created heated debates and controversy. In 2005, it was barely decided to split the Acacia genus into five different genera. The 163 Acacia species of Africa, from which the original genus was named, were renamed Vachellia. The Acacia genus was then reassigned to the 900 Australian Acacia species. This was seen as a huge betrayal to the original acacia trees of Africa, whose original identify has been lost.
In Freemasonry, the acacia is symbolic of the immortality of the soul.
Message: The acacia spirit encourages us to let go of the pain we feel as a result of sudden loss and or the betrayal of friends, family, peers etc. The acacia asks us to be mindful of how easily words can be changed or misinterpreted and to dig deeper to understand their true intent. Wisdom is often born of pain, this is a difficult lesson in life that teaches us to be resilient and hopeful as we move forward.
Challenge: Unwilling to look at our trauma or accept defeat gracefully. Staying stuck in the pain and sorrow.