Acacia – Loss – Ten of Hardwoods (Swords)

Genus: Vachellia – Family: Fabaceae

The acacia signals a time of loss or betrayal that happens without warning. When dealing with loss we must allow ourselves time to grieve. Honoring the wisdom loss provides helps us move forward.

In Egyptian mythology, the gods Isis, Osiris and Set were born under a cosmic acacia tree, seen as Hathor or Nut. In Osirian myth, the acacia versus the tamarisk may be the tree that encased Osiris after being betrayed by his brother Set. The acacia of Heliopolis was the tree in which life and death were enclosed. Osiris became “one” with the acacia as lord of the underworld, his spirit is said to live on in its evergreen nature. Horus, son of Isis and Osiris rode the solar barge of Ra (Sun), made from palm/day and acacia/night, through two “Mother Trees” (sycomore fig) on the eastern horizon where the “Son” sun rose. A mixture of acacia and honey was used by ancient Egyptians as a barrier method of birth control. In this way Acacia helped prevent the loss of control over one’s own life.

In Hebrew, acacia was called shittahz. In Exodus 25:10-16 acacia was identified as the wood that Moses was instructed to use to build the Ark of the Covenant. Some believe that acacia was also the “burning bush” where the name of god revealed itself to Moses as “I Am that I AM.”

The first temple, known as Solomon’s Temple, was the legendary home of the Ark of the Covenant.

In 570 BCE, the Babylonians 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 Arthurian “Holy Grail.”

In Freemasonry, acacia is symbolic of the immortality of the soul.

The name Acaciais based on the Greek word akakia“thorn.” Botanist-physician Pedanius Doiscorides (c.40-90CE) first identified it in his book Materia Medica. Acacia nilotica (now named Vachellia nilotica),“thorn of the Nile” was originally identified as the “type species” for the Acacia genus by Carl Linnaeus in 1773. Two hundred year later, in 1978, it was discovered that the 1300 Acacia species living in Africa and Australia did not share a common ancestor. By 2011, the original Acacia trees native to Africa were reassigned to a new genus Vachellia. The genus Acacia was officially assigned to the 900 Australian species. By renaming the ancient and historic acacia trees of Africa they lost their true identity that connected them to their roots and original stories.

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.