Tree Stories

“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.” – William Shakespeare

Trees have been and continue to be truth tellers. They hold the ancient wisdom stories of creation and order. Trees are cross-cultural and archetypal symbols of our journey as a psyche and soul.

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Amun Re kneeling with the Tree of Life (Ished) Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak. Built 2055 BCE.

During the mid 20th Century, Swiss psychoanalyst, Carl Jung (1875-1961) pioneered the field of behavioral psychology. He studied concepts such as individuation, the conscious and unconscious self, the collective unconscious and archetypes.

Jung, felt that the human psyche was, “by nature religious,” and what set man apart from other species was their search for meaning in both life and death. He theorized that the human psyche individuated or separated the self from its soul in search of its unique purpose in life.  Yet during this quest for purpose the psyche ultimately longed to reunite with the soul to feel whole. He felt that trauma enhanced this sense of separation. It could also prevent the psyche from rejoining the soul to feel complete.

The word archetype, “original pattern from which copies are made,” actually dates back to Plato. Plato, a Greek philosopher (424–347BC), identified archetypes as ideas in pure mental form that were imprinted into the soul before it was born. They are shared fundamental characteristics or experiences felt among all humans.

Carl Jung, identified trees as the archetype of the human psyche.

Garzi, Luigi, 1638-1721; The Birth of Adonis and the Transformation of Myrrha
Luigi Garzi. The Birth of Adonis and the Transformation of Myrrha.

Trees are found in creation myths and mystery teachings everywhere on earth. They inspired stories that stirred the soul and ignited our imaginations.

Aranyaka (Sanskrit “Forest Book”) written c 700 BCE. Vedic text. Yogi’s sitting under a Banyan tree receiving secret instructions.

By understanding that we are all interconnected to trees, we can begin to reconnect to each other by seeing the roots of our shared story. These stories are held within us and the collective unconsciousness.

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Assyrian, (Sumerian Tree of Life tablet) 865-860 BCE. Nimrud, North-West Palace, Room B.

Over the course of human existence mankind has created gods and goddesses, beyond themselves, as a way to reflect their own desires and dreams. These are actually projections of our humanity onto the universe around us. These stories provided a way for our ancient ancestors to explain concepts that were still evolving within them. This is why there are over 10,000 names for “god”.

When we begin to see that we are the names and faces of god, we will begin to heal the stories that separate us and honor the roots that created us.

A depiction of the Kabbalah (Tree of Life).

Trees are a reflection of our self and our innate connection to nature and creation. Let us rethink, rewrite and create new tree stories that inspire healing for our world.

If you have a tree story that you want to share please email me: lauralwauters@gmail.com

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