Awaken the Tree of Life Within
I have finalized my book “Tree Spirit Tarot – Awaken the Tree of Life Within.”
It is a book and tarot deck based on 78 different trees. The seed for this book was planted as a child, but it is only now after 60 years of living, learning and remembering that it has finally taken root. I wish to share what I am creating as a way to bring it out to the world.
Trees have been and continue to be cross-cultural symbols of our psyche, our soul and our natural world. They hold our collective and sacred stories. Trees came before us, creating the perfect environment for us to thrive; they enriched the soil and cleared the air. Our first breath is directly connected to trees. Trees inspired our ancient ancestors to learn how to receive their gifts of food, shelter and fire. The more they learned, the more they realized that trees offered the raw materials for tools, clothing, paper and medicine. Trees literally provided the “spark” that ignited our consciousness to create stories, art, music, language, math, time and belief.
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, as well as the collective unconscious. He identified archetypes that represented the human condition. Jung felt that the human psyche was “by nature religious,” and what set humans apart from other species was their search for meaning in both life and death. He theorized that the psyche individuated (or separated) itself from its soul in search of its unique purpose in life. Yet during this quest for purpose, the psyche ultimately longed to return home to the soul and feel whole. As a result of his work, Jung saw trees as the archetype of the psyche and mandalas as the archetype of wholeness.
He theorized that the psyche individuated (or separated) itself from its soul in search of its unique purpose in life. Yet during this quest for purpose, the psyche ultimately longed to return home to the soul and feel whole. As a result of his work, Jung saw trees as the archetype of the psyche and mandalas as the archetype of wholeness.
The word archetype, “original pattern from which copies are made” actually dates back to Plato. Plato, a Greek philosopher (424–347 BCE), identified archetypes as ideas in pure mental form that were imprinted into the soul before it was born. These concepts of archetypes, as shared stories are also found in nature. Trees helped humans to see the circular movements of the sun, moon and stars. They also saw how rings within trees mirrored the orbits circling above them. These cosmic rings inspired the creation of sacred geometry. The word “sacred” is synonymous with the concept of “sky/divine.”
The word “geometry” comes from the Greek words “geos/earth” and “metron/measure.” Together this translates as the “divine measuring of the earth,” or “divine and earthly measurements.” By watching the stars and planets in relationship to the earth, sun and moon, mankind gave birth to astronomy, math, calendars and time.
For some cultures, this ushered in a time of harmony, for others it signaled a time of mind expansion, for a powerful few, they saw it as man’s triumph over nature. Each culture began to create their own unique understanding of the universe and their relationship with trees. This led to many mythical stories between trees and humans as metaphors of humanity and creation.
For the majority of cultures, certain elder trees were seen as sacred Trees of Life that grew from the watery world of earth. Most of these trees were seen as parents or guardians of all living creatures. They served as connectors between the earth and sky.
Trees have long been associated with the concepts of mother/father gods. The names Elohim, Eland Elon, are synonymous with oak tree, the feminine counterpart is Elat. The mother Goddess Asherah, means grove in Greek. Trees that have been associated with Asherah include oaks, walnuts, myrtles, pomegranates and willows.
Tree worship also included the creation of tree poles that included Asherah poles in the middle east, Irminsuls in Germania as well as pillars in Siberia and obelisks in Egypt to name a few.
The Book of Genesis tells the mythical story of two trees that stood in the Garden of Eden. One is the Tree of Life and the other is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Elohim created the garden, instructing Adam and Eve to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge. When they disobeyed this order, they were cast out of the garden and forbidden to eat from the immortal Tree of Life. This became symbolic of mankind’s separation from nature and the infinite nature of their soul. As monotheism (belief in one god) grew throughout the Roman Empire, the knowledge of our natural world was forbidden. Europe, and surrounding countries plummeted into the Dark Ages for 1300 years.
When Old World explorers began discovering the “New World” they encountered many stories of trees. Inspired by these “new” trees, Renaissance scholars and cultural leaders began to rediscover the knowledge and wisdom of nature.
Even though the majority of ancient texts were destroyed, some began to resurface. The Kabbalah and the Tarot appeared during the Renaissance. The Kabbalah is also known as the Tree of Life, and the word Tarot is believed to come from the Italian word Tarocco, meaning blood orange.
The sacred and archetypal stories held within trees and within each of us, is known as the collective unconsciousness. By bringing the unconsciousness forward and becoming conscious we are able to awaken our collective stories and heal the wounds of separation that have been hidden in the shadows for thousands of years.
Embracing our humanity and our divinity can be envisioned when we imagine ourselves as a tree. By feeling our feet planted firmly on earth, we can sense our roots connecting to the mystery teachings of nature. By raising our arms like branches, we can connect to the multiple stories and wisdom teachings written in the sky. As the trunk of a tree we can stand calmly in the stillness of the present moment, learning through observation and dreaming a new reality.
By understanding that we interconnected we can begin to see ourselves as living trees of life. As we reconnect with ourselves we reconnect to one another through our shared roots and collective history. By bringing these stories to consciousness we remember that we are not separate from nature, trees or our soul.
By awakening the Tree of Life within, we return to the garden of our soul.
Note: Until I can find an agent or publisher to help create an affordable box set the physical book and card deck are available for purchase from these suppliers.
Tree Spirit Tarot book: Amazon
Tree Spirit card deck at: Printers Studio
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir