Hello, and welcome to Tree Spirit Wisdom, a nurturing, educational and inspirational place to renew your soul by connecting with the ancient wisdom of trees.
Trees have witnessed and nurtured our evolutionary journey.
Trees first appeared on earth over 300 million years ago, before the age of dinosaurs. As trees evolved so did life around them. The mass extinction of dinosaurs and other species 65 million years ago allowed trees to flourish in greater density throughout the world. These vast and varied forests created the perfect environment for primates to thrive as they lived within the trees embrace. These ancient trees were members of an extended family, who offered warmth, nourishment and encouragement to all who lived among them. Trees watched diligently as early primates began to explore their surroundings. As they ventured beyond the trees embrace, these primates began to walk upright some 13 to 7 million years ago, which marked the beginning their evolution into Homo Erectus.
Genetic and fossil records place the earliest Homo (human) in Africa around 3 – 4 million years ago. Trees continued to nourish and challenge our early ancestors to learn how to use their raw materials for food, fire, shelter and tools. Trees literally provided the “spark” that ignited our primal imagination and sense of wonder. We have been consciously and unconsciously co-evolving with trees ever since.
They inspired our early ancestors to create music and language. Countless stories inspired by trees have been written within the very fabric of our being. These stories remain etched deep in our DNA and our soul. Over time their stories became our stories and our stories became their stories.
The World Tree or “Axis Mundi” represents a giant tree that runs through the earth’s core. The “Anima Mundi” or World Soul represents the collective soul of Earth.
The rings of a tree mirror the organizing principal of life, which inspired humans to track the circular movements of the sun, moon and stars. These cosmic rings formed the foundation of sacred geometry, which gave birth to the creation of calendars, thus planting the seeds of modern agriculture.
The word “sacred” is synonymous with the concept of “divine,” which means the “shining ones in the sky.” The word geometry is Greek for “geos/earth” and “metron/measure.” Together this translates as the “divine measuring of earth,” or “divine and earthly measurements.” These sacred measurements inspired the mind to attain the “knowledge” of astronomy, math and medicine.
One of the greatest stories that trees share with us is that of life and death.
Trees show us how to move through the seasons of life by releasing their leaves in fall (death), drawing on their inner resources in winter (rebirth), sprouting new life in spring (birth) and spreading their branches in summer (life). Eventually, each and every tree experiences a larger more permanent physical death just as humans do. Once their vital life force leaves and they no longer breath they gradually decompose and become one with the earth, but the spirit of the tree continues on.
Many cultures honored “elder” trees as sacred ancestors who were revered and often worshipped. These trees were seen as the guardians of the land who carried the wisdom of the past, present and future. Eventually humans created gods and goddesses beyond themselves and the trees as a way to reflect their desires and dreams of immortality.
For some cultures, this ushered in a time of harmony, for others it signaled a time of mind expansion. But, for a powerful few it was seen as man’s triumph over nature. Each culture created their own unique understanding of their interrelationship with the cosmos and nature. This led to the creation of mythical stories of trees as metaphors for creation and gods.
Honoring trees as “divine beings” was a worldwide practice. In Sumerian culture the Cedars of Lebanon were considered as the “home of the gods”. The Oaks of Dodona in Greece as well as sacred oaks in Europe were seen as divine oracles that imparted wisdom through the sound of wind blowing through their leaves. Larch trees in Siberia acted as guides for shamans to travel through time and space. Sycomore Figs in Egypt were known as “mother trees” who birthed day to night and night to day. Cottonwoods in North America connected mother earth with father sky in Sun Dance ceremonies. Dates trees in Africa, Gingko’s in China and Ceiba’s in Meso-America were all honored as Trees of Life to name just a few.
The ancient Hebrew names Elohim, El, Elah/Alah, Elon/Alon, Elat/Alat are interrelated with trees such as oak and ash. Asherah, the feminine aspect of Yahweh is synonymous with sacred tree groves.
As cultures evolved into towns and cities the need for law and order grew. Tree worship became a potential threat for those who wanted centralized authority and governance. Around 500 BCE the Persians asked the Hebrew people to provide a book of laws that outlined their beliefs. The first Book was Genesis, which contained their creation story that featured two trees in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve (created by YHWH also known as Elohim or El) lived in the Garden of Eden; home to the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. They were told they could eat from the Tree of Life and all other plants in the garden, but they could not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. When they did, they were cast out of the garden and eternally separated from the Tree of Life.
This singular story holds the “original wound” of separation, which is so prevalent today. By uncovering the roots of our stories and healing these wounds we can make peace within ourselves to become whole or “holy”.
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, and the collective unconscious. He classified “archetypes” as aspects of 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.
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.
As monotheism (belief in one god) spread throughout the world, the original stories inspired by trees were banished and forbidden. The wisdom of nature and trees became a source of fear, which plummeted Europe into darkness for nearly 1300 years.
When Old World explorers discovered the New World, they encountered numerous new trees, with new stories and medicinal benefits. Inspired by these findings, scholars and cultural leaders began rediscovering the wisdom of trees. This awareness help usher in the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment.
The Kabbalah (Tree of Life) and Tarot (Triumphs of Life) appeared when it was safe for these stories of our true nature to be known again.
Today there are over 10,000 names for “god” of which many are interrelated with trees. It is time to reconnect to our stories that were inspired by trees.
The trees of the world have been holding onto our stories to remind us that we are the ones who wrote them. By honoring the weaving of our shared story and the many cultures that created them we can heal the separation that exists within ourselves and our world.
“The Tree of Life lives within each of us, helping us awaken to our true nature. Let us reach out with branches of compassion, connect with each other through our shared roots, and hold space for all to grow and feel loved.” – Laural Virtues Wauters