Cedar – Faith
Genus: Cedrus – Family: Pinaceae
Cedar supports our spiritual quest by exploring the mysteries of faith as we search for truth and meaning in our life.
To ancient Sumerians, the cedar forests of Lebanon, Cedrus libani, were “Home of the Divine Ones”. Enlil, the Sumerian “Lord of Wind” protected these cedar forests until humans cut them down to build temples. In 950 BCE, the Cedars of Lebanon were used to build King Solomon’s Temple and the House of the Forest of Lebanon in Jerusalem. Both were places of worship and faith.
Around 620 CE, the Prophet Muhammad experienced his visionary Night Journey. In his vision he saw the Heavenly Lote Tree (Sidr) standing over the ruins of King Solomon’s temple, which marked the seventh heaven beyond the boundaries of existence. Lote and Sidr are both Arabic words for Cedrus and Ziziphus trees.
Himalayan Cedar, Cedrus deodara, derives its name from the Sanskrit word devadaru, meaning the “tree of the divine ones.” Deva is the root of the words “divine” and “deity” while daru means both “tree” and “true”.
These stories remind us that cedar trees were seen as wisdom keepers and their forests were temples. For this reason cedar offers deep insights into the ancient mysteries of faith. For some, faith has evolved into religions that interpret the natural world for us. Cedar reminds us to seek out our truth by trusting our inner wisdom.
In 1753, Carl Linnaeus began the complex process of classifying trees by family, genus and species. The Cedrus genus was placed in the Pinaceae (pine) family because they featured long straight evergreen needles and upright cones similar to fir trees. Cedrus in Latin, meant “aromatic wood” which was originally associated with Junipers and other aromatic evergreens including Citrus.
“True” cedars are native throughout the western Himalayan Mountains and Mediterranean region. Atlas Cedar, Cedrus atlantica, is the source of cedarwood essential oil. The name “cedar” is often associated with trees in the Cupressaceae (cypress) family. These so-called “false” cedars include, Juniper – Juniperus (eastern red cedar) and Arborvitae – Thuja (western red cedar & northern white cedar), which were all sacred and beloved wisdomkeepers. Other examples include Siberian pine – Pinus sibirica (Siberian cedar) and several species of Mahogany. All of these cedars have functioned as faith keepers for indigenous peoples throughout the world. The aroma of burning cedar smudges has been used for thousands of years in ancient ceremonies to clear and bless sacred space. Cedar teaches us that faith isn’t defined by words, but by the spiritual essence we sense deep in our soul.
Message: This is a time of spiritual expansion when we are being asked to go within for guidance. By staying true to ourselves everything will sort itself out. By living in a world of absolutes, we limit our ability to see the bigger picture or appreciate the opportunities that may become available to us. If we are doubting our self we must spend time in nature to reconnect to our truth.
Challenge: Lack of faith in yourself or others. Exhibiting controlling or hoarding behavior. Having a scarcity mentality that nothing will ever work. Focusing on the negative in the positive.
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