Acacia – Chaos

 Acacia – Chaos

Genus: Vachellia – Family: Fabaceae

The acacia signals a time of chaos, confusion and change that can happen without warning. By understanding what has changed we gain the clarity needed to move forward.

In Egyptian mythology, the first gods were born under a cosmic acacia tree, associated with the goddess Nut, who shielded them from chaos.

The acacia of Heliopolis was the tree in which life and death were enclosed. In Osirian myth, the acacia tree (also associated with Tamarisk) encased Osiris after he was betrayed by his brother Set. In death Osiris became the acacia tree as “lord of the underworld.” His seed was planted into Isis “goddess of life” who gave birth to Horus “lord of the sky.”

Horus is often depicted riding a solar barge flanked by an acacia to the west and a date palm on the east as he moves through the chaos of night and day. Horus is the “all seeing eye” of Ra, his right eye is the sun and the left is the moon.

Acacia, a sacred wood to the Hebrews, was called shittahz. In Exodus 25:10-22 acacia is described as the wood that Moses was instructed to use to build the Ark of the Covenant.

Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant. Artist: Benjamin West (1738-1820)

The Ark housed and protected two sacred stone tablets (Ten Commandments), the rod of Aaron and a pot of Manna. According to the books of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, Solomon’s Temple was built around 950 BCE in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the “Holy of Holies”. But even with all of this planning and “divine” direction the Ark fell victim to chaos. In 587 BCE, the Babylonians destroyed Solomon’s Temple and the Ark disappeared never to be seen again. The story of the Ark’s mythical properties and sudden disappearance has inspired one of the great mysteries of all time. In Freemasonry, acacia symbolizes the immortality of the soul. Acacia reminds us that even when all seems lost, new beginnings will come around as long as we remain open to them.

Acacia comes from the Greek akakia “thorny Egyptian tree”.  Botanist-physician Pedanius Dioscorides (40-90CE) first identified Acacia in his book Materia Medica. In 1773 Carl Linnaeus identified Acacia nilotica “thorn of the Nile” as the type species for the Acacia genus. 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 of Africa were reassigned to a new genus –Vachellia, in honor of Rev. George Harvey Vachell an avid plant collector of the East India Company in China. Acacia remained with the 900 Australian species. Acacia pycnantha or Golden Wattle is Australia’s national tree and flower.

Message: The acacia spirit encourages us to move through the pain we feel as a result of chaos, sudden loss and or the betrayal of lovers, friends, family, partners 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 chaos and pain; this is a difficult lesson in life that teaches us to be resilient.

Challenge: Unwilling to look at our trauma or accept change gracefully. Staying stuck in the pain and trauma of change.

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