Sycomore – Earthmother
Genus: Ficus – Family: Moraceae
The ancient sycomore tree is a spirit that reminds us to see with our heart instead of our eyes. This is a fertile time of trusting our soul’s intuitive nature to nurture our selves and those we love.
The Egyptian fertility goddesses Hathor, Nut and Isis are all seen as “the Lady of the Sycomore.” Each was considered the mother of Ra (Sun), later known as Horus, who rose each morning from the east and set each night in the west. This ongoing cycle of day and night marked the birth of the sun as the “son” with earth as the “mother”. Twin sycomores, symbolic of the Mother Tree, stood on the eastern horizon to mark the sun’s passage as a new day was birthed. Hathor and Nut were also seen as cosmic cows who nurtured their children. A milky juice can be extracted from the unripe figs growing on the sycomore’s trunk, which also associated it with the milky way. Sarcophagi made of sycomore, were used to return the dead to the mothering tree and nurtured back to life.
Ficus sycomorus is an ancient species of evergreen fig tree native to Africa and Southwest Asia. Its figs were known as the “Figs of the Pharaoh” who named them Nehet meaning “refuge”. Egyptians saw the sycomore as a “Tree of Life”, as well as acacia, tamarisk, date palms and others.
In Hebrew, the sycomore’s name is shikma, meaning to nurture, regenerate or reestablish. In the Old Testament – Kings I: Solomon comments on how abundant sycomores were in the foothills. In Christianity, the sycomore tree is found in Luke 19:4 where Zacchaeus climbs a sycomore tree to get a better view of Jesus. Some believe that a sycomore tree near Cairo, existed at the time of Mary and Joseph’s flight from Egypt. According to legend Mary rested upon the tree with the infant Jesus 2000 years ago where it provided nourishment and shade. People from all faiths visit the site of this “miracle tree” to heal their mind, body and soul. Sycomore reminds us to nurture all the gifts that earth provides.
Sycomore comes from the Greek word sukomoros, meaning “fig-mulberry” because its leaves resemble a mulberry tree. Sycomore figs are a long-lived species that can reach 60ft tall. They were once cultivated and pollinated by their own unique fig wasps. Sycomore figs are massive shade trees with sprawling canopies similar to Platanus Occidentalis, which is commonly referred to as a sycamore tree. This creates confusion between the ancient sycomore fig and the beloved American sycamore, which is actually a plane tree.
Message: When sycomore appears, we are entering a fertile period of truth, creativity and communication. We are being called to nurture ourselves and others. By embracing the bounty of what earth provides with great integrity and reciprocity, we are able to receive the infinite gifts that feed our bodies and souls. By sharing food, art, words, music, wisdom etc… we enrich our life and the lives of those around us.
Challenge: Close-minded and shut down, unwilling to change. Co-dependence or feeling empty and disconnected from life.
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