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Thread: Tree of Life

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    Tree of Life

    Hi All,

    I've been reading up on this online, as it may end up becoming a tattoo. However, as enchantingly and brilliantly as these online resources describe the Tree of Life, I can't be sure if those definitions are exactly correct, and if I do use this symbol for my artwork and tattoo design then I want to be certain I've got the right idea. I know the Tree of Life is also something shared by many cultures, so its difficult to find one single definition, but any at all replies will be appreciated. What is the Tree of Life, and what does it represent to you?
    Thank you

    Blessed Be,

    - Nym
    Last edited by Nymree; 9 Feb 2017 at 12:52 AM. Reason: missed detail

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    Re: Tree of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymree View Post
    Hi All,

    I've been reading up on this online, as it may end up becoming a tattoo. However, as enchantingly and brilliantly as these online resources describe the Tree of Life, I can't be sure if those definitions are exactly correct, and if I do use this symbol for my artwork and tattoo design then I want to be certain I've got the right idea. I know the Tree of Life is also something shared by many cultures, so its difficult to find one single definition, but any at all replies will be appreciated. What is the Tree of Life, and what does it represent to you?
    Thank you

    Blessed Be,

    - Nym
    When I think of the Tree of Life, I see the Ancestors (roots), current generations (trunk), and future generations - those who will be alive after me and those yet to come into existence (branches).

    And it's not limited to humankind; it includes the plant and mineral kingdoms, too.

    I don't use the ToL in my own practice, though.
    Last edited by Starlight; 9 Feb 2017 at 04:27 AM. Reason: Clarification & formatting
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    Re: Tree of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymree View Post
    Hi All,

    I've been reading up on this online, as it may end up becoming a tattoo. However, as enchantingly and brilliantly as these online resources describe the Tree of Life, I can't be sure if those definitions are exactly correct, and if I do use this symbol for my artwork and tattoo design then I want to be certain I've got the right idea. I know the Tree of Life is also something shared by many cultures, so its difficult to find one single definition, but any at all replies will be appreciated. What is the Tree of Life, and what does it represent to you?
    Thank you

    Blessed Be,

    - Nym
    Is anything ever exactly correct? People are going to interpret the ToL through their personal filters so what it means to you is probably the most important.

    It's not a concept I work with so I don't have any personal input for you other than due to a quirk in my upbringing I always associate t with the Bo tree.

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    Re: Tree of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymree View Post
    Hi All,

    What is the Tree of Life, and what does it represent to you?
    Thank you
    This may be helpful: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_life

    The kabalah, with roots in Jewish mysticism, is also often referred to as the Tree of Life.

    Personally I appreciate Starlight's interpretation as a strong biological metaphor, but I don't use it religiously. The trees I use are a meditation visualization of myself as a tree, reaching down by the roots to draw in feminine energy (earth, water) and up by the branches for masculine energy (air, the fire of sunlight); and a mythic World Tree archetype, where every possible turn of events creates a new branch, to create a tree connecting a multiverse of myriad branches.

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    Re: Tree of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymree View Post
    I know the Tree of Life is also something shared by many cultures, so its difficult to find one single definition, but any at all replies will be appreciated.
    Dunno if this'll help, but when I think of the ToL I think of a particular Kabbalistic diagram. But that might not be useful to many Pagans.

    That said, since the Tree is really a shared symbol, mayhap the Oracle at Wiki of Pedia can help you with some of those concepts and help you work towards a useful symbolism of your own.
    Far as I'm concerned, 'accoutrement' is pronounced 'a cooter mint.'

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    Re: Tree of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymree View Post
    What is the Tree of Life, and what does it represent to you?
    Thank you

    Blessed Be,

    - Nym
    Depends. The Tree of Life and its Kaballistic/Qabalistic Hermetic motifs can be different from some of European world tree associations like the Bile or Yggdrasil. Their appearance in art or design as well, I think the later being more common for tattoos and such, so it's up to you.

    All of the females in my family wear one as a pendant because of the family connection, and because it's a 'Celtic-y' thing that looks cool, so that's reason enough for them.
    Semper Fidelis

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    Re: Tree of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymree View Post
    Hi All,

    I've been reading up on this online, as it may end up becoming a tattoo. However, as enchantingly and brilliantly as these online resources describe the Tree of Life, I can't be sure if those definitions are exactly correct, and if I do use this symbol for my artwork and tattoo design then I want to be certain I've got the right idea. I know the Tree of Life is also something shared by many cultures, so its difficult to find one single definition, but any at all replies will be appreciated. What is the Tree of Life, and what does it represent to you?
    Thank you

    Blessed Be,

    - Nym
    I don't know if this is helpful, but from my own personal UPG it looks and feels like the concept of "As Above, so Below. As Within, so Without." The idea that the roots need to be just as strong as the branches is very peaceful to me. Polarity, Paradox, and balance are important to me, so I see that when I see the Tree of Life.

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    Re: Tree of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymree View Post
    ...then I want to be certain I've got the right idea. I know the Tree of Life is also something shared by many cultures....
    More precisely, as Micheál alluded to but didn't say directly, there are concepts in many cultures to which that name has been applied. The concepts may be only tenuously related, or not at all, other than the name being (more recently) applied.

    That's a bit of a nitpick, but is probably really good to keep in mind as you explore the various things bearing that name.

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    Re: Tree of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Nymree View Post
    However, as enchantingly and brilliantly as these online resources describe the Tree of Life, I can't be sure if those definitions are exactly correct, and if I do use this symbol for my artwork and tattoo design then I want to be certain I've got the right idea.
    First of all, I think it's important for you to remember that symbols vary from culture to culture, and from one epoch of time to another, particularly in the case of mystical symbols. However, as pointed out by Carl Jung, there are certain symbols that also function as "archetypes" or highly developed elements within the collective unconscious.

    One could argue that the Tree of Life (or at least the tree) IS one of those archetypes, since the tree, as a very common form of life on Earth, is nearly universal to all cultures on the planet, except for perhaps those in the Arctic regions and on top of very high mountains. Indeed, the tree just about as common as rain and fire.

    In the case of rain, fire and trees, humanity seems to have a singular idea about these phenomena of nature. And when you have near-universal knowledge of something throughout a culture or society, the ground is "ripe" for these things to take on symbolic meanings.

    From a biological and scientific standpoint, the tree's enormous structure grows out of the ground from a tiny seed, with its roots buried deep in the Earth, and it's branches reaching for the sky. Trees provide shade from the intense sun, and in the winter, some trees lose all of their leaves, but deciduous trees are "resurrected" each spring. If you meditate and ponder on the very basic structure and life functions of a tree, you'll soon realize why the tree is such an important symbol in mythology throughout the world.

    As others pointed out, you may want to research the World Tree or Yggdrasil. In art, this tree perfectly illustrates the famous Hermetic axiom of Hermes (above/below). However, you asked specifically about the "Tree of Life."

    The most famous story involving a "Tree of Life" comes to us from Genesis, but remember there were two trees spoken of in the Garden--the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve were denied access to the Tree of Life, which was then guarded by cherubim upon their expulsion from the Garden.

    And, as others have said, the Tree of Life came to become of primary importance in the Kabbalah.

    I think it's important for one to read, understand and learn what might have been in the minds of the people who invented these mystical symbols, but it's also important to attribute your own meanings to symbols, also. This is an interesting process, because as you gain intellectual knowledge and progress through meditations and contemplation on these symbols, the meanings you attribute to these symbols will definitely change over time...
    Last edited by Plutarch; 16 Mar 2017 at 03:05 PM. Reason: .

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    Re: Tree of Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutarch View Post
    A Reminder:
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