Sunday, July 25, 2010

The World Tree - As A Symbol

Myths, tales and legends of the World Tree can be found in the
teachings of nearly all ancient cultures. The World Tree Symbolizes
the "upper, middle and lower regions of the cosmos". ***

Its trunk is the world axis, or axis mundi, which connects the earthly
realm of matter below with the heavenly realm of spirit above. It is
a Symbolic allusion to the Hermetic axiom, "As above, so below. As
below, so above".

The World Tree is also a metaphor for Awareness, Enlightenment
and Rites of Initiation which appear in world Mythologies.

In Norse Mythology Odin hung upside down on the World Tree,
Yggdrasil, until he obtained the Wisdom to understand the secret
language of the Runes. Symbolically, to "hang upside down" means
to look at things in a different perspective: a principle which is also
portrayed by "The Hanged Man" in the Tarot deck.

From Egyptian Mythology comes the legend of Isis and Osiris in
which Osiris becomes entombed within a tamarisk tree after being
tricked by his brother Seth. Eventually, Osiris' wife-sister Isis frees
Osiris from this World Tree and completes the Rite of Initiation.

From the far East we are instructed that the Buddha meditated
under the Bodhi Tree, another reference to the World Tree, until
he gained Enlightenment. Bodhi means "Awakening" or "Enlighten-
ment" and is also the root word of Buddha.

Sir Isaac Newton was meditating under an apple tree when an
apple metaphorically fell upon his head, whereby he gained
Awareness of the law of gravity. We are all very thankful that
Sir Isaac chose not to sit beneath a coconut tree!

Trees can also contain hollows. Hollows in trees symbolize the
Cosmic Womb which can be used as places of Initiation. And
because these hollows represent the Cosmic Womb they have also
been used as grottoes to honor forest spirits, elemental creatures,
and the Divine Principles Of Nature. These hollows are also
respected as doorways to realms of higher consciousness and
entrance ways into the realms of elemental creatures such as elves
and faeries.

With these thoughts as our background, let us now explore the
Symbolism contained within the World Tree.

In all cultures, the World Tree is represented by an evergreen tree
which is indigenous to that particular area of the world. Green is the
color of fertility, vitality, abundance, growth, rebirth and renewal.
Therefore, Ever-green Symbolizes the eternal and unbroken Cycle
of fertility, vitality, abundance, growth, rebirth and renewal.

The roots of the World Tree are embedded deep within the earth
and reach out, far and wide, in all directions. This Symbolizes a solid,
all-encompassing, attachment to the world of matter.

The trunk is the axis mundi (world axis) which Symbolizes the
connection, or Pathway, between the world of matter below and the
realm of spirit above. It is the Ladder by which higher beings can
descend to earth in order to help enlighten the True Seeker and
which the Seeker, or Initiate, can use to ascend to the higher realms
of spiritual consciousness.

The branches of the World Tree Symbolize the canopy of heaven,
along with all the celestial bodies, which rotate around the world
axis, the axis mundi. The layers of branches represent the ascending
realms of consciousness which exist within the infinite domain of

The World Tree, which Symbolizes a direct and unbroken link
between the world of matter and the realm of Spirit is also Symbolic
of, and a metaphor for, our human bodies which are also linked to
the above and below . For just as the roots of the World Tree are set
firmly in the world of matter, so too are our feet firmly planted upon
the same earth.

And just as the branches of the World Tree reach for the heavens,
so too do our heads, and minds, reach for the higher realms of
consciousness in order to allow the spirits which dwell within these
realms to descend unto us in order to instruct us in Divine Wisdom.

And finally, in the same way in which the trunk of the World Tree
serves as a Ladder for the higher spirits to descend and the lower
beings to ascend, so too does the trunk of our body function in the
same way. For it is within the trunk of our body that our spinal
column, our personal axis mundi, resides and in which our Chakra
System dwells.

It is at the base of our Chakra System that our kundalini energy
rests, being ever ready to receive Divine Guidance from the higher
realms. Once Divine Guidance is received, and understood, our
kundalini energy is then able to leave the lower regions of our
physical nature and ascend upwards. As it ascends upwards
through our spinal column it empowers and awakens the Chakras
at the higher levels until it finally ascends through our Crown
Chakra in its journey into the very highest levels of spiritual
consciousness and enlightenment.

See also: "Hyperborea - Beyond the Northern Winds;
and "Draco: Constellation Of The Cosmic Serpent"

*** "The Complete Dictionary Of Symbols" - Jack Tresidder

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and no more. Everyone is encouraged to seek competent
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should such advice or service be required.

© copyright Joseph Panek 2010
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