Trees have claimed such a centerpiece in world cultures that one central symbol, the Tree of Life, appears in ancient artistry across almost every corner of the globe. What, exactly, does the Tree of Life represent? The answer is many-fold! Below, let’s see how the Tree of Life originated and what it means, as well as how you can use it for good in your life.
History of the Tree of Life Symbol
The Tree of Life has countless ancient roots, similar to the physical roots of the Tree itself. Archaeologists have located this symbol in Turkey and dated it back to 7000 BC; similarly, it appears in Acadian culture around 3000 BC.
This symbol also shows up in ancient Celtic culture; they called the Tree ‘Crann Bethadh’ in their language. The Celts highly revered trees; upon clearing a field, for example, they ritualistically left a single tree standing in the middle. Generations of people would then use this tree’s shelter to conduct meetings and ceremonies. Indeed, the Celtic people believed that trees were wise, mystical living beings, and their high regard for nature led them to use trees as symbols in their culture.
Finally, Christianity also retains elements of the Tree of Life, as the Book of Genesis mentions the symbol as the tree which grows in the Garden of Eden.
In fact, to this day, a 400-year-old tree stands in the country of Bahrain and is known around the world as the “Tree of Life”. Many believe that this tree stands in the original location of the Garden of Eden.
11 things the Tree of Life represents
1. Oneness and Connection
If you observe the Tree of Life symbol, you’ll see the way that the deep roots fan out in all directions, while at the same time, the branches reach skyward in the same pattern. This symbolizes the way that you, and all living beings, are connected to both Mother Earth and to the Universe.
Our physical bodies need the Earth to nourish us, while at the same time, our souls originate from the Universe (or Source) and will return to it once our bodies perish. Likewise, through the Universe, we are not separate; we are connected to all things.
2. Family and Ancestry
Notice the way that the Tree of Life represents a large family tree. Imagine yourself as the tree’s trunk– one singular unit. If you were to map out all of your great grandparents, for dozens of generations back, your family tree would eventually look like a massive Tree of Life, representing the hundreds of hundreds of people that came together to create you. It’s profound, when you think about it!
3. Self Growth
The strongest trees in the world– such as the living Tree of Life in Bahrain– have weathered the most turbulent storms, and in fact, these storms made the trees stronger.
Trees’ roots extend far beneath the soil, not only to search for water, but to anchor the tree firmly into the ground in case of heavy wind. This explains why the Tree of Life represents personal growth: the stronger the storm, the stronger the tree.
The ancient Celts knew well that those great trees that stood in the middle of their fields, their Crann Bethadh, provided not only a gathering place, but also nourishment and shade, as well as a shelter for birds and other animals.
They recognized that trees allowed their people to prosper, and that without trees, human life could not thrive. Thus, their Tree of Life also symbolizes all of the nourishment and prosperity that trees provide for humans and for the Earth.
Similar to the Tree of Life’s “self growth” symbolism, the significance of groundedness has to do with the tree’s seemingly infinite roots. We know, scientifically, that the deeper a tree’s roots stretch, the more resistant they are to harsh weather.
Similarly, we humans must ground ourselves with reverence for the Earth and for our physical bodies. In doing so, we strengthen our root chakras, cultivating a sense of stability, so that we can live with steadfastness no matter what life takes us through.
7. Cycle of life
Through their reverence of their own great trees, the Celts came to understand a tree’s life cycle through the seasons as an awe-inspiring birth-death-rebirth cycle. This represents a few things: first of all, as humans, we all go through personal growth periods where we feel like everything we identify with is “dying”, only to find a sense of renewed hope and confidence on the other side of this ego death.
Of course, this life cycle also represents the physical human cycle of birth, death, and then, if you choose to believe in it, “rebirth” in the form of reincarnation or a new life in the Spirit World. The Tree of Life can represent this infinite immortality, too– think about how trees produce seeds, which create new trees, even after the original tree has died.
If you grow a tree in a shady area, you’ll notice that its leaves turn towards the sun. If an object stands in the way of a tree’s growth, the tree will grow around it. This is why no two trees are the same.
Think about it: if every tree had to grow in the same, uniform shape, most trees wouldn’t survive, because trees must be adaptable in order to thrive. You, as a human, won’t thrive if you’re too rigid in your expectations of life– just like a tree.
9. Wisdom/Higher Intelligence
This particular Tree of Life meaning brings us back to the Celts; again, this culture believed that trees were wise, mystical beings. Their culture greatly appreciated the trees’ wisdom, and so, their Tree of Life went on to become a symbol of an intelligence greater than our own.
No two trees are uniform. Just like humans, each tree has experienced unique growth, difficulties, and environmental factors. Thus, the Tree of Life can also represent your beautiful uniqueness; you, your ancestry, your unique upbringing, as well as your likes, dislikes, experiences, and a whole Universe of other aspects, cannot quite compare to any other human in the world.
When autumn arrives, trees don’t fear losing their leaves. They don’t hold onto the leaves in worry that they’ll never grow new ones. Governed by the loving wisdom of the Earth, trees gracefully release their leaves every fall, stripping themselves bare for the winter in complete trust that they will grow fresh leaves anew in the spring.
As such, the Tree of Life can teach us that abundance is all around us, and that we don’t have to hoard our possessions out of a fear of loss.
How to use the Tree of Life to call in good luck and abundance
If you resonate with the Tree of Life’s countless spiritual representations, you’ll likely benefit from wearing or displaying the symbol in one way or another. Seeing the Tree of Life daily can remind you of its beautiful, infinite meaning, which can raise your vibration and attract positivity towards you.
Wear it as jewelry
Search any online craft marketplace for “Tree of Life jewelry”, and you’ll see a vast array of stunning designs in the form of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings. Adorning your body with this gorgeous symbol is a reverent way to remind yourself of your eternal nature, as well as the Universe’s warmth, love, and abundance.
Decorate your home with it
Whether you prefer something large, such as a tapestry, or tiny, such as a desk ornament, the Tree of Life can serve a dual purpose by both beautifying and raising the vibration of your home.
One particularly potent way to do this is to place a Feng Shui Gem Tree in your home– these trees contain crystals of your choice, giving you an added vibration boost! To attract luck and abundance, citrine and green aventurine are perfect options. In addition, according to Feng Shui, place the tree in the Southeast corner of your house to attract abundance.
Get a tattoo
This may sound extreme to some, but if you feel powerfully drawn to the Tree of Life, there’s nothing stopping you from getting the symbol tattooed on your body. The tattoo can serve as a constant reminder to think abundant thoughts and express gratitude for your blessings.
Summing it up
Some may say that the Tree of Life is the most potent spiritual symbol in existence– and they have a valid point. Trees teach us countless spiritual lessons such as resilience, surrender, and abundance mindset, not to mention the peace that we feel by being around these wise beings.
In short, if you hope to call in more abundance or to simply feel more at peace with your life, adorn yourself or your space with the Tree of Life. Remember to appreciate its many-faceted and potent meanings every time you see it, and you’ll raise your vibration effortlessly.