Tree of Life: everything you need to know
The tree of life is one of the most recognizable sacred symbols in the world. Used by many peoples and cultures, with a different meaning for each, this is a symbol of eternal life and longevity for most. And eternal life can be both earthly and heavenly.
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Tree of Life: what it really is
The tree of life is a symbol that represents the creation of the world and exists to help the human being in its evolution, from the beginning of its life until death. It is both a symbol that is about the Divine, but can also be transposed into human life.
It portrays the connection between Heaven (leaves), Earth (trunk) and underworld (roots). The physical form of the tree reminds us that we must receive from somewhere, from our base, from our roots in order to nourish our body. So we can be able to raise our soul, objecting to reach the light. Such as the birth and growth of an ordinary tree.
Tree of Life in different cultures
As we said, the tree of life has been seen for thousands of years in different peoples and cultures, with Christian and Jewish being the most famous.
There are ancient scriptures that link the tree of life with the beginning of Mayan, Aztec, Greek, and Persian civilizations. In China, the myth of the tree of life was multiplied by seven, since 7 trees were included in their traditions, with one of them producing the fruit of immortality. And the Scandinavians, for example, believed that all knowledge and wisdom were in the roots of the tree.
In Christian culture, the tree of life would be one of the two trees that God placed in the Garden of Eden and which also produced a fruit that gave eternal life to anyone who tasted it. But the other tree, the Tree of Good and Evil, was just where Adam and Eve tasted the forbidden fruit and the rest of the story you already know.
Tree of Life or Jewish Kaballah
In Jewish culture, the Hebrew word kaballah means “to receive” and the tree of life is the main diagram of the study of their mystical religion. It is the key to understanding life as a whole, where the goal is the knowledge of God, the Universe and man, as well as they relate.
This diagram is formed by ten spheres (or sephirots) and divided into four parts: Atziluth, Beriah or Briah, Yetzirah and Assyah or Assiah, each relating to one element. There is still an eleventh sphere that is hidden from the diagram and has a special function.
- Atziluth or World of Emanation: where God acts directly, without interference or help.
- Element: Fire
- Beriah or World of Creation: the wills of God are fulfilled by mighty Archangels.
- Element: Air
- Yetzirah or World of Formation: god acts through Angels
- Element: Water
- Assyah or World of Action: here the body is physical and where Nature acts.
- Element: Earth
- The Ten Sephirots
Sephirots can also be called divine emanations because they are just that, a divine demonstration of the laws that rule the world. They are:
- Kether (Crown): where everything begins, it is the point of origin and contact with the Divine.
- Chokman (Wisdom): it is wisdom in the purest meaning, when we still do not reflect.
- Binah (Understanding): when we reflect and assimilate the wisdom, making it into understanding.
- Chesed (Mercy): desire for benevolence and total bestowal.
- Geburah (Judgement): it represents the discipline we need to look at our life and know where to pay attention.
- Tipareth (Beauty): it is not in the sense of physical beauty but balance and harmony.
- Netzach (Victory): it represents the confidence, energy and vitality we need to overcome the challenges.
- Hod (Glory): it is the principle of divine action and represents identification with the others.
- Yesod (Foundation): commitment to truth is the key, for there is no right or wrong, only true or false.
- Malkuth (Kingdom): it represents the physical world and humility.
- Daath (Knowledge): the only hidden sephirot is home from where we express our inner truth and all that we have learned from the other sephirots.
How to apply the teachings of the tree of life in your life
As we have seen, the tree of life has a unique meaning, despite the many cultures where it is represented. People around the world use amulets, jewelry and tattoos to always have this powerful symbol around.
The tree of life is the encouragement we need to believe and help our evolution, with the goal of reaching higher with our branches, always toward the light. Be grateful for what we receive from our roots, strengthening our base, our body. Just like a real tree.
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- What is the law of duality all about?