Tree of Life Meaning

symbol of the tree of life

Tree of life

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Religion and mythology

Main article: Trees in mythology

Ancient Egypt


In ancient Armenia, the Tree of Life (Կենաց Ծառ) was a religious symbol and was drawn on walls of fortresses and carved on the armor of warriors. The branches of the tree were equally divided on the right and left sides of the stem, with each branch having one leaf, and one leaf on the apex of the tree. Servants stood on each side of the tree with one of their hands up as if they are taking care of the tree.


The Assyrian Tree of Life was represented by a series of nodes and criss-crossing lines. It was apparently an important religious symbol, often attended to by eagle-headed gods and priests, or the King. Assyrilogists have not reached consensus as to the meaning of this symbol. It is multi-valent. The name “Tree of Life” has been attributed to it by modern scholarship; it is not used in the Assyrian sources. In fact, no textual evidence pertaining to the symbol is known to exist.

Baha’i Faith

The concept of the tree of life appears in the writings of the Baha’i Faith, where it can refer to the Manifestation of God, a great teacher who appears to humanity from age to age. The concept can be broken down still further, with the Manifestation as the roots and trunk of the tree and his followers as the branches and leaves. The fruit produced by the tree nourishes an ever-advancing civilization.


In Chinese mythology, a carving of a Tree of Life depicts a phoenix and a dragon; the dragon often represents immortality. A Taoist story tells of a tree that produces a peach every three thousand years. The one who eats the fruit receives immortality.


See also: Tree of life (biblical) and Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil#Christianity

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Main article: Tree of life vision


According to Swedenborgianism, the first twelve chapters of Genesis are a symbolic retelling of ancient truths. In his Arcana Coelestia,[10] Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) expounds on the symbolism and underlying spiritual meaning of both Genesis and Exodus. The symbolism regarding the tree of life, according to Emanuel Swedenborg, reflects the perception of our mind (or spirit, which is the same thing according to Swedenborg’s philosophy). As the tree (perception) is in the midst of the garden (representing our mind), it represents that part of our mind which is the will (or heart). Thus knowledge of good is absorbed by our will and immediately applied to life (in the case with the tree of life).


In Dictionaire Mytho-Hermetiqe (Paris, 1737), Antoine-Joseph Pernety, a famous alchemist, identified the Tree of Life with the Elixir of Life and the Philosopher’s Stone.


The Borjgali (Georgian: ბორჯღალი) is an ancient Georgian Tree of Life symbol.

Germanic paganism and Norse mythology

In Germanic paganism, trees played (and, in the form of reconstructive Heathenry and Germanic Neopaganism, continue to play) a prominent role, appearing in various aspects of surviving texts and possibly in the name of gods.

Jewish sources

Main articles: Etz Chaim and Tree of life (biblical)


Main article: Tree of life (Kabbalah)


Main article: Mesoamerican world tree

Middle East

The Epic of Gilgamesh is a similar quest for immortality. In Mesopotamian mythology, Etana searches for a ‘plant of birth’ to provide him with a son. This has a solid provenance of antiquity, being found in cylinder seals from Akkad (2390–2249 BCE).

North America

In a myth passed down among the Iroquois, The World on the Turtle’s Back, explains the origin of the land in which a tree of life is described. According to the myth, it is found in the heavens, where the first humans lived, until a pregnant woman fell and landed in an endless sea. Saved by a giant turtle from drowning, she formed the world on its back by planting bark taken from the tree.


The Rastafari movement[17] and some Coptic Christians[18] consider cannabis to be the Tree of knowledge.It’s normally only used for meditation[citation needed].The use of this herb will help to learn the inner-self and helps to clear the inner-self from the Ego(negativity)[citation needed].

Serer religion

In Serer religion, the tree of life as a religious concept forms the basis of Serer cosmogony. Trees were the first things created on Earth by the supreme being Roog (or Koox among the Cangin). In the competing versions of the Serer creation myth, the Somb (prosopis africana, a species of prosopis) and the Saas tree (acacia albida) are both viewed as trees of life.[19] However, the prevailing view is that, the Somb was the first tree on Earth and the progenitor of plant life.[20][21] The Somb was also used in the Serer tumuli and burial chambers, many of which had survived for more than a thousand years.[20] Thus, Somb is not only the Tree of Life in Serer society, but the symbol of immortality.[20]

Turkic world


See also: Tree of life (biology) and Phylogenetic tree

Popular culture


A 2½ story high “Tree of Life” sculpture by Wisconsin artist Nancy Metz White was installed in Mitchell Boulevard Park in Milwaukee in 2002. The tree is made of brightly painted welded steel and forge flashings recycled from Milwaukee heavy industry. Gustav Klimt portrayed his version of “The Tree of Life” in his very famous painting.


In their album Emissaries the black metal Melechesh make a reference to the Tree of Life in their song “Touching the Spheres of Sephiroth.”



  • In George Herbert’s poem The Sacrifice (part of The Temple, 1633), the Tree of Life is the rood on which Jesus Christ was crucified.
  • In Stephen Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, The One Tree (or Tree of Life) is the tree from which the Staff of Law was produced.
  • In C. S. LewisChronicles of Narnia, the Tree of Life plays a role, especially in the sixth published book (the first in the in-world chronology) The Magician’s Nephew
  • In Terry BrooksShannara series, the Ellcrys, an Elf-turned-tree, plays some sort of role in many of the novels
  • In Robert JordanWheel of Time the Tree of Life — “Avendesora” — as the last of its kind plays a pivotal role. This tree also linked to the Buddhist “Bodhi” tree, beneath which the Buddha attained Nirvana
  • Tree of Life appears in Larry Niven’s Known Space novels
  • In the Roger Zelazny’s 1978 novel The Chronicles of Amber: The Courts of Chaos prince Corwin encounters Ygg (a nick from Yggdrasil), a tree who speaks and is planted on the border between Order and Chaos, between Amber and Courts of Chaos
  • In The Sea of Trolls written by Nancy Farmer, the Tree of Life (Yggdrasil) is a place holding magical powers.
  • In Michael Chabon’s 2002 novel Summerland, the four great limbs of the Lodgepole — also known as the “Tree of Worlds” and the “Ash o’ Ashes” — hold up the four Worlds of the Summerlands, the Winterlands, the Middling, and the Gleaming.

Video games

  • The Norse Tree of Life, Yggdrasil, is either featured or referenced in many games, including those of the Tales RPG-series, the 2002 video game Wild Arms 3 and the 2008 video game Too Human.
  • In the Atari 2600 game Swordquest: Fireworld, the map of the game world is patterned after the Kabbalah Tree of Life.
  • In the 1997 video game Breath of Fire III, Yggdrasil, overseer of the world’s forests, features a minor role. The mutant plant Peco, a party member, becomes able to channel Yggdrasil after a time skip of several years, during which Peco made extended visits to Yggdrasil.
  • In the 2002 video game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, a Tree of Life is the central building of the Night Elf race.
  • In the Etrian Odyssey series, a great tree named Yggdrasil is present in all four games, serving as a major plot device to the story.
  • In the 2007 video game Dragoneer’s Aria, The Great Spirit guards a World Tree.
  • In the 2008 video game Prince of Persia, a gigantic, ancient tree in the middle of the desert is used to keep the evil deity Ahriman sealed in a temple at its trunk. This game’s story heavily borrows from Zoroastrianism.
  • In the 2009 video game Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, the Tree of Life grows within the city of Shambala, and the sap or fossilized resin from the tree is seen to be consumed by the inhabitants of the city. This in turn grants the user incredible regenerative abilities, strength, increased height and possible biological immortality. The sap from the tree represents the Cintamani Stone of Buddhist mythology, a giant raw sapphire with supposed wish-fulfilling properties.
  • In the 2009 video game Dragon Quest IX, the player must harvest fyggs from Yggdrasil, the World Tree, to attain passage into the realm of the Almighty.
  • In the 2010 video game Darksiders, the Tree of Life is located in Eden where War (Horseman of the Apocalypse) sees the future and a way to defeat Abaddon. The Tree of Life gives War the Armageddon sword.
  • In the 2012 video game Hack, Slash, Loot, there are several items made of a material titled ‘Austras koks’, which is the Tree of Life in Latvian mythology. Players can also find a golden apple, which is believed to come from the same tree.
  • The tree of life is represented as golden apples in a game titled “Minecraft” released in 2011, the golden apples are used to replenish health.


  • Darren Aronofsky’s film The Fountain (as well as the graphic novel based on the screenplay) centers on immortality given by the Tree of Life.
  • In the 2008 movie The Librarian, the religious mention of the Tree of Life is clearly seen in parts with a Crusade-era picture of a knight with his shield in that of the Tree of Life. Another part of the movie depicts a fake secret area beneath a New York City museum, where there are historical items such as the Fountain of Youth and Noah’s Ark. At the end of the movie the camera angle changes and the ground’s walking surface is revealed to be that of the Tree of Life.
  • In Dragon Ball Zs third movie Tree of Might, a giant tree named the Tree of Might is represented as an evil version of the Tree of Life. Its roots take so much nutrients from the planet it has been seeded on that it kills the planet to support its fruit and growth. It is also a very massive tree much like the Tree of Life can be represented as.
  • In the 2009 film Avatar, the Na’vi live in Hometree, the spiritual and physical home of the tribe; over 300 meters tall, Hometree is connected with all the other plant life of Pandora through a neural-like network. They revere the Tree of Souls, which is also connected with all other living things.
  • The Tree of Life is a Terrence Malick film released in May 2011, starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe film franchise features a Tree of Life, in a more science-based version of the mythical tree. In the 2011 Marvel Studios superhero film Thor, the Asgardian warrior Thor explains that the Nine Realms of the Asgardian cosmos are linked by Yggdrasil, the Norse mythological Tree of Life, which is here interpreted as a nebula in space connecting the planets in an orbit.


  • In the anime Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water there is a giant tree beneath Antarctica that is identified as the Tree Of Life by Captain Nemo
  • In the anime Ah! My Goddess as the tree that supports earth and the heavens.
  • In the anime Genesis of Aquarion the Tree of Life is being fed to create a new Genesis.
  • In the anime Rin — Daughters of Mnemosyne (Mnemosyne (anime)) The Tree of life is an eternal tree that bears fruit that grants immortal life to woman, while men are turned into short-lived angel-like creatures who have sex with and then kill the immortal woman.
  • In the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion the Tree of Life is said to be what the titular “angels” were said to have eaten, granting them immortality, whereas humanity was said to have eaten from the Tree Of Knowledge of Good And Evil.
  • In the anime Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D the final antagonist Z-One, uses a deck of cards that are parts of the tree of life.


The logo of American health service and insurance company CIGNA makes use of a tree of life motif.

Decorative arts

  • The grandfather of British studio pottery, Bernard Leach, famously used a ‘tree of life’ on many of his works. Something which was continued by his son David Leach, among others.
  • A motif of the tree of life is featured on Turkish 5 Kuruş coins, circulated since early 2009.

Tree of Life Jewelry

History of Tree Of Life Jewellery

The following are excerpts of articles that relate the the use of the Tree Of Life symbol in jewellery throughout the ages from ancient civilizations through to the modern era.

  • Art of Urartu (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Tree of Life Necklace

Physical “trees of life”

  • The Arborvitae gets its name from the Latin for “tree of life.”
  • The Tule tree of Aztec mythology is also associated with a real tree. This Tule tree can be found in Oaxaca, Mexico.
  • There is a Tree of Life in the island country of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.
  • Metaphor: The Tree of Utah is an 87-foot (27 m) high sculpture in the Utah Bonneville Salt Flats that is also known as the Tree of Life.
  • The ancient Zoroastrians[citation needed] and modern Rastafari consider cannabis to be the Tree of Life.
  • In some parts of the Caribbean, coconut trees are given the title of “tree of life,” as they can produce everything needed for short/medium term survival.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park features an artificial tree dubbed “The Tree of Life,” which has about 325 carvings of different species of animals. Inside the tree is the It’s Tough to be a Bug! attraction.
  • An acacia tree in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya. It is a symbol of life in the vast expanses of thorny savanna, where wild animals come to take advantage of its leaves or its shade. Tsavo National Park in southeastern Kenya, crossed by the Nairobi-Mombasa road and railway axis, is the country’s largest protected area (8,200 square miles, or 21,000 square kilometers) and was declared a national park in 1948.
  • The West African Moringa oleifera tree is regarded as a “tree of life” or “miracle tree” by some because it is arguably the most nutritious source of plant-derived food discovered on the planet.[24] Modern scientists and some missionary groups have considered the plant as a possible solution for the treatment of severe malnutrition[25] and aid for those with HIV/AIDS.[26]



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