Monday, 28 January 2013

The Significance of Trees

I keep a notebook which I carry around with me everywhere, and when something strikes my fancy or tweaks my interest, I write it down. From this I pull ideas which later become plots and books. I was thumbing through an old notebook today and came across some scribbles I wrote down a long time ago.

I was struck at the time with how often trees are used in analogy and allegory, in symbolism and scripture. These are some of the notes I made:

  • In the Book of Mormon, there is a lengthy allegory using the grove of olive trees to represent the House of Israel and what would happen to it in relation to gentile converts.
  • Also in the same book, there is a significant tree in Lehi's dream whose fruit represents the love of God
  • Moses saw a burning bush, from which God spoke
  • In ancient religion, Asheroth associated trees with diety
  • Druids worshipped under Oak trees (Holyoake)
  • The menorah is a tree shape
  • The Cedars of Lebanon
  • Manna is thought to be the seed of the tamarisk tree - saved the Hebrews
  • Jonah rested under the fig tree/vine overlooking Nineveh
  • Family Trees
  • Christ is called the Branch of David
  • Genesis: the Abrahamic Covenant - as a tree runneth over a wall
  • Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and were barred from the Tree of Life. They used the leaves of the fig tree to cover their nakedness.
  • There are sacred groves in many religions. And yet in all the fairy tales, the woods are a scary place full of witches and dangers.
  • The Ten Sephiroth (in Kabbalism) are referred to as a tree
I sit looking at this list I scrawled years ago, and I don't know what to do with it. A scholarly article? A poem? It seems some sort of tribute to trees is necessary. There is an empty corner of my garden that could use a tree, something colourful, like a flowering almond. Maybe in the spring I will plant one. My garden is a place of comfort, of abundance, of generosity. It feeds and soothes me. It's as close to a sacred place as I can imagine, and as such, I think it needs a tree.

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