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Tree of Life - Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

Tree of Life - Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

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Published by cavalon
After seeing the film AVATAR last night, my stepson thought that the concept of a tree of life and interconnectedness was "stolen" from his cartoons! I He didn't even believe me when I tried to describe how ubiquitous it is in ancient culture, so this is my attempt to compile info from wikipedia and elsewhere to educate his ass.
After seeing the film AVATAR last night, my stepson thought that the concept of a tree of life and interconnectedness was "stolen" from his cartoons! I He didn't even believe me when I tried to describe how ubiquitous it is in ancient culture, so this is my attempt to compile info from wikipedia and elsewhere to educate his ass.

More info:

categoriesTypes, Research, History
Published by: cavalon on Dec 21, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Tree of life
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 The concept of a
tree of life
as a many-branched treeillustrating the idea that all life on earth is related hasbeen used inscience,religion,philosophy,mythology, and other areas. A tree of life is variously,
amotif in various world theologies,mythologies,  and philosophies; 2.a mystical concept alluding to theinterconnectedness of all life on our planet; and
ametaphorfor common descent in theevolutionary sense.According to the
Encyclopædia Britannica
, the tree of knowledge, connecting heaven and the underworld, andthe tree of life, connecting all forms of creation, areboth forms of the world treeor cosmic tree. [1]According to some scholars, the tree of life and thetree of the knowledge of good and evil, portrayed in various religions and philosophies, are the sametree.[2]
Conceptual and mythological "trees of life"
trees of life
are recounted infolklore, cultureandfiction,often relating to immortalityorfertility.They had their origin in religious symbolism.
Ancient Egypt
InEgyptian mythology, in theEnneadsystem of Heliopolis,the first couple, apart from Shu& Tefnut(moisture & dryness) andGeb&Nuit(earth & sky), are Isis &Osiris.They were said to have emerged from theacaciatree of Saosis, which the Egyptians considered the "tree of  life", referring to it as the "tree in which life and death are enclosed". A much later myth relateshowSetkilledOsiris, putting him in a coffin, and throwing it into the Nile,the coffin becoming embedded in the base of atamarisk tree. The Egyptians' HolySycamore also stood on the threshold of life and death, connecting the two worlds.
What is known as theAssyrian  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 andPriests, or the King. Assyrilogists have not reached consensus as to the meaning of this symbol. It ismulti-valent. The name "Tree of Life" has been attributed to it by modern scholarship; it is not used inthe Assyrian sources. In fact, no textual evidence pertaining to the symbol is known to exist.
Baha'i Faith
In theBaha'i sacred writings, the "Tree of  Life" refers to the reality of theManifestation of Godin whatever agehe appears. Hence, today, the Tree of Lifeis Bahá'u'lláh. But, as the Baha'i Faith teaches the essential unity of theManifestations of God in the divine realm,the Tree of Life also refers generally to allthe Manifestations of God. Elsewhere, the Tree of Life is identified with the
Book of the Covenant 
(the charter of the Covenantof Baha'u'llah).[3]
InChinese mythology, a carving of a Tree of Life depicts aphoenixand adragon;the dragon often represents immortality. A Taoiststory tells of a tree that produces a peach every three thousand years. The one who eats the fruit receives immortality.
Anarchaeologicaldiscovery in the 1990s was of a sacrificial pitat SanxingduiinSichuan,China. Dating from about 1200 BCE, it contained threebronzetrees, one of them 4metershigh. At the base was a dragon, and fruit hanging from the lowerbranches. At the top is a strange bird-like (phoenix) creature with claws. Also found inSichuan, from the lateHan dynasty(c 25 – 220CE) is another tree of life. Theceramicbase is guarded by a horned beast with wings. The leaves of the tree are coins and people. At theapex is a bird with coins and theSun.
Germanic paganism and Norse mythology
InGermanic paganism,trees played (and, in the form of  reconstructiveHeathenryandGermanic Neopaganism, continue to play) a prominent role, appearing in various aspects of surviving texts and possibly in the name of gods.
 The tree of life appears inNorse religionas
, the world tree, a massive tree(sometimes considered ayeworash tree) with extensive lore surrounding it. Perhaps related to Yggdrasil, accounts have survived of  Germanic Tribes'honouring sacred trees within their societies. Examples include Thor's Oak, sacred groves, theSacred tree at Uppsala, and the wooden Irminsulpillar.
InNorse Mythology, the apples fromIðunn'sash box provide immortality for the gods.
Hebrew Bible/Christianity
, Hebrew for "tree of life", is a common term used in Judaism. The expression, foundin the Book of Proverbs, is figuratively applied to the Torah itself.
Etz Chaim
is also a commonname foryeshivasandsynagoguesas well as for works of Rabbinic literature. Further, it is also used to describe each of the wooden poles to which the parchment of aSefer Torahisattached. Jewish mysticismdepicts thetree of Lifein the form of ten interconnected nodes, as an important part of theKabbalah. As such, it resembles the tenSephirot.
 The Tabernacleand TheArk of the Covenantwere both made of  Acaciaor shittah-tree. Traditionally, theburning bushwas believed to be acacia. Many Christians consider the acacia the tree of life.
Ezekiel 47:12 states: "Along the river, on either bank, will grow everykind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that neverfails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comesfrom the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leavesmedicinal."
 The tree of life is mentioned in the Book of Genesis(forexampleGenesis 3:22); it is often considered distinct from thetree of  the knowledge of good and evil(but see introduction). InChristianity, the tree of life is symbolically seen as Jesus Christ.As in Eastern Christianity the tree of life is to love God.[4]
Revelation 22:2 states: "Down the middle of the city street, on eitherbank of the river were the trees of life, which bear twelve crops of fruit in a year, one in eachmonth, and the leaves of which are the cure for the nations."
Flora in general play a central role in the Indian culture, which has largely a vegetariantradition. The symbolism of the tree is mentioned in the 135th hymn of the 10th book of Rig-Veda, and in the 15th chapter of  Bhagavad-gita(1–4).
 Two varieties of thefig(called Ashvatta inSanskrit), thebanyantree and thepeepaltree are the most revered in the Indian tradition, and both are considered the trees of life. The banyansymbolizes fertility, according to the
, and is worshipped by those wantingchildren. It is also referred to as the tree of immortality in many Hindu scriptures. The banyan is believed to have nourished mankind with its ‘milk’ before the advent of grain and otherfood.
 The fig tree is either a player or an observer in several scriptural events inHinduism. Thesages and seers sit under the shade of the fig tree to seek enlightenment, hold discoursesand conduct Vedic rituals. TheBodhi tree under which GautamaBuddhaachieved enlightenment is a
 The fig tree assumes special importance in the Indian tradition owing mainly to its 'two-waygrowth' (aerial 'roots' growing downwards).
The Book of Mormon
 The Tree of Life is shown to Lehi and then also to his son Nephi in a dream or vision, between600 and 592 B.C., according to theBook of Mormon. Lehi recounted the tree as "a tree, whosefruit was desirable to make one happy." (1 Nephi 8:10)

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