In nearly every culture and religion on Earth the concept of a “Tree Of Life” exists, and for nearly all of those cultures and religions the conceptual meaning of each contains similarities. The reason for the similarities has nothing to do with the correctness of each culture’s interpretation of the Tree Of Life, but with the fact that the correct MEANING was made quite clear to the very first group of humans at the point of their creation, and throughout the centuries even though humanity has distorted that meaning with unnecessary additions and erroneous interpretations, a thread of the TRUTH has been retained. A brief run-down of some of the cultural concepts for the Tree Of Life are given below.
For Christians, the Tree of Life is mentioned in Proverbs, and in the Book of Revelation (Rev 2:7.) In the Bible, Christians do not attain an experience with the Tree of Life until they enter Heaven, where they will then eat of it’s fruit, but only after personal salvation is attained. To a Christian the Tree Of Life represents the Heavenly reward for their upward climb to “salvation.”
In the ancient Egyptian religion the Tree Of Life represented the order and method of the Creation. It also explained how humans (at the bottom of the Tree) are connected to the Egyptian Ennead or Duat system of gods and goddess (at the top of the Tree.)
In the Chinese religions and/or philosophies the Tree represented immortality. If one ate the fruit of the Tree one could attain immortality with the gods. Humans dwelled at the bottom of the Tree and the gods were represented as the top of the Tree – sometimes by the symbol of the Sun sitting on the very top.
To the Norse peoples, “Yggrasil,” was the name of their World Tree/Tree Of Life, the primary purpose of which was to provide immortality not to the humans but to the gods above – the humans who were at the bottom of the Tree stayed below on the ground in order to care for the health of the Tree – thereby insuring the longevity of the gods.
In Hinduism the Tree was where the Gods rested and received visions, humans had very little to do with the Tree itself.
To the ancient Hebrew culture the Tree was associated with wisdom. It was first mentioned in the book of Proverbs, but throughout time it became a name for the entire Torah itself. In some parts of the Hebrew culture it eventually morphed into a very confusing, and complicated mystical “guide” for a human to study, called the Kabbala, the purpose of which was to aid in their struggle to locate God who was presented in symbols at the top of the Tree.
The Tree Of Life concept is also found in the ancient Mesoamerican religions including the Aztec and Mayan groupings. It is a part of nearly every Middle Eastern religion, and even the Native American Religions. And although various meanings and symbols are used in the Tree of Life conceptual structure, all intents and goals are basically the same: humans are at the bottom of the Tree and they must work their way up toward the Heavens at the top of the Tree where their god/gods reside. All forms of “enlightenment” are dependent upon this upward journey, and it is a struggle all the way up, with most never achieving the top but languishing at the bottom and perhaps never getting onto the first limb. According to the Kabbala a few of the more spiritual humans can make it part way up the Tree if they work very hard at it, but the top is seemingly unattainable.
With all of that being said, what is the REAL MEANING of the Tree Of Life metaphor? When the Created Beings instructed the human race three and one-half million years ago at the Seeding of Earth, what exactly did they intend for the original humans to “get” out of such an analogy?
First of all, there was a real tree involved. A giant Oak Tree was created in the very center of the Annica Temple area, the remnants of which are still buried beneath the surface of the ground many hundreds of feet below – one Oak Tree found upon the Annica grounds today has been connected directly to that original Oak for all those centuries.
After the introduction of that giant Oak, the Created Beings (The Family Triad) explained to the original humans in very SIMPLE terms that the Oak Tree did NOT represent the attempt of humanity to claw and struggle their way upward toward some distant God that delighted in both their struggle, as well as their pain along the way, but it DID represent the spirit body of a human being in relation to his or her walk WITH God. There is no mystery involved in the Tree Of Life image. It is a simple lesson.
Briefly, the explanation given to the original humans was as follows: The “body” of the Tree represents the Spirit of a human; the branches are all of life’s decisions; the leaves are the countless experiences along life’s way; the fruit or seeds of the tree represent all of life’s important achievements; the roots are the TRUTHS that the human has been given from the beginning, many of which have been lost over the years, but are still there just under the surface of the ground if a person would only seek them. The ground surface represents the shallow, misleading cultural teachings and doctrines that are meant (by evil ones) to separate the Root Truths from the Spirit of every human alive today. The Blue Sky represents the infinite LOVE that God blankets every human with, throughout all the days they remain down here on Earth while being away from their TRUE HOME, Heaven. The branches of the Tree are raised upward in PRAISE to God, for the Thanksgiving that is inherent in the heart of every human.
Such is the simple explanation for the Tree Of Life metaphor. Yes, mankind has done to that explanation what mankind does to just about every other teaching of a spiritual nature: distorted and diluted it. But it is never too late to return to TRUTH in anything. You do not need some metaphysical chart of esoteric symbology to lead you to “enlightenment,” and if YOU have adopted some of the confused erroneous teachings of the contemporary culture regarding the Tree Of Life, it is not too late for you to remove them from your mind and return to the original intent.
Here at the Bliss-Parsons Institute many of us use the Tree Of Life in our conversations with others to bring them to the simple TRUTHS that were originally given to this world. The Tree Of Life symbol is also used to decorate many areas of ANNICA. It is used as a common reminder that, regardless of what some evil ones may teach, the Creator DOES exist, and humans can become aware of His LOVE toward them. You never have to hunt Him down. You never have to jump through dogmatic hoops in order to gain His Ear. He is not found exclusively in church buildings or even in religions. He is as close to you as the air you breathe.