The Tree of Life

Persian carpets are loaded with symbolism and it all relates to the Cosmos and our Creation, none more so than the famous tree of life design. Almost every civilization have stories and art of a tree of life that could grant immortality or is the start of all Creation.

In Christian, Judaic and Islamic beliefs the tree of life stood in the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve was banished from the garden to prevent them from eating the fruits of this tree, after disobeying God’s command. In the “Life of Adam and Eve”, it tells how Adam falls ill many centuries after banishment and is in pain. Seth and Eve travel to the doors of the Garden to beg for some oil of the tree of mercy (i.e. the Tree of Life). Archangel Michael refuses to give them the oil at that time, but promises to give it at the end of time, when all flesh will be raised up, the delights of paradise will be given to the holy people and God will be in their midst.

In Persian and Zoroastrianian legends, the mighty Gaokerena was a mythic Haoma plant that had healing properties when eaten and gave immortality to the resurrected bodies of the dead. In Egyptian mythology, Isis and Osiris are said to have emerged from the acacia tree of Iusaaset, 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 relates how Set and 72 conspirators killed Osiris, putting him in a coffin, and throwing it into the Nile, the coffin becoming embedded in the base of a tamarisk tree. The Egyptians' Holy Sycamore also stood on the threshold of life and death, connecting the two worlds. In India the Bodhi tree is believed to be the tree under which Buddha sat when he became enlightened and the tree has been revered and the place of pilgrimage ever since. The Assyrian Tree of Life was represented by a series of nodes and criss-crossing lines. It was an important religious symbol, often attended to in Assyrian palace reliefs by human or eagle-headed winged genies, or the King, and blessed or fertilized with bucket and cone. A Taoist story tells of a tree that produces a peach every three thousand years. The one who eats the fruit receives immortality.

Another related issue in ancient mythology of Iran is the myth of Mashyа and Mashyane, two trees who were the ancestors of all living beings. The ancient Sumerian God Dammuzi was personified as a tree, as is the Hindu Brahman. According to Mesoamerican cultures the World Tree is said to dwell in three worlds: Its roots reach down to the underworld, its trunk sits on the Earth, and its branches extend up to the heavens. Many cultures share a belief that this tree is the Axis Mundi or World Axis which supports or holds up the cosmos. Yggdrasil is an immense ash tree that, according to Nordic beliefs, is center to the cosmos and considered very holy.The branches of Yggdrasil extend far into the heavens, and the tree is supported by three roots that extend far away into other locations; one to the well Urðarbrunnr in the heavens, one to the spring Hvergelmir, and another to the well Mímisbrunnr. It is said that Yggdrasil connects all nine worlds.

The ancients knew and understood the symbolism and secrets of the tree of life and how it also relates to our human bodies. Pictures of the neural pathways in the brain shows how similar they are to the roots of a tree. Our spinal cord represents the stem of a tree and our reproductive system, ofcourse, represent our human fruit. The spiritualists have compared the tree of life also to our spiritual bodies and how we can attain balance via our kundalini (our vital essence) through our spinal cord and all the chakras and pineal gland (the gate of the Garden of Eden). The Kabbala tree of life visually or conceptually, represents as a series of divine emanations God's creation itself ex nihilo, the nature of revealed divinity, the human soul, and the spiritual path of ascent by man. In this way, Kabbalists developed the symbol into a full model of reality, using the tree to depict a map of Creation.