The name of our tree form, and the phrase across the top of this blog is Tree of Life. I don’t think that the association that trees have with life comes as a surprise to anyone. But did you really know where this connotation comes from? Are you curious? Well I was, so being the geek that I am, I did some wiki research.
The Tree of Life symbol is an important one found in nearly every culture, symbolizing wisdom, protection, strength, bounty, beauty, and redemption. It is believed that people were easily able to identify to trees because we, like trees, develop roots, strengthen our trunk and branch out to a wider vision of life as we grow (I like that). Just look how vast this tree of life concept spans (and I’m only listing a few here):
* Norse mythology: In Norse mythology Yggdrasil is known as the World Tree. Yggdrasil is an ash tree that stands at the center of the universe, linking and sheltering all the worlds with its strength. Yggdrasil reaches up with its branches to the spiritual realm of Asgard (representing the higher self), its middle is the world of Midgard (representing the world of the human ego and persona), and its roots reach down to the underworld of tree dwarves and elves (representing the unconscious senses). Yggdrasil is the strong axis around which these three planes of existence revolve.
Yggdrasil totally reminds me of Teldrassil… is this where they got the name from?
* China: In Chinese mythology a carving of a Tree of Life is depicted with a phoenix and a dragon. The dragon represents one's essence and the phoenix the fire of changing but immortal life.
Hmmm yeah I wish us trees could be immortal in WOW…
* Ancient Egypt: In Egyptian mythology, Isis and Osiris are said to have emerged from the acacia tree of Saosis, which the Egyptians considered the Tree of Life, referring to it as the "tree in which life and death are enclosed". Also, the ancient Egyptian symbol for "plant", or "Tree of Life", was three sacred lotus lilies.
You see, this is why I should be picking all of the Fel Lotuses!
* Buddhism: Buddha was said to have redeemed the whole universe under its protective branches of the great Bodhi tree, the great Tree of Enlightenment. Under this World Tree, the Buddha transformed all negative temptations and energies and achieved perfect enlightenment.
I wonder how I am doing with enlightening my guildies?
* The Maya: For the Maya, the Tree of Life, called Yaxche, represented the axis mundi, or the stable world center. It constituted a symbolic vertical line, that united the three realms of underworld, earth, and heavens. Yaxche, traditionally a Ceiba tree, was often depicted with four branches representing the four cardinal directions significant to the Maya.
What's funny here is that the Tree of Life is the center of the four directions... funny because I often get lost.
* Kabbalah: In Kabbalah, Tree of Life is a term used to describe the mythical unity of ten attributes that God created, through which he can manifest. The mythical unity of these ten attributes, or sephirots, is called the Tree of Life.
* Judaism: "Etz Chaim", Hebrew for Tree of Life, is a common term used in Judaism. The expression, found in the Book of Proverbs, is figuratively applied to the Torah.
* Armenia: In ancient Armenia, the Tree of Life 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.
Hey… servants? Where do I pick up my servants?