sacred plants

Sacred Plants: Trees, Flowers, and Fruit

Sacred Plants

“Albert G. Mackey calls attention to the fact that each of the ancient Mysteries had its own peculiar plant sacred to the gods or goddesses in whose honor the rituals were celebrated. These sacred plants were later adopted as the symbols of the various degrees in which they were used. Thus, in the Mysteries of Adonis, lettuce was sacred; in the Brahmin and Egyptian rites, the lotus; among the Druids, the mistletoe; and among certain of the Greek Mysteries, the myrtle.

“As the legend of Chiram Abill is based upon the ancient Egyptian Mystery ritual of the murder and resurrection of Osiris, it is natural that the sprig of acacia should be preserved as symbolic of the resurrection of Chiram. … The mystery of the evergreen marking the grave of the dead sun god is also perpetrated in the Christmas tree. …

“The pomegranate is the mystic fruit of the Eleusinian rites; by eating it, Prosperine bound herself to the realms of Pluto. The fruit here signifies the sensual life which, once tasted, temporarily deprives man of immortality. … Among the ancient mysteries, the pomegranate was also considered to be a divine symbol of such peculiar significance that its true explanation could not be divulged. It was termed by the Cabiri ‘the forbidden secret.’ Many Greek gods and goddesses are depicted holding the fruit or flower of the pomegranite in their hands, evidently to signify that they are givers of life and plenty.” ~Manly P. Hall

Sacred Trees and Flowers

Everyone is aware of certain animals being sacred to some ancient civilizations, and even some present ones. The sacred cows of the Hindus and the supposed worship of cats by the Egyptians come to mind. But plants, including trees, were just as often sacred symbols in the ancient mysteries.

According to a landscaping site, the top ten tres that were considered sacred by one group or another are Willow Tree, Ash, Oak, Cypress, the Bodhi, Witch Tree (Little Cedar Spirit Tree), Lebanese Cedar, Baobab Tree, and the Christmas Tree. Wikipedia lists Oak, Ash, Apple, Hazel, Alder, Elder, and Yew as sacred to the Celts. To Christians, the symbolic “trees” called the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil are the best known sacred trees. There are many reasons why a particular tree may be considered sacred, and I won’t cover all of them, but here are a few reasons:

  • Evergreen trees are considered sacred as symbols of eternal life
  • Fruit trees may be sacred as symbols of plenty, and the food from God, which is Light
  • Strong trees like the oak may be considered sacred as symbols of strength and determination.

With flowers, we know that the lotus is probably the most recognized sacred flower. It symbolizes, when opened, the awakened soul. It is also a symbol of purity. The sunflower is also symbolic of the sun, and therefore a symbol of the sun god and Light, including the Light of the Spiritual Sun. The rose is often a symbol of God or Divinity. The lily, especially white varieties, symbolize purity and chastity. Continue reading “Sacred Plants: Trees, Flowers, and Fruit”

Trees cedar

Trees as Symbols of Wisdom and Knowledge

“Mans veneration for trees as symbols of the abstract qualities of wisdom and integrity also led him to designate as trees those individuals who possessed these divine qualities to an apparently superhuman degree. Highly illuminated philosophers and priests were therefore often referred to as trees or tree men—for example, the Druids, whose name, according to one interpretation, signifies the men of the oak trees, or the initiates of certain Syrian Mysteries who were called cedars; in fact it is far more credible and probable that the famous cedars of Lebanon, cut down for the building of King Solomon’s Temple, were really illuminated, initiated sages. The mystics know that the true supports of God’s Glorious House were not the logs subject to decay but the immortal intellects of the tree hierophants.

“Trees are repeatedly mentioned in the Old and New Testament, and in the scriptures of various pagan religions. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil mentioned in Genesis, the burning bush in which the angel appeared to Moses, the famous vine and fig tree of the New testament, the grove of olives in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus went to pray, and the miraculous tree of Revelation, which bore twelve manners of fruit and whose leaves were for the healing of the nations, all bear witness to the esteem in which trees were held by the scribes of Holy Writ.” ~Manly P. Hall

Veneration of Trees

I think veneration of trees may be overstating it, yet it is true that trees have been important symbols in many societies, more so than most of us know. Most of us know about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that was the downfall of Adam and Eve, though few know what is actually represented. The same is true for the Tree of Life. And the Jews at the time of Jesus considered it a great insult to be killed by being hung on a tree and reserved such punishment for only the worst criminals. And being crucified on a wooden cross was the same as being hung on a tree, so the Romans used this method to not only kill Jews but to insult them in the process. And it was the Roman authorities who killed Jesus, not the Jews. The Jewish “authorities” did what the Roman governor told them to do, nothing more.

Tree People

That the ancient illuminated people were often known as trees, or as a specific variety of trees like oaks or cedars, is news to me, but it makes sense. Trees are often symbols of quiet strength, wisdom, and knowledge. So the Druids may very well have gotten their name from Oak trees. Continue reading “Trees as Symbols of Wisdom and Knowledge”

tree hugging

Tree Hugging for Spiritual Growth

“You are fortunate if you love trees, and especially the wild ones growing where the Great Creative Force placed them, and independent of man’s care. For all things we call “wild” or “natural” are nearer the Infinite Mind than those which have been enslaved, artificialised and hampered by man. Being nearer the Infinite they have in them the more perfect Infinite Force and Thought That is why when you are in the midst of what is wild and natural – in the forest or mountains, where every trace of man’s works is left behind you feel an indescribable exhilaration and freedom that you do not realize elsewhere. You breathe an element ever being thrown off by the trees, the rocks, the birds and animals and by every expression of the Infinite Mind about you….

“You are fortunate when you grow to a live, tender, earnest love for the wild trees, animals and birds, and recognize then all as coming from and built of the same mind and spirit as your” ~Prentiss Mulford

Love Trees and Nature

While Mr. Mulford was not exactly a spiritual guru, much of what he wrote is applicable to those of us learning to be more spiritual. While many will think that getting closer to nature isn’t spiritual at all, it is. That is primarily because a natural environment is closer to God than the artificial kind found in cities.

In this particular chapter of his book, he concentrates on tress and why they are important. When he says that what is wild and natural is closer to the “infinite Mind” which is God, than that which is man made, he is correct. We all can’t get out into nature regularly. But almost all of us can get close to a tree, even one that has been planted in an urban area. Continue reading “Tree Hugging for Spiritual Growth”


Two Trees

“Two trees are growing in paradise. One bears animals, the other bears people. Adam ate from the tree that bore animals and became an animal and brought forth animals, and so Adam’s children worship animals. The tree whose fruit Adam ate is the tree of knowledge. So his sins increased. If he had eaten fruit from the tree of life, the one bearing people, the gods would worship men and women for in the beginning God created man and women. Now they create god. In the world humans make gods and worship their creations. It would be better if the gods worshiped them.” ~The Gospel of Phillip

TreeOfK2Much of the Gospel of Phillip can be confusing, and seemingly contradictory, and this paragraph is no exception. Lets start with the two trees we have all heard of but few understand: The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and The Tree of Life. Many don’t get that this is a very allegorical story, although I don’t know why. It seems obvious to me that it is allegorical, but I guess when you are very matter oriented, you have difficulty with the whole idea of allegory. Continue reading “Two Trees”