Essay: Symbols Relating to Garden

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Garden Symbology: The Tree of Life

Few images are more universal or could be said to conjure a more positive association than the Tree of Life. An idea that has traceable roots to importance for a broad array of cultures, the Tree of Life is remarkable for its importance to both theological and secular ideologies. This is because it represents a continuity of life that is embraced by religions, sciences, and philosophies alike. (Nakate, 1) It is thus that we find this image particularly resonant and familiar, with roots stretching beneath the soil and branches reaching up toward the sky. Its implications as an analogy for the past, present and future of human experience draws an immediate emotional connection as well.

Nakate (2010) reports on this connection as having distinct implications relating to theology throughout history, noting that "The Tree of Life symbol meaning represents different qualities/virtues like wisdom, strength, protection, beauty, bounty and redemption. It is also considered to be the symbol of 'Creator'. The tree is associated with the creator because it provides protection, supports abundant fruit production and thereby, regeneration. This analogy can also be used to describe the life of humans." (p. 1)

Indeed, for this reason, the Jewish, Christian, Buddhist and Baha'i religious traditions all include some particular interpretation of the Tree of Life, with most directing this discussion toward a relationship between man and God, but also between Earth, sky, nature and humanity. Interestingly, the breed of tree selected for the Tree of Life image will often differ according to the geographical and meteorological context of the cultural tradition. For instance, Nakate offers, the pagan faith practices by the ancient Egyptians projected the Acacia tree as having a role in the emergence of Isis and Osiris. In Buddhist practice, the banzai plant which is readily present… [END OF PREVIEW]

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