Hello there and Welcome! I’m really looking forward to exploring the Tree of Life with you, and talking a bit about how I work with it and Tarot. That’s how I was first introduced to the Tree of Life and Western Mysticism – via Tarot. So for me, they are inextricable. We can look at Tarot as a system of meaning that exists outside the cards; the cards are symbols that provide us with something solid to work with. The Tree of Life is like that. It is an expression of a concept – a symbol that we can draw and thereby engage with as if it’s a physical thing. That symbol gives us a structure to help us understand the whole process. The process explains, essentially, ‘How Things Work’.
The Tree of Life is a living symbol, in the way that any spiritual path has to be. If a religious faith stagnates, and doesn’t keep up with contemporary thought and society’s needs, then it simply fades away. Systems of belief have to adapt. And we see this in the history of the Tree of Life. The first drawn image of a Tree of Life comes from Sumer, around 5,000 years ago. That illustration changed – from a cedar tree to a pomegranate tree to the geometric representation we use today; from having fourteen branches to seven, and from a drawing of an actual living tree to the abstracted image we use. Philosophers and mystics have restructured and redrawn the Tree to suit the needs of their society, and to encompass their understanding of the world.
Interpretations of the Tree have changed over time, too. It’s reasonable to say that the most recent period of considerable work on the Tree of Life was the early 20th century. I would definitely argue that it’s enjoying another renaissance at the moment, but most of the resources we have, and that we study, come from a hundred years ago or more. It goes without saying that times have changed. Social expectations have a huge effect on where we assign responsibility and capability. The people who were doing the writing, matter.
One of the reasons that I am starting this blog is to consider what changes we might need to make to the Tree, so that it continues to be relevant to us today. We’ll look at what’s behind it – the core reason, its main job and how we can work with it – because that doesn’t change. In terms of working with the Tree of Life, I will focus on Tarot. I want to explore related myths and symbolism, starting with pomegranates and Persephone … and we’ll see where that takes us!
It’s impossible to leave out Spirit and a connection to the Divine when you’re talking about the Tree of Life, so I will be referring to these concepts too. It’s a tree for a reason: trees connect earth to heaven – to Spirit, or the Universe, or God, or the collective unconscious, or whoever or however you envision it. The Tree of Life is the beanstalk that Jack climbs, except there’s no one sitting at the top … except you.
Are you ready? See you on the 15th! Meet me beside the pomegranate tree.