The Tree of Life & its Symbolism

The Tree of Life is an ancient and universal symbol found in many cultures and spiritual traditions all around the world.

It is a symbol of connection to all things. Having its branches reaching into the sky and its roots deep into the earth, it dwells in three worlds . It is a link between Heaven, Earth and the Underworld . Uniting above and below, it connects all forms of creation.

The Tree of Life also symbolizes family through its intricate network of branches, showing us the continuity through all generations. We are connected through ever-expanding branches to our parents and grandparents and to our children and our children’s children.

It can as well represent personal growth. We are who we are because of all the choices we made, similar to each fork on the branches, leading one to another.

While it would be overwhelming to explain its significance to each culture, the tree of life has predominant meanings that span across many of them : knowledge, wisdom, love, strength, protection, rebirth, beauty, and abundance . It is both a feminine and a masculine symbol.

celtic tree of life - arbre de vie celtique
For the Celts, it represented Life itself and a spiritual connection to their ancestors, deities and the supernatural world.

Celtic people felt a deep connection to nature, especially towards trees. When they cleared a new piece of land, they would leave one large, single tree in the middle. They believed it had special powers to care for and protect the land. It was called the “crann bethadh” and was considered so powerful that cutting down the sacred tree of an enemy was believed to render them helpless.

In addition to having the power to take care of life on Earth, trees also had connections to the supernatural world, to spirits and ancestors.
The Celtic word for ‘oak’ is ‘daur’, the origin of the modern word ‘door’. Thus, the root of the word actually signifies a doorway to the ‘Otherworld’.

Buddah tree of life arbre de vie
In Buddhism, it is a symbol of wisdom as the Bodhi tree is where Buddha received enlightenment.

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