Symbols are a meaningful and stylish way of representing an idea in the world of jewellery. Certain concepts can’t be expressed as deeply with words, and symbols transcend a message on their own. One popular symbol that is rich in interpretations and meaning is the Tree of Life Symbol. This symbol has a long history spanning cultures and centuries.
Want to learn more about the Tree of Life design and history? Please read on to learn the fascinating story spanning cultures and time.
Tree of Life Design
The tree of life design is a large tree with roots and branches enclosed in a circle. The roots of the tree almost mirror the spreading branches, providing balance and symmetry. Throughout the ages, interpretations of the tree of life symbol have evolved, however, the fundamental elements remain a flourishing tree with strong roots contained inside a circle.
History of the Tree of Life
The tree of life symbol is ancient. In fact, this iconic symbol is almost as old as humans. The tree of life symbol has been represented in Christianity, Ancient Egypt, as well as Buddhist, African, Turkish and Celtic cultures. Though these systems of culture and theology reflect multicultural ideals, there are unifying strains. Namely, the tree of life commonly symbolizes a connection to the afterlife, ancestral roots and divinity.
- Christian references: In the Bible, the garden of Eden had a tree forbidden to Adam and Eve. Which famous tree could it be? None other than the tree of eternal life. The tree of life also represents wisdom and the love of God.
Celtic Culture: Celts cherish trees for their spiritual connections to family, ancestors and deities. The tree of life represents the afterlife, and connection between the earth and heaven. The bond and affection to trees is so deep that Celts believed the actual trees were their ancestors, gatekeepers to the Celtic Otherworld. As such, the tree of life in Celtic Culture is sacred. In the Irish language, it is known as ‘Crann Bethadh’.
- Ancient Egypt: In Ancient Egypt, the tree of life’s branches represented the heavens and symbolized abundance. Alternatively, the roots reaching into the earth represented death.
- African Culture: There is a tree called the Baobab tree, which is generally regarded as the tree of life. The Baobab tree produces fruit despite the dry climate; therefore, it is treated with reverence and high-esteem as a provider of life and nourishment.
- Buddhism: Buddha reached enlightenment under the sacred Bodhi tree. In Buddhist culture the tree of life is symbolic of enlightenment and existence.
As you can see, the meaning of the tree of life isn’t linear. The various meanings of this sacred motif are unique to each culture but universally sacred.
An interesting fact is The Tree of Life in Bahrain, which has come to be known as the tree that stands amidst hot and dry desert with no known water source feeding. This truly represents magic, power on nature’s behalf because it is alone mesquite in Bahrain’s heart for over 400 years now – The Local Language Calls It A “Tree Of Life”.
Meaning of the Tree of Life
There are multiple interpretations of the tree of life symbol, most popularly it represents connection and unity. However, the evolution and depth of this design is multi-layered.
- Connection: Circles represent connectivity and inclusion. The roots of the tree reach deep into the earth while the abundant leaves flesh out and upward. The tree poses as the linchpin, connecting the earth and sky is symbolic of how we are all connected by the circle of life.
- Strength: If we explore nature for the perfect symbol of strength, we think of the unwavering quality of a tree. Trees are deeply rooted pillars of strength, often surviving storms and natural disasters. It takes profound strength to uproot a tree, which is why this symbol represents strength and stability.
- Growth: Trees grow slowly over the course of hundreds of years. From a tiny seed to sapling to fully mature, trees are in a continuous cycle of growth. As humans, we never stop growing but constantly absorb new information and knowledge.
- Rebirth: With each new season, the trees shift and change. In spring, they flourish with leaves and come autumn, they are leafless. Still, trees are resilient and full of life. They grow and adapt with each season, each bringing a new opportunity to change. As humans, we endure the seasons of our lives, just like trees. To turn a new leaf is to embrace change.
- Family: Trees represent a connection, so it’s no surprise that we use a family tree to connect our heritage and ancestry. With each new branch representing a new life. The circle represents a continuation of ancestry, a cycle of birth and life.
- Tranquillity: Nature is a tranquil haven. Ever pack a picnic and enjoy it under the shade of a large tree? Trees provide shelter, peace and tranquillity and evoke feelings of calm and serenity.
Our Celtic Tree of Life jewellery pieces is made from Sterling Silver and Rare Irish Rose gold. Handmade Irish jewellery using sustainable gold mined in the Island of Ireland.