By Kayla Williams
Jan 21, 2016
Originally published at Garden Buildings Direct.
Besides the fact they provide almost everything that both humans and animals need to ensure existence, trees signify that the earth is the only planet that can sustain life because of the clean air that we breathe.
This has been one of the reasons why ever since the dawn of time and the start of human civilisation, trees have been revered as sacred beings as well as dwelling places for gods and goddesses.
“‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. (Leviticus 27:30)
How trees managed to stay alive by making their own food out of sunlight and getting the nutrients they need out of the ground where they are rooted, as well as having the ability to reproduce on its own by means of the falling leaves and branches, may well be the greatest wonders of nature. That’s why people of ancient times looked upon them with awe and worship.
Almost in all cultures of the oldest of civilisations, trees have been a focal point of worship. Before there were temples and churches, ancient people have made forests and trees a place for them to praise and worship their gods.
Many kinds of different apparitions have been recorded to take place on numerous places all over the globe wherein it has always been associated to have happened around or exactly at a particular tree throughout the history of human religion.
Even with today’s modernisation, these so-called “sacred trees” are still being given utmost significance and value perhaps by both believers and non-believers.
Not only that they represent a great part on most cultures’ history, each and every one of these sacred trees is older than any human that ever walked the earth. This is also one of the reasons that add to their mystique and what makes them so much precious that they become iconic on anyone’s point of view.
Below are 11 of the most sacred and iconic trees that are absolutely worthy to be adored and treasured by anyone.
1. BAOBAB TREE
Despite the belief that the Baobab tree is where ancient spirits reside, people of Madagascar also believe that this beautifully enormous tree is the place where spirits of dead family members linger.
It will just be a common scene to witness the Madagascar people putting in all sorts of gifts like wine, honey, and even archaic money below the tree as offerings which include wrapping the tree’s trunk with red or white piece of cloth as their way of paying respects to their ancestors.
Probably one of the reasons why this tree is so important and sacred to the people of Madagascar besides the supernatural belief is the scientific fact that a Baobab fruit contains an anti-ageing nutrient called polyphenol and is also extremely rich in vitamin C, fibre, and calcium making it a favourite especially to African women.
With this, it is also believed that its fruit provides great aid in boosting one’s immune system as well as an aid in digestion and skin, hair, and nails’ rejuvenation.
2. THE DANCE TREE
During the height of the Holy Roman Empire, a Tanzlinde or dance tree has been utilised as a judicial courtroom as well as a place where assemblies are made and was called a Gerichtslinde (German for “court linden, doom linden”; plural -linden).
With the fall of the Roman Empire and the spread of Christianity, the linden or dance tree remained as a symbol associated with security and justice. And because of Christianisation, it has then been re-devoted as a symbol of the Virgin Mary and of the 12 Apostles.
3. BODHI TREE
If the Muslims have Mecca, then the Bodhi Tree is perhaps its equivalent to Buddhists. With this, this tree is perhaps the one that has the most detailed sacred significance of all.
The Buddhist people believe that it is under this tree where Buddha himself sat down some 2,400 years ago and meditated for four straight nights which is known as The Four Watches of the Night, which lead Buddha to enter Buddhism’s version of heaven – Nirvana.
Because of this belief, Bodhi Trees serve as a sacred temple where Buddhists meditate and worship their god. A couple of these are located all over Thailand and the one with a Buddha sculpture wrapped around the tree’s roots as if it has miraculously grew along with it is perhaps the most famous and this is located at a monastery in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
4. THE HOLY THORN TREE OF GLASTONBURY
Standing alone like a secluded monument over the countryside, the Holy Thorn Tree of Glastonbury in South England is one of the several famous pilgrimages of Christianity.As the legend goes, it is believed after the crucifixion, Jesus’ uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, travelled bringing the
As the legend goes, it is believed after the crucifixion, Jesus’ uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, travelled bringing the Holy Grail (Jesus’ wooden staff) and had stopped to get some rest at the Wearyall Hill where the said tree just unbelievably sprung out of the said wooden staff the following morning.
The original miracle tree from Jesus’ wooden staff was unfortunately cut down at the time of the English Civil War, however, some specimens from the original stock has been planted as replacement to ensure the continuity of the said sacred tree.
Perhaps one of things that add up to the tree’s sacred status is the fact that these thorn trees found in Glastonbury only bear flowers twice in a year and this is only during Easter and Christmas which are also 2 of the most important events in Christianity.
Due to its utmost holy significance to Christians especially those in England, a twig from one of these thorn trees are cut out and sent to the royal family every winter.
5. THE LONE CYPRESS TREE
The Lone Cypress Tree does not really symbolise a sacred dwelling place for spirits of another world like those that preceded it on this list.
However, due to its 200-year existence as well as the fact that it obviously seems to just grew out on its own in a rock hill along the 17-Mile Drive on the coast of Pebble Beach in the State of California, this tree’s mere existence is miraculous in its sense which made it an iconic marker on the said State.
Perhaps no one can deny that the mere sight of this tree which is somewhat like a guardian of the sea and other trees below it is absolutely a jaw-dropping, head turner to whoever passes along it.
6. THE TULE TREE OF MEXICO
The Tule Tree of Mexico is one of the most iconic tourist and non-tourist attractions located in Santa Maria del Tule, a small town in the humble state of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Like the Lone Cypress Tree mentioned above, this tree does not have a sacral background attached to it. But it’s sure to surpass all other trees on this list in terms of size and mass.
This colossal tree measures more than 160 feet in circumference with a staggering weight of 550 tons making it perhaps the largest living tree in the world.
Unlike in most of the popular myths and legends where giants are easily taken down by their small foes, this massive tree is almost 3 centuries old making it also one of the oldest living creatures on earth.
It is specifically located near a church in Santa Maria del Tule where hundreds of both locals and visitors come every year to witness its awe-inspiring size. It is believed that there are only seven of these enormous trees known to be alive today and are all found in Mexico making it their national tree.
Mexican locals had dedicated a special feast for the said tree which is celebrated every 7th October.
7. ABRAHAM’S OAK
The word “oak” itself are connected to the word God (el) which are allon and elon in the Hebrew language. This almost 5,000 year-old tree is allegedly the same exact place where God or his angels appeared and talked to Israel’s founding father – Abraham.
It is believed that it was under this tree where Abraham received the news of him having a child which was then named Isaac.
Although it has been reported that the original stem has long been dead since the year 1996, an astonishing sign of life sprouting out after 1-2 years provides great hope for most Christian with the belief that God walked and gave Abraham the once in an existence opportunity of being able to see and talk to him.
8. THE BRISTLECONE PINE
Again, the Bristlecone Pine Tree is not revered by any culture as sanctified or something of a blessed nature. However, this tree is known to have the capability to exist in excess of 5,000 years.
It could perhaps be labelled as the “immortal tree” simply because of its longevity. You might think that their long-life span is because they thrive in the most comforting places – that is the myth.
Bristlecone pines grow on places with altitude of almost 10,000 feet where the temperature can reach beyond the freezing point. This is just one reason why it is bestowed with such mythical proportions. Humans and some animals are also capable to exist in places with such extreme weather; however, Bristlecone pines are known not only to survive the coldest of temperature but also to surpass its own survival rate.
This type of tree is extremely resistant to all natural invasions that may cause all other species of trees to rot such as fungi and insects.
In fact, they are believed to still be rooted on the ground and can still last for hundreds of years even if it becomes somewhat biologically or technically dead. The oldest of the Bristlecone Pine tree ever discovered is believed to have amazingly existed for 5,062 years and still counting.
“Methuselah” is the name given to another one which was discovered at the White Mountains near Bishop believed to have lived for 4,843 years.
The third one which was nicknamed “Prometheus” said to have existed for about 4,862 years was cut down by a geologist looking for physical proof of Ice Age glaciers.
9. THE SYCAMORE
From the Greek word “Sicon” meaning fig and “moros” meaning blackberry bush, the Sycamore Tree is perhaps the most mentioned type of tree in the Christian Bible. From the time of King Solomon (Old Testament) up to Jesus’ time (New Testament).
However, despite the numerous Bible citations of the said tree, it does not really merit any sacred symbolical meaning unlike the other species of trees mentioned in this article will have.
The reason perhaps it is somehow being connected to trees that do symbolise sacredness is simply because it was mentioned several times.
Perhaps instead of defining the Sycamore Tree as a pilgrimage for worship, the real and deeper meaning that it could best serve is the additional sense of factuality of the Bible itself.
10. THE ALMOND TREE
“Jeremiah, what do you see?” “I see a branch of the watchful tree,” I answered. Then Yahweh said, “Well seen! I too watch over My Word to see it fulfilled” (Jer. 1:11-12).
As a natural and scientific fact, from all the known species of trees, the Almond Tree is the first to grow its leaves and the last one to lose them come the fall season.
Like the Sycamore tree, it has been mentioned several times in the Bible specifically in Books of the Old Testament such asExodus, Genesis and Jeremiah.
Its unique characteristics of having the natural ability to be the first to grow its leaves than the rest of its kind symbolises the belief that God sees and knows everything.
This is one of the reasons that the Bible also tells that God is Israel’s almond tree.
11. THE PALM TREE
One of the most important religious events for Christians is the Lenten Season that lasts for 7 days thus also called the Holy Week.
This is to commemorate the last days of Jesus Christ which focus on the night when he was captured all the way to his crucifixion and resurrection which is popularly called the Easter Sunday.
The Lenten Season starts on a Sunday as well and is known as the Palm Sunday. This particular event in Jesus’ life is the reason why Palm trees, specifically its leaves, become a religious symbol.
As written in the New Testament, Jesus, together with his apostles, visited Jerusalem and was greeted with a grand welcome by the locals by putting palm leaves on the ground as Jesus passed through entering Jerusalem.
Nowadays, Christians all over the world does the same thing as a remembrance to the same event and this is by attending the Holy Mass with palm leaves which will then be blessed by the celebrating priest.
Though the tree itself or its leaves are not really worshipped, palm leaves have become a religious symbol which signifies the start of one of Christianity’s most sacred event.
As the holy scriptures states, everything that has been created in this world is more than enough to provide all human needs.
Trees and plants are just only some of them but it is undeniable that, despite the fact that these wonderful beings are usually abused and are taken for granted, it is not that hard for someone to realise that they are one of the main reasons for our existence and well-being.
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Kayla Williams is a London-based Content Writer for RedShed and Garden Buildings Direct. Graduated from the London College of Communication, with bachelors degrees in Communication Arts in 2006. Fond of fashion, gardening and travelling, you can always find her at the beach, canyons, mountains, conservatories, and fashion outlets. Follow me on Twitter at @kylawrties. See yah! -K ♥