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Trees have always been something more than just plants to the mankind. The worship of trees might be forgotten, but still the symbol of tree survives in our subconscious. Almost every nation has myths and legends about trees, placing the tree as the central axis of the world, or worshipping it as a dwelling place of gods or spirits, the giver of knowledge, connection between worlds or as ancestors of the tribe.   

In Norse mythology, a giant ash tree - Yggdrasil - represents "axis mundi", around which the 9 worlds (the world of people - Middle-earth, being one of them) are organized. A giant snake, Níðhöggr, gnaws at its roots, but they always grow anew.

Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds by Elric888Odin by ElenaTurtle:thumb133463388:Yggdrasil by mikiokuYggdrasil by mernolanAshes of Yggdrasil by Phoenix-tails9World tree by AlexanderFaolchuWorld Tree by redheaded-step-childRatatoesk by daniellieskeUrd Verdandi Skuld by mrs-jessicatYggdrasil Seed by ArdiRaYggdrasil by Prasa

The biblical Tree of Knowledge has even some similarities to Yggdrasil. The snake is present, also, and although presented in a negative light, the tree is a giver of knowledge.... Just like in the myth about Yggdrasil when the god Odin sacrificed himself, hanging on the tree for nine days, to learn the secrets of knowledge.

Eve and the Tree of Knowledge by jasminetoadSlashTHREE - S by aiivenTree of Life - Awakening by Lakandiwa

After his sacrifice, Odin learned the runes, and brought them to the people. This is another important role of the tree as a giver of script. In Celtic tradition, the entire alphabet, ogham is based on trees, one tree representing one letter. It was used mostly for magical purposes, like divination.

Detailed Ogham Fews by LolairLUIS by paula2206:thumb98462434:

Dryads are tree spirits in Greek mythology. Technically speaking, dryads are the nymphs of oak trees, but the term has come to be used for all tree nymphs in general.

Treeshape by puimun:thumb185223802:wild treant by CReevesABuddOrbenn by Sheeptan

Mature Content

Wedding Vows by Candra
Heart of the Wood by puimunDryad Driada by zaradeiDryad- detail by asantellDryad by ZingaiaWoodland Nymph by yaamas

A Green Man is a sculpture, drawing, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring.

Greenman color by Lumi-karhu:thumb163511628:Oak king by Ironshodgreen man by subdommedia

In Eastern tradition, trees also play an important role, connected with the "giver of knowledge" myth. It was the Bodhi Tree, that Buddha was sitting under, when he achieved the enlightenment. It was a Fig tree, and its descendant still grows in the Mahabodhi Temple, now over 2.000 years old.

bodhi tree by philosophyamUnder the Bodhi Tree by ehrehrere

While redwoods are the biggest trees in the world, the first place in circumference belongs to another tree. It is the Tule tree (Taxodium mucronatum) in Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico with the circumference of 54 m.

Tule tree by DaishiruNot all old by CossyTule Tree 01 by NiaoblisTule tree 02 by Niaoblis

The world's oldest living trees are the b>Bristlecone Pines</b> (Pinus longaeva). The oldest tree, named Methuselah, was discovered in the White Mountains in eastern California and is over 4.800 years old.

Ancient Tree by MirMidPhotosthe old giant by rocktigerlillyPeople In a Tree by inspiredcreativityThe Tree God by MarcAdamusReaching for the Stars by enunez

The possibility of trees to make clonal systems, however, can change our perception of their age. Pando (or The Trembling Giant) is a clonal colony of a single male Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) located in Utah, all determined to be part of a single living organism by identical genetic markers and one massive underground root system. The root system of Pando is claimed by some to be among the oldest known living organisms in existence at 80.000 years of age.

Quaking Aspen by LowBFlatTrembling aspen by kiipy

When facing these facts, it is not a wonder that trees have been worshipped. It's a pity that so many amazing trees have fallen, having no place in the "modern" age. The more we should value the ones that remain...

:thumb187659803:Morton Bay Fig Tree by mit192371000 year Cherry by koala2allKing of Trees by black-amber:thumb166593890:Old and Knarred by EarthmagicThe Tree by ArathrimLinden by MirachRavaiaThe Octopus Tree by 11thDimensionPhotoOld tree by edwardowechecking for shelter by maximilaInto the Light by daniellieske- Tree - by PeochDWARFED BY THE MIGHTY by TADBEER:thumb26595726:Older than Jesus by ArwensGraceBeech Tree by annarey-stock-artDark Cernunnos by Hluthvik

Some more amazing pictures of trees, showing that the symbol of a tree still remains in the human mind, and is mirrored in art

Entrance To The Sacred Tree by Industrial-ForestThe Old Tree II by nathieRunic Oak - COLOR by ValkAngielife tree by yonazEdgewood's Butterfly Tree by myceliaeThe Great Tree by JonasDeRoThe Tree of Life by Jose-Garel-AlvoeiroA Star without a Name by golden-quinceSad Tree by MedusaGirlWarm Mist by andreasrochaautumn, linden by ayjajaDeath Is The Road to Awe... by morgenlandThe White Tree of Gondor by aragoniaEnchanted Woods by jeshannonIntertwined Trees by SpitenmaliceLGHELFFinal by JadeRunyaCommunity by red-gold-sparksWillow man by gustavocomparimFall Scene on a leaf by ArteestiqueTreant by NikalelesLe Jardin Enchanteur by FerdinandLaderaHe was Here by FyreantThe old tree by cebaumThe Great Tree by CindarellaPopThe Iifa Tree by KajusXBig Big Tree by MCfrogAfternoon Tea by yaamasold tree by hillfreakThe First Tree by LucieOn.ancient.tree. by noah-khAncestors by sphinxmuseThrough the Leaves by minikikiartMother Tree - Color by LaughingAstaraelI HAVE BEEN HERE LONGER THAN U by mbevButterflies tree by GrimDreamArtOld Beach Tree by method2madnessamong roots by yonazLe talus by chachahForest Floor 01 by FyreantArbres tordus by monts-et-foretsCelttree by TrollGirlSeasons by Ohno-momentGood Luck by DeliriumtTremensTree with good fruit by usartdudeA forgotten forest bedroom by ReonArgondian:thumb173272756:Early Days by LeliumojBig Tree 2 by Chrisleo92random stuff by TonyholmstenLothlorien by JonGibbons:thumb173183589:Unity by Madelei:thumb127589316::thumb150587013:Oldman of the Woods by greensapAfternoon Tea by yaamasBook Illustration 2 by bridge-trollTree 02 by minikikiarttree by SedeptraChessmates by puimun:thumb122482549:OLD GNARLY TREE by movinkindaslowThe Old Beech by bridge-trollTree of the Scarlet Spirit by gustafssonOld Man Willow by icy-maidenTarot - Ace - Water by ravynnephelanCircle Celtic Tree of Life by foxvoxTree of Labor by maxonIf you go down to the woods... by BletchChetwode-the happy tree- by Wictorian-ArtHerfsttij der middeleeuwen by SedeptraOfferings 2 by puimunTree of wisdom by agiosTree of Light   SOLD by graemebWoodland Sanctuary by liigaPass of Enchantment by JonsamaDay and Night by jeshannonEnTree 001 SOLD by graemebF250407 by faboartsACEO Lonely Oak Tree by MandarinMoon

Mature Content

Living Tree by puimun
Moonlit darkness... by Lirulin-yirthEnt lovers by delfeeWhitebark Pine by WonderDookieThe Tree by Carpet-CrawlerTree of Life by graemebTelperion by ProtoguyTree 2 by zzen:thumb96315711:metamorphose by LailaPregizerThe Old Man by ArwensGrace

And also fractals, because a tree is a natural fractal in its structure, repating its form on many levels.
Telperion by lindelokse13th Secret Of Cathedral Woods by MANDELWERKInfernal Autumn by TimmetriusFractal fir tree by Lirulin-yirthFractal Willow by DanaAndersonTree by Aisling7Tree of Light by AmorinaAshtonCreazione di Telperion by SpamkillerMaybe it does grow on trees... by rockgemThe Manhattan Project by JeddakaYggdrasil by ClaireJones

I hope you enjoyed the article, found some great pictures, and learned something new. It is just a short compilation of the amazing topic of trees in mythology, and if you want to know more, I will gladly answer any questions.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconumanhamu:
UmaNHamU Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012   Traditional Artist
Great article, you informed me and reinforced what I've always known in my heart. Trees are way cool!!
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:)
Reply
:iconmontmartre96:
montmartre96 Featured By Owner May 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing compilation! I enjoyed reading this and watching these pics :-)
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:icontototomm:
ToToTomm Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
wonderful
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconlaylana:
Laylana Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is absolutely wonderful!!
How you managed to give such a brief overview through the history of tree perception, and to combine it with such a well-chosen collection of images... I'm stunned!!

When I made a presentation about the "Tree of Life" in my English-spoken course, I was using one sentence from your text (of course with reference)...
I really hope, this was ok...?
:rose:
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much! I'm glad you like the article, and of course it was ok. I'm glad the informations helped you :)
Reply
:iconlaylana:
Laylana Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much! :hug:
Reply
:iconlarsvandegoor:
LarsVanDeGoor Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2011  Professional Photographer
Thank you :heart:
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconrbyw:
Reply
:iconspamkiller:
Spamkiller Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much, even if with great delay! :bow:
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome!
Reply
:iconniaoblis:
Niaoblis Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011   Photographer
Great collection!!! I'm flattered. :hug:
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconrbyw: I'm glad you like it!
Reply
:iconshanti1971:
shanti1971 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2011  Professional General Artist
I really enjoyed that journey through the trees , what an amazing collection of images and put / sown together so well with fascinating reading , thank you !
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Reply
:iconanarielhime:
Anarielhime Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
That's really interesting and beautiful.
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconmedusagirl:
MedusaGirl Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks so much for featuring one of my works.
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconrbyw:
Reply
:iconmaximila:
maximila Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2010
Awesome! I love your article :love:
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconmit19237:
mit19237 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2010
Wonderful article! And thank you for including one of my tree photographs in it.
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconrbyw: I'm glad you like the article!
Reply
:iconred-headed-woman:
red-headed-woman Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for that beautiful article and pictures.
The tree is also a powerful spiritual gateway in the shamanic tradition. There were a couple of fantastic photo books by Thomas Pakenham on trees...
Well worth a look.
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
That's true, they were used as a "ladder" to climb into the world of spirits. It's really fascinating :) And thank you for the tip!
Reply
:icondaishiru:
Daishiru Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010
I liked a lot the article! Thank you very much for adding my work :D!
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconrbyw: I'm glad you like the article!
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:iconnathie:
nathie Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the feature! Cool collection, I´m honored to be included.
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconrbyw: I'm glad you like the article!
Reply
:iconlapis-lazuri:
lapis-lazuri Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Wooow, astonishing!.... You could really leave your eyes in here....
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! Welcome to the magical wood! :D
Reply
:iconlapis-lazuri:
lapis-lazuri Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:aww:
Reply
:iconzzen:
zzen Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for featuring my work :)
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Niet za čo :D
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:iconhillfreak:
hillfreak Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010
thank you very much for featuring my work in this awesome article.
cheers!
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconrbyw:
Reply
:icongold-seven:
Gold-Seven Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
A wonderful collection - thank you for collecting and sharing these!
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
It's my pleasure :)
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:iconckrzysz09:
ckrzysz09 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010
Thanks for this beautiful collection :>
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
It's my pleasure!
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:iconpoisonparasyt:
PoisonParasyt Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
*treegasm* Thanks, one of the things i look up the most on here is "trees". Woo more pictures to add to my collection! :] I was honestly prepared to be scandalized if i didnt see any of Puimums trees up there.

So tree questions, what books have you read? What ones do you suggest? I am really interested in the whole tree mythology thing, and even the Celtic Tree Zodiac. Iv got a wishlist of books on amazon that around about tree mythology but im not really sure what ones i should actually read.
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm glad you found pictures you like here! Of course I couldn't omit Puimun, could I? :D But not all her trees are here, as I wanted to give place to others too :)

And about the books, I have read many, as this subject was also a part of my thesis (besides being one of my passions...). But if I should choose one book, I would certainly recommend The Spirit of Trees by Fred Hageneder. He is a recognized authority in this field, and has many interesting informations.

About Celtic Tree Zodiac, I fear I'll dissappoint you. It is generally claimed to be authentic, and the characteristics might be fitting, but its origin is modern. Originally, Celts didn't have a Zodiac. Trees had a great role in their life (there was even the death penalty for cutting some special trees), and each rune of their alphabet, ogham, represented one tree with its unique power and spirit. They were used for divination, but not for counting the time. The now popular Celtic Zodiac might be derived from ogham in the last decades, with the groing popularity of celtic traditions.
Reply
:iconpoisonparasyt:
PoisonParasyt Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for the information! I heard somewhere that the Celtic Tree Zodiac wasnt authentic but im not too heavily interested in whether that is or isnt. I do like the idea though. One of the sites i stumbled upon that mentioned the individual qualities went into the history of the each of the trees as well. I dont know how true THAT part is but the entire concept does interest me.

Now out of curiosity, are you into gardening as well? (i bought washington hawthorn seeds and i havent had much luck)
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:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I would say that part is true (if I understand correctly what you are saying). Every tree has its individual qualities, a "personality", and many nations have seen and recognized it. For example, oak is in many different mythologies considered the king of trees, and numinous for the main god of their pantheon (Zeus in Greece, Jupiter in Rome, Perún for Slavic nations...). Birch is a tree of new beginnings, for Celts as well as Russian nations. Their meaning in ogham is derived from these qualities, and so is the Zodiac.

And I don't have a garden, so I can't try :(
Reply
:iconpoisonparasyt:
PoisonParasyt Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
[link] Honestly dont know where the site gets any of their information from but its fun.

I found "The Spirit of Trees: Science, Symbiosis And Inspiration
by Fred Hageneder" on amazon. I hope thats the one your talking about. It looks good. :3
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, the information there is principially true, besides that transferring of the Ogham to Zodiac... And yes, it should be that book :)
Reply
:iconlil-puppy23:
lil-puppy23 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2010
If any living creature on the world are anywhere close to finding the keys to immortality, the trees are one of them.

Great article, cool features :D
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
This is very true, and actually, the longevity of trees is the topic of my research :) It's a fascinating subject!

Thank you!
Reply
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