7.10.2009

World Tree - An Axis Mundi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_tree
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_mundi
File:Tree of life SVG.svg
The World Tree is a motif present in several religions and mythologies, particularly Indo-European religions. The world tree is represented as a colossal tree which supports the heavens, thereby connecting the heavens, the earth, and, through its roots, the underground. It may also be strongly connected to the motif of the tree of life.
This axis mundi (also cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, columna cerului, center of the world) is an ubiquitous symbol that crosses human cultures. The image expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms. Communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones and be disseminated to all. The spot functions as the omphalos (navel), the world's point of beginning.
The axis mundi image appears in every region of the world and takes many forms. The image is both feminine (an umbilical providing nourishment) and masculine (a phallus providing insemination into a uterus). It may have the form of a natural object (a mountain, a tree, a vine, a stalk, a column of smoke or fire) or a product of human manufacture (a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire). Its proximity to heaven may carry implications that are chiefly religious (pagoda, temple mount, church) or secular (obelisk, minaret, lighthouse, rocket, skyscraper). The image appears in religious and secular contexts.[5] The axis mundi symbol may be found in cultures utilizing shamanic practices or animist belief systems, in major world religions, and in technologically advanced "urban centers." As Mircea Eliade observed: "Every Microcosm, every inhabited region, has a Centre; that is to say, a place that is sacred above all."
[Sources: wiki/World_Tree, wiki/Axis_Mundi]
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