Were Trees Ever Considered Sacred?

The Bible tells of two sacred trees in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. Adam and Eve were permitted to eat the fruit from any tree in the Garden of Eden except the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, since God did not want them to have the knowledge of good and evil.

Ancient Egyptians believed that the gods lived in sycomore trees (not today’s sycamores) on the border between this world and the next. It was in these trees that the gods gave food and water to souls traveling from one world to the other.

To the Persians, the cypress tree was the home of a god.

The Buddhists of India consider the bo tree sacred. The bo tree is a fig tree Which grows 100 feet tall and has huge spreading branches. The Buddhists believe that while Buddha was meditating under a bo tree, he received a heavenly light which inspired his religion.

Among the Greeks, the laurel tree was sacred to the god Apollo; the olive tree, to the goddess Athena, and the oak tree, to the god Zeus. In fact, Greek mythology contains many stories about trees.

One of the most famous is about Philomon and Baucis. So loving a couple were they that Zeus did something special for them when they died. He turned Philomon into an oak tree to stand right beside Baucis, whom he turned into a linden tree. At the top, the branches of both trees were interlaced, as if the two were still clinging to each other.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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