As a symbol of the interconnectedness of all things, the Cosmic Tree is a common feature of religions/mythologies around the world. The nine Norse worlds are held together by Yggdrasil’s branches and roots, which connect the various parts of the cosmos to one another. Because of this, the continued existence of the cosmos depends on the health of Yggdrasil.
When the tree trembles, it signals the arrival of Ragnarok, the destruction of the universe. The death of Yggdrasil is equated to the death of the gods. According to historian Mircea Eliade (1), Ragnarök marks the end of a cosmic cycle. This cyclical destruction and creation of the world is demonstrated in the rise and fall of many great past civilizations. Myths of destructive floods have been reported in almost every mythology, depicting the power of natural disasters to bring an end to an epoch. The conjunction of planets Saturn and Jupiter at the recent December Solstice is believed mark the arrival of the Age of Aquarius, a new cosmic cycle. What lies ahead for us?
With its branches in the heavens and its roots in the underworld, the Cosmic Tree is central to the structure of the universe. In many spiritual traditions a tree rising through the center of the world was thought to act as a ladder or bridge, connecting heaven and Earth. It allows us to descend into the underworld or ascend into the heavens, both processes being equally important. Perhaps the cosmic tree can be seen as a symbol of the human psyche, possibly even of Jung’s archetype of the Self and wholeness. Jung said: “No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.” (2)
- Mircea Eliade, Myth & Reality
- CW 9ii, PARA 78
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#A post written for @jungsouthernafrica
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