Saturday, February 26, 2011

Getting Mystical on you...

I have always been drawn to the concept of the Tree of Life. I fell in love with it when I was introduced to the LDS church and read Lehi's vision for the first time. But even beyond that, I have loved the connection to family history with our roots and branches. Then there's the connection to ancient cultures where it has appeared in Meso-America, the Middle East, the Celtic Isles. I also love the natural world and greatly appreciate trees. But even with that, I didn't entirely understand why I feel so drawn to them. The color purple is the same way and I still haven't figured that out (though information on amethyst might explain a large part of it). The word Wisdom is something that I've been inexplicably drawn to a well. 

So here's the connection between Wisdom and the Tree of Life: 

Proverbs 3:18: "She [Wisdom] is a tree of alife to them that lay hold upon her"

There is a strong tradition in the Old Testament of Wisdom as a female goddess. I'm learning some of it from the book "Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God." Other sources where I've heard from is "Nephi and His Asherah" from the Maxwell Institute and "How to Worship Our  Mother in Heaven without Being Excommunicated." 

So not only is the Tree of Life, the love of God but it is also the gift of wisdom that comes to those who love God. It can also be called a symbol of the Goddess so the love of God that comes from that tree, then, is also the love of our Mother in Heaven. 

One insight I had a few years ago that has stayed with me is the different meanings of the phrase "love of God." The possessive is ambiguous. Is it God's love or our love for God? Both? I like to think of it as both, that feeling God's love through the Spirit is a gift but also our love of God is a fruit of faithful living. As we progress along the path to the tree, our love of God grows. In that way, the journey to the tree that each Mormon is on, is an archetypal journey to wisdom. 

Like Lehi, I find the promise of that fruit to be completely worth it. It is my hope that at the end of my life's journey that one of the fruits of the tree of life (which from the Old Testament is not just the love of God but it is also the gift of eternal life) is finding Heavenly Mother not just Our Father and the blessing it will be to learn of them through our eternity. 


Jenni said...

"love of God" can have a third meaning as well--love LIKE God. As in 'agape' or the charitable love toward all. :)

The tree connection with Mother is interesting. I've primarily pondered the Lunar and Earth metaphors/symbols thus far. I like trees well enough, but I've never seen them in this kind of context. Certainly food for thought.

Doe said...

Beautifully spoken. One of my favorite Goddess symbols shows her as a tree.

TopHat said...

I love Tree of Life symbolism! Let's all hold onto that rod and get to our Mother!

Melissa said...

I love the topic of Heavenly Mother and the devine feminism.

I read this book, and you would probably love it too! It's called St. Mary Magdalene, The Gnostic Tradition of the Holy Bride by Tau Malachi.

Really interesting, and both my husband and I have had some real insight after reading it and then reading the Bible!