Tree Legends, Myths, and Wisdom Tales


The Indigenous View

When we view the history of man from the standpoint of his relationship to the natural world, incorporating and embracing that broader context that is acknowledged by indigenous cultures and perspectives, for example, a profound depth and beauty is revealed. This is normally experienced as the beauty of nature or the exhilaration one finds while trekking the great mountain ranges, hiking in the virgin rainforests, or otherwise allowing ourselves to fully experience our root connection with mother nature beyond as a mere subject/object relationship. This is the daily experience and basis from which indigenous cultures interact. It is also the basis of indigenous healing systems, modern somatics, the deep ecology movement, and nature positive yoga all of whom recognize the primary importance of this connection.

The ordinary modern urban man has been programmed to be disconnected and estranged from nature and his own body. This estrangement from nature and wilderness is so deep that most men do not even acknowledge it, rather they feel "symptoms' of mechanical ness, rigidity, loss of spontaneity -- lack of intuition, feelings, instinct, and vitality, but the causes to these symptoms elude him because he has become numbed and dissociated from his feelings..

The task of healing from an indigenous perspective then is to bring about man's primary re-connection with his roots, with vitality, with the life energy inherent in nature, with the power of evolution, nurture, and nature. Then one again will experience and embrace a vital, healthy, natural, and life affirming view -- a "reality" which embraces its own inherit self supporting healing intelligence. When immersed in that truly spontaneous indigenous and sacred space (the sacred indigenous mind) one has no option other than to "conclude" the affirmation of man's natural place in all of creation/evolution. Man thus knows who he is in the transpersonal and non-dual sense of All Our Relations. In that indigenous embrace, man no longer abstracts himself from the creative process, from creation/nature, and thus resides in his true self, capable only then of embodying his creator in creative and fulfilling natural expression/actions.

Indigenous space thus precludes man's cravings because it precludes his primal split from creation/creator. Here in indigenous time, there exists no need to return to Source, because one is living inside of eternal life all the time. Thus the basis of indigenous collective activity is firmly based on this vision. According to indigenous culture activity not based on this alignment and communion is neurotic, aberrant, and corrupt.

Indigenous Background of Man

In the past all of man recognized and affirmed mother nature as his true sustenance as all tribes consciously acknowledged their dependence of her. This "conclusion" can not be fully grasped through the machinations of logic or the intellect -- nor can it be conceived as an idea fully, but when it is "known" through vital experience (subjectively) being realized by living it and being immersed in that "reality"then its profound healing ability can manifest. Even today, in the modern urban world, it is attainable capable of being experienced as our birth right. It is not exclusive and belongs to no one religion or group. Walking through a forest or sitting near a river can be sufficient to induce such a realization (that is if the river is not an open sewer or the forest not a planted agricultural product). The tragedy is that most people have not been able to visit and experience an intact ancient living habitat. Even in a vacant lot, in the alley ways, in the majesty of the weeds growing up between the concrete cracks, nature is still accessible. She will be HERE as long as we are alive, because we are here. Thus we are all born indigenous -- we all have experienced such, but few have integrated this into their modern daily life and reflect it. Most of us have become abstracted from this vital and healing inter-connection with mother nature and father sky and thus we walk the earth wounded, crazed, and corrupted.

Obviously early human life, in terms of survival and abundance, depended upon how well a tribe or group could read natural law, find good water, avoid attack from other animals, heed the warning signs of storms and earthquakes, listen to the winds and mountains, stars and clouds, communicate with the plants, know medicinal plants from poisonous, where to hunt, where to migrate, and the rest. Ancient man knew that it all came from mother, one's body as well. Mother was harsh if we misread her, while proving rewarding if and when we listened to her. She was the mother of all and we knew it on a deep level and as such there was no need for organized religion. Such an indigenous way of life was obvious -- it was integrated into our daily economics, medicine, social systems, ceremonies, cosmology, and the like, as reality -- as sanity. Man could not ignore it (in ignorance or arrogance).

In that indigenous situation groups of humans such as in tribes elected leaders who were wise in the ways of nature, who could read her mysteries, who would listen to her best and communicate best to those whose ears and eyes were less clear. Thus they were capable of healthy nd benign leadership. That was the stuff that made up the chiefs, the medicine people, shamans, and true leaders. In order to talk with the animals, the plants, the stars, and mother nature, their language of conversation was necessarily not of men or words -- but of All Our Relations.

As human knowledge was passed down over thousands of generations, man's knowledge necessarily grew. Then some men grew proud and arrogant and started to forget the Source. They mistakenly thought that this knowledge came from man and his ancestors independently, instead of mother nature. So man started to become puffed up with himself, arrogant, estranged, and prideful -- in short their imagined sense of separateness and independence (ego) thought itself to become free from from nature and hence "in control" being capable of conquering nature, and hence spiritual self alienation started to set in. Nature and wilderness hence started to be conceived as the enemy rather than the mother and thus an institutionalized arrogance and estrangement developed. From this primary rift of man's mind upheld the illusion that man was apart/estranged from nature. This delusion of ego "reality" was reinforced and as a result this deep chasm manifested in further spiritual diseases such as neuroses, anger, depression, greed, jealousy, lack of self worth, and so forth. Built on such a precipice, these alienating illusions looked for support and thus became institutionalized which protected the lie and attacked the truth, except in the remaining indigenous cultures which were feared and marginalized.

WE are (were) ALL Indigenous

If anyone with insight studies and searches with passion through aboriginal or indigenous wisdom stories before the attack of the alien religious institutions (those that place God and Spirit elsewhere than residing upon earth in the present) -- those who uphold the lie of being separate from the earth -- such as found in the institutionalization of Judeo-Christian thought, Hellenism, the philosophical legacies of Aristotle, Charlemagne, St. George, Cortez, or a capitalist/exploitive prejudice in general, or any other system based and upheld by corrupt and self legitimizing claims of separateness, linear modes of logic, or manmade words (such as found in so-called holy books) that justify continued brutality, exploitation, cruelty, and abominations upon the evolution of natural living systems, then they will find a world where god is omnipresent. A sacred world will open to them, An inherent uncontrived and natural way of beauty will become uncovered. Here one will arrive into sacred presence and come home.

Traces of Symbols for the Living Tree

Although some Greek thought, such as Aristotelian logic, laid a basis of man's over objectification from natural life which contributed to the adoption of nastiest brand of Christianity (earthly nihilism) by the Roman Empire (the heirs of Greek intellectualism), one may find even in Greek literature respect and acknowledgment for nature (especially in early Greek medicine) and especially in the symbol of the caduceus symbol. Some historians mistake what has survived persecution by alien religions upon indigenous (and self empowering) religions as history and thus have fallen into the trap laid out for them by such alien advocates. So if one looks at early Indo-European history, we can see two forces afoot. On one hand the naturalists and indigenous (often called feminine) and on the other those who argued for more control and intervention over nature, who advocated animal husbandry, agriculture, cities, and who eventually became nature phobic (in the attempt to gain dominion of nature) upholding a patriarchal system as well as a patriarchal God (both of whom were not very accessible). Unfortunately it is this latter group that won sway over most of Europe, Africa, the Americas, Australia, and much of Asia and forced conversion, destroyed pre-existing indigenous cultures, burned libraries, and re-wrote history.

Studying the "wisdom stories"

Studying the wisdom stories that survived the warlike patriarchal invasions, wars, and subjugation to conquer, enslave, exploit, and disempower, many lessons can be learned. If one knows what to look for (and this is easy once we learn how human's think), we can clearly see beyond any doubt that at an early time in human evolution all human beings intimately knew that they were on survival terms with nature as a human animal (as nature was an intimate/implicate part of them and that as human beings they were an part of it). This kinship extended to the oceans, wind, forests, stars, and beyond time to what are called creation myths with the exception that indigenous human beings did not see these stories as myths, but rather as a living reality -- truth. as an intimate participant in a very old and ever unfolding (evolving) story. Man "belonged" to this vast sea of living knowledge. His society, symbols and everyday life reflected such.

Such an indigenous ethos is inherently self empowering, and does not support hierarchy, external authoritarian systems, dictatorships nor totalitarianism because it affirms that mother is inside us, is implicate, and permeates the entire natural world -- that we are kin with this Living and Intelligent All, and that she can not be a property of any elite hierarchy or privileged class, nor is she to be found elsewhere than within our own heart. This happens when man lets spirit fill him and is thus spirit filled/sp ritual.

So as time went on, the arrogant, alienated, ravenous, crazed, jealous, unhappy, warlike, greedy, and deceitful men tried to subjugate, exploit, manipulate, enslave, rob, and subvert those who were more simple, peaceful and honest. The former spent their time making weapons, training for war, refining their usage of the words of deceit (creating books and ideology in order to rationalize, justify, and validate themselves and spin history to their agenda); while the latter spent time on creating abundance and celebrating life with music, dance, art, poetry, and true culture while upholding ecological integrity -- while the former attempted to expropriate, subjugate, exploit, and rob the latter. The latter lived within the context of nature, while the former tended toward cities and sedentary life. Over the years a great mistrust of the body, natural function, nature and wilderness in general and trauma (as the split off from nature and its denial) in particular, became acculturated, imbedded, conditioned, programmed, acquired, and institutionalized having thus stuck as glue to " man" transgenerationally. Concomitant with that was the myth of ego which reinforced and validated man's arrogance, superiority, and separateness, while the threat of the wild, the creative, the spontaneous, and the indigenous became marginalized, demonized, and if it should persist, persecuted and destroyed.

This corruption and alienation from nature is the true diaspora, the alienation from the Garden. It happened everywhere to the African, White, Asian, and in what was previously aboriginal people and culture. The Native Americans and Australian Aboriginal particularly had a most difficult time in "adjusting" because their values and cosmology (religion) remained unaffected and isolated by this alien disease for a longer time, and because they got hit by it all at once by invading aliens with superior technology. Their current predicament is grave because the very expropriation of wilderness and their nomadic way of life became the equivalent of being alienated from their spirit, their gods, and their essential meaning in life. Neurotic compensation does not suffice in such a great trauma (witness alcohol addiction and obesity problems), where in comparison Europeans had a couple thousand years in which to gradually adapt or perish by the alien sword. This displacement can be likened to being given salt, mayonnaise, ketchup or mustard, but the main course is taken away.

A high priority of the new Roman Catholic Church of the fourth century CE was to burn libraries and destroy temples that contradicted their views such as the artifacts, works, and sacred places of pagans, Gnostic Christians, nature worshippers, and the like. For example, Dodona, which dates back to as early as the third millennium BCE was a central power spot where the "Earth Mother" was accessed and worshipped. Later in the second millennium the Holy Beech Tree was worshipped there, then only around 1500 BCE (after the worship of Zeus became widespread as the chief God in Greece) was the name of the Goddess changed to Diona (the wife of Zeus) and the name of the tree changed to oak (sacred to Zeus). The Holy Tree was used as a functioning oracle and source of prophecy up until 391 CE when the tree was cut down by the Roman Catholic Empire and the oracles ceased. The Romans allowed the Greek Gods of the air to continue to be admired, but those sites where the earth, trees, and snakes were honored became either desecrated or destroyed. Throughout the world holy trees were cut down and uprooted and then very often mosques or churches honoring a distant and alien god was built in their stead. There are many such stories throughout our inherently indigenous and sacred earth.

Tree, Serpent, Dragon, and Kundalini Stories

Since the Aboriginal and Native American Diaspora from the way of life (from their spiritual center) is more recent than the European, we can easily still record their story (although of course this story has become interrupted and much oral tradition has become lost). (See the many links elsewhere on Ongwhehonwhe web pages). Thus the purpose of this page is to disclose similar wisdom stories from all over the world which survived the persecution and exploitation and which tell similar indigenous stories or legends (especially those about dragons and trees).

We have already discussed elsewhere on the Greek caduceus which was (and still is) the Greek symbol composed of a staff of which is intertwined two winged snakes or serpents. It is important to note that the serpents have wings and also that the word, caduceus, is derived from the word Greek word, karykeion. It was originally the staff of a herald, which was adopted later by Greek physicians. It is related to the Sanskrit word, kAru, which means singer. Staffs of course are associated with power and magic but in the case of the caduceus not of the male sexual organ, seed, or potency. The herald in this sense was an ambassador and messenger bridging the man's world with the healing world of nature - acting as an androgynous mediator/healer. The staff symbolizes the natural balance, unity, and synergy of mankind's analytical ability (left brain) with mankind's inherent intuitive powers (right brain and feminine brain). On a macrocosmic level it is the alignment, harmonizer, and synthesis of all duality, conflict, strife, and disparity -- of all disease (mental or physical) and the rending of the spiritual, mental, and physical rift itself -- nature and spirit, centrifugal and centripetal- female/male, heaven/earth -- that dynamic union intercedes in true healing.

In yogic terms the staff is the sushumna -- the central column which is often symbolized by a tree as well as a staff as well as a mountain (Mt. Meru). The two winged inter-twined serpents symbolize ida (the feminine moon and right brain energies) and pingala (the left brain, solar, and male energies). In yoga when we are in balance, when we are in harmony, the two polar energies (of ida and pingala) meeting together as one and flow in the sushumna, giving rise to the upward flow of the sap of the tree (so to speak). Here the person resides beyond mere balance and harmony but rather in synchronicity aligned with heaven and earth (crown chakra and earth chakra) abiding in his/her own essential core energy and true nature -- in indigenous space and time without the feeling of any spiritual malaise whatsoever. The rising of the sap is also called the awakening of our evolutionary potential which lies dormant in all humans symbolized as a sleeping serpent, snake, or dragon coiled up. But when kundalini is awakened she uncoils and flies upward, uplifting the soul and activating the energetics that create peace, strength, health, inner wisdom, and our natural indigenous state in which we profoundly know who we are in our heart.

Other pages on HeartMind describe this same process in detail, but here we are just beginning to join together the dragon, snake, serpent, tree, Greek, European, Indian, Chinese, African, alchemical, and aboriginal stories with the process of healing and yoga -- as describing the alchemical process of consciously re-connecting with indigenous space. See also the relationship of the Kundalini/chakra system to the Tree of Life and the Shekinah as described in the Cabala. In Earth Based Spirituality the myth of the axis mundi (the central axis of the universe and Yggdrasil (the tree that links heaven and earth together) in Norse mythology is briefly explained. In this respect it should be noted here that resting upon the roots Yggdrasil there lived the Midgard Serpent (Nidhogg) whom Thor killed in order to kill the world tree so it would not grow more powerful than the gods.

Similarly legends depicted the forests as a sanctuary for the true men of the heart, the freemen, the noble warriors, the Green Knight, and the like for example where in Sherwood Forest, Robyn Hood and his knights fought the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, in order to protect the poor, the powerless, the honest, and true.

Celtic people worshipped in sacred places called nemeton or glades. Similarly indigenous Germanic people also worshipped at trees. Many legends such as that of St. Boniface depict saints chopping down a pagan holy tree to show how Christianity has replaced the old forest gods. There is a wealth of surviving European legends that depict "green men", woodwoses, dryads, wood nymphs, the bitte folke, elves and other similar "magical" creatures associated with the forests. It is not uncommon to discover a "green man" carved in a medieval church as a decoration.

Similar stories are told in Greek and Middle Eastern legends. Also at Earth Based Spirituality, we explore Welsh and Celtic mythology about the sacred tree by introducing the poetry of W.B. Yeats, but later on this page we will develop much more on this theme in other traditions -- using tree and serpents as a way to link heaven and earth --mind and body, spirit and nature -- to reclaim the power of our inherent and dormant animal spirituality in order to more fully embody spirit and be true to it.

Although in order to survive persecution the legends were placed in symbolic form while often the meanings became confused and forgotten (unwittingly) over time. Many surviving legends in Europe tell as story of a struggle between man's persona and man's soma, between man's mechanical logic, book knowledge, and imposed beliefs (left brain function) on one hand and nature, intuition, natural function, indigenous wisdom, and instinct (right brain function) on the other hand. For example in Beowulf, the Volsung Saga, and other wisdom tales of Europe we find most often find the monster or dragon who lives in the underworld (associated with unconscious powers) is at war with man's increasingly growing sterile and modern nature phobic consciousness (adopted alien spirituality). The dragon or monster (such as Fafnir or Grendel) is always depicted as the keeper of great wealth, but when he/she is slain, magic goes out of the world and with it somberness (alienation) sets in for the hero -- mortality for the hero is achieved as well. Thus these wisdom legends are really stories of European man killing a part of himself (right brain). "Victory" is always at the expense of immortality, magic, and right brain function. But as we go east, to the Middle East, the dragons or sea serpents are usually tricked, but not necessarily killed. When we go further East to India, the dragons are tamed -- they become our friends and liberators, while in China they are ridden upon to heaven. Thus it is not unusual in Western civilizations the dragons such as Leviathan are symbols of chaos or evil, while in the East, Australia, Africa, and indigenous cultures snakes, serpents, dragons are revered or respected -- the mystery side must be embraced!

In Africa, Asia, and South America they are sacred unto themselves such as Quetzacoatl.(Aztec feathered serpent), Cipactli (Mayan), Danh-gbi (the python god of Whydah, Dahomey), Tiamet (Babylon), Ananta (India) , Damballa (Yoruba), the Ouroboros, Anyiewo, Apep (Apophis), Tien-Lung (China), Amphisbaena (African), Dhakhan (Australian Aboriginal), Tlactoc (Mayan), Degei (Fiji), Galeru (rainbow serpent of Australia), Chien Lung (Chinese), Muchalinda (Indian), Kundalini, and so forth. A list of many hundred such serpent gods can be found at David Icke''s excellent website A Serpent by Any Other Name and Nagas and Serpents

Dragon, Serpent, and Tree legends abound and we will include more on this page, so check back here in the future for new additions. All human animals are indigenous, they are spiritual brothers and sisters of all of god's sacred creation. Spirit calls out to us from within the core of our cells, from the earth, and the sky -- in all the ten directions and especially from Our Heart. Alien belief systems have become forced upon our wayward friends. They who have gone deaf and who no longer see, have fallen into forgetfulness and sleep. Let us be as alarm clocks for these in our healing dance of celebrating "rememberance" --

Oh my brothers and sisters - we sing the song as a herald -- as a mediator -- as the sacred stick and Grounding rod for spirit -- bathing fully in the vision of All of Us together! Emaho! It is sacred!

from "Black Elk Speaks"

"And as we went the Voice behind me said: "Behold a good nation walking in a sacred manner in a good land!"

Then I looked up and saw that there were four ascents ahead, and these were generations I should know. Now we were on the first ascent, and all the land was green. And as the long line climbed, all the old men and women raised their hands, palms forward, to the far sky yonder and began to croon a song together, and the sky ahead was filled with clouds of baby faces.

When we came to the end of the first ascent we camped in the sacred circle as before, and in the center stood the holy tree, and still the land about us was all green.

Then we started on the second ascent, marching as before, and still the land was green, but it was getting steeper. And as I looked ahead, the people changed into elks and bison and all four-footed beings and even into fowls, all walking in a sacred manner on the good red road together. And I myself was a spotted eagle soaring over them. But just before we stopped to camp at the end of that ascent, all the marching animals grew restless and afraid that they were not what they had been, and began sending forth voices of trouble, calling to their chiefs. And when they camped at the end of that ascent, I looked down and saw that leaves were falling from the holy tree.

And the Voice said: "Behold your nation, and remember what your Six Grandfathers gave you, for thenceforth your people walk in difficulties."

Then the people broke camp again, and saw the black road before them towards where the sun goes down, and black clouds coming yonder; and they did not want to go but could not stay. And as they walked the third ascent, all the animals and fowls that were the people ran here and there, for each one seemed to have his own little vision that he followed and his own rules; and all over the universe I could hear the winds at war like wild beasts fighting.

And when we reached the summit of the third ascent and camped, the nation's hoop was broken like a ring of smoke that spreads and scatters and the holy tree seemed dying and all its birds were gone. And when I looked ahead I saw that the fourth ascent would be terrible.

hen when the people were getting ready to begin the fourth ascent, the Voice spoke like some one weeping, and it said: "Look there upon your nation." And when I looked down, the people were all changed back to human, and they were thin, their faces sharp, for they were starving. Their ponies were only hide and bones, and the holy tree was gone.

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HeartMind Yoga

The Tree of Life/Cabala As related to the Yoga Chakra system

Yoga as a Grounded Earth Based Spiritual Practice -- Incorporating the Profound Long Body (the Great Integrity that Embodies Spirit): (includes the poem "Two Trees" by W.B. Yeats).

The Samkhya Interpretation of Brahmacharya: Alien Gods and Anti-Nature Cults

The Integration of Spirit and Mater in the Yoga Sutras (Professor Ian Whicher)

Countering World-Negation: The World Affirming and Integrative Dimension of Classical Yoga by Ian Whicher

The Sacred Tree by Brian Bates

Energy and Chakra Healing

Dragons and Dragon Lore, by Ernest Ingersoll. A complete 133 page book in Adobe PDF format published in 1928

From David Icke's excellent website,