meaning of tree of life

The Tree of Life is a popular and universal symbol that is a fundamental archetype across various mythologies, cultural, religious, and philosophical traditions. The symbol has been used all over the world for centuries.  

The Tree of Life is regarded as a sacred symbol which carries significant symbolism and meaning in both spiritual and religious philosophies. The Tree of Life, connecting all forms of creation and the Tree of Knowledge, connecting heaven and the underworld, are both forms of the Cosmic Tree or World Tree. They are portrayed in various philosophies and religions as the same tree.   

The meaning of the Tree of Life 

The Tree of Life symbolizes many different things. However, there are some common themes that the symbol represents within multiple cultures. 

A connection to everything

One common aspect that the Tree of Life represents is the interconnectedness of everything in the universe. The tree is a symbol of togetherness and serves to remind you that you are never alone, but rather connected to the world. The roots of the Tree of Life spread and connect to the earth and the tree is nourished by Mother Earth. Its branches accept energy from the sun and moon by reaching up into the sky.

Ancestry, family, and fertility 

The Tree of Life also represents our connection to our ancestry and families. The intricate network of the tree’s branches symbolize how a family grows and spreads out through many generations. The Tree of Life is also a symbol of fertility. The way a tree finds a way to keep growing till maturity signifies its vitality. 

Growth and strength 

The Tree of Life is also a universal symbol of growth and strength. Trees stand tall and strong as they spread their roots deep into the ground to stabilize them. They can also withstand extreme conditions, making them a prominent symbol for strength. The Tree of Life also represents growth. A tree starts out as a small and delicate sapling that grows over a long time into a huge and strong tree. Its growth represents how a person grows stronger while increasing their knowledge and experiences in the process. 


The Tree of Life is also a symbol of individuality. All trees are unique, with branches spreading out from different points and in different directions. The growth of the tree represents the growth of an individual into a unique human being, and how different experiences shape them into who they are. With time, the tree gains new characteristics as new branches grow, old branches break off, and as the weather runs its course. While all this happens, the tree remains strong and sturdy. The metaphor represents how people experience growth and change throughout their lifetime, with unique experiences, as well as gains and losses molding them and enhancing their individuality.   

Immortality and rebirth 

The Tree of Life is a symbol of rebirth. Trees lose their leaves and seem to be dead during winter. However, new buds appear and fresh leaves unfurl during spring. This represents a fresh start and the beginning of a new life. The tree is also a symbol of immortality. When a tree grows old, it produces seeds that ensure that the tree lives on through new saplings.


Trees are universally used as a symbol of peace. Trees have a peaceful and relaxing presence as they stand tall and still with their leaves fluttering in the breeze. The Tree of Life is a symbol that serves as a reminder for the peaceful and tranquil feeling that one gets from trees. 

The history of the Tree of Life symbol

The Tree of Life symbol can be traced all the way back to ancient times. The earliest depiction of the Tree of Life symbol dates back to 7000 BC and was found in the Domuztepe excavations in Turkey. Historians believe that the symbol spread from there to other parts of the world in various ways. 

A similar depiction of the Tree of Life was discovered in the Acadians and dates back to 3000 BC. The symbol was that of a pine tree, and since pine trees are some of the oldest living plants on earth, it is believed that the symbols are among the first depictions of the Tree of Life.  

The Tree of Life is also significant to the Ancient Celts. The tree was a symbol of harmony and balance, and was of strong significance to the Celtic culture. They believe that the Tree of Life had magical powers. As such, when they cleared their lands, they would leave a single tree standing in the middle. The tree would be a spot where important gatherings and meetings would be held, and it was a very serious crime to cut it down.  

The meaning of the Tree of Life in different cultures

Many cultures and religions across the world have ancient mythologies and beliefs involving the Tree of Life. References to the Tree of Life have been found in Ancient Iran, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, and Urartu, and many other places. The symbol was widely recognized and used in ancient cultures, thus it is hard to pinpoint its exact origins and how it spread throughout the world.


In Christianity, the Tree of Life is mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Genesis. The tree grows in the Garden of Eden and is the source of eternal life. The symbol has several meanings in Christianity. Some believe it represents love while some believe it to be the symbol of humanity free from corruption and sin. It is also believed that the tree has healing properties and that its fruits grant immortality.


 In Buddhism, the Tree of Life is known as the Bodhi-tree and is believed to be the Tree of Enlightenment. Buddha reached enlightenment under this tree. As such, the tree is seen as a very sacred symbol.  

Celtic beliefs  

The Tree of Life in Celtic beliefs is depicted in multiple forms. It is believed that the roots represent the ‘other world’, the trunk represents the mortal world and connects the roots and branches, and the branches represent the world above, or the heavens. 


The Quran refers to the Tree of Life as the Tree of Immortality. It was in Eden and is the tree from which Adam and Eve ate after Allah had forbidden them from doing so.     


It is believed that the Tree of Life is what sustains and nourishes life. It stands in the center of a fruitful garden planted by Yahweh. 

We also have other guides to meanings behind symbols that you can check out. Here are some of them: Meaning of elephants, Meaning of the evil eye, Meaning of the Hamsa hand, Meaning of the lotus flower, Meaning of mandalas, Meaning of the Dharma Wheel, Meaning of the Flower of Life.

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