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Post by Jane Lewis
At the autumn equinox when day and night are of equal length and the Sun moves into Venus-ruled Libra we can enjoy the great natural beauty of trees changing colour and filling the landscape with shining reds, oranges and golds. The Scales represent balance, equilibrium and harmony from which beauty comes. White Eagle asks us to concentrate on beauty because it is ‘a spiritual food – beauty of form, beauty in nature, in Mother Earth; beauty in colour, in movement, in music, in thought, in expression.’ He says that the most ideal subjects for meditation are to be found in nature which have an effect upon the soul, bringing us in rapport with the Great Spirit. That beauty is especially striking in the autumn as leaves turn colour and fall to the ground; fruits and nuts are gathered from the orchards, hedgerows and woods and apples are harvested.
Trees have been worshipped as proxies of Divinity since time immemorial and were, and still are, believed to possess attributes of divine power and intelligence. Temples were originally built in the heart of sacred groves, and the great medieval cathedrals were designed to replicate them with their great pillars representing tree trunks and their intricately carved vaulted ceilings bringing to mind arching boughs. The arches in the church above were also replicated underground in the undercroft and crypts. Druids, highly illumined philosophers and priests, were known as tree men, their name meaning men of the oak tree.
The tree is such a deep, rich and multilayered subject to meditate upon. The Ancients saw the Macrocosm as a divine tree growing from a single seed sown in space, and the growth of the universe arising from its primitive seed may be likened to the growth of a mighty oak from a tiny acorn. Medieval Qabbalists represented Creation as a tree with its roots in the reality of spirit and its branches in the illusion of tangible existence. The great Tree of Life with its ten spheres, or sephiroth, is therefore inverted and has its roots in the heavens and branches on the earth. Madame Blavatsky considered Great Pyramid to be a symbol of this inverted tree.
Trees are emblems of everlasting life and knowledge. By shedding their leaves and ‘dying’ annually deciduous trees represent death, resurrection and rebirth, and it is no coincidence that the most glorious peak of the tree’s annual cycle comes at the end when it bursts into flame colours before its ‘death’ or winter sleep, withdrawing its life force into its roots in order to regenerate and prepare for the next year’s round, or incarnation. The apparent bursting into flames of autumn trees is nature’s way of ritually enacting the release of Light and Spirit.
The Christian Bible tells of two main trees: the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life contains the secret of man’s immortality and expresses the spiritual point of balance. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil conceals the great secret of antiquity which is the mystery of the law of equilibrium. It represents polarity, or unbalance, and contains the secret of mortality. Saturn, Lord of Karma, exalted in Libra the Scales makes sure that souls do not alight from the wheel of reincarnation until they have become as pure and light as a feather. Though humanity is still wandering in the world of good and evil it will ultimately attain completion and eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life, and by partaking of its fruit will gain immortality.
The first three sephiroth on the Tree of Life correspond with different trees: number One, the middle pillar is the mysterious and sacred Yew; number Two, the right-hand pillar of Wisdom is the oak and number Three, the left-hand pillar of Holy Intelligence, is the apple tree. Adam and Eve must eat of the apple tree in order to gain intelligence of the Wisdom. Adam and Eve is a cosmic myth: the apple represents knowledge of the procreative processes by the awakening of which the material universe was established. To the Celtic peoples, the wise teacher Merlin delivered his great teachings sitting in an apple tree. The apple is the tree of Venus, with its five-fold geometry, whose structure informs the natural and material world and can be enjoyed in musical harmonies. Musicians usually have Venus strong in their horoscope, often with Libra emphasised, Venus expressing herself through the air element which carries sound.