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Publish at April 20 2021 Updated January 19 2022

Trees of knowledge

The roots, sap and flowers of the tree of knowledge

Source Pixabay

Mythological Trees

Trees participate in our imaginations and their archetypal evocative power runs through all civilizations. From the mythological tree to Christmas trees, to the famous Ents, animated trees from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, the tree is present in the collective unconscious.

Tree of Knowledge

The tree of knowledge is a biblical story. God having created the Garden of Eden forbids Adam and Eve to eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge. The fact that Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is called "sin". The tree symbolizes the idea of unlimited knowledge, a power reserved for God. Breaking this prohibition leads the first couple to leave the Garden of Eden. This image will connote for centuries the relationship to knowledge of Western civilization imbued with the guilty desire to know a little more.

The Apple Tree of the Hesperides

The eleventh of Hercules's "labors" consisted of bringing back the golden fruits of an apple tree, a gift from Gaia to Hera. This tree symbolizes spring, wealth, the cycle of seasons. What nature teaches us throughout our existence.

Yggdrasil the world tree

Yggdrasil is a mythological tree from Norse beliefs. It is the world tree on which rests, the universes of dwarfs, giants of men and that of the gods. The tree is a gigantic evergreen ash tree, which represented the axis of the world around which the worlds were arranged. It is hung from this giant that the God Odin would have invented the runes.

This representation of the tree uniting heaven and earth is common to the beliefs of shamans. The tree axis of the world and bridge of communication with the beyond is present in Asian shamanism (among the Mongols, the Buryats, the Tungus, etc.). The tree has a function of communication between celestial and chthonic (subterranean) powers and the shaman is an intercessor.

The Tree of Life

The iconography of the Tree of Life is shared by many peoples. For example, the Celts of Ireland incorporated a tree of life guarded by two dragons into their warrior emblems. This heraldic symbol then spread throughout Celtic Europe in the 3rd and 4th centuries. It is associated with the god Lug. Moreover, the druids, whose name has the same root as the dryads, Greek tree goddesses, carried out their magical rituals under the sacred trees. Forests keep trace of these beliefs as in Brittany that of Broceliande.

In the Buddhist tradition, the Tree of Life is a allegory of the Bodhi tree. This tree, also called Bodhimanda, is venerated because it is under its foliage that Buddha, after meditating for a long time, is said to have attained enlightenment. The tree thus represents the path of Buddha's elevation.

African palaver tree and sacred baobab

In Senegal there is a sacred baobabaround which the griots, the singers of oral knowledge, are buried. This "cemetery" retains a power of evocation and ancient stories that griots have told many times.

Trees of Justice

The oak tree of King Saint Louis under which legend claims he dispensed justice marks above all the status of the monarch unless it helps to discern for difficult cases. The oak, king of the forest, represents the tree of kings. To each tree is assigned a symbolism, to the alder humility, to the olive tree peace and longevity, to the oak strength and power.

Trees of Freedom

Celebrating freedom trees is said to be a tradition of the French Revolution marking a collective emancipation. This tradition would go back to Gaulish and Roman customs, who planted May trees to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Well rooted

For Maturana and Varela the cognitive act is not a simple mirror of an external objective reality, but rather an active process, rooted in our biological structure.

For my part, I would add a link to imaginaries. All knowledge settles somewhere and takes its place in an imaginary. These trees speak to us of the desire for morality, abundance, writing, the physical and sacred architecture of the world, elevation and the cycles of the seasons and life, discernment and strength, and finally freedom, all of these themes so connected to the act of learning.

Epilogue:

The tree of silence bears the fruits of peace (Arabic proverb )

Sources

From Sustainability to Regeneration February 17, 2021contribution INR. Philippe Derouette. Project Manager Digital Responsible at IT-CE (BPCE Group) Deputy Director of Strategy, Financing, Partner Relations at INR. https://institutnr.org/de-la-durabilite-a-la-regeneration

Persee https://www.persee.fr/doc/rfp_0556-7807_1993_num_105_1_2525_t1_0137_0000_4

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Wikipedia Gaston Pineau https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaston_Pineau

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Thomas Hanna https://www.apprendre.org/education-somatique-hanna/

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https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbre_de_la_connaissance_du_bien_et_du_mal

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