Throughout the ages, trees been powerful cosmological symbols. Any why not? Their feet extend deep into the soil, while their branches soar into the sky.

Many cultures, regardless of continent or hemisphere, saw trees as the bridge between the sacred and the profane.  Ancient Celts and Greeks made sacred certain groves. The Norse envisioned the tree Yggdrasil as  holding the universe and its worlds in place. Trees play a significant role in Judeo-Christian beliefs:  the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis,  to the cedars in Ezekiel’s prophecy (17:22-24), and the role the tree plays in the crucifixion of the Christ.

The trees below seemed a modern echo of the axis mundi — a central pillar holding up the roof of the sky, connecting, yet separating earth and sky, ensuring heaven’s light shines down to the earthbound.

CONNECTION — The tree is a symbol, a bridge from earth to heavens. Architects thoughtfully designed spaces for the trees to reach their arms upward. These are near the south entrance of the Minnesota Zoo.

3 thoughts on “Axis mundi

  1. Similar, on a more domestic note:

    “An old trunk of olive
    grew like a pillar on the building plot,
    and I laid out our bedroom round that tree,
    lined up the stone walls, built the walls and roof,
    gave it a doorway and smooth-fitting doors.
    Then I lopped off the silvery leaves and branches,
    hewed and shaped that stump from the roots up
    into a bedpost, drilled it, let it serve
    as model for the rest. I planed them all,
    inlaid them all with silver, gold and ivory,
    and stretched a bed between–a pliant web
    of oxhide thongs dyed crimson.”

    (The Odyssey, Book XXIII)

  2. Hi,
    Found your blog via biltrix. Thanks for this post and the photo.

    Elegant design. I can imagine a child – a patient child!- excitedly watching the light-oval (morning) grow toward a light-circle (mid-day) as it gradually aligns (or perhaps not) with the floor grate – like a Star Wars or Top Gun target “lock” in slow motion….Maybe tomorrow, darling… Maybe next season, son…

    And the children in Ecuador…on all but cloudy days, “we have a lock!”

    Or, perhaps this is just a game for old men and/or insomniacs.

    Nice blog – keep up the good work!


    1. Why thanks! I was thinking along the same lines — perhaps like Stonehenge or Manhattan-henge, the circle of light does lock onto the grate; and perhaps some miracle happens. Perhaps the arboreal bridge opens passage for an instant. Too bad it’s 900 miles way. Thanks for visiting and thanks for the thoughtful comment!

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