The Tree of Life is an impressive, long-lasting, and endearing symbol in world history. It is omnipresent in different cultures, from ancient Mesoamerican folklore to modern renditions in books and video games. The Tree of Life is significant because it predates the monotheistic religions.
Before organized religion came to be, people already believed in the power of the Tree of Life, which many believed to be one of the most tangible connections we have to the cosmos and on the opposite lane, the underworld or the world beyond our realm.
The Tree of Life is also used as a mystical structure to make sense of the interconnections of life on Earth. In Judaic tradition, the Tree of Life establishes these connections within the mystical section of the tradition. As you can see, the Tree of Life is everywhere, and we can learn a thing or two from the cultural representations of the Tree of Life across the globe.
African Tree of Life: The Baobab Tree
The baobab tree is found in many low-lying regions of Africa and Australia. It is considered an uncommon tree because it can grow to such a massive scale, and many of the baobab trees in Africa can be as old as three thousand years old.
This tree was mentioned in the seminal work “The Little Prince” too, as the Little Prince explored the various planets in the galaxy. The baobab tree is also called the “upside-down tree” because its branches look like massive root systems reaching up to the sky.
Why is the baobab tree called the Tree of Life?
Because baobab trees live in arid regions where water is scarce, it has evolved to store water in its trunk. Nomadic tribes and animals know that in the absence of water, they may partake of the stored water in baobab trees. The ability of baobab trees to store water makes it a Tree of Life. Large animals like elephants and giraffes have learned to use the branches of baobab trees as “straws”.
Incredibly enough, baobab trees can store up to thirty thousand gallons of water in their trunks and branch systems. Another interesting factoid about baobab trees is their massive size; they can sustain their mini-ecosystem. Small animals like bats and birds all contribute to sustaining baobab trees in regions where they thrive.
Bats, mainly, play an essential role in pollination. Different species of birds that eat the baobab tree’s fruits also assist in the process. Pollination ensures the continuation of the genetic diversity of baobab trees.
And lastly, did you know that the fruit of the baobab tree is also known as the healing fruit. Almost always called the “fruit of healing,” the baobab fruit is an excellent source of significant vitamins and minerals.
While it’s true that people call it monkey fruit because monkeys of all shapes and sizes eat baobab fruit so frequently, this doesn’t reduce the value of the fruit itself to human life and sustenance.
Pokemon Tree of Life
No Joke! The Pokemon Tree of Life is an unofficial rendering of the network of life in the Pokemon universe. It was built by fans to track the evolution of Pokemon as the company released newer and newer iterations of the Pokemon universe in games, books, manga, TV shows, and more. In fact in everyday world, all organism can be classified into a tree of life diagram too.
Here’s what we know of the Pokemon Tree of Life:
- Natural creations like plant Pokemon are connected to the tree. Artificial Pokemon are excluded altogether from the Tree of Life and have their life tree. The separated life trees are featured but do not belong in the more massive Tree of Life.
- The first generation Pokemon are at the base of the Tree of Life, with Pokemon like Charmander and Pikachu bringing up the rear or foundation of the Tree of Life.
- Catalyst elements can be seen during the first major-branch off. These are items and events that correspond to the narrative flow in the different versions of the games.
- There are four significant branch-offs with the fourth creating its complex and intricate system of branch-offs, representing the latest generation of Pokemon in the continuity universe.
To read the most complete version of The Pokemon tree of life, please refer to Reddit.
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Gustav Klimt: Tree of Life
Gustav Klimt’s oil painting, the Tree of Life, is considered by many as his most beautiful creation. This oil painting was also created during the golden years of the painter. This is also the only landscape mural that was created during the heyday of the artist. Art critics praise how Gustav Klimt used many layers of symbolism to represent mysticism and magic.
The curled branches of the Tree of Life are original and bold and refer to the continuity of Creation and life itself. The undulating figures found throughout the mural suggest that Klimt was hinting at the different ways that the Tree of Life influenced and controlled Creation.
It is a truly magnificent piece that stayed true to the mytheme of the Tree of Life, and it will serve as a model for other painters for years to come. Another exciting aspect of the Tree of Life is how it connects the heavens, land, and the underworld. This is close to the deepest folklore connected to the Tree of Life, which is found in Mesoamerican mythology, where the Tree of Life is supposedly the heart of all levels of existence, from heaven to the underworld.
The Original piece is currently housed at the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria.
Animal Kingdom, The Disney Tree of Life
Disney has also paid tribute to the Tree of Life with its rendition at the Animal Kingdom. The Tree of Life features the most massive construction in a Disney park ever. The feature “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” can be found inside, and this one harks back to one of the most popular movies in the Disney lineup, “A Bug’s Life”. The Tree of Life has over 100,000 leaves that are all human-made, and the structure stands at an incredible 145 feet. More than 300 different animals carve onto the façade of the tree, but the exact number remains unknown.
FURTHER READING: Facts about Tree of Life Symbol: Meanings and Myths