An ancient, universal symbol of growth, strength and connectedness.
A beloved image in cultures and faiths around the world, the Tree of Life links the heavens, the earth, and all that is hidden and growing beneath. What better symbol for the creative growing of people and relationships?
The simple Tree of Life image at the top left corner of your screen is adapted from an original work by the Canadian artist Cari Buziak and is used with her permission.
One of the best-known examples of this symbol (right) is on display at one of my favorite peaceful places, the Hancock Shaker Village in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts: Hannah Cohoon’s red and green fruit tree, The Tree orf Life (1854)
Here’s another American Tree of Life, a quilt stitched of Indian and British fabrics, at the Met Museum.
In times of trouble, the Tree of Life is an image that can offer comfort. At the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a massive sculpture weighing six tons, The Tree of Life, by Albert Paley, conveys refreshment and joy.
Here is an intriguing Tree of Life sculpture by Alexander Tylevich in the Meditation Place at the Fairview-University Health Center in Minneapolis.
The British Museum commissioned a very moving Tree of Life as part of the Transforming Arms into Tools project, by the sculptors Adelino Mate, Fiel dos Santos, Hilário Nhatugueja, and Kester, who take guns and turn them into art.
The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore opened with a playful Tree of Life sculpture by Patrick Davis. The work has a fascinating history.
And here is a powerful Tree of Life by Ernst Neizvestny in the Shelter Island sculpture park right here in New York.
The Tree of Life is, of course, central to the study of the Kabbalah.
The Tree of Life Web Project (ToL) is a collaborative effort of biologists from around the world. On more than 4,000 web pages, the project assembles information on the evolutionary history and characteristics of the magnificent diversity of organisms on earth. Click here to see Darwin’s original sketch.
And, of course, there’s even a Tree of Life at Walt Disney World, 145 feet high, one hundred forty-five feet high and covered with three hundred animal carvings by sculptors from countries across the globe.
You’ve seen this one reproduced on everything from coasters to scarves; here’s a very interesting original stained glass Tree of Life by Frank Lloyd Wright in Buffalo, New York.
The Tiffany Tree of Life was actually designed by Agnes Northrop, Tiffany’s principal designer of landscape and floral windows.
Finally, maybe you saw the The Tree of Life feature film with Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain and Fiona Shaw.
Sadly, the words Tree of Life also now remind us of the senseless and brutal deaths at a Pittsburgh synagogue that has long offered welcome and support to the Squirrel Hill Jewish community and to people of many faiths. I am thankful to be part of the therapeutic community, working daily to nurture loving relationships in a world where hate is so often in the news.
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