Abstract: This paper presents in a synthetic manner aspects regarding the importance of the trees in the cultural and spiritual life of the civilizations during the history. The organic link between humans and wood, as a primordial material can be found in the oral creation and beliefs of the traditional craftsmen, in different symbols and rituals during the centuries.
Linden trees have a special place in symbolism (sacred tree, the tree that is a symbol of love, fertility, prosperity, fidelity, friendship, peace, justice, altruism, good luck) and also in the popular traditions due to the positive aspects (healing trees, protective trees, trees that are keeping away the diseases and the evil spirits). Their numerous usage as universal and renewable raw material, (wood, bark, fiber), medicinal plant, one that is important in beekeeping and also as ornamental trees, are well known. In this respect the symbolism of the linden tree is detailed in the traditional religious doctrines, astrology, legends and folklore. The linden tree is presented as a Romanian cultural and literary symbol in various situations. There are also described some linden trees with an important local symbolic value.
Wood as a physical material, has an important symbolistic conotation and that of being the universal plastic material (Burckhardt, 1998). The organic relationship between man and wood, that brings life or announces death appears in all cultures since the beginning of time. Wood is important for art in at least three cultural hypostases: mythical, ritual and poetical. In the history of any religion, in the popular traditions of the entire world, in the archaic metaphysics and mystics, iconography and in popular art, there are sacred trees, rituals and vegetal symbols.
The sacred texts of the main religious doctrines represent the most important source of the presence of wood as a subject in literature, and also in the ensemble of mentalities regarding the relation between man and wood (Eliade, 1992).
Between the trees of the Romanian mythology that were invested by the tradition with special virtues (the beech, the fir, the locust, the walnut, the apple tree) there is also the holy linden tree. The linden tree has an important place in the Romanian imaginary and it symbolizes divine presence. Linden tree is a sacred tree, an element that accompanies various rituals „a
symbol of life and death” (Todoran et al, 1981); it is „the cosmogonic tree” or „the image of the cosmogonic vegetation ” (Vrabie,1975), that embodies existential horizons.
There are 40 genders and over 350 species of the Tiliaceae family that can be found, especially in the tropical and subtropical regions. In Romania, lime trees are represented by a single genus (Tilia) with three species: T. cordata Mill. (the most common), T. tomentosa Moench. (the most drought resistant), and T. platyphyllos Scop. (the most water demanding) (Şofletea et al, 2007).
Linden trees can be found in forests together with beech and oak, along the roads or in green spaces, as a solitary tree, in alignments or in grups. The linden tree contributes to the amelioration of the soil and its shade maintains a wet microclimate that is favorable to
natural regenaration. The linden trees and also various parts of it, can be used in many ways, both traditonal and inovative.
From the pollen and the nectar of the linden tree, a type of greenish, perfumed honey is obtained.
The dried flowers are used for medicinal tea and calming baths. From the bark of the tree the fibers were extracted and were used to support the grape wine or the fruit trees. Ropes and mats were also made out of linden tree bark. The fibers are used to treat the inflammation of the legs of the sheep. In constructions, lime tree beams have the role to protect the building
against lightning. The wood of the linden tree is used today for making furniture, matches, pencils, drawing boards. Out of the flowers a yellow paint is obtained and the coal made from this wood was used for making the black color in which the peasant’s furniture was
Material and Methods
A bibliographic research was conducted in the fields of culture and science that refers to the
symbolism and importance of the linden tree for various civilizations during history. There are
mentioned and analyzed legends, traditions and customs that are practiced by various communities that have as a central element the linden tree. It is analyzed the symbolic importance of this tree and also the way in which it has been present and has influenced the
cultural and spiritual life of humanity during history.
There are described linden trees that are even now symbols for the places where they can be found.
Results and Discussions
The cult of the tree
The greek philosophers of the Antiquity considered wood as the most important raw material
and the alchimsts situated it on the same step with the primordial ether (quinta essentia) from which the Logos made at the genesis the four essential substances: earth, water, air and fire (Bailly,1984).
The most common image of wood is its hypostasis as a sacred tree. Gilbert Durand mentions
the presence of the axial tree, or the tree as axis mundi, in all the cultures and beliefs of the most archaic sacred places: the Australian totems, the Semitic, Greek and Hindu primitive temples in which the image of the tree is always presented in a double aspect (as a resumed
cosmos and as verticalized cosmos) (Durand, 1977).
Mircea Eliade distinguishes seven groups of images of the „vegetatation cults”: the ensemble stonetree-altar (Australia; Indochina-China-India; FeniciaEgeea); the tree as an image of the Cosmos (India; Mesopotamia; Scandinavia); the tree as a cosmic theophany (Mesopotamia; India; Egeea); the tree as a symbol of life, of endless fecundity,identified with the fountain of immortality, the tree as a centre of the world and as a support of the Universe (Altaic and
Scandinavian peoples, etc.) the mystic connections between the trees and the people (the tree as a genesis of man; the tree as a receiver of the ancestors’ souls; the marriage of the trees; the presence of the trees in the initiation ceremonies etc.); the tree as a symbol for the vegetation rebirth, regeneration, spring and ”the years regeneration”.
In the oldest texts of the indian tradition the Cosmos is represented as a giant tree. In the
„Upanişade”, the Universe is a „reversed tree” that has the root in the sky and the branches spread over the entire earth and in „Bhagavad-Gītā”, the cosmic tree symbolizes not only the Universe but also the position of man in the world (Eliade,1992).
According to the ancient (6000 years old) asian Feng Shui (the wind and the water), the trees and the shrubs are considered a source of sentiments and hope, while wood is a symbol of new life. In order to attract good luck, prosperity and health, in the practice of Feng Shui art, the trees with long rich and multicoloured inflorescences are much used. They offer a good chi and they contribute to the balance of the environmental elements.
The arabian legends of the 8th century tell about trees that create living beings, some of which
have on their branches the heads of the Adam’s sons.
René Guénon gives details about the primordial connection between wood as a material, and
the cross as a symbol. He shows the resemblance between the Sefirotic Tree of the hebraic Kabbala and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (René, 2003). A legend of the cross from the Middle Age reveals that wood might come from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and this way it is transformed from an instrument of decadence into an instrument of
Tilia ssp in legends and traditions
In the classic astrology and paganism, the linden tree has the following representations: Sign of
the Zodiac (Gemini, Sagittarius, Taurus); Specific Planets (Jupiter, Mercury and Sun); Holidays (Beltane, Litha, Ostara); Element (air); Energy (Yin); Gem (Agatha); Gods (Odin, Arainrhod, Freya, Frigg, Ostara, Venus); Bird (turtle dove); Magical use (the attraction of love the balancing of the energy, the neutralization of the negativity).
In China, the linden tree is named the tree of forgetfulness because its energy is soft, gentle and it offers the sensation of warmth and peace. The linden tree clarifies sentiments, tames the rebel hearts and protects love.
The greek mythology links the origin of the linden tree with the story of the fairy named Filira.
Filira seduced by Cronos (metamorphosed in horse) gave birth to the centaurus Chiron and transformed herself in a linden tree. Another example of metamorphosis where a character has been transformed in a linden tree is the legend of Filemon and his wife, Baucis. Their marriage and constant love were a model and they wanted to remain inseparable even beyond death. Zeus transformed their house in a temple, Filemon was transformed in an oak and Baucis in a
linden tree as a sign of gratitude for their hospitality.
The branches of the two trees were united and became inseparable.
According to the greek legends, the linden tree, was a symbol of marital love and of the perfect
wife, of simplicity, innocence and kindness. Due to the perfume of its flowers, linden tree became in the Greek mythology the sacred tree of Aphrodite.
In the Hellenic period of Egypt, the masks of the sarcophagus of Fayoum were made of linden wood, which proves the sacred nature of this tree since ancient times.
Herodot mentiones the Scythian soothsayers using the leaf of the linden tree in order to obtain
inspiration and to guess the future. Herodot also mentiones a strange androgyne population, the enarei, they were claiming that they received from Aphroditis the gift of soothsaying and they were practising the divination with a linden tree bark.
In the mythology of Ancient Rome, the linden tree was a symbol of marital love and fidelity in
the couple, being in the same time the tree of Venus (the goddess of love) and of Junona (the goddess of wisdom). Young couples were decorating the altar of the house with blooming linden tree branches, in order to have wisdom and stability in love. The poet Ovidiu said that during the holiday dedicated to the goddess of fertility the maidens had crowns with linden tree
The linden trees had a very profound signification in the early European world. In the European imaginary it was a capital sin to cut this tree because the linden tree was a symbol of friendship and fidelity. Under the crown of the linden tree the sick people hoped to obtain healing, this tree was both a masculine and a feminine symbol.
In the Celtic astrology the linden tree symbolized altruism. The people that were born under
the Linden Tree sign (11-17 march) are talented and they love life, they have a rich imagination, are very loyal in love and hate fights and laziness.
In the pre christian Germanic mythology the linden tree was considered a holy tree that had a great symbolic value because it was associated with Freya, the guardian of life, the goddess of fortune, fertility, love and truth. As the legend says, the linden tree could not have been struck by the lightning because Freya was the wife of Wotan, the most important god of the Germanic pantheon. The german tribes that lived two thousands years ago considered the linden tree a tree of peace and justice. The tribal judgement was made under a linden tree. During the blooming, the linden tree was adored and celebrated with dances and music.
An old linden tree was the central place where ceremonies for bringing back the justice and peace between people were held. This is a reason for which the tree was associated with the jurisprudence. Linden tree was associated with judgements, even after christianity appeared, the verdicts in some germanic regions were given “under Tilia” (under the linden tree) until the period of Enlightenment.
In the west European Middle Ages linden trees were planted near the churches. The linden tree is associated with the Holy Walburga whose chapel was surrounded by trees.
During the Middle Ages it was a tradition that people that were in love should swear eternal love at the shadow of a linden tree, because it was believed that this tree determines them to say the truth.
The Germans considered the linden tree as a “sacred” tree of the lovers because it had the capacity to give fertility and prosperity. According to a popular French belief, a marriage would never fall apart if the grooms were passing at their wedding under two linden trees that had their treetops together. In many archaeological sites in Switzerland there were discovered clothes impregnated with linden tree extracts. This custom was also preserved by the
Slavic peoples until modern times.
In the Slavic mythology, the linden tree (lipa), was seen like a sacred tree, in Poland there are many towns that are named “Święta Lipka” this means “The Holy Linden Tree”. This is a national emblem in Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and the area of the Sorbs. The traditional Slavic name for the month of june in Croatia is lipanj, for july in Poland the name is
lipiec and in Ukraine it is lypen’/липень. From the name of the linden tree in the Sorb language comes the name of the German city Leipzig. Also in Croatia the currency is kuna which is divided in 100 lipa (linden tree).
In Polish folklore the belief still exists that the linden tree planted in front of a house protects the
family from the evil spirits and the lightnings and helps people not to loose their belief in God and not to be overhelmed by various temptations. The tree is a symbol of peace, good luck, belief, family and happy life. In an ancient Polish legend it is said that it is not good to cut a linden tree because it will bring bad luck to the one who cuts the tree and to his family. In some
Polish regions small chapels ca be admired on the side of the road, shelterd by the branches of linden trees, because it is believed that the prayers made under the linden tree are more likely to be listened, because these trees are the favourite trees of the Virgin Mary. It is said that she has often been seen under the linden tree.
The female significance of the linden tree is certified by the fact that in Estonia and Lithuania the women were bringing food offerings at a blooming linden tree asking for fertility and tranquility in the family.
In the Slavic Orthodox world there is a tradition that the statues of Virgin Mary and the altar
screens must be carved from the linden tree wood (lignum sacrum), that is considered holy. This wood was preferred for painting the icons on it, because it is soft, easy to work with and it is not parched. The works of the famous painter Andrei Rubliov “The Holy Trinity” and “The Saviour” that were painted on linden tree wood can still be seen today in the Tretiakov
galleries in Moscow.
In Christianity, the linden tree is sacred due to the delicate scent of its flowers. In the folklore of the countries of Western Europe it is said that the linden tree wood protects the house from the evil spirits and also against hailstone. Linden tree branches are very appreciated in the last Sunday of the Easter Fast being used for the decoration of the icons in churches and
In Romania, at the Pentecost, the blooming tree braches are consecrated and then they are brought home by young people in order to be kept near the icons. They last for the entire summer and they can keep away the hailstone and the storms maintaining calm atmosphere in the house. It is said that they protect from the evil and they heal the def ones. At Easter, according to an old custom inherited from the Jews, the houses were decorated with flowers and green linden tree branches and eggs were also painted with the linden tree flowers.
At Saint George’s holiday, the tree branches were used for decorating the households and also for keeping away the evil spirits. In the villages of Bucovina the tombs are decorated with blooming tree branches in order to bring peace to the ancestors.
Linden tree, a Romanian cultural and literary symbol
The oral texts of the Romanian traditional lyric and epic present the tree in various stages as
motives that are setting in order life, universe the micro and macro cosmos and also as connection points between the earth and the sky.
The presence of the trees in the popular lyric has its origin in the „archaic dacian and dacian-roman mythology” where it is explained the „ feeling of communion between plant and man” or „the myth of the forests and the sacred trees” (Vulcănescu,1985).
Romanian culture and traditions were formed in a continous dialogue with nature. „ The civilization of wood”, „The forest is brother with the Romanian” are formulas that express the traditional Romanian beliefs and customs that are influenced by the cohabitation with the forest. Folklore studies notice some notions such as „blessed” or „cursed” trees, this theme being also present in the elevated poetry (Băieşu, 2004). In Basarabian writings, the tree is presented as being sacred and having unusual qualities and features, a protector of the house, a symbol of the continuity of the nation and strenghts of the feelings and human emotions (Evseev, 2001). The permanent relationship between man and wood, the atribute of a living
material added to it and also the personification of the tree, are symbolically presented motives in the Romanian customs, rituals legends and fairytales (Botezatu, 2008).
In the traditional fairytale “The sturdy from the linden tree” the main character is a “Tree-God,
symbol of fertility who is meant to ensure growth and fecundity, the immortality” (Rusu, 2005). The traditional fairytale The Swung Linden Tree is inspired from the healing and life giving qualities of the linden tree and it describes three crucial moments of the history of the redemption: The Miraculous Birth, The Descending from the sky of Jesus and His Resurrection. In The Story of Dochia and the fortune tellers, the linden tree is planted in order to replace the presence and the eternal love of the disappeared husband. The Legend of the linden tree flowers reveals the eternal love between Albin and Teia metamorphosed in bee and linden tree after their death.
In the fairytale The Girl of the Forest, having a linden tree rope is the only way through which men can protect themselves from the evil spirits of the forest. The beginnings of the traditional songs in which the linden tree is mentioned (“The leaf of the linden tree”, “The leaflet leaf of the linden tree”, “The leaflet wood of the linden tree”, “The green leaf of the linden tree”) prove the special importance given to the linden tree during time as a symbol of forest and the
gods of vegetation.
The linden tree is present in the lyrics of the traditional poet, suggesting freshness and natural
vigour “Green as a flower of the linden tree”. In balads it is expressed the solidarity and the
love of the brigands for the linden tree. In the folklore of the winter traditions, the wood of the linden tree is associated to the divinity in the carol „Pluguşorul” .
The linden tree of Eminescu symbolizes both the cosmic and the earth elements. „The holy linden tree” is presented as a symbol of the infinit or of the dilemmas of life. The best known hypostasis of the linden tree of Eminescu is the one of the tree that watches the tomb of the poet, symbolizing life, in which every end is a new beginning „ Above me the holy linden tree/Should shake its branch”. In the poetries of Mihai Eminescu, the sentiment of love is
associated with nature which resonates with the feelings of the poet. In the lyrics of Grigore Vieru’s poetry the linden tree symbolizes the germination and it has feminine features that enhance the ideea of fertility (Rotaru,1965).
Linden trees with a great symbolic value
Urban trees play an important role in the urban living space, by bringing social benefits,
improving environmental quality (e.g. removing PM10 from urban air) and also contributing to local identity (McDonald et al., 2007; Nowak, 2007). Tilia ssp. as ornamental trees have a privileged place in European mythology and traditions and this is the reason of their constant presence in urban landscape. Due to its special shape Tilia ssp. are used as main elements in designing solemn, grandiose, inspiring green areas. In Europe, there were identified multi-secular and millenary linden trees. Of all these linden trees,we mention a few examples with a great symbolic value:
A plantation of Tilia cordata, of Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, is
approximately 2.000 years old.
The linden tree of Neuenstadt am Kocher, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, is supposed to have 1.000 years.
The old linden tree of Naters, Switzerland, has been mentioned in a medieval document of 1357 (described by the author as a magnam – giant).
The linden tree of Najevnik (Najevska lipa) has been reported as the thickest tree of Slovenia (a
700 years old Tilia cordata).
Eminescu’s linden tree – (Tilia tomentosa) with an age of approximately 500 years, is located in
the Copou Parc of Iasi and is one of the most important monumental trees of Romania (Foto1).
The hybrid linden tree of Bârnova, is a natural hybrid linden tree Tilia x haynaldiana Simk. (T.
platyphyllos x T. tomentosa) 660 years old. It is located 10 km south-east of Iași, near the monastery of Bârnova and it competed for the national title “The tree of the year” in 2011 (Foto 2).
The 500 years old linden tree of Leliceni, Harghita county, 20 m height, 390 cm the
circumference of the body, won in 2011 „The tree of the year in Europe” contest. During the centuries, the story of this linden tree went hand in hand with the destiny of local people and the history of the place. The tree was a witness of Tatar invasion, surviving the drought of 1717 and the hailstone of 1854. This legendary tree is an important symbol of the region, being declared a monument of nature, according to the Registry of the Harghita County monuments in 1992
St Lawrence’s Linden Tree is a multisecular linden tree, protected by law, 30 m height, grown
inside the cricket court of “St Lawrence Ground” in Canterbury, Kent. It fell naturally because of a storm in 2005 (Foto 4).
Edigna’s linden tree (“The 1000 years old linden tree”) – (Tilia platyphyllos), is declared a
monument of nature and is situated near Sankt Sebastian church in Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany. The name of the linden tree comes from the name of the St Edigna von Puch, the daughter of Henry the First, king of France, who fled to Bavaria (according to tradition),
in order to avoid the marriage that her father has planned for her. It was said that she lived for 35 years as a hermite in the cavity of a tree (Foto 5
In mythology, folk tradition and literature there is a cult of the sacred tree, of the natural
primary landscape where the linden trees have a special place and role, due to their beauty and also to their numerous uses. The symbolism of linden tree is vast and has positive connotations in universal culture. In the Romanian imaginary the linden trees are a
constant presence as they are in the traditions connected to religious celebrations. The positive
ritualic role of the linden trees is well determined in different doctrines and legends all over the world. Linden trees make it possible for us to be closer to the sacred archaic places and traditions, but also to nature and life in general.
This paper was published under the frame of European
Social Fund, Human Resources Development
Operational Programm 2007-2013, project no.
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-The Dance Lime Tree project of Pierre ALBUISSON
The Dance Lime Tree project of Pierre ALBUISSON is aimed at city neighbourhoods, villages, and local societies. And there are also another projects in Europe
Its goal is to revitalise European villages with Dance Lime Tree events and the eight annual Nature Festivals, resulting in a renewed role at the community centre for the Tree. For years and centuries to come, the Tree will be part of the village, facilitating the transmission of traditions and cultural heritage. see project here
- -Traditionalism and Folklore
Among the Traditionalists, Ananda Coomaraswamy and René Guénon touched upon folklore, but never made an extensive study of it. And Martin Lings, in the anthology Sword of Gnosis, did a metaphysical exegesis of a Lithuanian folk song. That’s about the extent of the Traditionalist treatment of folklore, though Rama Coomaraswamy told me that his father Ananda had made a collection of folk songs with a view toward a metaphysical treatment of them, but never finished the project. Among Sophia Perennis titles, Cinderella’s Gold Slipper: Spiritual Symbolism in the Grimms’ Tales by Samuel Fohr deals with this neglected area, as does Tales of Nasrudin: Keys to Fulfillment by Ali Jamnia, as well as Mining, Metalurgy and the Meaning of Life: A Book of Stories by Roger Sworder.
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy had this to say about the metaphysical dimension of folklore:
[By] “folklore” we mean that whole and consistent body of culture which has been handed down, not in books but by word of mouth and in practice, from time beyond the reach of historical research, in the form of legends, fairy tales, ballads, games, toys,crafts, medicine, agriculture, and other rites, and forms of organization, especially those we call tribal.
This is a cultural complex independent of national and even racial boundaries, and of remarkable similarity throughout the world. . . . The content of folklore is metaphysical.
Our failure to recognize this is primarily due to our own abysmal ignorance of metaphysics and of doctrines are received by the people and transmitted by them.
In its popular form, a given doctrine may not always have been understood, but so long as the formula is faithfully transmitted it remains understandable;
“superstitions,” for the most part, are no mere delusions, but formulae of which the meaning has been forgotten. . . . We are dealing with the relics of an ancient folk metaphysics its technical terms. . . . Folklore ideas are the form in which metaphysical wisdom, as valid now as it ever was. . . . We shall only be able to understand the astounding uniformity of the folklore motifs all over the world, and the devoted care that has everywhere been taken to ensure their correct transmission, if we approach these mysteries (for they are nothing less) in the spirit in which they have been transmitted (“from the Stone Age until now”) with the confidence of little children, indeed, but not the childish self-confidence of those who hold that wisdom was born with themselves.
The true folklorist must be not so much a psychologist as a theologian and metaphysician, if he is to “understand his material”. . . . Nor can anything be called a science of folklore, but only a collection of data, that considers only the formulae and not their doctrine. . . .
René Guénon, who died in 1951, also dealt with the folklore as the transmission of the Primordial Tradition, in his book Symbols of the Sacred Science:
The very conception of folklore, in the generally accepted sense of the term, is based on an idea that is radically false, the idea that there are “popular creations” spontaneously created by the mass of the people….As has been rightly said [by Luc Benoist], “the profound interest of all so-called popular traditions lies in the fact that they are not popular in origin”; and we will add that where, as is almost always the case, there is a question of elements that are traditional in the true sense of the word, however deformed, diminished and fragmentary they may be sometimes, and of things that have a real symbolic value, their origin is not even human, let alone popular.
What may be popular is solely the fact of “survival,” when these elements belong to vanished traditional forms…. The people preserve, without understanding them, the relics of former traditions which go back sometimes to a past too remote to be dated, so that it has to be relegated to the obscure domain of the “prehistoric”; they thereby fulfill the function of a more or less subconscious collective memory, the contents of which have clearly come from elsewhere.
What may seem most surprising is that the things so preserved are found to contain, above all, abundant information of an esoteric order, which is, in its essence, precisely what is least popular, and this fact suggests in itself an explanation, which may be summed up as follows: When a traditional form is on the point of becoming extinct, its last representatives may very well deliberately entrust to this aforesaid collective memory the things that otherwise would be lost beyond recall; that is in fact the sole means of saving what can in a certain measure be saved.
At the same time, that lack of understanding that is one of the natural characteristics of the masses is a sure enough guarantee that what is esoteric will be nonetheless undivulged, remaining merely as a sort of witness of the past for such as, in later times, shall be capable of understanding It. Read more here
- Lime tree of Wisdom and the Cross
The Patriarchal cross (☨) is a variant of the Christian cross, the religious symbol of Christianity. Similar to the familiar Latin cross, the patriarchal cross possesses a smaller crossbar placed above the main one so that both crossbars are near the top. Sometimes the patriarchal cross has a short, slanted crosspiece near its foot (Russian Orthodox cross). This slanted, lower crosspiece often appears in Byzantine Greek and Eastern European iconography, as well as in other Eastern Orthodox churches.
The top beam represents the plaque bearing the inscription “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (often abbreviated in the Latinate “INRI“, and in the Greek as “INBI“). A popular view is that the slanted bottom beam is a foot rest, however there is no evidence of foot rests ever being used during crucifixion, and it has a deeper meaning. The bottom beam may represent a balance of justice. Some sources suggest that, as one of the thieves being crucified with Jesus repented of his sin and believed in Jesus as the Messiah and was thus with Christ in Paradise, the other thief rejected and mocked Jesus and therefore descended into Hades.
Many symbolic interpretations of the double cross have been put forth. One of them says that the first horizontal line symbolized the secular power and the other horizontal line the ecclesiastic power of Byzantine emperors. Also, that the first cross bar represents the death and the second cross the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- The Virgin Mary and the Lime Tree
The Virgin Mary is often represented asThe woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet in Chapter 12 of Revelation. As Bruegel and the Family of Love see it: She is the love of God.
We find her often associated with the Lime tree.The lime tree was traditionally a sacred and magical tree. Lime trees were often found at three-way junctions. Mostly these places were old cult places that later became Christianized and in which a little chapel was hung.In other places one finds the lime as a court tree, the tree under which the Vierschaar sat.
A Vierschaar is a historical term for a tribunal in the Netherlands. Before the separation of lawmaking, law enforcement, and justice duties, the government of every town was administered by a senate (called a Wethouderschap) formed of two, three, or sometimes four burgomasters, and a certain number of sheriffs (called Schepenen), so that the number of sitting judges was generally seven. The term Vierschaar means literally “foursquare”, so called from the four-square dimensions of the benches in use by the sitting judges. The four benches for the judges were placed in a square with the defendant in the middle. This area was roped off and the term vierschaar refers to the ropes.The Dutch expression “vierchaar spannen” refers to the tightening or raising of these ropes before the proceedings could begin. (Accompanied by the question whether the sun is high enough, ‘hoog genoeg op de dag‘, since the practice stems from the Middle Ages when these trials were held outdoors.) Most towns had the Vierschaar privilege to hear their own disputes, and the meeting room used for this was usually located in the town hall. Many historic town halls still have such a room, usually decorated with scenes from the Judgment of Solomon.Later it has been tranmsformed in great and impressive buildings as The Palace of the Dam in Amsterdam
The lime tree was the symbol of civil liberty and often we see lime trees as liberty trees in the village centers.We know from the annals that the dukes of Brabant took their oath under a lime tree. The lime leaf represents truth and sincerity and many countries have a linden tree or linden leaf in their shield.This is the case, for example, in the Czech Republic. In former Prussia, the lime blossom was the national flower. Linden was also known as a witch tree. In the popular belief, witches, nymphs and ghosts hid in the bark and in the armpits. It was considered dangerous to go past old lime trees during the night, because then one could be ridden by a witch.That is why they used to hang chapels and they became “chapel trees” that the evil powers no longer had any control over. In chapel trees, deceived girls came knocking nails while under the effigy of the Blessed Virgin pampering and blaming their ex-lovers. This form of fetishism is called “nailing”.
As the oak is the symbol of strength, courage and fame, the linden symbolizes desire, love and tenderness. It is therefore not difficult to understand that the linden tree is the Mary tree par excellence and so many statues of Mary and Mary shrines are situated in or in the vicinity of a linden tree.
It is not just that this chapel is called “Our Lady under the Linden”. The linden is a sacred tree associated with the goddess. In the Dutch language, linden is female. Strangely enough, this is also the only tree that is female with us. Anyway, in Norse mythology, the linden tree was dedicated to the goddess Freya (there is a reason that there is a linden tree on the Kattenberg in Heiloo) and among the Slavic peoples to the love goddess Krasogani. In legends and fairy tales, the lime tree is considered to be the home of the white or wise woman. Romantic poets felt that this tree once had a religious significance. Often a lime tree stood near a well in the middle of a village. It was once the center of folk festivals. Many madonna statues are made of the soft lime wood. Sometimes Mary figurines are attached to a lime tree. So the linden is connected to Mary, our Lady, with the Goddess.
This custom is still alive as we see in Uden ( the Netherlands)
- “Onze Lieve Vrouw ter Linde” –Our Dear Lady under the Linden in Uden ( the Netherlands)
“Our Lady of the Linden returns to its roots in Uden. Next month, a lime tree will be planted near the Crosier Chapel in Uden, depicting Mother Mary. Just like before”. May 2019
With the tree and the statue, the chapel community honors the basis of the Maria worship in Uden. This is exactly where the centuries-long worship of Mother Mary in Uden started. As early as the thirteenth century, a Virgin’s chapel stood here. Initially no more than a statue in or near a lime tree – hence the lime tree – but documents from 1358 show that there is already an Osse pastor who keeps this chapel.
The worship of Mary really takes off when the Kruisheren are driven from Den Bosch and in 1648 decide to build a monastery in Uden. Initially this is on the Veghelsedijk, the monastery where the Birgittinesses still live, later they move to what is now the Kruisheren chapel and the monastery.Centuries ago people from all over the country go on a pilgrimage to Uden:People from all over the country, as far as Amsterdam, go on a pilgrimage to Uden. In its heyday, there are seventy processions per year, in 1786 30.000 pilgrims are given Holy Communion. The fact that at least nine miracles are attributed to OL Vrouw ter Linde will certainly have contributed to this. The annual holiday of OL Vrouw ter Linde is on October 23.The original statue of OL Vrouw ter Linde is housed at the Museum of Religious Art in Uden for security reasons. That is the famous wooden, gold-colored statue from circa 1520. The museum also shows all kinds of gifts that pilgrims have given to Mary over the centuries. The stone statue of OL Vrouw ter Linde, dating from 1400-1500, is located in the vault of the Heritage Center of Dutch Monastic Life in Sint Agatha.
With the tree and the statue, the chapel community honors the basis of the Maria worship in Uden. This is exactly where the centuries-long worship of Mother Mary in Uden started. As early as the thirteenth century, a Virgin’s chapel stood here.In the time of Bruegel the Lime tree was branding:In 2019 the Lime Tree and The Virgin Mary as Love of God come again to live!Prior to the blessing, there was a celebration of the Eucharist in the chapel that revolved around the great importance of Mary as a “humble but strong woman.” Everybody was happy with the return of the tree as it stood in front of the chapel for centuries and which resulted in well-attended pilgrimages to Uden.
The new tree is the great achievement of artist Ine van Grinsven. She also made replicas of the famous statue of the Virgin Mary. One was placed at the roots of the tree when it was planted in February. The other is attached to the trunk and, if it is good, will be absorbed by the trunk as ever, the original.
The tree of faith, a 50-year-old lime tree, is made up of three layers: the bottom layer symbolizes all people together, the second layer the group of leaders – from politicians and artists to priests – and in the top God the almighty.
- Lime Tree of Wisdom and Cosmos in our time
Wolfgang Smith : Vertical Causation
According to the experts of standard cosmology, we live in a universe which is uniformly egalitarian — a meaningless homogeneous mass of subatomic particles — and this so-called “cosmological principle,” we are told, holds true from the furthest observable reaches of the universe to the ordinary moment of lived experience. For over 35 years Wolfgang Smith has been gradually chipping away at this cosmological impasse, and his project has reached its zenith in Physics and Vertical Causation: The End of Quantum Reality (Angelico Press, 2019) — the latest and likely final work of the author, whose life and thought is the subject of the Initiative’s upcoming documentary film, The End of Quantum Reality. In many ways the true sequel to the author’s paradigm-shifting 1995 monograph, The Quantum Enigma: Finding the Hidden Key— picking up precisely where the latter left off, namely the discovery of “vertical causality” — Physics and Vertical Causation explores the presence of this hitherto unrecognized form of causality with respect to several spheres of inquiry. While it may not be readily apparent by its title, this work is fundamentally a study in cosmology; the title is simply a recognition of whence cosmology must, in our time, take its point of departure. And if, as the author maintains, quantum mechanics is the foundational science — physics, as it were, “come into its own” — then our entire cosmological vision is necessarily affected by how we interpret quantum theory. Indeed, Smith’s interpretation has implications for every domain of science. … ( see Wolfgang-Smith-Science-Myth )
What constitutes perhaps the most astonishing realization — especially to those unschooled in metaphysics and classical philosophy — is the author’s analysis and appropriation of what he calls the “tripartite cosmos,” manifested, in its respective ways, in both the macrocosm and the microcosm. His analysis of the “cosmic icon” (shown on the book cover) presents us with a symbolic depiction that effectively encapsulates the author’s entire cosmological vision. The magisterial final chapter (“Pondering the Cosmic Icon”) brings into full view this fecund symbol to which he has referred several times in his previous works as a kind of primordial archetype whose presence reverberates throughout the history of traditional cultures, but whose meaning and import has apparently not been articulated in any surviving sources.
The decoding of the cosmic icon constitutes the rediscovery of the “integral cosmos,” a conception which vanished from the Occidental worldview centuries ago. Basing himself upon traditional sources, Smith maintains that the cosmos consists of three tiers, or domains — the corporeal, the intermediary, and the spiritual.
What differentiates these domains are their “bounds”:
whereas the corporeal world is manifestly subject to the conditions of space and time,
the intermediary is subject to time alone,
while the spiritual is subject to neither space nor time. And one should note well that the corporeal domain in its entirety constitutes but the lowest stratum of the tripartite cosmos.
This paradigm proves to be the key to the major worldviews of antiquity, what some refer to as the cosmologia perennis. The author strenuously contends — not only in the present work but ever since his 1984 classic, Cosmos and Transcendence— that it is high time to break through the barriers of our contemporary prejudices, our intellectual “provincialism.”
For what actually confronts us in the architecture of the cosmic trichotomy are rudiments of a long-forgotten wisdom, a higher knowledge which is, in a sense, not man-made — truths which, since the advent of the so-called Enlightenment, have been decried as mere vestiges of “prescientific superstition.”
The blame for this predicament, of course, falls upon us: for inasmuch as we have reduced all causation to its horizontal — and in fact its lowest — mode, the traditional cosmology has become incomprehensible to the contemporary mind. We need to realize that our vaunted differential equations simply do not apply above the corporeal plane, for the simple reason that they presuppose the spatial bound. Whereas vertical causality acts from the highest reaches of the ontological hierarchy, physics — by virtue of its modus operandi — is restricted to what might be dubbed the “lower third” of the integral cosmos. …