Sunday, July 22, 2007
Tree of the Cross
The legend of the search of the true Cross, follows an almost dream like sequence of images, which trace the origin of the wood of the cross back to the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of Life which were at the center of the garden of Paradise. Seeds from this tree were taken by the son of Adam and Eve, and planted in the grave of Adam from which a tree grew up. The wood from this tree served for the building of the Ark of the Covenant, and the Temple of Solomon. The wood from this tree was used to make a bridge over which the Queen of Sheba stepped, when she came in search of Solomon. Finally, it was from this wood that the Cross was made on which the Savior died, and it was this wood, which appeared to Helen when she went to Jerusalem to search for this Cross of Life.
This search for the True Cross, is itself like a way consisting of the many images which link together the living organism of the Biblical narrative. Each event in the continuing journey of the tree of life down through the ages, marks the path of that principle of vitality which links the primal tree in the garden of Eden, to the final tree on which Christ died on Calvary. Each station on this journey, is like one of the “chakra’s” or mandala patterns symbolizing the whole cosmic body of salvation history. The tree becomes a symbol of the heart of that body, because, as Jesus himself said to his disciples “I am the tree, and you are the branches”. Through this continuing tree of life the sap flows, which is like the Prana, or life energy which keeps the whole body alive. The Tree image is both latent in the seed, but also finally manifest in that tree which symbolizes the whole universe. In the same sense the heart in its psycho-somatic reality is the microcosm of the whole body, which replicates in its totality, the seed symbol which lies hidden at its center. The full-grown tree is the seed, in the same way as the whole circle is already present in the point or drop (bindu) from which it spreads out its many branches.