We know from myth research and dream analysis that the forest is the metaphor of the soul. It is full of color, utterly alive, takes many different forms, and constantly regenerates itself–like the soul. It is also dark, impenetrable, endless, and has many secrets–like the soul.
We can lose ourselves in the forest.. . but we can also ask the way. Explore the wildwood of the soul, here:
In the ancient philosophies and religions, the mythical unity between human and nature was well known. The Jewish creation story that is recorded for the West In the Bible (despite being distorted) expresses this connection. The original human (in Hebrew, Adam Kadmon, which means “cosmic human being”) lived in Paradise, which describes a state of being, not a place as such.
The Garden of Eden is the original forest of the soul, called a garden simply because this “place” is no longer wild or dangerous, but protected and saturated with divine light. The Garden of Eden is the soul, with which consciousness Adam is in complete harmony. In the center of the soul we find the “Higher Self,” the divine spark. In the Garden of Eden this is the Tree of Life. It is threefold:
* As the Tree of Life it births the children of creation, nourishes and heals them. This aspect was particularly venerated by the ancient Egyptians (Hathor, the heavenly mother, lived in a type of Fig tree), and also by the ancient Persians (As Zarathustra says, “It is the all-curing.”)
* As the Tree of Knowledge, it is the custodian who grants insights into the secrets of life and the higher worlds. Shamanic cultures make particular use of these qualities. in the Northern myths, among others, a deity receives the power of speech and the written word from the sacred tree (Odin has a nine-day vision-quest in the Tree and descends from it gifted with the Runes.)
* As the World Tree, it is the axis of the world and primordial fabric of the universe. This is particularly emphasized in the Vedic scriptures of India: “The universe is a tree, eternally existing, its root aloft, its branches spread below. . . The pure root of the tree is Brahman the immortal in whom the three worlds have their being, which none can transcend, who is verily the Self.” (Katha Upanischad, VI, I)