Article – Cosmic Tree

The cosmic tree is a universal symbol found in many religions and cultures around the world. It is often depicted as a large, sacred tree that connects the heavens and the earth, the divine and the human. The cosmic tree is a symbol of life, growth, and fertility, but it also represents the axis mundi, the center of the universe.

In the Hindu Vedas, the cosmic tree is called the Ashvattha tree. The Garden of Eden story from the Bible features the Tree of Life. In Native American mythology, the cosmic tree is often depicted as a cedar tree or a pine tree. It is said to be the tree from which all life came. Celtic mythology speaks of the World Tree and Norse mythology calls the cosmic tree Yggdrasil. 

The cosmic tree is an important symbol in all religions because it represents the connection between the heavens and the earth, the divine and the human. It is also a symbol of life, growth, and fertility. The cosmic tree is a reminder that we are all connected to something larger than ourselves. It is also a reminder that we have the potential to grow and evolve, both spiritually and physically.

“R. Judah bar Ilai said: The tree of life spread over an area that at an ordinary rate of speed would require five hundred years to traverse, and all the primeval waters branched out in streams from under it.”
—Sefer Ha-Aggadah, collection of Jewish writings

“And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
–The Hebrew Bible (Genesis 2:9), Jewish scripture

“All other virtues, like the plantain tree, Produce their fruit, but then their force is spent. Alone the marvelous tree of bodhicitta Constantly bears fruit and grows unceasingly.”
—The Way of the Bodhisattva, Buddhist text

“Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean.”
–Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i prophet

“Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky?”
–The Qur’an (14:24), Islamic scripture

“The Supreme Divine Personality said: They speak of an eternal aśhvatth tree with its roots above and branches below […] But this deep-rooted aśhvatth tree must be cut down with a strong axe of detachment. Then one must search out the base of the tree, which is the Supreme Lord, from whom streamed forth the activity of the universe a long time ago. Upon taking refuge in Him, one will not return to this world again.”
–The Bhagavad Gita (15: 1-4), Hindu scripture

Norse Mythology
“An ash I know there stands,
Yggdrasill is its name,
a tall tree, showered
with shining loam.
From there come the dews
that drop in the valleys.
It stands forever green over
Urðr’s well.”
–Poetic Edda, Norse mythological text

Native American Spirituality
“The Tree of Life represents an interconnected web of existence where everything, from the smallest grain of sand to the largest mountain, is connected and dependent upon each other.”
–Lakota Chief Luther Standing Bear

See All Commonalities Across Religions