By Phoenix – I love trees like many people, but I was born to love evergreens, the large pine, wild cedar, semi desert juniper and fir. In the big trees I love oaks and sequoias and been blessed to live around these forests and meadows with their presence. The Pines and Cedars smell so wonderful its like the holidays all year for me, especially when I drink cedar or pine tea. And as you may know, they are all great medicine trees. I love when I am in a Pine forest or surrounded by Cedars of every kind.
I don’t know why, its not really something I can explain how good they smell and how good they make me feel, it just does. These are some of the things that makes my heart feel connected to mother earth. There have been times in ancient cultures and even today where the tree is honored for what it gives us so we can survive.
Those of us who deeply honor nature, trees, animals and birds and even bugs, have a natural affinity to be more harmonious with nature. We are ten times more likely to respect her, pick up after her, protest those who don’t. This is our soul nature, for there was a time, we remember, when she was flowing, abundant and wild.
Not so much today, but in our hearts that tradition continues and she (mother earth and ancient souls) in their tree forms, or tree spirit is the great purifiers of this earth, she keeps the air full of oxygen that keeps us breathing well!
The higher our vibration is, the better the earth smells, even in the midst of polluted industrial age complexes. So as we heal, the earth is taken care of and that is a fact. Simple is better for all trees and probably why we honored them so much long ago.
Makers of ancient carvings with Evergreens, expressed beliefs focused on the eternal life cycles of transformation, death & rebirth which was represented by the Evergreens. This is because they stay green in all seasons. Rituals associated with the Slavic Cultures of the Evergreen Trees occurred among pre-pagans and even much later with peasants, in the Christmas tree.
The ancient Cult of the Evergreen was a pagan and pre-pagan time of rituals honoring the winter solstice. Tree lore and tree medicines have long been a ritual in ancient peoples cultures and so to with the Slavic people. In modern times the tree cult is call Podłaźniczka.
Tree cultures were an older tradition that involved decorating a spruce, cedar or pine hung from the ceilings of village homes. Later the Christmas tree was developed from these ancient traditions in Poland, Silesia, Northern Carpathians, Lviv, Ukraine and Northern Slovakia and then eventually it reached Germany. Preserved in villages until the 1920s it is making its way back. Tree’s hung from the ceiling decorated with apples, nuts, colorful things, wafer rings etc were / are added.
Old decorations predating the Christmas Trees in Poland. There were various different regional names of that decoration in Poland, and the name ‘podłaźnik’ and its diminutive form ‘podłaźniczka’ were the most widespread. The name comes from old-Polish term ‘pod łazem’ (modern: ‘pod lasem’), what can be translated as ‘on the edge of a forest‘.
They were still common in many regions of southern and eastern Poland even as late as in the 1920s-1930s, but later they were almost entirely replaced by the typical Christmas Trees. Nowadays, they are still surviving in some of the Polish households, or celebrating a comeback – most often as an additional decoration of the house, accompanying the main element that is the Christmas Tree. They are also prepared by the Polish Rodnovers for the celebrations of Szczodre Gody on the evening of the winter solstice.
Podłaźniczki are made from the top of a fir or a spruce tree, or from their branches tied neatly together. In many regions they form various circular or spherical shapes. A podłaźniczka was most often hanging down from a construction beam in a cottage, and the industrialization of the Polish countryside coming with a change of the construction materials of the rural houses was among the main reasons for their decline. It was usually placed above the dining table (in the centre of the room), or in the corner of the room. They were prepared only once a year, for Christmas.
Roots of these decorations come from pre-Christian Slavic celebrations of the winter solstice festival as well. It’s connected to old symbolism of an ever-green ‘divine tree’ (known better under the name of the tree of life). Many ethnographic interpretations show their connection to the notion of the circle of life, the axis mundi, or the divine sky (hemisphere), reflected in their shape.
The divine sky might be the best clue here, because the old Slavs believed that on the night of the winter solstice a ‘New Sun’ is being born to travel through the sky for the upcoming year. Some decorations might reflect that ancient idea, as you can see on the photos below.
Hung inside the house, podłaźniczka was and still is meant to bring life, abundance of goods, and a good health, to provide a symbolic connection with the divine world, and to protect the people from the evil, and neutralize the bad spells. Hanging it right above the human heads (above the dining table) was intentional, and decorations adorning it were very important in their symbolism as well.
Middle East Tree Cults
Excerpt: Tree worship is very common worldwide. This field study surveys the ceremonies and customs related to sacred trees in present-day middle east; it includes the results of interviews with 98 informants in thirty-one Arab, Bedouin, and Druze villages in the Galilee.
1. Sacred trees were treated as another kind of sacred entity with all their metaphysical as well as physical manifestations.
2. There is not even one ceremony or custom that is peculiar only to a sacred tree and is not performed in other sacred places (such as a saint’s grave or a mosque).
3. Few customs, such as: quarrel settling (= Sulkha), leaving objects to absorb the divine blessing and leaving objects for charity) seem to be characteristic of this region, only.
4. In modern times, sacred trees were never recorded, in Israel, as centers for religious ceremonies including sacrifices, nor as places for the performing of rites of passage.
5. There is some variation among the different ethnic groups: Kissing and Hugging trees and worshiping them is more common among the Druze although carrying out burials under the tree, leaving water and rain-making ceremonies under them have not been recorded in this group.
Passing judgments under the tree is more typical of the Bedouin in which the sacred trees were commonly used as a public social center. Most of the customs surveyed here are known from other parts of the world. The differences between Muslims and Druze are related to the latter’s belief in the transmigration of souls.
Note: All my articles here on my blog are always updated as I find new and deeper information or I dream ancient information.
Sources: https://lamusdworski.wordpress.com; A. Dafni, Institute of Evolution, Haifa University, Isreal; Tree Woman by Mary Vogel Lozinak.