Remembering the tree

by Colin Moffett

I stood in the forest growing so strong
From all of my companions I was numbered among
They picked me out as the rough barked tree
To crucify the Saviour of men on the hard wood of me

I felt each blow as they cut me down
Then pared of the branches of my leaf topped crown
And used one of them, the limbs of my loss
To nail it to my trunk and form me as a cross

They brought Jesus out with His thorn crowned head
The wounds of His body were dripping blood red
And they tossed me over His shoulder to carry me along
But they had abused Him so much He was no longer strong

He could not carry me but I carried His frame
For He was fixed to my trunk and they pinned on me His name
As they nailed His hands and feet I felt that I could
Feel His pain, for each nail through Him also pierced into my wood

Secured to my timber, they lifted us both high
And they stood back to mock and watch Jesus die
In the long dreadful hours so solemn and dark
I felt His poor body writhe on my bark

Its roughness I hated and wished it to be smooth
For I would have given anything His body to soothe
My sap mixed with His blood and sweat He was perspiring
And knew by His breathing His life was expiring

The trembling in His body slowly diminished
Then ceased all breathing for life was finished
The Saviour of sinners hanging dead on me
And I wished otherwise it could be

For I did not want to be the one
To carry on me God’s dear Son
But it was ordained that Jesus should die on a tree
And His blood that was spilled was spilled on me

The wood of my body is long since gone
A risen Saviour still lives on
When by coming to Jesus sinners can recover their loss
I am glad I played my part by being the tree for the cross

Christ as the Fulfillment of the Kabbalistic Search

kabbalah-tree-of-life.pngI have been brushing up on Hebrew this summer and in the process I uncovered some interesting correspondences between the messianic prophecies of Isaiah 11:2 and the divine emanations of the Kabbalistic tree of life. In essence, the prophet foretold that the Spirit of Chokmah, Binah, Da’at and Gevurah would be found in the Messiah.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom (chokmah) and of understanding (binah),
the Spirit of counsel and of might (gevurah),
the Spirit of the knowledge (da’at) and fear of the Lord

Verify it for yourself by clicking through to the Strong’s Concordance numbers.

Nor do the correspondances end there. In the New Testament apostle Paul prays that, through the Messiah, these attributes may be unleashed in ourselves: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Colossians 1:9)

Christ and Qabalah

KabbalahJust a random thought that came to me while studying the Qabalah. In the Apocalypse of John, there are three visionary scenes where Christ reveals, “I am the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13). Which as many would know, is equivalent to saying, “I am the A and the Z.”

But hang on, aren’t we forgetting something here? In the Hebrew language (and remember, Christianity came out of Judaism) this would have been equivalent to saying, “I am the Alef and the Tav.” Which also happen to be the first and last paths on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. Which you can see well enough for yourself if you click on this Qabalistic diagram to the left.

This is to be expected, as Qabalah began as meditations on the letters and numbers of the Hebrew language. This language being considered sacred, the very word of God, by Hebrew mystics.

So it may be said that the Apocalypse of John reveals that the Tree of Life is Jesus, the way to God from beginning to end.

The Cross of Christ As The Yggdrasil of History

While I’m on the subject of Asatru. I couln’t help but note that one of the artworks hosted on the Assembly of The Elder Troth website was an image of Yggdrasil, the world tree that connects the cosmos in Norse mythology.

So this seems an appropriate moment to suggest that an exercise you might like to try sometime is meditating on the cross of Christ as the Yggdrasil of history.

It is worth noting a few things in preparation.

Firstly, the world tree motif we find represented in Yggdrasil is a common myth to many cultures. It is also related to the Axis Mundi, Omphalos and Mount Meru legends and there is reason to believe this is an archetypal motif deeply embedded in the collective unconscious.

Secondly, as Wikipedia notes, “the most commonly accepted etymology of the name is ygg “terrible” + drasil “steed”. Yggr is taken to be an epithet of Odin, giving a meaning of “Odin’s steed”, taken to refer to the nine nights Odin is said to have spent hanging from the tree in order find the runes.” Athropologists have long noted that many shamanic societies employ ‘sacred steed’ and ‘world tree’ motifs to enter into altered states of consciousness and that the Yggdrasil-Odin story has strong overtones of visionary journeying.

Thirdly, again as noted by Wikipedia, “Many people have discussed the parallels between Odin’s self-sacrifice in search of knowledge and the Crucifixion, particularly as Odin, like Jesus, was pierced with a spear before death.”

Where am I going with this? Well I simply note that the world tree motif makes a number of appearances in the Christian story as well. Most significantly, in Revelation 22 the seer of Revelation is shown the tree of life standing in the centre of the New Jerusalem (itself an axis mundi archetype) with the implication being that with the coming of Christ the access to the tree of life will be restored. What was made inaccessible in Genesis 3:22 is now offered freely because of the loving sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

The obvious difference here between Odin and Jesus is that the death of Christ is a historically verifiable event. What we are faced with here is a deep motif from the depths of our psyche finding historical actualisation in this pivital moment.

warwick-saxby-tree-of-lifeWith that in mind I thought I would post this image of Jesus as the tree of life.

It’s a photo of a Netsuke scrulpture created by Warwick Saxby, an amazingly creative associate of ours who is currently based in Tasmania, Australia.


Meditations on Qabalah

Kaballah Some observations on the Qabalah.

What has come out of my meditations is the realisation that for concepts such as Chesed (Mercy) and Netzach (Victory) to be transformative, they must cut you to the bone.

So long as the sefiroth are used conventionally, they have no power to upend your world. Is that which is signified behind the sign ‘a nice idea’ about God or something so shocking, so profound, that you can’t look at the world the same way again?

The real magic behind the Qabalah is not that the symbolic correspondences can be used to manipulate reality, but that the mystery they point towards has the potential to rip you apart and transform you. What is this mystery? Tiphareth (beauty) is the hermeneutical key. Tiphareth is associated with Jesus, the paradoxical self-sacrificing one. Tiphareth unveils the mystery of Chesed, Netzach and the other sefiroth.