Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tree Lore: Fig

For some time now, I have been editing my book on the myth and magic of trees (faeries love trees, as I am sure you know :).  It is a tedious process, there are a lot of trees and I've researched over 100!  I thought perhaps I might share a little bit of what I've learned along the way.  Today I begin editing with the Fig tree.

Elemental Association: All
Astrological Signs: All
Ruling Planet: Saturn, Pluto 
Gender: Male

Fig trees are steeped in history and lore from Ancient Egypt to Mesopotamia to Asia and Near Eastern cultures.  In Indian culture, it was underneath the Bodhi Tree - which was an ancient and revered Fig - that Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment.  Later he became known as the first Buddha and founder of Buddhism.

In Celtic tree lore, the dates for the Fig tree are: June 14-23 and December 12 - 21.  It is thought to represent sensibility and is revered as a strong, independent and stern on matters related to family and contradiction.  It bears a good sense of humor and respects practical talent and intelligence.

The Fig fruit has been portrayed as the forbidden fruit of the bible in some Mediterranean art depicting the Garden of Eden.  Islamic tradition mentions the Fig and the Olive as two forbidden trees in the Garden of Eden.

One interesting bit of trivia is that in the biblical story of Adam and Eve, they sewed together Fig leaves to cover their nakedness once they were became aware.  When the Vatican made the decision to open its museum halls to the public during the nineteenth century, the sculptures it housed were 'altered' to have their private regions covered with Fig leaves, in order to preserve the modesty of ladies who would be visiting the museum!

In Greek and Roman traditions the Fig tree is often associated with Bacchus (Dionysus to the Greeks), the God of wine and drunkenness.  Often this connection includes Priapus, a Satyr who symbolizes sexual desire.

Fig trees were also held sacred to the Romans because the wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus took rest under the branches of the tree.  Figs were offered as celebratory presents on the first day of the year by the Romans.  Sykeis the name of the dryad nymph that presides over the Fig tree.

The Fig can also represent abundance and initiation.  Ancient Egyptian priests would eat Figs at consecration rites and ceremonies and they were also a staple of some of the first desert hermits.  Indeed, anyone possessing such a sustaining fruit in a barren land would be seen to have abundance.

Wands made from Fig will encourage unity, bringing people together.  This wood promotes the true understanding and the revelations of knowledge and enlightenment.  It provides overall a sustaining, stable energy geared toward practicality and pragmatism.  Everything in moderation however, including moderation - even the Fig will take time out to celebrate and enjoy the pleasures of life.

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