Symbols - What does heaven look like
The symbolism of a sacred grove is not that of the forest.
Very complex symbolism applies here as sacred groves existed as real places in many early cultures.
In the spiritual world - A sacred grove is yet another Cell in the Matrix. Within dreams visions and out of body experiences a sacred grove could be equivalent to a clearing in a forest. In effect it was a symbolically safe place to rest and recuperate within the forest. It is noticeable that when exploring forests, the sacred grove or clearing is often the place one met spirit helpers.
The second set of symbolism is derived simply from the symbolism of trees in general and wood. It can thus represent a living being with its body, soul and Higher spirit. The type of tree then becomes key as each tree has its own symbolism – oak, myrtle, cedar and so on. Thus a sacred grove is symbolically a group of sacred or semi-divine people – a group of ‘gods’.
The third symbolism is then just an extension of this idea. Instead of semi-divine and living, the sacred grove can be a collection of gods who are not living and thus ‘in heaven’ – in the aether level. In this respect they can thus represent the Planets.
In the physical world - The fourth symbolism can derive from the fact that spiritual experiences can be obtained in natural places – especially woods – see Communing with nature.
Thus a physically existent sacred grove, as opposed to one in legends, myths, visions, dreams and so on – might well have been a place where someone had had a spiritual experience. It was a way of indicating that the place was effective at giving access to the spiritual world.
It was not uncommon to see spirit beings in woods, reinforcing the belief that a tree had a spirit. Given that many trees are used by fungi or shelter fungi and mushrooms and these two forms of ‘food’ when eaten may also provide a spiritual experience, there are numerous common links that we can see building here. Birch trees for example, are a common place to find amanita muscaria fungi.
The sacredness of trees and the universality of the understanding of a grove of trees as symbolic is not just a Greek symbol.
Osun-Osogbo or Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, for example, is a sacred forest along the banks of the Oshun River just outside the city of Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. The Osun-Osogbo Grove is among the last of the sacred forests which usually adjoin the edges of most Yoruba cities before extensive urbanization. In recognition of its global significance and its cultural value, the Sacred Grove was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
I’m afraid there is also a last symbolism deriving from the activity of sexual stimulation. A sacred grove is pubic hair!
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- Ancient Egyptian - The Paradise gardens and their symbolism
- Babylon - The Hanging Gardens
- Baudelaire, Charles - Les Fleurs du Mal - Above ponds, above valleys Mountains, woods, clouds, seas
- Baudelaire, Charles - Les Fleurs du Mal - Tell me, Agatha, does your heart, at times, fly away
- Böcklin, Arnold - Die Lebensinsel (Isle of Life) 1888
- Böcklin, Arnold - Heiliger Hain 1882 [Sacred Grove]
- Book of Enoch-31
- Braveheart - Columns and colours
- Braveheart - Lifting tree trunks
- Carlyle, Thomas - Sartor Resartus - For a Teufelsdrockh will not love a second time
- Colin Wilson - Mysteries - Celtic gods and beliefs
- Dillard, Annie - Teaching a stone to talk - We have drained the light from the boughs in the sacred grove
- Dr T Levin - Reciting the manas
- Emil Gustav Hirsch - Groves, Gardens, Henges and sacred trees
- Heine, Heinrich - And with love's slight subtle meshes
- Hiroshige - A shrine among trees on a moor
- How sweet the heavens are
- Hypnerotomachia Poliphili - Sacred Grove
- Hypnerotomachia Poliphili - Trees and Tree maidens
- Klimt - Avenue of Schloss Kammer park
- Klimt - Birch trees
- Klimt - landscapes various
- Lewis, C S - Dawn Treader - The underwater city
- Mircea Eliade - On the Gardens of the Hesperides
- Ovid - Metamorphoses - The Story of Erisichthon
- Paul Devereux - Sacred trees in Minoan Crete
- Persian gardens
- Plato - Critias - Atlantis and Athens
- Pliny – On the sacred role of mistletoe to Druids
- Rimbaud, Arthur - After the idea of the Flood had receded
- Rimbaud, Arthur - This idol, black eyed and blonde topped, without parents or playground
- Sacred geography – Picts – Sacred trees and sacred groves 01
- Sacred geography – Picts – Sacred trees and sacred groves 02
- Sacred geography – Picts – Sacred trees and sacred groves 03
- Shaikh Muhammad Karim Khan Kirmani - Irshad al-‘awamm - Eight degrees of Paradise
- Shih Ching - In the wilds there is a dead doe
- Spilliaert, Leon - Trees 1946
- Surdas - Fatephur Sikri manuscript - NPS 1806
- Uxmal - Mayan - House of the Turtles
- Vaughan, Henry - Friends Departed
- Vignoli, Tito - On Sacred groves
- Virgil - The Aeneid - Mistletoe
- Yeats, W B - Collected poems - The night has fallen; not a sound