Tree of Life has been a subject of my visual and spiritual research since 2002 when I created a first series of paintings inspired by this theme. The tree of life is a fundamental archetype in many of the world's mythological, religious, and philosophical traditions. It is closely related to the concept of the scared tree. The concept of the tree of life may have originated in Central Asia, but it is also known in North European mythology, Altai shamanism, Mayan and Aztec cultures, Islam and many other ancient and contemporary cultures.
Jewish mysticism depicts the tree of life in the form of ten interconnected nodes, as the central symbol of the Kabbalah. From the time of the Renaissance onwards, Jewish Kabbalah became incorporated as an important tradition in non-Jewish Western culture. According to the Christian tradition, the tree of life first appears in Genesis as the source of eternal life in the Garden of Eden, from which access is revoked when man is driven from the garden. It also appears in the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, as a part of the new garden of paradise. Access is then no longer forbidden, those who "wash their robes" will be allowed to the tree.
The tree of knowledge, connecting to heaven and the underworld, and the tree of life, connecting all forms of creation, are both forms of the world tree or cosmic tree, and are portrayed in various religions and philosophies as the same tree. Trees promote health and social well-being by removing air pollution, reducing stress, encouraging physical activities, and promoting social ties and community.
My latest inspiration on this subject was a Pulitzer Prize winning book by Richard Powers titled Overstory, that explores the relationship between humans and trees.