Why did I name my treehouse business World Treehouses?
I’m the owner of Asheville NC treehouse business World Treehouses. Why did I name my business World Treehouses? I experience trees as living, wise beings that help us in many ways. Not only do they provide shelter, give their bodies for our homes, furniture, and to provide heat and light as the fuel for fire, but they are honored by cultures worldwide as teachers of patience, strength and transformation.
The tree has an important place in the cosmologies and creation stories of many original peoples. Worldwide cultures offer age-old stories about a sacred tree, often referred to as the World Tree, but also known by various other names. The Pachamama Alliance has compiled a taste of these stories and others for us to savor:
For the Sng’oi people of Malaysia, a person and a tree can belong with each other, and this relationship is maintained for life. Certain trees and certain people belong together. When a person belongs with a tree, they also belong with its offspring: any trees that grow from the seeds of the first tree, no matter how far the seeds may scatter. The Sng’oi people call upon their intuition to know which child trees have sprung from which parent trees.
The World Tree is said to dwell in three worlds: Its roots reach down to the underworld, its trunk sits on the Earth, and its branches extend up to the heavens. Many cultures share a belief that this tree is the Axis Mundi or World Axis which supports or holds up the cosmos. For the Mayan peoples, the Axis Mundi was a massive Ceiba (in other cultures, it is called Kapok) tree that stands at the center of the world. The Mayan beliefs reflect that human souls first came into being as the sacred white flowers on the branches of the Ceiba tree. Souls of the dead Mayan ancestors rose from the roots of the Axis Mundi up through its branches and into the celestial realms.
In Sweden, some trees were considered “wardens” and could guard a home from bad luck. The warden was usually a very old tree growing on the lot near the home. The family living there had such great respect for the tree that they would often adopt a surname related to the name of the tree.
A well-known sacred tree in Norse mythology was Yggdrasil, a giant ash tree that was said to link and shelter the nine worlds that were believed to exist.
In Irish and English folklore, fairies would be found wherever Ash, Oak, and Hawthorne trees grew together. Hawthorn trees were regarded as a powerful symbol of protection, and were often planted near houses to ward off lightning as well as evil spirits. On the dawn of Beltane, it was believed that women who bathed in the dew from a Hawthorne blossom would become beautiful, and men who washed their hands in the dew would become skilled craftsmen.
Buddhists have a deep reverence for the Bodhi tree, a type of fig tree with heart-shaped leaves, beneath which the Buddha is said to have meditated for 49 days, trying to reconcile his mind to the fact that there was suffering in the world. On the 49th day, he stood and thanked the tree for providing shade for him, and in that instant he attained enlightenment. Today, in the same location where the Buddha is believed to have sat, there grows a descendant of that same Bodhi tree. Buddhist myths say that the tree will live there until the world is destroyed, and the place where it grows will be the last place to be destroyed; and when the world is reborn, that site will be the first place to appear.
The villagers of Piplantri, in Rajasthan, India, celebrate the birth of each little girl by planting 111 trees in her honor. The entire village works together to plant and care for the trees. This tradition not only ensures that the environment will be able to support the increasing population of the village, but it has also brought harmony and a drop in crime to the village.
In Malaysia, people maintain a very intimate relationship with trees. “There is a practice of tree planting around houses to the extent that the walls and wooden structures are allowed to give way to the roots of creeping plants, purposely sown at the bases of these structures.” The graveyards in Malaysia are covered so thickly with trees that the entire grounds are cool and sheltered from the tropical sun. The trees are allowed to take root into the graves and it is said that the trees whisper prayers to the creator asking for forgiveness of past transgressions of those buried in that place.
Organizations that we love who help human beings more deeply connect with trees include the Pachamama Alliance, as well as Plant Spirit Medicine, which helps humans work with plants and trees to provide healing to others, as well as helping human beings receive healing from the plants and trees.
The wisdom of trees is what inspires me to help human beings connect with trees and forests, not just as oxygen generators, which they are, not just as “resources,” but as living beings that have much to teach human beings. Because of that, I build treehouses, structures in trees to help us get close to these great beings. I want my business to be grounded in the World Tree, the Tree of Life that offers its help to human beings throughout the ages.
In that spirit, we have created a Facebook page for discussion of this deeper level of connecting with trees, called Treehabilitation. If you feel called, Like that page and continue the discussion with us.