“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The Tree of Life is used in art, literature, and religion to illustrate the concept of interconnectedness within our universe. It is a timeless symbol of our connections to everything around us, and a powerful reminder that our own happiness and health are inextricably intertwined with the happiness and health of all living things. The Tree of Life appears in many different cultures under many different names, but here is a look at three defining features of this legendary icon:

1. Leaves

The individual leaves depicted on the Tree of Life represent the uniqueness of all earthly creations, including ourselves. Like the leaves of a tree, we are all different shapes, colors, and textures, yet the Tree of Life reminds us that we can coexist peacefully.

2. Branches

The branches reaching outwards represent our human need for expression- in arts, science, and spirituality, among other outlets. In this way, the Tree of Life is also symbolic of our potential to improve and expand our notions of the human condition through compassionate action (literally reaching out our hands and arms).

3. Trunk/Roots

Above all else, the trunk and roots are the anchoring image of the Tree of Life. The solid trunk is a symbol of strength, a place we can always return and remember what we are made of, while the roots remind us not only where we originate and to stay grounded, but also imply that our actions in this life have deep meaning, even if we cannot see it right away.

The Tree of Life can also serve simply as a sign of inner strength in all that you do. Click to learn about additional meaningful symbols.