Many animals, as well as plants or trees are or were believed to contain spirits or be conduits for spirits and plants are worship sometimes due to them having drug, nutritional, or healing properties. Superstitionism and animistic superstitionism are the foundation of some of the earliest religious beliefs and involves a form of nature worship and still linger in what we call religion today.

Throughout history, many societies have worshipped trees or centered their spiritual practices on sacred groves. The image of the “Tree of Life” is also a favourite in many mythologies. Moreover, sacred trees such as a tree of life, a world tree or a cosmic tree is a common motif in various world theologies, mythologies, and philosophies.

Often, sacred trees are symbolic and depicted in religious beliefs or artwork, such as the acacia tree of Iusaaset in Egyptian mythology, the Gaokerena tree in Persian mythology, the akshayavat fig tree in hinduism, the Tree of Knowledge of judaism and christianity, the “Tree of Immortality” in islam, the bodhi tree in buddhism or a peach tree in taoism.

Sacred groves often where considered living temples and provide space for rituals and connection to the spiritual world. Many of the world’s ancient belief systems also include the belief of sacred groves, such as Norse, Celtic, Baltic, Germanic, Slavic, Greek, Roman, Estonia, Near East, Ghana, Nigerian, Indian, Mongolian, Japan, Thailandand, and Malaysia just to name a few. There are two mentions on sacred groves in the bible: Genesis 21:33 and II Kings 23:7.

By Damien Marie AtHope

References 123