The Rainbow Tree
Austin Lawrence, February 2013
An amazing natural feature of Raven’s Knoll is a white cedar tree that grows up out of the ground and then back into the earth! From its arc of a trunk the tree sprouts five branches. This rare sylvan find was immediately recognized as a sacred site.
In many Pagan theologies trees and the images of an mythic “World Tree” are key symbols. Generally, the three parts of the tree can be seen to link the Underworld, the World of Humanity, and the Upperworld. Thus, the tree can be seen of as a physical symbol of the connection between the land of the ancestors and dead with the land of the living and with the abode of the Gods.
A tree that does not reach directly for the sky, but forms a gateway on its way back down to chthonic realms again, is certainly special. Some see further symbolism in the arch of the tree as being a half circle, showing the flow of energy between Below and Above or Without and Within; the five branches the Rainbow Tree representing the four elements and quintessence echoed in the pentacle symbol.
The shape of the arch, of course, reminds us of the rainbow. This phenomena is mentioned in many myths and folk-tales. The “Rainbow Bridge” is a road that carries the passage of the Norse gods from their abode to the world of humanity. It is also the sign of brilliance that marks the entrance to parts of the Fairie Realm in folktale. (If you play your cards right with the Leprechaun maybe the rainbow will lead you to the treasure you seek!) The rainbow, with its many colours engaged in the same natural purpose, is a symbol of the diversity and kaleidoscope of human beliefs, identities and abilities; being used to symbolize peace, cooperation and the pride of identity for gender and sexual minorities.
No matter in what ways one is moved to view the Rainbow Tree, it is a place of special devotion for many people who come to the Knoll. Sit in meditation at one end of the tree to realize what true treasures may come to you, crawl under the arch in the dead of night to begin a spiritual journey, dance and decorate the tree to celebrate life and your respect for everyone’s right to live their own gender and sexuality, or work your will into the Land of the Dead through a portal of evergreen. The tree is there to greet you.