Monday, May 9, 2011
Palmam Qui Meriut Ferat
Palm trees are ancient symbols in Western spirituality. Initially, they represent fertility. Then they become symbols of victory. Finally, in the Christian era, they are representative of the triumph of the Spirit over the Flesh. In the early Islamic tradition, the Call to Prayer was made from the top of a palm tree, later replaced by the minaret.
From Palm Sunday processions to the kabbalistic Tree of Life, I know of these associations and symbols. But as a native Californian, they've always felt foreign. They don't ring true in my internal symbolic language. I have lived most of my life within 500 feet of a palm tree. The various places that I have worked, the places that I hang out, my living areas, they all have palm trees nearby. When a harsh wind blows off the Pacific Ocean, I have to remove palm fronds from the windshield of my car.
Yeah, familiarity has removed all Mystery from these trees, except for the feeling of being Home. I remember attending Palm Sunday services when I lived in New England. When I received my palm, I had a thrill of excitement go through me. It was like holding a bit of California in my hand. Sunlight and comfort entered my soul, and I felt happy to be reminded of home.
I have often wondered what my favorite tree is. Is it the oak, ash, or yew? Those are all fine trees, but my choice has been hiding in plain sight for so many years. The Palm Tree.
Here's a link to the Palm Tree (Arecaceae) Wikipedia page.
Here's a link to Moby's website and his Wikipedia page.