Friday, August 6, 2010

Maya and the Tree of Life - a recurring Symbol in all Cultures

Ancient Maya believed in recurring cycles of creation and destruction. They had a very precise view of how earth and heaven was built up in layers and where trees were supposed to support the sky. The painting is showing Pacal Votan* descending the tree of life.
"Known as a magician of time, he understood mathematics, or numbers, as a type of language that transcends the subjectivity of human verbal experience. His sentiment "All is number. *God is a number. God is in All." is an intriguing way to catalogue the Maya's message that we are intimately linked with and informed by the Galaxy. All of life is ordered by the same basic, re-occurring patterns." (from
"Mayan science was not separate from their religion, for they embraced the microcosm of the atom and the macrocosm of the infinite. Their universal philosophy teaches us that "the human body belongs to the earth, and the human spirit to the Universe." The Maya understood human existence as "nothing less than a faithful reflection of cosmic energy." As manifestations of cosmic consciousness, the Maya regarded all things and beings that exist on Earth as products of the projection of energy in the form of vibration. Their world view is a paradigm based on wave harmonics and resonant fields. The Mayan sages were aware of the sensory and extrasensory characteristics of trees and plants, and, understanding that the tree is the best regenerator of the air we breath, revered the tree." (from
For the Maya the tree of life represented the world center, it constituted a symbolic vertical line uniting the three realms of underworld, earth and heaven. The Mayan considered the Milky Way itself as the world tree especially at the time when Sagittarius was well over the horizon and the Milky Way rose up from the horizon and climbed overhead into the North. The star clouds that form the Milky Way were seen as the tree of life where all life came from.

(from the Magic Symbols Series)
40" x 13", silk
©Petra Voegtle

Btw - the hieroglyphs have no meaning - in order not to touch any copyright laws I simply took the single known hieroglyphs, re-painted them and combined them deliberately...

*Pacal Votan was the sage-king of the Maya. He lived from 603 - 683 AD


1 comment:

Willow Decor said...

I love the Tree of Life symbols. Thanks for re introducing us to it! It is lovely!!

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