Symbolism: The Great Tree of Peace

The following is an adaptation from The Great Tree Of Peace found in Three Strands In The Braid: A Guide for Enablers of Learning:

A white pine is evergreen not because each needle lasts forever. Three years of needles stay green at any one time. These three years of needles represent the three generations of grandparents, parents, and grandchildren.

The next generation and all future generations are implied in the growth buds at the tip of each branch. The needles that grew four years, four generations ago have already fallen to the ground to nurture the roots; the four white roots of peace, which go in all four directions. The past nourishes our present. And our present provides for the future.

To the extent that you nurture this Great Tree, the roots will grow and the branches will spread. And one day all Earth's children will be able to shelter under a Great Tree dedicated to Peace.

On this Great Tree, which is understood as a White Pine, each needle represents an individual.

The bundles of three to five needles represent family.

These bundles are then gathered onto twigs representing extended families.

The small branches supporting these twigs are their respective communities.

United on major branches, these communities reach the trunk of this Great Tree, becoming whole nations.

The trunk of the Tree, The Great Law of Peace, unites a Whole People.

And this Constitution . . . this Great Law of Peace . . . this trunk of the Great Tree is seen as uniting Earth and Sky because it has roots in Earth . . . our Mother.

These roots are the four White Roots of Peace, which grow in each of the four directions. And at the top of the tree, the People have placed an Eagle, because Eagle can see far. Eagle is sky rider (and sky, our Father). And you listen for Eagle's voice, because Eagle will warn you of change coming in time for the community to prepare.

But you see how it is? How if the People fail to listen, Eagle's voice . . . the warnings of change coming . . . will not be heard.

And you see how it is? Without the tree, the needles will die, each and every one of them.

And yet, neither is the tree all-powerful! Without enough needles, the tree itself will die. Individuals . . . and the Community they form together . . . support one another.