The Queen of My Self

The tree, with its roots buried deep in the Earth and its branches reaching upward toward heaven, spread wide to embrace all of eternity, is a prime symbol of maternal life in many cultures. Trees have long been worshipped as beneficent maternal spirits of bounty. Trees, after all, shade and feed us. Supply and sustain us. Serve us in endless ways. Trees breathe life into our lungs, the source of endless inspiration.

Possessing the potent powers of fertility, growth, resilience and longevity, the tree is widely seen as the progenitor of the world Family Tree. The Tree of Life. The Maasai people claim their descent from an original parent tree. For the Slavs, The World Tree is the symbol of all relationship, and as such, is held as the central philosophical image in that culture. The Maya of Central America understand themselves to be part of a great celestial ceiba tree. This silk-cotton tree, which stands for all life is the pole at the center of the Earth and serves to hold up the heavens. The Koran refers to the cosmos as a tree.

The tree goddess was seen as a sylph, an airy tree spirit who resides among the green leaves, sustaining and nurturing the vegetative forces. She is the symbol of the flow of life, a Mother Goddess who is Herself the Tree of Life.

Yggdrasil, the World Ash, is the tree goddess of the Scandinavian underworld who overreaches the human abode, touching the sky with Her branches. Her roots reach to the very center of the Earth where they wind around the sacred wells, the deep source of wisdom.

The Hebrew goddess, Asherah, was associated with a sacred tree. Asherah’s name means “Lady of the Sea,” “Tree of Life,” “She Who Gives Birth” and for the Caananites, “Mother of the Gods.” Through Her association with trees, She was seen as the bringer of fertility, new growth and successful crops. She was the conscientious caretaker nurse of nature. The Canaanite Goddess of Love, Fertility and Childbirth was Malidthu the spirit of the fragrant Myrrh-tree.

The sycamore specifically was regarded as a manifestation of the Egyptian goddesses Nut, Isis and Hathor, “Lady of the Sycamore.”

The Greek goddess Athena was represented by an eternally flourishing olive tree. Aphrodite was associated with the myrtle tree. Helen, of Troy fame, was worshipped as a tree on the Greek island of Rhodes into the 19th Century AD.

Old European spring festivities were held in honor of the trees and their mistresses, the virgin vegetation goddesses. Midspring was celebrated as Floralia by the Romans, Walpurgisnacht by the Tuetons and Beltane by the Celts, romantic devotions for Flora, Walpurga and Maia, for whom this month is named.

Maia, whose name means “grandmother, midwife or wise one,” can be traced back to Maya, the pre-Vedic mistress of perceptual reality who was the virgin mother of the Buddha. The Greek goddess, Maia was the virgin mother of Hermes. The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, is the patroness of the month of May, which the early church dedicated to Her.

The redwoods in Oregon and California are the largest living things on Earth. Unimaginably tall and thick, they have been growing for four thousand years and they are growing still. The secret of their survival? In times of drought they reach out with their root systems to connect with their neighbors, thus allowing them to share whatever water there is. Those majestic, mighty mamas slung with shawls of moss stand stolidly in the heart of the primordial fern forest. As old as Egyptian papyrus, they stand there and bear witness. Standing tall through it all.

The tree supports and centers our relationship with the Earth and reminds us of our own connection to the sacred life source. In the tall and stately tree we can see a projection of our own best selves. We aspire to stand strong like the tree. Proud and erect, our foundation planted firmly in solid rock, we weather the storms that swirl around us. Our stance is solid yet supple. Flexible, our outward, upward reach extends, bends always toward the light. We, too, manufacture our sustenance from the sun. And so do we, just like the tree, nourish and provide and shelter and heal those who depend upon us. We share the very breath of life with the tree, an ongoing exchange of air. If the tree sickens and dies, so do we. We are the tree. We are the Family Tree of Humanity. May we grow together to be the Universal Tree of Peace.

Arbol de la esperanza
mantante firme. 

Tree of hope
keep firm.

– Frida Kahlo 

With best blessings for a life and continued growth,


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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to



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