Robin Hood hand decorated chess set. A very popular set which shows the famous
Robin Hood and other characters in his outlaw band, together with his
adversary, the sheriff of
02 Mistletoe and the Xmas tree: the everlasting side of life.
03 The sacred oak was anciently connected with the gift of prophecy.
04 Upward-pointing triangle. Triangles are interesting creatures. It is the only geometric form that contains the largest perimeter while simultaneously containing the smallest volume, just the opposite of the circle. It is therefore the strongest shape in nature and this characteristic is used by engineers and architects in buildings since ancient times.
Another thing interesting about triangles ... they are related to the “diagonals” on cubes and other geometric shapes. An equilateral triangle has “three” 60 degree angles 60+60+60 = 180, so two of these triangles 180+180 = 360 degrees. If we build a 3 sided pyramid out of triangles we get a tetrahedron with 1 top and 3 base points.
05 Often the cemetery was placed at the center of the town, much like the roots and trunk of a tree and, as time passed, the city grew and extended from this center like branches.
06 The Aborigines say that a tree joins earth to heaven. They say material goods harm their owners unless always in motion. So, such goods were once continually traded in a continent-wide game, the land itself the game-board, all its inhabitants players. On the origin of man they say that the first man was lonely and one night he slept beneath a grass yacca tree, troubled by strange dreams. He awoke to find Yhi shining into the yacca tree. Even as he watched, the tree changed into a shape like, yet unlike him. Shorter, rounder, smother, softer: it was Woman! He came to her, and she stepped out of the tree to join him. Then the animals, who had gathered to watch, danced with delight to see the loneliness of Man ended.
08 Adonis: Born of a tree into which his mother transformed herself.
09 Adu Ogyinae:
10 Dryasa: Greek: Oak Tree.
11 Odin: Self-impaled on the world-tree (Yggdrasil) by his own spear.
12 Ahoeitu: Legendary KI of
13 Alder: In Celtic myth
this is the tree of Bran. In the
Beth-Luis-Nios tree alphabet it holds fourth place, representing the consonant
F, for Fearn. Called ‘the very
battle-witch of all woods, tree that is hottest in the fight’ in the Irish Ossianic
‘Song of the
Cliff edge and trees-bright sky
14 Tree Alphabet: in a poem
called ‘The Battle of the Trees’ by Robert Graves found in the 13th
century, the oldest Irish alphabet, the Beth-Luis-Nion is named after the first
three of a set of trees whose initials form the sequence of its letters. He also notes that in all Celtic languages
trees mean letters and that the battle of the trees was intellectual. He concludes that the Goidelic twenty-letter
Ogham alphabet, attributed to the god Ogma, was in use long before the arrival
via Italy of the original Greek alphabet said to have been imported from
Phoenica by the mythical Cadmus, though later the Gallic Druids added five imported letters to
give a twenty-five letter alphabet. The
15 Tree of Life: rooted in
underworld waters, its trunk the pillar of the daily boughs reaching heaven,
the tree represents the world, its cosmos. Standing vertically, it symbolizes the male
principle and the ‘axis mundi.’ The
world axis (axis mundi) is thus literally a line running through the globe from
pole to pole. In myth the ‘axis mundi’
is a symbolic point about which the world and universe revolve. In a medieval ‘mappa mundi’ Jerusalem is
often found at the world-center, equating to the New Jerusalem of Christian mystics. The Great Pyramid, sited at the exact
geographical center of the earth’s land-mass including the
Field scene and tree
16 Yggdrasil: the cosmic ash-tree of Norse myth, axis mundi and column supporting the universe at the foot of which the gods sit in daily judgement. One of its three roots reaches down and at its foot the wisdom-well of Mimir. It is guarded by the three Norns, spinners of human fate. Round the roots coils the serpent Nidhogg. Daily they water the tree and plaster it with nourishing clay. The name ‘Yggdrasil’ means ‘the ash-tree that is the horse of Yggr’, Yggr being Odin.
17 Guatemala: literally menas: ‘land of many trees.’
18 Parata: (India) a miracle tree which perfumes the world with its blossoms.
19 Oak: the future oak is already in the acorn.
20 Vana-Prastha: ‘Sojourn in the forest’. 3rd stage in the life of a Brahmin. When he is past 40 he withdraws to the forest where he will study with very old and learned scholars.
Woodland scene amid the trees
21 Vata: fig-tree, the sacred tree of India. Bodhi tree (enlightenment).
22 Fu-sang Tree: a tree on which the Ten Suns reside, with a wingless dragon curled round its base.
23 Qabalah: a body of esoteric teaching, its name meaning ‘the received’, from a Hebrew root QBL, ‘to receive’. Rabbinic tradition claims Qabalah was taught to Adam by the archangel Gabriel and thereon passed orally ‘from mouth to ear’. Judaic in origin, it absorbed Persian, Egyptian, Greek, Neoplatonic and Gnostic elements. About AD 1280 the Spanish Qabalist Moses ben Shemtob de Leon issued the ‘Zepher ha Zohar’ (Book of splendor), a vast commentary on the Pentateuch (the Bible’s first five books), claiming it as the work of the mythic Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai, said to have died in ecstatic trance, 1,200 years earlier. Deviating from orthodox Judaism, it initiated the growth of Qabalah into a flexible, sophisticated symbolic system which offers many techniques for training the mind, evoking spiritual powers and correlating different disciplines, philosophies, mythologies and pantheons. Central to the system is the Tree of Life - a glyph, symbol or psychic map which has been called ‘a ground plan of the universe and the soul of man’. Qabalah claims that positive existence emanates from a negative state of limitless undifferentiated being (Ain Soph), from which emanates the Tree, on it the ten sephiroth (spheres: states of being) which, connected by twenty-two Paths, embrace creation in all its forms, from Kether to Malkuth, high to low, a process visualized as Divine Energy plunging from one sephirah to the next in a zigzag: the ‘Lightning Flash’. The Tree is divided into three Pillars: Passive (left), Active (right), and Middle. To seek the ‘Middle Way’ is to seek progress by uniting extremes without surrendering to them. So the purely intellectual life of the sephirah Hod (Mercury) is as poorly balanced if pursued in an end in itself as is the sensual life of Netzach (Venus): both are better served by marriage of the faculties involved at the ‘Christ’ level of Tiphareth at the very center of the Middle Pillar.
Lush woodland scene
The sephiroth or spheres are:
[01 Kether, the Crown, fount of creation, the universal point where vital energy pours in from the unmanifest. These energies activate in:
[02 Chokmah, Wisdom, powerhouse of force, symbolized by phallus, straight line, tower. Initiating action, Chokmah stands under Kether at the head of the Pillar of Merch (Right). Through it the energy flashes to:
[03 Binah, Understanding, Great Mother, primal ocean at the head of the Pillar of Severity (Left). Fertilized by and taking in the pure energy of Kether and Chokmah, Binah manifests the idea of form. This supernal trinity stands above the Abyss separating Idea from Form. Straddling the Abyss (Middle Pillar) is the hidden, numberless sephirah, Daath, associated with Sirius and with confidence in the future. From Binah through Daath the energy powers:
[04 Chesed, Mercy, the four-square principle of organization and worldly rule (Jupiter). Here it forms subtle material blueprints, then crosses to:
[05 Geburah, Severity, Mars, where Chesed’s forms are destroyed, assessed and refracted down to:
[06 Tiphareth, Beauty, Christ-consciousness. This, the Tree’s central sephirah, mediates what is above with what is below. From it, the energy pours on to:
[07 Netzach, Venus, its symbol a beautiful naked woman. Here Tiphareth’s coherent love rays out into Nature in all her forms, creating natural forces perceived by human imagination as gods and goddesses. From Netzach the lightning flashes over to:
[08 Hod, Glory, Mercury, hermaphroditic Intellect. Here, formless truths descend from the higher sephiroth into the mind. From Hod the energy plunges transversely to the Middle Pillar, to:
[09 Yesod, Moon, etheric foundation of physical being, its forces co-ordinating the emergence of physical form, source of psychic, unconcious and reproductive energies. And so on down to:
[10 Malkuth, the kingdom of earth, the nadir of creation. This is no damnation. Qabalah, unlike some other philosophies, holds that spirit must descend into deepest matter, that our destiny must be realised in Malkuth, or further progress is impossible. In this, Qabalah agrees with Christianity, though reaching its conclusions not through faith but gnosis (knowledge).
Inyo County - Bristlecone Pine In The White Mountains
24 Di Amono: seeing a stone in the forest aflame, recognized the presence of West Afrcia: a divinity. Such people, receiving revelation, return to society after forest seclusion to be initiated by existing priests.
Pathway through tangled forest roots
25 Milton: Paradise Lost: ‘Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste brought death into the world, and all our woe, with loss of Eden’.
26 Christmas: the Christian festival commemorating the birth of Jesus and observed annually by most branches of the church on 25th December but by some denominations in January. The practice/tradition began in the Western Church early in the 4th century. Christmas trees were introduced from Germany and holly and mistletoe decorations are of north European pagan origin. Christmas cards were produced in the 1840s. Xmas cards made from the pulp of managed forests: for every one cut down at least one more is replanted, thus replenishing the Earth’s athmosphere. The Christmas tree became common in the 19th century and is a symbol of Christ as the true tree of life. The candles symbolize the ‘light of the world’ and apples as decorations symbolize the paradisal apple of knowledge. The algorithm and heuristic for the game of chess is XP.
Trees Lining Holte Alle Near Haslev, Zealand
The feast of the nativity has been celebrated on
December 25th since 354.
Edward VII (England) made eating turkey fashionable. Sir Henry Cole sent the first Christmas card
in 1843. Christmas crackers were
developed in the 1840s. Santa Claus
(Saint Nicholas) was a 4th century BS in
27 Birch: Norse mythology: the final battle called ‘Ragnorak’ will be fought around a birch tree. In some traditions the birch is the ‘world-tree’, the ascent (via seven or nine notches in its trunk) symbolizes the climb from the lowest to the highest world of spirit.
28 Mount Meru: mythical center of the universe in Hindu cosmology. Some say that it is made of pure gold, that it is 160,000 leagues high. A gigantic rose apple tree grows on its slopes.
29 A game-tree (:gt) of chess (the Level of play ie, :L01, 02, 03 etc). The programming structure which enables a program to play chess is called a ‘tree’. The program’s task is to decide on a move from a given position, and it represents that position as the ‘root’ of the tree. Each of the possible moves from a position is represented by a ‘branch’ of the tree and at the other end of a branch is the new position. Growing a tree to represent the myriad possibilities on the chessboard is a straightforward task, accomplished by a module in a program called the ‘legal move generator’. What is much more difficult for a program is accurately evaluating the positions that arise on the tree. Without a reasonably sensible ‘evaluation function’ a program could look a long way ahead but have little or no understanding of what it was looking at. Clearly some chess knowledge is needed in the evaluation function but representing such knowledge in purely numeric terms is far from simple. With little knowledge at its disposal, an evaluation function will provide only a crude, often erroneous distinction between good positions and bad ones. With a lot more chess knowledge the evaluation function becomes much more accurate, and will sometimes be able to pick the best move in a position without using a look-ahead. One of the problems facing chess programmers is that evaluation functions with more knowledge require more time to compute, reducing the depth of look-ahead that can be achieved within the allotted time per move. A search which thereby becomes too shallow can lead a program to make tactical oversights, unnecessarily losing material or succumbing to checkmate. Evaluation functions in games playing programs are also employed to determine which moves a program should examine, making selectivity possible. With an average of 37 moves in a chess position (:L01), it is easy to comprehend that the problem of looking ahead to a significant depth can be immense. After only one move by each side there are more than 1,000 positions to evaluate. After two moves by each side the number rises to over 1,000,000. ‘Deep Thought’, by using some clever programming tricks, looks at everything at least five moves ahead by each side, and it examines the tactical variations which it considers most interesting to a depth of 10, 15 or even more moves by Alpha and Beta. In contrast to these telephone numbers a strong human player will typically evaluate only 50-150 positions during a three minute analysis. Here lies the big difference in thinking between human GM and computer GM - the human knows which moves to select for examination. H/er evaluation function is sufficiently knowledgeable. It is possible to summarize the difference in thinking between ‘Deep Thought/Blue’ and Gary Kasparov thus: the computer performs the task of evaluation fairly competently but not brilliantly, though it does so millions of times whenever called upon to decide on a move. In attempting to emulate and surpass human GMs it performs the task of evaluation less intelligently, in the chess sense, but it does so much more often. Kasparov’s evaluation function is fine-tuned to the point of perfection, but he needs to apply it less than once per second and uses his accurate evaluative skill to select those moves which deserve to be considered, and to prune out the dross. His highly selective search enables Kasparov to keep the size of his own game tree (:gt) to within manageable proportions. Because chess programmers have not yet been able to encapsulate all human chess knowledge in numeric evaluation techniques, the art of chess programming has largely relied on ever faster hardware. ‘Deep Thought’ uses a microchip designed specifically and only to play traditional chess and which performs the tasks of move generation and position evaluation at amazing speeds. A debate has long raged between two schools of chess programmers: which of ‘selective search’ and ‘brute force’ should be the more successful strategy? At the moment the brute force school is winning, so one needs to ask the question ‘Will mere brute force alone be enough to defeat Kasparov?’ There are those, including ‘Deep Thought’s’ designers, who believe that existing evaluation techniques, together with an extra 2 moves of look-ahead for each side, will be sufficient to create an electronic monster strong enough to challenge a human World Champion. Others, notably the stronger chess players within the computer chess fraternity, believe that greater selectivity ie, more embedded chess knowledge, will be required. Amongst the thinking games that have been programmed, chess has been witness to some of the greatest successes. It is estimated that some 10,000+ people have written chess programs. Many books, dozens of university theses and hundreds of academic papers have appeared on the subject. This information has been available for those who have programmed other thinking games, with the result that human champions have been vanquished in activities other than chess, but in most cases the ‘thought processes (calculations)’ of the programs have been very different from those of human players.
30 Goethe: “All theory, dear friend, is gray; but the precious tree of life is green”.
31 Milton, Paradise Lost:
Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that forbidden Tree,
Whose mortal taste,
Brought death into the World, and all our woe.
32 Genesis 3:3), ‘the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden’. There is no mention of an apple in the Biblical account!
33 In 1995 the ‘Ustinov Tree’ was replanted in the American Colony hotel in Jerusalem. The original trees were presented by his grandfather, Baron Plato von Ustinov.
34 Celtic Astrology:
[01 Birch Tree: The Birch (and Elder) trees are seen as two pillars that represent birth and death and are related to the two great pillars of Solomon’s Temple - Jechin and Boaz (a duality). The ‘white stag’ is also associated with the Birch Tree.
[02 Rowan Tree: The ‘Green Dragon’ is associated with this tree. Much Uranian symbolism is associated with the Rowan tree. Uranus may just be seen by the unaided eye and was discovered in 1781. The dryad who lives in the Rowan tree represents the keeper of secret truths (veils or conceals what must be discovered - a source of revelation). ‘The Quest for Immortality’. The symbol of a Green Dragon is a symbol of spiritual growth. Awakener (advanced form of thought or inventive genius, inspired speech and prophecy). The Celtic name for Rowan is ‘Luis’ which means ‘Flame’ and is connected with the festival of ‘Candlemas’. Luis also has a connection with the ‘emblem of darkness’. Statues of Brigid were cleaned and carried overland in a chariot or boat. The crescent shaped boat refers to the New Moon.
35 Tu B’Sh’vat - Jewish New Year festival of the Trees. Sacred texts guide but we also need instruction from other sources as well. The ancients found inspiration in nature, which they peopled with many gods. Even trees had dryads which could inspire humans. The Garden of Eden contained the Tree of Knowledge as well as the Tree of Life which grows at its center. Tu B’Sh’vat was a minor harvest feast, which developed in two ways: as a fest for the mystics and as a happy folk observance. Today texts from the Bible, the Talmud and the mystic Zohar book are studied. Study should be part of worship and home life. Children in Jerusalem have a school holiday, go into the fields and plant trees!
36 Acacia tree: symbol of immortality, initiation, purity.
37 Arbor Philosophica: philosopher’s Tree, Arbor Dianae or Silver Tree. The 12 alchemistic operations: Calcinatio, Solutio, Elementorum separatio, Coniunctio, Putrefactio, Coagulatio, Cibatio, Sublimatio, Fermentatio, Exaltatio, Augmentatio, Proiectio (usually shown in the form of a branched tree).
38 Banana Tree: symbol of the impermanence of earthly things.
39 Cedar: symbol of the lofty, sublime, strength and stamina (due to its size). Mentioned many times in the Bible.
41 Grapevine: the tree of the Messiah. Symbol of the people of Israel.
42 Jesse’s Root (12th century): family tree of Christ and Mary (Isaiah 11:1) with Jesus at the top.
43 “Fear passes from man to man unknowing. As one leaf passes its shudder to another, all at once the whole tree is trembling and there is no sign of the wind” [Charles Simic].
The Tree of Life is one of the most
familiar of the Sacred Geometry Symbols. The structure of the Tree of Life is connected to the
sacred teachings of the Jewish
Kabbalah but can be seen 3,000 years earlier in
The Kabbalah Tree of Life is a representation of the thirty-two paths comprised of the ten sefirot and the twenty-two paths through which they run. The Tree of Life describes the descent of the divine into the manifest world, and methods by which the divine union may be attained in this life. It can be viewed as a map of the human psyche, and of the workings of creation, both manifest and not. It is important to realize that the pure nature of divinity is unity, and that the seemingly separate aspects or emanations exist only in view of the emanated, living in a state of illusory separation. The names and numbers of the ten sefirot are given in order below.
1 - Kether (Crown) or Kether Elyon (Supreme Crown)
2 - Chokmah (Wisdom)
3 - Binah (Understanding or Intelligence)
4 - Chesed (Mercy or Grace) or Gedullah (Greatness)
5 - Geburah (Severity or Power), Din (Judgement) or Pahad (Fear)
6 - Tifereth (Beauty) or Rahamim (Mercy)
7 - Netsach (Victory or Constancy)
8 - Hod (Glory or Majesty)
9 - Yesod (Foundation) or Tsedek (Justice)
10 - Malkuth (Kingdom) or Shekhinah (Divine Immanence)
To help us understand the importance of the Tree of Life, a story can be told that characterizes the struggle between light and darkness:
On the light side the archangel Michael and on the dark side Satan, who abandoned the creator to create a different reality of his own (if you reverse the name SATAN in the Hebrew language you will get the word natash which means-abandoned in Hebrew). Satan (also known as LUCIFER which means THE BRIGHT AND SHINING ONE since he was the most magnificent and brilliant angel ever created), was aware of all the secrets of the creation and the Flower of Life. The first thing he did was to take the construction of the Egg of Life and spin it into a different point of view or perception instead of the star tetrahedron point of view, which can be derived from this shape (check out our explanation about the Flower of Life). This procedure changed our perception of reality. Satan repeated the process of creation out of the great void but instead of copying the actions of the creator, he changed the process of creation out of the great void. Instead of repeating God’s creation and creating the seed of life structure, and creating one sphere at a time in a vortex motion, he divided spirit into two; creating two centers (See diagram 2-2C). In this way there are two centers instead of one.
There is no vortex motion of creating one sphere at a time; instead there is only a duplication process just like cell division only without a certain order or shape. Unlike GOD’S creation which can be seen in the embryo cell division, which provides perfect shapes during the cellular mitosis through the different stages of development. This is the difference between LIGHT and DARKNESS. Light is order, the cosmic laws of creation, while darkness is chaos and death.
This action created reality that is separated from that of the creator. This version of reality is an illusion. It is a reality where unity is unseen between that which exists and all that happens, thus experiencing reality as good and evil. Therefore one does not feel real love just the use of the intellect.
In the Bible there is a description of the Tree of Knowledge (Satan’s creation) and the Tree of Life (God’s original reality). “The Tree of Life is in the garden and the Tree of Knowledge good and evil”. If one tries to draw the Tree of Life upon Satan’s dual Flower of Life he will find it impossible as there is no compatibility between them.
Tree of life pendant
The pendant of the Tree of Life forms the key to God’s original creation. The pendant’s size itself fits exactly to the size of the Seed of Life and the Flower of Life, and can be used as a sign of unity and love as each structure together creates a perfect match. The Tree of Life symbolizes the true existence of God’s creation, the only reality to enable the fulfillment of ones destiny and true potential.