Trees are life-giving organisms from a biological and ecological perspective, but have also long held much significance and intrigue in folklore and across many faiths and religions worldwide. Their prevalence in folklore often takes the form of the Tree of Life concept, which in itself varies exceedingly across the globe. In the Gaelic tradition the importance of trees is woven into the fundamentals of the language itself, with the letters of the alphabet each representing a tree – a for ailm (elm), b for beith (birch) and so on…what’s more, The Tree of Liberty, a poem dubiously accredited to Burns, is a prime example of the merging of ideas of freedom and liberty with the powerful imagery of an oak tree. Not to mention the countless other appearances of tree imagery in various traditional art forms across the globe.
The Scottish International Storytelling Festival in collaboration with ArtCOP Scotland is gathering stories, songs and dances featuring the Tree of Life in many cultures for the World Climate Change Conference in Paris (Mon 30 Nov – Fri 11 Dec), as well as featuring a number of events on the theme of trees. The Tree has roots, branches and leaves, and offers a habitat for birds, insects and animals. It symbolises the inter-relation of life and an ecology that unites humanity and nature. It is a sign of sustainability, through which we can re-green our planet through virtuous cycles of air, water and earth. We invite our friends around the world to share their Tree of Life stories and traditions so that Paris may receive the oldest ancestor wisdom in the world – the wisdom of life – and give our children their future.
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