The Tree of Life, as an edifice of ancient wisdom and magical engineering, teaches certain truths about the Mystery of Life. Mary Magdalene represents this living Mystery as a sacred Tree. As love goddess she was known as the Prophet John, and also as Beauty, whose sexual rites were condemned by an intervening political force, who wrote this winning propaganda onto Her forehead and into sacred text:
And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth. ~Revelation 17:5
The Magdalene, who represents the entire Tree of Life, is symbolized on the Tree by the letter M. The letter M forms the basic outline of the Tree, with its two pillars and female chevron between. Looking at the Tree of Life you will see the M if you look for it.
The Tree of life is associated with woman, magic, knowledge, and mystery. We find the root of the word Magic in such words as image and imagination. Mag is rooted in the word magnificent and refers to greatness. It is the root also of the related words Magi and Magdalene. Here mag refers both to greatness and to wisdom. The Magi were a Babylonian priest class who appear in Jerusalem, as sacred emissaries to that City of Peace. A Tree of Life was planted there. A long awaited child was finally born of it. A child to heal the nations… and to lead them, in peace and plenty, to the wisdom of love. The Magdalene is a cow goddess of many names, born in a manger; Isis, Ashera, and Ishtar. She is the Word: the body of the thought of God. As the great wisdom of the Magdalene…
She is a Tree of Life…
The basic structure of The Tree is simple. It consists of three vertical pillars connected by branches. The left hand pillar, known as the Dark Pillar, is associated with the feminine side of duality. The right hand pillar or the Light pillar is identified as the male side. The central pillar represents the eternal or timeless dimension at the center of duality. The branches form pathways that connect the ten energy centers (called sephirah) to one another, along the axis of the tree.
A prominent female chevron, or V shape, hangs between the outside pillars. The focal point (or corner) of this chevron rests at the center of the Tree, so that all the linear paths of the tree move through this center space. The name of this place on the Tree is Beauty. Beauty is the place on the tree where The Lovers join to become one with God… and, as gods, to know Beauty as the mystery of eternal life. The patriarchal god of Genesis, referred to henceforth as Yahweh, has an objection to the fruit of the Tree of knowledge. This knowledge might lead Adam to eat of the tree of Life and to know the eternal source of his own immortality.
Behold the man is become one of us, to know good and evil;
and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life,
and eat, and live forever… ~ Genesis 3:22
… God sent him forth from the garden of Eden (3:23).
While Yahweh denies access to the Tree of Life, he also tells us that the fruit of this Tree is knowledge of the eternal. Such knowledge is unacceptable to Yahweh. In Genesis The Tree of Life is in the center of the Garden of Eden. Cabalistically, however, the garden lies at the center of the Tree, representing the garden of the sacred feminine. Three faces of the feminine are represented on the tree at the terminal points on the female chevron. At the top of the left pillar, the Empress resides as Mother… who initiates us into the experience of life, through birth. At the top of the right hand pillar, the High Priestess represents the sister, who teaches the initiate. At the bottom point of the chevron the daughter is represented, who performs the bridal function as the sacred beloved. She resides in the garden at the center of the tree, and joins the initiate to the eternal dimension of the central pillar. This is the place where the Lovers unite. The Cabalistic number associated with the Lovers key is six. The number assigned to this place on the tree is six. The name given to the number six, at the center of the tree, is Beauty. Here in the garden of the Lovers, at the center of the tree, we see Eden and the spiritual union of man and woman within the eternal realm of Beauty.
So the triple Goddess appears on the Tree, as Mother, Sister, and Daughter in a single yonic symbol. The symbol of the chevron represents the female sex organ as the great Yoni of the Tree. This is the symbol of the Holy Grail that was removed by the standard narrative, and remains hidden in plain sight in dozens of Last Supper paintings representing the Tree of life. Before his Greek name, and before the letter J came into in the English language, Jesus was known as Yeshuah. John was known as Yon, Yonas, Yona or, by the famous Sanskrit name, Yoni.
The three Biblical persons, known to us as John, have three names in the Bible that accord with Her three yonic functions on the Tree of Life. John as the sacred Yoni, functioned as mother, sister, and bride… or… as the Baptist, the Evangelist, and Beloved apostle. It is John, the beloved, who reveals the immortal Self to the initiate. Beauty lives as the beloved John, at the center of the Tree, where She invites us to the eternal realm and to a shared identity with God.
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. ~Hosea 6:6
Yahweh, it would seem, prefers sacrifice. He prefers burnt offerings and abject obedience. He would have the inhabitants of Eden sever all ties with the Tree of Life…
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof,
then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as gods…
~ Genesis 3:5
Yahweh, the jealous god, bars access to the Tree of Life. The tyranny he exerts over the believer, is manifest in the Old Testament in the consistent message to be obedient or… to be afraid.
The Roman Catholic Church maintained this message with forceful vigor, and knowledge of the Tree went underground. During the Renaissance the Tree reemerged as a hidden symbol in dozens of artworks dedicated to a particular New Testament meal. Only those with eyes to see could make out the features of an entirely different story being told about this meal.
The story of Sleeping Beauty also tells the tale of a meal, where Beauty’s birth is celebrated as a feast for all the kingdoms. We also see John, the apostle of apostles, in dozens of Renaissance works on the Last Supper, sleeping at the center of the table.
The John of these paintings is distinctly feminine. She sits next to Jesus in the middle of the table. Counting seats from the end of the table to her seat… she sits in place number six. The same is true of Jesus on his side of the table. They share the sixth space, as do the Lovers of the sixth Tarot key. Jesus’ age, at the time of his ministry, is most often given as 33; numbers which, when combined, add up to six.
The basic components of the structure of the Tree of Life may be seen in da Vinci’s Last Supper, as well as in those paintings of the same title by Ghirliandaio, Castagno, Jaume Serra, Huguet, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Tadeo Gaddi, Pietro Perugino, the Flemish artist Bemeart von Orley, and many others. What we can see in these works, depicting the Tree, are three pillars… made variously as architectural columns, or as lines of perspective forming pillars, as in Da Vinci’s last Supper… or as three legs on the feasting table, shaped just like columns, as in Andrea Castagno’s Last Supper below:
Here we see the table as the horizontal axis of the Tree with its three pillars beneath. The soft faced sleeping John rests her head directly on the central pillar, at position six from right to left. Jesus, beside her, looks down on her and forms a sign above her head with his hand. The hand gesture Jesus makes toward John, in these paintings, is the sign for the first truth in Hermetic philosophy: As above. So below. The first truth is directed, again and again, at the first prophet John sleeping at the table. On the tree of life Beauty is where the acolyte meets with the truth about the immortal Self. Hence, as the poet said, Beauty is truth and truth… Beauty.
Jesus directs this gesture toward John in painting after Last Supper painting in which John appears sleeping. The detail below of Castagno’s Last Supper shows this gesture. Note the same gesture in three more examples by Jaume Huguet , Taddeo Gaddi, and Domenico Ghirlandaio.