The Boabab Tree: A Look at Symbolism

The baobab is the archetypal symbol of the inverted tree, where we integrate and bring the heaven into the earth and the earth into the heaven.

Konrad van Staden

Clinical Psychologist

The baobab tree has a strong symbolic link to our psyches and spiritual symbolism. The baobab in African myth has been described as the upside down tree, as well as the tree of life. According to one legend, these beautiful trees were uprooted by God and planted upside down with their roots as their branches to punish them for their vanity. Various references in…  

the Biblical writings and folklores talk about the tree of life, with reference to the baobab tree. The baobab is commonly referred to as the tree of life, because of its physical properties. It is a highly resilient plant that may lose its bark, only to regenerate it in a matter of weeks without damage to the plant; it provides fruit and water to people and animals alike. The baobab tree even has medicinal qualities. However, more than the physical qualities, the sheer presence, longevity and resilience of this tree instills a sense of spiritual connection to the world and ourselves. This connection opens us to an integration and awareness through this symbol.

The Baobab Process seeks to guide and facilitate the growth of human beings away from the material need of substance use, towards the inner psychological growth of their strength and emotional capacity. The Processes we facilitate are focussed on developing internal strength through integration between consciousness and unconscious dynamics; through awareness and activation of internal coping capacities, rather than reliance on external elements. We seek to help people find their own internal baobabs.

The baobab is the archetypal symbol of the inverted tree, where we integrate and bring the heaven into the earth and the earth into the heaven. It also represents the link between the three worlds of heaven, earth and the underworld, thus the alignment of the conscious position with the Self.  According to Jung the tree is symbolic of the inner process of a person towards consciousness, the “urge towards individuation”.

Spending time in nature, under and around trees, we are often in awe of their beauty as we become aware of our own emotions and stirrings. Maybe we may allow this to become a symbol for our own growth and strength as we hold the feeling of awe; allowing our own individuation process to remain an ever present consciousness through holding the symbol of The Baobab Tree in front of us.

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