THE AZTEC TREE OF LIFE
The tree of birth, the eastern tree, is guarded by the quetzal
bird at the topmost point of the Aztec tree of life and death
which is composed of four different trees growing from the
centre to form a cross. The south arm of the cross, a maize
stalk on which a parrot perches, grows out of the jaws of death,
the symbol of the tree of sacrifice. To the west spreads the
tree of rebirth, so-called because it dies in the dry season
and rises in the wet. In this tree lives the hummingbird.
The eagle makes its home in the northern tree, the tree of
regeneration, which is immersed in water.
At the centre the four trees root in fire, all-pervading energy,
the sacred sign of God’s burning presence. This divine fire,
which destroys and refines, but does not consume, represents
the union between God and the human soul; that union which
lies at the heart of all belief.
Page 42 Sign of the Tree
1970s; Stanbrook Abbey; Ink on Scratchboard; 10×10; Mat is signed.