“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Theresa
September 11th, 2001, a day that changed our world.
The day after 9/11, I was inspired to begin researching the origins of world belief from 20,000 BC to present day, in search of our shared roots. The Tree of Life became a touchstone for my personal healing and the archetypal journey of mankind. Along the way, the number seven became a guiding symbol, which curiously is what September is named for.
This year, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the full moon of this “seventh moon” month falls on September 12th, 2011. September 12th was the day that marked the beginning of my healing journey toward peace, that quickly became my passion. The Full Moon is a beautiful reminder that we are one, as we connect with the larger family tree we all share.
So what does the word September mean?
September is originally from the latin word “septum”, meaning “seven”. It was used to describe the “september mensis” or “seventh moon month”.
Lunar calendars are still in place, based on ancient traditions and sacred time. Within the Judaic and Muslim community, the lunar calendar plays a primary role in everyday life. Christians use it to determine the date of Easter, a formula created by the early Roman Church, so it would never coincide with the Jewish Passover.
The roots of the Monotheistic Family Tree:
Abraham is seen as the father of all three monotheistic beliefs (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), which basically means the belief in one God. Up until the time of Abraham, there where multiple beliefs with Gods/Goddesses that represented ancestors, elements of nature, the sun, the moon, the stars etc… Each continent had its own unique belief system based on the natural world around them.
Abraham was born in Sumeria around 1800BC, the area we now know as Iraq. He traveled throughout the Middle East as a merchant with his wife Sarai. He began following the guidance of a voice that came from the beyond, a voice he named YAHWEH, who he saw as the one and only creator God.
Sarai, Abraham’s wife, was not able to bear him a child, which Abraham desperately wanted. During a merchant trip through Egypt, the Pharaoh gave Sarai a female companion named Hagar. Sarai then gave permission to Abraham to conceive a child with Hagar.
Abraham’s firstborn son was named Ishmael. A few years later Sarai surprisingly gave birth to Isaac. Eventually Sarai became concerned that Ishmael would inherit his father’s wealth instead of Isaac. She asked Abraham to cast Hagar and Ishmael out to the desert, a place now known as Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
What happened is interpreted differently by Judeo-Christians who follow the Book of Genesis and Muslims who follow the Islamic Qur’an.
According to the Book of Genesis, Hagar and Ishmael are cast out to the desert when YAHWEH speaks to Hagar letting her know that Ishmael will be the father of a great nation. Later, Abraham is asked to prove his loyalty to YAHWEH by sacrificing his favorite son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah, in Jerusalem. After Abraham binds his son with a rope he is told to stop because his loyalty to YAHWEH is proven.
According to the Qur’an, Abraham is asked to sacrifice Ishmael, his first-born son, in Mecca. The story is similar to the Book of Genesis, same outcome, different son, different place and a different name for God, Allah.
Both stories demonstrate the shared lineage of Abraham and his loyalty to one creator God. His family tree continued to grow through the legacy of his sons, who went on to become the fathers of the Ishmaelites (Muslims) and the Israelites (Jews) and also (Christians) through the Jewish lineage of Jesus.
What is most interesting is that Moses, an Israelite married Zipporah, an Ishmaelite. Moses is a central figure in all three monotheistic beliefs. The Qur’an speaks of Moses more than any other Prophet or man. Moses is seen as the great Prophet and lawgiver for all three beliefs. In actuality Israelites and Ishmaelites worked together and fought together for thousands of years.
On the Seventh Day he rested….
(The seed of life, sometimes referred to as the creation matrix, contains six circles representing the six days of “creation”. The middle circle is the “resting” point or seventh circle)
Monotheistic cultures see the number seven as sacred.
Judaism – “It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested” – Exodus, 31:17
Jews recognize Saturday as the Sabbath, the day of rest. The word Sabbath means completion, to cease or to rest. It is from the root word for “seven”.
Christianity – “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” – Genesis 2:3
Christians define this day of rest as Sunday. Sunday was named by the Romans long before Christianity was created to honor the Sun, but after the Roman Empire converted to Christianity they replaced the concept of the “Sun God” with the concept of Jesus being the “Son of God”. This was also another way to separate from the Jewish Sabbath (Jesus was Jewish, as were most of his early followers) from the newly forming Roman Catholic Church.
Islam – “He who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then established Himself on the Throne. He knows what enters within the heart of the earth, and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from heaven, and what mounts up to it. And He is with you wherever you may be. And God sees well all that you do” – Qur’an 57:4
Muslims do not recognize an official day of rest, but they do observe Friday as an official day of prayer and assembly called Jumma.
In summary, all three faiths agreed on the concept of the seven days of creation but they each interpreted and created a separate day to honor it: Judaism – Saturday, Christianity – Sunday, Islam – Friday.
So where exactly did the idea of seven come from?
Among the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians there were seven planets that could be seen with the naked eye. They included the Sun and the Moon along with Mars, Mercury, Jupiter,Venus, and Saturn. This observation formed the concept of seven as a sacred number, especially among the Western mind. The seven days of the week were then named after these seven planets based on Greco-Roman translations: Sun – Sunday, Moon – Monday, Mars – Tuesday, Mercury – Wednesday, Jupiter – Thursday, Venus – Friday, Saturn – Saturday.
In Hebrew the number 7 means Sheh-bah, which means completion. Hence it is the root of the word Sabbath, the seventh day of rest.
To the Greeks, 7 was referred to as Hepta or the seven sided Heptagon. From this came the creation of the Heptatonic Scale which was based on seven musical notes. The Greeks also held the belief that their were Seven Sages or Wise Men that lived before the great flood. These seven sages influenced Judaism and subsequently all three monotheistic faiths.
Judaism – the Seven Branched Menorah, is “a light unto the nations.” – Isaiah 42:6.
Christianity – the number seven is used more often than any other number in the Bible except “one”. “When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light” – Jesus – Luke 11:34
Islam – “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. Light upon Light!”
– Quran 24:35
During Muhammad’s “Night Journey” he traveled through the Seven Heavens of the Tree of Life and received the word of Allah, through the Archangel Gabriel.
So why does “light” play such an important role with the number seven?
Light has always been connected to the concept of God, whether it is the light shining from the Sun, the Moon, the Stars , a Fire. Light is life-giving. Our modern understanding of light and color begins with Isaac Newton in 1672AD. He was the first to understand how to refract white light with a prism into its component colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Due to pressure from the church, Newton followed the pattern of seven based on the seven days of the week and the seven notes of the musical scale. He then identified a seventh shade called indigo that fell between blue and violet.
Modern day artists use the color wheel originally set up by Isaac Newton based on the original six colors. The seventh “color” is actually white “light”. The absence of light is the color black.
(The “Color Wheel” as the “Seed of Life”.)
Ancient Hindu yogi’s identified another sort of “Sacred Wheel” they called a “Chakra”. The Chakras are seen as energy centers within our body that are affected by emotional and physical factors. The goal of the yogi was to clear and open these chakras so that the life force energy would flow unobstructed allowing for spiritual union and physical health. These chakras also work in harmony with the concept of seven, the colors of the rainbow, the musical scale and white light.
So where is the all leading?
During the last ten years of research and pondering how we are all one, I have created a way to look at the number seven in combination with world belief and our energetic body. I like to refer to this as the “Tree of Life” within us.
There is also an eighth chakra that surrounds us reminding us that we are “one”.
1. Red – Root Chakra – Indigenous Belief/Feeling Grounded
2. Orange – Sacral Chakra – Taoism/Harmony of Opposite Forces of Nature
3. Yellow – Solar Plexus Chakra – Hinduism/Life Force Energy
4. Green – Heart/Soul Chakra – Buddhism/Love with no Conditions
5. Blue – Throat Chakra – Judaism/The Power of the Spoken Word
6. Violet – Third Eye Chakra – Christianity/Inner Knowing and Trusting our Intuition
7. White/Light Violet – Crown Chakra – Islam/Connection to Source
Tens years later….a vision of oneness for the future
May we begin to see how we can sing a new song, paint a new picture, and create a new story of peace within ourselves and each other for the next seven generations…
May loving kindness be what guides us….
For more information visit www.treeoflifewithin.com