THE WORLD TREE: THE AXIS MUNDI
"All life is figured by them as a Tree. Igdrasil, the Ash-tree of existence, has its roots deep-down in the kingdoms of Hel, or Death: its trunk reaches up heaven-high, spreads its boughs over the whole Universe: it is the Tree of Existence. At the foot of it, in the Death-Kingdom, sit the three Norns, Fates--the Past, Present and Future; watering its roots from the Sacred Well. It's 'boughs,' with their buddings and disleafings, --events, things suffered, things done, catastrophes,--stretch through all lands and times. Is not every leaf of it a biography, every fiber there an act or word? Its boughs are the Histories of Nations. The rustle of it is the noise of Human Existence, onwards from of old. It grows there, the breath of Human Passion rustling through it.--or stormtost, the stormwind howling through it like the voice of all the gods. It is Igdrasil the Tree of Existence. It is the past, the present, and the future. .... I find no similitude so true as this of a Tree. Beautiful; altogether beautiful and great".
"Then I was standing on the highest mountains of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. An I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of
one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy."
-- Black Elk Speaks, The Great Vision (1932)