Cursing Trees to Create Something New

Recently I became aware of the story of Jesus cursing a fig tree not to bear fruit. I've always had a bit of an innocent viewpoint on this character Jesus, so reading about his belligerent words towards a tree challenged my beliefs about this guy.

First of all, I like to think about this story of Jesus as symbolically rooted in a long lineage of spirituality. For me Jesus is a human, embodying an archetypal journey in a universal myth. This journey can be seen in many people we call heroes or revolutionaries today as well as traced to ancient mythology such as the Egyptian story of Isis and Osiris.

The universal story of birth, death, and resurrection is deeply linked to agrarian cultures, the fecundity of the earth, and the coming of spring. In the Christian religion, these primal life messages for survival have passed down through the human story of Jesus.

If you are Christian, then you are currently celebrating the season of Lent, the time leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus -- Easter. In fact, the word Lent originates from a prehistoric West German word for "long days," describing the lengthening of days as we near springtime. Seen in a universal context, Lent is a preparation for spring and the birth of new life.

Tree of Life, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry): sterling silver tree of life charm
I guess that's why the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree kind of put a damper on all my spring glee. Who does this guy think he is going around cursing a tree not to bear fruit ever again? What a brute!

Then I got to thinking that much of the Christian religion is rooted in ancient mythology. Perhaps the fig tree is the tree of life. Moreover, the fig tree could be a symbol for Jesus, making him a symbol for the tree of life. Who is Jesus really cursing not to ever bear fruit again? A fig tree? The tree of life? Or himself?

As I apply this understanding in my own life and see myself as a fig tree or a stand-in for the tree of life, I've seen that many times I do go around cursing myself not to bear anymore fruit. Can you see it in yourself? Those times when you say, "I'm never going to do that ever again." Or "I'm never going to make another one of those again." Or "That's the last time I'll ever see that person again."

That internal voice may be something buried so deep you don't want to hear it, but if you are completely honest with yourself there is a part that tells you to put the breaks on something your doing, being, or creating.

I think the positive point in the story of the fig tree is that a human being can only create a new wholeness by shattering a former consciousness. A tree must stop bearing fruit, whither and die for something new to take root in the world and in you.

Closing a business, retiring from a job, moving away from a relationship, and changing old habits all require a little cursing to take place -- a stopping of action to redirect energy down a new path. Cursing the tree of life may be the first step in the process to creating something completely new, so perhaps instead of staying in denial or emotionally checking out, pay attention when this is happening. Don't run when you start cursing the thing that no longer works for you. Listen, stay present, hold to center of things, and wait to see what you will be creating next.

Hold fast for spring will come. It always does.


  1. love this post! :: a fresh perspective for me to ponder :: thank you Beth!

  2. I'm so glad this sparked something new in you! Thanks for reading this post :)


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