Why is it called The Tree & what is the meaning of the logo?
My name is Edward and I am the owner of The Tree. I have written some background here that I hope helps to answer the above question.
When I bought the retreat centre in 2011 it was originally called The Orange Tree. However, after seven years of developing the retreat into the place it is today, I decided that I wanted to change the name and logo to something more meaningful to me and more representative of the place that it has become.
A few people thought I was foolish to even consider doing this, but it felt right to me and I wanted to follow my heart.
I felt that some of our guests had a strong emotional connection to the old name and logo, so it was important to me to handle the change sensitively and with care. When I explained my reasons behind the change to some of our regular guests they understood my decision and felt that the new name was actually more representative of me and the place that it is now.
So, after much pondering and meditation, I decided that our relaxation retreat was simply going to be called The Tree.
Putting down roots
I always liked the “Tree” part of the old name. We do have a large Ash tree in the garden and the image of a tree has a great deal of meaning and symbolism for me. I considered a whole range of different species of trees, and trees of spiritual significance, but in the end I wanted to keep it simple. I wanted a universal name and symbol that everyone could relate to and feel a connection with – regardless of religion or spiritual beliefs – this being in alignment with our approach here at the retreat. I also liked the fact that some of our regular guests were already abbreviating the name to just “The Tree” when talking to their friends about it. This partly inspired the name change.
The lungs of the earth
Trees have all the natural qualities we aspire to cultivate here at the retreat. They are strong and flexible, they have deep roots and they are nurturing. Trees are the lungs of the earth because they produce the oxygen we need to breathe. They also provide shelter and shade to the earth’s creatures. We naturally feel more calm and centred when sitting under a tree or going for a walk in the woods. The Tree is also a hatha yoga posture (Vrksasana) which cultivates balance, focus and awareness.
An Ancient Symbol
The Tree is also a common symbol that can be found in many ancient traditions around the world. Trees connect the world of form (the earth) and the world of formlessness (the sky). Trees are also symbols of physical and spiritual nourishment, transformation and liberation, sustenance, spiritual growth, union and fertility. Sacred trees are found in many traditions ranging from Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism to Shamanism, Islam and Judaism to name just a few.
The path of Enlightenment
The image of a tree is closely linked to the path of Enlightenment. Although there may be marker stones along the way, I see the path of Enlightenment not as a final destination to be reached but more as an ever present journey of learning, growth, refinement, integration, expression and celebration that continues to unfold for the rest of our lives. In this way Enlightenment could be likened to a tree, that goes through the changing seasons, and yet each year its roots continue to grow a little deeper while its branches reach a little higher.
So, changing the name to The Tree was a very important step for us here in terms of unifying the centre and bringing about a sense of wholeness. We are all very excited and enthusiastic about taking things to the next level.
The significance of the new logo
Alongside the name change, we have created a new logo for The Tree which is full of symbolic elements.
The sun: On the one hand, the sun is the giver of life, providing light, heat and energy to the earth. Without it, life on our planet would cease to exist. However it also symbolises our true nondual nature, which is always shining brightly, although it can sometimes become covered by clouds (the busy thoughts in our mind). However the sun continually radiates forth removing confusion and illuminating the path of inner awakening.
The seated person: The person sitting under the tree represents humanity. They are simply sitting and breathing, or perhaps meditating, soaking up some tree wisdom, or just enjoying the cool shade on a hot, sunny day.
The outer Zen circle: Around the outside of the logo is an ensō – this is the Japanese word for “circle” and is a sacred symbol in the Zen tradition. It symbolises wholeness, strength, elegance, the whole of humanity and the Universe. It is one of the most common subjects in Japanese calligraphy. If you take the meanings of the two Kanji symbols that make up the word, ensō translates as “circle of togetherness”.
The Tree: As well as all the symbolism above, for those interested in Kriya Yoga there are a couple more. There are seven limbs or branches on the tree. These symbolise the first seven limbs of yoga (which are universal principles for living a more conscious life). The eighth limb is Samadhi (inner peace) symbolised by the sun. The shape of the tree and its trunk is also symbolic of the spine and the brain. The pathway up the tree, (the spine) symbolises the radiant path of inner awakening.