X. Ceiba – Change – Wheel of Fortune
Genus: Ceiba – Family: Malvaceae
The ceiba tree represents a shift in the trajectory of our life. Sometimes this can be perceived as chaos, where our world seems to be spinning out of control.
The ceiba tree is native to tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas and West Africa. They can grow to 230 feet tall with a straight, almost branchless trunk that culminates in a sprawling canopy. Its large buttress shaped roots anchor it to the ground in a wheel-like pattern. There are 18 species of ceiba trees.
The Kapok, Ceiba pentranda, is the best known and most widely cultivated ceiba. The trunk of a young ceiba tree is covered in thick conical thorns that grow in clusters. These thorns create a natural defense during the early, more vulnerable stages of the trees life, which lasts approximately seven years.
In pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, the ceiba tree was the most sacred tree to the Mayan people. They knew the ceiba as ya’axche, the axis mundi, or world tree that connected the underworld of earth with the upper terrestrial realms of the sky. They honored the ceiba as the Tree of Life and saw it as the home of their gods. They reproduced its thorns on cylindrical burial urns to aid the soul during its transition from life to death and back into rebirth.
Message: The spirit of ceiba reminds us that nothing is constant except change. Even the best made plans can change due to unforeseen circumstances. By embracing this time of change as transformative we will learn new skills for mastering our life’s work on our journey toward becoming whole.
Challenge: Fatalism, misunderstanding our purpose and or feeling like a victim caught in an endless loop of trauma. Work with ceiba to climb above the stories to see the bigger picture.