The Tamarisk tree, also referred to as the Salt Cedar, is a tall bushy tree with plumes of pink flowers that thrives in the desert, in especially salty soil conditions. The tree grows slowly and has roots that grow deep and wide, to harness every bit of water it can. Water and salt from the soil are drawn up into the roots until they reach the tips of the leaves, where the salt water drips back to the ground. The Tamarisk tree cries, to salinate the top layers of the soil surrounding it. This makes the surrounding soil uninhabitable to other species of shrubs and trees, in which germination cannot take place. As a self preservation method, the Tamarisk tree becomes invasive throughout territories it inhabits.
In the New International Version of the Holy Bible, it is written in Genesis 21:33, “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, the Eternal God.” Abraham is said to have sat beneath the tree in the shade, to welcome travelers so that they may share in God’s blessings.
Aphids invade the trunks of the tree, and secrete a gooey substance referred to as “honeydew”. It is believed that it was in fact honeydew that was the Manna, or food source, referred to in the Book of Exodus that God gave to the people of Israel to eat during their travels from Egypt to Palestine. While this is still under debate by religious scholars as to the true origins of Manna, it is worth noting that Honeydew dries quickly, forms into a sticky sweet substance, and is edible.
Throughout the centuries, the Tamarisk tree has become known as a tree for pilgrims to provide them shelter, shade, and safety. It is a guiding light and beacon of hope for all weary travelers.
In Egyptian occult studies, it is said that the Egyptian God, Wepwawet, called the son of Isis, who’s name translates to mean “the opener of the ways (the roads), is thought of as the messenger and champion of royalty. Wepwawet is associated with the canine and is paired to the Tamarisk tree as part of his symbols of royalty.
An Indo European society known as the Hittites often used the Cedar tree, Tamarisk tree, Olive tree, Date Palm and Boxwood tree in their spiritual rituals. These rituals included making offerings, birthing stools, cups, and incenses among other things.
In Sumerian Exorcisms, it is said that branches of the Tamarisk tree in combination with herbs, are placed over the heart of the afflicted person. Branches and bows from Cedar trees are used as well.
In an abstract correlation, it makes sense to use the Tamarisk tree for cleansing rituals and spiritual protection due to its natural salt levels within its branches and leaves. Salt is widely used in Pagan, Christian, and Shamanic rituals for protection and gridding ones body and personal space from the entry of negative or evil entities.
Imported into the United States in the 1850’s for ornamental purposes and erosion control, the Tamarisk tree quickly became invasive, pushing out native trees that also grow in desert conditions. It has proven very difficult to eradicate them whether they are cut down or burned; the Tamarisk tree is an ultimate survivor. It sprouts and grows back. It makes sense that throughout history, the Tamarisk tree became regarded as a tree associated to spiritual strength and refuge. It is a representative of the tenacity and willpower of the Spirit to overcome adversity, threats of death, or pain.
© Debbie Edwards