The One Tree

The following is an excerpt from Phantammeron Book One by author Mitchell Stokely.

The One Tree

The mythological concept of a “Cosmic Tree” or World Tree is a universal archetype shared around the world by many cultures. Over thousands of years, Mankind’s association with Nature has imbibed our experiences and myths with ancient trees. This goes back to the concept of the eternal wilderness of the world that once encircled us. For a vast wilderness that seemed so endless once claimed dominion over the world. It once brought into the minds and myths of our ancestors the mystery of the darker woods – of dark denizens, of monsters and fierce beasts, of lost paths, shadows, and of death. For many horrors once hid among the ancient oaks that once seemed to speak to us all with such power and meaning beneath their shadowy limbs.

All that is past. The trees are all but dead to us now, now. Sadly, our axes and saws have destroyed the wilderness. The value of wild places now in 2021 have died in modern culture. Greed and money have replaced all our Nature-myths and we no longer value or see value in the mystery of the woods. That is one reason I wrote my books, to remember older, 19th century Romantic views of what Nature once held in Modern Man’s imagination. For those ideas have died in modern books and movies, replaced with Mankind’s struggles for power and money. And so, through the Phantammeron novels, I am attempting to cling still to older concepts of Nature still left in old books and the fading memories of our elderly – one where the wilderness of America once was revered and valued, and its most ancient trees adored and preserved.

In my novel the Phantammeron, I have built upon this concept of Universal Tree as a symbol of not only the primacy of Nature as a religious concept, but of the purity and Godlike quality of ancient trees. My “One Tree” called Celebreava is such a being. He is the essence of the Conscious Mind seeking salvation with a Creator. By emanating white light from his bark and leaves, he sustains the world as its spiritual Sun. But Celebreava also represents spiritual consciousness, my own spiritual being and the rational, loving, intelligent, fatherly characteristic of every Human Being. For in each of us lives a One Tree, which is the essence of our Life, the Self, and the goodness of living life that sustains all things.

In that sense, my novels are an attempt to reflect upon not just a story, but on the spirit of life itself still inherent in Nature. For I firmly believe that these mythological symbols, of ancient trees and Nature’s imagery in story, are reflections of something found in every living thing on Earth. For the image of the ancient tree reflect back through mythology and cosmology on the essence of what the Earth is and what Mankind is. For like these trees we are all just spirits of the Earth and the Sun that feeds it. If we remember who we are – as children of Nature – then the trees are our brothers and everything in between are living beings to be honored and cherished. Can we regain this belief, I wonder, before we lose everything through our endless greed?

The One Tree

“This was the One Tree that had been born from the Sacred Seed in the youth of the world. Few had witnessed the glory of its beginning or had known the hidden splendor of its long life. For in the sparkling dawn of Phantaia had an ancient seedling risen from the blackened soil, the first of its kind. In the waning light of the twilight world it had thrust its great bulk high up into the shadowed Heavens, struggling to find the nourishment of the divine light promised it by the Great Father who had made the cosmos.

This colossal tree in shining form threw its radiant light down upon the idyllic scene such that the garden upon the hill and the valley below it glowed forth with dazzling color in the lingering gold of the sweet warm air. For the bark of its trunk seemed to glow with a gold and honeyed hue. Its creamy limbs stretching up into the heights of Heaven shimmered with youthful leaves, which sparkled in the tree’s sunny light like molten silver set aflame.

The One Tree appeared like a great white specter to all who saw it. Its tall white trunk stretched up from the top of the hill, high into the inky depths above. Ghostly limbs wound their way out across the starless skies until they disappeared into the gloomy blue heights of Heaven. Upon their boughs shining leaves fluttered with a wondrous spectral light. And its smooth white trunk beamed forth with a radiance that turned about like a thousand suns, cascading out its prismatic sheen far across the shadowed landscape of vast Phantaia, until it set the trunks of its unnumbered children aglow in the distant reaches.

So had the dark Heavens been illuminated by the great tree’s fire, its creeping shadows thrown back, and the drapes of night flung open by its brilliant beams. The light of the Spirit Divine, born of his Creative Flame, was thus rekindled by the bark of the One Tree, whose hot flares danced again upon the rocky face of Heaven’s blessed peaks. Beneath the wingless Arch of Heaven was thus made the Amladem, the golden roof, which the One Tree alone had created by the lights of his shining limbs. That life-giving glow would burn bright for many eons within the reflective skies, feeding the many forest-children who had grown beneath the tree’s wide-rooted feet, as it spread its gift across the many wooded realms that stretched far and wide before it.

Yet by a mysterious source which none could find were the One Tree’s strange lights granted unto it. And this hidden gift the tree would closely guard.”

– the Author



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