Palm Tree Symbolism
and Palm Meanings
These days in the Western mind, palm tree symbolism speaks of sunny skies and relaxing vacations. This isn't too far off base, as the palm tree is largely a solar symbol.
Consider the radiating fronds bursting forth at the very height of a towering climb. The head of the palm is visually comparable to our glowing sun-star, and so many symbolic meanings of the palm are related to solar attributes such as:
'Tis true, sun symbols are predominantly masculine in their energetic tone. However, the palm shares its symbolic gender with succulent female qualities found in the fruit it bears.
And so, we see this scenario with symbolic eyes: The erect, towering trunk representing the phallus - male power rising into action - followed by a flowering, expansive fireworks display of long supple leaves nestling an offspring of rich, nutritious fruits. Beautiful symbolism, isn't it? This is a snapshot of how our forbears viewed the palm, and why it is an icon for fertility and unification.
In alchemical traditions, the palm tree is a symbol of androgyny as it possesses the perfect integration of both male and female attributes. This is an alchemical achievement - to be wholly, pristinely balanced - equally united with polarity.
This androgynous concept plays out in the esoteric archetype of the High Priestess found in the Tarot. Indeed, the palm tree is depicted in this card and here demonstrates the intent of the Priestess to amalgamate the realms of seen and unseen - mixing them into a whole vision with a goal to dispense for the betterment of humanity.
To Assyrians and Egyptians the palm is considered a tree of life. It was sacred to Ishtar and Ashtarte as well as to Nut and Hathor. These deities utilized the palm tree nectars to keep the dead in a semi-animated state while they awaited their fate in the Underworld. Sometimes the fruit of the palm would keep these souls in this state of undead forever. The date palm is also associated with the sun god Ra, as a resurrection figurehead.
These aspects bring to mind themes of victory related to palm tree symbolism. Not only victory over the conflict between dualities, but victory over death as well.
Indeed, Christians adapted the palms as a symbol of resurrection (victory over death through the union with Christ). Palm fronds were lain on the path walked by Christ as he entered Jerusalem.
Palms were also strewn out as a red carpet welcoming returning Roman warriors from battle. They are also laid out to welcome returning pilgrims to the Holy Land. In these examples, the palm tree symbolism conjures elements of attainment, welcoming, and all the wonderful qualities we associate with the soul's return to its Source.
As dream symbols, palm trees symbolize our ability to rise above conflict and spread our light brilliantly - letting it shine over the din of petty concerns - rising above disillusionment like the sun itself. Palms in dreams may also be a message for us to resurrect aspects of ourselves. In resurrecting these parts, we become a more whole entity.
I hope you have enjoyed these thoughts on palm tree symbolism. Be sure to check out the links at the end of this page for more articles on tree symbolism and symbolic meanings found in nature. Thanks for reading!
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!