Copyright 2008 Cara Dawson

The stories describing the Tree of Life are found across many cultures, in many forms. Even in Taoist tales, we have the spiritual peach tree that bears a fruit that bestows immortal essence.

In Chinese mythology, a carving of a Tree of Life depicts the Phoenix and a dragon. The dragon represents one’s essence and the Phoenix the fire of changing but immortal life.

In this drawing, I love the image of the leaves becoming butterflies. Butterflies in their transformation are living Phoenix in disguise.

In the fractal pattern of life, we are one with the Tree of Life, the fruit: the seeds of our change. To eat of oneself: is to partake of the nature -the flesh- of every being. We are connected to all life in this universe. Every religion has variations of this tale, be it Christian when one partakes of Christ’s flesh or a Taoist biting into the immortal peach.

We live in transformation every day, and in this, we are part of the Tree of Life.

Thanks towards Cara for sharing her art.

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Julie and I were in the redwoods yesterday, and it’s very peaceful between the trees. A redwood forest reveals how to hold presence, showing potential growing towards the sky. We enjoyed a day of clarity walking between the majestic trees.

When I hold myself in the crystal space, it’s a place of clarity, a moment between all the potentials which are possible to live. When I walk in the redwoods, it’s a mirror to being in the crystal space but also outside of that experience. In this, the redwoods are a living temple, a place where to see reflected in the redwood’s potential: our own potential to be.

Life is our temple. It isn’t required to build temples as much to recognize and show respect to places we find peace and truth within. So we try to protect these special places.

But protection is not enough.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico shows how easy it destroys the world, and places like a redwood forest can be easily lost unless they are allowed to shift/grow to new places as climate changes to a new balance. But Redwood’s shift regarding thousands of years rather than to the hourly schedule of man-made timetables.

I will not forget the world is a temple and will both respect and assist nature’s growth rather than adding to humanities desire to burn and cut down.

Sometimes to improve the world can be as simple as to plant a few seeds.

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Kathy Marks

Hi I realize I am a little late to the party, but I stumbled across your beautiful website with this fantastic artwork in the process of researching for a book I am writing regarding religion and how we take it’s teachings to enhance our lives. I am also an artist and so was naturally drawn to the art on your page. Great art, BTW! I am writing to ask if it is ok with you if I reference your website and your art in my book. I will be using your reference only to use Taoism as an example in… Read more »

HI Victor, I don’t think Cara has other versions of this.


I love this so much. I am thinking about getting a tattoo in this vein involving the tree of life, phoenix, and dragon. I was wondering if the artist had different versions of this piece of art that re-imagined the dragon as well. In Chinese myths, the dragon is a very important image, so I would love to see how it would flow and interact with the tree and phoenix. Still, I love this image. Thanks.


I love this !!! Is there a way of getting of print of it? It would go perfect in my front room.

Step 10: Church School (2012) » 12 Months of Compassion

[…] a Taoist take on the Tree of Life offers a new perspective on the role of eating both the apple and the communion […]


Hi am enquiring if I am able to use the ‘tree of life’ on my website that is getting put together now?..or if there is a cost for use of image? please let me know thank you for your help.

Elizabeth Karlonas

This is simply a stunning design. When I came upon it I knew this would be my next piece or some mild variation of it. May I use this image Cara?
Thanks for your consideration! Elizabeth

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