The sycamore fig tree had a special mythical significance. According to the Egyptian Book of the Dead, twin sycamores stood at the eastern gate of heaven from which the sun god, Ra, emerged each morning. Sycamores were often planted near tombs, and burial in coffins made of sycamore wood returned a dead person to the womb of the mother tree goddess.
The sycamore was also regarded as a manifestation of the goddesses Nut, Isis, and especially of Hathor, who was given the epithet “Lady of the Sycamore.”
Buddhists believe that the Bodhi Tree where Siddhartha was sitting when he attained enlightenment 2,500 years ago is also still alive. It is a large and very old sacred fig tree (ficus religiosa) located in Bodh Gaya, in northern India.
That a tree like the Bodhi tree could actually be 2,500 years old, was rejected by medieval scientists for generations; even after Leonardo da Vinci, who was the first person to mention that trees form rings annually; and that their thickness is determined by the conditions under which they grew.
There is a grove of 16 trees in Lebanon known as The Olive Trees of Noah (Genesis 8:11), that have been growing for the last 6,000 years.
They’re 4,265 feet above sea level, which almost certainly would make them the highest olive trees alive at the time of Noah. Most impressive of all, the trees are still bearing fruit. They really could be called “Trees of Life.”
But by Tree of Life religions do not mean a very old still living tree; but a mythic, symbolic tree that connects two or three seemingly very different realms; just as a physical tree is rooted down into the earth with its branches reaching up to the sun, with its trunk and branches serving as a connecting link.
The simplest connection is between heaven (divine energy) and earth (human souls).
For those who believe in gilgul (reincarnation), the tree is a deciduous tree, and the connection is between the three realms of birth, death and rebirth. The roots are souls waiting to be born, the trunk and branches are those alive now, and the fallen leaves are those who have died and returned to the earth to be recycled again.