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This article surveys the beliefs concerning the supernatural characteristics and powers of …


Biology Articles » Ethnobiology » The supernatural characters and powers of sacred trees in the Holy Land » Conclusion

Conclusion
- The supernatural characters and powers of sacred trees in the Holy Land

In the discussion of the reason for the sanctification of trees [[40]:30, 38; [42]] the close relation with graves of Muslim saints (Wellis) has been shown. The spirit of the Welli dwells in his grave or in a tree dedicated to him. It is not surprising to see the close similarity between the miraculous powers of the holy grave and the sacred trees. In the Muslim sector the close similarity between the ability to punish and the protective properties of graves and sacred trees is clearly evident. In both cases the protective power is the Welli's spirit, which the people admire and fear.

The Druze believes in the transmigration of souls: a person's body is a kind of clothing for the soul and, with death, the soul passes to the body of a newborn child [[57]:60]. The Druze never considers sacred trees as an abode for the souls of righteous figures of righteous figures' souls, and certainly do not relate trees to graves [42]. It was, therefore, unexpected to see that even the Druze ascribe supernatural powers to sacred trees. Their fear and admiration of such trees are of the same magnitude as in the Muslim sectors [(Table 3, [41]; [42]]. While the Muslims credit the miraculous powers (e.g., the trees' immunity to fire) to the souls of Wellis or of God, the Druze ascribe them to their prophets or religious leaders themselves.

A comparison with the Christian world shows a clear similarity between the miracles performed by the sacred trees (via the spirit of the Welli) and the miraculous powers of saints and their trees. We may recall that many pagan sacred trees were Christianized and dedicated to saints [[32]:107–108; [20]:34; [50]:162; [60]: I, 86–87] while in the Muslim world the old traditions of sacred trees were not eradicated: the tree spirits were replaced by the souls of Wellis. [Palestine: [40]:151; Morocco: [26]:97]. Not surprisingly, the old pagan traditions of miraculous powers of sacred trees filtered into the Christian as well as the Muslim world. The Druze adopted most of the same traditions but on a different religious basis.


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