Later, as I exited the cathedral and rounded the corner into Stockholm’s original town square, still in an expansive state of gratitude and wonder, I discovered the square had been transformed overnight into a Christmas Market worthy of the quaintest Disney movie, complete with rustic vendor booths and a large Christmas tree, not yet fully decorated but looming large over the festive activities below.
The Christmas tree is, of course, a pagan symbol for the Tree of Life, traditionally with a star or angel perched at its top, reminiscent of the Polar Star and Seraphim Angels discussed earlier in reference to Crowning humanitarian achievements recognized and honored by Sweden’s monarchy. Another noteworthy symbol for the Tree of Life, this one less literal, is the Swedish flag with its yellow cross against a blue background motif (inspired by the vision of a golden Cross appearing in the sky to one of Sweden’s 12th century Kings), as I had discovered the night before when I Googled its meaning on the Internet.
I pondered all of this as I wandered aimlessly along Gamla Stan’s eastern shoreline, eventually arriving at a ferry that would take me across one of Stockholm’s many lakes to the Nordic Museum on the other side. There, I was excited to learn about the tradition of the Bridal Crown, once a common practice in many Scandinavian and Eastern European countries and, no doubt, of pagan origins, though it was later Christianized as a symbol for the virginal purity of the bride, along the lines of the Virgin Mary.
The official story is that all soon-to-be-brides would borrow a Bridal Crown from the local church to wear during their wedding ceremony, but the deeper story is that such Crowns were sometimes passed down within families from grandmother to mother to daughter, etc., typically for many generations, in symbolic and subversive recognition of the essential nobility and dignity of women. In other words, it was a kind of Vesta thing, and the women passing down the Crowns were the keepers of the Eternal Flame of the Feminine, which had been subjugated and submerged since the earliest days of Patriarchy.
On Monday, my final day in Stockholm before heading to the airport very early the following morning, I returned to my ground zero, Stockholm Cathedral, for one last immersion in the very potent, Crown Chakra energy field that exists there. This time, my attention went to a giant wrought iron globe with approximately forty candleholders suspended within its frame. For the cost of fifty kronor (or Crowns), one could purchase a single candle and say a prayer for world peace while inserting the candle in one of the holders. Inspired by everything I had witnessed and experienced in Sweden relative to the Tree of Life and the Crown Chakra, I decided to light up the entire globe in one grand gesture for a true and lasting peace along with the birthing/Crowning of a new illumined species.
After completing this labor of love, I again wandered the narrow, cobble stone streets of Gamla Stan, following my instincts and intuition wherever they might lead. In one shop, I discovered a traditional, wooden set of Runes, considered the alphabet of the Nordic Gods as well as an ancient divination system, given to the God Odin during his ordeal hanging upside down from the Tree of Life for nine long days and nights in an attitude of humility and surrender. By the way, as a tie-in to the pagan tradition of the Christmas Tree, Odin is commonly recognized as the proto-type for Santa Claus.
At any rate, I bought the Runes for my nephew, whose name “happens” to be Odin, and then settled in at a nearby coffee shop to read all about them in the booklet provided. Opening the booklet at random, my eyes feel upon the description of the 25th and last Rune, associated with the letter “y” and the root word “yew,” and this is what I read:
"Key words: yew tree, eternity, new direction, radical change, complete success, maximum protection. This Rune does not correspond to a period of the year or hour, but is rather a time out of time."
The phrases “Eternal Tree,” and “Tree of Eternity,” flashed through my mind. In other words: Tree of Life! Suddenly, I felt the journey I had been on for these past five and a half years, since that dream in the summer of 2007 when I shape shifted into the Tree of Life, come full circle. I thought about my birth name: Yvonne, from the root word “yew.” All this time, I had imagined that my parents had made a mistake when they named me Yvonne, after my paternal grandfather, Vaughn; he of the Swedish ancestry who had been such a source of wounding in my life.
Suddenly, I realized my parents hadn’t made a mistake at all. In fact, on some deeply mysterious level, deeper than biological ancestry, perhaps, way back to the archetypal level of the collective psyche, they had gotten it right. Somehow, they had seen into my true nature and given me the name that best captured my soul’s journey through this lifetime. Later, when I discovered that the Nordic Tree of Life, Yggdrasil, is actually a yew tree, I was even more amazed and certain of this.