Ginkgo signals a period of control and balance as we contemplate the nature of our duality and unity through the lens of compassion.
The word ginkgo, comes from the Chinese word yinxing, meaning “silver apricot.” Biloba refers to the “bi-lobed” shape of its leaves. Ginkgo biloba reminds us of our luminous nature as we make peace with the known and unknown aspects of life and death. In stillness, we are encouraged to sense the beauty of our inner and outer self.
Ginkgoes are “living fossils” that thrived 270 million years ago, before the age of dinosaurs. They found a safe haven in Eastern Asia, where they were cultivated as sacred trees representing eternal life. Ginkgoes can live to be 1000-2500 years old and grow 160 feet tall. In fall their green leaves transition to saffron yellow, which release in a sequence that creates a mystical golden-rainfall. (See picture 3 and 4)
Ginkgoes were planted near Taoist and Buddhist temples as symbols of yin-yang. Yin is the lack of sunlight (night/dark) while yang is seen as sunlight (day/light.) Yin & yang are harmonic and opposing forces. Yin is seen as the feminine essence of earth and yang as the masculine essence of sun. Ginkgo trees are also sexed as male or female. Male trees produce pollen, while females produce an odorous fruit containing the desired and edible seed called a Ginkgo nut. In Chinese and Japanese cultures ginkgo nuts are seen as symbols of hope and longevity.
Six ginkgo trees, planted in the 1850’s near a Japanese monastery in Hiroshima survived the atomic bomb. They are living examples that inspire us to contemplate peace in the face of destruction.