The Four Worlds International Institute

Avatar Movie Directly Parallels First Nations Sacred Tree Story Written 27 Years Ago

The “Tree of Souls” in the film Avatar is the Na’vi “link” to the spiritual and guiding force Eywa. The Na’vi  held the Sacred Tree of Souls in great respect and understood that without it, their way of life and their world, would die.

In the book, The Sacred Tree, Indigenous values and traditions are taught as a primary key to unlocking the spiritual force of the Archetype of the Sacred Tree that will move us on the path of personal growth and development. Indigenous Elders prophesy that by returning to the life-preserving and life enhancing spiritual values and guiding principles of the Sacred Tree, Indigenous Peoples and the Human Family will be awakened and transformed.

This transformation will have a healing effect on all of Mother Earth. We will all come to realize that we are Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth.

The symbolism of The Sacred Tree is found at the heart of the cultural and spiritual traditions of all members of the Human Family. With great love and respect for those Walking the Red Road of spiritual understanding and personal growth, please enjoy this excerpt from The Sacred Tree.

The Story of the Sacred Tree

“For all the people of the earth, the Creator has planted a Sacred Tree under which they may gather, and there find healing, power, wisdom and security. The roots of this tree spread deep into the body of Mother Earth. Its branches reach upward like hands praying to Father Sky. The fruits of this tree are the good things the Creator has given to the people: Teachings that show the path to love, compassion, generosity, patience, wisdom, justice, courage, respect, humility and many other wonderful gifts.

The Ancient Ones taught us that the life of the Tree is the life of the people. If the people wander far away from the protective shadow of the Tree, if they forget to seek the nourishment of its fruit or they should turn against the Tree and attempt to destroy it, great sorrow will fall upon the people. Many will become sick at heart. The people will lose their power. They will cease to dream dreams and see visions. They will begin to quarrel among themselves over worthless trifles. They will become unable to tell the truth and to deal with each other honestly. They will forget how to survive in their own land. Their lives will become filled with anger and gloom. Little by little, they will poison themselves and all they touch.

It was foretold that these things would come to pass, but that the Tree would never die. And as long as the Tree lives, the people live. It was also foretold that the day would come when the people would awaken, as if from a long, drugged sleep; that they would begin, timidly at first but then with great urgency, to search again for the Sacred Tree.

The knowledge of its whereabouts and of the fruits that adorn its branches have always been carefully guarded and preserved within the minds and hearts of our wise elders and leaders. These humble, loving and dedicated souls will guide anyone who is honestly and sincerely seeking along the path leading to the protecting shadow of the Sacred Tree."


The Sacred Tree includes a forward by Dr. Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace, and author of My Life with the Chimpanzees

The Sacred Tree is available in English and Spanish, US residents may order at 4 Worlds Native American Bookstore

Canadian shoppers may receive free shipping by ordering from The Sacred Tree Bookstore

International customers may purchase the book at

Also available for Amazon Kindle!

The Sacred Tree has been translated in more than 10 languages. Please email for more information.

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Comment by Bruce Schuman on May 17, 2012 at 10:30am

I am thrilled to see this message.  Let me list a couple of reasons....

For one -- I have the book "The Sacred Tree", by Phil Lane, and love it.  It's been one of my guiding lights for years.  I have it here beside me right now.

Secondly -- I am involved with an interfaith journal called "The Interfaith Observer" (TIO), where Phil Lane's 2011 key note address to the 3rd Annual International Indigenous Leaders Gathering in Lillooet B.C. was published in April

"Protecting the Sacred in a Shattered World -- Unified Spiritual Action Required"

I love this statement, and wrote a letter to the editor of TIO mentioning it, which was published in their current edition, citing this address, and calling for activism.  Plus, I have been to Lillooet several times, and love that place.

Third -- the Avatar movie was broadcast over cable television a few nights ago on FX.  I had never seen this movie, despite all my friends telling me I should --  and I totally loved it -- and was very aware that this Sacred Tree is a very profound symbol for universal spirit.  So, this is another power-key.

Plus -- right now, and for the last few weeks -- I have been building and organizing a networking process that now has the name "Circle2012" -- which is an attempt to call into one integral framework all these forces -- and which is built on the notion of the sacred tree as an organizing principle (in this case -- "tree" means "tree structure" -- or "hierarchy" -- or "taxonomy" -- and I emphasize that for me, there is no conflict between the system engineering concepts that support immaculate organizing and the deep intuition that leads to the vision of the sacred tree.) This emerging vision for me is partly reviewed here on this very new and not entirely ready web project at

Today, I should write something directly about the Sacred Tree -- this powerful and thrilling vision of truth and courage and wholeness, that arises with such simple basic primal force anywhere innocent people gather in humility and love

The Avatar movie does capture this energy.

We have to move this forward.

And we have to respond to Chief Phil Lane's call for "unified action".

I am pushing for it -- as hard as I can go.  Thanks for this site -- and for this guiding principle, "starting from within, working in a circle, in a sacred manner, we heal and develop ourselves, our relationships, and the world."

- Bruce Schuman, Santa Barbara CA

Comment by Lynn Guy on March 16, 2012 at 3:53am

our meditation circle has had the World Tree come into the journey a number of times ... connecting us heart to heart .. i use the metaphor of the tree to help us all to ground and connect to Mother Earth and the universe is always heart warming to hear of each person's experience with the tree ... i love the ways that Avatar has helped so many folk open their eyes and ears to the wisdom of Indigenous Elders and i feel its helped with things like saying NO to coal seam gas mining etc ... we have to look after our beautiful Mother Earth and her lungs, the trees of the Earth xoxo

Comment by White-Bear on March 15, 2012 at 10:14am

Thank you for these words, Brother Phil, the words are of great comfort, especially when dealing with today's world.

Comment by Dona Knapp on March 14, 2012 at 9:16pm

This is a beautiful story, so full of Wisdom and Healing, it made my Spirit "sing" for joy,because of all people coming together to live in peace and harmony with each other and Mother Earth, and the only way is by our Spiritual connection and knowing we are all One in our Spirit. Thank you.

Comment by Phil Lane Jr. on March 14, 2012 at 7:11pm

Thank you Steve! The Sacred Tree or Tree of Life is an Archetype of all cultures and spiritual traditions of the Human Family! Our book , The Sacred Tree, is just one of many relections that go back before the mists of time!

Comment by Stephen Bamford on March 14, 2012 at 6:25pm

Yes.  This is obvious, even to people, like myself, who did not read the book until after seeing the movie.  It was all so apparent when seeing the movie, Avatar, that it contained the teachings of so many great Elders.  So when I read the book, it saddened me that I did not see reference to the book.  If nothing else, the seeds of the idea were planted and so perhaps, some good will come of the movie.  Thank you for sharing and reminding us all. 

Guiding Principles

Starting From Within, Working in a Circle, in a Sacred Manner, We Heal and Develop Ourselves, Our Relationships, and the World.

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