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Meaning of Cedar Tree and its symbolism: Ultimate Guide

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Cedar trees, with impressive beauty, have a rich history that dates back to ancient civilizations. In the Bible, the meaning of Cedar is often associated with strength and longevity. These trees were important in constructing ancient temples, ships, and palaces.

While Cedars usually stand tall, they can also be found in gardens. These majestic trees with needle-like leaves are popular ornamental plants with impressive flat crowns.

Beyond its distinctive silhouette, cedar trees represent strength, durability, and nobility.

This ultimate guide will explore cedar tree symbolism in greater depth to help readers understand its history, mythology, and cultural significance. 

Meaning of Cedar Tree and its symbolism: Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

Majestic Cedar Tree Characteristics

Cedar is a tall, long-lived, evergreen coniferous tree that reaches impressive heights. It belongs to the pine family and the subfamily of firs. Cedar originates from mountainous regions of the Middle East, specifically from the Lebanon mountain range.

This coniferous tree with irregularly growing branches can reach a height of up to 60 meters (200 feet), but mostly around 20 meters. In rare cases, the trunk’s diameter can be approximately 3 meters, and the tree can live up to 1000 years. Young, fast-growing trees have a pyramidal crown. At the same time, older species develop a spreading, umbrella-like crown with branches approaching a more horizontal position.

The wood of these trees is solid and resistant to insects and fungal diseases.

Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica)
Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica)

Types of Cedar trees

There are several different species of Cedar, each belonging to different species within the genus Cedrus.

Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica): Native to North Africa, the Atlas Cedar stands tall with bluish-green leaves distinguished by its sizable cones of about 3 inches.

Cyprus Cedar (Cedrus brevifolia): Found exclusively in Cyprus, the Cyprus Cedar closely resembles the Atlas Cedar but is characterized by shorter cones. This distinct cedar species contributes to the unique flora of the Mediterranean island.

Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara): Hailing from the Himalayas, the Deodar Cedar impresses with its towering stature of up to 150 feet, adorned with drooping branchlets and 2-inch wide leaves. 

Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani): Thriving in dense forests, the Cedar of Lebanon averages around 100 feet, with some specimens believed to have endured for a millennium.

Yellow Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis): Native to the Pacific Northwest and subalpine elevations, the Yellow Cedar, or Nootka Cypress, is renowned for its durable wood and distinctive yellow hue. 

Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata): Western Red Cedar is a large evergreen tree with fragrant wood that is highly valued for construction. While yellow Cedar is rarely found in inland regions, red Cedar can grow in coastal and inland areas. 


The Symbols and Spiritual Meaning of Cedar Tree

Cedar has been revered for its spiritual significance for thousands of years.


Like Cypress, Cedar is a well-known symbol of resilience, as depicted in the quote:

“The heart’s affections are divided like the branches of the cedar tree; if the tree loses one strong branch; it will suffer but it does not die; it will pour all its vitality into the next branch so that it will grow and fill the empty place.”

–Khalil Gibran (Source)

When we face difficulties or loss in our emotions and relationships, it’s similar to how the cedar tree suffers when it loses a branch. But just like the tree, resilience means we can shift our energy and emotional strength to other parts of our lives, like the next branch. This helps us withstand challenges, learn from experiences, and overcome the emptiness caused by tough times. 


The cedar tree has wide branches that are almost parallel to the ground, giving the impression of floors made of greenery stacked one above the other. In the late 19th century, author John Worcester likened the cedar tree’s structure to gaining natural and spiritual knowledge. He wrote, “The spiritual tree must also extend its branches, put forth leaves, and mature its fruit on successive planes of the mind.” Worcester explained that the scent of cedar wood signifies the joy people experience when uncovering knowledge and truth.

Similarly, the olive tree symbolizes wisdom and prosperity, giving people olives and olive oil despite requiring little nutrition.

Majestic Cedar Tree Characteristics
Majestic Cedar Tree Characteristics


As a tree that has ensured the survival of people for thousands of years, Cedar has become a powerful symbol of strength and revitalization.

The Bible mentions the cedar tree multiple times, with a significant reference in the Book of Ezekiel. It describes the Cedar’s grandeur, attributing it to deep-reaching roots that tap into abundant waters. This ability, unique to the Cedar, makes it “exalted above all the trees of the field.” This emphasizes the Cedar as a symbol of strength and wisdom due to its exceptional capacity to access deep waters not available to other trees.

Cedar holds significant importance in Lebanon thanks to its ability to withstand challenging times throughout history. The Lebanese Cedar is the central motif on the Lebanese flag and the unofficial state emblem.

Lebanese flag
Lebanese flag


The cedar tree symbolizes greatness, nobility, strength, and longevity because of its size, width, and how long it lives. In the 3rd century, Origen said, “The Cedar never rots; using the cedar to build our homes is like protecting our soul from damage.” In Celtic astrology, the Cedar represents trust.

Endurance and Immortality

Like oak tree, The evergreen cedar tree symbolizes endurance, eternal life and immortality. One wouldn’t be surprised to discover that ancient civilizations, particularly Egyptians, used cedar resin to mummify their dead. Cedar sawdust was discovered in pharaohs’ tombs.

Importance of Cedar in Spiritual Connection

Cedar supports our spiritual quest by reconnecting us to our earthly roots. When we seek answers seemingly beyond our reach, we remind ourselves that we are the ones who can achieve them. Many people believe Cedar promotes peaceful thoughts and its spiritual qualities are intended to interpret messages from the inner self.

Cedar wood was used for the doors of sacred temples and burned in cleansing ceremonies for purification and spiritual protection.

In ancient times, the cedar tree was thought to house important gods and be an entrance to higher realms. It was said to store energy and then release it for important healing.

Many people believe Cedar promotes peaceful thoughts and helps to interpret messages from the inner self.

cedar tree cones
cedar tree cones

Folklore and Myth

The cedar tree has been revered for its spiritual significance for thousands of years.

In ancient Sumerian beliefs, the Cedars of Lebanon were considered the abode of divine entities. Enlil, Lord of Wind, was the protector of these sacred forests. Temples used to be built from Cedar throughout Egypt and Mesopotamia, symbolizing sacred connections to higher realms. Notably, in 950 BCE, cedar trees, referred to as the “trees of the Lord,” were chosen to build the Temple of King Solomon in Jerusalem, marking their significance in Hebrew folklore. 

In Islamic traditions, the Cedar is honored; Prophet Muhammad encountered the Heavenly Lote Tree during his Night Journey. Its mention in the Tanakh highlights its spiritual importance, and the well-known Himalayan Cedar, called “deva daru” in Sanskrit, adds to its mythical story.

Arch cut through Red Cedar - Washington
Arch cut through Red Cedar – Washington

Uses of Iconic Cedar Wood

Cedar is a well-known symbol of the Northwest Coast. For thousands of years, coastal First Nations in British Columbia have had wood that is versatile in many aspects of their everyday lives.  Almost every part of a cedar tree can be used, including the roots, the bark, the wood

Crafting Baskets or Boats

  • Drying and braiding cedar roots from the tree’s base produces cordage for crafting hats and baskets. The Coast Salish fashioned a distinctive scroll basket using cedar root. With the right technique, these cedar baskets can achieve waterproof and fireproof qualities. Consequently, people utilize cedar baskets as “pots and pans” for cooking and boiling water. The process involves heating the baskets with hot stones, allowing for the addition of food once the water reaches a boil.
  • In addition, Cedar tree spikes are strong and light and naturally grow in long strands. The cedar tree can be used to make great ropes and tyings.
  • Cedar wood is strong, lightweight, and straight-grained, making it simple to split and carve. People use it to make canoes, paddles, hooks, spears, and fishing floats.
  • Today, Cedar is known to make jewelry boxes or precious caskets. This wood deters woodworms, insects, and other pests that can harm different kinds of wood.
CEDAR tree trunk
CEDAR tree trunk

Use of cedar bark

Cedar bark is incredibly useful. It can be colored and turned into different kinds of yarn for making mats, clothes, blankets, and hats. Like roots and sticks, the bark creates ropes, baskets, and fishing nets.

In Aromatherapy

The aroma of the tree’s essential oil is used for its healing, antiseptic, astringent, and decongestant properties or just to ward off mosquitoes.

The fragrance and oil of the Cedar repel mosquitoes and destroy snakes.


Cedar was also widely valued for its medicinal properties to heal and purify. Yellow Cedar bark, which has anti-inflammatory properties, was frequently applied as a wound dressing.

In addition, Cedar leaves make wonderful incense and can be used with great success in smudging for purification.

cedar tree spiritual meaning
Vladka Merva on March 7th, 2024

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