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Called "The Tree of Life", Cypress has a calming effect that aids those overcoming loss.
Some ancient religions believe the cypress tree to be the last trees seen when the dead enter the underworld. This belief and the wood being so durable, prompted the Greeks and Romans to use the wood for coffins or to hold the ashes of those who had died serving their country. They also buried branches of cypress with their dead. The Egyptians used it as well to protect their mummies.
Christians and Muslims often placed cypress trees in cemeteries to ward off evil spirits that may seek to harm the souls of those entering the underworld.
In Turkey, the cypress tree often symbolized the universe, due to its roots being underground, its trunk above ground, and its leaves reaching for the sky. This represented three distinct levels of life--birth, middle life and heaven--with the fact that the tree is evergreen, symbolizing immortality. In the Ottoman Empire, the cypress tree was known as the tree of life.
Persian cultures believe the tree is a symbol of freedom and integrity. It was thought that the essence of the tree carried with it truthfulness, so anyone who breathed in the scent of the tree could not be deceitful in its presence.