pclaus at s1.csuhayward.edu pclaus at s1.csuhayward.edu
Fri Mar 24 14:20:22 UTC 1995

The banyan tree has other metaphorical uses which pertain to its (truly)
downward=growing aerial roots. One amongst the matrilineal Tulu-speaking
castes along the SW coast of India is in reference to the way a lineage
spreads when girls are given away in marriage. Each one becomes a tree,
linked to the parent tree.  And as I remember, some of the earliest 
iconographic representation of this (and the pipal tree) show Yakshis
entwined in the trunk-like roots.  This may be related to tree cults in
present day India (I've seen a very graphic film called _The HEaling Hill_
which shows such a cult in Maharashtra) during which women, possessed
by 'yakshis' hang on and entwine themselves in the aerial roots, seemingly
in an attempt to 'merge' with them.

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