In all these cases, including the tree of life (Etz Hayim) they can be seen as paths or representations of spiritualizing the human physical condition, bringing Heaven and Earth together. Whether it is the Vesica Pisces, the ICTHYS, the axis mundi, the six pointed star of the Magen David or its Eastern version of the Shatkona; they are all representative of this joining of Heaven and Earth within ourselves.
Without going into the numbers of paths represented in this tree of life, it is also considered to be divided into three columns with similarities to the Yoga tradition of the kundalini’s aspects of the Ida, Pingala, and Shushumna. In both these Western and Eastern traditions they symbolize paths to one’s higher self, God self, and enlightenment. If you look at the spinal cord and the central nervous system from the cauda equine through the trunk of the spinal cord to the brain, it makes a very good depiction of a tree with its roots, trunk and crown.
In many cultures we find the tales of sacred trees for immortality and enlightenment. I find it interesting that often it seems to be a fig tree. Biblical scholars in general believe the tree in the Garden of Eden was a fig tree, not an apple tree. Buddha came to enlightenment under the Bohdi tree ( a sycamore fig tree) Hathor of Egypt was Mistress of the sycamores. Mystical study of the Torah was called “seeing one under the fig tree. There is more, but what also is interesting about this is that in the midst of the crown of the fig tree is the fig fruit itself and when ripe looks very much like the pituitary gland, the crown in the kundalini.
What I have found is that the kundalini our spiritual path to enlightenment through our CNS and endocrine glands seems most often to be represented either by trees or serpents.