J.H. Philpot's The Sacred Tree, or The Tree in Religion and Myth traces the pagan ritual of tree worship throughout history and across different cultures and religions. Philpot states in her opening that this is not an academic or scientific book; rather it is a collection of facts and conclusions on the subject of tree worship.
The book begins with a detailed exploration of the origin of tree worship and its spread across religions. Philpot relies on archaeological evidence to tell the story of early tree worship, highlighting Chaldea and 4,000 BCE as the place and time of the first recorded evidence of this practice. The author traces tree worship through ancient civilizations, from Egypt, to Africa, to India, with focus also given to tree worship in Greece and Rome. Following this introductory chapter, later sections of the book examine the religious significance given to trees. Separate chapters discuss God and the tree, the tree as an Oracle, the tree as a spirit being, Paradise and trees, and finally the tree's central role in the Christmas celebration.
Ultimately, The Sacred Tree, or The Tree in Religion and Myth is a pleasant and interesting read, that will primarily appeal to those interested in religious symbolism, as well as anybody that places a religious significance on trees.