The tree of life represents the key to and connection between the earth and heaven. The bond and affection to trees is so deep that Celts believed the actual trees were their ancestors, gatekeepers to the Celtic Otherworld. The tree of life in most cultures is sacred. The symbol and knowledge of the tree of life is as old as the world. In many African cultures there is a tree called the Baobab tree, which is generally regarded as the tree of life. In ancient Egyptian cultures the Tree of Life also represented life and death, with branches reaching to the source of life and roots plunging to death. In Buddhism it represents “Enlightenment”.
The tree of life is mentioned in the Book of Genesis; it is distinct from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were driven out of the Garden of Eden. Remaining in the garden, however, was the tree of life. The tree serves as a reward, something the prudent and wise can attain. Overall, in the book of Proverbs, the image associated with a tree of life is that of a sought-after reward of blessing, prosperity, wholeness, and fullness of life lived out in the pursuit of wisdom.
“If the thing you desire is not obtained in the time expected, your heart and soul are grieved and pained by the delay. But when the desired thing finally arrives, it is a tree of life: your heart and soul are encouraged and revived.”
I believe that this key nature and connection with makes it a perfect symbol for especially a 21st Birthday gift. Traditionally a key is given symbolizing the preparedness of the individual to unlock their future. The key to the tree is its nature and capacity to unlock the teachings of the past and represent growth into the future. The Tree of Life; a perfect symbolic key for a 21st birthday, especially if the coin it is made from was minted the same year as the recipient!