Alchemical Studies (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.13)

Our material is, however, fully in accord with the widespread, primitive shamanistic conceptions of the tree and the heavenly bride, who is a typical anima projection. She is the ayami (familiar, protective spirit) of the shaman ancestors. Her face is half black, half red. Sometimes she appears in the form of a winged tiger. Spitteler also likens the “Lady Soul” to a tiger. The tree represents the life of the shaman’s heavenly bride, and has a maternal significance. Among the Yakuts a tree with eight branches is the birthplace of the first man. He is suckled by a woman the top part of whose body grows out of the trunk. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 460

As well as with a feminine being, the tree is also connected with the snake, the dragon, and other animals, as in the case of Yggdrasil, the Persian tree Gaokerena in the lake of Vourukasha, or the tree of the Hesperides, not to mention the holy trees of India, in whose shadow may often be seen dozens of naga (= snake) stones. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 461

The inverted tree plays a great role among the East Siberian shamans. Kagarow has published a photograph of one such tree, named Nakassä, from a specimen in the Leningrad Museum. The roots signify hairs, and on the trunk, near the roots, a face has been carved, showing that the tree represents a man. Presumably this is the shaman himself, or his greater personality. The shaman climbs the magic tree in order to find his true self in the upper world. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 462

Eliade says in his excellent study of shamanism: “The Eskimo shaman feels the need for these ecstatic journeys because it is above all during trance that he becomes truly himself: the mystical experience is necessary to him as a constituent of his true personality.” The ecstasy is often accompanied by a state in which the shaman is “possessed” by his familiars or guardian spirits. By means of this possession he acquires his “`mystical organs,’ which in some sort constitute his true and complete spiritual personality” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 462

This confirms the psychological inference that may be drawn from shamanistic symbolism, namely that it is a projection of the individuation process. This inference, as we have seen, is true also of alchemy, and in modern fantasies of the tree it is evident that the authors of such pictures were trying to portray an inner process of development independent of their consciousness and will. The process usually consists in the union of two pairs of opposites, a lower (water, blackness, animal, snake, etc.) with an upper (bird, light, head, etc.), and a left (feminine) with a right (masculine). The union of opposites, which plays such a great and indeed decisive role in alchemy, is of equal significance in the psychic process initiated by the confrontation with the unconscious, so the occurrence of similar or even identical symbols is not surprising. ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 462