The axis mundi is the world center.

In certain beliefs and philosophies, it is the connection between Heaven and Earth. It is also known as the cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, center of the world, and world tree.

Where is it?

Some say it has the form of a natural object (a mountain, a tree, a vine, a stalk, a column of smoke or fire) or a manmade object (a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire).

Having a proximity to heaven often connects it to places religious (pagoda, temple mount, minaret, church) and also secular places (obelisk, lighthouse).

China, meaning “Middle Nation,” is an expression of an ancient perception that it was the center of the world.

High mountains are often regarded as sacred: Mount in China, for the ancient Hebrews Mount Zion, Mount Kailash is holy to Hinduism and several religions in Tibet, Denali in Alaska, in Australia it would be Uluru and Mount Fuji in Japan. In ancient Mesopotamia, the Sumerians and Babylonians erected artificial mountains on their flat plains. It is the pyramids of the Middle East and Central America.

Tales of seekers, shamans and healers traveling the axis mundi to bring back knowledge from the other world can be seen in the stories of Odin, the Garden of Eden, Jacob’s Ladder as well as Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Divine Comedy.

In Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, the hero takes a spiral journey through the core of the earth, the depths of Hell and up to the celestial Paradise.

But there are also those who believe that the center of the world, or even the universe, is within each of us.