The axis mundi, Latin for "pole of the world", also known as the also cosmic axis, world pillar and center of the world, is a ubiquitous symbol that crosses human cultures. The image expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet--a point that expresses a unity in how human beings experience space.
From a spiritual perspective, this is the point in which travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms. The axis represents the space where God (the vertical) is accessible to man, who lives in the world (the horizontal). The axis mundi is therefore central in the design of churches and shrines.
In Asian cultures, the axis mundi is often represented by the Bodhi Tree, Mount Fuji, and the Kunlun Mountains. In the Christian tradition, Jacob's Ladder, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Holy Cross, and the Garden of Eden are all seen as representations of the axis mundi. Native American cultures viewed the black hills as an axis mundi--likewise, central American civilizations constructed temples such as the ones at Teotihuacán to represent the ascension of man to heaven.