In Jewish mysticism, the Chamber of Guf, also called the Otzar, is the Hall of Souls located in the Seventh Heaven. Every human soul is held to emanate from the Guf. The Talmud teaches that the Messiah will not come until the Guf is emptied of all its souls.

In keeping with other Jewish legends that envision souls as bird-like, the Guf is sometimes described as a columbarium, or birdhouse. Folklore says sparrows can see the soul’s descent and this explains their joyous chirping.

The mystic significance of the Guf is that each person is important and has a unique role which only each person, with their unique soul, can fulfill. Even a newborn baby brings the Messiah closer simply by being born.

The peculiar idiom of describing the treasury of souls may be connected to the mythic tradition of Adam Kadmon, the primordial man. Adam Kadmon was a supernal being, androgynous and equal in size with the universe. According to Kabbalah, every human soul is a fragment cycling out of the great world soul of Adam Kadmon. Hence, every human soul comes from the Chamber of Guf.


The Royal Poinciana is a species of flowering tree from the legume family, noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. The tree’s vivid red flowers and bright green foliage make it an exceptionally striking sight.

It is endemic to Madagascar, where it is found in the dry deciduous forests. In addition to its ornamental value, it is also a useful shade tree in tropical conditions, because it usually grows to a modest height but spreads widely, and its dense foliage provides full shade. In areas with a marked dry season, it sheds its leaves during the drought, but in other areas it is virtually evergreen.

The Royal Poinciana requires a tropical or near-tropical climate, but can tolerate drought and salty conditions. In the United States, it grows only in South Florida, Southern California, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is much loved in the Caribbean, and many Puerto Rican paintings feature Royal Poinciana. It is also the national flower of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Its flowering season is April through June, which coincides with the end of the school year in northern tropical climates. Because of this timing, the flower of Poinciana often generates strong emotions among graduating students, as the Poinciana bloom when they are about to leave their school and their childhood behind.


Hammocks are dense stands of hardwood trees that grow on natural rises just few inches higher than surrounding marshland that is otherwise too wet to support them. They are formed gradually over thousands of years rising in a wet area through the deposits of their own decomposing organic material.

Because of their slight elevation, hammocks rarely flood. Acids from decaying plants dissolve the limestone around each tree island, creating a natural moat that protects the hammock plants from fire. Shaded from the sun by the tall trees, ferns and airplants thrive in the moisture-laden air inside the hammock.

As a result they typically have a large and diverse density of various forms of plant and animal life. They appear as teardrop-shaped islands shaped by the flow of water in the middle of a slough. Many tropical species such as mahogany and cocoplum grow alongside the more familiar temperate species of live oak and red maple.

Hammocks are one of the habitats found in the Florida Everglades, as well as in more northerly marshy areas of Florida such as the Gulf Hammock Wildlife Management Area in Levy County and the Steinhatchee Wildlife Management Area southeast of Cooks Hammock in Lafayette County.