XI. Bristlecone – Justice – Truth
Genus: Pinus – Family: Pinaceae
The spirit of bristlecone signals a time when the ancient laws of justice are effecting our life now. Any decisions that are being made should be based on truth and facts that will stand the test of time.
Great basin bristlecone pines, Pinus longaeva are the longest-living trees on Earth. The oldest is currently more than 5,000 years old.
In 1964, a geographer was given permission by the U.S. Forest Service to cut down a legendary bristlecone named Prometheus. By examining a cross-section and counting its rings, he was able to prove that Prometheus was 4,900 years old. Prometheus became a vault knowledge that improved carbon dating and the understanding of climate change. According to Greek mythology, Prometheus was an immortal who brought fire (symbolic of knowledge) to humans. Bristlecone pines are now protected on all Federal Lands.
Bristlecone pines grow in a unique and twisted fashion because their exposed wood erodes like stone. They live in harsh conditions where high winds and freezing temperatures create sculptural forms that dot the high-altitude regions of the Western United States. Because of their unique qualities scientists are able to gather important clues by reading the rings of both living and dead trees.
Bristlecone trees are extremely durable; their wood is dense, resinous, and resistant to insects, fungi, and other pests. The wood of a bristlecone pine can endure, even after death, by standing on their roots for many centuries. Through their amazing endurance they have created a 9,000-year-long record that is proving to be invaluable in understanding the truth regarding climate change. Their legacy, even in death, is a one of impartial justice.
There are only three species of bristlecone pine. All three are long-lived and resilient to harsh weather and bad soil. The name “bristlecone” is based on the prickles found on purple female cones.
Message: Bristlecone is reminding us to be a person of integrity, fairness and truth. This may signal a time of making an important decision that has long-term implications. It is important to be honest with our self and others by searching our soul, understanding the facts and weighing all options fairly. By being true to our self, we can endure any hardship as a result of speaking our truth. In the long run our truth and our actions will endure as the legacy we leave behind for generations to come.
Challenge: Having a self-righteous attitude, being a know it all who may also be prejudiced towards others. Being judgmental or feeling entitled. Another attribute may be extreme shyness. Bristlecone reminds us to slow down and be present now.