Sequoia – Fire – Earthkeeper of Evergreens (Queen of Wands)
Genus: Sequoiadendron – Family: Cupressaceae
The spirit of this ancient and enormous tree may appear sweet and gentle but inside they carry a fiery passion for life. The sequoia is here to help us ignite our creative passion by encouraging us to tap into our inner wisdom and strength.
Sequoiadendron is a genus of evergreens with two species, only one of which still survives, Sequoiadendron giganteum or giant sequoia. Today the giant sequoia grows naturally in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. It was also native to the Caucasus region of Europe and Asia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea until 12,000 years ago. Giant sequoias are the world’s largest living trees and largest living “thing” by volume. They grow to an average height of 164-279 feet and can live to be 3,500 years old.
The outer bark of a sequoia is thick, soft and fibrous, which provides significant fire protection. The pinecones are relatively tiny and hard in comparison to the tree itself and open to release their seeds immediately after a fire. Giant sequoias have co-evolved with forest fires and therefore carry the primal creative force of fire. They literally need fire to survive which is often at odds with surrounding species. Not only do the pinecones need fire to release their seeds but also, the forest floor must be cleared of competitive shade loving species.
Wood from mature giant sequoias is highly resistant to decay but its fibrous and brittle nature makes it unsuitable as a timber wood. The Hume-Bennett Lumber Company logged these giants via clear-cutting from 1880-1920. Over 50% of the timber of the tree never made it to the mill because it would shatter upon hitting the ground. When pictures were released to the public that these majestic trees were being used to make matchsticks, the public outcry caused most of the remaining groves to be preserved as protected land.
In 1853, a 300ft. tall giant sequoia was cut down as a potential tourist attraction. This outraged the nation and inspired the creation of the first national park in 1872. Thus planting the seed for the national park system we have now.
Message: By seeing that fire can be beautiful, when used properly, we also learn how to protect ourselves from it. This can be applied to life in terms of facing our fears with fierce determination yet gentleness in our hearts. The spirit of the giant sequoia is one of the most powerful cards in this deck and holds the energy of both destruction and creation. It is up to us to decide if we want to be a destroyer species or a restorer species. This concept of restorer or destroyer can be applied to all aspects of life. The question is; what are we ready to let die in order for something new to live? The goal is to leave no tracks of destruction.
Challenge: Destructive behavior that is demanding and selfish. Being narrow-minded in our approach toward something new. Also becoming a wallflower that shy’s away when confronted.