Spruce – Resilience – Nine of Evergreens (Wands)

Genus: Picea – Family: Pinaceae

Spruce signals a potentially difficult period in our life. Our resilience may be tested on an emotional and physical level. This is a time of tapping into our inner reserves and not giving up even if we are tired.

In Sweden, scientists have found a living Norway spruce named Old Tjikko, dated to be 9,550 years old. It has achieved this age through self-control and by cloning itself thus regenerating new trunks, branches and roots in the same space. The word “spruce” comes from the 14thcentury word “Pruce” which is a shortened word for Prussia.

Prus was used as a generic name to describe products, such as trees and leather, that came from Prussia/Poland. During the 16thcentury, the word “spruce” was also used as a verb, meaning “to make trim and neat,” which led to the phrase of “sprucing up.” The word prus sounded like “spruce” to the English who named the tree spruce.

Because of its resilient, lightweight properties spruce is also called tonewood. Spruce is the standard wood for many musical instruments, including guitars, mandolins, violins, cellos, pianos and harps. These same qualities are why the Wright brothers built their first aircraft, the “Flyer,” from spruce and ash.

Spruce trees are native to the taiga (boreal/snow forest) biome. There are 35-59 species of spruce that grow throughout the northern third of the Northern Hemisphere. Spruce have been found in fossil records dating back 136 million years. Norway spruce, Picea abies is an important tree in Europe and seen as the original Christmas tree, which is why it’s species name is abies or “fir tree.” Sitka spruce, Picea sitchenesis is the largest species of spruce that grows along the Pacific Northwest coast of North America, it can reach heights of 330 feet tall.

Spruce “beer” was first brewed by the indigenous peoples of northern Europe and North America as a medicinal beverage. Depending on the time of year and the type of spruce, the flavor varied. By the 1700s, alcoholic spruce beer was common in colonial America and eastern Canada. Spruce, like many other conifers, it is a natural source of vitamin C.

Message: The spirit of spruce reminds us to tap into our inner resources to complete a task we have been working on. Life may be challenging us and causing us to doubt ourselves. Spruce reminds us of our inner resilience and to not give up now. Regardless of what is happening, or what obstacles may be in our path we must move forward to finish what we started and accomplish our goal.

Challenge: Giving up on something or someone because it seems too hard or time intensive. Being hesitant to make a long-term commitment or take on any responsibility.