White Pine

White Pine – Peacemaker – Two of Evergreens (Wands)

Genus: Pinus – Family: Pinaceae

The spirit of white pine teaches us to be peace keepers by putting aside our differences and creating a safe place where balance and clear-headed decisions can be made.

Eastern white pine, pinus strobus, is a large pine tree with long soft needles native to eastern North America and Canada. It is known as the “Tree of Peace” to the Iroquois or Haudenosaunee Nation. The Iroquois Confederacy is a group of “first nations” who lived in present-day New York and Pennsylvania, including the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora people. These tribes were often at odds with each other, which often led to war.

During the 1400s, the Great Peacemaker, Dekanawidah (whose name meant, “Two River Currents Flowing Together”) brought the tribes together to form a political and cultural union.

As a symbol of peace, they planted a white pine to proclaim the Great Binding Law of the Iroquois Confederacy and buried their arrows in the roots of the tree, pointed in the four directions.

Tall white pine trees, called “mast pines,” were used for square rigger ships. They were marked by the British Crown and reserved by the British Royal Navy when the colonies were becoming established. This led to the Pine Tree Riot of 1772, an act of rebellion that led to the American Revolution. The Iroquois Confederacy aided in the creation of the United States Constitution and the peaceful ideals of democracy.

White pines covered much of eastern North America; only 1 percent of the old-growth forests remain today. Extensive logging from the 18th– 20thcenturies decimated its population. The remaining virgin stands are now protected in areas such as Great Smoky Mountain National Park and state parks from Wisconsin to the Carolina’s. White pines can live to be 500 years old. They are also among the tallest trees in the eastern United States at heights up to 207 feet.

White pine needles are a source of Vitamin C. Pine resin, high in antimicrobials, can treat wounds or infection. “Adirondack” is an Iroquois word meaning “tree-eater” referring to the practice of eating the trees inner bark to prevent starvation. The spirit of a white pine is strong and inspires us to look for solutions to persevere during hard times so we can achieve our goals.

Message: Make peace with yourself and release old grudges that do not serve you or the greater good. When the spirit of white pine appears, we are being asked to take stock of our life and decide what we need to nurture and what we need to release. It encourages us to be grounded for the long term.

Challenge: Holding onto old grudges or unwilling to listen to another perspective.