Pine Nut – Prosperity
Genus: Pinus – Family: Pinaceae
Pine nuts signal a time of prosperity in our life. It encourages us to open up to new ideas and sources of inspiration se we may create with fresh eyes and a renewed spirit.
French philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650) regarded the pineal gland as the “seat of the soul.” The pineal gland was named because of its resemblance to a pine nut. The pineal gland is a light sensitive organ that produces the hormone melatonin. The Latin word for pinecone is pinea. In the 1680s the French word “pineal” literally meant, “like a pine cone.”
Pine nuts are harvested from pinecones just before they are about to open. Only 20 species of pine trees in the northern hemisphere produce pine nuts large enough to be harvested. Pine nuts are one of the smallest and most expensive nuts in the world, because they are primarily gathered in the wild and tediously harvested by hand.
In Europe, the most common source of pine nuts is the Stone pine, Pinus pinea, which has been a wild food source since 10,000 BCE and cultivated for over 6,000 years. Stone pines, native to the Mediterranean region are called pinoli in Italian. They are an essential ingredient in Italian dishes, pesto and desserts.
The Siberian pine, Pinus sibirica grows in the northern mountains of Russia, Mongolia and China. Commonly referred to as Siberian Cedar, these trees are a source of Russian pride and their nuts are called “cedar nuts”. The Siberian pine also inspired “The Ringing Cedars of Russia”, a series of books that birthed a spiritual movement embracing indigenous, nature-based values and beliefs.
In the United States, pine nuts or pinon are primarily harvested by Native people in the American Southwest. Treaties were negotiated that guaranteed Native Americans the right to forage and harvest pine nuts. Pinon come from two species of pine tree, Pinus edulis and Pinus monophylla. They were used as currency during the trading post era and as beads for special occasions and jewelry.
The Korean pine, Pinus koraiensis, is native to Asia and the temperate rainforests of eastern Russia. Korean pines are also the home of Siberian and Amur tigers. Due to the overexploitation of Korean pines for wood, these tigers have become endangered. Forests of Korean pine are now protected as habitat for tigers.
Message: The pine nut reminds us that life is a precious treasure. This is a time of abundance when an unexpected gift may come our way that could manifest in many forms. As we receive these gifts it is important that we honor where they came from and the sacrifices that were made along the way. Living in reciprocity with our natural world means honoring the gifts we receive by giving back or carrying it forward.
Challenge: An opportunity we were counting on may fall through or we may be spending more than we can afford. This could also indicate an unhealthy obsession with wealth and power, which leads to greed and over consumption.
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