Pine – Responsibility
Genus: Pinus – Family: Pinaceae
Pine reminds us of our tendency to take on added responsibility in order to achieve our dreams. This also signals a time of completion as our focus shifts on what is happening now.
In Europe, prior to Stonehenge, pine trees were often used to build megalithic wood henges dating to at least 8500 BCE. Archaeologists discovered that pines had been cultivated for their straight, pole-like features. The Goseck Henge in Germany, dates to 4900 BCE. It consisted of a large outer circle of pine poles with a singular pole in the center. The center pole aligned with the pole star or North Star, to create a large sundial. The outer ring marked the four directions or winds. In this way, pine trees were responsible for tracking the movement of the sun, moon and stars in relationship to earth. This helped to accurately identify when the summer & winter solstices as well as the spring & fall equinoxes would occur. By understanding the seasons these hunter-gatherers shifted into agrarian societies.
As northern Europeans embraced this new way of living, circa 4500 BCE, they took on increasing amounts of responsibility as farmers, herders and craftsmen. People began to live in community with one another in town and villages. When pine tree appears, we are being asked to rethink how we manage our time and the amount of responsibility we have taken on.
Before the 19th century, pine trees were referred to as fir trees based on the Germanic and Norse word fyr, which meant fire, light and the rising sun. In 1753 Carl Linnaeus separated them into the Pinus genus, while firs were assigned to the Abies genus. The Pinus genus is divided into two Subgenus – Pinus (yellow, hard wood pines) and Strobus (white, soft wood pines). The word pine, comes from the Latin pinus and the Sanskrit pitu meaning sap, juice or resin.
There are approximately 126-160 species of pines, all of which are evergreen conifers. Native throughout the Northern Hemisphere they have been living on earth for over 140 million years.
All pine trees produce pinecones, the Latin word for pinecone is Pinea. In the 1680s the French word pineal literally meant, “like a pine cone.” As the science of physiology grew, correlations were made between trees and human anatomy. The pineal gland was given its name because of its resemblance to a pine nut. The pineal gland is a light sensitive organ that produces the hormone melatonin that helps to regulate our wake-sleep patterns.
This intrinsic connection between pine trees and our need to track the cycles of the sun from light to dark is a responsibility we all share. When pine appears, we are reminded of this ancient connection.
Message: The pine spirit is reminding us to take responsibility for our actions and to connect with our intuitive cycles and higher purpose. By embracing our sense of purpose, we are better able to stabilize what may feel shaky or uncertain. Pine also inspires us to tap into our inner light as we move through periods of darkness.
Challenge: Lack of direction or inability to focus.
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