This evening I was sitting in the living room watching the tube, and enjoying one of the scented candles I recently bought on sale at Walmart. Candles are one of my favorite things, scented candles especially. I have always gravitated to the 'Tree' based scents. Pine, fir, cedar, balsam...Yankee Candles has always been my 'go to' for finding a lot of variations of these scents. However, Walmart has been carrying a line of Better Homes & Gardens 'stuff'. They had a bunch of BH&G items on sale right after Christmas, and the jar candles were marked down to $2.48. Can you say, Score! I lucked out and got the last two of the Balsam & Cedar wood candles. That's what is "all flamey" (as Willow Rosenberg would say) in the other room. There has always been something soothing about that scent. Actually, I've always had a thing about trees in general. Mostly of the pine variety.
I've got a black metal basket on the dining table filled with a favorite by product of the trees around the abode here...pine cones. There are times when there is an abundance of pristine cones littering the ground. On one of my walks a few months ago, I noticed that a grouping of trees that line the marsh had dropped a load of cones. There were literally hundreds of them, and they were in great condition. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to collect a bunch. After taking a detour back by the condo for some plastic grocery bags, I started what was to be a tricky cone harvest. Savannah is a popular stop for birds that are migrating before Winter hits. No idea how many sparrows and/or starlings were hanging out in the tree tops, but I did have to dodge some bombing attempts. I managed to leave the area crap free, and with a couple of bags of cones. I had initially thought I would make something out of them...maybe decorate them and make them into ornaments. After more consideration, I decided I liked them just the way they are. So there they sit in the aforementioned basket.
Since I have always liked pine trees and pine cones, I have been meaning to do some research into any symbolic meanings they may have. Figured the time was ripe, so I've been doing some surfing around. My usual insomnia has me up anyway...might as well make my sleepless night a productive one.
It turns out the pine cone is rather special. The pineal gland gets it's name from the pine cone as it resembles it's shape. The gland is seated between the two brain hemispheres. If it's not ringing any bells for you, it is also known as the "third eye". It is integral to our production of melatonin, and regulates the rhythms of our sleep. It registers our exposure to light, so it uses that as a means of regulating how much melatonin to produce...less light = more melatonin. The pineal is also seen as our receptor for 'Spiritual light'.
The connection/relationship between the pineal gland and the pine cone is not just that they resemble each other. The pine cone also reacts to light levels. They open up when it's sunny, and close up when it's overcast. It all deals with the seeds contained within the cone. Sunny days are better for spreading the seed. Think of it as an external reflection of the mystical aspects of the pineal gland.
One site had this meditation dealing with a pine cone and the pineal. I enjoy meditating...think I'll give it a go.
- Find a pine cone and place it before you in preparation for your meditation
- Light a candle while setting your focus upon expanding your consciousness
- Cast your physical and spiritual eyes upon the pine cone and observe it in the candlelight
- Envision the pine cone opening itself to the Light and warmth of the candlelight
- As you continue this solemn, calm perception, begin to see that pine cone within your mind
- Nestled warmly, snugly between the two halves of your brain, get a clear visual of that pine cone within your mind’s eye
- Now visualize your inner pine cone opening gently to take in nourishment from Divine light
- See your pineal gland (pine cone) radiating and stimulated from the calming light of the cosmos
- Continue to enhance this meditative experience according to your own impulses and requirements.
- When you’re ready, conclude your meditation by centering yourself back into your common reality – resurface & reaffirm your bodily presence.
"The ancient Greeks and Assyrians viewed the pine cone as a symbol of masculinity because of its phallic shape. It formed the apex of the thyrsus staff, which represented both fertility and immortality. As the emblem of Artemis, it represented feminine purity. It was also the emblem of the Roman goddess Venus (Aphrodite). In Christianity, the pine cone forms the crown of the Tree of Life. Symbolizes immortality and fertility." (http://www.heraldryclipart.com/symbolism/p.html)
On a site devoted to the discussion of "Secret Societies", a poster asked about a masonic temple he had been in. He had noticed that the entire ceiling of the first floor (the area open to the pubic) was covered with pine cone images. Someone posted this in response:
"Operative Masonry, in the fullest meaning of that term, signifies the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened. E. A. Wallis Budge has noted that in some of the papyri illustrating the entrance of the souls of the dead into the judgment hall of Osiris the deceased person has a pine cone attached to the crown of his head. The Greek mystics also carried a symbolic staff, the upper end being in the form of a pine cone, which was called the thyrsus of Bacchus. In the human brain there is a tiny gland called the pineal body, which is the sacred eye of the ancients, and corresponds to the third eye of the Cyclops. Little is known concerning the function of the pineal body, which Descartes suggested (more wisely than he knew) might be the abode of the spirit of man. As its name signifies, the pineal gland is the sacred pine cone in man--the eye single, which cannot be opened until CHiram (the Spirit Fire) is raised through the sacred seals which are called the Seven Churches in Asia." (http://altreligion.about.com/?once=true&)
The pine cone also represents phi. Investigating this almost shorted out my sleep deprived, caffeine filled brain (I have to drink coffee to take the edge off of the sleepless-ness...caffeine ceased to work for me years ago, but it seems to be helping me maintain some semblance of alertness instead of lethargy). Phi deals with rather intense mathematic formulae, and rather than spending some time trying to relate the pine cones involvement, I have listed a couple of links here...the second one is a real doozie.
I could go on and on with information I've found online about the pine cone and it's symbolism....but I won't. At the core of the majority of it is it's relationship to the pineal gland, and the mystical side of the glands use. I've always known that there was more to the pine cone as far as history and spirituality is concerned. Just didn't realize as to the volume.