The Sweetest of Woods: Scots Pine

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

 

Scots Pines Buttersmere Valley Cumbria

Scots Pine, Buttermere Valley, Cumbria, Courtesy of Alamy

The Scots Pine…this time of year many think of it first as the go-to live tree of choice for Christmas. Little do they know what a piece of history they are bringing into their homes. Scots Pine is believed to have been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth, some 300 million years ago, and it is known as “The Pioneer Tree”. Records indicate that it was, along with Birch and Willow, one of the first trees to grow in Ireland since the last Ice Age, and is the only Pine tree native to that country.

 

The largest trees we see commonly grow to around 65 feet or 20 metres high, but old specimens may be much taller. They can, if allowed, live for up to 350 years. Because of their great height, the trunks of the Scots Pine made reliable masts for ships and they were also used as “way markers” at crossroads and ancient cairns. They would stand for many generations, kindly marking the way for travellers.

 

Alim Ogham Pine

Ogham Alphabet with Alim highlighted

We consider the Scots Pine as an Ogham tree, although the author, Robert Graves calls the Silver Fir “Ailm” however, the Silver Fir unlike the Scots Pine, is not native to the British Isles. Pine is documented in medieval Irish law [source: Bretha Comaithchesa – Neighbourhood Law – 8th century] as one of the seven ‘Airig Fedo – the Nobles of the Wood’ – listed for their usefulness. Ailm is the Ogham Letter A and 22nd December, the second day of Winter Solstice, and beginning of the new year. Its associated festival is Yule – 21st – 22nd December by many writings, however –

 

There is a period of time between the 21st of December and the 24th of December when the Sun stops, or stands still, until the 25th of December. Most things you read about the date for Pine is confusingly wrong – and I’ve gotten it wrong before myself – but the true Sun return begins on the 25th of December, and the days start getting “longer”. The Sun shines for a little longer each day, rather than less as it has done. In truth, the Yew tree represents the Winter Solstice, 21st December, it is the “death” of the old year, the ending of the dark, the end of “shorter” days. The Pine is the “birth” of the new year, a bringer of light. It is also associated with the Winter Solstice, 21st/22nd of December, however, I think it would be better to have it represent the 25h of December in the true role the Pine plays as the one who brings back the Sun. You will find many conflicts if you find yourself studying trees, particularly as a Druid, and you will find so many conflicting dates. Just remember that, nothing is set in stone, and that Yew and Pine play twin roles in the Winter Solstice but very fraternally – not at all alike!

Medicinal Uses:

People used to inhale the steam from boiling Pine needles as a remedy for stuffy noses and cold congestion. Infusions of Pine bark and needles were used as an antiseptic for wounds. Pine resin was made into a balm for dry, parched lips.

Magickal:

Incense made with pine needles, resin or oil will purify a space and banish any negativity that’s lurking there. The same can be achieved by burning pine logs on an open fire, or dropping in a handful of pine needles or cones. Pine needles can be interwoven with sage or other smudging vegetation such as Cedar for smudging sticks. Use any part of the pine in workings for fertility. Use a wand made from its wood if a new life is hoped for as it will attract positive energies and transfer them to the worker. Should a shower of snow accidentally fall onto you from the branch of a pine-tree, a great blessing will occur. Originally in Scandinavia and Germany it was thought to bring prosperity into the home by decorating with boughs of evergreens. Since, it has become a standard in many homes in Britain, America, Canada, and other countries.

 

Correspondences:

Attributes: abundance, fertility, good fortune, healing, health, immortality, love, prosperity, protection, purification, and regeneration

Element: Air, Fire

Ruling Planet: Mars

Gender: Masculine

Diety: Dionysus, Bacchus, Attis, Cybele, Aphrodite, Artemis, Diana, Ishtar, Isis, Mithra, Pan, Vulcan

Zodiac: Cancer, Capricorn

Gemstones: Black Opal, Onyx

Colour: Black

Energy: Masculine and Feminine
Celestial bodies: Jupiter, Mars

Other names: Balm of Gilead, the sweetest of woods

 

“The pine tree seems to listen, the fir tree to wait: and both without impatience:
they give no thought to the little people beneath them devoured by their impatience and their
curiosity.”

 

from “”Der Wanderer und sein Schatten – The Wanderer and His Shadow 1880” Friedrich Nietzsche

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all x

Sources:
Druidry.org

Whispers from the Woods. By Sandra Kynes

 

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This entry was posted in Air, Black Onyx, Celtic Tree Calendar, Druid, Fire, gemstone, healing, Ireland, longevity, Lore, Magic, Magickal, magickal trees, Mars, Prosperity, protection, wealth, Witchcraft, wood, Yule and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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