I have been working recently with evergreens/conifers. The evergreens in my yard (and nearby) are Southern Red Cedar, Short leaf Pine (yellow pine), bald cypress and Holly.
I haven’t quite figured out what to do with Holly except to bring it in around the holidays, but I will do more research on that.
I love to use cedar and cypress for smudge, much like white sage. The smoke from cedar and cypress cleanses a space and kills germs, and creates a sacred space for ceremony. Indigenous people used it for this purpose.
I spent some time with Pine last week, and while gathering the needles that fell after a rain, I thanked Her for such a generous bounty. 🙂 I still have some needles that have been harvested sitting on my kitchen counter, wondering what to do with them.
This past week I made Pine needle vinegar and Pine infused in olive oil. Pine needle vinegar is awesome! Susun Weed says, “Pine vinegar is rich in flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals. It helps keep the immune system strong, and strengthens the lungs”. She calls it “Homemade Balsamic Vinegar.”
Pine infused oil is great for the skin… helps all kinds of skin conditions. It is an antioxidant, antibacterial and anti inflammatory, and is great blended into a muscle rub. I will be using this as an ingredient for my “Soothing Earth Muscle Salve”.
A friend of mine cut down a bald cypress tree in her back yard. *tears*
I shared with her that the indigenous people believed that Cypress was a sacred tree, and they used it for cleansing their ceremonial spaces, much like sage and cedar, and she asked, “Am I going to hell for cutting it down?” hahahaha… I replied, “I’ll light a candle for you. Let’s cut some of this and I’ll do something with it.”
I feel that if we are going to give death to a tree sibling, then there should be an honorable reason for it. And we should give thanks to them for giving their lives. Why not? If given a choice, I feel most of us would want to have “purpose” for the ending of our lives.
So….. I brought the limbs home and made a cypress tincture. I dried the rest of it for ceremony.
May we each have a purpose for life… and death.