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 smoke medicine, much like white sage and mugwort is used. The smoke from cedar and cypress cleanses a space and kills germs, and creates a sacred space for ceremony.
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, and I am 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.” She uses White Pine, and while there may be a difference in flavor, the yellow pine is amazing in 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 a primary ingredient in my muscle rub.
A friend of mine wanted to cut down a bald cypress tree in her back yard. She wanted to know my opinion.
I shared with her that First Nations 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, “Will I go to hell for cutting it down?” hahahaha… I replied, “I’ll light a candle for you. I’ll come get some and do something with it.”
I feel that if we are going to give death to a tree relative, 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 dried them for ceremony.
May we each have a purpose for life… and death.