Pleasure in the Pines

I just spent two of the busiest and most amazing weeks in the beautiful pine forest. It was not to consecutive weeks but 2 long weekends in 2 different locations. The first was Wright wood California for the Henna conference and the second was just east of Flagstaff at Mormon lake for the Herbal Resurgence. Before I get into the details of these weekends I want to give some news!

As many of you know I have started on a second bachelors degree at ASU. I am currently perusing a degree in Anthropology. A few weeks ago a list of internships came out. I applied for 2 and was sort of invited and forced into another. (Urban services- more on that later) I got the one I really wanted. It was "The use of ritual plants" Before my interview I did some research on the Professor. I found that he had written a book/manuscript on the Ritual use of Pine. (Remember this it becomes important) I have yet to read it, but I am sure that once I get going on this project I will be able to find it and read it. The internship starts tomorrow at 10:30. I am so excited! So far what I have learned is we will be cataloging, and identifying material from a cave in south America. That was known for being used in ritual. These samples are assumed to be offerings, possible ethnogens, etc. We will be looking at the chard pieces and trying to identify what they are and how they were used. All I can think about is being so close, and able to touch ancient samples from rituals that took place 100's of years ago. It makes me incredibly happy!

I left for the Henna conference on a Thursday and arrived excited to get started. I had a wonderful time creating art, challenging my brain, and creative skills. I hennaed several lovely ladies and even did a full back piece of a tree. You can see more photos here.The pines were beautiful and my soul sung with the breeze that whispered between their thin needles. I found a large piece of pine resin, but it didn't feel right to take it so I didn't. I learned later that these are like bandages to a wound and so I am glad that I didn't harvest them at this time. The henna conference was wonderful food for my creative side and I came home charged and ready to go. I hennaed on Tuesday night after the conference, worked on homework and geared up for the Herbal Resurgence.

The Herbal Resurgence was really great. I was a bit tired due to school and back to back conferences and the demands of school, but I was grateful for the experience. I took several classes one by Sean Donahue and Jim McDonald which focused on Hawthorn. There will be a wonderful blog soon about this, the crossroads and shadow work. More about that later. The class that was most important (at least in this blog) is the one taught by Kiva on Pine. She enchanted us with information on the pine tree, the different local pines, and several samples of amazing scents in incense, perfumes, etc. I learned that it is a wonderful base in ointment for chest colds, and how to properly harvest the resin to be used in incense, and other herbals. How to use the needles in tea, and many other delightful things that shall be reveled thorough this fall/winter seasons crafting. I then went out with a friend and we harvested the resin how we were taught, taking care not to harm the tree and keep its bandages on. It was a bit sad to see how many trees were so wounded, but they gave wonderful gifts.

When I arrived back home the weather had cooled off, hints of fall are in the air. The temperature had cooled off and it is once again bearable here. I have made it through the two hardest and fulfilling weeks. All while managing somehow to keep a A in all my classes (well except stats, but I never even expected to do well in that class) I came home to a plant and seed delivery, as well as my plants going incredibly insane again. I have, what I at first thought was squash, but have since found that it is actually luffa gourd growing, so stay tuned for some more luffa soap! Those flew off the etsy shelf almost as fast as I could make them, so there will be more as soon as these babies grow and dry! They have a mind of their own and have decided to grow up the tree that was about 20 feet away from where it is planted. Silly luffa gourd.

As we enter into the cooler months I find that Pine will become my ally through these coming seasons. Her majestic beauty and wisdom has touched my soul in ways that haven't begun to really unfold yet. The more I work with the fruits and gifts of the Pine the more I will understand. She has whispered words of the evergreen, how there is healing in harshness, and sweet stickiness in injuries, and even though there are seasons and we follow the wheel sometimes staying in one season, or one state all the time can be just as empowering as change. Ahhh evergreen how I await your mysteries this fall and winter.