When we moved to the woods, I already knew I was a tree-hugger but had no idea the magnitude of my connection with the beings we call trees. Now that they surround me, I stare at the auras emanating from them and feel their roots under my feet as I walk among them. I hear them, I feel them…they are my allies and spirit medicine.

Junipers and Pinyons abound in this canyon, but the mighty Ponderosa speaks louder to me. Giant arms reach to the sky, laden with the gifts of seed, encased in their pinecones. Ripening, they fall to the earth, littering her skin with their carcasses. I am also a gatherer and pinecones are among my favorite. My studio is filled with wooden bowls overflowing with the pinecones’ bounty.

For my art I love to adorn recycled glass bottles…ones that are too beautiful to throw away, like tequila bottles cuz what else can you do with them except recycle them? I create what I call Sacred Vessels…beautiful, unique containers to hold blessed water and contain earth. They are unique, one-of-a-kind creations-most of them are covered with handmade paper…all of them are adorned with pieces of the earth that I’ve gathered.

One day, I had an idea to take a pinecone apart. Using needle-nosed pliers, I dissected a few pinecones into piles of their ‘needles’. Then, one by one, I glued them onto this tall elegant bottle so that it was totally covered…a proud representative of its namesake. Round and round I went, gluing hundreds of pinecone pieces onto this foot high glass bottle.

Then I learned about the spiritual significance of pinecones. Did you know that the pinecone is one of the most mysterious emblems found in ancient and modern art and architecture? The pinecone symbol has been found in the ruins of the

• Indonesians

• Babylonians

• Egyptians

• Greeks

• Romans

• Christians

The pinecone held the same meaning for all of the cultures. It symbolized a secret vestigial organ, the pineal gland or ‘third eye’-the energy center between our two physical eyes.

A few pinecone wonders: The Pigna sculpture sits in a Vatican courtyard called the Court of the Pine Cone, and is today considered the largest pine cone statue in the world.

Built by the Romans, this 1st century Roman bronze sculpture,

called the Pigna (pine cone), was once an ancient fountain

The Egyptian staff of Osiris (c. 1224 BC) has cobras rising up to meet at a pinecone

Left: The magnificent ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia,

one of the most magical and spiritual places on earth,

are filled with pine cone symbolism.

Right: Animals flank an enlightened bodhisattva at Angkor Wat.

The pineal gland is said to lie at the geometric center of the brain, and considered by some as the biological third eye. Descartes, the French philosopher famously referred to the pineal gland as the Seat of the Soul.

The definition of the pineal gland found in Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary:

A small usu. conical appendage of the brain of all craniate vertebrates that in a few reptiles has the essential structure of an eye, that functions in some birds as part of a time-measuring system, and that is variously postulated to be a vestigial third eye, an endocrine organ, or the seat of the soul.

As the pine cone slowly opens, it releases its mature seeds, a process symbolic of the expansion of consciousness that accompanies the opening of the pineal gland and the awakening of the third eye.

Left: Bronze pine cone symbol in Aachen cathedral in Aachen, Germany.

Middle: Roman pine cone statue in the Piazza Venezia, Italy.

Right: Ripening pine cones.

Pine Cones and Fibonacci Numbers

(In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers are the numbers in the following integer sequence, called the Fibonacci sequence, and characterized by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding ones)

Back to the Sacred Vessel I created from pinecone needles. It felt like a tree! To complete it, I glued some moss around the bottom and to the top of the cork and added a found feather. It’s a pretty wonderful creation. I’ll bet your pineal gland can feel the pinecone medicine emanating from this piece! Visit TheArtofSantaFe.com to add Armored to your art collection!

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