Free The Pine

Those of you who have been lurking around here a while will know that I tend to post an Xmas Grinch rant around this time. I would say that it’s a tradition but I’m Uranian.  So it’s, I don’t know, a download.

Some of the frequent themes are forced frivolity, compulsive consumerism and the appropriation of a Pagan festival – Xmas being among many but with Easter perhaps being the most brazen. The very name Easter comes from Oestre, the Celtic Fertility Goddess. As in oestrogen etc.

But this year my Grinch anti-Xmas theme is Free The Pine.

This is an ancient tree, sacred to Jupiter, druids, Dionysus and the Phoenician Moon Goddess Cybele amongst many others.  It is renowned for its longevity, sensational invigorating scent and ability to thrive no matter what. The ancients did not, in general, revere hard-to-grow plants. They loved the flora that thrived, lush green and triumphant, in the most barren or challenging of circumstances.

The medicinal value of Maritime pine bark has been attested to a million times over and pine cones have their own alt-cosmology sub-genre: depicted in old Sumerian imagery as if they were sceptres, similar to the pineal gland, Fibonacci-number resonating etc.

You may also recall times when you’ve wound up in forests or amongst these magnificent trees – they have a presence.

So what’s up with growing them in ‘Christmas tree’ plantations – an ecological nightmare unto themselves and chopping down the young trees to serve as decoration for a few weeks? In what way is a dying tree – festooned with electro-plastic junk lights made in some sweatshop – good energy? And then it is turfed out into the back lane or whatever to rot? It’s a travesty.

The scent we all love is the tree trying to stay alive and send signals. In Pagan times, they were seen as a symbol of hope in mid-Winter.

A branch or a found log – not a chopped down tree – was bought into the house as a reminder that Spring would come again: the longest night of the Winter had in fact been survived and it was fine to bring out the stored up ’emergency food’ and have a feast.

For the ancient Roman Saturnalia – the festival that predated Christmas – trees were decorated where they grew to honor Saturn in his guise as harvest God.  In Southern Hemisphere Christmas celebrations, the idea of an evergreen branch as a reminder of Summer makes zero sense so it’s even more cruel to harvest a young tree and let it die in your living room for the sake of ‘tradition.’

Could it be time to buck convention and Free The Pine?

Pines naturally grow in harsh and difficult environments, often acting as pioneer species that make the ground more hospitable and act as protectors for other, more sensitive species. In their natural habitat they rarely crowd each other, leaving plenty of gaps for sunlight to penetrate the spaces between one tree and the next, thus ensuring a healthy and varied undergrowth development.

Pines grow fast and have a light wood and very straight stems which have made them popular as a commercial timber species. Logged areas can re-grow at a relatively fast speed if they are not entirely clear-cut. However, commercial logging companies are often too greedy to give nature time to regenerate.

Instead, monocultural plantations are planted in straight rows over vast areas of land, for easy harvesting. Such plantations are biologically dead…

There are no birds or small animals in this kind of ‘dead’ zone and the atmosphere is the exact opposite to that of a natural pine forest. Where the latter is lofty, serene and inspirational, the plantation is oppressive, forbidding, sad and gloomy.

Familiarity breeds contempt. So common are Pines that we hardly pay any attention to them at all, except, perhaps in recognizing them as a cheap and common timber species. Yet anyone who has ever hiked on a warm and sunny afternoon through a mountain forests populated with lofty pines, firs and spruces will agree that nothing compares to their fresh balsamic scent mingled with that of the soft forest floor beneath.

Their resinous aroma permeates the air and each breath one takes is like sipping nectar, invigorating body and soul. It elevates the spirit, clears the mind and makes the feet move lightly along the path.

With their crowns waving gently high in the sky above, they exude an air of loftiness and serenity and spread a sense of inner peace, tranquility and calm. They embody the essence of resilience and determination, the arboreal image of ‘mind above matter’.

Sacred Earth Ethnobotany

125 thoughts on “Free The Pine”

  1. They should buy the pine in their own bucket of soil not chopped . And after winter they should plant it outside. It will help reforestation .

  2. Beautiful, intelligent and impassioned rant. We need to Respect
    trees a whole lot more. The pine’s height and resinous scent give off such a protective, paternal vibe. I love eucalyptus and she oak too. I was devastated when two eucalyptus trees were removed from just outside my place. They provided privacy and shade and I loved the seasonal migration of birds they gave a resting place to.

  3. I thought of this thread when I ran across this article:

    This is the local paper in a logging community in Washington state, trying to make chopping down trees seem like it is a dying heritage. The Earth must grow more trees because loggers need more trees to cut down.

  4. I love Bunya pines, though not strictly a pine. I love that if one of their pine nuts dropped on your head it would kill you. And I wish there were still the massive Bunya nut festivals that would bring Murri people from all over. Just down the road is the site of one of those massive gatherings, now a park with a few Bunya pines and a few families sleeping rough. The Bunya mountains are ghostly, prehistoric and make you feel like your trespassing in a giant’s kitchen.
    I guess overall what I’m trying to say is that xmas makes no sense in Australia and we don’t appreciate what we have. As a European descendant I know it’s not easy to feel connected to this land but that’s no excuse for not trying. Xmas gets in the way of that – everyone pretending it’s winter and putting fake snow and freaking reindeers everywhere. It’s stinking hot! Even the pagan explanation makes no sense here. We aren’t in Europe anymore Toto.

  5. I am the brokest I have ever been right now and it’s really awkward every time someone asks me about my “Christmas shopping”. I try to just vaguely say I haven’t done it yet but damn… feels like I’m being unintenionally poor-shamed every time someone makes small talk.

    I’m not very into Christmas in the first place but I have to say that Germany looks like they do the Christmas thing right! They have all these awesome markets and parties in the street leading up to it. I would be interested to spend time there this time of year. But here I’m Grinching out.

    1. Competitive gift giving goes against the spirit of christmas IMO. Better to make some homemade cards, people will appreciate that more than another bloody coffee maker or itunes gift card, believe me!

      Glad my family decided a few years ago to only buy presents for the children — and I always buy something inexpensive like a book or even make something for them 😀

      I’m also in favour of giving a voucher for your services, e.g. baby sitting or giving a massage, whatever your skills are. In modern society one thing we don’t need is more consumer goods!

      1. I bagged up my kid’s toys two months back and they didn’t even notice all their toys were gone.

        The 7 yr old has been content with a 50 cent water pistol from a party favour bag for the last three weeks.

      2. That is so sweet.

        Kids can make toys out of anything. I remember lining up my mother’s two kinds of clothespins- the pinch kind and the slide-on kind- and having them be opposing armies, the sharks and the dolphins. (Originally typed dolpins, ha)

        In retrospect, this was a very Aries kinda game…

  6. Pine needle smell in the house, the only thing I like about christmas trees.
    Mystic are you okay? So weird that the weeklies aren’t up. Happy new moon, I made a music video – dream stuff!!! Hope that it’s partying and happiness keeping you busy. Much love to all and You!

  7. Yes! 🙂

    Hailing from the redwood bioregion of California, I have a very close bond with these evergreen trees. Their latin name is Sequoia sempervirens…..always living. They can live a very long time! 2000+ years! There’s still some old growth left here too, though most redwood forest these days is comprised of mostly relatively ‘younger’ trees.

    Anyway, I’ve known some folks to bring a living tree, planted in a big pot, into their house for the holidays, and then it lives in the pot out on their deck or wherever for the rest of the year and then when it gets big enough, they plant it somewhere and start the process again.

    I used to bring redwood branches inside for the holidays, with their cute little pinecones, but I never get a cut tree, and I don’t do a fake tree either, just real fallen branches, or no tree and just put ornaments and decorations around the house. To honor the trees, I just go out for a walk in the forest!

    Happy Yule, y’all! <3

  8. So Pine trees are ruled by Jupiter, Hmm? I wonder if the activity on my Sag asc is making me crave a (fake) Christmas tree when I’ve loathed to have one for many years, for many of the above reasons. Fortunately I can get my pine fix by hanging out in my back yard. 🙂

  9. Actually, there has never existed any Celtic goddess named Eostre, and Easter is based on a Jewish holiday.
    Except from that, interesting points.
    Why do I say this? Because I´m a historian of religions, and am very tired of Frazer´s tired and plainly wrong 19th Century ideas. Happy holidays!

    1. I love The Golden Bough but in terms of Easter, my interest was first sparked by Barbara Walker. Her entry on Easter in The Womans Encylopedia of Myths & Secrets is way too long to excerpt in full here but amazing. Here is a tiny bit.

      “Easter: …named for the Saxon Goddess Eostre or Ostara, a Northern form of Astarte…her sacred month was was Eastre…the Moon of Eostre.

      The Easter Bunny was older than Christianity; it was the Moon-Hare sacred to the Goddes in both Eastern and Western nations. Recalling the myth of Hathor-Astarte who laid the Golden Egg of the Sun, Germans used to say the hare would lay eggs for good children on Easter Eve.

      Like all the churches movable feasts, Easter shows its Pagan origins in a dating system based on the old lunar calendae. It is fixed as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Eqinox, formerly the ‘pregnant’ phase of Eostre passing into the fertile season…

      The Christian festival wasn’t called Easter until the Goddess name was given to it in the late Middle Ages..”

      There is heaps more, it was the beginning of the Persian new year, they gave one another eggs to symbolize new beginnings etc.

      When i first read of Ostara/Eostre, i went outside and looked for the “hare” in the moon – once i saw that, i’ve resonated with this immensely.

      “Myths are things that never happened but always are.”

      –Sallustius, 4th cent. A.D. (quoted in Carl Sagan’s Dragons of Eden)

      Also, the concept of Eostre goes back way further than the 19th Century

  10. It’s funny…I was just thinking about the tradition of bringing trees indoors the other day while on a run! I hope it’s OK to share my own feelings on the subject by providing a different viewpoint regarding the subject at hand.

    I love fresh cut Christmas trees – they are Sacred in my world. 🙂 I see this practice as a way of inviting Nature indoors. There is nothing like the clean, bracing scent of real pine (ya feel me, Virgos?!), and IMO a living tree both cleans the air and provides moisture to the otherwise stale, forced hot air clime of a winter home (I live in the Northern Hemisphere, obvy). I make an event out of selecting mine – I host a tailgate party every year and cater the affair myself, complete with homemade Christmas Cookies and hot cocoa (made w/ whole milk, of course – the ONLY way to have it!). The farm I procure it from has been in the same family for 5 generations – it contains 150+ acres of the most diverse, stunning trees one could ever possibly want; everything from soft longneedle pine, to balsam & douglas firs, to blue norway spruce. For each tree cut down, a new one is planted – I can attest to this being true because there are always little saplings springing up next to the stumps of those harvested the prior year. It is quite a sustainable practice because most trees reach full maturity within 5-7 years. All manner of wildlife live in these fields, from the deer that graze among their hedgy rows, to the birds that occasionally nest in the trees and the leave straw-lined remnants of their chick-rearing summer months behind. It is a wonderful & magical location – put it this way: I’d rather live next door to this place than an urban strip mall any day of the week. 😉 It is good for the planet whenever there is open land set aside in a community, IMO.

    I also make an event out of decorating my tree & make all kinds of hors d’oeuvres and crank up the Christmas tunes while hanging my lights & ornaments. I adorn it lovingly with glowing strands of miniature lights in lovely jewel tones (sorry, I know LEDs are more energy efficient, but their cold light does absolutely nothing for me from an aesthetic point of view and I am a Venusian, so….) 😉 I take great care to space the strings properly, and to also tuck them into recesses of the boughs so the light looks as if it is emanating from within. I have hand-selected (more like curated, LOL) quite an impressive and beautiful selection of glass ornaments for my tree over the years (plastic is verboten), which I fastidiously place “just so”. I won’t even tell you about the minor hell I went through several years ago finding a proper star topper for my tree when my old one bit the dust on me – nowadays, they’re all either tacky, don’t light up, or blink obnoxiously. That aside, I love the feeling of awe and wonder I get whenever I see my tree all lit up and glistening – it reminds me of being a little kid again….if only you knew what an impressive feat it is to have me feeling warmly nostalgic about those years of my life.

    I tend to my tree dutifully, checking it at least twice a day and making sure it always has plenty of water to drink during its roughly 6 week stay in my home – I assure you it is kept very much alive during my watch. 🙂 When the holidays are over, I don’t just unceremoniously dump it outside (*cue cutaway to Fight Club scene where HBC is talking about dresses, Christmas trees, and sex crime victims, LOL*) . I pack all the trimmings away carefully with a feeling of fondness, gratitude residing in my heart for the service my beautiful tree performed by gracing my abode and for our time together. I even love it when I vacuum up the needles and get those final pungent hits of pine. When the tree eventually does go back out into the wild, it is not left curbside for the trash collector to take – goodness no! I bring my tree over to my huge cast iron firepit, grab a heavy duty pair of pruning shears, and cut off the branches to start a huge bonfire; usually near Imbolc/ St. Brigid’s Day. I celebrate its life by allowing it to go out in a blaze of glory – literally. I always, always make it a point to thank my tree for all it has done.

    I love my live tree, and couldn’t imagine a holiday season without it – it would leave a big hole in my heart for sure not to have it as the green and beating heart of my home during the otherwise cold, barren, and unforgiving winter season.

      1. Ditto.

        I totally get the anti-consumerism and I do feel horrid when I see all the trees lined up in the pop-up Christmas tree farms (and then all the dead trees lining the streets afterward).

        That said, I’m non-denominational / pagan-esque / spiritual, and have a fake tree. Decorating it with lights and ornaments, making a big pot of spiced cider and playing Christmas music with my family (acquired friends and/or blood relatives) … is one of my happiest rituals.

        I think that the idea of stopping, celebrating, honoring winter and the bonds of family + friends (and good food) is not a terrible thing. There are so many reasons to be unhappy / fearful / stone-cold sober in this world, I welcome the opportunity to be festive.

  11. For me the going up the hill into the bush, with my dad and with the cat following, was one of the pre-Christmas rituals. The selection of the appropriate sized native She Oak, the sawing down and the carrying home, with the cat walking proudly behind us is a deeply etched childhood memory. The smell released from the tree as it gave up the ghost over the next week or so is, for me the quintessential Christmas aroma. That smell was as important as the magic of the lit tree, after-dark. As a child, I was always aware that it was the dying tree that made the house smell so special, and I was well aware of the sacrifice that had been made. Living as I did, surrounded by bush, the ritua of the Christmas tree was more like the bringing of the bush into the home and giving it pride of place and savouring its essence as it passed away, underneath its decorations and fairy lights.
    These days, when I am home for Christmas, I wheel in the potted Banyan which, while more politically correct (not to mention holier) than thou, lacks the powerful olfactory element of a dying She Oak.

  12. A real bonus of being of the hebrew tribe is not having Xmas. Our gift giving festival is just done and dusted and nothing gives me more pleasure than sitting back and watching the massive kerfufel that is Xmas and having nothing to do with it !
    When did Christmas as a festival actually start ? All the traditions, themes etc where are they from ? I’m aware that coca cola sort of re invented Santa in the early 1900s but when did the whole gift giving , reindeer driven thing really take off in the western world ?

    1. Hello David !
      Hey if you are after some beach time reading – Geraldine Brooks – The Secret Chord was Historical ficition on King David from a young man, going on to Shlomo / Solomon. Just beautiful.Such a story teller/such a story. xx

      1. Thanks Cosmic x Love my historical fiction. David was definitely a very complex figure and that time was when the Hebrews were right on top of their game. Interesting how such a flawed character is considered the genetic lineage of the messiah. Christians go to great length to prove that Jesus was of David’s lineage and even today talk of the messiah ect. always refers to how they will be identified by proving they are of the house of David.

      2. If you are a historical fiction man, you’ll love it David. GB is a ex middle east correspeondent. I wrote to her when i finished asking is it too presumptious to await the next book on King Shlomo/Solomon …. got a ”good idea” reply ! Geez i would love it if she took us through all the old stories .. King SOlomon and The Queen of Sheba were together weren’t they? Now i need to google more on that hook up !….I’m looking forward to it if she comes through (GB) .. She’s Virgo, and her research was immense…She went there, her and her son, exploring the caves he was meant to have stayed in as a young shepherd…(She is of Jewish faith herself, and spoke of her son learning the harp, and playing Leonard Cohens Hallelujah at his Barmitzvah) … Please pass on any historical fiction that you have revelled in !! xxx Of any faith ! xxx Mwa…

    2. And i’m Buddhist at Xmas time.
      Might do a Xmas thing in May.
      As a child doing the ’12 stations of the cross’ a ritual done slowly in a church weekly, i thought it was weird that us 12 and 13 year olds were looking deeply or supposed to be meditating at the most blood thirsty bondage and discipline scenes with sado-macho thrown in and how we were waay too young to be looking at an half naked half dead man bleeding everywhere.

      Signed: a recovering catholic.

      1. Good point Pegs. I’m a pagan witch at christmas time. Lucky I didn’t live in the middle ages of witch burning! 😀

      2. OMG, I so know what you mean…
        my lovely, but staunch hard core catholic, departed grandma had a big niche in her bedroom, mainly featuring a larger than life Victorian bust of Jesus’ s dying head, crowned in thorns and bleeding!!

      3. Hahaha. My mother likes to tell the story of her taking me to (Catholic) church as a very young child, and my loud question, pointing to the large crucifix: “Mommy, why is that man naked?”

  13. Speaking of freeing the ..pine, did you hear about Ben Affleck?
    His tattoo I mean! Huge phoenix on his back. I checked his chart to see what (apart from his midlife crisis) inspired it and …
    he has Moon / Lilith in Scorpio.

    Saturn on his Moon & Lilith the last months.
    As it was on my Moon too so I totally get his pain, but I won’t be tattooing that transit on my body.

    (ickily he has a Leo Sun in the 2nd as well as a Scorp Moon, an astro twin I don’t care for)

    1. Ben was just filming around the corner in my neighborhood. Had I known he was your astro twin, I’d have sent him a Saturn note signed by you. 🙂

    2. Used to like Ben Affleck (his looks anyway) but he’s definitely Icky. Knew he had a Scorp moon. There was a deeply deeply cringeworthy film he was in when he was with J Lo called Gigli, I think, I watched some it of it and was flabbergasted, like what could they have been thinking?

      Was a very weird coupling that one, I read somewhere that J Lo was a devotee of Santeria and used it to bind him to her, or something like that…when I saw he had Scorp moon, I thought, well…maybe.
      Us Scorp moons can get involved in some strange situations…

      1. I have been blessed with Gigli free life.. though I have heard the nightmares of those who saw it lasted a while. To me he looks like a potato with two tiny eyes. But then, I love channing tatum so that makes no sense. Santeria etc. scares the bejaysus out of me.
        Was thinking that J.Lo seems not the type – then I just checker her chart.. Have you googled it????
        It’s mental.

        Jupiter/Uranus (exact) + Pluto Conjunct – in sextile to:

        Sun/Mercury which is in trine to (and sextile the above):

        MOON in Scorpio /Mars/Neptune all Conjunct!!!
        That sounds like Potent Santeria Purple Moon Devil Hoochie to me..

      2. Can you imagine her going to into a full trance during one of those ritual dance offs? She’d be shaking and rolling her eyes for at least three times the length of time as anyone else. Hey! I think we know the secret of her amazing looks!

      3. Wow. That is an intense-looking chart. She and I were born a few months apart, in essentially the same place, and we share that Jupiter/Uranus-Pluto sextile Moon/Neptune in Scorpio; also my ascendant conjuncts that Sun/Mercury.

        Luckily, Santeria was and is not part of my spiritual vocabulary. Although I did get taken to a botanica in Queens by my Dominican friend in high school. It was fascinating but for its otherness, not its allure.

      4. Never saw Gigli, but for a long time after it came out it was shorthand in the press for a hot mess. 🙂

  14. This year I have hung some quite large vintage stars off the jacaranda tree which has branches sweeping gracefully low just outside the front window, and they look gorgeous! This works well as the front room is tiny anyway

      1. Yes, I really knew this house was The One when I was looking at pictures online and there was a jacaranda in bloom by the front window. It sort of drapes over the front, and seems to put out some dense brachts of flowers just over the bench where I sit. The tree knows I love it. 🙂

    1. So true! I love seeing those brilliant purply blue masses dotted around the landscape. Our street is really long and has a lot of them by the roadside

  15. we’ve got prince albert to thank for the tradition of bringing real trees into the house. blame him. loads of the ‘traditions’ are from Victorian times.
    I’m really torn here- I love a real tree but don’t like paying for it ( maybe my eco subconscious? ) and my son isn’t even bothered abt decorating it, so why am I bothering?
    will def have a re-think, thankyou mystic

  16. Perfect. Ever since I was a kid, I never understood why no one else was upset at the sight of discarded trees in the trash. I remain baffled at the chopping down of a tree, making it important for a few weeks, then throwing it away. What on earth kind of message does THAT give?

    1. One year, my husband put the tree in the back of his jeep to take to the recycling and got sidetracked. He drove around with the tree in the back for a couple of weeks, it was hilarious. Taking the tree for a ride.

  17. Couldn’t agree more Mystic. Pleased to say no christmas trees in this house this year – even with children. Not even the tacky plastic variety.
    I do love the smell a fresh pine tree puts in the home, but it doesn’t deserve to die simply for being eye candy.
    We need a guerilla movement – every tree should be deco-bombed. Solar powered lights etc
    I do recall happenng across a small company one year who only provide ‘live trees’ for purchse or rental. I thought that was a great idea – not with standing the whole BS surrounding the thing necessitating having a tree in the first place.
    Everyday is christmas.

  18. Omg me too Mystic. I have always hated having to kill a tree for a stupid holiday. 🙁 you can’t even eat a pine tree. Such a waste of beauty and resources.
    sometimes i feel guilty for using essential oils esp stuff like sandalwood. I mean they are like the soul essence of plants and flowers all smushed in there for what? Human vanity?

  19. Just…yes!! Lucid and sensitive as always MM.

    We have a little white pine in a pot I bought a few years back. Every year he grows a bit bigger and is growing with my young family.

    I call him Conrad after my MiL kept calling my nephew that name.
    That is not my nephew’s name.
    I told her that the tree is called Conrad from now on, so that every time she says Conrad she sees a tree not the child, lol.

    Conrad grew three inches this spring!! #proudmama
    When he grows up I will give him a plot of land to sink his roots into and his inheritance (a bag of fertiliser).

    1. Omg, the Gem just walked in with a bloody big dead tree.
      I apologised to it and I have to admit…. I inhaled deeply.. incredible scent.

  20. A long time ago I grew a fig tree in my apartment that I’d decorate for the holidays. These days I have a fake pine. I leave the tree up & lights on until Candlemas/Imbolc. My Samhain decorations stay up for the whole of Sun in Scorpio. For the Spring Equinox I open all the house windows & draw plans for my gardens.

    I’m *so glad* that the 2 weeks prior to Yaksmas this year we’ll have a waxing moon! I’ve got a lot of merry to make & need all the cosmic oomph I can get.

    1. I watched the Spring Equinox pass this year without a nod.. This inspires me to have a plan!
      I think I need the ‘Pagan Equinox Guide to Herbs & Home’ Do you have a copy? And does it include a moon calendar?

      1. I don’t know of this book, Sphinxy, but it ought to have a moon calendar if it’s worth its weight!

      2. LOL I’m a little slow on the draw this a.m. My head in the clouds w/ the new moon 😉

        It most certainly would need a Virgo touch: a Virgo to write it lol!

      3. What is yr astro signature ICPluto? I have Pluto on my IC.. Are you Hildegard of Virgo enuff to author this book? I don’t want to write it, but I really want to read it.

      4. Hildegard was a 0º Virgo Sun. I *have* the astro signature/right current transit to write the herbs and home guide, but Uranus is calling me now. 🙂

  21. I too have a loathing toward modern day Christmas. I try to remain open-minded to everyone’s religious practices but I was raised Catholic so I feel that gives me a pass to criticize it a bit.

    I am always the one at holiday parties pointing out all the symbols and traditions stolen from Paganism. I’m a real hit. Heh. I simply do not care. It’s infuriating. I realize everything came from something but Christianity did not honorably integrate Pagan traditions it violently and shamelessly STOLE them.

    1. Exactly. It’s like a little known fact – infuriatingly – the St Patricks day (the one in March that the Irish celebrate) is honoring a Catholic bishop who was venerated/sanctified for his unique invention in terms of inquisition. He realized that even pagans who would not crack and ‘confess their sins’ under torture would do so very quickly once their children were tortured in front of them. He had to alter the then understanding of the bible, the words of Jesus etc to make this legit in the eyes of the pope but he did it. Hence he was able to “drive all the snakes out of Ireland.” Ie; witches, midwives etc. Of course, apart from a few who were able to flee, they were not driven out, they were murdered. To this day people still put wreathes of snakes around their doors in Ireland, on St Patricks Day to say something akin to ‘hey fuqhead, we’re still here.’

      1. Hey – St Patrick’s day is v special to me! That’s the day that i was expelled from the Catholic school i was at. And i was screeched at by a god-fearing, child-hating nun “YOU ARE A BAD ONE – AND YOU ARE GOING TO BURN IN HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY!!!” Lol! I was 9. So that was a marker in my life.
        And yeah, Mystic, thanks for posting this St Patrick info – he was a fuqhead of the highest order.

      2. And love the Banksy! if i could be arsed to do anti-xmas cards, that would be it. But i’m too busy freeing pines 😛

  22. I agree that cutting down pines is vile and I’m not overly fond of plantations.
    Last year I had a small pine (living and potted) that I wanted to keep and grow as my all year round tree. Plan was to festoon it with pretty things each Xmas. But I couldn’t keep it alive.. ?
    This year I haven’t bothered with any Xmas/pine/ fake trees. Might put some decorations around the massive, potted monstera I have. It is growing beautifully – 6ft tall!

    1. Hi Triple Air Gem,
      Potted plants from nurseries need weaning off so much water. It has been watered daily..So (if you are in OZ and we’re in peak summer time) will still need a little water each day.then every second / third day…They are also probably feed with quite a bit of nitrogen to keep them glossy green,and a slow release fertiliser…which will only last till end of a little feed of some sort – cheap and cheerful water soluable mix for potted plants…
      You want to be able to squeeze a small amount of soil in your hand and it holds its shape, but doesnt release water (hopefully that makes sense) …
      Also if the pot is sitting in the sun, the sun is baking the soil.and so also baking the roots…And potting mixes are designed to have good drainage so its hard for the soil to hang on to water … roots mainly takeup water at night time – day time they are making sugars / photosynthesizing. maybe of a late arvo (afternoon) / evening give it a glass of water…buy a light coloured pot to place the dark (they are usually red or black) plastic pot in….Change the potting mix in winter next year, and buy one that says ”professioinal potting mix” – Much more nutrients. – Or not !! Blessings Lovely..I have a multi gem sister who likes to know the ins and out of all things so i hope i havent dribbled on too long. Adios.

      1. Oh I love getting this type of info, Thankyou Cosmic!

        If you get to reading this again, am wondering how to best use worm juice? Was given a bottle by someone with an abundant worm farm

      2. Hi Veronica,
        Usually 200ml worm juice / 2 litres of water, or if you have a 9 litre watering can, then i would put almost a litre of worm juice and to the brim water…And use monthly in Summer on your vegies (Not root vegies though, that makes carrots through out another leg or 2 ) ..Then leave a few months and reboost in Spring..Although late summer / autumn is said to be good to water round the root zone/drip line of trees… . If you have vegeies in pots then its 100ml in 2 litres. Good Stuff !

      3. 😯 ..I think my pot plants have been surviving on pure love, ‘cost they don’t get any of that. Thank you Cosmic!!! I will help my little tree tomorrow!

      4. Hello Sphinxy, I am sure they are ! Info more for why they fail after not being at home for very long…After being lavishly spoilt at the nursery, going into rude shock at watering regime at new home xxx Good idea to replace the potting mix though, in their slow growing season every coupla years . xxx Mwa.

  23. I also am against pine xmas trees. It is not at all a sustainable practice and I don’t feel good about contributing to the death of a tree for no damn good reason. I don’t buy or accept cut flowers either, however I would happily accept a potted plant. If we aren’t going to eat it or make something long lasting out of it, we should leave it be. Enough with the wasteful killing of things and the disposable way of life.

    I do have a little pink metallic tree that I put up every year; given to me by my stepdad who passed away two months ago, so now it is extremely precious to me. I load it up with little pink lights, sparkly green balls, silver tinsel,my xmas pickle (of course) – and I think of him. Much more special (and sustainable) then a poor dying pine in my corner.

  24. Year of the Phoenix

    Was helping my sis put up her tree and decorate when her homestay student came hoe she is Saudi Arabian and was interesting trying to explain why we were putting up a plastic tree and attaching snow flakes to it when we are surrounded by trees and its hot and steamy outside…. Stuck to the Pagan tree worshipping and delicious food eating

  25. I love Pine! I was just saying the other day I need something of pine in m place. Love the smell.

    I agree with you… consumerism is awful during the Holidays. Everyone loses focus on what the real celebration is all about. It’s not about buying.. it’s about sharing, caring and being there.

    1. Reading everyones posts I need to say that I do have decorations up. I grew up in the North (US) but live in the South now. So, I have beach theme with palm trees for my Christmas display. It’s who I am right now and I feel I am honoring my God as expected. I Thank Him every day for what He gave and gives to me. He wants things simple and makes us happy. That is what He did for us.

      Ok, enough of my religious rant but just saying. The Celebration of life is to enjoy each other and be Thankful.

      I got a coupon for a new mattress… is it a good time? LOL!!

  26. Hey Mystic,
    I totally agree whole heartedly with you grinch rant. I walk the same/similar path.

    In my youth we did have a tree, but always a living tree, because that was who my folks were.

    Love your work Ox

  27. Well now I feel terrible. (I still love you Mystic!)

    I just…love having the freshness of a tree near me, though I do see that I’m only getting the last breath.

    Sigh. Time to go fake? Time to just do a branch? …I want to honor natural, while enjoying the season. Hmmm. Lots to think on.

    1. I went to Whole Foods the other day and saw they had little potted trees that are still alive, including really lovely lavender plants grown in the shape of the conventional Xmas tree — seemed like a nice remix, I’ve def get one if I weren’t traveling over the holidays.

      Meanwhile, love the anti-tradition tradition of these posts.


    2. Aww don’t feel terrible, we’re only human.
      But just quietly, I feel pretty awful about my giant white christmas tree- it’s so gloriously 80’s but it certainly isn’t biodegradable.
      (So we both lose- if that makes you feel any better?!) lol xx

  28. Since I eat about ancient Celtic and Scandinavian cultures I look at hanging anything on a tree very differently. My Scandinavian ancestors would hang animals, prisoners from their battles in sacrifice before battle on trees. I can’t help but think of ornaments as a substitute for this. (I’m probably wrong). When I go to Bears Lodge in Wyoming (Devils Tower) there are prayer bundles that are tiny cloth bundles of prayers hung on branches of trees there. It’s a sacred place for Native Americans…one can really feel the energy shift there. I really love the area.

    We use an artificial tree. In my area pine trees are so plentiful as to almost being like weeds but I agree that killing a pine tree for two week’s enjoyment is just so wasteful not to mention cruel to the tree. Xmas stuff is so hyped anyway…it’s been years since I really enjoyed the season. My 90 year old mother is into shopping and gifts to the point of ridiculousness. I asked my husband if we could just do a short weekend getaway with the kids and have family time…instead of buying more crap we don’t need. I think that might be welcomed by the kids anyway especially if a Waterpark is involved.

  29. Every year I want to get away during this season and unfortunately it never happens. Next year though, I want to be in a cabin in the mountains. Surrounded by trees, skies, and silence.

    Christmas is a terrible holiday and it is the anti-holiday. We should be cooking and preparing for the winter and being thankful we are surviving. Can’t we just be happy to be alive? I like to say that Christmas is for people without magic in their everyday lives, so they have to create this facade of cracked out joy with shit and sugar. Then it’s this giant let-down afterwards because wahhh it is actually wintertime now and our shit show is all over.

    1. “facade of cracked out joy with shit and sugar”


      I am going to have my people approach you for a guest grinch rant at some point.

    2. “Then it’s this giant let-down afterwards because wahhh it is actually wintertime now and our shit show is all over.” Despair not! Mercury Rx begins soon after. See muggles tripping over the discarded, sad trees and planting their faces on the sidewalk!

      1. It ain’t just Mercury Rx – it’s Mars in Scorpio/Sagg for most of the year including a hefty retro. Lots of alignment with Saturn. This is why the increasing refs to Marcus Aurelius, Anti Fragility etc. It’s going to be a year of Saturn

    3. AGREED. And unfortunately there is so much guilt placed on you if you try to opt out. I hate the pressure of feeling obligated to participate the most. Being the only one not handing out presents makes you feel like a P.O.S. Even if your reasons are completely logical and have nothing to do with finances, greed or lack of love for those closest to you.

      1. I am breaking up with my family-of-origin Christmas this year. I am telling them I am not buying gifts, I am not seeing them. I am not doing elaborate explanations or ‘just give to charity’ option which my toxic mother managed to manipulate and turn against me the last time I tried.
        Fuq, if I am post-Chiron return I surely have the balls to draw a line under the toxic give-take dynamic that has persisted for decades.

      2. Hooray for you Chrysalis! you can design your own saturnalia/solstice/festive season — no guilt, just do what will nourish you and your loved ones — no obligations xx

      3. I wish I could be as positive as this about it, GY but I expect I’ll be alone. My friends have families and traditions that they keep up and my only family member with whom I have a relationship will be away – with her own family.
        I have run out of fuqs to give, this time around.

      4. Chrysalis I am doing something similar and I, too have a toxic mom. I recently had to walk away from being her primary caretaker whilst my useless younger brother derived the entire benefits (like free housing and cars). Every Christmas is a painful reminder of how full of crap she and her favorite son and daughter in law are (mostly to themselves).

        Hope you enjoy a lovely holiday season. Oh and I’m going through my own Chiron return opposing my Pluto and Uranus and transiting Pluto is crossing over my Ascendant. Definitely Phoenix time here.

      5. Good for you! I guess I have a bigger problem with the guilt. I should say eff it, but trying to explain to my little nieces and nephews why I don’t have a gift for them just breaks my heart a little.

      6. I only have one young niece and nephew whom I never see. Their parent declines my invitations and knocks back my attempts to make a relationship. Watching two young children plainly confused and nervous about exchanging gifts with someone they don’t know was more painful for me. God knows what their parent has told them about me but the whole sitch became too much to bear.

    4. Oh god electro this is brilliant!

      “Christmas is for people without magic in their everyday lives, so they have to create this facade of cracked out joy with shit and sugar.”

      That should be a card. A Christmas card. Ha-ha!

      A am as Grinchy as Mystic. The first audible note of jingle bells sends me nuts. Why the unimaginative music? Don’t get me started.

      Being in Southern Hemisphere helps. It is a beautiful, wonderful time, everyone on the beach, walking, cycling, rollerblading, sailing.

      I am taking three weeks off and will be blissfully on my own for 90% of it. Hello yoga, sleep, long walks, books I’ve been wanting to read, exhibitions I’ve been wanting to see, scenic drives I’ve been meaning to take.

      Hiding from Christmas 🙂 … can’t wait.

      1. Thank you Gemyogi!

        I feel sorry for everyone dealing with so much stress this time of year, and especially friends who are buckling under (often very unreasonable) family expectations.

        Free the pine. Free the soul. Free Santa! …Sounds like we could start a Merry Grinch Club on here 🙂

        May you enjoy your escape from Christmas too! xx

      2. Thanks! I will be spending a few days with family, but luckily they are pretty nice people — so it won’t be stressful. We only buy gifts for the children and there’s no competition so it’s all good. Also will be spending time by myself — reading, catching up with movies etc. and a few bush walks. Plus seeing friends. I love the summer holidays 😀

    5. Yes! Yes! Yes! “Christmas is for people without magic in their everyday lives” – Completely and absolutely. I’m a Pagan living in the Southern Hemisphere, so I have absolutely no interest in celebrating Christmas (or in my case, Yule) when it’s not even Winter here! It makes no sense whatsoever. Yesterday at work someone asked me what my plans for Christmas were and when I told them “nothing” they looked at me like I’d just told them I’d been ritually sacrificing infants. Everyone is wigging out and madly shopping and being stressed. Me? If you want me I’ll be Grinching it up in my garden with a pot of tea watching my new tomato plants grow.

      1. That sounds wonderful. Here I am positive that people think “oh Christmas is over, so winter is too”, then they get let down because it just gets colder and quieter and it drives them all mad. I say embrace the darkness! You are lucky to be alive and warm! Stare death in the face and go on. Or is that not happy enough? Haha.

  30. This reminds me of the time one of my Christian friends made a big deal about one of these plantations calling their trees “Holiday trees”. She assumed it to be an attack on Christmas. I kindly had to point out that Christmas trees are actually the most pagan thing we put up around the holidays…

    But I agree with all of the above, Mystic. My mom suggested a real tree for this year, but my family protested. I love the smell of pine though. A few branches around the houses should be enough, tbh.

    On a different note, I kind of don’t mind the consumerism around the holidays (if you can afford it, obvs). Weren’t the Romans big on gift-giving to begin with? That Saturnalia tradition still seems to keep alive and well. This is also mostly my materialistic Taurus Sun-Merc talking though. I’ve had holidays with only food and travel as “gifts” and those were wonderful as well.

    1. Saturnalia gifts were mostly small things like a candle. It was the symbolism of gift-giving that mattered and not about getting possessions.

  31. Ah, Mystic, how I love your Christmas rant! I as I have just about everything in Cap plus a sun-Saturn conjunction you’ll pardon my flinging about the word ‘traditional’ 🙂
    There are pine trees along the coast where I live, planted by early settlers to remind them of home. They are beautiful and ugly at the same time, botanical anomalies.
    When I was a kid living in the old country we had a huge pine Christmas tree every year. I remember the clean smell which I began to associate with Christmas, and the gradual pile-up of pine needles on the floor and on top of the presents. These days my tree is proudly fake, easily assembled and dismantled, and decorated with exquisite, expensive, high-end decorations. I bought them in the post-Xmas sales with my ex-hub’s money after the Christmas I knew would be our last together. They sat in a box for two years while I upended my life. Now they shimmer and wink and reflect light in a celebration of my hard-won freedom.

  32. Lux Interior Is My Co-Pilot

    This is my fave of your Xmas Grinch posts yet.

    I’m totally decorating the trees in my garden this year.

    I usually make a “tree” out of symbolic object around the house–one year it was walking sticks etc.

    1. Woah, don’t know what happened there. Not all timber plantations are an ecological nightmare. It depends on the company/government and the standards they are complying with. In Queensland for example, we have vast tracts of both plantation timber and native forestry reserves (which are selectively harvested not clear fell).

      1. Timber is the original renewable, but I agree it’s problematic on a large scale for purely decorative purposes. At one point my father (an ecologist and forestry worker) was growing native pines specifically for Christmas on our property. He probably wild harvested the seeds from particularly handsome specimens. My Aunt and Uncle had one growing in a pot on the verandah which was brought in and decorated at Christmas time, then just put back outside afterwards, like a pet. He’s very old now and has been planted outside.

  33. i’ve nurtued 2 glorious pine trees on my family property since they were itty-bitty…my witchy side needs 2 breathe in the magic of their extreme woodland magnificence…yes, free the pine and yes, 2 uranian tradition–i’ve been enjoying ur xmas spirit since the beginning 🙂

  34. I’m buying a fake pink tree this year. Gaudy but glamorous and girly. I can burn a pine scent candle. It’s my Libra rising tree.

    I don’t like sad trees either.

    1. I am making my own pine infused oil for burning in oil warmers and other such crafty things! I collected fallen branches from the recent windstorm, harvested the needles, and added grapeseed oil. Could probably be added to candles too?

  35. Pine trees bring me back to my childhood. The smell, collecting pine cones, looking up at the enormity of them. My favourite houses and places have a pine tree or ten jutting up into the sky.

    Plantations really are sad lifeless places. It shouldn’t be so quiet when you walk through them.

    As for Xmas. Consumerism has killed it’s spirit. Stores are stocking Xmas themed wares in July ffs. Kids no longer wait for Xmas presents as something special because many time poor parents buy guilt gifts all year round.

    A dying tree in a corner covered in decorations has always felt like an aberration. Something terrible being hidden behind tinsel and baubles.

    This year I’m spending my gift money on a well for a village in a third world country. Here we have more than enough.

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