The Symbolism Of The Pine Tree (Part II)
by Larry Fyffe
In ancient mythology, the Mother Goddess, is depicted as hermaphroditic before being transformed into a female; s/he is associated with the coniferous pine; son Attis turns into a sweet-smelling evergreen tree with needled leaves. . The Hebrew God by some is considered at first to be hermaphroditic, but the female aspect soon disappears from the Judaic/Christian Bible:
And God said "Let us make man is our image After our likeness, and let them have dominion ..." So God created man in His own image In the image of God created He him Male and female created He them (Genesis 1: 26, 27)
In any event, the coniferous juniper tree appears later on in the Holy Bible, standing over the prophet Elijah, protectively and mother-like:
And he lay and slept under juniper tree Behold, then an angel touched him And said unto him, "Arise and eat" And behold there was a cake baken on the coals And a cruse of water at his head And he did eat and drink And laid him down again (l Kings 5, 6)
In the song lyrics below, the deciduous Dionysus, the “Semi-God” of the Vine from Roman/Greek mythology, appears beside the motherly juniper in the form of an ash, hickory, and oak tree:
Build you a fire with hickory, ash, and oak Don't use no green or rotten wood, they'll get you by the smoke We'll just lay down by the juniper while the moon is bright Watch them jugs a-filling in the pale moonlight (Bob Dylan: Copper Kettle ~ Albert Beddoe)
The year-round shelter, smell, and warmth provided by the pine tree serves it well as a symbol for matronly comfort.
As illustrated by the following song lyrics:
You can smell the pinewood burning You can hear the school bell ring Gotta get close to the teacher If you wanna learn anything (Bob Dylan: Floater)
According to Greek/Roman mythology, Titan Saturn (Cronus), is overthrown by the Olympian Zeus, the Sky God of Thunder. The ancient Romans celebrate Saturn, the God of Agriculture, at the winter solstice, a sign of spring in the offing. The Romans hang evergreen boughs in their houses and temples, and the tradition is taken up by the followers of Christianity:
Though the years we all will be together If the Fates allow Hang a shiny star upon the highest bough And have yourself a merry little Christmas (Bob Dylan: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas ~ Martin/Blane)
The mythological Fates be three females figures:
- Clotho – the Spinner – spins the thread of life
- Lachesis – the Alotter – assigns destiny
- Atropos – the Shearer – cuts the thread at death
The following song lyrics could be a depiction of Clotho:
First we wash our feet near the immortal shrine And then our shadows meet, and then we drink our wine I see the hungry clouds up above your face And then the tears roll down, what a bitter taste And then you drift away on a summer's day where the wildflowers bloom With your golden loom (Bob Dylan: Golden Loom)
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