Timeless Spirit LogoARTICLE

A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. November's Theme: "Faith"
Volume 3 Issue 1 ISSN# 1708-3265

Index Meet Our Staff Free Subscription Donations Come Shopping Advertising Archived Issues


Solstice Tree Traditions
by Toria Betson

Every year for Solstice, I decorated my living Norfolk Pine with homemade decorations. Each year the poor pine got shabbier and shabbier. (Lights and ornaments will do that to a tree.) I used to joke about it, calling it my Charlie Brown Solstice tree.

A few years ago, my family needed to do some serious celebrating, and my husband decided he wanted a 'real' tree, a big one! After several days of arguing, and a lot of 'pleeeeease mom!' from our children, I caved.

Off my husband and children went to a tree farm, to cut down the tree, while I stayed home, begging forgiveness from the nature spirits.

It shocked some of my friends to learn my family was cutting down a tree for Yule. Most know that I cry every time I hear the sound of chainsaws!

They had a great time, bundling up and trekking out into the tree farm, with their saw. The farm is owned by a sweet elderly couple, who rushed right out, offering them big homemade cookies.

As soon as the tree was brought into the house, I asked its forgiveness, thanked it for its sacrifice, and gave it Reiki. We again decorated with only homemade ornaments, and my husband and kids were thrilled!

I had to admit, it was a beautiful tree. Its invigorating pine scent made the entire house smell fresh.

But what about next year? I had long stood hard and firm, on my 'ethical' decisions. How was I to balance my family's wants, with what I saw as maintaining my integrity?

Getting an off-gassing, plastic tree was out of the question. Do you realize how many toxins are used in making one of those?

In Indiana, where we reside, almost all the forests were cleared away, long ago. Most clear land is used for (shudder) bio-engineered corn, and pesticide and herbicide laden soybeans. The rest is filled with housing complexes, all of various shades of non-colour beige. I would much rather see the land used for tree farms! They are beautiful, provide shelter for wildlife (especially birds), and use minimal if any toxins. Pines grow in soil that is too poor for anything else. And they are wonderful for cleaning the air. They absorb excess carbon dioxide out of the air and replace it with clean oxygen, for us to breathe.

Today, you can have a fresh cut tree, and not kill the plant it came from! More and more tree farms are encouraging 'cutting off the stump'. By cutting up higher on the stump, and leaving several large branches, the tree will grow a new tree off the same roots. Much like pruning, this can be repeated again and again.

When the holidays are over, we put the tree outside, for the birds to enjoy and for nature to recycle. The birds love our leftover popcorn and cranberry garlands, and the safe place to hide in.

Many communities have Christmas/Solstice tree programs where they recycle the trees into mulch. The mulch is then free to the public, to be used on gardens and pathways. In some areas, they use leftover trees to build coastal barriers.

And you can always 'give back' by planting more trees in the spring!

Last year my husband brought home glass ornaments for our tree. It broke my heart! We had only ever had homemade ornaments. I love making ornaments with the children and their friends. Shiny paper, pop-sickle sticks, glitter, jiggle eyes, sequins, pinecones, feathers and origami, every year as the children grow, the ornaments have become more complex. I didn't want to lose that. But how could I say to the children "no, we are not going to use the lovely, shiny, colourful orbs." So, again, I gave in.

Perhaps there is a lesson, or two, to be learned in all of this. I suppose as a parent, I want to hang on a little bit to the past. I hope my children grow to have open minds, rather than clinging stubbornly, to strongly held beliefs. Within any family or community, it helps to be willing to look at things from all sides. Maybe compromise would be right; maybe not, and just maybe, we will discover brand new possibilities. Hey! We can paint the glass ornaments!

Our solstice tree is evolving, as hopefully I am evolving. Perhaps the pines have the answer. Stand firmly attached to the ground, but be flexible enough to bend in the wind.

Victoria Betson lives and learns in the woods with her children and husband of 'seventeen years'. Toria has written for Timeless Spirit and Body Mind Spirit, e-magazines, and is a moderator at Aeclectic Tarot forum. She loves to garden and cook the organic vegetables and herbs she grows. Toria is a Spiritual Counselor, Intuitive, Empath, and Reiki II practitioner. She assists clients through Tarot readings and Shamanic Journeys at her website, Toria's Tarot, or you may contact her via email.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Timeless Spirit Magazine. All articles are the copyright of the particular writers and cannot be reprinted without their expressed permission. All rights reserved. International copyright laws prohibit reproduction of or distribution of this page by any means whatsoever, electronic or otherwise, without first obtaining the written permission of the copyright holder. We retain legal counsel to protect our copyrights.

Any advice given is for informational purposes only.