Our fascination for working with sacred resins from around the world continues with four new sacred resin Initiatics!
We first learned about Piñon Pine when we were living in the Southwest, where this tough, scrubby tree is revered as as source of food and medicine. We always enjoyed eating pine nuts when we would encounter them while hiking or at a local market, and we learned about the medicinal aspects of its resin, locally called “trementina”, from Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore.
In that book, Michael talks about using pine pitch externally to pull out splinters and prevent infection from them and other skin damage, as well as its internal uses as a syrup, tea, and steam for respiratory illnesses. The needles are also brewed as a tea, which is mildly expectorant, with the resin being a strong and reliable mover of lung and sinus congestion.
Piñon resin is also used in ceremony to clear the air of negativity and bring about a peaceful, protected state of meditation, and we have been enjoying its warm, vanilla sweetness in our censers all winter. It’s the smell of the Southwest, one we remember fondly from sunny days in Taos, and it always brings me to a happy state.
As an Initiatic, Piñon resin is inwardly comforting, bringing a loose and languid flow to the energy, opening the breath and bringing release of tension with every exhale. I found it releasing a tightness and heaviness around my heart that I didn’t know I had until it was gone, and in place of the tension there was a movement and building vitality. It reminded me of sitting in the mountains above Santa Fe, breathing in the warm life-giving Spring air that is personified as Kokopelli, whose flute brings life to the awakening land.
It has a Mercury quality which is not energizing and active like other plants of this planet, but which carries an intelligence of things always becoming and unfolding. Its emotional release properties would be enhanced by combining it with our Bee Balm Spiritualized, and we also think it would be lovely with our Yerba Santa Essence for respiratory balance.
Sal is a more obscure incense resin in the West, but it is widely known throughout Asia, especially India, where all parts of the tree are considered useful. The wood is strong and durable, and the leaves are used as eco-friendly disposable plates, but it is the resin and its medicinal and sacred uses we’re interested in here.
In India and the Himalayas, the Sal tree is known as “the deliverer of intoxicating resin”, and is used for Shamanic journeying and trance. Working with just the resin in our censer, we experienced a mild transporting quality, which was enhanced the thicker the smoke became, but when we added a dose of our Sal Resin Initiatic to the practice, its astral travel potential really came through.
One source we read said that the resin calms the physical body so that the spirit can be lifted, and that is exactly the experience we had with the Initiatic. At first, it created a hypnotic feeling of swaying in the body, and we felt that aspect would be wonderful for movement-based trance practice. Then, the movement settled and it brought a feeling of the astral body lagging behind the physical, and an almost “sticky” feeling to the subtle body, as if the astral self was being pulled out of alignment and attaching to the objects around like a magnet.
That effect lasted most of the day after just a small dose, and it could be disorienting at times if we moved too fast and the separation became more prominent. When worked with consciously, though, the easy separation of the subtle and physical selves was very conducive to astral travel and projection for any type of working, and that was enhanced even more by using some of our Astrale Initiatic.
The “sticky” quality of the subtle energy is something we could imagine using to charge objects for magickal uses, since it seemed very easy to leave some of one’s energy behind in any object we interacted with.
Breu resin comes from the tropical Protium tree of the Amazon, where it is also called almécega. It is used in medicine as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory for digestive and joint problems, and is being studied for cholesterol-lowering properties.
Ritually, it is used on its own and as part of the Ayahuasca ceremony, as an incense during the practice, and sometimes even combined with the Ayahuasca herbs on the coals. Within the ritual, it protects the participants from negative spirits and harmful energy.
It is not very aromatic at room temperature, but when heated or burned, it has a bright, camphoraceous note that is very cleansing energetically, supported by a deep musky forest note that adds a grounding quality. It has become one of my favourites to burn, being as cleansing and banishing as Copal, but with a calming quality as well.
The Initiatic of Breu goes to the heart and the Shen energy there, anchoring it and creating a feeling of solidity and power which is comforting but not too heavy. As it moves out from there, it brings a feeling of protection, as if one is above the chaos of the world, held in cool silver light that all negativity just slides off.
The image I was given in meditation was of being an old, round stone in a swift river, shining water sheeting over me and rounding my edges but not carrying me away. This connects with studies that have shown it to have significant anti-anxiety effects, in a way that reminds me of Amber, but inward.
Breu’s flowing energy can be drawn into the energy body and circulated very easily, either through the meridians, chakras, surface or deep structures, and in all directions.
The resin of the Mediterranean Aleppo pine is best known as the flavouring of the Greek wine called Retsina. Originally used to seal amphorae so that the wine would not oxidize, the resinous taste that the wine picked up soon became beloved and is now used deliberately, even though amphorae are long out of use.
The ancient Egyptian “fat of the pine tree” incense referred to in texts was the resin of this pine, and it was one of the secret ingredients in the famous Kyphi incense. It has a sharp, fresh pine note, as you might expect, but also a strong grapefruit/guava scent from its high content of myrcene, a terpene also found in cannabis, which has been shown to enhance and extend the effects of THC.
Working with the Aleppo Pine Initiatic, I found it hard to collect my awareness into coherence, and was filled with a buzzy static electricity kind of energy and images of sharp, sparkling pine needles in the sunlight. At first, it did not seem aligned with the Saturn processing we used for this resin, but as I sat with it, I realized it was a matter of perspective.
We think of Saturn as being a dark energy of death and endings, but traveling from the top of the Tree down, it is also beginnings, where the One intelligence breaks into the shards of its many manifestations in the Sephira below. From this perspective, I could see Saturn as not darkness, but as the point at which the light could no longer be contained.
It’s an interesting aspect of Binah/Saturn, and one which I look forward to exploring more, perhaps with some of our Voacanga Initiatic to more clearly delineate the structure and patterns of the intelligence. The pattern communication from the Aleppo pine reminded me of some of my explorations of Mandrake related to sigils and the magick of writing and words.