Welcome to the first installment of our JuJu Symbol of the Month Series!
Each month we are going to treat you to a deep dive into the origin, history and evolution of the symbols in our collections. We will share archaeological findings, folktales and historical anecdotes to provide more context and meaning to the pieces we have on offer. As you continue on your journey, it is our hope that this additional backstory will help you connect to your JuJu on an even deeper and more personal level.
November: The Pinecone
The Pinecone as a Symbol of Enlightenment
While the pinecone may seem like an odd candidate as a symbol that packs serious power, the pinecone has actually been wielded by some of the most important and mighty deities in various ancient mythologies.
Osiris, the Egyptian god of the Underworld carried a staff flanked by two snakes and topped with a pinecone.
Historians believe that the appearance of the pinecone in Egyptian mythology is a symbol of enlightenment and transition, perhaps heralding the moment between life and death when the soul is guided to the Underworld.
In India, comparisons have been drawn between the shape of the staff (the snake form included) and the “map” of the chakras and energy centers in the human body.
At the bottom of the map is the "muladhara" chakra, or the root chakra. Just as the base of our spine serves as the foundation of our physical body, the muladhara is the foundation of our “energy body.” From the muladhara arises the Kundalini, a divine or spiritual energy and consciousness.
Through physical and spiritual practices like meditation or yoga, practitioners work to awaken their Kundalini, a form of awareness and enlightenment.
At the top of the “map” is the Third Eye.
The Pinecone and the Third Eye
Throughout history, the pinecone has also functioned as a symbol of the third eye. In Hinduism and Buddhism, the third eye is the seat of human intuition and enlightenment.
Scientists have even associated pinecones with the third eye...
In anatomy, the Pineal Gland (named after the pinecone for its shape) is the part of our brain responsible for regulating our body’s internal clock through the secretion of the hormone melatonin.
The Pineal Gland has been referred to as the third eye, because the gland “senses” light determining the appropriate amount of melatonin to release to cue sleep.
The Pinecone and Fertility
In addition, to its association with the third eye and enlightenment, the pinecone also represents fertility.
In ancient Celtic religions, women believed that placing a pine cone under their pillow would promote fertility.
In Greco-Roman mythology, Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility (also known as ‘Bacchus’ in Roman mythology), carried a Thrysus - a staff made out of a giant species of carrot with a pinecone on top. (Maybe we need a carrot charm?)
Female worshippers of Dionysus/Bacchus held festivals or rites known as Dionysia or Bacchanalia. The women wore ivy crowns and carried thrysoi of their own. As the legend goes, while under the influence of Dionysus the women possessed supernatural powers.
These festivals celebrated the gods’ role in fertility and in some cases the festivals were so celebratory that they turned into orgies, leading the Roman Senate to ban the festivals across Italy...
Despite their opposition to Bacchanalia, the pinecone persisted as a powerful symbol of fertility and power in Rome.
The Pinecone in Rome
Pigna, one of the districts of Rome (known as a “rione”) is named after the pinecone. The rione’s symbol is literally a giant bronze pinecone (also called Pigna) that has been around since Ancient Roman times.
You can still see the Pigna today. It sits in the “Fontana della Pigna” (fountain of the pinecone) outside of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
Sounds like a good spot to visit for some fertility JuJu.
The JuJu Pine Cone for Calm
Taking inspiration from the symbol’s association with the enlightenment, intuition, and fertility, the JuJu Pinecone for Calm is intended to be worn as a reminder of the quiet space inside, behind all of the noise.
It is a constant reminder to take a moment and just breathe when things feel like they’re getting out of our control. Trust your intuition, make time for yourself, and leave yourself open to enlightenment - even if just for a moment.