Witch Tree – Pine
Though the fate of the pine is not easy – it is chopped and burnt, but it still remains good, warm and bright. The pine unravels all the riddles, the pine does the winter works, the pine sings songs and tells tales. When working – the pine is noble and wise, when alive – it‘s generous: the best berry bushes and the best mushrooms grow in pine forests.
This is how the old ones spoke of the pine – the tree of life, peace and soul. The pines growing on hills, near water were especially worshiped in the old days. Trees of unusual appearance, with accrete branches or trunks were often visited by sick people. 300 years ago, a local blind man sat at the pine located in the district of Kelmė and dozed off. In his dream he heard someone telling him to rub his eyes with the bark of the tree. He doubted it, but still did it. After walking for a short time, he felt his sight returning. In spring people would eat the needles to acquire vitamin C, sapwood for fatigue and grated cones to decrease breathlessness.
Pines holding magical powers were also called witch trees. Witches would feast and hold meetings under the shade of pines. It was thought that the pine of Hill of Witches grew from the embedded witch broom, and the tiny pine growing in between large trees in the Vaidlėnai village is so run down because witches would pick tar for feasts from it.
In the 19th century it was believed that the souls of women pass to live in the pines. Once, children who got lost in the Šimonys, in the pine growing on the hill called Šventasis saw an enlightened beautiful lady picking fruits from the pine. Children became afraid that by walking in the sacred Woods they angered the goddess of the woods, but the women reassured them that she is the Mother of Mercy and asked for a church to be built there.
The evergreen pine is worshiped and protected to this day. Nowadays, pinewoods make up a third of the whole forest areas in Lithuania.