I keep exploring these ideas, since they run counter to everything we take as "normal" -- and yet some of those ancient beliefs powered successful civilizations for far longer than our present, post-reformation belief system. How would our world be if we shifted away from "me" and "us" and "success" and such constructs? How would life be if we placed peace and sustainability first? What would happen if we focused on handing over the planet to our children and grandchildren in better condition than we found it? And better does not necessarily mean more concrete or more billionaires. One of the sacred symbols of the Eleuisian religions seems to have been the pine cone. Think of it: a protective structure for seeds; one that opens and closes in response to weather; one that is linked to an evergreen; one that decays to provide rooting for the seeds. What a great symbol that is of caring for the next generation, linking us to mortality and immortality. There's a huge example of one of these sacred pine cones, preserved in (of all places) the Vatican, which has a special courtyard for a very large bronze/gilt rendering, mounted on a stone plinth. The whole thing is about 25 feet high and dates from about the First Century AD. The pine cone was venerated for the reasons we have deduced already, and almost certainly for others. For example, its value as a symbol of renewable nature turned it into a favorite phallic symbol for the Greeks, when mounted on the top of a Thyrsus or pole. Fertility was on their minds, and that ties in pretty well with the Nature worship cults it was part of. And beyond that, perhaps, lurks a simple lesson: we are vessels (one way or another) for the generations that will follow. Anything we do must be in service to that. This is conveyed in a rather humorous version of this idea, one that dates from 480BC. A Menead thwacks a Satyr (always an image of sexual voracity) with a Thyrsus topped by a pine cone as if to say: there's more to the honoring of fertility than just individual pleasure.