Acacia
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As the thriftless gold of the babul1, so is the gold that we spend On a Derby Sweep , or our neighbor's wife, or the horse that we buy from a friend

Certain Maxims of Hafiz: Number 12 Rudyard Kipling

Basic Information

Acacia are plants which grow as either shrubs or trees. Most of the known species exist in Australia, with other species existing in warm-temperate to tropical regions of Africa, Europe, southern Asia and the Americas.

The Acacia is used as a symbol in Freemasonry, to represent purity and endurance of the soul, and as funerary symbolism signifying resurrection and immortality. The tree gains its importance from the description of the burial of Hiram Abiff, the builder of King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem [2]. Furthermore, it is associated with initiation and the knowledge of secret lore, and among the Bambara people it is associated with the creation of the bull-roarer. There also is a Hindu practice in which a hole is bored through a disc made out of acacia into which a stick made out of fig wood is inserted. The stick is then rotated rapidly, producing a sacred flame used in sacrifice. Here the acacia stands for the female principle and the fig for the male principle2.

Several parts (mainly bark, root and resin3) of Acacia are used to make incense for rituals. Some acacia resins are also used as food - particularly amongst Australian aborigines. Acacia is used in incense mainly in India, Nepal, Tibet and China. Smoke from Acacia bark is thought to keep demons and ghosts away and to put the gods in a good mood. Roots and resin from Acacia are combined with rhododendron, acorus, cytisus, salvia and some other components of incense. Both people and elephants like an alcoholic beverage made from acacia fruit. According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, the Acacia tree may be the burning bush (Exodus 3:2) which Moses encountered in the desert. Also, when God gave Moses the instructions for building the Tabernacle (which contained the Ark of the Covenant), he said to "make an ark of acacia wood" and "make a table of acacia wood" (Exodus 25:10 & 23, Revised Standard Version) [2]. Acacia bark is also an effective source of tannins.

In Russia, Italy and other countries it is customary to present women with yellow mimosas (among other flowers) on International Women's Day (March 8). These "mimosas" are actually from Acacia dealbata (Silver Wattle) [2]. The Golden wattle, by contrast, is the national flower of Australia

Sources

Game and Story Use

  • The PCs might be hired as guards for a large shipment of rare acacia wood - and then have to deal with all the occultists and secret societies attempting to hijack the shipment for their own purposes.
  • Likewise shipments of incense, gum, alcohol and similar valuable derivatives.
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