Health

9 Amazing Facts About Your Pineal Gland

There are few parts of the body with as many names as the pineal gland, and even fewer shrouded in as much mystery. To learn more about this small gland with a big reputation, read our top 9 facts.

Okay, so most reasonably informed people probably know that the pineal gland is snugly tucked away in the anatomical center of the brain (where the two hemispheres meet), is small, part of the endocrine system and responsible for producing most of the body's sleep, and sex regulating hormone; melatonin.

But here are a few things about the pineal gland you might be surprised to learn.

#1 What's In a Name?

Two pine cones

The name ‘pineal gland' comes from the root word ‘pinea,' which is Latin for ‘pine cone.' Why? Because that's basically what it looks like – just a whole lot smaller.

But it's not its only name.

It’s also called the pineal body, epiphysis cerebri, conarium, seat of the soul, eye of wisdom, single eye, eye of Horus, Ajna chakra, and the Third Eye!

#2 So Where Exactly Is It?

It’s hidden away in a little ridge in the brain called the epithalamus region. This is where the two hemispheres of the brain join up. But curiously, unlike most of the brain, it’s not protected by the blood brain barrier so has a really significant flow of blood through it that is second only to the kidneys.

#3 Secret History

From a modern Western point of view, not a lot was really known about the biological function of the pineal gland until the late 1950s when it was discovered it produced melatonin. But it seems our ancestors knew a whole lot more about it including, it would seem, its ‘true' hidden function.

But for mysterious and secretive reasons they kept their knowledge very close to their chest. Indeed, it seems that the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans – not to mention the Eastern cultures of India and China and those of the Americas – all revered this gland and its supposed gift of spiritual illumination.

#4 Why Is It Called The Third Eye?

Woman with third eye

Although from the outside it looks like a pine cone, if you cut it in half it actually looks like an eye. Incredibly, it even has the same rod and cone structure of a normal eye, is light sensitive and contains similar pigments.

What's even more astonishing is that it’s also connected to the optic thalami, so it not only looks like an eye, but it would seem, really is a ‘Third eye.'

Perhaps this explains how we can ‘see’ so clearly in our dreams?

#5 Mystery Schools And Secret Societies

Pretty much all esoteric traditions from the ancient mystery schools to the Theosophists and modern day Freemasons have assigned huge importance to the pineal gland. Why? Because it seems they might have unlocked the secret of its activation.

Through certain spiritual practices such as ritual, meditation, prayer or yoga, it’s possible they learnt to harness its full power. This enabled them not only to tune into the ‘spirit world', but gave them the power to astrally project, develop incredible psychic abilities, and even to control people’s minds.

Basically, they utilized its seemingly magical qualities to carry out all manner of literally mind blowing stuff.

#6 Hidden In Plain Sight

So, how has the secret knowledge been passed on through the ages?

Well, one way has been through art, architecture and symbolism. In fact, if you look closely, depictions of pine cones can be found in abundance all over the place. From the massive bronze pine cone sculptures outside the Vatican (called the Court of the Pine Cone) to the stone ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

You can also find depictions of pine cones on seemingly unexpectedly random places such as on the Egyptian staffs of Osiris, frescoes of Sumerian Gods, and Mesoamerican statues of Quetzalcoatl. Even the current Pope's staff has one on it!

But by far the place where it is most ubiquitous of all is the ‘All seeing eye' on the famous ‘Great Seal' on the back of the dollar bill. But you probably knew that one!

#7 DMT? Wow, What a Trip!

Pineal Gland Visual

For anyone who doesn't know, DMT stands for dimethyltryptamine. It’s hard to say and even harder to describe what it actually does. According to work done by Dr. Rick Strassman, it is the psychedelic drug produced naturally by the pineal gland and that's why he's named it the spirit molecule.

Yep, that's right, the pineal gland actually produces its own form of hallucinogenic drug.

In fact, the pineal gland secretes the main psychedelic compound found in the South American Shamanic plant medicine called Ayahuasca.

#8 A Healthy Pineal Gland

Due to its integral role in areas as diverse as sleep and seasonal regulation, sexual development and protection against harmful free radicals, it’s not too surprising that a healthy pineal gland is crucial to our normal well-being.

But in its capacity to connect our soul to our physical body, it’s just as vital to our spiritual health. It makes sense that the more connected we are to ourselves, the more in touch we are with everyone else, the animal kingdom, and the whole universe.

#9 We Have A Problem, Houston

The good news is that anyone can access the ‘spiritual gateway power' of the pineal gland through a healthy diet and a commitment to spiritual awareness practices. But there is also some bad news. It’s called modern living. The pineal gland, lacking the blood brain barrier, acts like a magnet to toxins, is highly sensitive and easily damaged.

Fluoride is said to be especially reactive and damaging with its calcifying effect which essentially disrupts and destroys its proper functions. But it’s not the only culprit on the block. Old style mercury fillings and, of course controversially, some modern day vaccines are also considered to be a problem in the healthy functioning of this hormone gland. There are special supplements available which are said to be able to help reverse some of the adverse effects such as blue ice skate fish oil.

In short, the pineal gland would appear to be an incredible and powerful part of our body. There is much written about the pineal gland, which you can find online and elsewhere. At the end of the day, just like anything, it’s always best to research things yourself, and make up your own mind about this fascinating little gland.

About the author

Eleanor Goold

As well as being an avid reader, Eleanor is also a big time animal lover; especially of dogs. If you have a tail, four legs and you bark…. you’re in! In her spare time she enjoys swimming, and vegetable gardening… but not at the same time (it can get a bit messy).

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