Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Usually, when passion is mentioned, we think of sexual passion. But in the fifteenth century, people were more likely to be referring to religious passion. And that is what the missionaries who arrived in South America saw when they looked at the parts of this flower. Wikipedia explains it clearly: 

Symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:
Blue passion flower (P. caerulea) showing most elements of the Christian symbolism
This plant isn't sacred in a strict sense, but the religious history is interesting. 

This plant is common in the Berkeley area. Generally people grow it because it is easy and has beautiful flowers. It also attracts butterflies. As I have mentioned before, Gulf Fritillaries lay their eggs on it. My plant (the photo at the top) is "Sally's Rescue," officially known as "Berkeley." The Wikipedia photo is P. caerulea, one of the most common. Both are favored by butterflies. They also have a fabulous tunnel of nectar hidden below the filaments, which bees love. 

Highly recommended for a chain link fence. But it grow ferociously. Be ready with the pruners. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sacred Rose

The rose was associated with Venus and Aphrodite, the Goddesses of Love in ancient  Greece and Rome. In addition to love, the rose symbolized beauty and springtime.
Remember Venus on the Half Shell? Those flowers floating around the Goddess are roses. 

For a long time, Christians rejected rose symbolism because of their association with Greek and Roman myth. Then finally, in the middle ages, things changed, and the white rose became a symbol of Mary and her virginity. At that same time, the rosary became an important tool for prayer. And where does the word "rosary" come from? From "rose" of course! Perhaps the first rosary was actually a crown or roses or a garland of roses. 

In Islam, the rose, which usually flowers on a bush full of thorns, is a symbol of the soul, which may flourish in spite of misery of earthly life. 

And don't forget the Rosicrucians. Since the name means "Rosy Cross" the the rose must be a sacred symbol to them. 

I'm sure the rose symbolizes many other things, both sacred and profane, but that is enough for now.