In this year of adventure for The Moon and The Mirror I have desired to share vision and creation with alike minds in collaboration. One such extraordinary play is with the irreverent florist, Studio Botanic. With flowers as director Nadia Travalini’s paint and I as her canvas, We have embarked on a 12 month long collaboration of sumptuousness and splendour.
The symbology, folklore and magic of flowers permeates our lives. We use flowers to say what words cannot articulate and in this way, we are enabled to express beyond where mere words can take us.
Each month we are selecting an exquisite and unexpected specimen that thrives in their assigned month.
We begin our January journey with Amaranth.
The Amaranth flower is one that never fades. This immortal quality inspires a seemingly ever lasting bloom, as if it were suspended in a youthful time. From The Fables of Aesop, the Rose and Amaranth hold conversation over what the best qualities are to have as a flower, and perhaps indeed Aesop was causing us to think about them in the human context.
An Amaranth planted in a garden near a Rose-Tree, thus addressed it:
‘What a lovely flower is the rose, a favourite alike with the gods and with men. I envy your beauty and your perfume.’
The Rose replied:
‘I indeed, dear Amaranth, flourish but for a brief season! If no cruel hand pluck me from my stem, yet I must perish by an early doom. But thou art immortal and dost never fade, but bloomest forever in renewed youth.
The Amaranth is the “one that does not wither“. The early word for Amaranth, Amarantos, is from the early Greek language. Literally “a” meaning not with the stem of “marainein” meaning extinguish. Thus, the flower that does not extinguish.
Immortality is the eternal quest. Through observing immortality in earth grown plants, we endure to find out if we may enjoy the same attribute. It is this desire that caused Amaranth to be symbolically included in Pagan and Aztec rituals (See here for more information).
It is the human condition to wonder at what is after death. To wonder if immortality becomes us, albeit in a form that is not physical nor earthly. By involving the Amaranth in ritual, the immortal association was believed to enable the post-death process of immortality to eventuate.
Poet Joachim du Bellay wrote about the Amaranth immortality and its metaphorical magic in human life in “A Vow To Heavenly Venus,”, c1500
We that with like hearts love, we lovers twain,
New wedded in the village by thy fane,
Lady of all chaste love, to thee it is
We bring these amaranths, these white lilies,
A sign, and sacrifice; may Love, we pray,
Like amaranthine flowers, feel no decay;
Like these cool lilies may our loves remain,
Perfect and pure, and know not any stain;
And be our hearts, from this thy holy hour,
Bound each to each, like flower to wedded flower.
Time and our duration of mortality is the enemy of those whom seek earthly immortality. I think of immortality as always being alive through what you left behind. Little notes left in books, photographs – in how you made someone feel. These are the things that endure beyond our departure and make us immortal.
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. Albert Pike
Grow Amaranth to inspire your immortality; to remind you that your impact on the world is the eternal lingering of your spirit and soul.
It is said that if you adorn your head with a crown of Amaranth, you will become invisible. Invisible to what and who I pondered. Sometimes you need to become invisible in order to view the world objectively. Take a step back from the intensity that comes from the involvement of ones self in the present moment. The power of observance from afar can lead you to see that which is truly real before you, to muse on your own immortality. Your presence in the present takes you to a whole other realm of thought pattern. Take a moment to step back and see what you see…
Continue reading about the language of flowers with The Language of Flowers Dictionary by Priscila Sosa Cruz