Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Passion Flower

Sigrid received seeds for the Passion Flower from her sister, Sonja, who lives near Frankfurt, Germany. Sigrid planted the seeds in a pot on our deck this spring and they are just now blooming. It is a pretty wild looking flower. It sure has lots of moving parts and those parts have religious symbolism associated with them.

Here is what we found on the web:

The Passion Flower with its various parts is seen as a symbols of Jesus' scourging, crowning with thorns and crucifixion.

This flower, a genus with numerous species, indigenous to the tropical Americas, is unique among the hundreds of old Christian flower symbols in that there is specific historical documentation of the time and place of its origin - the symbolism having been first perceived by the Mexican Augustinian friar, Emmanuel de Villegas, who reported it, with sketches, in Europe in 1610.

It is said that the test of the authenticity of the biblical Prophets was the enduring acceptance of their prophecies by the community. The same can be said of religious flower symbols, whatever their origin: if they achieve enduring acceptance, this signifies, as in the case of the Passion Flower,that they contain a certain "prophetic" unction which enriches the faith and devotion of the believers.

The endurance in religious oral tradition of the "galaxy" of flower symbols of Our Lady, and of her life and her mysteries from medieval times, as discovered and recorded for literate tradition by botanists and folklorists, bears testimony to their enriching prophetic unction, which we at Mary's Gardens propose for wider knowledge and appreciation.

The Passion Flower symbolism, as originally perceived, and then augmented, includes:

The spiraled tendrils- the lash of Christ's scourging
The central flower column - the pillar of the Scourging
The 72 radial filaments- the Crown of Thorns
The top 3 stigma - the 3 Nails
The lower 5 anthers - the 5 wounds
The Style- the Sponge used to moisten Christ's Lips with Vinegar
The leaves (some species) - the head of the Centurion's Spear
The red stains - Christ's Blood Drops
The Round Fruit- The World Christ came to save
The Fragrance- The Spices prepared by the Holy Women

This multiple symbolism of the Passion Flower combines a number of symbols found in flowers individually in the prior traditions of the rural countrysides of the Old World, from which the missionaries to the New World came.

The photo above is of the actual flower on our deck and it looks better than the one on the web site, even if I do say so myself.

1 comment:

  1. What a wild looking thing. You sure that ain't Legos?