About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Passion flower not only for Lent

I took this picture on the 28th of May 2012 in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. I was so intrigued by this flower that I wanted to learn more about it. Little did I know how interesting its story is! This climbing vine, native to South America, is called Passion flower. And its story is truly striking. When it was discovered by the first European missionaries in the early 16th century they called it Passion flower, because they saw in this flamboyant flower the Passion of Christ: The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the lances of the Roman Soldiers. Tendrils represented the whips of flagellation. Ten petals stood for the ten faithful apostles. Radial filaments resembled the crown of thorns. The mallet-shaped ovary with its receptacle was seen as the hammer. Three stigmas were the three nails and the five anthers below them symbolised five wounds. Finally blue(purple) and white were colors of heaven and purity.
    When, still full of astonishment, I shared this story with my friends and colleagues they gave me strange looks; for them all of this was a perfect example of superstitious medieval faith (tainted with the outrage of substitutionary atonement, they claimed). Perhaps it was so. But I remain enchanted by this story and especially its origins. What kind of a mind, in what kind of mental state, can look at such a flower, any flower(!), and see a divine story? It had to be a pre-modern, pre-scientific mind, but at the same time a intriguingly, even luringly, creative and playful mind! Was it a poet, a child-like soul of the Little Prince, a prophet, a shaman-like psychic, a person deep in love, a visionary, or an environmentalist (before environmentalism)? One thing I know by my own, direct, first-hand experience: This story of the Passion flower opened my eyes to different stories, and changed the way I look at other flowers, at other plants, at nature in general. And not only how I look at them, it changed the way I want to live my life, gentler towards other beings, listening to their stories.

Originally written for Rutgers Church' 2014 Lenten Log

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