Happy April, and welcome to Day 1 of the month-long A-to-Z Blogging Challenge where hundreds of folks are posting their way through the alphabet. Be sure to check out the myriad of participating blog players here.
I’ve tasked myself with throwing open the cabinet of curiosities and wondrous things I call my brain and leading you on an alphabetical tour of some things that actually reside in there – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
So let’s begin.
A is for…
anthomania – (n) an extravagant fondness for flowers
Don’t you love it when you find a word that feels so “right” you can claim it as your own; as though you’ve really been seen and can settle into that recognition with delightful ease? That’s how I feel about anthomania. I’m really quite obsessed with flowers.
I quite contentedly manage to keep my life infused with flowers in as many ways as possible. Of course there are frequent bouquets, and garden specimens when possible, but that’s just the tip. As a flower essence practitioner I use flower essences every day; as an aromatherapist and natural perfumer I wear essential oils and botanical perfumes daily. I create botanical talismans; enjoy peeking into the nuanced art of floriography, the language of flowers spoken through messages delivered by various blossoms. I love flower oracle decks, and there is always some flower-related book open in my reading pile.
This year I’m undertaking what probably will end up being one of the largest floral projects I’ve ever considered. The more I think about it, the more it grows in intriguing and fabulous-to-me ways. It began with a series of dreams, and now involves a perfumery project; mapping – both literal and imaginary; ideas about artist books and/or zines; and endless delightful research.
There’s so much to love about flowers – their beauty, their scent, their colors and form. But there’s really a great deal more as well. I consider flowers some of the best wisdom teachers around, and like any good and lasting relationship, they require commitment and investment of time and energy, and a willingness to listen and learn. Of course you can enjoy them superficially – they give their gifts extravagantly and freely. But to know a flower, to know it’s medicine and gifts deeply, to enlist its aid as an ally, requires study. The resulting relationship is nothing less than magical in my opinion.
But even if such a thing isn’t of interest to you, simply paying some mindful attention to flowers offers some brilliant lessons on how to be in this world. A flower doesn’t worry if people like it. They don’t think am I taking up too much space? Do I smell fabulous? How do I compare to the flower next to me? They take up exactly as much space as they are; they exist in their beingness, beautiful and wild. Don’t we all want that?
I certainly agree with Beverly Nichols who said:
“To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.”
My brain and heart are lit with anthomania; I worship in the temple field of flowers; and I wish always to bloom lushly and without restraint.
What about you? Are you marked by anthomania? Have a favorite flower? Working on a long-term project that lights you up with possibility? Do tell – you know I love to hear.