Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’m sharing my thoughts and reflections on a lexicon (vocabulary specific to a certain subject) of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words. Ludic is defined as “playful, in an aimless way” and that’s my plan for approaching this challenge – keeping my feet on the joy trail and meandering wherever the daily word takes me.
P is for…
posy – (archaic) short motto or line of verse inscribed inside a ring
Knowing my obsession with flowers (anthomania), you might sensibly think that’s the reason for my attraction to posy rings. But it actually has more to do with my fondness for secret or hidden messages.
Posy rings (also spelled posie, posey, or even poesy) derived their name from the French “poésie,” meaning poem, or short rhyme.
They became popular in the late Middle Ages, transitioning into the Renaissance period. In earliest times the rings had the words engraved on the outside of the band, but it shifted to the inside.
As religion was an extremely important part of everyday life in medieval times, it was common for the rings to have religious text, as well as words of love or even friendship. I’ve seen it suggested that posy rings were also exchanged between religious houses and kingdoms in shows of support. But most commonly it was a more personal exchange. Posy rings were typically given to honor devotion to a loved one, and very often served as engagement or wedding rings. But the rings also served as a symbol of personal devotion to one’s duty and purpose in life, including showing devotion to God.
Posy rings were expensive, most often made of gold. In time the ability to choose or to write a posy became one of the literary exercises expected of an education person.
Lucky Londoners have close access to a couple of important collections of posy rings – the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I think it would be great fun to visit both.
I really do like to wear blessings/prayers/intentions. I think of it as prayer in motion. I so love these words of Hafiz:
“What we speak becomes the house we live in.”
I like the idea of wearing soul language on my personal body/soul house as well.
I have posy ring. It’s inscribed “Rose of Union.”
I’m never without an arm full of bangles on which are engraved on one surface with snippets of poetry that mean a great deal to me. You can see them on one of my apothecary chests below. I truly only remove them on occasion to polish them, or when I’m forced to go through a metal detector.
I have a couple pairs of earrings engraved with special words, and it amuses me to think these messages are whispering to me whenever I wear them. But one my favorite things to do is writing messages on the soles of my feet. I love knowing I’m leaving secret messages wherever I step.
I consider all these message reminders as touchstones helping me access the truth of I am. They certainly hold energetic hints leading me back to remembering in those times I forget.
What about you? Wear things with messages? Have a favorite quote or poem snippet you’d consider carrying as a reminder? Ever seen an antique posy? Do tell – you know I’d love to hear.