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.
Z is for…
Zephyr’s flower – another name for the anemone flower
I think there’s a certain symmetry here. I started my ludic lexicon with anthomania (obsession with flowers) and I’m ending with a flower.
The name anemone comes from the Greek word anemōnē which means “the daughter of the wind.” It is a compound of the word ánemos (“the wind god”) and a feminine suffix ōnē (“daughter”).
First, it is said, Anemoi, the wind, sent his namesake, the Anemones, in the earliest days of spring to herald his arrival. Appropriately, the flower acquired the name of windflower.
To be a bit clearer though, Anemoi isn’t really a single god – it’s the term for the four seasonal winds. Zephyrus was west wind, bringing the breezes of spring. He was husband to Flora (also known as Khloris (goddess of flowers/greenery), and father of Karpos (fruit).
This being true, one would assume Anemone was the daughter of Zephyrus. But, as seems to always be true with Greek mythology, things never seem straightforward and there are always a mysteriously large number of conflicting stories explaining things.
One myth holds that Flora, wife of Zephyrus, banished Anemone because she was jealous of her husband’s attention toward the nymph, turned her into a flower and left her at the mercy of the North wind.
In another version of the myth, Anemone, after her banishment, died of a broken heart. Zephyrus persuaded Aphrodite to change Anemone’s body into a flower, thus becoming Zephyr’s flower.
In a different tale, Aphrodite fell in love with the handsome mortal youth Adonis. She warned Adonis that her other lover Ares, the god of war was capable of shapeshifting into a wild beast, that he was jealous, and that he would likely try to kill Adonis. And, of course, that’s what happened. One day during a hunt, Adonis was injured by a wild boar. Aphrodite heard his cries and ran to him, but by the time she arrived Adonis was already dead. While she was holding Adonis in her arms, her tears merged with his blood. Other sources say that she sprinkled Adonis’ blood with sweet nectar. Whichever the case, shortly thereafter a tiny red flower sprouted. The legend says that anemone flower symbolizes the eternal grief of Aphrodite. It represents Adonis’ life – beautiful, graceful and short-lived.
There are actually many different types of anemones – over 100 species. Some grow from corms and others are herbaceous perennials. And while they come in many colors, I think red fits our tale most perfectly. They certainly are beautiful.
In floriography, the language of flowers, anemones are most often associated with fragility, anticipation, and lost love. For me they’ll always be a beautiful marker of Spring.
And there you have it. I’ve managed to wind up this challenge with the wind and its flower. I’ve had a wonderful time this April creating my ludic lexicon and sharing my musings. I offer my sincere gratitude to everyone who has stopped by during April, whether once, or faithfully, or any permutation between. It’s always a joy to connect.
Now, what about you? Has April left you ready to rest? Which season’s wind is your favorite? Are you a fan of anemones? Do tell – you know I love to hear.