Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Flowery Language...the secret code of flowers

"Tanacetum vulgare - harilik soolikarohi Keilas2" by Ivar Leidus
 Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 
President Theodore Roosevelt once famously proclaimed, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” But if Teddy knew the language of flowers he might have said, “Speak softly and carry a big Tansy!” Tansy flowers may look fairly delicate and innocuous but for those in the know, they mean, “I declare war against you!” It seems there’s a whole vocabulary of all things floral that reached its height in Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901.) There is even a name for the study of flower-speak: Florography.

In my research I found many lists with contradictory meanings for the same flowers so if you decide to send a message with your bouquet, you might consider including a translation. Wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression! For example, some lists claim a Peony means “Happy Marriage” while others say it’s crying “Anger!” I must say, I found an inordinate amount of hostility associated with yellow flowers. Occasionally yellow-colored flowers are said to represent joy or chivalry but more often they’ve been associated with less pleasant qualities such as jealousy or falseness. Being a fan of that sunny hue I think it’s gotten a bum rap! The list I compiled, below, is taken mostly from meanings during the Victorian era. Have fun (and think twice before you send those flowers!)

Amaryllis: Pride
By Elb2000 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Azalea: First love 
Begonia: Caution (Red: Dark thoughts)
Bluebell: Constancy
Camellia: My destiny is in your hands 
Carnation (Pink): I’ll never forget you
Carnation (Yellow): Disdain
Dahlia (Red): Dignity and elegance
Daisy: Innocence
Edelweiss: Noble courage
Evening Primrose: Inconstancy
Forget-me-not: Forget me not (well, duh)
Freesia: Lasting friendship 
Gardenia: Refinement
Geranium (Scarlet): Comforting
"Pansy Viola tricolor Flower 2448px"
 (c)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man)  Licensed under Creative Commons 
Honeysuckle: Sweetness of disposition
Hyacinth (Purple): Please forgive me
Iris: Message
Ivy: Fidelity
Jasmine (Madagascar): Happiness in marriage
Jonquil: Desire
Lilac: First emotions of love
Lily-of-the-valley: Return of happiness
Magnolia: Magnificence 
Myrtle: Home and Love
Narcissus: Self-love
Nasturtium: Patriotic
Orange Blossom: Your purity equals your loveliness
Orchid: Refined beauty
Pansy: Think of me
Petunia: Do not despair
Queen Anne’s Lace: Safe Haven
Quince: Temptation
Rose (Red): Love
Roses (Red and White Together): Unity
Stephanotis: Happiness in marriage
"Tulip - floriade canberra" by John O'Neill -
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 
Sweet William: Gallantry
Tansy: I declare war against you
Tulip: Declaration of love
Verbena (White): Sensitivity
Violet: Modesty
Water Lily: Purity of heart
Wisteria: Welcome
Yarrow: Cure for a broken heart
Zinnia: I mourn your absence

Have a good week, dear Reader. Thanks for stopping by...Y'all come back now! (and send flowers!)


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Moonstruck...Native American names for each full moon

"Bluemoon (1)" by Craig Deakin from Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
 - Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 
I’m back! Completed my first draft of Through the Hourglass and on to the editing phase. (Because of my intense writing schedule, I will be posting new blog posts every two weeks for the foreseeable future.)

We’ve just experienced our third and final Super Moon of 2014 this past Monday, September 8th. Granted, in my part of the world, rainy skies precluded viewing the Super Harvest Moon, however, there is some argument in the astronomical community over whether or not the full moon on October 8th could also be considered a Super Moon. If it were, it would be a Super Hunter’s Moon. (Also known as a Super Blood Moon and, this year, coincides with a full lunar eclipse as seen in North America!) Whew! A whole lot of lunar action going on. It’s a wonder we’re not all moonstruck lunatics! To learn more about the eclipse, see this website: 
"Supermoon" by Peter2006son - File:Supermoon - Howrah 2011-03-19 1881.JPG.
 Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
A Super Moon is one in which it comes to its fullest phase on the same night it swings closest to the earth, at its perigee. (As opposed to when it’s at its most distant, apogee.)  All that’s fine scientific information to know but I’m in love with the names Native Americans gave each full moon, names adopted by our Colonial American ancestors. Each full moon was named to represent something important going on in the natural world, a world in which our ancestors (Native American and otherwise) lived in much more direct contact than do most of us today.
 So, here is a list of those full moon names, some of their alternatives, and an explanation of each (Thanks to the National Geographic website for this fascinating information.) 
January: Wolf Moon
Native Americans and medieval Europeans named January's full moon after the howling of hungry wolves lamenting the midwinter paucity of food. Other names for this month's full moon include old moon and ice moon.
"Blue Canyon Moon (5020077179)" by John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA -
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 
February: Snow Moon
The typically cold, snowy weather of February in North America earned its full moon the name snow moon. Other common names include storm moon and hunger moon.
March: Worm Moon
Native Americans called this last full moon of winter the worm moon after the worm trails that would appear in the newly thawed ground. Other names include chaste moon, death moon, crust moon (a reference to snow that would become crusty as it thawed during the day and froze at night), and sap moon, after the tapping of the maple trees.
By Hahn Family Wines (Flickr: Harvest Moon8.JPG)
 (], via Wikimedia Commons
April: Pink Moon
Northern Native Americans call April's full moon the pink moon after a species of early blooming wildflower. In other cultures, this moon is called the sprouting grass moon, the egg moon, and the fish moon.
May: Flower Moon
May's abundant blooms give its full moon the name flower moon in many cultures. Other names include the hare moon, the corn planting moon, and the milk moon.
June: Strawberry Moon
In North America, the harvesting of strawberries in June gives that month's full moon its name. Europeans have dubbed it the rose moon, while other cultures named it the hot moon for the beginning of the summer heat.
July: Buck Moon
Male deer, which shed their antlers every year, begin to regrow them in July, hence the Native American name for July's full moon. Other names include thunder moon, for the month's many summer storms, and hay moon, after the July hay harvest.
"Harvest Moon" by Original uploader, Roadcrusher at en.wikipedia - 
August: Sturgeon Moon
North American fishing tribes called August's full moon the sturgeon moon since the species was abundant during this month. It's also been called the green corn moon, the grain moon, and the red moon for the reddish hue it often takes on in the summer haze.
September: Harvest Moon
The most familiar named moon, September's harvest moon refers to the time of year after the autumn equinox when crops are gathered. It also refers to the moon's particularly bright appearance and early rise, which lets farmers continue harvesting into the night. Other names include the corn moon and the barley moon.
October: Hunter's Moon
The first moon after the harvest moon is the hunter's moon, so named as the preferred month to hunt summer-fattened deer and fox unable to hide in now bare fields. Like the harvest moon, the hunter's moon is also particularly bright and long in the sky, giving hunters the opportunity to stalk prey at night. Other names include the travel moon and the dying grass moon.
"Hard to focus on! (4317424759)" by Bernal Saborio from Costa Rica
- licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike
November: Beaver Moon
There is disagreement over the origin of November's beaver moon name. Some say it comes from Native Americans setting beaver traps during this month, while others say the name comes from the heavy activity of beavers building their winter dams. Another name is the frost moon.
December: Cold Moon
The coming of winter earned December's full moon the name cold moon. Other names include the long night moon and the oak moon.
The Blue Moon
Each year, the moon completes its final cycle about 11 days before the Earth finishes its orbit around the sun. These days add up, and every two and a half years or so, there is an extra full moon, called a blue moon. The origin of the term is uncertain, and its precise definition has changed over the years. The term is commonly used today to describe the second full moon of a calendar month, but it was originally the name given to the third full moon of a season containing four full moons.
*And on a less scientific but very romantic note dear Reader, in the 1920’s while on a trip from New York City to Miami, lyricist Benny Davis, pining for his sweetheart and seeing a beautiful moon reflected in the Perquimans River as he crossed the bridge in Hertford, North Carolina (just up the road from my Edenton,) penned the words to the famous song “Carolina Moon”. …Carolina Moon, keep shining, Shining on the one who waits for me…*
Have a good couple weeks dear Reader. Thanks for stopping by...Y'all come back now!