Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ut omnia bene deflorescerent

I've always had a pretty hard crush on the ancient world. Reading about ancient history's nice because we know so much but we also know so little. So you can easily get inside those old stories and wear them like costumes, and it doesn't take long for them to fit you.

My favorite ancient Roman festival is the Floralia. It was a spring celebration in honor of Flora, goddess of flowers. The idea of a five day festival to ask for a blessing upon the flowers is lovely. Especially when the observance included eating, drinking, assorted merry-making, chucking garbanzo beans at people, and lots of theater where the actresses took their clothes off.

I guess it was a pretty bawdy holiday. Because, when it comes down to it, flowers are all about fertility. And there's just something extra cool about the combination of bawdy and sacred. Something so real.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Floralia to me was the incantation to the goddess.

ut omnia bene deflorescerent

I love those words. Especially the first three. Ut - in order that. Omnia - everything, all. Bene - good, well. I love how the elements of that phrase stand so far apart from each other. Like points of a triangle with room for air in between.

Deflorescerent is the word that snakes in and ties it all up together. And makes it about flowers. But leave that air in there, and anything could be as beautiful, as sensual, as real, as sacred.

1 comment:

  1. I want to say something smart in response to this. But can't think of anything other than just saying how lovely and clever I think it is....