The inside of a Passion Flower is a sexy thing: with its male and female parts clearly designed to entice visiting insects, targeted by a ring of pearly white petals and a halo of blue, white and purple radial filaments. It has always been one of my favourites.
A Wikipedia extract:
The “Passion” in “passion flower” refers to the passion of Jesus in Christian theology. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:
- The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance.
- The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.
- The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (excluding St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer).
- The flower’s radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns.
- The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
- The 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).
- The blue and white colors of many species’ flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
I can appreciate all the Christian symbolism and in the past I have picked these beautifully structured flowers with their purply-blue and white petals that represent the higher chakras associated with communication and connections with the spirit world, to place on graves and even in the burial of a much-loved horse that was a very sad loss for his grieving owners.
However, for me, the passion flower signifies physical passion and love. I was given a cutting by a former lover and planted it where it could grow as a canopy over the garden gate leading to my house. It flourished as did the relationship, the passion flower serving as a LOVE Mandala to welcome the many, many visitors who passed underneath its spreading habit before crossing our threshold to the sacred space we shared in our home. Sadly, times have changed and I no longer live in the old Farmhouse but I’m pleased to say the passion flower continues to flourish. In fact it is so prolific that it has to be regularly hacked back so that people can reach the front door, even despite being regularly battered by the winds blowing off the moors. This is some comfort to me and serves as a reminder of past loves. In the language of flowers, the passion flower represents faith and belief. For me, that is faith and belief in the power of love.
I’ve just taken a look at the pictures on line and am amazed by all the different varieties. But for me, none of them are as beautiful as the humble(?) Passiflora caerulea.
For other views of this week’s Photo challenge: Inside, see here.