Living the Wheel: Seasonal Musings of the Pagan Year

Thoughts and musings of the wheel of the Pagan Year.

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The Scent of Flowers

  In her beautiful book Celtic Devotional, Caitlin Matthews suggests a Lunar Meditation on the scent of flowers, one I thought perfect for the new season Litha has brought us. All around us flowers are blooming, delighting the eye and perfuming the air with fragrance. What better analogy for summer, and life, really, than the scent of a flower?

  Is there anything that compares? Yes, I suppose so: fresh peaches, the scent of a baby's hair. But flowers have a scent unrivalled by anything else. Sweet, but strong, faint but carrying.

  Flowers carry the scent of joy and sorrow, beginnings, endings, good days, great days, birthdays and goodbyes. A job well done, a welcome home. The scent of flowers means thank you, bless you, I forgive you, I love you.

  The scent of flowers can be cloying, too heavy and suffocating, like a relationship gone sour. It can be sweet, a violet's kiss as soft as a sleeping child's sigh. It can be all-but-invisible, a whisper of an idea that causes you to pause, consider, then join that photography class you've been thinking about. A year later you are handed anemones at your first gallery showing.

  The scent of flowers is a complex puzzle of simplicities: there is no meaning to it, no effort on the flower's part, yet it captures the imagination, intoxicates the senses, inspires the soul and breaks the heart. Why the scent of flowers? Why the sultry heaviness of lilies? The cool freshness of pansies? Why the candy-sweetness of apple blossom, the opiate drowsiness of lilac or the bubble-bright splash of peony?

  Why should it matter? Does it matter?

  Do flowers think about scent? Do they ever wonder if scent is enough? Do they tell themselves: 'If my scent were sweeter/duller/lighter/more apple-like I would be more beautiful, more beloved?' Does the forsythia envy the rose her scent? Does the honeysuckle scoff at the over-rich perfume of the lily? Does the flirty ruffled carnation ridicule the humble buttercup?

  The scent of flowers is an aura of universal acceptance. Acceptance of self, acceptance of others, acceptance of all. The scent of flowers knows no anger or hatred. It wants no part of oppression, depravity or violence.

  The scent of flowers is a lesson of peace, a breath of understanding. It is hope, a wish of better things to come, the dreams caught in the web of laughter, gilded by the summer sun.

  The scent of flowers is a gift bestowed on humanity so that we may experience purity in our lives, not just once, but over and over again, washing our souls clean so we may yet achieve the goals Fate has set for us. Think, for a moment: if you had never smelled a rose, would you still be who you are today? What of the people of the world that suffer from anosmia? Though they have perhaps never experienced the physical scent of a flower, through sight and touch they have sampled the spiritual scent, and are no less fulfilled. They are capable, through their own grace, to understand the scent of a flower and know its incalculable worth.

  The scent of a flower gives one cause to think. It makes one consider the fragility of life. It makes one think about what is truly important, as so many things in life are fleeting as a flower's scent. We realize how precious the life we have been given is, and the lives of those we love and hold dear. A flower's scent does not last forever, nor do our lives.

  The scent of a flower is an example of humility. A flower doesn't strive for riches or fame. It knows it will fade, wither, and die. Rather than fighting the inevitable, she instead lives the life she has been given, perfuming the world around her with joy and goodwill as she gracefully ages and gently passes from this world.

  The scent of a flower is perhaps our first lesson in giving. What child has not sniffed a fat purple clover, loved its sweetness, and gathered up a bedraggled handful to present to a parent? We have an instinctive urge to share flowers, to give others a piece of beauty so that they might enjoy it, and we their happiness.

  Over the next week, take the time to stop and smell the roses, literally. Bend low and receive a pansy's kiss. Taste a clover's dew, collect wildflowers, weeds, if you will, and allow them to grace your dining room table. Examine a flower in detail, noting its scent. What does it make you think of? What memories does it trigger? Does it make you cry? Good. Does it make you angry? Good. Does it make you want to drop everything and call your grandmother? Good. Do so. Don't wait. Don't let intention fade with the flower's scent. Revel in the color and scent that surrounds you. The flowers and the scent they carry were placed here to remind us that life, even at the worst of times, is truly beautiful, and worth cherishing.

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I am a writer and poet living in western Massachusetts. I have a degree in English Lit, with a focus on the nineteenth century, and am working toward a degree in Women's Studies as well. My work has previously appeared in The Pagan Activist, The Pagan Review, GrannyMoon's Morning Feast, and The Montague Reporter. I am currently working on a series of children's books, a novel trilogy, and a poetry manuscript (I simply can't do one thing at a time!). I also have several random fantasy-based short story projects that I attack once in a while.   I am a Dianic Pagan and practice Kitchen Wicca, and am also a Reiki Master. For a glimpse into my own little corner of reality, you can stop in and visit me at Ellie.


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