The Meaning of Orchids

All my life I have had much difficulty keeping certain plants alive; orchids being one of them.

They have been gifted to me a number of times and each time I apologized in advance and made a weak attempt for a promise that this time I will do better. Needless to say, after each magnificent flower dropped its last petal, they were never to return.

One and a half years ago I was in Arizona at a workshop to become a Certified HeartMath Trainer, while I was there I came upon these beautiful blue orchids artistically arranged in a decorative pot. I was compelled to take them home, despite my historical failures. I was in love.

I diligently treated them like I was told by watering them with ice cubes – 4 to be exact. They lived on my kitchen windowsill and I saw them very morning; I talked to them, admired their beauty and thanked them every day. They graced me with their presence for a long time; I’m not sure how long but longer than I could have imagined.

As time went on they started to wither and fall. I thought of saving the petals but they were too fragile and fell apart. A short time went by and all that was left were these hearty green leaves at the base, dried up stems and these strange alien like blue tinged roots coming up from the soil.

I left it alone for a while in my sadness, debating what to do with it, thinking that I will never see the flowers again. One day as I was admiring the strength and boldness of the leaves, I decided to honor them and trim away all that was dried up and seemingly dead. I decorated the soil with little ornamental birds and butterflies. I continued to supply the ice cubes and gave up my attachment to the potential for re- flowering. What I didn’t know was that the other people in my family were paying their homage to the plant as well with frequent offerings of water filled with the vibration of love.

As I was focusing on the leaves, the of strange blue roots above ground, and the little artificial birds and butterflies; a strong, stealthy vine started to emerge. I noticed it but did not think much of it; I had no hopes or aspirations for it.

Then one day, hiding in plain sight, I noticed a line of cute little buds had sprouted off the sides of the stem. They must have been there but I never saw them. It is often that we do not see the things that are in front of us if we don’t believe or perceive the possibility.

Now, they had my attention. I was excited, in awe, and of mild disbelief of what was happening. They were blue when I got them, would they be blue again? It didn’t seem like a natural orchid color, but who am I to question an orchid?

The buds were quick to open. They were a shimmering white, in all their glory, petals wide open like stretching after a long deep sleep welcoming a new day. Glancing over to the calendar on my wall, I noticed it was time to flip it to the new month. There on the picture of the new month of June, were these big beautiful orchids, and the words…

“There shall be an eternal summer in a grateful heart”

This got me thinking why orchids….. why now?

In the midst of all the global craziness, viral pandemics, the outpouring of unbridled emotions, violence, and vandalistic protests; cancellations of conventions, workshops, holiday gatherings, political unrest and economic re- shuffling, the restructuring of a computer generated on line society and the redefining of my place amongst all of this…… there they stood…

…..Strong, resilient, majestic, vibrant, fragrant, self-assured, and inviting. Why did they grow now? What were they trying to tell me?

Historically orchids date back to over 200,000 million years ago. Their story is steeped in mystery, romance, beauty, virtue, power, creativity, and has been associated with emperors, kings, queens, and nobles.

It is said that it is Confucius who first associated the magnificent flower with humanity over 2,000 years ago. One day while walking in the woods and coming across an abundant growth of orchids he said;

“The orchids grow in the woods and they let out their fragrance even if there is no one around to appreciate it. Likewise, men of noble character will not let poverty deter their will to be guided by high principles and morals.”

In short, orchids symbolized nobleness, truth and purity of character.

The orchid became a part of Chinese culture and symbolically represented, along with bamboo, chrysanthemum and plum flowers in the Four Gentlemanly Virtues of Confucianism. They are also each associated with a season.

Four Gentlemanly Virtues of Confucianism:

  • Orchid (summer) – divine purity and fragrance of royalty.
  • Chrysanthemum (autumn) – high moral character and strong will.
  • Bamboo (winter) – Resilience, longevity, happiness, spiritual truths and generous spirits.
  • Plum (spring)- happiness, wisdom, well-being, longevity, tranquility.

Orchids have been used in Chinese medicine since 300 A.D. to treat respiratory ailments, coughs and disorders of the lung, also creating an increase in blood circulation, and detoxification. I find it interesting in the time of a pandemic virus that has an affinity to create havoc in the lungs, that the orchid is showing up to have a conversation.

Orchids are associated with such words as purity, passion, elegance, sexuality, harmony, creativity, connection, attraction, expression, refinement, and joy.

June 2020, six months into a new decade of change I am reminded and supported to stay passionate about my creative endeavors, to be strong, resilient, and to maintain a high moral standard with grace, and harmony while embracing my authenticity and love of self.