Monday, April 28, 2014

Xochitl--Flower

                                     (Winter Poinsettia by Stephanie Rose Bird, oil on wood)

One of my Facebook friends does daily posts and shares called "I love Flowers." I love flowers too, in real life, in my garden, in paintings and as they are related to the gods and goddesses, in healing, as well as their use in folklore like Hoodoo. Not long ago I posted about Xochipelli (Sho-CHEE-pee-lee) prince of flowers and Xochiquetzal (Sho-CHEE-ket-zul) goddess of flowers in anticipation of April's blooming season. The Goddess and Prince of Flowers post is here.

Today, I want to focus in on the root word of their names and it's symbolism. This word is Xochitl (Show-CHEE-tul) in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs. This word means flower.

                                           ( Frida Kahlo "Self Portrait Dedicated to Dr. Eloesser)

In many different belief systems there are nature gods and goddesses connected with flowers. Flowers possess symbolism, including sensuality, sexuality, fertility, the human anatomy (vulva) and potential, as in blossoming. In the case of Aphrodite, flowers are connected to all of these things, as well as to love.

Frida Kahlo's art echoes the Aztec adoration for the Xochitl. Often in her work, her hair is adorned with elaborate headdresses, including flowers, as pictured in the self-portrait above. Kahlo was savvy and very cognizant of Mexican folklore and ancestral beliefs. In Kahlo's secret love letters, her signature is simply Xochitl.

                                                    (Xochiquetzal from the Codex Borgia)

Flowers are also used in Earth-based Spirituality, Alternative Spirituality and Hoodoo. For example, the magnolia instills fertility and is placed in between the mattress in Hoodoo.

                                         (Martin Johnson Heade, "A Magnolia on Red Velvet")

Xochitl, (flowers) are also important healers. Bach's Flower Remedies help address numerous issues with personality that bring about unhappiness. These simple waters steeped with flowers are used sub-lingually, in drops placed under the tongue. My favorite, which is also safe for animals, is Bach's Rescue Remedy.

Flowers are steeped and served as tea or worked into healing salves by herbalists My favorite floral brews include lavender bud tea, calendula (marigold tea used for salves and hair dye), chamomile flower tea for relaxation and hops buds for going to sleep.

The Aztecs, folklorists, artists, Hoodoos and herbalists have it right--Xochitl, as it is said in the Nahuatl language, is worthy of celebration and exaltation this spring or anytime of the year.

20 comments:

  1. I always associated a flower with a beautiful object but your post makes it look so much more resourceful than just a pretty flower!

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  2. Vinodini, yes, they can do a lot and we can do a lot with them. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I love flowers, too! I love just about anything with nature. It's all just so beautiful and amazing. I do like using flowers for healing. Chamomile is one of my favorite teas. :)

    I've heard a lot about Bach's Rescue Remedy, but never used it. A few months ago I was considering getting it for my anxious kittens.

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  4. Replies
    1. Yes it is Kari. Nahuatl seems like such a beautiful language Wish I knew more about it.

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  5. Original use of X. Tough letter.

    Visiting from AtoZ
    Katherine Walcott
    http://rodneyssaga.com/

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  6. Original use of X. Tough letter.

    Visiting from AtoZ
    Katherine Walcott
    http://rodneyssaga.com/
    (This may be a duplicate. OpenID is being weird.)

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  7. Thank you Katherine. This X word immediately jumped to mind because of my previous post I mentioned and because of my love of flowers and folklore.

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  8. Love this post! Thanks for the interesting info and the lovely visuals, too.

    Yvonne

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  9. Bach flower remedies really do help many people. Calendula petal infused olive oil makes a lovely cream too! http://hjblenkinsop.co.uk

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    1. HJ, I do lovely calendula infused in oil and as a cream. It was one of the first handmade beauty products I made. I will check out your shop. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Stephanie - great x post. I didn't know that Frida Kahlo signed her letters Xochiti. I had always thought that her paintings were a reflection of her traumatic life events and she wrote her memoir visually. You have added another dimension to my thoughts about this which I know I will ponder long and hard. Thanks for dropping by to visit on the A-Z. You'll certainly be seeing more of me now I've met you. Cheers Irene

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that! You'll be hearing from me over at your blog as well. When I taught painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute, I loved sharing information about Frida Kahlo and her incredible life. There is a wonderful video about her that is beautiful yet heartbreaking. I'm almost sorry this month has ended...oh but Z--how hard is that one?

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  11. Lovely post! I wrote a historical fiction novel set in the Aztec empire, and I loved every minute of the research I did. They had an amazing aesthetic world of color and meaning. :)
    Thanks for the visit!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Tales of colors
    MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians...

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    1. Your novel sounds great I will look on your blog and see what it is all about. Thanks for your comment.

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  12. flowers are certainly a delight to the senses even if they are not also all the other wonderful things they can be in medicine, food and culture. Thank you



    http://ceciliaaclark.blogspot.com.au

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  13. Cecilia, I take a holistic viewpoint on just about everything I consider, examine or reflect upon.

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  14. Your painting is beautiful Stephanie as is your post. I also didn't know that Frieda Kahlo used Xochitl as her signature. Thank you!
    Garden of Eden Blog

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  15. Thanks so much Susan. I enjoyed that series of paintings, and will start it again because I enjoy flowers so much. Frida Kahlo only signed her secret love letters, that have now been published, to one of her many lovers, as Xochitl.

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