The passion flower is an interesting Texas native with an intriguing, and amazingly complex-looking design. It gets its name not from a steamy night of love, but from the Passion of Christ. The Spanish missionaries in South America in the 1600s saw in the flower’s unique design a symbolic representation of Christ’s crucifixion. The 10 petals on the passionflower were meant to symbolize the 10 apostles (minus Judas and Peter who were not present at the crucifixion). The corona was said to represent the crown of thorns, or the halo. The flower’s five anthers were suggestive of Christ’s five wounds; the three stigma represented the three nails in hands and feet, and the tendrils represented the cords and whips. I think it took time for someone to think through the flower’s design and tie it so neatly in with the crucifixion-that’s an amazing accomplishment in itself.
This colorful flower also has a use in alternative medicine — a tea made of dried passion flower leaves is sometimes used as a sedative, and to aid in sleep.
It’s not a pretty sight, but it’s a remarkable demonstration of nature as the ultimate practitioner of recycling. Nothing ever goes to waste, and everything serves a purpose whether alive or dead. This small, dead snake measuring about a foot long, was a gift from the gods to the ants who worked frantically carting away skin and organs.
Green Thought: There appears to be a deeply embedded uneasiness in our culture about throwing away junk that can be reused. Perhaps, in part, it is guilt about consumption. Perhaps it also feels unnatural. Mother Nature doesn’t throw stuff away. Dead trees, birds, beetles and elephants are pretty quickly recycled by the system. –William Booth