I haven't been around much over the past couple of months. True.
Mostly because I have contractual deadlines for a new book series and two new Flower decks and I also have my novel to complete this year. That is a lot of work and I really am not in the position to pay/ask someone, or to actually want to have someone, run my social media for me. I can only do so much in a day and it means I'm too busy to post videos, photos and blog posts about what is going on because the reality is, when you have a lot of work to do, you have no additional time to do much else.
Then there is this thing called, LIFE. Relationships to tend to, dogs getting sick, kids having life changes, bathrooms to paint, cars to fix, gardens to love, books to read, health to look after, places to to go, people to see, just like everyone else does. I'm ok, I'm just busy! :)
My work with Botanical History also takes a lot of research and what you see published this month, was planted years before and ended up with my publisher at least six months to a year before it sat on bookshelf. People who do not read my work, constantly ask me if I channel or make up meanings and messages or if I have someone else help me. No I do not. All my work is researched back through history, through to the very first indication of each plant on earth and then back through the multitude of ways the plant has been used and has been a part of the Ethnobotanical relationship for me to then include it in whatever I am writing. That takes a lot of care, a lot of time and all of my focus.
My blog post today is actually prompted by an increasing amount of email I receive asking for help to be an author. Nearly all tell me they have a brilliant idea for a book or deck but haven't started it and won't start it until they get a contract or are sure it will sell. Then there are the next lot of people who have started their project but haven't finished and want to know if what they are doing will sell and if not what I think they should be writing instead to get a publishing contract/sell lots of copies and so on. I very occasionally get correspondence from someone who is dedicated to a passion and they just want tips on how to have their passion shared and hopefully get published. The rest are dedicated to the passion of success. Nothing wrong with that, but I am the wrong person to ask.
I am not measurably successful by everyones standards with everything I create because I do not follow trends or look for 'gaps in the market'. I don't know how many people click on my social media posts. I am too time-poor to work at 'engaging an audience', I do not change my fonts, colours or content inline with analytics and I do not look at similar pages and people to myself in order to expand the audience I have. BUT, and this is very very important, there is nothing wrong with all of that! I just do not have the resources for it and I adore my botanical history research, writing and art creating and then there is my garden which, as any of you who garden know, takes a huge amount of my time but I give it lovingly.
I simply can not give up any part of what I love doing for what I probably need to do in order for me to do more of what I love. My choice.
This time next year, I will have eleven published titles worldwide. 10 will be focused on flowers, one on a type of plant. Eleven in the fours years since I became a published author. This is because my passion is exploring Botanical History, particularly the Language of Flowers, Ethnobotany and Gardening. Plants are my focus. I have written about plants and created art about plants for decades and so when it came to becoming published, I was ready. Ready to share what I had already completed, ready to create new projects and when people approach me with their ideas for me, 99% of the times, I had already done it, started it or planned it out. Why? because I was already living my passion with focus.
Focus like this makes following your passion very easy but it is not the easy road at all.
Not everyone will like what you do, they won't want to publish it, buy it, talk about it. They will have expectations for your work which has nothing to do with why you created something in a certain way. (I wrote a dictionary, Flowerpaedia, of a 1,000 flower meanings completed translated both ways like a human language translation dictionary with instructions of how to view the flowers online if one wished so people could carry it around with them but some just can't grasp the concept that having it illustrated would mean it was coffee table sized tomb at 4 times the price). This will happen to you if you put yourself out there with what you believe in, not everyone will like what you do or how you do it but if what you do is really your passion, then trust me, you will bob back up with lessons learned (or simply shrug off it off) and set yourself on that road again. If you can not? Then it was never your passion to begin with.
None of the time you spend on your real passion is wasted!
A lot of people tell me they are worried that they are wasting their time on their passion and could I suggest a better subject they could be doing. I have created artwork, written parts of books and decks for things which haven't seen the light of day yet but they might later on. They are still what I am passionate about, they are still part of the conversation that I engage in every single day. Nothing is wasted if it is what you are meant to be doing.
Live your life in your passion. The amount of people who approach me telling me that they want to write/create decks about the meanings of plants and flowers as well and would I kindly share my booklist so they can find the meanings too is staggering. Seriously staggering. I do have a cheeky response, "Go and ask your garden" to which I sadly and usually get the response, "Oh I have a brown thumb". Then what is it that you do have an affinity with? That is probably where your true voice can be found.
Again, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be successful financially or in popularity and some of the most successful people on this planet are successful for just being successful. Yeah that's a lot of the word successful! :D If that is what you are looking for, them you need to seek out people who are more the entrepreneur. Everyone's measure of success is different and so is mine. None are 'better' than the other, they are just different. My personal measure of success is not how many people come and see me at talks and workshops, its not even how many titles I sell or where, it is the completion of a body of work that I have created no matter if it is published/exhibited or not. I think it is very important to share that because there are a lot of people I meet who also measure their success and contentment on this very same scale. You are not better than others, just different. Again, your measure of success is personal and if it is dollars in the bank, clicks on a social media post, bums on seats, completion of a novel, discovery of a concept, whatever it is, it is no more meaningful than the next person because it is what makes you jump out of bed each morning, makes you tick, what make you personally content and drives you forward.
So what if you fail?
I have a deck which hasn't done as well as the rest of my work but I love that deck. It is everything I wanted it to be, a collection of the Flowers which grow at Sacred Places around the world. It is the oracle deck Flower Reading Cards. Maybe the title didn't really 'sell it' that well, maybe the colours and fonts didn't cut it, perhaps my lino-print artwork was too loud, bright or just didn't resonate, maybe everyone else just thinks it is crap, but I don't. I think that deck of Flowers is wonderful. The work to put it together was immense and exciting and filled my days with so much joy as I was lead down ever expanding paths through history on the trail of each flower and the places it originated from. Because my measure of success wasn't how many it sold, it was what I did every day and what I still do with that work, I look at that body of work as incredibly successful.
Don't work in response to others.
I work very hard at my passion and nothing I ever create or share is in response to anything or anyone else except 'The Work' that I do. There is zero room for that sort of energy in my life and I often see others doing it and believe me, they are never happy. Its a never-ending game of one upmanship. Walk, no run, away from that energy. Head down, tail up and onward my friend. Blinkers on because believe me, the minute you step foot out there someone will tell you that they thought of what you are doing every single day. Usually they will not of stepped out there with this similar work themselves but even if they have, (or quickly do in response to you work!), if you are creating authentically and with focus then what you are doing can not be battered or dented with such energy.
So to be at success at whatever it is that you want to be successful in, you need to sit down and define your measure of success first.
Don't be shy about it and be honest. Find your passion (hint, it's what makes your heart beat a little faster when you come across it.)
Then live it with focus every day.
bunches of love,
I haven't been around much over the past couple of months. True.
Each fortnight I have a chat with Sonya Feldhoff on ABC Radio about the botanical history of a different flower. We explore their origins, the myths and folklore surrounding them, correspondences which may be of interest to the listeners as well as medicinal, culinary, cosmetic and magickal uses of each.
At present, I'm getting a lot of email asking for more information about these flowers and I thought I'd open up a few blog posts so we have a place to keep this information. I will come back and add to these posts over time so if you are intetesed in a particular flower, you may wish to bookmark it.
This week, Violets (Viola) because we had such an interest in the connections of these and The Emperor Napoleon and Empress Josephine.
All violets: modesty, “pure and sweet art thou’”
Sweet (Blue): faithfulness
Dames Violet: Watchfulness
Dog’s Violet: First love
Purple Violet: You occupy my thoughts
White violet: purity of sentiment
Yellow violet: rare worth and rural happiness
50th Anniversary Flower (as are Yellow Roses)
Day of the Week ~ Thursday
a Zodiac Flower of those born under Pisces, Libra, Capricorn or Taurus
The official flower of the USA State of New Jersey
Myths & Folklore:
Cupid loved violets (which were originally all white) and the Goddess Venus, in a fit of meanest turned them blue after he told her they were even more beautiful than her, so they wouldn’t be so lovely.Zeus had a mistress named Io and so he could hide her from his wife, he turned her into a cow and created violets for her to eat as they are so lovely.
An old Greek belief is that it is an indication that the deceased had settled into paradise if violet, marjoram or rose grow particularly well on their grave.
In England it was believed to be very unlucky to pick the very first violets of spring. You must wait until there at least 12.
Wearing a wreath of violets will prevent deception. Southern England.
In many Northern European cultures they are thought to foretell misfortune. If taken into a house, they would cause bad luck or if taken into barn or heinous, for al the animals to die.
During the European Plague it was strongly believed that their scent attracted fleas and so this may account for these superstitions.
To dream of violets is a good sign meaning a change in luck for the better or advancement. It can also mean you will marry someone younger than you!
Most types originate from the Northern Hemisphere but there are species found in Australia, the Pacific and even South America.
During the First World War, 2nd July was proclaimed as ‘Violet Day’ in Australia and small posies and badges were sold to raise funds to assist the families of the fallen and those who returned. This tradition continued until 1928.
The Purple Violet was the symbol for the city of Athen over 2,000 years ago.
They were favourite of the Empress Josephine and Napoleon had them planted on her grave. Violets were adopted as the symbol of the Imperial Napoleonic Party and when Napoleon was sent into exile he famously said he was return with the violets of spring. He was toasted by his supporters in secret as ‘Caporal Violette’ On his death, a locket was found containing a lock of Josephine's hair and pressed violets.
Medicinal Folk Remedies:
The scent is said to sooth headache, induce sleep and peacefulness. Wearing them is suppose to prevent dizziness, to comfort a broken heart and to calm ones temper.
The Ancient Greeks made wreaths to wear for this purpose.
Necklaces of violets are thought to prevent one become inebriated.
*Check with a qualified herbalists but, Violets are used for cough suppression, to treat insomnia snd there is even research being undertaken due to the high level of very specific anti-oxidants they contain with the hope of finding use in the treatment viral conditions.
Violets prefer cool to warm climates, and wilt a bit in mid-summer heat.
In warmer areas, we recommend partial shade. They tolerate a variety of soils. Add a general purpose fertilizer when planting them, then once a month after that.
Soil should be moist, but not wet. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. Keep them well weeded.
Remove spent blooms to promote additional blooms and extend the blooming period. This will also keep the appearance neat and beautiful.
Violet are hardy annuals. They will often survive the first frost if it is light. They will not survive a hard frost or freeze.
Walking through a busy and rather tired shopping centre this morning, I had just gotten off a rather mood lowering call. I moved through the dimly lit thoroughfare which took me from the run-down bargain basement stores to the food market area and there, right there, crowded as of in animated, busy conversation were bunches and bunches of confetti coloured fresh flowers.
Instantly, I smiled.
Straight away, I felt that all too familiar little surge of delight. Flowers.
They sort of do that to you.
An interesting study 'An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers', Jeannette Havilland-Jones 2005, found that when a person is given or experiences flowers in a communal space, they exhibit more signs of happiness and positive emotions than other stimuli.
Why is that when really most cultivated flowers serve no real fundamental purpose other than to look pretty? I really am firmly in the camp of those who believe that the beauty of Flowers is a co-evolution response. Flowers need pollinators such as bees., other insects and animals to procreate but they need us to propagate. Humans can not only help spread plants faster but they can assist with great jumps on the evolutionary ladder as well.
If you are a plant and produce flowers which smell attractive to humans and blossoms which stun them into desire then you are gaining to be wanted and not just in ones or twos. Humans will plant lots of you and work out ways to make you stronger, bigger, even more beautiful so that you may survive and prosper.
Humans have been forager for most of their time on Earth and I found so much sense in Steven Pinkers discussion in his book, 'How The Mind Works' on this topic. If humans take notice of flowers, where they grow, when they grow and what they belong to, if they are Botanists in other words, then they will know when food in the way of fruits and vegetables can be expected. The emotional response we have to flowers is pleasurable. That little surge of positivity I felt in Marketplace may be this forager response to seeing flowers. I feel good, I'll remember these flowers and where I saw them.
So what about flowers which do not provide food?
We know that so many plants provide us with medicine, with materials for shelter, for tools and perhaps these too are indications for us, ones that we have simply forgotten. Maybe there are other attributes that we are only now slowly learning (or relearning) in such things as flower essences, aromatherapy, vibrational medicine but perhaps we simply have not gotten to the point where many plants have developed what we need or more importantly what the plant needs from us.
Maybe their beauty is drawing us in so that the co-evolution may being!
May you always be a blessing to Nature!
🌼 FLOWER OF THE DAY ~
Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula)
If you want to attract love, it may seem a little strange but a Venus Fly Trap really is a pretty good ally. The plant works by retaining good energy or 'entwining' energy that comes your way. It is also a protective plant as it scares of negative energy.
I'm often encouraging others to look not only at the common names of flowers and plants but also at the latin names as they contain clues to meanings as well. Dionaea comes to us from Dione, mother of Aphrodite. I find it interesting that some stories tell us that Aphrodite arose from a giant clam shell (which it was a Venus Fly Trap looks like!) and that others tell us that she was the daughter of Dione and Zeus.
Venus Fly Traps originated from the East Coast of Northern America and are a popular indoor plant around the world. Carnivorous, they capture their prey by simply being ready for the moment an insect walks across their hair triggers. Clamping shut, they slowly dissolve their meal.
Terrariums are in style again right now, I've noticed and they are a pretty good place to grow a Venus Fly Trap in colder areas. Just make sure yours is one with a larger opening so they can still attract their food! They like a humid environment which is moist but not soggy, the sun and semi-shade but you must take care not to sit them in direct burning heat, especially if growing in terrariums. Potting soil is not the best for these plants, a spealized blend or try a mix of sand and moss. By far, the biggest killer of indoor Venus Fly Traps is tap water. You must use rain or distilled water.
What many refer to as the flower part of a Venus Fly Trap is not at all. The white flowers I have painted there are in fact the flowers. ;) They grow rather high above the plant on a long stem and are a very pretty
During winter your Venus Fly Trap will look almost dead but do not throw it out!! It goes through a period of resting and will regenerate come spring. When yours flowers, cut the stalk close to the base and replant for, hopefully, another venus Fly Trap plant! Some advise is to cut the flower stalks as soon as they apple as the additional energy to produce the flowers can be a little too much for indoor plants. Something for you to think about and depends on how yours are faring.
bunches of love
🌻 Cheralyn xx
It is said that if one wears the flowers of St John's Wort that they will be protected from evil, negativity, malevolent spirits and illness. A powerful herbal remedy, it is used as a calmative and pain reliever.
The common name St John's Wort comes to us from a Christian story about the Devil wanting to rid the world of herbal cures. It is said that he stabbed the planting anger which only made it bleed the blood of St John the Baptist and then increased it's medicinal powers. There is also a claim that it's red spots appear on 29th August each year (the day St John was beheaded).
But to go back a little further, the plant was very strongly associated with the Pagan Midsummer Festival where it was prized for it's fertility powers and as a protector against evil spirits.
If St John's Wort comes to you in an oracle reading, or as a message then you are being reminded to look after yourself, that you might even be in a situation of conflict that needs greater attention from you to resolve.
There is an opportunity for growth, for the physical realisation of dreams and progression in your goals.
Gardening: It is so easy to grow and likes a well drained soil in a warm to dry environment, but my fellow Australian friends, it is unfortunately a huge problem to our environment where it does take over and competes unfavourably with our Native plants. Elsewhere, check with your local environmental authorities.
bunches of love
🌻 Cheralyn xx
I’m contacted daily by people who would would like me to share how I discover the meanings of flowers. Most are writing or creating things based on the Language of Flowers.
Do I receive the information from Spirit? Faeries? Intuition?
Do I have certain/favourite/special books which contain these secrets?
Do I just make them up?
Most people want that magick key, that one source or place, but I cannot give it to them.
Not because I’m mean-spirited but because there is not one key, one place. It’s actually
’out there’ in Nature. It’s in gardening books, complementary health books, it’s in the stories of people from all over the world and from the folklore whispered down time.
Like many of these people who contact me, I did want one book, one resource, to contain keywords, but even that came at a great cost. One I gladly paid. In time, in experience, in patience.
Although there are many ‘Language of Flowers’ books, most are whimsical pieces which do not contain the botanical names and they do not go deep enough nor do they reach back far enough to source material to ensure accurate meanings. This is why I wrote Flowerpaedia. I wanted something handy to contain as many Flower meanings as possible that everyone could reference easily. It is a tool that I couldn’t find and I wanted so I thought maybe others would as well. It is a beginning, not an end and I hope that those who use it see Flowerpaedia that way. These are keywords to start a conversation with Nature and I know you will hear so much more!
To find these meanings, it took take me over ten years. I did not labour every day for eight hours a day but I decided ten years ago to put my journal entries, my notes, my other titles into one place. In making that decision, I had to tidy these research notes, I had check and triple check all my entries and as I wrote a Language of Flowers translator, there was a lot of good old fashioned hard work! (The first half of book is meanings and their flowers, the second is flowers and their meanings.)
So I suppose in sharing this, what I am saying is, I can’t just hand out ‘the’ place to find all of this for your work or wonderings. You need to experience it. Go to libraries, to gardens, to the wild of nature and look, feel, listen. Speak to those who work with and for the land and most importantly, do so yourself. Grow things, love plants, share what you do as you go.
This way, you will naturally find out how to find what it is you seek but you will also find so much more and hopefully give back as you become a part of the conversation between people and plants.
bunches of blessings,
🌺 FLOWER OF THE DAY ~ Bee Balm
One of my favourite North American prairie flowers. I fell for Bee Balm pretty hard when I lived there as I really hadn't been familiar with it before. Fragrant, oh so pretty and humming birds love them too.
Bee Balm has been used by Native Americans as a cure for fevers, sore thoughts, headaches and general pain. In the late 18th century, American Colonialists used it as a substitute for tea and it was known as Oswego tea.
Bee Balm meanings connect with healing pathways so that you can receive guidance clearly. Tension can be indicated but like pressure creates a diamond, you should find eventual benefit from challenges faced at present.
Gardening! Perennial Mondara, a member of the mint family, love a sunny spot and will flower beautifully in Spring, dying back in winter. As a mint, they love a moist though well drained sit and a fairly open position and like mint, they can get out of hand, spreading quickly so choose your spot well.
bunches of love
🌻 Cheralyn xx
PS: Sharing of the Flower of the Day post is totally ok too.
*information is for education purposes only
In many traditions, Mugwort is considered a flower/plant of protection, especially against evil spirits, witchcraft and for protection of the home.
In Japan, it is used by some to rid the body of the forces/spirits which cause illness. Native American use includes wearing mugwort to prevent the influence of evil spirits.
The use as a herb which assists divination is fairly widespread. Teas and incenses are said to promote psychic and clairvoyant abilities and creating a mist or wash to bath divination tools can cleanses, protect and boost their energies. Astral projection and prophetic dreams can be supported by sleeping with mugwort in a pillow.
The common name is derived from it's use to flavour beer before the use of hops. As the family latin name suggests, it is strongly associated with the Goddess Artemis and it is an interesting exploration through herbal lore and the use of mugwort in anything from **female fertility to the healing of wounds from wild animals. Mugwort is also a natural insect repellant and can also be made up into a general household cleaner.
Perhaps my favourite piece of Mugwort Botanical Lore comes from the Ancient Romans: If you face a very long walk or day of walking (as their soldiers often did), place a piece of mugwort in each of your shoes before sunrise. This is said to not only stop your feet hurting but will keep you going as long as you must!
Gardening! Oh yes you can grow mugwort, it really is fairly easy. Although it will prefer sun, it can tolerate semi shade and make sure you have soil well-drained but a little on the moist side. You may prefer a large pot as they have a fast spreading root system which will, (as with others of this family), adversely affect neighbouring plants. The roots actually leech out chemicals which will kill off the roots of other plants.
🌻 Cheralyn xx
*all information for educational purposes only
**PLEASE NOTE: pregnant woman must not handle or consume mugwort as it can bring on contractions.
FLOWER OF THE DAY ~ Witch Hazel ( Hamamelis virginiana )
If you are looking to ease emotional heartache, then Witch Hazel is the flower/plant for you (remember the energy of the flower runs through the entire plant).
Very good when used in spells and in tools and amulets to protect from evil and negative energies. Can assist in divination.
If you are resonating with this Flower, you may need to break free of an energy which is holding you emotionally. Realise that it is ok to put yourself and your plans ahead of others at the moment.
bunches of love,
🌻 Cheralyn xx
🌸 Flower of the Week ~ Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)
After a lot of requests from all of you lovely Blossoms, the first in a new weekly series exploring a different Flower.
Botanical History, Gardening, Myths, Legends, Ethnobotany, Floristry, Flower Essences and other uses, in fact anything I do not cover ~ please feel very welcome to continue the chat and exploration in the comments below.
bunches of love,