Simply the fragrances of flowers and scrubs—with their sensual yet other worldly effects—have launched legends throughout history. Take myrtle, Myrtus communis. Associated with both Aphrodite and Venus—the goddesses of beauty, love, laughter, protection and joy—this tender perennial of Mediterranean origin is botanical royalty! In Greek mythology, myrtle, with its small creamy-white fragrant blossoms and waxy leaves, represented the goddess Aphrodite and adorned the Three Graces, her attendants.
“Although many plants and flowers were dedicated to Venus in Roman antiquity, the myrtle was the most sacred,” according to Deirdre Larkin, author of The Art of Illumination blog for The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Indeed, myrtle was the epithet of Venus, known as the “Heart-Turner.”
With such a legendary heritage, it’s no wonder that myrtle has been irresistible to brides through the ages. Prized by the Hebrews, and their emblem for marriage, Alchemy Works explains that “myrtle has often been associated with marriage, probably because it was originally connected with sex. In English folklore, a marriage will follow shortly after the myrtle blooms. It was a Victorian symbol of fidelity in marriage and is still thought to bring good luck at weddings.”
I love being reminded of Mother Nature’s far-reaching magical influence, from legendary ancient cultures to the fragrant awareness of the present moment. I also find delight in how Nature—especially through her “transportive” fragrances—reminds me that “pleasure” is such a wonderful, enlivening word…as in pleasing and awakening all the senses! (Why would I want to live any other way?)