Monday, September 17, 2012

Flowers of Love

Lo Scarabeo's Flowers of Love cards cover a cross-section of flower meanings and symbolism from cultures all over the world:  Ancient Greece, Northern Europe, Eastern Asia, etc.  I was given this deck as a gift, and was excited to have it, because I thought it would be a handy reference tool for flower symbolism.  But unfortunately, no.  It's still pretty cool, but really, some of the references are so obscure or plain not-that-useful that I'll still go online to look up flower meanings when I need them.   For example, the meaning given for the peony is "Forbidden Thrills"...




...based on a Chinese legend about the peony defying an empress who ordered all the flowers to bloom on her birthday.  So according to the card, the peony represents rebellion and exciting defiance.  But this reference is so out-there, even when I looked up Chinese peony symbolism, it's rarely mentioned at all.  A lot of the other cards have similarly baffling legends associated with them, like the columbine card....




...which references what appears to be an Italian legend revolving around a couple named Teodogene and Rutibrando, who were part of a Germanic group that settled in Italy in the Middle Ages.  Wow.  See what I mean?  The very definition of "obscure".

Some of the other cards:






I imagine that this deck wasn't meant to be used for anything other than the specific sort of divination made up by the authors, as the included booklet gives detailed instructions on how to do readings with the cards.  But, personally, it's hard for me to see real meaning in cards that describe things that have almost nothing to do with anything I can actually connect to or have even ever heard of.  Also, the Victorian Language of Flowers is so well-known and entrenched, if you were to use this deck as a tool to help you choose which flowers to give to someone, you could run into trouble.  For example, the most common symbolism for orchids is based around purity, refinement, and luxury, which is why it's usually considered a nice one to give to your mother.  According to the card above, though, giving someone an orchid basically means "I wanna sex you up!"

Sooo....yeah.  Anyway.  If you'd like to use this deck to do readings with, and are happy to follow the exact meanings and instructions given in the included booklet, then you're good.  As always, these are only my personal opinions, and your mileage may vary.  It's not that I think this deck shouldn't exist or anything, I just think I'll go look up a reliable Victorian Language of Flowers reference and be on my merry way.


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