What does the word orchid brings to your mind? If you were an ancient Greek, you would think about “testicles” since that is what the word orchid means in ancient Greek; which also allows us to suspect that testicles may have had a different connotation for them than for us, modern citizens (please, continue reading for a more detailed explanation).
Diversity is not a dull science word suited for seminars. Diversity is a strong poof of nature capacity for reinventing herself, over and over, in limitless fractions, all of them effective for survival but also all beautiful.
Orchid can display many meanings to human kind mainly due to its diversity. This quality enables human imagination to its best. There are more than 25.000 different species of orchids known to us, and many more yet to be discovered. This equals more than twice the total bird species and four times the number of the mammal’s.
Orchids are able to deliver many strong messages to people: love, sensuality, beauty, luxury and fertility, and they have being able to do it since ancient times. As a consequence, orchids have set all these ideas in our collective memory in a very strong manner.
Let’s take a brief look at the history of civilization where we will find some clues for the meaning of orchids in today’s world. While in this quest, be aware that this beautiful flower has being related with fertility by many cultures in history. That would explain in part its suggestive etymology from the ancient Greek word “orkhis” (?????), literally meaning “testicle“.
The orchid’s exotic shape has always inspired different uses, stories and meanings. Greek mythology gives us a romantic explanation for the origin of the orchids in “The Myth of Orchis”.
This myth tells the story of Orchis -the son of a nymph and a satyr-, who drank too much while attending a festival of Dionysios and attempted to rape a priestess of this god. For his insult, he was torn apart by the Bacchanalians. Orchis’ father prayed for him to be restored, but the gods instead changed him into a flower.
Ancient Greek culture also believed that orchids had fertility powers. They trusted that eating an orchid tuber could determine the sex of the unborn baby. It all depended upon the tuber size: if the mother ate a small tuber, then her baby would end up being a girl; but if the father ate a large one, then the baby would be set to be a boy.
Other cultures gave different meanings to orchids. In the ancient China, for instance, the Orchid became very popular as a cure for respiratory problems.
Among the Aztec people, it was common to believe that drinking a mixture of Vanilla Orchid and Chocolate would give their warriors strength and power
In the Victorian England, for instance, the Orchid became very popular among rich people and turned into a sign of luxury. Along with its popularity, its price increased and only the wealthy could afford to buy one.
All these properties are somehow held in our minds to these days. Some have being tampered by ages, other are still provoking our senses.
Although the romantic feature of the flower is the most compelling. The most important one –at least according to me- is their scientific meaning. Orchids are a strong poof of nature capacity of reinventing herself in limitless fractions, all of them effective for survival, all of them beautiful; all of them exploding creativity. Want an orchid meaning? Choose what you like the most.
NOTE: for more interesting facts about orchids visit: orchidmeaning.org