VI. Pomegranate – Love – Passion
Genus: Punica – Family: Lythraceae
Pomegranate signals a time of passion, fertility and discernment. They are symbolic of love, & fertility, suffering & immortality, life & death as well as inner alchemy. Empedocles (Greek philosopher 490–430BCE) felt that the forces of nature were continually brought into union through love and separated by strife.
Pomegranates were symbolic of agriculture in the Eleusinian mystery schools. Persephone (Goddess of Underworld) beloved daughter of Demeter (Goddess of Agriculture) was captured by Hades (God of Underworld). Persephone ate pomegranate seeds given to her by Hades, this bound her to live three months underground (winter) before she would be reborn in spring to live for nine months. This eternal story gave birth to the allegory of the four seasons.
According to legend, Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love, desire, fertility and beauty) planted the first pomegranate tree on the island of Cyprus. The word aphrodisiac is attributed to her, which is why pomegranates are also associated with passion and love. They have even been identified as the “forbidden fruit” of the biblical Tree of Knowledge. To ancient Hebrews pomegranates represented the seeds of the “promised land.”
In Exodus 28:33-35: The Hebrew god asked that pomegranates decorate the robe of the high priest.
In 1 Kings 7:15-22 Pomegranates were said to be engraved on the pillars Jachim (right/mercy) and Boaz (left/strength) that stood at the entrance of King Solomon’s temple. Each had 200 pomegranates encircling them. Jachim (Sun/day/light/male) & Boaz (Moon/night/dark/female) symbolized the duality and harmony of the human/soul journey. They are thought to represent the left and right branches of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. The entrance or space in-between is the central “self-giving” trunk as an aspect of unity and wholeness. When we come into union with our self, we become whole or “holy.” The “Holy of Holies” was also engraved with pomegranates, as the holder of holy “seeds”.
In Roman myth, Pomona, (Latin pomun, “fruit of the trees”) was the protector goddess of fruitful abundance. Pomegranate, Punica granatum is French for pomme “apple” and granatum “seeded.” The abundance of seeds in a pomegranate is seen as a symbol of fertility. Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli depicted the infant Jesus holding an open pomegranate as a symbol of his suffering and resurrection.
Pomegranate juice is healthy and delicious, reminding us of the medicinal power of love. Pomegranates are deciduous trees that are native to the Middle East and Himalayas, they were loved and cultivated throughout the Mediterranean. Spaniards brought them to America in 1769. A single pomegranate can hold between 200-1400 seeds. Each seed is held in an “arils” that contains red juice. The deep red exterior color of a pomegranate along with its juice are often associated with the blood that flows through our veins.
Message: Pomegranate reminds us to love with a passion that fills our life with meaning, truth and depth. This is a time of abundance and discernment as it pertains to our loved ones. There are important issues to understand regarding relationships and our desire to feel loved. Pursuing our passion requires healthy boundaries that bring balance to our mind, body and soul. By remaining open to love we are able to live with love in our heart.
Challenge: Feeling love sick, jealous or desperate for love. Being overly demonstrative and gushing, to gain attention and love. Compromising our core values to pursue superficial love and unhealthy attachments. This is a time of regaining love and respect for our self before searching for love in others.