Myrtle – Harmony
Genus: Myrtus – Family: Myrtaceae
Myrtle is a flowering evergreen tree that encourages us to slow down and connect with the harmonious cycles of life, death and rebirth to help us transform sadness and grief into love and hope.
Myrtle is the sacred tree of Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love) and Adonis (Greek god of beauty and desire). His mother Myrrha had been transformed into a myrtle tree, Myrtus communis, before giving birth to Adonis. Aphrodite fell in love with Adonis, who died in her arms. His blood combined with her tears gave birth to anemone flowers, making Adonis an archetypal deity of life, death and rebirth.
Empedocles (Greek philosopher 490–430BCE) felt that the forces of nature (earth, air, water, fire) were eternally brought into union through love and separated by strife. This harmony of external and opposing forces speaks to the importance doing our inner work.
In Jewish mysticism, myrtle trees were thought to carry the scent (essence) of the Garden of Eden. Myrtles are associated with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and the sefirot named Tiphereth, located in the center or heart of the tree. Here compassion balances judgment, creating harmony between expansion and restriction, love and strife, giving and receiving.
Myrtle is one of four sacred species (myrtle, willow, date and citron) used in the Jewish celebration of Sukkot. These four plants are ceremoniously offered each day for seven days to commemorate the fall harvest as a time of renewal and harmony. Because of its harmonizing properties, myrtle was a traditional part of wedding bouquets or given as a gift as a symbol of union.
Myrtle has been known as a medicinal tree since 2500 BCE. Hippocrates and Pliny the Elder wrote of the health benefits of myrtle. The common myrtle, Myrtus communis, is a native tree that lived on Mediterranean, Macaronesian, West Asia and India.
Myrtle trees feature star-like flowers, round berries and fragrant leaves similar to eucalyptus, which can be used to treat congestion. It is also high in salicylic acid, a compound used in aspirin to treat pain. Myrtle berries and leaves are used as spices in Mediterranean cuisine and as a substitute for pepper.
Message: The spirit of the myrtle heralds a time of love, new beginnings and expansion after a period of contraction and endings. This could manifest in the form of a new relationship. Partnership, marriage, engagement, graduation or the birth of a child. This is a time of celebration that brings balance and harmony into our life during difficult times. We are being reminded to not judge or hold limiting beliefs about other people or events. By releasing judgement, we allow the harmony of opposites to flow naturally among us all. This is how we encourage love to grow.
Challenge: Judging others thus restricting outcomes that hold us trapped in compromising and uncomfortable situations.
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