Traditionally, cultures throughout the world have used flowers and flower petals for many types of sacred practices. The lotus flower has been an auspicious symbol in Indian culture symbolizing divinity, fertility, wealth, knowledge and enlightenment. The ancient Greeks wrote extensively about Cleopatra using rose petals for health, beauty and aphrodisiac purposes. Most notably when Cleopatra covered the floors of her palace with freshly harvested rose petals to a depth of half a meter – to entice and lure Mark Antony. And most recently in our own culture, it’s a common tradition to have the bride proceeded by a flower girl who scatters flower petals along the street and aisle on the way to the church alter to signify the bride’s happiness.
I’m not as
desperate forward as Cleopatra, and the last flower girl I saw in a wedding cried so hard she puked – but I do love using petals – almost everyday in fact. I love spending the last half hour of the day gather petals from my garden. I usually go straight for the roses, those full and fragrant petals always call out to be plucked first. I try to only get the ones that are clearly on their way out… a rose that looks like this has perfect bathing petals:
Once I’ve gathered my rose petals, I usually meander down the driveway, towards the back garden to collect some purple sweet peas, orange calendula, marigold and even buddlea if it’s blooming. Once the sun has just about set, I’m left with a big bowl of mixed petals ready to be dumped in a hot bathtub… I swear it’s the best way to slough off a day. I’m sure there is a significant amount of scientific data that articulates how and why soaking in fresh flowers is beneficial – but I really could not care less. If it’s good enough for a bad-ass-bitch like Cleopatra, it’s good enough for me.
Another lovely way to incorporate petals in your everyday world, is through drinking (of course!). It’s so simple and easy – pluck a few small flowers and soak them in an ice tray. Perfect for ice water after a hot day or an evening cocktail!
(a violet ice cube with a dash of bourbon is my favorite!)
Please check out my shop Garden Apothecary, for more info on how petals and plants are the perfect beautifiers. I list how certain ingredients interact with our bodies and what they are known to help fight and promote. Happy soaking!
(Pics by Icebox Images)