The Resurrecting Orpheus Flower
There once lived a brilliant and unequivocally charming musician and poet who captivated all living beings with the angelic sounds of his voice and lyre. Orpheus, the son of the mythical god Apollo and the muse Calliope, has touched the hearts of millions, even long after he left his body. His seven-string lyre was gifted to him by his father Apollo, the god of the sun and music, and his lyrical ability was passed down from his mother. Music was his breath, music was within each of his cells, and it was his music that led him to meet his beloved, Eurydice, a beautiful forest nymph.
The two met at a gathering of beasts and humans alike where Orpheus was enchanting the beings with his voice when he laid eyes upon a beautiful wood nymph—it was love at first sight (and sound). Their love was transcendent—it inspired all walks of life. It didn’t take long before they decided to seal their unwavering love with marriage.
As the mythical legend goes, Orpheus and Eurydice had an unfortunate event occur during their wedding ceremony, a ceremony that was to bestow blessings upon their sacred love—a love that was blessed by Hymenaios, the god of marriage. Set up by a malicious satyr, while walking through a field of tall grass, the stunning bride Eurydice fell into a nest of viper snakes hidden beneath the foliage and was bitten in the ankle. This grave bite took her life. Orpheus rushed to her rescue and found her lying lifeless in the field. Grief-stricken, the songs that Orpheus sang in the moments following her death brought tears to all of the nymphs and gods. This tragic event would forever change the two lovers—but from it, something magical would bloom.
Orpheus’ deep love for his beloved bride fueled his mission to bring her back to the living. He was advised to travel to the underworld and try to bargain with its keepers, Hades and Persephone, who reigned over the kingdom of the dead. It was the sorrowful songs of grief that Orpheus sang to the underworld’s hardened gatekeepers that softened them into accepting Orpheus’ plea to bring his love back to earth. The two underworld kings took pity on the heartbroken Orpheus and the three agreed upon a deal. The conditions were that Orpheus had to ascend to the living in front of Eurydice and could not look back to make sure she was still there. Upon ascension, Orpheus couldn’t help but be riddled with anxiety for his beloved and glanced back to check that she was following closely behind him. This loving glance banished his dear Eurydice to the underworld for eternity. From that tragic day forward, Orpheus was filled with the sad song of grief. From where his fallen tears landed upon the fertile soil, an immoral flower was born.
As Greek mythology tells us, Orpheus was born in the village of Gela found tucked away in the Rhodope mountains of present-day Bulgaria. The inhabitants, both the animals and people, of this mystical region are said to be the descendants of Orpheus who were called to live on the land by the sounds of Orpheus’ music. The echoes of his sweet songs can still be heard from high atop the mountain’s ancient rocks. But most magical of all are the blooms that were born from his fallen tears. Along healing mineral springs and volcanic rocks, in the high altitudes of the birthplace of Orpheus, the Orpheus flower can be seen shooting from this earth in all its luminous glory. It blooms in the form of a delicate-looking purple and white flower—one may even call its appearance ‘iridescent.’ This rare and resilient purple flower is a resurrection plant that can sustain Earth’s harshest conditions and arrive back to a lush state with only a single drop of water—a drop of water or perhaps a single tear. This beautiful botanical impressed the ancient Romans so much that they depicted it on one of their coins during the time of the Roman emperor Antonius Pius. And today, the flower has botanists and scientists alike researching its potent healing powers.
If the flower is any symbol of the undying love of Orpheus and Eurydice, then perhaps we can rest assured that through their many trials, their love has been resurrected in some far off magical land—forever in bloom.
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