The Sacred Art of Self-decoration

July 27, 2018

“I learned about the sacred art of self decoration with the monarch butterflies perched atop my head, lightning bugs as my night jewelry, and emerald-green frogs as bracelets.”

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD


Grace-note this week: My sister gave me a gardenia–the permanent kind!  Creamy white, with leaves of dark green. There’s a pin on the back, to attach it to one’s person.  To thank her, I took a selfie with my computer. I call it “duded up to go preach.”  And yes I know the gardenia seems to be poised for escape.  Pin-placement is an art, and mine needs to be refined!

Photo on 7-25-18 at 5.24 PM.jpg

So I got to the place of preaching, began my homily, looked up after Paragraph 2, and there sat my son, who had slipped in.  On his lap, my enchanting granddaughter, six months old. She comported herself well for the remainder of my talk. Well, she wriggled a lot, but kept silence.  When I sat down I took this animated bundle of heaven into my lap.  First thing she found: the gardenia!  Already, an eye for beauty!  She fingered it carefully. As a sign of her reverence she refrained from seizing it and putting it in her mouth.


Yesterday I went to her house to keep her for the afternoon. Her regular sitter had bought her some small “jelly” sandals.  Clear, sparkly.  Adorning the toes: white flowers. White goes with everything!

“In Victorian times flowers were used to convey messages between people.  When a person was unable to outright express their feelings of love for another, it was and still is a  common practice to say it with flowers…Gardenias are given to convey “you’re lovely”. Used in this way, the gardenia is a flower that can be given to lovers, friends, and family. It’s a way of telling them how lovely they are. And because the color of the gardenia is white, it also signifies purity. This flower is a wonderful addition to a wedding bouquet as it fits any color theme and it also brings the message of love and purity. Other commonly associated meanings are: trust, hope, clarity, dreams, intuition, renewal, alignment, friendship, innocence, protection, self-reflection, trust.”

Author: Phoebe Dishman

Phoebe H. Dishman was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. An essayist and poet, she teaches adult Sunday school, compiles a monthly prayer calendar, edits the Big Thicket Association quarterly bulletin, and keeps a keen eye and ear open for birds.

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