• LAUREL LAURUS NOBILIS - plant generic

LAUREL LAURUS N. - meaning


(taken from the book of Alfredo Cattabiani "Florario. Myths, legends, and symbols of flowers and plants", Editions of Oscar Mondadori. A book to read and consult ! )










One day, Apollo saw Eros; he tended the bow, took the game to him:

"You, the divine child, with a weapon so powerful? These are loads that suit my shoulders. You just turn the passions with the torch and not attribuirti that that falls to me".

"Phoebus," said the boy, "your arrows pierce men and animals, but my pierce you!", and clapping their wings, flew on Parnassus plotting a revenge.

Out from the quiver two arrows, one of gold, and from the sharp point that would spark the passion of love, the other of lead, and checked, that the prevented.

With the first wounded Apollo go to the very marrow, with the second pierced the nymph Daphne, the daughter of a Penis, a river of Thessaly, son of oceanus and Thetis.

The girl, following the example of the chaste Diana, she refused all the suitors who asked for a wife, because he preferred to live free running for the woods.

Often the father said to her, "Daughter, a son-in-law you owe me, you owe me grandsons".

But she clung to the neck of the parent, and begged him:

"Grant me, I pray thee, to enjoy perpetual virginity. To Diana, his father granted him".

Wounded by the dart of gold, Apollo fell, burning in passion, in pursuit of the nymph that reached by the lead, fled to the woods fearing to lose her virginity.

"Stop" the screaming god "is not a hillbilly, nor a crude, guardian of flocks and herds. You don't know, reckless, to those who escape. Jupiter is my father, and I know that that will be, was and is."

Not the gave no rest and was about to grab it when Daphne, she was exhausted from that run frantic, he pleaded with the father's Penis: "Father, help me! If rivers have divine power, deliver me from this figure that too I loved it, tramutala another."

Was granted: an invincible torpor invaded her body, the skin shining across the sky in thin skin, the hair into leaves, her arms branches, feet in sluggish roots, and the face in the top of a laurel.

So it has been the scene of Gian Lorenzo Bernini in sculpture, preserved in the Borghese Gallery of Rome, succeeding wonderfully to evoke the dynamism in the marble.

But the love of god was the most vehement of witchcraft.

Apollo put his right hand on the trunk of the tree, and felt that under the bark the chest reluctant of the nymph continued to tremble, and he clutched passionately the branches, laid hold of them.

"If you can not I the bride," sighed ", you are at least my plant. Or Daphne [laurel in Greek], you themes are always my hair, the quiver and the lyre. And as my youthful head plentiful is the harvest eternally, so you fregerai for always of green leaves." While he spoke, the crown of the tree swaying softly seemed to give in finally to the love of god.

Ovid had elaborated a Greek myth in which it was said that Apollo, in love with a long time of Dafne, had resulted in the death of his rival, Leucippo.

Daphne, the daughter of Amicla, not lived in the city, but a lover of hunting and the wild, down ever from the mountains.

Leucippo, the son of Enomao, the king of Elide, he fell in love, and to be able to bring disguises herself as a young girl mixed with the companions who traveled with her to the valleys.

Dafne is attached to that ambiguous "companion", to the point of not care to separate.

Apollo, who had spotted from the time of the maiden, and he feared that sooner or later Leucippo would have seduced, decided to do it to unmask.

Inspired Daphne and her companions the desire to bathe in a spring; but as Leucippo did not want to undress, the nymphs forced him
with the strength to discover her true identity.

Sdegnate, grabbed the lance, pouncing on him to kill him, but the gods, out of compassion, made him invisible.

It was then that Apollo rushed to grab Daphne; but the latter managed to escape from him by asking Zeus to be saved: and the ruler of the heavens, transformed her into a laurel.

These two episodes legendary are the echoes of a cult preellenico, which had as its theatre the valley of Tempe, where flows to the Penis, and from where, according to myth, Apollo took the laurel at Delphi.

In the wilderness the goddess Daphne, the "purple-red" or "bloody", was worshipped by a college of Maenads, orgiastiche kneaders of bay leaves.

By that goddess from the head of the dam depended on a king, perhaps the name Leucippo, the "white horse", who reigned only one year and then be done to shreds by the maenads, who, after the bloody ceremony, paddled, to purify themselves.

When the priestesses of Dafne were driven out of Thessaly by the invading Hellenes, who worshipped the Apollo iperboreo, took refuge in Crete.

There, according to Plutarch, they would have worshipped the goddess under the name of Pasiphae, "the one who is light for all", epithet of the Moon.

In Greece, instead, Dafne was reduced by history to a nymph and transformed into a laurel, that is subordinated to the worship of the god.

In honor of Apollo, the bearer of lauro (dafnefóros) is celebrated every eight or nine years Dafneforie in various places of Greece: the celebrations were particularly solemn at Thebes and at Delphi, where a procession of noble youth on his way to Tempe, referring to the mythical journey of the god after the killing of the serpent Python.

A crown made from tree adorned the head of the dafnefóros, the most beautiful child of Thebes, that was to be the service of the temple of Apollo.

In Delphi, only the Pythia could be chewing the leaves of which was the prophecy.

In ancient times it was called plant prophetic, because it was an attribute of god, "who knows what that will be and was and is".

Branches of laurel were burning for ipnotizzarsi on their rattle and have a glimpse of the future: as much as it was dense, much more so if they drew out favorable auspices.

Wrote Tibullus:

"and the laurels lit on fire rituals

send a crackle of good luck,

and with that auspicious omen there will be a holy year, rich and happy.

When the lauro offers good wishes, rejoice, or the settlers:

Ceres will cover ears, the full granary."

The custom has come down to the threshold of our century: in the emilia-romagna countryside you drew hopes on the future crop by burning laurel leaves;
if the crackle was lively, the harvest would be abundant.

At Delphi was celebrated every eight years, the Pythian games, which took the name from the serpent Python, guardian of the oracle of Daphne, and subdued by Apollo: to the winners of the races you offered a crown of laurel.

The solar plant could not fail to suggest the symbol of victory, so much so that Ovid was to say to god that embraced his Daphne transformed into a tree:
When the remaining songs themes are the solemn triumphs
and long the pumps will see the Capitol,
you will be on the head of the leaders of the romans:
you will be a faithful guardian in front of the doors of the imperial
and the oak mirerai which is in the middle.

The victorious general sent ahead to Rome by the messengers who brought in the Capitol a few twigs deponendoli on the knees of Jupiter best and greatest.

Then he arrived in the city, with the beams decorated with laurel, on a chariot drawn by four horses, crowned with the same plant, and he himself held in his right hand a twig while the left hand held a sceptre of ivory,
surmounted by an eagle; and even his forehead was crowned with laurel.

With the advent of the empire, the laurel was reserved to the emperors, after the miracle narrated by Pliny in Naturalis historia:

"Livia Drusilla, who took through marriage the name of Augusta, when he was betrothed to Caesar Augustus, while sitting, you saw it fall in her lap a hen of remarkable whiteness that an eagle had left the rain from the top, unscathed.

While still observed without feeling fear, there was another miracle because the hen was holding in the beak a branch of laurel load of berries.

The soothsayers ordered to preserve the volatile and the offspring, as well as to plant that branch and keep it religiously.

The prescription was carried out in the country mansion of the Caesars, at the banks of the Tiber, on via Flaminia, nine miles from Rome, a place that is called for this reason To gallims, where he was born miraculously in a grove of trees.

From that moment Caesar Augustus, while he was celebrating his triumphs, he held in his hand the laurel coming from that wood and he made a crown which he wore on his head.

After him, this was a custom common to all the emperors".

Suetonius tells us that a few months before the death of Nero, the last emperor of the julio-claudian dynasty founded by Augustus, the whole forest withered up to the roots, and they died all the hens.

The symbol of the victory that is connected to the laurel was then taken by the christians to allude to the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs, their spiritual victory and eternal life.


To The Moon, that in archaic Greece was the source of poetry, spoke even Homer to the beginning of the Iliad: "sing me, o diva del Pelide Achille the wrath".

Then with the advent of the cult of Apollo and Artemis, came from the island of Delos, the function of the supreme inspirer of the poetry passed over to the solar god, who became the master of the Muses according to Hesiod, held in his hand a twig of laurel.

They were daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, Memory, daughter of Uranus and Gaea, or of Heaven and Earth before Chrono them separated evirando the father.

So the goddess was the "memory" of the original communion of the heavenly and of the earthly.

The was dedicated to one of the two sources that the dead encountered in Hades. The souls of those who had freed themselves from the passions, drank at the source of the fresh water of life and, leaving the cycle of painful existence, is ricongiungevano to the gods.

Those of the wicked are watered instead of at the source, called Lethe, Forgetfulness, losing the memory of their earthly existence, and then were thrown into a deep pond, a metaphor of darkness and eternal damnation.

However, if evil were not all they were going in life with other bodies.

Pindar tells of the wedding of Jupiter and Mnemosyne, the groom asked the of what is lacking to them again; and they answered: "The celebrants".

So, the god ruler of the world, coupled for nine days in a row with Mnemosyne.

After nine months the bride bare, not far from Olympus, nine daughters who loved only sing: the Muse, that had as its master

They are, therefore, the hymn that celebrates the Sacred, inspired by god, who is the Light and Harmony of the world: Calliope for epic poetry, Clio for history, Euterpe for lyric poetry, Melpomene for tragedy, Terpsichore of dance, Erato the erotic poetry and mime, Polinnia for sacred poetry, Urania of astronomy, Thalia for comedy.

Thus, the ancient prerogative of the Moon goddess to be the first source of poetic inspiration was absorbed by the new religion hyperborea
where triumphed Apollo.

There remained an echo in the nine Muses holding a branch of laurel; a plant which appears also in a medieval legend about our greatest poet, narrated by Boccaccio in the Life of Dante: "I Say, then, that the mother of our poet, being pregnant with that pregnancy, which it then in due time he was born, sleeping, it seemed in his sleep to see itself to be at the bottom of a high bay, beside a clear fountain, there to give birth to a son, which seemed to feed the berries from the laurel fell down on drinking desiderosamente of the water of that fountain: and by this food, nudrido, the parea that in a little time to grow up, and become a pastor, and in view of the great vagueness is showing to have of the leaves of the laurel, the berries that had nutricato, and striving to have those, next to it the joint was, the seem to be that he fell; and, waiting for ella to see him stand up, not him, but in place of he seemed to be seeing a beautiful paone be raised".

This symbolism is related to the renaissance in the allegorical image of the Furor poetic: "a Young, vibrant & ruddy" the used to describe the cavalier Ripa "with Those at the head, crowned with laurel, & surrounded by hedera, standing in the act of writing: but with the face turned to the sky ". The wings indicated the speed of the intellect and the poetic, and the face ruddy, out of the abundance of creativity, the furor poeticus donated by the Sky to the Poets.

With a crown of laurel, bachelor, senator Bear of Anguillara crowned on April 8th, 1341, in the Capitol, Petrarch, who had dedicated the plant apollonian some of the sonnets allegorical playing sapienzialmente the myth of Apollo and Daphne, became Laura in Italian: from the Latin hurus what is feminine in gender.

To understand the significance allegorical of those verses you need to revisit the myth with profound echoes of ovid.

Laura-Daphne is struck by a dart of lead: a metaphor of the human psyche, chained to his ego and his impulses, reluctant to the work that is alchemy.

But her resistance did not last long.

"Mutami" implores the father's Penis ", and take this figure, which too me was so dear".

And, behold, little by little, Daphne loses its "nature leaden" by transforming into a plant.

By running water aloof as molten lead - is the daughter of a water god - becomes the plant, or air, as each tree from the vast crown is the symbol of the air.

When Apollo embraces her, saying: "If I can be the bride you'll be my tree," Daphne gives in finally to the god, becomes air impregnated with the fire of the Spirit, "golden hair", or wisdom.

From that moment on, Daphne-Laura lives in Aurora, in the intellect the virgin.

And Laura-Wisdom converts the heart of the poet:

When I see the sky come down out of the aurora
co' to the front of rose and co' crin d'oro,
Love cometh upon me; wherefore I discoloro,
and I say with a sigh: - there is Laura now.

The poetic game of the Petiarca weaves an infinite number of variations on this to you but with an accumulation of metaphors, almost a kaleidoscope where the images overlap to mean that, having reached a certain height, the spiritual, the rational discourse is not enough:

The aura that '1 the green laurel and the golden hair
you softly sigh and move
ago with its views legiadrette and nine
the souls from their bodies warming.

The radiance of the laurel is also found among the Guarani in the forests of Paraguay, which they considered as one of the images of the cosmic Tree, the Axis of the world, whose ashes mixed with honey to purify.

Is this the tree of protosciamano, the solar hero, with his wooden factory the ballot box where is placed the skeleton of the dead babies to get responses from dowsing.

It is also called "the rod of the Creator", by means of the water of life.

A plant with such symbolism can't help but have the virtue of energy.
The leaves of the laurel tree (Laurus nobilis), dried and used in infusion or in decoction, are in fact stimulating and antiseptic and helps the digestion,
taking care of the turmoil the digestive, tension produced by aerophagia or aerogastria and intestinal fermentation abnormal.

The oil extracted from the fruit, is prodigious to treat pain in the joints; and a thin layer sprinkled on the coat protects the animals from the flies.

The plant, you know, is also used in cuisine to flavor venison, and to scent various sauces.


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