Happy New Beginnings and a Prosperous 2016! The pomegranate lucky charm is a Greek custom related to Good Luck and abundance. Every New Year here in Greece each family breaks a pomegranate outside their houses’ doorsteps so its ruby seeds to disperse all over the place, bring a real explosion as the french name for pomegranate suggests. A flavory super food full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals especially high in immune-boosting.
The name pomegranate comes from Medieval Latin meaning “seeded apple.” It has been named in many ancient texts from the Book of Exodus in the Torah, the Quran, the Homeric Hymns, and Mesopotamian records, to name a few. The pomegranate originally came from Persia, or modern day Iran, and the western Himalayas.
Ancient Greeks believed that the fruit was a gift from Zeus, as a reward for their devotion. A more dramatic Greek myth suggests that it was related to the story of Persephone, queen of the underworld and goddess of the reviving crops. When Pluto abducted Persephone to the underworld, her mother, Demeter, goddess of nature, grieved the world into famine. Zeus intervened, forcing Pluto to return her to earth, provided she had not eaten in the interim. But Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds to quench her thirst. As a compromise, Persephone was to spend six months on Earth, followed by six months in Hades. Demeter agreed to provide weather for each, giving the world winter and summer.
Wild pomegranates are said to contain 613 seeds, one for each of the commandments in the Old Testament.
Many Christian and Jewish mystics today believe that the pomegranate tree, in fact, is the true Tree of Life, and that it was a pomegranate, not an apple.
Shakespeare used the symbolism of a pomegranate tree in Romeo and Juliet to represent true love, forbidden love, and sweet innocence between Romeo and Juliet.
Thinking of stories written on pomegranates then a name came up. Oscar Wilde has written “A House of Pomegranates” four short fairy tales, which as Wilde has said : they are “meant partly for children, and partly for those who have kept the childlike faculties of wonder and joy, and who find in simplicity a subtle strangeness.” This collection includes the following tales: The Young King, The Birthday of the Infanta, The Fisherman and his Soul, and The Star-child. Readers of all ages will be delighted by these fanciful tales starting the new year reading or even re-reading these fairy tales considering their messages in a different way.
Choosing a poem on pomegranates I thought of the Greek poet Odysseas Elytis (1911-1996) who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1979. His poem under the title The “Mad Pomegranate tree” is an expression of Joy and Energy that The Mad Pomegranate Tree can offer to anyone willing to receive its Light and Waves of change.
Till next Friday’s Rock Post I wish you hear the wind bringing the pomegranate’s message for a happier 2016!
The Mad Pomegranate Tree by Odysseas Elytis.
In these all-white courtyards where the south wind blows
Whistling through vaulted arcades, tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That leaps in the light, scattering its fruitful laughter
With windy wilfulness and whispering, tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That quivers with foliage newly born at dawn
Raising high its colours in a shiver of triumph?
On plains where the naked girls awake,
When they harvest clover with their light brown arms
Roaming round the borders of their dreams–tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree,
Unsuspecting, that puts the lights in their verdant baskets
That floods their names with the singing of birds–tell me
Is it the mad pomegranate tree that combats the cloudy skies of the world?
On the day that it adorns itself in jealousy with seven kinds of feathers,
Girding the eternal sun with a thousand blinding prisms
Tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That seizes on the run a horse’s mane of a hundred lashes,
Never sad and never grumbling–tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That cries out the new hope now dawning?
Tell me, is that the mad pomegranate tree waving in the distance,
Fluttering a handkerchief of leaves of cool flame,
A sea near birth with a thousand ships and more,
With waves that a thousand times and more set out and go
To unscented shores–tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That creaks the rigging aloft in the lucid air?
High as can be, with the blue bunch of grapes that flares and celebrates
Arrogant, full of danger–tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That shatters with light the demon’s tempests in the middle of the world
That spreads far as can be the saffron ruffle of the day
Richly embroidered with scattered songs–tell me, is it the mad pomegranate tree
That hastily unfastens the silk apparel of day?
In petticoats of April first and cicadas of the feast of mid-August
Tell me, that which plays, that which rages, that which can entice
Shaking out of threats their evil black darkness
Spilling the sun’s embrace intoxicating birds
Tell me, that which opens its wings on the breast of things
On the breast of our deepest dreams, is that the mad pomegranate tree?
Translation Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard