Peony – Paeonia officinalis

Sacred to: Unknown

Myth 1: Paeon was a student of Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing. He was once instructed by Leto (Apollo’s mother and goddess of fertility) to obtain a magical root growing on Mount Olympus that would soothe the pain of women in childbirth. Asclepius became jealous and threatened to kill his pupil. Zeus saved him by changing him into the lovely flower we know today as the peony.

Myth 2: Another myth tells the story of Paeon, a physician who was saved from the fate of dying as other mortals. He was turned into the flower known as the peony.

Myth 3: Mischievous nymphs were said to hide in the petals of the Peony thus causing this magnificent flower to be given the meaning of Shame or Bashfulness in the Language of Flowers

Myth 4: One story links the peony to the moon. It was believed that the moon goddess created this flower to reflect the moon’s beams during the night.

Myth 5: According to legend, powerful forces reside in the blossom of a plant that glows in the dark on the night of a full moon. Seeds from certain peonies radiate a pale light in the darkness. To keep the magic, the roots could only be dug during the night. According to the legend, punishment for disturbing a peony during daylight hours was terrible; woodpeckers would appear and peck the culprit’s eyes out.

Other Notes: It is believed that Peony is named after Paeon (also known as Paean), who was a healing deity who had healed Hades’ and Ares’ wounds.

Together with the plum blossom, the peony is a national floral symbol of the country of China. The Chinese name for peony means “beautiful” and in Chinese culture the flowers represent riches, prosperity and honor. In Western culture, the peony serves as the symbol for the 12th wedding anniversary, and in the language of flowers, represents good fortune and a happy marriage. In Victorian times, it might also have represented bashfulness, since mischievous nymphs were said to hide in its magnificent petals.

In magic Peonies are used to protect the home, get rid of negative effects, and to bring you luck. It was also believed that Peonies attracted Fairies to the garden.

Particularly sacred in the Correllian Tradition, Peony flowers and petals promote good luck, good fortune, prosperity and business success. The Peony seed however, sometimes called a “Jumby Bean”, promotes dissension and strife.

Peony flowers

Peony flowers

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