Man in the Moon Marigolds
You might remember the film or play from 1972: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Paul Zindel.
The plot surrounded an eccentric family with a single mother and two daughters. One daughter of gifted intelligence performs a science experiment using gamma rays on the common marigold. Some of the flowers die, while others are transformed and mutated into fantastical new beings of creation. Similarly the two daughters either flourish or whither and fade away under the uncertainty and difficulties of their upbringing.
Consider the marigold. A rather common flower which is often ostracized from more elegant and formal gardens. Indeed, when I worked in a garden center in the 80’s I was told not to plant marigolds…too common and against the aesthetics of any horticulture snob. Lots of things were like that in the 80’s. I dutifully took this to heart and never planted them unless they were surrounding a vegetable garden to keep out rabbits.
However, someone recently turned the gamma rays onto marigolds for me.
I have come to learn in many spiritual practices and cultures they are sacred. Both Mayan and Aztec cultures used them for healing properties, and to honor gods and spirits. The fragrance is said to guide the spirits and help them on their journey. Marigolds are used to decorate the statues of the Hindu Deities and in medieval times the flower was called Mary Gold after the Virgin Mary as she was believed to have worn them in her hair.
So I began to consider the marigold in a new light and I started to work with this humble flower. Humble it is, a marigold is plentiful, hardy, they grow in great profusion and flower non-stop. They are also pretty cheap. You see them lining the sidewalk gardens around strip malls and in mass plantings in front of gas stations. Yes, humble and therein lies a great deal of their newfound appeal for me.
Humility is the egos foil, each of us from the time we are born and learn we are an individual must wrestle with the ego mind/desires/demands and the humility of the soul. The ego says we are a prize winning rose and the soul reminds us we are a marigold.
I took a ritual bath with this little flower the other night. The water was blue from my bath bomb and the bright orange heads of the bobbing marigolds made me smile. They were completely unfazed by the water secure and strong unlike rose petals which whither and wilt very quickly. There was nothing delicate about this sturdy and happy little flower, it simply joined me in the tub bringing it’s strong and distinctive scent. Happy to be bright, vibrant and strong.
Reminding me of how beautiful we are when we are ourselves; when our ego is secure enough to be humble.