High summer always brings the fervour of ideas, enthusiasm and hope to a peak of adventure. In our world of cabled communication, and with our increasing cleverness and ambitious quest to explore 100 million solar systems for “other life” and more besides, the rest of us may marvel at one man’s bequest of $100 million for the task and how it can access research into those 100 million solar systems for hopeful future ‘visitations’.
On such a generous scale of sponsorship, it is the human buying signal rather than an extra-terrestrial ‘bleep’, which can generate significant primeval emotions to stir with speed and rise from the deep within the human core. Such excitement accomplished an instant high fever pitch across the global press. If ever on the journey for earthly truths, we can certainly reach anybody across the planet and instantly with the twittering of gossip and the promise of money.
The purpose of that pledge is to create action on the road to “all important” self discovery. News of such a far reaching experiment will have surpassed over most of our global population of almost 7bn, and we live in the Age of the New Renaissance, who knows what lies ahead? Possibly Nature.
Passiflora lands this summer
During all this commotion, on the surface of planet Earth in the balmy British summer, Flora’s bounty continues to flourish. Like the global press, Nature can be uncontrollably rampant and in the very same week as the Stephen Hawking announcement, one of Flora’s most ardent summer explorers, the passiflora, began to blossom.
A clambering army of passionflower vines could have been deliberately designed for the task of outer worldly communication. With its own type strange and exotic type of beauty, as these individual flowers grow to maturity, they each contain their own space discovery centres. When they flower, passionflowers only respond to the most intense of cosmic rays. As they open, myriads of botanic observatories hosting their own variety of exotic radio telescopes, will investigate the complexities of Nature’s astrophysics, angling themselves for full reach of the sun’s signals. Not just a species of bizarrely beautiful little faces, these starry-eyed floral ‘creatures’ come fully packaged with their own wiring and are ready to unfurl and connect on demand within the daily spin around our solar system at the drop of a sun’s ray.
During the eons of many a Sunday afternoon snooze, it would appear that such flora have developed the fine art of communicating “aliens” for free. They take their science from the sun and have perfected the craft of ‘light response’ through Time itself. From Greece to Japan, passiflora are also known as the ‘clock flower’,
New World history, Old World culture
Long before the Space Age, in a very different evolution of exploration and discovery, after Christopher Columbus had discovered the Americas, the New World provided the fascination with an almost unlimitless range of new botany. Whilst there were in existence some 15 or so Old World passionflowers, in eve of the New World just one new flora to satisfy the appetite of the senses could justify the budget of many journeys of high risk across seas and jungle. Passifloraceae revealed dozens more and now we know of over 530 known species.
Passiflora’s spiritual passage
Through the centuries, passiflora became a powerful and sacred symbol, embued multifarious meaning across the continents. Its peculiar form lent itself to many religious interpretations. Its very name comes from Christianity, symbolising the Passion of Christ, passion being the most profound of spiritual love. For the Christians, its 72 central filaments represented the crown of thorns, 10 petals for the most faithful disciples, whilst its centre was seen as the cross of the crucifixion, but also the chalice of the Holy Grail.
In the old New World, the ancient civilizations of the Incas, Mayas and Aztecs, the sun was the centre of their worship. The passionflower’s sun like radial centre, contributed to the rich mythology of a plant also known as the ‘Vine of Souls’, where inside a shrinking petal hub as it develops an enlarging orange fruit, it also houses the spirits.
For North native American Indians, the beauty of the passionflower was always the most prized, whilst in Asia’s India, again the structure of the flower also has many divine meanings, with the colour blue being especially auspicious as the colour of spirituality and associated with Krishna.
A most modern explorer
It would seem that at least in this world, through our many religions and cultures, the passiflora has been communicating with us all the long from our old worlds to new philosophies. Now in the age of solar science and blessed with an evolution of a DNA with rich diversity, gifts of colour, pharmacy and food, what will the New Age passionflower possibly bring us next? It is a most willing and avid explorer.
With its own natural telescope, if we are perceptive enough, as our flora contains knowledge built up slowly and deliberately, over millions of years, if we did happen to be the only detectable real “life”, which communicates with a vast and amazing history and range of experiences and wonders, might our plants be able detect the subtleties of the universal and solar unknowns which the human connective tissue cannot? We already look to them to do so. How will Flora unravel the secrets of our solar futures? Plants have inspired the human spirit, been responsible for human survival and evolutionary theory suggests that human life is also derived from plants as well.
Can you hear me Major Tom?