September Flower: Aster
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ASTER - STAR FLOWER

In Latin aster means star, the name also used by the Greeks for this flower. The "star-flower" was believed to be sacred to the gods and so wreaths of asters were placed on their altars. Aster leaves were burned to frighten away serpents in medieval Europe and roots were crushed and fed to bees in poor health. Although the early English name was "starwort," later the flower was named "Michaelmas Daisy" as it blooms around St. Michaelmas Day in September.

One ancient myth arises from the Iron Age, when people learned to make tools as well as weapons of iron. The god Jupiter, angered by all the fighting and destruction from these iron weapons decided to destroy the entire race by a flood.

The gods fled the earth and the last to go, the goddess Astraea, was so saddened she asked to be turned into a star. Meantime, two mortals who had been faithful to the gods fled to the top of Mount Parnassus and were spared by Jupiter.

When the flood waters receded, all that was left around the two mortals was mud and slime. Astraea felt so sorry for them she wept, her tears falling as stardust which, when upon hitting the earth, turned to lovely starflowers or asters.
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In Latin aster means star, the name also used by the Greeks for this flower. The "star-flower" was believed to be sacred to the gods and so wreaths of asters were placed on their altars. Aster leaves were burned to frighten away serpents in medieval Europe and roots were crushed and fed to bees in poor health. Although the early English name was "starwort," later the flower was named "Michaelmas Daisy" as it blooms around St. Michaelmas Day in September.

One ancient myth arises from the Iron Age, when people learned to make tools as well as weapons of iron. The god Jupiter, angered by all the fighting and destruction from these iron weapons decided to destroy the entire race by a flood.

The gods fled the earth and the last to go, the goddess Astraea, was so saddened she asked to be turned into a star. Meantime, two mortals who had been faithful to the gods fled to the top of Mount Parnassus and were spared by Jupiter.

When the flood waters receded, all that was left around the two mortals was mud and slime. Astraea felt so sorry for them she wept, her tears falling as stardust which, when upon hitting the earth, turned to lovely starflowers or asters.
The Aster flower has a passionate kind of history, one to pull you into the existence of nature.  The word “aster,” itself, comes from a rich background in Greek mythology.  It is believed the Greek goddess Astraea had such grace within her soul, that her tears are what brought this flower it’s presence.  Astraea was a lover of the night, admiring the cooler colors of the sky, she noticed how different the colors came to be.  The lack of a bright sky made her weep.  Her weeping led to so many emotions from within, asters began to bloom.

As Astraea began to admire the flowers that had bloomed, they were as poised with beauty and grace as she was.  She decided to name them “aster,” referencing the stars she wished to see in the sky. Not only were the Greeks fans of this wildflower, but also the Victorians.  Thomas Jefferson, himself, was a major fan of one genus of the Aster, the China aster.
Another Greek legend claims  that when King Aegeus’ son Theseus volunteered to slay the Minotaur, he told his father he would fly a white flag on his return to Athens to announce his victory. But, Theseus forgot to change the flags and sailed into port with black flags flying. Believing his son to be killed by the Minotaur, King Aegeus promptly committed suicide. It is believed that asters sprung forth where his blood stained the earth.
Aster flowers were regarded as sacred by the early Greeks, who dedicated them to Hecate, the goddess of magic and witchcraft. In ancient Rome, they’re the emblem of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Many believed that decorating altars with aster flowers will deepen their spiritual connection with the divine feminine.

In medieval Europe, it was thought that the flower possesses magical powers to drive away serpents, as well as ward off evil spirits and negative influences. In some beliefs, the ability to grow asters is linked to one’s knowledge of the darker side of magic. Some even hung dried bouquets of asters in their attics in hopes of protection.

On the other hand, China asters are believed to bless one’s home, where its dried leaves and flowers have been used to make tea.
Asters are the birth flower for the month of September. These delightful large flowers put on a spectacular show of color in flower gardens throughout all of summer and well into the fall. The flower name is derived from the Greek word astér, a word that translates into English as “star.” The whole connection between the Greek word, what it means in English and the flower is a fun one when you think about a legend from Greek mythology that likely tells of the origin of asters on Earth.

 

How a Greek Goddess Caused Asters to Grow on Earth

The Greek myth suggests that the Greek Goddess of Innocence, Astraea went to the heavens where she was transformed into the constellation Virgo. Back on earth, Zeus decided to cleanse the earth of corruption. As the King of the Gods, he could do anything so he flooded the earth, killing everyone on it, except for two people who were stranded on the top of Mount Parnassus.

 

Astraea, who had become Virgo, was able to see what had happened. She felt horribly sorry for the two sole survivors, so she created starlight so they’d have some sort of light to guide them. Another version of the story suggests that she was despondent over the lack of stars in the sky. Either way, she was so overcome with sadness that she cried and cried. As she cried, tears would land in different places on earth, and in each place where her tears struck the earth, asters sprouted.
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