There are at least two stories in this image…one I did not see when I took the picture. If you look closely, a bee is hiding in the centre of the flower and a long legged fly sits on the edge of the corona.
I have always been fascinated by the strange flowers of this particular plant. We find stories and symbols in many things. The passion flower is not named for the human emotion, but was named by 16th C missionaries for the Passion of Jesus. They saw in the strange bloom a symbolic representation of one of the central moments of the Christian faith, the crucifixion.
There are varied interpretations, and you can almost hear the missionaries as they spoke, each one adding his own personal touches to the way the flower was able to illustrate the story they told.
• The leaves are pointed, like the Holy Lance and beneath them are dark spots that represent the 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas for the kiss in the garden of Gethsemane.
• The tendrils of this climbing plant remind the faithful of the whips the soldiers used.
• The ten petals represent the faithful apostles… without Peter, who denied knowing Jesus three times and Judas who is counted as his betrayer.
• The filaments of the corona symbolise the Crown of Thorns.
• The chalice shaped ovary represents the Cup of the Last Supper.
• The five anthers symbolise the five wounds from the nails and spear.
• The three styles are the nails themselves….or to some, the Trinity.
• The flower blooms for a day… the time Jesus suffered on the Cross, then wraps its petals around the chalice; a symbol of the entombment and the inner mysteries of the resurrection.
• Some see in the fruit a symbol of the world and in its red juice, the blood of the crucified.
• Many passion flowers are blue and white… blue for heaven and the robe of the Mother, white for purity.