The Complete Language of Flowers Book Review

The Complete Language of Flowers is a comprehensive encyclopedia exploring in-depth folklore, meanings, terminology, and botanical facts for over 1,000 flowers species. The author S. Theresa Dietz has not only compiled a definitive history of flowers but also pairs the historical facts with a gorgeous selection of illustrations to devour with the eyes page after page. As the pages turn, you realize something. A universal symbol of beauty is being pulled through historical lore to provide the why. Why do we see flowers as such things of beauty in the entire botanical kingdom? Why have symbols of flowers carried over through the ages even into things like surnames? The power of this mythology is hypnotic in a way that appeals to the science-minded as well as the romantic.

The senses of sight and smell are obvious but then one begins to feel the emotions and connections with nature going back in time immemorial. For many of us, flowers have had an often unconscious importance in our lives. Think of the seasons, the colors, the smells, and yes – the emotions of life through these times. Our gardens, our books, our clothing are just a few examples of how we have come to adorn our lives with the language of flowers. For many visual artists and writers, flowers carried symbolic verse that found their way into their work. Examples of descriptive floral poetics, hence the term flowering something up. As well as the symbolism and power of color in artwork or film where the purple can mean devotion or royalty, the sunflower yellow may convey ambition or the sun itself.

This book includes extraordinarily detailed and stunning color illustrations throughout as well as two very full indexes that provide common flower names and meaning or symbolism. All and all, this is a very high grade in terms of a collectible and useful book. This is, as it is titled, a Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia full of topics of historical value, dream interpretation, art, symbolism, literature, and astrology among so much more. We all engage with the subject of flowers and we have experienced something with them that made us feel something through expression, emotion, scent, or symbolism. Perhaps this book may be able to conjure some of those memories past or even memories renewed for you.

Michael de Vena

Michael de Vena is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and contributing writer to Create for Healing.

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