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Snowdrops, think snowdrops

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

Early January – alchemists know that the humble snowdrop is symbolic of a great truth



In the book, The Soulistic Journey, we advocate a slowing down of the usual frenetic pace of everyday life to allow ourselves time to ‘stand and stare’. When we do this in January and look out at Nature beyond our windows, it may seem that all is dead or dormant and that nothing much is happening – but scratch the surface and it is easy to see that is not the case; the tender green tips of the snowdrops are already poking through the soil, in an amazing display of fortitude. How is it that these delicate shoots can withstand frost and ice when other plant beings shrivel in their wake? Scientists attribute this miracle to the genetic make-up and chemistry of snowdrops, which of course is the case, but alchemists know that the snowdrop is also symbolic of a great truth. As it says in The Tao, ‘the softest thing in the Universe can overcome the hardest thing in the Universe.’ What a metaphor to life our lives by.


As I write this, I see on Instagram that the garden designer Joe Swift is bemoaning Lockdown 3 with the hashtag #januaryisbadenoughanyway, but dear Monty Don replied, ‘Snowdrops – think snowdrops!’ They are the most longed-for of flowers in this cold month and they are a sign that transformation is afoot. They remind us that the softest things like rain, snowdrops and love can overcome rock, ice and war.


Like many of us, Monty Don is also a great lover of tulips, the earliest varieties of which are likewise, beginning to break ground right now, in the Southwest of the country at least. Monty’s advice is, ‘Plant your bulbs deeply for the healthiest plants – the deeper the better.’ This is another metaphor for our lives. The deeper you plant yourself in the healthy soil of your environment – both internal and external – the healthier you will be. Exploring the depths of your inner life takes time, and patience is necessary; just like the patience a gardener needs when the green shoots promise abundant blossom. And just like the tulip’s process of blooming, our own transformation can be equally beautiful and miraculous. It just depends on how deep you’re ready to go.


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