The Daisy Oracle
The Daisy Oracle
Using the daisy as an oracle (... loves me, … loves me not) is an amorous activity that takes place outdoors, one that I often frequented in that sweet and fraught time between childhood and adulthood. The French have the tradition of effeuiller la marguerite, to pluck the daisy. Daisies and their power appear throughout history - growing in temple gardens and recreated as beads and pendants in Ancient Egypt (3000 BCE), as a medicinal power in medieval times (their Anglo-Saxon name, “days-eye” is a direct reference to the application of daisies as a cure for eye problems), the daisy as oracle is referenced by nun and scribe Clara Hätzerlin in her 1471 songbook, they are in William Morris’ flower patterns, and the petal plucking is employed as a plot device in the ballet Giselle and in Goethe’s 1808 Faust.
Working with this history, I am using the daisy as a tool for the mourning of my past life, before I became a mother. Negotiating my feelings for myself and my new life, my successes and my failures, I rotate through the five potential options that the original French version of effeuiller la marguerite provides - un peu or "a little", beaucoup or "a lot", passionnément or "passionately", à la folie or "to madness", or pas du tout or "not at all."
My agency, or lack of agency, is reinforced by the casual choosing of which petal to pluck when playing the daisy oracle game. Going deeper, I link the daisies importance to the eye and my visual contact with my daughter to darshan (Sanskrit: “viewing”). Darshan is the moment of sight, when the veil drops and that which is beyond is revealed. If properly prepared, a path to enlightenment. If unprepared, surrender and fall into another space, or go mad with ecstasy.
This work is negotiating that space between clarity and madness, passion and ambivalence, control and abandon.