Out of lemon flowers loosed on the moonlight, love’s lashed and insatiable essences, sodden with fragrance, the lemon tree’s yellow emerges, the lemons move down from the tree’s planetarium
Delicate merchandise! The harbors are big with it- bazaars for the light and the barbarous gold. We open the halves of a miracle, and a clotting of acids brims into the starry divisions: creation’s original juices, irreducible, changeless, alive: so the freshness lives on in a lemon, in the sweet-smelling house of the rind, the proportions, arcane and acerb.
Cutting the lemon the knife leaves a little cathedral: alcoves unguessed by the eye that open acidulous glass to the light; topazes riding the droplets, altars, aromatic facades.
So, while the hand holds the cut of the lemon, half a world on a trencher, the gold of the universe wells to your touch: a cup yellow with miracles, a breast and a nipple perfuming the earth; a flashing made fruitage, the diminutive fire of a planet.
Four members of the Kaxinawá Tribe from the Brazilian Amazon state of Acre, on the borders with Peru, visited Kew earlier this week to bless the plants in a traditional ceremony.
Spiritual leaders (Pajé) Txana Ikakuru and Isarewe Huni Kunin led the traditional blessing ceremony. They were accompanied by Dani Shawarakani on her first trip outside the homelands of the Kaxinawá.
The Pajé chanted two separate blessings while seated on the Palm House floor, covered in a bed of leaves for the occasion. The blessing invoked the forest guardian spirits and was for all the plants of the world. Photo credit: RBG, Kew.
The banyan tree is central to several Asian religions including Hinduism & Buddhism. Banyan refers to many species of fig, but most specifically to the Indian banyan, Ficus benghalensis. Banyans also serve a practical purpose, as a shady place for merchants to meet – banya is from the Gujarati word for trader. The epiphytic tree starts by wrapping itself around a host tree before plunging roots into the ground – a convenient metaphor for forces beyond human control, or struggle more generally. The banyan is sacred to Buddhists as a place of reflection. After attaining enlightenment, the Buddha is said to have sat under a banyan for seven days, reflecting.