(Lenten Rose, hellebores orientails / Julie Cook / 2016)
Hellebores orientails, otherwise known as a Lenten Rose, is a member of the ranunculaceae family and are kin to buttercups, clematis and peonies with no relation at all to the rose family.
While the thought of a lenten rose may bring deeply spiritual thoughts to mind, the only correlation between the plant and Lent is that it usually flowers during the Lenten season.
Hellebores are actually “one of the four classic poisons, together with nightshade, hemlock, and aconite. In fact, the name hellebore comes from the Greek “elein” meaning to injure, and “bora” meaning food.”
(University of Vermont)
As the enticing intricacies, those tiny marvels of detail within the flower which are both hypnotic and marvelous to behold, the mysterious allure can however have deadly consequence.
Hellebores have been known to cause death to both humans and animals alike…to those those poor souls who have, for whatever reason, ingested roots, seeds or flowers.
Even the seeds have been known to cause blisters and burns to the skin.
Hellebore’s history and use dates back to 1400 BCE when the plant was mistakenly thought to aid in accidental poisoning, relieve mental instability and to purge the body of ailments such as worms and various intestinal maladies.
Whereas the plants and flowers are indeed attractive and are a nice early blooming addition to the garden, it is with a bit of trepidation that they be allowed to join the yard, especially if one has young children or pets.
Therefore it may be safe to assume that the innocently charming Lenten Rose is actually quite deceiving.
Pretty to look at yet hiding a darker and more sinister side.
Much like the master of deception…
We would do well to be mindful that the Prince of Darkness works in a similar fashion as the unpretentious Lenten Rose. He often takes the appearance of something most benign or perhaps attractive or even enticing, yet in reality, He is just as deadly as our little hellebore…
This Prince of Lies woos us through our own senses…lulling and dulling our reactions.
Confusing us and enticing us by our own wants and desires…
Be not confused nor deceived by the misleading beauty of the world…
for there is one who is watching…
and he waits
with an often hypnotic beauty…
His mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”
He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.