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Sunflowers seek out the sun, turning their heads as they track the warm rays from East to West. For the worlds ancient people this process, known as heliotropism, was a sign of the flowers intelligence and mystical power. Like all aspects of nature, the process can be explained by science, but the old stories and myths surrounding the flower hearken back to a more mystical and mysterious era of human history.
The Sunflower was held in extremely high regard by the Aztecs and worshipped in their Temples of the Sun. Priestesses wore them in their hair during religious ceremonies and elaborate likenesses of the flowers were wrought in pure gold to decorate the holy sanctuaries.
In 1532, European explorers to Peru reported that the native inhabitants of the country were found worshipping a giant flower that served to represent the sacred image, and earthly power, of the sun god.
Farther north, early native inhabitants of what is now Canada believed the sunflower had the ability to guide spirits to heaven. In some communities, custom dictated that bowls of sunflower seeds and petals be placed on graves to help nourish the souls during the long journey.
In many parts of the ancient world, the power and wisdom of the sunflower was said to ward of evil thoughts. Some believed that placing sunflower petals under their pillow at night would help get to the truth of any matter and encourage a long life. Others believed that sunflower petals in the bath would clear away sorrow. Still, others believed sunflowers represented love, even going so far as to write odes and sonnets to the flower.
Sunflower petals can be enjoyed on their own as a tisane, or as a mellow addition to custom tea blends. When brewing, steep for 5-10 minutes. Add a dash of sugar to bring out the mild character.
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