Abundance: What I see in a pomegranate


I have a favorite book that I discovered the summer of 2007. It's entitled "Beloved Bridegroom" by Donna B. Nielsen. I love understanding historical contexts to symbols found in art, literature and poetry (no surprise I was an art history major in college). Donna Nielsen book about ancient Jewish marriage and family customs gave me so much more by making the symbolic meanings of things in my Mediterranean-climate garden come alive. One symbol that has become particularly poignant for me is the pomegranate.

"The Hebrew word translated 'pomegranate' is 'rimmon' or 'bell.' Pomegranates are notable for their beautiful red flowers, shapely fruit, sweet flavor (to those in the Middle East!), and prodigious number of seeds. The fruit is the size of an orange and has a calyx which resembles a crown." [p 80]

"In Jewish thought, pomegranates have an association with the clothing of the High Priest (Exodus 28:33-34), and also because of their many seeds, with the promises of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 15:5)." [p v]

"Because of its decorative form, [the pomegranate] has long been a popular motif in Jewish art. The flowers of the pomegranate served as patterns for the 'golden bells' and also for 'open flowers' embroidered on the temple robes of the High Priest [of the tabernacle]. Fabric pomegranates adorned the hem of the robe, alternating with golden bells. The erect calyx-lobes on the fruit served as inspiration for [King] Solomon's crown, and incidentally for all crowns from that time on.

"Israelites were exhorted by their sages to 'be as full of good deeds as a pomegranate is full of seeds,' and good students were said to model their study habits upon the pomegranate, eating only the good fruit, but discarding the bitter peel." [p 80]

Now when I see the ruby seeds a pomegranate spilled on the ground after the fruit has burst open with ripeness, I think of the abundance in my life. Each seed symbolizes one of the rich and treasured blessings I enjoy.

And I am thankful.

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  1. Cindy, You shared some of this with me when I was there in Nov 2008 and came home with a sack of poms! I love them. Mom would frequently get these for me for a treat.

    I love all the symbolism. Thank you for sharing it here where I can read it again and again.
    Love you lots

  2. thank you - I very much enjoyed the Jewish history and symbolism of this most wondrous fruit. For me it represents dormancy and the promise of Spring as in the Greek myth of Persephone



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