When I learned Ikebana as an adult, I was really fortunate to have had an old_fashioned sensei (instructor) who not only taught me the theory and techniques, but also immersed me in the respectable manners and ways of the good old days. It is through my sensei that I learned that Ikebana goes beyond the typical art form, and that it is more of a way of life; in fact, Ikebana is also known as kado, which literally means "the way of the flower."
MEANINGS & USES _ The exact origin of the name Aster is debated. Some say the name for these beautiful flowers is direct from Greek mythology: Asters were said to have grown from the tears of the Goddess Asterea. Others say they were named for their abundant growing patterns (like the night sky) and their star_like shape. Asters have long been given to symbolize love, daintiness and afterthought. Gentlemen and ladies in the past used to present them to people they hoped to draw affection from. Placed on the graves of French soldiers, Asters were used as a symbol of a better life to come. They can also be used to symbolize a 20th Wedding Anniversary and are a wonderful gift in a bouquet for any occasion. The petals of the Aster used to be smoked to ward off evil serpents, but could also be used to help with headaches, colds, back pain and muscle spasms.